NEC here we are, ready or not!

NEC here we are, ready or not!

Hello there!
Greetings from the NEC!
Stop the clock! The stand is set in record time,
And looks absolutely fabulous, even if I say so myself.
Here’s the team to welcome all those of you who are visiting this weekend:
Jayne, Chloe, Dave, Barb and Maria. 
Anybody who has ever come to ANY show we have ever done 
will see at a glance that we have had a major revamp, 
a remodel, 
a renovation.
Not a mounted stamp in sight. No black racks. Oh my! 
We are so excited and proud to present our new branding and our new unmounted stampsets. 
It has taken many weeks of prep and planning back at base, but the result is delightful.
The stand is so much more open! Less cluttered. Excellent wheelchair access, too.
We have a Colour Zone.  Inks, paints and pencils are all together.
Please note the extensive range of lovely Paperartsy Chalk acrylic paints too.
We haven’t brought the full range of stamps or stencils; 
we would need a stand 4 times the size, 
and a juggernaut! 
The van was groaning all the way up the M40 anyway! 
The amount of stock here is very deceiving.
But as always, postage is paid (mainland UK) on anything ordered at the show.
And here’s my little work station for 4 days. 
Overhead camera and TV screen for folks in wheelchairs, or at the back. 
Don’t know why I’m nervous! Ach by 10 tomorrow morning, I’ll be in full flow!
There we have it. The entire team at Clarity have been working towards this event.
Sterling job. We have put in the action, and done everything to the best of our ability.
But the rest is out of our hands really.
If visitors come, we will have a great show. But we cannot control that. 
So it’s time to let go and let God, as they say. Relax and enjoy the ride Gray!

Wish us luck,

Lots of love,
Barb xxx

85 thoughts on “NEC here we are, ready or not!

  1. Good luck, Barbara, it all looks great! Wish I could join you but I'm wishing you every success from here in Bath. I'm sure your demos will be fab too. Kx

  2. I'll be there in the morning Barbara, can't wait to see you and the amazing team. It'll no doubt be super as usual and hopefully, not so manic as it gets in November.
    Happy Days,

  3. Hi Barbara, this looks great, very welcoming and easy to navigate /see everything you have for sale, and thinking about less able bodied people too, people will appreciate that.

    I really am at the coo's tail this time!!!! Haven't even managed to watch your youtube from yesterday yet, but the finished artwork looks great and I'll enjoy watching and learning from you when I've settled down a bit. Thank you for making it.

    I think I should have stayed in bed today! Garden visit with dreaded worker went from bad to worse, I ended up telling her to phone Nicola and tell her what she was doing and saying /not saying, thought that maybe Nicola dealing with it at the time might help get through to the worker. Didn't seem to but it might help Nicola understand what's going on better for trying to sort it out. I kept saying to myself "just let it go" from what you said to me in your reply the other day. It worked for half the visit, I managed to keep calm, until I saw her doing exactly what I had put time and effort into talking her through and showing her not to do, and why. Just common sense stuff really, but no amount of showing, talking, pointing out etc. seems to be getting through to her and Nicola isn't managing to either!

    Anyway got through that, came in in a state, trying to tidy up, give Daisy attention while doing so, the usual favourite chasey game she always wants to play after I come in. So I start walking into the room towards her, that's her cue to run off for me to chase her. Except this time instead of running round me she decided to run right through me, I had a foot in the air taking a step, she ran right into it as my foot was going down. I only had socks on so I could feel it, my foot was pressing into her soft flesh and I was past the point of being able to stop my foot going down, so all I could think of doing was to launch myself forward, throw myself up and over and land on my knees and hands to protect Daisy from getting the full force of my foot. So I fell with a big bang and she scarpered off under my feet. I then went running after her to check if she was hurt, I thought I had seriously harmed her, that she was going to die and got myself in such a state. Every time I went near her she spat and hissed and growled and screamed and wouldn't let me near her. I was convinced she was seriously hurt. I phoned my service and luckily the other manager was available, we know each other a bit and she helps out when she can /when I need help and Nicola isn't there. And she has a cat of her own, so she spent time trying to calm me down and reassure me, and help me to think Daisy is behaving like that because she's scared, because of the incident, but even more so because I fell which does scare her (I do sometimes because of my CFS) and because she's seeing how panicked I am which also scares her. I had got her into the kitchen before phoning, she has a bed on top of the fridge freezer so see disappeared to there and the door has glass in it so it's somewhere she's safe and that I could keep a close eye on her without having to go near her. Fortunately she seems to be unhurt, and after about half a packet of extra posh treats she seems to be ok with me now, and has been coming to say hello and get a wee tickle and stuff. I'm still keeping a close eye on her in case she takes ill. I'm sooo shaken up, I really thought I had seriously damaged my wee pal and she was going to die. Obviously I'm very sore from falling so hard onto a solid floor, and that kind of impact has a very bad effect on my CFS too and my hands are covered in scratches from trying to catch and restrain her long enough to try calm her down and feel if somewhere was hurting in her body. But I'm not caring about that, I'd throw myself in front of a car if I had to for my wee pal. Just wish I could stop shaking and stop replaying it over and over in my head though.

