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, 30 November 2012

Frosty greetings everyone! Well, it's certainly frosty here anyway and I imagine it's going to get even colder when I head over to Stockton later. The garden looks like it's been sifted with icing sugar this morning and the bird bath has refrozen even after I'd melted the ice with boiling water. So, the suet, cheese and seeds have been liberally sprinkled on my bird tables and everything from blue tits, my robin and some very big seagulls have been having a good breakfast. You know it's cold when there's steam coming from their little bills! Bbbbrrrr.
It was too dark to take any photos of what I was making yesterday, so I've just snapped a few pictures of the festive configuration box before it gets packed into my case.

The boxes were covered in a mixture of Graphic 45 Christmas Emporium papers and Tim's Composer tissue wrap.The individual box edges were covered with tissue tape and I used MME All is Bright tape for the edges of the main box.
The TH mini lantern is such a cute addition and well worth the fiddling about that I had to do after deciding to place it in the tall thin box with not much room for fingers!
The deer (and numbers) were die cut from grungeboard using Tim's Movers & Shapers die SZ657493. I inked the deer using various brown tones and added some white gel pen dots to its rump. It just fitted nicely into it's box so that it could be held in place with a little Multi Matte Medium on either side as well as a big blob at it's feet which was then sprinkled with clear rock candy dry glitter.
The little red bells were a freebie from Crafts Beautiful magazine last month and I attached them with a jump ring and brad along with leaves from Tim's Festive Foliage pack which I inked in green. The snowflake is from the Christmas Adornments pack which I dabbed with white acrylic and then Stickles Diamond glitter glue. I filled the corked vial with Rock Candy glitter and cut the tiny tag from the Graphic 45 papers.
 I love the TH Woodland pack with the trees and wreath that can be coloured with ink. I used the small tree here and sprayed it with two shades of Dylusions ink before adding some Gesso "snow" and wrapping with the mini tinsel from Tim's Winter pack. The Seasonal muse token has been painted and inked and I added some TH stripey paper string.
I inked one of the TH Baubles with a teal Promarker and used TH box corners to give a finished look to the piece. I'll have this with me for tomorrow's demonstration at Suzicrafts in Stockton, as well as some other boxes, tags cards and canvasses.
I thought you might also like to see the latest things that my two mischief makers have been enjoying. Thomas decided to help me with the jig saw that I'd been doing in the evenings....
 ....I did complete the puzzle but, despite searching everywhere, there was, annoyingly,one piece missing. Not that I'm accusing anyone of course!
And Tara decided that the box which I brought some groceries back in this week was the perfect new spot for her to sit in.....
 .....she's been plonking herself in it with great delight, so it looks like it will be a fixture in the lounge for a while until she loses interest! I'm glad to report that she is finally becoming much happier and trusting, even choosing to snuggle up with me on the sofa from time to time. Unfortunately, even after a year, she still thinks Thomas is a complete yob and hisses at him every time he walks past her. Still, it's good to see her so much more contented.
Well, I had better go and finish packing my case ready for my four and a half hour journey to Stockton. Hope to see some of you there tomorrow.
When I get back I'll be able to post some pictures of some of my new stamp designs which will be out early next year, so watch this space!
I think I'll just dig out an extra scarf before I go...

PS I've been meaning to say that if you have emailed me and not had a reply, please check that you're using the correct email address and not my old one. The old email address is now completely defunct and the one at the top of my blog is the right one.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Six months

Today marks six months since my darling David died - it feels more like six weeks ago but time just rolls on relentlessly. It's like doing the world's biggest bungee jump without even knowing if the rope's attached to anything. Some days are better than others and I do try to keep positive knowing that's what David would have wanted me to do.
This is a picture from a very happy time that David and I spent in Dundee when I was working up in Scotland a couple of years ago. We had a wonderful few days up there with lots of laughter and lovely memories.
I just wanted to say thank you for everyone's kind messages, thoughtful cards and emails over the last few months and apologies to anyone that I didn't get back to personally.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Seconds out

