Interview/Giveaway: Melimba & Beccabury on Rainy Days and Mondays

Melimba & Beccabury are Melissa Snyder Wood and Rebecca Snyder, a two-sister design team whose debut fabric collection Rainy Days and Mondays was recently released by Riley Blake Designs. This little collection has been enthusiastically received so far for its bright, happy colors and clever adaptation of umbrella and rain motifs into geometric patterns. I’d never really thought about designing fabric as a team effort before, and I wondered about the challenges of benefits of such an arrangement, especially when, like M&B, they live in different states (Melissa in Texas, Rebecca in Utah). They told me all about it, and the inspiration behind the fabrics, via email …

You are a team of two sisters, right? How did that come about, and what is your workflow like, since you live in different cities?

Rebecca: We are indeed two sisters, even though we have different last names. Melissa has always been really great at sketching and decided to pursue art in college- which made me, her little sister get interested in the art world. She got accepted into both the graphic design and also the painting and drawing program. She decided to do painting and drawing so I am just fulfilling the rest of her dreams in the graphic design program. :) We have similar styles but our schoolwork is in different mediums so it is nice to combine worlds. We live in different cities but Melissa comes to visit quite often and we love to communicate online.

Melissa: Thank you, Becca. That was nice of you to say that I am “great at sketching”. hA! Whatever that means!? As far as our workflow goes, we typically send each other a billion screenshots a day. If you were to take a look at our email inboxes, you’d see anywhere from 3 to 13 emails back and forth each day. Some applicable to fabric, great blog posts, good music links, and our favorite YouTube videos.

{ some of Melimba’s stationery design work }

Please tell us about your pre-fabric design life as stationery designers.

Melissa: Well, I guess the stationery thing is pretty much my thing. However, before I sell anything or deliver proofs to people, I typically have Becca, my other siblings, and my mom take a look and vote on their favorites. I am such a big fan of paper and always have been. Seriously, my all time favorite purchases are REAMS of paper. Is it wrong that Ron at our local paper warehouse knows me by name? Currently I have WAY too many different colors of card stock in my possession. If people ask me what they can get me for my birthday or different holidays, I tell them paper… or envelopes… or paper. :) I was able to get a better feel for the stationery world when I worked at a darling little stationery store here in San Antonio called Moon Mippy for a few years. Currently I maintain a little Etsy shop and do lots of orders through word of mouth. Designing prints and stationery keeps my feet wet and really justifies my paper ream addiction, while I stay at home with my two kiddos.

{ Rainy Days & Mondays, green colorway }

How did you make the transition to fabric and start working with Riley Blake Fabrics?

Melissa: We have a mutual friend who introduced us to Cindy, the president of Riley Blake Designs. We told her that we had a few ideas and she and her team were able to look through our sketches of an umbrella concept. Fortunately for us, they loved it. Actually, at the time we presented it to them, we had pretty much every pattern created, except for the main umbrella print. Last minute, we decided to throw on a single umbrella on our thumbnail sheet. From that single umbrella they suggested we develop it more, and that’s how the main print came about. We are thrilled to be working for such a great company. Not only are they really nice people, they give us freedom to think outside of the box. We love it.

How did you come up with the name Melimba & Beccabury?

Rebecca: Melissa came up with the name Melimba a few years ago for her stationery stuff — probably because she loves anything that starts with a “ma” sound and ends with an “ah” sound (so much so that she named her first born “Matilda”). For our fabric, I decided to just add on to that Melimba goodness. The name Beccabury comes from my blog title so Melissa decided to combine the two while I was basking in the sun at Lake Powell. But I can assure you, it has been quite the feat to come up with a simple logo using that many letters.

Melissa: Is that why I chose the name “Melimba”? Who knew?! :) Becca, you didn’t explain how you came up with Beccabury. Her blog is called Beccabury Tells (a play on words, like the Canterbury Tales). I was really surprised at how clever it was and love it. And, because Riley Blake needed our “official title” to print on the promotional material while Becca was was on vacation, I had to wing it on my own. She wasn’t TOO thrilled that I decided on that for her title, but since then, she has embraced it and loves me for it.

