projects...and sniffles

grandma and azriel

Pssssssssssss! Okay friends, just wanted to keep you posted.  The pottery is now finished [fired up and ready to wear fashion]!  I am in the midst of getting these pieces bound with leather strapping - for wrist cuffs/necklaces.  Then I will be posting pics [as long as my camera decides to comply for once] and showing you my latest line-up.  So stay tuned.

In other creative news... I've been sewing some very cute [if i do say so myself] little owl stuffies.  I found a fabric that i adore for them.  So hold your breath, and those pics should be coming soon too.

In other, other news... my wee one has been up with a croupy cough/fever these last two days.  Mama has been snuggled in close for both nights as her giant kleenex/sippy cup.  Hoping she's better soon, for both our sakes!

Did anyone else notice it's snowing out there?!  What the heck... where's the Spring we ordered?
Anywho, have a lovely day despite that silly snow! ;o)


It's a natural..

Today I'm reminding myself to be grateful. Sometimes it's easy to see the glass half empty - like when it appeared our clothes dryer was busted. I wanted to just heave a sigh up against the heavens and yell 'what else can break in our home right now?!'.. and grumbling, I loaded the wet laundry up into a mound and carried it out back to the clothes line.  Slowly, beautifully... I started to be reminded of the delight of going 'natural' again :
  • It forces me to slow down.. clothes peg by clothes peg.. and be lost in thought.
  • It makes your clothes smell better than anything else!
  • It gives you the chance to talk to the neighbours (in our case the kids that run around out back)
  • It whitens your clothes naturally - great for baby messes!
  • It lets you breathe in the wind, the spring... the chirping of birds.
So.. I'm grateful, once again for those speed-bumps in life, that force me to slow down, re-evaluate what I value... and hang it all out on the line again.  Have a fresh sunny day friends.



If you sew it..  they will come.  If you put fabric on the floor.... they will sprawl.  Today I was reminded again of how ridiculous it is for me to try and work with fabric when our two cats are around.  Inevitably they know when I am laying out a fresh piece of material on the floor to cut - and they come pouncing.  [sigh] I know they're well intentioned, but sometimes these furry friends can make me go a bit crazy(er) when I'm eager to get a project done!
 Allow me to introduce our kitties to you... the bigger one is Mewsli - she's a smudgy version of greys.  We tend to think of her as emotionally bi-polar (in that she is highly needy when we don't want her to be... and aloof when we do want a cuddle).  Our lil' sweetie is named Tinderpuff - she's a black and grey stripey combo with big owl eyes.  Both were separate rescues.
... Sometimes it's hard being a cat.  Especially when our lil' daughter likes to hug [smother] them every chance she gets.  So maybe I should give them a break and let them sprawl all over my fabric I'm working on....  hopefully customers don't have cat allergies! ;o)


paper to pinafores

 This morning after bringing our daughter into our bed, she got up and grabbed her favorite 'morning read' for this week - the adventures of "Little Bear". I love these moments.  Snuggled in bed together. Morning sunlight peeking into the corner of our eyes.  Enjoying the sweet stories (and illustrations) of this classic.  The little girl in the book - Emily, has me wanting to sew a toddler pinafore/smock for our Azriel...
 ...oh I love that lil' bit of vintage ruffle!  I could sew one for Azriel this spring, as her crafting smock even.  I do love the look of this vintage little pinafore too.  Which reminds me, I need to go get sewing.... have a lovely day out their friends!
Mel ;o)


Morris + Mucha = mmmm. eye candy

Today is mix and match day - taking two of my favorite artists and partnering them together in a composition that inspires and delights me.  William Morris was one of the most famous English textile artists... his way with foliage and patterns are captivating.  Alphonse Mucha was a Czech Art Nouveau artist... his delicate designs and dreamy ladies are pure eye-candy.

.. sigh - I could get lost in these landscapes all day!  You'll see in my past paintings where I got inspired to paint my lady heads ... and I am still eager to pursue these themes more.  Half of me loves painting the Turner-style impressions of an open sky, while the other half wants to be submerged in these detailed, delicate art nouveau delicacies!  Hope you've found these fabulous fellas to be an inspiring part of your creative day too.
Mel :o)


tea.. a drink with jam and bread.

