New Spoonflower Competitions!

I’ve been super excited to find out what the first of the new Spoonflower competitions would be, and yesterday my wait was over. The first of the new competitions has launched with a ‘Japanese Garden’ theme, and designers have until 19th April to submit their designs. After that, voting will open on the 21st, close on the 27th, and the winners announced on April 28th.

sproutpatterns-logo

The change to a monthly rather that a weekly competition brings with it bigger potential rewards. Under the old system, just the winner took home a prize ($100 Spoonflower Credit). Now, everyone in the Top Ten will get $50 dollars Spoonflower credit PLUS $50 Sprout credit. The winner will receive $100 Spoonflower credit, $100 Sprout credit, plus a whole load of promotion with their design.

I really like that everyone in the Top Ten gets something now, that’s a really good decision I think.

What is Sprout I hear you ask? Sprout is a new website by Spoonflower where you can buy patterns for clothing and accessories printed on Spoonflower fabrics. No tracing pattern pieces off – the pieces are literally printed for you so all you have to do is cut and sew! Cool! nice idea!

I’ve started putting together some inspiration for my Japanese Garden design, I love that I have more than a week to put it together. I’ll let you see it as soon as I’m finished x

 

Spoonflower Watercolour Competition Entry

I finished my second Watercolour design inspired by the Spoonflower Design a Day Challenge, and have entered it into their current competition of the same theme. I’m really pleased with the outcome of this one and will be making it available in my Spoonflower shop for sure. What do you think?!

Watercolour-Feathers-2

If you’re feeling generous, pop over to the competition page, have a scour through the entries (sorry I can’t post a direct link to mine as they jumble up the order each time someone visits to make it fairer) and vote for mine šŸ˜€
If anyone would like to commission a fabric design or purchase a licence to print one of the designs in my Spoonflower library then please feel free to get in touch x

Productivity Central

I’m being rather productive at the moment which is lovely. It means that I now have another set of block patterns to offer – a trouser block/sloper set for ages 2 to 14. These are for an easy fitting non-stretch trouser:

Age 2-14 Years Easy Fitting Trouser Blocks

Next I plan to do the block patterns for children’s leggings and stretch fabric trousers, and then I’ll move onto ladies trousers.

I’ve also, alongside moving our belongings out of our flooded house, been trying to take part in the Spoonflower Design-a-Day Challenge. Spoonflower is a site where you can upload your own designs for fabric and have them printed. They quite often run competitions, and I do like to enter them every now and then for a little creative challenge.

On Day 1 of the Design-a-Day challenge, the theme was ‘pencil drawing’. Little Loop was at forest school that particular day, so I took inspiration from that and started sketching out some bugs:

IMG_20160309_165200

I then tidied up the illustrations themselves by tracing over the best lines in pen:

Bugs-Illustration

I scanned them in, and began arranging the different elements into a pattern design. I coloured the design in photoshop, and this is the final outcome:

Forest-School-Pencil-Illustration.png

I was super pleased with this design and really happy I had taken part in this challenge as I probably wouldn’t have come up with something like this had I not had that little push to do something I don’t usually (but totally should!) do – work on PAPER first! I know from my graphic design uni course that this is always the best plan of action, but you just get so sucked into working on-screen that it falls out of habit. I shall give myself a talking to and make sure working on paper is at least a weekly occurrenceĀ from now on.

The next Design-a-Day challenge theme was watercolour. Handily, I had spotted the watercolour set Mr Loop had bought last year (and not used!) whilst packing our things up and kept it to one side. One evening, I popped out the watercolours and began painting some random things:

IMG_20160304_081458

I scanned these in, and took just one of the elements and a bit of Photoshop editing to make this design:

Watercolour-Feathers-1

which I’m also super happy with! I do have a lot more watercolour paintings I did to play with so I’ll be doing more on this theme for sure.

Now, by this point we were over a week into the daily challenge and I had only managed to do Day 1 and 2. I’m still to start:

Day 3 – Abstract
Day 4 – Block prints
Day 5 – Pen & ink
Day 6 – Geometric
Day 7 – Vector
Day 8 – Photographic
Day 9 – Open source
Day 10 – Steampunk
Day 11 – Dyed
Day 12 – Typographical
Day 13 – Kawaii
Day 14 – Found objects

so yeah, a LOT to do! I did actually make a start on the steampunk theme as it was something I felt drawn to, and did these little sketches:

Steampunk-Sketches

I’m thinking of maybe combining these with the ‘pen & ink’ theme to make a nice looking design. I’m sure I’ll get something done on all the other themes eventually… it’s nice to have them there as inspiration for a little playing around.

The final contest (the challenge wasn’t a contest in itself) theme to come out of the Spoonflower Design-a-Day is ‘Watercolour’ from Day 2, so I’ll be spending the afternoon playing with and refining some of my watercolour pieces to hopefully make a winning-worthy entry! Wish me luck!

 

A little late to the party!

