Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Mindful Wednesday - Why do you Craft?

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Can you believe that Christmas is around the corner ??
Have you bought all your pressies?
Have you written all your cards?
Ask me. Go on, I dare you!

Let’s talk about today, it being Mindful Wednesday. 
Today’s the blog day we look at matters of the heart and soul,
and not so much at HOW we make lovely things,
but WHY we craft, WHY we like to make things,
and the benefits therein, which stretch far beyond the object. 

I think that every single one of us crafters has a particular reason why we are driven to make and be creative. 
Let’s think about some of the reasons;
in your head, honestly tick what applies to you:

I love being arty.
I am disabled and it keeps me busy.
I find the telly boring.
I am a full time carer, and craft is a great distraction.
I hope to supplement my income by selling my things.
I am lonely and I enjoy being part of this community.
I enjoy giving handmade things to special people in my life. 
I am sad, and craft distracts me.
My kids are a million miles away and keeping busy with my hands takes my mind off their absence. 
I suffer from depression, and crafting lifts my spirit. 
I love learning new skills.
It gives me and my mum/daughter/friend a common ground.
I suffer from anxiety, and crafting calms my mind. 
I work hard, and crafting helps me switch off. 

Have I missed any obvious ones?

Here’s one.
I have terminal cancer, and crafting keeps my mind alive, 
even when my body is failing me.

I remember, almost a year ago, our dear friend Jane Crosby 
passed away, after doing battle with cancer for over 15 years.


We visited her in Spain, shortly before she died; 
her craft room was unbelievable !!
Jane was one of the most fabulously talented, industrious artist/crafters who ever lived! Her house was alive with her work. 
She told me that crafting allowed her to escape her body, 
to fly away in her mind. 

I haven’t forgotten what she and I planned;
in fact it is about to be hatched on her Memorial Day, 
February 4th. 
Sorry Jane; life got in the way here!

This one’s for Jane xxx


But going back to why we craft.

This morning I attended a Business Forum.
The theme was Digital Marketing.
Yes, I know.
Most of us Clarity peeps wouldn’t know whether to stamp it,
eat it or set fire to it, would we!
Yep, for the likes of you and me #I’dratherbecrafting !

But actually, it was very interesting.
The power of social media, Twitter, Facebook, Blogland...

It’s what connects so many of us crafters, doesn’t it? 
This blog for example.
In the real world, it would be like a coffee shop, 
where we could all pop in and have a chin wag. 
Except here, we have a coffee shop 
where Jan from America can pop in, 
Jocelyn from France can say hi, 
Rolfi from Germany can drop by 
- every day if they like!
We don’t have to worry about parking or about a disabled ramp.
Now I KNOW that there is no substitute for a real hug or a chat 
with a friend in a coffee shop!


I’m not daft!!!
That’s why we have Retreats and Open Days.


So we can meet and make new friends, 


learn new ideas, and be part of a creative gang.


By the way, 2016 dates to be announced any day now....


Spot my Mum....


That’s why Maria and Jo and Sazz and Janet and Angela 
run Clarity workshops all over Britain.


What I love about this is I know everybody.


That’s just brilliant, isn’t it? That I’m invited to join in too.

I love Katie x


I love Sazz too!

No no, I get that a real hug needs a real room.
Even if you have to go to Spain to get it. 

You and I know how it works - we are very lucky.

I suppose the One Day at a Time Blog has not only given me a place to retreat to and find like-minded people; 
it has given YOU a place to retreat to and find like-minded people.

The Clarity Challenge Blog, which Sazz runs for us, is another brilliant go to place, where you can roll your sleeves up and really join in!

  I came away from the business morning so full of gratitude 
for the safe haven 
that is our Clarity Blog Community.
Does it require effort to blog every day?
Well yes, of course.
Is it a bother or a chore?
Good grief, no !!

I was sitting in the lovely Spa Hotel in Tunbridge Wells,
up on Mount Ephraim,
wishing I could share it with you guys!
The beautiful chandeliers, the gorgeous drapes,
the Christmas decor,
the gardens.
What a delightful place it is. 
In fact, I think I may just have to go back there under my own steam, get some photos, interview the owner and do a proper blog for you just on the interior design!
Who knows...maybe, just maybe we could even....

Get married there? Maybe! 
Run a retreat from there? Deffo!


