taft

Schoolchildren are taught that President William Howard Taft got stuck in the bath because he was such a large man.  While he was indeed a large man for the time, what people seem to overlook is that a bath, especially one where soap of any kind is involved, is the last place you will get stuck.  It’s like coming to a complete stop on a slid-n-slide.  It’s an impossibility.

The REAL reason why Taft got stuck in the bath has to do with his sleep apnea and his favorite night time snack.

You see, Taft had severe sleep apnea.  He could snore loud enough to rattle the windows on the front of the White House.  His wife invented several new types of ear plugs (including ones made with hair from their dog) to deal with the noise but sometimes she simply couldn’t take it any more and kicked him out of the bedroom.

Taft, not knowing what to do with himself in these instances, and not wanting to be seen wandering the halls in his striped pajamas, more often than not did paperwork in the adjoining bathroom.  Now, late night paperwork, even more so than daytime paperwork, made Taft work up quite an appetite so he always made preparations for those nights with the help of the White House chef.

The night that he got stuck in the tub, Taft was doing paperwork in the bathroom like usual, having been kicked out of bed after his wife woke up thinking they were in the midst of an earthquake.  He’d gotten through several piles of legal documents concerning Manchuria and the construction of the Supreme Court building when he got peckish.  So he opened the bottom vanity drawer and pulled out the supplies the chef always left for him.

President Taft had an unusual palate and thus appreciated, as perhaps no one else did, the pleasures of a peanut butter and molasses sandwich.  That night he decided an extra dollop of peanut butter would be just the thing.  However, his hands being rather large and the knife being rather small, Taft suddenly had a lap full of peanut butter.  One thing led to the next and five minutes later, molasses and peanut butter were everywhere but on the bread.  Cursing a bit, Taft turned to the door to try and tiptoe out to get help from the staff but his slipper landed in molasses.  Thrown off balance, Taft tipped backwards into the tub and stuck with a loud squelching sound.

He wriggled and jiggled and shimmied left and right but he couldn’t get back out of the tub.  The peanut butter and molasses on his pajamas formed a sticky bond with the tub walls.  He was stuck like a mosquito in honey.

Needless to say, it took a few White House staff to get the president out of the bath.  Then he had to endure the tsks of his wife and the snickers of the chef.  Fearing the press would get hold of the story, Taft’s team decided to change the events and emphasize his size (which he was used to) rather than his late night snacking in the bathroom.

So now you know the REAL reason why Taft got stuck in the bath.  Also, you have a new sandwich to try out.  Just eat it in the kitchen and not near a bathtub.

 

scarf

My business is in an awkward teen phase right now.  It wants to grow out in different spots and then it looks like the dork at school because the jeans are too short.  Now that I have created meganeckman.com for gallery owners and collectors, I can let Studio MME become something more refined and adult in terms of production and display.

I had some wild ideas last month and after running the numbers, those ideas won’t be coming to the shop anytime soon.  I’m at the point in my business where I don’t want to make something if it’s only going to create $1 in profit.  While many artists would like to say they’re not in this for the money, I’m in this business to make a living from my work so that I can create more and more work for you.  Therefore, tea towels and place mats will have to wait until a later time when I can come up with a new way to print them.

However, I AM excited to say that many new ideas are percolating as I dream bigger and bigger for Studio MME.  I want to join up with ceramicists and jewelers.  I want to create an entire line of home decor that looks straight out of a high-end catalog.  I want you to be able to transform your home, piece by piece, into a space where you feel inspired and creative.  I want you to smile when you take out your chicken tea towels and snail tea cups.  I want your guests to laugh when they see the artwork on your walls.  Don’t we all want to have a home that makes us feel like a cool collector?

So in the meantime, this summer I’ll be pumping out new artwork and silly embroidery patterns that you can turn into towels or pillow covers.  I have a big, big secret project in the works and a huge launch of scarves (fairy tale scarves no less) for the fall.  So while you might not be seeing constant new products from me, I’ll be hard at work behind the scenes to knock your socks off come the fall.

 

You must complete this checklist before going to bed. Don’t skip any steps or you may be eaten by monsters in the night.