Ok, I’m a little (ok, a lot!) late to the party and I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t do this sooner but I recently signed up for Instagram. It’s a great way of me quickly sharing little snippets of what I’m up to – crochet work in progress, days out, baking, finished projects, doodles etc. so if you’re enjoying my blog then please consider finding me on Instagram and following me on there too! I’m on there as ‘linziloophandmade

Instagram Page

I’m quite enjoying seeing other peoples creations, works in progress and even snippets of their commute to work (a friend of mine gets to go on his bike on the ferry across the Mersey, that’s MUCH better than a drive down the M6 any day!) so if you’re on there then please do leave a link in the comments section xxx

It’s amazing how much you can get done in an evening

You know those jobs that you always mean to get around to doing but never quite get there? Well last night I think I actually made some progress on one such job – my website! See, I bought the domains years ago and linked them to my Etsy shop. Then they ran out, and for quite a while I didn’t bother buying them again until one day earlier this year when I thought I really should make sure nobody else gets them as I would be gutted, so I bought them again. Somewhere between buying them the first and second time I had actually put some effort into designing my website, and had actually gotten pretty far into it… but never quite got to the coding stage, heck, I didn’t even have hosting.

Linziloop Website Homepage Design

A sneak preview at the design for the homepage

I never intended for last night to become the night I started actually making this happen… we got fish and chips for dinner because neither of us could be bothered cooking, and I planned on an early night, I was knackered and my bed was calling. Somehow after we ate dinner the conversation happened to go onto websites (not that out of the ordinary to be honest what with ‘Mr Loop’ being a web developer and me being a graphic designer!), and I recalled him mentioning us having some hosting space available to us. I suggested maybe we could link my domains up with the hosting and perhaps put a little ‘coming soon‘ page on there, and before I knew it, it was 11:45pm and we had a ‘coming soon‘ page (yay!) but had also installed an e-commerce back end to which I had started adding products, and the beginnings of my very own design in actual real life code! How exciting! So much for the early night though hey?!

So now, as well as the many many crochet projects I have lined up ahead of me, a baby due tomorrow, and a pile of fabric I desperately want to turn into lovely new dresses, I have a website to do! Nothing like keeping busy! I’m rather excited about this… I’m not holding my breath that it will be done any time super soon as listing the products with all the shipping charges etc. and getting my head around everything alone is proving time consuming in itself, but progress is being made and that feels wonderful.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of everything, www.linziloop.co.uk is on it’s way and I can’t wait!

There must be a combo here…

I have a habit of buying fabric and yarn even when I don’t actually have any particular project in mind for it. I’ve tried to stop doing this as I ended up with a monster of a yarn and fabric stash just sitting there, but sometimes I still just can’t help myself! On a visit to hobbycraft I saw this t-shirt yarn on offer and I couldn’t resist, it’s brilliant colours, the fab texture, surely I can find something to do with it, right?!

T-shirt yarn in greys and turquoise

And then just the other day, I was shopping for fabric to make bandana bibs from and I ended up buying this little lot:

Chevron Fabrics

When I returned home, I realised that the new fabric went really well with the tshirt yarn I had bought, and I’m currently trying to think of some way to combine them… they’re just made for each other!

Tshirt yarn and chevron fabric

Oddsox suggested I look on pinterest for ideas which was a genius suggestion, as was my friend Carries suggestion of edged blankets, although I have a feeling the t-shirt yarn might make doing that rather difficult what with the size of the holes it would need to fit through. So, I ask you oh great blogosphere, what amazing creation could be sewn and crocheted from this combination of materials?!

Craft Stall Props

I’ve always tinkered with the way my craft stall looks at every event I’ve done. Sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes I forget to bring something and so have to ‘make do’ or find a substitute. Other times I opt not to take absolutely everything because I need to travel light or know I won’t have the time to set up. Making your craft stall stand out, stand up to a bit of bashing or outdoor elements, be easy for you to transport, and be quick to set up, all time time also presenting your products at their best, can be quite the task. I don’t claim to have mastered this task, but I would like to share some cool things I have foundĀ  on my journey of looking for craft stall ‘props’ that could be used on your craft stall.

Apple/Wine Crates

Example wine crate

The price of these has fallen victim to their increasing popularity, being used for all kinds of purposes such as veg planters, home shelving, personalised toy boxes and yes- you guessed it, craft stall displays. If you can get your hands on some cheaply however (which seems to no longer be possible on sites such as Ebay unfortunately!) then certainly do – they’re great as portable shelving, can be painted up to match with your stall, and double up as something sturdy to carry your stock in when you’re off home at the end of the day!

Letterpress Drawers

Letterpress drawer example

Especially useful for small items such as jewellery, letterpress drawers are one of my favourite items I have seen used on craft stalls, probably because of the slightly geeky graphic designer I can be. It’s a little piece of history re-purposed into something that is still very useful, and in it’s own right, beautiful. They usually appear antique/vintage, and look good with a lick of paint, but some look great just as they are. Hooks can be screwed into the wood for hanging items on, and the little compartments make perfect tiny little shelves. Some have a handle on top, which can come in quite handy, but I guess you could always put your own handle on!

