D.I.Y: dress shirt ~ bow tie skirt.

 Hello friends!
Today's do.it.yourself fashion is not 'original' by any stretch... but fun nonetheless.
I thought it would tie in nicely with my lady lumberjack clothing line - a simple no sewing required edition:

Supplies Needed:
one dress shirt from your fella's closet
(now before he has a hissy fit that you're going to cut up one of his shirts again.. rest assured, he can have it right back later!)

 There's the play-by-play shirt wrapping action sequence.
You can roll the waist line (shirt shoulders) to tuck any extra gathered material.
I love making the 'bow tie' at the front with the sleeves from the shirt.
A light. casual. lazy-lady-lumberjack type skirt for kicking it to the beach or campfires with.

Now run, run to that closet and try one on!

Sometimes upcycling doesn't have to be rocket-science, and I'm cool with that.

plaid poser,
Mel ;o)


I once was lost...

You know that feeling when you've left it sooo long to call that friend back?
You know you meant to pick up the phone. wanted to write. hoped to connect... but life kept ticking the moments away. 
Now it's just plain awkward.
How to start again?
Sometimes I get like that with God.
Half-hearted or distracted prayers.
Hurried glances through scriptures.
Singing praise songs with my daughter... but not from my heart.

I start to feel stretched thin. hollow. dry.
I'm more depressed.distressed.distracted.
Now it's just plain awkward.
How to start again?
I sing.
I sang a simple song of love, to my Saviour.
It wasn't easy at first.
My heart resisted.
Like hard dry ground that repels the rain.

But, I kept on singing a prayer.
And grace rained down.
My heart softened.
The spirit heaved up within me.
As though coming up for air. after drowning for so long.
Submerged in daily distractions.
Rejected for other attractions.

Prayer is more intimate than lovers.
It strips back the covers.
Shows the truth of my heart.
This is where I start.
I am born. again.

amazed by grace,

Mel ;o)


wee wood wander...

Water. Woods. Wandering.

Nothing soothes this mama's soul as much as getting far away from the noise of the city... and getting lost somewhere by a babbling brook under a sparking canopy of leaves.

Granted, lugging a stroller along for Mr. Chunks... and hearing Miss.Meltdown scream "I don't like plants!  I want to go home and go to bed!"... does  alter the ambiance.

Nevertheless, a lovely weekend was spent in these various woods.parks.rivers. 

Where do you love to 'get away' to?

Mel ;o)


chubby chunkers cereal chomp...

 Back again this week - by popular demand - the hunk of handsome: Hudson!
Sure, all his fan mail is signed "Love, Mama"... but that's beside the point.  Can you believe he's now in his 5th month!?   Oh how fast our little.big.man.baby is growing (I have the broken back to prove it).
This lil' heavyweight was weighing in at over 20lbs at his last checkup. 
More to love, baby.  More to love.

 Five months also means it's time to start up the 'real' grub for this Gerber goober.
We can just barely squeeze those thunder thighs into his blue Bumbo... (or grease him up with a stick o' butter on the tighter days)!
*Side-note: Azriel always says "Hudson's hungry, he needs to sit in his bumbo-bee".

Just in case you still think we're sneaking him steak and potatoes... I'll have you know that we've got him started on a dairy-free baby cereal (due to his intolerance of dairy).

Isn't he the cutest chunk of cereal chomping chubbers:

Phew.  That's enough cuteness (and alliteration) for one post!

Hudson and his mama hope you all have a wonder-full weekend,
we luff you guys.

Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion #7

 Yee-haw!  It's time for another edition of taking something thrifty and sewing it in to something nifty.
Today's feature: a pair of lacy lounging casual pants (trousers to some!). 

 So I've never sewn pants for myself before, and was eager to try. 
I had some of this beautiful turquoise linen cotton left over from my doily infinity scarf d.i.y...  and also had this canvas coloured lace table-runner material.
I love how the 'star' lace detail dangles ornately around my ankles (though going down stairs in bare feet almost tangled/tripped me)!

