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

Thursday, 27 June 2013

That was the week that was....

......a very busy one! In fact, I was joking today that demonstrating on Saturday will feel like a day off! It's been a juggling act to bring all the different strands together on time if that's not too much of a mixed metaphor! I haven't even seen a tennis match yet, just an odd five minutes here and there, although the match featuring Sharapova yesterday got switched off anyway when I could stand the outrageous shrieking from both ends of the court no longer! Time to get tough on the ladies who spoil the game with the ear splitting screaming in my opinion.
I had two days that were more or less set aside for making samples for my demo at the Coleman's Craft Warehouse event on Saturday. As well as my Doo Lally Pip range they have a good stock of lots of my other stamps, so it was fun to work with them for a change. This is one of the cards that I made using one of my wooden rubber stamps called "Fluffy Owl".......
 .....I used a DCWV paper to fold into the "frame", secured with brads and threaded with sheer ribbon that I coloured with Dylusions inks. I've used a few images of the owl, cut and layered to give him some dimension. I cut out a separate pair of his feet so that I could glue the branch across his body and then the feet on top of that so he looks as if he's gripping it.
Here's the card taken out of the paper frame - it's not as finished as it would be if I were making it to send to someone. And, yes, I know it's either a Bonsai tree or a bloomin' big owl....artistic license! 
I cut the tree freehand from really dark brown textured card stock and glued it down over the card and the owl panel. A little white card moon and some white gel pen stars just add a touch of brightness and I wrote a simple message with a fine pen...not very straight! Oh yes, I did put Glossy Accents on his eyes.
Back to Doo Lally Pip for this tag now, quite a bright tag at that! The birdcage is cut from Tim's Kraft Core card using one of his Sizzix dies and I then sanded it back a bit. 
The background of the tag is Tim's tissue wrap (Symphony) that I sprayed with inks and then dabbed with paper towel to blend them onto the slightly resistant surface. I added gold embossing powder over glue stick around the edges. The bird and word are from my "Squawk" set. Some TH pearls along the bottom of the cage, some inky ribbon and an inked Kraft Resist flower complete this quirky quacker!
I've been too busy to get into the garden at all this week, except for watering things in the evenings of the very hot days we had on and off. I got home this evening in the middle of a downpour and decided to take a few snaps whilst the rain was giving the colours an extra vibrancy. I can hardly believe how much everything's grown in the last few days.
This is the area at the back of the house that the side door of the conservatory opens onto. It's where I hang my washing, but it's much nicer to look at when there are no towels and sheets in the way....
  ....to think all this came from some tiny seeds that I planted a few months ago! Don't even ask about the tray and the plastic bowl part filled with soil...at least the bowl matches the Nasturtiums! There are Sweet Peas and Sunflowers against the fence and the troughs at the side have Sunflowers, courgettes and tomatoes in them.
More edible goodies are maturing now....
 ....though I'll be lucky to get any of these cherries if the birds have anything to do with it. Last year I put netting over the tree which did deter the birds but did nothing to protect the fruit from the aphids and ants which appeared like magic as soon as the cherries began to ripen. I might get the odd one anyway!
I'm chuffed to see the Clematis at the side of my bench is flowering now. It's a beautiful blue lilac colour and has plenty of buds, so I should be enjoying the blooms for quite a while I hope.
Well, that's tonight's garden tour over with!
The other big commitment this week has been in my new role as deputy Verger of course, and I set up two Communion services and helped with two funerals. Everything went okay and thankfully, I remembered all the various things that I had to do. Not the best picture, as I was standing in the subdued light at the back of the church, but this is me wearing the Verger's robe.....
 .....I did feel a bit of a fraud as it's emblazoned with the Guild of Verger's badge, which I'm not a member of, but I'm allowed to wear it when I'm on duty. You can see from the panelling behind me that St Chads is a very old, traditional church, a Grade II listed building with some parts dating back to the 11th century.
This evening I was in almost the exact same spot where this picture was taken, but in a very different role as a puppeteer! We were having our first rehearsal for an event in a few weeks time - I'll post some pictures after the show, but we had a lot of fun tonight!
My bags are packed for my trip tomorrow....Thomas doesn't like the way I have kept paying so much attention to my case - think he suspects! He won't be best pleased when he has to sleep on his own tomorrow night...he's a big bruiser but a real "mummy's boy" at heart!
So, hope to see some of you on Saturday and, though I'm a day early - have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Countdown to the weekend

