About Me

I'm a freelance artist, designer and demonstrator and have been involved in arts and craft my whole life in one way or another. I design stamps for top British company Personal Impressions, under the "Lindsay Mason Designs" brand, as well as papers, templates and other crafting products. I'm a certified Ranger Educator and my first book,"Stamping", was published in 2009. I also design regular projects for Crafts Beautiful magazine and have made guest appearances from time to time on QVC. I've recently joined You Tube under the name of LindsayMason1000 where I'm posting short technique videos and you can buy my paintings and hand crafted pieces from my Etsy shop. My work takes me all around the country demonstrating stamping, papercrafts and general inkiness! When I'm not working, I love gardening, church & community activities, nature watching, journalling, music and theatre and just relaxing at home. Email me at: ljm.design1@virginmedia.com

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A few Christmas cards and tags

Hello from a very rainy Lancashire. I'm just taking a coffee break chance to do a quick catch up and share one or two more images of things I've been up to this week. On Saturday I'll be at Card-io in Wigan from 10am - 4pm where I'll be showcasing my Christmas range of stamps and various messy techniques - as well as some cleaner ones!
Here are some of the things I've been creating for Saturday's demonstration....
The first card was made using my "Little Festive Houses" set and I also added the tiny snowman from the "Cold Hands Warm Heart" set. The background was spritzed with Shimmer Goosebumpz before I blended various blue and purple Distress inks over it. 
Next up is a card featuring a Dylusions ink sprays background - with the white ink sprayed through a stencil over the other colours. I've used images from my "Moon Gazer" stamp set...I really like the whole moon gazing hares imagery and have a small hare in the garden that gazes upwards...not a real one of course! Though we do get hares in the fields behind the houses on my lane.
Now for a couple of tags....
.....both have snowmen from the "Cold Hands...." set. The trees in the left hand tag are from the "Little Festive Houses" set and the ones on the right hand tag are from "Peaceful Christmas" which I inked and then stamped onto scrap card before stamping onto the tag itself. Both backgrounds are made using Distress inks swept across the craft sheet, spritzed with water and then picked up on the tags. 
I added TH Christmas remnant rubs in white to the right hand tag before inking as the rub ons resist the inks to give a nice, soft finish.
Thank you for the great feedback I've had about the new stamps and especially these little chaps.....
 ....they are from the "Merry Christmas to Whoo" set. It's a shame that the camera doesn't pick up the amazing sparkle on this card - I used Tsukineko Shimmer Spritz, in Sparkle, over the whole front and it gives a very delicate sparkle to the picture that really does look like fairy dust! 
Here's one of the two Christmas Zendoodle word stamps used on a very simple card - great when you need to make plenty in a short space of time though!
This stamp is called, unsurprisingly, "Zendoodle Peace"! I took the photo using flash in the evening, hence the slightly creamy tinge. All I did was stamp, colour and add Crystal Stickles to the letters with some added dots of Stickles around the word - really easy and pretty quick!
A last tag to share using the "Doo Lally Pip Tree Fairy" stamp set.
This was a tag from my bag of unfinished bits and pieces - we all have those I think! I didn't really like the colours or how they had come together but I decided to go with it. I stamped the string of stars a few times across the surface and used a white gel pen to pick them out to brighten up the muddiness of the background a bit. More TH remnant rubs added very randomly to add more white highlights. Then I stamped, coloured and cut out little madam and added her before glittering her wings. Doesn't look quite so dreary now!

Talking of cards, I have added some Christmas cards for sale on my Etsy site and will be adding more items as and when I can....I have neglected my shop for quite a while so am determined to get cracking with it once more!

I've not been able to get into the garden this week what with work and the temperamental weather, but I've collected some more rocks for my latest project. Well, to be fair, I thought they were rocks but they turned out to be lumps of concrete! However, once they're half buried and have plants growing around them they will be fine and will do the job of keeping the soil in place.
I thought I'd end with a piece of music that I've been listening to a lot this week. It's sung by Enya and is from the Lord of the Rings trilogy which David and I absolutely loved....can't count how many times we watched the films. We always said we'd have a trilogy day where we'd watch the three films back to back in one go but we never quite found the time to do it!
Things are a bit rough here at the moment and, at times like this, I miss David more than ever, so this song pretty much sums up how I feel....
                                 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A bit of all sorts!

