Confessions: mood rings.. and feeling blue.

Lately I've been battling a real pile of gloomies in my head.
Call it the post-Christmas nose dive.
A pinch of seasonal depression.
Or, having sickly kids over the entire holiday season...
...you know what I mean?

I'm not often a real 'Debbie-downer' and this space is usually one for creative inspiration, et all.  But heck, if I can't show my true colours here.. then I'll quit blogging.
Speaking of colours, remember those mood rings from high school?
The stone was supposed to change shades according to your temperament?
Well, I guess that would put me at a wintry grey tone right about now.

So, I thought I'd share my go-to list for splashing some colours of cheer back into my emotional 'palette':

1. Get active ~ usually the last thing I want to do in a full frump.. but so important.  A gorgeous hike through snow-laden forests is just the ticket.  Otherwise, if stuck at home... I crank up the music and do some ecstatic dance moves with the toddler!

2. Slow down ~ (ironic, I know).  Sometimes after such a hectic season as this, the introverted side of me is needing an intervention.  Some much needed quiet, cups of tea, reading and settling my soul is such a comfort.
3. Create ~ I.need.to.create.  It's so woven into my core.. that going even a day without making something gets me...agitated.  (Remember that's why I blog so much.. it counts as a 'quick fix' for the designer side of my head!).

4. Clean ~ another way I bust those blues... is by organising/cleaning our nest.  Productivity is like Prozac (the merits of this statement are dubious)...  But, if I can beat one corner of our house into submission - for even a moment - I feel a bit calmer!

5. Connect ~ Usually sadness squelches socializing.  I just want to curl in a little ball in a dark cave with a burning pile of poop beside me... (wait, did I say that out loud?).  Anyway, it's true.  Pity parties just aren't that fun in the long run.  Turns out the best 'bouncer' to invite to that party is called "Gratitude".  Once I start reflecting on all the blessings in my life - despite the trials - it's like I'm shining the silver lining.

Also, when I remember there's loads of people around me who, too, would appreciate some encouragement, some kindness, somebody to really listen... then I remember to 'get over myself' and reach out.  True story.

So, while there's a time for every season under Heaven, (I do believe sadness has just as much a right to be present in the heart as joy... currently) these are just a few of the measures I take to splash more cheer into my moody blue moments.

Maybe it helps some of you too?
Wishing you a warm and wonder-full new year.

Mel ;o)


Shop the Nest: (Fleece Cuffs/Cowls)

 Oh hi, lovelies.
Just popping in here with an update to the Shop today.
Remember those funky cozy fleece neck cuffs/cowls I made for the Christmas craft show?
Yes, they were a big hit.
In fact, there's only a couple left... so I'm putting them up here for you to grab.

 This is the prototype cuff I made (and kept to wear!).
I only have two ONE of these 'pumpkin spice' cuffs left to sell.
(The other option of 'winter's grey' have SOLD OUT).

You may recall, these cuffs feature two large handmade 'branch' buttons.
You can wrap the suede straps around the buttons to fit it snugly around your neck.
One size fits all.
***Pumpkin Spice Fleece Cuff***
$30 (+$5 shipping).

(I will mark these as sold here once they're gone).

 This 'snowflake design' fleece cowl is also available.
Only one left.
It's a looser fit than the cuffs above (pulls over head). 
$30 (+$5 shipping)
If you want to see a better model of how hot this is... check out Nicole!

As usual, just e-mail me first to confirm the order - and then there's the handy 'PayPal donate' button on the right side bar here.


I hope all of you on this side of the hemisphere have gotten this gorgeous pile of diamond dust snow this weekend!?  Love it!
And to all, Happy New Years!

See you on the flip side, friends!
Mel ;o)


confessions [of a Mel] part.10.

 Hmmmmm.yah.okay... so New Years is right around the corner.
Time to set some goals to burn off all those calories we consumed over Christmas, right?
Time to make resolutions... and pretend we'll stick to them this year..?

My confession:  I really avoid making resolutions/goals for myself.
Like, at all.
I dunno, maybe I just fear to make goals... and then have the sting of failure slap me in the face as I bomb the attempt(s).
But, I've never been a health nut, needing my weight at a certain number to feel happy.
I've never been a competitive athlete, needing my endurance to meet a check list.
Never required certain 'hoops' of myself to jump through.