Love & peace,

PS I’ll finish the Mother and Child Parchment tomorrow.
Had way too much to tell you about today!
xxx






93 comments:

  1. I think the thoughtful reflective blogs are my favorite. I always think How much crafting has enhanced my life, being a little creative, asking how do I do that, oh cool, but most the community of people I have met. Wow thanks Barbara Gray. You are awesome.

    On a second note of appreciation, the Clarity team rocks. I was catch in the Gray weekend making three separate orders two online and one with fab Steve. They were combined and to my amazement arrived today. Unbelievable. Thank you team Clarity!

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  2. love your blog i look forward to it every day, the reason i craft is my husband has dementia ...i care for him by myself with a little help from my lovely son mark 24/7 every day i wont send him to day care i wont send him to respite cos i want to be with him every minute of every day even though some days its very hard to see the man i love not able to put his clothes on in the right order, your blog for me is company as i so miss conversation and this makes me feel part of everything you do ...thank you cc

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    1. Chrissy sending you a lovely big hug and another one to pass on to your husband too. Life is very sad sometimes isn't it but I admire you for keeping your husband by your side which must be so difficult sometimes. Enjoy your crafting, your me time xxxxx

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    2. And not an ounce of self pity in your comments! How lovely to still be able to see the man you fell in love with xxx years ago. Most of us are only too quick to moan about our other halfs or nag them to do something - but it takes a serious moment to make us see them as they were when they - and we - were 19 or 23 or - in my case 29. My lovely man is plagued with physical ill health but still has the capacity to make me roll up with laughter - and he with me!! Thanks for the reminder to cherish what we have when we have it!

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    3. A special hug to you your husband and son a special family you are xxx

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    4. Hi Chrissy , hugs from the USA and a retired visiting nurse who saw many wonderful , loving caregivers like yourself . I would encourage them to also care for themselves , consider your health too so that you will be able to continue yourself . A day at a daycare for your husband helps to recharge your battery . Xoxo

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    5. Bless you Chrissy, your husband has a lovely caring wife in you, God give you the strength to carry on.xx

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    6. Hi achrissy, how wonderful to hear that you you still see the man you fell in love with all those years ago. I know that I have lots of admiration for what you and your son are doing. However, please look after yourself too. Love and hugs xx

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  3. Well always ready for a dare, are your cards done yet Barbara? Sorry. I love this crafting community, I have learnt a lot from Sazz's workshops and your retreat and just as important made loads of friends. My challenge to myself at the beginning of the year was to get myself off to some workshops and I have achieved that. Open Days were amazing, I met up with FB friends can see myself on one picture leaning on a crutch, pleased to say that has gone now. I wonder what 2016 will bring, lots more exciting events I hope. Some photos of that lovely hotel would be nice, a wedding even better. You are doing an amazing job Barbara, thank-you. xx

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  4. Lovely seeing our pictures and of cause I showed Katie your the picture oo me and her and what you wrote she said I love you to Barbara Gray 😍😍😍😍 she Kees saying when we going to see you again I miss her Barbara we are so lucky to have such a wonderful clarity family we get to see once a month and we are always chatting to each other on fb helping each other through life's ups and downs, I always look forward to Amanda's quotes and good mornings every day if don't see it get worried and the surprise when your blog arrives to sit and read the clarity news letter parcels coming with new goodies from clarity. Just love are clarity family love you to Barbara Dave and all clarity team hugs from me Joy And of cause Katie xxx

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  5. Message form Katie BARBARA IS THE BEST LOVE YOU 😍😍😍😘😘😘😘😘💞💞💕💕💕💕💛💚💙💙💙💞💞💞💖💖💖💖💖❤️❤️❤️💝💝💝

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    1. Stunning Katie a big hug comming your way xxx

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  6. Barbara Gray, you are the most wonderful person. Thoughtful, inspirational, talented and just beautiful inside and out xxx

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  7. Love reading the blog every day and the comments , learn so much while I'm reading . I'm not really a telly fan . I love to craft as I can just go into my own wee world and forget the stresses of the day and create something at the same time X

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  8. ...get married there! Is that a hint? Whoopie!

