The NEC this year…

The NEC this year…

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. It’s the NEC Craft Show this coming weekend. It always loomed very large on the Clarity Calendar. In fact, it loomed large for about 25 years – every March and November. A huge 4-day show. Set up is on the Wednesday (day after tomorrow) and the show runs from Thursday to Sunday. We usually broadcast TV shows LIVE from there too! Every single day! But last year and March this year it was cancelled because of COVID, and so many things have happened at Clarity since then, that we decided not to participate this November either. I know many folks will be disappointed that we won’t be exhibiting, and under normal circumstances we would be there for sure. There will be plenty of other stands, and I’m sure lots of visitors will attend. But for us personally, these aren’t normal circumstances.

I have a scale system. A pros and cons scale which helps me make decisions about things and situations. It’s quite simple. I consider the issue, the problem, the situation. Then I load the positives on one side and the negatives on the other. I do this alone, and mostly write down the points, the fors and againsts. The scales will tip depending on the load – and therein lies MY decision. If it’s a Clarity issue, we take a vote at work. I take my decision to the table, and we have a show of hands. Not difficult, very diplomatic, and final. That’s how it works. The NEC vote was unanimous. No need to list the reasons.


We have been storing the lovely Art boards that we usually display at the show in tissue paper all this time. Waiting to air them again. I had quite a nostalgic moment this afternoon, looking through them. Then I had a moment of Clarity!

Went and found a load of Velcro in our – wait for it – Exhibition room, where we store all the fixtures and fittings and hooks and tools and tills and boards etc etc etc. and decided to throw a little colour at our Office Partitions!  Voila!

So much better than just covering it up and storing it in the dark !



Mmm. And then I saw the Remember Card on the wall. See it? And I remembered that of course, it’s Remembrance Sunday when we’re at the NEC, the closest Sunday to Armistice Day the 11th November. Always is very powerful, almost surreal, to stand in silence at 11am in a bustling hall for two minutes, and listen to the chimes of the 11th month, the 11th day and the 11th hour, and to a poignant reading over the tannoy system. Mmm. I shall always remember remembering Armistice Day.

This afternoon, we – the Clarity Designers – had a think. Here’s a set of poppies which I drew years ago to commemorate Remembrance Sunday. Groovi Plates…CLICK HERE TO FIND



Today, we converted them into 2 sets of A6 stamps. Lucy drew up the artwork  – and they’ve already been made. You’ll find them under NEW PRODUCTS on our website. £9.99 each or £19.98 for the pair.  We will donate £1 for each individual stamp set you buy to The Poppy Appeal. So that’s £2 for the pair.

And we’ll donate the same amount for each of the Groovi Poppy plates too. So £1 per plate. £2 for the pair.

We won’t be at the NEC this year. But we wish the Show Organisers and all our colleagues there all the very, very best. We hope it’s a cracking show for them. If you are going, enjoy!

Stay safe.

Love and Hugs

Barb xx




25 thoughts on “The NEC this year…

  1. Hello Barbara
    With everything you have going on at the moment it is a no-brainer.
    There will be other times.

  2. So wonderful Barbara that you will donate from every poppy stamp or Groovi plate!
    Take care and hope to see you in the Shac.
    Lots of love, Trijntje Huppel

  3. Totally agree with your decision to miss the NEC this year. It has been such a hard time and we are not in the clear yet. Your idea of charity donations is a wonderful one and so generous.
    Let’s all take a few deep breaths, and take time to gather our energies for the next stage. We also need to thank everyone at Clarity for keeping us all in a positive mood. XXX Maggie Craner (Silvercrafter)

  4. Wholeheartedly agree with your decision Barbara, the coming months will hopefully give us all a clearer picture of the “new normal” and for those of us who are still gradually emerging from shielding and taking baby steps back into the “new normal” – its scary!
    Thank you Clarity for your generous support for Crisis and
    The Poppy Appeal.
    Looking forward to The Moment Of Clarity on Wednesday – see you there!
    Take care, keep safe everyone.

  5. Im sure some folk will be disappointed but you Barbara, and the Clarity team have been so generous in many ways to us, your customers, friends and fans…through family health scares, business worries etc…they will surely understand. There will be other times..I sure hope so. Keep safe and positive, and thank you.x

  6. Definitely the right decision! I’m sure all the staff at Clarity,involved in making such an event happen breathed a sigh of relief! There is always next year. Watching Yours and Paul’s shac shacks are enough for now. They are brilliant! Time to take care of all yourselves. X

  7. Hi Barbara you have made the best decision. Those poppies are all gorgeous. I just love poppies. I hope Dave is improving. Have a good week. Take care. Hugs xxx

  8. Agree with and understand your decision, very wise. Exhibitions are a lot of hard work that you don’t need right now.
    I love poppies, had lots in my old garden and have only just got round to seeding some this year. The Groovi plates have seen a lot of use so I will be ordering the stamps shortly.
    You have certainly brightened up that space – so nice to see the samples out – they are too lovely to hide away.
    Hope you are well rested after your well deserved weekend off and that Dave is improving daily.
    Take care and stay safe.