Just a late night post before bed time. It's been a busy day here one way and another. This morning I had the final dental appointment to fit my second replacement crown. This should have been done almost two weeks ago but the new crown had a fault so it had to be made all over again. It's nice to have a decent smile back, though it will take me a while to realise that everything's normal again I think! As my homegrown sweetcorn are very nearly ripe for harvesting, I asked the dentist if my new choppers would withstand biting into the cobs....apparently yes, so I shall look forward to that!
The sweetcorn have been very interesting as I've never grown them before and didn't really know exactly where the cobs grew. I foolishly thought that the yellow spikes growing at the top were going to magically turn into corn and was a bit disappointed at the idea of only one ear of corn per plant! As it turns out, the male flower is at the top and the female flowers that shoot out from the sides are what become the edible cobs - at least three or four on each plant...can't wait!
Talking of things horticultural, I was pretty miffed a couple of weeks ago when my new neighbours decided to cut back the shrubs that are between our front gardens. The shrubs are growing from my neighbour's side and they said they'd like to trim them a bit. The plants have come over onto my side and I said I was fine with them being trimmed as long as it wasn't too drastic as the birds like to perch in them. It was agreed that we'd do the trimming when I was at home so that we could all agree on what got cut back.
Unfortunately, when I was out one morning, my neighbour decided to get busy with the saw and hacked away at everything. Worst of all, he came into my garden and cut back the foliage that was hanging over my low wall as well as breaking one of my solar lamps in the process! I was quite annoyed to say the least. However, nothing has been mentioned and I don't want to fall out with new neighbours who are, otherwise, very pleasant. I'm sure they thought they were doing me a favour, but it has left my garden looking very bare at one side and with no privacy from next door...gggrrrr!!!
To make things worse, there's very little soil on my side in this area so I have been puzzling over what to do next. So, after visiting our mum this morning, Heather and I went to the garden centre and I got some bags of topsoil, compost and grit with a view to creating an area that I can plant up. Last night I found some large rocks that were hidden from view by overgrown Heathers, so I heaved them out and split them with a hammer and chisel. This is as far as I got this afternoon......
.....I've moved a few things around and now I need some new plants!
The gaps above the wall used to be full of lovely shrubbery with blossoms and berries : (  
I've moved some of my pots to fill the gravelly areas that have no soil at all and I've put some new plants into the deeper soil that will, hopefully, grow and create some privacy once more....
...it's not that I'm antisocial, but I don't like having an uninterrupted view into next door's garden! I've planted a lovely fern that I dug out of Heather's garden....she did give me permission! Next to it are a couple of Sunflowers that should flower nicely now that they're in open ground and, to the left of the fern is my bargain of the day..... 
....it's a "Magical Four Seasons" Hydrangea which, apparently, goes through four colour changes through the year. Heather and I loved the vintage look of it and I've wanted a Hydrangea for ages.This one was a steal in the special offers section!
Well, from gardens back to festive makes and here are one or two more examples of what I've been up to with my new stamps. This one is using my Zendoodle ready to go Angel set and the words are from my Inspirational Quotes set. The strip down the side features the Tsukineko Irresisible spray in Lulu Lavender which I then blended over with Shaded Lilac Distress ink.
Here's another card featuring my Peaceful Christmas set. I used a background from my selection that I have ready to use...it was created with Dylusions ink sprays onto damp 300 gsm white card which I then spritzed with white Dyusions through one of Tim's stencils. Not an especially festive stencil, but the colours worked really well and give a Northern Lights glow to the card. For this scene I simply added torn strips of white card with some shading of course....Distress ink applied with a waterbrush.
I'll be making more examples with the new Christmas stamps tomorrow, so will share them as and when!
I thought you might like to see a couple of new spots that Thomas has decided are great places to be. The last couple of days have seen him enjoying being in my company in the garden, but he soon gets bored of me taking more notice of plants than of him! His latest sleeping bed is here......
...curled up on top of the Heathers which make a very springy, if slightly prickly, cushion. If I pat him he goes up and down as if he's on a trampoline!
This morning I couldn't find him in any of his usual places until I went into the bathroom and discovered that his newest resting place is here.....
.....in the bath! Who knows what goes on in the feline mind!
Well, a bit of an eclectic mix of piccies tonight, but I'll be back with more Christmas creations in the next day or two. Nighty night all.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Forgot my hat!

Hello folks, back to more cheerful posting after yesterday's sombre WW1 anniversary. But just to say that all of the residents on our lane switched their lights off at 10pm last night (all except one that is) and we all had single candles burning in our windows. It was very moving to see everyone coming together at a specific moment to think about the losses that had gone before. I think that any symbolic gestures that people can get involved in together are always worthwhile....we're so fragmented these days with our reliance on technologies that tend to keep us in our little bubbles.

