Sunday, 31 July 2016

Keep your scraps! A step by step xx

Hi there!
Sunday and all is well.

“We’ll go for our walk at 12.30” said Dave,
“and we can go for lunch to the Boarshead.”

“Lovely,” said she, “Just an hour to do my blog then...”

So whilst he took the van back to work,
laden with workshop stock,
she skipped upstairs to her art-room, and wondered what she could do in the holy mess that was her creative space....

She looked at the pile of stuff in front of her,
that had been accumulating over the past fortnight, 
as she had been trundling back and forth to the workshops...

Then she saw something that had real potential!

A scrap of copy paper ,
where she had been rolling paint off the brayer for some other artwork.

So she set to work.
Found a little square canvas board - the smallest 4" x 4".
Perfect size for a mini piece.

When she turned the scrap over, she found another print.
“Whatever,”she thought, “let’s keep going....”

So she cut the scrap to size,

brushed Mod Podge over the front of the board.

Stuck down the scrap,

Snipped the corner and used Mod Podge to seal the wrap around.

Perfect little base for something.
She liked that the blue houses from the back were peeping through too, and decided to log that thought for another day...

 She went to her stash of sentiments and dug out one of her favourites by her shero, Maya Angelou.
People will forget.

She decided she needed something delicate,
so looked in her flowerstamp stash for her Poppies set.

A white pencil to highlight the flowers.

And then to finish, she attached the little canvas board

to the next size up, 6" x 6"

Signed it for good measure, with a black biro

and was happy with the result.

Just in time for a walk through the woods to the pub for lunch.

Love & Peace,


Saturday, 30 July 2016

And breathe....

Thanks for popping in!

This afternoon we waved goodbye to another smashing 
bunch of ladies at the Crowborough Retreats.
It was great to have supper with these guys 
at the lovely Spa Hotel last night too.

Super food, great service.
And very reasonable too, when you consider the ambience!

Emptied the crafty hall today in record time, 
with the help of a few good people.
Susan Marsden is a dab hand with a broom, I can tell you!

And now I can assure you,
I am absolutely cream-crackered.

Isn’t that always the way?!
As soon as you sit down it hits you.
But I am very happy with the way the retreats have gone thus far.
I just hope folks got what they came for. 

Now we have a week to prep for TV next Sunday and Monday.
Wait till you see the newest Groovi Plates, 
designed by Linda Williams.
Ooh La La !!!!
Absolutely fantasticc. And a lot of fun too.

Then Tina Cox has pulled all stops
and created another amazing pair of New Pattern Grids.
It has to be seen to be believed!

Our new Colouring Books have finally been completed. 
So they will be showcased in a very lovely special collection, 
starting Sunday 7th August at 8pm.
Then another week to get some big wheels turning,
then back to the Rugby Club for one more week of retreats. 

By that time I think I shall be right ready for another holiday!

Can I be excused from making a card this evening 
please Miss?
You can get too much of a good thing too you know!

It’s time to kick back, enjoy a cuppa in the garden,
and reflect on the last couple of weeks with Dave.

Tomorrow I’ll get back on the horse and do something cool.
I’ve already got something in mind!!
And now I’ve got a pair of extra-strong magnifying specs, 
things are going to improve no end round here!!!!

Until tomorrow 
Love & Peace,


Friday, 29 July 2016

Ooh la la - Supper at the Spa!!!

Hi there!
Thanks for dropping in.

We’re off to the Spa Hotel in Tunbridge Wells this evening.

No, not just Dave and I for a romantic, candlelit dinner!
There are 25 of us from the retreats having supper together. 
Pics to follow....

I feel bad that this is the first time I’ve socialised 
with our guests in a fortnight, but in all honesty, 
the tooth saga has been pretty unpleasant, 
and all I’ve wanted to do is come home and sleep. 
It’s still playing up!
Kept going every day, but ran out of steam by early evening.

I’m sure folks understand. 
One more day to go tomorrow, 
and then we complete the first 2 rounds of retreats!
Back in a fortnight for the 3rd and final bash this year.

It has been particularly enjoyable this year for me, 
despite the toothhurty. 
Maybe I’m just getting older, 
maybe it’s just that I know most guests now.
We really do seem to attract lovely people!

