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, 26 April 2013

I think you'll notice me!

Hi folks, I'm up to date with my work for this week anyway. Next week I have to get cracking with the Masterclass samples for my workshop and demonstrations at the Craft Barn Extravaganza at the end of May, beginning of June, but, for today....I am done! There's been a mix of light showers and lovely warm sunshine today, so I managed to get some gardening done too - I've put up a willow trellis behind my bench and planted Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums along it, planted more of the Summer bulbs, transplanted some Sunflowers and Sweet Peas into big pots and put those outside and also planted a new rose that was given to me by my friend Jan who called to see me this week. Whew! 
I've also caved in and got some slug pellets - these ones are organic and much safer around pets than the usual ones. They are really tiny and I've been very careful to hide them under the plants...just hope they work as those pesky slime trailers are out and about again now. Ugh! 
I am all set for tomorrow now and will be at Card-Io in Pemberton, Wigan from 10am-4pm. Hope to see some familiar faces there.....those of you whose email addresses I "have" please come armed with them for me as I lost almost everyone's contact details a while ago! It's always a fun and busy day at Wendy's shop and I get well looked after too, which is always nice.
You should be able to spot me in the shop as I'll be wearing my latest creation! 
It's pretty bright! I bought a (neon) pink sweatshirt and painted it using Deco Art products. PI had enlarged some of my quotes and the Doo Lally Pip logo for me and my first task was to draw around the words on the back of the paper using a pencil. I then painted the words using Deco Art Ink Effects. After thirty minutes I ironed the words onto the sweatshirt - the beauty of this medium is that you can make your mistakes on paper not on your fabric! Materials with more than 30% cotton need to be sprayed with a special prepping medium first but are then good to go. 
The words came out beautifully, but I did want a slightly more dramatic effect than the subtle black of the ink, so I painted over them using Deco Art So Soft fabric paint. This really gave me the strong look that I wanted.
Next I had to re draw my Doo Lally Pip "Moochin'" character to make him much bigger. As I drew the original this wasn't too tricky for me! I then used a fine brush to go over the pencil lines using black Ink Effects and ironed onto the sweat shirt as before. Next I squeezed out several colours of So Soft and began painting my Moochin' boy. I stippled different colours onto his T shirt to give a similar effect as the one I get when I stamp onto inky kitchen paper. The paints are really easy to work with - they flow well when you brush them on and the colours mix beautifully to create things like flesh tones.  The white is very strong as you can see.
Once I had painted him and he had dried, I used a finer brush to paint the black outlines back in and to add his features and shading dots. I then finished off by adding pink and purple circles with black centres to tie in with the packaging design on my Doo Lally Pip stamp range.
The best bit is that once the paints have dried for 48 hours they are permanent - no need to iron or heat set! They are washable and durable - brilliant! Oh, the only thing to remember is to pre-wash the garment without using any fabric conditioner before you start painting. The next thing on my list of things to paint are some white canvas shoes! The paints and Ink Effects are available from good crafts stores that stock PI products....if they don't have them, they can order them for you. 
Here's me wearing the sweat shirt, though the image is in reverse as I took it via the mirror, having no one to take the picture for me. 
 Please don't look too closely at my hands though....now I know you all just did.....as I had just come in from the garden and popped the top on to take a quick snap before getting into the shower. I completely forgot how soily my hands were - makes a change from ink I suppose!
I had to laugh when I came in from the garden earlier on. Tara pretty much claims the conservatory as her own, Thomas tends to loll around in my bedroom or my Doo Lally room when he isn't prowling about the fields. However, I was very amused to see him snugly settled into Tara's static carrying case with her quite happily sitting on the rocking chair....
 I was also very surprised that she wasn't doing her usual hissing drama queen act, but, when I walked back through half an hour later I saw this scene.....
 ....and it did make me wonder what had been going on in my absence! Lol! 
Well, I hope to see lots of you tomorrow and I'll try and remember to take some photos if I get the chance. Have a great weekend everyone.

