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, 19 February 2012

Confessions of a bad, bad blogger... and I got awards!

I know, I've been a bad, bad blogger! I read all the wonderful blogs from good people who regularly update and post news and here my little lonely blog sits, feeling neglected! I'm sorry...

I have a confession, I've found a new friend and have been cheating on my blog family... with Twitter! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it but it is so addictive, I couldn't help myself! But don't worry, I still love you and once the novelty of my new love has worn off, I will find a way of us all being friends and getting along.

It is because of this obsession (there, I said it!  "Hello, my name is Ali and I'm a Twitterholic") that I have also been very slow to thank Jill of Christmas Pie Crafts and also to Kat of With U in Mind who both have been so kind and awarded me the Liebster Award which I am really thrilled about.

Thank you both so so much - as such a lax blogger I feel a little undeserving and more than a little humbled....

The rules for this award are:

1. You must link back to the person who gave it to you
Oh, OK just done that in the previous paragraph... tick, check (good start!) next...

2. Put the award on your blog 
Hey, this is a doddle! Done, tick, double check - see right hand column and above (oh, I'm on a roll now!) next...

3. Pass it on to 5 other blogs who inspire you and have less than 200 followers 
Uh-oh, you might have to talk amongst yourselves for a mo.... (Knew it was going too well!)

Here's a picture of our two cats when they were kittens and cuddled each other to sleep to make the wait a little less painful...

Awww, weren't they cute!   Sadly, this is a scene we don't see anymore although they will still give each other a brief wash every now and again....

Sorry, nearly there will be with you in a mo...

OK then, here we go:
  1. My Cosmic Blog 
    Tales all the way from Texas, USA.  Susan is very supportive of crafters and shares her tales of goats, soap making, markets, lovebirds, family and her husband's box guitar making business (but not necessarily in that order!)
  2. Ostra's Creations
    New to the blogging world and soon to turn her jewellery making into a small business, I think we can all relate to how scary it is to start out and take the first steps towards what we all hope will be successful businesses.  Lets show some support as only the craft community can!
  3. Its an Alien Life
    Great crafts on show on this super blog and completely puts me to shame on the regular blogging front!  One to learn from!
  4. Creations by Flutterby
    A lovely blog showing beautiful card creations.  Definitely deserves more followers!
  5. Made in Suisse
    A lovely blog from an amazing crafter with gorgeous cross stitch, recipes, beautiful photos of Switzerland... what more can you ask!  A great read. 
OK, OK, I know that theoretically I should be awarding to 10 blogs (two awards) but c'mon, no-one can wait that long! (Shhh, I won't tell if you don't!)

4. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know
Away we go me-hearties! (Sorry, watching Pirates of the Caribbean whilst typing this!!)

Hope you all have a great Sunday! I'll try to be a better blogger in future....

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Review - Zazu Jewellery Cards

This post is a little different to my normal ones.  It infact isn't about my work or company at all.   As you will know, I joined the social networking set recently and through this I saw a request from Chloe of Zazu Jewellery for a review of her cards.  One of the things I love about the crafting community is there is a real comraderie and I was more than happy to help.

I used to make cards myself and still have an interest in the latest styles so my expectations were in line with the many card stalls I come across at fairs including the multitude of crafters who seem to be selling photographic images made up into cards.  However, I was in for a surprise.  I thought I had pretty much seen every style but these are so different, I was smiling broadly just taking them out of the package!

Beautifully presented with jewel-coloured envelopes these cards are a joyful mix of photographs of jewellers beads displayed in different patterns.  The photography is exceptionally clear and the colours gorgeous.  Let me show you some examples (starting with my favourite!):

What isn't easy to see from these photos is that the present and balloons are made up of teeny tiny beads.  I haven't seen anything like these before - it is so effective and the above pictures don't do justice to the  clarity of the colours.   All the cards are left blank so ideal for any occasion as you can write in your own message and cost just £1.80 each.

But, my package didn't end with the cards.  Also enclosed were some packs of 4 notecards with envelopes.  Again, using the same style as the cards, these are great for those occasions when you just want to send a little something but don't actually need a greeting card.
I received these four different styles and I have a real soft spot for the Union Flag one but all are stunning and at just £2.50 for four, they are well within every budget.

To sum up, I would say these cards & note cards are simple but extremely effective.  I defy any recipient not to take an extra moment to stop and admire them - probably with a smile on their face!

There is a wide range of stockists:
Chloe's website http://www.zazu-jewellery.co.uk/
Studio 61 near Matlock http://www.studio61gallery.co.uk/
The Gift Gallery in York http://www.giftgalleryyork.co.uk
Amelia's Wardrobe in Guernsey http://www.ameliaswardrobe.co.uk/
Goldstraws in Warwick http://www.goldstraws.org.uk/

Monday, 6 February 2012

Customer Requests & Happy Birthday Handmade Monday

Firstly, my congratulations to Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts who, despite having a year in 2011 which was so busy it would have killed many of us off (or at the very least put us into a mild coma during the run up to Christmas!), has managed every week to host Handmade Monday which is a year old!   If you haven't seen this before, it has links to blogs of  some of the most amazingly talented crafters who talk about what they have been working on during the previous week.  You should really check it out   Wendy, you are an inspiration and a star!!

Anyway, better get on with this post...

Remember the front door I blogged about last time?  Well I now have the second lot of photos showing the final result with the addition of some small flowers to fill in some of the additional clear space:

Daytime - with blue flowers added
At night - everything still looks beautiful!
 It is so wonderful when a customer takes the time to send photos like these as not only does it show future customers some ideas (I have already sold another of these large central designs) but I really love to see my work in the place it has been purchased for.

Last weekend was my first show of the year and I am pleased to say that we had a great day - not loads of customers but those who were there had either come to see us specifically (which is wonderful) or were in a spending mood (which is equally wonderful!).  It was very cold but I am extremely grateful that it wasn't due to take place today as there is no way we would have got there - yes, the snow is back!  Not as bad as last year but bad enough that Hubby couldn't go to work (not that I suspect there would have been many people about anyway even if he did!)

After the let down of last year's feeble takings at fairs in February, I made the decision not to do any this month which gives me the opportunity to build back up the stock levels and make up some new designs.   It has been slow going so far (always difficult to get fully back up to speed after the Christmas break) but I have some exciting new things planned which I will share over the coming posts.

One of the first new things I have made is a different kind of Chinese Dragon (after the other one was so popular) - this one is slightly smaller and horizontal so would work really well across the bottom of a window or mirror and can be made in any colour(s) you require.
It isn't yet on the website - I hope to add this and a couple of other new things sometime this week - but if you are interested, it is £8.99 + postage and you can order one directly from me - drop me an e-mail or give me a call!

I have also had a request from a customer who has already bought a small red rose and thistle from me and was looking to complete the set with a daffodil and shamrock in the same size.

Well these are winging their way to her today:
I love making designs to a customer's requirements and these will also be added to my stock designs shortly.

Apologies that this post is very late - today really has just flown by and I don't feel like I have achieved anything! Although that isn't strictly true - I posted a load of customer orders this morning along with a bunch of booking forms for craft fairs - with cheques adding up to a silly amount! (shudder...) Must try to get something less painful finished this evening to take my mind off that!  My 2012 fair calendar is booking up nicely now although I still have to add in my Bromley market dates as and when I get them booked...

Have a great week - keep warm & hope that nasty snow has nearly all gone where you are (fortunately it has nearly all melted here, just the few stubborn bits clinging on for dear life here and there!)