Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Meet Kajal

Hi there,
Thanks again for popping in today.

We escaped early tonight; got out of the Frankfurt Messe 
before Show Breakdown.
We had a very successful few days, met all the people on our list,
shook hands with all the people we wanted to shake hands with.
Sourced all the products we went a-looking for - and then some!
Boy oh boy, have we got some great stuff in the pipeline.

The highlight for me personally, the absolute highlight of the show was the hour I spent in the company of a young Indian woman called Kajal.
Remember yesterday I spoke about the Graffiti Crew in the other hall, On the Run?
Well, this little lady is the very first Indian Female Graffiti Artist in the world. And she is so so lovely.

“Would you like a graffiti tattoo?” she asked me.
“Oh yes please!” came the instant reponse.

So for an hour, she drew on my arm,

and as she worked away, we talked.
About her life, where she comes from,
what her dreams are.
She is a very very clever young lady - you can tell this instantly.

Her English was amazing.

I asked her about her name, Kajal.
I thought it was a little strange, being named after an eye liner pencil. I only knew the word Kajal from the German name 
for eye liner pencil, Kajalstift. But I thought it must just be a coincidence.

Well here’s a fascinating fact. I may have this completely wrong, so don’t quote me, but this is what I understood.
Baby names in India have a meaning, 
and their name is very symbolic.
When a baby is born in India, all the people ooh and aah over it, and want to hold and cuddle it, and kiss it.
So there is a chance the baby may get sick from all the exposure. 
The mother puts a little black dot on the baby’s back with a kajal pencil, to protect it.

And so Kajal’s parents called Kajal that name as a symbol of protection for all of her life.

Isn’t that fascinating?
And she couldn’t have a more suitable name - really.
Her eyes were the window to her soul.

Very occasionally, you meet a very special soul.
Kajal was one such person.
She drew you in, literally, with her aura, her energy.

It was so relaxing and therapeutic, letting her draw on my arm.
I completely let go of the hall downstairs and all the suits and Mr Margin Men running around. 

I felt as though I had known her forever.
Isn’t that strange, to discover that level of comfort with a total stranger so instantly?

And check out my graffiti tattoo!
Complete with halo xxx

I am sure she and I will meet again.
I just know it.

Just look into her eyes.
You never saw more beautiful, kind eyes.
As soon as i go close to her, I exclaimed, 
“Wow! You are beautiful!”
And one minute later, Dave arrived, 
and said - wait for it - “Wow! You are beautiful!”

A magical hour spent in the company of Kajal.
There was that free spirit in her which is just so very wonderful.
I hope she never ever loses it.

And I hope you are lucky enough to meet her too one day. 
If you see a tiny Indian lady spray-painting the side of the local police station, go say hi for me. 

Love & hugs,

Monday, 30 January 2017

On the Run

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
3 down, and 1 to go.

One more day at the Frankfurt Messe,
and we can come home.
Although I had best find a supermarket and make sure I get the items on my mum’s shopping list before said departure -
or I might as well not bother coming home!!

I still chuckle remembering Mum and myself in Baden Baden 
wheeling the shopping trolleys through the cobbled streets and straight into the hotel, into the lift and up to the hotel room!

It feels so good to break loose and be a rebel sometimes, doesn’t it.
To swim in the other direction,
do zag when the others are all doing zig.

Had a taste of that again today.
The morning has gone well, and I met some lovely people at the stand, but by the afternoon I was ready to escape for an hour.
So Dave and I ventured into another hall.
As soon as we turned the corner, there they were:

a whole crew of young people,
heads down and completely immersed in their crazy art.

I watched in awe as these young graffiti artists worked away.
“You are happy, aren’t you?” I asked the young chap.
He looked up and smiled at me.
“It is my passion”, he replied. 

Just like us, you and me -
Oblivious to the world around.
Completely absorbed in their art.

It was quite a surreal moment,
coming away from the starchy, commercial hall we are working in,
to this world apart upstairs.

They invited me to have a go.
It felt almost naughty to just start writing and drawing 
all over a wall!

But then I got into it.
Oh boy! Is it addictive and liberating!!!

I was off in my little world, a mini trip away from reality - just for a little while

The guys were so friendly and kind too.
No barking margins and demands.
Just kind and helpful and generous with their time, actually.

Christopher - a star.

This little lady I want you to meet tomorrow.
She was so beautiful! Inside and out.

This guy Akim Walther is the leader of the pack, if you like.
ON THE RUN is his company.

Twenty-six years ago, at about the same time as I started Clarity,
Akim started On The Run, to bring together Graffiti Artists from all over the world.
Their expositions and stands are world renowned.
Their art is fantastic!
Really out there and wild.
Very nice man. A real free spirit.