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  9. Hi Barbara,
    lovely blog and photos today...
    Sazz does a beautiful job too. Love the challenge...
    Rolf xxx

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  10. No, no and no! Have you? (I dared). So much to respond to in today's Mindful Blog. Sad reflections, personal thoughts, musings, photos and so much more. All struck a chord with me. Thank goodness for our common interests. Have to agree about The Spa too - great place for a wedding ;/ and as for a retreat that would be something special too.
    Tonbridge Sue

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  11. I craft because I love that sense of achievement when I finish something & I can say I made that! I love learning new things and I love giving them away to friends & family. Crafting is like reading for me you can just put everything aside & ignore the real world for a while! Just wish there was more time in the day. I love reading your blog Barbara whether you are showing us a beautiful piece of artwork, a new technique or your mindfulness blogs. This is the first time I've commented on your blog not just on Facebook! Just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking the time to blog everday & the great Gray Friday deals it meant I could finally get my hands on your Groovi system can't wait for it to arrive!

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  12. Hi Barbara
    Yes of course you are all organised and have been for months! Haha right, you are probably nowhere near and haven't even thought about it yet! I could tick so many of the reasons for crafting, I used it to switch off from work then it helped me when work made me Ill! I've got some lovely friends who craft and I love the moment someone opens a card and goes wow. So many reasons. Love your blog, it's great to hear about your day and to meet up with blog friends who I've never met but feel like I've known for years. I've loved meeting you over the years, I've learnt so much but know there is more to learn and I've promised myself if the dates don't clash with anything I'm going to come to an open day or retreat next year!
    I followed Janes story when you told us about her, what an amazing woman, I'm glad she has left a crafting legacy.
    The hotel sounds wonderful, pictures would be great, a wedding even better, a wedding and a retreat - can you imagine!!!! Think of the hats decorated with Clarity Stamps! Your mum would love it!
    Lots of love
    Diane xxxxx

    Hi Donna - how's the chesty cough? Xxxx
    Hi Sheila hope you've managed to craft today xxxx
    Hi Brenda hope you managed to sleep last night and get your cards done xxxxx
    Hi Dot hope you are ok xxxx
    Hi Pam hope you are ok too xxxxx

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    1. Still there, and I'm still deaf! The children just notice my vacant stare now and go and ask someone else! Xx

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    2. I agree about blog friends, have never met any of you but love chatting and feeling that link. Xx

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    3. Evening Diane I've written some Christmas cards and stamping a greeting inside lots of hugs xxx

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    4. Hi Diane, both hubby and I have the dreaded lurgy. Feel a little better than yesterday. Wrote out a few cards today, still have some more to make though. Hope you are well.

      Hi Donna, Sheila, Brenda and Dot hope you have had a good day today.

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  13. I love reading all the comments on the blog, and I love that this is a friendly supportive place. I really enjoy commenting too as 'normal' chatting isn't something I ever feel comfortable doing unless I feel ok with the person or group. I craft to relax, to make things for people I love and to forget everyday stresses and just create something beautiful. I am very grateful everyday that you take the time to blog, it means so much to us all. THANK YOU!!! Xxx

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  14. Evening Brenda, Sheila, Pam and Dot. Hope your Wednesday was a good one. Xx

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    1. Evening Donna hope you get your hearing sorted soon good to know your well enough to be back at work hugs xxx

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  15. Firstly just to echo point above from Debby, my parcel arrived today with my mum's Christmas pressie with all the extras I could add because of the wonderful sale. She is going to love Groovi. Well done Team Clarity, did not expect that today and really pleased it has come.
    Secondly, I am starting to think you are on a wedding planning tour of at least Europe with the number of venues you keep saying will make a good one for a wedding. Either Dave is not taking the hints or you are just teasing us and it is already planned. Has Jim been booked for the video, will YouTube Tuesday be Wedding Wednesday? Remember we are all going to need a bit of time to get our hats sorted, instead of an Easter bonnet we can have a Clarity cap and sit around our webcams and record them ready for the big day. Why do we craft, well today it is definitely about sharing with those people who have a similar warped sense of humour, who else is going to spend time reading (and writing) limericks, talking about niggle and giggle and Work and Hollick, needing cushions for those falling off the CCA wagon, driving the Clarity Rescue bus from Scotland to help out with the orders and bin diving at the Clarity offices for what treasures we may find from your discarded efforts. Hubby keeps wondering what I am giggling at when reading the blog comments, he thought it hilarious when I said I was on a secret mission at NEC, sussing out a competitor launch. What have you started Ms Gray!
    On a serious note, can tick off many of those why I craft comments but really even when up against it as I am now to get it all done for Christmas, most of all it is because I enjoy it, it gives me pleasure and makes my life fun and interesting. So long may it reign. Have a good evening, much love Karen xxx

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    1. Sending a hug thank you for updating me on your college from work it's so good to know they recovering send her a big hug as life must be so difficult for her to face each day xx

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    2. Had some good news today, she is coming back to work next week, baby steps but progress. Hopefully we will see our Jilly soon, the one that makes us rock with laughter 'coz she gets all our names wrong. Thanks for your best wishes and support, much appreciated. Karen xxx.

