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 February 2014

Sewing AND ironing!

Crikey, I think I should lie down in a darkened room having done both sewing and ironing this week! Having said that, neither were related to the dreaded housework, so not quite as bad. I've never been a fan of sewing though and neither has my sister...mainly due to the fact that our mum used to be a fantastic seamstress who had the ability to turn a length of fabric into a beautifully made garment without the need of a pattern. She would take a few measurements, make some marks with tailor's chalk and then the scissors would flash and, in no time, she'd be fitting the fabric pieces together in situ on whoever she was making the garment for - pins held between her lips as she went! Heather and I just never felt we could come up to her standard I'm afraid.
Anyway, on Saturday I'll be at Studio Craftique in Hessle, near Beverley where I'll be demonstrating DecoArt So Soft and Ink Effects fabric paints as well as Fabrico pens, Sizzix dies, stencils and stamps. The Ink Effects are really great to work with if you're a little nervous of painting directly onto material as they are painted onto paper before being ironed onto the fabric - foolproof! (Hence the ironing!). Below is an example of the Ink Effects on a simple white T shirt....don't ask me why I took the photo at the rather drunken angle!

I inked up the quote stamp with a black Fabrico pen and also used it to add the outlines around the figure and the musical notes. The paints are fully washable.
The So Soft paints give a more vibrant finish and are painted directly onto fabric. No heat setting required and the painted items are machine washable after 48 hours...brilliant! I used the same Dylusions character (Ruby Rainbow) stamped onto plain white fabric and then painted with the So Soft, including the new glitter colours. Once dried, I turned it into a small cushion.

The borders, bird and railings are all from Dylusions stamp sets. I like the fact that you can see the text detail on the wings beneath the glitter paint.
Normally I'd have had to resort to hand stitching around the cushion but Heather brought round her little sewing machine for me to use. Quite funny really as she hasn't used it herself yet - told you we both have a "thing" about sewing! However, once I got started I was well away and, before long, I was zig zagging around Sizzix birds appliqued over hessian......
....and sewing fabric panels onto cards ready for painting on Saturday.....
 ....the machine helped as it's small, lightweight and easy to use. I was even able to use it on the floor, pressing the peddle with my hand and, thank goodness, even at top speed it was easy to control!
Hope to see some of you there on Saturday as it will be lots of fun.
Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures of things I've been creating with my new stamps. Another tag made using my "Frayed Around the Edges" Doo Lally Pip character, this time using the new Tim Holtz spritzer and Distress Markers through Tim's new Doily stencil....
....the spritzer really does give a great effect though very detailed stencils. I've been asked if using the spritzer will use up the ink in the pens more quickly so I asked Tim and he assures me that it won't - all good!
There is one of my new quote stamps on this next, over the top, piece! 
I was showcasing Tim's Rosette strip die and his burlap panels- don't think I could have fitted any more on there really!
And a couple more tags to share....
....Dylusions ink sprays on the left tag and I used Tim's stripes stencil on the right tag which made me think of a woodland so was perfect to add my new owls to.
Well, it's 6.30pm and dark outside after a beautifully sunny day. The days are certainly getting longer and it really does feel as if Spring is getting close enough to touch. Can't wait to have a few free days to get the garden tidied and some seeds sown. But for now it's time to draw the curtains and get my dinner ready  - a simple concoction tonight of a crunchy Caesar salad with some crispy bacon and cherry tomatoes.
I'll be off on my travels tomorrow and Thomas is already sulking! He's back to full health again now and no limping at all...though I'm sure he's going to use that raised paw when he wants to tug at my heartstrings! 
Have a great weekend everyone.
Oh, before I go, here's a saucy photo to share with you that I've borrowed from a good friend's Facebook page....
 ....any ideas? It's Dame Edna and a rather large eared, moustachioed character who, as you can see from the stance is very tall. But yes, under the disguises it's me and my pal Andy Skinner! And no, to answer a query when Andy posted this on his Facebook page, you don't need to be buying wedding hats!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Thank you

