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, 28 September 2012

Port Sunlight

Just a very quick post tonight before I get my dinner...cauliflower cheese and a couple of rashers of bacon. 
I'll be at the Happy Stampers show in Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight tomorrow so hope to see some of you there. I'll be demonstrating my new Christmas stamps as well as some from my Off the Wall collection.
I'll share photos of some of my cards and a few piccies from the show too on Sunday or Monday.
Well, I said this was a quickie post, and so it is - I don't fancy shrivelled up bacon! Have a great weekend folks and don't forget to say hello if you are at the show.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Oh no!

Oh no, oh dear, darn it, blast and other mild expletives. Looks like the new look blogger reprieve is finally over and it's the end of normal service for us more technically challenged posters. I almost stopped blogging completely last time....couldn't position photos where I wanted them, couldn't space text as I normally do and even the smallest post took me forever.
Well, I am going to add two photos just to test out if anything has improved since last time. This first one is one of my "infamous" water bleached distress ink cards. I'm mainly adding this because I promised several people over the last few weeks that I would! This particular version was made using about five ink colours....honestly, you can use more or less any that you prefer. I generally use Broken China or Stormy Sky as a starting point. I'll add Worn Lipstick, Dusty Concorde, Faded Jeans and usually finish with Walnut Stain or Frayed Burlap.
Just blend them right over the card - the cardstock is important, as the faux bleaching won't work on every type of card. You need a heavy weight card with a good surface such as PI's Artisan cardstock. The snow drift is made using lots of water swooshed across the bottom of the card with a tissue dragged across it to lift the colour out. The trees are painted out with a water brush, as is the moon. The snowman is a circle and an oval bleached out with water and then the details added with the fine points of my pens. I added a stocking hanging from this chap's twiggy arm so that the message would tie in with the overall picture.
Well, woopie dooh! After lots of messing about, the picture has slotted into place...well, it seems to have...I'll see when the post is published!
This next card has a similarly made sky with the addition of a masked off area to create the snow. I lightly drew a big circle in pencil and used plenty of water to paint over it then dabbed with tissue to take the colour out. The Gorjuss image was stamped, coloured, cut out and added. The words are from a Dylusions stamp set called "The Right Words". 
 Well, experiment over and it certainly seems to have been a bit easier than the last time I tried the new blogger "interface" (I don't even know what that means). I am going to cross my fingers as I press the "publish post" button and just hope that it looks normal. If it doesn't then I shall just sulk.
PS I have published and looked at the results....not impressed! The font size choice means keeping the text as small as it now is, or having it the size normally reserved for young children's books! So, hope you're not squinting to read this! If anyone knows how I can alter the text size to my normal preference, please let me know.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Bit of a catch up

Sorry it's been a few days since I posted any photos so here are some from the last week or so. This is one from the dabble day at Samuel Taylors in Leeds where the ladies were doing a round robin of crafting in four different workshops. I took quite a few pics throughout the day but I picked this one for all the lovely smiles! Everyone had a great time making a variety of projects using different techniques and products. You can see more pictures of the day by visiting the Samuel Taylors facebook page...sorry I don't have a link for that. On Wednesday I was teaching another workshop, this time at Weavervale Garden Centre in Northwich. More smiley faces! The ladies each made three cards and were enjoying it so much that we overran by more than an hour! On Saturday I was at Astbury Meadows garden centre in Congleton where the demonstration table had been set up in the coffee shop...with the aroma of coffee all day which was nice! Here are a few of the cards that I made for the weekend. This one uses images from my Gwendoline stamp set as well as a quote from one of the Dylusions range of stamps. The background for this card is made using Liquid Pearls in Flamingo which has been randomly applied over card using scrunched up shrink wrap. Once dried, I inked over the card using Spiced Marmalade distress ink which, of course, resists the pearly paint. The effect is lovely and shimmery, though you can't really see the pearliness here.
I combined a couple of my stamp sets for this card and decided to make a DL one for a change. The cottage, trees and fence are from Build a Snowy Scene and the letterbox is from Christmas Post. I used White Opal Liquid Pearls to give dimension to the snow on the trees and roof etc before sprinkling with fine glitter. I used a white gel pen to add tiny snowy touches to the letterbox which give it more dimension.
This last card was great fun to make and features my Humbert & Spider Boy stamps. I used my Glue n Seal resist technique on the stamps before adding the blended distress ink background and stencilling the cog wheel using a Crafters Workshop template. I spritzed a little black Dylusions ink onto my craft sheet and spattered it onto the card with a paintbrush to create some inky blobs. Of course, I had to add three of my gem stone spiders to complete it!
When I got back on Saturday Heather met me at the station and we walked round to the church hall where we were the "Chalk and Cheese" team (Heather's idea!) in a quiz and curry night. I'm afraid we didn't win but we had a lot of fun trying. The curry came halfway through the quiz and then we all got to help ourselves to various components to decorate cupcakes with before carrying on with the questions. Here's Heather busy with her cake....
and this was my effort... ....as usual, I had to go over the top!
Yesterday we went to see mum and when I got home I had a "power nap" before cracking on with work. The nap was to get over the shock of having to get up in the dark twice for early morning trains during the week. There's something just wrong about getting out of bed before the sun is even peeking over the horizon! So, I've been virtually chained to the table since then, surrounded by pens and pencils and scary blank sheets of paper! I've got a nice pile of designs building now though.
Well, it's time for bed as I was up early again this morning and my eyes are really losing the fight to stay open now. I think a good night's sleep is coming my way...I even dropped off in the middle of watching Only Connect tonight, much to my annoyance! Night all.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Quickie hello

