P for Pick.

P for Pick.

Hello there!
Thanks for stopping by.
Tuesday’s Blog rolls back the hours, takes a look at the business aspect of crafting, and where Clarity came from. It’s also the day we open up a can of P’s.
So are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s pick P for Pick.
When my kids, Grace and Mark, were little, our living room used to look like a bomb had hit it most days. Toys EVERYWHERE!
There was a Leggo table in the middle of the room, 
a Punch & Judy Theatre which my brother had built them, 
with loads of puppets,
a bookcase full of lovely books,
wooden jigsaw puzzles,
a doll’s house,
pens and pencils and colouring books and paper,
a huge chest full of fancy dress.
There were even some stamps and ink pads…
to name but a few things!
It was chockablock!
It wasn’t a particularly stylish room. 
But man! Did we have some fun!
They loved dressing up!
sometimes posh…
sometimes dramatic…
but mostly just clowning around!
There was method in my madness. Children pick what they want to play with when they are ready to play with it. 
So I made loads of different games and activities available to them every day, and they PICKED what they wanted to do. Everything got played with, but in their order of preference – not mine.
In other words, when they were at the right developmental stage to tackle writing, the pens and paper would already be familiar to them, and they would intrinsically go to them. 
I didn’t ram it down their necks; not at all! But when I noticed that they were curious or intrigued by a certain activity, 
I was there to help. 
I wrote a poem back then, 
The Child’s Request.
What would you wish for a gift, my child?
What would you wish for a gift?
Your time in a box just for me, you know,
Tied up with a bright yellow bow.
With a book and a lap,
And an afternoon nap,
Tied up with a bright yellow bow.
In this fast-moving and materialistic world we live in, sometimes the most precious commodity – TIME – is the thing we have least of, and the thing we give least of to those we love. 
On the subject of Time, the other thing I noticed back then was what a toy cost, versus the hours of interest it yielded. The all time favourite was the wire contraption with the rings and balls. Remember this one?
So back to P for Picking. 
The reason I mention my approach to toys in the home, is that I have the same approach in our business.
Many of you who follow this blog will notice that it is very varied. 
That I jump from Stamps to stencils, from ink to paint,
from the Gelli plate to brayering, from simple to challenging, 
from sale to offer – and back again.
So it’s time to clarify. 
I believe that if there are loads of different ideas and techniques on offer, there will be something or even maybe some things which appeal to you. One of the projects or topics may even motivate you to try something new. Not everything will be your bag, as they say.
 Maybe later, maybe never. 
But if I set an idea out for you, every single day, something, sometime may trigger you to have a play, and learn something new. You pick!
One man’s flower is another man’s weed, and whatever you think, somebody else will be at a different place with their art; will see something different. 
The trick for me is to strike a good balance, where there’s enough for everybody to pick from. 
Think of this blog like the living room when the kids were small. The brilliant thing is you never have to clear up! Every post is stored, so even if you don’t fancy trying a particular technique or arty trick, you can always go back to it – should you change your mind. Or rather, should your mind change you!
So what I am proposing is this: 
pick what you like and leave the rest on this blog-shelf. 
It’s not going anywhere; it will be there tomorrow, next week, next month.
And for those of you who enjoy the DVD/TV approach, we are almost ready to add YouTube webisodes to the mix! 
I for one learn best from watching hands-on demos.
What about you?  
much love

77 thoughts on “P for Pick.

  1. Webisodes sounds like another brilliant idea. Can't wait for those.
    What a wonderful childhood your children had. Grace and Mark look so sweet and I live your philosophy xx

  2. Good morning i agree the best way to learn is to play, and cant wait to see youtube i have all the dvds it is so much easier to learn when you can craft along. Thankyou x

  3. Hello Barb, another inspiring and insightful post, you do give us the choice and the idea, how can we fail to want to try. I for one, want to try everything, just need the time, and often go back on the blog and look for something specific. Can't wait for webisodes, that would be fab. Bx

  4. Ooooo you tube sounds fantastic, can't wait, I think I like to see the demos better than anything! Great blog today again not only do I learn but it also brings back memories of when my girls were small and had toys everywhere x

  5. I love your 'toy box'! And I want to play with everything! My favourite game is sharing, crafting with friends! I'm the youngest of six children, our first life lesson was sharing… So that is what I love the best! You share with us everyday and, although not necessarily making the same as you, I love to give them all a go! So, from me to you… Thank you for sharing your toy box with us x

  6. I love the blog Barbara & it's so true to keep variety and an open mind to try new things. I must admit to attending one of your workshops during which we used the gelliplate & I loved it so I bought it and it's still in my list of things I need to have a go with – that was 6 months ago. I just need to find the time to have a play.

