Wife-made Maker Spotlight: AJ Collective

Wife-made Maker Spotlight: AJ Collective

Since I started selling my wings patterns way back when (four years ago I think…???), I’ve had the wonderful privilege of seeing other people’s imaginations bring them to life in ways that I would NEVER have thought of. That’s the beauty of putting a pattern out into the world, and every now and then when I need a bit of a pick-me-up, I’ll dive into my Wife-made Instagram hashtags to see if anything new pops up. I’m rarely disappointed and it really is a fantastic motivator. So, to say thank you to those lovely people who have supported me by purchasing a pattern (or several!) I thought I’d start featuring makers on my blog and socials through a Wife-made Maker Spotlight.

For my first Wife-made Maker Spotlight, let me introduce you to Aimee Thannhauser from AJ Collective. When I first saw Aimee’s work, I was smitten. She has taken my humble attempts at blending vintage linens and modern fabric prints to a whole new level and her fabric combinations are inspiring! The wings she creates using my patterns are part of a collection of costumes for children, that includes animal masks, mermaid tails and king and queen crowns.

All about Aimee & AJ Collective

I’m Aimee, an almost 30 year old stay-at-home Mum to Poppy (6) and Oliver (2). Hubby and I have been married almost 8 years and we live in Mildura in a home we’re slowly trying to renovate amongst two dogs, a rabbit and little flock of 6 chooks.  AJ Collective is my little handmade hobby business, where I make kids dress ups!

AJ collective started with my sister (both our initials are AJ). As stay-at-home Mums we were looking for something to do. Originally we focused on art and graphic design, but life got busy and I eventually decided to go down this path solo. I was constantly making dress ups for Poppy and my nieces and nephews so it seemed like a natural fit to take AJ Collective in this direction.

My background is in visual arts, and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved drawing. My earliest memory is tracing the images I could see through the paper from the placemats at kindergarten. I’ve carried a drawing journal around with me ever since!

After finishing my Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) degree and having kids I was continuously looking for something to fulfil the creative part of me, and after dabbling in many things I have finally found something I truly love doing every day! My mum taught me to sew on her old heavy sewing machine (that she still uses today!) – I love to learn and pick up lots of new sewing tips and tricks constantly. 

I think everyone with young kids knows how crazy life can get sometimes, I have to try and squeeze in the creative part of my day wherever I can! It’s all just go go go. Generally the creative part of my day happens during Oliver’s nap time, but some days nap time is a battle I lose so it can also mean a few late nights (particularly if I have a market coming up where I need extra stock on hand). The best way to make myself feel like I’m achieving something though is to have check lists. I write down all my plans for the day, which also includes the boring stuff like washing the dishes, prepping tea or going to the gym. 

I usually try to have patterns cut out in the morning or the night before ready to have a solid sewing session in the afternoon during Ollie’s down time before school pick up.  When I’m sketching out new patterns or ideas it can be a great time to work in some activities with Oliver, like give him some paper and pencils too, or felt and fabric scraps he can play with.

I’ve definitely stumbled down my current path thanks to my kids. The dress ups all started with my daughters love for dressing up. When she was about 2 or 3 years old, I made Poppy my first ever masks, which she still has. They had hand-sewn details and were a bit rough but still sweet! And then I stumbled across the amazing Wife-made pattern and fell in love! I gifted Poppy my first pair of wings for Christmas and I haven’t stopped since. My nieces all received wings for Christmas the following year too! 

Poppy’s current future career dream, bless her imagination, is to be a mermaid, so she gives me a lot of ideas. I love that a child’s dream can be so magical, I hope my dress ups can give children that little bit of whimsy they’re searching for. Oliver isn’t quite into the dress ups yet (although he does love to wear Poppy’s tutus occasionally) but I’m sure when he is older he will have a few requests of his own!

Creativity is something that’s always been a part of my life. I do have a bit of a fabric obsession, so when I have beautiful fabrics to use it’s easy to create as I can’t wait to see how they turn out! I also love experimenting which helps keep things interesting!

I have lots of ideas for AJ Collective, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of making dress ups! There are a few products I’d like to add to my range, but right now it’s just finding the time to bring those ideas to life as it takes me a little while to develop a new product.

I’m constantly dabbling in other mediums, but nothing has ever really stuck like sewing and drawing! I’d love to combine the two, and I have done drawings on fabric in the past with small hand-stitched details. I loved them and I’d like to get back to those, or even release a range of prints relating to my products in some way.

Follow Aimee on Instagram and Facebook or purchase one of her lovely items through her Etsy store!

If you would like to be featured in a Wife-made Maker Spotlight, send me an email!

Dragon & Bat Wings | A new Wife-made Wings add-on!

Dragon & Bat Wings | A new Wife-made Wings add-on!

The Dragon & Bat Wings Add-on has technically been available now for about two weeks now – this is currently the story of my life.  I’m late to most things, I’ve usually forgotten something, and my standards of dressing have significantly dropped.  Thankfully I live in a city where thongs are considered acceptable attire for most occasions.

