4 Days to Christmas Eve Giveaway.

4 Days to Christmas Eve Giveaway.

Hi there.
Sunday already, and time for the tree to go up.
All lovely for when the kids land tomorrow.
“It’s already shedding its needles, Dave!”
(They don’t call me Secret Squirrel for nothing, you know). 
The pine needle trail from the garage, through the house to the living room did NOT elude me.
So Dave proceeded to tell me that the freak warm weather and early harvest this year was causing 
a Christmas-Tree-needle-shedding-dilemma.
With that he shot off out, to do some work, and left me to it. 
When I removed the net, it wasn’t toooo bad. 
Quick whizz round the base with the Dyson.
Nice shape. Good height.
Lights first.
I remembered these expensive candle looky likey lights 
being a challenge last year,
so was a trifle concerned about having to handle the tree too much in its delicate state.
For one and a half hours I tried to get the lights evenly distributed on the tree, gently and calmly.
By now there was a veritable pine needle carpet underfoot,
and still I was trying to clip the lights to the tree without agitating it too much.
Speaking of agitated, the Gray sap was slowly rising,
and I became acutely aware of ALL the other things which need doing before tomorrow, like the washing, the ironing, this blog, a magazine article and the New Design Club Projects to name but a handful, and that I was actually no closer to getting these lights sorted that I had been one and a half hours earlier. 
Whoever dreamt up this poxy blimming stupid double-stranded Christmas light design wasn’t thinking TREE. 
I had reached that no going back place, too. I couldn’t get them right because they were totally twisted and knotted up, and I couldn’t take them off again without ending up with a twig for a tree.
Finally, I had a moment of clarity.
I knew what I had to do.
It was quite liberating.
Finally accepting that the lights were off the menu today!
Yes, I did unplug them first.
And no, they can’t be knitted back together.

They are done, passé, out, extinguished, finito.

I had to separate myself from the tree 
before the scissors took over my mind too.
If there is a needle carpet underneath already,
what is it going to look like a fortnight from now???
So I have abandoned the tree in the dark,
and sought refuge up here in my little room above the garage.
Has it finally come to this?
On top of all the other ramifications of global warming, 
is this the year we have to go to John Lewis and buy a fake one?
Surely not!
Oh whatever.
I have totally lost interest in the tree, I can tell you!
The kids can sort it out when they get home.
So what shall we give away today?
Having just wasted hours of my life fruitlessly
and needlessly (or was that needlesy?)
 you will understand that I have neither the time nor the head 
for art just now.  
But I do have just the card for you!
It’s no masterpiece, but Oh! So appropriate today!!
Let’s turn it into a £20 gift voucher …

If you would like to receive a £20 Clarity Gift Voucher Tree-t
and this card, then leave a cheering comment below, 
and go in the draw! 
Now I really must press on….
the ironing is calling!
Love and peace,

178 thoughts on “4 Days to Christmas Eve Giveaway.

  1. Barbara, tree or no tree – with or without lights, tomorrow will be wonderful for you all. Enjoy every minute. Oh by the way, any chance of doing my ironing while you are at it!! Xxx

  2. Dear Barbara I have given up on a tree this year, I have done 61 years with a tree and now I just have the cards decorating the house, so please could I have yours to go with them. Jacqueline xxxxx

  3. I agree with Lynne – doesn't matter about the tree – family is the most important part so delegate – I am sure your children will have great fun dressing the tree for you. I hope the needles didn't scratch you to much during the wrestling match!

    Shame I don't live that smidgen nearer – would have offered to do your ironing for you. Providing I have something to watch on tv,I quite enjoy ironing!

    and a message for Dave – next time put the tree in a bucket of water when you first buy it to give it a really good drink and then it won't shed needles.

    hugs Mags x

    1. Oh yes I'm one of those funny people that enjoy ironing too, as long as there's something good on TV – I tried watching my recorded Clarity shows but ended up watching not ironing, so now I stick to an NCIS ! Xxx

  4. As it is said: Tomorrow is another day. Do it together – much more fun!! In my opinion, all your pieces of art are masterpieces and give us all huge inspiration. Thank you, Barbara. Mxx

  5. Oh you do make me laugh out loud. Think sometimes we all feel like that. Your family home all together at Christmas is the main thing not the naked Christmas tree, stick some tinsel on it, it will be fine. Just remembered these stamps and had forgotten I wanted them in my collection, I can feel a little spend coming on xx

  6. Hi Barb,
    I know just how you feel. On Thursday I decided it was time for our tree to be decorated. I tested the lights that I bought a couple of years ago and yep, they were fine. I spent an hour and a half decorating said tree and was well chuffed with it. Switched on the lights and not a blooming flicker of a light! Needless to say I wasn't best pleased so had to take all of the decorations off, head off to the shops to buy more lights and then start again. Anyway, it was worth it because the tree looks gorgeous now but I wasn't in a good mood at all, I can tell you!!! I hope Grace and Mark make a good job of yours and I bet they'll love decorating it. I think the card is very appropriate and the baubles are so sweet. Love Alison xxx

  7. Ha ha… your tale of woe re the candle lights really did make me laugh… had those same lights and they met a similar fate a year or two back! Invested in a fibre optic tree and while it's not the same as a real one at least I don't 'blow a gasket' trying to light it! Love the bauble card today (have loved all the others too!), my theme this year was baubles but not so 'arty' as yours but was happy with the finished result. Just been writing the last few cards for the neighbours so my OH can play postman tomorrow… now just got to finish the pressie shopping, clean the house, do the last minute food shop then prepare for the Christmas Day invasion!