Just a quick pre night night post. Had a lovely day at Card-Io in Wigan...bitterly cold this morning and myself and other passengers were steadied as we left the train as the platform was so slippery with hailstones! However, it was warm and cosy in the shop and Wendy and Martin looked after me as they always do - I haven't drunk so much coffee in ages!
Hello to everyone who braved the cold to come to the demonstration and glad you all enjoyed it. It seems that quite a few trees will be adorned with paper rosette baubles this Christmas!
The return trip was somewhat eventful (I do seem to attract eventful) as the second leg of the journey was on a replacement coach and, not long after getting onto the motorway, it started juddering as if a tyre had blown out. There followed a tense few minutes as the driver battled to get it under control and, with rain lashing down, he managed to get us onto the hard shoulder. He rang HQ to request a new vehicle (it wasn't a tyre after all - don't know what it was) and said that he was shaking like a leaf. He announced that he was going to carry on carefully and get us to our station, which he did, driving slowly and precisely. I was very impressed with the way he reacted to the situation and equally unimpressed when other passengers got off the coach without so much as even a cursory thank you.Why are people so rude? I did thank him and said how well I thought he'd handled it - it wouldn't cross my mind to do otherwise but maybe that's because I was brung up properly!!
Anyway, I walked home through the rain, got in, put the heat on, fed my two tearways and was more or less straight back out of the door- they were not impressed. I joined a team at the church hall for the quiz and curry evening and we came second which was pretty good as there were a fair few teams there. The winners were the same ones who won last time so I reckon they are swots anyway! Thankfully I got a lift home so avoided getting soaked through again.
I've just watched Strictly on the BBCi player so I'm up to speed before tomorrow's results show - not quite the same watching on the lap top, but I still enjoyed it.
Thomas has refused to go out for more than a couple of minutes over the last couple of days but he was itching to get outside tonight and was disgusted by the torrential rain - you know how cats are...always blaming their human for the bad weather! He must have been cross legged though, and he doesn't like using the litter tray, so he shot out like the proverbial cannon and vanished up the lane at a rate of knots. He just came back in and was absolutely soaked so he's had a rub down with a warm towel which he loves. Very cute as I tell him to "stand" and he goes stock still while I dry him, purring at the top of his voice.
Well, that's been my day and it's definitely time for bed now so I shall bid everyone goodnight. Thank you to everyone today for the very kind comments about my blog - it's good to know that my ramblings are appreciated - and good to know that my "wardrobe malfunction" a few weeks ago caused such laughter! Night night all.

Monday, 19 November 2012

A Gollum Lemur...

....that's what this creature makes me think of anyway. A cross between a Lemur and the Middle Earth character, Gollum. 
 If you want to see how this creation started out then take a look a couple of posts back, where you can also find the link to the blog which gave me the inspiration. I'd originally seen an owl in the Distress Stain print, but the more I looked at it, the more my pencil started to sketch a Lemur like creature. His long skinny legs are very strange, but you have to go with what's there!
I have to say that whenever I have a bit of a creative blank, drawing wise, rather than feeling I have to sit there staring at blank paper till something emerges, it's often better to spend a bit of time just creating something just for fun. It takes the pressure off, unblocks the artistic channels and, before I know it, I'm filled with ideas again.
I had a very low few days last week and creating these funny characters has also been a good way to lift my spirits. On Sunday, in Church, I had been thinking about my sister and how she's always looked out for me...there are lots of photos of us that show Heather with a protective arm around my shoulder. When I turned to the next hymn I thought "another one that I don't know" but, when the organist began playing, I instantly knew the tune which was The Skye Boat Song - which just happens to be the song that Heather was always singing when we were children. It was quite eerie - in a good way! I think there are lots of things that can be taken as signs of positivity and comfort when we're feeling at our lowest - we just have to be open to them.
Well, back to the work front and I'll be at Card-Io in Pemberton, Wigan on Saturday (British Rail allowing of course!!!) so hope to see lots of you there as I normally do at Wendy's shop. This will be my penultimate demonstration for the year which is quite a strange thought. 
When I get back home on Saturday I'll be feeding Thomas and Tara and then straight out again to take part in another quiz night. Heather and I formed a two person team called "Chalk & Cheese" last time, but she can't come on Saturday (football!) so I was all set to call myself "the one and lonely"! However, I was taken pity on and invited to join another team so I hope I bring something to the table - I think they were hoping I might have some "pop music" knowledge but I had to let them down on that one! Give me the natural history questions and I'll be okay and I should be able to help with the cryptic picture clues too. I'll let you know how we get on next week.
Time to relax now after a fairly productive day. It was so wintery here and bitterly cold so I've had  double socks and a thick cardigan on all day, as well as turning on the extra heater in the room where I work (it's the room between the front door and the lounge.....but nothing I call it sounds right!). I dread to think what the next gas bill will be like, but I reckon it will beat having frost bite!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

That was a duck....

.....and this is a chicken! I started watching the new ghost story drama on BBC 1 tonight, but I've just wimped out and switched channels. David and I loved watching spooky films, but, now I'm on my own, I know I'll start peering round doors, wondering what the creaking sounds are and generally freaking myself out.
Shame, because it looked like it might be quite good but I'd rather be able to get a good night's sleep! 