If you were around this week, you may have met our lovely Mel, 
she who illustrates so many of our stamps, stencils and Groovi images. I thought it would be fun for her to actually play with some of the things she designs! 
She also gave us a very neat demonstration with her cartograph, 
the drawing instrument she uses.
 It was fascinating. 
And oh boy! Did she have a blast!

Here we see her pulling a Gel Plate print for the first time.
The guy in the photo is lovely Ken Kilminster, 
one of my oldest, dearest friends. 
It was Ken who helped me figure out where to start in the British Craft Industry when I came back from America over 20 years ago. 
In fact, Ken and I used to run workshops together back in the 90’s !


The Top Banana Parching World rocked up on the same days:
Linda Williams, Pat Murphy and Tina Cox.
What a scream!

I thought our little Groovi session might be rather a yawn for them,
so I put them to work, teaching us the ropes!
Oh yes, they know their stuff alright, and were more than happy to help us mere mortals with our whitework and picot.

But take them off parchment and give them a canvas!

You should have seen (and heard) our traditional parching buddies when we got the paint out. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! Hilarity with Clarity!

Ken and Mel said they hadn’t laughed so much in years. 
Apparently Linda just kept cleaning everything!
Her hands, the brayer, the table, her hands again.
I found her in the ladies scrubbing the paint off her fingers too!
I love these people!

Many thanks to Dave for stepping in with the blog yesterday.
The three superstar parchers aren’t here often or together that often, so we made the most of it and had an important meeting.
Watch this Groovi space....

But now I must dash and get ready for dinner. 
The Spa Hotel really is excellent. 

If you ever fancy a break,
you should look it up.
I’m thinking of booking us in for a weekend some time, 
just for the experience!

Until tomorrow,

Love and Peace,

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Take over Bid on the Blog! Step aside Gray!

Hi there.
Thursdays Blog is something Blue !
Dave ’ere!
In Barb’s absence, ie: she’s out on the town….No seriously though, she has asked me to step in for this evening and write something for her Blog (She has a meeting involving eating tonight).

“It will be a pleasure”, says I, then realising that really I should be making a card, getting Groovi with some expert parchment craft or simply getting to grips with those lovely canvas boards and chalky paints ! 

Well although I did get an Art O-level, and enjoy doodling; I didn't follow it through to college .
No, instead I went down the Music route, and that’s where I get my creative fix…so much so, that I need some every day !
Whether I’m playing it on a guitar, or listening to it, music can take me just about anywhere. 
How many of us can recall a memory by the music of the time, or can change a feeling with music?

This led me to wonder ( there is a point to all this ) 
where the expression ‘the blues’ came from.
Why do people say “I feel blue” or “Everybody’s got the blues”? 
In fact, a whole genre of music is simply called the “Blues”….

Here are a couple of possible definitions …..

Miles Davis - Blue in Green

If you feel blue, you are feeling sad or unwell, mainly associated with depression or unhappiness.
The use of blue to mean “sad” dates from the late 1300s. 
There are many references as to where this expression came from, some being:

This is because blue was related to rain, or storms, and in Greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying), and a storm when he was angry. 
Kyanos was a name used in Ancient Greek to refer to dark blue tile (in English it means blue-green or cyan). 

The phrase "feeling blue" is linked also to a custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port.

These seem pretty plausible as possible origins.

Dorothy Moore - Misty Blue 

So “enough of the blues” I say, 

lets have a Blog Giveaway !

Simply copy/paste the first two lines of the limerick below, and add the rest; we will choose a winner for the wittiest on Monday.
That winner will receive a £20.00 gift voucher !!

There once was a woman from Kent
To the Clarity Workshops she went….

Good Luck !

Peace and love   ——  David.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Random Acts of Kindness

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Sorry I am so late blogging again today.

Had an important supper date with some special people
who aren’t in town very often.
We spent the time hatching a brilliant Groovi plan -
to be continued tomorrow evening!

You know I sometimes use the expression,
“We are much greater than the sum of our parts”?
Well, believe you me, each one of these ladies is formidable,
but put them together and they are a force to be reckoned with!

More will be revealed.....

So to the blog.
In the wake of all the violent atrocities which have been ripping the world apart recently, it is not difficult to become sad and negative.
Good grief! It’s all too dreadful! It beggars belief!

