Saturday, 20 December 2014

Panic?! Me? Never!

Hi there!
Thanks for stopping by on this busy Saturday.
I was listening to the radio this morning, and apparently this day is being christened Panic Saturday.
Really? What is going on? I mean, is it me or is the world going buying mad?? Black Friday, Panic Saturday, whatever next??
Skint Sunday.
I understand that we have to buy things to create a demand which in turn creates work and so on - I really do. I run a business!
But Panic? 
Nope. I for one am not going near a shop today. 
I shall panic when I choose to panic!

So I have lit a calming candle and have taken myself off 
to this art room which I love. 
The sun is pouring in through the window and is warm on the skin. The clouds are floating by and skies are blue. 

Since I am not going to the shops, I’d best make some gift tags...

Yippee! Found some blank ones which have been edged with a Bottle Adirondack and a stencil brush.


Well, let’s just keep it simple.
Out with the little Christmas rounds


Stamped them randomly on the tags in Bottle.


Then dug out our custom Christmas stamps
Remember when we had a special TV show 
just for these personalised stamps?
Very popular they are too!




Here’s an idea for wrapping text round a circle:



Decided to use the Ho Ho Ho from the Jumper set here!


Simple. Very simple. 
But they have a function, so I’m not going to spend an age 
making little Tag Masterpieces!
I spent a good portion of my younger life 
writing on the wrapping paper with a Sharpie Pen,
so this is progress!


Faded snowflakes here and there... 


Done.


Now all I need to do is go buy the gifts to hang on them!

Last week, I did actually have a run at buying some presents.
I was in Marks & Spencers in the food dept looking for things for my parents’ hamper. I was just checking out the shelves for some special things when I noticed an elderly lady studying the little boxes of chocolates. She was clearly struggling with the prices and was picking a box up, putting it down, looking at another box, putting it back. Going back to the first one. 
Big reality check for me. I couldn’t do anything. To buy a box for her would have been inappropriate and presumptuous.
But that little glimpse into another person’s world was a massive dose of humility for me. 
I’ve been thinking about the elderly lady all week, and it has not only right-sized my spending, but made me very grateful. I remember all too well struggling to stretch the pennies at Christmas.  

So Panic Saturday? Give me a break!!!!

Let’s give away a £20 Clarity Gift Voucher today.

Leave an uplifting comment below and tomorrow 
I will pick a random lucky winner. 



lots of love,

130 comments:

  1. Be grateful for what you have, there's always someone worse off than you are.

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  2. It's not the cost of a gift but the thought and love that has gone into it. I would much prefer to get a gift that someone has thought I would appreciate and enjoy. My best mate has made me some awesome gifts over the years and I treasure them and her friendship. Xxx Jax

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  3. Beautiful tags - I love the green. I am always so afraid to stamp part of an image as it seems such a waste but when I see how brilliant your demos are it makes me want to have a go. I have been watching you on TV and following your demos for some time but I have only just this started buying (big time) Clarity stamps as I was afraid they would be like other clear stamps. I am so glad they are in a class of their own. I love the wonderful things you and your team do with them and the gorgeous stencils. Have a wonderful Christmas to you and your loved ones and to all your followers xx

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  4. Inspiring as always and I too am not going to set foot out of the door today! The world can carry on without me. Your lady story hits home, if I would like a new die/craft item most of the time I can just buy it, i forget other people aren't as lucky as I am. Hope you have a lovely Christmas x

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  5. You can't do better than a hand crafted gift made with love and a caring gesture from a friend. Have a lovely family Christmas. X Chris

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  6. Very proud of my son he has organised 50 treat boxes for homeless ex servicemen living on the streets of London , and is going to be handing them out this week end . A lot of his friends have donated to the cause and helping him out.

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  7. Barbara, thank you for today's blog. It is just what I needed to get me going again today. Those tags are perfect. I quite agree about things getting out of hand with all these Black Friday etc hassles. I would far rather have something small that the giver has thought about or even made for me with love. That thought and love makes a gift priceless in the true sense of the word, something to truly treasure. I have one friend, who, although she does not make cards, searches all year to find just the card she know I will like and appreciate. She gives her time and love. Try to have a more relaxing day, Barbara, and give Dave plenty of cups of tea as he finishes that wonderful walk in wardrobe. Love Maggie xxx

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  8. I was in Sainsbury's one xmas, and my boy wanted something chocolate and I said, I couldn't afford it that day. A lady was standing near and she came up to us and gave my son the money, saying that she thought he deserved it as he didn't complain or cause a scene when I said no. Was a wonderful thing for me and I felt very loved by that stranger.

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  9. The simplest things, given or made with love are the most precious.

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  10. The gift tags look so elegant. I made mine by using the gelli plate, a stencil and a mix of silver and gold. When dry I cut the cards to the right size - job done and so-oo cheap; cheapskate that's me; but they looked good. Thank god for a gelli plate -again.