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    3. You will get through this Brenda, look how far you have come, standing up to that horrible man who abused you and his position. Seems awful that you've had an invoice for those days, but it will get sorted they never seem to get their priorities in the correct order. Stay positive and keep commenting, we need you here with us. Love and hugs to you.xxx

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    4. Oh Karen what wonderful news and she knows you will be there to help her through each day along with her other work friends xxx

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  16. Love your blogs . always something to try out ,look forward to, can't wait to here when the retreats are loved the crowborough ones always learn so much ...best start saving ...spa hotel is great for weddings my nephew was married there .plmms on the lawn on a glorious summers day wonderful x

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  17. Hello Barbara

    This daily blog is a virtual hug from you, to you and to and from all of us who read and contribute on a regular basis. Thank you, I love it!

    Love
    Roz.x

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  18. Dear Barbara! I love your posts on a Wednesday! I love your others too but Wednesdays is always special cos in my head I can here you talking to me and that brings a calmness to me! It's like listening to someone read me a story!
    And why do I craft...well in the beginning it was partly because I saw other people making cards so I thought"I could do that" so I did! Then I found I enjoyed it and I loved seeing people's reactions when they got a handmade card from me! I love being creative now and that's what drives me to try different techniques and the fact that I was told at school I was rubbish at art and hadn't got a creative bone in my body! I also use crafting as a way to escape from the stresses and worries of a full time teaching job in a very big comprehensive school! I also enjoy the fact that crafting has brought me many wonderful and lovely friends that I may not have met if I didn't craft!
    As for what to do at that hotel....get married and have a retreat as your reception! Perfect! Lots of love and hugs to you! Xxx

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  19. Hello Barbara

    This daily blog is a virtual hug from you, to you and to and from all of us who read and contribute on a regular basis. Thank you, I love it!

    Love
    Roz.x

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  20. Mike and I just love how everyone can get together at Clarity and feel like it is one big family - it is the only opportunity we get to craft together and we just love it. Work and life get in the way at home - plus the fact he needs to know the password to get into my craft room :) . I craft because I have always done it from a very young age (Singer sewing machines were made in my town) and come from a crafting family. Now I make cards for family and animal charities so can have fun while I do my bit to help. I have to smile when I see you mention wedding venues Barbara - we went through all that too - flew off to Vegas to get married and had the trip of a lifetime - and partied when we got home. So you can always think outside the box :) . Sending you love and hugs from us both to you and Dave x

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  21. Dear Barbara! I love your posts on a Wednesday! I love your others too but Wednesdays is always special cos in my head I can here you talking to me and that brings a calmness to me! It's like listening to someone read me a story!
    And why do I craft...well in the beginning it was partly because I saw other people making cards so I thought"I could do that" so I did! Then I found I enjoyed it and I loved seeing people's reactions when they got a handmade card from me! I love being creative now and that's what drives me to try different techniques and the fact that I was told at school I was rubbish at art and hadn't got a creative bone in my body! I also use crafting as a way to escape from the stresses and worries of a full time teaching job in a very big comprehensive school! I also enjoy the fact that crafting has brought me many wonderful and lovely friends that I may not have met if I didn't craft!
    As for what to do at that hotel....get married and have a retreat as your reception! Perfect! Lots of love and hugs to you! Xxx

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    1. Isn't it amazing how we all manage to get along with a smile when many are facing large challenges in their lives . My blog says I haven't a crafty bone in my body but I've got potential and stamping is making me feel like I can actually create something of beauty.

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  22. Sod the retreats (though I would love it!) get married there!!! Put yourselves first for once. If I gatecrash, can I buy a hat? Xxx

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  23. Evening Barbara my crafting helps me through the pain I face each day it helps me through my depression my illnesses reading your blog and sharing each day with the people on this blog has given me a daily focus since entering your blog challenge and watching you teach us so many crafting skills has given me so much it's hard to put the big thank you into words I would be lost if I didn't have these now I cannot do retreats and I so wish I could me you in person along with the clarity towers crew but I know I can come here each day and it helps me through.
    Hugs to all on the blog xxx

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    1. Evening Dorothy
      Evening Brenda
      Evening pam
      Hugs to all xxx

