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

Friday, 29 October 2010

Weekend whereabouts

Hello all and, firstly, apologies for not posting my photos yet...first I had no camera batteries and then the weather has been so dismal that I couldn't take any decent ones. I was up to my eyes in paper, ink, stamps and so on this morning and, by the time I got chance to take any photographs it was so dark that I had to give up. What a windy day it has been for sure!
Anyway, this is just a quickie post to touch base and say that I'll be at Card Craft, Lune Street, Lancaster tomorrow and, on Sunday, I'll be at Klondyke Garden Centre, Manchester Road in Wilmslow. Hope to see some of you here or there!
Have a great weekend whatever you are doing and I'll have photos to share on Monday. Take care everyone and enjoy the extra hour in bed on Sunday morning....oh, we are all looking forward to those dark nights aren't we!?!? Lindsay

Monday, 25 October 2010

Happy days!

Yes, days that are filled with laughter, friends and creativity are definitely happy ones. It was a very busy weekend but all of the above made it worthwhile. On Saturday morning it was my Introduction to Art Journalling workshop and we made some backgrounds, altered magazine images with Gesso, painted and drew. There was so much that we could have done and so little time! Hopefully we will be able to fit another workshop in before long so that we can work on some specific pages, but I also hope that everyone felt inspired and more confident in their ability to put pen to paper and create something special. Here's one of mine that shows my impatience! I used a magazine image for the head and torso of the mermaid and Gesso for the background, her hair and tail. I stamped in the Gesso, added paints and some collaged images. All went well and then I added my words (which I wasn't happy with - they look too heavy, but hey ho!). Unfortunately, I thought that everything was dry when I closed my journal but, mmmm, seems not! So my poor mermaid now has blue squidges all over her! I may have to turn them into rain drops, or I may leave it as it is to remind me to wait! This next page is just a fun one that I did to show everyone in the workshop that, even if you think that you can't draw, you can create a piece of original art! It was great fun to do - another of my drawn and coloured with Promarker pages. The sentiment is true for me...I refuse to grow up and I love having that inner child alive and well! The last page has a mix of techniques and I'll give a quick run through of them specially for the ladies on my workshop! I stuck torn out book pages to the blank pages in my journal and then Gessoed over the whole double page spread...I made some areas very thin, some a little thicker. Once dry, I then swept Paint Dabbers up and down the text areas, adding various colours to build up the effect. I wanted to still be able to read some areas. I cut out various images from magazines and papers and stuck them down using Multi Matt Medium, creating the main figue from four different images collaged together. I coloured the pink edging using a Memento brush pen (rather like a Le Plume pen but with a slightly larger nib)...the Gesso texture shows up well as darker and lighter shades of pink. I drew the toadstools in with a black pen, colouring them with brush pens and a white Inkssentials pen. I painted the simple grass effect with acrylic. I added the words and the teensy spiders and finished by adding some shading on and around the characters with Promarkers. Hope you like them.David joined in with the Journalling workshop and I will post pictures of what he did as soon as I have taken them...need some new batteries! We were all impressed! However, a loose lid on a jar of Gesso caused uproar when David picked it up and the contents went flying....most of them over poor Chris! David was mortified and he and Chris spent quite some time cleaning up her bags, clothes and the table. Only later did I discover that I had a white leg and skirt as well! These things happen and thank you Chris for being very good humoured about it all. It was great to see Gez there as she has been having a terrible time suffering with vertigo - her journal pages are gorgeous. I was lucky to get gorgeous ATC's from Chris and Gez and a beautiful tag from Sheila - I'll post piccies of them soon. Thank you ladies.

Now, speaking of good humour, the afternoon workshop was an absolute hoot! We were making a plaque and two cards. The plaque had Gesso on it, to simulate snow. This caused great humour as it was variously referred to as Gessop, Gello and other strange names. Marion put her letters on back to front, so "Joy" became "Yoj" leading to more giggles, especially from the delightful Cynthia and Sharon who lit up the afternoon with their laughter. Here they are - promised I'd blog you girls!Sheila was having fun with the MS punches that just would not behave for her. So much so that David made a special notice for her...... ....thanks for being so good humoured She, you know we love you really!!! Having said that, the sign did move around during the afternoon!After making a card using MS punches and Best Creations papers we finished the session by making a secret message card (sorry, no photo of this one yet either) that opens up in different ways. This caused a few puzzled expressions but as I said, don't worry how it works, just enjoy the fact that it does!