  7. Hi Barb
    What a great idea. I already go back to past posts on your blog for ideas and techniques and to have webisodes on youtube would be an added bonus. 16 month old grandson for the day tomorrow so our house will resemble yours when Grace and Mark were small – toys everywhere and our complete attention as and when he needs it.

  8. Morning Barbara, another lovely story today. And you're right, it's nice to be able to choose what we wish when we're ready for it. And have I read well……You Tube??????? Yes please!!!!! xx

  9. Fantastic idea. It is thanks to blogs like your that I am picking up things I bought ages ago and never used and am finally starting to play! I record all your tv stuff and the video idea is super

  10. Hi Barbara. I feel I´m like a butterfly fluttering between one technique and then another. Some I stop on for a while and others I pass over but it´s great to be given the choices.
    Love the idea of the video.
    Love Val in Spain x

  11. Hello Barbara, I wish you were an advisor to the Education Secretary, that is the best thing a child can have, plenty of resources and time to do it their way. It is also the best thing teachers can have. I am up for video tutorials as I too find it easier to see how things are done, so thank you in advance. x

    1. Pippa, you are right. Barbara's approach would help so many children and teachers, giving them the time and the chance to experiment and learn for themselves when they are ready, not when the government says they should. xx Maggie

  12. You are right about picking and choosing the things you like. I have often gone back to a blog from a while ago to try something that I didn't do at the time. I think my craft habits are the same as I always go back to things I used and try and incorporate them into what I do today. The video idea is fantastic! Watching and then doing is great for me as I can do it alongside you. Xx

  13. Hi Barb – your descriptions of your living room and the wonderful pictures does remind me of when I myself was small – happy hours playing in my Nans kitchen with the pots and pans and with my Grandad in his shed where he made us all wooden things such as stilts, at home with my brothers with their toy cars and action men, and then my own kids – happy days.
    You are right we have the Power to Pick – even if you only buy one of a certain thing be it a stencil or a type of stamp (i.e. flower versus tree) and you try – if its for you – you go with it – if not you leave it either until you are ready or to pass to some other crafty friend. I love to try all different things – so the GP will be on my horizon! Currently I am doing a bit of paper mache – just a whim of an old memory of something that I am trying to replicate – might turn out naff but I have had fun doing it!!! Am hoping the stencils will work for me on decorating it!!!! Might not – but who cares – its just been great doing it! You bring us a range of things – its great watching you venture in to different mediums and tools so Keep Calm and Carry On I say xxx

    1. PS – very much a visual learner too – which is why I love watching you and going to the Peterborough work shop – you are never too old to learn and I say bring it on!

  14. Lovely pics Barbara and happy memories for you, you who have always been creative!
    Sometimes funds dictate what we can try practically but your ideas are always food for our creative journey.
    Roll on YouTube time!!

  15. O I do so love Tuesdays, I love your blog full stop but there is something so special about sharing a glimpse into your world. I really enjoy your approach to trying a bit of this and that to see what clicks. I'm definitely a visual learner so I love your dvds and tv demos, so excited about the upcoming webisodes on Youtube, thank you so much for sharing xx

  16. Time to play, to learn, to develop new ideas and hopefully produce some lovely pieces of art work is definitely what I need…….so I've taking two days holiday this week for some much needed me time!

