...whiskers on kittens - [a survey]

Firstly, this is Tinderpuff - my 'personal attendant' who tends to stick closer than my own shadow most days.  I love her big owl eyes.... and soft, fat belly.

Second, I'd like to do a mini-series of posts here over the next week.  Posts about why I blog, who I am, what I create... etc.  Consider it the official introduction to my blog I never did.
Now that I've hit 200 posts in half a year (crazy, I know!)... I thought I should actually step back and re-asses this mess I call my nest.

I'm going to end it with a giveaway too!
So here's where you get to have your input - if there's any specific topics you want me to address, or certain questions you've wanted to ask me... now's the time.

I'll aim to incorporate my responses into the following series of posts.
We'll be covering a few of my 'favourite things', which just happen to be whiskers on kittens. 
So that saves you asking that question!

Thanks for stopping in friends,
Mel :o)


milk & cookies.

The other day 'bunny' and 'bear' invited my daughter and I over for milk & cookies.
Some days there's nothing sweeter than an indoor picnic. 

My daughter Azriel was eager to dive in... as was her mama. 
I still get to say "I'm eating for two" - so snuck another Oreo on the side. ;o)
There's nothing better than vintage Melmac for kid's dishes!

So is this video - where she gets the bright idea to find more cookies...

I love her "be right back"... 
Today's outfit was thrifted & gifted.
Bird shirt: gift from Grandma.(Zellers).
T-shirt: thrifted (Old Navy)
Striped pants: thrifted (Old Navy).

Linking up again today with Mama Loves Papa.

Have a sweet-filled day!
Mel :o)



 Greetings tweet-hearts!
Thought it was about time to show you more stitchery goodness coming out of this nest recently.  
Above was a gift I made for my cousin's two daughters: Ava & Alexis.

My last craft show displayed this new series - "The Patchwork Forest" as one of my latest lines of painted/quilted hoops.  My love of all things woodland gets to gush out in these pieces.

Patchwork Forest Series - $35 per hoop/ $60 for two hoops.
The background is from a vintage quilt, stretched over an 8" hoop.  
I hand-painted each cute creature onto canvas and stitched it onto the quilt.
These are a limited edition due to the nature of the quilt... but I hope to keep having fun with the woodland theme in more future projects!

There's a lot more on the go creatively here too.  I have commissions to work on in all my mediums right now: hoops.sewing stuffies.paintings.pottery.  
I love that if I get 'bored' in one medium, I can hop over to another project!
I'll keep you posted as the projects get polished off.

If you have any ideas/commissions you'd like to discuss, feel free to contact me too.

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


colour me inspired.

Today I'm delighted to introduce you to Anne Renouf - a beautiful artist that makes beautiful art.
I first met Anne back in 1998'ish when we both worked at a local art supply store (Cossars).
She's always had a gentle. sweet. spirit that sees beauty in the simple.sacred.moments of each day.

She makes stunning artwork too. I have always adored her use of trees, subtle washes of colour and dramatic hits of crimson red and golds in her paintings.  Her art has consistently grown much like her trees - ever seeking new skyscapes and ever deepening it's roots to new territory.  I love watching her creative journey.

 Our daughter Azriel loved Annie's dog Chester too... and he obligingly gave her many a face wash.

If her art wasn't already inspiring enough - now her whole home/studio is too!  They had it built on 90 acres of land to be completely off-grid!  The simple.open.space is washed in sunlight and cozy with the glow of a wood-stove... amazing.  I wonder if they would notice me building a studio.home.commune on a woodsy corner of their land?! ;o)

Speaking of woods - Annie also incorporated an art installation pathway into the woods near their home - what a beautiful way to admire trees in two dimensions: artistic & actual.

Yes, we were delighted to see Anne, her space, her art.
Hope you find her inspiring too... she's a sweet soul,
and it spills out onto her canvas.

inspired mama,
Mel :o)



Greetings friends!
I'm realizing I should probably start calling this post "slide.show.SOMEDAY"... since my packed weekends keep me from actually posting till today.. oops.
Yes, this past weekend was an artsy.fartsy.family packed affair.
Buckle up, here we go.

Here we are Saturday morning... all smiles (sort of) for our adventure.

We fueled up on coffee.donuts and a map to our favourite artist's studio tour (more to come tomorrow on said artist!).

 It was also a nice grey.rainy morning to get 'lost' in the countryside.  Like driving through a painter's palette of Payne's Grey, russets, ochres and veridian.

Azriel kept on rocking out to the highway blasts of speedy air!

Family Saturday Dinner up at the in-laws... Azi and Nana harvesting some carrots from their gorgeous oasis of a backyard.

Snuggle time with Hazel the dog (Hazel-the-nut).

Cuteness and sunshine.

Family snuggle time on the inviting grass.

Sunday afternoon was a chance to visit with my family too.  A 'girls' day to go visit cousins.aunts. and newborns!  Ava and Azriel were eager to have a L.A.N party with their high-tech laptops as well.
Phew! A full weekend had at this nest.
A full day today recovering the house back to order.
Hope yours was a hoot!

