Happy New Year?!

Light at the end of the tunnel

Yeah, it’s definitely too late for that. There’s a good reason I haven’t written a blog post so far this year too. We had a pretty sucky start to 2016. Our house flooded on boxing day. So a pretty sucky ending to 2015 and a ruined Christmas. I won’t go into the details, because quite frankly, it’s something I just want to put behind me now. Onwards and upwards. It’s worked out for the best in the end actually, for so many reasons. It was tough for a time back there, but there is a big shiny light at the end of the tunnel.

Now I’m able to concentrate on the projects I have planned for this year with my newly found freelancing freedom, I’m already making progress. I’ve applied for a business accelerator programme which will hopefully help me in the areas I’m lacking skills in to take certain projects forward. I’m currently sat in the brilliant Basecamp in Baltic Creative in Liverpool working on a couple of personal projects and trying to get some actual paying work, which would be nice! I’m feeling hugely positive.

So yes, here is to a slightly belated, but what is definitely going to be, a happy new year.

Linziloop Patterns

I’m working on an exciting project at the moment, and even though I’m only in the very initial stages, I wanted to share it with you. You may remember that years ago I did a pattern making and garment construction course at Liverpool Community College. Since then I have made various bits of pieces for both myself and Baby Loop.

In that time, I’ve often drawn my own patterns for something because I simply could not find exactly what I wanted as an already existing pattern. I started wondering if maybe I should offer the patterns I make for use by other people. This of course meant I would need to grade them, so I’m currently looking into software that would help me do that, but in the meantime I’ve got to designing! Here is the first illustrations of my first idea – a kids hooded dress pattern!

Hooded-Dress-Mockup-1

I absolutely LOVE hooded dresses, I might even make an adult version. What do you think?! I also have plans for harem trousers, a waistcoat, some skirts and tunics too. I’m really enjoying doing the designs, and I’m drooling over all the different possible fabric combinations I could use!

Would you be interested in testing out my patterns?! Let me know in the comments and I will add you to my email list when I’m ready to send the pattern out!

DIY Fabric Sling Bookcase Tutorial

For ages now I have been meaning to get around to making Baby Loop some bookshelves for her room (I couldn’t afford the ones I wanted!). I wanted a bookcase that would allow her to see the fronts of her books. I saw tutorials for making them yourself in various ways, but everything involved either woodwork (for which I have no space), and/or attaching them to a wall, which is great, but we live in a rented property and the less holes I have to fill in when we leave, the better.

I had this (I think) brilliant idea. She has an alcove in her room that would make the perfect area for a bookcase. I had seen some ‘rental safe’ DIY ideas on various websites, and a lot of people were swearing by tension rods/poles for a variety of uses. So I took the sling bookcase idea, and slightly changed it so the slings would hang from tension rods which would fit in the alcove space! Voila! No holes!

DIY-Fabroc-Bookcase-Finished

This is SUPER easy to make and I’d like to share my process with you. Now, first of all, the fat quarters of fabric I had bought were not wide enough to fit the rods with huge gaps at either end. So, I used a combination of complimentary fabrics to get the size I needed. Here is the combination I chose:

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-1

The fox and tree fabric would be the outer fabrics, the stripy and the leaf fabric would be the inner fabrics. The plainer fabrics would go on either end and be used for both the inner and outer of the sling.

First, I stitched all the pieces of fabric together. Obviously if you have a piece of fabric that is wide enough for your space, you have less sewing to do. You would just need to sew the contrasting inner and outer fabrics together along top and bottom edges.

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-3

Next, I gave the edges a hem:

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-4

Then, right sides together, I brought the bottom edge up to the top edge and stitched. This makes on big cylinder of fabric.

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-5

Turn right side out:

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-6

Turn up that bottom edge so that your ‘outer’ fabric is visible:

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-7

Insert rods:

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-8

And install in the alcove:

DIY-Fabric-Bookcase-9

Now all it needs it some books!

DIY-Fabroc-Bookcase-Finished

I’m really happy with my finished result, I’ve just got to get around to making the second (maybe even third and fourth?!) one now. There’s another alcove, and Baby Loop has a LOT more books!

DIY-Fabroc-Bookcase-Finished-Room

You may notice that there are a couple of crochet toy hammocks there too – I made them a little while ago, they’re great for tidying away the billions of cuddly toys toddlers seem to acquire.

And so it begins!

