Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Snow stops play? NOT!!!!

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Snow stopped play today at Clarity?
Not at all!
The ladies in the office drove in slowly,
Dave and I picked up Simon and Becca,
a few others waited until the roads were a little less icy and then came in,
and the boys from Crowborough caught the train in.

There you go.
Teamwork makes the dream work.

The Beast from the East indeed!
The press and media do like to hype it up, don’t they?!

The only bird in the garden who looked the least perturbed was our resident owl!

Dave’s Christmas gift to me - a hand carved owl.
Our little friendly robin was well happy in his new birdhouse which Mum and Dad gave us for Christmas!

What beauty ! What sheer loveliness!

My little Wendy House looks like the perfect place to sit and ponder. 


Minus 11 Degrees ???? 
You’re on your own pondering!!!!

But nonetheless, the roads are rather treacherous round these parts, and there’s no need to put yourself in harm’s path unnecessarily.
But so pretty!
Didn’t our young Film Director Simon, he who films and edits all our YouTubes now, take some super shots yesterday in the garden?!

Young talent. It’s all round us. I love watching the young people at work grow with the business. 
All the negative stuff you read about the youth of today is quite judgemental and unfair. 
At Clarity, we have a splendid, bright, hardworking young team.
I am so proud of them. Many of them have been with us for years and years, since they left school! They would be a huge asset to any company now. They have the right work ethic, and that’s a great thing. 
Us old farts are keeping up too, though!!
Sometimes the young peeps ask us where we oldies get all our energy from!

KEFIR!! I say, KEFIR!!!!

So whilst Dave eats raw Turmeric and crunches whole peppercorns in a bid to get the hand-arthritis under control,  
I am knocking back Kefir, Vitamin B12 and iron, 
and working on losing a stone before the wedding!
I think cutting out wheat has helped my energy levels too.
And my love handles!!

time to stop, before I get too graphic!

Be safe, stay warm.
And don’t drive unless you have to.

If you are worrying about the weather and the Parchment retreat next Sunday Monday and Tuesday down here, it’s fine.
I have had a word with God, and he will let it all melt Sunday morning.  Result !!
Seriously though. Weather forecast says it will warm up considerably on Sunday...

Love & Hugs,.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Snip at the Tip! OUCH! You Tube Tuesday

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in!
YouTube Tuesday today!

This week Rosie and I have tackled picot cutting.
All you need is a good clean pair of glasses, a steady hand and your weapon of choice!

Hope you enjoyed that one and that it was helpful.

The one thing you DO need is the right scissors.
AT Pergamano (that’s us!) we sell 3 types:

The Exclusive ones (the ones I used)
The Pergacutter (the tweezer type Rosie used)
The Ringlocks (for larger fingers)

So for the next week we are offering a 20% discount on all 3 types 
and the A4 picot foam - plus your usual Clarity Club discount.

20% OFF

Must dash. Time to build a snowman before it all melts!

Love & Hugs,

Monday, 26 February 2018

Spot the Stag Step by Step....

Hi there.
Thanks for popping.
Looking a bit bleak outside.
Or is it all the hype about a freak Russian snowstorm coming our way? Ah well. Not much we can do, except wrap up warm and craft! 

Anyway, how about some scrapart? 
We all like a bit of scrap art!

Now here’s one I hung on to when I was cleaning paint off my brayer the other day. Can you see what I see? 

Humour me, humour me.
My favourite tree stamps, from the Deerscape Set
Just need one for this...

And we need to blend the black and blue ink 
to match the skid mark!


Now how about a reflection...
Ink up the tree again, blot it once on scrap paper, then plant it on the Gelpress. Any one will do.
See it?

Flip the Gelpress plate on its Megamount and line up the tree trunk of the reflection with the stamped image.

Add a little ground underneath the tree with a sheet of copy paper and a stencil brush with blue-black ink.

Trim back the scrap and mount it on a piece of white 7” x 7” card.

Now can you see what I saw?
If you stare at it, just kind of gaze at the area just behind the tree in the centre, you will see a stag. See the antlers?
He’s standing completely still.
Sshhh..... he can hear you.

Love & Hugs,

Sunday’s Groovi step by step - Easy as 1,2,3

Hi there.
Thanks for joining me on this rainy-in-England Sunday.
Burst pipes in our area at home, because the freeze thawed so fast, so no water at the house - but Dave can handle it! 

Busy busy busy here at Clarity!

I shall be on TV from 2-4pm today, with some fab new stencils and Gelpress plates, doing my arty thaing. 

Then I shall pass the baton to Maria, who will launch a 
Groovi Parchment One Day Special at 6pm.
These superb floral 1-2-3 Plates, designed by Linda Williams, are excellent. What a clever idea, to magnify the flowers! 

So I shall leave lovely Maria to it, and skate back down the motorway to join the rest of the Clarity-Groovi-Pergamano Crew for what promises to be a Mega Retreat!

And guess which plates we are using? 
Yep! The new large 1-2-3 plates!

They are absolutely brilliant for practicing and sample work. 
Because each little disk on the plate is only small, you can practice various techniques, embossing, colouring, picot, gridwork, multi-needlework, and not spend an age before you see a result. 
The other thing is that you can use the plates according to your skill level. For example, the larger, magnified flowers are easier to practice your shading on than the smaller images. So you start on the No. 3, and work your way up to the smaller images as your embossing improves. 