P.S... remind me never to eat McDonald's again.... once a year I forget. ugh.
See y'all tomorrow.
Mel :o)


from here... to maternity.

Call if 'fashion Friday' if you will.  
But don't worry, I won't be doing fashion posts on a regular basis.  You may have forgotten, but I promised to show pictures of this new dress that I posted about (along with all my woes of shopping/fashion in general) back in July!

Lucky for me, it makes for a great maternity dress/shirt.  I love it's stretchy.silky-cotton feel... and of course what hooked me was the entire lace back on it!  People keep thinking I made this because of the doily.lace look.... but I'm not that talented folks.  This is one of the rare pieces in my closet that I actually bought new.  I think our generation likes to label shopping second-hand/used as 'vintage' or 'thrifted' to make us feel more hip than the reality that we are poor-as-brown-beans broke!  Granted, even if we had more money, the ethic of buying second-hand is still gold in my books.

At this stage of life, if I feel comfortable, I'm happy in the threads I wear.
At this stage in pregnancy.. comfortable means yoga pants!

 Yes, yoga pants.  Not quite at the "I've given up on fashion... or even trying" stage as wearing jogging pants... but more like the illusion of fitness: "I look like I'm ready to do yoga, but really my gut just loves these pants".

I'm no fashionista folks.  But being an artist lets you get away with some funky outfits!
Dress/shirt. Tank Top. Yoga Pants. Levi's 'Converse' shoes. Old Man Hat.
Now that's some maternity stylin' mash-up.

Side-note: this hat is actually a sentimental.artsy creation of mine.  The hat was my late-paternal-Grandpa's.  The "Captain" badge belonged to my late-maternal-Grandpa (who was the fire chief in town).  I wanted to combine memories of both great men together.. and make a funky cap of it... thus, beads were stitched on too.

So here's the fashion run-down for you:
cap: Grandpa's.
necklace: pottered/lace creation of mine.
tank top: Suzy Shier (?)
dress/top: Zellers, oh yes.
yoga pants: Cotsco (sis-hand-me-down)
converse-style shoes: Levi's.

Now that's enough of that.
the shabbier side of chic mama,
Mel ;o)

It's a......

 Yes friends, we're seeing 'blue' instead of pink around here lately!  I just can't keep these kind of secrets (even from myself)... I know not all moms want to 'ruin the surprise' and find out their baby's gender - and that's cool - but I just love being able to relate better to who's brewing inside.  Technically I wasn't even told by the doctor doing the ultrasound.. it was clearly evident!

I was tempted to announce the gender by painting my face blue - a 'Braveheart' baby lets say.  Not feeling so clever, I opted to mark this moment with our blue 'chucks'.  I think I have a pair of these for every stage our daughter Azriel has hit so far... and now to pass on to her lil' brother.
Swoon... the thought of having a son is so exciting now!  I was convinced we'd be having another girl (but a boy was my second guess... really!).  Being a tom-boy growing up, I'm excited to have a lil' guy I can wrestle around and get messy with - not that I don't already with Azi. ;o) 

Ok and I just have to show two outfits I had to thrift for this guy.  I figured holding them up to my belly is a good way to measure if they'll fit... right?! 
Here's a mushroom sleeper from H&M that I adore!  Cute lil' squirrel pants too.... eep.  I'm sure he'll end up in a lot of Azriel's clothes - my aversion to pink has helped keep some threads more 'unisex' looking (in fact the whole idea of attaching 'gender' to certain colours is a bit lame.. but don't get me started).

Now to the real fun of coming up with name ideas... we had some picked from before, but not sure which direction we're headed this time.  Having picked a more unique name for our daughter - Azriel - there's a bit of a precedent set to keep being... unique... versus "Hello, here's our kids: Azriel and... Bob".  I don't know, we'll figure it out.

In five months these little feet will be entering a whole new world!

If you have any awesome boy names you want to suggest, feel free.
Thanks for sharing our joy here,
bouncing my boy belly,
Mel ;o)

P.S - later this evening I'll post one of those rare 'fashion' editions... based on today's outfit.
Stay tuned.. if you're into that kind of thing... 'fashion' or the attempts thereof.


secret garden style.

Today we're going to showcase Azriel's 'small style' with a gorgeous backdrop from this past weekend's craft show.  Jeff of Jackson Creek Press has an awesome backyard - and tucked in the furthest corner is this wonderful 'secret garden' space.  We had to do a mini-photo shoot in this ideal location!

Azriel loved the Chinese lanterns growing back here... and Ben was nearby to help navigate some of the unsure footing.

I was loving the broken down brick wall crawling with wild grapevines... I would totally have claimed this as my fort if I lived here.  (And yes, a poncho does seem to hide 5 months of baby brewing going on in that pot)!

Back to Azriel, her entire outfit is thrifted.  The coat was one of my favourite all-time finds for her wardrobe - covered in mushrooms - yes please!!  It's a reversible jacket, and the sleeves even zip off... and I don't know who makes it, sorry (no tag inside).

