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

Monday, 30 December 2013

Awol for Christmas

Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages over the past few weeks to check that I was okay after being awol from my blog for such a long time. Thank you too, for all the lovely Christmas cards that I received which are all displayed on the walls in the lounge...it's going to look very bare when I have to take them down next week! I hope that everyone has had a lovely Christmas.
Everything's fine here, but I was in the grip of a persistent bug for three weeks and then just needed some "time out" to concentrate on Christmas, family and general relaxation time.
I began my Christmas break by getting some housework done though...my Doo Lally workroom was well overdue a clear out as you can see.....
.....disgraceful, I know! It's worse as, being the "vestibule" (as mum always called it) it's the first thing people see when they come in at the front door, as well as being visible to neighbours and passers by. It really had got beyond a joke....
....though I know it's a sight that's all too familiar to many of you!
After ten minutes of wading through "stuff" I really felt like giving up,but I ploughed on and after an hour or two I was relieved to view this sight....
......what a lovely feeling! Mind you, I probably won't be able to find anything ever again now that it's all tidied away in various drawers, boxes and cupboards! I painted the inside of the front door and all the woodwork to really make it feel even fresher. Next morning I cleaned the conservatory from top to bottom before giving it a lick of paint....I'd been going to buy a tin but I found an old can of yellow paint in the garage which I opened with little hope of finding anything useable inside. However, after peeling a thick skin off the top and a good stir it looked surprisingly okay! It wasn't yellow paint that I wanted though, but a soft lime, so I used  Ranger Colourwash Dyes to change the colour to just the shade I liked - that saved a bit of money!
After sprucing the place up it was treat time, that is, Christmas tree and decorations! I do enjoy getting the baubles and tinsel out. Tara was soon investigating the tree....
.....thankfully, it's stayed upright, though I had to tape it to the table after she almost knocked the whole thing over! The Doo Lally room got a Christmas makeover too of course.....
I hope everyone survived the storms and power failures last week, though it looks like the winds and rain are heading back to us today. I had settled down to watch the Strictly Come Dancing final and the winds were rattling round the house quite fiercely even then. Tara was settled on my lap when there was a sudden, and very loud, BOOM from the chimney breast behind the gas fire. Tara nearly leapt through the wall behind me and I jumped up very quickly I can tell you! Seconds later it did it again and then a third time, more quietly, accompanied by a whoosh of grey fluff landing on the rug. 
It really shook me up and I rang the gas emergency number to ask for some advice as to what might have happened. They told me to turn the gas off and that they were sending someone out. Then followed a rather nervous half hour until a man arrived to check everything out. The upshot was that he blocked off the gas fire and stuck a great big notice on it that it mustn't be used until I had someone round to service and clean the boiler - apparently the wind had caused a backdraught due to a build up of dust behind the fire and the gases "explode" causing the big bang. Scary stuff! 
So, Saturday night was a wash out and I was thankful that I'd bought a halogen heater a few weeks before, as were the two T's........
....as you can see! By Monday morning it was pretty cold throughout the house, so I was very pleased to see the plumber who gave everything a good service and connected things up again. Unfortunately, later on in the day the heating wouldn't come back on so, on Christmas Eve, the poor man had to come back to take another look. It was something to do with the ignition...starter...not sure really, but all was finally sorted in the nick of time before Christmas day!
Christmas day itself was very different for all in my family this year. It was the first one for us without my brother in law, Graham, so I spent the afternoon and night at my sister's. It was such a completely different day to how any of us had spent it before so we just had to try and find a way through it really. I went to the morning family communion service at church and then went down to Heather's. She was already putting the potatoes in to roast with the chicken and I had made bread sauce, roasted and peeled the chestnuts and made strawberry Santas to take with me. My nephew, Max, arrived and then we sat down to a delicious dinner at around 3pm. Gifts were opened after we had washed the dishes...very strange for us as we normally would have opened them first thing in the morning. Heather had given me a few things to unwrap first thing though.....a lovely cup and teapot with a matching knitted tea cosy, complete with pom pom and fruit tea bags, as well as a matching Nordic design apron! For Thomas and Tara there were some foodie treats and a scratchpost toy which Thomas immediately took to....
.....as you can see!
I had made a few gifts after watching the Great British Sewing Bee special the week before.....I've never really been into sewing, but I felt inspired to make some very simple things. This was a new Catnip toy for the two T's......
...using some Christmas fabric that I found in the loft. I made one for Mia, Heather's pusscat too, as well as a scented one for Heather. Also a garland of hearts from Christmas fabric which I strung onto plaited ribbons - also for Heather. She was quite impressed with my stitched gifts as she shares my lack of enthusiasm for sewing! The one I had the most fun making was this owl from felt....
.....he turned out larger than I'd planned, but Heather liked him!
I came home on Boxing day and Heather and I played some games that took us right back down memory lane....The Beetle game (with plastic beetles that you have to assemble by rolling the dice to collect the numbered components) and the Magnetic Fishing game which anyone over a certain age is sure to remember! These were exact copies of the original games and we had a few giggles over them.
Next day I woke to the stormy weather of course and found mountains of litter strewn around the garden as well as one of the fence panels at the back of the house blown down. There were quite a few fences where they shouldn't be, but everyone has left them for the time being as the winds were predicted to strike again - and today has been very blowy indeed. Once the weather settles down there will be plenty of time to do the repairs. As I type, the heaven's have opened again and there are giant hailstones clattering over the garden and the conservatory roof as well as down the chimney! It's going to be another stormy night I think.
The services at St Chads have been really lovely, and have helped to lift my spirits up throughout the past few weeks when I've been feeling low. I've been on duty quite a few times and the Sunday before Christmas was a very busy day. After the morning service there was a party for the Sunday School children and we put on a puppet show of course. I was a camel in the first piece and then we did a song - thankfully there was a CD for us to mime our puppets to, so no actual singing was involved! Then there was another story with sheep puppets called Baaarnaby and Baaaarbara! 
In the evening was the Carol service, at which I did one of the readings. It starts and finishes by candlelight and is a really uplifting and beautiful experience.
Now it's getting toward ending this year. It's been another tough one for me and my family, but we get through everything together. I don't look forward to New Year's Eve...I've always found it more of a sad time rather than one of looking forward to new things....but it's especially hard, as David and I always hugged each other and stood to watch the fireworks together, feeling relief that we'd managed to get through another year with all the ups and downs that life throws at us all.
So, I wish everyone a New Year's Eve spent in the way you like to spend it and a new year that brings good things to you and yours. 
I'll be getting out and about again before too long, starting with a trip to Scunthorpe where I'll be officially opening a brand new shop on Tuesday 7th January, called Trent Valley Crafts ....I'll be cutting the ribbon and then demonstrating for the rest of the day. So, if you're in the area, do pop down to support this new venture. I'll post about my other work dates in a few days.
Sorry this is a bit of a rambly post - after being absent for so long it's a bit hotch potch really. I'll try and get back to normal service soon!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Quick catch up