{ white colorway }

Congratulations on the release of your first fabric collection! What was the inspiration for Rainy Days & Mondays? What came first — the title? The umbrella motifs? The mood? Something else? I like how it sounds melancholy but is actually quite bright and happy.

Melissa: Thanks for the congratulations! We are pretty jazzed (a nod to our favorite Utah NBA team). The inspiration was really found as we thumbed through our million sketch books. Years ago, I gave Becca a few drawing lessons. For some reason we drew a lot of umbrellas to help her grasp drawing spatially. We figured that we could come up with a lot of design ideas with raindrops and umbrellas — and I don’t know, it just came together for us pretty quickly.

We work best under pressure, and I was going to be leaving back to Texas shortly, so we buckled down, turned on some good music and got to work. We knew from the beginning that the gray + yellow/orangey color was important. We really like that color combo. Next came the green idea. I have a great wallet I found that is a dreamy bright avocado leather. We loved it and wanted to incorporate something similar to that. Lastly came the pink color. It was funny, because I don’t know if we ever imagined it would be as “happy” looking as it is. And, interestingly enough, I don’t ever think we clued into the next lyrics to the song, “Rainy Days and Mondays … always get me down.” hA! We weren’t trying to go for a total contradiction, but it is kind of fun that it is! Our mom is a big fan of the Carpenters (as are we, by default), and we tend to sing songs probably more often than most, so it just happened. I don’t know! Lame explanation, but there you have it.

{ pink colorway }

Please run down the prints and colorways in the collection — what are their names, and how do the pieces all fit together?

Melissa: The names are as follows: umbrella damask (gotta have a damask in the bunch … I’m a huge fan of a repeating damask), umbrella tops (like a bird’s eye view of the umbrella), raindrop squares, raindrop strands (our take on a multi-colored stripe), raindrop polka dot, and, of course the main umbrella print. Six total designs in the three colorways. Originally, we presented about 12 different designs to Riley Blake Designs, but these ended up being the crowd favorites. It’s interesting how even Becca and I have very different favorites. It’s funny because a few of her favorites are my least favorites, and vice versa! I guess there’s something in the line for everyone!

And please tell us all you wish to share about your process. Do you sketch, paint, take pictures? Or start directly on the computer? Or perhaps something else?

Rebecca: Melissa and I both really love to sketch. When I started college — I told people I just wanted to major in “doodling” — so we are excited about fabric because it is an opportunity to use our sketches and small scale drawings. Most of what we do is on the computer but every thing starts on paper because that is how we work best.

Melissa: Yes, paper first. Random ideas in the day are jotted down there, and then we can take our favorite and fine tune them on the computer. We both tend to gravitate to clean and simple designs, so often times we end up simplifying our patterns in the end.

Another neat thing about our process is that we are a sister team. That means, at the end of the day, we’ll always be “stuck” together. So, it gives us the freedom to speak honestly about our opinions about what things we think work best on a design because the other won’t be offended.

How do you envision your fabrics being used? Have you made anything yourselves yet?

Rebecca: Whenever someone tells me that they bought our fabric, I always ask what they are going to do with it. All the fabrics we did for this line are fairly busy, so we like the idea of them used in a quilt, but perhaps adding something like a crisp white in between patterns, to help your eye rest a bit. But we have seen a few designs that highlight the fabric, so that is exciting for us. I know of people making baby quilts, dresses, coin purses, skirts, pennant flags, tote bags, coats, pillowcases, and even shower curtains. I also know of people using the fabric with mod podge to decorate random things. The only thing I have made so far is a swatch package for my upcoming portfolio review — but I hope to make an apron this summer!

