Most of you know that I have a family of mice living in my studio. They help bake all of the tiny orders that come in (their paws are perfectly suited to the task), and they really have a knack when it comes to developing new ideas for miniature foods.
Well, how I met them is a story all its own, so let’s rewind the clock and take a walk in the woods, shall we?
One afternoon, I was meandering near my favorite stream, looking for a hidden nook where I could enjoy my lunch and a good book.
A sycamore tree had been downed by a storm since my last visit, and I found the perfect sitting spot on its smooth trunk. Before I’d even taken my lunch out of my bag, a bit of red, a few feet away from my sitting spot, caught my eye in otherwise green surroundings.
What on earth? Was that a path? It certainly looked like one to me.
And it seemed to be leading over the log and into a little doorway lined with lichen. Curiouser and curiouser!
I sat and stared at this tiny wonder, not quite sure what to do. I felt a strange hesitation about getting any closer, because it felt like I might be disturbing something (or someone?). I dug around in my bag, looking to see if I’d remembered my phone so I could take a picture. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of white.
Sitting alongside the stone path was something new.
Whoever had left this box must have been in an awful hurry–I saw nothing more than a streak of white. Had I scared them? Oh dear. I felt horrible! Luckily, I had a pen and paper scrap with me.
I decided to give them some privacy, and I made a bit of a show of walking off to splash my feet in the stream. My entire body was on edge, and I could feel every fiber in my being wishingwishingwishing that whoever lived in that tiny house would come out again, that I hadn’t missed my one and only chance to meet them.
After a few more minutes of exaggerated splashing, I glanced back at the house. And–oh my goodness–was I seeing things?! There was a small figure standing by the box.
I took a deep breath, and ever so slowly moved back toward the house, hoping that I wouldn’t frighten them away. It was a mouse!
And I was pretty sure he was waving at me.
I slowly dropped to my knees and said, very softly, “Hello.”
With a twitch of his whiskers, the mouse replied, “Hello–you’re Mo?”
I nodded, too astonished to even speak.
“Well, I’m afraid you’ve caught us on moving day,” the mouse continued.
Mice have moving days? “Um, where are you moving to?”
“Well…” the mouse looked puzzled, his tiny brow knit into adorable mouse wrinkles, “We don’t know, exactly.”
“Oh, yes! How rude of me. Mama? Mira? Won’t you come out?”
I was certainly in danger of overdosing on cuteness at this point, but thankfully, my nervousness had subsided and I wanted to get to know my new acquaintances.
“So, where are you thinking about moving to?”
“We want to move into town, but…well, we’re not really sure where to start. We’ve always wanted to see the town, but it’s such a long ways away, and it can be dangerous to travel so far from home.”
“Oh my, I know we’ve only just met, but I think I may know the perfect place. See, I have a tiny house inside the house where I live. It’s…well, it’s hard to explain, but it’s the perfect size for you. I could take you there if you like!”
Papa replied, “It’s a tiny house? In town?”
I nodded. “You see, I make tiny things for a living; I sculpt them out of clay. And I build tiny houses to put these things in. I have a tiny house that’s already built. It needs work–there’s furniture but not much else. And it could use a good dusting. But I’d be so so happy to let you live there, and we could fix it up together!”
And that is how it all began. A week later, after one more trip back and forth from the woods, the Nutmeg family was moved into my studio’s dollhouse, and what happened next is a story for another day.