By gum it's cold! I keep turning the heat off and having to give in again after a while and crank it back up again. The spicy scented candles and the Patchouli incense have re-appeared, the zesty shower gels have been replaced by cocoa butter and honey ones and the fluffy socks, hot water bottle and fleecy pj's have been brought out again. All that, and I've still managed to catch a cold! Oh well, a couple of days dosing up on paracetamol should see me right.
Hello to everyone that I met at Crazy About Cake Craft in Chesterfield on Saturday. I hope you're all enjoying your "spends"! I was busy on the ground floor section of the shop and it was only when I paid a visit to the loo in the afternoon that I ventured downstairs and was amazed by the vast array of baking accessories - everything from edible glitters to cake toppers and lots of things that looked quite mysterious to a non baker like myself!
This Saturday I'll be in Oldham, at Sophie's Crafts. I'm teaching a Luminary workshop in the morning and then demonstrating in the afternoon. We'll be making something along the lines of one of these....
....so it should be a fun class. I think there are one or two places left...the cost of the workshop includes one of the Luminary dies....and if you fancy joining us, just contact the shop directly.
In the afternoon I'll be demonstrating various Sizzix dies as well as a few of my Christmas stamps.
I tried to blow the cobwebs of my cold away this morning by planting some shrubs in the garden. It's got very overgrown, weedy and almost jungle like again lately! I may be a proud owner of a lawn mower now, but I've yet to use it as the grass has just been too wet. However, all the Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums have finally died back from around my bench, so I pulled them all up yesterday and prepared a few holes with gravel, compost and bone meal. So, all I had to do this morning was to put the plants in and fill around them. I'd been waiting to clear the area around the bench as one of the plants is a climbing rose which I've tied in to the arch to train it up there. I've also planted a (hopefully!) beautiful silvery lilac cutting rose in the area of the garden that I'm "trying" to give a blues and purples colour theme to. Two other roses have gone in between the bench and David's rose - one is a pinky red with white streaks and the other a mix of yellows through pinks and reds. They look like bits of twig at the moment so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! The last shrub is a Berberis which has berries on at the moment and lovely multicoloured foliage. Hopefully I'll be able to get on top of the weeds again once December is in full flow!
Speaking of December, I decided to have a "pre-Christmas sale" on my Etsy site, so I've reduced the prices on all of my paintings. I'm hoping to get time to create some new pieces before too long, though my planned days off never seem to quite work out that way!
Well, Thomas is curled up asleep and snug in the chair by the radiator, Tara is snuggled on a blanket on the other armchair and I'm in my usual spot on the sofa but I'm going to get ready to venture out into the cold night air shortly. I'm off to the Vicarage for part two of a four week Bible study course, though I missed last week's so will have to catch up tonight. The last course we did was really interesting and provoked lots of discussion, so I'm looking forward to some good conversation.
So, that's all for now, just a quick sign in this evening! Keep warm folks.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Show time!