Today is brought to you by the letter "t"... I have always loved the comfort of a warm mug of tea cupped in my hands.  There's almost a sacred moment in the whole ritual of steeping... stirring... sipping don't you find?  So today I share some photos of:
  • My favorite tea - a generous sprig of Mint leaves bathed in hot water, and honey!
  • My knit tea cup cozy - I can sew these lil' guys in custom colours too!
  • My tea bag study... pile them up and document it!
  • My painting... "A measure of peace"... since each tea bag represented a peaceful moment of my day... I then measured that in days of tea bags!
What I should have also included here was the pottered tea mugs and tea pot I have made in the past... but alas, I'm having issues with my camera/lap top compatibility currently... stay tuned.

So take a little sip, take a little sip with me... and enjoy your day with tea!
Mel :o)


D.I.Y nest makeovers

 Can you smell it?  The intoxicating freshness of Spring is in the air! ... and it makes me want to break out of the stuffy cave I've been hibernating in all winter.  It makes me want to embrace all the vibrant fresh colours that are hatching up out of this grey wintry palette.   I want to embrace the season's rebirth, enjoy a fresh perspective, shed a few pounds, start new projects, de-clutter, minimize, organize... 
For now, I thought I'd at least share some transformations that are already under my belt, in hopes of inspiring you to make your own nest more beautifully you... and inspire me to keep transforming mine as well!
Above is a chair I now love.. (while my father-in-law would cringe to see me painting an antique chair... I had to)!  So I sanded, primed and re-upholstered that sucker, and I do so love that fabric - it's the perfect combination of limey sage, turquoise and white... with birds too! Eeek!

Now here's a lil' peak at what was the hideous entryway to our home we bought last year.  I could barely walk into this room full of dark brick, panelling and every other form of nasty you could imagine!  I had to prime, and paint all the 'ick' out of that space... and replace it with the elements that make me feel at home...[now my husband says that means having more 'nic-nacs' than a Browsers Nook]... but I insist its all about 'layering' the things that reflect you - maybe I just have too many facets that need to be reflected [tee hee]. Where my husband is a minimalist, I find comfort in the 'clutter' of memories, beauties and inspirations I can nestle in.

So the next makeover goal for this Spring is to haul our lacquered wood table outside and white wash it in a creamy white... scuff up the edges for an 'antique' look and do the chairs to match!
What about you?  Any spring makeovers you're eager to get ready for your nest?

Good luck~  happy creating!
Mel :o)


Pretty patterns and profiles.. D.I.Y

Alright friends, it's late, and I'm tired... but I had to pop off a lil' D.I.Y project for all you crafty folks who - like me - like seeing project ideas in pictures! So here it is: 
  • 1) run out and snap a pic of you favorite profile (mine happens to be the oh-so-kissable-cheeks of my daughter).  Trace it onto paper and then cut out.
  • 2) grab your favorite fabric and pin your paper profile onto it.. and cut out fabric version.
  • 3) stretch another complimentary fabric over a quilting hoop.
  • 4) embroider that sweet face right onto the stretched fabric... and voila!
This featured piece was stitched by moi many months ago... and hangs on my daughter's door, so that even when she's tucked in sleeping soundly at night.. I can walk past her room and still kiss those sweet cheeks!

Nite nite.
Mel :o) 


oh deer...

So here's a little compilation of 'wild creations' I've made in the past. A couple years ago we got the antlers off a friend's garage and I painted them up all crazy. Over the Christmas holidays I wanted some festive pillow covers, so I stenciled these fun deer onto slip covers I had sewn.  The real delight was turning my darling daughter into a Narnian fawn for her 1st birthday (since it falls a couple days before Halloween... I like the idea of giving her 'dress-up' birthdays!).
Maybe I'll start posting compilations of other random creations in the future for you fine folks.. sound good?


just breathe... sit... repeat.

