Thursday, 27 June 2013

Spotlight on Theresa Pace - Top 5 from challenge 3


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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We thought it would be nice to have spotlight posts throughout the month dedicated to the top 5 from challenge three "IT'S ALL IN THE SENTIMENT".  We hope you enjoy reading about our crafters and maybe it could be you next month.



Hello, I'm Theresa a mother of two boys that keep me on my toes.  I first discovered paper crafting when I was on maternity leave with my first son.  From then my addiction has grown and taken over both myself and our house.

I've always crafted in one shape or another ever since I was a child.  I remember knitting, crocheting and tapestries, however what I really aspired to was to be able to paint.  As a child I used to watch my mum paint, it was something she used to do on a Sunday afternoon.  She'd get her easel and paints out and I was mesmerised by her artists palette and oil paints.  I loved looking at all the different colours and shades you could obtain by mixing them together.  Alas, I still can't paint but I love colouring and I find myself absorbed in this process if left to my own devices.  I forget everything and many times I don't even stop for a drink.  When I colour it transports me back to those warm afternoons when I'd be in the yard with my mum whilst she painted.  I find I hold my pen funnily, more like a brush and I tend to use strokes rather than continuous lines.

Since I've discovered Clarity stamps my addiction has flourished and I think it's all because it taps into my childhood memories.  I find myself buying stamps because I can see pictures in my head and I know what I want to do with them. That doesn't mean I always do it, sometimes I could have had a stamp for months before I use it!

My two biggest enemies are impatience and perfectionism, they don't go very well together.  So this hobby of mine can be very frustrating at times but then I'm also headstrong and won't let it beat me.  All I can add is that it keeps me sane as I have a stressful job, so I eagerly await my days off so I can be transported into a different world that helps me recharge my batteries and continue dealing with the everyday challenges.

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Here's Theresa's card using the shell corner to
form a frame around her verse


Theresa entered the challenge via email as she doesn't have
a blog so you could do the same too!

Thank you for sharing your story with us Theresa

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Send your entries to us at:

Claritystampchallenge@hotmail.com

You don't have to miss out because you don't have a blog!

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xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx


Monday, 24 June 2013

Spotlight on Angela Simpson - Top 5 from challenge 3


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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We thought it would be nice to have spotlight posts throughout the month dedicated to the top 5 from challenge 3 "IT'S ALL IN THE SENTIMENT".  We hope you enjoy reading about our crafters and maybe it could be you next month.



Hi, my name's Angela and I live near Reading in Berkshire.  I've been crafting almost since I was knee  high to a grass hopper! My mum used to knit and sew when my sister and I were young and I was keen to follow her lead.  She taught me by making outfits for my dolls, but as I grew older my dolls were left with a dated wardrobe whilst I spent time on outfits for me.  When I moved into my own property I also made curtains and other home furnishings.

My sister moved to Florida back in the 1980's and on the numerous visits to her I became hooked on cross stitch and sewed many a picture.  The biggest undertaking being a bridal scene, complete with seed pearls for my parents 40th wedding anniversary.

My addiction with card making first started when the company I was working for made my role redundant about eight years ago.  My artistic sister had been making cards for a while and with unexpected time on my hands I decided to have a go too. The rest, as they say, is history.  I now have oodles of crafting goodies and make all my cards.  I have also put together a couple of scrapbooks and have piles of photos waiting to find their way into a scrapbook.  I've set up a blog and also started running classes and hope to be able to do a lot more of these.

I first came across Barbara and Clarity Stamp when I was urged to watch Create and Craft by a fellow craft addict.  Well I was mesmerised, especially by Barbara's skills with a brayer! Whilst at the NEC a few years ago I went straight to the Clarity stand and spent ages watching Barbara and was given membership to the New Design Club as a Christmas present from my parents.  What a present that has proven to be.  I joined Barbara's workshop at West Meon last year and was blessed to be able to attend one of the retreats at Cowden this year which was great fun and very instructive.  I've got lots of Clarity stamps and am venturing into the world of Gelli plates and paint which is testing my need for perfection!