The workshop ended and then Kath and Elaine produced a bag from under the table which they said was for me. As it wasn't my birthday or anything I was somewhat surprised to say the least! I let Kath open the carefully taped and wrapped box as they had said it was fragile....everyone was very eager to see what was inside! When I opened the tissue and carefully drew the creation out we were all amazed and I was thrilled.....it was the most beautifully decorated Goose Egg adorned with delicate fairies with shimmery wings topped with sparkling crystals and sitting on top of a gilded stand. A tiny switch lights up the egg from inside to give an even more magical effect. Absolutely stunning and made with Kath's own fair hands. Here are Elaine and Kath with me and the Eggstraordinarily generous gift they presented me with! It is something that will be treasured and the fact that it came so out of the blue made it all the more special. Thank you so much, I cannot tell you how grateful I am. Again, because my camera is "powerless" I will post a close up of this beauty very shortly - watch this space!

David and I have said many times that we have met so many wonderful people over this last two years, it's been a very heartwarming time and helps to counteract those days when one feels down.

On Sunday I was back at Dawn's studion to demonstrate for the day. I was using some of my wooden backed rubber stamps for a change and they were mostly my whimsical designs. I was challenged to combine "cute with distressed" by Karen, and my Leaping Robins were chosen as the stamp for me to use. I made this quite simple tag by inking the background and stamping the robins with Archival black. I then bleached them with water so that I could colour them against the dark background using more Distress inks. A bit more faux bleaching and an alcohol inked ribbon was the last touch. Sheila and Joanne had come along to my demonstration and everyone gave a thumbs up for the "distressed cute combo"! Now, of course, if Joanne was there then you can bet that the phantom cat burglar was there too! (For new blog readers, it's a standing joke, Terry - Joanne's lovely husband - isn't really a burglar!) Just look how shifty he looks here...did he really think he could get away with my Tim Holtz paper stashes? Oh, and is that a MS punch I see there as well?! Good try Terry! Lol! As I said, such a fun weekend, I was hoarse from laughing. I shall also be posting photos of the ATC's I got on Sunday too...blinking batteries, gggrrr! I'm ending with a picture of my littlest best friend Alicia, who is just adorable. You may recall that I mentioned a few weeks ago that Alicia had seen a "tap" being made on a tv programme, and was convinced that I could make one. None of us had seen the tap, so we were a bit clueless really. However, I managed to track down what it was and made the basic tap for her on Sunday morning. It was made from paper cups and cardboard, but look what Alicia showed me at the end of the day..........she and Rena and Gill had gone to town with the decoration and had added silver leaf and ribbon etc. Lovely! Look at that big smile - makes it all worthwhile doesn't it?
I'll post again as soon as I have the batteries in the camera and can show add the other piccies. Lindsay

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

This weekend's workshops

I've been busily working on some of next year's stamp designs this week, along with getting everything ready for the two workshops that I'm teaching this Saturday at Dawn Bibby's Design Studio. The afternoon class (Christmas Cute but Clever...or is that Clever but Cute?!?!) is completely booked up, but there some places on the morning class which is an introduction to Art Journalling. If you fancy coming along to join in the creative fun, then just give Topaz Crafts (website in my sidebar) a call to book a place. We'll be creating backgrounds and working on loose pages that comprise doodling, words, drawing and collaging. Here's one of mine at the drawing stage - no prizes for spotting the blank space where a word is missing! It's now been filled! I'll post a picture of tyhe completed page, plus some others, after the weekend.
For those of you who are already booked on this workshop, if you have any of your own colouring mediums (Promarkers, Copics, Brush pens, coloured pencils etc) please bring them with you, as well as a pencil, ruler and eraser. If you have any drawing pens then bring them along as the more the merrier. Don't worry if you don't have any of the above as I will be bringing things of course. I'll also have some glossy magazines and book pages with me, but, again, if you'd like to bring some with you, that would be great. We'll be altering some magazine images and using book pages as part of backgrounds. If you want to start a full on journal, feel free to bring a plain notebook that you can work in, otherwise, we'll be creating single pages that you can make up into a journal by adding more pages later. Hope all that makes sense! In other words, you can come with nothing, or you can bring any of the above!
On Sunday I'll be in Dawn's Studio all day and will be concentrating on Halloween and Christmas themes...I'm sure that I'll be making a few tags!
I have recovered from my spooky hotel stay, and now looking back on it as a rather exciting experience....even though, at the time, I was pretty nervous! I did, as a few people have suggested, ask whatever it was to let me have a peaceful night's sleep, so maybe I had a quieter night than I could have done! The bathroom light at home has still been going out, but only when I'm in there....odd, even though I know it is just a loose fitting!
So, I shall look forward to seeing everyone at the weekend and will be sure to show you what we get up to. Best, uplifting wishes to those who I know are not feeling great just now. Lindsay