Truth be told, the plumber low-rise nature of these pants shows that I still need to work on my 'in-seams'... but I'm sure I can improve for the next attempt.

I'm still learning, one stitch at a time.
Hope you're inspired to upcycle your wardrobe too!

To catch up on previous thrifty & nifty projects you can go here.

the frumpy fashionista,
Mel ;o)


confessions [of a mama] part.13

I think it's official.
We've hit that stage now.
That frustrating.emotional.confusing.what-the-heck-just-happened realm of toddler hood.

Meet miss.cranky pants.
And see that scowling duck face?  Well, that's where we live most days lately...
It's a wonder any of us survived this stage back in the day when our parents could have thrown us to a passing gypsy caravan.

What happened to the fairly calm, contented daughter I once knew?
Now she's the 0 - 60 emotional.screaming.crying.tonsils-are-a-flying at any thing in life that doesn't suit her fancy.  Which is a lot, apparently.
Don't cross her folks...it will get ugly.

Now I'm sure it's just a rite-of-passage for every toddler.
And, I'm calling it a 'stage' because I want to be optimistic it won't stick around!
I know it's hard being a kid... what with the getting up at 5:30AM... filling their diapers while avoiding the potty... facing extreme emotional upheaval when they can't watch their favourite show - or worse, having to actually share a toy!  I get that.

What I'm confused about is how to shelter both our hearts through this storm.
It's a strange world to be in where suddenly you are the target of your child's scornful glare.
Those helpless babies that adored you just for saying "booop!"...now standing with their fists clenched and hollering "I can do it MYSELF!!"

I naively thought that if we were consistent parents, who disciplined and pointed her to the positive behaviours we wanted to see... that we would be rewarded with a sweet cherub child!
But, don't get me wrong, I still adore this little bundle of bonkers'ness!
She has her sweet-as-sugar moments (which are even brighter against these dark ones).
Like how she wants to help care for baby Hudson, and when he cries she says "Shhhhh, it's ok lil' buddy, I'm here. I'm here".
And when we thank her for helping she says:
Or, how she loves to be chased... and is squealing/laughing so hard that her tongue is curling in to her throat (a very weird wonderful noise)! 

....yep, I love her.


I guess we all have our moments don't we?

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: easy necktie baby shirt

 Yes friends, as promised yesterday... this is a ridiculously easy - and cute - way to 'tie one on' to your dapper dudes.
Sure it looks a bit silly, but so does Hudson (what a happy model for his mama)!

 Supplies Needed:
baby shirt (onesie, t-shirt, dress shirt.. whatever you choose)
men's necktie

1. Simply SNIP the thin (back piece) necktie to the length of the shirt with an extra inch above.
2.  FLIP that extra inch over the collar and tuck it down into the shirt.
3. Stitch it in place on your sewing machine.

 Sure skinny ties are all the rage... but if you like the 'chunky' version (much like my guy here) you can use the front of the necktie instead.
Snip. Flip. Stitch

A five minute sewing job to make the other baby's drool over your handsome fella.
(You could adapt this to any age shirt really... just think how glad your boys would be to not have to tie it on).

Tip:  You'll want to attach the tie halfway down the shirt with either a stitched 'clip' line.. or secure a button in place very tightly (no choking option for baby!).  This keeps the tie in place and also prevents your guy from gagging the thing down his throat... not so cute.

Hope that inspires some super.easy.silly.sewing adventures.

I've got to go squeeze this chunk of cuteness now!
Mel ;o)


my stripey friend...

 So the cheesy part of me wanted to start this post with some lame joke about "what's black and white and yellow all over?"....

 Meanwhile, the other cheesy side of me is STILL dressing my 'twin' daughter and I up for laughs!  Hardy-har.
 Yes, I sewed our shirts!
This is my most elaborate/successful sewing project to date (as far as sewing clothing goes)... and I'm still in shock.
My second attempt at sewing jersey knit cotton was way better than the first fiasco.
Now I'm hooked.  I jump for jersey.