I'm the kind of gal that takes life a-day-at-a-time... nice and easy like.
I'm still trying to decide if that's wise or not.

See, I get the intent of goals.
The idea of better'ing oneself... or, pushing one's level of discipline, commitment, endurance, etc.
Visionary people excel at this.
I'm just not a visionary.

Sure, I still have desires and dreams.
I just like the idea of being surprised by them along the journey.

Soooo, without getting too specific or scary... these are things I can resolve for the New Year:

 1. Keep learning my man Ben... keep growing in love.

2. Be intentional in daily quiet times of prayer/meditation.

3. Eat chocolate.

4. Keep learning our kids, love and teach them well.

5.  Get that girl to use a potty someday (even if it kills me...!).

6. Suck it up and get my dang driver's license already!!

7. Continue to show hospitality, inviting new people into our home.

8. Produce a new art collection to show/tour.

9. Host fewer pity parties (or just stop inviting myself).

10. Go to bed earlier... err, I already know I won't.

Ok, that's a good start.
I'm already feeling too committed here... which breaks me into a cold sweat.. and may get me committed to a ward!

So what about you, does this time of year get you cracking the whip?
To-do lists or don't?
Go easy on yourself, I still like ya!

Here's to a New Year, friends.
I raise my glass of Yuletide Ale and cheer you on!

Mel ;o)


hazy holi.daze...

New friends sizing each other up.
Cat in the bag.
Homemade goodies to share.
Last minute touches on Ben's "home.brew/home.slice" painting.
Toy constellation.

Oh, hi Christmas... can we have a do-over?!

Seems each year becomes a faster blur.
But, this one is especially... hazy.
What with our crew being totally sick through the season... it made for a less than ideal holiday.
Many of those events/traditions that I look forward to each year, had to be neglected this year to keep our family 'quarantined'.  We still managed to celebrate with extended families (though we feared spreading the germs).  The kids were wanting constant cuddles and snotty snuggles.

So, while we were blessed with 
loving memories,
thoughtful gifts, 
tasty feasts,
festive drinks, 
and a sparkling white winter backdrop...

the temptation to throw a pity party was still there... but even in our rough patches, God has blessed us with so, so much to be thankful for.  The trick is just learning to adjust the 'setting' on my ability to see it some days.

A merry <hazy.stuffy.hacking> Christmas was had!

I do hope yours was lovely, friends... 
Have you resurfaced from your turkey comas and egg nog hangovers?
That new scarf looks beautiful on you, by the way!

Mel ;o)


'All I vant for Christmas...

...is my two front teeth'.


Didn't Hudson's smile just get exponentially sweeter?

 Just a quick dose of Christmas cuteness for you!

Mel ;o)


It's getting hot in here...

 I warned you.
This here... this happened.
The obligatory family Christmas card photo-op... sabotaged by the rebellious hubs.
He only agreed to step into the shots if he could be a shirtless Mr.Tumnus or some other such oddity, (oh, and the beaver had to sit in too).

Now you know why you didn't receive a Christmas card, friends.
You're welcome.

We have a pretty silly nest here... and, I love it.
I hope your nest has a very wonderful holiday season... filled with warmth,
laughter, good food, friends and family.

I'm also hoping for good health - as we're all still recovering from some nasty colds around here (like swallowing a weed wacker).  We take such simple things for granted until they're taken away it seems... 
God, teach me to have a grateful heart.
It's been a year rich with memories, and His faithfulness every step through the journey.

We have a lot to celebrate.

Merry Christmas, friends!

Mel ;o)



 This is the post where we catch up.. maybe over a cup of tea (or coffee, or mulled cider, or egg nog!).  The post where I share about what's new in our nest... and that's not just crafting projects.

 Ok, well there is this latest project... a foxy scarf for our daughter (totally inspired by this) and now that I've made it... I kind of want to keep share it!
The remaining gifts I still want to make are starting to dwindle as the days to Christmas do the same.  
I'm still shocked that we're already in the '20's' on the advent calendar!

 In other news... it looks like everyone in this nest is catching a good dose of colds/fevers in time for the holidays.  Azriel has been in constant-cuddle mode, which has forced a type of quiet relaxation amongst glowing lights, festive movies and warm tea.
Despite these rough nights of erratic sleep and tandem criers... God brightens each baggy-eyed morning with these glorious sunrises!
Speaking of crying... there's a sweet new set of little lungs in the house!
We are SO delighted to have a new Nephew (Finley) added to our family crew here... born safe and sound earlier this week (pictures to come I'm sure!).
It's kind of adorable to hear another baby in the house... I just keep wanting to run over and squeeze him.

