A test of perseverance…

A test of perseverance…

If you were a subscriber to my email list, then you’ll know that I recently wrote to you about my word for the year – perseverance.

Well, today I am facing the ULTIMATE test of perseverance. Ok, ok. Maybe that’s taking it a bit too far… How about PENULTIMATE? Still too much? Well, let me tell you more.

Today I deleted my entire email list.

Yep. The whole entire list. Not a single contact was spared. (Edit: turns out I managed to save a handful of my recent subscribers! Hooray!)

Sounds dramatic, hey. I know in the scheme of things it’s not the end of the world, but, well…

It is for me.

(At least until my husband travels overseas for three weeks and leaves me alone with all four kids. That definitely trumps email list deletion.)

But I have worked hard to build that email list. *sigh* And sure, it wasn’t the largest email list, or the most engaged email list, in the entire world. But it was my email list. And now it’s pretty much gone. (Except for the few that I just realised I managed to save by a last minute, skin of my teeth export. Thanks goodness Mailchimp isn’t that speedy at deleting contacts.)

Sheesh.

And all I was doing was trying to be a good business person and save money by removing contacts that no longer wanted to be subscribed because I have to pay for my email list once it hits a certain number. Although now I’ve learnt I could have just archived them and saved myself a whole lot of pain.

Anyway, getting back to my initial point about my word for the year… This is another situation where I have been grateful for that little word. Grateful for what it means. Grateful for how it came about. And grateful that I have it as a reminder to keep going. When everything seems too hard and I want to give up…

I choose to persevere.

Leilani pattern testers call out | New quilt design

Leilani pattern testers call out | New quilt design

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been working on a new quilt pattern called Leilani, and I’m now at the point where I’m now looking for Leilani pattern testers!!

Wrap your peepers around this Illustrator mock-up version, in the double size. I think I’d like to make this in a throw size. I’ve never made a quilt with a dark background before, and I’ve got some hand-quilting ideas I’d like to have a play with in a rust coloured thread which I think could work really well with this colour palette, maybe…?

What do you think? Would you like to be one of my Leilani pattern testers?

Wife-made Leilani Pattern

Leilani was a name we had on our list when we first started having babies. I loved the name from the first time I heard it – so gentle and feminine. I believe it’s a Hawaiian word meaning ‘heavenly flower’ and I think it’s such a perfect name for little girl. In the end we went with Rose, as you may know, but I’m glad I got to use it for one of my ‘quilt babies’ {hee hee!}.

Leilani is a modern nod to those beautiful kitchen splashback tile patterns from the 60s and 70s, often seen in mission brown and that really bright orange. {Aaaaah! My eyeeeeeeeees!} Which I have nothing against as colours on their own, but I think some things from the 60s and 70s can do with a bit of updating…

I’m intrigued by how the use of different colours and combinations of colours in the flowers and stamen petals give an optical illusion of movement or spinning in the floral motif. It makes me feel like I have wobbly eyes!

If you would like to be one of my Leilani pattern testers, you should know that the pattern includes curved piecing for the petals, plus regular straight edge piecing for the diamond motif and the stamen block in the centre of the flower motif. Despite what it looks like in the pic below, the pattern is not constructed in straightforward quilt blocks, which I’m realising is becoming a bit of a signature style for me (aka, I like to make things difficult for myself haha!).

Wife-made Leilani Pattern

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to send this pattern out my selected Leilani pattern testers. I have been thinking a lot about the services that pattern testers provide people like myself (in my case – a work from home Mum trying to make a few extra bucks to help with the family budget) and I’ve decided to start offering incentives such as free fabric, gift vouchers to fabric shops and discount codes. If you’d like to learn more about this and be kept in the loop about future Wife-made pattern testing opportunities, please sign up here.

If you’re interested in being one of my Leilani pattern testers, here’s what you need to know!

  • The Leilani pattern includes curved piecing.
  • Leilani pattern testing turnaround is 4 weeks.  Due date for completed test quilts is Sunday, 23 June 2019. 
  • First drafts of the pattern will be emailed to selected testers on Monday, 27 May 2019.
  • I am looking for 3 – 5 pattern testers who can offer services including testing key elements of the pattern, and providing photographs of WIPs and completed projects up to throw quilt size.
  • Incentives for testers will be determined based on the quilting and photography skills of selected testers.
Wife-made Leilani Pattern

If you are confident sewing curves, or interested in having the opportunity to learn how to piece curved quilts AND (most importantly!) you are able to complete your test quilt and provide feedback and edits by Sunday, 23 June, I welcome you to express your interest in testing this pattern by sending me an email to discuss. Please let me know which of the following testing services you can offer in your email:

  • A – pattern checks and edits + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories
  • B – pattern checks and edits + completed baby sized quilt + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories OR high quality WIP/completed project photos for use in stories and Wife-made Instagram feed and blog
  • C – pattern checks and edits + completed cot sized quilt + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories OR high quality WIP/completed project photos for use in stories and Wife-made Instagram feed and blog
  • D – pattern checks and edits + completed throw sized quilt + WIP photos that can be shared in Instagram stories OR high quality WIP/completed project photos for use in stories and Wife-made Instagram feed and blog

Once I have a list of interested Leilani pattern testers I will approach 3 – 5 potential testers to discuss further.  The incentives I offer will vary according to the level of pattern testing and photography services provided.

I’m looking forward to hearing from interested Leilani pattern testers, as well as sending this new design out into the quilting world and seeing what everyone makes!

Patchy Wool Cushions | Art for your sofa

Patchy Wool Cushions | Art for your sofa

Art for your sofa – or your lounge or bed or wherever you want, really! That’s how I like to think of these Patchy Wool Cushions I’ve been making.

It’s been a few years now since I first started playing with wool scraps; chopping them up into smaller pieces and sewing them back together to create what I now call my Patchy Wool Cushions.

Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square
Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square

They are definitely a labour of love with all the cutting, piecing and stitching; but there is something about the colours and patterns in vintage/old wool blankets that speak to me and I love seeing them come together to create a new and unique piece.

Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square

Every single Patchy Wool Cushion I make is one of a kind, which is partly because they’re made with up-cycled, vintage wool blankets that I doubt I’d ever be able to find again, and partly because I could never want to make an identical pair. The thought is not at all appealing to me, firstly because I have a very short attention span, but also because I really like the fact that they all have their own little personality, kinda like humans. Some of us are bright and all over the place, like the rainbow styles below…

Wife-made Patchy Cushion
Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Square

And some of us are a bit more relaxed and quiet, still colourful, but just a little less in your face, like these ones…

Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Little Lumbar
Wife-made Patchy Wool Cushion - Big Lumbar

Bright and happy, soft and quiet; I love them all, and they all have their place. Tash from @thecolourtribe on Instagram has styled her rainbow Patchy Wool Cushion perfectly in her amazing retro house. It fits in perfectly and I love that it is being loved by someone other than me!

I like to think of these as ‘art for your sofa’ because I do spend a lot of time considering the colours and patterns I use in each cushion, as well as the placement and size of each wool piece to see how it interacts with the pieces around it. It’s a bit like a puzzle – but an enjoyable one, not like a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle that people appear to like torturing themselves with 😉

To celebrate the arrival of AFTERPAY in my webshop, I’m offering 15% off (no coupon required!) all ready-to-ship physical product! Which INCLUDES my Patchy Wool Cushions! Click over and take a look!

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!