A tale of two chinnies...

Hudson in his first month (February 2012)
Ever since our Hudson was born... he's always had one defining characteristic.

The manly chin.
The Kirk Douglas.
The dimple.
I always attributed it to his daddy, saying "look Ben, Hud has your bum-chin!".
(Ben never quite agreed...).

I couldn't think of anyone else in our family/relatives who shared this feature...
...until this past weekend when my Mom showed me this picture:

That is my Mom's great-uncle... which makes him Hudson's triple-great uncle (or something like that).  A chin off the ol' bloke I guess.
Did you inherit any features from your family?

I'm still waiting to see if he gets my dimples...

Mel ;o)


...the thing about things.

I've been pondering again.
Thinking about this tiny button's message, and the big truth it speaks.
Because really, this thought goes directly against what our culture - our North American society - tries to sell us.  Every single billboard, commercial and spin doctor out there are chanting: "buy stuff. be happy"

"own more. be happy".

"get rich... so you can buy more... to be cool, famous, and happy!"

You see it in every air brushed model beaming her pearly whites.
"I'm happy... because I have _________ (insert product)".

You see it in our culture of hoarding, debt, and consumption... a culture driven by this torturous taunt - like a carrot dangling before a donkey - we think "if I can just get my hands on that thing, then I'll be happy".
Even the term 'retail therapy' shows where our condition lies.
I'm just as guilty as the next of falling for it.  I buy some special thing... and feel momentarily elated, like I've just re-defined myself afresh from this purchase.


Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't buy things. That's impossible.
I'm not saying don't be happy when you buy things.  Enjoy it!
Heck, buy handmade things locally (cough <my Shop> wheeze) and really enjoy it!!

What I'm hoping to convey is the reminder that the thing about things.. is that they are just things.  (Yes, start the slow clap for how profound that was...)

No, seriously, what person lies on their death bed and thinks:
"IF only I had time to buy one more thing...".
'The person with the most toys wins'... still dies.

Lets remember where our value lies.
Not in things, not in accumulating more stuff.

But in the eternal things.
Precious souls.


Sometimes it takes a tragedy to shake us awake to what really matters.
Or, a loss to appreciate what we have.
Or, a death to revive what we're living for.

Sometimes it just takes a hurricane.
A raging storm to blow through our illusions of importance.
Life hangs from such a delicate thread... so lets tie it around the things that matter most.

I don't know about you,
but I'm going to pray a bit stronger,
and squeeze my family a bit longer.

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: tree branch buttons

 Hey there crafty-hearts,
here's a quick post for all you sewing, knitting, crocheting.. craftisan types who use buttons in your work.  This project was one of those 'aha' moments (or in my case, more often a 'ba-DUH'! moment) because really, why didn't I think of this sooner?

Tree branches = wooden buttons.

 I always have loved wooden buttons.. the more natural looking, the better.
So now I can just make them instead of paying money at a store!

It's as simple as slicing up a fallen branch.
I got my man to use the chop-saw on it...(thanks Ben)!
Then I drilled two tiny holes into each slice.
Scuffed them smooth on sandpaper.
Spray varnished them.


Cute as a button... because, it is.

I plan to use these on my current sewing projects (like my wrist-warmers, and some scarf cuffs I'm making).

While I still feel silly for not having thought of this 'free' button solution sooner... I feel really liberated for making them now (which probably sounds even sillier) but yeah: making something from scratch is profound.
Using your own two hands.. and power tools... and elbow grease.
Taking the time... instead of a quick fix of a cheap purchase.
There's something beautiful in that.
I think it's called... handmade.

Stay creative, friends.
Mel ;o)


costumes. cakes. coughs.. oh my!

 Ok, are you ready for this?
If last week's dress-up post didn't overwhelm you with cuteness... this one may do the trick.

Our lil' lady Azriel was celebrating her 3rd birthday this weekend (though, officially it's monday).  So, as you may recall, we dressed her up for it:
This year's woodland theme: Lil' Red Riding Hood.

 This was my first year making two costumes... enter on stage right: Hudson the big bad fat wolf!  Pretty sure I was the one wanting to gobble him all up, though.