Hello folks and thank you for all the good wishes sent to Thomas yesterday! I'm pleased to report that he's feeling much better today. He is hardly limping at all now although he is still lifting his paw up when he's sat down....I think he's got used to all the sympathy!
This was him looking all contented this morning....
 .....but this afternoon....well.....I am keeping my eye on these two.....
......talk about looking for trouble! By the way, I can report that Thomas weighed in at 7.4 kg  yesterday (wow!) but the vet said that he's not fat, he's just a "big boy" and he "carries it well"! Now Tara....well....that could be a different matter!
I've not photographed the rest of the samples I made for Stitches yet, but will do so very shortly. I took delivery of a truly enormous box today which contained my cards, tags and canvasses etc as well as all sorts of new products for me to add to my warehouse...er...spare room!
Today I've been working on samples for my fabric painting demonstration at Studio Craftique in Hessle a week tomorrow. Here's a sneaky peek at something I'm part way through.....
.....Dylusions fans may recognise the images!
I'm signing off now so I can watch "An Island Parish" which always cheers me up!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Back home

Hello folks, I'm safely back home after a very busy few days at the NEC for the annual Stitches trade fair. I've quite a few photos to share from the show but, before that, here's my boy, Thomas, looking very sorry for himself....
...when I got home on Tuesday night he was holding up his front left paw and wouldn't let me give it more than a cursory once over. My neighbour, who's been looking after my pusscats, hadn't seen anything unusual going on, so it was a bit of a mystery. I decided to see how he went over the next day and, as you can see, I made him all comfy with my cardigan and a nice fluffy hot water bottle.
Unfortunately, his leg/paw just went steadily worse and by last night he was really limping badly so it was off to the vet this morning. I was, as you do, thinking the worst....broken leg, dislocation etc. Anyway, I'm relieved to say that the vet found a puncture wound and, along with Thomas having a very high temperature, he decided it was a cat bite.....mmmmm....I wonder who the culprit could be?! Methinks that T&T have been taking out their annoyance at me being away on each other! So, he's had a jab that will dose him up over a fortnight and the vet says he'll be feeling much better by tomorrow.
This was him a few minutes ago...bless him!
So, back to the show, and it was the usual mix of hard work, long hours and lots of fun, meeting friends and colleagues like Paula Pascual  and Paul Browning as well as having the much needed post Christmas boost that Stitches always gives. Saturday is set up day, with the freezing exhibition hall looking so full of boxes, bubble wrap, polystyrene and plastic ties that you'd think it would never be ready by the following day! There are so many men laying carpet around the hall and the sound of stands being built and finished as well as trucks and cherry pickers beeping as they wend their way between the cluttered aisles. The Personal Impressions stand is one of the biggest and it's all hands to the job of getting it ready. This is the view to the side of my demonstration counter with all my bags and boxes gradually being unloaded.......
 .....and a few hours later with my counter getting rapidly filled up!

I'm glad to say that everyone seemed to really like my new stamp ranges - always a relief when you bring out a new collection!
It was mid evening before we got to our hotel and were able to get something to eat before a much needed sleep and an early morning start to theopening show day. It wasn't long before my tidy counter didn't look quite so tidy....
I really do have the messiest demo table at the show!
Just along the way was the DecoArt stand where one of my best friends, Andy Skinner, was wowing everyone with the amazing samples of his work.
Round the corner from Andy, Mark Gould was holding make n takes where he was showing people the wonders of the new chalk paints. Here he is, wowing one of the PI team. Some very talented men at this show!
 As well as demonstrating throughout the show I also teach workshops each day. They are only forty five minutes long and there is not much time between everyone's classes to set up and pack away so always a little stressful! This year I was showcasing Tim's new Jumbo Tattered Florals and Spring Greenery Sizzix dies along with Ranger products and some of my quote stamps. Thankfully everything went smoothly and the ladies (yes, this year I didn't have any men in my classes!) all made great job of their projects....
.....everyone chose their colours beautifully.....
 So, Sunday came to a close at around 6pm and then it was time for a quick wash and brush up at the hotel before our carvery dinner that was really delicious. Most of us had a reasonably early night and it didn't feel like very long till we were back at the stand again next day!
One of the products that I was using was the new Distress Marker Spritzer which creates great effects and is especially useful for working with stencils as it blows the ink very specifically without any seepage to ruin the design. Whilst I was discussing the Spritzer with Neil Walker he wondered how it would work for blowing liquid inks.....no sooner said than done! It blows them beautifully - no need to buy canned air sprays or make yourself dizzy using a straw!
Later on I was starting a tag with a background of Dylusions ink spray including one the new colours - Slate Grey which is subtle and gorgeous. I used the Spritzer to blow some of the ink up to create foliage and stamped the leaping hare from my new Hippetty Hoppetty set using the kiss technique with my Zentangle Fillers set.
I decided to add a couple of little bunnies from the same set as the hare but it wasn't until I'd stamped the last bunny that I (and everyone watching) realised just what I'd done! In case you can't quite make it out, here's a close up....
....naughty rabbits!!! Ooops! Thought you might be amused by my faux pas! 
Monday evening was our traditional visit to the Chinese Buffet restaurant where we ate lots of delicious food and had a lovely time. Here's me and Monica who looks after the craft stores in the North West of England.

