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

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Catch up time and American Candy

After my long absence, this could take a while! Firstly, thank you for the good wishes sent to both Heather, Graham and myself which have been much appreciated. As a family we've been, and still are, going through the mill but are trying to carry on as normally as possible through difficult times. I don't want to dwell on bad times here though....just wanted to say thank you for positive wishes and prayers that have been sent.

So, onto other things and I have lots of pictures to share, but I think I'll post some of them another time or I'll be here all night! Most of you will know that it was the big Personal Impressions/Ranger event this last week, and, one of the great things about designing for and working with PI is that I get to attend all of these "do's"! I travelled down to Coventry on Tuesday with my friend and colleague, Jan, where we met up with Jayne and Kathy from PI and, of course, Tim, Mario and Alain from Ranger as well as Dyan, Caz and Ben. Here's Dyan, Mario, Leslie (our latest PI demonstrator), Tim and Jan.
Everything was just about ready for the next day which was going to be an all day techniques workshop for retailers. There were also tables groaning under the weight of Ranger goodies in the "pop up" shop. The room looked great - the Ranger team do such a grand job of organising kits that it makes setting up so much easier.....
It was a very airy room too, lots of good, natural light and french windows opening onto a balcony with stunning views of the landscaping around the hotel.....
 We're usually here during Stitches trade show in February, when it's normally frosty, foggy or pitch dark, so it was nice to see the surroundings in glorious sunshine for once! In the evening we went for a fabulous meal at our favourite local restaurant where they have a Chinese and Indian buffet as well as an area where you can pick any meats, fish and veg etc that you fancy and have it cooked right in front of you. On leaving, it's traditional to rub the Buddha's tummy....
 .....hate this pic of me, but, of course, Tim is his usual photogenic self! Then, after a quick drink back at the hotel it was time for a reasonably early night ahead of the busy day to come.
Lots of people arriving early on Wednesday morning, eager to find a good spot!

 And here is the kit that was in front of my spot.....
 ....we all had the same kit, but with different colours so that we could swap and share throughout the day. We were all kept really busy making tags with different techniques that we can refer to at any time - we all had numbered labels with instructions of the techniques used to stick to the reverse of each tag.
Tim is a natural teacher - keeping the pace steady and quite fast (no time to spend dithering about choosing options!) and injecting humour into the proceedings of course.
Having the big screen was a big help for everyone. We ended the afternoon with an hour of Dyan teaching techniques with her fabulous ink sprays....

Sorry about the rather blurry image here!
My sister Heather arrived in the afternoon - we had arranged for her to share my room that night and then do the morning workshop next day. 
Another busy day dawned and this time it was two sessions working on a tag book project with Tim. I was lucky enough to be doing the afternoon session but, in the morning, I was kept busy acting as price finder, personal shopper, photographer, drinks fetcher etc etc! We had a great system whereby anyone could raise their hand and one of us would write down what they wanted and then go and add it to their shopping bag.
Here's the morning session underway...you can see Heather right near the front as I got her a good spot!!!
 ....and Heather, alongside our friend Chris, both concentrating very hard on their projects....
 ....."personal shopping anyone?"......I really enjoyed myself running around and taking orders for ink pads, stamps, stains and Idea-ology treasures!
 After the morning workshop there was time for everyone to do even more shopping! Monica and I were kept very busy checking prices and finding things for everyone. Heather's in the background waiting to say goodbye before catching the train home. Another blurry picture I'm afraid!
 Here's me with Chris, Heather and Tim - I think everyone was having a good time....Lol!
After the busy morning there was time for a quick bite, then it was back to getting everything tidied and set up again for the afternoon session and more excited ladies (and some men!). I was really glad to sit down and get stuck into making the fabulous tag book Here are some pages in progress....... 
 Each session had a raffle prize and here's the lucky winner in the afternoon collecting her bag of goodies.
Everyone also received a signed copy of Tim's second book, an apron and a "can't buy these anywhere" bag - all this plus the contents of the kits that each person had used in the workshop. Brilliant!
A really wonderful few days in great company, learning more about new products and having a whale of a time altogether! It was a real boost for Heather and myself.

Well, now onto the "American Candy" part of my post title! As I was on two workshops, I received two bags and two aprons.....so.....I am giving away a Tim Holtz Idea-ology apron, a photo card of Tim and a signed messenger style bag! 

Woo hoo! To have a chance to win this great candy, just leave a comment on this particular post between now and September 17th (it's a Tuesday). I will use a number generator to choose a winner on Wednesday 18th September, so be sure to come back and check if you've won - you have no idea how many times people forget to check! If you can add a link from your blog to here that would be even more appreciated. Good luck all!
I shall be back to post about other things, including where I'm going to be demonstrating and teaching, very soon, but, meanwhile, don't forget...you have to be in it to win it!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Just a quick sign in...

