Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Welcome Home Steve !!!!

Hi there!
Good of you to pop in today.

Wednesday’s Blog is when we look at matters of the soul,
why we craft as opposed to what we craft,
and other things to do with Life.
I’ve just met up with my Mum and Dad at the Garden Centre, 
to have lunch and do the Handover!
What is this Handover? I hear you ask..
Well, it’s where they give me hundreds of lovely clean and packed Groovi plates all ready for TV and your orders,
and I give them the next batch to be sorted, cleaned and packed.
Teamwork makes the dream work, eh.
#verygratefulatmanylevels.

And did I tell you that my Brother has joined the Clarity Team?
Yep, big Steve quit his real job and climbed on board this week.

Man with a big heart.

And oh boy! Are we happy to have him!
Or should I say have him BACK.
He’s been helping his sister for as long as I can recall!

Can we take a stroll down Memory Lane ?
Today I want to go back over 25 years,
Let me take you back to California, 
where Claritystamps were  actually born. 
I had illustrated a Phonic Rhyme Chart and wanted to laminate them, so kids could handle them without demolishing them!


Right from scratch.
Taught myself to do a mechanical paste up and everything.
This was before Adobe Photoshop!


Right though to print.


Anyway, it went mad.
Orders were pouring in and I was scrambling to fill them.
(Story of my life!)
I couldn’t keep up with the demand and Tadaaaaa!
Steve came to California to help me out. 
He didn’t take a lot of convincing mind!
Gillingham or California...
(Nuffing wrong wiv Gills, he’d say!)

So he built a huge workbench for the industrial laminator,
set it up in the garage for me,
and worked nights, so as not to blow the entire local grid!
Whenever we tried to run the machine in the daytime, it would blow all the electric in the street!

Here’s something very very cool.

See the old picking bench in the picture here?
It’s the very same one Steve built in our garage in Sacramento 
all those years ago!
8ft x 4 ft double-tier. Solid as a rock and good as new.

Izzy and Debby pick and pack orders all day long - 
Lisa is on the other side: design and production.

Isn’t that brilliant??
Every single order which leaves the company 
gets picked at that old workstation. 
Talk about built to last!!

So Steve isn’t new to the Clarity gig;
he’s actually a founding member.
It makes me so happy to have him back. 
First Paul and now Steve.


You never know what’s down the road, do you.
When Steve and I used to work in the garage in 
HOT SACRAMENTO,
me at one end feeding the posters into the laminating rollers,
him at the other end cutting them and trimming them,
we never ever dreamt that all these years later, 
we’d still be working round this old bench.
That makes me feel good. 
There’s something very wholesome about that.

Hahahaha. I’ve just remembered when we used to do street fairs to sell the posters and stamps, I would tell Steve to go for a walk, because he was frightening the customers off !!!
Where’s a photo when you need one....

Aha!!!!


See what I mean??
I think we should have a caption competition here!
What do you think he is saying to the two customers???
Answers below please.
Funniest one on the laughometer gets a Rhyme Chart!!!


 And he was a great baby-sitter too....


So he’s on lates and Dave’s on nights.
And Paul just never goes home!

My mission this week, apart from the TV prep and mastering the art of pricking, is to design and write up the next New Design Club projects.
Did the Stamp ones yesterday; already gone to the printers.
Doing the stencil ones tonight, to go to print tomorrow morning.
And the Groovi ones tomorrow, ready for print the next day.
It’s a very, very big job now. 
But my aim is to bring the dispatch day round to the start of the month by May.

So I must go and JFDI !!!!

love and hugs,

120 comments:

  1. "Make your mind up lady, do you want it or not! I haven't got all day!!" Not that Steve would ever say this - although he might think it!!

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    1. Hahaha!!!! Or how about, "what do you mean, you only want one???"

