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, 2 October 2011

Time Traveller?

I love Doctor Who - from childhood memories of hiding behind cushions (if I can't see the monsters then they can't see me) in the Tom Baker/Jon Pertwee era and, now I am a little older and braver, chuckling at the 'grown ups jokes' in the newer Christopher Ecclestone/David Tennant/Matt Smith era this show is a great 'lose yourself for an hour' time in front of the TV on a Saturday evening (or whenever I get to watch it on SKY+).   I have never been one of these people who think that time travel may become a reality (if it does, I am definitely using it to get some help working out what fairs are worth getting out of bed for and what to make each week to satisfy the visitors at each one - and maybe a quick peek at the lottery numbers for the following week!) but recently I am starting to think that maybe I actually have travelled back in time.  Not by much, just a few months - here we are in October but a look out the window and stroll outside and you would be more than a little forgiven for thinking it was perhaps July or August.   Bright sunshine, cloudless blue skies and pavement-melting temperatures!  So, time travel may be a possibility... (Ha - bet you wondered where that was heading didn't ya!)

Riverside in July October!
There are many positives surrounding unexpected good weather - smiling happy people, fresh air, no need for artificially heated rooms and generally feeling much healthier.   However, there are some potential pitfalls - and having booked a fair yesterday taking place in a dimly lit church, the potential for a very quiet day was more than a little concerning - after all, who was going to leave this beautiful weather outside and go indoors to a small fair in a dark church?  I resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to be a very good day but at least I would have a stunning stained glass window to look at...

How wrong I was!   Whilst the show was never exactly packed out, the visitors came and seemed to be ready to buy their Christmas decorations and early Christmas presents and we ended up having a great day.   Whats more, with a 3.30pm finish, we also arrived home with the whole evening ahead of us - a complete luxury!

Thursday was another luxury - our tenth wedding anniversary - so a day off was planned and we decided to head down to the coast on the train.   We started out by going to Arundel for lunch - somewhere we have driven past many times on the way to fairs but never been able to stop.  A riverside cafe was the setting and a quick walk around before heading back for our next train, this time to Portsmouth Harbour and a trip up to the top of the Spinaker Tower where the most amazing views awaited us from the viewing area 100ft in the air.   The lift takes less than a minute but you actually don't feel like you are moving at all.   The photo on the right was taken from Gosport Harbour opposite and shows the amazing structure and cloudless blue sky!   

Spinaker Tower - Portsmouth
We had already decided that we wanted to have our evening meal at a lovely restaurant in Brighton (we went there last year for our anniversary!) so with a little time to kill before our train from Portsmouth to Brighton, a quick trip on the ferry over to Gosport added an extra bit of fun for the day and gave us these amazing views of Portsmouth Harbour opposite.   With this beautiful weather, we couldn't have had a better day out anywhere in the world!

Despite not remembering the name of the restaurant in Brighton (!!) we vaguely remembered that it was close to the theatres so headed in the general direction - after a quick visit to the obligatory amusement arcade, of course!

Finally, we found the restaurant - it is called 'Cote Brasserie' if you are interested (and I can come back to this post when we can't remember next year!!) and it serves the most amazing food at very reasonable prices.  Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

It was a long but really enjoyable day and made even more special by the fact that these days off are pretty few and far between at the moment so it is an absolute joy for us both to spend the day together just relaxing and enjoying ourselves.  And to cap it all, we were treated to the most beautiful sunset too (believe me the photo doesn't do it any justice at all!).

Sunset over Brighton beach
So, Christmas selling has very much started and with some really big shows coming up, I am trying to build up a good stock of both new and very popular designs.  One of the newbies for this year is this quirky Santa and Rudolf design which I hope will become a new bestseller!

New for Ali's Craft Studio 2011 - Santa and Rudolf - a new bestseller??
One thing I have noticed  in the years I have been selling is the dilemma of a customer buying a design as a present and struggling to decide upon the right design/colour to suit someone elses taste.  So, on went the  thinking cap and I am now selling Gift Vouchers   They can be spent online, at craft fairs or used for mail order sales so the location of the recipient is not an issue.  They are available in any denomination of £5.00 increments and are valid for 12 months after purchase.   Gift Vouchers are available now from our stall at fairs or online here

I have some really busy weeks ahead but have managed to factor in a weekend without fairs to try to do some additional stock building which hopefully will cut down on the number of customer orders required to complete in the lead up to the Christmas break.  Of course, personalised and bespoke orders will still be plentiful but I might be able to stay one step ahead on the regular stuff (wishful thinking??)

Christmas orders have already started coming in and I am able to take orders up until the beginning of December however, after the terrible winter weather and postal problems last year, I really recommend any orders should be placed as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

So, whilst I will try to blog regularly, please forgive me if I appear a little neglectful - I promise it isn't personal!   In the meantime, head on over to Handmade Monday to see what everyone else is up to this week - I bet it isn't just me who is already on the Christmas treadmill!


  1. What a lovely day out for your anniversary - congratulations! Don't work too hard on your Christmas orders - life is for living!

  2. Lovely trip Ali and congratulations on your 10 year land mark, ours was also on Thursday with 32 years under our belts, so you have a way to catch up yet. Lovely to revisit and you packed a lot in in a day.

    Funny about fairs atm, some are picking up and maybe the cool of the hall was a blessing as sure hot outside.

  3. The photograph of the Brighton sunset is lovely Ali. Sounds like you had a great time. Santa and Rudolph look great.


  4. I also used to hide behind the sofa when Dr Who was on, but in the 60's! Love your summery pics and I know how precious those days off together are. You were so lucky with the weather! Love Santa and Rudolf, and your gift vouchers are a brilliant idea x

  5. I think gift vouchers are such a smart idea! You are a genius.
    As for time travel I always think, if it were possible we wouldn't be here because some goofball would have traveled back in time and done some crazy thing and messed up things and erased us all! :)

  6. How lovely to finally get to enjoy some sunshine in October...it's never too late! Sounds like you had a perfect anniversary

  7. I don't know where to start! Happy Anniversary, well done on being so super organised and super busy and superb gift voucher idea! Santa and Rudolph look fabulous as do your photos, phew I think that's everything.

  8. Happy Anniversary - sounds like a great day out and the pics are fab :)

  9. Happy anniversary!

    Those are some stunning photos and truly inspiring.

  10. Congratulations on your anniversary, it looks like you had a great day out, lovely photographs too.
    Your new Santa is lovely and I'm sure he will be a big hit.
    (I'd sneak a look at the lottery too)

    Jan x

  11. Looks like you had a fab time for your anniversary. Thanks for the pics. Thoroughly enjoyed them

  12. beautiful photos1What a glorious day you must have had.


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