Who is Millie?
ArtOne time when we were young, my brother and I were sitting together drawing. Our mom, who went to college for art, walked by to observe our efforts. She declared that my brother was the artist and I was the writer, so maybe we should collaborate together and write and illustrate a book. Her way of encouraging sibling cooperation had the opposite effect. He basically stopped drawing, and I went on to try and prove her wrong. If she thought I couldn't draw, I was going to practice and practice until I could!
My first "break" in illustrating came with a newsstand magazine regularly publishing my pet cartoon, and that led to doing some logos and web illustrations for animal rescues. But even known artists have to eat humble pie every once in a while. One time, when asked to do a shelter logo, the person asking me told me something like: "My coworker loves your illustrations, so she wants you to do our logo. Frankly, I don't like your drawings."
BooksIf asked when I started writing, no one knows. I was the type of kid who thought that a love for reading books went right along with writing them. I struggled to come up with book plots as a child with the few words I knew at the time. One book just exchanged the words "Mom" and "Tom" repeatedly. This book sadly never sold any copies.
As a youngster in elementary school, I was one of two children chosen from my class to go to a local college's fiction writers' workshop for a whole day. Being shy, this was a huge move for me, but I took the unique opportunity to bolster my self-esteem--most writers don't have any. Neither do artists. So that's kind of a double whammy. That being said, my chosen story was about a family coming to the US on a boat from some unknown Asian country, so I hadn't really followed the whole "Write what you know" thing.
Beginning at about age eleven, my books finally started to resemble real ones, enough for a teacher to ask me to bring in the books to class to join the recommended books to read. This was the first time my books were deemed worthy of being around "real" books. I also realized having only one handwritten copy of a book, you'll be pretty scared about it getting lost.
CraftsBoth sides of my family claim I got my "craftiness" from them, since both of my grandmothers were very talented at crafts. But because I didn't get to know my grandmothers very well, I think the reality of it is that I was so ill growing up, that I learned to keep myself busy by doing things like crafts. Also, my mother was a lovely seamstress. As a youngster, my clothes were homemade, either by my mom, or hand-me-downs from a friend . . . and my older brother! Because my father was disabled, my mother taught me that a woman can do anything--not just sewing--from using a drill to a paint roller to a saw. I started this website in October of 2011 after discovering that my mom had terminal cancer. This diagnosis devastated me as I found out I would one day not only lose my mother, but my best friend. That sad day happened in April 2013. After she passed, people talked about how creative my mom was and how I got that from her. This website is a tribute to her and all she taught me.
At three years old, my most loved crafted item was my Raggedy Ann doll, made by my mother using a vintage pattern that my maternal grandmother made her children's dolls with! She was so special to me that I did everything with her, from reading to her to sleeping with her in my crib. At night, I'd kneel to say my prayers and ask that she would come to life and be my very own sister. Today I still have my Raggedy Ann--in fact, I got her out of a box right after my mom passed. Though, I'm quite happy that she's not walking around or talking, as previously requested. As special as she is to me, she might scare some people!
My goals with this website are to contribute as much as I can to bringing back old-fashioned values through loving, heartfelt books and an appreciation for handcrafted items, while helping all of us give meaningful gifts to others (and ourselves!). Those are pretty lofty goal for a little site, but I think if we learn to focus on the little things--like reading and handicrafts--and put the electronics down for a while, we'd be closer as a society. I firmly believe that spending time reading together or making a special gift for someone will help give you an appreciation for the little things in life. At the same time, you'll create a tangible memory of yourself for someone you love, just as my rag doll is for me.
Online since October 2011. Copyright 2011- and all contents by Millie. Resulting products can only be kept or given away as gifts. Always keep safety in mind.