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  2. Hi Barb,
    Well you've certainly got most of the family involved n a big way! Really pleased that Steve has found his way back, must be lovely to have him around. Great photos as well by the way. There's one certain fact if my Dave had made you that bench all those years ago, it certainly wouldn't be standing now!!! Him and diy just don't go together. Been working on my piece for the latest blog challenge today which has been lovely. That is in between running downstairs to see why the cat was crying - wanted cuddles! Poor thing is fed up being in the cage and still has another 5 weeks at least in it before she can have the run of the house again. Have to say I really do like the format of the new club projects - much better. Love and hugs, Alison xxx

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    1. Arrrrr poor puss! Give her a hug from me. Xx

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    2. Aw poor little love and she's such a long way to go.xx

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    3. My Daisy sits and cries for me to come to her just because she doesn't want to be alone, and she's not in a cage! And I'm the mug that drops what I'm doing and goes to be with her!!! Hope your wee cat is recovering well xx

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    4. Kirri is the same. Since we lost Willow she is really lonely and often just wanders around meowing. We always go to find out what she wants and the majority of the time she just wants to rub herself against our legs.

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    5. Hi Alison. It's good to hear your cat us on the mend but poor little soul still being in the cage. Give her a little cuddle from me xxx

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    6. Give her a hug from me xx

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    7. Hi everyone, thanks for your comments for Scamp - she's had lots of cuddles from you all xx.

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    8. Please give her a hug from me. It's amazing how much feeling they can put into a meow, isn't it? Hope the time passes quickly for her. xxx

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  3. Welcome Steve to Clarity and Barbara I know it:

    Steve says:
    "Grab it while you can!
    My sister will be very famous once and you will have a Renoir or Degas or Matisse in posters and stamps then!"

    Rolf xxx

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  4. "I'm only here so I can meet you gorgeous ladies. My real jobs a lumberjack".
    Hope you don't get buried under all the orders.
    Keep up the good work.

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    1. Hahaha! Or how about, "make your mind up woman!"

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  5. "Yeah, I've been told I look like Superman before.............." *smiles and flicks back his hair*

    Rofl. C xx

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  6. Just Bloody Buy One Love! You know you want too! Christ it's hot!!!

    OMG Barbara!!! I thought you were tall!!!!
    It's really heartwarming to see a family work as a team.
    Wishing you well for Sunday TV, the stamps, the stencils and the Groovi clubs. Not forgetting the huge orders....#needingarestjustthinkingaboutallthat !!
    Hugs xx

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  7. If you buy two I will let you touch my Biceps

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  8. Steve says: Bliming heck lady what you waiting for, if I dont get these sold pronto I'll be on rations of bread and water next week.

    Lovely that you have Steve back on the team to help. Great photos. My goodness you've got your work cut out, but you seem to thrive on being busy, just don't forget to rest when you can.xx

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  9. Steve says "No me dears..it's 'Phonic Rhymes'..not Fun Crimes"

    Wonderful to have your Brother with you Barbara. 'Handover' meant something totally different in the nursing world haha! xx

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    1. Hi Morag, hope you are keeping warm! We've even had snow here in Cornwall today! Gilly x

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    2. Hi Gilly it's cold up here, but no snow. Just promises by the weather folk!
      So you are the one who needs to snuggle up xx

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    3. Afternoon Morag, how's the crafting going? Hope your daughter liked her card. Was today her birthday? If so happy birthday! Xx

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    4. Her birthday is today thanks Donna. She loved her card and is going to put it in a frame! xx

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    5. Knew she would, made with love by her Mum. Xx

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    6. Happy birthday to your daughter Morag xx

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    7. Evening morag happy birthday hugs to your daughter xxx

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    8. Evening Morag just thought I'd say hi sounds a wee bit Scottish your name am I right..x Dot

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  10. Gosh Barbara - what a wonderful family production team! You must be so pleased, and your family must be so proud of you too! Looking forward to seeing you on tv!
    Maybe Steve was saying - 'those are just hot off the press ladies - how many would you like?' Hugs Gilly x

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  11. Hi Donna, Sheila, Diane, Brenda and,Dot, hope you've had the sunshine today and feel good. Best wishes to all. Love Pam xx

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    1. Afternoon Pam, have you been crafting today? Xx

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    2. Hi Pam, Crafting hugs to you x

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    3. Hi Donna, about to have a go now as finished tea.

