I Love Christmas, But….

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Okay, I’m not gonna to lie to ya’… I love Christmas! BUT there is a LOT I could do without. For starters, there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. Worse, while I am stressing about my seasonal to do lists, I miss all the fun this holiday means to me….namely cuddling up under the duvet watching cheesy movies, eating very naughty and delicious food, and taking advantage of all the booze deals on offer to make fabulous cocktails that I would never really bother with the rest of the year – Salted Caramel Kahlua anyone? What can I say… I must have finally become British! Ha!

However I never seem to have time for myself to indulge in all those seasonal delights because I am rushing around like a deranged wannabe domestic goddess gone wrong, trying so hard to bring Christmas cheer to everyone else!

Sound familiar? What if I could show you a way to free up your time over the holidays (especially if you get the kids involved!), save you money, help the planet by reducing waste, and still be able to give fabulous gifts to all the wonderful people in your life?! How? The answer is HANDMADE!

 

 

“But I am not crafty!” You might protest… “I don’t have a creative bone in my body! I’m all thumbs”… Relax. Take a deep breath. If you can cut, fold and glue paper, you CAN do this craft. Heck, even if you can’t do those things due to a physical condition, be it arthritis or innate clumsiness, I can help! I’ll tell you what I tell all my student’s, this a very forgiving craft. With a few cuts and folds of an old Xmas card, and the miracle of glue and ribbon, the most ordinary card transforms to an extraordinary ornament!

 

 

Handmade is personal and so much more thoughtful than just a generic card bought in a (not so cheap these days) multi-pack. It simply is a gift for the season, nothing more, nothing less. What could be more beautiful and uncomplicated? The best thing about starting this craft now is how the rest of your season will be a piece of cake…Christmas cake of course!  Now that is something to look forward to! Yum! But I digress…

I would love to show you how to recycle your old greeting cards and turn them into beautiful origami style 3-D star decorations. I have collected hundreds of Christmas cards and would love to share them with you! Come along to the next workshop and learn a fun and easy way to enjoy the holidays for years to come!

I will be holding Christmas Paper Star Workshops from now until December. Start early and see for yourself how great it can be to get crafting and creating sooner rather than later! Stay tuned for when and where the next workshop will be, click here for the latest details!

Here is one very happy student already! You could be next one! Leave a comment or find me on Facebook to let me know you are interested, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Things, Not Excuses… It’s More Fun!

posted in: Blog, Inspiration, Workshops | 0

I know first hand what it feels like to be uneasy going to a new class. After recently taken the plunge myself by attending various workshops, I am not kidding you, I was really nervous…..

Back in May I saw a Parchment Paper Workshop at Quackers About Craft. A little voice inside me said, ooh, that looks like fun! But then my Inner Critic appeared in my head and, with it, my favourite excuses for not doing something creative….

I had a think about it. What was really stopping me?!

Was it the time? My work schedule clashed with when the class was being held. However, my awesome boss has often said to me, IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DON’T GET! So, (gulp!) I took his advice and asked to rearrange my schedule for that day to attend. Guess what? He said yes!

Second, was it the cost?….I started thinking, the fee doesn’t even cover 3 hours of minimum wage. How do I prioritise what is worthy of spending cash on? Surely this woman’s time is worth that and, in turn, I am too! 

Next excuse, ah yes, the I don’t know what I am doing excuse…The whole point of learning is because you don’t know something! So that fact I didn’t know a lot about Parchment Craft, was the very reason TO take the class, not avoid it!

And of course, my old favourite… who do you think you are? To which I tell my Inner Critic, I am a curious, fun-loving person who doesn’t need to have all the answers or to be the best at everything. Yes I teach a craft, but that doesn’t stop me being a craft student! In fact, the more I craft, the more I want to learn!

Lesley Shore is an excellent, kind and gentle teacher who is very skilled at her craft. I really enjoyed being a student, and all my original worries quickly disappeared under her instruction. Equally, being in the company of another student also helped to take the pressure off.