 All in all, the days have been set to a pretty relaxed pace around here.
After that crafting blitz for the Christmas show... it was pretty freeing to feel like I could just chill (and not cram every spare second with creating!).
Despite the winter weather I haven't felt much cabin fever.
Sometimes I think these four walls are my wee sanctuary (I guess that's the introverted half talking).  I would gladly be tucked in here with my family, and crafting projects for endless days.  Granted, I realized we need to get out more when Azriel started remarking with glee at how beautiful the sidewalks were... yes, sidewalks.  I think she was just stoked that her and I were hiking it to the park all bundled up - like a mama/daughter date - while the boys stayed home.

But, when the weather is too yucky for playing outside.. this homemade play.station is still one of her favourites!  You should hear the hilarious conversations that her toys have while being buried in rice.

Annnnd in other, other news:  I'm changing my hair again.
It was at the blah-brown stage.. and getting just long enough that my fingers were itching to chop away.  I'm trying to grow it longer (says me like every time before I hack it).
So I opted to 'change' it up by doing an ombre-dye job.
Onyx black.. to brown.. to blonde ends (yet, to finish with the flaming red tips!).
Meanwhile, this adorable picture of our sweet chunks of cuteness was taken today.
I was really trying to convince my guy Ben to 'be a sport' and pose for the obligatory family Christmas photo.... turns out the only way to get him to agree to said photo-op is if he can dress up, or in this instance - go shirtless!

Tune in next week (or don't.. you've been warned) for the dysfunctional family Christmas card from our Nest to yours!

This weekend will be filled with family visiting, food feasting, last-minute gift purchasing/wrapping, baby-holding and carols singing... well, if we all survive this next round of sickness. Shaeeeesh.

Hope you have a beauty one, friends!

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: children's salt sketching-tablet

 You know that moment when see some crazy product while shopping and think: "I could make that myself!"  - OR - "they expect people to pay money for that?!"?
Yep, that's where I live.

So, when I see these novelty 'Zen gardens' (a glorified box full of sand and a wee rake... for sale) you guessed it, I think "I could make this for my daughter who loves drawing in the sand!".
So I did.
So, here it is...

 Pretty basic:
A dollar store wooden box (with lid)... or any shallow box you have around the house.
Chopstick or Branch
Contrasting Paint.

 I painted the bottom of the box to help contrast against the salt sketching.
Let dry.  Pour in a shallow layer of salt.
Now your kids can sketch/write/scratch away!

 "Look Azriel, Mama wrote the letter 'A'... now you try... yep, nailed it".
To the right, you'll see what Azi always draws without exception: a "Dragon".  Love her.

And, as usual, she just has to get her hands in it.
Which makes for some salty thumb-sucking, take her word for it.
Hmm, all this creating n' cholesterol is making me hungry for fries.

Chow Ciao for now,
Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion #14.

 Well howdy all you fine feathered friends.
It feels like a gazillion years since I last did a post about the clothes I've thrifted and upcycled into something more funky....  so here's the latest:

 Ok, wait.. first I have to show this awesome owl sweater from Old Navy (I blame thank Astrid for showing off her fox version! hehe).  While shopping there, I saw these baseball shirts on clearance ($4!) and thought I better buy them for some fun.
(I know this doesn't quite count as thrifted... but hey, it's my blog, my rules).
 I was still determined to get a fox shirt... so I stencilled my own version (fox inspired by this design).  You may recall, I just slice a stencil out of a plastic projector page and paint it onto the shirt.

For the blue shirt I wanted to draw some more coloured feathers (oh, surprise)!
I opted to try out these Sharpie "Stained" fabric markers and draw freehand onto the shirt.

Now I have a trusty fox by my side.. and a few more feathers under-wing.
If you're a newer reader here, you can always catch up on past upcycling adventures!

frugal fashionista,
Mel ;o)


salty n' sweet...

 Tis the season for more crafty.messy.painting parties with my daughter.
This edition saw us decorating our salt dough ornaments (which was a total fail project for coming out of the oven all spongey... so we let them air dry to get hard!).