I am now into the second week of being freelance. I spent the first day tidying up the loft room so that both myself and my partner have a nice space to work from when we do work from home. It’s still not complete, but it can actually be used now, which is a vast improvement! I’ll show some pictures when it is looking photo-shoot worthy.

The second and third day I spent designing my CV, portfolio and website. I can certainly say that as a graphic designer, designing your OWN stuff is the single most difficult thing you can do. So many decisions to make and nobody except yourself to make them! I got there in the end, and with the help of my super duper in-house developer Mr Loop, my website is now online:

Mockup LY Design Website

I basically wanted it to be an online CV with link to my Behance portfolio so that I don’t have to be uploading work to more than one site when I do something new. I think it has worked out good, but please let me know what you think, I value useful feedback!

Since then I have been firing my PDF portfolio and CV off to as many companies as possible. If I can get some freelance work to get me by, then I can work on some personal projects that I’m really excited about. I want to start making and selling my own patterns for kids clothing. Mr Loop has an awesome idea for an app that he’s working on and I want to help with the promotion of that. I’ve started writing a guest blog post for my friends website (I’ll let you know when that goes live!), and I’ve made myself a promise that I will do some sewing and finally get Baby Loops fabric bookcase I’m making done.

I’m swinging between feeling super positive and super scared of this new direction in life, but it sure is exhilarating to not really know what is going to come next! Will I be able to eat next week?! Who knows! I could do with losing some weight anyway…

Getting creative again

I have some big news! At the end of this month (October), I will be leaving my graphic design job of 8 years and going completely freelance! It’s something I always intended to do really, even at uni I always said I would love to run my own design studio, so maybe now I can make that wish a reality. The company I work for, and the team I work with, are just so good it has been hard to make the decision. I’ve been working 3 days a week since returning from maternity leave, and that is something I will be continuing, so still a good work/life balance, but hopefully a lot more creative challenges. That’s my main reason for doing it really, after 8 years working in-house I’ve come to a point where I guess, I’m just bored!

Mr Loop became a freelance programmer in January this year and he has been doing really well, so this has helped me build up my confidence to do it too. We have so many ideas we want to work on together but not time to do them when I’m still at work. So now is our chance. I also have a million squillion things I want to make, and would love to show them to my blog readers to see what you think and whether I should make more & sell. Watch this space for more on that.

I would love to spend my time mixing my graphic design skills with my love of making things. Who knows where that will take me. My Dad has started making some awesome furniture lately and I reckon he could have a market for that. Maybe I could do his PR. I’m actually, perhaps bizarrely to some people, looking forward to doing some networking. I know a lot of people hate it, but I get quite the little buzz from it. Meeting new people is daunting and sometimes hard work, but being taken out of my comfort zone gives me a little sense of achievement.

I expect then, with a bit of extra time, that I will have more to show you in the coming months. Linziloop might take a slightly different direction in terms of the products I offer. I may get my website done. I may come asking for advice – will you help?!

In the meantime, if anyone does need the skills of a graphic designer, you can find my Behance portfolio here, and I’m on LinkedIn too!

Asking for help…

You know those times when you ring your Dad and he moans you only ever get in touch to ask for something? Well, this is like one of those times, except I’m asking my lovely followers. I know I haven’t written anything for a while. Motherhood and work have taken over my life. I’m soon going freelance, and that should free time up for blogging. But more on that another time. Right now there are people who need your help.

For weeks I had been wanting to do something for the refugees we have been hearing so much about. This week just gone my friend told me she was going to go to Keleti train station in Hungary this week to help out with the kids area, so I donated some money and arranged to give her some supplies to take with her. I wished I could drive over there with more supplies, but it wasn’t possible for me. I decided instead I would send items there by courier. I set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the postage costs, and set up a Facebook page to arrange collecting items in my locality.

Refugee kids at their tent blowing bubbles

So far the campaign is doing really well, I’ve reached £415 (at time of writing), and Gail at The Crib in Southport (who very kindly offered to be a drop off point) has sent me this picture of the donations she has received so far:

Bags of donations waiting at The Crib

I would just like to give this campaign an extra little push, so I can get to (or exceed!) my target. The donations will be split between Hungary, Turkey and Greece. I am keeping my eye on the situation in each place I have a (confirmed) address for, so that I know what is needed most where and the donations can be efficiently distributed. There are many families in these areas and more coming every day escaping the horrors of their homeplaces. The other day I saw this website. A 3 year old drew a picture of a man lying on the floor bleeding a bombs being dropped. No 3 year old should even know what that looks like. Please help if you can x

Just checkin’ in

Oh gosh, my last blog post was in October. That was the first one in 4 months. I said I’d be blogging more – how wrong was I!? Haha! I do mean to get around to blogging, but life with a little one, working part time, plus everything in between, just seems to fly by! Anyway, I thought I would check in with you and just say – I’m still here! Still happy, nothing much changed, just enjoying the little things in life.

