Welcome to the blog for Ali's Craft Studio by Alison Lloyd. I am a crafter of peelable stained glass designs & handpainted keyrings and I look forward to sharing with you my news direct from Kent (the Garden of England)

Make sure you visit the shop at www.studiocrafts.net to purchase your own handmade decorations to bring fun and colour into every corner of your home

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Disappointed and Enlightened - A week of extremes

Last Saturday we decided to support our local Primary School and take a stall at their Spring Craft and Gift Fair - it was only on for three hours and the stall prices were very reasonable so I booked two stalls to ensure that we had the display space required.

I asked and was placed in front of a window so my designs could be shown off in their full glory with sunshine streaming through.

All was going well - a couple of small sales early on and then.... NOTHING!

There was hardly any support from the school children or, it seems, their families!  It was very quiet and those who did venture into the hall just weren't buying - I guess they thought the 50p admission fee was enough to boost the schools funds!  

It was a tragic and disappointing day - I was upset that our day ended in a loss (plus now has - and hopefully keeps - the dubious honour of being the worst sales total we have ever had), but disappointed that the pupils/parents didn't seem interested in taking an hour or two out of their day to try to ensure that the funds were healthy enough to do all those lovely things that schools do for their pupils as little extras throughout the year.  I feld desperately sorry for the people who had taken the time to organise what could have been a great event to see such a poor turnout.

Fortuntately, Sunday showed how a community can come out in force and support local events.  We travelled to Hove (nr. Brighton) to an Olde English Fayre which was held in a small community park.  We set up our gazebo along with around half a dozen others dotted around, some carboot style jumble stalls, children's make & take stalls, a spinning demonstration and a few others thrown in for good measure.  The park was obviously open for people wandering through during the set up procedure which always makes for a fun time and I worried that there didn't seem to be many people around.

12 o'clock arrived and a brave (or maybe foolhardy would be a better description bearing in mind the hot weather) group of guys in chainmail and full regalia arrived to officially 'open' the fayre.  And boy, did the people come out!  It was busy right throughout the day (OK not everyone was buying but there were enough people there to ensure that we made good sales).  What a difference a day makes!

I did, however get to play with my new gridwall display (and forgot to take a photo!!) which worked really well - we are slowly getting used to setting things up differently but I am sure it won't be long before it is all second-nature again.

This coming Bank Holiday weekend we have a three-day show so I hope that it puts us back on track!  More details on the events page of my website - http://www.studiocrafts.net/

I have also recently made contact again with someone I used to be good friends with 'back in the day' (before the grey hairs starting appearing and lines on my face were only due to too much laughing!) and it was quite horrifying to realise that it is 21 years since we last saw each other (how can that be, I am sure I have a way to go before I reach my 30th birthday!)  Where does the time go???   We were housemates not long after I moved from Yorkshire to London and I was very sad when he had to return to his native Canada.  In my mind, I don't feel that different to how I was then but when I was trying to fill him in on 20+ years it soon dawned on me how similar now and then are to the proverbial chalk and cheese - we are both married, him with a family and it seems strange to think how much time moves on without you really paying that much attention to it.  It was only when I started writing down what had happened in my life and reading about his life since we were last in touch that I realised this.

So, from today - I vow to try not to let life pass me by, to sometimes take time to 'stop and smell the roses' and appreciate all the wonderful things I have!  I hope you do the same...

Take time to stop and smell the roses...

Oh and John, if you happen to read this - I am so happy that we are in touch again!!  I have really missed your friendship - you are a great guy so take care, eh! (as they say in Canada!)

Hope you all have a great week  x

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

New Display Panels

This weekend will see a change to the Ali's Craft Studio stall....

I have bought some new display panels to replace the rather old and tired pegboard panels which have seen me through the last 2 years - kindly donated by Mum & Dad who used them during their own craft fairs years ago, so I think they have served us all well! I will be keeping hold of them so they won't be disposed of just yet.
The new display is metal gridwall which should be a lot sturdier on outdoor shows as the wind can blow through them so they shouldn't be at risk of being blown over (which has happened on more than one occasion with the pegboard!) and are much more waterproof than the wooden ones.

All going well so far....  well, it is never that easy!  The panels come in a variety of sizes - all 2ft wide and starting at 4ft tall.  Not a problem, I thought.

That is, until I measured our trusty little car and found that 4ft panels won't fit!   So, out comes the old (very old!) hacksaw to try to cut around 6 inches off the top of each panel.  Two hours later and one board cut, the three remaining ones looked very ominous in the corner of the room!   I suddenly started to wonder if this was a good idea after all!  After a snapped hacksaw blade and a very aching arm, I managed to cut through the second panel on the following day (two in one day just seemed way too much!).