But, as the saying goes, better late than never…

I am very pleased to be able to welcome this little addition to my pattern portfolio.  (Remember the other three? The original Butterfly, the Lacewing and the Bumblebee!)  It turned out pretty much exactly as I had hoped, which is a minor miracle considering post-partum baby brain. (Leo slept through last night for the first time!  It was his 5 month birthday gift to me.  So thoughtful of him really.  Let’s hope it continues… EDIT: It has not.) (more…)

Wife-made Bumblebee Wings!

Wife-made Bumblebee Wings!

How it can possibly be the middle of February and I haven’t been back here to let you know about my latest pattern add-on is beyond me.  And that I’m already 25 weeks through my fourth pregnancy completely evades comprehension.

I feel like this year is flying by and I feel so much pressure to make sure I stop and smell the roses when I can!  Perhaps it is the reality of having a fourth child that is making me feel nostalgic and worried that I’m going to miss something in their childhood… but I am trying to take time to just ‘take time’.  To sit and eat morning tea with the kids instead of rushing around trying to get this and that done.  To spend 20 minutes pushing Ezra on the swing, listening to his constant swing mantra ‘wing… wing… wing… wing..’, while Lewis leaps and punches the air around me, chattering about the new red Power Ranger and all his sick moves.  And then, when Rosie comes home from school to help her wash off the dust of the day, to chat to her and engage with her and, above all, to make sure she knows she’s just as important to me as the boys, even though we aren’t together most of the day.  And then somehow, in amongst all this, to appreciate this fourth and final pregnancy and this little one inside me; to take the time to soak up the kicks and hiccups and tiredness, because it is {most definitely} the last.

So now that I’ve written all that down I can see why I haven’t been back here since December!  Because life takes time.  And I’ve made it sound like I haven’t had time to do anything else, which isn’t the case, because my house is the cleanest it’s been in a while and I released a new wing pattern add-on in January, and I’ve been working on two secret sewing projects behind the scenes that I haven’t been able to share anything about, and to top it all off, I’ve started a really strict autoimmune diet that means I have to spend at least an afternoon a week preparing food so that I don’t give in and eat all the things that make me sick!  Phew!

Anywho, let’s talk about what this post was truly intended for – my newest Wife-made Butterfly Wing Pattern Add-on – Bumblebee Wings!

Wife-made Bumblebee Wings Pattern Add-on

Wife-made Bumblebee WingsThis is Hazel.  Such a pretty little bumblebee!

Wife-made Bumblebee WingsWife-made Bumblebee Wings

It was a stinker of a day when my photographer, Chrystal, of Poetic Light Photography, took her out to snap some pics.  Over 40 degrees.  And if I’d been expected to play it up for the camera in uncomfortable dress up clothes with annoying wings on my back in extreme Summer heat, you can bet I’d have way more photos than just one looking like this…Her little red face and sweaty hair!

Wife-made Bumblebee Wings

These wings were designed with the latest Tilda collection ‘Bumblebee’ in mind, and are a nod to one of nature’s under-rated creatures.  The Bumblebee add-on includes two wings sizes and two different applique layouts that can be used with the original Butterfly wing pattern, and it is currently available as a PDF download in my webshop or Etsy store.

If you’re making wings with any of my patterns I’d love to see!  You can email photos to me, or tag your Instagram photo with any (or all!) of the following hashtags – #wifemadebutterflywings #wifemadebumblebeewings #wifemadelacewings

Wife-made Bumblebee Wings

A Wife-made Giveaway: Ready-To-Fly or D-I-Y? (Now Closed)

A Wife-made Giveaway: Ready-To-Fly or D-I-Y? (Now Closed)

Time for a giveaway!

To celebrate the release of my new ‘Lacewing’ pattern add-on, to be released THIS Friday evening, 30 September I’m hosting a giveaway!  And there are two separate prizes for two separate people.  Because I couldn’t bare the thought of only choosing one.

Prize number 1 is called ‘READY-TO-FLY’: It’s ONE (1) set of Tilda and vintage linen Wife-made ‘Lacewings’ (chosen by me) to fit whatever age child the winner requests.

It’s for all those lovely followers who have asked me to make them wings lately and have been turned down.  It’s to try and make amends, and tell you that I really do love you!  (I’ve been getting lots of requests to make wings for people.  Lots and lots of requests.  From lots and lots of lovely people.  Lovely lovely lovely people, who I really wish I didn’t have to keep saying no to.  But at the moment I have a teething 13 month old who likes to writhe around in my bed at all hours of the night and he doesn’t take too kindly to my requests for sewing time.  Soooo selfish.)