 Oh yes we did.
We did do that.
Family dress-up portrait...  and it's only fitting that I would play the cougar Grandma, while Ben was the strapping woodsman.  What I love most in this shot is Hudson's fat belly, and furry tail sticking out the back... adorable.

Yes, we managed to have some good laughs despite a weekend that looked more like a tragic comedy around this nest.
Namely, our girl got quite feverish/caught a cold... so we had to cancel her little party with her friends.  We still shared her germs love with the in-laws/family though, and she enjoyed  every minute of it (especially the balloons).

We probably should have dressed like zombies (like every other person on the planet) since that's how we felt most of the weekend... and I'm fairly convinced that our kids lack the 'ability' to sleep through the night.. like, ever.  But, who needs sleep when there's all this cuteness
and cuddles to be had?!

So there it is, your dose of cute for the day.

Happy #3 to our dear daughter Azi!



confessions [of an artist] part 10.

 Well friends, it's that wild and wonderful time of year again.
Or, to belt it out in song: "It's the most wonderful craftiest time of the yearrrrrr"!
Time to get my craft on.

 The sewing machine is whirring.
The glue gun is burning.
The jewellery pliers are pinching.
The power-drill is spinning.
 (And I still have all my fingers!)
The paintbrush is dancing.
The scissors are cutting.
And the stamps are stomping.

Christmas craft shows are worth being well stocked for.

Now to figure out how to create a few more hours in the day!

Confession: I love and loathe it really.
Creating is my narcotic.
So is productivity.
Pounding out a pile of unique treasures is really exhilarating.
But, finding that balance with home-making and art-making is sometimes exhausting.

Needless to say, it's still a wonderful time of year and I'm super eager to share with you all the new goodies hatching out of this nest in the coming weeks!
P.S. The sane voice in my brain (usually my husband's...) says that I should probably quit blogging during this phase... but who are we kidding, we all know the other voices in my head just won't shut up. blog.blog.blog.

P.P.S ~ For all you local yokels... save your Christmas cash for some handmade craftiness coming at you live Dec. 8 & 9th... more details to follow!

Creatively, crazily, yours!
Mel ;o)



waiting for... g.dot.

 Do you remember those endless minutes spent waiting as a child?
Pressing your face against the window and straining to see the car arrive?
Waiting for... the grandparents to come whisk you away on another adventure?!

 At least - in our daughter's case - this is who she holds vigil for.
Every.single.day she asks: "Can we see Grandma an' Grandpa today?"
To which I usually have to respond, "No, not today, we'll be seeing them in __ number of days."

...(wait five seconds)

"WHEN can I see Grandma an' Grandpa?!"
(repeat x1000).

Then finally ...finally that glorious moment arrives, and her face lights up as she squeals:


the end.
Linking up today with other cuties at Small Style.
Azriel wears:
toque: Billabong
red hoodie: Cherokee
blue jacket: GAP
denim skirt:thrifted
red tights: H&M
white shoes: Cherokee
*All gifted/thrifted/passed down of course!*

the less 'grand' mama, 
Mel ;o)


would that I could chuck wood...

Deer fleece moccasins made by myself... keeping those darling toes cosy.
We have wood floors.
Sure, they're nice to look at.
But my, how they do protest, creak, and squeak to be trod upon.

I should try sewing a pair of moon-shoe moccasins for myself to float over the floors with.
Because 'sneaking' just doesn't happen around this nest.
Despite my best attempts at side-stepping and soft-shoeing, 
or my dizzy ballerina pirouettes and prancing hops... I still hit a nerve on that wooden beast.
So, I try to 'think light thoughts' and tip-toe upstairs, hoping to not wake the early-to-rise baker husband... or kids tucked in to their beds, but it's hopeless.


I may as well have strapped a bag of potato chips under my feet.

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: painted feathers mobile.

 Birds of a feather ~ lets get painting together.
This is probably one of my favourite do.it.yourself projects that I've done to date!
I love how it turned out... and it's so simple to create (or, as my motto goes: 'super.fast.stupid.easy').