I decided to ask our neighbour (who enjoys doing up old, bashed up cars) if he had a better hacksaw he could lend me (rather than the old, rusty one I had been using) and literally, five minutes later, he delivered two perfectly cut panels back to me - he had an electric saw!!!!  Thank God for great neighbours!!

I will try to take some good pics of the stall with the new display panels in place this weekend - I will be at our local primary school on Saturday for a few hours and Stoneham Park in Hove on Sunday for our first outdoor show of the year - fortunately it does look like the weather is going to be kind to us on this occasion.

It hasn't all been work-related here this week, though.   Yesterday, one of our cats came in from the garden and seemed to be struggling to keep his eye open - I managed to wipe around it with some eye wipes (for cats) and felt around for any swelling and all seemed OK other than he couldn't open it properly - not normally too major a problem unless you only have one eye in the first place!

As Blinky and his sister were both rescue cats, we don't know how his other eye was damaged - it was removed when he was checked out after being found abandoned on a golf course - but it doesn't usually slow him down at all.  Yesterday, however, he bumped and bashed his way around until finally making his way slowly to the bed he has commandeered as his own to go to sleep it off.   I think it must have been simply a case of getting some dust or dirt in it as he is fine this morning (thankfully!) - I had visions (pardon the pun) of an unexpected trip up to the vets!

Hope you all have a good week and remember to be careful - as Blinky demonstrated yesterday, it is important to look after what you maybe take for granted.


Quick Update

Just thought I would do a quick update to let you all know what has been going on here - especially as I haven't posted any blog entries for a while!

It has been a pretty full on couple of weeks making stock after a busy weekend at the Spring Garden & Leisure show at Ardingly Showground at the beginning of the month - absolutely rubbish weather but fortunately as our stall was inside the Norfolk Pavilion, people were encouraged to come in to escape the elements!

The following week, we had a charity fair for The Horder Centre in Crowborough.   One of the really great things about crafting is the ability to help wonderful charitable causes whilst also introducing my craft to a new audience.  Again, the weather was not in our favour which in this case I am sure actually kept people at home so we weren't as busy as we could have been.   The event was opened by Kim Woodburn of 'How Clean is your House?' and 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!' fame and she spent some time going around the stalls with her husband.  We had quite a long chat about my peelable stained glass - she was either very impressed with the concept or an exceptional actress!!  She did also take a card with her so you never know....  I have, after all, made a sale to Leila Morse (Mo in Eastenders) so I am already supplying to celebrities!!

Watch this space....

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Bye Bye Hours of Entertaining!

Isn't technology a wonderful thing - until it goes wrong!   My hubby and I record lots of our favourite programmes on the fantastic SKY+ box and then have mammoth viewing sessions to catch up on all the episodes of our favourite programmes such as Bones, Criminal Minds, 24, Brothers & Sisters and such like...

Entertainment for all the family

Having both been working all hours lately we were starting to hit a bit of a problem with only 1% of space left!   Fortunately, after watching a few of the programmes that I like but hubby isn't too bothered about, I was thrilled to get it back to 15% - more than enough for the weekend's programmes when we will be out at fairs.

However, yesterday the TV was not happy - the sound and pictures were jumpy and I kept getting error messages saying there was no signal getting to the box.  I turned it off, then on, then off, then on again all to no avail.  So a call to tech support was required.  Fortunately, I got through to one of the most wonderful and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure to speak to (thank you Sarah Jane!!) who spent over an hour working through every possible fix to see if we could sort it out - it improved for a while but then was back to the jumping and error messages (her notes extended to over 2 pages she told me; there were more error codes on there than you could shake a stick at!)

Eventually it was decided that a service engineer would have to be called out and possibly the box would have to be changed.  But what about my hours and hours of recorded programmes?  There is no way we can watch them all before the engineer comes on Tuesday!  Well, I had no need to worry about that - somewhere during the many reboots/rebuilds, they were all wiped!

Oh, no - I had to break the news to my hubby (it is a bit of a running joke between us that he would record the test page if it was still in existance!!)  fortunately, he was very understanding so I needn't have worried.   So now we need to try to see how many episodes are available online and decide whether to try watching them there or wait for the inevitable repeats!!

Roll on Tuesday - watching programmes is really frustrating when the picture freezes at those tense moments!  Boy, you only realise how much you rely on something when it isn't there anymore, don't you!