There's a certain thrill of discovery that comes with a fresh perspective, isn't there?
The daily drudge, and the numbing sameness that can come with routines often take their toll.
Get up.
Brush teeth.
Care for kids.

Maybe your days have a certain rhythm too?
Sometimes it just takes a new perspective to re-discover the beauty already in our world...

...instead of a planned meal... a spontaneous picnic.
...instead of eating around our dining table.... sitting on a patchwork quilt.
The sun as chandelier.
The willow tree as curtains.
The grass for carpet.
..even an 'unglamourous' meal (guacamole/chips. macaroni & cheese) is delicious in this new setting.
They say the journey of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.

So sometimes you just need to rattle the routine, and shake out the beauty again.

I saw afresh how a meal shared with my loves is sacred.

I'm thankful for the home that holds us.
The food that fills us.
The love that carries us.

Sometimes it's good to be reminded to see the extra in our ordinary,

blessed mama,
Mel ;o)
P.S... happy long weekend fellow Canadians!

P.P.S... yeah, so I'm still struggling with 'watermarking' my photos (argh, so distracting!) will likely use it for only key pictures I want to 'hide', thanks for your votes friends!

P.P.S... now go plan a picnic, they're so fun.



thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion #10

 This edition of taking something thrifty and making it something nifty... has tickled me right down to my toes.
Is anybody else starting to see a theme here lately?  It looks like I can't get enough of slapping lace (or doilies) onto every garment I own...
...even my shoes:

 Yep... I had thrifted these shoes last summer.  (Side-note: I think buying second-hand shoes is one step above the grossness of buying used underwear... but if the shoes look new, I'm sold!).
So, I liked the green tones and thought the giraffe motif was cute, except for when I tried to wear them with any outfit!  My propensity for buying patterned-everything sometimes backfires... especially when the shoes won't work with any other pattern.

 I grabbed those neglected flats... and painted them in a deep periwinkle blue (mainly to show off the lace going over the toe).  Then, I used a gold paint for the sides of the shoe... all fancy like.

 If you're interested to create your own version: just cut the lace out to fit over the toe of your shoe.  I used hot glue (seen in yellow) to seal it to the rubber edge of the shoe.. and trimmed the lace afterwards.  The (red) cut lines allow the lace to fold under the rim of your shoe where you can glue it to the inside as well.
Pretty basic.
Pretty pretty.

I heart lace.

And, as you can see from all these past upcycling projects, my wardrobe is slowly growing in to one large, lacy, handmade entity!  Sew sweet.

Mel ;o)


intimate strangers...

 ...sure, the title is an oxymoron, but it does capture the essence of blogging doesn't it?
Here I am, posting snapshots of my world... to the world... for all eyes to see.

Am I that vain. or. reckless. or. apathetic about who looks in this nest?
No.  I share what beauty inspires my world, in hopes it may inspire yours too.
I love my family.
I love creating.
I love pondering.
I love documenting it all in photos.

I share those things freely, whether or not anyone cares to read it (but I'm delighted that you do!).  
If I post something here, it's because I'm willing/wanting to share it.. so the notion of 'watermarking' my pictures in the past never really stuck with me.  I figured if someone wants to steal my photos/d.i.y's... no big deal.  This post I read today got me thinking about it again though.  Maybe I need to be less naive, maybe I should put in place a simple guard like these water-marks on my photos:

 I've never liked watermarks... I found they distracted from the picture.  But, I also want to be more proactive about my online presence.
So which font do you prefer to see from now on here?
You're the reader, you can choose: top = stitched font
or lower = stylised font.  Most votes wins.

Where do you draw the lines of over-exposure, paranoia in an online world?
I never want to post pictures of my kids all nay*ked on here because that's crossing the line in my books.  (Yes, I'm even spelling the word wrong because Google will send predators here with just that word search - be aware parents).

Now, in light of such censorship for the sake of caution... there's just one more thing:

....this photo cracks me up!!
I kept wanting to share it for months... but well, you see the dilemma.
She was convinced she could fly if she flapped those feathers hard enough..
...I think she just might have.

Lastly, for those of you who are here because you do care about our family,
enjoy the pictures, or get inspired to create... thank you for being here!
(Any and all other scum.screwballs.stinkers can vacate immediately).

Thank you. That is all.