Thanks for the messages that I've had this last week asking if all is well after my absence from my blog. This is just a quick few words to say "I'm still here!", and I'll try to do a more interesting, longer post before too long.
I won't go into all the details, but mum has been really poorly, my brother in law is very ill and my sister, Heather, is struggling with a sciatic type of pain that's kept her immobile over the last few weeks. It's all meant extra time being spent using the buses to get about, make visits etc, as well as trying to catch up with all my work so blogging has just taken a back seat for the time being.
I do have lots of photos to share from the last week or two though, so I will try to spend a decent amount of time on here very soon. I will be replying to emails soon too - I promise!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

A mixed bag of a week

It's been a week of opposites really....hot one moment, pouring down the next, garden beds looking weed free and back to being covered with unwanted green invaders the next day, ideas that turned out well and others that were not so great etc etc. Keeps things interesting I suppose!
Thursday evening was spent at the local C of E school, which is the meeting place for the "Poulton Pearls" WI group. I know that the WI still seem to carry this connotation of older ladies who make jam and bake cakes all day, but it really isn't like that! There are a real mixed group of people at the monthly meetings and interesting talks on all sorts of subjects. Well, on Thursday it was my turn to "entertain and inform" for the evening! 
I trolleyed a bag full of my card, canvas and tag samples as well as some of my paintings and jewellery and set up a display before everyone came into the hall. I hadn't really prepared my talk (some of the ladies may well have thought that was obvious!) so I just related a bit about how I came to be doing what I now do in my work as well as passing around some examples for closer perusal.
Then we set about making a card each - I chose the frame fold that I used on my Fluffy Owl card that I made for the demonstration at Coleman's Craft Warehouse a few weeks ago. Anything too messy or inky wasn't really an option! The ladies had great fun choosing brads, papers, ribbons and elements to pop on to the front of their cards.
  Busy planning and sticking....
 ....the evening was rounded off with an arty crafty quiz with a prize of one of my little folksy angel paintings.
A really fun evening!
I've been busy over the last couple of days getting my samples made up for my trip to Durham on Thursday where I'm teaching an evening workshop. I also had a bit of a tidy up (!) though everywhere still looks like a tornado has swept through the house!
I did, however, make an effort to sort and clean one of the kitchen cupboards that has been niggling away at me for a while now. You know what it's like when the pepper spills out a bit, the soy sauce bottle leaves little rings under it and the half used stock cubes spill out and go syrupy....no? Okay, just me then! Anyway, I made use of waiting time in the kitchen (more of that in a moment!) to give the cupboard a thorough blitz - threw out most of the contents that were well past their sell by dates and then cleaned everything else and cut up some cat food boxes to make trays to keep jars and bottles neatly organised. It's lovely - no more dreading opening that particular cupboard!
On Friday I decided to use the courgette that I'd somehow missed and had grown into a marrow!
 Yes, that is a full sized dinner plate that it's sitting on! It was one of those evenings where the fridge was almost bare, so I checked out a few recipes for vegetarian stuffed marrow and set about it. Split in half and scooped out this monster would only just fit into the roasting pan! After forty minutes it was just barely soft and I'd made a risotto type filling with onions, my last few green beans, some cherry tomatoes and rice - all flavoured with a hearty vegetable stock. Back into the oven (hence all the time to clean the cupboard!) and I grated the last of my cheese with some stale bread to make a gratin to top it with for the final baking period.
Here's how it looked after about two hours in total!
 I was quite chuffed and looking forward to getting a good few meals from it. I sat down with my first portion and......it was vile!!! Really unpleasant, dry and tasteless - the whole lot went into the bin I'm afraid, as it was so awful that it made me feel slightly queasy! I ended up having a bowl of muesli for dinner instead! Oh well, you can't win them all!
Once I post this I am heading to the kitchen to cook a veggie curry. Courgettes will be featuring again as I have quite a few ready for cutting. My neighbour popped over this afternoon though and gave me some butternut squash and sweet potatoes, so the squash will add a nice sweetness to tonight's concoction. Hopefully this meal will restore my faith in my cooking abilities!
All this veggie food has been helping with my healthy diet though, and I've lost about half a stone over the last five weeks, so am really pleased about that. I'm not "dieting", just eating healthily, and it is definitely paying benefits.
Well, I'd better go and get that curry sorted now as I am going to watch the Dr Who live special to see who the new incarnation will be. I haven't really watched much since Mr Tennant left, but it's always interesting to see the transformation to the new Doctor. If it's a woman I shan't bother watching again! I'm all for equality, but some things are meant to be male roles as far as I'm concerned!
I'll share some more Christmassy samples next time, but for now, cheerio and hope everyone had a great weekend. 
PS Just popped back to say the veggie curry was delicious!