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  24. Hi Barbara, a very very heartfelt blog for me today, was barely holding it together before I read today's writings. Boy do I NEED that for real room so that I could have loads of bug heartfelt hugs and interaction with you and my blog friends. After the card marathon on top of everything else my body is screaming at me in an awful lot of pain and exhaustion - no more. And I feel like the world has totally abandoned me - not a word from my social worker for a week and not a word from the support service at all from when I had to speak out about the abuse! Until this afternoon, do you know what they've just done - finance person sent me an invoice for my support hours including full charges for the 2 support visits that I was badly abused in! And that's the first communication from any of them I've had too! So not handling it, it's making what I've been made to go through even worse inside me. And I'm still not happy at all with my Christmas cards but just had to send them anyway as the guy collecting them today is my only human contact, as far as I know, until he comes on the 21st for my next monthly garden visit! And today was literally him stopping off to collect my cards, quick chat on the doorstep. The other bit I've been so dreading for a bit but haven't said - Christmas, and new Year. It's going to be the hardest yet, Christmas without anything Christmas apart from the telly programmes to rub my nose in it. I won't even have nice food to eat this year - no one to cook any. (My brother visits a day or two after) It's so lonely and so hard being me in this life, like I said I NEED that for real room sooooooooo badly right now. it's all just got too much for me now. But Daisy got her big play session and extra special treat so she's curled up on my bed now hopefully dreaming happy dreams. Sorry to be such a doom and gloom person today. I do know and never forget that there are still people out there worse off than me, I've got a roof and 4 walls, enough heat and food. AND Barbara and this here blog of hers with all you guys here. I keep saying it, but it's so true, I really dread to think where I'd be without you and your blog Barbara over the past 2 years. I hope so much I get to meet you and talk to you for real someday, and collect all the big virtual hugs for real love Brenda xx

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    1. Hugs and positive thoughts and energy coming your way from jan in the USA

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    2. Brenda sending all the hugs you can manage to catch be proud of yourself as your here with us tonight you have done well making your Christmas cards and getting them sent off know wonder your CFS is engulfing you as when you do even a little too much it comes to stop you I know and I feel it for you stay safe baby steps tomorrow is another day xxx

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    3. One day Brenda we will turn those virtual hugs into real ones. I believe it to be true in my heart! Xx

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    4. Hi Brenda I hope to I can hug you someday untill then lets just have a wee blether and laugh here for now. And I promise you this log on here Christmas and New Year and we will have a wee laugh and blether ok...xx

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    5. Hi Brenda, I could have cried when I read your post. You are having a rough time at the moment, but I am very proud that you've managed to get all your cards done -I haven't got any of your problems and I'm nowhere near finished mine!!! Remember at people are always here for you. Sending love and lots of hugs xxxxxx

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    6. Thank you everyone for all you very kind and caring words. This community really is something special. Big hugs back to everyone love Brenda xx

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    7. Oh Brenda - I do hope you get a visit from one of your good workers soon, and sending a big hug to sustain you until then. Susan X

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  25. I think there were only three on that list at the top that don't apply to me lol! I love being art and crafty and it does help me deal with the pain I suffer because of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and all the mindful issues that come with it lol.
    I wish we had someone around the Oxford/South Northamptonshire area that ran a Clarity club and I would be there with bells on.
    The retreats are too far and we've financial issues too, although I could get there it would take me a week to get over the drive, even if someone else drove, then it would take a week to get over each day of the retreat lol!
    I have always crafted in one way or another and I am very grateful and thankful for the on-line crafting communities, the blogging, the challenges, even Facebook lol! These are the things along with the crafting that keep me crafting, learning, living even. I enjoy visiting here too Barbara and the inspiration you give us and the art you share Karen xx

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    1. Karen, another Karen here in Oxford. I am supposed to be looking out for a venue in Oxford area for an Open Day, I spoke with Barbara and Dave at NEC in March. If we find somewhere suitable I know Barbara and Dave were interested, so if you know somewhere drop Barbara an email and we can get something going. In the meantime maybe we can meet up for our own crafting session with Clarity. Where are you? I am in Long Hanborough near Blenheim, perhaps we can find somewhere between us to meet up for a crafting session? Karen

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    2. OMGee there is someone out there! I am in Brackley Northamptonshire huni - I will drop Barbara an email. I do have a blog and email account, my blog is here http://karenscrafting.blogspot.co.uk/ and I can be contacted here: starbase 31 'full stop' kp 'full stop' 'at symbol' kp. Will leave you a message on your google page and will email our lovely Barbara, thank you for getting in touch you have no idea how much that means Karen xx

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    1. I know the feeling of selling my parents house that I had known my whole life . As an only child is was very hard . But that was thirteen years go and it is easier now and I've come to realize that change is continuous .