  8. Untangling lights and wrestling the tree is quite the national sport but I'm def with you. Leave it for the youngsters to sort and have a gin bday tonic instead. You have certainly earned it. Have a lovely family Christmas with your lovely kids xx

  9. How frustrated you must be, but think of the fun you will all have decorating it tomorrow. Alas our tree is of the imitation variety as the pine smell tends to irritate my lungs 😔 It's like having a blog calendar opening a door every day ! Really need to get organised now we are down to 4 ! Have fun with your tree tomorrow x

  10. What a beautiful, cheery card. Just what the doctor ordered today. I have been thinking about you and Dave today. Why? Pills. On a long course of antibiotics following my op and boy do I feel ruff! rough! ruff! They seem to upset the whole system – brain, body etc. I will finish the damn things Christmas Day. Anyway, thank you for the blog and sorry you are so frought – it will all turn out okay – the kids and you and Dave etc will all be together and merrymaking.
    Have a great time – think a few days on and not worry about now.
    Lots of love
    Anne (Reading)

  11. Every year the lights always cause frustration and I think next year I'm getting a pre lit tree! Of course next year comes and I'm still do battle with the same lights. I do have an artificial tree as I can't stand the needles on the floor and I have ………. now wait for it……… multi coloured lights!!!! I can hear the gasps from here.
    I think your card is beautiful, and would be happy to receive it. Good luck with your tree, hope it lasts the season! Xx

    1. Hi Donna, we've got coloured lights too, new twinkly led ones that hubby is very proud of, also got some battery lights for the mantle piece and some solar ones to go in the garden xxx

  12. I shouldn't laugh at your expense but you have great power of description. We struggled not with the lights this year but with the timer. After half an hour realised we were setting it to come on at 3am!!

    Love the artwork. Very apt and beautiful too.

    Don't stress, it will all come together beautifully.

    And I went to Mr MandS and got battery operated lights for the wreath which do 8 hours on 16 hours off all by themselves. Just the job

  13. What is it with us and christmas tree lights?? no matter how tidily you put them away they knit themselves into a Christmas jumper in the dark. We opted for a fake tree after our kittens discovered the real one and practiced abseiling!! Not quite the same but from a distance – and after the odd glass or three – who cares!! Whats more important is the time you spend with family and friends – so enjoy!! Another lovely card – such inspiration when you have so much to do!! And I've got a pile of ironing as well – its almost the law that at Christmas you shift a pile of ironing to the spare room, cover it with other rubbish' you are tidying away from guests and then don't discover it until the end of january when its all too dry to iron!!

  14. I know how it feels to fight a prickly, shedding tree, so you have my sympathy. Mine is still in the garden in a bucket of water dripping wet with rain! It won't matter when your kids arrive, it will be something to laugh about and they will enjoy sorting it out. Loved the card by the way.x

  15. I have a real tree this year. It looks ok at the moment, will it last till chrimbo though? Time will tell, have a loverly day tomorrow, hope you get your chores done and work dosen't get in the way too much love xxxx

  16. So it's not us that has had Christmas tree dilemma then … over the last few years it's just been an artificial tree, but this year we have Jack & Vera (two 6-month old kittens). Artificial tree too light, so we have bought a beautiful one which (hopefully) will withstand their weight. It does look lovely, even though most of the decorations are towards the top/middle. What we hadn't reckoned on was that they would like to SIT in the middle of the tree!! The only clue that gives them away is when the tree starts quivering. What can we do about it? Absolutely nothing but sit back and have a good old laugh at their antics. So far the tree has withstood their attacks. Don't worry about the tree Barbara, I'm sure Grace and Mark will be more than willing to sort it out for you. Enjoy Christmas with your family, that's what it's all about really xxx

  17. I could feel your frustration Barbara. What a 'to do' list for one day! It would take me a week to get through. In a couple of days, when you're sitting with your family looking at a beautifully lit and decorated tree (and you will be!) Today will just have been a little blip!
    I love today's card. It is going to take all of 2016 for me to get through the wish list that has evolved from your countdown to Christmas. Enjoy tomorrow! x

  18. Hahahaha. Sorry Barbara. I got a false tree with inbuilt fairy lights the other year…much easier..but this year ICBA so it's staying in the loft..I have put the cards up and will lout out a few Dec's. Sometime this week..I feel sure that Grace and Mark will enjoy having time to spend together putting one up. Xx

  19. I had to put the decorations on my double-bass one year, because there wasn't room for a tree as well. Fixing something to the top was a bit tricky but I found a postcard of the Isle of Wight ferry [sorry] and taped that round it. You'll all have such a good time whatEVER doesn't get done and thank you for sparing precious time to find this card for us. x

  20. Oh dear what can the matter be
    There are no needles left on the Chrismas Tree,
    Barbara has struggled with a mini catastrophe
    But who cares if the branches are bare!
    Certainly not Grace and Mark who will only care about seeing their lovely mum ( and what there is to eat )

    Hugs from Chris X

  21. Oh dear Barbara!!! Poor lights! LOL…I had heard on the radio the other day about the trees and how the unseasonal warm weather was having that affect! – just make sure you give it a litre of water per day – that should help! am sure Grace and Mark will enjoy bringing the tree to life – Christmas music on – warm house – christmas food smells cooking – bliss!
    Great bit of art as ever Barbara – its nearly time to rest the mind – enjoy the season – make the most of your kids coming over – work needs to take a back step for a few days-it will still be there – and Paul will be fully on-board too! so go on – kick back – relax – enjoy – feel the warmth of the love

    Much Love

  22. Evening Barbara, I have to confess to having a pop up tree….lights and decorations already on it..although I do add some extra ones….how about some Spray and Sparkle,,,.on your tree??
    I am sure Mark and Grace will just be so happy to be home,,,,have a wonderful day tomorrow….hugs…xxxx

  23. Hi Barbara, I am with you totally on the double strand lights, they are a pain to put on. Somewhat reluctantly we gave up on real trees a few years back. They were getting ridiculously expensive and we had lived through some very traumatic tree disasters, everything from the bare branches before Boxing Day, to the mysterious falling over in the middle of the night and breaking a favourite bauble. Now the children are much older they do not mind so much what sort of tree it is and I make up for the lack of pine smell by putting a pine diffuser in the room. Loving your giveaway art though I have had to have a catch up today having missed the last few with no internet, slicing my finger and coming down with a heavy cold all in the space of a week!

  24. My sister and I decorated our tree last Monday It took ages (around 2 hours) but once we had finished we were both so pleased and it was a great way to start our festivities together. It's a fake tree ( so no shedding needles for me) but we had a great time. I don't see her very often and it was great to be able to do it together 😀 . Love the bauble card. Have a great time over the Christmas season with Grace, Mark and all the family.