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  11. I was all set to do my good deed - and make myself feel good - by buying sets of toiletries for gifts at our local centre for the homeless - Beacon house in Colchester . Just quickly I thought I will ask if that's ok - and probably get a shiny halo and some brownie points - when their receptionist said, well that's a lovely idea but just think if the recipient doesn't have access to a shower and only has water to wash in a public loo. And they have to carry everything with them so your smart toilet bag will probably just get dumped. Certainly made me think!! Generally we are so blessed but we take everything for granted!! So, I make my own cards all year round, plus Christmas - using clarity products of course - and then make a donation to beacon house. I'm money out - I allow £2 for each birthday card, £3 for a special card and then £1 for each Christmas card - and then I have to buy all the goodies I 'need' to make them. But I still get to feel good when I hand over the cash - and I still make up toiletry gifts but make sure they are more suitable with wet wipes and hand gel rather than fancy bath stuff. Merry Christmas to everyone 'Clarity'.

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  12. Having my daughter has reminded me how much joy the simplist things in life bring the most joy. Time with loved ones brings so much happiness it can't really be described in words

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  13. As a family we have never gone silly buying Christmas presents for each other - parents, sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephew - we spend around £10 on each. Obviously for spouses and children it is slightly different, but still not silly time. I have never understood the need to put yourself under pressure by spending too much and buying too much for what is, essentially, one day in the year.

    Taking time out in your art room sounds like the perfect thing to be doing today, good for you Barbara.

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  14. I never understand why people panic about Christmas. It's always on the same date every year. Why spend so much time and money on one day if you have to suffer for it. All I wish everyone for Christmas and the new year is health and happiness. x

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  15. Very thought provoking about the elderly lady you saw. I'd like to think I'd have the same thoughts as you and also the same outcome as a result. I too have had tight times in the past so can appreciate the lady's possible predicament. Xxx

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  16. A smile and a thank you cost nothing but make the world a better place

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  17. it is the thought that counts. Love your tags Barbara. I am just off to create a couple of cards in my craft room.

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  18. Oh how I wish I had seen this post a couple of weeks ago Barbara. Such a simple idea but so so effective. You know the elderly lady could have just been trying to find a price - shops these days have a tendancy to not put the price on the product!! So naughty. I mean how many people would get to the checkout and say they didn't want it at that price?? Next year I am going to be prepared!! Hahahahaha

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  19. My wish for Christmas and the new year every body to be a little kinder to each other- from little acorns mighty oaks.♥

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  20. We have been collecting donations at work for our local food bank. I made a special trip to our local supermarket on the way to work one morning and went shopping with others in mind. I picked some practical things with a few seasonal treats added for good measure. We had a Christmas jumper day at work on Thursday and the senior partner and a few volunteer elves carried the boxes of goodies around to our local food bank in time for them to be shared out for Christmas. Most of us don't realise quite how lucky we are and one of my new year resolutions will be to Count My Blessings.

    xx

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  21. Thinking of my mum doing same thing as your old lady. She always made her Xmas fund go as far as possible. Hope everyone has a visitor on Christmas Day even if it is only a quick visit. Enjoy your day, Barbara. You have had a busy year! Your blog makes my day happier.

    Liz Ypu g

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  22. So far today, I've shopped in Pets at Home, thought the girls collection for the local animal sanctuary had a great job today, she was just curled up on a dog cage on in a soft dog bed - an easy day for her I think. Had a lovely cuddle with a Labrador pup too! Have wrapped pets toys (not for ours) for all the family dogs, just wrote some cheques and have run out of cheque book! Now just going to sit and finish off a stitched card. I've also finished a couple of more 'when what to my wondering eyes should appear ' stamped cards and know I'm losing the plot as had a complete blank when it came to spelling grandson's name and did it have one l or 2! It has two Callum. Cup of tea is calling!

    As you say Barbara, don't panic and yes, we need to reflect a bit and it is the time for thinking of others isn't it and being grateful for what we have. xxxx

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  23. Always for me it is not the size or price of the gift you receive it has been and always will be the fact that I have been remembered by this person and they have chosen to spend their pennies ( be they plentiful or otherwise) on me. Be it a card or a present they have remembered and that alone should be more than enough for any one of us. Mum always says a card is more important than any gift as it means the time has been put aside to write it, post it and this is how we were bought up. Not only us of course plenty were but now it always is a case of who can out do the next person on what things cost .... is it really that important ??

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  24. Oh Barbara you are so right. There is so much spending at Christmas that is over the top out, of a misplaced sense of what Christmas has to be. I have been worrying about Christmas this year not having the money to spend. However making crafty gifts has been lovely albeit a different kind of pressure! I have been into a shop today - very briefly - for the usual weekly stuff plus a chicken. You should have seen some if the trolleys!!! I was so pleased not to be one of those folk any more. Better still we will enjoy it just the same.
    One thing i will enjoy this Christmas is the knowledge that around the country foodbank volunteers will be busy this week ensuring that folks struggling to feed themselves will be eating at Christmas thanks to the amazing generosity of lots of the British public who are just astounding us with their thoughtfulness.
    Thanks so much.
    Alison

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  25. Hi Barbara
    Love the tags.
    It's silly panic buying you'll only buy gifts people don't want or need.
    Bless my partner would like one thing for Christmas and that's good health something he doesn't have and something I will never be able to give unfortunately.
    So I wish you all good health and happiness and hope you all have a peaceful Christmas.