Monday again and I'm already counting down the days to the weekend...no wonder the time seems to fly by. I don't usually tick the days off like this, but there's so much to get through that I'm noticing every hour that comes and goes! Today has been all about getting samples made for Saturday's event at Coleman's Craft Warehouse in Rushden. As well as my Doo Lally Pip range they have stocked up on lots of my other stamps, so I'm racing to get a good mix of projects made using them.
Here's one of today's "makes".....
.....using my "Keep on Smiling" (PICSA6208) and "Hoist the Flags" (PICSA6207) sets. I covered one of the larger square boxes from a Tim Holtz Configurations box with papers from a DCWV paper stash then inked up a square of blank card for the inside back, using browns and greens. I drew some fine brown lines and knot holes on the card for a bit of a tree bark effect. I covered the edges of the box with TH tissue tape.
I stamped, coloured and cut out the door from the Keep on Smiling set and glued that to the backing card, then added some foliage around it using twisted and rolled up pieces of paper towel that I'd used for wiping up my craft sheet. I used Glossy Accents applied to the card in lines or dots for this as I find the tissue pieces stick almost immediately and it allows you to twist them into different shapes. I then stuck the backing into the box.
Next up I cut some little stepping stones from card, inked and glued them to the base.
 I stamped the character from Keep on Smiling a couple of times, coloured and cut her out, with a second dress to decoupage over the top for added depth. A bit of extra card stuck to her back helps to stiffen the image and I used folded back tabs of dark card to keep her upright in the box. One is behind her back and the second is behind her feet - I cut that one into a tuning fork shape so that one "prong" could be glued behind each leg.  The words are from the Hoist the Flags set and I stamped it a couple of times so I could outline the separate words before inking, cutting and gluing to the front edges of the box. 
I'll have this little project with me on Saturday, so do have a peek more closely at it if you're coming to Coleman's.
I've added a new painting to my Etsy shop...well, it's not a "new" painting as such, but one I did a few years ago. There is always a choice to be made about paintings and when, if ever to sell them. I've always sold my art work, but I sometimes like to hang on to certain pieces for a while and sometimes they are definitely ones I want to keep. I decided that it was time for this painting to go into the wider world now though!
 It's a fantasy landscape called "Icy Mountains" and you can see more details if you click onto the thumbnail image below my Etsy shop link in my sidebar. I added the Celestial images to the frame using acrylic paints to add to the slightly unearthly feel that I wanted to create.
Now for a few links that I've been sent that feature projects made using my Doo Lally Pip stamps. I was teaching at Samuel Taylor's in Leeds on Saturday and the ladies, and I, all had a great time making Steampunk themed cards. Here is one of the cards that I made as a sample for the class (unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the other card!).....
 ....we used gorgeous Graphic 45 papers along with my "Steamed Up" and "Time Traveller" stamp sets...plus lots of Tim's Idea-ology hardware. I love the crow on the Graphic 45 paper holding the "Carter's Little Liver Pills" sign. Priceless! Joan was on my workshop and she sent me the link to her Late Night Stamping blog to show me the cards that she completed at home. I love the quote at the top of Joan's blog by Jack London..."You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."....absolutely true, as I know every time I have a deadline looming! Thanks for the link Joan.
The next link is to A Maze of Memories, a store that I get to visit about twice a year and always enjoy my time there. Christina let me know that there was a great project on the blog made using some of my Doo Lally stamps, so do pop over and take a look at what the talented Julie made.
The last of the links is to the blog of Ali-Craft where there are some step by step projects using Doo Lally stamps by Jane and Ali. I love the tags they've made, especially the fabulous colouring and I like the use of the vellum too. I'll be demonstrating for Ali-Craft at the Great Northern Paper Show in Harrogate in October, so really looking forward to that.
That's my round up for today. I've been so busy I even forgot to put Wimbledon on in the background - darn! I am now trying to catch up with what's been happening on court and the dramas that are unfolding as I type...I do love Wimbledon fortnight!
I'm off to get a shower now and do my best to scrub away all the inks that are under my nails and ingrained into my fingers...I really don't want to be assisting at tomorrow's funeral with multi coloured hands. Just hope that it all goes well and that I remember everything for when I have to assist at the one on Thursday without the full time Verger being there. 
No fresh veggies for my dinner tonight as I'm letting them all grow a little bigger before picking them. The outdoor courgettes are flowering now too though, so I think I'll have a good supply for a few weeks at least! Just waiting for the first of the cherry tomatoes (black ones!) to ripen now. Definitely must grow more veg next year and maybe some fruit too.....

Friday, 21 June 2013

Where's the time going to?