Melissa: Our sweet hairdresser made this dress (see attached) for my toddler as soon as our fabric came out in stores, and I just love it. It’s one of those pillowcase dresses. She said it was really easy, and I can’t get over how darling it turned out! She loves wearing it. Because our mom is quite the seamstress, I purchased a little trenchcoat pattern that she is making for my toddler as well. I’ve started making a few little neckties for my newborn to wear to church. !!! It’s gonna be pretty fun, I think (and, let’s face it, a lot easier to sew than a trench coat!).

What is next for you two? Melissa, congratulations on the recent birth of your son! Are you out of the fog yet?

Melissa: Thank you for the congrats on the baby! Man alive, I think there is wisdom in the whole “Plan of Life” having newborns needing a lot of sleep! It certainly helps in the transition. Luckily, Calvin has been truly the best baby I’ve ever seen. He eats like a champion, sleeps well, and is a genuinely happy baby. And did I mention he is a doll? :) We’ve slowly been coming out of the fog (what a great descriptive word that is!), and I’ve been able to find a new energy to get things done as of late. I have five garbage bags of random “stuff” to donate in our garage to prove it!

But, back to fabric, what’s next? The future is wide open. We are busily working on four different line ideas at the moment, so who knows if any of them will come to fruition. We think RED is definitely going to be a color of choice in the next line, which we love. So, we’ll all have to wait and see!

Thanks so much, ladies! We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Giveaway Time! Comment on this post for your chance to win a fat quarter pack of the entire Rainy Days and Mondays collection, courtesy Riley Blake Designs. Comments will close and a winner will be selected randomly next Friday, April 23, around 3pm Central U.S. time. Readers worldwide are welcome to enter. Good luck!

214 Comments

  1. Amber says:

    What a great interview – and I love their fabric line..I have some of those cute umbrellas to use in a quilt.

  2. rachael says:

    great collection! i especially like the green colorway.

  3. Jennifer says:

    So beautiful! I love how bright and cheery it is. Perfect for springtime.

  4. I was just looking at this line the other day and thinking how cute it was and how much I loved the umbrellas! I’d love to make a quilt mixing up the pink/red and greens. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  5. Carolina says:

    Your designs really vibrate with the colorways! Each colorway makes my eye focus on different parts of the patterns. I think you two are not only good at simplifying your drawings into unique designs, but also are the babes of color! Good luck in your next adventure!

  6. Liz says:

    I love these interviews! So fun to “meet” the people behind the designs and hear their stories.

  7. gwyneth says:

    oh my gosh! this is great! that dress is adorable!

  8. KristenA says:

    Melissa and Rebecca are just as cute as their fabric! And the little girl’s dress is darling!

  9. molly says:

    Those dots are fantastic! I guess I don’t have to worry about Cake Rock Beach being scarce!

  10. giddy says:

    Love it! Very cute line. I have never made clothes before (only quilts) but looking at that dress tempts me mightily!

  11. Beth says:

    This is my favorite new line! I bought a bit of one of the colorways, but I would love to get my hands on ALL of them!

  12. julie says:

    i love the umbrella tops- polkadot pattern. sounds fun to design with your sister!

  13. Katie B says:

    I’ve been obsessing about this line! It’s so cute. Thanks for the interview. I didn’t realize those were umbrella tops! Makes me like them even more.

  14. Angelina says:

    So cute! I love the raindrops pattern! And the dots, of course. I’m a sucker for dots!

  15. DianeY says:

    Such a cute line! I actually bought some already in the green colorway, but I’d love to have some more!

  16. Tracy M says:

    I LOVE the umbrellas!I have some vintage fabric in the 70′s colors- olive, gold, brown- in an umbrella print! Now all I need are Umbrella buttons! :)

  17. susan says:

    Awww! So refreshing to see sisters who get along so well. I love the whimsy of this line. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Umbrellas! I especially love the raindrop strands. SO clever!

  18. Katie says:

    I like the pink colors of this line the best. I also love the birdseye umbrella view.

  19. Leigh says:

    I love this collection – ALL of it!

