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

Sunday, 29 July 2012

My day of rest...

Well, not exactly a day of rest as it turned out, but more of that later.
On Friday, Heather came over to spend the day with me and to sleep over. In the afternoon one of my neighbours kindly offered to dig the hole for us to bury David's ashes and plant the rose, called "Moment in Time", which I got to commemorate him. Although it was very emotional, it felt like a positive and very important step and the rose will be a living memory of David.
It was a day of very differing ceremonies and Heather and I had decided to watch the Olympic opening celebrations together, so later on we treated ourselves to a Chinese takeaway (and a very extravagant bottle of Lambrini...which is about my level of alcoholic beverage!) before settling down in front of the TV.
I was pretty sceptical about what it would be like and was quite ready to cringe through the whole thing. However, we both thought it was good on the whole, amazing in parts and not so good in others. I really enjoyed the first sections...the almost steampunk industrial vision of towers and the forging of the rings, the Mr Bean Chariots of Fire sketch and, of course, the hilarious 007/Queen idea.We had sore throats from laughing out loud at that last one!

Being a square old thing, I didn't enjoy much of the "pop culture" section, which seemed to take over much of the remainder of the show. It was good to see that there were some spiritual moments included - such as Abide with Me in memory of the London bombing victims. Not sure who the singer was but we weren't impressed with her voice at all...shame there was no Bryn Terfell, Alfie Boe or even Leslie Garrett to show off some really good singers. We really didn't get the cycling birds - any ideas? Arctic Monkeys and Paul McCartney nearly made me turn the sound off! We really enjoyed the spectacle though and it was certainly different.
Yesterday the postman brought me a big parcel which had this pink and black beauty in it - the Sizzix Bigshot....
I was also sent a nice range of Tim's dies to go with it - you can just see a few of them on the left. Personal Impressions are now stocking Sizzix products, so I can finally use them! Tim's dies are definitely my cup of tea, so I shall enjoy working with them...I'll post pics when I've got samples made up.
Last night the rain here was incredible and the sound of the water hitting the conservatory roof was quite scary - Tara was very nervous indeed! Although I got to sleep reasonably quickly, the rain woke me up again not long after and I had one of those awful nights where sleep completely evaded me. At 3am I gave in and got up for an hour...to the sounds of Thomas and Tara both snoring away quite happily! I did finally manage an hour or so before they gave me an early morning alarm call for breakfast of course!
This morning I walked into the village to go to St Chads where the service was very uplifting. The rain had just about gone and the sun started to blaze down. A real rainbow day as I call them. When I got home I made a decision to start on one really bad area of the garden. It's one of two patches that David and I were beginning to sort out but they obviously got left. Every time I look at them they make me feel so sad but have seemed overwhelming really.
However, I sometimes make a decision to give myself ridiculous challenges and today was one of those occasions! I looked out at this overgrown mess and thought "I'm going to get this done today!". So, this was at 2 o'clock this afternoon when I had just made a start (then decided I should do before and after shots!). You wouldn't believe that we'd cleared this patch once looking at the state of it.
And here's a different view where you can see the area I'd just started on before taking the picture. At 3pm it looked like this...my hands were getting sore but I was determined to get it done! I was using the trowel as I find that easier to handle than a full sized spade. I was taking out all my anger and frustration on the weeds and stones which really helped! By 5pm it looked like this..... ......yes! Cleared, including the area beneath the Laburnum and shrubs at the back. I then sprayed the last vestiges of weed with a soil and animal friendly weed killer before pondering the stepping stones. They're pretty expensive to buy, so I decided to utilise what I already had. There were a collection of bits and pieces of paving stones that had been lying around so I tried them out until I found a shape that I liked with what there was. Some more digging and tamping in and by around 6 0'clock I'd managed to get to this stage. Okay, the stepping stones aren't exactly wonderful, but they look okay to me and they'll look fine when I finish the area off.
Now, that begs the question.....how shall I do that? Do I use the garish white gravel from the adjacent troublesome area, shall I add bark chippings? I'm veering to bark chippings and I'm going to make use of pots to bring flowers into this patch with bulbs planted at the back area. What do you think? Suggestions on a postcard please....or as a comment anyway!
So, I think I will sleep tonight what with the fresh air and the smell of lavender that has been wafting over me all afternoon. I've put some inside my pillowcase just to make sure. My hands are throbbing and covered in scratches, despite gloves, but it feels really good to have got such a lot done. The only thing that was missing was me running into the house like a big kid to drag David out to "come and have a look what I've done!", but I'm sure he was watching me and smiling with approval.
I have new drawings to start work on this week so I hope the hands feel a bit less painful tomorrow! I'm sure a good sleep will do the trick, so I am off for an early night now before I nod off in front of the computer screen............

