Thursday, 31 December 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR xxxxxxxxx

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
What are you up to this evening?
Last night of this old year and all that jazz.
Are you seeing in the New Year with friends?
Or are you staying in the dry?
Or heaven forbid, has your life been tipped upside down 
and your home been destroyed by flooding?
It’s pouring down outside as I write, 
and all I think of when I hear the unrelenting rain is those poor souls in the disaster areas.

So I decided to make a card for you
using Color Bursts yet again,
because these pigment powders 
really capture not only the crazy weather but also 2015 for me.

It’s been a hell of a year, hasn’t it? 
A little bit raw in places,
where we’ve just had to fake it to make it,
and pretend everything was ok.
Until it was.

a little bit messy in places,
where we’ve just had to hang on and have faith that things 
would come good again.
And they did.

Some very stormy patches, 
where we’ve just had to sit tight and let the clouds pass.

But really amazing too!
Unbelievably exciting stuff!
Good and unexpected things happened,

 Team Clarity blossomed and grew,
 and everything was totally Groovi!
We went from 3 laser machines to 7 in 3 months.
We just basically worked our arses off all year, didn’t we ?!?!?

But then there was that epic US road trip with Dave and Steve.
Which was so brilliant,  
I’ve already booked next year’s vacation for us!

The worst part of this last year was when Dave got so very ill.
That was a show stopper for me.
The best part of this last year was when Dave got well again.
Which he did.

So back to this evening, 
Grace is off to a party with her best friend Lizzie 
and the Clarity gang.
Mark is off to a party in London with his old school friends.

Dave and I are staying in, and joining Jools Holland
to wave the Old Year adieu and wave the New Year in.

And you?
Whatever you are doing,
wherever you are and whoever you are with,
Dave and I would like to wish you a
and creative New Year.

And before I wrap it up,
I have one little test for you, 
to see how well you know me by now...

Let’s take a closer look at the card.
(By the way, these Wee Folk are joining me on the TV this weekend. Err, not October !)

Happy New Year.
Well, for those of you who have our Word Chains,
you will maybe know that whilst we have ‘Happy,’
the words ‘Year’ and ‘New’ have yet to be made.
Which means one of two things....

Hands up if you think I cobbled together the words I needed
by masking off letters from other Word Chain stamps.
Just write MASKED below.

Hands up if you think I actually cut up the Word Chain stamps to get the letters I needed to be able to write New and Year.
Just write CUT below. 

The truth will be revealed tomorrow xxxxx
HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!!!!!!

love and hugs,

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A Winter Wonderland - but where??

Hello there.
Thanks for dropping in. 
Apologies for being so late on Mindful Wednesday.
but you would be proud of me!
As you know, both kids, Grace and Mark, 
came home from the States for Christmas.

We have had the BEST time!
Hampered by work? Nope.
Despite having 7 hours of live TV to prep for this coming weekend,
I made a decision to park the prep and enjoy the kids.
My rationale was that, after 25 years of grafting at crafting, 
I should be able to wing the TV with a minimum of prep on this one occasion.
Also, I probably won’t see either of them for at least half a year again, so sod it. I’ll take my chances on the telly.

Now that, my mindful friends, is serious progress,
 coming from this people-pleasing, perfectionist workaholic!
I am NOT going to worry or fret about my performance, 
or about impressing you, or about whether I screw up and haven’t got a “here’s one I did earlier” to fall back on. 
Provided I have got the stamps and a few props, 
I should be able to think on my feet,
or I shouldn’t be in the game!

I have been getting up with the lark, doing as much as I can.
But as soon as the kids surfaced each morning,  
I kicked Wurka and Hollick, 
those two scumbags who torment me daily, 
to the kerb,

and made the most of our time together. 
Yesterday, Grace and I hit the sales in Tunbridge Wells,
then had Afternoon Tea at Woods, in the Pantiles. 
Very civilised.
Today, the three of us hung out all morning, 
had a real meaningful conversation about growing up.
They are good people, both of them. 
They have strong ideals and dreams,
and they are figuring out the way it works, 
paying bills and making a living abroad, 
without leaning on others or losing their way.
I am very glad and proud of the way they are handling life.