This could be quite a long post......it's been a week since the first day of the show at the NEC already - ridiculous! I've been up to my elbows in inks, papers, dies, glitter, stamps and glue.....nothing new there then! I'm quite looking forward to being able to take a couple of days off next week - hopefully - but, till then, it's as hectic as ever.
Working at the show over the four days was really good fun, hard work but fun. Each show day began at 9am and finished at 5.30pm so, with little time to take breaks, it was full on. I was on the Card-io stand and, while Wendy was demonstrating her own beautiful Majestix stamps, I was working with Sizzix dies. This was quite a change for me and it took me a while to adjust to not being covered in purple and blue ink! I really enjoyed showing how to construct the dimensional creations such as the Luminary and Birdhouse. These Treat Poppers (crackers to you and I!) were a big hit too....
....I made lots of them at the show. The great thing is that the crackers themselves are quite quick to make so you can afford to spend lots of time decorating them.
Here's a table decoration made from two Sizzix dies - the Reindeer and the Sleigh. The sleigh is very cleverly thought out and fits together beautifully. It's ideal for holding little sweet treats!
I hope everyone who bought the dies is having great fun using them....I know I did!
I had forgotten how drying the air in the NEC can be and so had omitted to take any lip balm with me. By day two I felt as if I'd been traipsing through a desert! Diane (Thomas and Tara's unofficial auntie!) paid a visit and took this photo of me trying to do a running repair with my lipstick...nowhere near as effective as lip balm I have to say!
Diane also brought pressies for T & T.....beautifully stamped and decorated.....
.....their names were even stamped on the reverse of the labels! Thank you Diane, they loved them! If you click on Diane's name (above) you can see some more piccies of the show.
On day four I was back to stamping and getting covered in inks. My Doo Lally Pip stamps raised a few smiles which is just what I intend! It was a day of contrasts with everyone having great fun and then the two minutes silence which is always marked at 11am on the Sunday of the show at the NEC and I found it especially moving this year.
Then, before I knew it,  the show was over - unbelievably quickly it seemed. It was quite a trek back home and, thankfully, my neighbour had put the heat on for me so I could have a hot shower before an early night. I was pooped!
I mentioned last week that I was a bit worried about the weight of my case and how I'd get on carting everything down to Birmingham. My poor case was just not up to it, so I have had to have a complete change and am now getting used to a new one. Of course, this hasn't gone unnoticed and a certain someone decided to check whether it was suitable.......
.....by the way, that's not a real mouse on the carpet - just a toy that has been mostly ignored by both Tara and Thomas!
There wasn't really much time for a rest as I was up in Durham yesterday, so I had to prep more samples for my demo there in Crafty Nook. On Monday though, I spent some time with Heather - I've passed on all the good wishes that were sent her way last week...thank you from both of us. We called into St Chads to lay a rose on the memorial book of remembrance as it was two years since our dad passed away and his name was on the page for that day.
I had a lovely time at Crafty Nook, once again working with Sizzix dies and also decorating some candles too....
...this one was made by cutting a Sizzlits die (Woodland Deer) from Graphic 45 paper which I edged with Gathered Twigs Distress ink before warpping it round the candle base. I wrapped greaseproof paper around the candle and heated it gently to melt the paper into the wax. I used the same technique to add the Martha Stewart punched fern around the top. You can't really see it here, but I also added some Rock Candy Distress dry glitter over the surface for a little bit of twinkle. 
Today I've been getting more things made for my demonstration this coming Saturday in Chesterfield at Crazy About Cake Craft who have now expanded into papercrafts as well as their established baking supplies. 
A certain someone always worries when he sees me getting my case out as he knows it usually means that I'll be trolling off again. 
I think he figured that if I was going away then he was coming too! As you can see though, he's a big boy and there wouldn't have been much room left for anything else! Bless him!
Here's a non Christmassy wreath that I made this afternoon using the Sizzix Prima Gulien die....
...the flowers are quite large so I didn't need too many to cover the card circle beneath. I used quite muted paper and edged them with various ink colours. If you look closely you might be able to see the Glossy Accent dew drops here and there.
Well, time to put my dinner in the oven and then a shower while it's cooking. Lots of ink and glue on my hands, so washing my hair should get rid of that lot! I'm a bit sore and stiff too, and it's really cold here, so some hot water and spicy shower creme is just what the doctor ordered!

PS It's amazing what they sell in supermarkets these days. We have a Booths store here and look what's in one of their carrier bags.....
This picture is specially for my friend Paul, who has a soft spot for Tara!

PPS before anyone reports me to the RSPCA I didn't ram Tara into a carrier bag for the sake of a cute photo! She is obsessed with climbing into things and has taken to running into this bag and skidding across the carpet as if she's on a snow slide!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Donkey wanted!