I was amazed and have to admit to being elated at being chosen as one of the top five and it has given me more confidence to progress the crafty side of my life.  Thank you to everyone who commented on my card, it meant a lot to me.

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Here's Angela's card which highlights her
favourite Clarity verse and the leafy swirl
which frames it superbly 


If you'd like to see more of Angela's work please
pop over to her blog and take a look


Thanks for sharing your crafting background Angela!



xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Spotlight on Ruth McQuinn - Top 5 from challenge 3


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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We thought it would be nice to have spotlight posts throughout the month dedicated to the top 5 from challenge three "IT'S ALL IN THE SENTIMENT".  We hope you enjoy reading about our crafters and maybe it could be you next month.



Hi, my names's Ruth and I live in Bristol.  I've been crafting in one form or another for most of my life but 'properly' for maybe 4.  I've always done a bit of knitting, a tiny bit of sewing and I really got into home décor stencilling a few years back!

What got me started (this time around) was working on an IT project (I can see puzzled faces)...  I had to arrange a 'train the trainer' session so that our technical leads on the project, most of whom were really quite technical accountant types, could design their training sessions and deliver them.  They were all told that having received the training they would have to deliver a teach back to their trainer, the Programme Manager and me, amongst others.  One of the leads started off her session by explaining that she wasn't in a position to deliver the content of her real sessions, so she was going to apply the training techniques she'd learnt on another topic, which was... tea bag folding!  Well, the look on all the 'trainees' faces, including mine, was just amazing!

Jackie's session was brilliant, both from a training perspective and for me an eye opening 'here's a hobby for me' perspective.  I was hooked!  Not remotely interested in the tea bag folding (sorry tea bag folders), but she brought along glitter pens, peel offs, fancy paper and well the rest is history.  I hit a big store who were extremely helpful in parting me from about £300 for a Big Shot, a few dies, lots of paper and some glitter.  I was on the way.

Of course all our tastes move on and evolve, the next step was discovering the style I wanted as mine and I think this is still evolving.  I remember going to a show at Newbury Race course and seeing Barbara demonstrate Clarity stamps and thinking 'hmm this looks interesting'.  Then again at the NEC where she probably thought I was some sort of mad stalker as I stood in front of her watching brayering for probably an hour and a half.  I suspect there may have been some dribble involved too!  I came away with one of her A6 cards which is still on my wall as a momento.  I joined the New Design Club and have a good selection of stamps, they are really amazing to use and I wouldn't be without them.  I love the silhouettes which create a story when they are on a background.

Now I'm starting to get the Gelli plate bug, another use for the brayer!  More ink and paint under my fingernails!  Joy!  Moving away from straight card making and into more home décor pieces.

I was so surprised to find myself in the top five and I've definitely only been 'playing' until February this year when I got a proper craft room and set up my blog.  To have work recognised so soon is just amazing!  Hopefully the start of changing my work/life balance.

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Here's Ruth's fob watch which has been
decorated using lots of different techniques.  All of
those hours stalking Barbara have obviously paid off!


If you'd like to see more of Ruths work please pop over
to her blog and have a look around


Thanks for sharing your crafting background Ruth!



xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx



Sunday, 16 June 2013

Spotlight on Emma Burns - Top 5 from challenge 3


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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We thought it would be nice to have spotlight posts throughout the month dedicated to the top 5 from challenge three "IT'S ALL IN THE SENTIMENT".  We hope you enjoy reading about our crafters and maybe it could be you next month.



Originally from Edinburgh, I now live in the little valley town of Darvel in East Ayrshire.  I'm married with three grown up children (no grandchildren as yet, but we take solace in our two cats).

My whole family is 'arty' in one way or another and we were all encouraged as children to be creative.  I, myself, was never any good at painting but became a dab hand at sketching especially with nude models.  At one time I had my pictures on display at home but a few of them disappeared quite mysteriously so now they are hidden away.  I studied art and interior design at college but went on to do a little bit of private tutoring when I left college.

