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

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Whooosh!

Well, there goes Christmas for another year.   We spend so long building up to Christmas Day and the big family dinner and then in a blink of an eye, whooosh it is all over!   Next up is the passing of one year and the start of a fresh, new one.

So, hands up - who is still eating turkey in various guises??   I have to confess that I always get a turkey which is way bigger than it really needs to be (I have that recurring nightmare of running out of food - like that is likely to happen!) and by this stage I am beginning to feel that if I never see another turkey in my life, it will be too soon.   However, there will be frozen turkey for some time to come lurking in every corner of the freezer ready to remind me of the gargantuan beast that was Tarquin the 2011 Turkey (hubby and I always call our Christmas turkey Tarquin - don't ask!)

Not Tarquin but probably a close relative...
What I don't understand is why we all buy enough food to feed a small country and spend hours queuing in supermarket aisles waiting for a free checkout when these days the shops are only closed for one day.   Anyone would think that there was a law saying that we were all banned from further food shopping for a month.   Yet, year after year, there we all are - planning a meal with sufficient food to feed an army.  If you think about it all Christmas dinner is is a Sunday roast with hats!  Every year, I vow not to go so mad but every year there I am with the piled high trolley - I can't help myself - its like food shopping tourettes!!

So, here are some of my observations about Christmas...

  1. Why haven't there been any decent Christmas songs that have come out since the 80s? It just isn't Christmas until we have blasted out the old classics from Slade, Wizzard, Wham!, Jona Louie, etc.
  2. Why is it that we eat stuff at Christmas that we simply don't at any other time of year even though it is all still available to buy?  We don't go so mad at New Year. You don't see the same queues and piled high trolleys then and yet most people do something to celebrate - does everyone really go out to eat for New Year or are they simply so stuffed from Christmas that they make do with a smaller feast?
  3. Sitting around the table in cheap, brightly coloured, ill-fitting paper crowns is an absurd thought at any other time of year yet there we all are with bits of fuscia and yellow tissue paper around our heads eating Christmas dinner.  I think it should be a requirement to wear silly hats at the dinner table!  (Come on, get with me on this - we mustn't take ourselves so seriously!  Live a little...)
  4. Sweets apparently don't have the same number of calories at Christmas so you can get away with eating more of them (OK not strictly true but wouldn't it be great if it was!)
  5. Cats just look really confused when humans are sitting around in silly hats playing games and getting more raucous by the minute - to be honest, their routine doesn't change : sleep - poop - sleep - eat - wash - sleep - sleep - poop - wash - eat - sleep (you get the idea)
  6. The house seems warmer at Christmas with a lovely tree in the corner of the room, lights and decorations bringing such colour and warmth to the whole place. OK folks, get ready for the Tip of the Week (nay, month!)...
    Plan ahead now and buy yourself some wonderfully colourful peelable decorations from Ali's Craft Studio Shop to put up after the Christmas decorations are taken down & stop everything looking so bare and dull!  You can even change them throughout the year and have a different look each season!! (Ahem, can you say 'shameless blatant plug'??)
  7. Whilst alcohol is admittedly consumed in epic proportions chez Ali's Craft Studio during the festivities, I am convinced that the number of empty bottles queuing up to be taken to the bottle bank are actually taking part in some experimental overnight breeding program.  It is the only logical explanation - surely we haven't emptied them all!
  8. Buyer Beware - boxes of wine which look amazingly cheap are that cheap for a reason - lesson learned!  (Oh, well at least we theoretically never ran out of red wine and what is left can be used for cooking - or maybe clearing drains???)  
    Tip of the Week 2 (courtesy of Mum!) - Add a generous splash of brandy to your glass of aforementioned wishy-washy drain cleaner red wine...  Instant Sangria!  OlĂ©!
  9. Long shelf lives on food items are a godsend - I used a Christmas pudding and crackers bought in 2010 this year and already have the Brandy Sauce, gravy and stuffing well covered for 2012!
  10. Post-Christmas sales just don't have the thrill they had in the past - there are sales on every week nowadays and that big excitement I remember as a kid going out to the shops in January (or Boxing Day if you were in the market for new furniture - oooh,  remember the big MFI sale adverts and how exciting that was??) is, in my opinion, a big loss.

So there you are, a few of my views of the madness and mayhem that happens each year at Christmas - I would love to hear your own thoughts and experiences...

I hope you all had a wonderful time over the festive break and would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers and followers for making 2011 such a great year with your amazing comments - I love to read them and it does make me feel less like I am talking to myself!

Have a wonderful New Year's eve whatever you are doing - hubby and I are planning a lovely, romantic evening in so that we can start 2012 in the right way and not get ripped off doing so - I hope that we will all be safe, healthy and with the ones we love as we wave goodbye to, what has been for many, a challenging 12 months and say hello to what I hope will be a very successful year.


Right, I'm off to stock up the food and drink cupboards ready for Saturday evening (after all, I don't want to run out of food!) I am praying there isn't a big queue at the supermarket as I have only just recovered from the stress of last week and still have a ton of new turkey recipe ideas to find so that I can do something creative with what is left of this year's feast....  Oh the pressure!  I need a drink....

Monday, 19 December 2011

And So This is Christmas...

... And what have you done?

Well, I have finally finished the craft fair and markets for the year and after just about thawing out now from being on a very cold Bromley High Street last Friday and Saturday, I am happy that the cold hasn't brought on a relapse of my Winter cold!

Christmas is fast approaching and I am now feeling a little more relaxed now that the tree is up and glistening and twinkling in the corner of the living room and the freezer and fridge are stocked ready to be raided over the festive period.   A couple of orders picked up at the weekend need to be done but fortunately these are not for Christmas presents so the pressure is off a little as I am hearing the postal service is particularly slow at the moment which bearing in mind the volume of post which must be winging its way across the country at this time of year isn't really surprising!

So, I have managed to resist turning the house into an offshoot of Santa's Grotto (hubby is good at reigning me in and putting the lid back on the decorations box just in time!) and the cats are slowly getting used to the plethora of cute Christmas animals and toys which seem to pop up at this time of year.  The tree is certainly holding a great fascination with all the shiny 'toys' which dangle and can be batted with a paw to make them jangle.   Blinky has decided that he is 'Guardian of The Tree' and spends quite a bit of time lying under it in a protective pose.

January is a quiter time for me for fairs (although I have just booked on at the end of January - can't stay away for too long, you know!) so I am hoping to have lots of new designs and themes for 2012, of course if there is anything you would like to see/purchase, please let me know - I am always happy to get feedback and suggestions!

So may I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very

and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


I probably won't be blogging much over the Christmas period as I busy myself on Christmas morning basting a huge turkey every 20 minutes, trying not to murder the sprouts and other veggies and sharing far too many bottles a glass of the sparkly stuff with family whilst unwrapping presents and singing along to many a corny Christmas ditty and playing lots of games which don't see the light of day at any other time of year (such a shame - I love playing games like charades, quizzes, scrabble, the logo game, cranium and anything else you throw at me!)

Don't forget to head on over to Handmade Monday to see how everyone else is doing at this busy time and maybe find some great new shops for next year.

See you all in 2012...