Just a quick post tonight. My broadband was down for most of the day so I haven't been able to catch up on my emails I'm afraid and it didn't leave much time to write a decent post either.
I'm all set for my trip to the NEC tomorrow for the Hobbycraft show. All I need now is a donkey to carry all my gear for me! The case is stuffed to the gills with Sizzix dies, card stock, stamps, inks and sprays etc etc etc, so it weighs a ton. I've carefully packed my dimensional projects into a box and that's in a large carrier bag ("please don't leave this on the train" is my new mantra) and I've a hessian bag too, just so I can take a few clothes and toiletries....and my heat gun, a Sizzix die that wouldn't fit in the case and a roll of kitchen paper. I just hope my battered old case can take the strain!
Anyway, hope to see some of you at the show - do say hello if you are coming along. I won't be taking any photos as I just can't afford to take anything non essential with me, so the camera is staying at home this time.
So, it's time for bed now....I need all my strength for the journey tomorrow!!!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

AWOL agaaaiiiin!

Hello folks, that is, if anyone is even reading this....after going awol for a couple of weeks it wouldn't surprise me if nobody is there now! It's been a very fraught few weeks, with the death of my brother in law, Graham, and, along with having to get lots of work done, it has led to me having a break from blogging and emailing - retreating into my shell for a while as I do when life becomes overwhelming. 
It's time to get back on track though. It's Sunday and I'm heading back to church shortly for a special All Saints day memorial service so I thought I'd take the chance to share a few photos. Talking of church, I've set up a new blog now, called My Rambling Spirit, which you can find a link to in my left sidebar. I sometimes feel uncomfortable talking about the more spiritual side of life on this blog...after all, I know that some people visit just to see what I've been making and maybe read a few exploits of my two pusscats or the garden! So, the new blog is where I can just ramble on about how I feel about things.
Anyway, back to this blog! Hello to everyone who I met at recent demonstrations at the Leigh show, Card-io and The Paper Warehouse. A special thanks for all the lovely messages and cards for Heather and myself which were very much appreciated. I'm getting round to thanking everyone slowly but surely.
For the month of November I'm concentrating on demonstrating ideas for Christmas decorations and gifts - with a little stamping thrown in too along the way! I've been really enjoying working with the WRMK envelope punch and a range of Sizzix dies. I didn't expect to be so bowled over by an envelope maker but it really is terrific and makes much more than just envelopes. I've been making boxes and shaped tags too.

Not the easiest thing to photograph and the background doesn't help! The papers I used were from the MME Vintage Christmas range, along with some Bazzill card stock.The envelope punch has certainly proved to be a big hit and it does mean that you can make odd shaped cards which is good if, like me, you often decide to make something using bits and pieces of cardstock that are lying around.
All inkiness has been put to one side this week and I've moved from the Doo Lally workroom and into the lounge where I have been spreading card, papers, dies, embellishments and my Big Shot over the floor with a "me" sized space in the middle! I just needed the extra space to work in and I've been watching the old classic films in the afternoon while cutting and sticking which has been rather enjoyable.
Two new favourites have to be the TH Luminary die and the 3D Birdhouse Scoreboard die. The scoreboard dies allow you to cut and score heavy weight chipboard or mount board in one pass, though you can also use them with standard cardstock too of course. Below is one of the bird houses made up and decorated...I used a natural twig to push through the base of this one, so it could be used within a festive floral arrangement.
The dies are really easy to work with and I like the fact that they can be used throughout the year, not just for Christmas projects. Although Halloween is now over, I couldn't resist making a spooky, gothic Luminary with one of Tim's battery operated lanterns inside....

I used Graphic 45 papers for the Luminary itself - it's amazing just how strong this piece is even when made from paper. I cut out a few bats and cats and added some black gem spiders with wire legs as well as some wispy fibres - all great fun!
A certain someone has been keeping me company whilst I create, albeit from behind the net curtains at times....he still likes to keep an eye on me though....
....what a cute button nose! He won't be very happy, nor Tara, when I leave them for most of next week while I'm at the NEC though. My neighbour will be coming in twice a day to feed them and let them in and out, but they don't like their mum not being here at their beck and call. Poor little sweeties!
At least I haven't been missing out on nice sunny weather whilst I've been chained to the Big Shot machine! The view through my front window has basically been like this....
 .....but at least nothing has been blown down or swept away...yet! 
Heather and I were lucky on the day we had in town last week and we spent a sunny day wandering around the art gallery and shops for a good many hours. It helped to blow some of the cobwebs away and did us good. The exhibition at the gallery "creeped me out" though, much to Heather's amusement, as it was based around fairgrounds and Coney Island in particular and featured, amongst other things,  lots of images of weird waxwork figures accompanied by old soundtracks of music hall performers and slightly eerie laughter. Made me shiver!
I was glad to get into the "normality" of the streets and shops again and we had a nice lunch followed by some retail therapy where some new fleecy pj's were one of the must have purchases to combat the increasingly cold evenings. Don't let me get started on the cost of fuel and the fuel companies though.....and since when did it become the norm for them to harass customers by phone only a week after sending a bill? Gone are the days, it seems, of the polite reminder letter a couple of weeks after a bill - now it's straight onto demanding money over the phone....swines! Sorry, I did say don't let me get started!
So, I hope to see lots of you in Birmingham next week. I'll be on the Card-io stand and both Wendy and myself will be demonstrating - Wendy will be using her wonderful Tapestry stamps and I'll have my Christmas stamps, various inks and mediums and the gorgeous dies. I'll be there for the whole show from Thursday to Sunday inclusive.
It's now going dark - how miserable at 5pm! So, I had better get myself organised for my second trip to St Chads of the day. Take care everyone and keep warm!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Graham the artist