Not that cranky...

My good friend Paul pointed me to a great blog called cranky birds where some fantastical creations are on show. They are birds that emerge from blobs of paint or ink with the addition of some doodles and linework.I just had to have a go, so, last night I made some inky splodges with Distress stains - I used some of the new colours which arrived last week...Picked Raspberry, Evergreen Bough, Peacock Feathers and Shaded Lilac in this instance. Here are a couple of the sheets that I inked.
 I have to admit that I didn't get much initial inspiration looking at these - they were much less "blobby" than I wanted really. However, after looking at the left hand one for a while, a creature did begin to make itself known to me. Here's my initial pencil sketching in of a shape with a few details added in black ink....
A bit further along with my doodle.I added more linework and some details with Promarkers......
And here's my finished creature with some text added. As I said...not that cranky! The bird looked too cute and cuddly to be angry, so I just chose words that seemed to suit her.
I had been going to submit my drawing to the Cranky Birds site, but she's nowhere near grumpy enough! Please do take a look at the Cranky Birds blog to see some really furious characters and find out more about the creator of this great idea. I've done what I call "Cloud Watching" doodles for many years, but the Cranky Birds are a new one on me. Thanks Paul!
I must also thank Paul for helping me to sort out my problems with blogger - it was so blooming obvious what I was doing wrong but, of course, I was over complicating things. So, back to decent, eye friendly sized text again - yay!
Well, it's almost dark outside, so I am going to take a look over the fields and see if I can spot the two Barn Owls that my neighbour has seen over the last few days. Mmmm, there's a definite bird theme going on here!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The best laid plans

Indeed......today didn't turn out at all like it was meant to! I left the house at just after 5.30am (I know!) to set off on my trek to Brighouse in West Yorkshire. This involved one cab to the local station, a rail replacement bus to Preston, a train to Hebden Bridge, another train to Brighouse and finally, a cab to Samuel Taylors.Well, that was the theory anyway.
I got to Preston with no problem and, thankfully, the York train was in so I was able to sit in there rather than on the chilly platform. All was still going well as the train set off twenty minutes later and continued to be okay until the train left Burnley and then stopped. It stayed stopped for quite a while until we were all informed that there was a problem ahead and the trains were backed up to Hebden Bridge. It then emerged that there was a track problem and the engineers had been called, but they didn't know how soon they'd arrive, nor what would happen when they got there.
I sat and waited, watching the time ticking away and realising that I wasn't going to be able to get to Samuel Taylors in time to teach my workshop. Eventually I had to call Heather and ask her to call the shop to explain that I was stranded on a train somewhere with no idea how long I'd be there! I felt awful, knowing that all those ladies were going to be disappointed.
Eventually, the trains got moving again and I had to make the reverse journey home. Of course, British Rail said they would refund everyone's ticket costs but, as I paid with my debit card, I will have to wait two or three weeks for the money to go back in. Needless to say BR will not compensate anyone for any associated losses (such as my day's earnings) so my "day out" cost me £5.00 for my cab fare this morning!
It was a very frustrating day all round. I decided to have a nap on the sofa this afternoon to make up for my early, and pointless, start. The only winners were Tara and Thomas who were very pleased to see me home early!
It was a much more enjoyable start to the week as Heather and I went to the theatre on Tuesday to see a ballet version of A Christmas Carol. This was at the famous Grand in Blackpool which is described as the prettiest theatre in Britain. I'd have shared some photos of it but I stupidly forgot to take my camera. We're going again in December for a traditional Carol concert so I will make sure that I take some pictures then. We had a meal before the show and really enjoyed the evening - the costumes were beautiful and Marley's ghost appearing to Scrooge was pretty scary!
I spent the night at Heather's so it all made a really good change from the usual routine.
Sorry I haven't posted anything this week, but I'm still working on things I can't share - frustratingly!
So, with apologies to everyone who was booked for my workshop today, and a welcome to my new followers, I shall sign off for the evening. Keep warm everyone - it's cold out there!

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Today has great significance for me and my sister Heather. Not only is it Remembrance day, but it is the first anniversary of the death of our dad. 
This morning I went to the usual Sunday Church service where I placed a flower from David's memorial rose on the case which contains the memorial book. Each day the pages of the book are turned to show the names of those who died on that date and so dad's name was there in beautiful calligraphy.
I can't believe that it's really a year ago. The service was very moving especially as one of the hymns was "Be still my soul" which was one of the pieces of music that I chose for David's funeral.
After the service I went outside and met up with Heather for the Remembrance service in the village square. There were hundreds of people crowded around the Cenotaph, quite a sight in our little village, but a sign of the great community spirit. The two minutes silence was very moving...thoughts of David, dad and also our uncle David, who we never met, but who was killed in WWII. You can watch some of the service here: http://youtu.be/jUtI4ELW8RM. The two minutes silence was very moving...thoughts of David, dad and also our uncle David, who we never met, but who was killed in WWII.