Monday, 22 April 2013

A bit of all sorts

Hope everyone had a good weekend, whatever you were up to. It's been a mixture of warm, sunny days here and some showers but, thank goodness, those roaring winds have abated. It's been the same with work too, with a rush to meet deadlines and then a rare Saturday off....having Saturday off still gives me that familiar childhood feeling of being let out of school!
Here's what I've been working on.....
.....what a cheat that is! Well, the brown package does contain what I've been working on, all secured and posted off this morning. Whew....always a good feeling.
So, Saturday was a beautifully sunny day and really warm - anyone would think it was Spring! And, speaking of which, on Saturday morning I heard a cuckoo calling across the field, a real herald of the season so it must be here at last if a little late. I also managed to take another video of the Barn Owl which I'll upload after I write this post.
I've  managed to get some time in the garden over the last few days - sometimes getting jobs done and I also enjoyed sitting on the bench with a cup of fruit tea, reading the Radio Times with Thomas soaking up the sun beside me. He and Tara both love it when I go outside and they always follow me round to see what I'm up to. Here's my big boy asking me to go for a walk with him.......
 I've been busy transplanting seedlings into their outdoor positions but I still have quite a lot left to do as you can see....
.....there's not much room for sitting in the conservatory at the moment! There are sunflowers, sweet peas, nasturtiums, pansies, green beans and tomatoes in various stages of growth....I'm trying to make sure I have things blooming right through the summer. I've still got courgettes and asters to sow but that will be it as far as seeds I think. The veg and tomatoes are staying in the conservatory this time seeing that the slugs got almost everything last year! I've grown around two hundred sweet peas and have been planting them anywhere that they'll be able to scramble up walls, twiggy canes, trees or whatever. The seeds have cost next to nothing and it's been really satisfying to watch them sprouting up.
On Saturday evening Heather and I went up to the church hall for the "curry and quiz night". Last time that we made a team of two we called ourselves "Chalk and Cheese" (well, we are very different!) but we were joined by two other ladies needing a team, so we dubbed ourselves "Cheese & Whine" instead....not sure who was the whine part! It was a very good night with lots of general knowledge questions as well as two sets of cryptic ones which were just up my street. We came joint fourth out of around twenty teams so not too bad. 
Unfortunately the rain came down yesterday so I got pretty soaked walking home from church but soon dried out and got my work finished and parcelled up. I spotted this little cutey warming up in one of her favourite spots too....
Tonight, the highlight of the evening was the last episode of Broadchurch which left me feeling wrung out like a wet dishcloth! No wonder it's had such massive viewing figures, the acting was superb through the whole series and it was refreshing to see a drama series take it's time to tell a full story for once. I'm saying nothing about the storyline....I hate spoilers and I know lots of people watch things on catch up! Brilliant though and I feel like I've been through a wringer.
I've uploaded the owl video, so that should be up and viewable now. If I spot the cuckoo I'll try and snap that too!
I'll be getting on with some projects that I'll be able to share over the next few days and I'll be at Card-Io in Pemberton, Wigan on Saturday. I'll also be demonstrating at the Happy Stampers show again, which is on the 11th May, so hope to see lots of you there.
Okay, better sign off and get to bed now. Sorry this was such a  rambly post!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Got it!

Yes, I have managed to capture the Barn Owl on film! I saw him gliding around at 7.45 this evening and I rushed in to get my camera. He wasn't at all bothered by my presence, or that of Thomas and Tara. I have some less fuzzy shots from a distance, but I thought I'd post this one that's a little blurred at the edges but really shows him up well.....
 .....isn't he beautiful! What a wonderful sight to be able to see just by looking from the back of the house. He is living in the barn that belongs to the house you can see in the background.....I've concluded that "she" is probably a "he" after all as I've been checking a few facts and, even if a pair have nested by now, it will be the male who is mostly out hunting, taking food back to his mate...partly to persuade her to let him have his way with her! If there are eggs, or even owlets, then it will be the male who is out and about, leaving his mate to look after the family. 
He's doing a grand job anyway, diving down frequently to catch mice, voles and shrews which all live in the field at the back of the house. I have seen him in the morning, in the evening and even in the middle of the day. 
I've uploaded the video that I managed to film of him to my You Tube site (click the link in my left sidebar) if you'd like to see him in action! 