Well, in a totally different mood, it was a lovely day on Saturday at Coleman's Craft Warehouse in Rushden. I didn't get time to take photographs except for snapping a few of the cards that I made on the day. I forgot to take my Christmas hat too - so there was no photo opportunity there! Hello to everyone who came along and I hope you are all enjoying colouring the Zendoodle stamps, spritzing inks all over the place and creating lovely shimmery textures with the Irresistibles and Shimmer Spritzers!

So, just a few images to share for now.....
 ...a rather clean and simple card for me! This is the Zendoodle Reindeer Ready to Go which I coloured and then outlined with a soft grey to "lift" him from the background. That's a greeting from Tim's Christmas Remnant Rubs pack which I thought had a lovely retro look about it. I just smudged some Peeled Paint Distress ink around the edges and matted onto white card and red glitter card. Simple!
Next up is a card that features the "Wedding Dress" (white!) Irressistibles (did I say that I hate trying to spell that word?!) spray. I spritzed the I**********s (!) over 300 gsm white card and allowed to dry - doesn't take too long and you can gently apply heat once the surface has begun to harden. I then used Dylusions sprays to colour the card and blotted off the excess.

The Irresistibles resists the ink and creates a lovely texture as well. The closer you spray the bigger the spatters and they get finer the further away you spray. The character on this card is my "Stringy Snowman" and I just used white card with touches of ink and Shimmer Spritz to create the snowy landscape.
Talking of landscapes, I do love to create wintery scenes that feature silhouette images. So, here, I used my Peaceful Christmas set after I'd created the background.....
This time I masked off the lower portion of the card using torn paper and then spritzed Dylusions inks over the top section, blotting with kitchen paper to remove the excess and slightly soften the colours. I stamped the trees in full black and then a few times without re-inking to get some hazier trees that give extra depth - it doesn't matter if the trees don't quite touch the white areas as it just makes them look as if they are in snow that's further away.
I then tore extra strips of white card and gently traced along their edges onto the card so I knew what shape I had to work with - hope that makes sense! I was then able to stamp the fence accurately so that it sat just above the first torn strip. A little tip here - I have cut my fence stamp in half...yikes! It just gives me more flexibility when positioning it and I can easily put the two halves together on a block to re create the original image.
I then stamped the deer and added the final strip of torn card. Next I stamped the moon and used a white gel pen to emphasise it. I stamped the message from my Inspirational Quotes set and then gave everything a light mist using the Sparkle Shimmer Spritz for some magical twinkle!
The last card for today was one that proved very popular on Saturday and the Zendoodle Snowman RTG was the first set to sell out. I used a Crafter's Workshop 6" x 6" stencil called Aspen Trees over white card and simply blended Stormy Sky Distress ink over the image, allowing the colour to fade out as it went down. This gives an effect of the trees standing in a furry of snow.
I coloured and cut out the snowman and attached him to the card before adding the message and finishing with some touches of Stickles on the trees. Easy Peasy!
I'm feeling quite pleased with myself just now as I spent an hour or so in the spare bedroom (aka dumping ground, craft store and general glory hole) having a good clear out. It was getting hard to even walk into the room without things falling over, so I decided that enough was enough! My blue recycling bin is now so stuffed with cardboard boxes and paper scraps that I can't close the lid! It's still not exactly a room that I'd want to show to anyone, but it looks a lot better.
Well, the sun is out at the moment but apparently will be going into hiding again very soon, so I am going to plant a couple of new additions in the garden - a shrub that I've forgotten the name of and a rather nice pinkish red and green grass. Hopefully I'll get them in before the rain comes!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Lights out

I'd normally be posting about the lovely day I had at Coleman's Warehouse on Saturday, along with some photos, but, due to the sombre nature of today's commemorations of the onset of WW1 it seemed too frivolous so I'll shelve that for another day.
I called into Church this morning to light some candles and spend some quiet time thinking about the people I've lost and how little humans seem to learn from history. I don't know about family members lost in the first war, but I'm sure there must be some. My mum lost her brother in WW2 so one of the candles I lit was for him.
There were also some books of poems and prayers in Church to help focus one's thoughts. This one by Vera Brittain struck a chord in more ways than one....


This moving and evocative sonnet is by Henry Christopher Bradby....

April 1918



You, whose forebodings have been all fulfilled,
You who have heard the bell, seen the boy stand
Holding the flimsy message in his hand
While through your heart the fiery question thrilled
"Wounded or killed, which, which?"--and it was "Killed--"
And in a kind of trance have read it, numb
But conscious that the dreaded hour was come,
No dream this dream wherewith your blood was chilled--
Oh brothers in calamity, unknown
Companions in the order of black loss,
Lift up your hearts, for your are not alone,
And let our sombre hosts together bring
Their sorrows to the shadow of the Cross

It makes me imagine how my grandmother must have felt when she received the telegram about uncle David and maybe it helps relate to the countless people who are grieving now due to all the conflicts we are hearing about daily in the news.