Vintage Suitcasessuitcase-vintage-cream

Another item which can be difficult to get hold of cheaply at the moment as not only are they useful for craft stalls but all the hipsters love ’em, the vintage suitcase is another handy craft stall prop that double up as both display and storage. I managed to get one myself in a vintage shop in Manchester for Ā£10. It had a clean cream leather exterior and a gorgeous pale blue lining inside with not a mark on it. It has seen me through many a stall and is still going strong. I use it to store and carry things as well as display items. What I display in it tends to change each time. I have found a cork board that fits perfectly inside the lid so what I tend to do is prop that up in the lid with items pinned to it and then fill the bottom half with some smaller items. It helps break the table up a bit, and it adds a little height too. Keep an eye out for a cheap one in good condition – even if you find no use for it yourself I’ll bet someone else would be willing to give you at least what you paid for it šŸ˜‰

Old Picture Frames

Taradara-Craft-Stall-Display-Shelf

I’ve seen these used in a couple of different ways. One way is building a little set of shelves into the back of the frame – like I have shown on Taradara’s stall in a previous post (above)

Picture-Frame-Photo-Display

or another way is to attach string to the back of the frame and use this to hang small items from such as earrings. Alula Jewellery merges this idea with the suitcase idea to display her feather jewellery and it looks great!

Alula-Jewellery-Display

Room Dividers/Folding Screens

Backlit-folding_screen

An absolutely inspired idea for gaining more space to display your items without really taking up more than your allocated space if it can fit behind where you are sitting. Also helps gain that all important height, but only really good if you can attach items to it. May be good if you’re selling posters or photographic prints and you get a screen that doesn’t ‘fight’ with your work (something plain and simple). I did get rather excited when I saw this image of some backlit screens though, absolutely stunning! I think a new love affair may have started, I’m now obsessed with folding screens and finding ways I could put one to use (I don’t have a room in my house big enough that’s for sure!)

A mirror

Craft-Stall-Mirror-Display

One thing you should absolutely not be without if you are selling absolutely anything that can be tried on, is a mirror. I tend to use a small oval shaped freestanding mirror which doesn’t take too much space up on my table. So much fun could be had with mirrors though, and it’s something I would like to explore further. A large mirror propped up at the back of my table could provide extra light, another point of interest (if I did something funky with it), and help break up the stall by providing some height. The above one could even double up as an item to display things on.

These are my favourite items I’ve seen used so far, what item could you not be without on your craft stall!? Is there an item you use purely for display that people are always asking to buy?!

A New Venture!

Hi there everyone! It’s been a while since my last post, apologies for that, time just seems to be running away from me at the moment! Is it me or is it like that for everyone?! I have managed to get some stuff done though, which is good, because I hate feeling like I’ve got nothing done, it winds me up! If a day passes where I haven’t ticked something off a list then it makes me feel all anxious. Maybe I should trick myself and write things on the list like “eat breakfast” or “sleep” then I’d tick things off for sure hehe!

The main thing I would like to share with you is something my partner and I have discovered we really like doing together. Now now, don’t let your minds wander off too much, it’s nothing naughty, in fact, it’s as far away from naughty you could possibly get! I picked up some hama beads a few weeks ago and a couple of peg boards, brought them home and we each had a little go, turns out we found it quite enjoyable and therapeutic! Putting the tiny little beads on the board, making your own design up or trying to re-create something, unleashing the iron on the finished piece to set it in place forever – there’s something rather satisfying about the while thing!

However, there are only so many hama bead necklaces, magnets and keyrings one can have before you, well, just have too many! So, we (or rather I) decided we would open up a little Etsy Shop, by the name of Retroid Studio (because the designs look like pixel art, and that’s all retro, and ‘studio’ conjured up ideas of little robots working away for me!) to sell our creations. I took some photos of the first few things we wanted to sell, made up a banner , wrote some descriptions, and voila! What do you think of our creations?!

Pixel Triangle Hama Bead Necklace

Pixel Tribal Inspired Hama Bead Necklace

Pixel Diamond Candy Hama Bead Necklace

Fantasy Ice Spear Blue White Hama Bead Necklace

Cute Kawaii Star Pixel Hama Bead Necklace

Pixel Explosion Hama Bead Necklace

Other than that, I passed my CBT a couple of months ago so I’ve been really enjoying getting to grips with my motorbike (pictured below!) and will do my full test at some point in the next couple of months I reckon. I’m looking into brushing up on my screenprinting skills soon too as I really loved doing that back in my college days, plus it’s really something every graphic designer should do! The Made Here Pop Up Shop is doing well and will be in Liverpool One for a little while yet so if you haven’t had a chance, do get yourself down there! If you have been, then get yourself down there again because they’re getting new wonderful handmade stock in all the time and it’s looking fantastic!

Linziloop on her bike

I’ll be back soon hopefully with some pictures of some sewing I plan on doing, until then, take care xxx

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