Thursday, 11 June 2020

Stick Weaving

For this weeks session we showed participants how to create a beautiful miniature wall-hanging from fabric, yarn and sticks found around the home. The colours chosen for this piece, were inspired by a scene over the harbour wall at St Ives, in Cornwall, looking towards the Hayle Estuary:

Although it might help to be inspired by a picture, it's not always necessary. You could just use colours that inspire or create an abstract piece. Having a choice of colours and textures adds tactile interest to your piece though. We have texture packs, available for purchase in our shop here

You can buy weaving sticks from craft shops or online but we love to think of alternative ways of making crafting equipment from the resources to hand in your own home. For this project, we used bamboo chopsticks with a small hole drilled at the handle end.

This process is explained in more details in this film we made showing the steps for making a wall hanging like the one above:

Click image above to access our stick weaving film

If you would like to make a bigger weaving using this method then you might like to try using a peg loom. The sticks, also known as pegs, are held in a block of wood instead of your hands. Below are links to tutorials for making a peg loom and also how to use a peg loom:

How to Make a Peg Loom by Crafting Together

Beginners Peg Loom Weaving by Craftyism

Below are links with suggestions for the things you can make with these techniques:

Can't Stop Won't Stop: First Collections by Smile and Wave DIY

Weaving with Kids - Wall Hangings by Art Bar

Worsted Guild of Weavers, Spinner and Dyers by Lesley Bone

Peg Loom Rag Rug by The Mini Smallholder

We hope this inspires you to have a go at twisting your own yarn. Check our website for future online events.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Message in a Matchbox

For this weeks session we showed participants how to create a miniature message in a matchbox.

We we're inspired by this post, by Bored Panda, about an artist who had created little matchbox greetings with hidden messages inside. If you have an empty matchbox, knocking around your home, then all you need do is decorate. Try to find papers in your home. We recommend looking at the inside of envelopes (see below) for the inside and old book pages like we have used below:

If you don't happen to have a spare matchbox, we found these free downloadable templates by Earth Mother Crafts. It recommended that you print onto card but we only have a laser printer and this is not suitable for card printing. We printed off the template onto paper and stuck it to an old sturdy envelope, though an old greeting card will do. If you don't have a printer, the template has measurements for you to draw your own. We found the matchbox sleeve template was a bit small so we measured the inner box top and sides and transferred this onto a cereal box cutting a little extra for a glue flap. By doing this, we got the exact measurement for the sleeve.

We have created this free template, with drawings by artist Dave Pidgeon, for you to download and make a message, like the one above. We've also picked off links, to a few of our favourites, below:

Matchbox Mini Album Tutorial by Kay Williamson

DIY Matchbox Greeting Cards by Skill Flair-Easy Crafts

Dolls House Pintable's by Small Stuff

We hope this inspires you to have a go at twisting your own yarn. Check our website for future online events.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Upcycling Unwanted Fabric :: Twisting Yarn

For this weeks session we showed participants how to create yarn from unwanted clothes and household linens with no specialist equipment.

We demonstrated a method of twisting yarn using just a pencil but before we did this participants were shown how to make yarn from household fabrics. There is a tutorial, on making this yarn on one of our posts about making Amish Knot Rugs. There is also another great tutorial here by Maria O'Keefe from Interweave

Once the yarn is made, the yarn can then be twisted using a pencil. We were inspired by American textile craft writer and educator Abby Franquemont who explains this method, here, using wool. The good thing about using fabric yarn, is that you can avoid 'drafting' a technique used by spinners to get a good even twist of yarn.

The yarn can be plied together i.e. two strands wrapped around each other, by taking two separate strands of twisted yarn and encouraging them to wrap around each other. This is achieve by twisting these separate strands, around a pencil, in the opposite direction, to how you twisted the single strands.

Your plied yarn can be used for a variety of project. We've picked off our favourites below:

Buttoned up Yarn Bowl Crochet Pattern by Simply Notable

Fabric Twine Spiral Mat by My Poppet Makes

Fabric Twine Bracelet by Sum of Their Stories

Rope Lampshade by Blog A La Carte

Fabric Wrapped Vase by Life Sew Savory

Weave a Boho T-shirt Rug with Easy DIY Loom by A Piece of Rainbow

Rag Bag Pattern by Amy from Knitting and Crochet

We hope this inspires you to have a go at twisting your own yarn. Check our website for future online events.


Thursday, 21 May 2020

Covid-19 :: A New Way of Working

Back in March, things changed dramatically for all of us and with this our face to face community work stopped and the future of Little Bird SOS was uncertain.  Whilst we were able to connect, informally through online chat room platforms, it was not quite the same as running sessions to inspire people to be creative whilst at the same time improving mental health and wellbeing.  Making & creating is the fundamental pull to help people overcome social isolation - the side effect of this is connection,  friendship, compassion, community etc.  With this in mind, finding a way to replicate this online requires resource in terms of money.  Our computer equipment was not up to scratch to run online workshops. Additionally time had become very precious with the extra responsibilities  attached to being housebound such as caring for others and being an home educator!

With this in mind, we were grateful of support from our local council community fund to help our organisation survive this crisis and give us access to the expert support needed to help rapidly translate our face to face work into an online environment.  It has also helped us purchase specialist kit to ensure participants accessing our online events have a good experience.

In a short space of time, we have set up informal coffee shop meetings every Tuesday Morning.  This is what we do in our community anyway.  It gives space for people to come and chat in a safe and friendly environment, share hints and tips on all sorts of things and show each other what we've been making.  