So, it's been a thoughtful day. One to reflect on love and loss and bringing people together in peace.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Christmas baubles

Just a fairly quick post today. I'm waiting in for a parcel that the PO tried to deliver on Saturday. The soonest re-delivery date was Wednesday, so, of course, I waited in all day for it to arrive - it didn't! So an irritated call to my local sorting office this morning resulted in the very nice man (no, he really was very nice - I wasn't being sarcastic!) telling me that he had personally put it out for delivery for me yesterday and had no idea why I hadn't received it. He rang me back to say that it would be with me sometime today and then had a chat with me about my mum and dad who he vividly recalled from when he used to do deliveries himself. Needless to say, his personal chit chat with me managed to assuage some of my annoyance of the rubbish service! 
I'm going to be at Samuel Taylor's in Leeds on Saturday where I'll be teaching a workshop in the morning and doing a demonstration in the afternoon. So, I thought I'd share one of the things I'll be demonstrating....
....these baubles are great fun to make using the Tim Holtz rosette Sizzlit dies from Sizzix. I used the original single die as well as the mini rosette die which has two smaller sizes. If you are using heavier weight cardstock, or mirri card, I suggest a cool melt glue gun to adhere the rosettes to the backing circles as they have a tendency to pop off otherwise! 
Here's a closer look at one from a side view to show the dimension better....
...I'm hoping to make quite a few for my tree as they are a great way to use up those odd sheets of decorative papers that we all have taking up space! 
These ones are pretty simple...just a few papers, card and either brads or gems for the centres and I've just used white cord for the hangers. However, I'm going to be making some with glittered edges, maybe some tinsel sandwiched between the two largest rosettes, ribbon hangers etc. Great fun!
Before I forget (again) I have now got the new Ranger Sticky embossing powder and have given it a try. It's very good indeed. Simply stamp using an embossing ink, sprinkle on the sticky embossing powder and shake off the excess. Have your glitter ready, heat the powder and immediately pour on the glitter. I pressed the glitter down slightly. Shake off the excess and voila, a glittered image. I was able to use a brush to dust away the excess without it moving the stamped image at all. One tip is to use an anti static pad first of course. So, it gets a thumbs up from me.
Well, that'smy coffee break over, so it's back to work - colouring in at the moment, oh, and waiting of course!  

Monday, 5 November 2012

East to West

Well, north east back to north west anyway, after my busy weekend in Darlington and Washington. It was a nice journey up there on friday after a freezing start to the day that included large hailstones!
I had a wander around Darlington for a few hours - after being evacuated (for the second time in a month!) from the shopping centre about two minutes after I walked in there. I still don't know what it was all about, but I'm pleased to say that nobody panicked when all the alarms were shrieking, shutters started coming down and a couple of sprinklers went off! In fact, given how many people were in there, it was amazing how calmly everyone just walked to the exits.
Next day I was at the Art Shop in Darlington - so close by that I could see it from my hotel room! Hello to everyone that came along - especially to Maria who it was lovely to see again and who very thoughtfully brought me a lovely plant for the garden. Thank you Maria, it will be carefully planted out as soon as I have decided exactly where it is going to reside. I also got a box of choccies from the staff at the art shop which was very nice.
Here's one of the scenic cards I made which has Distress Rock Candy dry glitter added down the left side and added to the snow.
Sorry for the slightly blurry effect, I was taking the pictures in a rush before I left for my train!
I headed off to Washington straight after my demo finished. I was on the fifth floor of the hotel with an amazing view across the skyline so I had a grandstand position to watch several firework displays going on at the same time - I didn't know where to look first!
On Sunday I was at Dainty Supplies where I was using the new Ranger dry glitters - I'm sure they were really happy to see all the sparkle I left on the floor! 
I made this card using some double sided adhesive film and acetate.
I cut curved lines into the protective paper on the adhesive sheet so I was able to peel back each section, adding various glitter colours to them to create a  stylistic sky effect. The palm trees are stamped onto acetate which I applied to the other (sticky) side of the adhesive film. It's hard to capture the shimmery effect through the acetate, but there's a real sparkle from the fine glitters. I drew the star onto the acetate surface using a white gel pen.
One of my neighbours was looking after Tara and Thomas over the weekend because Heather has unfortunately fallen victim to one of those sudden back injuries that can come from something as simple as opening a window or picking something up off the floor. Poor thing, she's been in agony for several days and can hardly move.
I got home on Sunday night after a long journey - four and a half hours. Of course, my two terrors let me know that they were quite unimpressed that I'd deserted them for three days! I think they've forgiven me now though and they've been taking turns cuddling up to me on the sofa this evening.
Before I forget. When I was at the hotel in Darlington there were two flavoured coffees as well as the usual Nescafe sachets. I tried them both and they were delicious...one was Hazelnut and one was Irish Cream. I don't take sugar so flavoured coffees are not something I usually like but these appeared to be sugar free. Tonight I looked up the website for Beanies and sent a message to ask if the coffees did include any sugar. To my amazement, I had a personal reply from a lovely man called Mark within ten minutes, even though it was after 9pm! None of the coffees have any sugar in them, so I've ordered some for the cold winter evenings. I was very impressed with the customer service, as well as the coffee, and they are a British company (and a northern one too!) so I'm giving them a plug!
Well, I'm back to my drawing board tomorrow so I had better give my furry friends their midnight snack before getting to bed and giving my eyes a rest. Hope everyone's keeping warm.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