Finally, a very short, two line "poem" by Rudyard Kipling, who lost his son in WW1, which tells of the horror of what happened to the men who were called cowards and deserters and who were doubtless shell shocked and driven mad by what they witnessed.....

THE COWARD

I could not look on Death, which being known,
Men led me to him, blindfold and alone.
 I read that many years ago and it haunted me....it says so much in so few words.

So, a time to reflect and a time to hope and pray that one day humans will come to their senses and stop fighting each other. A forelorn hope I fear, but hope must always be there....tonight in the form of a candle.
 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Warning....Christmas images...!

Hello all, two weeks since I last posted - yikes! I had a really good couple of weeks off work - didn't go away but I just pottered in the garden, relaxed in the sunshine with a couple of books, had a few evenings with friends and generally just had time out.
Last Saturday I was at Samuel Taylor's in Brighouse, so a big hello to everyone who came to see me there. Hope you are all making good use of your new stamps, Inca Gold and Dylusions sprays!
This last week though has been a very busy one, getting samples made for my day at Coleman's Warehouse tomorrow. It's one of their demo events so there will be several designers there...click on the link to get more details. So, I'm all packed up now and will be off to the station in an hour or so for my trip down to Northamptonshire. The scorching weather has been replaced with monsoon like downpours so I think I may have to get a cab - otherwise everything in my tote bag (let alone me!) will be drenched. : (
Most of my latest Christmas stamp sets are in stock now, so tomorrow will be my first demonstration with the new designs. Always great to launch new stamps and, after all these years, it's still exciting to see them on the shelves. 
Anyway, before I go, here are just a few of the cards I made this week....
....this one showcases "Zendoodle Dove Ready to Go" (that means ready doodled....not a dove ready for take off!!! Lol!). The background is texturised with Tsukineko Irresistibles and the sentiment is from my "Inspirational Quotes" set. A clean and simple card with just one wing overlayed for a little height and movement.
A bit muckier now (ooh er missus!), well, you know me, I can't stay clean and simple for too long! This card has a background made using Dylusions sprays and a TH stencil that's been spritzed through with the white ink. I love making these backgrounds and my tip about having an afternoon just making backgrounds for later use really helped me this week as I could dip into my collection of ready made ones to save me some time.
 .....my "Doo Lally Pip Tree Fairy" is perched on the top of the "Zentangle Tree Ready to Go" which is just peeking up from the bottom of the card. The swag of stars and the words are from the same set as the fairy. I'll be using her wings on other characters long after Christmas!
Last one for today features one of my favourites sets from the new collection, "Merry Christmas to Whoo"....
....the background was made the same way as the previous card but using a Crafter's Workshop snowflake stencil. I stamped the icicles branch a few times and then added the owls that I stamped, coloured and cut out separately. One admission for the observant amongst you....I realised, after stamping the lowest branch, that I shouldn't have positioned it at an angle - my icicles are not hanging straight down! Well, I was too happy with the background to scrap it, but I won't be making that mistake again!
Right, I had better get myself ready and book that taxi - the rain is getting heavier if anything. Hope to see lots of you there tomorrow...I may even be wearing my Christmas hat....oh no!!!
Have a great weekend whatever you're up to...despite the weather.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A wild day