Now I know how people must feel when they attend one of my workshops! It is a miracle any of you make it through the door! I truly know how hard taking that first step REALLY is!

 

The main hope I have for you, when attending my workshops, is that you feel welcomed, comfortable to learn, inspired to create, and able to relax in the moment by chatting and laughing with others. This is your playtime. Certainly, that’s how Lesley made me feel at her’s.

Since that pivotal day, breaking my Inner Critic’s spell of excuses has gotten easier and I even managed to get to another workshop! This time it was learning how to make Inchies, at the fabulous Verandah Cafe in Shanklin. What are Inchies!? I had no idea, I just wanted to go along and be part of the fun! It turned out to be a fantastic workshop where I learned how to do a blanket stitch and attach a sequin with a bead to an inch piece of felt.

It isn’t rocket science but, at the same time, it might as well have been… I was so out of my depth!

 

Once again, the people at the workshop made all the difference. Claire and Elaine are fantastic teachers. They really made me feel welcome and explained things simply, for me to understand, even though I had a complete lack of knowledge about sewing. I am not going to lie to you, their delicious selection of teas, coffees, and homemade cakes also helped me to feel a bit more at ease… yum!

The best part was being able to forget about the pressure I was putting on myself to make something pretty and, instead, have fun focusing on learning a new technique. The process became so much more than the end result.

For that creative life lesson alone, it was worth doing something new!

 

 

Now, I know this is not a post about yoga… however, it is about taking chances and overcoming one’s fear of trying something different. By sharing my own fears and trepidations about going to a new class, be it crafting or yoga, I ultimately want to help you overcome similar fears.

An excellent way I have learned to overcome one’s Inner Critic is to TAKE A FRIEND with you when trying something new!

 

 

My going with a friend, to a yoga class, really made the unfamiliar not so terrifying. I think we were both so focused on making each other feel comfortable, it helped us forget how uncomfortable we were feeling at the start. All those issues left once the class got started.

Della’s instruction was calm, detailed, dynamic, and had a touch of humour to take the edge off, which was really encouraging. Plus… the idyllic setting was so peaceful, it made us truly happy to have found this hidden gem on the island.

We even saw a red squirrel!

 

Workshops and classes are a great way to make friends. I feel the same when meeting all you amazing people at my own workshops!

When I met the lovely Carolina at my last Friendship Bracelet Workshop, she asked if I ever went to the Isle of Wight Women’s Centre, WOW, in Newport.

I’d heard of it… but, what with my fear of the unknown, and with it my Inner Critic rearing it’s ugly head, I had never made it over there. No more excuses, I saw my opportunity to get an introduction by going with Carolina and I leapt at the chance.

 

Little did I know at the time but, on Mondays, the WOW Centre have a card making drop-in session… how fantastic is that?! Thanks to that exciting discovery, I was able to get an impromptu Iris-folding lesson. This craft had always interested me but, prior to the class, I always thought it was too complicated. I’ll be honest with you, when I first sat down at the table and saw what the others were doing, I had a little panic. The excuses from my Inner Critic to give-up were quickly bubbling to the surface… the “you aren’t smart enough, creative enough, etc.” tirade was in full force in my head. So there I was, freaking out big style… but then, before I knew it, I was being shown how easy it really can be by the other women crafters! It was a huge eye-opener for me and a tremendous confidence boost! The women at the centre could not have been more friendly, helpful, inclusive and all-round good fun! This is an amazing women’s charity and, better yet, all the classes they offer are free!

YouTube by YoYoMa12!

Mondays are also when they offer a free Pilates class! I had never taken a Pilates class, and neither had my friend, so in the interest of doing new things, we signed-up. We were both so glad we did! Sarah’s class was such a pleasure, with soothing music in the background, and her detailed, fun instruction got us moving and stretching gently… while presenting just enough of a challenge for us to feel we were doing some good for our bodies!

I look forward to working with these women in the future by offering some of my own craft workshops to add to the mix! In fact it was my latest experience at WOW that inspired me to write this post for you!