      Thanks Morag, hugs to you too.xx

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    4. Glad your crafting hope the pain is keeping away crafting hugs xxx

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    5. Hi Pam hows the back doing now hope your managing a wee bit crafty stuff...xx

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    6. Hope the crafting went well Pam, I watched a couple of recorded shows so I was doing virtual craft. Xx

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  12. Hi Sheila! Hope that you have had a nice restful day, in your restful craft room - Lots of hugs from Gilly x

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    1. Evening gilly was crafting today how was your day ? Sending lots of hugs your way xxx

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    2. Hi Sheila! I didn't see your reply until today, so you might not read this. Just in case - I had a very restful day, in bed mostly I'm afraid - but it means that I have got some energy today! The sun is shining here at the moment - so all is good! Love Gilly xx

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  13. It must be lovely having your brother Steve in with you, what a family! Mum and dad doing there bit for clarity, then there's Dave now on nights and along come Steve to join the clarity family, you share are one lucky lady and I admire you your strength guts and shire determination to get your business to the fantastic place it is today. I salute you and your team.
    Looking forward to this months club news and goodies. And not forgetting Sunday Xx

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  14. Hi Barb
    Wonderful story of a family pulling together, working hard and getting fantastic results from all their efforts.
    I think Steve is saying "Did I really just hear you asking to see what's under my pinny?"
    Karen xx

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  15. Have fun Steve. I was reading the blog wondering if you meet your Mum and Dad in disguise, while exchanging a parcel of Groovi pates under the table!! I will wait for a report on the local news. I think that Steve is saying "Come on Ladies stop dilly dallying, she won't let me go home till they are all sold!" XX

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    1. Hi Donna I hope you're having a good day xx

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  16. oh come on make up your mind you no you want to buy some, ive got a night shift to work tonight !!

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  17. Afternoon Brenda, Sheila, Diane, Pam, Dot and Morag. Snow, sleet, rain and black skies here today! Hope you all escaped storm Jake! Xx

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    1. Hi Donna, was it hyper kids today with storm Jake?!!! xx

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    2. Yes! They kept wanting to go across the playground to the toilet, just to see who could come back wetter, then moan they were wet. Must discuss cause and effect with the little darlings. Xx

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    3. Haha Donna what are they like! Ours used to have a sudden need for the loo during maths! We had sleet sun rain and high winds today- what a day!! Hope tomorrow is a better day. Xxx

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    4. Evening Donna oh yes we had the lot today good reason to craft warm hugs xxx

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    5. Evening Donna blowing a wee gale outside the now but im cosy here doing a wee bit groovi. I was just thinking this groovi system great diet helper stops me eating crisps and chocolate at nights...xx

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    6. Evening, certainly was an interesting day weather wise! Definitely was a day to stay in the warm and craft. Xx

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  18. I am not very good at captions but I reckon he is looking quite fit in that photo. Would have thought he had the ladies flocking round him clammering to buy. Brilliant that you have all the family on board, bet your mum and dad love helping you. I enjoy helping out my kids, I miss the hectic lifestyle that used to be our house. It was mad but glad they all healthy and happy. xx

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  19. "Come on, ladies, you can always sneak them into the house and tell your husband that you have had them for ages."
    I am glad you have now got Steve on board as another very valuable pair of hands to help with the huge explosion caused by the Groovi. There is sure to be a huge increase from your coming shows at the weekend. I feel guilty about adding to the rush by putting in another order, not to mention the burden on my poor bank account, but I am sure I will weaken when I see all the new goodies. Try to get plenty of rest in amongst the rush. xx Maggie

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    1. Maggie! As if us ladies ever said that!! LOL !!