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  26. Christmas is all about the people you love. This will be my first Christmas without my Dad and my Mums first Christmas without her husband so I will be very grateful to be with her, my Daughter and my Fiancé. Have a lovely Christmas Barbara. Victoria

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  27. It really brought it all home to me last Christmas when I was at Tesco just buying last minute things and treats and there was a collection going on for food parcels. All they wanted was essentials. Dried pasta, pasta sauces, etc. wow, it really hit me like a brick. Needless to say, I bought loads of stuff for them and a bit less for us. Really makes you appreciate what you have doesn't it.

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  28. We took our dog, Pippa, for a walk instead of joining the mad crowds, all panicking. we saved the pennies, Pippa got her walk, and we had the cobwebs blown away.

    Happy Christmas to everyone

    Hugs and kisses

    Margaret

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  29. Hi Barbara great tags in nice subtl colours, one of my favourite sayings - "what if I fall? Oh my darling what if you fly?" Really lifts me up - have a wonderful Christmas Barbara to you and all love Jennifer x x x

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  30. Hi Barbara and all the others who don´t waste time packing all the Christmas gifts.
    Here you can see how you pack your gifts in seconds:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozqnuWP9Muc

    Tonight I´m invited to a Schrottwichtel-Party. Everybody has to bring two gifts wrapped in newspaper only. The first one is a little gift worth around 5 EUR. The second one is anything you´ve got at home which you don´t like (maybe an old ugly vase from an auntie for example). Then we are all sitting around the table and we are playing dice. Everybody who throws a six can grab one of the gifts placed in the middle of the table. When all packages are distributed and one has only one package and another one has five for example you´ll play the game 10 minutes longer... Then maybe if someone throws a three (for example) he can grab a package from another one who has three or more gifts. After 10 minutes it should be finished and everyone should have one package. Can you imagine what fun it is when the things were unpacked....
    I wish everybody no stress until Christmas!!!
    Rolf xxx

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  31. Lovely tags. Panic whats that,did our supermarket shop at 7am this morning ,had time to chat and wish the staff a Merry Christmas and was home for breakfast by 8.15 am
    Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2015 to you and your team,looking forward to all your ideas and inspiration xx

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  32. I'm having a clearout of my kitchen cupboards today and taking a pile of stuff to the local foodbank. Hope you and your followers have a good Christmas.x

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  33. Christmas is about spending time with family, not spending money. I am truly blessed to still have all my family around me at Christmas xx

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  34. Hi Barb,
    Very thought provoking blog today. I agree that Christmas has just got out of hand. Years ago as a family we decided that each person could have £100 from the whole family -at the time there were 6 of us. You could make a list and usually myself or my sister would buy the presents or you could get it yourself. This way you could budget as you knew you only had to spend a total of £100 which you could save up through the year. When I was teaching, I was horrified at how much some of the kids got and the worst thing was, they expected to get that or more! I think we have all forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. Love your gift tags too and the personalised stamps are fabulous, saved me loads of time writing out insets - one stamp and all done! Thanks Barb, love Alison xx

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  35. When life is getting you down and you've had a really bad day at work. Think - have you a home to go to, food on the table, a family who love you? Well things are really good aren't they?
    I'm off to spread a little cheer with some lonely and not so fortunate people. I will be back tomorrow to marvel at your blog and think of your kind words. I have had a great year with you and the team. (still waiting to hear if you liked or again received my token card)
    Best wishes
    Anne

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    1. Ahhh...Anne, is this Anne with the lavender?

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    2. Yes it is - hope you liked the card
      Anne (Reading)

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  36. Hi Barbara
    I too have kept away from the shops today, yesterday was bad enough but at least with Hannah and her lovely husband back from Canada for the holidays I was able to buy her Christmas present, a new pair of gorgeous shoes which she fell in love with.
    Your blog post today is a sage reminder of how we used to struggle to make the pennies stretch at Christmas and even now we still don't go overboard.
    I'm sure you will get all your gifts bought in time for the big day. Thank you for all your wonderful blog posts, you are a very inspiring lady and they never fail to cheer me up if I am feeling down
    Thank you, Jackie x

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  37. Beautiful artwork Barbara! And whatever you put inside would be gratefully received I'm sure!
    One thing I read this week is that any big presents that people give to their children should be from them and not from Father Christmas... Reason being that there will be some children whose parents cannot afford much and all is fine until these children go to school where they start to compare! The question will then come as to why father Christmas brought them a bike or a computer game when all they got was a hat and scarf!
    We should all think about the true meaning of Christmas a bit more and give rather than take!!
    Love and hugs xxx

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    1. I so agree - I think it would be nice to donate to charities than have or give lots of gifts that aren't always needed (although lovely to receive and give) when there are so many people without x

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  38. Hi,
    Lovely tags. We wish you a very lovely day! Xxx

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  39. HI barb,
    It is true that it is better to give than receive. Businesses forget that this season started with a baby born in a stable, and what is lovelier than a tiny new born baby. xx

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  40. One of the most precious gifts of all that we can offer another human being is that of kindness. A smile, a kind word or thought,or a helping hand cannot be bought yet are so very valuable to us all. And the best part is that it is within us all to gift that to others, no matter what our bank balance. All we need is to remember it and to use the one thing we all have - a heart x