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Things that go bump....

Yes, indeed, there were some bumpy moments in the last couple of days! One was on my journey home last night when I was pulling my case from the storage area on the train and a silly woman decided that it was much more important for her to get hers first. The reslt was that my case's metal wheel landed on my bare toe.....ouch! I was very lady like despite the bleeding toe! However, that's nowhere near as interesting as the other tales I have for you!
As I said a couple of posts ago, I headed down to Sudbury, in Suffolk, on Thursday for a meeting and to demonstrate products for some of the staff at Personal Impressions. I got there around 4pm and had a quick meeting and catch up with everyone before myself and three colleagues went to where we were to be staying that night. I don't know if any of you have visited Sudbury, but it's a historic town, birthpace of Gainsborough and really pretty and characterful with houses painted in an array of gorgeous colours and each with their own style. No "little boxes" here! We were staying at an Inn that dated back to 1540 complete with original beams and barely any straight lines anywhere! We checked in and I got first choice of the keys and the "Brown Room". Upstairs we all trooped and my room was so unusual that I decided to take a couple of photos to show to David when I got back. The bedroom area was fairly straightforward and filled with antique Oak furniture but with a vaulted ceiling. The bathroom had a much lower ceiling, above which was what, I now know, is called a Minstrel's Gallery. This was a seperate area that you could have only reached by a ladder (there was no ladder of course!) and which I could only see part of...a little creepy I have to say!
Anyway, after a quick change we walked into the town to have a nice Italian dinner and, somehow, the conversation turned to rather spooky things as Jan told us of some of the strange things that had happened when she first began renovating their farmhouse in Scotland. My two other colleagues were quite sceptical about it all but enjoyed joining in the conversation. Eventually I asked for a change of subject as I said I would never sleep that night! We walked back to the Inn taking the shortcut through the old church graveyard (I know!) and a couple of us decided to stay up a little longer (it was only 9pm) and have a quick drink in the lounge before retiring. We were the only ones there and I said to the lady behind the bar that my friends had been telling ghost stories and spooking me. She said "Oh, you'll be fine so long as you're not in the brown room.".......well, thanks for that!!! So, came 10.30 pm I was back in the room and rang David to have a chat. I have to say that the atmosphere in the bedroom was very strange and I felt quite uneasy to say the least - and I didn't put it all down to suggestion. While we were talking I decided to look at the two pictures that I had taken earlier and I just about fell off the bed! I only noticed the anomoly in the second picture when looking at the little camera screen, and it was only when I put them on the computer that the ones in the first picture became clear. Those of you who may have an interest in this kind of thing will probably know about "orbs". If not, they are something which some people believe are manifestations of spirits that the human eye doesn't see but show up on camera. Of course, they are often explained away as light reflected on insects or dust etc, but there are some which seem to defy rational explanation. The ones that I have inadvertantly captured here seem to fall into that category. I can dertainly say that there was nothing in the room which could have reflected onto the walls or beams. Needless to say, seeing that bright orb over the bed did not improve my feeling of wariness. After I'd said goodnight I was then tidying things off the bed and, right behind me, came a long slow creaking sound. I spun round and the wardrobe door was very slowly opening! I slammed it shut and, once I'd recovered my composure, I tried recreating my movements to see if the door opened again but it remained securely shut (as it had been before). I normally have a shower before bed, but I just couldn't, so decided to have one in the morning instead. I felt, since the moment I got back to the room, that I was being watched, and I don't mean that vague, nervous feeling one can get, but a real, palpable presence that was watching me. You know when you look at someone and after a few moments they will look back at you because something in our survival mechanism lets us know that there are eyes upon us.....it was like that the whole time. I've spooked myself before after watching a scary film for instance, but this was completely different. I went to bed but I lay watching tv for a long time to try to shake the awful feeling off. I ended up with the tv on (no sound) all night and I drifted in and out of sleep every fifteen minutes or so all night. I was very relieved when it was time to get up but the feeling remained, even in the morning.
A couple more things happened before I went down to breakfast. I'd seen an open safety pin on each of the bedside tables when I'd first arrived and thought that wasn't especially good housekeeping! I had brought some safety pins with me as the top I was going to wear has a habit of gaping and a couple of pins keep it in place. I sat on the bed (which I'd remade) and put both pins down together on the cover. I picked one up, pinned it in place and reached down for the second one.....gone! I searched all over the bed and floor but it was nowhere to be seen. I had to get a third pin from my bag. A little thing but it was odd! I turned off the TV, the bathroom light, picked up my bag and left the room to go down to breakfast. As I turned the key in the door I heard voices from inside the room....opened the door again and the TV had come back on. I had turned it off at the set, not using the remote. I realise this can happen, but the timing of it was very odd.
I showed Jan my photos and she was pretty shocked! Even my sceptical friends were extremely surprised. I took a quick snap of the breakfast room and...... .......yep, another orb! Now, one of my colleagues is also a professional photographer and he could not explain the pictures. He took two more pictures of the room, right after I took that one, and there was nothing unusual at all, even though he used my camera. It's all very intriguing. Thought you might like to look at the close ups of the large orbs....in the breakfast room..... ......and these two from the bedroom......