  17. Barbara.. I read a notice yesterday which says" There are too many tabs open in my brain", which is spot on for me and I suspect for many others..so your way suits us exactly.. As for the children, their development and toys.. I did the same as you and enjoyed their growing up immensly, I do so miss those days. My eldest grandson who us 17yrs was the same but by the time the youngest granddaughter was about 5 yrs it had all changed to technical stuff, which is great in itself but it excludes 'togetherness' and sadly this bright happy girl who is now 9yrs, isnt do joyful any more. I see this all around me. Hopefully this will change in time. Thank you Barbara for all you do with Clarity.

  18. I love the Tuesday blog. It always makes me think. I read your blog every day, sometimes I think ohh I'll give that a try but other times I think not sure if that is for me. But one thing I do know is that I always learn something which I think you should try and do every day. Can't wait for the you tube shows. Fantastic. Barb always available to watch – no longer having to wait for the first weekend each month. Hooray.

  19. My house was a mess all the time, health visitor turned up one day and I said sorry about the mess to which she replied , it looks good it means the kiddies are allowed to play and they worry more if it is always neat and tidy, that made my day and gave me the perfect excuse to be untidy all the time, still the same with the grandkids.

  20. I just wish I had the time, talent and resources to try everything you treat us to on this blog but I'll use your pick and mix idea to get the best from it that I can. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos with us and I look forward to the launching of your You Tube venture.
    Beryl xx

  21. All you say Barbara holds true today, overload a child / person with too much of one thing and they will probably move away. But given a choice and a little encouragement they learn and become well rounded. Valerie

  22. Good morning,
    I love these photos of the kids and the stories you are a terrific mom. I can't wait for the web lessons… Brilliant idea, I like to see how to do things too… Can't wait.

  23. Hi Barb,
    The videos sound great and I can't wait for them. I love the picture of you painting the faces of Grace and Mark – you look so happy! I think everything you have said today is so true and there are certainly things that I don't like and then others that really jump out at me when I think, I must try that – the Gelli plate and the stencils are 2 things that Spring to mind. Love them! I too am a visual learner, but also very much kinaesthetic – I love to try things hands on. Thanks for all the ideas and inspiration. Love Alison xx
    Ps my stamps have just arrived – they are divine, the birds are so beautiful!

  24. Hi Barbara. I agree with your philosophy wholeheartedly! When my children were younger we could only use the TV for watching video's (no TV reception at all). It was so good living in the countryside as they were safe to play in the fields and if the weather got really bad there was always paint , pencils and paper. If our youngest wanted to fill up her wellies or pram with mud on rainy days then that was fine too as it made her laugh. No two days were the same. With my crafting it is the same. I chop and change all the time. It is great reading your Blog Post, being reminded of techniques I had forgotten and being showed new ones. Webisodes…even better. Yes I think we have decided you must be superwoman to fit it all in. Thanks for sharing xxxxx

  25. You are so right to give us those choices. We are all individuals, and not many people acknowledge that fact and expect us to all do the same thing to the same standard. Years of teaching on top of some of my experiences in my own education taught me that we all have slightly different ways of learning too. Choices are important too, and I used to give the class a set of things that had to be done in the day, and they could choose what order to do it in. That was in addition to whole class work. Some of them would rush through the things they didn't like as much to give themselves extra time on their favourites, but they had choices (within the bounds that it all had to be done right) A friend of mine is a member of a male voice choir, and he has to learn his words as words with no music at all. I could not do that, I need the music from the beginning to "hang" the words on and associate them as a whole. Neither of us are wrong, we are just different. In the same way, some of us can follow written and illustrated instructions, some of us prefer watching a video, some of us are greedy and like both. We are all right for ourselves. Thank you for understanding that idea. That is the beauty of your approach. You allow us to choose our favourites, and to mix and match old favourites with new beauties. Choices again! xx Maggie
    PS Just off to see where the men think the water is coming from on my kitchen ceiling and wall.

  26. Brilliant blog Barbara thanks for sharing I like visual learning will be great I am 76now and the scenes in your house were mine 3children and minded 4ganchildren till school and I agree the most precious thing to give anyone is your time and making cards is just that for me
    Also Barbara we now have a great grandson who is autistic we now have to learn new things he can't speak he's 4and beautiful we have leant to sighn so we communicate its all new .love always June xxxxx

  27. well you give us lots to pick from and some of us will do one thing and others will do another – me I just love it all and so thankful for your amazing products which help this non artistic person create some passable stuff xx

  28. Barbara
    I've just discovered you have a blog???
    It's made my day, nay! my week. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. Barbara Gray on hand whenever I need your encouragement, humour and creativity.
    Thank you.
    I was going to put all sorts of complimentary things then thought it was a bit gushy so I'll just say:
    Thank you for being you.