Look, I still struggle with trying new things… I put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself before I even begin! Sound familiar? Luckily I am learning that, in a group setting, there is always someone there to help, make you laugh, and show you a new trick or two. I think certainly for me, going to a class really helps me stop making excuses, forces me to do something and reminds me to have fun! Equally, teaching workshops is the best motivator for me to get out there and try new things, so I can then impart my knowledge and experiences to you!

I want to share with you what I go through, give you some tips: like taking a friend with you, in the hope of reaching-out and helping you to overcome your own Inner Critic’s excuses. In fact, if you are looking for craft-minded friends, come join our Facebook group! It is a great place to connect, perhaps invite others to attend a class with you, ask for advice, get inspiration or just feel good about you and your crafty-self! Not on Facebook? No problem! Leave a comment below to share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas… I would love to hear from you!

Perhaps you will take the plunge yourself and finally go to that craft, yoga, Pilates, sewing (or whatever your heart’s desire) class, that you may have been too hesitant to attend before now. I have left links, all through this post, for you to explore some great ideas and opportunities. More than that, I hope to also see you at my next workshop!

Lastly, I hope this post has convinced you to “Make Things, Not Excuses…” because, like the title says, “It’s More Fun!”

 

I Love This Town!

posted in: Blog, Buying Local | 0

A little while ago I was having fun showing a few people how to make paper stars out of recycled Christmas cards. More and more people kept asking me to show them how to fold these cards and I was so passionate about it a friend suggested I have a go at teaching my own craft workshop. At first I baulked at the idea, who me!? But the idea grew and grew and a little voice inside said, go for it! I managed to muster enough courage to ask around to see if anyone would be interested in hosting me, and low and behold, they were!

Liz at Splash has been absolutely fabulous in suggesting who to connect with in Ryde. I have been going to her shop for years to buy all my greetings cards which have now made me famous around the globe for “always sending the best cards!”.

Liz has been so helpful in getting the word out and promoting my workshops in her beautiful card and jewellery shop on Union Street, the only problem is… the cards I buy there are too pretty to cut up! 

Sew n So Fabrics and Fired Art Ceramics have been fantastic in giving me my first shot at teaching my recycled paper star ornaments. Teaching craft has grown into a life of its own, full of glitter and glue, and now there is no turning back! I have since met some wonderful crafty friends in the process. It has now grown and people are asking for more and more workshops all around the island!

Lindsey and Marie at Sew n So Fabrics are very talented and knowledgable women, whom I am very happy to have met and been deeply inspired by. 

Their marvellous fabric and wool shop is also host to Make It Wight which fills the place will all manner of beautiful hand made gifts. It is a great place to highlight what this gorgeous island has to offer and the creativity it brings.

I can barely leave the place without indulging in some lovely lace ribbon, beautiful buttons, and perhaps a gift item I say is for someone else, but never manage to give away….Oh come on! I deserve a treat too, right? Okay, mental note…always buy two! One for me, one for you, I promise!

Anne Brown at Fired Art Ceramics has such gentle kindness which was just what I needed to get my foot in the door with this whole new craft adventure.

Anne’s studio is full of vibrant people all who all love to chat, laugh, paint, knit & craft!

Not forgetting to mention of course, their delicious selection of teas and cakes at the cafe in the back to keep us all going!

I urge you to visit these places and see for yourself what they have on offer. The Isle of Wight is brimming with open hearted, creative and talented people. Let’s support them and join together to make this community something about which we can all shout “I LOVE THIS TOWN!”

Buying Local

posted in: Blog, Buying Local, Gallery | 0

 

I was inspired to make this photo star as a thank you to the wonderful folks at The Stitching Elmers. The Stitching Elmers is a marvellous place, from where I buy a lot of my buttons, ribbons and charm embellishments.

 

I would have never thought of how to decorate this star without seeing what was out there to spark my imagination. I feel more creative when I browse in person, and I just feel better being out in the world connecting with such a passionate, friendly and creative community.

 

If I can achieve one thing with this website and my workshops, it is to encourage people to buy locally and feel incredibly uplifted by doing so.