  25. Hide the ironing, I have! The card is lovely, as always. Do what is very necessary, then chill out and await the arrival of your children! I can sense the excitement! Enjoy every second! xxx

  26. Great artwork barb I love it the children will sort the tree out no probs
    I can't comfort you Hun I'm sat here weeping my heart out my son has just left for South Wales had a lovely day but I feel so empty now and tomorrow will be awful too I miss him so much when he goes home. Love you Barbara June Horrocks xxxxxxx

  27. How liberating was that! Literally cutting your way out of a tangle! In Dave's defence, I had heard the same about the excessive needle shedding this year but the advice was to take the tree out of the net asap and store outdoors until a few days before Christmas. I'm sure that Mark and Grace will love dressing the tree together; making it a real family event. Think you'd best stick to inking your tree and baubles as they are beautiful and less likely to tangle. Have a fantastic day tomorrow with the kids and whatever isn't done don't need to be done. Hugs, Jeanette xxxx

  28. Poor you Barb, best binned IMO. I am sure your children would love to sort this out tomorrow.. ….nothing like an extra pairs of hands is there. Have a restful evening and I am sure it will be alright on the night. Thanks for another super card and voucher chance you are so generous xx

  29. Evening …must be something in the air as my first attempt to cook my Christmas cakes failed on Friday I was almost ready to throw them away but Den said don't worry I will eat them. Usual mixture total fail same next day success.

    but now back to your art work beautiful love the baubles so sweet.

    Crafty hugs
    Pen x

  30. Hey Barb – don't be stressing about the blimmin tree hun. It is not important in the big scheme of things – your kids are coming home tomorrow and that's THE most important thing of all! You will have a fabulous Christmas with or without the tree surrounded by the people you love. I love this card – mine never look like this. How fabulous to be in with a chance of winning this AND a £20 Clarity voucher. Fingers crossed. Xxx

  31. Hi Barbara
    If you have the tree finished or not, if it's going to have any pine needles left isn't the important thing here.
    That most important thing that overtakes everything else is your babies are home for Christmas yeah, forget everything else.
    They won't be bothered if the tree is decorated or not they have come to see you and Dave and spend some much needed quality time with you.
    You can all dress the tree together and make some more happy memories to go with the ones you already have.
    Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and all the best to you all for 2016. Xxxx

  32. Hi Barbara the card is gorgeous. We have the tiniest growing tree it is very cute I wish I could post a picture for you to see it has lights and baubles and I made an angel. All our Christmas stuff is in the loft my husband broke his wrist and all our normal bits are there. It is rather nice having a change but I would rather he hadn't broken his wrist. Hugs Jackie

  33. This is the year that we changed to an artificial tree, the hoo ha of last year could not be repeated! Have a wonderful time with your family. Unfortunately my girls will not be here together to celebrate due to in-law duties. Looking on the bright side we get to have 2 celebrations, the down side is that they do not get to spend a few precious days together. Always a problem when families are spread about.

  34. I love this card – last year I tried something similar but somehow never made even one I was happy with . I would be more than happy to win this – our tree is still naked in the corner – I too have decided to do it as a family once the children home !

  35. How I can sympathise and empathise!! Not the real tree, though – gave up on that the year it toppled over during the night and wedged itself solidly between tv and window, then lost most of its needles as we tried to right it before going off to work, I was not full of festive cheer that day! Until now I've been working with four sets of lights as the tree is a seven footer but decided to buy a new complete set this year – note to self to clear out all these old European, Chinese, American lights with wrong plugs and just space absorbers – saw these beautiful, tasteful two-tone lights in a local garden centre and was so looking forward to decking out the tree without a multiple adapter and extension lead. Lights out of handy storage box, unwound and laid out up and down lounge multiple times. That was the easy bit – winding them round the tree so there were no gaps took about the same time as you spent. Thought to self – how much easier it was with four sets! Lesson learnt? Nah! Will do the same next year.
    Enjoy a lovely Christmas run-up and time with your son and daughter. They will be excited too, I know, as I recall fondly how I used to feel coming 'home for Christmas' when I taught overseas. ;~}

  36. Artificial,tree finally for me already lit and only ornaments to it I commit .
    Use to have two trees and drove my self crazier .
    A gift card would be so wonderful and your card ,even better .,your excitement is wafting across the pond to Virginia .

  37. Hi really like the simplicity of this card great if you have a lot to do .we have the same problem with our tree dropping needles already despite giving it loads of water everyday ,still its up and glitzed by hubby as I am not allowed to do anything after op .

  38. Love It! I have been in that dilemma with lights before and never thought about cutting them apart. Good idea. Really like the card too. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Dorothy

  39. Me thinks it's time for you to chill down Barbara otherwise you will be too shattered to enjoy your time with Mark and Grace. Let them take over the tree decorating, I'm sure they'll have such fun doing it together and you can sit back and watch with a glass or two of your favourite tipple. Lovely card again. Fran x

  40. Life is too short to do the ironing! Get someone else to do it for you. Delegate the jobs, its more fun doing them with someone else and for some one else! Making beautiful cards and pieces of unique artwork are just wonderful – no one does it like you Barb. Jillx

  41. We had a real tree for many years and always had a needle carpet – they're a bit like sand and midges they get to the places nothing else can! Bought a fake one last year all six feet of green with artificial snow – hubby's choice – no needles now, great, but loads of little white fake snow bits instead. At least he's not moaning about using the hoover this year!
    Made cards similar to yours last year but not as effective as the freebie giveaway you made.

  42. Hi Barbara,
    make a funny joke out of it and hang the tree headlong from the ceiling. No one will miss the lights and everybody is fascinated by the new decoration. Saw it once in a bar and liked it…
    Like to win your beautiful Card as well…
    Rolf xxx

  43. Don't bother with the ironing. Just relax with a cup of tea and decide what happy action would put you back in the holiday mood. Maybe trimming off the needles and having a twig tree would be fun. It would sure show off your ornaments!

