About Me

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

Friday, 28 March 2014

The NEC, the art of Zen and a couple of selfies!

This post is rather a long time coming after the NEC show last week! A combination of my computer deciding to throw a hissy fit, being caught up with all sorts of work and extra curricular activities and having a bout of Gastroparesis which occasionally lays me low.
Last week was really hard work but great fun too. I managed to lug all my bags and case to Birmingham International and then it was a taxi ride to the hotel and a bit of time to relax before a bite to eat. Wendy (from Card-io, whose stand I was going to be on) texted me to say that she and Martin were stuck on the motorway, waiting for the AA to tow them to the NEC as their engine had "blown up"! What a rotten start to their show. They only got to the exhibition hall in time to put the skeleton of the stand up before it closed for the night. So, it was all to be done next day and the three of us were putting stock out and setting up displays right up until the moment the doors opened! I don't know how we did it, but in an hour and a half we had managed it. This was my area with all the Sizzix dies behind me and lots of lovely MME brads at the side of me.
 Right from the start we were busy, busy and the first day just flew by really. Everyone seemed to like my steampunk versions of the Sizzix Rounded Birdhouse. This was one that I made at the show....       
....I used some Graphic 45 paper for the roof and, of course, lots of Idea-ology bits and pieces. I alternated simple metal brads with the MME fancy ones around the edges.
I was also working with the Susan's Garden flower dies which really are exceptionally good. They may seem a little daunting to begin with, but, once you've mastered a few basic techniques, they are actually quite simple and very satisfying to create. 
Here I was adding some soft creases to the trumpet of a Narcissus.....
 .... and you can see in the next picture how some creasing and crumpling really adds to the effect....

Wendy thought it might be good to combine our efforts on a card and we really loved the result. Wendy used her Greenery 1and "Say it With Flowers" stamps and I made three of the Dogwood flowers to sit on top of the images.
 The Rosette dies were a big hit at the show and the new Dena Designs set sold out pretty quickly so I reverted to Tim's Sizzlits strip die. I used one of Wendy's stamps again to add to a simple heart plaque made from corrugated card that I painted and applied Metallic Lustre to. Love the MME brads in the rosette centres!

 Please excuse the less than attractive background to some of the pictures, but I was taking them at my demo table!
Just to confirm (as I was asked a few times at the show) no, I haven't "changed allegiance" or given up stamping in favour of die cutting! I am doing the Sizzix die demonstrations as well as my stamping ones and especially at some of the shows. Hope that puts that particular rumour to bed! Lol!
Somehow four days went by really quickly and it was great to see so many friendly faces - some new and some familiar. Everyone was having a lot of fun spending their pennies... er ....pounds!
Poor Martin had the rotten job of waiting until everyone else had left the showground before he could phone the AA again to tow their broken van home again - what a nightmare!
The fourth day of a show always lends itself to a bit of giddiness as everyone is tired and being in the dry atmosphere of the halls for so many days doesn't help. As you can see, I was going a little crazy by the Sunday afternoon and my eyes were a bit sore!!!!! 

  Sorry....I should have issued a warning before subjecting you to that image! 
When I got back I hit the ground running with a magazine project to get done as well as samples for tomorrow's Happy Stamper's show at Port Sunlight. On Monday evening I was on the St Chad's team for the town quiz, with loads of rival teams from Poulton all competing for the trophy. We didn't win, or even come in the top three, but we did okay and didn't disgrace ourselves!
Next evening was a Lent service at church followed by a meeting of a focus group which I'm on and last night was puppet rehearsals! Between times Heather came up and we went to visit mum - it was quite a jolly visit as they had put an Elvis CD on as one of the residents is a keen fan. Everyone there is a little hard of hearing so the volume had been cranked up and I found myself singing along and even doing a bit of twisting which entertained Michael - the Elvis officionado!
I was sent back into bittersweet memories when the track "Love Me Tender" came on, as David used to sing that to me whilst holding me tightly in his arms....and he always sang it exactly like Elvis. 

When I listen to that track it really could be David.....and I know how lucky I am that I've been loved so completely.