Then we went out and found a Christmas Grotto!
Took selfies shamelessly,

Hung out in Lapland with the reindeer,

gatecrashed Santa’s pad.

It was innocent and fun.

Who needs to go to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland,
when you’ve got the Winter Wonderland Grotto at
The Garden Centre at East Peckham!

That’s what I love about them.
Most people their age would have told me to take a hike 
when I suggested going into the Grotto.

Grace whipped her purse out and paid for all 3 of us!
And Mark didn’t flinch either.

It was a bit dark for photos,
but here we see Gracie climbing the fence to the stables.

It was fabulous !!!

In fact, when my Dad turned up to meet us and take them home with him for the night,
I insisted on showing him too!

They wanted to spend a day with their grandparents,
so that’s where they are tonight.

I think that’s pretty special too. 

As far as the TV goes,
here are the hours:
Sunday 3rd October, 2-4pm and 8-9pm
Monday 4th October, 9am, 12noon, 4pm and 7pm.

When do the kids leave?
So the only way, and I mean THE ONLY WAY to do this gig
is one day at a time.

 love always,

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

More Blimming Rain.

Hi there.
Thanks for dropping in.
I do hope you are dry.
What a nightmare this is for so many people.
Our good friend Kirsty Goodwill, who is one of our Design Team, messaged me this morning to say the houses opposite hers are already flooded and the water coming in off the hills during the next few days will only add to the chaos. 
It just started tipping down outside here too; 
the sound of rain just fills me with dread now. 
Not for us, but for the poor people who are in the flood areas. 
What a nightmare. 

I have made another piece of artwork with the rain and floods
in mind.
I used the Color Burst again.
The pigments shatter brilliantly when puffed onto water.

Added a large moon to stencil card 
and then spritzed it until it was really really wet.

Puffed Color Burst at it, and let it explode.
Tipped the card and let the colour streams run.

Dabbed any puddles with a paper towel to soak them up.
If it were only that easy.

Removed the moon mask,
Dried it with a heat tool and ironed it to flatten it.

Now I don’t know whether I’m supposed to show you the stamps which are coming up in the HOCHANDA TV One Day Special which launches on Sunday 4th January at 8pm in the evening.

But I am prepping with them,
they are sitting in front of me,
and I really, truly cannot think of a more appropriate set of stamps than these Wee Houses and Shops.

Used Black Archival to stamp the little houses and shops
onto the wild backdrop.

Started in the middle and just started adding more.

Went off the edge of the card.

Lifted some colour out of the houses with water on a paintbrush.
Let the water soak in then dabbed it with a paper towel.

Dried it with the heat gun.

Coloured in the houses and windows with pencils.
Added a drop shadow below the houses.

Stamped OUR HOME into place from one of our Word Chain Sets.

Went round the edge with a Blending tool and Old Paper.
Important to use a blending mat underneath.

Mounted the piece on 8"x8' White card.


I just wanted to get across that sense of relentless rain,
but used coloured streams instead. 
Pouring straight through peoples’ homes. 

Once again, here is the link to the 

This was the only Just Giving page I could find. 
Feel free to lift this image and use it as an icon on Facebook.
Add it to other Just Giving helplines for other areas if you know any others. 
Add the helpline Just Giving Page number too.
Maybe we can create more awareness.
Maybe then, this artwork will serve a purpose.
There but for the grace of God go I.

Love and hugs

Monday, 28 December 2015

Monday’s Blog is Flowers and a London Plane...

Hi there.
Good of you to drop in.
I do hope the rain has stopped up north, 
and that the flood water is subsiding.

Today, trees being the Blog topic on Mondays,
I thought I would share Dave’s Christmas present to me with you.

There we were, all seated around the tree on Christmas Eve;
Grace was handing out gifts to people from underneath the tree,
which is all very civilised and just how we like it.
Dave whispered to me,
“Your present’s in the garden”
Lawn Mower?
Bench for when we are older?
But no.
You will already be familiar with Grace and Mark, 
my two statues who sit by the back door and keep me company
while the kids are out of town.