Just a very quick post to let you know that Personal Impressions now have instructions for some of my Doo Lally Pip projects available to download and print out. 

Simply click this link to to the PI website and it will take you straight to them. Hope you find them useful!

Monday, 15 April 2013

The last few days

It's been a busy and interesting few days one way and another. Of course, Thursday was a real highlight with the Alfie Boe concert that Heather and I went to. It was a really fabulous evening with a mixture of popular songs from the sixties, some ballads, Neopolitan songs and some quite "rockie" music too. Alfie certainly showed off his wide repertoire as well as his energy....he was leaping around the stage and I'm sure he had springs in his legs!
He arrived on stage and shouted "I'm home!" which caused a great reaction from the Blackpool audience as he is a "local boy". His family, including mother and siblings were all in the theatre and he brought his nieces' little boy, Mikey, onto the stage where he sat on one of two big sofas with some lucky audience members. They were all serenaded by a traditional Italian song "A Vuchella"....which was one that David sang to me many times, so was one of the moments that had me welling up of course. There were quite a few other emotional moments, not least Bring Him Home from Les Mis which was a bit of a highlight for me.
There were lots of smiles too. He climbed down into the stalls to greet audience members, so, of course, those of us in the circle and gallery were a little envious. However, after a few minutes the spotlights started to focus upwards and suddenly Mr Boe popped up in the circle!
 He then ran all the way up to the gallery, much to the delight of everyone up there in the gods, before running all the way back to the stage and carrying on singing as if he hadn't even broken into a stroll! A very special moment for all concerned and so lovely of him to say hello to the whole theatre like that.
Oh well, it was lovely and, as we were allowed to take photos I have lots of images (and a couple of sneaky little video clips!) to remind myself of the evening.
Of course, I was up early to catch my first train for the trip down to Thame. Thankfully the journey was pretty uneventful and I was met at my destination by Christina from A Maze of Memories, who dropped me off at my hotel right in the middle of the old market town. I was able to have a few hours strolling round Thame, which is a beautiful place and I made my way to St Mary's church to visit the grave of Robin Gibb...
...who lived in Thame. The grave is a very simple one and, as you can see, there are lots of tributes from people who loved his music. It's right on the edge of the graveyard, overlooking his home. He and David were going through their illnesses at the same time and Robin's funeral was on the same day as David's, so it almost felt like a pilgrimage to visit the grave. There are wind chimes in the branches above so there's a gentle musicality to the spot as well. Very moving, and a very humble grave for such a famous and talented man.
Next day of course, I was at A Maze of Memories where everything was laid out ready for a day of make n takes and demonstrations. I always enjoy my time there as the ladies who come along are really enthusiastic, friendly and welcoming. As usual there was a magnificent array of homemade cakes from Christina's daughter although the ladies were a bit too busy to eat much!
 I was kept busy all day as well of course...
......here's me cutting up some inky kitchen towels to stamp onto, which had everyone swearing never to throw them away ever again!....

