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

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Giving Back with Crafts

OK, lets get this out of the way first - today has been hot, sunny and reminiscent of the summer of 1976 (those of you who weren't born then... keep it to yourself, I feel old enough without you reminding me thank you very much!!)   So top of most people's list of things to do today probably weren't what I was doing - sitting (or rather melting) on our stall inside a shopping centre under a glass, yes I repeat... GLASS roof!   I dread to think what the temperature was but I half expected someone to come along and baste us every now and again then declare that we were done!  Needless to say, hubby and I were not in the best of moods at the end of it especially as 1. I had a stonking migraine; 2. Hubby doesn't do indoors hot; 3. Neither, it seems, do customers!

Can you believe that it was just one week ago that I was preparing to spend the rest of my life in the middle of a muddy field as getting out in our little car seemed a bridge too far!!  How quickly does it flip on its head!!   Maybe we could have some happy medium sometime (preferably on a weekend when I am due outdoors - sunny, not too windy and pleasant to be out in - really, is it asking too much?)

Anyway, you win some, you lose some and I am not here to bemoan sunny days - if we had been outdoors we would have been joyful for the sunshine and (are you listening weather Gods?) I am praying for a lovely weekend next weekend as we are at a free festival in an outdoor marquee and when it is sunny, it will be busy with lots of happy people (hopefully in the mood for spending!).  Yesterday I was on the market and it was lovely and I had a great day so overall the weekend was good.

So, it is Handmade Monday time again so I thought I would look at how craft can be used to give something back to worthy causes.   I currently have three items where donations from each sale are used to raise money for others.

These are (click on any image to see full details in the Ali's Craft Studio online shop):

1. Poppy - the one I am really proud of.  I donate part of the sale price of each of these poppies to the Royal British Legion.  In my mind one of the most worthy of causes.  I am proud to say that the cheque I send to them increases each year & I hope this trend continues...  Hubby also proudly displays one of these around Remembrance Day in his taxi.

2. Avro Vulcan - Not everyone's cup of tea but if you have ever had the privelige of seeing this magnificent machine in the air, you would want to keep the last flying example of the Vulcan fighter in the sky.  Again, a donation from each sale goes to the Vulcan to the Skies fund which raises the thousands of pounds required to keep flying.   (As a footnote, if you haven't seen and heard a real Vulcan you have the chance - weather permitting - to do so at the Shoreham Airshow where we will have a stall on 20th & 21st August.   A fantastic opportunity which isn't to be missed as who knows how many more flights will be possible!)

3 & 4 - Awareness Keyrings.   Currently I have one for Breast Cancer and one for AIDS Awareness with donations to the relevant charaties (Cancer UK & the Elton John AIDS Foundation).  There are lots of awareness ribbons and I am happy to create and donate to any given charity if someone has a preference.
It isn't a lot but I feel proud that my creativity can contribute a little to these charities and hopefully help someone else in need.   Maybe one day I will be in a position to do more but for now I will do what I can.

There are, of course, other ways to help - stall fees at fundraising events, percentages of sales given in donations, etc. are some of the other methods of giving back.

Hope you all have a great week and don't forget to head on over to Wendy's blog to see what other creative things people have been up to this week. 

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud...

... Nothin' quite like it for coolin' the blood, so follow me follow, down to the hollow, and there we will wallow in Glorious Mud!

Mmmm, mud...  Nice for piggies, maybe not for fairs!
Well thats how the song goes but I think it gives a slightly off-kilter view of what it really is like when, thanks to the rather dubious combination of two days of pretty solid rain plus something like 800 Land Rovers frequently driving over the same areas of field.  Want to know what glorious mud looks like?   The reality is infact...

Mud so deep (these were taken directly outside the craft tent we were in and still don't really show the true extent of how bad it was!) that we couldn't get our little car anywhere near and had to be ferried with our boxes up to the car park which had fared a little better due to less movement of vehicles during the day.

Sadly, this also meant the show was quieter than perhaps it ought to have been had the weather been kinder on Saturday (although as it was mainly for the Land Rover enthusiast we are talking about a more specialised market anyway so lower numbers than you might see at a more general event) and we spent much of today fretting about whether we would infact ever get out and if we needed to quickly knock up some 'change of address' cards to read 'We have now moved to... the middle of a mud pit'!

As I mentioned, this was a specialised show and me being me, I had to have a bash at joining in and created a couple of Land Rovers to see if they would sell (I am always nervous trying to please enthusiasts of any genre as they really will notice and point out any mistakes or moments of 'artistic licence!)   Well, I think they worked as, despite planning to sell one and keep the other to show and take orders of, the both sold within the first hour of opening.   Fortunately, I had created some posters showing the new designs and I did get some orders from these alone.  These will be appearing on the website soon and are priced at just £6.99 + P&P.