  20. Tong says:

    This is such a lovely line! Those umbrellas are so cute! Thank you for bringing us the lovely interview with the sister and this great giveaway!

  21. Lynne says:

    Those fabrics are just gorgeous. I am hunting around at the moment for fabrics to take away with me on my summer holiday for a hexagons quilt but I need some really bright funky fabrics to make sure the quilt looks funky and modern and not old-lasy-ish and these would be absolutely perfect. I will ping back pictures of the finished article if I win! X

  22. VickiB says:

    I love the pink and the green colorways! Fascinating interview too! It’s really fun to see how the fabrics get designed.

  23. Melissa C says:

    Great fabrics. Love getting to know the designers thru the interviews. Thanks for the chance.

  24. Heather W. says:

    I love these colors!!! And I am in awe of Melissa doing this with a toddler and baby. I have three girls under 4 and if I can get something clean and maybe something crafty started I call it a good week :)

  25. Anita says:

    I love this fabric line, please include me in your list for the give away!

  26. Karen G says:

    I love this fabric!! It’s so fun and fresh.

  27. Hilary says:

    Lovely colors, especially the pink!

  28. Christine says:

    That is a great line – I’d love to make a quilt or a twirly little skirt in those fabrics!

  29. Mishkat says:

    Great interview – it’s always so interesting to hear the stories behind the fabric designs! The colors are beautiful.

  30. Jenny says:

    great interview…i love stories of sisters working together…im best friends with my 3 sisters!! those umbrellas are just the bomb!

  31. Stine says:

    I have been eyeing this collection for a while. The umbrellas are fantastic…and bright colors so yummy!

  32. Britt Burton says:

    I love this collection. It sure wouldn’t be a rainy day around here if I won!

  33. Liz Grierson says:

    Lovely! And perfect for spring – the bright colours in the white colorway are giving me great ideas. :)

  34. As a big sister, I always love to hear about sisters collaborating. A beautiful friendship is reflected in those fabrics. I especially love the green colorway.

    Thanks for sharing!

  35. Charlene Christian says:

    What a cute collection, I love them all
    Charlen

  36. PaulaK says:

    I really love that pink colorway – guess that’s because I have 2 granddaughters! I can see it used in so many ways for them!

  37. Christie says:

    How fun to meet the women behind this fabric! I love this line. I can’t even tell you which colorway I love more! It’s all gorgeous.

  38. Mel says:

    so cute! It would make great spring skirts for my girls. Thanks for the chance.

  39. Catherine says:

    I love your interviews! Thanks–I’m going off to look for this now.

  40. Angel says:

    Super cute! I love the “behind the scenes” interviews!

  41. Mary P says:

    LOVE IT!!! So interesting to hear about the design process.

  42. Doris says:

    I love those umbrellas! And they sound like a fun air of gals…

  43. Alice S says:

    cute, unique fabric. Great colors too!

  44. Jennifer Lynch says:

    What a great interview and fabric line. I love those raindrop stripes and think they’d make a super cute shirt for my son.

  45. LOVE this collection!!! I’m a big fan of Riley Blake fabrics!

  46. Logan says:

    FANTASTIC. I love the motifs they used to create these fabrics and the colors are a lot of fun and lively!
    I’d love to get my hands on this!

  47. Erica says:

    I’m never going to complain about a rainy day again! I love this….

  48. Karo says:

    fantastic interview! i love the opportunity to get a “behind the scenes” sneak at how designers work and this being a team really does make it extra interesting.

    i absolutely adore the fabrics! especially the green colorway. really, there seem to be endless of opportunities to use these prints. i kinda love the shower curtain idea. but i’d love other projects too. how about a special dinner table set for rainy days? living in germany, we get way too many gray days, i’d love something special and cheerful for those occasions. :)

  49. Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing these lovely designers with us! I would love a chance to play with their fun fabrics!!

  50. Vicki says:

    Thanks for the chance to win some of this fun fabric! I’ve been eyeing it for a while:)