  1. Turn on every light in the room
  2. Check all the corners of the room for monsters
  3. Peek under the bed. Make sure you are on top of the bed when you do this. Also, keep one eye looking behind you to make sure the monster isn’t coming up behind you.  Look for puddles of drool, lines of slime, fur balls, unusually large dust bunnies, and lost teeth. These are sure signs that there is a monster there.
  4. Once you’ve determined that the underside of the bed is clear, open the closet doors carefully.
  5. Using a flashlight, peek into the closets. Check all the corners and look for the same things you looked for under the bed.
  6. Close the closet door.
  7. Determine whether you prefer a nightlight or not. (If you have bad vision, nightlights are worse than no light because chairs become short monsters.)
  8. Climb into bed.
  9. Turn off the light. Your bed should be positioned so that it is close enough to the light switch that you don’t have to leave the bed to turn off the light.
  10. Position yourself in the middle of the bed and slide under the covers. No matter how hot it is, you must have at least one layer of cover over you at all times. This deters monsters from tickling your toes.
  11. Cross your arms like an Egyptian mummy. By sleeping in the middle of the bed with your arms crossed, you ensure that if there IS a monster under the bed, it can’t reach an arm up and over and grab you.
  12. Close your eyes, say a prayer, and go to bed.

I can neither confirm nor deny if this was not my exact checklist for going to bed as a child.

 

samurai capture

fancy chicken 1

 

fancy chicken 2

 

magnolia to share

Some days pictures express more than words so I’ll be sharing sneak peeks into my studio each week.  It will be up to you to create the story for what I’m making.  Sometimes it’s more fun that way, right?

 

May is a big month for me.  It makes one full year of my Embroidery of the Month club.  Yep, it’s been a whole year!  I can hardly believe it myself.  There are over 20 amazing embroiderers in the club and they constantly knock me down with their sewing skills.

It also is the month that a book will be coming out to bookstores near you that features my embroidery!  I wish I could tell you more but I’m not allowed until it’s closer to the date.  But let’s just say it’s an amazing book that has tons of patterns in it!

cat chat circle

So to celebrate those big sewing milestones, I’m going to have a May stitch-a-long.  Now, this is not a normal stitch-a-long where you’re held accountable for sewing so much every week.  This is me giving you a free pattern to sew.  No strings attached and no shaming involved if it takes you a whole month or even a whole year.

You can print out the pattern, sew it up, and share it with the world whenever you finish!  I hope you’re excited to hear about this.  I can hardly wait until May to share it with you.

jackalope in hoop

If you’ve been thinking of joining the Embroidery of the Month club, you can find out all about it on the club page.  It’s an amazing group of ladies and every month you get a new, secret pattern!  What could be better?

 

vancouverFort Vancouver in the fog. Photograph taken by my partner, aka Mister Scheimpflug.

I’ve finally begun to hang art on the walls and as spring comes to Washington, I’m beginning to see this new-to-me world wake up.  The scenery is completely different when flowers stand tall in the once flat beds and the trees fill out to block the view of the river.  I live just a block from the historic Fort Vancouver, the very end of the Oregon Trail, and every day I take a walk around and through it.  There are buildings from every era on the grounds and in the mornings, when the fog sinks down to your waist, you almost feel like you’re traveling backwards in time.

Part of my family’s heritage is a mystery.  Whether it’s because of secrets, pride, or shame, no one knows but over the years, I’ve learned that I did inherit some blood from the misty isles of Ireland and Scotland.  I went to the latter back in 2008 and there was an odd sensation of coming home to a place steeped in myth that was my own.

Now as spring comes to Washington, I feel something similar, though it’s watered down to say the least.  The moss is the same.  It grows every: trees, rocks, houses.  Heck, it would grow on the neighbor’s dog if he didn’t move as much.  The fog is the same as is the drizzle that comes and goes faster than the sun behind the clouds.  Even the heaviness of the air and the faint sound of water fowl.  It all feels like Scotland.

It makes me wonder about the propensity of myth to stick to a people and come with them no matter where they go (not that there are many Scots here as far as I can tell).  Like bedbugs from a bad hotel.  You don’t choose to bring the faeries and the wise men.  They simply hitch a ride and inhabit the new space as best they can.

Yesterday I found my first faerie ring.  In a field of dandelions grew a white circle of wild daisies.  I was lucky enough to notice it before I stepped in.  Though the myth is watered down here, it was flowers and not mushrooms, I wouldn’t want to test its power and end up being carted off by the fair folk my ancestors feared.

It’s funny but finding those small reminders of an ancient land here in this new home of mine makes me feel more comfortable.  I know what to expect.  I know which birds to nod to, which rocks to leave sleeping and which to turn over.  I know which goose is the leader of the flock and which you should not make eye contact with.  Storytellers, and that’s at heart what I am, need to learn their old myths so that they can recognize the new.  This year should yield many new stories and works of art as I begin to piece together the unique story that is Washington.  So…be prepared!