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  41. Crafting is a great way to distress and is excellent personal therapy so go and craft and give yourself a break

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  42. Just one last card to make for my parents grave never miss birthdays Christmas easter I always think the handmade card is giving a part of yourself with love thank you Barbara your tags are beautiful love June xxxx

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  43. Hi Barbara
    A thought provoking blog post today. People just seem to be going crazy at the moment with all these days invented by some marketing person. The true meaning of Christmas is getting lost in all this spending frenzy.
    My favourite part of Christmas is sitting down at the Christmas dinner table and looking at all my family gathered for something to eat. I am blessed to still have my parents and my Uncle and Aunty still with me and that is the most important thing to me.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful tags. I have been busy in my crafty space today completing my cards and also in the kitchen making fudge to give as gifts. Nothing expensive just my time.
    Regards
    Lesley
    PS. Love your walk in wardrobe. Dave is very clever.

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  44. Love your tags! I always keep mine simple too, I like them that way! I have had many broke Christmasses as a single parent but we always had an awesome time! Having fun doesn't mean spending loads of money - especially money you don't have! My children are grown up now and still remember our happy Christmasses! I am remarried now, not much money due to illness but still looking forward to a fabulous Christmas- I just love it! xxx

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  45. A small hand made gift made with love is better and more precious than all the expensive gifts. For instance something made by the grand children at school, lovely.

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  46. I so love all those tags if i can get to my table i must make mine ,i have my Son staying so everything is pushed out of site ,its so nice to be able to make your own so much that u can do with those stamps ,xx

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  47. Oh Barbara, the elderly lady has really touched my heart too. I've been struggling extra hard this year with Christmas and New Year as they are going to be my worst ones so far. I do try to remind myself as much as I can that despite all my problems and the lot in life I've been given, there are still people worse off than myself. I do have a house, that's a work in progress in getting it sorted (so no decs up this year, again!), and can afford to heat it and feed myself and I can allow myself from time to time treats of crafty products, now mostly Clarity :-), and have this interest to keep me going, and of course my wee cat Daisy. And my special person, Nicola, chose to and managed to get permission to come on Christmas eve to do some cooking for me, which up until a couple of weeks ago I didn't even think I would have that. Nicola is management in the support service so not allowed to do support, so that makes it extra special for me. And this year I will be able to come on here on Christmas day and write something, and have human contact that way, so maybe I won't feel so alone. My brother and his wife will come on Boxing Day for a couple of hours. I might be allowed a phone call with Nicola at some point before New Year, and that's it for me. But there are people out there a lot worse off who won't even have this.

    I think the most precious gift of all is people time, a person choosing to share time (a part of their time alive) with another person. Unfortunately I don't get much of that at all in life but then that makes the little I do get even more special and precious to me. And even though I pay for my support and it's her work life, the fact that Nicola has decided to and sought permission to give me a support visit on Christmas eve to ensure I have something to eat and for me to have some human contact close to Christmas, is very precious and special too, even more so when I know that it means she will need to catch up with what she should have been doing in this time at some other point. Nicola, like the other two of my special people (that because of changes to their roles won't now be allowed involvement with me) go well beyond the call of duty for me and that is very, very precious and special.

    Oops, definitely written too much this time, even the blog is telling me it’s too long!!! So part two follows, sorry everyone, once I got started it all came out and now I don’t know what to miss out, sorry

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    1. And I look forward to spending a few hours making your name plaque at last! Xxx

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    2. Aww, thank you for saying this Barbara. I'm still happy to wait for as long as you need me to :-) xx

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  48. Part two!

    And presents, well I love to give, I love to make and give, it makes me feel better inside giving something to someone and seeing the smile or knowing the appreciation, especially if it's something I've made. That I've made them smile, feel a little better, and then add on that they actually like and want to keep something I have made myself is all huge for me. I'm not very good at receiving presents, don't feel I deserve someone spending their money and time on me. Talking of presents, I've been making homemade chocolates as part of their gifts (microwave and electric mixer taking over the jobs I can't do by hand!!!!), and the truffles went into the fridge to harden off a bit several hours ago, might have to let the mix warm up a bit before trying to roll into balls!!!!


    I love your gift tags, very classy. Every year I tell myself next year I will make tags, instead of remembering whose gift is whose by the shape of the parcel!!!! Never thought about your sharpie pen idea, doh!!!!!! I might just pinch that idea for this year though!!! I've made my special people all the same gifts so the presents will all look the same from the outside and I don't think the guy that's a man man, would appreciate a stitched bookmark with pretty little flowers and swirls on it!!!! I'm also giving them my first ever bit of wall art. I made enough for each of them to get one and one for me too, might even write my name on them, something they keep telling me I should be doing with my stuff - on the back and in pencil which will be behind the frame, of course!!! I've just to frame them tomorrow. Very scary because, as usual, I think everything I make is rubbish, no matter how many times I'm told what I do is good!!!! They are all encouraging me to get online selling my crafts /arty stuff /photos etc. I've kind of got a natural talent for it all, they say, we think this is my autism 'gift' (people with autism often have something they excel at naturally, but not all, so I'm one of the fortunate). It's on the to do list after they've got my house sorted. It would be really good to be able to earn a wee bit income for myself, the independence, and this would be the only way possible for me to do that. So this first wall art is even more scary in case it is rubbish, but at least I know they, or most of them, will be honest with me, so I won't be under any false illusions.