And just to put what I am trying to say into pictures, this week’s step by step project, which I have been working on a day at a time, uses the No. 3 fuchsia, the simple one.
I wanted to learn how to do that fantastic shading which we see from seasoned parchers. And after a week, I’d like to think I have nailed it. It’s not perfect. But actually, I’m pretty chuffed with the result. The main objective was to learn shading; the rest was a finishing exercise. 

Ready?  It’s a long one......


Work in the centre of a piece of A5 regular clear parchment.
Emboss the disk using Groovi tool No. 1 (or Pergamano No. 1)
Emboss the fuchsia very lightly, using tool No. 2 at the other end (or Pergamano No. 1.5)

This is where the Pink Pergamano Excellent Mat comes into play. Definitely better than the black mat. Black mat too soft for this job.

Use the No. 6 Ball tool, the largest ball tool to stroke the fuchsia.
Gently. You can hardly see it. Leave empty spaces.
That’ll do...

Couple of hours later, go back and repeat, gently with the No. 6 ball tool. Use the No. 3.5 ball tool to start on the stamen.

Couple of hours later, go back and repeat, gently with the No. 6 ball tool. Use the No. 3.5 ball tool on the stamen again.

That’s it from the front. Always check what you’re doing as you go along.

I know. Once you get used to walking away from the work and letting it rest between embossing layers, it’s astounding what else you can get done!

Day 2

After a night’s rest, you will be really surprised how much white the shading gets. Go gently.
At this point, you may start going over the same areas with the No. 4.5 Ball tool. Leave it rest. Then after a few hours, go gently with the No. 3 Ball tool in the tips of the petals. 
Never press harder to make it whiter. 
Just go over the same area more.
See how the outline has almost disappeared into the petals?

While the large fuchsia is resting, let’s work on the outside area.
Make a frame using the Nested circle, and then infill the area with the smaller fuchsias and the No. 1 tool.

Do the top half.

With hindsight, I may have added the words first,
but this was the order in which the ideas came!

Time to make a template, to make sure the words fit.
I have slotted the nested circles into the Plate mate in the background, embossed the frame, then used the Universal Framer ABC to start writing.

Move the ABC plate and write along one of the circle lines.
See how it sits on the nested circle?
Trouble is, it’s too long for the gap!

Back to the drawing board - literally! Let’s try lower case.
That’ll be smaller!

Perfect. Now you know it fits, you can use the template to position the words exactly.

I added some dots and stamens to connect the words and flowers.

Now what next? I shall sleep on it.

Actually enjoying this approach to parchment craft. Leaving it to rest also helps me to consider my next move.....

Day 3

An overnight later, and the whitework is REALLY starting to pop.
Use the 1.5mm ball tool to whiten the stamen even more. 
I want to try something. I want to see if I can add a vein down the centre of the petals with the 1.5 mm ball tool...

Stepping away and looking from the front. Yes. it really did work!

Now for the background.
Some hills and a moon to create depth within the centre?
(mmm. not sure about this...)


And now we should start building the borderwork.
I think at this stage I am just going to let it evolve. 
(aka. let go and enjoy the ride)

Day 4

Right. Time to add a splash of colour.
This is where the Designer papers and toppers come in very handy.

Sometimes I just hit a wall when it comes to this point, don’t you?

Add a little fuchsia and blue to the sky and frame flowers 
using the B Pencils from the Perga Liners.

What a difference a little Dorso Oil makes!
And there’s that formidable Blending pen again.
Blimming brilliant it is!

Look at the difference between the 3 corners I haven’t blended with Dorso oil, and the 4th corner. And that’s the back!

Check the Front.

Note to self: nexttimeforgetthelandscape. 

Perforating time.
Groovi Plate Mate with Straight Bold grid, 
2-Needles bold tool along the straight edges.

And perforating from the front of course....

When it comes to the curves, we have to go free stylee.
This is where the white foam and the Lightwave help enormously. 
Use the 2-needle bold again, placing the first needle in the second hole already made, thereby controlling the pitch, the distance between each hole. 

And this is where I think I went wrong. 
Got cocky. Decided to picot cut the moon.
Ah well, we shall see....

Picot Cut out the corners. 
This week’s Youtube goes into the cutting in detail,
so do check out Claritystamp Youtube
There are LOADS of tutorial Videos there!

Mmm.. The moon. Jury’s out on that one....

Had enough of picot cutting for one day, so I’m going with the ruler with the Groovi grip and leaving a nice smart edge.

After all, she said, the object of this week’s exercise was to master shading and embossing, right?

Run a glue runner around the 4 coloured corners on the back.
Doesn’t show through!
Use a pencil eraser and tweezers or something like it to scrape the adhesive off the clear area if you strayed.
Hahahaha. I can feel the trad parchers cringing.
Works For me.

The shading pops on a darker background.
And the moon became a sun.

That’ll do for today.
Shading and embossing was the name of the game.

We learned lots of other tricks along the way too....

Note to self...

Must dash! Telly time! 

But I have to say, this daily approach to parching has been quite relaxing. I’m not trying to produce a masterpiece here; I’m just trying to master some techniques. I think I learn easily as much from my mistakes as I do from the parts I get right. So I have no qualms showing you work which is not great, and highlighting the bits I could have done differently. I have the theory - what I lack is the practice. 

Next week, I think I would like to get to grips with a Multi-needle tool, and try my hand at a lacy border.
You with me?

And now Barbie, breathe.
It’s nearly time for the 2-Day Parchment retreat.

Love & Hugs,