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A stubborn door and a beautiful song

I had a few tears today - once because the washing machine decided to do its occasional trick of refusing to let me open the door. It does this from time to time and David always used to sort it out when it played up. Today however, I had to sort it myself and I couldn't remember what he used to do. So, I set the washing cycle off again and tried again when it had finished - nothing. It was still holding onto the clothes.
After another wash cycle and still no way of opening the door, I admit that I sat on the floor and cried in frustration after quite a bit of shouting and hitting the stupid machine! Anyway, after the fourth complete wash I was finally able to open the door and take out the ultra clean contents. David's wizardry with anything mechanical or technical is just one more thing that I miss.
The other tears were produced when I listened to the song "Till I hear you sing" - video clip above. (I amazed myself by finally managing to upload it to here - thanks for your advice Jan) It's from the sequel to Phantom of the Opera called Love Never Dies, and I admit that I didn't know there had been a sequel. Anyway, the singer is Ramin Karimloo who has a beautiful voice and invests so much emotion into the words.
David was a wonderful tenor and he used to sing to me, so this song, which I had never heard before, really touched my heart.

PS I'm sorry about the ads on the video, but I couldn't get them off when I uploaded it.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Wigan, wrens & water

Thank you to Wendy and Martin from Card-Io, in Pemberton, Wigan for making yesterday's demonstration so enjoyable and for keeping me topped up with coffee and lunch. Hello to everyone that came along despite the glorious weather which, I'm sure, made gardens a very tempting alternative. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces - a special "hello" to Melanie and Joanne who I hadn't seen for ages...thank you so much for the homemade scones and soaps.
Aside from my Off the Wall stamps, I was demonstrating Dylusions ink sprays and I think I managed to avoid spritzing any of the ladies at the front of the crowd! Here are three of the tags I made on the day.....
......the Bubblegum Pink spray really gives a vibrant lift to the blues I used on the third tag. Of course, I would like the pink, purple and blue combination!
Wendy took this photo of me distressing the edges of some card after I showed the ladies how to create my snowy landscape with bleached out trees and snowmen. I know I've shown that one a thousand times but there are always requests to do it again! I didn't take a photo but if you look back through my old posts you'll find an example.
By the way, please ignore the double chin...I'm putting it down to the way I was holding my head!
Everyone liked the way this background came out. This was created using Pure Sunshine and Postbox Red ink sprays over wet card. I used the Dylusions stencils to add more details - the letter jumble was sprayed with water before placing down, dabbing with the excess liquid with tissue and lifting away. The flower was made using Paul's technique and I added one of my Creative Thoughts stamped with Archival black ink.
I thought I'd share this photo of my table near the end of the day...well, it wouldn't be me if it was neat and tidy would it? I always feel that I've had a good day if it's a tip as it means that everyone's been taking a close look at things...I'm not taking the blame for the mess! I'll be back at Card-Io later in the year, so that was the Wigan part of this blog post title.
Yesterday evening I heard some birds making a really angry commotion and spotted Tara wandering near some bushes beside the lane. She wasn't in hunting mode, just having a trot about, but, of course, the birds didn't know that. When I got nearer I could see that they were tiny and one flew down and perched on the fence right in front of me. Then I realised that they were wrens - so miniscule but making such a racket and bravely trying to make Tara go away. So, I can add wrens to my list of the birds around here.
I was also very pleased that I'd decided not to pull out one particular weed by the fence at the side of the house. I spotted these little chaps on it last night.....
.....don't know if you can see them, but they are Cinnabar Moth caterpillars and they feed on Ragwort. The moths are lovely....very dark grey with pinky red markings - quite unmistakeable. There are a few clumps of Ragwort in the field and they are all home to lots of the little stripey caterpillars. Although they aren't a rare moth I think any sign of a moth or butterfly doing well is a good thing. I'll enjoy seeing how the caterpillars do - apparently the Ragwort makes them taste awful so the birds tend to leave them alone.
So, to the water in my title. This refers to this morning's trip to Church where the service was dedicated to the Christening of a little baby chap called Stanley. It was a lovely service and little Stanley didn't so much as make a sound when the Vicar poured the water over his head three times - over Stanley's head that is, not his own! It was all very uplifting with family friendly music and lots of laughter.
Water came in a different form near the end of the service though, as the small choir sang "Be Still my Soul" which I chose as one of the pieces of music at David's funeral. It was so different from the other music today that I almost wondered if I'd gone into my own little place for a few minutes. Although it made me cry it was lovely to hear that beautiful music in the peaceful setting of St Chads again.
Well, Tara is now giving me "feed me" looks and keeps trying to shred the carpet to get my attention, and no doubt Thomas won't be far behind, so I had better open the Felix sachets before the floor is threadbare.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Crafts Beautiful projects

