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

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.


Glennis said...

Lindsay, I am amazed at all you are achieving in your garden - it is going to look great when you are finished.
Love the tag too.

Paul Browning - The Artsider said...

The garden is coming along wonderfully. All your hard work is obviously paying off. Sorry to hear you were poorly on your visit to Skegness. Glad you're feeling better now though. Those sea lions are adorable. It's be my first port of call too. Pxx

SusieJ said...

I think you're doing really well with the garden - it'll be fabulous when you finish!
Sorry you weren't well in Skegness.
I'd have visited the sea lions first too!
Love the tag...:)
Hugs xx

Joanne said...

You are working wonders all round Lindsay. I feel like we are ships that pass in the night though so hopefully tonight, I will email you.
Hugs Joanne xx

Artyjen said...

Love the look of your garden....can i say my bark chippings were exactly the same...but I had a wonderful surprise the following spring when I had a fantastic crop of morel mushrooms amongst my shrubs and flowers!! I have not had any problems with the cats that visit my garden either. Hope you are feeling better by now....and it sucks not having that hug waiting for you I know!!
xoxo Sioux

Redanne said...

What a lovely post Lindsay, apart from the feeling sick bit, hope you are much better now. Your garden is looking fabulous after all your hard work. Loving the cat's paws, he does look like he is waiting for a manicure! Crafty hugs, Anne x

Elaine said...

You're doing a great job on your garden. From my experience cats see gravel as a giant litter tray so stick with the bark. Glad you enjoyed Skeggie despite not feeling well.

Lynne wilkes said...

Lindsay,what a shame about your sickness well at least you were with kind and caring people,your garden is coming on a treat..loving your tags x