Bragging Rights: Lily and Jess


This month I've got a real treat for you. It's a mother-daughter duo who own the wonderful toy shop Biddle and Bop.

I love bragging about you. That's why I have this interview series where I feature one of my biggest fans each month. I want everyone to get a peek at the amazing work they're doing and be inspired, because they're seriously some of the coolest people I've ever known.

This month I'm bragging about Lily and Jess (@wethreefossils).

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lily: I'm eleven, so most of my story has yet to be discovered. I have two little sisters and a wonderful mom, who owns a toy store. I've always been a big part of the shop and that's something I'm really proud of - it's kind of like being Santa all year round, plus there's always new fun things to try out and we're always the guinea pigs - that's how I started doing embroidery, and I got my neighbor friend into it too. I've always really loved sewing - I'm very interested in veterinary medicine - and when my mom found out that I'd been repairing old stuffed animals, she decided it was time to try embroidery. I'm glad she did. Besides sewing and embroidery, I love building forts, catching frogs, studying animals, eating good chocolate, cooking, and playing board games with my sisters and our friends. We recently moved to a new state and since our house is basically a toy store, all the neighborhood kids can't wait to come in and play this winter - we'll still play outside a lot though, we love the snow.

Jess: Growing up everyone was 110% sure I'd be forever single, flying planes in some remote area and never looking back. Of course, life loves twists and turns, and I'm a solo and single mom of three amazing girls, renovating our first home after a long and very intense bit of life that might take a lot more therapy someday - but for now I've got power tools, long winters, and a fresh start that I'd 110% wish for any human in my shoes. I didn't get here alone - there were so many people along the way that helped and encouraged me and got me here -but I'm trying to learn to be proud of myself too, because I've done so much, and making a fresh start is really something amazing. I own an online play store and while it's an incredible amount of work, I love what I do. I also enjoy long winters, tapping our backyard maple trees and boiling days by the fire, airplanes, and slowly learning guitar.

What is your hidden talent?

Lily: When my mom discovered that I was repairing our stuffed animals, I told her I'd learned how by watching Dr. Pol and Dr. Oakley on television when they're suturing animals. So I guess my hidden talent is suturing stuffed animals, at least until I'm old enough to work on the real thing. See, moms out there, TV is very educational!

Jess: Before kids or after? Now, turning body talk into everyday conversation. Before, turning donuts on iced parking lots. Life is weird.

What is the coolest (or weirdest) thing you have ever done?

Lily: My mom loves airplanes and one year took us to EAA Airventure which was a really cool experience. We were woken up every morning by aircraft buzzing the campsites, which are just huge and have their own stores and bus routes because there are so many campers. I have also flown as a Young Eagle and have my name in the world's largest log book. But maybe the weirdest thing I've ever done is kiss a toad. Unfortunately, it did not turn into a prince. I'll keep looking.

Jess: I have a lot of stories... come over for tea some time! One of my favorites was walking down the edge of a muddy river in the jungles of New Britain, Papua New Guinea, in the middle of the night, crayfish spearing with handmade spears and a flashlight, while eels with razor sharp teeth waved through our legs. It was an incredible glimpse into real life there. 

The song that's currently in your head?

Lily: There are always like 50 songs in my head - one is a song in Malagasy, the language of Madagascar. I don't actually know what it means but my mom sang it to us when we were babies. I learned to repeat it so that I could sing it to my youngest sister when she was little. Another is a song I wrote about friendship, part of it goes: "Whenever you wave hi, you meet a new soul..."

Jess: I have ADHD and it's really hard for me to remember song lyrics! I love Amazon Alexa and Google for helping me find music that works for me in the moment, but I usually prefer silence.

The book you share with all your friends?

Lily: Reading is not something that has always come easy to me but I've really enjoyed reading mysteries like Cam Jansen. I'm also reading The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris. It's about finding the magic in everyday life.

Jess: My favorite author since my youth is Gerald Durrell. A British naturalist, writer, zookeeper, conservationist, he had a fantastic way with words. You'll need a dictionary, and a good sense of humor. My kids have listened to The Aye Aye and I on audio book, and we love to read his children's books over and over - The Fantastic Flying Journey and The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure - they're incredibly unique finds that should have a home on every bookshelf. His life also inspired the more recent British comedy-drama show "The Durrells," which is perhaps a bit too relatable as a solo mother in a new place.

What superlative would you give yourself?

Lily: Best eyeroller ever. (Just kidding, my mom answered that one.)

Jess: Most likely to miss an exit being distracted by a cool car. (It was a Bugatti. And then a Lamborghini Urus. And then a cool new firetruck. Hey, life should be fun.)

What embroidery project are you most proud of?

Lily: I am sure there will be many more in my future, and I'd like to try doing some with my own patterns. My favorite so far is the PopLush Solar System which was my very first.

Jess: I'm most proud of Lily's embroidery! I love seeing what kids can accomplish and seeing their interests grow. Someday I'll make more time to do another project myself....


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