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: sew wild sweaters

This week's do.it.yourself project is sure to bring out your wild side.
I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for any outfit that makes my kids look like a lil' critter.
(Except that time I walked into a coffee shop with my daughter strapped to me in a teddy bear snowsuit... and I overhead someone say: "Oh, it's a BABY... I thought she was carrying a teddy!"??).  True story. 
Anyway, I digress... let's get crafting:

 Supplies Needed:
One hooded sweater
Felt in your desired colours
Two 'eye' buttons
Fabric Paint

 1. Measure around the rim of your hood, and cut that length out in white felt 'teeth'.
Sew the teeth inside the rim of the hood (pointing outward) with a straight stitch.

2. If you want a 'dinosaur' as seen here.. you can cut green felt 'spikes' to go down the back of the hood.

3.  I also cut two colours of round felt to go behind the button eyes.

 4.  Use a seam ripper to open the seam at the back of your hood.
Flip the hood inside out and tuck the spikes inside with their bottom edge lined up with hood seams.  Re-sew the hood back together.

 5. Stitch your button eyes securely on to the hood.

6.  Using fabric paint (or acrylics) you can add fun spots.scales.stripes for detail.
(Remember to put an insert between layers so the paint won't bleed through).
Our happy dapper dino' dude!

Your animal options are endless (bears.sharks.zebras.dragons...etc).
Super cute on the wee ones, but I won't judge if you want an 'adult' sized version.

Sew wild,
Mel ;o)


..away we go

 Family road trips.
Adventures across the unknown countryside.
I hope our kids remember these times together.
Every weekend we try to 'take.off.eh'...to some new destination tucked into one of the towns around our own city.
Thanks to GoogleMaps... the scenic tours often become more confusing, but even getting lost can be fun (unless you drive too far the wrong direction!).  Nothing like the reward of a donut to offset any frustration in the journey though!

This weekend's adventure:
Tyrone Mills Bakery
 This quaint bakery/wood mill is tucked into the rolling hills of nearby apple orchards.
Everything is baked/made fresh on site... even the flour is ground there.
Apple cider donuts with cinnamon dusting.... mmmMMMMMmm.
The real adventure was walking up their ancient stairs and bridges to explore around the mill.... we honestly feared most boards were about to break beneath us (maybe we should have eaten the donuts after exploring!).

And this, this is what the drive home looks like.
Cinnamon and sugar dusted around her cheeks.
Country wind dancing through her hair.

My keepsake memories of another family weekend road trip.

What traditions does your family have on weekends?
 Hope you had another great one!

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: upcycle 'trash' into toy houses..

Hello friends!
As the title implies, this do.it.yourself project is all about turning trash into treasure... for your toddlers.  
Because sometimes I'm too lazy to do a 'toy-rotation-schedule' but I still want to introduce something new to their playtime without spending another cent on more kid-clutter toys! 
 Enter from stage left: empty cat litter container... sure, one could just toss it in the recycling/garbage.
But not here, NO!  We cut.colour.create with it.
A silly new farmhouse for our daughter's toy animals is invented.

This sturdy plastic container is easily cut with a sharp knife/X-ACTO blade.
While a black Sharpie permanent marker makes for simple decorating.
I didn't try to be too artistic here, the more childlike/messy.. the better I think, so don't sweat it.

So next time you go to toss a juice jug, litter container or any other similar 'trash' just remember how much fun your toddler could have with it! 

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


...that's my...self:

Surely you've caught the 'theme' going on here this week?
These snapshot descriptions of each person in our nest:
...so, how could I leave out a blurb about me?
Sure, it's narcissistic.
But I'm a blogger, so that's already a given.
 And since I just can't shut-up, here I am coming at you live and in techni-colour:

So that wasn't pre-planned, rehearsed... or edited.
You're welcome.

And thanks, thanks for taking the time to be in this nest too!
 We love having you here.

Tell me a little more about yourself!

Mel ;o)


...that's my boy:

 So now this is the post where I get to gush about my boy.
Remember how I used to wonder if my heart could ever grow enough to love a second child?
Well it turns out I had a secret compartment - a bottomless pit if you will - ready to spring open when we got this guy in our life.
I can't explain how crazy delighted I am in our Hudson.
Ben says I'm wrapped around his wee pudgy fingers... and I guess he's right.