Well, until the Gastroparesis got me I was getting on with work, but I had to stop and rest which has set me back a little. I've managed to complete the new shirt that I'll be wearing tomorrow though....
...two "selfies" in one post! (I'm only amazed that I even know what a selfie is being the dinosaur that I am when it comes to newfangled trends and such like) I used a black Fabrico pen to draw the patterns on the shirt and then black So Soft paint from DecoArt to fill them in. It took a while as I had to be careful not to smudge anything when I was moving the fabric around. By the way - although I've been watching the Sewing Bee, I didn't make the shirt I'm afraid!!! I've made the little badge though as I thought that rather than making the shirt purely for when I'm working, if I didn't add the Zendoodle word it would make it more wearable.
So, I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you at Port Sunlight tomorrow. I believe the tickets are all sold so I'm expecting a busy day as usual at one of Happy Stampers events. 
I will be Zendoodling and stamping and, generally getting quite messy in spite of myself I expect! So, I'd better get my bags sorted for tomorrow now. Do say hello if you're coming to the show and have a great weekend everyone. I'll share pictures of tomorrow after the weekend....I'm intending to take it a bit easier next week!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

There and back again...and off again!

Fellow Tolkien fans will recognise "There and back again" as the alternative title for The Hobbit, and I certainly feel quite Bilbo Baggins like with all my travels lately! It seems I'm no sooner back than I'm off again....well, tomorrow anyway.
So, last Friday I took three trains down to Haddenham where the lovely Christina from A Maze of Memories met me and we then drove to the park and ride to pick up a bus into Oxford. This was something that I had been really looking forward to and I certainly was not disappointed. What a marvellous day it was. The shiveringly cold weather that began the day had given way to cloudless skies and sun that actually felt warm and made me squint....who knew I should have taken sunglasses?!
On the way into Oxford I spotted something that made me look twice and is, I now know, a famous landmark.....
...yep, a shark in the roof of a house! I didn't take this photo, but I did want to share the delight that this gave me! Bet the birds like to perch on that giant tail!
However, as we rode further into the city, the sights became rather more traditionally breathtaking....
Once we alighted, Christina and I began our tour of the colleges, chapels and Churches. We climbed the 127 steps up St Mary's church tower...we were both huffing and puffing a bit (!) when we reached the top but it was well worth the effort...
....just one of the magnificent views. We spent some time gazing over the panorama and also at the various gargoyles and carved characters that adorn the tower....
....isn't he/she wonderful?! Not very often that you get so close to such lofty figures.
One of my favourite parts of the afternoon was looking around the Cathedral and college grounds of Christchurch. The walled gardens were just my cup of tea.
The Great Hall was one of the inspirations for Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, when he was writing Alice in Wonderland. As one of the expert guides told us, he was sitting by the great fireplace and the long necks of the firedogs on either side gave him the idea of Alice growing when she ate the cake! One of the stained glass windows has depictions of various characters from the book. The hall in the Harry Potter films was based on this room too.
 The walls are filled with portraits of former students - it must be quite intimidating for the current students as they dine at the long tables!
There were amazing windows and carvings in the Cathedral itself but I really felt drawn to this ancient tomb chest....
One of the bowler hatted guides was kind enough to take a picture of Christina and I in the grounds....

.....sadly, I do rather resemble a hobbit beside my elegant companion! We finished the day by having a much deserved plate of warm scones, jam and clotted cream....naughty but nice! I bought a small souvenir from Christchurch Cathedral....
.....a tiny Icon Diptych which will always remind me of a lovely day.
So, after a rather exhausting afternoon I slept really well (until 5.45 am, when other hotel guests decided it was perfectly okay to stand outside my room talking...ggrrrr!!!) and it was soon time to get the show on the road at AMOM. I was demonstrating my new stamps and there were also three make n take sessions. This was the sample that I had made to give the ladies their inspiration.
I used thick corrugated card that was coloured with Distress paints and then rubbed with gilding wax. The image is one of my Zendoodle stamps - the ladies had a choice of the three different toadstool sets in the collection. Once doodled and coloured it was adhered to the panel and then embellished with Tim's tattered florals.
Needless to say, everyone put their own spin on the project. This was Trudy's version....
...and here's some great colouring from Louise....