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  20. I think he's saying "sorry ladies, but I.m not part off the deal. Barb wouldn't allow it
    Margaret xx

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  21. How wonderful about the table, I have 2 soup pans that my mother used when I was a wee girl and that's a long time ago! , and they're the best pans I've got. There's just something about using things that have been in your family girl years isn't there. It's lovely your brother has joined you as well. What's he saying well I think it could be " hello ladies, cup of tea while your looking "

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  22. Great post today Barb as always, love it when old things are still useful... 😉 i thinks he's saying "do you know, years from now, she'll still have me working in a place where the ceilings are too low.".
    Thanks for sharing as always love Jxxx

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  23. Steve winks at the ladies and says " don't tell the wife, but this is only my day job, I'm a pole dancer in the evenings." Great to hear how the company started, Barbara. I love to hear about what goes on behind the scenes, so much hard work and you never seem to look frazzled.

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  24. What a lovely post Barb, it's so interesting to hear where you have come from...wow how hard you have worked. Remember to try to enjoy the success ;0) How lovely to have your dear bro back with you and the bench....that is just magical.
    I think he might be saying to those 2, "Smile ladies, you never know in 25 years this photo could be on the UK favourite craft blog. "
    Hugs xx

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  25. '. Come I'm ladies, make your mind up its me or the charts! 3 charts it is then! '

    Please tell him I'm only joking as he looks a bit of a hunk ! It certainlyseems you have come full circle. Good old mum and dad too! Grace and Mark next then!

    I had a nice phone call today from someone telling me the code for the hotel deal and I can't remember her name but it was good of her to ring while your 're so busy . X

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    1. Come on ladies - that should read !

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    2. I had the same call about the hotel deal, so that will be one of my jobs tomorrow. xx Maggie

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  26. Hi Barbara, I always get the feeling of warmth and love oozing out from you when you talk about your family, must be so lovely to be a part of that. Great to see Steve back with you. What a thriving business it sounds, there must be some buzz going round in the building, or is everyone too dead on their feet!!!! So happy it's all going so well for you. You had better watch yourselves with your garden centre handovers, they tend to have police on the lookout for such shady goings on!!!!! Hey, thought about marketing your Groovi to the police force, bet they need Mindfulness!

    I think the ladies have just said to Steve "aw son, had a wee accident have you"

    Love Brenda xx
    And please have a bit of a rest, even just a tiny wee one

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    1. Hello Brenda. I hope you're having a good day x

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    2. Hello Brenda
      Hope you are ok today, have you been groovi today? I was playing with my mini plates, was doing fine until I realised I had written happy Easter the wrong way round! Xxx

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    3. Evening Brenda lots of hugs for you and daisy xxx

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    4. Evening Brenda you've had me singing the three craws the day even minded awe the words the auld ains are the best.
      Cauld and frosty here the day noo the winds hurlin round the hoose. keep cosy is it still twa pair o jammies the night or are yi braw and warm.. cuddle fir yi..love Dot

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    5. Thanks everyone xx
      Nae crafting the day, no well enough, not really done anything.
      I've no been feeling the cold the day so just one pair of jammies and socks, but I've got a vest on! No a good sign when I feel warm! Ali Bali was the other one often sung to us when I was growing up.
      Poor Steve, just in the door and we're all having a bit of fun at his expense!!!!
      xx

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    6. Dinae cast a cloot tae May's oot....night Brenda..xx

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  27. Glad you're getting some heavy-weight help for all this expansion. Isn't it fantastic the way Groovi has taken off (and isn't it interesting that a few other parchment shows are springing up elsewhere, trying to grab some of the new action...)

    Welcome Steve to the team! I think he's saying: "No, I don't come free with them if you buy two! ... ten, maybe..." :)

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  28. I think Steve is saying "why is everything such a long way down! My back's killing me!!! It must be great to have him back in the business Barbara, and your Mum and Dad doing their bit too, a real family affair. I love that workbench he made all those years ago still in use and hope things get a trifle less hectic soon. x

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  29. Lovely blog and as you said to me the other day Barb, easy does it.