Heather has sent me some pictures to share with you - she photographed them from printed photos, so they aren't the best quality images, but they do show what a talented man Graham was. There are also a couple of pictures of Heather and Graham together which are really lovely.
Here they are on their wedding day......
 ....both looking really happy.
And I love this one.....
 .....Heather said she thinks they look like Howard and Hilda from Ever Decreasing Circles! I love the adoring way that Graham is looking at her. Happy memories.
As promised, here are some examples of Graham's artwork. He created all kinds of things and was both a brilliant sculptor as well as being able to work in miniature with incredible detail, despite being a big man.
Here is one of his many modelled scenes, this one  of a traction engine.....
 ....he loved to spend countless hours on all the tiny details to make the scenes come alive.
This is another scene, this time of a steam engine room.There's so much to look at in this one...the portrait of Queen Victoria, the peeling plaster on the walls, the ash under the boiler and I'm pretty sure that there's a mouse in there somewhere too. The lights in this scene actually work too though it's hard to tell in the photo.
This picture is of one of Graham's sculptures which is called Miss Patricia. I'm not too sure who she is, but I think she was a commissioned piece. Graham created a lot of bronzes - he did the whole process himself, from the initial clay sculptures through making the moulds and using the lost wax casting method to produce the finished pieces.
He was also creating wonderful pieces like this one, long before the current trends in altered art etc.....
.....this is one to keep looking at over and over again. The stained glass windows, the jewelled crown, the detailed halo. This piece was hung in the Grundy Art Gallery and, typically of Graham, he gave it away to someone who was going through a bad time and who admired his work. 
Finally, take a look at this fantasy castle......
.....it's just a shame about the flash, or should I say "flush"?! Amazing as it seems, Graham created this huge piece to cover the old fashioned cistern above the loo in one of their old flats! How grand to have a floating castle in the smallest room! Heather said it was the main feature that sold the flat when they moved!
I hope you've enjoyed looking at just a small representation of Graham's talents, he really was a great artist.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Thank you

Thank you for all the messages that Heather and I have received after the death of my brother in law, Graham. He had been diagnosed with cancer back in May and, at the moment, we are just hanging onto the fact that he is not suffering any more. 
Graham was a very gentle man who loved to spend time in the local park feeding the birds and squirrels and his favourite place was the model village where he had worked as one of the sculptors and model makers.
He was an incredibly talented artist with unending patience to add the tiniest details to his exquisite creations. I'll share some images of Graham's work in a future post.

Graham's funeral will be in our local church, St Chad's, in the centre of Poulton-Le-Fylde on Tuesday 22nd October at 1.30pm. Everyone's welcome.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


In the early hours of Tuesday morning, my brother in law, Graham, passed away. He was at home, in Heather's arms and the end, when it came, was very quick which was all we could have hoped for.

I'll miss you Graham. God Bless.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Northern Papercrafting

