my mini.me...

 Well go figure... this daughter of mine seems addicted to painting!
It's not even like I tried to 'force' her to enjoy the arts... but ever since her first introduction to painting she just begs.whines.squeals to use it daily!

This is one of those 'supervised mess' moments... giving her the freedom to slop.slap.slip the paints around... even over her cute toes and fingers.

I really need to take the time to make some non-toxic homemade paints... for how often she wants to be coated in the stuff!

Yes, it's honestly like looking at a mini-me here... even sticking the tongue out to paint!
She also gets into a 'trance-like' mood when she's fully focused on her brushstrokes... quite something to behold.
I just had to make a video here... she's too beautiful sometimes.

Just so you don't think she's this 'calm' all the time, I'll have you know that shortly after this video Azi jumped up, tore off the paint shirt and ran around in wild circles barking because she suddenly wanted to "dance like a dog".
True story.

What do your kids love doing the most?

Colourful fingers mama,
Mel ;o)


picture lined walls...

Well, it's been almost a year since we've toured the hall.wall of fame memories at our nest.
I thought it would be fun to show you the progress here...

This is our stairway wall... and I love the idea of collecting special memories and mementos here to remember with every passing.
#1. A collection of the fake flowers from my parents wedding bouquet (I turned into a flower crown).
#2. An old pipe glued to a decorative board (ode to Ben's delight).
#3. Still love this idea: staple lace around a frame - tuck a sweet book of poetry inside!
#4. Cheap gold frames I painted white/sanded and put our portrait in.

I've also added the photo collage frames of our wedding day and Azriel's first year. 
I want pictures to keep growing up the hallway the longer we live here... (heaven help us when we move though!) 

Other wall decor of late: We scored a 'poster book' of the original drawings for Alice in Wonderland.  I'm planning on mounting a number of our favourite illustrations on foam core and making an arrangement on our upstairs hall wall.  
For now, Azriel gets to have a cute one in her play corner.

Yes, if I had my way.. (um... I think Ben allows that usually!) every wall would be pretty much covered in creative inspiration.

Ben often sarcastically retorts as I'm hammering one more thing up:
"Lord forbid there's a bare inch left anywhere!"...

Yep, that's what you get for loving me, mister.
A nest bursting with hoarded clutter creative decor!

Thankful for a patient husband,
and walls that are strong enough to hold up my passions.

Mel ;o)


seeing double delight!

Oh.my.goodness.gracious... are you seeing this?!
Hudson was wearing one of Azriel's hand-me-down shirts this past weekend (since the pink tie matched my outfit.. ha!). 
I took some shots.. and then realised I could do another comparison photo of the 'same shirt - different babies' theme again.
I was not prepared for this though.. going back into my old pictures to find Azriel.. and discovering their poses are so similar!!

Oh, I die!
This cracks me right up... talk about siblings!

The real shock though: Hudson is five months ahead of his sister in size here... (goodness this boy is going to be wearing Dad's clothing by his first birthday).

Just had to share this hilarious cuteness today!

Fit to be tied mama,
Mel ;o)

P.S.  In case you wanted a double dose of cuteness... here you go:
You're welcome. ;o)

P.P.S.  If you're wondering, yes, I did make sew the details on that shirt (a cotton tie and corduroy vest with a stitched on button).



Life is messy isn't it?

Clean up all the toys... and two seconds later they're helter-skelter across the floor again.
Get the laundry washed.folded.sorted... and then discover a new mountain of dirty clothes.
Wash the stack of dishes... and there's a tower growing in the sink again.

Promise to be more patient... and one frustration sets you off.
Try to stay positive under pressure... but instead vortex into a pity-party.
Seek to model love and grace... realise you're weaker than imagined.
Life can be overwhelming sometimes.
You just want a moment to get 'off the ride'... to jump from the crazy carousel that keeps spinning in futility it seems.
Or, to echo the words of Ecclesiastes:
"..when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind"
Ecclesiastes 2:11
When I get up each morning, take two steps forward.. and fall three steps back, 
it can get hard to trust that growth is happening. 
I just want to crumple into a ball and not try again.

But... that's just not helpful to anyone is it?
I need to step out in faith.
One faltering step.misstep.at a time. 
It's like every night when I face this moment.
A stack of dirty dishes...
I want to ignore them,
they seem overwhelming...
I want ease, comfort, relaxation.
But deep down I know that they aren't going away... and the longer I don't 'tend' to the mess... the bigger it will get.
Like any mess really.
Ignoring the problem just makes it fester.
So I wash them.
One dish at a time.
And the world seems brighter.

