Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sunday. Day 2 at the Frankfurt Messe

Thanks for popping in.
Sorry I’m a bit late tonight.
It’s been a long old day at the Frankfurt Messe.
Messe = Trade Fair.
Mind you, there is a serious Frankfurt mess around the train station.
Blimey, do they need to sort that out!
I thought the open air urinals took the biscuit, 
but when you get feral packs of young men running wild, 
scoring drug deals in public and then scattering like cockroaches when you switch the light on,
you really don’t want to be out there.
In fact, all I want to do is get back to the leafy lanes of East Sussex.
I know we have exactly the same in our cities; I’m not delusional.
You must know by now that I wasn’t born yesterday!
Seeing it all and smelling it all 
just flags up the desperate situation in our urban communities.
Makes our little Clarity bubble of art and all things lovely 
very uplifting.
I suppose on the other hand, it makes me very grateful that I CAN escape back to lovely.

So what happened today?
Well, I gave a presentation on blogging, 

waved my arms around a bit when the German words wouldn’t come out...

Showed off our stencils,

and of course our stamps,

 got very very Groovi...

and gave a big shout out for Hochanda.

Did the audience enjoy it?
 No idea, but they were maybe too scared to complain!!

was mighty relieved when Kathrin let me off the hook too!

Also shook hands on some very good business deals today.
If they all come to fruition we’ll be laughing.

Time for bed now.
Travelling back tomorrow.
Although the expo here is massive, and you could get lost in the rabbit’s warren that is the Messezentrum,
enough is enough.

love and hugs,

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Saturday - Let the Games begin!

Thanks for popping in!
Quick blog from Frankfurt.
Had a couple of meetings in the morning,

ran into a couple of friends,
one in particular, which made my day!
Here is our very own Rolfi!
It was great to catch up and have a coffee together. 

even got to give an award to Golden Acrylic!

(and you know how much I love Golden Acrylic!)

What else?
Made some great contacts.
Happy to announce that we now have a European Distributor.
So that means our products will be coming to shops on the Continent.

What else?
Feet are killing me, neck is aching,
and my Ipad is playing up.
Otherwise a good and fruitful day.

While Dave and I hit the town in search of food,
let me leave you with a small selection of recent blog artwork,
which exemplifies the very core of Clarity:




Sometimes, when you’re walking around these shows, 
and you see all the fabulous products and stands,
it’s easy to forget what you have actually got in your own cupboard!

Note to self: Have faith, believe in yourself and never stop trying to do the next right thing. 

love & peace,

Friday, 29 January 2016

A day off before The Paperworld opens its doors...

Hi there!
Greetings from Frankfurt!
Friday’s blog a private peek.

We’re here for the Paperworld/Creative World Trade Show
which begins tomorrow.
Today was our day off, so we set out to explore Frankfurt. 
A metropolis by any other name; 

just like London - a real melting pot of all nationalities.
Plenty of dodgy looking characters hanging round the Hauptbahnhof (Main train station),
and a open-air urinal I decided NOT to blog about. 
(gasps in disbelief).

The name of the hotel opposite ours made us chuckle,
especially with the cop car parked outside!

But moving on swiftly,
the sun was shining lovely and warm on the skin, 
and we headed for the Stadtmitte (town centre),
in search of .....

Aha!! Schlußverkauf !!! 
It had completely slipped my mind!

Or bad, if you’re Dave!

 How much does a pound of feathers weigh?
Ask Dave!

Not quite what he had in mind when I suggested 
we have a Duvet Day!
But listen! Nobody makes featherbeds like the Germans!
Except the Russians maybe.
(And I only say that because John Lewis’s exclusive duvet range involves Siberian goose down...)
I can’t resist a bargain though, and these were oh so reasonable.
Mum if you’re reading, we’re ALL set for the next few years!!
When I told Dave what we paid last time at John Lewis 
he nearly had a thromby.
In fact, he was quite happy to drag this little (large) lot through the centre of Frankfurt!
I know, long-suffering of England....

That’s it. Break’s over.
Back to work.
Everybody needs a good pillow;
it’s the secret to a good sleep.

love and hugs,

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. Or is it Mate?!!!

Hi there!
well, the Big Day has arrived.
The official launch of our

What with Stamps and Stencils, and now the new Groovi, 

there’s a lot to consider!

Here’s a short video, to sum up the Clarity Club Scene now! 

Does that clarify things ?

You should have been there when we were filming it!
In the end, I suggested Jim do it,
because at least he was still able to string a sentence together!

In a nutshell from the top:

Standard Membership

Join one club - either the Stamp Club, Stencil Club or the new Groovi® Club - for 12 months, 
and receive exclusive products, full photo tutorials, a folder to collect your instalments
 and a 10% discount* on your Clarity purchases,
(online, at retail shows, at Barb’s retreats and Open Days!)
Oh! And my monthly newsletter.