Prize number 2 is called ‘D-I-Y’: It’s for the hand-maker.  It’s a pretty special pack of everything you need to make your own set of Wife-made ‘Lacewing’ Butterfly Wings including a 5 piece FQ bundle of Sadie’s Dance Card by Tanya Whelan, all the batting, interfacing etc, as well as a copy of the soon-to-be-released ‘Lacewing’ pattern add-on!!  Not too shabby, right?

But wait.  There’s more.

Wife-made & Elizabeth Little Co Giveaway!
The very lovely Eileen of a beautiful little fabric store called Elizabeth Little has generously gifted the ‘D-I-Y’ winner a bundle of three LIBERTY TANA LAWN prints (as shown in the image above!) which includes a beautiful and hard to get Wiltshire print that is exclusive to Japan.  Definitely not shabby.    You can check Elizabeth Little out on Facebook and Instagram and did I mention they have a flat rate shipping fee?  My new best friends 😉

To be in the running to win one of two ‘Lacewing’ prizes – the entrants must:
1. Follow Wife-made and Elizabeth Little Co on Instagram
2. Share a photo of your favourite Wife-made Wings on Instagram.  Mine or yours!  Butterflies, dragons, bats whatever!
3. Tag your photo with #wifemadewings AND #wings
4. In your photo caption, tell me what prize (READY -TO-FLY or D-I-Y) you want to win & why!

That’s it! Good luck! Break a leg! Etc etc and so on and so forth.

Now, here’s the ‘boring, but apparently very important if you want to be taken seriously and not get a fine’ stuff…
For your entry to be valid, the following Terms & Conditions must be adhered to:
– entrants must be 18 years of age or older
– entrants may be worldwide
– one entry per person
– the giveaway will start at 10.00 pm AEST on Monday, 26th of September 2016 and will end at 12.00pm AEST Friday 30th September 2016
– only entries submitted via Instagram will be considered
– there will be two (2) winners:  ONE winner will receive a ready-made set of Tilda and vintage linen (chosen by me) Wife-made ‘Lacewing’ Butterfly Wings made to fit whatever age child the winner requests.  The SECOND WINNER will receive a DIY sewing gift pack including the following items: 1 x FQ bundle of 5 prints from the Sadie’s Dance Card fabric line by Tanya Whelan, all notions required to make their own set of ‘Lacewing’ Butterfly Wings, 1 x PDF copy of the Wife-made ‘Lacewing’ Butterfly Wings Pattern Add-on, and a bundle of Liberty Tana Lawn, gifted by Elizabeth Little Co.

Choosing the winners:
– TWO (2) winners (ONE for READY TO FLY and ONE for DIY) will be chosen by me (Xanthe Grundy), based on what I deem to be the most creative/unique responses to the question in entry requirement 4.
– the winner of the prize will be announced via Instagram on the Wife-made page by me.
– the winners have 48 hours to claim their prizes by responding to my message/post or emailing me at xanthe.wifemade@bigpond.com.
– if the winners do not claim their prize within 48 hours, new winners will be selected based on the above criterion.

This giveaway is being run by Wife-made only. The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. You are providing information to Wife-made, not to Instagram.

Memory Lane by Tilda & Wife-made Butterfly Wings

Memory Lane by Tilda & Wife-made Butterfly Wings

Tilda fabrics have always been a favourite of mine.  They are my kind of pretty – a bit vintage, lots of florals, and no candy pink.  Plus, you can tell they are well-made – the fabric has substance and a feeling of quality to it and the prints are crisp and clean.  So when I’m after a pretty ‘fix’ Tilda is always up there on my list.

So, of course I was VERY excited when asked by Australia’s Tilda wholesalers, 2 Green Zebras to help them celebrate the release of the new Tilda lines, Memory Lane and Cabbage Rose.  Wings in Tilda… another favourite of mine.

Wife-made Butterfly Wings in Tilda's Memory LaneWife-made Butterfly Wings in Tilda's Memory Lane
Another thing I love about Tilda – the ranges always go beautifully with my vintage linens.  Recently, I was fiddling with (at a stretch you could say I was tidying…) my fabrics and I happened to lay a vintage embroidered supper cloth right beside the limited edition ‘Painting Flowers’ line.  It was like they had been designed for each other.  The linen had age, and had obviously been well-loved as the embroidery was faded, and it was this element that made the match perfect.  The ‘Painting Flowers’ range had an ever-so-gentle washed-out quality to it, that gave it a beautiful old-world feel.  See the outcome of this match made in heaven in this post.

Wife-made Butterfly Wings in Tilda's Memory Lane

The gold and chartreuse colours in the Memory Lane range are beautiful and match perfectly with the new metallic elastic I’ve been using for my wing straps.  Just another old-world element that also gives it a bit of a luxe feel, like antique jewellery.

Wife-made Butterfly Wings in Tilda's Memory LaneIMG_4064 (1)

Have you seen all the other amazing handmade pieces being created with the lovely Tilda Cabbage Rose and Memory Lane ranges?  If anyone ever tries to tell you handmade is dying out, you’ll know they’ve never been on Instagram.