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

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Crafters Delight

Yes folks, I have found it!  The one piece of 'kit' that makes life so much easier, you wonder why and how you haven't managed to think of it and use it before!!!

'Please tell us, oh all-knowing one...' I hear you all cry!   Well, it is this...

...wait for it...

Glass clear vinyl sheeting!! (pauses for whoops and hollers)

Yes, I finally managed to get hold of two 3m lengths of clear vinyl sheeting to cover my tables on the many outdoor stalls I have through the year and today was a perfect example of how wonderful it is.   Bromley was a town of all seasons today - sunshine, rain, wind, we pretty much had it all.

However, thanks to the aforementioned sheets, my normally frantic running around covering over stock and trying to deflect rain and drips was absent!   The plastic protected everything from the rain and the wind did not cause the usual whipping up of tablecloths as the plastic hung some way down the front of the table (behind my banners) so the wind couldn't get underneath.

Yes, I realise this is not the most exciting thing for non-crafters or for those crafters who aren't on the craft fair circuit but believe me - if you have ever done a craft fair in a rainy, windy, outdoor location, the joy is palpable!!

Oh yes, and I am pleased to say that on a pretty quiet day numbers-wise (there were a few tumbleweed moments down the High Street today) I didn't do too badly considering!  Tomorrow we are back at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre nr Gillingham, Kent so the plastic sheets can have a well deserved day off as we are indoors.  (I'll be honest, I won't miss the rain and cold plus I can throw in a bit of shopping too!)

If you are in the area and want to come and say Hi and get your Christmas decorations (this is the last trip to Hempstead Valley before Christmas) you can find our stall in the area outside Marks & Spencer.

Hope to see you soon & happy crafting.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Busy Week Ahead

This weekend saw us again at Lancing College in Shoreham, West Sussex at the wonderful Christmas craft fair organised by Woodland Crafts (thank you Paul & Anita!!).  As a maker-only fair, the quality of items on show is truly astounding.

It was a great weekend and we were all extremely grateful that the horrendous weather which was forecast earlier in the week stayed away and we were blessed with two gloriously sunny, albeit cold days.  Whilst we were inside the college, had the weather been as originally forecast with heavy rain and galeforce winds, I am sure that most of the customers would have decided to stay in their warm, cosy homes!

Fortunately, the visitors came out in force and it was great to see lots of regular customers as well as many new ones and I now have a heavy week ahead making up new stock in readiness for my next shows at Bromley Market on Saturday and on Sunday it is our last visit to Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre before Christmas.  (We will be back at Lancing College in 2011 - both in April and October - keep an eye out for dates on the Fairs List of the website)

It is pretty much non stop now until mid-December when I stop my shows for the year (although my online shop is open every day at http://www.studiocrafts.net/) so I anticipate that I will be kept very busy just keeping Christmas stock topped up! 

These peelable decorations are ideal for temporary decorative occasions such as Halloween, Easter and Christmas as they can be stored away when removed and used for many years to come.   What did become apparant this weekend was also how perfect they are as gifts for friends and family across the globe - they are lightweight and easy to post without it costing you a fortune in packaging and postage costs.  I had a number of customers who were purchasing items for sending to Australia this weekend.   Hopefully Ali's Craft Studio will become a well known name down under!

Why not have a look at what is in the shop and get your decorations and gifts sorted out all in one go!  And as there is a set £1.00 postage charge per order to the UK (£4.50 for worldwide orders), you can stock up safe in the knowledge that there is no nasty surprise when completing your order.

It certainly has the right feel for making Christmas related designs - it is soooo cold here now!  I am so glad that I have a heater under my desk to keep me nice and toasty!  So, I guess this is going to a short post as I have to get back and bring to life more snowmen, stars, reindeers and Santas ready for colouring tomorrow.   Stay warm everyone and I hope to see you at a show soon.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The power of electricity

You know how they say, you don't know how much you need something until it is gone?  Well, yesterday, I realised just how much I need electricity in my daily life!   Twice, yes twice, I was thrust back into the dark ages when power cuts struck.

The first one was at lunchtime so at least I could see and the Gods were being kind as I had just finished heating up my lunch in the microwave and sat down to eat it when everything went off.  Now as I have said, it wasn't too drastic as there was plenty of light (apart from the fact I was in the middle of watching a really interesting programme on SKY!) but it was sooo quiet.  I never realised just how much noise the general whirring of equipment made but it was spooky to not have anything.  Even Misty (the cat) was disturbed by the silence.   Thank heavens for battery operated radios!! 

Around 10 minutes or so later, a few beeps indicated that power was trying to come back and very shortly afterwards, the reassuring whirr was back.  All except for the SKY+ box - yes, folks the fun and games started again!!   Anyone who has been following my blog for a while knows my love-hate relationship with SKY+ boxes!!

The ominous red, standby light was on so there was power but after a 10 minute wait for it to settle itself down again, pressing the button on the remote to start it up produced.... nothing! (Visions of all the recorded programmes disappearing again started to form in my mind)

You know the drill - unplug for a short while, leave to let the hard drives to restart, press the SKY button...  Nope, not having it.  Repeat....

Well, after just short of an hour of pleading & cursing, unplugging and pressing the magical green light appeared!!

Fast forward to the evening...

I had decided to go into the craft studio to colour up a few more designs and was literally half way through my three snowmen design (with my loyal helper asleep on the window sill, of course) when POP - we were plunged into complete darkness!

Unusually, there was no moon at all last night so when I say complete darkness I mean it.  I couldn't see my desk infront of me, never mind anything else.   I searched for my mobile phone on the desk by fumbling around and finally found it so could create a little light to move the work off the desk onto the drying racks and safety.   So by the light of the silvery moon pink mobile, I found the camping torch which was fortunately in the porch and very handy and began finding the others which were in a bag by the sofa.   If you have ever had to change batteries in a large torch by torchlight, you will know the fun I had when I realised that half weren't working.   I love candlelight but they are a no-no with two uber-curious cats as it is a major fire risk! (coupled with the fact that I actually don't know where any candles are, but that is beside the point!)

Hubby was still working so I called him to let him know that we were in complete darkness and to be careful on the drive home (I assumed that traffic lights, etc would have been affected too).

Back again to the battery operated radio for a bit of noise (Misty was now following me everywhere as I had the light - Blinky was asleep in his current favourite spot on the top of the stairs and didn't give two hoots!)  then the realisation hit me again that I have the joy of SKY+ standby/restart still to come!

I couldn't make a cuppa, couldn't sit and browse the Internet, couldn't have a shower (we have electric showers) and couldn't even package up my orders for posting as the printer was part way through printing the packing notes when the power went off.  So I found myself sitting cradling my loyal radio staring into space.    It was the most bizarre feeling going into the porch to find absolute, complete blackness outside - it was like the world had disappeared!
One hour later, just as Hubby arrived home, the power finally came back on.   Time to go and reset all the clocks (again), check the timers (again) and find the SKY remote control ready for the battle of wills that is me vs SKY+ (again!)

So, I will never take electricity for granted again and feel like oohing and ahhing every time I turn something on!  (Oh, and just incase you are wondering, I now have torches placed around the house so I don't have that horrible situation again of being plunged into total and utter darkness if it happens again)

I am pleased to confirm that the snowmen are now completely coloured and no longer semi-naked and, of course, available to purchase online now at: http://www.studiocrafts.net/onlineshop/prod_815703-729-Three-Snowmen.html

Have a great weekend everyone - I will be at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in Singleton, near Chichester this weekend for the last time before Christmas so if you are in the area, please come along and say hello.

I'm off now to enjoy the luxury that is being able to make myself a cuppa....