  44. Oh Barbara you make me feel as if I'm with you with your tree and the frustration of the lights!!! I think we have all been there and know the feeling that we have wasted so much time and effort and got absolutely nowhere. We abandoned a real tree indoors a few years back and have a fibre optic tree with candles which does not require any decoration – just brilliant.
    I've admired all your cards you have placed on your blog – such brilliant ideas.
    Enjoy your Christmas with your family and here's to a brilliant New Year for you and all at Clarity.
    Chris Arnall

  45. How frustrating for you Barbara – I'll have to remember to have a pair of scissors handy next time I decorate the tree!! You will be so happy to have your kids home – a complete family for Christmas. Who needs a bloomin' tree anyway? Pat x

  46. The kids won't care about the tree or the ironing! They will just be excited to see their Mum! Yay! Our tree is in the far corner of our loft with all the Christmas decks and have been there for over 2 years now. Neither my husband and I can get them due to ill health and hubby won't let anyone else go up there in case they hurt themselves. Am I downhearted! Definitely not! I have collected a few new decks and bought some lovely gold sparkly twigs with lights on which are in a nice vase surrounded by tinsel and with all the fab cards we have received, my living rooms is so Christmassy and so am I! And not a needle to be found! Love your card and would love to win it! You are so generous! xxx

  47. i don't understand what is so wrong with a fake tree. until i'd come to england i had never seen a real tree and to me a christmas tree was always one you bought from the shop. and the good thing it can be recycled year in year out, so i would always have a fake tree up, hugs xx

  48. Another lovely card. Just tell the kids that you left the tree for them to do together, don't mention the lights !! The washing & ironing can wait, just do the necessary stuff.

  49. Oh dear, Barbara, no wonder you're frustrated with it all. We stick to an artificial tree now and simple lights, no faffing
    Your card today is simple and understated, but beautiful in it's simplicity. Thanks for sharing your musings and artwork. Alison x

  50. Ironing what's that? Gave up that lark years ago and if it needs ironing it don't get worn! That used to be one of my chores at home through my teenage years which gave me the perfect excuse to give it up when I left home, life's too short. We got a tree yesterday but have left outside until Tuesday, day before my parents turn up. Have to hope that I don't completely run out of steam by then as frantically trying to finish the cards for posting tomorrow, still have a few pressies to finish too! Ah well at least we are out for Christmas Dinner on the big day. Just a few more hours Barbara and the kids will be back, enjoy tomorrow. Hugs Karen xxx

  51. Much as I love Christmas tress those tangled up lights are always a pain. I'm sure your children will sort it out for you. Love the artwork as usual. Hope tomorrow is a better day!

  52. Barbara, am so sorry you have had such a frustrating time. For that very reason, we have an artificial tree with the lights permanently attached. It is so much easier to put up and decorate. Since I usually put the tree up December 1st, a real one is out of the questions. The kids won't mind that the tree isn't lighted or decorated. Am sure they would enjoy helping you do this like they used to when they were small. Love the artwork from today. Any Gray artwork is a masterpiece in my mind.

  53. Sorry to hear about your tree – bald trees are all the rage this year I've heard! I do artificial now as I can't bear the needles, but I do miss the smell of a proper pine tree – my OH says there are always scented candles. Just finished my pile of ironing watching all the Clarity recordings from when I was away, so I sympathize with you – when I worked full time I had an ironing lady, so my advice would be get yourself one for Christmas – nothing like a practical self gift! Susan x

  54. Barbara we all have to count our blessings when we are at the point of losing patience! You wake up every morning, that's a blessing to us all, you have a wonderful man in your life, two fabulous, intelligent children and parents still around to bless you with their presence. All in all I'd say that life is good! Xx

  55. I must admit Barbara I hate putting the lights on the tree. As they are the first to go on and knowing without doing them first, I cannot put all the decorations on. They drive me crazy, I must put them on, take them off and end the end 'that will do' I mutter to myself. I love your minimalistic cards they are so creative and very much love to win this one. Hope your children arrive home safely tomorrow xx

  56. This I the first year that my ( artificial) tree is colour coordinated and doesn't just look like someone just threw the ornaments at it ,took my time let my son put baubles on one day,lights next day and tinsel the day after that ,the star when on two days later because I made it from a simple internet pattern. Today I took a strand of tinsel off for a halo for the carol service put it back later, this year I have enjoyed my tree.

  57. I gave up on a real tree a couple of years ago as wasn't happy having an almost bald tree by Christmas. The fake tree looks great once it is decorated and it's much less hassle. I'm sure you will get your tree dilemma sorted and yes the kids can do it tomorrow when they get home Life's too short to get stressed over a tree.
    Love your aren't work today another brilliant giveaway thank you.
    Jackie x

  58. Sorry that you've had such a bad time with your tree, Barbara. I'm sure the kids will enjoy sorting it out for you.

    Lovely card … and a voucher! Wow! You're spoiling us – but we love it! Lol!

    Love Joan x

  59. We gave up on a real tree years ago when our eldest son was only two. Fred was taking the tree out after Christmas through the French doors, he did not take any notice of Greg screaming at him by the door til he realised he had actually trapped his thumb in the door jam. It was flat, dash to hospital, thankfully ok, very bruised and a guilty dad who would not have another real tree. Your kids will probably enjoy decorating the tree together. Beautiful card and another generous offer. Would it be silly to try telling you to relax. Probably. xx

  60. Lovely card and I m with you all the way on the lights front. However a Nordic fur will not shed its needles ( well only a handful anyway) I have had these trees for the last 10 years and they are fab, so that's a thought for next year😊 If your kids are anything like mine they actually enjoy doing the tree together so I m sure they will happily sort it out!
    Received my secret Santa groovi plates today from the first family gathering of those we won t see at Christmas so can t wait to have some time for a proper ' go' after the holiday.
    Thanks for the Christmas give always, always very much appreciated.
    Enjoy yourself! X X X X X X

  61. How many people are having the same problem as you Barbara, quite a few at guess but how many got savage with the scissors. I am sure your two will enjoy decorating the tree whatever you end up with. Thank you for a chance to win yet another lovely card and a voucher too