.......what do you think?
I came home on Friday evening and, after a quick bite to eat, I went to the bathroom for a shower. I had been in there a few minutes when there was a slight flicker and the light went out! My immediate reaction was to shout "Don't mess about" and I opened the door expecting to see David, but he wasn't near enough and didn't know what I was talking about. Needless to say, I went back in but left the door open.....I was in the shower and, you guessed it, the light went out again! As it turns out, David checked and once he adjusted the light fitting it came back on. I know it was just a coincidence but for a fleeting moment I thought maybe I had come back with "someone else" in tow!!!!
Well, let's leave the strange events now and I'll share a picture that Jan took of me beside some of my stamps in the PI warehouse....not looking my best after the previous night's events! It was great to catch up with everyone and get the guided tour of the warehouse, offices and packing areas etc. Unfortunately it was such a busy day that I really didn't have chance to grab anything for my Blog Candy. However, I'll gather some things together and post details asap. I have some exciting new projects to work on now too, so will be letting you know about those as and when I am able (allowed!) to!
Okay, I am off to get dinner now so will sign off and, as Nick Ross used to say "Don't have nightmares" !!!!! Lindsay

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The human spirit

Just a short post to celebrate the rescue of all the miners in Chile. What a perfect example it has been of how wonderful the human spirit can be. Amidst all the usual bad news, atrocities and violence that seem to bombard us every day, witnessing the way everyone worked together to bring those courageous men home was so uplifting...no pun intended!
No doubt, as Heather said to me, the film companies are already planning the blockbuster movie, but nothing could equal seeing all the real joy as each man was reunited with his family.
As one of the miners said - God was with them, there were 34 down there, not 33.....I think he was right.
Well, now I'm off to the station to catch the London train for the first leg of my journey down south today. I'll catch up with everyone at the weekend. Lindsay

Monday, 11 October 2010

This coming week and a teaser!

Hello again, see I'm trying to make up for being absent last week! Thank you for the good wishes by comments and emails, they are almost as good as having a holiday.....er, well, no, not really! Lol! Seriously though, your good wishes are much appreciated. I'm trying to relax a bit today but I do have work to get done as well. I'm not demonstrating out and about this next weekend, but I am going down to Personal Impressions to do some product demonstration for them. I'm looking forward to it and will be sure to let you know if I see any "hot off the press" goodies of course!
Speaking of goodies, I will be hosting another Blog Candy giveaway very soon. I have a couple of items already and will add to them when I am in Sudbury this week, so will post details on my return. I'm going to be a bit more specific about dates for claiming the Candy after all the confusion last time....I never knew it could be so hard to give stuff away! Lol
The weather is gorgeous yet again, more like Spring than an Autumnal October day. The birds sound really cheerful so I think they are enjoying the unseasonal warmth on their backs too. The squirrels are still burying the monkey nuts that I throw out for them...often with Magpies creeping up behind them and pinching the stash as soon as the squirrels have set off to look for another treasure! Did I tell you that I saw one squirrel setting off a car alarm a few weeks ago? He was pushing peanuts into the gaps in the wheel hubs and, boy, did he jump when it set off the alarm! Who needs a telly eh?
I'll try and post again before my trip, but if not, do pop back after the weekend to take a look at the Candy. Lindsay

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Not gone, just resting!