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    2. Look to your memories they will help you through caring hugs for you xxx

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    3. Been there a long time ago Julie so feel for you, as time goes on you'll remember all the happy times and the sad ones will fade a little. It must be so hard at the moment. Bless you.xx

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  27. Thank you for your lovely blog Barbara so look forward to it every day.

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  28. I have crafted all my life, starting by learning to sew, knot, crochet, make rag rugs, etc with my grandmother. Then life, family and a demanding full time job took all my time. Quite unexpectedly my eldest daughter died just before Christmas. At first I held it together but after a few weeks I suffered a breakdown (I had been under a great deal of pressure for a couple of years at work handling redundancies on a mass scale). Suddenly, everything in life became so pointless, I because quite reclusive, then a couple of years later I too suffered a brain haemorrhage but, unlike my daughter, I survived. I happened upon rubber stamps quite by accident when I was looking for something to occupy my, then 9 year old, granddaughter. And the rest is history. I love all things inky, painty, and my collection of rubber stamps fills a room, along with all the other necessities. I attend classes with Maria each month, and love to attend craft fairs, retreats, etc. My favourite craft show of all is Port Sunlight. When crafting I am in a little world of my own. I look forward to checking your blog each day and love clarity stamps.

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  29. Evening ALL yes all as I feel that I know you and have become part of my family.

    I have had fantastic comments from people whom I do not know on my Guest Designer this month, and this is all do to you Barbara - encouraging me (and others ) to give it a try.

    I have "always been crafty" as hands on was so much better than reading. I suffer from dyslexia which was not spotted until I was 18 all those years ago. Expression with my hands so much easier.

    So why have I too started a blog - because I wish to share my thoughts, style, experiments, and results to anyone who will visit me. I sell my work to my family. At our Village Hall coffee mornings twice a month I have a stall for that just I case card, a sort of customer service as we are 7 miles from town!!! Lovely.

    Anyway big crafty hugs to everyone and will now pop over to the challenge blog to say thanks

    Pen x

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  30. Hello Barbara and dear ladies ,
    Jan here from America . What a wonderful group you have here and a blessing to us all.
    Give everyone a raise who worked so hard these past days , answered my concerns and filled my order .
    Thanks for putting my worries to rest about missing out on your generous sale . Just love clarity and your Wednesday's blog is very heartwarming . Have a joy filled week. Jan

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  31. I really look forward to reading your blog everyday, be it something crafty, words of wisdom or general chit chat, I thoroughly enjoy reading it all xx

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  32. I craft because of at least seven of your suggestions ring bells with me. I read your blog every day and comment most days because it makes me feel part of your lovely community. I would love to craft with a friend but non of my friends are interested in craft, which I do find a bit lonely, but once I get in my craft room, I can forget all that and my worries and enjoy what I'm making. My hubby has a flight simulator so I needed a hobby of my own instead of nagging him to come and sit down. He took me to Alexander Palace years ago and I watched you in awe using your Rainbow pads and stamping the most marvellous stamps. Then over the loud speaker it was announced that you were doing a demo downstairs with television screens, where you did a demo making beautiful patterns and frames using the corner stamp and I was hooked. The rest is history as they say. Must admit I havent mastered it yet, as I can't seem to line it up, think it's my eyes as I get a lot of double vision. I am so grateful that I came across you that day as you have changed my life. I only did papercraft in those days just doing decoupage and layering up images that I printed You have given me the courage and inspiration to try other things, so thank you for everything Barbara, long may it all continue. Are you teasing talking about Wedding venues.xxx

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  33. Like many before me here, I have crafted in one form or another for years. Why do I craft? The reasons have changed over the years but now I do it for about 7 of the reasons you mentioned! I'm not artistic so I'm not original in my crafting but I love learning from others. It was watching you, Barbara, on the television that got me into stamping. I can make cards now that I'm happy to give to others. My next aim is to learn how to colour in so it looks shaded and 'grown up'!! I love your blogs. They are inspiration for my crafting and thought provoking for my mind. Thank you, Mxx

