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!”


So…What Is A Photo Star?

posted in: Gallery, Inspiration, Tutourials, Workshops | 0

Now, you are probably thinking, what on earth is a Photo Star? Never heard of it?!

That is because it is a whole new craft!!!!! How cool is that? I am super excited to be able to show you what this new paper-craft ornament is and what to expect at one of our workshops!

Okay, so here goes….



I can show you how you transform your old greetings cards into beautiful 3D origami-style hanging ornaments that you can then decorate in all sorts of fun and fabulous ways, one of which is to put a photo of a loved-one in it!









So you’re wondering, can I do this? If you can cut and fold paper, love ribbon, buttons and all things shiny, as well as the idea of recycling….YES YOU CAN! If your fingers have limited flexibility from, say, arthritis… no problem! We can work together, as long as you bring your imagination, a flare for colour and and of course laughter!



After all that is what these craft workshops are all about. I want you to spend your time being inspired, making new friends, and for you to feel good learning something new while also having a great time doing-so! But, don’t just take my word for it… checkout these testimonials from some of my past craft students!

Okay, I am now going to let you in on a secret…these little guys look really complicated, which is great to impress all your friends and loved ones. However, little do they know….they are actually super, super easy to make!!!!











I originally got the idea from You Tube, check out this video tutorial for ideas! After A LOT of trial and error…I have now adapted it, and figured out a new way to make it easier and bring a bit more bling by adding some crafty fun goodness to these bad boys, which I am more than excited to share with you!

At the workshop you will have plenty of gorgeous greeting cards, colourful ribbons, buttons, rhinestones, and lots of adorable craft embellishments to choose from!

I want to give you a relaxing and enjoyable space for you to practice your craft, making it as easy as possible by giving you all the tools and instruction you need right at your finger tips.

And once you learn it, you can teach others how fun this craft is, too! This is a great craft to do with older children, which would be a great way to get them off those dang phones!



Once you nail down the basic design, who knows what wonderful variations and creations you will discover and make! The thing I love most about this star design is that it is very adaptable… for example, it can be used to make garlands for weddings or birthdays… plus, of course, Christmas!!!!



Besides making very professional looking holiday ornaments, why not try stacking-up different sizes to build mini Christmas trees as table decorations?! Seriously, the list is endless for what you can do with these stars. The more workshops I teach, the more I am inspired and impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm and imagination.

By adding a photo to your star, they make great memento gifts for new-borns, birthdays, hen parties, weddings, loved-ones, pets and more. Here are a few examples from the rather unconventional spectrum of ideas that my students came up with….


This person really loves Marmite!



Ezme loves a character from her favourite video game!



See, I told you, the possibilities are limitless!


I hope you are convinced and raring to go to the next workshop! Click here to find out when that will be!

Don’t forget to get in touch and send me a photo beforehand. It’s easy to do! Simply Facebook message me your photo, or attach one in an email to iowstarcraft(at)gmail(dot)com before coming to the workshop. I will bring your photo cut to size in a prepared frame for you to then decorate as you wish and add to your personalised star!

HELPFUL TIP: horizontal (i.e. landscape) and close-up photos work best.

Of course, if you are not fussed about a photo, there are lots of pretty centre-pieces for your star that can make an equally creative impact, so don’t fret. This is an easy, relaxed, no pressure approach to craft, where emphasis on individual needs, creativity, kindness, support and fun are all at the very heart of it.


Leave a comment below or get in touch via Facebook to reserve your place now at a discounted rate for advanced booking! Prices range from between £7-£10, depending on length of session & children aged between 10-16 get in half price! I like to keep the costs as low as I can, but if you are still struggling and would like to come, please get in touch, and let’s see if we can work something out. Crafting is about being inclusive for all, no matter what ability or capability.

I really hope to see you soon at the next workshop! Take care my fellow crafters! Happy glueing!