    Right better go and rescue the truffle mix from the fridge!!!!
    Hope you've had a good relaxing time in your art room
    Love Brenda xx

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    1. I would love to see it when it is finished. I want to do some canvas art now Clarity have them. Hope you get your visits sorted out. Good luck with the truffles! Donna xx

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    2. Hi, thank you for saying all this. If I don't get negative feedback from the recipients and find the courage to, I would try to show it even if just for feedback on how to improve. Don't Know how I'd do that though. It's just the faux batik technique from YouTube Tuesday using different stamps with colours that suited the image, most of it was brand new for me to do and hopefully it's a start. I'm like you, was thinking about canvasses (along with gelli plate art that I'm still to get started on, at the coo's tail me!!!!) Barbara must be psychic eh, or more likely an excellent teacher who knows when to move us onto the next step :-), even though I've missed out most of the previous ones!!!! Truffles all done, phew, the mix was too hard, couldn't even get a knife into it to break it up!!! but once it had been out on the table next to the heater for a bit it softened up enough. One thing ticked off the list. Good luck with getting into canvas art, Brenda xx

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    3. I agree that Barbara knows how to encourage people to try new things. I have tried various crafty things after reading and watching her! You should deffenitly get a gelli plate they are great fun to use, very arty. I will probably use it on a canvas when I get some. Xx

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  49. Great tags - I made all of mine too, but having seen yours I will have to try harder next year! The best gift you can ever give is your time, so thank you so much for all the time you give to us through your blog - it's like having a special gift every day. Merry Christmas, Susan x

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    1. Hi, I second that, Barbara giving us a special gift of her precious time every day, love Brenda xx

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  50. Your gift tags are so beautiful and I wish that I'd thought to use my bespoke stamp for my tags. I'm hoping that my friends and family appreciate the value of a home made gift this year. I've always felt secure in my teaching job but when I found out how long I would have to wait for my back surgery, I suddenly felt very vulnerable as I knew that my pay would be cut to half and then possibly to nothing before I have recovered enough to return to work and full pay...and what if I end up permanently in a wheelchair? My mortgage, bills etc...so I am back to my pre-teaching days, making drastic cutbacks, eating supermarket own brand cereal and unable to treat my children at Christmas. Appreciate what you have because it can all be taken away so suddenly. Sorry, this probably isn't very uplifting and I don't usually outpour my feelings like this but my surgery's very soon and I'm feeling more vulnerable as it gets nearer. I'm also on a flipping diet for surgery and can't eat any Christmas chocolate. Talk about add insult to injury!!!!. Loving sharing your Christmas preparations though. Xx

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    1. Hi Jeanette,
      I've been where you are now wondering how we'll manage on sickness pay. I thought it would be terrible. It did take planning, but we managed better than I could have ever managed. In fact reality is not as scary as my imaginings! (well most of the time!)
      Will be thinking of you. Hope your surgery is successful to.
      Good luck.

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    2. Hi, For what it's worth, I too know what you are going through on long term sick, not knowing if I'd ever get well enough again, and then getting my diagnosis of Asperger's on top knowing then that I never would. I'm managing to muddle through, 21 years later. I do hope it does go positively for you and you soon get back to full health and back to your career. Thinking of you, Brenda xx

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    3. Hi jeanette I wish you well in your surgery ,I too had to take medical retirement it's very hard too take in I also have to use a wheelchair now the benefit system is terrible to deal with but stick with it look for help when you need it and craft to keep you focused may christmas be peaceful and free from pain hugs xxx

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    4. Thank you for your encouraging and caring comments, Alison, Brenda and Sheila. They were very uplifting. My crafting is the main thing that has got me through this as I am able to distract my thoughts on gloomy days. I will of course be packing a few things to take to hospital to keep me busy. Jeanette xx

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  51. Thank you. I think we have lost sight off he true meaning of Christmas. My dad spent hours making toys like dolls houses for us as children , as money was tight, and we loved all the little touches like stockings with an apple and orange and nuts, and time spent together as a family. Love your tags, delightful.

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  52. Your tags are GORGEOUS - such a simple but clever idea.

    I hear THE busiest day for food shopping is expected to be Monday ..... perhaps MANIC MONDAY!

    Salvation Army accept similar donations such as cleansing wipes, hand sanitiser, travel packs of tissues, deodorant, lip balm etc

    The spirit of Christmas is spending time with loved ones but try to remember those who either don't have loved ones or don't have them living close

    Seasons Greetings

    Kathyk

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  53. Playtex ~ that's uplifting she says with a smile on her face.
    I never win anything but I will make you smile too!

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  54. This is not made up by me but I find it reminds me to keep things in perspective - 'watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can't put your feet on, never pass up the chance to jump on a trampoline...don't overlook life's small joys while searching for the big ones. xxx

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  55. Giving in its purest form expects nothing in return (from Secret Santa).

    Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas Barb xx

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  56. May you know the peace and joy that resides in your heart . Love and joy to you and your family. Janice stone

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  57. My husband and myself do not have any family near us , so we like to spend Christmas day in our local Hospital, we work on the hospital radio and like to play happy relevant soothing music and put in some little quips here and there that we have found, then have a wander and see people who do not have visitors. A relaxing day and I hope it gives enjoyment to others
    Anne

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  58. Don't panic. Everything will come out OK. Merry Christmas xx

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  59. Hi Barbara,

    I certainly haven't been panicking today, both my husband and I are laid up with the flu. I only just felt well enough to pick up my lap top and look at your blog. I would really love to make some tags for those presents waiting to be wrapped and yours are lovely. Hopefully I'll be well enough to make some in time for Christmas or I'll be writing on the wrapping paper.

    Wishing all of you at Clarity a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2015.






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  60. I have tried twice to add my comments not sure what has happened to them!
    My family and me have decided to donate our present money to a charity of choice to help those less well off than us. we have each other and others aren't so lucky!
    Happy Christmas to you and Yours. x

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  61. Had a really blessed day at clarity East Midlands and we had the lively Amands come join use it was so great to finally meet each other was truly blessed day . Lots of fun songs craft and a wonderful bring and share lunch so much to be thankf for xxx

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  62. Bless you and your family, Barbara, this Christmas. Thank you so much for all your wonderful tutorials. You truly inspire me and I always look forward to your updates. I am never disappointed. God bless, Sandra

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  63. Work has finished for Christmas. I'm all behind but loving the preparations. Took a homemade card to my Mum today - well to the place her ashes are scattered. It was a beautiful sunny day so I could stop for a chat. And now all feels good. Continuing to make the last of the Christmas presents. I am always a bit behind schedule but it feels so much more personal to have made them myself. Got a good feeling about the coming year. And can't wait for more Clarity goodness. Happy Chrimbo.
    Kelly.

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  64. I would much rather have a gift that is handmade with love, than a store bought one. I prefer to give handmade as well

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  65. Our lives are all different ive been through some sad times some hard times and I have some lovley memories too ,since becoming very ill a very good friend helped me into crafting and along that way I found clarity your products your daily blog and your clarity challenge and the clarity club now a gold member my craft room is filling up with clarity in your clarity bags folders ect so thank you for giving me all the inspiration and taught me a lot along the way happy christmas to all and let 2015 be another wonderful crafting year to all xxx

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  66. I have spent the day making Christmas cards for my family. I have renamed your Clarity blue paper miracle paper as it always looks so good and goes with anything! Lots of techniques learned from your blog and demos so Thank you for making my crafting easier. Here's to a restful crafting Sunday.

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  67. absolutely beautiful tags Barbara. We all get into panic mode this time of year. I have decided just to focus on the here and now, things will get done. We will be of no use to anyone if we burn ourselves out before Christmas Day. Relax, make a to-do-list and enjoy a nice wee dram. xx

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  68. We should all remember where we have come from and try to make provision for where we are headed. The only certainty is the here and now and this is the only time we can willfully make a difference. So stop the frantic merry-go-round of Black Fridays, Panic Saturdays and ridiculously priced presents and start giving a little piece of our hearts. A warming smile, a heartfelt hug or thoughtful and appropriate gift with love. These are the precious things in life and we can all give them with very little financial cost! So I wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year x

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  69. Hi Barb,

    I have not left a comment before, but I wish more people got off the merry go round of endless consumerism and spend more time looking at nature, which is free and enjoy the birdsong and the seemingly endless beutiful skies at this time of year.

    Best Wishes to everyone.

    Julie Bee

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    1. hi, I totally agree, and often people don't get it, I've had some strange looks when talking about it!!!! Nature is wonderful, the perfectness and diversity of it always amazes me, I rarely get to see much other than in my garden but I do often get to see a rainbow, for some reason it's a common occurrence just outside my back windows, stretching across the roofs of the cottages opposite :-) And when I'm awake during the night I love to listen to the blackbirds singing as it starts to get light, always puts a smile on my face, Brenda xx

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    2. Me too! Nothing like a walk in the woods or along a windy beach to clear the head. Good for the soul to get back to nature. Xx

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    3. Hi Julie. So true. I wish just the same, I feel sad for those that don't take the time to stop and look and listen as they are missing out on so much beauty. Take care.

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  70. Hi Barbara It sounds like you had a lovely peaceful day in your craft room. We had shopping to finish today as hubby has been working silly hours and hasn't been able to take his leave to go shopping with me. I was dreading it because I thought it was going to be manic but the park and ride had spaces the market around the Cathedral in Winchester was lovely and we saw two sets of wedding guests and the two brides and grooms walking to their receptions through all the Christmas bustle. It made everyone stop and smile as they all looked so happy (lots of high heels and hats!!). There were carollers at one end an a skiffle band at the other so a lovely atmosphere. Home for Strictly final, decorations and tree tomorrow and mammoth mince pie making session for friends. Enjoy your evening. Love Diane xxxx

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  71. I think we all get caught up in the mad rush before Christmas. The big day. It is a time for reflection, like your stamp says. It is a time to think of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Light a candle for me Barb x

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  72. I've had a lovely day today with family. My brother and his family drove up from Lichfield to Whitley Bay, a 3 hour journey, and I spent a couple of very happy hours with both of my brothers and my sister, nephews and nieces and one of my daughters, her hubby and my eldest grandson! Christmas is a time for family. Pat x

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  73. Last year my mother has been unwell during the year and was very unwell coming up to Christmas, my brother was getting married on the 27th December and it was a very tricky time. On little Christmas Day my Mum was admitted into hospital again and was getting worse. We nearly lost her. Thankfully she improved and was discharged 4 and 1/2 months later. She has improved and hopefully she, my Dad and 15 others will be here for dinner on Christmas Day, with more the follow later. It will be crazy but wonderful to share this Christmas. A perfect gift.