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  34. Hi one and all,
    Lovely blog today and lovely photos, my very very good friend Sazz, the wonderful Jayne Telford, Sam Crowe (whiz on the old gelli plate), of course yourself Barbara, and my good friends at Clarity East Midlands...all in your photos. Though none of us met Jane your sharing of her final few days and her wonderful craft room is as though we have.... the impact of what she shared with you so clearly always in your mind...and one you bring to us through the daily blog and other things.
    For me finding you on the TV back in 2012 was a big turning point in my life, I turned to Clarity for a way to reclaim my life back having spent far too many hours working only to be totally let down by my employer. I got my life back, found wonderful new friends who are like minded, fun to be with and on more than one occasion have been absolute towers of strength - Sazz, Amanda Branston, Jane Telford, Julie Rose who were there for me on a very dark day - Fi Scott who has been there for me to listen and chat with... my wonderful friends at Clarity East Midlands group run by Sazz, the wonderful Hazel and hubby Steve, of course Joy in your photos, I could go on and on and on.... my life now bears very little resemblance the life I led in 2012, moved house, moved jobs, and have all of these wonderful people around me on a regular basis. I have contacts via your blog and FB and am proud to be part of a lovely community... but most of all I have yourself Barbara.... someone I am proud to call a friend, compassionate, funny and caring..someone who I can look up to as inspirational who wears her heart on her sleeve, cares deeply for those around her and is greatly affected by what happens in the world - you should be proud Barbara - you have achieved so much and have created a wonderful caring group of people.
    Much love as ever

    Kim xx

    ps - think thats at least three places you have mentioned now for a wedding - come on Dave lets get this wedding sorted!!! xx

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    1. I agree Kim. Keep expecting a date to be announced. We could all form a guard of honour with our stencil brushes. xx

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    2. I like the idea of the stencil brush guard of honour. I'll be there. xx Maggie

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    3. Hear hear Kim..... and you my darling Kim are one of the nicest friends anyone could wish to have and we are all so much richer for having you in our lives. Xx

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  35. Hey, my daughter and I are pictured on your blog today - awesome! Big smiles all round :D

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  36. wedding seems to be featuring quite a bit on this blog. so when is the big day then?
    i craft because it helps me switch off from work and it is the closest i can get to painting which i have always wishes i could do, hugs xx

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  37. As others have already said, Being part of the Clarity family is overwhelming. Everyone is there for you with words of encouragement, condolence or praise. I can put my hand up to several things on Barbara's list and the reason I got into crafting was as something to occupy my mind when things around me were falling apart. I've now made so many friends, run the blog, run workshops and am part of the design team. Did I ever think that I would achieve these things? Never in a million years!! Am I proud of what I've achieved? You bet your bottom dollar I am!!!

    It's an honour to say that I am part of the best family in the world. The CLARITY family xxx

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    1. Your a special person yourself always putting my blog challenge card in every month something I couldn't do without your help a big thank you xxx

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    2. And so you should be proud.... you have two wonderful groups you lead and teach xx

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    3. What a special lady your are Saz and I am very privileged to have you as a friend, together with al the friends Steve and I have made through Clarity workshops. Xx

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  38. Hi Barbara
    Wonderful blog today. I craft to relax and because I love the way my senses are stimulated by the textures and the colours. I am always thrilled when I get a card or a box from a crafty friend as I know how much love has gone into the creating.
    Please put us out of our misery- when is the wedding.
    Hugs from Chris X

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  39. I love being part of this clarity family it has saved my tears many times. I am lucky to have my family close and not bad health but at night its gets lonely sometimes and its then I miss my husband so much it physically hurts.
    Its then I get on the blog and poor my heart out to you lot or just have a wee laugh or worry when one of you is not here I would really love to meet all of you maybe one day but like Donna and Brenda I can see it happening some day till then ladies lets craft and chat till then...take care....xx

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    1. Evening girls sorry a bit emotional tonight forgot to say Thankyou Barbara......xx

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    2. Sending a special hug to help you through xxx

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  40. Lots to read tonight, really enjoyed it! Thank you! xxx

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  41. Thank you for this Barbara. In my case, I had to give up a career I loved owing to crippling arthritis. I floundered for a year, then suddenly thought, I will have a go a card making! I discovered an escape from the pain, & a creative outlet that I missed having to give up work. Craft has become an obsession, lifesaver and I have made new wonderful friends!

