Monday, 31 August 2015


Hi there!
What a rainy Bank Holiday it is!
Don’t you feel sorry for all those poor country fairs and shows which are a complete washout?
I have done enough of them in my time. 
You know you’re in trouble when the tractors have to haul your van INTO the grounds BEFORE the show!!

So a quiet day today.
Just taking stock, and settling down to a normal 
working week again.

After all the excitement of the HOCHANDA launch,

I hope you don’t mind my just blogging one of the projects from Saturday’s Stamp show.

The Funky Foliage StampSet is very cool.

These fit brilliantly on the set of 5 ClarityMounts

Stamp it in Black Archival onto a piece of our Clarity Stencil Card (aka Gelli Card)

Use the long, single poppyhead to create a base.

Add Awesome, from Word Chain No. 9

You see, 
this is what you have to do if you are doing a live TV show!
Stagework, so that you can fast forward.
No wonder I can do it with my eyes shut by the time 
I’m on the box!

Using one of the Clarity Stencil Brushes
brush panels of Butterscotch

and Sailboat Blue into place.
The longer you do this, the more vibrant the colours will get.

You can use the Blending tools to intensify.

“I say, I say! Is that a marooarna plant?”
No idea. Can’t even spell it....
Let’s go check..

“By George, Mildred! I think you could be right!”

Moving on swiftly....
Let the ink dry a little.
Then lift off with water and a paint brush.
The best way is to paint the flowers and leaves with water, 
one at a time, allow the water to soak in, then blot.

Work your way through the poppy heads and leaves,
painting with water and blotting as you go.

Top Tip: Keep the paint brush clean.
Don’t lift the ink from one flower 
and then drop it off on the next one!

Black Sharpie Pen round the edge with a ruler.

Word of the weekend:

Spellcheck of the week: Marijuana

I read all the lovely uplifting words yesterday.
Now I have a direction for the next collection of Word Chains.
Thank you xxx

love and hugs,

Sunday, 30 August 2015

In a word.....

Hi there,
Thank you so much for popping in today.
Just got back from the HOCHANDA studios.
Before we settle down and chillax for the evening,
both Dave and I want to thank you for all your upbeat support
during this launch weekend.

I can tell you now, it has been one of the best experiences ever.
To be involved at the very outset of something as mammoth 
as launching a TV Channel.
You just can’t imagine it.
To be a tiny part of a huge operation, but to play such a big role front of house is quite a daunting responsibility, you know.
So when I said yesterday,
“A lot is riding on this!” I wasn’t kidding!!
Aside from the obvious pressure, we have had such fun.
I shall never forget it.
Watching so many people just working together and pulling together, ironing out creases and battling to solve glitches.
Always friendly, helpful, polite and positive. 
It was awesome.

Anyway, I wanted to say

to the whole crew at HOCHANDA!
We did it!!!!

Last night, we aired the Wee Folk No. 1 and 2
and a couple of Word Chains 11 and 12.

I think they work beautifully together.

You can make the most delightfully simple compositions, 
with just a little character and an appropriate sentiment.

Like so:

or so:

Here’s my favourite stance!
I love positioning the little boy 
as if he were carrying one of the letters!
Little things, I know, little things....

Did you ever read ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by John Keats?
One of the most beautiful poems I have ever read.

The last two lines say:

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

I like that.

Keeps it simple for me.

But can you not see the potential with these little figures 
and the uplifting words?

Not particularly tricky stamping.
But very emotive.
One word can speak volumes. 
When enhanced with a little character, the heart listens.

Do you have a favourite uplifting word?
I love the word Gratitude.
(Sorry it’s on another Word Chain!)
How about you?
Give us a word to contemplate...
to cogitate...
to ponder...
to deliberate...

Time for a cuppa.

Love and hugs,

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Tonight’s the night....

Hi there,
Thanks for popping in!
Well, here’s the big day.
The first live show on the new channel Hochanda.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet: 
Home of Crafts, Hobbies and Art.
Cool name.
Say it like a Chinese person. Go on, I dare you!
Enough flippancy, Gray! This is serious business!!
As if I didn’t know that.
I’ve been up since 6am!
This is mostly due to the early morning coffee room delivery
 I asked for on the first day, but keep forgetting to cancel! 
So at 6am I was knocked out of bed by a wide awake night porter with a pot of coffee.
Could be worse...could have been 5 o’clock.
Is it okay to be nervous?
After all these years of doing TV shows, 
it’s like going back to the first time again.
There have been a few technical glitches, 
and a lot of negativity around that, which is wearing after a while.
It’s like standing in the kitchen all day sweating bullets, preparing a roast dinner with all the trimmings, and then after you finally serve up and sit down with the family to eat, the first person pipes up and says the gravy’s cold. Then the next one says the roast spuds are a bit soggy, and the next one says the meat’s a bit tough. By this time you want to throw your plate at the nearest picky offender and go down the pub!  
Like we don’t know that the lighting was duff, and the sound was off! And that the website’s still not up and running!
And that Virgin viewers in many areas can’t watch yet, unless they get an aerial, get their hubby to climb up on the roof and wave it around (the aerial that is!), and tune in on Freeview!
Just conjuring up an image of hundreds of men, standing on their rooftops, waving it around, shouting 

You’ve got to laugh.

A few demos this evening, 
a bit of banter with the lovely Lee;
how hard can that be?
Keeping it simple, because there will be a lot of newcomers.
Shall I show you a few little clues ?

We’ll have a hoot with The Wise Old Owls 

and try some Funky Foliage tricks...

Stencilart with texture paste...

There’ll be plenty of Wee Folk there to jolly us along,
even if you can’t make it because you’re bailing out the old man for his rooftop aerial display!