This guy is a calligrapher.
His art name is Schrift-zug.
He offered to write a poster for us....

and so we watched as he worked .

Raw talent.
No ego. No rules.
Just freedom of expression.

A Moment of Clarity

It was the most pleasant hour away from the real world I have spent in a very long time.
To be welcomed into this group of young artists
breakaway rebels.
We could have stayed there all day and night.
Dave was a smitten as I was;
the Graffiti haven was just that.

Tomorrow I will introduce you to Kajal.
She was magical.
Like a breath of fresh air and sparkle.
She deserves a blog all to herself!

And we had to get back to Hall 4.1 anyway.
Rude awakening when we surfaced there.
Some bloke talking at us like a bren gun for at least an hour,
about what he was going to do for us.
To be brutally honest,
he didn’t have a bloody clue about the craft world.
Not a scooby.

The contrast between these loving, kind free spirits upstairs,
and the numbers and margins shouter downstairs was like a wet flannel to the face.

At least tomorrow I know where to run to,
 should I feel the need to get away.

Love & Hugs,

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Big Mistake today......

Wie geht’s?
Two down, two to go here in the Fatherland.
Frankfurt Messe was very busy and productive today.

Here’s we see Churchie trying to break through the language barrier. You can tell from the look on the bloke’s face opposite that Paul definitely has him gripped....

Meanwhile, Dave and I posed a bit,
spoke to a great number of distributors from all over the world,
and generally did some wheelin n dealin.
All very positive and actually very uncomplicated.

But I made a huge mistake.
And had I been able to walk the distance I would gladly have gone back in the city centre and bought those expensive football boots I spied yesterday!

Talk about wear the wrong boots! OH. MY. GOOD GRIEF.
Half way through the day, for some reason the same boots which usually serve me really well at 4-day events like the NEC,
decided to play up, and go more pointy than usual.
Or my feet swelled to twice their normal size!
By 3pm I was hobbling around; by 6pm I had passed the pain barrier, and was beyond caring.
(Still walked my 10,000 steps though. More in fact, but I’m going to add the extras to tomorrow, because tomorrow Dave has to give me a piggy back. Or Paul. I’m easy, as they say! Or they can roll me to the gig, cos I ain’t walking.)

I have to say though, we still kept laughing allllll the way home.
After the obligatory slice of Black Forest gateau in the café opposite the hotel, it was time to kick back, chat to you for five, and then turn off the light.

Tomorrow’s another day.
Have a good one, and stay warm and dry.

Love & hugs,

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Getting our Ducks in a row....

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Great day in Frankfurt.
Our Dutch distributors are such nice guys;
it was a real delight to work with them today.
They have an amazing piece of kit on the stand too,
which is nothing to do with what we do, 
but you need it - you definitely do!
I do, and I don’t really do dies!!
We will place the order tomorrow.

Found other great, exciting products to complement Claritystamps, Groovi, Pergamano.
We came with a shopping list, and have already ticked most of the boxes. It all just seemed to present itself, without any trouble whatsoever
Watch this space. 
What’s fuuny is that most of the people we did deals with are Brits!! Pound to pound - much better nowadays.
The Dollar and the Euro are very strong just recently.

Here are two delightful young ladies from the Netherlands. 
They are the Editor and Marketing head of a Dutch Publishing House. 
Starting March, we will have a regular Clarity slot in their mag. 
Now THAT’s exciting!

Then at the end of a long long day, we walked back the 1+ hours to the hotel, to make up our steps.

 I liked this shop window on the way home.

It drew me in, and I do enjoy a clever piece of artistic marketing. 
Came in a little closer to catch the info, the detail.
On the window it read:
Ich will nicht so tanzen wie Du.

(I don’t want to dance like you)

The football boot is all alone on a see-through pedestal.
So I move in closer to investigate....

H O W  M U C H ????


If you can afford them, you can dance any which way you like son !!!

What can a trainer possible by made of to give it that price-tag?
Or is that for a pair?
Unless there is a little engine in the heel and you just levitate above the ground!

But yes.
All good.
Tired now.
And as the day draws to a close, what have we learned?
Wear comfortable shoes. Tick.
Don’t try to speak Italian when you can’t.
Spanish is Spanish, and Italian is Italian.
Keep smiling, even if they are sometimes very rude. 

Beddie byes,
Love & hugs,

Friday, 27 January 2017

I got done for speeding in Germany!

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Been a long day.
Strenuous driving down to Frankfurt. 
Actually Dave drove the whole way, but I can tell you, being a navigator on the Autobahn in an Engish car is no picnic!
When you’re doing 130,140, 150 km per hour,
and some maniac in a BMW or Merc whistles past you at the speed of light, it’s not much fun. Especially when Dave has this incessant urge to wander to the left.
S T R E S S F U L !