Do you ever forget to breathe?  Now I don't mean the 'smell the roses'... or yoga 'centre yourself' kind of breathing. Just the in and out deal! So there are a few things that happen to me when I am caught up in art-making:
  • I get a euphoric buzz...my heart seizes up and I realize I'm not breathing
  • My lower lip gets chapped from 'concentrating'
  • I forget to sit down...
  • I get positively giddy from the excitement of creating!
So picture the scene today... I'm excitedly working away on my new line of pottery (at the dining room table now)..licking my bottom lip fiercely, gasping for breathe, rattling on about nothing (due to my giddy euphoria).. and my sweet husband says "sit down"! Now at first I don't even realise who he's talking to (maybe the cats, since our daughter was napping?).. and then I realise I am once again, hovering over my work like a monkey guarding its last banana!
So I need to be reminded (often by my husband - every five minutes)to just breathe,sit down, and savour the giddy delight God's given me for the joy of creating!


colour my day

Our daughter is just discovering the joys of crayons...and I am sharing her delight with colour! Another place I go to get inspired by beautiful hues is this blog: Creature Comforts. She inspired this post!  Have a bright, colourful day friends!


this lump of clay

Today when the snow was helter-skelter outside our home, the warmth of my husband baking bread filled the insideMeanwhile, our daughter Azriel was scattering her toys all over the floor and singing to her own tune...and this mama was diving her hands into the cold, wet clay!
I haven't been making any pottery since my daughter was born... which is a sad thing.  I think its actually been almost two years (eeep!)so I decided it was about time to start up a pottery element for my craft shows again. I went back to my favorite local potter (good ol' George of PARK ST. POTTERY) and got some clay to play with at home.  
I flopped my giant piece of masonite over the washing/dryer machines and got to work!  It's a wonderful thing to form clay and roll it, and press it.. and shape it again.  Though I may have almost got pneumonia from trying to do it in our uninsulated breezeway... but it was worth the fun of playing! 
So stay tuned friends... once these batches get fired/glazed/fired... I'll fire up some pics for you to see the latest creations!


The edible palette

There is a profound sense of connectedness that comes from sharing a meal with others. It forces us to sit. Invites us to savour. Delights all the senses. Shoves you elbow to elbow with others!  
Every Saturday night we are blessed by attending the weekly feast my father-in-law puts on for all the family. And feast it is.. there's always some delicious roast or marinated chicken, barbecued yams and potato's, colourful veggies...and my husband brings his fresh home-made bread, the grandparents/siblings bring wine and home-made desserts!
Add to that the ambiance of candlelight, the texture of a mossy damask patterned tablecloth, unique antique chairs, and a backdrop of our favourite park/forest through the window!
Mix in a generous helping of laughter and live music from those who can play instruments... it's a beautiful thing.
Tonight was no exception. A table full of generations came together again. Hands that wear the wrinkles of life, and pudgy fists of innocence all reached for the same meal. We ate. We laughed. We listened to great music. We watched our lil' daughter squeal and dance and chase the dog around.  
So I breathe a prayer of gratitude once again... for family, food, love, laughter, beauty.. and wine!

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder


balancing home-making and art-making..

One of the most common questions I get from people: "How do you find the time to produce all this work - and have a baby?!"
I think like most 'mompreneurs' it comes down to trying to maximize productivity in ratio to the length of my darling's naptime! I'm incredibly blessed with a few bonuses as well:
  • a 16 month old daughter who still naps twice a day (and 12 hour nights)!
  • an incredible home-brewing husband who loves to cook/bake!
  • the inspiration of many other blogging/creative mamas!
  I still struggle to manage that balance of being a home-maker and being an art-maker. Sometimes the dishes stack up as high as the collection of fabric on my sewing table... and sometimes the constellation of lint on the floor mirrors the spray of paint on my canvases...  but I usually try to break up the day as follows:
  • one nap = one creative session (paint/sew/craft)
  • second nap = clean house/prep meals/laundry
  • baby night-night = hospitality/socializing etc.
  Life is like that 'whack-a-mole' game, you think you just got something down - and something else pops up. Sometimes I think I've just figured out the balance of being mom/wife/artist/friend... (and after that split-second passes!) I then feel overwhelmed for focusing on one to the detriment of the others. 
Anyone relate?!  So how do you find your balance?  Feeding your soul.. and feeding the bellies under your roof?  Do share - we may all be in different nests.. but we're all in the same tree!

Mel ;o)