Baby Loop is now a walking, sort of talking (in her own way anyway), crazy energetic funny little character that amazes me every single day. Daddy Loop is now working completely self employed and much happier that way. I’m back at work in my graphic design job part-time (I didn’t want to be at work more days a week than with my little one), and all the plans I have for things to do, make and see are still mostly plans, because life.

So what have I been making? Well, not nearly as much as I would like, as been doing more graphic design work… but I have made:

Another dress for Baby Loop, which is now more of a tunic, but totally works!

Another dress for Baby Loop, which is now more of a tunic, but totally works!

A pixie hat complete with bell, which I really should have listed in my shop by now but haven't gotten round to! Anyone wanna buy it?!

A pixie hat complete with bell, which I really should have listed in my shop by now but haven’t gotten round to! Anyone wanna buy it?!

A double bobble hat for Baby Loop which she wore LOADS but has since grown out of (shows how long I've not done a blog post for!)

A double bobble hat for Baby Loop which she wore LOADS but has since grown out of (shows how long I’ve not done a blog post for!)

An upcycled skirt for Baby Loop out of an old dress (which I found in a charity shop for £1, Baby Loop wore til she grew out of, and then I upcycled - so LOADS of wear out of this one!)

An upcycled skirt for Baby Loop out of an old dress (which I found in a charity shop for £1, Baby Loop wore til she grew out of, and then I upcycled – so LOADS of wear out of this one!)

A tonne of die cuts that I still haven't listed in my Super Die Guy shop but keep meaning to get round to!

A tonne of die cuts that I still haven’t listed in my Super Die Guy shop but keep meaning to get round to!

Next on my list I really want to make Baby Loop some harem trousers. And myself a new high-waisted skirt. Maybe a little dress for summer for each of us. Those bird appliques need applying to something I reckon! As for right now, it’s Easter Sunday and I haven’t had even nearly my quota of chocolate for the day, so I’m off to make a brew and munch away. Hope everyone is having a great Bank Holiday weekend. Much love to you all x

It’s been a long time…

It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog post – nearly 4 months in fact! So I thought I would just check in and say all is well, I’ve just had a lovely summer of being with my little family and occasionally getting some time in to make things, but not quite enough time to sit and write blog posts.

Giraffes are at home in the sand, right?! #sophiegiraffe #baby #beach

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I’ve not abandoned you my lovely readers, and things will be coming more often soon enough! I’m due to go back to work very soon (booooo, end of maternity leave!), but I will only be going back part-time (3 days a week) because I can’t bare to spend more of my week at work than with my little one. I do however need the money otherwise I probably wouldn’t be going back at all, as great a place as it is to work. This change in day to day life has got me thinking of ways to get organised so the days I do have with Baby Loop are spent with her rather than catching up on chores or all the things I want to get made, or shopping and things like that. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m becoming an organisation machine haha! I will say that using the slow cooker and my evenings to maximum capacity feature a lot in this plan 😀

In terms of what I have been up to creatively, well, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen the dress that I have made for Baby Loop. I gotta say, I’m absolutely in love with it and was totally flattered when we were at a soft play center and another mum asked where I got it from 😀

I’m thinking of making these to sell but I need to work out how exactly to fit the making of them into the already very busy schedule!

I got a die cutting press for my birthday, with which I plan to make some really cool appliques for the kidswear I plan to make (yes, no just dresses!)

Made my first #owl with my #sizzix #bigshot, how cute is this little guy?! #diecutting #crafting #scrapbooking

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I made my first ever wreath, and nope, it wasn’t a Christmas one, it was a Halloween one! Christmas one is next 😀

Aaaand I got my hair done for my birthday, which I am feeling totally super about, it’s amazing how much a new hair cut and colour can make a difference to your confidence 😀

Birthday curls 😀 New cut and colour #abouttime

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I’m sure I’ve been up to PLENTY more but doesn’t your mind just go blank when people ask that ‘What have you been up to?’ question?! This is just like that!

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