Laurel squinted in the bright light as the announcer continued his introduction.
“I know, ladies and gentlemen, that this is the event of the night you’ve all been waiting for. So far tonight we’ve had Bonnie the tricycle-riding Boxer and Marting the moon-walking Meerkat. But neither of them, I think, will compete with Larry the whistling llama!”
The theater erupted into cheers and Larry flicked his tan ears back in annoyance. Laurel hoped he would remember all the bars of his tune this time. She’s made sure he drank enough water before coming on stage so that his lips would be wet.
She peeked down at the stage floor and noticed a puddle by Larry’s front feet. Perhaps she’d given him too much water; he was drooling.
“Take it away, Larry!” the announcer prompted with a wave and a shuffle step off the stage.
Laurel cleared her throat and played a C on her harmonica. Larry swiveled his left ear. Laurel tried again. Middle C rang out loud and clear. This time Larry’s right ear turned round nearly 180 degrees.
Sweat beaded on Laurel’s forehead under the hot lights. Now was not the time for her llama to get stage fright. With a sigh, Laurel gave one last blast on her harmonica. This time she played the note she knew Larry loved, even though it meant he’d squeak through half his song: A sharp.
This time both of Larry’s furry ear swiveled forward and he belted out his own version of an A sharp between his big, yellow teeth. With that note out, he launched full into his tune of EIEIO. Laurel wondered, as he squeaked, shrieked, and shrilly whistled his way through the verse, if there were llamas in Larry’s version of the song. Probably there were some pretty black lady llamas. Or perhaps that spotted one he spent so much time with in the field.
Even before he hit his second round of EIEIO, the audience was erupting into applause and laughing loudly. The announcer had to cover his mouth in the wings so that he didn’t chuckle into his microphone. If Laurel hadn’t heard the song a hundred times ever since her grandfather, whom Larry was named after, had taught it to him, she probably would be laughing too.
Larry hit the last note and held it long enough for the announcer to give her the cut sign. She nudged the llama in the side and he immediately closed his lips and turned toward her, expecting a treat. He got a rub on the head instead.
“Well, that was certainly something new!” the announcer said to the audience. “Let’s give Larry one last round of thanks.”
The audience applauded loudly and someone in the back whistled an A sharp. Larry couldn’t help but launch into another round of song.
You’ve been waiting so patiently and now these beauties are finally in the shop! Wrap yourself in wonder this fall with an illustrated scarf.
Made from cotton sateen, this infinity scarf will soon be your daily accessory. Black and white goes with everything so you can put it on as you rush out the door. Wrap it once or twice, you’ll be stylish either way.
Over the last few months, I have been working hard to make some big changes to Studio MME. While these changes were extremely hard to make, I know they were needed. This past weekend I vended at the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair and blew all of my other shows out of the water thanks to the changes I had made.
So what exactly is happening at Studio MME, you’re wondering? Well, I’m going to be focusing on my textile products including my embroidery kits and scarves (and future home decor ideas still percolating). You’ve made it clear you can’t get enough of my kits and patterns (and are dying to see the scarf line) so I’m putting all of my creative energy into those lines to make them the very best they can be.
This means that my prints and note cards will be retiring. Don’t worry, something equally wonderful will be taking their place in the coming months but now is your chance to get your hands on a Studio MME print. I only have a handful of each illustration left so you’ll want to snatch them up in the shop quickly because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
My partner took some beautiful photographs of my new scarf line that’s coming out in September. I’m getting so excited to reveal the whole line but for now, you will get just a few peeks.
These fairy tale scarves not only let you wrap yourself in a tiny part of your favorite fairy tale but since they’re black and white, you can wear them with every color! I’m the sort of person who wears accessories day in and day out until the season changes and that’s what these scarves will be for you: your go-to accessory when you head out in the morning.
If there’s one thing I have learned living on the West Coast, it’s that people have a LOT of pride. Now that I’m in Portland, I feel that more than ever. That’s why I decided to create a line of embroidery kits that allow West Coasters to show off their pride with a bit stitchery.
From the Space Needle to the Golden Gate bridge, you can stitch up your favorite landmark. Like my other kits, these are perfect for beginners as they use the simplest stitch but they’re also fun for experienced stitchers.
Each embroidery kit comes with a stitching guide, 3” x 5” oval embroidery hoop, thread, needle, and the pattern printed onto the fabric. It’s like paint-by-numbers but with thread!
I’m debuting these adorable kits at the San Francisco Renegade Fair next month but come August 1st, they’re shipping out to homes like yours! Want to ensure a pretty package of West Coast pride arrives at your door on the 1st? I have all of my kits on pre-order so grab your favorites and get ready to stitch up something amazing!
There are seven designs in all so definitely check them all out and find your favorite landmark along this lovely side of the country.
Most of us think that the Wright brothers were the first to fly. While it’s true that they were the first to fly publicly in an airplane, a young girl in France named Maude flew publicly in a very different way the week before the brothers in America.
Maude loved nothing better than chasing pigeons round the Eiffel Tower on her bicycle. She squealed when they could no longer waddle fast enough to evade her front tire and were forced to fly on their little-used wings. Her handlebar bell soon incited fear in the entire Parisian population of pigeons. They even avoided her when she was walking her bicycle round town, buying pastries with her father.
After a particularly good day of chasing birds in the park, Maude happened upon a book on her father’s bookshelf that recounted the famous tale of the Montgolfier brothers and their paper air balloon. Maude knew then that her future was in flight.