Gold Membership, 

Join any two of our clubs, and not only will you receive the above for both of those clubs, 
but there’s also FREE P&P on all orders over £10**

Diamond Membership

Join all THREE Clubs, and enjoy all of the above, plus free P&P on all orders over £10**, 
AND  15% discount* on your Clarity purchases!

If you're an existing Club member and want to upgrade to Diamond 
but your annual subscription is still current,
please contact us, so that you to pay the CORRECT amount.
Call our team on 
01732 868215 
Let us work it out for you! 

If you are NEW and would like to join, you can do so online


Here’s an important thing:

oh yeah?

We have introduced a monthly payment option,

so you can spread the Annual Club Cost over the whole year 

 £5 for any one club

£10 for any two clubs

£15 for Diamond - All three clubs.

*Discount does not apply to New Design Club membership renewals or Gift Cards   
**Free P&P applies to UK mainland only

For More Information or to JOIN, CLICK HERE.

The phones have been ringing nonstop for days,
with members upgrading to Diamond.
These are very exciting times at Clarity.

You will see from the little video,
how much time, energy (and money) we have invested in 
a fab new A5 format for all the clubs,
lovely new Club folders,
and the First Groovi Chapter.
That Baby Plate Mate® has to be the neatest little piece of kit 
I have seen for a long time!

Anyway, I must press on.
I’m leaving for the Frankfurt Trade Fair now.
Really wish I was in the office helping actually.
But maybe it’s better I’m out of the way.

Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Feel the Fear and do it anyway...

Hi there!
Mindful Wednesday today.
The day when we look not so much at what we’re crafting,
but WHY we’re crafting.
Or not crafting, as the case may be.

If I had a pound for every time somebody said to me,
“I’ve got a brayer, but it’s still in the box”
“I’ve got a Gelli Plate, but it’s still in the box”
I could buy shares in those companies!

Last Wednesday, we talked about CHALLENGE.
About stretching ourselves by setting ourselves goals or targets,
accepting challenges.
Today, I thought FEAR would be a good follow on!
My guess is that many of us want to try something, 
but the fear of failing, coupled with the effort involved, 
proves too much.
And so the Brayer/Gelli Plate stays safely tucked up in the box.

Fear’s a big one. I get it, I really do.
I remember learning to ride a motorbike about 12 years ago.
My brother and I decided to take the course together.
Bit wobbly - no, VERY wobbly at the outset.
And the argument, “what’s the worst that can happen?” 
didn’t really work on that occasion!
The core fear of tipping the bike or falling off was extreme.  
It was the turning right, the sitting waiting in the middle of the road
while cars whistled past you on the left and right,  
which freaked me out.
But I’d paid up front and wasn’t backing down.
So I hired a little 125cc and went to the local Sports centre car park,
which had a kind of island of parked cars.
And there, I spent hours, going right, right, right, right, right, right.
Then back the other way, left, left, left, left, left, left, left.
Until the wobbling went away, which it did, eventually.

The more I did the same thing, over and over, the better it got. 
Failed the test first time. Left the indicator on after turning right!
Unlike on a car where it switches off once you straighten out, 
you have to manually flick the indicator off on most bikes.
Evidently, I was so happy I did the turn correctly, I forgot to flick.
Hahahaha! Hadn’t used the indicator in the carpark!!

Passed the second time though.
Got straight back on the horse, so to speak, the iron horse. 

My brother’s approach was more radical.
He hired the 125 for the week, and rode the main roads from Edenbridge to Gillingham and back every day!
And I thought the Edenbridge Car park was brave!!

Now I can only speak for myself here, 
but I think that is pretty much how I learn anything -
by repetition. 

You have to make a start though, don’t you?
Just as I had to get the motorbike out of the garage,
we have to get the brayer out of the box if we want to learn how to use it!

No matter how long it has been in the box...

it will be lovely and useful!

What’s the worst that can happen?
You waste a bit of paper and ink?
Get your hands messy?
Getting stripes? Work out why and adjust what you’re doing, 
until you don’t get stripes.

If you always do what you always did,
you’ll always get what you always got.

Dave has a little card in his wallet.
with the 4 letters: 
Every now and again, when my fears are crippling me,
he gets it out and waves it at me. 

Oh. And by the way, as soon as I passed, I went straight to
Warr’s Harley Davidson, London, and bought myself the most beautiful Mother-of-Pearl 883 Sportster you have ever seen, 
with a huge comfortable touring saddle, 
and a front fly catcher windshield.
(btw. Harley indicators go off automatically....)
I would show you a pic of mine, 
but I cannot find the garage key to go take a snapshot.
Looks like this, but sexier....