I've no idea where the days are going to recently. It only seems a couple of days since I was at Dainty Supplies and yet, tomorrow, I'm off to Leeds, to Samuel Taylor's for another Saturday of teaching and demonstrating. I'm sure some sort of time warp is going on, it's the only explanation! Mind you, being busy does make the time go by more quickly of course, and I have been up to my eyes with one thing and another all week. I haven't had a lot of time to make the best of the sunshine in the garden, but I have managed to do a bit of tying Sweet Peas to netting, some of the dreaded weeding and making up a few extra pots with the very last of the plants that I grew from seed.
I've just added another painting, a little scarecrow, to my Etsy shop after putting the finishing touches to it this evening. I'm very partial to scarecrows, ever since primary school when our teacher used to read the Worzel Gummidge stories to us, although I never watched the TV series....it didn't fit the pictures that were in my head! Here's a little peek of the painting anyway....
.....it's done with watercolours and fine pens for the extra details.
I spent this morning with Heather and Graham and one of the tasks was to help Heather to get past her mental block about using her sewing machine....she's had it for aaages and not even threaded it yet! Anyway, it was all very simple so she's all set now to start adding stitching to journal pages etc now. We had a good look through some old photos that has us laughing one moment and then cringing with embarrassment the next. We also wondered why we spent so much time when we were teenagers worrying about our weight and our looks - we both looked very slim and rather gorgeous! Lol! 
While we were rifling through bits of fabric for Heather to practice on we found some little pieces of Aida fabric and I said that I sometimes get the urge to do some cross stitching or tapestry. No sooner said than done and Heather nipped upstairs and came down with this tapestry kit that she'd had for years and never done. 
Not sure when I'll get chance to work on it, but I'm looking forward to getting started and it will be something different to do. Thanks Heather!
When Heather dropped me back here the sun had begun blazing down and Thomas and Tara both came out to enjoy the warmth. Here's Thomas on one of the gate posts, purring away as usual and thinking how lucky he is to be here and not back on the city streets as he was when he adopted us....

 Or maybe he's just admiring the flowers! Oh, don't look too closely at my lawn which is really overgrown again until I get a lawnmower sorted! Tara was, as ever, thinking about her tummy and chomping on grass.....
 Talking of chomping, I had some more of my home grown produce tonight. I made a version of Singapore Vermicelli......I do mean a version! Here's my "recipe"....I fried some chopped onion in a pan and added a few teaspoons of Madras paste and a bit of crumbled vegetable stock cube. Next I added some leftover chopped up chicken and a little bit of chopped Spam....yes, I know, it sounds awful, but I only use a bit and it adds an extra flavour that just works. I poured in a whisked up egg and broke it up in the pan as it set. Next came my freshly picked vegetables which I chopped and added - they need hardly any cooking. Finally, a bag of "ready to wok" fine, vermicelli rice noodles added to the mix and tossed through with some Soy sauce to taste. Eh voila....oh, that's French, not Singalese!
Here are the veg immediately after I picked them......
 .....my first courgette, some more French beans and, at the top, leaves picked from my three Rainbow Chard plants. They were absolutely delicious!
That's a bit of a round up of some of what I've been up to. Next week is going to be madly busy getting ready for my day at Colemans Craft warehouse on the 29th June, as well as several duties at St Chads that I'm taking on for the first time whilst the Verger is on holiday. 
Well, have a great weekend everyone and enjoy the official start of Summer!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

There are frogs in my garden now....

Yes, look what I found sitting around the flower bed outside my Doo Lally room this morning.......
 .....little green frogs..... with placards and hats? Okay, sorry about that, I couldn't resist posing them outside like this! I made these years ago when I used to sell some crafty makes through a shop in East Sussex. I made all sorts of things to sell there, from cards to paintings and anything in between that took my fancy. These little frogs were a best seller! 
When the shop closed I was sent all the unsold items back and most of them came to mum and dad's house....neighbours would call round to buy the odd card or gift. This morning I was having a root about, looking for some bits and pieces to donate to the charity shop that's being run by St Chads this week, and I came across these little fellas! So, after a little spruce up, they will be sitting in the shop this afternoon and, hopefully, hopping off with new owners by the end of the week. Brought back lots of memories when I found them....isn't it weird when you find things that you made years ago?
I have hardly known if I'm coming or going this week with one thing and another. All my usual work of course....sample making, prepping the kits for Saturday's workshop at Samuel Taylor's in Leeds on Saturday and trying to get on with more pieces for my Etsy shop. Tuesday was a different kind of busy though, as I started the day by shadowing Robert, our verger, as he showed me the ropes. The 45 minutes of preparation for the morning service went from emptying the waste bins in the church grounds, through switching on particular lights, setting up the communion table and lighting candles........at one point I remarked that I felt like I was on the Krypton factor with so much to remember! Hopefully another couple of "run throughs" will make everything stick in my mind.
After that I took a couple of buses to go and visit mum in the care home. Mum has Alzheimer's disease, but she still smiles and laughs with us, although some days are better than others. Usually Heather and I go together of course, but I've been going up on my own since Graham's illness was diagnosed....she has enough to cope with and going to the home can be upsetting sometimes. When I got there mum was in the dining room and her pudding had just been brought in, so I sat and fed her.....she's always had a sweet tooth and she does love her puds! This time it was jam roly poly and custard and, ooh, it did look, and smell, good! Another trip down memory lane - I think it was everyone's favourite school pudding and I clearly remember letting people go in front of me so I could make sure I got a nice jammy bit from the middle!
 Mum doesn't look very smiley here, but of course, that's because I had the camera out! The best part about visiting her is when she gets the giggles, which she does quite often. The staff all think she's wonderful as she's so cheerful.
Well, another couple of bus rides home and then I had to do some grocery shopping and one thing and another meant that the day had just whizzed by really. Next week is going to be a busy one, starting with Saturday's workshop/demo at Samuel Taylors of course. On Tuesday I am shadowing Robert in the morning again and then helping with my first funeral service in the afternoon. On Thursday I'm in at the deep end....setting up for morning service and then a funeral straight afterwards - both of which I'll be doing on my own whilst Robert is away. Later in the evening we are having a puppet rehearsal in church too, so I think I had better take sandwiches! Hopefully all will go well.
Then on Friday I'll be heading down for a big demo event at Coleman's warehouse in Rushden, Northamptonshire, so, lots of extra samples to be made before then of course. Busy, busy!
I've got to toddle into the village shortly to do a couple of errands and drop the froggies and a few other bits into the charity shop, so will just share the last of the new A6 Christmas stamp sets before I go. There are also quite a few Tinchie stamps as well, but I'm not going to post all those! So, final peeps, peeps!
Do you think I need to see someone about my snowman addiction?!? This sketchy set is called "Frosty Kisses" (CICSA6085) and I'm seeing lots of pale lilacs and icy blues for this one.
Another quotes, messages set now, this one is called "It's a time to give" (CICSA6109)....