And this is Anke, who was demonstrating Viva Decor products on our stand, Elaine, my best buddy at PI and Andy. 
So, it was soon the final day of the show which is always a mixture of relief to be going home and sadness to be saying cheerio to everyone.....
.....keeping up the strength to pull the stand down are Jan and Monica......
.....but we still have time for some fun of course.......
....we had these amazing masks as part of our new Mamelok collection and I have to say that we had quite a few laughs wearing them. Mine was Dame Edna!
I didn't get chance to take many photos so I will post piccies of more samples in the next few days. Most of my "stuff" is being posted back to me as, even as a semi professional camel, I couldn't carry everything!
Right, the time has flown by whilst typing this - in fact, it was light when I started and now it's dark outside! So, I'd better go and get my dinner and check how my lovely boy is.

Friday, 14 February 2014

And breathe....

...well, it is Stitches trade show in a couple of days, so life is always frenetic in the lead up as well as at the actual event! I'm travelling down tomorrow morning, God and weather willing, and am just about sorted now. There are still a couple of items of clothing drying over radiators that I have to try and cram into an already full to bursting suitcase and then the final few last minute things to throw into my bag tomorrow morning. All this without squashing any of my samples of course!
I hope everyone is coping with the terrible weather conditions okay. On Wednesday this area was hit by the massive winds that struck the west coast. It was quite scary, listening to the house making strange noises as it was buffeted by the gales. I thought the conservatory roof was going to lift off several times, but, thank goodness, the house stayed intact. There are a couple of trees down in the park and there were lots of people replacing fences yesterday. Today it's cold, pretty windy and sunny but we had torrential rain and hailstones from midday which was exactly what the weathermen had predicted...they are so accurate these days - shame they can't actually do anything about the rotten weather though!
I'd set aside the morning to get the house ship shape...well, my neighbour will be coming in to look after T&T and I would have been embarrassed for her to see the state that everything was in! I confess that housework is not something I'm very good at, especially when I'm tied up with getting things prepped for a big event. So, it was a nice early start to my day and then a methodical blitz! I started in my bedroom and decided to really have a good clear up. I filled a big bag with rubbish and had a box to empty into the paper recycling bin - that felt good! Dusting, polishing and hoovering and the room looked so much better which spurred me on.
The conservatory was next, followed by the kitchen and I managed to clear quite a lot of counter space before cleaning the surfaces, sink and floor. The bathroom only needed a quick once over and then I tidied and hoovered the living room and porch. The spare room is just a dumping ground at the moment so was the one room that I left as it was!!! The bad weather had left my windows all looking pretty dreadful (ie, could hardly see through them!) so I gave them a really good wash followed by my favourite job of getting the water off with my trusty squeegee - very satisfying! Of course, the rain came down not long after, but hey ho, that's housework for you!
Thomas is already looking at me very suspiciously and Tara has been climbing onto my lap this afternoon - they always seem to know when I'm going to be leaving them for a few days. I do hate leaving them.
Well, here are just a few more pictures to share. I haven't photographed most of my new samples yet, but I'll be sure to take some snaps whilst I'm away. This is a card using Dylusions sprays for the background and my Zendoodle fish as well as a sprinkle or three of Distress Glitter.
The words are from my Quips set.
I've been having fun using my new "Hippetty Hoppetty" stamp set - I always like using silhouette images. This tag also features images from a set called "Change is in the Air" and I stamped the rabbits with various shades of Distress ink to make them fade into the background more.
I was trying to capture the essence of Watership Down with the faded look- I love the book, the film and the music. Here are more rabbits from the set, this time I inked them with Distress ink and then applied my Zendoodle Fillers patterns to the rabbits with a darker ink before stamping, rather than having just a plain silhouette.
So, not much to share today, but I will fill my posts with photos when I get back from the NEC. 
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and it's always a great event for recharging the batteries despite all the hard work! 
Take care everyone, keep warm and dry and safe.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Stamps, shows and Sizzix