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  74. I spent today on an arduous journey to visit my darling Mother-in-law. I was like an outsider looking in on all the chaos as I went from train station to bus station and the reverse on the return journey. Everyone was laden with bags and harassed. I tried to smile at as many people as possible and usually got a smile back.

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  75. Never regret what you have done (it won't change a thing), regret what you have not done

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  76. LOVE the tags Barbara. The simplicity of them is beautiful. I only need a couple more but I think I will clone these lovelies. I also love your wee story about the lady in M&S and your sensitivity to her situation. You 'Pay so much forward' Barbara. That is one of the things I love about sharing in your world via your blog, shows and using your amazing product. Merry Christmas to the whole Clarity Family and every good wish for 2015. Big hugs from NZ

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  77. What is it all about. Beautiful tags and thanks for sharing Barb. I made many gifts this year, i feel fortunate to have had the time. Sometimes as hard to lay your hands on as the pennies , Merry christmas to all xxxxx

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  78. Aww love the tags. I remember that show and I ordered my custom stamps and they are amazing and I use them all the time thanku x

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  79. Inspiring tags Barbara. Wish I had thought to make mine. Have done other years when short of money cutting up old Christmas cards. Another year using my punches with pretty Christmas designed fabric between two pieces of card. This year I have been inspired to do star books using your Twas the night stamps and embossed candles. Thanks so much for all your inspiring blogs. Have a wonderful Christmas to you & your team.xx

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  80. My word! what amazing comments you have provoked. Very uplifting indeed. Well I think there are so many wonderful things said here, that I don't think anything I could say would compare. However, I like to thank authors whose stories help me, as audio books, to escape from days of bad pain, and I made a comment to one whose history/time tracel books give me especial pleasure that I was going to make lots of Christmas sweater cards, and she said hers would need to be a Christmas jumper (time travel 'jumps') so I made a card with elements from her stories, and stencilled teeny kangaroos on her Christmas jumper! Fun for me to make, and fun for her! Your wonderful stamps and stencils (and mask) made that possible. Thank you! You do so much for us crafters!

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  81. Beautiful tags. But that reminds me I need to make my tags. Couple more cards to make first though. Hoping to wrap pressies tomorrow, so maybe tags will need to be ready by then! Not sure my tags will look as good as yours though. Your tree looks beautiful. Well worth the effort in spending the time untangling those lights! My four year old son keeps watching your 'Christmas Jumper' YouTube video over and over and over. He loves it, although I think hubby is getting fed up with hearing it! :) I need to purchase the Christmas Jumper stamps now, just to keep my son happy of course! Touching story about the lady in M&S. Whilst I haven't been commenting recently on your blogs, I have been checking in regularly, as it is always so inspiring to read. xx

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  82. I have just finished wrapping all my parcels. Was on a mission to get them done as my son has flu and I am looking after him, worried that if I went down with it pressies would not be wrapped. I made my own tags this year, first time for me, they were not as lovely as yours though. Will keep your idea in mind ready for next year. Thankyou for sharing xx

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  83. I love the simplicity of the gift tags and it does put everything into perspective; focus upon what's really important, Merry Christmas to you all x

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  84. Great tags, will have to try them. Trying not to panic or spend too much. Managed to make all my Christmas cards for he first time. Now clearing up the craft room/dining t able so we can eat on Christmas day may be a challenge! Thank you for the inspirations. Merry Christmas to all.

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  85. Love the tags, Barbara. I must get around to making mine tomorrow! Lol!

    Love Joan xx

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  86. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Spending time with my family and friends and not panicking about things. Your time is the best gift you can give anyone. I've loved making all my cards this year and gift tags. Let's not get caught up in the panic society tries to put on us, let's take time to reflect on the year and appreciate all the good things we have and have experienced.

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  87. Today I finally got round to making cards for special friends and family and my stamp if choice was Clarity's "Peace and goodwill to all" so my uplifting post is what my heart desires, Peace to them and peace to you.

