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, 28 July 2010

Birthday Celebrations

If you read my last blog entry, you will know that last week was my hubby's birthday and we were heading up to Yorkshire for a brief visit to celebrate with the family.

Well, a wonderful time was had by all.   The drinks and conversation was flowing, the food was fab and the company even better!

Great company is the perfect recipe!

We had a great meal at Table Table in the new Gateway Plaza in my hometown of Barnsley, South Yorkshire - if ever you are in the area, do try it out!  The meal was great and very reasonably priced (so we could have more wine!!)

As you would expect from such a momentous occasion, the conversation was sensible (ish), restrained (not) and in no way did I inhale all the helium from the balloon to do my own squeaky rendition of Happy Birthday!!  (I'll get my coat...)

Phil and his cake with five candles
Phil, myself and 'that' balloon
So, the secret is out - my husband has reached his half-century but still isn't above balloons, party poppers and, of course, a cake with candles.   

As it was a Friday evening and the Barnsley Fire Brigade may have been having a busy time of it anyway, it was decided to limit the candles to a more respectable five and avoid risk of serious injury to ourselves and all the other diners that evening!

The Mums enjoy an evening tipple
Even the weather Gods were kind - we were able to sit in Mum's garden sipping bubbly (just a normal Friday then!) before leaving for the restaurant and also on Saturday morning before everyone headed home in the afternoon following a cooked breakfast which would rival any hotel!


Mental note, skin which hasn't seen the sun for a long time burns really quickly!  Ouch - as my shoulders are normally covered when outside at craft fairs (nice tan on the lower arms though) but were exposed last weekend, I now have some very burnt shoulders!!!

Thank you again to everyone who gathered for Phil's birthday and to Mum for making all the arrangements - it was a great weekend and, most importantly, Phil really enjoyed it too!

Cutting the Cake - Happy Birthday Darling!!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Another week... Another story!

Let me start by saying that I LOVE animals - all sizes, all types, I just love them all!  Well, when I say all I have to exclude one of God's little creatures - MOTHS!  They terrify me!  They should not be able to fly around - they are made of dust for heaven's sake!!  What are they for other than to come after me late at night when I am safely in my home????

Last week was, as you know, a bit of a 'mare here at Chez Ali's Craft Studio and was topped off by my encounter with Godzilla (the moth).  The size of a small vicious dog (OK, so I may have exaggerated a little here) it held me to ransom in my own home!!  I swear that moths watch me like dust-filled, winged CCTV cameras before dive-bombing my head for fun! 

So, my encounter with Godzilla was as follows... 

I was about to get into my lovely comfortable bed but needed to go into the bathroom first and... there he was, above the toilet door, watching me (I am not lying when I say he moved round as I walked towards the door to watch me move!)  I couldn't not go in to the toilet (I will skip a minute of the story here...) so with all the bravery of an ancient gladiator about to face the lions den, I went in and came out again (after doing what I needed to do - in the aforementioned skipped minute) to creep slowly towards where my husband was already tucked up in bed.  All was reasonably calm until...
Godzilla attacked!   He came at me with gay abandon as I ran like a poor-man's version of Usain Bolt into the bedroom!   Hubby was happy (!!?) to get up and help his damsel in distress (he didn't bother with full shining armor and white horse as it all seemed a little extreme and his shorts were closer to hand)   "Tell me, damsel in distress," he said "where is this monster?  Take me to him and I will slay him and save you!"  (Or words to that effect)

Well, there was a problem now - Godzilla was on the move and nowhere to be found!   After a thorough (aka quick look behind the curtains and light fittings) search, my knight in shining armor shorts declared "I can't see it - it must have left!"  What did it do?  Open the door????

I did not sleep well that night - I could feel the beady eyes of Godzilla watching me from his hideout, waiting to attack.   My normally brilliant stealth hunters were not much use either - both were fast asleep and had no interest in my plight! 
Halftime Score: Me: Terrified - Godzilla: Laughing

I will let you know the final outcome of the Godzilla battle shortly (nothing like building the tension!) but I want to fast forward a little to this week which has been very different indeed.

I know that you have all been losing sleep holding candlelit vigils for my toe (much appreciated) Well, your prayers and messages of love have not been in vain.  I told my toe about how everyone was wishing it well and it responded!   After a couple of days of snake-like skin shedding, it is now much better and well on the road to full recovery.  Thank you all!

This past weekend has been really fun - two fairs, one a bi-annual one so very well supported with lots of great stalls and events and hallelujah Great Weather!  The second one was my idea of heaven - a Rare Breeds animal event!  The whole event was simply brilliant with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, cows, alpacas, rabbits....  The dulcet tones of all those animals in one place was amazing! (I told you I love animals).

Happy Birthday Darling!
This coming weekend is a little different for me - no fairs at all!!  

Friday is my wonderful husband's birthday and we are having a family gathering (all 8 of us!!) in Yorkshire to celebrate.  So we will be travelling to stay with my Mum and I can't wait to have a really great evening out with everyone.  (Will let you know how it goes at a later date!)  It is very unusual not to have a fair and it feels a little strange but we have a run of some of our bigger events coming up over the coming weeks and so it won't be long before the chaos starts again.

So, back to the epic battle between myself and Godzilla...

A couple of days passed without seeing the beast and even I was starting to think that he had opened a window, let himself out and closed the window again.... All was well until...