Assortment of naturally found feathers (don't freak a fowl!).
Variety of acrylic paints.
Transparent thread/fishing line.

 1. Brush a liberal coat of each paint colour on to the tips of the feathers (both sides).
2. Accent with a metallic gold for some extra glam.

 *[Behind the scenes shot: painting feathers with my wee daughter]*

 Once your feathers are all painted, and dry, it's just a matter of hanging them from a branch.
Like I said, easy peasey lemon squeezy!
Note: I strung transparent fishing line to piece of driftwood.
You could paint the stick all fancy and full of patterns too.. I'm just a 'natural beauty' kind of gal myself.
(As an extra accent I strung a few red beads above each feather and hot glued them to the tips of the 'quill' to hang from the branch).

This delightfully modern and wild mobile now flutters over our daughter's play corner in our living room.

Hope it inspires you to enjoy some colourful feathers in your nest too!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o) 


sew dressed up:

Shield your eyes friends ~ because this picture may just turn you to mush! 
There was a carnival of cuteness happening at the nest today... I almost thought I should charge admission.
But, since I like you guys, you can get in for free.
So check out these hilariously adorable siblings:

There's my girl Azriel on her very first birthday back in 2010... as some of you may recall, she was dressed up as a Narnian fawn.
(Costume hint: take a baby bonnet and cover with curly wig hair, stuffed felt horns and pipe-cleaner enforced ears).

Today, Hudson got to try out his big sister's outfit...  he makes a pretty happy fawn I'd say.
 Not to be outdone, big sister came barging in on the cuteness and had to try on her costume again...

 ...she also tried on all the other dress-up clothing she could find in the bin.
On the left: her gnome cloak from her 2nd birthday... with the toadstool mushroom skirt (inside-out, yellow here).

Azriel's 3rd birthday is coming up this next weekend...
...any guesses as to what woodland inspired character she'll be this year?
(Thanks to my best'y for crocheting these darlings!)

Oh, and guess what lil' guy gets to be the 'big bad fat wolf'!?

I better get sewing!
Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion. 13.

 Well lovelies, I figure it's about time I show you another thrifty upcycle of my clothing here.
A simple little sewing project this time around.

 This cosy cardigan from a blogger-clothing-swap (was it Jen's, or Carly's?)... and a retro bus seat cover got a whole new look!
(*Bus seats c/o our neighbours turning a bus in to a camping 'trailer'!).
A folded square cut in to a heart shaped patch.
I loooooove this aged leather look from the underside of the seat cover, and it's so easy to stitch through.  (Wishing I had hoarded all their bus seats for more of this leather).

I heart elbow patches.
So tempted to slap a pair on every sweater I own!
(You may recall I used to use my beloved doilies for another spin on this look).


Elbowing my way through upcycled fashion,

Mel ;o)


small style(s)...

 How do you measure the passage of time?
How do you notice the moments of the day as they shake out their wings and fly away?
For me, it's that bittersweet event when I pack up more of the kid's clothes that are suddenly  'too small'.

I went to put this dapper corduroy mushroom-button jacket (Gymboree) on Hudson the other day and realised the sleeves were already up to his elbows!  Sigh!

 Thankfully, there was this bigger mushroom jacket (Gymboree) ready and waiting from his sister's stash.
What a fun(gi) guy, eh?

 Speaking of growing too fast.. our big Hud' is already 9 months somehow!  
His big sister Azriel is going to be 3 in a couple weeks too..  good grief.
(Annnnnd, there's only five pounds difference between them)!

*Which means they make for a good chunk of cuddles around this nest.*

Just today, as my daughter and I were joking about who loved who "soooooo much more",
she then looked at Hudson and said:
"I love my brother too much".

You, and me both, girl.
This pink & blue duo are wearing thrifted/gifted/hand-me-down combinations (as usual).
Linking up with the other cuties of Small Style today.

I should probably go shop for another bigger mushroom coat now,
Mel ;o)


she loves her lids...