  62. Barbara, I have the same lights! First time I used them on the tree this year and I am already starting to dread dressing them on the tree next year! Super card! Would love to win it. x

  63. Forget the ironing till after New Year. Leave the tree for the kids to have fun with. Make all the other preparations a family activity, so much more fun that way and less stress for you. Christmas is for families to share, all of it. Make the most of that. It will give you so many more wonderful memories. I am sure Grace will sort all your Groovi plates out as she did your stencils while Mark deals with the tree lights, then you can all put the baubles on the tree, remembering where each one came from. Meanwhile,make sure Dave knows it is safe to come back into the house and enjoy a few hours of peace together tonight. Love xxxx

  64. Ha ha gave up on real a long time ago!! And there are some amazing fake ones these days. And you can put it up much sooner and enjoy the twinkly lights for much longer. And no need to hoover the pines needles for 6 months 🙂

  65. Oh Barbara – I think that we have all struggled once too often with Christmas tree lights – I totally understand that you had your moment of 'clarity' on what had to be done. Good idea about letting the kids sort it out, they will enjoy it I'm sure. The card is lovely and so is the idea of a Clarity voucher too! Here's hoping the rest of the day and evening has gone better for you! Love xxx

  66. Lovely artwork – these stamps are fun esp with the delicate frond background . Story of the Xmas tree and lights made me laugh – don't think I would have lasted as long as you before the scissors !! In my view any time a tree is up and decorated before Xmas eve means you're ahead of the game . I remember my step- dad one year couldn't get a tree that met his expectations ( lunch time on Xmas eve ) so he bought two and chopped them in half and spent the rest of Xmas eve nailing the good top with the good bottom – blow the rest of the jobs !!!! It's the crazy things that make Xmas memories…

  67. You probably don't want to hear that this made me laugh out loud! I'm so please to hear that I'm not the only one to get destructive when frustration sets in. If you're also like me, then the resulting bad mood produces 'speed ironing' which has the added bonus of getting through it quickly and dissipating the mood.

    Tomorrow's another day; important things will get done and the rest can wait. Looking forward to hearing how you get on xxx

  68. Barbara think of the year you have had and celebrate you and Dave have got through mark and grace will soon be with you and your mum and dad too that's more important than a real tree .
    A beautiful gift and card to win your so generous sending you a hug xxx

    1. Evening Sheila, hope you've had a good day today. Love and hugs to you.

      Evening, Diane, Brenda and Dot, hope you are all ok and that you have had a good day too, love and hugs to you all.xxx

    2. Hi Sheila, hi Pam – I'm all behind like a cows tail! We went to Levesden studios yesterday for the Harry Potter tour – 6 hours later we came out as it closed at 10 pm! It was amazing ( and stunning drawings and artwork Barbara) so it was gone midnight by the time I got home and fell asleep commenting! Hope you are both ok, sending crafty hugs xxxxx

  69. I so look forward to your blog, it is so inspiring. You did make me chuckle when you got the scissors out. I might of thought of it but would never of done it. I hope your kids have a safe journey and an enjoyable stay. I expect they will love to help you out sorting the tree out. Another lovely piece of art today. Have a good evening.

  70. Barbara, you're moments of clarity will always see you through to a satisfying conclusion at least it wasn't the sleeves off poor Dave's clothing you were at with your scissors. Barbara scissorhand!

  71. We gave in to an artificial tree some years ago & since my husband retired he decorates the trees. The one in the front room with shop bought decs, the one in the conservatory is full of crafty decs. I resist the urge to rearrange as strong as it may be, he is getting quite good now even has a felted angel on the Crafty tree. Its a bit scary. xxx

  72. I am sure the tree you put up tomorrow will be perfect because it will be your true FAMILY Christmas TREE – put together bit by bit by dropping needle bit by the whole family.

    I am sure there will be lots of oohing and aahing as each person in the family finds a bauble or decoration that has some significance eg bought on a holiday. There will be fun, giggles and reminiscing at each step of the way which will put the tree struggles of today into insignificance

    After all, at this time of year, it is family that is important

    PS don't forget to keep those candles as they will still look nice clipped onto the tree

    PPS I recommend that you find someone to do your ironing as a) it will give someone a job / extra business, and, b) bending down for so long to do ironing isn't good for your neck

    Tracey Sheffield

  73. Plastic tree all the way for us, give it a go Barbara, and only four foot. I bet yours will look fab. Next year we've decided to have a crochet decorated tree. Nothing like looking ahead.

  74. Our tree is artificial, so no dropped needles, but I still have lights to put on it each year which takes endless patience to put them on, and endless patience to take them off carefully so they aren't too tangled to use the next year. There is a gap in the market for some enterprising person who can make tree lights that are easy to use. I have to say, the tree is looking magnificent and I can't wait for the family to arrive to celebrate Christmas together. Enjoy having your family all together, the tree lights are unimportant.
    B xx

  75. Not rubbing it in but all my dec's are up ,tree dressed cards sent , prezzies all wrapped , just last food shop to do,. Meet friends and had a lovely Sunday roast , then when we got home daughter dragged me out to " Carols by Candlelight " in our local church,was very nice , so I have had a lovely day , no stress, even if I was singing out of tune,,,lol,,,. Barbara why don't you take the next two weeks of And we see you back refreshed after the festive season and in the new year ,. Happy Christmas to you and your family, and a happy , healthy New Year,,.xxxxxx

  76. I haven't any decs or tree up this year, plenty of cards though. Yep we're away and won't be home until nearly 12th night. No point in putting up decs. When we are home it's tree, decs and on and on, my way would be tree and holly still I only have to put up with all the palaver every third year! Apart from al this chatter I love the 'groovie' card it looks really great. Have a fantastically good Christmas and New year, dance, sing and play with all the big kids pressies. X

  77. I've only ever had one real tree and it was a disaster. Whilst hoovering, about a week and a half before Christmas, I knocked into it and instantly about 2/3 of the needles fell off. No amount of tinsel or decorations could hide its pitiful state. It was written off and there was a mad scramble to buy an artificial one asap.
    Happy Christmas to all.