I also decided to create some keyring inserts (just incase) with this picture on one side and 'I Love Land Rovers' on the other and had a flurry of sales of these on the first day (hurrah!)  Ironically, after printing more on Saturday night to make sure I wouldn't run out on Sunday, I didn't have any sales of these on day two!!   Amazing how often that happens!!

So, after spending the weekend wading through mud, I now have two pairs of matching 'mud' brown shoes and two pairs of trousers with beautifully colour-coordinated 'mud' brown cuffs!   I planned on trying to brush off the dried mud but am starting to think a hammer and chisel might be called for!!   Oh the joys of it all - I think there are still shoes under there but I haven't really seen them courtesy of their new mud coating for a few days...

Next weekend is back to concrete underfoot and even for one of the days I have the luxury of an indoor event - what will I do, I am beside myself with glee at the prospect of just one week without Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

Hope you have had a great, mud-free weekend.  Do make sure you head on over to Wendy's blog at 1st Unique Gifts for this weeks Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to...

Oh, and incase you were worried, we did make it out alive thanks to the help of the wonderful marshalls and their Land Rovers (which, don't be fooled folks, do get stuck in mud too!) and we have put the 'We Have Moved' cards on hold - for now at least!

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Joy of Fairs

Today is Monday (just) and therefore Handmade Monday over at Wendy's blog.   I missed my entry last week as I had a weekend show and was quite simply knackered and my brain went into shutdown mode so the connection between thought and keyboard were sadly missing.  However, I am back on track now and so please do go along to see what everyone has been up to.

So, what does the title of this blog mean?   Well on Saturday we had a stall at a lovely local Summer fair which consisted of the usual mix of trade and charity stalls as well as a great classic car show.   What I discovered over the course of a day was the following:
  1. Having stalls around a central 'arena' where all the activities take place is a great layout and helps give a wonderful atmosphere.  We are lucky to do a few outdoor shows with this type of layout and it means that everyone has a great day - visitors and stallholders alike.
  2. Dog shows are the best!   So many cute and cuddly dogs and the puppies just melt your heart!   What a fantastic end to the day to see dogs behaving very naughtily and owners looking terribly embarrassed indeed!
  3. 'We Have a Winner'  Are the four most annoying words to have shouted (oh and I mean shouted) repeatedly from the stall alongside you in their vain attempts to try to get the attention of visitors!!  (Perhaps there will be a future post entitled - 'The worst thing about being next to a tombola stall!')
  4. You should not attempt 'Zumba' in hot sunshine when the person demonstrating it is a young, fit guy who looks like he can Zumba for days without losing his smile or slowing down a pace.   A few people who thought it would be good fun to have a go and join in with this new dance/fitness craze but after song no. 2, the beetroot faces and heavy sweats were rapidly being overtaken by looks of panic and those sideways glances that we all know are sly attempts to find a way to duck out and sit down without anyone noticing!   After song 5, the St Johns Ambulance attendants were starting to feel like they might suddenly get a rush of business!   Major kudos to the Police officer who (with lots of egging on by colleagues) joined in at the back for a few minutes and gave us all a chuckle.  Not sure how much blackmailing will follow as colleagues were taking photos, no doubt to reappear at the station Christmas party...
  5. Packing up a gazebo, ground sheet and all your gear is sooo much easier when it isn't raining cats and dogs.   The wind wasn't really helping but still so much better than rain...
  6. Standing on uneven ground all day plays havoc with your leg muscles.  Hubby and I felt like we had just run a marathon rather than stood in a field all day. Ouch!
  7. No matter how many fairs you have done, how many times you have set up your stall and display, there is always something new to learn and a new layout idea to discover
  8. However, the real joy of fairs are the people.  All ages, all walks of life - it is a joy (most of the time) to be able to chat and share my work and hopefully make a difference to their lives in some small way. (OK, this sounds very grandiose but it is how you feel at the time)
  9. And finally, I have discovered that rainbows are really popular - everyone loves them and they make people smile.  Maybe its that 'sunshine after the rain' thing or just the combination of colours that does it.  Who knows but everyone seems to love a rainbow...
So it will come as no major surprise that I now have a 'Rainbow Collection' section on my website with everything from actual rainbow designs to stars, bugs and butterflies. 
Rainbow Bugs
Rainbow Stars
Today has been wet, rainy, windy and miserable so if you want to brighten someones day, why not try a rainbow?  Yes, I know the ground needs the rain but it doesn't stop it feeling dull when you look out of your window...

Hope you have all had a fab week and weekend & sorry to everyone whose blogs I can't comment on at the moment - Blogger still has an issue with users being able to add comments to many blogspot sites, lets hope it gets fixed soon...

Right, I'm off to do a bit of Zumba in the garden (or maybe not!)