    1. Then as if that wasn't enough I, or I should say Nicola, then had to try calm me down enough as a company was coming about cavity wall insulation! So I had to go through that too! This should be a good thing, it's the Government scheme so free and this building is badly needing it, especially being the gable end, and in quite an exposed spot, but I was anxious enough about it before all this other stuff. Been doing too much reading about it going wrong for others, and even though this company has all the Government and relevant bodies backing and recommendations and it will be guaranteed for 25 years by an independent body, I'm still scared it will go wrong. It's not like getting a piece of work done in your house and you can tell by looking at the end result if they have done a good job or not.

      So that's been my day today!

      Barbara please factor in rest breaks and chill time for yourself each day, there will be loads of bugs lurking around at the NEC and you'll be more susceptible than normal after having just recovered from such a bad one. Don't want you picking up something else ๐Ÿ™‚

      Best of luck Barbara, wish I could come, and say it to you in person
      Love Brenda xx

    2. Oh goodness that sounds like a terrible shock for Daisy and a nasty fall for you. Hope you don't feel its effects for long. I'm sure the treats helped win her round. Xx

    3. Hi Donna, yeah, it's really scary, makes you think about how easy something serious could happen from nothing, how fragile life is. I've had cats since a teenager and it's the first time something like this has happened. Daisy is curled up beside me just now, I think I'm forgiven, she's definitely a bit tender round her middle somewhere, but apart from that seems ok, I think if she'd got hurt badly she would be showing something by now. I've not done any proper damage to myself, just going to be pretty sore for a wee while, but that's ok, far better me this sore than a seriously ill cat. I'm starting to calm down a wee bit now that she's behaving more like her normal self. How are you feeling, are you getting back to normal yet? Do you go to Barbara's retreats and open days with you living so close by, well I'm assuming close by as you both live in Kent? I was thinking about you this morning, there was a show on create and craft doing the paper piecing quilting!!! They were selling pre-cut hexagons in cardboard, but only tiny ones, far smaller than your mum would have got you to cut out, but I was thinking if she decides to make a second quilt, check out if you can buy the hexagons before you spend all those hours cutting them out for her ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    4. Glad to hear Daisy is not hurt, you will probably be stiff for a few days though so make sure you rest. I haven't been to a retreat yet, got to build up to that! Have been to a couple of shows at Alexandra Palace which were very busy but fun to see all the new products and demos. I will have to ask mum if she saw the show, I know she records the quilting hours and has said before she hoped they would do a paper piecing one. I didn't know C&C did pre cut hexagons so I shall have to check that out, will be useful for her next one. I still have whatever this virus is lurking and making me feel urgh, hopefully on the up soon but I am better than I was which is something! Xx

    5. Brenda
      Take care yourself, Daisy has 9 lives, you only have 1, so be careful. I do not have my lovely cats now, used to have 4 and loved them to bits, so my love and thoughts are with you. I do enjoy reading your writings, you do make me laugh at times which is good for us all, I often feel as if I am there with you as you are so descriptive. Take care Lynne from Hove

    6. Hi Lynne, thank you very much for your kind words and thoughts. And thank you for telling me you enjoy reading what I have to say, that helps me to feel part of this lovely community, instead of just on the outside looking in :-). I'm glad I can make you laugh at times, I do like making people laugh or feel a little better, I get a lot back from seeing /knowing that I have helped someone to, even if it's just been for a millisecond ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