 .....again, large enough to make the words a focal point on a card or tag, but also useful for inserts too of course.
Very last one of the sets now, and this is "Jack Frost" (CICSA6110) a rather ethereal Doo lally Pip character with a cracked ice border, some ice crystals and other freezing motifs!
 All the sets should be available in a few weeks, but I will update their progress on here of course. Hope you've enjoyed the sneaky peeks. There were moments when I didn't think I'd get all my designs done in time for the deadlines, but, as usual, everything finally came together.
Well, I must away to the village now, but not before I've "put my face on" or I'll frighten the horses as they say!

Monday, 17 June 2013

I may need a smaller pan...

Before I share a few more new stamp previews, I did promise to show you a photo of my first crop of home grown vegetable, or, in this case, legumes. I snipped off the largest French beans to go with my "Sunday roast" dinner....not a real roast I confess, as I bought some slices of turkey from the deli! Well, here's the first harvest....
.....no laughing at the back there! I must admit that the famous scene from Jaws sprang to mind, but with a twist, and I found myself saying "I think I'm gonna need a smaller pan"! However, they were delicious, with that unmistakeable squeak that French beans have when you bite into them. The rest of my meal was almost ready, the water already boiling in readiness, so just two minutes after I picked them, these little beauties were cooked and on my plate. There are lots more beans growing on the plant, so I should have a regular supply for a few weeks.
Slightly more spectacular is the courgette plant in the conservatory which is, obviously, streaks ahead of the outdoor ones I'm also growing. Every morning now I am met with this sight.....
 .....exotic looking yellow orange flowers on thin stalks that open to four inches across.....then, by mid afternoon, they wilt and wither, only to be replaced by another fresh bloom the next morning. I was a little confused by the life cycle going on here, as there's another flower coming through that has the definite beginnings of a courgette behind it. A bit of internet browsing cleared it up and I discovered that the plant has both male and female flowers - the ones that bloom and then die are the male flowers and the courgettes grow behind the female flowers. I now keep trying to waft bees into the conservatory so they can pollinate them! It's all great fun!
Talking of fun, amidst all the worry and fears over my brother in law's health, we are trying to keep our spirits up and make sure that we have some breaks from the depression. If you pop over to Heather's blog you will find her photos of one such day that we spent last week. Heather's latest post is about the nostalgic trip we made to our childhood home, in fact, the house where I was born.....I remember, I remember and all that! More photos of me I'm afraid.....I've never been photogenic and you'd never know from the photos that I've lost over two stone and gone from a size 22 to a 14 bottoms and 16 tops!! Always a nasty shock to see that the image in one's head doesn't quite match the one in the photo! Actually, I think that Heather is secretly photoshopping the pictures - it's the only explanation!
Today I'd planned to go and visit mum as well as do some errands, but have decided to do all that tomorrow instead now, as I am going to be walking into the village in the morning to spend an hour or two with the Verger so he can show me the ropes. He's going to be on holiday in a couple of weeks, so I'll be taking over his duties till he returns.....hope I can take everything in tomorrow. Next week I'm also going to be assisting him at a large funeral service, so it's a bit of a steep learning curve coming up. Wish me luck folks! I'm quite amazed at the trust that's been shown to me by the church after a relatively short time and grateful for the chance to give something back after all the support and help they have given me over this past year.
Well, that's enough of the domestic and social round up! Here are a few more of the new stamp designs....more in the previous three posts in case you missed them. A Doo Lally Pip fairy to start with, this set is called "Christmas Swishes" ( I know....groan...but I do like a good, or bad, pun!) the code for this set is CICSA6114......
 .....the odd curved image at the top is her halo, measured so that it will fit around her head....I don't just throw these things together you know! Lol! More useful swirls and a crown so she can be a fairy princess too of course. She really doesn't only have to be for Christmas....if the stars on her skirt look too festive for using at other times of the year, a little paper piecing of her outfit will sort that out.
Surely there can't be any more snowmen I hear you cry......oh yes there can! I know, I know...it's a bit of an obsession, but I know I'm not alone in this one and I'm always asked for fresh ones every year. So, here are some more snowy folk.......