God, take these messes in my heart.
Wash them.
Let me shine your grace.

Mess. Clean. Repeat.

Mel ;o)


slide.show.sunday. take 41.

Sweating. Sewing. Wedding. Glowing.
Here's what this weekend looked like:
 These hot. sticky days often send us to the 'cool' bookstore... where this mama got a new book (with patterns) to sew projects for the kidlets.. such sweet stuff in it!

 Next creative project: whip up a hair piece for the 'peacock inspired' wedding we were attending on Saturday!
Some feathers, turquoise embroidery thread, an old earring, mini doilies... and Azi's hair clip later - voila!

 Favourite outfit/colour combination:
coral. lace. army green ruffle skirt. turquoise bracelet.

 A sneak peek of the Bride waiting to enter the cathedral... Catholics sure know how to decorate a space.
I was delighted to see my friend Stephanie and her fella tie the knot, congrats guys!!

 Me and my handsome date at the reception.. yes, his tie matches his mama! ;o)

 Home for a campfire with the house in-laws... there's my two favourite chins guys right there.
Oh, and that's me pretending to harpoon my bro-in-law with the marshmallow stick.

Hudson wanted in on the fun too, but decided to fall asleep in my arms snuggled up by the crackling fire... my favourite moment.

Hope your weekend was full of beauty-full moments too!

All aglow,
Mel ;o)


lock up your daughters...

 ...there's a new man in town,
and he's already wooed this mama's heart.

 I just had to show you how handsome our lil' BIG fella Hudson is getting!
At three and a half months now... he's wearing toddler clothing (well, 12-18mth sizes!).
I still can't tell who he looks like... but he's a charmer that's for sure.
I love how he always giggles into his fists all bashful like.
The way he tosses his head back and forth like a wild horse and then falls asleep.
How he smacks his lips after a big yawn...
And what's more heavenly than those chubber baby rolls fresh out of a warm bath?!
I just savour these times I get to nuzzle him close right now...
...my big baby boy.

Our handsome Hudson.

Smitten mama,
Mel ;o)


mussel man love.

 Now this isn't normally a blog about food... but this tasty dish just begs a feature!

Ben whipped this one up for our dinner last night.
It's a main course of rich goodness with a side helping of yum!

 I was eager to dive in... but Azriel stuck with her bread & pasta combo... turning up her wee nose at the mussels and saying:
"It's... it's not good for me...
... it's yucky".
Your loss little girl, and this mama's gain.

Now, I'm not usually a real seafood lover... but I do heart mussels.
Maybe because it was drowned in heaping portions of butter, cream and white wine!

So if you're looking for a tasty change at your dinner table, try this recipe out friends.

Thankful for my 'mussel'-man Ben, 
Mel ;o)


confessions [of an artist] part. 8.

What do you see?
An ordinary walnut shell, yes?

It's a creative portal for me to jump into... a tiny treasure to transform into something special. 

Like, a miniature robin's egg nest:
I know, I'm a little nuts... excitedly turning nutshells into nests... but that's my confession today:

...My brain never stops searching for creative outlets.

In fact, my brain just doesn't shut up actually!
You know how you ask a guy "what are you thinking about?" and they say "nothing"... and it's true.  Well, I don't have a 'nothing' setting.
Whenever there's a lull in the day (where I'm washing dishes, or feeding the baby.. or up in the night) my brain just defaults to dreaming up new creations.

My head could be a waste basket full of crumpled balls of paper for all the ideas I propose and then toss out of my mind.
I think that's why I'm always trying new projects, and making a wide variety of creations... there's just so many things I want to bring to life.  I guess you could say my works are 'limited edition', because I'll likely run off and create something different in another moment. 

That's why this blog is a good fix for my daily shakes... it lets me create something new every time!

Does every creative person share this mental setting I wonder?

So, what do you see?
A nut,
A nutshell...

... or a gal just eager to see the extra in the ordinary...

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: framed cork board

Since we're all addicted to 'pinning' things online... how abouts we make a pin board for our real world?!
Today's edition is yet another super fast.stupid easy do.it.yourself project.
A framed cork board. 

 Supplies Needed:
cork tiles (dollar stores often carry them)
foam core/or cardboard backing
frame of your choice/size

1. I painted my wood frame turquoise (Azriel wanted to help too).
I didn't prime it first because I wanted to scuff it with sandpaper after for that delightful 'aged' look.

