The Story Behind the Story of Donkey and Lamb

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Here’s the saga about the story. I went to the AAUW home tour and at one of the homes I ran into an old friend with such a smashing necklace, I wanted to rip it off her neck. We were in a very public place, so I restrained myself and instead badgered her to tell me where she got it. “Redding Fashion Alliance” she replied. What? A cute local shop that I had never heard of? I must be losing my plot. So, of course, I was there within an hour.  There was fabulous handmade jewelry as well as all manner of artsy stuff, but what I fell in love with was this little hand-knitted donkey. And then I was smitten by the equally adorable lamb. Plus, the ambiance of the shop was such that I felt strongly about buying something—taste and talent should be rewarded, says I.

But I left. I couldn’t countenance the idea that I might be the kind of woman who would decorate her home with stuffed toys. What next? Dolls in the china hutch? I mean, that’s okay for other people, but I just don’t go there. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. It took about a day, but I finally found a justification: I could buy them and give them to my Menlo Park grandkids (who are three and one) for Christmas. Perfect. Except their parents are kind of strict about toys. They live in a very small house and try to limit their possessions. This whole minimalist thing is a very strange concept for me, but I try to respect their rules. An hour later, the final piece of my plan fell in place: if I wrote a story and made it into a book and gave that with the donkey and the lamb, well then, the rules don’t apply because it is now considered a family heirloom, not toys. That’s my logic and I’m sticking to it.

I went back to the store and swooped them up and banged out a story that afternoon.  Easy-peasey. Then I was so pleased with myself I shared it with a few friends, including the creator of lamb and donkey, the multi-talented Alice Porembski. The pleasant aura lasted until the next day when I mentioned to a neighbor that several people asked if they could share the story on-line. The neighbor told me I must copyright it. “It’s easy and it’s free.”

This was not true. The fee is $55 and it was damnably complicated and after several frustrating hours, I employed the services of a Best Buy Geek to finally get it uploaded on the site. (Thank you, thank you, Patrick and Tyler!) I should add that I have no plans to publish this story, but I would be annoyed if someone else did.

Then I had to take about 300 photos and crop and edit them, then upload them to Shutterfly. And then I had to make the book. This also required a trip to the Geeks to get more help. Actually, it took two trips. Yeah, I’m kind of slow about this kind of stuff.

Dozens of hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, I was ready. Yay! I had done it! I ordered two books from Shutterfly (one for each grandkid) and was finished! My euphoria lasted into the next day when I realized I had left out a photo and two lines. And I learned my book was already in production. And, as I fixed it, and paid for two more copies to be made, I realized I’m really not a particularly good photographer. (Sigh.)

Still, I think my grandkids will like it. And if they don’t, maybe yours will. Here’s an e-version for you. It’s not the whole book, but it is the whole story.

Happy holidays!


Hollyn Chase
Since her retirement, Hollyn Chase has served as VP of operations at Chez Chase--she also cooks and vacuums. Darling Jack, her husband of forty-two years, gets to be President; they agree that this is because he works much harder than she does. Being the VP is not all glitz and glamour, she does many mundane things. But she does them happily since she discovered that listening to audiobooks makes the boring bearable. Because her mind is always occupied, she's stopped plotting to overthrow the government. Her children, who rarely agree on anything, are both happy about this. Besides her addiction to fiction, she's fairly normal and sometimes even nice.
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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    A labor of love, Hollyn. Your grands will love the book – and you for it.

  2. Avatar Eleanor Townsend says:

    Fabulous, Hollyn! These will surely be family heirlooms. You are so clever and creative, but I already knew that because we went to Cascade Christmas on Saturday and it was the best EVER! Also happy to know about the Fashion Alliance – I often drive by but never stopped because I couldn’t figure out what it is. Now I have, so I will.

    • Avatar Hollyn Chase says:

      Thank you Eleanor! And you will love Redding Fashion Alliance. I did end up buying a necklace too!

  3. Avatar Cathy Stone says:

    What a wonderful way to start my day! This is so sweet! I’m so glad you followed your heart and went back to buy the stuffed toys. Your grandchildren will treasure them and the books with the delightful story.

  4. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Now, where can I get the lamb and donkey and book for my great grandson?

    • Avatar Hollyn Chase says:

      Thank you. But I wish I knew how to use photo shop—it would be way more fun.
      I’m trying to find a reasonable way to print copies—the price of shutterfly books is pretty excessive.

  5. Avatar Candace C says:

    Very sweet. Love all of it.

  6. Avatar Judith Salter says:

    And by the time Cascade Christmas was over, my youngest grandchild loved Jack Frost. Thanks from my family for writing THAT entertaining script!

  7. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    Donkey said, “Hey Lamb, that hoof is getting a little high on my thigh.”

    Lamb said, “Naaaaaaaaaaa!”

  8. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    I loved your story Holly and I have to tell you that this is how great things start. You have taken the time and energy to gather the information about how to do a job like this…ran into a couple of problems that you solved, and produced a finished work. In time you find better and less expensive ways to handle different steps in this process. I am involved in a like project that has required visiting different print stores, looking at web options and asking lots and lots of questions AND taking notes. Thank you Holly.

  9. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    I want to make and sell cards. Should be simple? I buy most of my greeting cards at the North Valley Art League. The cards feature art work by local artists. I’ve been making my own greeting cards for years, but I’m working on a way to have my cards made, find the right size envelopes and packaging material….
    Like you Holly, I have written and illustrated a couple of books, but need more information and options for getting them in print without going in the hole. I’m also working with a photographer on ways to produce calendars for distribution. I’m also working with a woman who has her designs incorporated into clothing, fabric and bags that are sold on the web. Cards first. Thank you for asking.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      I already admire your artistry, Joanne, thanks to the card you sent me. This is quite an endeavor you’re undertaking. Best of the best to you. I know you’ll succeed.

  10. Avatar sue says:

    I LOVE your story and your photographs. Your trip to Redding Fashion Alliance Proved well worth it BUT quite pricey – right? The result, however, is tremendous.