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

 

One for the ladies

My first set of block (sloper) patterns for ladies is now available. You can now purchase a tailored skirt block in a full range of sizes (6 to 26) in my Etsy shop, just click here.

Ladies Size 6-26 Tailored Skirt Blocks

With this skirt block you can make your own patterns for a wide variety of skirts from pencil to pleated perfection. A size chart is provided so you can pick the size perfect for you, but if this doesn’t quite suit your needs, I can also create custom skirt blocks. I just need a set of measurements from you and it can be ready in a day!

I’m super excited to see what you creative types might make by starting off with this block. Post your creations in the comments!

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

A new blogging venture

I like blogging, I like getting things out of my head and written down, I like sharing thoughts and experiences with people, I like providing help and tips for fellow crafters, and I like chatting to people in the comments section. Even so, it’s not always easy to think of a subject for a blog post, and I would hate to let my blog go stagnant, so recently when I was reading MommaTwo’s blog, I spotted something that I thought might like to participate in – blogging assignments for brands. It’s a nice concept – you apply to review a product in exchange for some kind of reward – usually getting to keep the product. You will only get accepted to review products that are relevant to, and fit with, your blog; so for example I might get accepted to review a handmade soap, but not a new shaving foam for men. It gives me something to write about, I can hopefully find some new products my readers might love, and I get some freebies haha!

Reviews are something I look at all the time, nearly always before purchasing something (for example the organic tinted moisturiser I bought yesterday, or every single place we’ve ever gone to stay on holiday), so I know the importance of them, have appreciated them many times myself and think it’s good that I get to contribute to that community. I already write reviews when we stay at hotels, use garages, find somewhere good (or not!) to eat etc. so this shouldn’t be such a far jump for me.

I’ve already applied for and been accepted for my first assignment, and it looks like this one might see me doing some baking, yum! So watch this space, and if you’re lucky you might get a slice of cake ;p

Do they make a lovely couple?

If you’ve never shopped for mannequin heads you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find a decent male one. I’m still not completely convinced that I like the one I have, he’s a slightly funny colour and looks really intense, but he was the best of a bad lot to be honest, the choice is abysmal, especially if you’re on a budget! The female one however, I’m well chuffed with, she’s super, looks amazing. If they were a couple I reckon my male mannequin would be punching above his weight ;p

Mannequin Heads

Anyway, they are both fine for the purpose of helping me with my shop photos to show off my hats etc. on both a male and female face. I haven’t quite managed to take any shots of my products on them yet (man do babies take up a LOT of your time!), but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. Might have to go out in the garden in the daytime to get the best light, the neighbours might think I’m a bit bonkers. Oh well, I already think they’re bonkers… but that’s another story.

So, it’s 2014 now, what are my plans? Well, pre-baby I had grand plans of having lots of time to make lots of lovely items whilst baby slept. But then baby arrived, and Baby Loop doesn’t sleep as much as I thought she would! Clearly, she does not take after her mum in that department… I can sleep for Engand! Therefore, my plans have no slightly amended to “Lets just see what I can get done when I get a chance”, meaning I hope to be making new items to share with you, and I’m sure I will, the frequency may just not be as often as I would like 🙂 Perhaps quite predictably, I am finding myself wanting to make more baby items, but I still want to make more male items too as I still feel that is a rather under represented area in the handmade world.

I also have grand plans of running my own craft fair. I’m currently hashing out ideas to make it a little different and attract a wider audience than just other crafters (which was one of my main gripes with craft fairs I’ve done in the past). I don’t even want to call it a craft fair actually, I think that puts about 50% of the population off (the blokes!). So if any of my readers are based in the North West UK and are interested in signing up to be notified when my plan is coming into fruition, then please leave a comment.

My website is still under construction, I’m sure I’ll get back around to it eventually – the purchase of the mannequin heads was something that needed to be done for the website anyway, so I can have consistent product photos.

I’ll be back soon with a post containing some of my favourite handmade baby items. Until then, take care, and do leave me a comment and let me know what you have all been up to this year and what grand plans you have!

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!

Finished… with time to spare!