Sorry that I've not posted here all week but I'm hurtling toward various deadlines.....demonstration samples, creating with pre-production sets of my new stamps, magazine projects and drawing new stamp images (whew!) so I haven't had much spare time for blogging. I'm also really behind with emails, so if you are waiting for a reply from me, I will get back to you as soon as I can.
I've had a few moments where I needed David's help this week. I casually went to open the garage to get some spare ink pads out on Tuesday but was met with an up and over door that would neither up, nor over! After half an hour of puzzling, pushing and pulling, peering through the little side window in the vain hope of either figuring out what was wrong or actually climbing through (some hope!) I had to give in and ask a neighbour for help. After a bit more puzzling, he managed to crowbar the door enough to free it and discovered that a nail had loosened, dropped down and was catching. Such a small obstacle but the door might as well have been welded shut! Lucky that I have friendly neighbours but I do hate having to ask for help.
Later the same day I went to use my printer - again casually! Nothing doing, the machine wouldn't even switch on. I didn't have time to investigate this one, but am hoping it's only a fuse...no idea where the spares are, so will have to buy some.
Yesterday was really cold here, so I had the heating on a couple of times. It didn't seem to be getting much warmer though. Thankfully, one of the things that David made me do when he was ill, was to bleed the radiators...he made me do several things that I normally had nothing to do with so that I'd know how to do them. So, I tried to recall what tool I'd used on them and, more importantly, where it was. My brain went blank so I shouted for David to help me. Then I remembered that it was a pair of long nosed pliers but had no idea where they were. I thought I'd be searching for an age but I opened a drawer and they were right there - thank you David. So, job done and the radiators are nice and hot again now.
Well, I'd better crack on. I have to finish more samples for tomorrow's demonstration at Astbury Meadows garden centre in Congleton then get everything packed into my little case - I affectionately call it my Tardis as I can fit so much in there. I'll be spritzing inks, blending inks, working with liquid pearls and stamping, so I can guarantee that I'll have very colourful fingers by the time I come home. Hope to see some of you there.
Right, coffee break over, back to work. Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Weekend starts with a bang