.....and here is a picture that shows what a busy day we were all having!
You can see more of the fabulous work that the ladies did by clicking here. So, I must give a wave to everyone that came along and especially to Diane for the treats for my two terrors and honey for me, also to Julie who I hope to see at the NEC and to Miriam, Mary and Christina for all their hard work in making the day so special.
Well, I've been busy getting ready for my next trip since I got back. I'll be leaving for Birmingham International rail station tomorrow ahead of the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC on Thursday to Sunday. The worst job was definitely trying to pack everything into something like a manageable amount of luggage to haul! Here's what I've ended up with....
One extraordinarily heavy suitcase (those Sizzix Bigz XL dies weigh a ton!), my Tim Holtz bag, filled with everything from socks to die cut flowers, and my canvas bag filled with my dimensional Sizzix samples. Wish me luck...I think I'll need it!
This morning the postie brought me a jiffy bag filled with these....
....my "Ready to Go" Zendoodle stamp sets complete with their new packaging design....
....the drawings around the edges of the insert are there to give some ideas for different Zentangle designs.
Wow, that was a rather picture heavy post! I'm going to get myself into my PJ's now so I can watch the Sewing Bee in comfort with a hot coffee and a yogurt (strange combination I know!). 
Thomas is already picking up on the fact that I'll be leaving them again, so he will be getting some extra cuddles tonight! Tara doesn't seem to worry as much so long as she gets her grub, although she always goes mad with excitement when I get home...Thomas usually lets me know that he's very annoyed with me!
I hope to see lots of you at the show over the next few days. I'll be on the Card-io stand where you can also see Wendy working magic with her own range of stamps. 
I'll report back after the weekend. Finally, welcome to my latest blog followers and hope you will enjoy my ramblings!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Where did everyone go?

After a crummy night's "sleep" on Monday, I decided on an early bed last night (with fresh sheets - lovely!) and slept right through. So I was up at the crack of dawn this morning...well, at around 6.30am anyway! This was the sight that greeted me.....
......thick fog, hence my post title - although the photo doesn't really show just how foggy it is. I took this one of the same view from the back of my house, last night, just before bed time when the fog had begun to crept in.....
.....it made me think of a John Carpenter film that David and I used to enjoy watching...The Fog. It used to amuse David no end how it made me jump every time, even though I knew what was coming! Here's another view from last night that somehow reminds me of paintings by one of my favourite artists, John Atkinson Grimshaw who was a Victorian painter born in Leeds.
He painted a wide range of subjects, but he's probably best known for his atmospheric night time town scapes. He was a very experimental artist too, using sand and other materials mixed with his oil paints, to get different effects. Sadly, he died from cancer at a relatively young age, but not before he'd left a wonderful legacy of work. If you don't know his paintings, do click the above link for a real treat.
Well, I decamped into the conservatory again yesterday to make the most of the sunshine while I worked. I was finishing the second display board of flowers made from the Sizzix Susan's garden dies, ready for the four day show at the NEC next week. 
Some of the flowers on the left board have got slightly crushed in transit after being trolled around in my case! My favourite set of the new (to me) ones is probably the Pansy and Violet which I really enjoyed adding the shading to. They're all lovely though and many are very versatile in that you can change the colours and how you shape the petals to create different blooms.
Of course, before the NEC, I am visiting A Maze of Memories in Long Crendon this weekend, where I'll be demonstrating and hosting some make n take sessions using my new Zendoodle stamps. (Click on the link for more information about the day). Here's a sneaky peek of the make n take project!