  9. Sounds like a very good decision even before recent events. Leadership is hard but we have to keep people out of crowds. You know people will cluster anywhere Clarity shows up, so that has to be diverted to TV and computers. And that’s before you think about the team. It might be different if masks and social distancing were still with us but the politicians have shifted the mess to the real leaders, such as yourself, by saying they expect and recommend them but opting out of enforcement.

    Thanks for the very generous charity offers.

  10. Agree wholeheartedly with all that’s been said. My family love going to the nec shows could always find the clarity stand it would have the biggest crowd it’s just not not worth the risk this year as we can see you on the iPad in the comfort of our own home no travelling no risky mixing with large crowds. To all at clarity towers you are the best craft club and so thoughtful and helpful, you all deserve a medal well done.

  11. Thank you Barbara for doing this very close to my heart as my Dad was one of the forgotten army , and sadly we lost him 41yrs ago an Armistice Day. Love Suexxx

  12. I quite agree with you Barbara I would not be comfortable in big crowds yet. Thank you for supporting the poppy appeal l have to grandchildren in service and the poppy appeal is very close to my heart. Hope you and Dave are both keeping well stay safe xxx

  13. Totally agree with your decision. Made the mistake of venturing to the theatre last week and really wished I hadn’t. Went to a matinee thinking it wouldn’t be as crowded as the evening performance only to be confronted by hoards of school pupils roaming around the auditorium and building with not a mask in sight despite an announcement at the very beginning of the performance for people to wear their masks at all times. I felt extremely vulnerable and so sorry for the staff who were all wearing masks. I felt much safer in the London theatre where you had to prove you had been double vaccinated or provide proof of a negative covid test within the last 48 hours before they would even let you in the building, anyone who couldn’t was refused entry. Yes I have been double vaccinated but that doesn’t mean I can’t still catch it. We can all still get our Clarity fix with the Shac Shac, PJ parties and moments of clarity all within the safety of our own homes thanks to you and your wonderful team. Xxx

  14. I agree. Haven’t been to NEC for years now, it got cost prohibitive really and I’d rather pay for more Clarity goodies with the train fare ! Over the years I’ve picked up x stitch kits for my retirement pile and I haven’t started any yet so don’t need any more! I wouldn’t want to mix with so many people either yet, I’ve had a theatre trip and that was more than enough for me for now. Great idea to get all the work out though ! X

  15. Hi Barbara
    I’m sure it’s the right decision what with everything that has happened this past year. Myself and a friend have had tickets for a craft show at the Bath show ground for 18 months and are finally taking the leap of faith on the 25th. Have not felt comfortable as we are still vulnerable to infection. We will all support Clarity even if it’s only from our armchairs 🤣🤣.
    Love Ruth & Jackie xx

  16. I think you have totally made the right decision in not going to the NEC, Barbara. Considering that so many Crafters are in a vulnerable state, it would be very unwise to put yourselves in a situation where Covid could be spread around. It is NOT over yet.
    I’ve just spent the last two weeks in a little bubble, trying not to think about catching Covid from plane’s full of people. Back to reality at home now and Covid is still rife.
    So, I agree with you. Stay at home, look after yourself and your family and let us visit you online. Yes, there will be some people who won’t understand your decision, but you can’t please all the folk all of the time.
    Hugs, and hoping that Dave is on the mend x

  17. Hello Barb, I know that you will always make the right decisions for your family, your team and all those involved in setting up shows like this. I respect those decisions and I hope others do too. Love the poppy stamps, need to go have a look see what I can do, especially as it is for such a worthwhile charity. We do a little display in our garden and any money donated gets split between the Poppy Appeal and Help for Heroes. Our little way to help. Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  18. Totally agree with your decision Barbara. I’m still very careful and while it’s good to see some craft shows back I’m not ready yet to join the crowds if you see what I mean. As for your scale system, I tend to write down a list of pros and cons when I need to make an important decision. Xxx

  19. Hi Barbara Totally agree with your decision, it’s just not worth the risk at the moment and with everything else going on with your family it’s the right choice ( and that’s before you add in the Clarity team and their families too!). I love the poppy stamps, I’ve used the Groovi plates many times. How kind to give a donation to another good cause. Well done you! Love Diane xx

  20. Hi Barb,
    I think you have made the right decision and I’m sure everyone will understand why you are not there.I’m very careful about where I go and don’t like being in really crowded places at the moment. I’m amazed at how a lot of people seem to have become so complacent about COVID – it hasn’t gone away , the numbers prove it – and don’t wear masks or socially distance. I’m just praying that we don’t end up in another lockdown! Hope Dave is continuing to improve. Love and hugs, Alison xxx

  21. Beautiful display boards. Love the samples.
    The poppy stamps are gorgeous and so important to remember. My father fought in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed in England. His brother was killed over Belgium and is buried in a Canadian War Cemetery in Hotten, Belgium.

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