As the years have gone by I kept up with my drawing and encouraged my own children.  I had my own cake business for over 20 years but retired early due to ill health.  I love making flowers and cakes but my highlight was when I made a singer sewing machine cake, someone thought it was real and tried to pick it up and a florist wanted to know why the bride hadn't asked her to supply the real roses on the wedding cake.  She wouldn't believe me when I told her that they were made from icing!

In 2006 I moved here to the west coast of Scotland and was introduced to crafting on a different level by my good friend Irene and she in turn introduced me to Create and Craft due to the fact that there was this brill lady on who could do amazing things with a brayer.  What's a brayer I asked her? Well I'd never heard of one!  So we watched a recoding of this lady and oh my, not only could she do amazing things with a brayer, but she made it look easy and fun and artistic.  I wasn't brave enough to try it though at that time.  I started making cards for family and friends, but my medium was parchment.  I just love working with it, it's so versatile and the results can be amazing.  

Since then I discovered that the lady from the TV (yes you've guessed) is Barbara Gray and she has this great company with fantastic stamps and best for me was that she had produced a range of stamps taking inspiration from the artist Alphonse Mucha. From then on I was hooked and a little bit in love.  Now I have a dedicated craft room filled with ink, paper, card etc, but my pride and joy are my Clarity Stamps!  I add to them all the time and am a member of the New Design Club, the best birthday present ever.

I'm lucky enough to be able to sell my cards, gift boxes and bags and use the money to buy more Clarity stamp.  I have recently started a blog so that I can share what I've made and also to try and pass on some useful tips.  I'm totally hooked on card making and genuinely feel that I've improved because of Clarity stamps and Barbara Gary.  I've even been brave enough to do a bit of teaching for our local girl guides and you should see the look on their faces when I showed them how to use perfect pearls, it was fun and I was asked to go back too.

I was so chuffed to be picked for the top 5 for May's challenge, I've never entered anything like this before so double chuffed especially after seeing all of the lovely cards everyone else made.  I now have to come up with something for the next challenge since I'm now hooked.

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Here's Emma's gorgeous monotone card.  Can't you just
picture yourself sat there listening to that birdsong?


If you'd like to see more of Emma's work please pop over
to her new blog and have a look around


Thanks for sharing your crafting background Emma!



xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx



Monday, 10 June 2013

Spotlight on Sue Cramp - Top 5 from challenge 3


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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We thought it would be nice to have spotlight posts throughout the month dedicated to the top 5 from challenge three "IT'S ALL IN THE SENTIMENT".  We hope you enjoy reading about our crafters and maybe you could be you next month.



I live in lovely south Norfolk with my husband Barry and we both work voluntarily as priests in the 6 villages which are part of our group.  We also enjoy gardening and grow almost all of our own vegetables.

As a child I loved making patterns with a Spirograph but otherwise you really couldn't call me a crafter, my worst Christmas and birthday presents being knitting and sewing kits!  At school my artwork and needlework always seemed to be somewhat lacking in talent.

As an adult I discovered that I could knit, sew and crochet and I made several of my own clothes.  I also loved doing cross stitch and many of the family have some of my efforts in their homes.  More recently I've found that I really enjoy making cards.  It began when we first bought a freeview box and I was flicking through the channels and found people demonstrating card making.  I decided that I'd like to have a go and bought some card, patterned paper and toppers.  Although I wouldn't describe myself as an artist I found that I could bring all these things together to make a card I was willing to send to someone!

Then I watched Barbara Gray demonstrate her techniques and have been hooked ever since.  I was amazed that she could start with a blank card, stamps and ink and create such beautiful artwork.  I now watch all Barbara's shows for inspiration.  Joining the New Design Club over a year ago has also taught me lots of new techniques and I've thoroughly enjoyed the Cowden retreats in 2012 and 2013.  Earlier this year I discovered Clarity Stampers East which are workshops run by Janet Pring and I try to get to as many as I can as this gives me another wonderful source of inspiration plus some lovely cards to take home.

I've only recently discovered the online world of blogging and competitions and it's great to have a whole new crafty world to explore.  I'm in the process of creating my own blog and would be delighted if you came to have a look.