Just a quick post tonight then I'm going to relax for an hour or so before bed and an early start tomorrow for my trip to Carlisle. If the "red sky at night" theory holds, then it should be a nice day going off the view down the road this evening.... ....just beautiful. Well, I'll be at Houghton Hall tomorrow - it's a massive place and the flagship branch of the Strikes/Klondyke garden centres. Good thing I'll be loaded up with all my dies and stamps etc otherwise I'd be coming home with an assortment of bulbs, plants and assorted pots!
Speaking of gardening, I finally completed the rebuilding of the low wall. It's not exactly great, but it is strong and I'm happy with it. It was tricky because it was brick on one side with thick concrete on the other side. Once it all got broken it left gaping gaps that had to be filled, so I had to do a mosaic and balance all the pieces whilst they set. Here's the mosaicy side anyway!
I was missing one of the top pieces too, so had to build up the cement there. I just need to scrub all the loose flaky bits off now and then will paint the top as it once was, so it should look okay then. Heather and I picked up (well, we tried!) two more bags of bark for me to complete that whole area and then I'll be able to get on with the fun part of planting bulbs and adding pots around the place. It's all being done on a tight, cheap as I can do it budget, so I'm making do with bits and bobs that are around the place and using them in different ways.
Anyway, as I was saying, I'll be in Carlisle tomorrow, so hope to see some familiar faces there. I've got some nice techniques to share and plenty of samples. I'll be doing a double shuffle to catch my train to Leeds for Sunday's dabble day at Samuel Taylor's, so look forward to seeing you there if you're booked onto the event.
This evening I heard some very loud rumbling and banging noises and went out to find out what it was. Thomas and Tara both came flying in like 100 metre finalists! Turned out to be fireworks miles away on Blackpool promenade but there is a good, if distant view from the back of the house. A neighbour and myself wandered down the lane to get a better view - both in our pj's....one of the nice things about this area is that you can wander outside in pj's without worrying about being seen by lots of people! I tried taking some photos, but it really was a case of "a long shot" and I didn't manage to capture the fireworks. However, I did like the way this picture came out. Very atmospheric.
That's a boring telegraph pole on the left though it looks like something more interesting here. You can see all the orbs created by midges etc too. Speaking of which, I woke up with two more bites this morning, gggrrrr! I have been spraying insect repellent everywhere but the perishers still keep coming back. I think they have taken to hiding until I go to bed and then they come out and bite me - little vampires!
Just watching the third episode of Parade's End which I am enjoying, though it's somewhat spoiled for me by the muffled dialogue - I really like Benedict Cumberbatch but he does seem to be mumbling in this series and I'm struggling to catch everything. Still, it looks wonderful and the atmosphere is sublime. I enjoyed the Bletchley Circle last night too - a bit far fetched, but good actresses including the wonderful Anna Maxwell Martin and the beautiful Rachel Stirling, daughter of the late Diana Rigg. Two ladies who have perfectly modulated voices!
Well, I'd better say goodnight. Not sure how good a night's sleep I'll get tomorrow night as I'm staying in the heart of Leeds city centre so suspect it may be a little noisy! Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Skegness, sea lions and sickness