Hello my blogging friends, and, once again, apologies for being awol for a week or more. It's been an especially busy time with shows and demonstrations on the work front and other activities also taking up my time.
As promised, here is a photo of the cute tags that Diane added to the two bags of cat treats that she gave me for T&T when I was down at A Maze of Memories a week or so back.....
 .....each tag has a little cat image and a different poem inside. As you can see, Tara wanted to get in on the act.......
.....thanks again Diane - once they've finished all the treats I will be carefully removing the tags and adding them to my Doo Lally display area.
Last Saturday I was back at Coleman's Craft Warehouse in Rushden, Northamptonshire, which is a huuuge store, crammed full of goodies. I didn't take my camera as I was already loaded up and, going off last time I was there, I knew I'd probably not have time to take any pictures anyway! Thank you to all the staff for, once again, looking after all the demonstrators so well (teas and coffees on tap and sandwiches in the fridge!) and to everyone who came along to watch....and spend! It was another really fun day and, hopefully, I'll be back in the Spring.
This Wednesday I was at Inspirations in Preston, so hello to everyone who I met there. Once again, myself and the other demonstrators were really well looked after (it does make a difference!) and I had plenty of space to work which is always a bonus....
Here are some of the things I got up to on the day.....
.....as ever, when I take photos at a demonstration, the background is usually my grubby craft sheet, so not the most beautifully presented image! Anyway, I used one of the Steampunk snowmen from my Nicicles as Icicles stamp set to make a Christmas tag with a slightly Halloween feel....dangly spiders anyone?! 
I made the tag background by dabbing Liquid Pearls onto the card using some scrunched up plastic bag (I usually just snip a bit off a carrier bag, but you can use cling film) and then drying the tag before blending Distress inks over the surface. This gives a shimmery effect and it's nice to use the Liquid Pearls in a different way.
I stamped the snowman onto the tag and separately onto white card....I'm not cutting round those fiddly arms for anyone, so I was able to cut them off the second image! I used a metallic gold pen to colour the arms on the tag, then coloured and cut out the second snowman before sticking him down. Some black gem spiders with webs and legs drawn with a fine black pen always add a nice touch! The snowy area is just scrunched tissue glued to the base with a wet glue and more glue squelched over the top to strenghen it - and to adhere some Rock Candy glitter to of course!
Here are two quite different effects using my Winter Silhouettes and Winter Critters stamp sets.....
.....The one on the left has a background made with my trademark faux bleaching technique using Distress inks and a water brush. I think I must have demonstrated this over a thousand times now, but I always get asked to do it again! The stag was inked up with a little Dusty Concord followed by a touch of Frayed Burlap Distress inks - just use one colour if you are a bit precious about keeping your ink pads absolutely pristine! I stamped him directly onto the card, resulting in a slightly two tone image...sometimes a silhoette image will come out slightly patchy, so just tickling it with the water brush will even everything out.
I stamped the sentiment in black and then overstamped it in Dusty Concord but ever so slightly to the above left to give a shadow effect - not too much or it will make your eyes go squiffy!
The card on the right has a much bolder look, created by the wonderful Goosebumps sprays. I used the clear (gloss) one on this one. I simply sprayed it over 300gsm white card and allowed it to dry for about ten minutes. It dries to a textural finish but is also a brilliant resist medium. Some Mustard Seed and Spiced Marmalade inks were blended just below centre and I then worked various blue and purple Distress inks in from the edges to create the snow filled sky. I used the old torn white card trick to create the snow drifts and then turned to heat resistant acetate to stamp the stag and also the trees from the Winter Critters set.
I stamped them with Archival black which won't dry on acetate unless given a quick blast of heat. I cut around the trees and added a couple of bits of black 3D foam behind the trunks before popping them in behind the "snow". The stag was trimmed out and then coated with glue (not the antlers) before adding Black Soot Distress Glitter. He was stuck to the foreground and I used a little Gesso to anchor his feet.
On the non-work front, I've been rehearsing my role as Camille the Camel again - this time for the Harvest service on Sunday, so it's a little sketch with two lugubrious camels discussing where their food comes from. The children at church love the puppets, but the adults also usually find something to smile about as well.
Last night was one of the rehearsals and, of course, the rain, which had held off all day whilst I was at home, decided to come down with a vengeance as soon as I set off to church! After the rehearsal I was then going to a WI meeting but had twenty minutes to spare, so I "treated" myself to a bag of chips for my very unhealthy but nice, dinner! The WI meeting was a visit from a local bee keeper so very interesting and, even though I thought I knew a lot about bees, I learned lots of new things about these fascinating creatures.
Everyone has a single raffle ticket on the night and mine was 999! I never win these things, but I did last night - it was either a box of chocs or the wine. I don't eat chocolate anymore, so it had to be the wine....I don't really drink either, but I'll force myself!
I'm all set now for my day at the Northern papercraft show where I'll be on the Ali Craft stand tomorrow. Hope to see lots of you there, so do say hello. It's going to be a busy day!
I'm really looking forward to next Thursday as I am going on a coach trip to York with others from church. We come under the Diocese of Blackburn and a new Bishop, Julian, has been elected and is being ordained on Thursday at York Minster. It's a wonderful opportunity to experience the full splendour of this magnificent building and will be a spine tingling ceremony I'm sure with the full choir and the service taken by the very charismatic Archbishop John Sentamu. Not sure if we're allowed to take any photos, but I'll take my camera just in case!
Well, I'd better get a shift on now, or there will be an empty space where I'm supposed to be tomorrow! Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A lovely day in Long Crendon

I'm rather late with this post about my trip down to A Maze of Memories in Long Crendon last weekend. So, while my second cuppa of the day cools down sufficiently, I thought I'd take the chance to upload a few photos.
I travelled down on Friday - a nice, smooth journey for a change! Even the changes were easy with all the trains departing from the same platforms that I arrived in at...except that at Preston, they changed their minds and sent everyone scurrying to another one two minutes before the train was due out! That happens such a lot there and I'm sure there is someone with an evil sense of humour in charge of the platforms who loves nothing more than watching people struggling with cases up and down the stairs!
Anyway, I was staying in Thame which is a really lovely town and normally a quiet sort of place. However, the annual fair was on and the streets were filled with huge fairground rides and stalls selling candyfloss, doughnuts and burgers...I have to say that the aroma of freshly fried doughnuts brings back lots of childhood memories but I resisted temptation! I had a good wander round and then it was back to the hotel for a relaxing evening - thankfully, the receptionist gave me a room at the back of the hotel so I wouldn't be disturbed by the screams of people being whizzed around on gyrating big wheels or bungeed into the air!