One night, I was in the spare room as hubby had gone to bed early and I didn't want to disturb him.  There is a window above the bed head and Misty was entertaining herself with some poor insect on the windowsill.   This time, however, she didn't get bored like she normally does and I started to wonder if I was ever going to get any peace.  In a moment of amazing brilliance (ahem) I didn't turn the light on as thoughts of Godzilla were still in my mind.  So, using the faint green glow of the alarm clock light, I tried to see what she was chasing AND THERE HE WAS, in full monster glory on the window frame!  What do I do?? 

And don't come back!
Well sometimes, sisters have to do it for themselves and with remarkable bravery (even if I say so myself) I managed to get the window open and boot Godzilla outside!!   I can only hope that he goes with tales of the horror house with the big, black, furry beast who attacks moths and tries to eat them - other moths beware!

FINAL SCORE: Me: Alive   Godzilla: Gone!!

The house feels so much bigger now that our lodger has moved out and this week so far has been a marked improvement on the last!  

As they say in the song...  "What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours..."
OK hands up - who is singing the song now??  Tee Hee!!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

What a week so far... Whatever Next?

I feel like I have come back from a big void without access to the Internet, problems with SKY (again) and a feeling of what can go wrong, will go wrong!  It is amazing how much you miss the Internet when it isn't there anymore.  The past couple of days have definitely been a case of 'Whatever Next??!'
Whatever Next????

Yesterday, our wireless router decided it didn't want to route anymore (guess the hot weather disagrees with electrics too!)  All was fine in the morning but when I went to check my e-mails at midday.... nothing!

Sometimes the router gets knocked offline by other wireless equipment in the area so a restart isn't uncommon but yesterday after the fifth or sixth restart, reboot, reset and any other re- you could think of it became pretty clear that all was not well.

A call today to tech support at the ISP created more questions than answers (not their fault) as the router appeared to be working and connecting to their server but it wasn't sending the connection to our laptops!  Was it something I said?  I try to be kind to our equipment and talk sweetly to it when it appears a little under the weather but this blatant snub was more than a little frustrating!

To cap it all, this was the last of a run of bad luck - my SKY+ remote died last week (have you ever tried to watch SKY properly without a remote??) and a call to their customer services (??!) resulted in a frustrating morning trying to get a replacement from them.  Finally they agreed but it wouldn't be with me until today - a whole 8 days from the day I called!!  Still, at least the chappy on the phone was kind enough to inform me in great detail about the weather in India so maybe all the money I spent on the call wasn't wasted after all (@@!*!$%) 

I have been like a teenager on Valentine's Day ever since - running expectantly to the door when the postie arrives but every day was a disappointment.  Well, I could take it no more and called SKY again today to find out when this elusive plastic answer to my dreams would arrive.  

Today's calls went as follows:
  • Call 1 - through to a nice lady in Scotland who couldn't understand either why the remote had taken so long to arrive.  I was put on hold so she could investigate.  A couple of minutes later : cut off!! AAARGGH!
  • Call 2 - back to India (no weather report this time so don't ask) to be told that the remote control order had been cancelled as there was no warranty on this piece of equipment - even though, as I gently(ish) pointed out - it was less than 1 month old!!  Solution - I could buy myself a new one for £25!!!   Needless to say, this customer service representative probably now wishes he worked for someone else and that someone else had the pleasure of answering my call!!   A 15-minute rant about what I thought of their company and service seemed appropriate (oh, yes I forgot to mention that I was told that I could contact Customer Relations if I wanted them to override the cancellation - but wait, you can't phone them - you can write to them!) Result: Total frustration, anger and stomping like a toddler around the front room!
Did I mention that the remote control for our TV also doesn't work properly???  There was a lot of getting up and down just to change the volume, change channels, etc. recently - well, actually that isn't strictly true - it was more watching crappy programmes because they followed what we had been watching but just couldn't be bothered to get up and crawl infront of the telly again to find something else to watch.

To cap it all off, I also have a very painful toe at the moment - probably caused by the heat - I won't go into details but it is agony  and not very pretty to look at and definitely not helped by the toddler-tantrum-stomping this morning! (it is infact the most painful toe in the world as I keep telling my husband but he doesn't believe me and thinks I am over-reacting! HMPHF, the very cheek of it!)    I decided that God was against me this week and going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head seemed a good solution!  But then I would probably stub my toe on the bed leg and suffocate knowing my current run of luck!

And so to this afternoon....   I tried to turn the TV off using the broken TV remote - and it worked - twice (I had to have another go just incase it was a fluke)!  So, a challenge had been laid down - two more to go - well, can you believe it, the SKY one followed suit!

Surely, the Internet couldn't suddenly start working too, could it?   Well, as I am able to get online to post this, I guess the answer is clear!  Yes it could!!!  The toe doesn't seem to want to join in this miraculous regeneration but I guess I can live with that for now. (Still the most painful toe in the world....)

So, my message to the Little Devil who has been screwing with the electrics in our house for the past week, wherever you are, listen up...it was a funny joke for a while but seriously - stop it now!!

In anticipation of hopefully not being thrown into the cut-off-from-the-big-wide-world void again tomorrow, I will sign off before everything goes caput again!!

Surely this week has to get better (doesn't it??)....