On the subject of challenges,
I have decided to get back in the saddle once the weather changes.
I haven’t ridden it for years. Got busy, fear crept back in.
Time for another carpark session....
Dave has a 1200 Sportster; I’d like to join him when he rides out. 
Before my fears get the better of me and I decide I’m too old.
Did you know that the average Harley biker is 50 years old??
Probably because only the old farts can afford one!

I’m not suggesting you get on a motorbike!
But if there is a skill you want to master, 
and you aren’t taking the plunge perhaps because you are afraid of failing, then what I AM suggesting is
JFDI !!!
And JFDI again and again and again
 - until you can do it in your sleep!

Have a great day,
and let me finish with this:

She who never makes a mistake 
has probably never made anything...

love and hugs,

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Life in the Fast Lane

Hi there 
Thanks for popping in.
Things are definitely hotting up here at Clarity!
What with the new Groovi Club ready to launch this week,
the phones ringing off the hook,
and the Frankfurt Trade Show this coming weekend,
I have to say, I am all at sixes and sevens today.
I think Paul’s beginning to wonder whether giving up his day job
was such a good idea...

And I haven’t even had a cup of tea yet !!
This really will not do.
Wurka and Hollick, those two pesky rats,

 have surreptitiously wormed their way in again,
and are having a right old laugh at the old girl this morning. 
Be gone, I say! Be gone!
(This is what they used to say before we came up with much juicier profanities.)

Jim’s on his way over here to make a You Tube with me,
and I’m supposed to sort out a Power Point Presentation before he gets here.


So I sadly don’t have time to make a card for you today; 
art just flew out the window.

But what better than a little promo video, 
which Gentleman Jim made for me yesterday, to take to Frankfurt...
It’s only a minute long, but speaks volumes.

Just watched it through again myself. 
We really do have something special, you know. 
When you’re up to your arse in crocodiles 
and can’t reach the kettle,
it can be quite daunting.
But when you stop and take a little look at all the brilliant people who come together under the Clarity Banner, 
then I would say it’s all worth it.
It really is.

Gotta go!

Love & hugs

Monday, 25 January 2016

Monday. Time for Stamps to meet Groovi....

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
It’s actually Sunday evening, 
but we have a very very very very 
busy week ahead, so I thought I’d clear my head 
with a little art first....

Dave and I were having dinner earlier.
Out of nowhere, Dave asked, “Could you stamp a reflection on Parchment by stamping on the back, so that it’s more faded?”
It’s time for stamps to meet Groovi, isn’t it?
Dave certainly seems to think so!
Maybe it was Paul stamping on parchment this evening 
that set the wheels in motion.
He did a stellar job, didn’t he!


I picked some fab Clarity-Trees, which will be brilliant for whitework.

Stamp them onto the upper half of a sheet of A5 parchment,
using Black Archival.

Rotate the parchment 180 and flip it,
so you are now stamping on the backside, so to speak.

Without reinking the stamp, line up and stamp again.

If you are impatient like me, you can speed dry with a heat gun.
Turn it back again.
Et voila! A reflection.

That’s the stamping done.
So now we can get back in the Groove.
Whitework on the trees.
Soft side of the mat and off we jolly well go!

Did I really pick a stamp with 4 trees?!?!?!

Ah well.
It’s good practice....

Fattest ball tool first (No. 4), then the No. 3.

No. 2 to go up the trunk and get in the tight areas.
As for the reflection, I just used the largest ball tool and lightly shaded the areas. 
There’s only so much of this I can handle!

Well worth it though.

Time to make a frame.
Out with the Groovi Plate mate and the Square Nested Plate.

Simply decide where the frame wants to go...

I thought I’d mitre the corners too.

Suddenly Grace popped into my head.
New York.
Snow drifts.
Must be freezing.
Hope she’s in the warm....

How about a little snow?
I used the Landscape plate from the starter kit 
to get the snow hill in place. 

The one in the reflection I had to copy freehand,
but we are getting quite proficient at this, so it’s not that hard now...

I think some snow falling always looks lovely.

The Snow hill has to look like snow.
So. More whitework. 

Let’s go round the edge in black.
 I have been thinking about him and his lovely wife all evening. 
The Count died this weekend. 
She was my closest friend for many years.
We drifted apart for no good reason.
And now her husband has died. 
I feel so sad for her and the family. 

Actually, that’s why I came upstairs into my little artroom;
that takes some digesting. 

So many good people have departed in the last month!!
What is going on???

Time to attach the work using thin double-sided tape 
on the back of the black.

How about that?

This Groovi Stamping thing 
opens up a whole new world, doesn’t it....

I like this very much.
It was very easy too.
And there was me thinking it was going to be tricky!

Time to go in and watch War & Peace.
Are you watching it too?
Love it!

Watched Sense & Sensibility with Emma Thompson last night.
I am a sucker for period dramas.
Poor old Dave!

Great stories?
And much much more....

Have a great week.

love & hugs,