The bed was so comfy (and huuuge) that I was asleep much sooner than I expected to be, so after a good night's sleep and an equally good breakfast it was time to get to work.
I've been down to AMOM many times now and it's always really good fun with such a great crowd of ladies who make me feel so welcome. Christina always makes sure everything runs smoothly and Mary, Miriam and Megan keep everyone topped up with drinks and home baked cakes - what more could you want?!
We had three make n take sessions, where I showed the ladies all the steps and techniques involved before they sat down to make their creations.
You might just spot me on the right amidst the crowd of people! Whilst one group were "making and taking" I was busy demonstrating other techniques and, as you can see, it was a bustling hive of activity.
This was the card that I was teaching the Make n Takers.....
 ....beautifully shot against my mucky craft sheet! I used my Winter Silhouette stamps as well as other stamps and stencils and Picket Fence Distress Paint to create the background effects. There were various takes on the design as you can see.....

 .....Karen went for soft peachy tones whilst Alli had the great idea of tearing the card around the sentiment and adding some gesso to it for even more snowy effects.....
 .....and Julie's card had the wow factor with the dark tones that gave it a really dramatic touch....
 Everyone did brilliantly and a great time was had by all! Thanks, Christina, for taking photos for me whilst I was so busy. If you'd like to see more piccies of the day, do check out the Maze of Memories blog.
I must also say a big thank you for some lovely gifts that I was given on the day....Julie (above) very thoughtfully presented me with a double ended rubber brush as she had bought one for herself and found it to be a great way of applying glue n seal over stamped images - a technique I taught last time I was there. As Julie said, no messing up of brushes as the glue n seal just wipes off! Thank you Julie, I will be carrying my new brush to all my demos from now on!
Diane, who won my blog candy, brought two beautifully adorned packs of treats for my two feline terrors - each bag had a gorgeous stamped label, complete with bell (!), that opened up to reveal a suitable poem.Absolutely gorgeous and much appreciated by myself and definitely by Thomas and Tara - they thought it was almost worth their mum going away if she brings such lovely pressies home for them! I will show you a photo of Diane's creations next time.
Christina gave me a beautifully wrapped package that contained some bulbs for my garden - whoopee! I shall plant those out as soon as the time is right and so there will be a lovely memory of my trips down to Long Crendon. Hopefully I'll be back there in Spring, so watch this space!
Well, I've been busy here, preparing for a bustling week ahead of me. On Saturday I shall be at Coleman's Warehouse in Rushden again, then, on Wednesday I'll be at Inspirations in Preston and, the following Saturday I'll be at the Great Northern Papercraft show in Harrogate with Ali-Craft. Whew! Details of where I'll be and what I'm up to are in my sidebar.
I've received some more Die-Versions dies too, including two lovely new fonts called Mermaid and Peppermint - I'll share pictures of them next time. So I have been cranking the Big Shot till my arm aches! Between times, I've been pressing on with painting the outside of the house as the weather has been kinder this week. The green paint wasn't such good quality as the white, so I've had to give at least two coats to the door panels - I don't think David would have thought much of my "cutting in", but at least it's clean and tidy and, more importantly, weather proof, again.....
 ....it looks as shiny as number 10 at the moment too! Mind you, I caught Tara trying to open it with her teeth and claws yesterday afternoon...little monkey - that's how the bottom of the door got destroyed in the first place! The green isn't really my first choice  - I'd have liked a rich teal colour - but it's the original colour, so changing it would have meant I'd have had to do all the drainpipes, garage door etc as well which would all have added to the expense and the time. So, green it is! Look at the clutter behind the door too - the Doo Lally room as messy as ever I'm afraid! Yesterday I had to go up the ladders to paint the front of the house....not my favourite thing to do, I'm very wobbly once I get past the second step - thank goodness I live in a bungalow!
Well, the coffee is now not only cool, but cold, so I'd better down it and get back to work!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Blog Candy Winner

I popped over to my neighbour's today so she could draw a winning name from my woolly hat. 
She gave all the tickets a good mix around before picking one.....
 .......and the winning name was.....