  29. Hi Barbara. You have hit a nerve again with me. Time to get out the tissues, Your poem should be made compulsive reading for all new parents along with Ruth Hulburt Hamiltons "I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep"! So many parents now work them selves into the ground, they hardly get to see their children, except to drop them at child minders, nursery etc. early in the morning then pick them up in the evening just before putting them to bed. Why? So that thy can afford a big house, brand new cars, an expensive holiday and the latest gadgets and toys for themselves and the children. It is a crying shame because the children just want their time. I worked with under 5's all of my working life and saw this time after time. A cardboard box, the contents of your saucepan cupboard, some wooden spoons, a roll of old wallpaper, crayons and felt pens-depending on age- and you have happy children. (Go to any toy shop and try and find toys that don't need batteries these days! The tide is starting to turn though, more traditional toys are becoming more and more popular thank goodness) Another P is for Priorities- what is really important? I love the pics of your two. Our house was just the same, and is again when the granddaughters are here, ( face paints got even better when we found that Pampers(baby wipes) removed it so easily : ) ) I am very much a visual learner so love your tutorials with lots of pics. I just wish I could mark a paricular days blog so that I can find it easily. I get side tracked when I look back through your blogs looking for a particular technique : ) Thank you for another insight into your life. Take care.

  30. I love today's blog Barbara and wholeheartedly agree about giving time to our children. After all, they have opinions too and we should respect them. As a child we didn't have a TV and I spent hours with my mum playing games & it was a wonderful time. I must tell you this story. I have a four year old niece and my sister was telling her a couple of weeks ago that we didn't have a TV as children. Daisy thought about this for a moment and then said "Oh! so did you play on your Wii or your i-pad?" It did make me laugh – they have no idea about life back then! Pat x

  31. My living room is a bomb site every day, but my three year old son does have lots of fun playing with everything! He does have a set of alphabet rubber stamps which he loves as he loves anything with letters and numbers. I do have to keep the ink pad out of reach though, with the crayons, for supervised play otherwise the house would be completely redecorated! 🙂 I am encouraging him to get involved with card making, although I have learnt it only works when he wants to help and not necessarily when a card needs to be made! YouTube webisodes sound great, I can't wait! x

  32. Barbara. Can't wait for the YouTube webisodes!!!!! Whilst I appreciate that most of what you do is covered in your DVDs, often I only need "instruction" in one particular aspect – hoping the Clarity "windows" will fit the bit perfectly. Please, please, please, cover the gelli plate printing???? Love the theme of today's blog – your children were (are) adorable. Jean.x

  33. What a great blog post and I totally agree about the toys and your thinking. When our girls were small I had a very similar attitude.
    We disorders on you tube sounds brilliant I learn much better from watching someone do rather than from reading lots of words although I enjoy that too.
    Jackie x

  34. Morning Barbara,
    Wonderful insight! What is right for one person isn't always right for another.
    Choices, choices and you do it best.
    Lorna D

  35. great photos Barb – and time definitely is the most precious thing of all – sometimes I wonder why I spend so much of my spare time staring at a screen – but the friendship and joy that brings clearly has to be the reason – its all about balance isn't it? xx

  36. YouTube lessons fabulous something for everyone I look back on your blog to find the one I want to try out waiting for lessons to start on t v I record them too so can revisit when ever I want you give so much inspiration and so much of yourself and us clarity followers love it thank you Barbara for another daily blog xxx

  37. I LOVE YouTube video's! To be able to bring you into my house to teach me without having to tidy up first is GREAT!! Like you I feel watching instruction and maybe following along makes it stick in my head, if I get stuck later I can always come back to you. My son and I craft together, he's got a good eye for colour and an amazingly fresh imagination, he's truly inspirational at times.