I'm back again before the weekend after all. Just wanted to let you know that I have an online project on the Crafts Beautiful website this month which was uploaded today. It features gorgeous vintage Union Jack paper from Personal Impressions as well as stamps and charms. Here's my picture of them ........... just click the Crafts Beautiful link (above) if you'd like details of what I used and how I made them. I'll take them to Card-Io in Wigan tomorrow, so you can have a closer look if you're popping in.
And, just to give you a chuckle, I took all your comments on board, inked up my shoes and stamped onto some card - literally! Not sure what I think...looks like a couple of weird faces now. I'm guess I can incorporate them into something at some point though - will let you know when I do.Thank you for all the calls and texts I got last night and today...my birthday seems to be lasting for longer than twenty four hours!
Well, everything's packed in my case for tomorrow's demo at Card-Io, so I'm going to take a walk with Thomas and Tara now and then it will be a couple of hours relaxing before a shower with some of the new "smellies" that Heather gave me.
So, hope to see some of you tomorrow and I'll have photos to share with everyone else after the weekend. Take care everyone.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A different sort of day

Thank you to everyone who sent me emails, texts, cards and comments for my birthday today. It was a day of mixed emotions as this was my first one not spent with David since I was just eighteen years old. We always used to play Mario Lanza's music on our birthday mornings and David would serenade me whilst giving me a big hug...he had a really wonderful tenor voice.
Of course, I had to play Mario Lanza this morning which brought back so many memories and I did shed some tears. However, Heather arrived soon after, so I "pulled myself together" and we set out to have a good day.
After visiting our mum, we went on to Freeport which is an outlet centre where we did the round of all the shops and had a fish n chips lunch. We'd thought of going to the zoo but the weather's been so unpredictable that we decided to go shopping instead! We'll save the zoo for another day.
So, it turned out to be a fun day thanks to my lovely sister.
I've spent the evening trying to catch up with everyone by phone or email and am gradually getting there - if I still haven't got back to anyone, please be sure I haven't forgotten you!
Here's a piccie of some of the cards I was sent including one from Gez that made me smile...if you open the picture in a new window, you'll see Gez's card featuring a cycling frog! Brilliant!
On Tuesday, Joanne and her lovely husband "T" came to visit and brought me these lovely home grown flowers.... .....a beautifully coloured card, bookmark (which I just happened to be wanting!) and this great birdtable - wow! It's going to look brilliant in the garden and I'm going to put it where I'll be able to watch the birds from the conservatory. No excuses now - I'll have to get that weeding finished!
Heather gave me some lovely gifts including two charms for my bracelet which I tried to photograph but didn't manage - one is a silver owl and the other is a most beautiful Murano glass bead in aqua tones with delicate white flowers beneath the surface.
So, I had a rollercoaster of a day really.
I did promise to share some photos of a few things I've made this week for my day at Card-Io on Saturday. I have just a couple to share for now starting with this little collection....
.....the card features my "Inertia Starter" robot stamp set. I used stencils from Crafters Workshop and Dylusions to create the backgrounds on the robot panel and base card. The tags are made using stamps from my Off the Wall collection. I've used Dylusions ink sprays to colour the ribbons.
Below are a couple of tags, the one on the left features "Emily" who I stamped, coloured and coated with Glue n Seal (gloss version) before spritzing the tag with Dylusions ink sprays. I spritzed water through a stencil to give the bleached out dots effect and the edging is another stencil with Chipped Sapphire Distress ink blended over and then highlighted with a white pen. I wrote the words using black and white pens.
The right hand tag was made using some of the card that I prepped a few days ago and the rosette style flower is made from the paper towel that I used to roll across the wet inked surface. The bird images are from my "Arabella" stamp set and the quote from my "Creative Thoughts" set. I really like the bright shades of the Dylusions inks and found them very uplifting.
Talking of bright colours, one shop we called into today was the Pavers outlet and Heather talked me into getting these lovely shoes..... ....not that I took much convincing, and the clincher was when I turned them over and we saw the soles, complete with steampunk detailing! Heather suggested that I ink them up and literally "stamp" onto card with them!
Well, it's a bit of a mish mashed, mixed up sort of post tonight, but it's getting late and it's been a long day. Thank you again for the thoughtfulness that's been shown to me and I hope to see some of you on Saturday. I'll post more pictures after the weekend and let you know how things go in Wigan.
I know it's only Thursday, but have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday evening

