Thursday, 22 December 2016

Be Your Own Best Friend

Everyone has a first time through the door at Little Bird SOS and sometimes it can be the biggest act of kindness, to yourself, you can do.  Taking that step through our door is, or will be, one of the first steps towards self care and self love.  'Loving yourself and being kind to yourself is not a selfish act, it is an absolute necessity', (Karen Salmonsohn).  David Gauntlett said in his book, 'Making is Connecting', people who make things, engage with the world and make connections with each other, and that is certainly the case when you come along to Little Bird SOS.
Be careful though guys, because there are side effects of coming here; seeing beauty in bits of rubbish and making collections with excuses like "I could make something with/out of that"!  You can become cursed with so many collections and a resulting reduction  of space.  I love it, but don't tell anyone, shh, hehe!

Our stash of scrap papers - discarded by others!

We made trees out of paper today and in turn made cards or battery tea light covers with them.  (oh, I've just noticed the irony in that, hehe.  The books we cut up were destined for land fill, honestly.   One item, I hasten to add (a Birmingham A-Z) was saved from the recycling bin.  The trees looks fab, you can do it with any paper and card...... some more stuff you can save.

Pattern for the trees can be found on Hattifant's website

On a sad note, we said goodbye to Jo today.  Jo has been on her work placement from Loughborough University and She has made a massive impact on the group, not only by her presence but for the phenominal  contribution she's made to fundraising, designing and creating items, organising craft fairs and posters to making a drink for each of us.  Additional to this, we calculated that Jo has contributed towards raising over £1400!   Good luck for your future Jo and congratulations to your next placement, we'll miss you and they're very lucky to get you x

Jo demonstrating monoprinting at our Revive session last month
Well that it for this year guys, be kind to yourselves over Christmas and I'll see you in the new year

Chairs away and studio ready for a new year clean

Danae xx

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

This year, instead of sending Christmas cards, we offered the opportunity for our community members to make a donation of money, equivalent to what they would usually spend on cards.  Along with their donation they were asked to write the name of their favorite charity, along with their own name, on a slip of paper that went in the same tin with their donation.  At our last Revive session, we selected the charity, raffle style.  The charity chosen, suggested by Sylvia, was The Bark Foundation.

David and Joy, who live in our own community in Birstall Leicester, have worked exceptionally hard to raise funds to build the HOTPEC orphanage in Cameroon.  Their current fundraising is focussed on secondary education and also higher education. 

The photograph attached shows a young man (with some of his younger friends)  He has been at the orphanage since he was the age of one and recently graduated having been awarded a degree in nursing.  His name is Bruceline and he was funded by The Bark Foundation.  

The funds we raised from our charity instead of cards collection was £26.  Joy told me that this would buy 3 children, at the orphanage, 2 pairs of shoes for the next year ahead.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Oh wow :: what a day, week, year!

Today's biggest challenge was getting out of bed, on time (10am) and get here in-time (10.30am).  Because Friday mornings are my time for myself, to do some self discovery and feel good.  and oh my goodness, I did it! Oh ok, I hadn't brushed my hair, or teeth, or had a wash, or my breakfast, or my tablets or a drink, but I shoved the essentials into a bag or pot and got myself here.  I remember someone saying they had been told by Steve Wright (radio 2 broadcaster for about 30+ years) that "the vast amount of success comes from turning up every day" and Karen Salmonson, an artistic blogger on facebook, wrote, "be kind to yourself, cause, even flowers don't bloom all year". Also, a formerly homeless friend has said... "happiness is a fresh pair of knickers".  So, all that achieved, I've had a successful morning!

View over the city of Leicester from the studio door

There have been some beautiful things said this morning and I didn't have any paper to write them on and cause I've got an awful memory I've forgotten them, but one thing that Lisa said today was, "we are all beautifully individual and thank goodness we are, that's what makes the world a wonderful place".  So come as you are and you'll be accepted however you are.

OMG, I made a wooden tree today and I love it!  It was started last week by Lisa and everyone else but I had to take some time and partake in self care last Friday by sleeping all day (long story) but I gave myself a pat on the back for looking after myself.  

This fantastic activity was designed by our fabulous volunteer, Jen!

So there was also another activity to do; rag rugging poinsettia.   I'm running out of time to do this blog now (for today) so, any questions, I'm here Friday mornings 10.30am till 12.30pm.  Ta-ta, see you later and be kind to yourself, 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Art on Prescription Evaluation Project 2016

Arts and Health social enterprises Little Bird SOS and Beauty and Utility Arts​ recently collaborated on an Arts on Prescription project in North West Leicestershire. We are delighted to share our report conclusions with others in our sector, to further support the case for arts as a social prescribing tool for patients with low level mental health difficulties.

Art on Prescription North West Leicestershire took place at Measham Medical Unit between April and June 2016, funded by the North West Leicestershire ‘Staying Healthy Partnership’ grant and provided structured Arts and Health interventions for twelve patients experiencing low level mental ill health across two six week blocks of workshops.

Using the Public Health for England, Arts for Health and Wellbeing evaluation guidelines (2016) we measured wellbeing, anxiety and depression scores, prior to delivering the art intervention, then again at the end of each six week block.

Results meant we were able to demonstrate project outcomes as having a positive impact on improving wellbeing, as well as decreasing anxiety and depression scores for the patients participating. This further supports the case for art as a social prescribing tool.

A copy of the report is available on the home page of our website under the latest news section:

Friday, 18 November 2016

Come and Find Your Inner Child

Hello and welcome to a beautiful sun-shinny day.
We had a lot of creativity going on today, which challenged some of us with our desire for perfection.  Lisa reminded us that there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.

Jo, our placement student from Loughborough University demonstrating monoprinting to the Revive group
 Mono printing and card making was the order of the day and we all had so much fun doing it.  It’s amazing what you can do with a used cereal box, pretty papers and our drawings.
Rolling ink onto a block

Scratching image onto block
Drawing image on paper placed on ink block
African hut

Collage papers
Collaging with monoprints
There are some things to think about and perhaps remember for if or when you join us next time;  Try not to think too much, just enjoy doing and everyone likes a nice ‘thingummy bob’  or‘watchemecallit’.   Love and light to you all and I look forward to seeing you soon x


Friday, 4 November 2016

Autumn Leaves

My favourite time of year and my favourite place.

It took me a while to be able to get out of the house this morning cause of all the things I felt I needed to do and the stress/worry/anxiety I was feeling.  But then I realised the thing I really needed to do was take some time for me - to feel, create, be appreciated and feel safe; so here I am at Little Bird SOS.
What a fabulous morning.  We made bowls out of leaves.
I love walking through leaves and scrunching them underfoot but today we took the time to rummage through them by hand and pick out our favourite ones to make a bowl; lovely.

The smell of the leaves, the colours, the shapes and the beautiful company of beautiful people has been well worth the £5 I can only just afford.

Sticking leaves, with PVA glue to a clingfilmed covered bowl
smoothing down leaves by covering the stickness with clingfilm
removing cling film once leaves smoothed down
Leaf flowers, an additional activity for those that finished their leaf bowls
Greetings card with a leaf buttonhole
Beauty in the scraps destined for the compost

If you would like to make your own leaf bowl, there is a detailed tutorial on the 'Thinly Spread' website where we found the inspiration for this weeks Revive Session

Thank you to Jen for helping us prepare for the session