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

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A wild day

Almost time for bed, but I've a busy few days coming up so I'm taking the chance to share some photos of a lovely day. Also to say thank you for the lovely birthday cards that I received over the last few days.
Heather had suggested a visit to the zoo - somewhat depending on the weather of course! It was pretty iffy this morning but we decided to brave the showery downpours and go anyway, especially as it was so warm. I spent my last birthday assisting with a funeral so I was looking forward to having a more fun filled day.
Before that I had some parcels to open though,and look how lucky I was.....
 ....the cushion was one that I'd seen and wished I'd bought at the time - when I went back to the store they had all gone but Heather found one at another branch! The gift bag is full of Yankee candles and incense....very relaxing. There's some lovely Champneys goodies too, so the house smells gorgeous one way or another! A special treat is the tag that's tied to the theatre leaflet....it's a "save the date" tag for November when we'll be going to the Grand to see Madam Butterfly.....wow! Heather has never been to the opera and, when I suggested going to see one she really wasn't keen at all so I'm really chuffed that we're now going and I can't wait to see what she makes of it. David and I loved going to the opera, not that we could afford to go too often! Madam Butterfly is one of my favourites and I'll need to take a stack of tissues!
And the boots.....
...check these beauties out!!! Another sneaky gift from my lovely sister.....I'd tried these on when we were window shopping a couple of months ago and I really fell for them but I really couldn't justify buying them. Last time we went to town I saw them again but Heather was being very dismissive of them....turns out it was because she'd already got them for me!
There were treats in store of a different kind when we got to the zoo. Blackpool zoo has a great reputation for its conservation work and the latest success is the very recent birth of two tiger cubs. Needless to say we were hoping we might get a glimpse of them as it's been left up the mother as to if and when she brings them out. We were very lucky and got really close to them and I managed to get some pics and a short video clip....
video
 ....the other cub was in the corner where mum had just plonked him!
Another big highlight was spotting a creature perched rather precariously on a fairly thin branch which I realised was one that I'd wanted to see since reading Gerald Durrell's books many years ago where he described these adorable animals....
video
 ...they're tree porcupines and I just love the waddly walk. They look as if they were made of bits that were left over - a cross between a monkey, a koala bear and a normal porcupine
video
This one did get safely down from the rather spindly tree, though not very gracefully! Here's a close up of another one that waddled into the little cabin that was part of their spacious enclosure...
,,,how adorable is that? A moment after I took the photo he suddenly dropped out of view as he fell over! Not the most elegant creatures but just gorgeous. If you want to see a really cute tree porcupine, check out this video clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMeuwYvlBI0&feature=youtu.be which features a rescued animal from a slightly different species...I almost cried it's so cute!
Not sure if those two videos have uploaded properly so will check tomorrow and try again if they haven't.
Another big thrill was going through the Lemur wood where we had some really close encounters...
 ....they were so nosey and I had to keep a tight hold of my bag to stop them from diving in! Their fur was like thick velvet. Oh my gosh......
....a Ring Tailed Lemur held my hand! By this time my heart was near bursting with all the wonderful encounters! Far too many photos to share (I think I took a couple of hundred!) but we saw just about everything from parrots to penguins, kangaroos to keas, tamarinds to tapirs and everything in between.
Of course,to exit the zoo you have to come through the shop which gave me the chance for a couple more photo ops! With "pith" helmet and a very savage lion........
 ....and then wrestling with an exotic snake!
Heather pointed out that I was right under the security cameras at the time and wondered what on earth the security people would think if they saw me! I was determined to have a bit of fun today though, so I didn't care what I looked like!
It was sad to wave goodbye to the animals but we had been there for about five or six hours! So then it was back to Heather's where we watched a Michael Buble concert that she had recorded followed by a lovely meal of steak, root mash, green vegetables and a mushroom and onion sauce - yummy!
I came home in time to see Alfie Boe performing at the Edinburgh live concert so that was a rather nice treat too!
Tomorrow morning is a slight change from the usual Church service as I'm puppeteering at the last Sunday school of the summer. We're doing a story, a song and the Lord's Prayer - mostly with camels! After that we all rush round to Church in time to take communion and then I'm staying behind to tidy away and set up for the next service. It's a busy day as it's the annual hog roast in the afternoon! It doesn't involve roasting a hog, but there will be lots of food and a really good get together for members of the Church and friends - pity the weather is so unpredictable so we're hoping for a bit of sunshine.
Needless to say this has taken so long that it's now gone midnight and officially the day after my birthday as this is posted! No time tomorrow though as I need to have an early night for an early start on Monday....I have to catch a train at 5.20am....ouch!!! I'm off to two garden centres, Woodthorpe near Alford in Lincolnshire and then, on Tuesday, Brigg, also in Licolnshire. I'm making displays boards for them as well as being there to demo and answer questions of course.
Oh yes....a rather large box arrived late on Friday afternoon which contained all my new Christmas stamp sets! So, I'll be getting cracking with those next week and will share some creative photos for a change once I've made a start! 
I'd better get to bed now - it's 12.40am!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Check this out...