Taking a cue from the Montgolfier brothers, she set out to build a balloon that would get her aloft above her city. Late the next night, she pilfered old blueprints from her father’s desk (ones his clients had turned down for being too inventive). She stitched them together with bits of waxed thread from her mother’s sewing box and spitballs provided by her classmates. It took over a month but finally her balloon was finished. Now she just needed some string. Nothing is more populous in Paris when it comes to string than the ribbons round flower bouquets and luckily Maude was friends with the flower stall owner down the street and was able to haggle 10 meters of ribbon for a few pastries.
Maude picked her day of flight well. Winds at 30 kilometers per hour from the northwest and lots of sun. She set off with her balloon folded up in her bicycle basket for the Rue Foyatier, one of the few hills in the city.
Her entire class stood on the sidewalk about halfway down the street, waiting for her to finish her preparations of tying the ribbons round her handlebars. They’d been told there would be a sight such as they had never seen and perhaps some cake. (If you asked them, most came for the cake.)
With her ribbons tied over and over her handlebars and the balloon, still folded, lying in the street behind her, Maude took a deep breath and shoved her foot off the pavement. Faster and faster her feet went round, pumping the pedals. She heard a giant gasp behind her and she knew her balloon had opened. Now she just had to reach the critical speed. Maude put her head down and pedaled like all the pigeons she had ever angered were behind her. She flew past her classmates and then, when she felt she couldn’t go any faster, the wind took over with a mighty gush.
Her bicycle lurched and wobbled and then the wheels left the ground. With a squeal, Maude looked up at her blueprint balloon, swelling with the wind. She was flying! Up and up she went till she was level with the cafe signs. Behind her, she heard her classmates running and yelling. Maude took her hands off the handlebars and really felt like a pigeon for just a moment.
Then the wheels touched back down at the bottom of the hill and she pedaled to a stop. Her classmates engulfed her with cheers and slaps and handshakes. The balloon slowly drifted down and landed on some of them. Maude carefully got off her bicycle and helped her classmates fold her balloon up safely. Many were asking if they could give it a go while others asked for their promised cake. Maude didn’t hear any of them; she was already dreaming of future flights that took her above the cafe signs, up past where the pigeons flew.
This weekend I sat at my computer desk for longer than I ever have before as I raced the clock to finish my last scarf designs. You see, they needed to be off to the printer June 2nd so that I would be able to get them ready for a photo shoot this month. I inked and scanned and inked some more until I had two beautiful designs that made me smile. They’ll make you smile too once they’re sewn into infinity scarves. Wrapping yourself in the magic of a new fairy tale brightens any cloudy day and keeps the trolls at bay when you have to cross bridges (which I seem to do a lot now that I live in the Portland area).
I can’t give too much away but I wanted to share these little sneak peeks with you. I’m off on a much-needed camping trip this weekend and then I’ll have a wonderful story for you for next week.
I’ve noticed that people on the West Coast have a huge amount of pride for their cities. Portland Monthly routinely runs an article on ‘Why Portland is the Best City in the World.’ Well, now West Coast city dwellers have a new way to show off their favorite city: tiny embroideries!
I’m working my way down the coast, starting with the caffeinated city of Seattle. Then it’s on to Portland and San Francisco. I’ll be stitching up two landmarks for each city and turning them into kits.
These adorable little embroideries will be ready as kits come this summer when I travel to all of those cities and share them with the proud citizens.
Got a landmark in mind for Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco? Leave a comment and let me know. I’m still finalizing the designs so I’m open to ideas.
I love spring but part of me is already thinking about fall. It’s not because I don’t enjoy the flowers (though I could do without the pollen and allergies) and the farmers’ markets. It’s because I’m busy creating a line of fairy tale scarves!
These scarves let you wrap yourself with a little bit of magic every time you step outside this fall. They’re black and white and beautiful!
Don’t worry, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these as they near their September launch but for now, know that I’m getting inky making you something you could only find in books before.
Sometimes you make really, really good decisions. Other times, you make decisions that you thought were really, really good ones but then they turn out to be the complete opposite. Over these past two weeks, a great drama has unfolded behind the scenes at Studio MME that equated to lots of good and bad decisions.
- My partner and I knew when we first left for grad school over 3 years ago that we were going to get a cat. (Good decision.)
- We had to wait 3 years till we moved into an apartment that allowed us to have cats. (Good decision. Although my partner did come up with an elaborate plan to hide a cat from our old landlady. The plan involved revolving doors, a litter box under the kitchen sink, and lots of other ‘brilliant ideas’ according to him.)
- When we moved to Vancouver, we made sure to find an apartment that allowed cats. (Good decision.)
- We went to the animal shelter several times to look at cats, waiting to get a sign or vibe that we had found a good one. (Good decision.)
- We found a cat who had the same name as my partner. (It depends on who you ask whether this was a good decision or not. I personally did not want to live with two Jeffs.)
- After two weeks of sleepless nights, accidents, bites, fearful cooking episodes that ended with a cat climbing up our legs to get fed, we took the cat back to the shelter. (Great decision!)
In the end, we’ve re-evaluated the words we will use when choosing a cat. Like apartment shopping, there is a set of code words such as how ‘easy access to the interstate’ means ‘the interstate is outside of the front door’. For this cat, ‘independent’ did not mean that it was not in constant need of your affection and attention but rather that it didn’t give a care what you did or where you were so long as it could find you when it got hungry. The only thing I wish had gone differently (besides picking a cat that came from the home of a crazy cat lady) is that the shelter had been more understanding. They made up a file for us and now we have stipulations for getting another cat. They see it as our fault that his history record didn’t have enough crucial information to know we were getting a psycho cat. I feel like I’m back in school, only I never had anything bad on my record there. I guess you can’t always tell when you’re making a bad decision.