absent without leave

It's been a week since I last posted for one reason and another. I've felt pretty ropey for the last few days and so have had to do a double shuffle to get the things done that needed to be done
I don't think last Saturday helped much! It was such a cold day...the railway station platforms had been scattered with grit in case of snow but, yep, you guessed it, there was no heat on the trains! I had a very early start to get to Brighouse, stopping off at Hebden Bridge with a half hour wait for my connection. Bbbbrrrr, it was freezing! There were no refreshments on the trains or stations either, so I was very happy to find the cafe at the garden centre was open when I arrived early for my demonstration at Samuel Taylors. A coffee and some egg and bacon perked me up and it was a lovely busy day in the shop. Hello to everyone who came along and hope to see some of you again on the 27th.
The trip home was cold too and, unfortunately, the second train leg was marred when three "men" boarded and began being loud and obnoxious. They weren't the usual, yobby types, but looked smartly dressed and more mature. However, when one of them made a phone call at the top of his voice, plonked himself in the luggage bay behind me and then started using the most offensive language, my switch went on. I do sometimes turn a deaf ear, but this was too much. I told him to watch his language and pointed out that there were ladies present and was, of course, greeted with a fresh tirade of choice words spat in my direction. Even one of his mates told him to calm it down a bit, but he just carried on talking into his phone with sarcastic references to bleep bleep ladies being present.
At this point I just ignored them and settled into my seat. Nobody in the carriage said a word, although I'd seen some raised eyebrows when the language had started. They got off in Bolton and as the train set off again, the guy in front of me turned round and said "good for you, well done". I thanked him and added that it was a shame nobody thought it might have been nice to back me up at the time. I got a mumbled response and a few other passengers faces turned back to the train windows. Normal reactions in my experience.
It's very sad though. I wasn't expecting someone to challenge those idiots to a duel, or to pull the emergency cord and manhandle them off the train (though I'd have paid to see that!) but is it really too much to ask that when someone does stand up to them a few more people say "yes, quite right, pack it in"? I know that people are generally scared to get involved for fear of what might happen, but there is safety in numbers and the more people stand together against anti social behaviour the likelier we are to stamp it out. That's the end of my soapbox moment.
I've been sparkling for England since the new Ranger dry glitters arrived! They're really fine and the colours are lovely. I'll be using them this weekend along with, on Sunday, the new sticky embossing powder - more on that next week.
I'm all set for another trip away from home...my last full weekend away before Christmas. I'm off to Darlington and Chester-Le-Street in the north east, so I'm expecting a chilly few days. Here in the north west we've had hailstones, wind and driving rain, all making for a very cold day - the heating's been on and I'll worry about the bills when they come! Anyway, I have my gloves, scarf, warm jacket, cardigan, rain hat, socks and boots ready, so I'm all set. 
I'll be at the Art Shop in Darlington on Saturday and Dainty Supplies in Washington on Sunday so hope to see some of you over the weekend. I'[ve got ink sprays and stamps, stencils and glitters...all sorts of goodies really, so there will be plenty of tips and techniques to share.
Thanks for all the comments, phone calls and emails about both my guest artist stint on the Darkroom Door blog and my encounter with the postman. I'm glad I gave you all a good laugh!
Well, time for me to wind down now before an early night. Have a good weekend everyone (I know I'm a bit previous).