If you have time, please pop over to my sister's blog as she is asking for some suggestions regarding a new venture. Here's the link http://fennedwards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/crafty-call-out.html. My late brother in law, Graham, was an amazing artist who specialised in sculptures, particularly bronzes. Heather and one of Graham's best friends are hoping to cast some pieces from the original moulds but they would also like to create some new pieces and Heather is wondering what might appeal - including things that could be incorporated into altered art or jewellery making for example.
Anyway, if you have any thoughts I know that Heather would really appreciate some feedback. Worth a look just to see some of Graham's fantastic work.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pre supper post

Hello all, just a quick post this evening whist I wait for my supper to finish cooking. I'm having fish tonight and one side dish is some of my freshly picked cherry tomatoes that are roasting in some olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. All the tomatoes are coming along nicely now...
...although I'm more excited about the sweetcorn!
As you can see, there is definitely something yellow going on in there at last! They are all at different heights but most of them are showing signs of fruiting.
Tomorrow I'm off to Church to assist at my first wedding - that sounds very grand but, of course, I'll just be helping out with guests, service sheets etc...not too sure what to expect yet but it should be lovely. I've helped at quite a lot of funerals now so it will be good to be at a happy occasion for once. I know what to wear at the funerals of course, but I wasn't sure about tomorrow. I was told that anything was fine and I could wear something summery and cheerful. So, my new bargain basement Quacker Factory jacket fits the bill (no pun intended!) and I'm teaming it with a dress...something I never usually wear! What do you think?
 The jacket has lovely embroidery and applique that's also on the back....
...shame that my hair will cover most of it! And no, I'm not going to wear my hair up....not with my ears! I'll have to wear the sleeves turned up - being such a shortie, sleeves are always too long on me. And can you believe it cost me under a fiver?!? Yes really!
I wanted to wear my lilac shoes, the ones I showed piccies of two years ago...how scary is that?! However, a couple of months ago one of the heels got a split in it which meant that not only was I a bit lop sided but every step was accompanied by a loud squeak! I didn't really think it would go down well if I was squeaking around Church tomorrow during the wedding so I decided to try and fix the problem today. I used a pointed metal tool to poke cotton wool into the collapsed heel - lots of it! Then I piped glossy accents into the split and left it to set in the sunshine. I'm happy to say that it's worked and I no longer squeak! Is there anything that glossy accents can't do?!
So that this post isn't completely bereft of anything crafty - although cobbling might come under that heading! - here's a picture of what arrived via courier today....
....six boxes filled with assorted bottles of Irresistible sprays from Tsukineko! I had a bit of a play with these sprays at the Stitches trade show back in February but I haven't had any to use since then. Well, plenty in there to work with now - about thirty colours, including white and metallics. They are a little like the Goosebumps sprays that I love using except with great colour as opposed to clear. The spray creates a bumpy texture that will also resist any inking over the top, so there will be some great backgrounds for my Christmas samples I can see. I'll share some pictures once I get going with them.
Well, I'd better sign off before my dinner is burned to a cinder. Then it's an evening of telly for me - Masterchef is the highlight tonight...but will they cook anything as tasty as my Balsamic roasted tomatoes?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A time to work and a time to relax