 ....and going off the laughter and the full shopping baskets (!) I think everyone had a good time!
I must say a special thank you to Diane, who gave me a bag with pressies for Thomas and Tara...not just some treats chucked into a carrier bag mind you....oh no...look at these beautifully wrapped packages....
 .....yes, individually stamped and decorated tags with their names on! Look at Tara's face...she can get anything off me when she makes that expression! They have now got their own toy and bag of treats each so, thank you again Diane from me and my two little pusscats. The treats helped me to get round Thomas too as, according to my neighbour, who pops in to look after them when I'm away, he didn't sulk, he went into "meltdown" and refused to eat! Oh dear. Well, he's okay again now I'm pleased to say. Tara doesn't sulk as long as someone is feeding her! Oh, and they weren't the only ones with treats by the way - I was given a huuuge box of choccies by Christina before I left. I'm sharing them around with everyone though, so am being very good!
Yesterday was a rainy day but so mild after the rotten cold weather of late. It was a bit too wet to garden, but I did some general tidying and even managed to cook a Red Thai curry.....no...it's no good...I can't lie....I cooked the chicken and added a Lloyd Grossman sauce! 
Today has been  really warm and sunny here, just lovely. I was, however, working - in my Doo Lally room which is on the cold side of the house. I was up early, so I was drawing by 6.30am! I did what I needed to get done and then sat on the conservatory steps at the back of the house for a while to warm up again. I was lost in contemplation for quite a while and then roused myself to change into my old clothes and spend a few hours in the garden. I've planted about eighty summer bulbs. I was horrified to read on the enclosed literature that they should be dug up and stored over winter....what?!? However, on Saturday, one of the ladies (I'm so sorry but I don't have your name) told me that if I put a layer of gravel in the holes and put the bulbs on top of that then I can get away with leaving them in - hooray! So, they will take their chances I'm afraid. I've also cleaned up all the wall containers and transplanted my Nasturtium seedlings into them as well as putting the remaining ones around the garden generally. It's all looking much tidier and the little Violas I planted out have almost doubled in size since last week. Every day there seems to be a new tulip or narcissus opening out, so it's a promising start to this late arriving spring.
After a shower I changed into my PJ's (at five o'clock, I ask you!) and came back into the Doo Lally room to ink up the sketches I'd been working on earlier. So, it's been a busy and productive day one way and another. I think it's going to be much wetter tomorrow so I will be getting on with those drawings I guess!
Oh, by the way, the Barn Owl has been flying over the fields at all sorts of times of day and night, so my neighbour and I think it must have chicks with the amount of swooping down for mice that it's doing. The naughty seagulls (massive ones) have been very naughtily dive bombing the owl though...they are after her catches of course. It's marvellous to watch but I haven't been able to get a photo - yet. Will keep trying though!

Friday, 12 April 2013


It's almost midnight, so should be in bed really, but Heather and I are just having a hot drink before retiring after our exciting evening at the Blackpool Opera House.
I'll say more after the weekend, but.......
 .....all I can say for now is....wow.........
.....and double wow!
Our ears are ringing and we smiled from ear to ear, I shed a few tears and he made us laugh too. What a great night. Thanks Alfie! 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Highs and lows