  38. Love reading your blog, and look forward to the U-tube demos. I still work on the PICK method of crafting! My craft room has stamps, cds, computers (2 one for working on and one for watching Create and Craft demos!), knitting wool, felting wool, friendly plastic, jewellery stash, pens, sewing machine, and goodness knows what else. In the garden I have a Den for summer crafting and all my pain, canvasses and objects for altered art etc! and hopefully some more paverpol projects this year. Yes I like to try my hand at lots of crafts, so I never get bored – just Pick whatever suits my mood that day. (and of course I do have my third craft room – my kitchen! – where for years I created celebration cakes) . Retirement doesn't have enough hous in the day for me!

  39. Like the lady before me, I love your Blog. I'm terrible at Craft Club for saying 'well on Barbara's Blog on a day last month she demos this or that technique'. I love the step by step slowly as I go, sometimes I might not try a technique for months, then decide to use a process but can't remember how to do it and off I go again searching the 'blogs' . I'm looking forward to the 'You Tube' as well. I really appreciate the time and effort you take to make the demos so easy to follow. The toy pictures remind me so much of my own children playing, everything was everywhere, now it's second time around with my granddaughter, toys everywhere but mostly when I can't find her she's in the Study stamping and colouring in with my Promarkers! Keeps her quiet and busy for ages, most of all she loves Angelina fibres, but then I love to play with the fibres also, she stamps and layers and I get to iron!

  40. Thanks for sharing your stories Barbara – no wonder Grace ended up as an actress with all the dressing up and her own puppet theatre! I just had 3 thank you cards from my great niece – I sent down a box full of stickers and beads and gems from decluttering my craft room, and apparently she hasn't stopped sticking since! Really look forward to the video clips – great new idea. x

  41. A thought provoking Blog today I think Barbara, thank you. How very true, about the time being precious. Oh how I would do a few things very differently, still no point dwelling on the past. Do Grace and Mark know you are putting their photo's on here? I bet they would be cringing, but they are so lovely to see. I'm looking forward to the Webisodes! Wx

  42. Very enjoyable blog post. Your poem is so true lol. I have brought my girls up the same way and totally got the blog and what a wonderful way to run your business as we can learn so much from children x
    I am so looking forward to the webisodes on you tube. I cannot wait x

  43. Well said Barbara, your poem is beautiful, should be made into a stamp! Looks like your children had a great childhood with wonderful parents and now you are running a great business the same way, you can only succeed.

    Loved yesterdays post too, another great verse.

    Love & Hugs

    Jacquie J xxx

  44. My kids are much older than yours, but I notice that each time I go to the doctor's, all the kids in the waiting room want to play with a toy very similar to yours.

  45. Cannot wait Barbara ,would love to watch your demos love watching on CC as well ,Your children sound that they have had a great childhood growing up ,lovxxe that poem as well

  46. The pictures of Grace and Mark dressed as clowns made me smile. Two of my grandchildren have just visited to collect soft toy clowns I have just made for them. Like a tornado through the house , but great. I too love all sorts of craft , it is wonderful to have so much choice these days. I will appreciate the videos as well, always good to see a demo, I like to get hands on as well. My kids always had every toy in the box out, never a clear chair to sit on. We use to make a tent with blankets and chairs great fun, would keep them happy for hours. Great insight today thanks Lynne xxx

  47. Oh Barbara you are so good to us! I find your written step by step instructions very good and easy to follow/understand, likewise your dvd's, so the introduction of Webisodes will be great too-thank you!! x

  48. You are an inspiration barbara. I have been watching your shows since October and am hooked on your blog now too. I'm making the transition from scrapbooking so Sundays journaling products are just great. I've ordered a gellipad so I can experiment with my own background papers – and the odd stamp to have a go there too. I have never been arty but you have me looking at landscapes in new ways. My office window looks over to your old school at fort Pitt and I fund myself thinking about how you would stamp the clouds – I may have caught the stamping bug! Thank you!