A perfect coat for hunting treasures in the woods.
A perfect location for snapping shots of my treasure.
And it's Thursday.. so that means we're hopping over to Mama Loves Papa to link up with other cute kids and their cute outfits!

P.S...  I do believe that tomorrow's post will reveal our 'baby bumps' gender!
Come on back and see what 'fashions' await the next egg in our nest.

Thanks for stopping in!
Mel ;o)


confessions [of a mama] part.7.

Forgive me friends, it's been a while since my last confession.
My mama heart is getting squished in various directions now as we're half way through this second pregnancy.  I'm excited of course for our next child... but the bittersweet thoughts tend to creep in too.
I confess a sentimentalist's perspective about losing the special one-on-one times with my daughter Azriel.  I know we're gaining double the love.joy.craziness in reality, but I still get struck with this idea of loss sometimes.  If you're a parent, did you face this feeling... on the brink of a growing family? 

mama-daughter date at The Pastry Peddler... Mmmmmm!
It makes me remember to savour these mama-daughter days.  
I still have a lot of growing to do in preparation for the next child (and I don't just mean my belly).
I still need to grow in more patience. more grace. more playfulness.
I hate those moments (hours or days) when I am parenting out of frustration.tiredness.exasperation.
I need to keep filling up at the Fountain head of faith.hope.love to pour refreshment into this growing family.

I know these fleeting moments of diapers and small steps will soon be blurred into that crazy moment of their large steps of leaving this nest.

I confess I need not fear the changes that always come,
but simply rest, and savour these precious souls entrusted to me each day.

all-a-mush mama,
Mel ;o)


acres & acorns (a cottage slideshow).

This past Sunday/Monday we got to meet up with my folks at a cottage on Lake Kasshabog. Although we weren't there long, it was a beautiful spot to relax after a full crafting weekend.

Warm coffee and sunning on the dock with family - check.

My mom and our daughter Azriel were inseparable.

Seeing 'red' as we all motored out into the blue.  Azi's first boat experience - check!

While the men went 'fishing'... our goal was acorn hunting.

Azi was pretty obsessed with the scavenger hunt for acorns, Grandma helped too.  Whether it's mushrooms, rock or sticks... we're always hunting something on the ground 24/7 with this girl.

The final stash getting sorted out on a sweet vintage table.

Crisp autumn winds.
Warm crackling fires.
Acres of blue sky and water.
Constellations of acorns.
A lovely cottage getaway.
Doesn't Fall just fill up your senses?

Mel :o)


slide.show.sunday.take 14.

Hello friends, I am alive and well here... 
(in case you were wondering what happened to my 'slide.show.sunday' post).
We've been out all weekend, craft showing & cottaging afterwards (until today).
So here's the first installment for those who wanted to see what the craft show looked like.

Here's my 'fancy' sign I whipped up the night before the show.

Since this was a 'house craft show' I opted for a sweet spot on the wrap-around porch.

Close-ups of my table's spread.  Jewellery, stuffies, painted hoops etc.

Another recent creation - my 'lil' hoots' earrings made from buttons... love these guys!

Inside the house were more tables full of crafty & tasty goodness!  A great group of artisans.caterers.sewers.friends all gathered together.

And around the back more sweetness was packed in, like cutie-patootie here, Brook!

Yes there was a chill in the air - hence the wardrobe of moccasins and knit ponchos.  I had to grab a shot of us '3 moccasin musketeers' here: sweet Rae of Blackbird Studio, lovely Erin of 26 Mermaids... and moi.

To those who attended and made the show a great success, 
thank you!
More pictures of cottage life to come tomorrow.
Hope your weekend was a good one,
Mel ;o)


confessions [of an artist].part.5

Hello friends.  It's the eve of a big craft show weekend for me here.
I feel like a bunny at the greyhound track.
Like a child at Christmas Eve.
Like a director on rehearsal night.
The anticipation. The excitement. The forgetting to breathe!
 I thought I'd share one more sneak peek at some of the newest additions to my craft table.
I love doing fabric hoops.  Usually I'm stenciling birds.deer.owls onto fun fabrics.
I wanted to incorporate some woodland landscapes this time.... and I love these ones!

As I survey my mounds of creations all around me here tonight... I realise that once again I have pounded out a crazy variety of stuff.  Call me A.D.H.D or spastic... but I just can't stay stuck on one project for long, I tend to bounce all over the place experimenting with new ideas.  The fear is I'll have my table so bogged down with this cacophony of creativity that you won't be able to SEE anything!

Phew.  Yes, friends, I have pulled out the stops for this show.  I really hope you can make it.  I adore every piece I've crafted this time... to the point that I feel a mother-bond to them.  So if you go to buy something don't be surprised if you have to pry it out of my pudgy fingers! 

But seriously, we the crafters would love you to buy local. support local artisans.  You can also pat yourself on the back for getting at your Christmas shopping! 

Back to painting my "Needle and Nest" sign,
sleepless mama,
Mel :o)