 .....Diane! Well done Diane, please email me so I can sort out your prize.
Meanwhile, I had quite a few errands to do in the village today and bundled myself up in warm clothes only to find myself stifled in the warm sunshine an hour later! I hurried back to try and make the most of the break in the cold and rain.....
....I had this waiting for me! With newly purchased sandpaper in hand I set about smoothing down the filler that I'd repaired the door with yesterday. Horrible job! I know that David had a sanding disc for the drill, but it has completely vanished and I had to give up and go back to the old fashioned method. I've now given the door a coat of white primer, though, annoyingly, the rain came battering down again half an hour ago and some of the primer has bubbled now - darn! Guess I'll be adding another coat tomorrow and, if the weather is good, I may even be able to get the gloss paint on too.
It won't be a great job I'm afraid - the sanding is just too intense for me to get a perfect finish. As long as it's tidy and protected against the elements I'll be happy enough. I was quite pleased with the repair that I've made along the bottom though....little madam has chewed through the beading so I had to make a false piece from epoxy clay!
Well, there is a hot bath with my name on it now, so I shall say cheerio. Well done to Diane again and I'll try to sort out another Candy before too long.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

...and relax!

After a very busy couple of weeks it's nice to have few days to relax a bit, although I'd have been happier if the weather hadn't turned so grim as I had planned to get some outdoor jobs done. The front door and window frames are in desperate need of some renovation, so I've got the paint and am ready to remove the peeling paintwork, fill, sand and prime before giving everything a nice shiny makeover....no chance yet though!
After being ensconced in the Doo Lally room (going a bit doo lally myself too!) making samples it was good when Thursday came around and I set off for the three day show at Event City in Manchester. I had a brilliant time there and it was lovely to see so many familiar faces, including people that I hadn't seen in ages. Thank you to everyone for the kind words, comments and very positive feedback that I received, as well as a few hugs! It did my heart good. Welcome to new blog followers and a special thanks to Neet for the fruit teas and to the mystery lady who passed the angel and heart gift to me anonymously - very much appreciated and it meant a lot.
Well, it was a busy three days needless to say! I didn't get much time to take photos, but here are a few from the show....

 .....lots of my Christmas stamps on display behind my demonstration table...and the odd pot or two of Glue n Seal of course!
.....that was meant to be me showing my newly painted Christmas top, but I look more like I'm trying to "get down with the kids".....or is that me showing my age there?!?!
Here's my area, surrounded by samples and products......
This card features one of the first things that I sold out of.....Goosebumps spray from Tsukineko. It's a bit like having Glossy Accents in a spritzer form and creates a texture over any paper or card stock. Of course, as it also creates a resist against Distress Inks, I had to use it to make a snowy sky!
 It's fabby stuff, available in matte, gloss or, the one I was using, shimmer effect. The closer you spray it to the card the bigger the spots will be, or hold it around 12" away for a finer spray. It's very sticky, so I recommend holding the card with tweezers, checking the vicinity for cats (!) and spraying over newspaper or other scrap surface.
Here's Wendy, on the other side of the stand, demonstrating her beautiful cards and techniques with her own range of stamps.....
Wendy works in a very clean and neat way, creating an endless array of delicate foliage and scenes. Talk about two different styles on one stand - if I tried making Wendy's cards they would be covered in inky fingerprints!
Excuse the tatty backdrop to these two tags....I just laid them on my messy craft sheet to take a quick snap!
I just wanted to show the lovely Die-Versions dies that I used on them. The Elf has a greeting taken from the Complements set and the fairy has words made from the Flutterby font set. I really like the way the letters are all diffferent sizes in that set. One rather amusing moment came when I was using Flutterby letters to add words to a snowman tag that I'd been working on. I was deciding exactly what would fit best and was trying out various words, placing letters down on the tag as I popped them out from the die cut sheet. I looked down and saw that the letters had managed to assemble themselves as "Le Snot" which caused some merriment around the table. I hastily began re-arranging everything and a few more letters finally spelled out Let it Snow!
A very busy, fun but tiring few days. You can see how shattered I was in this picture.....
 .....worn away to a frazzle! Sorry - I just couldn't help myself there! 
I'll be with Card-Io again at the leigh show in October, as well as at their new shop - more details soon.
Onto next weekend now, and I'll be down at A Maze of Memories in Long Crendon near Aylesbury on Saturday 21st where I'll be hosting make n takes and demonstrating. You'll need to book a place on the make n takes (contact the shop about this) but the demonstrations are free to all. Really looking forward to this event as everyone is always so welcoming and friendly and we have a real hoot! Susanne, I'm really sorry you won't be able to come this time and hope there aren't too many tears when you wave adieu to your daughter.
Meanwhile, I am off to keep a watchful eye on the weather and check if I dare to start work on that door....not looking good though! 

PS I forgot to say that my Blog Candy finishes at midnight tonight so last chance today to leave a comment on the post titled "Catch up time & American Candy". My neighbour will be picking a winner from the "hat" tomorrow, so be sure to call back and check if you've won!