 Regardless of their 'density' Azriel is happy to slap paint on anything she can!
We went with the colour palette of red/turquoise and gold.
Nothing screams 'unique festive decor' as the garishly delightful projects your kids create.
We were also kind enough to share these masterpieces with the Grandparents too (just in case they thought they had finally reached the stage in life of making a posh/pretty tree full of store-bought baubles!).

Oh, and the real purpose of salt dough ornaments... seizing the moment to capture how small/big our kids pudgy hands are!
Seeing how tiny Azriel's hand was three years ago just made my heart go mush.
Meanwhile, Hudson got to make his own hand print - the big boy's first Christmas!
Do you have nostalgic ornaments?
(Growing up, our Grandparents gave us a new ornament every Christmas... I still have most of them, and they go on the tree every year now).

Our decor style:
salty n' sweet sentimentalism.

merry mama,
Mel ;o)


Pottery Studio Tour...

 One of the highlights from this fun weekend was attending the open house for the Kawartha Potters' Guild.
I was eager to see where my ol' pottery teacher George had moved his Park Street Pottery shop to.  Yes, he's as happy as he looks.. the sweetest potter around.  His old shop was a wonderful spot for me... a past creative outlet.  I love(d) working with clay and seeing the unique treasures coming out of the kiln, (I was even selling some at my last craft show).
Seeing this big, bright new space for the potters got me tempted to jump back in the clay!

 Actually, daughter Azriel did just that... she was flipping this lump like a pancake endlessly.
Hudson shows his happiness in the space by doing bicycle kicks.
The atmosphere was warm and inviting.. with yummy goodies and mulled cider, too!

 There's over a dozen unique potter's represented in this new space... which makes shopping for the perfect piece quite an adventure.

I finally decided on this gorgeous smoky tan and turquoise mug/vase... it's my go-to cup for all my daily brews now.

If you're a local, check out their website for many classes/tours available!
Pottery is such a calming, beautiful process to take part in.

Missing my clay,
Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: toy drum inspiration!

Ok, I'm sure you've all seen the adorable toy drum tutorial by the awesomely talented Katie over at A Beautiful Mess blog... amiright?
I was eager to jump right in to this project.. (since, you know.. I don't already have a growing mountain of Christmas crafting on the dining table).
But it really is a super simple, fun project.
I just used materials I had on hand.

 Empty soup cans. (Or, for larger: coffee can)
Fabric of choice.
Glue Gun.
Vinyl (they recommend leather... and it makes sense..since vinyl will tear if pulled too tight).
 Wool/Suede straps
*Rice*  (my added ingredient inside the can for a synth' beat!) hehe.

I made one for our lil' drummer boy Hudson.. and just had to create a special one for our soon expected NEPHEW (being induced Monday!).
Thanks to the lovelies at A Beautiful Mess for the inspiration today.
I'm hooked on how adorable these are.. and want to make a gazillion.
Check out this cutie's mad skills:

I love how big sister Azriel 'shakes it' too.. what a great groupie she is.

Now, make like a drum... and beat it.
womp womp.

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


Deck the walls: (Christmas home decor)

 So it's half-way through December.. and I finally took the time to get our nest looking a bit more festive!
I usually just pull out the big ol' shoe boxes from the garage and use all the handmade goodies from last year. 

 Otherwise, we decorate on the cheap... (i.e..nature is free!)
Pine boughs on the mantel gleaned from the tree Azriel picked at her Great-Grandparent's tree farm.
Collected pine cones painted by Azi.
Fuzzy 'snow' leftover from my crafting blitz.
 (I would have gone hunting for birch bark and feathers to toss around.. but um, I didn't).

 Azriel loves decorating the Christmas tree... 
But, if she's left in charge... all the baubles hang in a cluster-clump off one branch!

 Deer decor... my stenciled pillow sleeve covers I made.
Plus, the sweetest reindeer/red wooden beaded garland from my dear lady Deb.

 A few new goodies around the house from the Focus Fair (I love swapping/buying from the other artisans at the show).
My sweet friend Rae's hanging fabric-beeswax-dipped house.. with the quote "but we have today" had to come home with me.
As well, a pottered vase (rolled on barn-board for texture) from a new vendor.

Last, but least... these two furry lumps of 'cheer'.
Mewsli & Tinderpuff.
They're fans of all the Christmas coziness.

Well, this weekend is shaping up to be busting at the seams with festive fun!
Hope yours is also full of goodness, friends.

See you on the flip side,
Mel ;o)