When assembling the Sizzix flowers I've been using one of my all time favourite adhesives, Art Glitter Glue, which was designed to be used with ultra fine glitters as it's really strong and grabs the pesky glitter so it doesn't shed. It also dries clear which makes it perfect for the glitter under acetate technique. I hadn't done this for ages, so I felt it was time to revisit an old favourite! I'd got one of the ultra fine tip attachments for the glue, so, once I'd stamped my Zendoodles Fungi (CICSA6196) onto acetate, I began filling in with glue and glitter one colour at a time. The conservatory needed a good hoovering when I'd finished! This is the back of the design.......
....showing the glitter over the stamped image. I left it to fully set overnight and, once I've finished this post, I'll be turning it over to see how it looks from the front, with the glitter encapsulated beneath the acetate. I'll show you the finished result next time! Unfortunately, I already know that the central toadstool has got a splodge of turquoise/lilac glitter where it shouldn't be, as I managed to dink it with the top of the glitter pot as I was sprinkling...gggrrr!
So, I'll be off first thing tomorrow for the four and a half hour trip to Haddenham and Thame. Christina, who owns AMOM is taking me into Oxford for the afternoon which I'm really looking forward to, having only been through it before. I hope the sunshine comes back! I've got a new tote bag too, from Advantus, so I'm giving it it's first test run on this trip. It's not roomy enough for the excursions when I need to take large Sizzix dies with me, but I'm managing to get all my stamping paraphernalia in it quite nicely and it seems very comfy to pull along.
Time to get some work done now. The coffee is drained, the fog is gradually lifting and I've got some last things to put together for my trip tomorrow. I'm off out this evening too, popping up to church for puppet rehearsals and a new piece that we are starting on based around the story of Lazarus. I've no idea what character I'll be playing yet, and I'll get my first look at the script tonight too. Thankfully, we don't have to learn the lines by heart as we have them pinned up behind the screen - he he!
Before I go, here are two close ups of my best pals, taken in the conservatory yesterday....
....my big soldier, Thomas, and the little madam herself........
.....big nose...er...I mean Tara! They both loved being in the conservatory with me yesterday. I had the door open and they were happily wandering in and out of the garden secure in the knowledge that I was keeping an eye on them!
And, just to finish, I thought it would be fun to add a new element to my blog posts. So, this occasional feature is called "This time last year...". I like to look back at photos for the same date from a year ago to see what I was up to, what the garden looked like, anything interesting (or not!), so here is a picture from this date in 2013.....
....a huge crow that visited the bird table in the front garden (well, under the table really) and spent quite some time picking out crumbs from between the gravel. I love these massive birds with their imposing beaks as they are surprisingly shy considering how powerful they are.
So, next time I post I'll share a photo from "this time last year" - if there is one of course!
Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

What a difference a year makes

Evening folks, I hope everyone's had a day as sunny and warm as here on the Fylde coast. It's been beautiful, as my two terrors will attest....
 unlike this time last year, when we looked out on this.....
....gosh, what a difference from one year to another! 
Today I was looking across the fields at the deer trotting around under blue skies and listening to the birds singing their hearts out. Lovely.
My trip to Time 2 Craft in Chesterfield was very enjoyable and I had a very busy day there. Hello to all the ladies (and one or two men!) who I met on Saturday and hope you are all getting on well with your WRMK punch boards and Sizzix dies.
As per usual, my table was a total mess by mid afternoon! But at least it's a creative mess!
This was one of the projects I made using a Sizzix Dena DesignsThinlits die "Rosettes". It makes three different rosettes, each being made up from small strips that are stuck end to end...this is great as it allows you to make the rosettes as full as you wish. Also an advantage for anyone without long cutting plates too.
I used all three styles of rosette to adorn a simple Spring wreath. I used Graphic 45 Sweet Sentiments papers throughout. Here's a close up of the lovely Victorian style papers....
I was also using another Thinlits die, the Milk Carton Box, which is really cute and dinky.....
When I was setting off on my journey home I thought I must take a snap of another great station statue. This one is of George Stephenson of Rocket fame....
.....fantastic statue.
Well, this is not the longest post as I'm determined to relax in front of the Great British Sewing Bee now....although I find that it does make me feel quite stressed just watching all those zips, pleats and darts!
To end though, I thought you might enjoy these pictures of Princess Tippy Toes aka Tara, who was lounging on her favourite chair the other evening with gay abandon.......
....she looked rather indignant when she saw that I was taking her photo though.....

....what a little comic!
I'll sign off for now then and will share more makes next time.

Friday, 7 March 2014


Just a very quick post before I set off for Chesterfield! Tomorrow I'll be at Time 2 Craft in Staveley, Chesterfield - my first time at this store, so I'm looking forward to seeing lots of new faces.
I have plenty of dimensional samples to show...birdhouses, teacups, window boxes and floral wreaths to name a few! I have my inks and stamps packed too, as well as a range of the WRMK punch boards, so it will be a fun day with lots to see. 
I have to get there first though, so I've been flexing my muscles to cope with the ridiculously heavy case that I'll be toting around as well as the shoulder bag containing, amongst other things, a large shoebox filled with squashable samples!
So, hope to see some of you there and I'll share photos once I get back.