    Think Steve is saying " no those pictures are not the next karma sutra positions ! "

    Crafty hugs Pen x

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    1. Hi pen how's is your mum any news on more care xxx

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    2. Hi Sheila, Thanks for asking, Mum is still adamant that she will not need any more care once the carer she has at the moment leaves !!! She is still over doing things not letting herself heal although we said the more she does now the longer it will be for her to get better.

      She is looking much better than I thought she would. However the stroke has caused her memory to be very poor.

      "we" have 3 weeks to try to get Mum to accept she needs help...

      Hay ho ... powerless I am ....

      xxxx

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  30. What a life you have all had and continue to have . Many joys and many challenges along the way
    Such a role model and inspiration to us all . Amazing creativity still continues to flow --- truly truly a blessing . Joy now jan

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  31. 'Ok ladies, I'll see you later, remember mine's a gin and tonic.'
    First Paul, now Steve, your team is getting stronger and stronger.

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  32. Don't know how you manage it all Barb ..I think steve is saying sorry gals no bogof,s here,the boss is watching ..looking forward to the shows on sunday

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  33. Hi Barb,
    Glad Steve is keeping well, and back in the work fold.
    "Special price to you love, and I'll deliver them personally!"
    Maureen xx

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  34. Hi Barbara, A fabulous 'trip down memory lane', it is brilliant that Steve is back with the Clarity Team.
    I think Steve might be saying "Come on girls !! first come first served, the sooner I sell these, the sooner I can go home to bed !!"
    Lots of love from Patricia xx

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  35. Hi Barbara, A fabulous 'trip down memory lane', it is brilliant that Steve is back with the Clarity Team.
    I think Steve might be saying "Come on girls !! first come first served, the sooner I sell these, the sooner I can go home to bed !!"
    Lots of love from Patricia xx

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  36. Hi Barbara its so lovely to see a close family helping each other and to bring that bench all the way back from America must mean a lot to you and good memories for Steve to.
    I think Steve is saying : If your interested ladies I also do butler in the buff at the weekends...xx

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    1. Hi Dot - ooh you little shocker! Butler in the buff! Haha. Hope you are ok - have you had any snow today? Xxx

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    2. Hahahaha! Butler in the Buff!!! That's funny! Xx

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    3. Evening Dorothy how are you doing how's Amy ? Hugs xxx

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  37. How wonderful is it that you still have that workbench - so many years of hard work and success attached to it now. Steve looks like he's saying: "OK ladies, form an orderly queue and I'll let you see my etchings!" Good luck with meeting all those print deadlines, Susan x

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  38. Barbara what wonderful memories your family share how proud your mum and dad must be and now to see you back working together again a fabulous clarity family you all deserve a massive clarity hug how can you ever doubt yourself after all you have achieved and all the wonderful people you employ stand proud all at clarity towers 🎉

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    1. Caption Barbara says I can have an ice cream if I sell all these 🍦

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    2. Hugs to all on the blog xxx

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    3. Hi Sheila! I put on a note for you higher up - but it got separated from my comment to Barbara! I was hoping that you have had a nice restful day in your nice restful craft room! Hugs Gilly xxx

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    4. Hi Sheila hope this wee hug finds you well..xx

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    5. p.s. Amy doing great Sheila thanks for asking she's out the door like a bullit fo her taxi on Wednesday's its swimming day and she loves it we just don't need the practising in the bath bit though lol...xx

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  39. Hi Barbara
    What a lovely trip down memory lane. I was only teasing about your mum and dad helping with the polishing and packing yesterday but isn't it lovely they are still happy to help you out. Next time I buy a plate I will smile and think of your mum. Great to have Steve back on board, he was such a huge help to you when Dave was ill last year and by the looks at it he's always been there for you. That's a fabulous bench too - bit like a big family table. Do you know these stamps are still beautiful and those posters are wonderful.
    Right what's Steve saying "I can do 3 for 2 and if you pop round the back of the van later I will show you my etchings!!!"
    Or " pop round the back of the van I'll show you something Groovi that's going to be all the rage in 25 years time!!"
    Have a good evening. I hope Dave gets some sleep!
    Love Diane xxx