Hello all. I thought it was about time for a catch up as my last post was over a week ago. It's been lovely having some time off, spent at home but there's no place I'd rather be. Thomas and Tara have been very relaxed too. I guess they sensed I wasn't going trolleying off for a day or two! I think the key to relaxing is to be able to do nothing (or something other than work) without feeling guilty about it. After the pressure to get my new Christmas stamp designs finished I really needed to forget about everything to do with work for a bit.
So, not a lot of creative things to share tonight! Instead, the "holiday" has been made up of all sorts of non crafty things. Last Monday I met my sister, Heather, in town and we had lunch and did some window shopping. I had to return some very pretty shoes....I had only worn them to stroll into the village and the soles fell off! Just my luck!
Tuesday was spent doing some weeding in the garden (where else?!?) and trying out my brilliant purchase from the previous day. It cost all of 99p from Wilkinsons and was a spray trigger attachment for my hose pipe. Whoopie Doo you may say but I have had so much fun trying out all the different settings! Much less wasteful of water too. I did some repair work on the wooden window frames on the outside of the house too, getting the rotten wood out and replacing it with filler. Much more to be done on this front! I spotted two little chrysalises on the window shutters so  I keep checking to make sure they are still safely attached. I think they are Cabbage White's....the ones that have been munching on my Nasturtiums but hey ho!
Wednesday was the day I actually finished reading Life of Pi...it's only taken me about eighteen months on and off!  In the afternoon I headed off to Church to help with a funeral, handing out service sheets, greeting mourners and then helping to tidy the Church afterwards.  It was a particularly sad event and left all of us feeling pretty grim really.
In the evening it was off to the Vicarage for part two of our study course based around Les Miserables. It's proving to be a very interesting course leading to lots of debate. It's good to take one's introspective thoughts and share them with others.
I managed to squeeze in some tennis watching during the week of course, though not as much as I normally do as I didn't want to waste the glorious weather. On Thursday night I watched the film of Life of Pi which I enjoyed enormously and can highly recommend. It's visually stunning, surreal and very thought provoking. Some of my friends and I have decided that we enjoyed watching Les Mis together so much that it would be good to have a film night once in a while, so Life of Pi is going to be our first one. Yes, I know I've just watched it but I need to see film on my own first....I like the peace and quiet so I can concentrate!
Friday was billed as the hottest day of the year so far. It probably was in the south, and especially at Wimbledon, but here on the Fylde coast the Heavens opened and the rain just kept coming. It was definitely a day for staying inside and watching the tennis. Thomas and Tara got very grumpy and agitated at not being able to go out!
On Saturday Heather and I went to visit mum and then called in at the fete that was being held at the neighbouring village Church (part of the same parish as St Chads). It's a pretty small event but it was packed with people enjoying themselves. I won two prizes from my five tombola tickets - a bottle of lager with strawberry flavour and a bottle of non alcohlic wine - both still in the fridge! Later on Heather got a phone call to say she'd won one of the raffle prizes - a nice selection of Champneys Spa products. Must have been our lucky day!
Sunday was Church again of course and I was on duty which I always enjoy. I had to announce the hymns during communion as part of my tasks and I always have to crane up on tiptoes to make sure my voice reaches the microphone on the lecturn! As usual there was coffee after the service and then I scurried home to watch the men's tennis final. I'll admit that I rarely bother watching the ladies final as it's usually a bit of a non event in my opinion - this year's lasted less than an hour! The Federer/Djokovic match was a real nail biter though and thoroughy enjoyable. To think it was a year since this....
...Heather and I had a lot of fun that afternoon watching Andy Murray win!
On Sunday night I was letting the two terrors in at the back door when I heard a very loud fluttering inside the conservatory. This was the source of the sounds....
 ...a beautiful Elephant Hawk Moth. He was huge! You can get an idea of the size in this picture, when he landed on me.....
...mmm....yes....well! I managed to pick him up to get him outside and he felt really strong inside my two hands. I'd have loved to have seen him as a caterpillar as they look really extraordinary. More wildlife reports this evening as I saw a kestrel hovering over the fields at the back of the house - what a treat.
The last few days have been more of the same really....gardening, reading, doing a jig saw (that always feels very decadent!), watching the odd film, having forty winks on the lawn....lovely! I also grabbed a few bargains in the local charity shops, including a gorgeous appliqued white jacket from Quacker Factory that was an absolute snip!
This morning I had my temporary crown removed and my new, permanent one put in.....well, I really  hope it's permanent anyway! Just one more crown to sort out now and then I should be finished with dental appointments - hoorah!
Thank you for the kind comments and emails from everyone regarding both new stamp designs and my decision to knock my other blog on the head and post all my ramblings on just this one - it seems that some of you do enjoy reading my waffle!
Well, I'd better get ready for bo bo's now. I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep with fresh linen on the bed - lovely, what a simple pleasure! I'm still betwixt and between things just now - waiting for my new stamps to arrive so a few more days off still on the cards for me. I'll be posting details next time about where I'm going to be over the coming weeks. Sorry for waffling on! Night all.