Well imagine my delight when this beauty joined the party!

She is a wonderful wooden sculpture,
carved out of a London Plane.

So I googled London Plane, because I had never heard of it.

London Plane.
The London plane is excellent for urban life.
It copes well with heat and cold, wet and dry, 
and pollutants in the city soil don’t phase it.
Its shiny leaves are washed clean by the rain, 
and its bark flakes off to expose new bark underneath.
It was widely planted in London in the 18th and 19th centuries. 
The tallest London Plane has achieved 48.5 metres in height.

Dave picked her up on the side of the road. 
Oh yeah?
Well, not quite.
There was a Brighton artist selling his art on the side of the road,
so Dave stopped to investigate. 
Fell in love with this beauty and brought her home 
to live in our garden.

She stands about 3ft tall and weighs a ton, 
so there’s no worries there!

We were playing I spy with my little eye this morning...
Can you see who I see?

But what a thoughtful, perfect gift.
She can keep the other two company and stop them bickering 
while I’m at work!

Anyway, have a lovely day.
Wherever you are, I hope the sun is shining...
Bank Holiday Monday?
It’s TV-Prep-and-Magazine-Projects-Day here! 
Mark is heading off to London to Hyde Park with his mates today; 
Grace and I are heading into Lewes when she surfaces.
Dave has gone into work to sort out the warehouse while there’s nobody there. It looks as though it has been burgled!
(Probably has - we just can’t see the woods for the trees in there!)
And Paul and I have been being very creative up over the garage since 6.30 this morning,
having a good old chinwag and getting in the groove.

Love and Peace,

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Rain rain go away.....

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Decided to retreat to my art room today, 
and take some time out to think about and pray for
 all those poor people up in the north of England, 
in Scotland and in Wales, 
whose homes and lives are being destroyed
 by more torrential rain, more devastating flooding.
Rivers breaking their banks all over the north,
Homes and whole communities completely submerged, destroyed.




What can we do? 
I feel so useless.

My heart goes out to these poor people, it really does.
Christmas hardly featured in their lives this year.

Grace’s best friend Lizzie lives in Manchester.
She is down here with her family and us for Christmas.
Her partner Gary is one of the emergency crew out in Central Manchester on a boat, trying to keep electricity up in Care Homes.

He was telling Lizzie that the elderly were having to sleep 
on the floor up on the next floor, just to stay dry. 
His crew was trying to ensure they at least stayed warm.
What a nightmare. 

Here is the card I made whilst focussing on them today,
instead of the excesses of Christmas down here in the dry south. 

Color Burst powders puffed onto Stencil card 
and spritzed with water.
Patriotic reds and blues.

Our map of Britain stamped in Black Archival.

Red and blue pencils to add shade.

Water on a paintbrush to lift the colour out of the sea.

More depth of colour in the flood zones.

A man with a brolly struggling against the elements,
stamped in Black Archival.

Wet the land with water on a paintbrush.

Puff a little blue powder at the wet area.

It will spread.
Add some ground under his foot with a paintbrush 
and diluted powder.

Trim back artwork, clean up the Irish Sea again,
where the blue has seeped over the edges.
Water on a paintbrush and blot with paper towel will do the job.

Use a Blending tool on a Blending Mat 
with Tumbled glass around the edge. 

Find a background piece and do the same around the edges.

Mount the map on the back piece, 
and stamp a spill from our Journaling set into the corner,
like a stain, using Denim.

Mount on large white card to complete. 

The only way we can really be of use is by giving money,
and then waiting for instruction.
When they need food and clothing, we can help again, I’m sure. 
In the meantime, they will definitely need money.
Have I personally made a donation? Of course.
There is a Just Giving page.

Here is the link to the 

This was the only Just Giving page I could find. 
Feel free to lift this image and use it as an icon on Facebook.
Add it to other Just Giving helplines for other areas if you know any others. 
Add the helpline Just Giving Page number too.
Maybe we can create more awareness.
maybe then, this artwork will serve a purpose.

Cumbria Help Line
Time to rally the Clarity Crafting Troops methinks.

Love and peace.