  .....I know, flying snowmen silhouettes! No surprise then that this Doo Lally Pip set is called "Flying Snowmen" (CICSA6106). I'll be stamping those airborne guys across one of my Distressy backgrounds with some faux bleached trees....I still get asked to show the waterbrushed trees at demos even after doing them so many times!
Another Doo Lally character now and this one is "Flying Tonight" (CICSA6107) another terrible pun that will make sense to anyone who heard Kenneth Williams proclaim "Frying tonight!" in the horror send up Carry on Screaming. Well, this character is a little cooky, but hopefully not too scary.......
 ......the little silhouette reindeer sled will also be going onto my Distressy skies I think. The snowflakey tree took an age to draw and my fingers were almost seizing up by the time I completed it! I think I am seeing the main character coloured in a rich Teal green rather than the usual reds, but I'm sure I'll be making lots of versions.
Finally, for this selection, one of my quote sets, and this one is CICSA6113 "Believe makes Christmas" (odd title I know...not mine!) and it's from the Crafty Impressions range....

...the quotes are small enough for the inside of a card but large enough to be the main feature on the front of cards too. I do like to add something a little different to just "Happy Christmas" etc to the cards that I send, so some quotes, or phrases just fit the bill.....not as flowery as a full blown verse, but more than just a simple greeting.
Right, I had better get on with things now. The first thing is to warm a croissant and make a coffee for a very late breakfast. I've been up for hours but I rarely eat as soon as I'm dressed, it takes a while for my appetite to kick in. The tummy is rumbling slightly now though, so I'm off to the kitchen!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sunday tidings

It's a beautifully warm and sunny Sunday here, so I hope that everyone's been able to enjoy some balmy weather after the rather dismal few days that went before. I was up early to get to church in time to fold up the service and news sheets which are handed out as people come in......I was told that they were expecting some fancy origami folds from me! This morning was my second time as a Sidesperson, so I felt much more confident in what I was doing today...not that it's very complicated, but one does like to get things right nonetheless.
I could have probably managed a little longer in bed after getting back at 9.30pm after a long day at Dainty Supplies on Saturday. It's a four and a half hour journey, but only one change which is always a bonus. Everyone loved the background effects I was showing using the Dylusions ink sprays and quite a few people went home with lighter pockets after being tempted...well, the colours really are difficult to choose between! For anyone who was wanting the Doo Lally Pip sets that were out of stock, or sold out on the day, I have mentioned them to the management at Dainty's, so they will be getting them in as soon as possible. Thanks to everyone who came along for the lovely feedback and don't forget to email me if you get stuck with anything.
Speaking of getting stuck.....I had a little Ice Resin left over from filling bezels yesterday and so I scooped it onto some decorative paper - it's a great way to use up small amounts if you've mixed a little too much for a project. When the resin is dry you can tear away the excess paper and you're left with a gorgeously glassy effect which can even be curved without snapping, so great for adhering to 3d projects. Anyway, I had, sensibly, put said piece of paper onto a piece of stiff card and placed it behind me on top of a set of drawers. On packing away, I reached for my jacket, my black velvet jacket and found that the ultra sticky, resin coated paper had managed to leap off the flat surface and onto the sleeve - aaaarrrggghhhh! Sue did her best to get the worst of it off using hot soapy water, but, by the time I'd got home it was a bit late to get the rest off with nail polish remover. Never mind - at least I knew it was there so I managed to keep my hair from getting stuck to my sleeve on the return journey. I hate sticky - love inky - hate sticky! 
Well, after that little tale, time for me to share some more new stamp designs. I'm often asked how I keep coming up with ideas when I start working on new collections and I've been known to ask the same question myself when I'm having artist's block! Sometimes I have a fairly good idea of something that I want to draw, but, at other times, I just gaze at the blank paper for a while and then find my fingers start moving the pencil around, doodling lines here and there, till something begins to take shape. Often one image can spark an idea for another, and sometimes I even dream up my designs quite literally, so I have to scribble them down when I wake up before they fade away as dreams do.
Anyway, through whatever means I came up with these ideas, here are some more of them! A sketchy set first, which is called "Christmas Circles" (CICSA6084).......
......the swirly elements can be used at any time of year obviously, as can the circle border. I think I'll be using various means of decorating the modern tree...adhesive gems of differing sizes, Liquid Pearls and Stickles glitter glue as well as just highlighting with good old Glossy Accents. This set is in the Crafty Impressions general Christmas collection.
More snowmen now...I know....I know....but I can't help myself....I just find myself drawing them! I love them though. Unlike Santa, you can have as many snowmen as you like on a card. Some of you may have seen examples of the over the top snowmen pop up card that I taught in workshops quite a few years ago now. In fact, it was one such card that was my very first published magazine project! Well, I like them, so hope you are a snowpeople fan too......
 ......the hat that the top left character is wearing was based on the one that I bought earlier this year when my ears were frozen on one of my long trips! This quartet of chilly chaps (chapesses?) are called "Snowtime Snowmen" (CICSA6089) and are also from the Crafty Impressions collection. The snowman face will be handy for using on teeny tiny cards, as well as peeping over snow mounds (torn white card to you and me) on larger cards. 
Doo Lally Pip next, and a set called "Elfy Christmas" (CICSA6104).....

