About Me

I'm a freelance artist, designer and demonstrator and have been involved in arts and craft my whole life in one way or another. I design stamps for top British company Personal Impressions, under the "Lindsay Mason Designs" brand, as well as papers, templates and other crafting products. I'm a certified Ranger Educator and my first book,"Stamping", was published in 2009. I also design regular projects for Crafts Beautiful magazine and have made guest appearances from time to time on QVC. I've recently joined You Tube under the name of LindsayMason1000 where I'm posting short technique videos and you can buy my paintings and hand crafted pieces from my Etsy shop. My work takes me all around the country demonstrating stamping, papercrafts and general inkiness! When I'm not working, I love gardening, church & community activities, nature watching, journalling, music and theatre and just relaxing at home. Email me at: ljm.design1@virginmedia.com

Monday, 30 December 2013

Awol for Christmas

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