 

bird cards to share

 

decor to share

fabric to share

poster to share

Some days pictures express more than words so I’ll be sharing sneak peeks into my studio each week.  It will be up to you to create the story for what I’m making.  Sometimes it’s more fun that way, right?

 

sylvia

“Where do fish go when they die?”

That was a question I never remember asking my parents, though I had to say goodbye to goldfish I won at a fair.  I was little and I vaguely remember a note saying the fish had died and my parents had flushed it before I woke up.  I quite clearly remember walking to the bathroom, lifting the toilet lid, and staring at the water for a few moments while I said goodbye.  I probably prayed for the fish to find a nice river in heaven.

Last week I had to ask myself again where fish go when they die.  My newest betta, barely a month old, was discovered by my partner nose down in her rocks.  We have no idea what happened to her.  All I know is that I found myself once again praying to the empty toilet bowl, as I could not bring myself to watch when my partner hit the lever.

While Christian heaven is quite airy, the Greek and Roman underworld would be the perfect spot for my past fish.  Bordered by five rivers, she’s bound to find one that makes her happy, save the Phlegethon, as that one is a river of fire.

Perhaps my betta would like the Styx.  Yes, it’s the first one that divides the living from the dead but she loved to stare at me while I slept so there would be plenty of people to watch.  Plus, Charon constantly rows his boat up and downstream so she would have someone to feed her.  I’m sure he takes care of all the ghost fish who live in his river.

Of course, the Acheron, the river of woe, would be a good place to live since it goes out into the land of the living.  That would let her have a good view of the sun and trees.  The Cocytus would certainly only be a place for a quick visit and not a place to live.  They don’t call it the river of wailing for nothing.  It is the place to find many historical wrongdoers, including Tantalus and the Danaids, the 49 sisters who murdered their husbands on their wedding night.  As punishment, they carry jugs of water to fill a bathtub without a bottom.

Eventually, I hope my fish swims in the river Lethe, the river of forgetfullness.  While it would mean that she would forget me completely, according to legend, she would be able to come back to the world of the living through reincarnation.  Perhaps she will come back as a marlin or a whale.  Certainly something larger than a toilet tank.  One day, I may see her again, swimming in the ocean, an orca with the heart of a betta.

 

It’s been a big goal of mine to have a separate website that shows off my portfolio in a beautiful, simple, professional way.  I wanted a site just for gallery owners and those looking to collaborate with me on a commission.  I wanted a site where they felt comfortable and not bombarded by all the stitching, silly stories, and personal news that comes out on this site.  So I’m proud to say that my new website is now live at http://www.meganeckman.com!

meganeckman to shareThe site is incredibly sleek with a simple black and white theme.  I can’t wait to send the link out to all the galleries in my area!

meganeckman to share 2The galleries were so easy to make and, for once, the images are HUGE on the screen without moving text around.  That means you can really see the lines in each piece.

meganeckman to share 3

Now that I have meganeckman.com up and running, I can focus on the new studiomme.com that I have in mind.  This spring is all about cleaning up my website and growing into something more functional and beautiful.

 

 

 

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I’ve been dropping hints lately about some big changes coming to Studio MME.  One of them is that I’m focusing on more ‘utilitarian’ products.  These are products that you can use in your daily life instead of simply putting on the wall to admire.  My line of ‘Wallpaper Birds’ note cards is my first new ‘utilitarian’ step.  These four birds are very striking with their black and white wallpaper and a tiny splash of color.

nene goose

I paired the Nene goose with a small little Magpie robin.  This bird in real life is simply black and white but I thought a bit of orange might jazz him up a bit.

robin

The two orange birds were then offset by two blue birds.

mynah bird

The Balinese Mynah bird works well with the Stellar’s Jay.  I have lots of experience with the jay and I can tell you they’re quite agitated when you ride your bike near them.

stellars jay

I’ve just ordered a sample of this 4 pack of cards and I can’t wait for them to arrive.  They’ll make quite a statement in your friend’s mailbox and I know that many of you like to pin note cards like this to a wall or inspiration board to add a little more beauty to your home.

Until I have the cards back from the printer, you can pre-order a pack or two in my shop.  I expect the cards to arrive in 2 weeks.

 
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