My trip to Skegness was certainly a memorable one, some memories being more pleasurable than others! I'd never been before and arrived on Friday afternoon after four separate train journeys...all the trains were crowded and noisy but I just blanked everyone out as best as I could and concentrated on my audio book. I'm still only a third of the way through it, but it's a really good "listen".
My hotel was on the North Parade and a ten minute walk from the station - boy, the town was busy. I didn't see the sea until a few hours later as Skegness is one of those resorts that has a promenade set back from the beach. Once I'd checked in I went straight out for a walk and my first stop was Natureland which is a sea lion sanctuary - how could I resist? It's quite small but they have a variety of creatures there besides the seals. There were Meerkats, penguins, various reptiles and lizards, a brilliant butterfly house, birds and small farm animals. I took loads of photos and had intended to upload a slide show type video to my You Tube site but I'm hopelessly clueless and have no idea how, or even if it's possible to do it.
Here is a pic of the more mature rescued seals being fed. They were having a wonderful time zooming round the pool after the fish and splashing the water everywhere including over visitors!
Just after this, the three baby seals were fed. These pups had all been rescued from the beach and were in a pool to themselves after coming out of the hospital section. All the seals in a particular year have themed names and this years theme is the Olympics. I didn't catch the second seal's name, but one was called Ussain Bolt and this little chap is called Tom Daley! They were indescribably cute and got very impatient when the handler was walking round the pool talking to visitors - peering up at him whilst resting their chins on their front flippers! Apparently the cost to rehabilitate and release each seal is around £2000 (vet bills, medication, fish etc) and they receive no funding whatsoever. They're certainly doing a great job.
Once I'd finally pried myself away, I had a stroll around the town, had something to eat and then made my way down to the beach itself. There were wind turbines out at sea which looked rather like an Anthony Gormley installation. Looking back inland though, it was a real British seaside resort, complete with old fashioned pier and fairground rides.
I fell asleep pretty easily after all that sea air and exercise! I was looking forward to a cooked breakfast to set me up for the day, but I woke on Saturday feeling pretty grim and could only manage a few mouthfuls of melon and a peppermint tea.
Cutting Edge Crafts is a lovely shop and they had set two big tables out for me with everything ready for my demonstration. Ladies started arriving soon after I arrived and mostly stayed all day. Everyone was really friendly and keen to watch everything I was getting up to. I had a feeling that my queasiness was going to get worse and unfortunately I was right. I think at one point I actually turned green! No idea what the cause was, but I felt I'd been punched in the solar plexus and kept feeling so sick. The ladies were really understanding and with a few minutes outside to get some fresh air I somehow managed to keep going. The show must go on!
The staff and customers insisted I should pack up fifteen minutes early so I wouldn't have to wait till 5.30pm to catch my train - thanks for that and to the ladies who helped me pack away and gave me a lift to the station. Apart from feeling ill I really enjoyed Skegness and meeting everyone at the shop. The journey back took almost seven hours and felt even longer...when we're ill we just want to be at home don't we?! I had a nice greeting from Tara and Thomas and then a really good sleep which helped a lot, though I've felt a bit delicate since....like a Victorian lady having an attack of the vapours! I can't describe how much I missed David being here when I came home...he could always make me feel better with just a hug that felt like the safest place in the world.
Well, I've been getting to grips with a busy week since I got back. I've been stamping, colouring, spritzing, die cutting and getting samples made for the coming events this next weekend. Today I've been working on stamp designs as my deadlines are ticking away relentlessly. The weather's been glorious of course, so I decided to take advantage of the balmy evenings after each day's work was complete and get a few jobs in the garden sorted. The wet and warm weather has undone the hard work I did a few weeks ago and the weeds have begun taking over again. So, after pulling up the blighters and spraying with weedkiller again, I decided to get the wall finished. Heather and I had bought a large bag of sand and cement from the garden centre a couple of weeks ago and I'd been waiting for the chance to get on with it. I hauled the bag up, opened it and found.....lumps of hard cement and sand that had all sorts of stones in it. I was really fuming but decided to use what I could. Pretty much a disaster of course, and I only managed to make up a pitiful amount of concrete that had the consistency of school custard ie full of lumps. I was not a happy bunny!
I then decided that I might as well get started on the bark chippings. I spent a good while laying down the weed suppressing membrane over the freshly weeded area, trimming around the stepping stones and tucking the fabric carefully round the edges. Once I'd done half of it I sliced open the first bag of bark chippings and let them tumble out over the membrane - the bags weigh a ton! The smell was awful - like rotten mushrooms and then I saw the bark...a mix of brown wood and white webby strands. Of course I'd tipped the whole thing out and I just stood there in disgust looking at what amounted to a dung heap full of fungus. I just gave up at that point and flounced back into the house!
So, first thing this morning I rang the garden centre and they very helpfully said that they would get their delivery man to call round. Two men duly arrived an hour or so later and brought me a replacement bag of concrete and a fresh bag of bark. Great service - I was impressed! The garden expert of the two told me that the bark I'd opened was perfectly okay and that the white fungus would do no harm and would dissipate with more exposure to the air. They were happy to leave me the fresh bag though. I did begin to wonder if I'd made the right choice though, as a few people have commented that bark chippings are seen by cats as a giant litter tray! Should I scrap the idea and bring back gravel after all that hard work?
I was helped to decide later as I had a word with the gardener who tends a neighbours garden once a fortnight. The new lawn had grown really long but I've no lawnmower yet...the one in the garage turned out to be a duffer! So, for a fiver, the gardener popped across and mowed it for me as well as spraying a really good weedkiller everywhere. He also said the bark was okay and that it was a good choice so long as I spray it every couple of weeks or so to stop the weeds establishing from the adjacent field.
After I'd done my work for today I just had time to lay the bark before it went dark. I've "nailed" the weed membrane down, laid two more stepping stones that I'd forgotten to put in...when Heather and I visited Farmer Parr's on her birthday they were in the middle of doing some construction work in the car park area and I asked if I could grab some of the slabs that were lying about. "Help yourself!" I was told, so I did! I've used most of the three bags of bark and now just have the second half of the area to finish which should only take a couple more bags. I had a few misgivings but think it looks alright now...
....I took this photo when it was just about dark, but you can see the section I've done and the newly cut lawn. I've still got my birdhouse to put in place and a little bench that I've now been advised not to put on the lawn as it will kill the grass underneath it. Oh well - plan B for the bench now then...once I've decided what that is! I am hoping that the bark will not become a huge cat litter tray going by Thomas and Tara's reactions to it...they were very much not impressed by the surface or the smell!
Speaking of Thomas, I thought you might like this picture of him showing off his enormous feet. I really love his giant paws and this pose makes him look as if he's waiting for a manicure!
Finally, here's a pic of another tag I made yesterday using Dylusions ink sprays and a few TH dies. The rosette was made using the same paper that I've posed the tag on here - I inked it with Evergreen Bough and added touches of Diamond stickles.
Tomorrow is another day of stamping and spritzing, so I had better get to bed now as it's already half past midnight after this long epistle. Hope you've enjoyed my meanderings about one thing and another! I meant to also say welcome to the new followers and readers of my blog and apologies that I didn't get chance to photograph the snow scene card that I made on Saturday...I'll rectify that as soon as I can.