2. Cut your cork tiles to fit snugly inside your frame. 
If you need to glue it to the foam core backing use a spray adhesive. 

3.  You may need to staple gun or nail the frame at the back to keep the cork tiles in place... but if you wedge the boards in snug it should just hold secure.

Voila!  That fast, that easy.
(I, of course, have to slap a doily onto everything I can).

You could get pretty creative with the type of frames you choose... since the cork tiles could fit into any shape frame you find.

You can use it as a bulletin board, memos & picture holder... or even hang your jewellery.
I think I'll be using mine to display my handmade pretties at future craft shows.

Happy crafting friends!
Mel ;o)


slide.show.sunday. take 40 (b)

Annnnnd, here's the final roundup of shots from a fun-filled birthday weekend!
Thanks for enduring me, friends. ;o)
Sunday afternoon we had a fun 'play date' with Andrea and Jen (a.k.a Hudson got Lucky!).
 Birthday Monday...we went for treats down at the Silver Bean, this mama got an iced chai this size of her head!

 More feasting with my entire family at the Old Stone Brewery... and then home for cake and ice cream!

 My sis showing Azriel how to use her camera...

...and it turns out she's pretty skilled at shooting - to the delight and amusement of all!
And speaking of pictures... here`s my family (since you`ve already met Bens).
Front row: my older sis, mama (Azriel), moi
Back: sister`s fella, dad, big brother, ben.
(Funny moment: the fact that I got TWO awesome tripods for my birthday... and I still used a garbage bin with stacked drink coasters to take this shot!)

Yep, it was a fun-filled weekend,
thanks for stopping by the nest!

Birthday mama,
Mel ;o)

slide.show.sunday. take 40 (a).

Hello friends! 
Here's the belated weekend photo-dump:
 The lilacs we had picked... and painting fun.
 Summer sun = clothes out on the line, with Azriel as my little helper.
 A trip to the zoo with a crew of friends... peacocks know how to rock their colours!
 Cowgirl Azriel.. and her beau Reggie... Hudson and I sharing a snuggle.
 Up to the in-laws for family.dinner.saturdays... Hudson and his great-Granny looking so cute.
 Azriel got in her first swim of the year... with a backdrop constellation of forget-me-not flowers.
Dandelion dreamer.

That's just the half of it... so I'll share the rest in the next post!
Hope you all had a beauty-full weekend.

Older mama,
Mel ;o)


colour me: rainbow wool & balloons!

Colour me happy... look at this beauty ball of wool!
It's got every hue of the rainbow in it, and I just can't stop spinning it around in my hands. 

I think this just may convince me try and learn how to knit again friends... now, what the heck can I make with one ball of wool?  A small scarf cuff... a wee hat?  I just want to see all the colours, close by me.. always!
Not to mention I was given this sweet turquoise sheepy too!

Yes, tomorrow is my birthday.. eeep!
In fact, all of Canada is celebrating with me this year - a national holiday for all.... you're welcome. ;o)
This mama is having a beauty weekend so far... and more fun to come today and tomorrow... 
so stay tuned for a belated 'slide.show.sunday' friends,

(but here's a peek at some more colourfulness and livestock): 
A family hike through the countryside to collect beautiful lilacs for our home.

Hope you're all having a wonder-full weekend too!

Fireworks & Birthday candles mama,
Mel ;o)


Vlog #1 (Q & A).

Thanks friends, that wasn't as painful as I thought it would be!
Next time I'll try to not be so distracted by the cat(s) mauling me for affection...

...if you missed that post about a 'usual day' in our nest, you can find it here.

If there's other questions you'd like me to answer - fire away!

But, remember to bring popcorn next time,

Mel ;o)

Vlog day (the teaser edition)!

This is what we'll call the "Introductions" vlog... just a wee teaser for the real edition later today!
Ok, and just another sneak at the silliness my gal and I get up to:

Alrighty, I'm feeling less scared of the vlogging experience now... 
stay tuned for my responses to reader's questions later today!

Thanks for tuning in friends,
Mel ;o)


the re-do: red doo!

Here's the latest version of my mop-chop!

Yes, that last wild red colour had all but disappeared into bleached blonde head... so it was time to re-do the red (I wanted the tips to stay blonde this time, but that didn't work out well). 

Oh, and yes, I butchered my hair again too!
You may recall my crazy cutting approach... well, I always manage to chop my bangs shorter than intended... but the good thing about hair - it keeps growing back!

Still seeing red,
Mel ;o)