So this evening at 6pm, and tomorrow morning at 10 am,
I hope you can make the time to watch.

Sky 663
Freeview 39
Freesat 822
or online:

love and hugs,

Friday, 28 August 2015

A world of contrasts....

Hi there!
Happy Friday.
Thank you for popping in today.

After the strain of yesterday’s Hochanda new TV channel launch,
I decided to step back and enjoy the lovely town of Stamford.
What a place!
And the George Hotel is very lovely, I must say!
This morning I went into the little secret garden at the back...
Actually, what happened was, I was trying to get a phone signal to call my Mum and Dad, so stepped outside.
I figured I would keep walking until I could talk to them. 
It wasn’t looking very promising until
I bumped into a gardener watering the plants outside,
 and explained the situation. 

He just smiled and said, “keep walking and hang a left...” 


What better place than this to sit and gather one’s thoughts.

So I spent a very pleasant hour chatting to my parents,
 sitting on a bench which was tucked in under the wisteria 
in the sun ...

I had to smile, because as I started to study the flowers 
more closely,

I noticed the bees, working away,
 seldom stopping.
And I remembered the bee on the wall in the restaurant,
which I wanted to share with you.
At first, from a distance, I thought that somebody had swatted a bug on the dining room wall!

But on closer inspection,
it was a painted Bee.
Absolutely perfect.
No wonder it didn’t move!

In fact, the whole dining room was a wonderful artefact!
I had arrived back at base, after a long day at Hochanda,
But I also wanted to watch the repeat of the launch which was airing at 9pm!
So what to do?
Pass on supper and watch the programme?
Or Pass on the show and go eat?

Food more crucial, so I went to the restaurant.
The friendly German waiter,
who I had made friends with the night before,
asked me whether I would prefer a more secluded place.
Lovely! The quieter the better! I said!
(Hate sitting alone in a busy restaurant)
Well, you can go in our private dining room, but you will be alone.
So I was able to crank up the Ipad and watch the launch
 at the same time as eating!
Call it Dinner TV if you will; it was perfect!

But the room !! The room!!!
It all started with a little frog on the wall...
It was so perfect, I had to go look.

 then the rest of the walls started to come to life,

The flowers were so beautifully hand-painted, 
they looked absolutely real.

The detail was enthralling.

Absolutely breath-taking.

And so, after a crazy, exciting, noisy, strenuous day,
packed with people and very serious business actually,
I sat completely alone in the corner of a fantastic dining-room
(spot the handbag hanging on the arm of the chair)

It was perfect. 

And the lobster was pretty good too!
So if you ever need a very special place for a very special occasion,
there’s a painted room in the George Hotel in Stamford.
I think I’d like to celebrate our wedding here.
I shall have to ask Dave....

TV Show tomorrow at 6pm-7pn
and Sunday 10am -11am

much love,

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Hochanda Launch and A Clarity Party!!!

Oh My Giddy Aunt!!!!
This is the funniest thing ever!!!!
I had suggested to the ladies at work that they all have a little party
and enjoy the new adventure our little company is about to embark on. It was Debby’s birthday today too, and she had already got the doughnuts, so I said, I said, have a party! Get some lemonade!
I had also asked my Mum and Dad to join us, because they are on Virgin and Mum was seriously stressing that she might miss the Midday launch.

So get this! 
My good man Jim called me just now,
 and said he had dropped some photos into my blog,
so that I could see how the Clarity Crew celebrated 
the Hochanda launch back at Clarity Towers,
 together with myself and all up at the studios,
albeit remotely.
And this is what I found...

I am so chuffed, I can’t tell you. 

My lovely brother came along to join in,

Now watch what they did!!
Just when I was wishing I had been there...

Look at the spread they put on!!!

There’s Dad in the background!
Claire, Jim’s Mum - she who makes all the stencils.
And Jayne, she who is in charge of all things TV dispatch.

And this one made me cry.
Not sad.
Just an overwhelming sense of pride.
There’s Dave too.

Young Steve at the front; he who is in charge of all retail picking and Amazon.

Ian at the front, who is in charge of all things to do with trade shop accounts 

Lovely Katie! It’s so nice to have her back for a while. 
She’s a young actress who works with us on stencils in between acting jobs. 

And lovely Dotty.
Our youngest Clarity teamie.

Remember Annie, our young Mum who designs all the fantastic stencils?
Well she works from home, so she can be a mum too.
A proper stay at home mum.

I was so chuffed to see they came to the party.
It’s a good hour away.

Poor bloke!
He shot into town and got an aeriel, 
so they could watch on freeview!!!

This looks bloody spooky, doesn’t it!!!
I bet the head masks were Jayne’s idea !!!
I do love that woman.

Here’s Jim holding the aerial up outside.
Now THAT’s what I call dedication.

Ahh, there’s Mum! I wondered where she was!!!

I cannot even begin to tell you how proud and happy and chuffed 
I am.

That has to be one of the best surprises ever.
That’ll teach me to ask Jim to get some photos of the staff for the website!!!

And as for the launch at Hochanda,
it was amazing.
VERY intense.
What another excellent bunch of people.
Sure there were some glitches and technical hitches.
Tense nervous headache??
You aren’t kidding.
Christ!  They launched a TV Channel !!!!!
Unless you were in the building 
you will never understand how much is involved.
It was amazing.
And so what if the sound was iffy, 
or the plug was in vision, 
or the online streaming took an hour to fix?
My lot seemed to cope with it!!!
Onwards and upwards with vigour.
I’m a very, very lucky woman.

Do me a big favour.
Go on the Hochanda Facebook Page and give them a pat on the back. They need one, and they certainly deserve one. xxx

love and hugs,