  78. Oh dear Barbara, very frustrating for you. If it wasn't for the time wasted it would be quite funny. Haven't had a real tree since I was a child. Hubby won't have a real one because of the needles dropping. Had lots of fake ones over the years, have a fibre optic one now already dressed with candles and baubles and I finish it off with a few heirloom ornaments. Going out of fashion now but I still love it, it's so easy. I bet Grace and Mark will enjoy dressing the tree with you, I always enjoyed doing it with my Mum. Another lovely card today, (did we have a step by step for this one on your blog) you are so generous giving away another voucher. I would be so happy with just the card knowing that you had made it. Slow down now Barb, whatever isn't done before they come home can wait they just want to see you and wont want you to be shattered.xxx

  79. Oh, I so know what you mean, Barbara. Why doesn't someone invent lights that come in segments so that you can place the lights in sections, joining them up as you go. Trying to pass 200 lights around a tree whilst standing on a ladder, on one foot so you can reach (being a short arse), is just too difficult and always results in a strained back. Lovely card as usual Barbara xx

  80. You'll soon be laughing about the light incident. I gave up on a real tree years ago, we now have a 6' pre light artificial tree – it doesn't shed and I put it up earlier than I would a real one when I have less to do so less stress. I did have an issue few years ago though. One morning I noticed some of the chocolate decorations were half eaten or nibbled. The cat had very kindly brought in a live mouse. The kids were very upset as I binned all the chocolate decorations just in case. The mouse I hear you ask, well I found it in the log basket next to the stove, so I simple lifted the basket and put mousey back outside.

    Love the card today. I had my eye on the branch stencil but wasn't sure what to do with it, needless to say it is on my wish list now.

  81. We all feel for you and to some degree or other have had similar experiences with real trees and lights. It doesn't stop us having real trees or lights though, does it…? it's just how it is. Try to go with the flow and laugh it off. Tomorrow could be just different. Nice card, Barbara. xxx

  82. I gave up on a tree 15 years ago, much for the same reason..stupid lights, they say you can wrap them around a clotheshanger, but now i blame it on the cats hahaha Merry Christmas Barbara, hang in there, you'll find your mojo! xxx

  83. Oh you do make me laugh….I love having a real tree in the house at Christmas….but the carnage when it's time to move it out of the house !!!!! Not long now and you will all be together…..xx

  84. Hi Barbara, Im with you…the lights for the tree – always a tricky one which i s why I always let my husband do them then i nrmally decorate the tree. Not this year….as he did the lights he wanted to do it all. After two children married this year and finally left home we have lights outside for the first time too. Whats that all about lol. Hope you all have a good time when your family arrive…bet you are really looking forward to it!! x

  85. Hello Barbara

    What a hoot, although it certainly wasn't at the time I suspect. Much as I love a real tree I succumbed a few years back to an artificial one and last year replaced the first one with a pre-lit tree. Brilliant!

    Love the artwork today and you are so generous. We had our family Christmas today so I have some money to spend on my favourite goodies. And to top that my grandson (4 two days ago) asked to stay the night! So here we both are tucked up in bed together with him only just fallen asleep.

    Enjoy the homecoming tomorrow and give yourself some time off from this blogging lark to enjoy your children. We all understand.


  86. It could only happen to you! With 4 grandchildren running about it's a fake tree with lights included for me, makes life easier. But that was the best resolution to an annual problem. Love the card too.

  87. Well I have to say we've abandoned a really tree this year and I got "him in doors" to make one out of wood that I say in a very expensive shop. It's made up of graduating lengths of pine and holes drilled at the ends that hold night lights—– onto the lights – I thought these battery ones would be a safe option but they only lasted about 3 hours before flickering out so its back to the light your own version, the problem is as there is over 40 night lights on this tree it makes the room sooo flipping hot!! Who said we're never happy . Merry Christmas X

  88. Oh dear, I liberated myself from the torment of the whole Christmas tree lights debacle years ago and went for a fibre optic tree, very pretty and the gentle humming of the motor is quite soothing ;-). Anyway I'm sure you will enjoy decorating the tree much more when Grace and Mark land, it's lovely to do it together. You'll get there xx

  89. Oh dear I'm so sorry but I couldn't stop laughing talk about been (bin) there….it will all come out right in the end and don't forget tree lights were obviously invented by a man. Love the card and hope everything goes ok tomorrow.xxxxx

  90. Can sympathise with your Christmas tree lights problem. Having put two sets in place , at
    the turn on moment one set failed. So off they came and we wasted no time in binning them. Next the outdoor tree lights failed but they will have to stay there until spring when my husband with have to dismantle them. Oh the joys.
    Anyway all the frustrations will disaear when your beloved children walk through the door.
    Thank you for taking the time to blog when you have so much to do. You are your own worst enemy, but you are so giving of your time and energy to us.
    Good night . Only 4 more sleeps as our grandchildren keep reminding us. They are only 22 ,19 17 ,16,15 and 12 !

  91. SOOOOOO glad it's not just me!!!! I haven't got the tree out of hibernation, yet..(yes, artificial…) or purchased a mince pie. Come Friday, I won't have anything un-ironed to wear unless I get my finger out. But I have just finished the last of my Christmas cards, so it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!! Thank you, Barbara, for taking the time to entertain us each day, when you, too, have so much to be doing. Take a back seat, let the kids put the tree up…. it will be good practise for them! 🙂 Jo xx

  92. Well, we are off to my parents tomorrow, I haven't wrapped presents or packed, and I'm up still trying to finish the nativity scene I promised I'd do for my mum that seemed like such a good idea in the sunny days of summer! So relate to the head thing. But I did finish my Christmas cards this morning (the Groovi ones looked so fab, I was really pleased) and we had a mammoth session writing them this evening for last posting day tomorrow!

    It'll all work out one way or another, spending the time with family is the main thing, right?

    Sure you're super excited for tomorrow, it'll be so lovely!

    I've got so used to these images as groovi plates they look slightly strange as stamps now! But lovely as ever, on a very pretty background.