 This is my 'mel-in-hiding' look.
You know, for those bad hair days.. or when I just want to feel tucked away safely like a turtle in it's shell... I reach for one of my hats.

There's plenty of those to choose from.
Ever since I was a kid (a tom-boy to the core) I lived in a ball cap.

One could almost say I collect hats (but rarely wear them - according to my guy Ben).
I guess where many women usually have a weakness for shoes - or purses - I tend to fall for hat/toques...

...oh, and scarves, lots of scarves.

What threads get you weak in the knees?

Mad Hatter Mama,
Mel ;o)


confessions [of a mama] part.14

 Whoever coined the phrase: 'cleanliness is next to godliness' must not have had toddlers!
I think most of us home.makers can relate to having a love/hate relationship with our nest.
We delight in making it a warm, inviting, organised, and beauty-full... home.
We cringe at the messes, clutter, and carnage that creep around every corner.

We find ourselves choosing a position between two extremes: on one side the 'Stepford wife' who's spotless, sterilised, sparkling home makes you feel like a dirty hobo just for setting foot in it. While the other side shows the chaos, clutter and cacophony of a home fit for zombies.

 I tend to fall in between these two extremes.. with a style I've referred to before as 'shabby-chic'. 
 In that, our home is moderately clean.  For every area of tidiness, there's a corresponding place of messiness.  Which is to say, I'm the kind of person who gets irked when there's an untidy spot giving me the ugly eye...  my blood pressure starts to rise when I see clutter/chaos left unchecked.  Once I've done a frenzy-cleaning I feel way more calm, content, 'deserving' of a break...  However, I also don't mind leaving a space slightly rumpled, neglected or moderately messy if it means I'm freeing time to pursue something better (children, creating, socialising, etc).  Sound contradictory?   That's the confusion of my own mind.
It comes out looking like this:
The dishes are always either: dirty in the sink - or - drying in the rack.
The laundry sits in a dirty pile half the week - and a clean pile the other half.  Then it gets sorted in to neat groupings for our 'floor-drobe'... right, husband?
The toys get sorted and stashed... and two minutes later, scrambled afresh.
Dust-bunnies have been named that for the very reason that they multiply grotesquely (not because they're cute and fuzzy).

 I don't know about you, but it feels almost enraging exhausting sometimes.
Like trying to keep a home clean ('enough') is a lesson in futility.

Like you're trying to walk up a downward escalator... and if you just stop to relax for one moment, you'll be sucked down.
Like you're fighting Hercules' many-headed Hydra... and for every successful attack - two more messes show up in it's place.
Like you're 'brushing your teeth, while eating Oreos' (quote).

The clean-dirty-repeat-cycle never stops.
It doesn't wait for me to catch my breath.
Like life, it just keeps on going, while I have to try and learn through it.
Learn?  You say?  Yes.

I need to learn to not loathe this part of life.
To not fill a blog post with rantings about it (oops)!
To not let the pressure of shame force me to pretend I 'have it all together' for every flippin' person that comes to visit our house to think that we never really live here because it's kept in such an unrealistic state of cleanliness!
Why do we all do this to each other??
Invite someone over, and go crazy cleaning the house to ensure they don't discover we live like uncivilised sewer rat-people!

Most importantly, I keep needing to learn to look at these souls..
..and not see lil' mess-makers.  But softly start singing:

"Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."
~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Yep, that's the dirt on how I clean,
Just another manic Monday here,

thanks for letting me rant,
Mel ;o)


 I love the light at this time of year.
As our side of the globe is slowly tucking itself down in to winter, and the sunbeams and shadows seem to stretch out in one more glorious hallelujah before hibernating.

 Our master bedroom feels like I'm standing in a painting by Rembrandt.. or better yet, my favourite master painter: Caravaggio.  The intense saturation of dark and light during this 'golden hour' of the evenings is wonderful to behold.

Granted, the early darkness of this season does make it feel like a bazillion-o'clock when it's only 8:30 at night.  But that's alright... early to bed is a parent's sneaky way of 'sleeping in' with kids that rise before dawn!

Just trying to look at the bright side of insomnia motherhood,

Mel ;o)