 But how could I not be hopelessly smitten with this charmer?
Sure, he's had his share of sleepless nights. screaming marathons. and bowels of Hades... but that just makes the happy moments with him that much more wonderful!

He's our guy smiley.
He loves to laugh - even at my lame jokes.
He's a sack o' bricks... 6 months and over 20lbs!

He adores his sister.
He cracks up at his da-da.
He's enraptured with his mama.
And we all love him right back.

And here's my closest glimpse of heaven.
Those cherub cheeks warmed in a slumbering glow.
When he falls asleep on my shoulder.
I hold his heart against mine.
And they thump in unison...

...that's my boy.
That's my family.

I'm a blessed wife/mama,
Mel ;o)


...that's my girl:

  In a couple short months this lil' darling will be a whoppin' three year old!
Who hit the fast-forward button?  I may just blink and see her asking for the car keys next.

So, right now, I try to remember those quirks that make her the child I adore.. 

For example: take this gal to the playground and she'll squeal down the slides a few times, but then return to her favourite spot of all: the dirt.  She loves digging, raking, and rolling around in it.
Yes, I'm that mama with the kid making snow dirt-angels.

 She's my wee beauty... and my crazy beast, all rolled in to one.
Tenderly she dotes on her younger brother...  tortuously she thwacks him the next moment.

Every time we come home she runs to the garden to pick me a flower.
The plucked tomatoes (Azi calls "poemados") are shared with her Daddy.

She hates to walk any where... encouraging her stay off the stroller results in dragging a screaming tempest down the sidewalk (how the neighbours must talk)!

 If she gets a 'boo-boo'...the whole block will also hear her bewail it. 
Every scratch, cut or bruise is accounted for to her Grandparents on each visit (even when the 'trauma' is weeks old).

Oh, but she loves to snuggle.

And despite saying "I can do it MYSELF"... she still asks her Mama to join her in everything.
She loves playing with her toy animals (especially in rice).

She hangs on every word during story-times... eyes wide with delight or dismay at the plot.

Oh, and I sort of interviewed her here too:

Yes, that's my Azriel...
...that's my girl.

I love her to bits,

Mel ;o)


...that's my guy:

 He's impossible to take a normal picture of... hence, the above shot showing how 'shpecial' we truly are.

He's the most down.to.earth, disarming, genuine guy I know.

I know that he loves me like crazy... even when I'm being cra-zay.

Neither of us remembers to wear our wedding ring (actually I think mine is lost...) and we keep guessing when our anniversary is (since we're terrible at remembering numbers)...
but we know we're committed to loving each other as long as we both shall live.

 He's up before the crack of dawn to work at the bakery... and when he comes home, how does he relax?  He bakes some more!
Various types of breads, cupcakes, pastries... all filling our home (and bellies) with their goodness.

I figure it's my duty as a good wife to cram as much of those delicacies into my gizzard as possible.  It's a hard life I tell ya.

What should also be noted is how he comes home exhausted from a long day... and instantly offers to take our daughter out for an adventure if I look tired on the home-front.  His sacrificial love humbles me daily.

He's the one-and-only "Daddy" to our girl,
and the apple of his son's eye... who's only word so far is: "Da-Daaaa".

It's easy to see why they adore him.
He's a consistent source of affection, tickles, adventures, correction and care.
 I love to see them caught up in delight with one another.


If you can tell a man by his goals, this would be my ben:

..to name a few.

...that's my guy.

I kind of like him, 
like, a lot.

the baker's ma'am,
Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion #9

 Hey there friends ~ today's fashion feature has triple the upcycling power.
You're excited now aren't you?  Ready?  Here we go:
thriftiness to the power of three!

 First: I'd been dreaming up this skirt for awhile now... a simple concept of 'quilting' various layers of lace, eyelet and cotton strips of turquoise,tan and cream.
Love it!

 Second: I had another old tank top I wanted to turn into a casual purse (remember that easy d.i.y?)... and a leftover wooden napkin ring from that other turquoise & wood project as a 'thumb holder' feature on the bag.

Third: the shirt came with shoulder ties and wooden beads = instant bracelet!
Fun times I tell ya.

 (Here's a sewing side-note: thanks to my sis-in-law,  I just discovered the trick of sewing the zipper face down on the inside of your skirt seam... then use a stitch-ripper and unveil the zipper from the outside... perfectly aligned!  Neato.)