  93. Am I the only one with housework dyslexia. I understand the concept, but the practise escapes me. So I rarely iron in winter and the tree is still in the garage and has been for the last 3 years. I may decorate with cards and candles if I feel like it. But I am chilled. I'd rather play with the gelli plate. Fab card.

  94. My two youngest granddaughters came to help with decorating my tree this year, they are 5 and 7 years old. Up until now I never thought I had OCD but it was so hard to leave them to it and not try to rearrange what they did. I went and baked some cakes and left them rolling the tinsel onto balls and hurling it as high as they could with my husband laughing manically while joining in. I now have a beautiful original tree, it looks bare from outside the window as Daisy (5) pointed out, why put stuff on the back where you can't see it, it's a bit lop sided too but I am not changing a thing, they had so much fun.

  95. I'm not sure whether I commented here or not, I know I replied to Donna about the lights, then I went off to make a Clarity order then I didn't come back ! I was going to say let the children do the tree, I'm sure they'll love it!

    Why's my typing underlined with red! Lovely project again, thanks Barbara, enjoy tomorrow! x x

  96. Can I share my idea for labelling the presents when there are little ones too young to read the labels – I assign everyone their own stamp when I make the labels so even the littlest can find their presents. Last year Agnes had the little mice and Leo had a dog.

  97. Can I share my idea for labelling the presents when there are little ones too young to read the labels – I assign everyone their own stamp when I make the labels so even the littlest can find their presents. Last year Agnes had the little mice and Leo had a dog.

  98. Aha…. The dreaded pine needle saga. I must admit that I gave up on a real tree quite a few years ago. Have you seen some of the trees you can get these days, it's just not worth the hastle of buying a real one. I do love the card this evening though. Rest easy as you will be seeing the kids soon xxx

  99. Hi Barbara,
    ha ha the needle/ tree saga, at least you've got a tree with light on, ours is still in the loft….feeling so rough at the moment the tree and Christmas is on hold with a possibility of being cancelled!
    Hope the kids enjoy decorating yours.
    Crafty hugs,
    Jackie x

  100. Oops fell asleep on the couch now am up bright as a button giggling away to myself at your antics with the lights you do cheer me up. Hope the neighbours don't think I've finally lost the plot but you are funny .

    When the bairns were wee we thought it would be great to have a real tree so off hubby went in our wee Ford anglia and got one went out the back garden and filled a bucket with earth covered said bucket in xmas paper and stuck the tree in it (classy I know )anyway all decorated up looked the bees knees till all the wee worm's tried to escape the bucket …..we were young and we did luagh …….Xx

    1. Oh Dorothy that gave me a laugh – poor you and poor worms! I fell asleep whilst commenting last night so playing catch up today! Hope you slept well when you finally got to bed! Xxxx

  101. Gosh, not only me who has insomnia. Well I've done a lot of thinking about the decos for Christmas, that's all I've managed so far.just the thinking. I used to love seeing my tree decorated, colour coordinated and gorgeous, well I did before I had my dog a few years back. The thought of trudging up the loft, finding what I wanted, and yes, the dreaded untangling of 3 different sets of Christmas tree lights ( I am sure the tangle fairies spend months weaving them together) strangly lost its appeal when I realised he is likened to a demolition derby. I now have a festive twig. Already lit. I just add a few tasteful baubles, and voila, no faffing with the above. I know it's not the same, but,this way I cling to what's left of my sanity. Life's too short to fret over things that don't matter, and I prefer my dog to the Christmas tree anyway! Hoping everyone enjoys their Christmas.x

  102. bar humbug to your tree Bar stamped ones are best anyway ,,love to know what the kids do when they land at yours bet they just take it all in hand nonprobs have peace today dear girl x x Pamela Kehoe

  103. Guten Morgen Barbara,
    also ich finde diese Kugeln ganz besonders schön und würde mich freuen, wenn ich sie bei mir hinstellen könnte.;-)
    Und ganz besonders freut mich, dass Du heute Deine Kinder abholen und endlich wieder in die Arme schließen kannst … ist ja doch eine ganz schöne Entfernung um mal eben bei ihnen vorbeizuschauen *schade*.
    Ich wünsche Dir, Deinen Lieben und dem Clarity-Team einen schönen Tag.
    Ganz viele Grüße sendet Sabine:-)

  104. Hello Barb, I must apologise for laughing, but I can just imagine you with the tangled lights and a pair of scissors. I am sure Grace and Mark will sort it. Love your stamped card, the baubles are lovely. Thank you for taking time to do your blog when you had so much on your list to do, and you still did the ironing! Amazing lady. Take care. Bx

  105. Hi Barbara, you need to put the trunk of the tree in water, it's just like having a bunch of flowers in a dry vase they would wilt and die.
    Margaret x

  106. Hi Barbara oh I'm sorry but you did make me laugh – just think of the different blog you would have written though if it had all gone to plan! Bit of spray glue and a session throwing needles at the tree and it will look gorgeous – you wait, Grace will organise Mark and you will show us a real delight tonight with all happy smiling faces. Don't forget to take tissues with you to the airport! Love the artwork Barbara it's gorgeous and your generosity again is wonderful thank you. Have a wonderful day
    Love Diane xxxx

  107. So sorry you bave tree frustration Barbara, it is aknown disease as lights are such a pain to distribute round the tree evenly and as we only live in a smallish house I now have a tree that lights up and changes colour so just bung a few baubles on and looks fine without too much faffing. I would love to have your pretty bauble card and how generous to include a £20 voucher too. x