But I do believe that we attract what we emit. 
It’s called the Law of Attraction.
So if we emit fear and shock because of evil events, 
then we attract even more fearful, shocking events.

Perhaps, if it is possible, we should focus our minds on positive 
and not negative things, on kindness not cruelty.

Indiscriminate, random acts of kindness are a brilliant way to release positive energy. 

Lovely Brenda M talked about RAKs yesterday, about Random Acts of Kindness, and I think she is absolutely right. 

So imagine if we doubled our efforts?!

If each one of us made a decision 
to do two kind things for somebody else every day,
- for a stranger, for a friend, for an animal - 
I think we would make a difference.

I believe it would help at different levels too,
apart from redirecting the energy of the universe!

There’s nothing quite like putting a smile on somebody else’s face;
especially when it is in response to an unexpected act of kindness.

During the retreats these past days, our crafting friends have given Dave and myself the most thoughtful, considerate presents. It’s not only the fact that somebody would go to the trouble of wrapping a gift or making a card - it’s the thoughtfulness, the amount of actual thought which has gone into the gifts! You know that these generous people really took time to consider you, to think about you. And that feels so good. 

But Random Acts of Kindness need not be material.
You can give your time, you can lend a hand,

Tell you what though - it feels extra good if you keep your kind deeds to yourself and don’t tell anybody what you have done. 

It’s one thing to talk about kind acts you have experienced;
it’s another to shout about what you have done 
and what a great guy you are!

So how about it?
How about we make a pledge here, 
starting tomorrow, to do 2 random acts of kindness 
for somebody else every day?

Who’s in?
It starts with me.
I’m in, and I mean it. 
Who’s with me?
Brenda M, Barb,

Hands up.
Positive Energy has to rise.
Copy this and paste it 

Love and Hugs and Peace,

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

I have no Words.

Hello there.
Thanks for popping in.
Came home from a lovely day with a smashing team 
at Crowborough
to shocking news of the 84 year old French priest, 
who was murdered during this morning’s mass.
They slit his throat in front of his congregation 
and took 4 others hostage. 

What a mad mad mad world this is.

So I came away to my room, to think about that priest,
and the other poor souls involved in Rouen.

Words fail me.

I have to have a time of silence, 
to speak with the old man.
I need to tell him that 
I am so very very sorry that he suffered such a violent end.

Such a senseless, atrocious execution.

I am Priest.

Our good Brother Jacques Hamel.
May he rest in peace in heaven. 

I have put his memory respectfully by the window,
with the others who went before him.

I have no words.

Love & Peace.

Monday, 25 July 2016

A simple Canvas using Yesterday’s Leftovers...

Sorry I’m so late!
After a really lovely first day of Retreat No. 4,
 Jim, Paul, Dave and myself had a design meeting this evening.

Made a plan of where we’re headed for the next couple of months and allocated fresh ideas and artwork.
Compiled the next few TV shows 
and figured out what to showcase, what to put into production etc. 
We’ve got some really neat new things in the pipeline now!
What a fab team we do have.

But it got late, so I thought I would refer back to 
yesterday’s blog and continue from there -
it being Monday’s Blog is Flowers and Trees...

Remember the stencil prints we did?

I thought I would run with the Copy Paper one this evening.

What to do with a copy paper scrap....

Here is it...

Let’s wrap it around a 6" x 6" Canvas board.
I bet it looks great.

We have a great selection of Canvas Boards. 

Trim it back and cut the corners off.
You can see the blotted colour through the copy paper, 
so it’s easy to gauge how much to trim back.

Using a paint brush, paint Mod Podge Sealant directly onto the front of the canvas board.

Lower the canvas down onto the back of the artwork,
flip it over and rub the front.
You can use a brayer to flatten it completely, too.

Flip it over again, and add Mod Podge to the flaps 
before you fold them over.
Really easy and very effective with copy paper.

Look how smart this looks!
See how all the wrinkles disappeared?
When the Mod Podge dried, they disappeared. 

Let’s mount it on the next size up canvas board, 
using a double-sided Clarity Adhesive sheet.

How easy was that?!
If I saw that in a little gallery, I’d buy it. 
I really would. 

I think the Gallery ambience would definitely help....


and now it’s

Love and Peace,