Yes, another post from me tonight. I wanted to share this beautiful artwork which adorns the Church where I was this evening. It's a huge set of panels behind the altar of this modern Church, totally different from St Chads. The painting is deceptively simple, with dimensional appliqued work as well as what I think were gems or may possibly have been tiny lights that just sparkled here and there. I didn't take the photos but found them on the internet.
A very bold and symbolic piece - I loved the simplicity of the wooden cross formed of three vertical and three horizontal bars as well. Just stunning and I was entranced by the whole piece.
The service was very uplifting, full of humour and rousing music.

A serendipitous Sunday

Hello everyone. It's been an interesting day so far. The sun has been shining since early this morning so it's really warm here in Lancashire. I was up nice and early to feed the two scamps after some light pestering from Tara who is in the knowledge that there is some cooked chicken in the fridge...she has an unerring sense of smell where chicken is concerned so trying to open the fridge silently makes no difference at all!
Then I walked into the village to go to the morning service at St Chads. It's been a real help going to the Church these past few weeks whether to one of the services or just to sit in quiet contemplation for a while. After the service I went for coffee and toast at the nearby cafe as I couldn't face breakfast earlier on. A nice walk home through the park was just what the doctor ordered with the sounds of birds enjoying the warm day.
I had a look round the garden when I got back...here's the patch that I cleared at the end of last week. I should have taken a before and after shot as the whole area under the Cherry tree was completely covered in huge weeds, including a four foot high Thistle which was "hiding" beneath the netting we'd put up to protect the fruit from the birds. As you can see, there are lots of cherries but, unfortunately, they are almost all inedible because the ants and other insects got there first and nibbled away, causing all the fruit to split. So, I've taken down the nets so the birds can now have a feast instead. The pegs and canes aren't normally there, but were David's way of keeping the net in place - I forgot to move them before I took the photo!
Round the back of the house I was watering the Sweet Peas and tomatoes and spotted the first of my crop of garden peas..... I got unfeasibly excited by two pea pods! I'm sure David was looking down on me and smiling as I ate our first fresh veg straight from the garden. I had to record the moment on camera of course.
Next job was to get some backgrounds ready for samples for next Saturday's demonstration at Card-Io in Wigan. I was spritzing with Dylusions ink sprays and mopping up ink with paper towel which I'll be able to use for some ATC backgrounds too. I'll take some pics when I've made some finished samples.
I'm not doing very many demonstrations at the moment, just getting back into things slowly but surely, but hope to see some of you there on Saturday.
I now have lovely ink stained hands...so may get some odd looks when I go to Church this evening! There's a special combined congregation service at the other Church in the village, so it will be interesting to see how they do things there. Another lovely walk through the park too, so I'm getting some exercise as well which can only be good.
Not much exercise from the terrible twosome though. Thought you might like to see how they have spent most of this afternoon..........
........Tara, snuggled up in the spare bed and Thomas just curled up fast asleep on an old cushion on the chair........ .......it's a hard life being a puss cat.
Well, I had better go and feed those two now before I get myself ready to go out again. I find the evenings are the hardest time when thoughts and memories turn into wishes and longing, so I'm looking forward to singing some hymns and shaking hands with some friendly folk in an hour or so. Hoping you have all had a lovely weekend.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Garden progress