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  88. What ever you do Barbara is so inspiring, hope you have a lovely Christmas and a great New Year Caroline

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  89. The thing I love about crafting in general is the time and love that has gone into making that gift or card , my mum loves my handmade cards and would rather receive one of my cards than a gift, she keeps them all, I'm 38 now. This afternoon I have been stamping the gorgeous blue tit stamp on tissue paper with versamark , using embossing powder , colouring in with distress inks and melting it onto a candle as an extra special gift for my lovely mum who I know will love it, makes me smile xx

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  90. Like you, Barbara, I struggled for years; brought up my children on my own, had multiple jobs and bought for the children at jumble sales,etc, just so that the children would have the best Christmas. Now they are grown up and I have a wonderful husband that can't do enough for me so I count myself truly blessed. It's not about monetary things, it's about the little things that you do for each other that count. Xx

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  91. How strange to read your post tonight after being at work today. We had an elderly lady in who couldn't remember her PIN so after suspending her shopping and giving her time to remember with no joy we offered her the shopping for free. However she wouldn't accept and we finally came up with a way for her to pay using the never normally used manual machine. While she was paying I was in the position to buy some flowers for her on goodwill and pop them in her trolley. It is easy in my job to be cynical about people because you come across so much negative behaviour so it was lovely to deal with someone acting with such dignity and to put a smile on her face after what must have been a frustrating shopping trip for her.

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  92. I have had the most amazing day at my Clarity workshop. We have sung carols, eaten food, laughed, laughed and laughed some more. We even managed to do some crafting. We were all brought together because of you Barbara and for that I would like to say a BIG thank you xxx

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  93. Gorgeous tags Barbara.
    I like to give something to everyone I meet, it is usually returned to me but I don't mind..............it's a smile !
    Happy Christmas

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  94. Terrific tags, Barbara, and a suitably pensive reflection on the good fortune that so many of us enjoy. I strongly object to these labels like PANIC SATURDAY. They invoke negative feelings that we may not have felt otherwise. My only 'panic' today was getting it just right at our choir's Carol Concert in Hastings. Great audience, wonderful music to sing together in a perfect venue. One window overlooked the sea and we enjoyed a beautiful and inspiring sunset. Singing is free! 5 Carol ( I was named for it!) events this week and a lot of money raised for various charities. Many people do know how to count their blessings and give very generously.
    Now roll on Christmas with our son, his lovely wife and our two gorgeous grandsons - the best gifts of all. May you, your family and your followers all have happiness at Christmas and in 2015. Much love. x

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  95. Lovely tags, such a shame you couldn't attach one to the chocs for the lady, but she probably would not have accepted, nevertheless a very kind thougt

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  96. I love these labels and did I hear you say Random??? I think they say panic Saturday hoping that people will take them up on it?? That poor lady I wonder if she treated herself in the end?

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    1. My guess is she was trying to treat somebody else. That's why I couldn't cut in x

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  97. My future daughter in law tried to refuse a gift money because they can't afford to buy for us. I don't care that we left theirs without a bag of gifts. Spending time with my grandchildren is a precious gift. Seeing them grow up is a gift. I don't need a gift from under the Christmas tree to know that we're loved.

    Enjoy your family time, that's a special Christmas gift.

    Julia O'Gara

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  98. Lovely tags, they may be simple but look very classy! Your blog has inspired many to share their thoughts and experiences tauday. When I worked in the NHS for many years I would frequently come across people who would prefer to be in hospital at this time of the year. We would always go the extra mile and try to make things as enjoyable as possible. I clearly remember one chap who frequently needed blood transusions. He would usually turn up just before Christmas or Easter. Often he would be wearing hospital pyjamas underneath his well worn three piece suit. He loved the food, wolfing it down and often saved a few pieces of fruit for 'later'.

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    1. Mmm. Humility. The great leveller. Thank you for getting my head straight before I even start the day! X

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  99. kindness fun and the magic of xmas and the lovely people in our lives are remembered when the gifts are not have a fun time Carol Rainer

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  100. Hello Barb, these tags are really lovely, I would have loved to have had time to make all my cards and tags, but the day job has not really allowed for that. It is really heart rending to see things like that old lady trying to decide what she could afford. One thing that we can get involved in especially this time of year without offending anyone is donations to food banks. Have a good Sunday. Bx

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  101. These tags are beautiful, love your personalised stamps too :)

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  102. Hi Barbara. Love the tags. I am making most of mine for the first time, we don't go mad buying lots of stuff at Christmas, through lack of funds and also choice, so not too many to make. What we all buy each other in our family really means something, no wasted gifts just for the sake of it. We all need to remember what is important, and that is certainly not money! Have another good day. Take care.

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  103. After all the comment left here, yesterday evening I went shopping after all. I decided to DO grateful rather than just BE grateful. Bought plenty of useful food which is sitting in the car, waiting to be delivered to the local foodbank.

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  104. Hi Barbara,
    Take time to stop and smell the roses.
    Di. x

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  105. How lovely to see something simple to make that look so good. Might make some for next year while I still have Christmas craft stash out. That would be a first, me organised for Christmas!!

    How hard it is when you think someone is struggling, you would love to help, but don't know how without causing offence or embarrassment. My wish would be that everyone would be able to have enough food, buy small gifts for their offspring, be happy and healthy. Lavish gifts or food we don't need, only our loved ones around us.

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  106. Your story certainly makes us realise how fortunate we are to be able to live comfortably. There was a time when money was tight but thank goodness we are fine in retirement. As long as we remain healthy enough to go for lovely walks in the countryside and do a few things we like to do we should count ourselves lucky! Having someone to share our lives with is something we tend to take for granted but is a great blessing. x

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  107. p.s. forgot to say that the tags are great and so much nicer to make your own than buy them.

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Thank you for your kind messages and I hope you get inspiration from my ramblings.

Barb x