I'm almost ready for my bed, but I thought I'd just take the chance to do a quick post before I retire. I'll be replying to the emails that are lingering in my inbox tomorrow, so please don't think that I'm ignoring you if you're awaiting a reply!
It was great to see so many familiar (and unfamiliar) faces over the three days of the Event City show last week. It was a busy old time but really fun too. Here's my table looking a bit messy (just for a change!)....
....you can see how good Big Shot machines are....Wendy brings this one along for me to use at the shows and it's still going strong even though it's years old. I was kept busy showing how to make flowers using the Sizzix Susan's Garden flower dies.This is the Burlap canvas that you can see part done in the above picture...
...I used black gesso over some of the canvas and then rubbed copper Metallic Lustre over the surface. Not the best picture as the colours seem to have gone a little day-glo for some reason!
The quote is from one of my new stamp sets (I just used part of the quote here) and you can see the full collection here. I have a new series called Zendoodles, which comprise images that are perfect for doodling inside, but there are also "ready to go" versions that I've already zentangled. There are also filler blocks and borders to go with the designs. Here's a card made using the filler blocks stamped over white card which I then sprayed with Dylusions inks. I used a black pen in between the blocks and a white pen to highlight the patterns.
The heart is from another Zendoodle set which I've doodled and coloured. The borders have been stamped too and the word is from one of Tim's Remnant Rubs sheets. The Zendoodles are such fun to work with!
I've not forgotten the Doo Lally Pips of course! Here's one of my new characters called "Sartorial Elegance"....
.....I'm sure we've all come across one of those well dressed teens.....not!
And my take on Miss Haversham.....
....well, she's actually called "Frayed around the edges"! 
This tag has images from my "Funny owls" set.....
....I used Tim's Stripes stencil in the background and it made me think of a woodland, so it made an ideal choice for the birdies.
I'll share some more of my samples of the new designs tomorrow. Meanwhile here's another version of the rounded birdhouses made with the Bigz XL die of the same name.....
.....this one was made at the show last week and I used the mini daisy dies to create the little flowers as well as Tim's new Spring Greenery die for the foliage. Here's a closer look at the roof.....
Well, my bed is really calling now as it's been a long day....making more samples for next week, die cutting lots of pieces for my workshops at the show, typing up instructions.....and I also got around to a cosmetic repair in the kitchen that has needed doing for ages. Why I did it today I have no idea, except that it was getting on my nerves! Whoever had fitted mum and dad's kitchen had made a poor job of the counter edges either side of the cooker, leaving the bare chipboard on show on the edges. Not just unsightly, but a magnet for crumbs and other cooking detritus - yuck! So, I decided to sort it this afternoon and, after cleaning everything, I laid a bead of silicone sealant along each raw edge to stop bits getting stuck down there. After the sealant had set I used a small brush and painted over the remaining chipboard with white gloss. It might not be the most professional of finishes but at least it looks clean and tidy and it should be a lot easier to keep crumb free now!
So, a good night's sleep is what's needed now and then I can get cracking for another productive day tomorrow hopefully. I hope none of you are being too badly effected by the terrible weather and all the chaos that's been created. Night all.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Service resumed

