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, 14 January 2013

White off!

Yes, about an hour after my post last evening, the rain came down and melted the whiteness into a chilling wet grey again. Today the bright, sunny skies suddenly turned dramatically gloomy and hailstones were soon bouncing around along with tumbling temperatures.
It made me wonder what hints and tips we might all share for keeping ourselves, and our homes, warm now that it costs such an enormous amount to crank up the central heating. I've been using the oven rather than cooking on the stove top so I can put a few things in together and avoid too much steam in the kitchen which can soon make the air even chillier as it adds moisture to the air. Then, when I've finished cooking, I leave the oven door open to let the extra heat into the room. 
I don't have a hot water bottle at the moment as the old one went all brittle and crumbly, so I'm using an empty squash bottle instead! When I put the kettle on for a cuppa I pour any excess boiled water into the bottle (with some cool water already in there of course to stop it from melting) and park it beside me while I have my coffee.
I think that feeling warm can be aided psychologically too, so I like to light some candles - which do give off a bit of heat of course, but mainly because the flickering flames make me feel cosy! The same goes for incense sticks...I'm burning Frankincense ones just now (very appropriately).....no heat there but the spicy aromas just help to stave away the feelings of chilliness.
Of course, Tara and Thomas are great sources of heat too! Unfortunately, neither of them can be forced to have cuddles and make their annoyance known all too quickly if I try! So, I have to wait for them to honour me with their warm presence..... 
.....not sure what I was watching on the box here, but Tara obviously couldn't bear to look!
I definitely find the bath becoming more appealing than the shower on these cold evenings, especially with all the exotic fizzers etc that I got for Christmas. Heather thought it was very amusing when I told her how long it took me to clean the bath after I used the one that was covered with fine red glitter mind you! I was not only warm, but I sparkled as well! They do say that applying a body cream or oil right after bathing is like adding an extra layer of clothing, so that's a good excuse for a bit more pampering too.
Well, I feel quite cosy after thinking about those ways to keep snuggly, but I'd welcome any other good ideas as I do think it's going to keep chilling down for a while longer yet.
I've got the ingredients ready for another of my pasta bakes - you know, the one that I'm still eating four days later! This time, as well as a little steak mince, I have two pork, tomato and basil sausages that I'm going to cut up and add to the mix for a bit of a change - talk about adventurous! I stir fry whatever vegetables I have, as well as garlic, tomato puree and herbs, mix in the cooked pasta and spoon it into a big oven proof dish which I pop into the fridge. Next I make a simple bechemal sauce with a few good pinches of nutmeg, pour it over the cooled pasta mixture and top with some grated cheese before baking for about forty minutes or so. I have to say that the first batch never tastes as good as the seconds, thirds and fourths on consequent days! It's not exactly Michel Roux, but it's tasty and filling.
Tonight is my brain stimulation evening - University Challenge followed by Only Connect. Just about the trickiest two quiz shows on TV so I always feel really chuffed if I do reasonably well! For "reasonably well" read five answers right on UC and three rounds on OC! I'm hoping that I'll tire my brain out tonight so that I'll get a decent sleep after two insomnia filled nights in a row.
Tomorrow is filled with working on more designs and getting as much done as I can before my new stamps arrive and I have to turn my attention to those. 
Thanks, as always, for everyone's comments which are always read and appreciated. Apologies to anyone waiting for a reply to an email, but my system is playing up this evening so there may be a delay. Keep warm and stay snug!

PS I managed to get twelve right answers in University Challenge but only one round of a really tricky Only Connect....I did get eight of the missing vowels round right though! None of that will mean anything if you don't watch OC of course!!!


pearshapedcrafting said...

Ooh! That pasta bake should go some way to keeping you warm! Now here's an image for you - either trousers tucked into snuggly socks or legwarmers round my ankles! Oh! and then wristbands and a wrap round my shoulders! Covers pulse points - just the places to run cold water over in Summer when it's hot! A good laugh now will probably warm you too!!! If the cats won't play a cushion on your knee is good too but you may feel a bit silly if you start to stroke it! Hope your designs are coming along! Love and hugs, chrisx

Lindsay Mason said...

Thanks Chris...as you may see from the photo, Tara has taken something of a liking to the reverse of the cushion you gave me - well it IS fleecy! In fact, she will only sit on my knee if I place the cushion on there first!
Thanks for your keeping warm tips. I'm making the pasta bake tomorrow and opted for a thick vegetable soup tonight which really warmed up my insides! Lindsay x x x

lisa_crofts said...

Well you could move here Perth Western Australia Lindsay lol. It was 27 c last night while we slept. As to easy, warming foods try curries they don't have to be spicy and you can get a spice mix and add coconut cream or just buy a jar. I am sorry to hear you are so cold and I hope it warms up for you soon.

Carol Yates said...

Layers of course, I always find as long as the back of my neck is covered that goes a long way to keeping me warm. I have lots of scarves of varying weights so I use them, even the lightest ones trap the air and keep me warm. Just like you slow oven cooking does the job too. Wraps and or throws for shoulders and knees, the candle effect too.Lots of similar ideas, my daughter is making us a big pan of bean chilli today that warms us up at lunchtime! Have a good WARM day.

Lindsay Mason said...

Thanks Lisa, veggie curry is my other recipe that lasts for a few days!
I have to admit that I'd rather be too cold than too hot and my Australian friend says it's too hot even for her at the moment...let alone the terrible fires of course. See, the cold weather doesn't seem so bad now.
Lindsay x

Lindsay Mason said...

I know what you mean about the back of the neck thing Carol! I'm wearing a tee shirt under a long sleeved top under a jumper today, along with woolly tights under leggings and hand knitted socks as well...really attractive look, so I'm hoping none of my neighbours pop round today!
The chilli sounds good...what time shall I be there?
Lindsay x

Joanne said...

I have to admit that we have to keep turning the central heating off because we are so warm after having the outside wall insulated 2yrs ago. The best thing ever. If you think of the heating control as a clock it' been up to 2 o'clock a couple of times but is turned down to nothing other than that. Keeping the heating on low is better than putting it on high to get warm then turning it off again. I've saved so much on gas bills. When you get that cavity wall insulation done things should improve. As for the food, well that has to be a personal thing as I couldn't bear the thought of eating the same thing for 4 days on the run and have to admit to not being bothered very much about food in any case.

Lindsay Mason said...

Thanks Joanne...only a week now till the cavity wall insulation gets done. Hoping that will warm the place up a bit!
As for the four day meals, well, I'm not too bothered about food either these days, so I don't so much mind the repetitive menu...well, maybe by day four!! Lindsay x x x