A purse.
A bracelet.
A skirt.
All in turquoise and tan... I'm pretty delighted with this week's upcycling adventure!

If you've missed any previous projects ...they're all found here.

Happy week'ending friends.

Mel ;o)


confessions [of a Mel] part.7.

 Alright, here's my next confession... and it's pretty embarrassing:
I never read novels.

I know, right?  Ridiculous.  But before you laugh or lecture me... rest assured, this ol' mama can still learn new tricks.  Or, in this case, crack open a book.

The reasons for my 'past' negligence were many.  If you can endure some of my excuses, here they are:  
1) Any free moment I got in the day - was spent crafting usually (maybe I should have been more clear about that in my vlog response to "how can I craft soo much?"!).

2) I suffer a pathetic perfectionism requirement of novels... fearing to 'try' one and realise it was a waste of time!  Again, ridiculous... I know.

3)  Reading requires sitting, being still, and disengaging from my surroundings... my over-achiever, industrious side has a hard time with that. 

4)  I fear that being caught reading will cause my husband to suffer a heart attack.
(Hahahahhahah... ok, no, but he does stare in shock at me lately with a book in my hand)!

 But here's the wonderful turn around.. I've dropped those excuses, and picked up a delightful book instead!  I know there's a lot of good, valid, healthy reasons for leisure reading... but I must also confess the final motive in my case was less honourable.

I was seeking escapism (a cheaper version of a vacation, a healthier version of a wino!).
Call it those recent mama moments with the meltdowns of late, but I knew I just needed a safe place to retreat (versus rocking in the fetal position).
This wasn't to replace my quiet times reading Scriptures, or time reading blogs, articles, etc.
This was a need for some new landscapes, and adventures in my stay.at.home.mama role.

I turned to one of the most inspiring people I could think of to guide me in this quest.
Some one I knew had an eye for the right reads - and she graciously sent me a list of top choices (and a sweet scolding for not being a reader! heh).  Thanks Jillian!

Currently reading:  "Freckles"
I can't even begin to describe how this author Gene Stratton-Porter can make places like a swamp seem heavenly.  Her characters are rich with integrity, empathy, beauty, love.

I'm gobbling it up page by page, chomping down each chapter with zeal.
Hitting that bittersweet stage of nearing the 'end' and not wanting it to be over...  ack
Thankfully I know there's a whole stack of other great reads waiting for me.

How about you?
Any top books on your list lately?

Gotta run, there's a book calling me.
Mel ;o)


you know you're a parent when...

 ...your posture resembles the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and you feel your spinal column resembles a toppling Jenga tower of blocks.

...but, despite how big they are growing, you still savour those moments to scoop them up in your arms and pretend they're still your wee baby.

 ...it looks like your home has been invaded and overrun by toy-loving 'squatters'.

...and every time you think "surely they've grown out of this toy" and are ready to trade it in, they are inseparable from it.

 ...you sneak spinach into their smoothies, healthy snacks for every attempt at sugar... (and then sneak off to stuff your own face with chocolate chips!)

...and they eat like a bird day after day (until there's a plate of fries in front of them and they turn into a starved lumberjack).

...you justify some 'technology time' as a reward for having run them outside like mini-Olympians.

...you welcome the moment to sit quietly in front of a kid's show... while your squirming child has goals of being a contortionist for Cirque de Soleil.

...and you fear marvel that they can hack their way in to any computer or I-phone left sitting nearby.

Yes, friends, these are just a few more moments to add to my list...
...it seems each day brings a new comic discovery when raising kidlets.

mama Mel ;o)



...why yes, I am still wearing this dress.

...I'm typing with pruney-fingers from washing dishes in the setting sun.

...savouring the quiet of our nest, and chorus of crickets outside.

...preparing for the crazy.busy days of 'nursery duty' this week.

...bathing my brain in a delightful novel (but knowing I need to go shower!). 

...grateful for a weekend spent with family:
*remembering the painful loss of a sweet baby girl... 
*but, eager to meet her new brother this Christmas!

*birthday cake and blowing candles for my mama.

...thankful for the richness of our days, not measured in material stuff... but in the blessing of family. friendship. love...

...and laughter:

...I can't decide which picture of Hudson cracks me up more:
a) suffering the painful fashion regime of his Nana
b) posing as a woodland fairy baby beneath the flower!
Hope your weekend treated you richly as well dear hearts.

Mel ;o)