We took the fastest route via Köln,
got snarled up in Brussels, because Sally Satnav decided we needed to drive straight through the centre!
That was also quite hairy Mary!
In the end, poor Dave had Sally satnav, the voice from google maps on my phone telling him where to go, AND me.
3 women all telling him which way to go...
and we STILL got lost!!!
No wonder he went very quiet.
And Churchie in the back didn’t say a peep!!!

Did we get done for speeding?
No, not this time.
But I did actually get a ticket and an on the spot fine 
in the same area a few years ago. I was on a jolly with my Mum, and we were taking the scenic route down to Rüdesheim in the Rhine Valley.

I had a brand new Audi TT.
Beautiful little car.
Big engine. 

So Mum and I were driving down south, alongside the Rhine,
and out of nowhere a German copper, camouflaged in his green uniform, lept out in front of the car waving what looked like a table tennis bat around. 

Pulled me over, and this is how the conversation went.
Picture the scene:
Pulls over. Winds down window.
Handsome blonde cop starts:

“Führerschein!” (that means driving license)
Not very friendly at this point.

I responded in German,
“Tut mir leid. Mein Führerschein ist im Hotel.”
(Sorry, I left my driving license at the hotel.)  

Now see if you can keep up.
Your German may be better than you think!

“Tut mir leid. Mein Ausweis ist auch im Hotel.”

“Wo is das Hotel?”
I turn to Mum and ask her in English,
“Mum where’s the hotel again?”

Out of the window at the copper:

“Name des Hotels”
“Mum, what’s the name of the hotel?”
She knew. I couldn’t remember.

(registration number)
It was a new car, and even my Mum couldn’t help me on that one.

So I turned to the policeman, smiled my best 32 teeth smile,
and said in German:
“Keine Ahnung, aber das hier ist mein Auto, 
und diese Dame ist meine Mutter!”
“I have no idea, but I can assure you,
this is my car and this is my mother.”

Anyway, long story short, the fine was on the spot.
€35 as I recall.
I hadn’t had a chance to get to a bank to exchange some sterling,
so once again, I turned to Mum.
“Mum, can you lend us the money until I get to a bank?”
He actually was laughing by now.

No passport, no driving license, no local money, 
no idea where the hotel was or the name of the hotel. 
Thank heavens Mum was on the ball, 
and had a few Euros in her bin!!!

Yes, that was a first.
Being fined for speeding in Germany.

But not today.
We could have been done for driving too slowly over here!
C R A Z Y !

Time for bed now.
Big day tomorrow.

Love & Hugs,

Thursday, 26 January 2017

I give you my Heart. Oh! And two brand new Groovi plates!!

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in!
I am writing really fast, 
because we are driving to Frankfurt at 4 in the morning,
and well. Ask me if I’ve packed yet!

But before we head off to the very exciting 
Paperworld Trade Show,
I thought I would showcase 
two rather fabulous brand new Groovi plates before I go.

Not been seen anywhere else.
Not been sold anywhere else.

Also available as a stamp set:

But this evening I’m going with Groovi and Parchment.
That’s what we’ve been asked to showcase at Frankfurt too.

Quick and simple step by step.

Pick a padlock, so to speak...

Make a frame with the square nested framer.
Got a rectangle nest coming next time I’m on the telly. 
That will be so much easier than sliding along to extend!

Now here comes the next brand new plate.
This is a MUST HAVE
Looks familiar?
Yes, it is exactly the same as dear Jayne’s frame,

only much smaller, so the alphabet is the same 
but quite a bit smaller,
and the nested squares round the outside 
are an extension to the regular A5 nested squares.

A few people requested the frame in a smaller size, 
to make smaller cards.
Well, voila.
Your wish is our command!

Here’s what I want to write.

Fits a treat using the smaller letters.

Even got room for one of the keys up the side.
Stop as you go down the inside groove....

and add the heart key element at the base.
There are 5 to choose from.

In fact, let’s use them to build a wall.
Bad turn of phrase just now.
Very bad.

Add a few boxes round the frame using the nested square.
Random is good.

Now to pick a paper. 
That will speed up the colouring process no end.
Told you I was in a hurry!!
Loving the papers...

Found two matching pens.
Distress Markers work a treat on parchment.
Because they are translucent, you don’t block out the background entirely, just change its colour.

great price on the whole collection.

Colour in from behind.
I addedd a light pink here and there too. Spun Sugar. 
It’s in the set too.

Nice blend.
Cut around the outside with a ruler and blade.
I wanted to picot cut all round the key detail,
but I haven’t got 24 hours to spare!

I think it looks just fine like this too!
Mounted on a piece of the light blue parchment.

That’ll have to do.
Must pack my kit and get some sleep.
Dave, Paul and I are travelling together.
Wish us luck.

Love & Hugs,