      Hi Donna, thank you very much for your kind words and thoughts too. I'm sorry to hear you are still that unwell, you must be feeling really miserable with it going on this long. I guess you must have picked up the same nasty virus that Barbara had :-(. I really want to go to one of Barbara's retreats too, Nicola said definitely not this year, but if we can sort my support out and that's seen to be working, there may be a good case for seeing if she can be allowed to take me next year, she would if she could. It would involve trains, hired car and obviously me staying somewhere strange and all sorts of stuff I've not managed to do for many years, that even at my best I struggled with, but that's how much I want to go :-). Your mum may have missed the show because it wasn't labelled as a quilting show, I'm not sure how much paper piecing was on it as I was getting ready for the garden visit while it was on, but if she wants to check it out on catch up it was called Tilda sewing Studio and was on at 11am on Wednesday xx

      And Barbara, hope you are listening to all of us – BREAKS, CHILL TIME, AND LOOKING AFTER YOU TIME PLEEEASE ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  4. WOW it all looks amazing! What a terrific amount of work you have done to produce such a fantastic stand. Loads of people will come… of course they will. It is going to be a resounding success. Gill x

  5. Wow Barbara what a difference. I'm sure it will be great as always. The trouble with change is having the courage to do it, embrace it and get the team to believe you know what you are doing – remember the first day at crowborough?
    Well all the very best with your new stall and not forgetting the tv screen, do you have a microphone as well?
    Take care don't forget the regular coffee breaks.
    Love Bev xxx
    Best wishes Bev xxx

  6. Evening Barbara, the stand looks fabulous, and I know how hard everyone has worked…and you did it in record time…well done…hope you sleep well tonight and have a great show…love and hugs to all….xxxx

  7. Good luck! I just know you'll have a great show….
    The NEC is a bit far for me, so I'm just deciding whether to come to the Friday or Saturday open day at Crowborough……Looking forward to it. Peter's driving me there again, but he's bringing his golf clubs this time so that he can leave me in peace to spend a few hours watching the demo's. I'll have to find him a golf club nearby to keep him occupied ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a fun time at the NEC, Carole x

  8. Oh Barbara it all looks amazing!!! I really can't wait for Sunday!! I bet you'll have sold out of stuff by then!
    Sleep well tonight and have a good breakfast in the morning!!! Have a great show! Xxx

  9. The stand looks great Barbara; well worth the hard work everyone has put in. I can't wait for Friday… I haven't bothered to make a list as I know I won't stick to it!! I do have a few must haves though. Looking forward to coming to say hello, and seeing some great demos from you and Maria. Xxx

  10. You are amazing Barbara so full of wonderful ideas caring it's going to be best show ever one day I will get to a show would love to be there but in process of moving house lots love you go show um love Joy xxx

  11. Stunning Barbara and clarity team have a brilliant NEC fantastic your thinking of wheelchair users your the best wish I come but ilnesses prevent this,but I will buy from clarity towers xxx

  12. It all looks fab to me. I like the more open stand, getting my list ready. As for visitors I am sure there will be many and you will be amazing as usual. Good luck, not that you really need it. xx

  13. Looks really good and so much more space. It used to get so packed and squashed behind the tills. I can't make it down to 'the show' until November hope that it's still as spacious then. Have a really good show and don't work yourself into the ground again.X

  14. ooh looking the comments looks like the only one going to the NEC on Saturday so should be nice and quiet and I get front row seats ๐Ÿ™‚
    good luck for the show

  15. It looks wonderful … and indeed … wheel-chair friendly! No more having to send Richard in to get stuff he hasn't properly understood! Thank you too for the TV screen for us to be able to watch the demos…. (If all goes well, we hope to see you on one of the days … ) I hope you all enjoy the show, and try not to over-do things Barb! XX Cj and Richard

  16. Wow – it all looks fab and finishing set up in such good time will mean that you can have a swim! OK, maybe a glass or two of wine!!! Enjoy yourselves and wish I was there, Susan x

  17. The Claritystamp-Stand looks fabulous. You did a great work,
    I guess you will have a lot of fun as all the visitors will have as well. If Iยดd live in Britain I would visit you too.
    Rolf xxx

  18. Your stand looks fabulous! Just wish that Birmingham was a wee bit closer to glasgow! I am loving my new chalk acrylics.i have just used them to paint a wooden Celtic cross for my friend's 50th birthday. I will send you a picture once iI I have it mounted onto its base.
    Enjoy your time at the show, converting more folk to the Clarity way. x

  19. Wow a lot of work has went intp that stand looking great wish I could come to….. any chance you could come up north so us scottish fans can see your amazing artwork in action all the best for the show know it will be a success why wouldnt it ..its Clarity..xx

  20. Hello Barbara. Well, what an amazing job you and the team have done – your stand looks fantastic. Just wish I could be there to see it in person. Have a great show and enjoy having your fans around you. Take it easy as they are going to be long days! xx Margaret Col.