...... I'll enjoy colouring this character and building a little elfy village behind him. He's got feet that are at least a size 22 I reckon! And check out the knobbly knees!
To complete today's preview, here's another Doo Lally Pip set, but not Christmas. I hope you'll find this set of hats really useful - I love putting hats on characters, the less appropriate the better in many cases! So, this set is "If you want to get ahead..." (CICSA6018)......

 ......just lots of assorted headwear for all kinds of characters. Of course, as soon as I'd filled the paper with hats, I immediately thought of others that I should have included. So, I think there could well be a sequel to this set at some point. My favourite here though, is the jester's hat - I'm going to have fun with that one.
That's all the sneaky peeks for today, but I'll pop back tomorrow with a few more. I'm going into the conservatory now to pick some green beans to go with my dinner. My first crop....I'll take a photo and share that tomorrow too. You'll be very underwhelmed by the quantity I'm sure, but I can't wait to taste the first of my home grown produce and I bet they do taste good too!
My brother in law, Graham, has been for a test at the hospital, so we are now waiting for the results of that to come back to give us an idea of where we are with things. Unfortunately, my sister's neighbour lit a bonfire yesterday and the smoke did nothing to help poor Graham's breathing. They did put it out when Heather went round to explain, but not before there had been a lot of discomfort caused. Again, thank you for everyone's good wishes and prayers which are really appreciated.

Friday, 14 June 2013

More festive previews...

Just time to post some more stamp previews before getting myself ready for travelling to Chester-Le-Street for my demo on Saturday."More stamp previews?" you ask......if so, you haven't looked at my previous post from this morning! I'll be showcasing all my new stamp sets here over the next few days and this is the second selection. Some are from my Doo Lally Pip collection and others are from the general Crafty Impressions range - all from personal Impressions of course.
Okay, here we go then! A Doo Lally Pip set to start with, and this one is called "Santa's Helpers" (CICSA6087)........
 ......I wanted these characters to be somewhere between cute and grungy! There's lots of shading detail on these images, as I know that's always useful for anyone who struggles with where to add shade when colouring in. I thought "Bah Humbug!" suited the elf...he's not exactly overjoyed at the prospect of sorting all those toys out and I think the fairy would rather be wearing her tom boy clothes and bovver boots!
Also from the Doo Lally Pip range, but rather less quirky, this set was designed in response to requests from the ladies that I spent the day with at A Maze of Memories in Long Crendon. Hope it suits ladies!
The set is called "Faith Gives you Wings" (CICSA6105) and I know that I'll be using this a lot to add wings to all sorts of things, especially now that I've decided my new mantra is "on a wing and a prayer".
Next a set called "Oh Deer!" (CICSA6112).....

 ....you'll have to crane your necks round to see the five reindeer faces in a row! Talk about big ears and a big nose! And please excuse the terrible puns.....!
Now for two sets from the Crafty Impressions range. The first one is called "Snowy Scenes" (CICSA6090) and I drew this one as a follow up to Build a Snowy Scene that I designed, not last year, but the year before....I can hardly believe it was so long ago! That set has been a really popular one and this one is in the same vein to be used alone or in conjunction with the original stamps if you have them.
 They are quite dainty images that will all work together to produce endless winter scenes when used with a little masking and, of course, are the perfect excuse for me to make some Distress inky skies!
The final Christmas set for this post is called "Winter Critters" (CICSA6092) and features a range of wildlife characters with trees, snowflakes, holly and stars thrown in for good measure.....
 .....star gazing hares, a moonstruck fox, a chubby robin and a whopping great deer! These will all work well dotted around a snowy card - I can see them poking up from various layers of torn paper snow drifts.
There are a couple of non Christmas sets in my new releases so I'll include one of those here. I really enjoyed drawing this creepy character! The set is called "Fright Night" (CICSA6126) and is from the Doo Lally Pip collection. 

Mr Pumpkinhead is obviously a Halloween character, but I know that we art journal devotees don't care about things like seasons and themes, so I'll be using him way beyond October! I don't need much of an excuse to add my black gem spiders to a project, but this set will suit them perfectly.
Well, that rounds off new stamp preview number two. I will be back with more after the weekend. 
The rain has been torrential here today, with water literally bouncing a foot high off the pavements and gushing down the streets. I could hardly see across the road and I got caught out in it too which was no fun. I was drenched through and have had to have the heat on this afternoon to dry off my jacket, boots and handbag. I am hoping that this is the reason that my mobile (complete with new battery) decided to go completely bonkers whilst I was out and, without me knowing, began making phone calls on its own! Weird! So, apologies if your number is in my phone and you had one or more silent calls from me - it wasn't intentional! I'm hoping that, now it's dried out, it will behave itself or I could become very unpopular!