Apologies for my long absence from blogging. Highs and lows is what I've called this post, but I'll start with the lows and then move on to more positive things.
I had a week of a mild flu (which would have been the full blown thing if not for the flu jab that I had) that left me worse than useless really...I spent most of my time in bed or asleep on the sofa, snuggling hot water bottles and sipping soup! I've been beset with horrible nightmares too, which have led to quite a few sleepless nights that have been catching up with me. The hardest thing has been that it's almost a year since David first had to go into hospital, so I've been re living everything over again, as well as finding it hard to believe that so much time has gone by.
I've had a few weeks of retreating into my shell and more or less cutting myself off from everything and everyone, but I've pulled myself up by my bootlaces, as the saying goes, and am beginning to get back into the swing of things again. 
So, on the work front...lots of things that I can't show or share just yet (as usual!) but I will do so as soon as I can. I have designs in the "still in progress" stage, but they should all be finished in the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, I was invited to go along to the local Women's Institute meeting in March and I agreed to host one of the make n take tables at the April meeting last week, which was a craft and chat type of evening. It took me a while to decide what to do, but I eventually plumped on alcohol inks (Heather's suggestion!) as I've not used mine for a while, so I thought it would make a change. It had to be something that wouldn't take too long, so I came up with bookmarks, using Darkroom Door stamps and cast coated card.....
 .....mounted onto black card with alcohol inked ribbons to match of course! The ladies all got stuck in and seemed to really enjoy using the inks......
 .....me too, and I've now made a whole box of the bookmarks that are for sale in St Chad's  - my very small contribution to the ubiquitous church roof!
On Saturday I was at Samuel Taylors in Brighouse where I was teaching a morning workshop and giving a demonstration in the afternoon. Distress Stains were the main medium of the day and Picked Raspberry and Peacock Feathers were universally the most popular colours - they were being passed across the table continuously! The ladies each made a canvas featuring my Moochin' Doo Lally character. These are the two samples that I made....
.....and everyone got so engrossed in them that we didn't get to make the final (card) project that I had been planning to do, but they did all make a tag which featured Tim's wonderful Tissue Wrap along with another of my Doo Lally stamps.....
 .....the tissue was used to cover the tags as well as to make the flowers - I think everyone was quite surprised that it punches out quite well (I used an EK Success scalloped circle punch). The Stains will "pill" on the surface but work very well over the slightly "waxy" tissue if they are gently stroked in with kitchen paper.
Whenever I go to Brighouse I have a very long day...one of the costs of now living in a small market town near the coast (as opposed to the big city) is that I have to tag extra train journeys onto my trips - a very fair exchange though. Still, I had to catch the first train at 6.30am (yikes!) and then had an hour to wait at Hebden Bridge for my second one. There is a waiting room there but the heating was not turned on and it was absolutely bitter....still plenty of snow over in Yorkshire. 
Coming home I had a half hour wait at Hebden Bridge (still no heat on!) which then became an hour due to some signalling problems. It then turned into a real pain as they announced that the next train was the Blackpool one....I got on and settled down....it promptly went to.....Manchester! My train was the one following after the one that they had announced as the Blackpool one. So, I had to charge around manchester Victoria station to get the train to Salford, wait around again and then, finally, get the right train home. Instead of getting back before 7pm I got home at 8.30pm. Needless to say I was totally fed up and very irate so have filled in a complaint form and will see what they have to say for themselves!
I'm hoping that I have less eventful journeys this weekend as I'm travelling down to Thame for my day at A Maze of Memories on Saturday. It's one of my favourite bookings as everyone is so warm and friendly and makes me feel so welcome. I'll be demonstrating all day and there are three make n take sessions which I think may be fully booked but please do call the store if you would like to check - there is a link to A Maze of Memories two posts down.
Well, that was a round up of some of the lows and what I've been up to work wise. Now for a few highs to balance things out a little. Tomorrow is an exciting one as Heather is coming over in the morning and then, in the afternoon, we'll be heading into Blackpool for dinner and then to the Opera House to see Alfie Boe. Really looking forward to it...I know I'll end up blubbing away, but I will be enjoying it honestly! I'll let you know what the concert was like next week.
It was a beautiful day here today, so I ventured into the garden and spent a good few hours out there getting some fresh air and excercise. I've done lots of weeding and digging, planted out some Violas that have been hardening off for the last week and transplanted the first of my Sweet Peas into containers to grow at the side of the house. I've made twiggy pyramids for them to climb up and they are now clothed in big polythene bag covers to keep the cold out until it really warms up. The bulbs that I didn't get to plant before Christmas have all been put into the ground now (except for the ones that were scoffed by the local field mice!) and I'm happy to say that they are coming up! I'm really pleased by this as I was given differing advice on what to do with them....mostly that they would just rot if I planted them out in Spring! Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say, and I'm now being rewarded by tulips and daffodils springing up like little jack in the boxes all over the place.
One of the highlights of today was getting a call from my neighbour across the road this evening to say that the Barn Owl was out and about. She keeps seeing a Barn Owl flying around the field and perching on the fence at the back of my house but I had, until today, never seen it. Well, once alerted, I was through the house in a second and I sat for about ten minutes before I spotted him flying low above the field on a hunting mission. He dived down a few times, so I guess he got his supper. What a beautiful bird and such a privilege to see him at such close quarters. I will try to get some photos of him next time.
Well, I'd better sign off now. I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep so don't want to be too late to bed. I'll try not to leave it so long next time.