  49. This is so true Barbara sometimes I love your tutorials sometimes I think I'm not sure it's for me but it's always there for me to try which is great and I thank you for that. Can't wait to see you on you tube !!! Loved the pictures of your babies xx

  50. Great blog! Thank you for giving us so much of your precious time, I look forward to you on C+C each month and can't wait for the webisodes. Brilliant pictures with your lovely children, you look fabulous and so happy being creative with them, precious memories for them to look back on. I love all your inspirational work, roll on you tube! X

  51. Hi Barbara,
    What a lovely blog today, I really look forward to reading it everyday. At last someone who realises that everyone learns in different ways, if only the education system realised that also children would do so much better at school. The pick and mix way of leaning is much better and has a wider sense of achievement.
    As for YouTube you are already there on one of the most viewed video's remember the shrink plastic demo with Dean? I haven't laughed so much in ages, well worth a revisit whenever you are feeling blue! Take care love Bev xxx

  52. Evening Barbara, I have to day that I too learn best from watching although having attended a couple of your workshops now (and another is in the pipeline too, can't wait !! ) that whenever I read your blog I can hear you actually instructing how things are to be achieved. Just follow the instructions in the step by steps and you really can't go wrong ! Everything is laid down methodically and the end result never fails to amaze me, I still stand back and think … Yes, I did do that ! What a great sense of achievement and inspiration you give us when we see that we can do these techniques. Another great blog, I love all the days but if I had to choose one day in particular it would be Tuesday. Thanks for sharing these lovely moments with us.

  53. Grace and Mark really look like they had a fun childhood, being an only child meant I very often had to amuse myself and I used to make my own entertainment by making dens with blankets off my bed and Mum's clothes horse which had been made for her by one of her Brother-in-laws when she got married. I really love the idea of Youtube videos as I love to watch your demonstrations and believe they will really compliment your blog.

  54. It is great to have a variety of techniques to watch even though I know they are not something I always want to try out myself. YouTube sounds an excellent idea, I am a visual learner which is why I always record your demos on my ancient but trust video recorder, so I can watch back things I want to try out whenever I want to. I'm on Granny duty tomorrow so the house will be turned into a playground but so what it all goes away again afterwards and we have a great time.

  55. I love the idea of webisodes Barbara, i'm sure they will complement your blog perfectly. It looks like your children enjoyed their childhood tremendously, and your ideas make perfect sense. At one time I thought I would never get interested in stamping, but now it is my favourite thing, so I am sure you are right about people's ideas changing and developing constantly and needing new challenges. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I look forward to your You Tube demos. x

  56. You should be bottled and sold as the best tonic on earth as that is what you are.
    As a kid I was fortunate to have the same sort of opportunity you gave your children and learnt so much because the opportunities there for me to explore , I loved making things and reading and still do .
    We all should be aloud to find our own natural level and it be celebrated , rather than being made in to something because it's felt best or better .
    I hope you realise what a special person you are and how much your kind caring ,sharing good heart are appreciated . So many people are sell sell sell but you really want to encourage us and help us explore and develop and you should be celebrated and because your loyalty to us you have my loyalty as a customer. It's not the fab products that sell ( and they are fab ) but the confidence you give each of us is what sells . Thank-you is not really enough but it is so meant !

  57. These are lovely photos Barbara, and a lovely read too. I reckon the kids had a great time with you, bet you were more full of beans than they were!! xx Its a shame these days that the hands on toys get neglected a little and replaced with the MINECRAFT??? Xbox and Ipads. But hey I only had a Cindy Doll and a Book with a Record or would it have been a CD then? that played the Hanzel and Gretel story while you looked at the book, I think I wore it out. Boy that was top technology then!! Maybe that is why I go a bit mad with all the Mixed Media and Altered Art Goodies!!

  58. I have started to challenge myself by making 4 different cards from one set of stamps. It has really made me think 'outside' the box. Thank you Barbara, for all of your inspiration. I'm proud to be in the NDC and enjoy being part of Clarity Circle of Life x

  59. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and your pictures are so uplifting.. It is lovely to share some special moments of your past. The fact that you are now so well known and popular makes it even more special that you make the time to stay constantly in touch and share so much with all of us.
    We really do appreciate all your hard work.
    Love Lynn.x

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