From ice to snow....

The ice in question refers to my previous post from yesterday where I was talking about Ice Resin (did I mention how much I have enjoyed using that stuff?!?) and the snow, well, all will be revealed further down. Neither snow nor ice seem very seasonal to be mentioning in June, although it's another damp and overcast day here, so not very Summery really.
Anyway, as mentioned yesterday, Personal Impressions have "unveiled" the new Christmas designs for this year and they should be available by early to mid July. As promised, I will be showcasing my festive stamp sets here, though there are a lot, so it may well take quite a few posts! Hard to know which ones to share with you first, so I'll just go quite randomly I think. 
By the way, you can see all of our new designs on the PI website by clicking "products"....then choose either "Crafty Impressions" where you can find all our clear stamps, or "designed by Lindsay Mason" where you can find my Doo Lally Pip range as well as some of my other designs. I have designs in both sections - just to be greedy! Although the PI website is a trade only one of course, you can make a note of the reference number of any item and ask your local retailer to order it for you if they stock our products.
Well, without further ado, let's get into the Christmas spirit for a while! I'll start with some sets from my Doo Lally Pip collection and this first one is called "Steampunk Snowmen" (CICSA6091).....

 .....you know how I love snowmen, and I also love the whole Steampunk genre, so combining the two was a must! There is a Steampunk Santa face included too for good measure. I was obviously thinking of Abraham Lincoln when I added their stovepipe hats...they just kept getting taller as I drew!
Next is another slightly Steampunky set, this time featuring Father Christmas himself.....
......this one is entitled "Here Comes Santa" (CICSA6086). I'll be doing some masking with this set so I can have a few reindeer flying along in front of the sleigh. You'll notice that Santa isn't actually holding any reins but has his mitts out as if he is.....so, once all the images are stamped in place it's then a simple task of drawing a couple of lines to connect him up to his reindeer. This means you can play around with positioning much more. I think the starry burst will prove useful too.
Third up is another set of Doo Lally Pip snowmen (as I always say, you can't have too many snowmen stamps!) .........
........more Steampunk too as you can see. This set is called "Nicicles as Icicles" (CICSA6111) and if we do get snow later this year I am definitely going to try and re create one of these characters on my lawn! The icicle border is going to prove useful and, of course, individual icicles could double as carroty noses. I'm going to enjoy using this set a lot.
So, a few from my general range of Christmas stamps now. This first set is called "Winter Silhouettes" (CICSA6093) and would be suitable for December/January birthdays etc as well as Christmas cards.....
  .....I can feel my alcohol inks being used rather a lot as well as some Dylusions ink backgrounds! I do love silhouette images and can't wait to get started on this set. The bare tree can easily be used throughout the year with a few well placed leaves, or, of course, it can just be stamped in from the edge of a card to create branches and twigs for birds to sit on.
A useful border set next......

 ......this one is called "Sketchy Christmas Borders" (CICSA6088) and I know I'll be making good use of this one in all sorts of ways. The holly can be stamped and cut out individually of course, to make up into dimensional wreaths, swags or nice additions to the corner of a card.
Finally for this morning, this set is called "Be Still for the Glory..." (CICSA6083).....
 ......the words are from the opening verse of one of my favourite hymns of the same name. It always brings a tear to my eye when we sing it in church. The images on this set are ideal for making quite small cards which I know I, for one, often make when I have to send them to a lot of people. 
Well, that's my first preview! There are lots more to show you though so I will be posting them over the next week. Today I'm not working as such, but just getting everything packed up and ready for my demo tomorrow at Dainty Supplies in Washington, Tyne and Wear. I'm going to be on pins all day as Heather and Graham are going to see the consultant at the hospital to find out more about where we are with Graham's illness and what treatments he may be able to have. Any prayers for them would be much appreciated.
On a lighter note, and to show that it really isn't winter yet, here are a couple of snaps that I took yesterday. This first one is the view from my Doo Lally workroom.....
 .....just don't look too closely at all the weeds that have come through again after all the rain! The dreaded Horsetail is back with a vengeance too...ggggggrrrr. My workroom is at the front of the house (I'm on a corner) so I get to see what's going on and wave to all the neighbours while I'm working! I was standing up taking the picture so it looks as if my workroom is upstairs - but I'm in a bungalow, so I'm downstairs! The back of the house looks across the fields and up to the nearby wood, so I have the best of both worlds really - the difference between the front and back views is quite dramatic!
And, to finish, I couldn't resist taking a picture of fatso...er...sorry..Tara...as she was so chilled out yesterday in the conservatory on her (very hairy!) chair....
 .....no dignity at all! She really is a little porker but it's so tricky when you have one pusscat who likes to pick at their food and go back to it and the other who guzzles everything down and then goes off in search of any further morsels to be had! 
That's my cherry tomato plant intruding on Tara's space. There are the first signs of crops now too....quite a few tiny tomatoes are appearing and the green bean has several very thin legumes sprouting. The courgette is now flowering too, so I'm looking forward to some home grown food very soon.
Right, I'd better make a move or tomorrow's demo won't be happening! More stamp previews very soon. Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for all the lovely comments and the good wishes for Heather and Graham which we really appreciate.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Iced Up