Monday, 3 March 2014

I think Spring is here!

It's a glorious day here on the Fylde, so I hope you're enjoying decent weather wherever you are...I think we deserve some warm, sunny days now. Today was my day to spend with Heather, visiting our mum and then doing some grocery shopping in the village. We each had a wrap for lunch and, when Heather left, I decided it was too nice a day not to make a start on the garden, so I've just come in after a couple of hours of rather random tidying. Random because, yet again, the garden has got away from me and it's a formidable task to get it back into some sort of shape. So it's just been a bit of hoeing here, pulling up some weeds there and a bit of pruning in between. Barely any difference if truth be told, but it feels nice to have made a start. Thomas and Tara really enjoyed being outdoors with their mum too! I'm still plucking up the courage to use the new lawnmower though!
I'd like to say that my garden is full of colour like this....
 ...but that is the annual carpet of crocusses...crocii (?)  that St Chad's church in Poulton is famous for. They are glorious and draw visitors and their cameras from far and wide!
I left the beautiful flowers in Poulton behind on Friday when I travelled up to Beverley ahead of my demonstration the following day at Studio Craftique in Hessle. My journey was delayed due to an "incident" on the line - yet another person had chosen to end their life in front of a train. I say "yet another" because it seems to be happening more and more and is a tragic reflection of the pressures of modern life. Very sad.
When I changed trains at Hull I was met by this character in the station......
....a statue of the poet Phillip Larkin. It's a very lively statue with the figure looking as if he is just dashing for his train like the rest of his fellow passengers.
Whilst in Beverley I managed to take a look around both St Mary's church and the vast Minster which is just awe inspiring. It's almost impossible to imagine the time, labour and skills that went into creating these astonishing buildings.
Even the organ pipes were most beautifully and elaborately painted and adorned.
Well, after an evening in Beverley it was time for a good night's sleep before going along to Hessle and Studio Craftique where I soon got set up for a busy day.
I was working with Ink Effects and So Soft paints from DecoArt as well as Doo Lally Pip and Dylusions stamps, Fabrico pens, Tim Holtz fabrics and Sizzix dies - great fun! Here's the completed tote bag that I showed you a sneaky peek of last week....
....I used the So Soft range to paint over the stamped images and Fabrico pens to add extra details and the wording. All the mediums used are fully machine washable...and I've really tried and tested their durability which is second to none.
Another tote bag, but this one featured leaves which I painted through a Crafter's Workshop stencil, framing a hessian panel that I'd appliqued two kooky birds onto (Sizzix Bigz die Birds # 3). I cut the birds from Tim Holtz fabric and felt and sewed them with a small zig zag stitch onto the hessian. I love the birds die. They are such simple, yet effective characters.
I made good use of the cards that I'd prepared a couple of days before and which I showed in my last post. I simply machine stitched a selection of hessian and plain and patterned fabrics onto Kraft card blanks so that I could paint them on the day. This one was fun to do!
I stamped the "behatted" skull, from Dyan's "Day of the Heads" set, onto the hessian using black Archival ink and then painted it with So Soft colours. When dry, I added details using a black Fabrico pen.
Here are three more cards made in the same way......
....everyone seemed to like this simple, yet effective, technique. To paint over the patterned fabric (see flowers on the centre and right hand cards) I used the So Soft Ultra White which is great for working over dark colours (or patterns) as it gives great coverage. It's useful as a base coat for other colours too, so you could paint a pale pink over a dark blue fabric by applying the Ultra White first. 
Well that's a brief round up of my weekend! Tomorrow I'll be getting things ready for next Saturday's day at Time 2 Craft in Chesterfield. I have some new Susan's Garden flower dies to get to grips with. They are very relaxing to make though, so I shall enjoy listening to a radio play whilst I cut and shape the petals.
Meanwhile, after the glorious day, it is getting very chilly now, so I am going to put the heat on for a while and then take a nice hot shower to warm up before dinner. Pasta tonight, nice and easy.