The Clarity Stamp Challenge has encouraged me to develop my paper crafting skills and to try out new things.  I often wish I had more time for crafting and must set aside more time to get ink and glue on my fingers.  I made this card for our eldest daughter's wedding anniversary and was delighted to find that it had been chosen in the top five.

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Here's the card that Sue made for her eldest daughter's
wedding anniversary.  She's certainly picked up lots
of tips and techniques hasn't she?


If you'd like to see more of Sue's work please pop over
to her new blog and have a look around


Thanks for sharing your crafting background Sue!



xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Clarity on tour at the Doncaster Dome


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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It's show time again, but this time it's not on the TV it's in Doncaster on Sunday 9th June.  Doors open at 10.00 and don't close until 16.00 so that should give you plenty of time to enjoy all of the brilliant demonstrations.


Barbara, Maria Simms and Annette Lee will be there along with Dave and the rest of the Clarity gang.  Will you?  

If you want to join in the fun pop along to:

The Dome (Lakeside)
Bawtry Road
Doncaster
DN4 7PD

I'm sure Barbara will be demo'ing the Gelli plate and you'll be able to see first hand how it's done and ask questions too!  You ought to check out the new stencils, did you see them on Create and Craft last weekend?  Here's a sneeky peek so that you know what you're looking for:

Double Bubble stencils



Ocean Swirl stencils


Have fun if you go and we'd love to share your photo's if you get a chance to have one taken with Barbara or one of the gang.  Maybe you'll get a shot of Barbara in action!




xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx



Friday, 7 June 2013

Cowden Retreat - May 2013


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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We've got a report below from Yvonne Froelich who attended one of the Cowden retreats which were held at the end of May.

The Cowden retreats are held over 2 days with different content on both days whereas all other workshops are for one day only, there maybe two in the same location, but they will have the same content.  There are only a few spaces left, but you need to be quick, so please pop over to the Clarity website to find out more details.

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COWDEN - 2013

Yet another successful Clarity Retreat, unfortunately we weren't blessed with the sunshine this year.

Once again the Clarity team had worked so hard to make the two days a real treat, and what a fabulous job they did!


Lots of friends, old and new, attend these events and the first project we were all treated to was the beautiful kingfisher stamp which we embossed onto pieces of white and black card and coloured in with perfect pearls.  This project was absolutely stunning.


I won't list all the projects individually but we were treated to the pointillism tree stamps, the new foxglove stamps, Gelli plate practise, Angelina fibres and the alcohol inks on laminator pouches as Barbara demonstrated recently on Create and Craft.


As usual we took half of our classes with Paul Church and the other half with Barbara - they were certainly both on form and we had a lot of fun and laughter along the way.


The Clarity shop was on site creaking with lovely goodies, we were like kiddies in a sweet shop!

The evenings were spent together with good friends, food and drink and we all went away with many happy memories to keep us going until the next one.......

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We hope that you've enjoyed Yvonne's insight into the Cowden retreat this year, we'd love to hear from you if you've attended one of the other retreats.



xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx



Tuesday, 4 June 2013

June Clarity Weekend


For our current challenge "MR & MRS" please click here

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The Clarity marathon continued on Sunday with another 3 hours of Barbara on our screens to tease us with all of those delightful stamps and who can resist with all of the gorgeous artwork from the design team to show us what we could create with the stamps too?  Create and Craft didn't made it any easier to resist with the flexi basket paying half now and the other half next month did they?  So who was tempted?  What did you buy?  Did you buy more because of the flexi basket?  I won't tell if you won't!

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If you want a reminder of what was on Sunday's shows we've got all of the stamps listed below along with samples of the DT's artwork too.  We've even linked the stamps to the Clarity website to make it even easier to shop, aren't we kind to you eh?

(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)






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(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)



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(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)


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(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)


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(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)




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Double Bubble Stencil:
9" x 11" and 7" x 7"
(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)


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Ocean Swirl Stencil:
9" x 11" and 7" x 7"
(click on the titles above to take you to the Clarity website)


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We hope you enjoyed watching the shows, that you've picked
up some new techniques and are rushing off to your craft
space to try them out.

We'd love to see your artwork on our Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/claritystamp



xx Happy crafting and Clarity hugs xx