I'm not referring to a sudden change to wintery weather....although it has gone from glorious summer to chilly and wet again over the last few days.....but to the Media Mixage Ice Resin which I have been working with this week. 
It's always good to have something different to work with and I've had a lot of fun making some jewellery pieces for a change. It took me back to when I used to use resin many (many!) years ago to make all kinds of moulded objects, but there's no comparison to using Ice Resin which is jeweller's quality, easy to work with, practically no smell and 100% crystal clear. It really does give great results.
Here are a few pieces I've just finished today.....
....this one is using the largest Fleur De Lys Bezel. I used the corresponding die to cut a backing paper to glue into the recess before adding the little metal heart, key and some metal glitter flakes and pouring in the resin. I filled the bezel almost to the top edges and then let it set for a few hours before mixing more resin and dripping it gradually onto the surface. This gave the lovely doming effect to the surface without the risk of the resin flowing over the sides. Top tip which I gleaned from the Spellbinders website!
This pendant was created in the largest triangular bezel.....
 ......it's a little tricky to see all the detail in the photo, but I collaged some papers, dictionary words and the gentleman image from one of the Media Mixage paper pads before adding the cog, key and a teeny heart that I cut from red paper. I had already prepared the crown and key hole by dabbing with Distress Paints and sanding back once dry. Once I'd poured in the Ice Resin I was able to carefully position the embellishments to the top and bottom and add a few extra drops of resin around them to glue them in place. I propped the crown up from behind until it set. Once hardened, the resin is very strong, so the added extras are not going anywhere! I added a ball chain and some chain tassels - all the embellishments are from Tim's Idea-ology line.
Using one of the square bezels I made this pendant featuring a MME paper - I liked the quote - to which I added a little bird cut from the same paper.....
 .....I drew a pencil line or two as a twig for him to sit on. A few extra words were cut out and added, as well as some Martha Stewart glitter stars and Microbeads. Once "Iced" and set (this does take a looong time, so make sure you put the pieces on a flat surface that you can move to a safe place whilst they cure or you won't be able to use your worktable for several hours!) (oh, and don't be tempted to keep poking them with your finger....just walk away and forget them!) I added some chain pieces to a jump ring and hung the Philosophy Tag, bird and pearl drop from the bottom of the bezel.
Here's a close up of the bezel.....
....you can really see how smooth the glass like surface is.
This is a piece that I tried with a different technique using one of the metal blanks which I texturised in the Artisan Explorer before creating the patination with acrylic paint sanded back once it was dry. I then added paper and a vintage photograph behind the little frame and pushed a tiny metal heart brad through. The matching die allowed me to easily cut papers to size and shape and I used one to back the piece with. As a change, I decided to use Crackle Accents over the collaged image. In retrospect I wish I had just brushed Ice Resin over the surface as the crackles are a little too obscuring of the photo....I put the accents on quite thickly which increases the size of the crackles. But never mind, it's still an interesting effect.....
.....I used my Cropodile to punch holes in the metal frame and added a metal flower to the top using a small snap - both painted with Distress acrylics. Chain was strung across both top and bottom with the pearl dropper and tiny key as additional charms.
Finally, this is my favourite piece so far, and it shows just how strong the resin is when attaching other metal items to the bezels. You will probably recognise the wings as those from Tim's Idea-ology range and they are pretty heavy. However, they are held in place really securely by the resin.....
.....I used aluminium metal sheet for the backing in the bezel - cut with the relevent die and texturised in the Artisan Explorer. I tore some paper to partly cover the metal and added the heart cut from a Bo Bunny paper. I also used a Bo Bunny brad at the top and a gold gem as well as words cut from a dictionary. Here's a close up......

......the words read "The courageous heart has wings" and was inspired by the phrase that I mentioned in my previous post (on a wing and a prayer). 
I've really enjoyed making these pieces and I'll be showing how to use the Ice Resin etc at my demonstration at Dainty Supplies on Saturday, as well as stamping, painting and inking....I'm worn out already just thinking about it!
By the way, the setting for my pendant photos is the scarf that Jacqui brought me back from India - isn't it lovely? 
Well, that's my coffee break over with, so I had better get back to the Doo Lally room again now as I have a big mess to clear away before I can start on the rest of my work. No wonder I've taken a long time over my coffee!
In other news.....my new Christmas stamps (both general and Doo Lally Pip) will be out very soon and I will be posting some of the designs on here as soon as I can. Can't wait to share them!