On Thursday afternoons are running formal sessions where we share a art/craft skill and give participants links to tutorials or inspirational websites to help spark creativity.  The first week we are still trying to get to grips with the online environment and the digital environment.  We chatted about communicating online and how it can feel a little strange at times.  We demonstrated how to make little companion emojis, on a spoon or stick, to wave at the screen to express emotion:

Making these need not cost anything and by looking around your home.  We used an old blanket and buttons to make a zombie spoon emoji.  Also a simple lolly stick with pattern tape wrapped around to make a dress was effective too.  Below are images with links to the sites that inspired us:

Wooden Spoon Dollies by Wonky Button

Superhero Spoon Puppets by The Craft Train

Stick Figures by Precocious Paper

Studio Friends by Carnet Imaginaire

Altered Paint Brushes by Altered Book Studio

We hope this has inspired you to have a go at making your own emoji friend to keep you company on your next online event!

Friday, 6 March 2020

Paper Flower Making

To welcome the spring, we've been making paper flowers at our Revive arts for health workshops.  They're very easy to make but very effective. We have kept some for ourselves to to give to others and some have been left in our local community coffee shop with a 'Take me, i'm yours'  label attached.  We happened to have had lots of colourful papers donated to us but you could easily paint over newspaper and use this to make the flowers like these ones we made:

We used  a few different tutorials to help us with our paper flower but this was our most favoured:

We found these DIY Paper Flowers, by Trendyss,  really simple but effective too.

And these Paper Hyacinth Flowers, by One Little Project, rather cute.

Making paper flowers may not necessarily cost you much in materials.  We love this Paper Rose Flower Tutorial, by Smile Mercantile, made from old book pages.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Suffolk Puff Poppy Brooch :: Downloadable Tutorial

We make so many beautiful things within our community groups with many of our members and supporters contributing ideas, materials and expertise. We are happy for you to make items for personal use but we would prefer that you do not use our resources or items made from our resources for profit making purposes :: Thank you!

This tutorial shows you how to make a suffolk puff style poppy brooch.  From the free template you can make a red poppy for rememberance or a white poppy for peace.

You will need the following:

  • Pattern for the poppy Suffolk_Puff_Poppy_Instructions.pdf
  • Sew on brooch pin or safety pin
  • Red or white fabric and green felt
  • Button
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Glue (optional)

Cut out the round, main poppy flower and leaf pattern from the 'Suffolk Puff Poppy Instruction' pdf link above:

Pin out then cut the poppy top and bottom using the red or white fabric, and the leaf using the green felt:

Thread the needle with black thread.  Tie a knot at the end of the thread.  Use a running stitch, as illustrated in the picture, around the outer edge of the fabric circle:

When you have completed the full circle of stitched, start to pull your threads so that the fabric turns inwards as illustrated:

Keep pulling until it is tightly bunched in the middle.  Knot by making an additional stitch threading the needle through the loop made by the extra stitch:

Using the same thread, stitch on a button over the bunched up middle section.  Next, push the needle through the button hole so that the needle and thread are at the back:

Now stitch the green leaf to the back.  Traditionally the leaf should be stitched in the 11 o'clock position.  This is in the 1 o'clock on the back.

Finally, stitch on the brooch pin. If you would like, you can glue a piece of felt over the stitches to neaten the back:

Congratulations, you have completed your traditional poppy.  The poppy should be worn on left hand side with the leaf pointing to your heart:

If you are making these for the Poppy Appeal, please consider making a donation to the RoyalBritish Legion(for red poppies) and Peace Pledge Union (for white poppies) in support of remembrance and peace.  To give is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Monday, 24 April 2017

NCS Social Action

Little Bird SOS are again really pleased to have been chosen by 15 young people undertaking the National Citizenship Service (NCS) in Leicester as their social action project.  NCS provides the opportunity for young people to build skills for work and life by taking on new challenges and making new friends.  There are three phases to their NCS experience including adventure, an outdoor residential experience, followed by skills phase then the final phase, called 'Make a Difference' where the groups go out into the local community to support a good cause and make their mark.
They will be planning lots of fundraising events this week to support the work we do, as well as raising awareness of our organisation and the impact this has on the lives of those we support.
Below are a few words from Shauna who, in her own words, explains their reason for choosing us for their 'Make a Difference' social action phase and their excellent awareness raising campaign they have launched as part of their work.

"We have chosen Little Bird SOS beause all other charitable organisations are very well known.  So many people have mental ill health and not many people know how to get help to get away from it.  There are different ways to get away.  Some choose art, music and exercise etc.  With Little Bird they help people with the love of art and crafts.  Different ages come and go and they do art, crafting, making things to get away with whatever illness they have.
People with mental health difficulties  tend to feel trapped in a dark place called their head.  No one knows what's happening inside someone elses head.  With power and love Little Bird give. They help different age group do things with art, making different things like pillows and roses made out of egg boxes, pins and bracelets to sell.  
This week through NCS (National Citizen Service) we are helping to raise money and awareness for Little Bird SOS and will be selling cakes, and doing a sponsored walk to help raise money.
It costs £123 to run 1 Revive  session and we are helping to raise funds to help keep these session going.  They have 2 sessions a week on Thursday from 12pm - 2pm and Friday 10.30am - 12.30pm.  It's only £5 a session and it includes tea/coffee and biscuits as well as the craft activity.  It's a relaxing and positive atmosphere and helps to free the mind"

They will be running a social media awareness raising campaign via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat using the hastag #flyfree