  21. You had best get your Polyfiller out if you are going Big Screen, they call it GP Nowadays!!! The stall looks great, shame I can't make it, just a bit too far for a day trip. Hope all goes well and remember to relax your neck when you are stamping!!!. Say Hi to the Team for me. x

    1. Hi Pam, just wanted to say thank you very much for the effort you went to to give me the recipe for the pudding. I really do appreciate that. It looks really yummy, my kind of thing, it's easy enough for me to do myself, and I think I can make it work with the gluten free alternative bread I make, as long as I remember to miss out the herbs, spices etc!!!! Thank you xx

  22. Looks great, can't wait I will be there on Friday and most definitely will pop by your stand to see the new chalky acrylics in action. A bit of nerves is good, says the adrenaline is going, which will carry you through, but pace yourself and take regular breaks. I know everyone gets very demanding at these things but you can't share yourself so thin and your able team are more than capable of covering you to make sure you get a drink and something to eat. Someone I don't remember who keeps telling us less is more! Most of all, enjoy it, it is supposed to be fun. See you Friday. Karen

  23. I certainly do wish you luck but really, I don't think luck has anything to do with it. It's all the work, work, work you and the rest of your team do and the biggest draw of all – the one and only Barbara Gray.

  24. You won't need luck Barbara it will all go swimmingly aa usual. The stand looks sooo different this time but so so lovely. Have a fantastic show – I so wish I waa coming. Boo!! Wishing you both (u and Maria) brilliant demos and oodles of sales. Take care. Xxxx

  25. Knock em dead!!! looks absolutely fab – would have loved to have come but don't think I can – have a blast and enjoy catching up with friends who visit xx

    Much love
    Kim xx

  26. Have a great show Barbara, the stand looks so inviting. Am unable to attend the NEC so will be saving my pennies for the workshop! Anne x

  27. Morning Barb,

    WOW! This looks amazing, the display is fabulous if I was there it would take me the whole weekend just to look through your stock lol! Brilliantly set out.

    My crafting friends John (Lockwood) and Ang (Mrs Duck) will be visiting today so hope fully they will pop by and say hi!

    Have a great day/weekend

    Love & Hugs

    Jacquie j xxx

  28. Looks great thanks as a wheelchair use thinking about us as well .I have been to so many stalls e.g event city in Trafford they had half the stalls that weren't accessible Have a great show which I was coming just to far from were I live

  29. The new stands look great, i look on with envy at missing the demos, gaining inspiration and shopping.My trip to visit mum in Leicester is next week. Maybe before i book another trip i should look to see when the shows are on. I'm sure all will go well, best wishes from Qatar. Wendy

  30. What a great looking stand….. Can't do it this year and am very, very sad. Sure all will be find for the Claritystamps team. Will be thinking of you.
    Laurence xx

  31. Hi Barb,
    The stand looks brilliant and it's very thoughtful of you to think about wheelchair access and the overhead camera and screen. Have a fantastic show but do remember to look after yourself. Wish I was coming down but hospital visiting is stopping me unfortunately. Love Alison xxx

  32. Oooh, Barb, your stand looks FANTASTIC! I do wish I could come and visit. Best of all, from a disabled crafter's point of view, is your TV and overhead camera – that is the first time I've ever seen anything like that, and since I generally sit on my mobility scooter, it would be such a benefit. Thank you of thinking of crafters like me.

  33. Hi Barbara this looks wonderful, I wish I was able to come along but birthday party for uncle takes priority. Love the new look too, it saves so much space and looks effective. Good luck with the show(not that you need it!) I'm sure your sales will be sky high but do make sure you get a break now and then, sit down when you chat to people and rest your neck, most of all have fun.
    Love Diane xxx

  34. The set up looks fantastic Barbara and all will go swimmingly I'm sure. I wish I could be there but alas too much else happening round here at the moment. x

  35. Feeling very jealous of all who will be seeing you in the flesh!. Too far for me to visit, but perhaps one day. Have a good time, and as a lot of others have said TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Lynne

  36. Gosh, looking at the photos, A LOT of work has gone into the display, sorry I won't be there, feel excited just seeing it all…. very best wishes to you all, I 'll just have to browse your website and drool xxx

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