Hello folks and, yet again, I'm starting with an apology for being absent from blogland for a few weeks. This has been partly due to me being weighed down with show prepping work - I'm going to be at forthcoming Event City show this Thursday, Friday and Saturday and then Stitches trade show for four days the week after that, so, loads to do.
Alongside this, our mum developed a chest infection which, combined with her ongoing illness, meant that she was very, very poorly. So much so that we warned to expect the worse.We have had a very worrying time and, you may imagine that other things have taken a back seat. Thankfully, I'm happy to say, that mum has amazed everyone and has bounced back yet again. She really is a remarkable lady and my new name for her is Duracell! We know that we still have to take things a day at a time, but, for the moment, mum is out of the woods. Needless to say, Heather and I have been feeling pretty stressed again and it's been quite hard to concentrate on work.
I have been doing my best though and I'm ready for the first show at least! So, I'll be on the Card-io stand again at the Event City show near the Trafford centre in Manchester. I'm concentrating solely on Sizzix dies this time, so I've been making a whole selection of dimensional projects, including flowers made using the Susan's Garden range of Thinlits dies. Here's a wheelbarrow made using a Bigz XL die which I've then filled with flowers made from card stock that's been inked and shaped. I cut slivers of green card on my trimmer to create the filler - I didn't have any of the stuff you can get from the florist which would have been quicker if not as creative!
I'm especially fond of the Poppy die which comes together beautifully. I used a heavy card stock to make the wheelbarrow which I then coated with black gesso. I used the same technique with another Sizzix die - the watering can......
....I used my pallette knife to spread the gesso quite thickly to give plenty of texture. It takes a fair while to dry, but if left in a warm spot the surface will cure faster and then a heat gun can be used to gently finish the drying process - with care though, so as not to make the gesso bubble up.
Once fully dry I use DecoArt Metallic Lustre to create the finish by simply rubbing it over the surface with my finger. I used Silver Sparkle on the watering can.........
...the left hand example was just cut from basic card stock which I inked to give some definition. The watering can creates an open box effect, so it's easy to add flowers etc.
The weather has been pretty cold, wet and windy here and, on Friday, we had some snow......bbbrrrr! Thankfully, it turned to sludgy sleet so it didn't stick...
....anyway, a combination of the icy temperatures and having a tidy entrance to the house over Christmas made me decide not to fill the Doo Lally room up with work again. I really do like coming in at the front door and not being confronted by piles of card and an inky mess everywhere! It's much nicer when people call round too - especially if they don't know what all the mess is about! So, I decided to go back to the way I used to work back in our flat in Manchester - that is, on the floor! I know it wouldn't suit everyone, but it has lots to recommend it....I'm warm for a start, by the fire in the lounge. It also means that I can spread things out around me, all easily on hand. When I'm die cutting it makes things simpler too with so much more space than working on a desk. 
I have a small table with wheels that I put everything I'll need onto and then I can simply push the day's materials into the lounge in one go. I "tidy" it away when I've finished for the day, though it's not very tidily put away at the moment whilst I'm so busy. The spare room (which is already minus a bed - given to my nephew!) does look rather like a dumping ground just now but at least I can close the door and get away from it in the evening. And I don't mind working on the floor - I'm always the one sat on the carpet when there are more people than chairs!
Thank goodness the evenings are gradually getting a little lighter. I don't know about you, but I'm really fed up with the dark mornings and short days. It's been really sunny here today and that, coupled with seeing Spring bulbs poking through the ground really does help to lift the spirits. I don't know where my snowdrops are though - I know I planted some! I had to go into the village today and I walked through the park where the gardeners were laying tons of bark chippings on all the beds. It looked and smelled wonderful and really made me want to get cracking in the garden again. I'm afraid my garden really does look shocking at the moment, so I'm desperate for the warmer weather so I can get it sorted.
No time at the moment anyway of course - especially when this box arrived last week....
...my new stamp sets! They are pre production rubber versions and I can't share any of the designs with you as we haven't released the images yet. You may be able to get a sneaky peek if you enlarge the photo though! So, you can see there's a lot to go at there - and all to be done by the end of next week.
When I'm working (on the floor!) I usually have my lap top nearby so that I can regularly check for emails, stock numbers of products etc. I thought you might find this picture quite amusing........
......I got quite a surprise when I looked up! Thomas has a habit of plonking himself beside the laptop when he wants my attention, but I think he just decided it would be a nice way to warm his bum this time! Needless to say I shooed him off there pretty sharpish and, thankfully, the laptop survived his ton weight and tendency to dribble!
So I'd better share a piccie of Tara as well, just to even things up, and she does look very pretty in this one...
....the little worried expression is her default setting!
Well, now that I've said hello again, I'll sign off and hope to share pictures from this week's show after the weekend. Also hope to see lots of you there for, what I'm sure, will be a very busy and interesting event.