  108. Oh Barbara I feel for you. The "to do" list can take over your mind can't it. Well you deliberately left the tree for the kids to do as you thought they would enjoy it didn't you? Got and erected our tree yesterday but putting the lights on today and we all know that what were working lights when they were put in the box last year can turn into none working lights when we take them out again don't we. So fingers crossed that this doesn't happen cause there is no Woolworths to rush to and buy some new ones any more. In fact I happened to go in B&Q for some wood beading to finish off a frame for a Christmas present I am making and guess what Christmas is over already and all the Christmas stuff has been stripped off the shelves and is that pile of reduced items that no one wanted to buy in the first place. Always depresses me when I see the shops strip the shelves before Christmas has even been. Anyway wish me luck with my lights today. Also need to write and post my Chrismas cards this morning as it is last posting day today. That sprung on my before I knew it. Also going for the food shopping at the supermarket today so that will be a total joy cause if the shelves have been stripped I will start to loose my cool! Managed to keep my weekend face pasted on yesterday but feel that today my smile will crack. You just focus on the kids cause everything else has a way of working out. Family are the meaning of everything. Much love Jayne

  109. Trees!! Lights!!! I totally get you. We still have to do our tree, and it an artificial one. I need to put my craft away so we will have space for it, but I don't want to pack it away as I feel creative and want to craft! But everyone one else is nagging me so I will give in today and tidy up!
    I am reall tired today as last night I got surprised with ticket for the bay city rollers at Glasgow Barrowlands! Amazing night! Took me back to my childhood singing Shang a lang and the other hits! Even waved my tartan scarf while dancing the night away!

  110. You did so well to walk away Barbara. Your time is so precious and your attention to an already shedding tree is a complete waste. Hand the job over to Mark and Grace and I am sure they will surprise and delight you. Time to chill and enjoy them being with you. Now, BREATHE………..

  111. Time for you to take a step back and breathe hun. Sort out what has to be done and what you would like done into two separate piles and only do what has to be done, the rest can wait, which also includes the ironing lol! One of my nemesis is the ironing, I don't think I've used the iron for over two years for ironing clothes. I use it for ironing fibres and film and that makes my happy lol! I still have cards to make and post and I'm pretty sure they'll be late too. Awesome Hochanda show this afternoon and I hope you get home safe and early and get a little pampering too Karen x

  112. Sorry your lights were a pain but I hope that it means that the "gone wrong" event for Christmas is now over and done with and everything else will go beautifully. I remember my Dad doing the tree lights over 40 years ago. Back then if one light didn't work the whole lot didn't and he would have to fiddle and twiddle with each light until he found the "dud" one – or two. My Dad was very easygoing but the Christmas lights did try his patience. Sometimes, afterwards even the trying moments can have their funny side. Your artwork is lovely, but then it always looks good to me. I have your signed Calendar to admire for 2016 but your beautiful Christmas artwork would be something to treasure and bring out every Christmas.

  113. What bad luck Barbara. I got our tree lights out of the loft only to discover that they no longer work. Bother. Lovely card. Enjoy having the family back home. x

  114. Oh dear Barbara, the lights are always a challenge. Remember the kids are coming to see you and the family so won't be bothered about the tree so it's a minor detail. Just have fun and a very Happy Christmas xxx

  115. You are not alone with your tangled lights. A few weeks ago there was an job advert for Christmas tree lights unravelled. It was for Tesco and the job went to a woman she was on the television talking about her new job. Not my sort of job it would drive me mad and as much as I love Christmas I couldn't cope with it every day.

  116. Hi Barbara
    Leaving the tree to your kids sounds like the best way forward.I'd rather do the ironing as I can switch off to everything while do it.
    You can have a good laugh about the tree with your kids when they arrive.Enjoy every moment:-)

  117. I HAVE to go artificial with Christmas trees – I'm very allergic to the real things, so envy even your shedding one! Maybe you could do what they do with food these days and have a de-constructed tree – lights on one side and decorations on the other? You never know – it could catch on! Enjoy, whatever you do. And sincere thanks for taking the trouble to write this blog every day.

  118. Oh how stressful it is, lights and baubles have to b in the right position. Had many words with my other half about the lights, "there is a gap there" " you can't have the same colour next to each other" oh how silly to get so stressed over a Christmas tree as it is only up for 5 mins, needs to b right just like card making. At least the Christmast tree is still up, I have to admit that I did throw it out in the garden after our son was born, postnatal depression but we can all laugh about now hehehe xx

  119. how well I know this problem. last year we bought a load of battery lights. this year only one & a half sets work and yes I did try new batteries. Enjoy your children and have a blessed Christmas. I just love your blog as does my husband, he just has to get in on the act.Now if I can just get this to publish it will be wonderful, I have tried so many times but no joy, Maybe it's living in Spain that does it.

  120. That card is indeed a masterpiece! I love it! Sorry the lights did not work out for you, but a brilliant idea to have your children decorate it when they arrive. Sounds like a fun family project for them, so good idea. Nothing wrong with a twig for a tree; it worked out for Charlie Brown! Happy Christmas.

  121. Ah the wonderful John Lewis. This year I got a lovely set of 10 flickering LED tree candles from them for the drawing room tree. They are about 6ins tall and fit in a gizmo holder that is counterbalanced by a lovely faceted clear bauble on the other end. Each one has it's own AA battery as there is no wire running between each one and they are switch on and off with a remote control. Everyone who has seen them is impressed and says they are lovely, they stand out even against the other 480 lights! Not much use to you this year as they are out of stock but keep a mental note about October next year and invest in a set, you'll not be disappointed.
    I also started on the dining room tree on Sunday, plugged in the lights first to make sure they worked, spent an age getting them something like even and of course when I plugged them in again to check the result no ******* lights so I had to stop, find and order some on line and send my better half out on Monday, to the mayhem, to pick them up. But now the tree is dressed all in silver and looking beautiful.
    I'm done with cut trees, the mess isn't worth it too me but I may well start an Abies Koreana off in a pot for my daughter to use as a Christmas tree for about 20 years before it gets too big. Lovely tree and no needle drop.
    This is the first year that I have made a mindful effort to not stress over Christmas and I can't believe it but I have everything ready and there are still two days to go.
    Enjoy the time with your family.
    Happy Days,

  122. What a pun; love the play of words between your crazy day with the Christmas lights, and your selected artwork! Simple, but effective. Go you for going gung ho with the scissors. I have a teeny artificial tree, and it goes in the box with its lights on! Claire x

  123. Great art work. So with you with the lights, good for you. Just greenery and lights on the mantel this year, the trees were all so dissapointing and expensive

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