The rain scuppered most of my good intentions for weeding and making more progress in the garden over the last few days. However, I did manage to pull up another mini jungle of weeds, so things are at least starting to look tidier. David and I had been mid way through removing gravel and planning a vegetable patch when he became ill, so it's all got a bit overgrown again as you can see.... ......we had just about got through the digging of the right hand (veg) section but the dreaded weeds have come again, so now it all needs re digging. The left patch had been gravelled over but we wanted to return it to being a small lawn again. David was so determined to get it done that he would sit on a chair, trowel in hand, scooping the gravel into a bucket then transferring it to the wheelbarrow for me to move. He could have shifted the whole lot in an afternoon at one time, so it was very frustrating for him, but he wouldn't hear of leaving it to me.
The veg patch is being ditched now....I'd never be able to eat enough to justify it! So, I'm sketching some ideas utilising stepping stones, some of the gravel, pots and maybe a rockery area. I'll grow a few veg in containers - my tomato plants are doing okay and, fingers crossed, the slugs have left them alone.
Anyway, having cleared some of the weeds (to the area left of that in the photo) it seemed a good idea to get some plants to replace them with. So Heather and I went to the garden centre this afternoon, armed with a 25% discount voucher, and chose a selection..... .....a couple of Hebes, an Astilbe, one that I can't recall the name of (the tall orangey one) a little fern, a Potentilla and a beautiful rose which the picture doesn't do justice to. It's in remembrance of David as he always thought a garden wasn't complete without roses. It's a deep, vibrant red and I know he would have loved it.
Heather had stayed over last night after she came round to watch the Wimbledon men's final with me. David and I always loved Wimbledon fortnight, so it had been very odd watching the matches alone, and Heather's hubby doesn't like the tennis. We did enjoy it, despite Andy losing. He did himself proud but we thought the crowd were a bit slow to really get behind him and cheer him on when he had his low moments. Oh well.
After dinner we went for a little stroll down the lane with Thomas and Tara and when we came back into the garden I spotted some little beetles on the lavender bush. They were the size and shape of Ladybirds, but were a sumptuous metallic greeny bronze colour with fine red stripes. They had a real oil and water look when the light caught them. We'd never seen them before but a Google search revealed them to be Rosemary Leaf Beetles which eat Lavender and Thyme as well as their namesake. I think the few that we saw won't pose a problem and they are so pretty that I think I'd forgive them. I managed to take a photo of one this afternoon....
......I never fail to see something interesting on my evening strolls. When we ventured out again later we saw bats flitting about which is always a treat. Once again, nature manages to bring positive thoughts and emotions!
Well, no gardening for the next few days as I have to work on some Crafts Beautiful magazine projects. I'll take some pictures of my horticultural progress over the next few weeks though. Better get to bed now as I have a busy day ahead and the terrible twosome (you don't even want to know what Thomas did this evening, but he was in big trouble) will be waking me at the crack of dawn as usual.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lingfield weekend

Hello again everyone, and especially to new followers and the lovely people that I met at the Extravaganza at the Craft Barn last weekend. Going on the long trip to Lingfield for my first demonstration event since David died was very daunting but I was okay once the first people came in and I got started.
My journey down was disrupted because of the extraordinary weather the previous day, so trains were delayed and overcrowded. Once I got to Lingfield it was much calmer though. It's a very quiet and pretty area. This is the library.....
......isn't it lovely? I took a couple of nice walks round the surrounding lanes each evening, so that was very calming.
Saturday and Sunday were incredibly busy with people coming from all over the World to the event. Hello to Glennis, from New Zealand, who I met last year as well...hope you do manage to be with us again next time. I also caught up with my lovely friend Paula Pascual, though we didn't manage a photo. I haven't seen her for a while, so it was lovely to spend some time with her. Here's someone you'll recognise.....
.....my good friend Andy Skinner who was on the table next to mine. I know I have said it before, but he is such a talented artist, as well as being a really lovely man.If you haven't had a look at his blog already, do check it out.
I had been "messing about" with a book that I cut a recess out of, covered in papers, gesso, inks and some Idealogy items. It didn't really turn out how I wanted it to, but it was fun to do and gave me some ideas for next time I make one.
This one housed the robot from my stamp set "Overhaul Needed". Here's a shot of me working at my messy table. Some of the other designers have lovely displays with neat working areas, but I can never seem to manage that. The weekend just went by in a blur really. I was staying at the local Inn again, which has a very good chef. It was good to eat some well prepared food again as I seem to have been living on ready meals and sandwiches these last few months. The worst part of the weekend was coming home to an empty house (bar Thomas and Tara of course, but you know what I mean). Still, I've done the first trip away now, so that was a really positive step.
The garden is growing really well - unfortunately, the thing that's growing is Mare's Tail along with other weeds. So, what with the onslaught of what seems like millions of slugs, I have been getting a bit behind with it all, especially in the wet weather. This morning's been really sunny though, so I have filled the green recycling bin with weeds and at least part of the garden looks tidier. I have to be careful with weedkillers around the pusscats, so I decided my best offensive was to pull things up and then just try and keep on top of them when they grow back.
This beautiful Poppy was growing out of the kerb at the side of the house so I have been hoping that nobody runs over it until it has set seeds that I can collect. It's a stunner, so I'd like to grow some if I can. Looks like it's going to rain again soon, so I think my gardening is done for the day.
Apologies to those of you who I still haven't got back to yet. I am trying to catch up with everyone and everything, but it's taking me a while I'm afraid. Again, please accept my thanks for all your good wishes.