Finally, the granny stripe baby blanket I started is finished! With 2 days until my due date it’s about time hey?! I was so intent on getting it finished that I didn’t write one of the ‘update’ blogs I was going to write, I thought I would just plough on through. So, a little update on the progress: I have been crocheting this pretty much every day since going on maternity leave in one last big effort to get it finished in time for the baby being born. I got to the end of the granny stripes, and then I had the spectacularly annoying task of tying in my loose ends for every single row (note to self: next time, do it as you go, not all at the end!). At this point it was looking like this:

Pre-edged granny stripe blanket

Looking good, but I thought it definitely needed an edge (had been thinking it would do all along so no surprise), and with the end in sight, I kept on crocheting. I edged it by doing a round of yet more granny stitches, followed by a round of double crochet on top of that, followed by a nice wiggly kinda shell edge (I’m not entirely sure what the proper term for the stitch I have used is, but it looks pretty). So today I had my breakfast and sat down to do the last part of that, and voila, it is complete!

Granny Stripe Blanket Edging

Almost looks like a different blanket! I’m really pleased with how it has turned out and can’t wait to put the little one in it! So exciting! I even have enough of each colour left to do some little hats of mittens or booties, so guess what I’ll be doing next?!

Here are some more shots of the blanket that show it off a bit better:

Granny Stripe Blanket Collage

Long Time No Speak!

Oh dear, what must my readers think, I’ve not made a blog post for quite some time! I’m not gone, and I’ve not forgotten, but I have been putting far less time into Linziloop stuff over the last few months, and a bit more time into ErroZero (my graphic design startup). Nevertheless, I have still been making some things, so I shall share these with you! I started making some kiddy hats in the later part of 2012, which is quite fitting really and must have been a sign, as in Feb 2013 I found out I was expecting 😀

linziloop crochet baby hat

I bought the doll that models the baby stuff from ebay. It freaks some people out because the eyes move, but I love it!

After moving house in October and gaining a whole room just for me to have my craft things in I would have thought I would have really gotten into it and been making loads, but I found the decor in the room rather uninspiring and ended up not spending much time in there at all. With the emergence of lighter evenings and sometimes some sunshine however, I have found myself wanting to make more things in the last couple of months – I can get out in the garden and crochet on the massive beanbag (my new favourite thing in the world!), and the craft room doesn’t seem quite so dull in a brighter light. I really must get around to decorating though!

I have managed to make myself a skirt, which with it’s shirred waste should come in pretty handy over the coming months of ever growing belly! I had this fabric lying around for a while and it seemed perfect for a skirt with it’s embroidery along the bottom there, what do you think?

linziloop floral handmade maternity skirt

I haven’t had a craft stall for a while but I do have one this coming weekend (June 1st) at the Psychometric Picnic in the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool. This was an event I also attended last year and was much fun, so I jumped at the chance to do it again. If you’re around Liverpool on Saturday, do pop along, it’s a great event with some brilliant music and workshops and will be well worth your while. Don’t forget your suncream – the weather is promising sun!

Psychometric Picnis photo 2012

Click on the picture to see my blog post about Psychometric Picnic 2012!

Oh and that reminds me! I went to a crafternoon at a friends a couple of weeks ago. A little boy opened the door and I thought “I know you, but I can’t place where from!”. Turns out he was there with his mum, who I had met – at the psychometric picnic; small world eh! Not only that, but I got the most amazing compliment. The little boys mum had actually bought a hair band off me that day, and she said she still has it and it has become something she wears ALL the time. This made me really happy 🙂

I may have had some time off blogging for a little while but it’s nice to know my past articles are still being found and read. A few months ago a guy from Craftseller magazine got in touch with me after seeing my Festival Trading tips on this very blog and asked if I would contribute some advice to an article he was writing about selling outdoors! Very happy to oblige, I provided some tips and waited patiently for the May-June issue to come out. Well, it’s here, with a brand new look, and true enough, my name is in print! It’s even got a link to my blog, how fab 😀

Craftseller magazine new look front cover

This is the article I contributed to :) Unfortunately none of my pics were used but I do like the way it has been illustrated.

This is the article I contributed to 🙂 Unfortunately none of my pics were used but I do like the way it has been illustrated.

Craftseller outdoor selling tips Linziloop mention

Yay! And there it is – my name, and this blog, in print!

I’m off to get some sleep now, but I promise I won’t leave it this long again until my next blog post!

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