Almost time for bed, but I've a busy few days coming up so I'm taking the chance to share some photos of a lovely day. Also to say thank you for the lovely birthday cards that I received over the last few days.
Heather had suggested a visit to the zoo - somewhat depending on the weather of course! It was pretty iffy this morning but we decided to brave the showery downpours and go anyway, especially as it was so warm. I spent my last birthday assisting with a funeral so I was looking forward to having a more fun filled day.
Before that I had some parcels to open though,and look how lucky I was.....
 ....the cushion was one that I'd seen and wished I'd bought at the time - when I went back to the store they had all gone but Heather found one at another branch! The gift bag is full of Yankee candles and incense....very relaxing. There's some lovely Champneys goodies too, so the house smells gorgeous one way or another! A special treat is the tag that's tied to the theatre leaflet....it's a "save the date" tag for November when we'll be going to the Grand to see Madam Butterfly.....wow! Heather has never been to the opera and, when I suggested going to see one she really wasn't keen at all so I'm really chuffed that we're now going and I can't wait to see what she makes of it. David and I loved going to the opera, not that we could afford to go too often! Madam Butterfly is one of my favourites and I'll need to take a stack of tissues!
And the boots.....
...check these beauties out!!! Another sneaky gift from my lovely sister.....I'd tried these on when we were window shopping a couple of months ago and I really fell for them but I really couldn't justify buying them. Last time we went to town I saw them again but Heather was being very dismissive of them....turns out it was because she'd already got them for me!
There were treats in store of a different kind when we got to the zoo. Blackpool zoo has a great reputation for its conservation work and the latest success is the very recent birth of two tiger cubs. Needless to say we were hoping we might get a glimpse of them as it's been left up the mother as to if and when she brings them out. We were very lucky and got really close to them and I managed to get some pics and a short video clip....
video
 ....the other cub was in the corner where mum had just plonked him!
Another big highlight was spotting a creature perched rather precariously on a fairly thin branch which I realised was one that I'd wanted to see since reading Gerald Durrell's books many years ago where he described these adorable animals....
video
 ...they're tree porcupines and I just love the waddly walk. They look as if they were made of bits that were left over - a cross between a monkey, a koala bear and a normal porcupine
video
This one did get safely down from the rather spindly tree, though not very gracefully! Here's a close up of another one that waddled into the little cabin that was part of their spacious enclosure...
,,,how adorable is that? A moment after I took the photo he suddenly dropped out of view as he fell over! Not the most elegant creatures but just gorgeous. If you want to see a really cute tree porcupine, check out this video clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMeuwYvlBI0&feature=youtu.be which features a rescued animal from a slightly different species...I almost cried it's so cute!
Not sure if those two videos have uploaded properly so will check tomorrow and try again if they haven't.
Another big thrill was going through the Lemur wood where we had some really close encounters...
 ....they were so nosey and I had to keep a tight hold of my bag to stop them from diving in! Their fur was like thick velvet. Oh my gosh......
....a Ring Tailed Lemur held my hand! By this time my heart was near bursting with all the wonderful encounters! Far too many photos to share (I think I took a couple of hundred!) but we saw just about everything from parrots to penguins, kangaroos to keas, tamarinds to tapirs and everything in between.
Of course,to exit the zoo you have to come through the shop which gave me the chance for a couple more photo ops! With "pith" helmet and a very savage lion........
 ....and then wrestling with an exotic snake!
Heather pointed out that I was right under the security cameras at the time and wondered what on earth the security people would think if they saw me! I was determined to have a bit of fun today though, so I didn't care what I looked like!
It was sad to wave goodbye to the animals but we had been there for about five or six hours! So then it was back to Heather's where we watched a Michael Buble concert that she had recorded followed by a lovely meal of steak, root mash, green vegetables and a mushroom and onion sauce - yummy!
I came home in time to see Alfie Boe performing at the Edinburgh live concert so that was a rather nice treat too!
Tomorrow morning is a slight change from the usual Church service as I'm puppeteering at the last Sunday school of the summer. We're doing a story, a song and the Lord's Prayer - mostly with camels! After that we all rush round to Church in time to take communion and then I'm staying behind to tidy away and set up for the next service. It's a busy day as it's the annual hog roast in the afternoon! It doesn't involve roasting a hog, but there will be lots of food and a really good get together for members of the Church and friends - pity the weather is so unpredictable so we're hoping for a bit of sunshine.
Needless to say this has taken so long that it's now gone midnight and officially the day after my birthday as this is posted! No time tomorrow though as I need to have an early night for an early start on Monday....I have to catch a train at 5.20am....ouch!!! I'm off to two garden centres, Woodthorpe near Alford in Lincolnshire and then, on Tuesday, Brigg, also in Licolnshire. I'm making displays boards for them as well as being there to demo and answer questions of course.
Oh yes....a rather large box arrived late on Friday afternoon which contained all my new Christmas stamp sets! So, I'll be getting cracking with those next week and will share some creative photos for a change once I've made a start! 
I'd better get to bed now - it's 12.40am!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Check this out...

If you have time, please pop over to my sister's blog as she is asking for some suggestions regarding a new venture. Here's the link http://fennedwards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/crafty-call-out.html. My late brother in law, Graham, was an amazing artist who specialised in sculptures, particularly bronzes. Heather and one of Graham's best friends are hoping to cast some pieces from the original moulds but they would also like to create some new pieces and Heather is wondering what might appeal - including things that could be incorporated into altered art or jewellery making for example.
Anyway, if you have any thoughts I know that Heather would really appreciate some feedback. Worth a look just to see some of Graham's fantastic work.