Hello all, and apologies for my absence this past week and to anyone who I still owe an email reply to. It's been a week or so of meeting some deadlines, combined with both David and myself having a nasty bug...well, he is very generous, so, of course, he had to pass the bugs to me! So, thank you to everyone who put up with my sniffly nose and croaky voice at this weekend's demonstrations! Last weekend I was away in Carlisle and it rained...quite a lot! I had a wander around the city centre for a few hours then back to my hotel room for a good night's sleep before my day at Houghton Hall Garden Centre. I had visitors from north of the border as well as the local area, and must say a special hello to Helen...good luck with your new venture and hope it all goes well. On Sunday, well, you may recall that the rain was even heavier, to say the least. We set off driving to Northwich in Cheshire and the roads were more like canals. Thankfully, almost everyone was being sensible and driving carefully. When we pulled onto the Garden Centre entrance it was like a massive log flume! Needless to say, it was a fairly quiet morning as everyone waited to see if the rain would ease up. So, I busied myself making some extra cards and tags. I have really been enjoying making tags just lately, as you can see....The day did brighten up I'm happy to say, so I got to meet plenty of ladies who were keen to be inspired!
So, this week I had a Crafts Beautiful project to complete which took some time as there were problems getting some of the products that I needed. The yucky bugs took hold of me too, so I really felt like just doing nothing at all, but deadlines have to be met! Thankfully I got everything done and after feeling awful all week I began to feel more human again on Friday night. So, yesterday I was at Crabapple Crafts (Rosemary Merry's shop)in Frodsham. There was a clue that I was going to be there due to the giant sized posters that had been displayed, and I do mean giant sized! I'd hardly set up when everyone began arriving and it was the start of a really enjoyable day that just flew by. I saw friends old and new and hope everyone has been trying out the white card with Distress inks? Let me know how you get on with the trees and the faux bleaching. Thank you to all the Crabapple staff for keeping me supplied with fruit tea all day - it was most appreciated!
Today was a demonstration at the Garden Centre at High Legh in Knutsford, not too far away, so not much travelling today. Hello to Chris and Hazel and the lovely lady from Congleton whose name I don't know, but who I was tempting with punches and papers....sorry! Talking of which, take a look at this sweet snowman.... .....he is made using the MS DIY snowman punch and is so easy to create from just a few colours of card and a little shading. The punch has the elements for the main body, hat, scarf, buttons and twiggy arms. I drew the face in but, guess what, the confetti from the punch that I've used on the mat (PATP Deco fan) are just right for the carroty nose if you punch them from orange paper! Anyway, I used the reverse of a sheet of Best Creations Frosty Christmas paper (Snowscene) to partly cover the card blank and then punched a 5" x 3 1/4" panel of white card with the Deco Fan which I softly blended Stormy Sky Distress Ink over. I then added a panel from the fronts of the Snowscene paper to the centre of the punched mat, having rounded the corners first as I think this looks better. My little snowman is wearing a scarf punched from my Lilac Snowballs cardstock which I also used for his hatband. The greeting is from the matching greeting toppers. I then cut a 3 cms wide strip of white card and punched each side with the Deco Fan before wrapping an alcohol inked length of ribbon around it and fixing to the card to complete. This was a deceptively quick and easy card to make but I like it....mainly because of that so cute snowman! I have it in mind to make a card featuring a whole row of them, all posed differently and facing in both directions....I'll post a picture when I get round to making it!
Well, I just wanted to sign in and show that I'm still in the land of the living, so am off now to enjoy dinner that David is cooking as I type. I am feeling much better but poor David is now suffering from a Neuralgic after effect. Think we need a holiday, hmmm, some chance! Lindsay