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    1. Hi Sheila hope you are ok and haven't been over doing it. Look after yourself xxxx
      Hi Pam hope you are ok - must be time for your appointment soon xxxx

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    2. Evening Diane yes I've been crafting too much naughty I know I will learn one day 🙃 How was your day sending lots of hugs xxx

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    3. Ha ha ha shocker yourself Diane pop round the back ..lol..xx

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  40. Great for you to have Steve back in the fold. So glad things are going so well for you. Just wanted to say that after a morning spent at the hospital for tests I really needed to come here and read your blog - thank you for being here. Fingers crossed the tests come back OK! xxxxxxx

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    1. Hope it's all good news when they do hugs xxx

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  41. Of course Steve said: "I know I am a Godsend to women, but I don't come with the stamps"

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  42. How wonderful to have Steve helping full-time, it's a real family affair, wonderful.
    I think Steve is closing the deal and telling the ladies "now then ladies even her Maj the Queen has one of these beauties, don't miss out" x

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  43. Well my sister shrunk my pinny in the wash so that's why it doesn't fit anymore. Yes this is all my hard work that i have done, ssshhhh don't tell my sister that cause i don't know what she may shrink next and i need all my clothes to keep warm back in blighty xxxx (this must have been when Barbara got her ideas for her 'wee stamps')

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  44. Maybe he's saying " no ladies I'm sorry but I'm not the free gift"

    And here you all are now busier than ever! But you all look incredibly happy and together! I hope you get some me time soon! Xxx

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  46. there's nothing better than a close family, hugs xx

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  47. I think he's saying "what the tall bird over there, nah she's my sister honest!"

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  48. I think he's saying 'Now ladies. Have you made your minds up? Have you had your moment of clarity? Is it me or is the cards?'
    How lovely to have such a close knit team to work with.

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  49. In the second photo he is saying: " No my name is Steve, I am from England, and am no relation to "The Hoff" Sorry,but I trust you will still buy something"

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  50. What a lovely team you have! The table must bring back oodles of memories.
    I think he might be saying "so many of you want to take me home Barb thinks an auction is in order! " xxx

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  51. And what a pleasure it has been working with him these last few nights. Great team. Wonderful company! See you soon my lovely. i should probably get some sleep before Dorothy O'Clock <3

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  52. Hi Barb, what a beautiful blog post, families that support each other are so strong. Memories are made with those you love. And the saying also goes "friends are the family you choose yourself". I think Steve is saying "Well, what can I offer that will persuade you to buy more than one". Have a great day. Bx

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  53. Hi Barb, how interesting is this post today, so wonderful to see all the memories you have and to know how Clarity started all those years ago, to me it is what families are all about, and it is a credit to your Mum and Dad the way you have all be brought up, love it.

    Stay safe, healthy and happy, hugs, June Smith xxx

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  54. Hello Barbara

    What a lovely blog, today. Looking at the photos it looks like you might have to 'raise the roof' in more ways than one to accommodate Steve. How lovely to have him with you full time.

    Love
    Roz.x

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  55. By goodness he is a big lad!! I love to see something used for all its worth - and if that table could talk what would it tell - lots of history I bet. Much love Jayne

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  56. I think Steve is saying, " I make things last ladies, you should see the bench I built!"
    Gayle x

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  57. I think he's saying "Is she easy going? Well I guess that depends who you speak to!"

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  58. I think he's saying, "Imaginarhyme that transports you in time from Gills to Cale to Kent. Twenty five years of laughter and tears what wisdom have these years lent. I'm still a giant, still scaring the client, even when standing half bent.

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

Barb x