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  42. Hello Barb, thank you for such a lovely, very insightful blog post. I for one know I love reading your blog, as it often makes me just sit back and think. I love my crafting, it helps me forget about work stress. Lovely pictures you have shared too. Have a great day everyone. Bx

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  43. Hi Barb,
    Lovely post and very thought provoking. I craft to switch off I think. I have always done " handicrafts" following my mam's lead I believe. I discovered card making whilst flicking through tv channels when Dave got Sky and thought looked like something I could do! Best thing I ever did - although I could be a lot richer if I hadn't started!!!! Anyway you can't take it with you as the saying goes. I love seeing the look on my friends' faces when they open a card I've given them and that gives me so much pleasure. I love losing myself in Groovi and the whole mindfulness process. Not too sure I like all the mess I make in my craft room though - at the moment I can't find a thing in there as I'm working through my Christmas cards and everything is piled up. It looks like a bomb site. Dave tried to get in to use the computer, but gave up in the end cos there was nowhere to sit, couldn't find the mouse ( hidden under cards, dies, stamps etc!), and couldn't put up with me rummaging around trying to find my number1 & 2 Groovi stylus!! Great pictures and yet another hint about a wedding! Looking forward to seeing the dates and venues for the retreats and open days - please let there be one at Catterick again! Thank you for all you ( & the team) do for us. Love and hugs, Alison xxxx

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  44. Thanks for everything Barbara xxxx love June Horrocks xxxxx

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  45. You are so inspirational Barbara, I love the blog but I love more that you encourage us to take a few bits of plaiinish card and a couple of masks or stamps and make a beautiful card or scrapbook page that means something to us and makes other people smile. I run a small grooup in a hospital for vulnerable young adult women and we make cards etc. and laugh a lot and for just a couple of hours they forget their awful problems and I feel humbled that I have a wonderful time with them and go home to appreciate even more the wonderful life I have. Crafting brings people together but it can also help to heal the wounded.

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  46. Thank you, Barbara, for all you have done for me. Your care, friendship and understanding went a very long way to keeping me going when my world fell apart. I am lucky in having a very good family network and good friends but coming to my first Barbara retreat at Nottingham gave my life a new direction, very much needed. It gave me a whole new group of friends, many of whom understood what I was going through, people who had time to listen and not judge. It gave me a wonderful "hobby" to focus on. Since then, I have have joined Maria's Shrewsbury workshop and Sazz' s Nottingham group, and found so many more like minded friends. I am privileged to be able to call you my friend, one who always has time in a very busy life to care for all those in the Clarity family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. xxxx Maggie

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  47. I have always enjoyed art and craft since I was a child and I feel that my life would not be complete without it and I can certainly relate to several of your list of reasons for doing so and the satisfaction of making and sending something you have made yourself. Blogging has opened up new avenues of sharing what I do with other fantastic crafters and their encouragement and caring attitude is just wonderful and this blog of yours is no exception. Through this blog and with your kind and caring attitude Barbara you have built a wonderful community here and long may it continue. Now ....wedding venues.... sounds interesting!! x

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  48. I don't know why I craft, I just enjoy it I suppose! There are times when I wonder why I do it as I'm not that great but, never mind, and with the Groovi plate you nearly have instant art! I really need to get my head around blogging. I started but didn't quite work out the site so I should have another go. It's good to read everyone's comments though and be part of this family.

    It's the inspiration that keeps me going ! x x

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  49. I craft because: memories of childhood crafting with my Mum, new memories crafting with my granddaughter, I can relax in a crafty world, friends I meet in a club once a week, pleasure fiddling and fiddling until the dress, sweater, quilt, card, embroidery and whatever else looks right and good. Most of all meeting up with Clarity crafters wherever the next exhibition, workshop, craft show or coffee shop may be. Maybe I craft for just the pure pleasure of it all.

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  50. I wIll need a trip to England just to meet everyone on this blog . Feel like I know Barbara even though we have never met . Joy now ,jan

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  51. Lovely blog today - lots of reasons why I craft, but mostly it's just to have some me time, where I can relax, switch off from the everyday hassles of running my own business, and I just love making things and learning new techniques and skills. Even today I have found a little craft shop in Santa Fe and bought some more goodies, and last week I got a long crochet hook, a book and some yarn and have taught myself Tunisian crochet as I forgot to pack something crafty in my suitcase for my holidays! I do love your blog and your challenge blog too - it's great to stretch yourself and lovely to get to know new people. Hope the wedding gets sorted soon - you have lots of people to call upon to help you with the invitations! Susan x

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

Barb x