No pattern (of course), just imagine a long pillowcase from which I:
+ cut out a neck hole and sewed a braided collar on to.
+ cut arm holes and gathered shoulders with a basting stitch.
+ rolled down a waist hem and inserted elastic in to.
+ stitched some stretchy black lace to the bottom edge.
+ and the leftover braid of fabric became an instant headband.

boo yah.

To share this euphoric sense of sewing accomplishment - tomorrow I'll be posting another
super fast. stupid easy sewing project for the fellas in your life.
Wait for it.

Have a great Monday!
Your stripey friend,
Mel ;o)


summer is... (brought to you by the letter "C").


 Children of the Corn...

 Corn Chewing... yuuuuummmm!

Campfire building.
Check it out.. I totally re-dug our fire pit in the yard.  A vast improvement over the toppled wall of bricks I originally had stacked around a pathetic hole!
Now to wait for an ounce of rain this summer so we can enjoy s'mores again... (there's a hefty fire ban on right now).

What's your summer looking like?
"C" y'all later!

Mel ;o)


...this all adds up to love.

 First there was just me and you.
We merrily said "I do".

 But then with a kiss, oh my what's this?!
Out popped a little gal too.

Now doubles the love.
me + you + she = We.
Could this heart grow to fit even three?

Now I'm no poet.
And I'm just as bad at math.
But when one guy + one gal = four...
...this is the sum I adore.

Can I just take this moment to say how thankful I am for my family?
It's a crazy.love that binds us all together.

Most of all, this mama loves this papa.
And guess what?  We even got a date in last night!
(Well, I got a hot double date with Mr. Hudson in tow).

 We hadn't been out for a dinner date for-like-ever... (we're really sticking to our budget lately!).
It was so lovely to just have time together.
IF you're married with kids, you know how it goes.

Working hard all day.
Husband comes home and you both want to simultaneously say:
"Oh good, you're here, I'm exhausted... you take the kids!"
The daily routines, the diapers, the errands.
You're running parallel... but not intersecting.
You catch each others eye and think:
"I still miss you".

You really have to fight to maintain that intentional time together don't you?
It also makes those times together all the richer.
I savour these moments with my Ben.
Talking over dinner.
Sitting in the sunset.
Laughing under the covers.
Driving through the countryside.
Breakfasts shared.
Movies watched.
Hands held.
Forests walked.
...the list goes on...
The world just glows more brightly,
 when we love, and are loved, tightly.

Now go hug that special person in your life!

Sending all you lovelies a big squeeze,
Mel ;o)

D.I.Y: cork mushroom card holders

Hey friends!

Call this the 'teaser shot'... but if you want this cute tutorial you'll have to pop over to my blogger bud Krista's site!

I'm honoured to be guest posting this d.i.y for all her readers at Saturated Canary!!

Have a fungi day you lovelies,
Mel ;o)


...a letter to my 16 yr.old self.

 Recently a couple bloggers have written some intriguing letters to themselves at age 16.  The more I thought about the writing/perspective challenge... the more I wanted to write my own.
Annnnnnnd yes, I'm sharing it with you here:
Hey you, it's me, which is you... in another 16 years (did you need a paper bag to breathe into?).  There's sooooooooooo much I want to say to you, and probably a lot more you want to ask me about, but let's try and keep life surprising for you still!

First of all, I love you - you crazy nut.  I may not tell you that much currently... we both felt pretty much like a dork 96% of the time didn't we?  You blame the acne, and your wardrobe, and your social 'skills'.  I have good news and bad news:
So, the acne is going to get worse before it gets better...  you thought you were shy/introverted (but it's actually because you don't want to draw people's attention to your self - or your face).  Would you believe you are actually a really confident, outgoing person?  What if I told you that you will speak with clarity and conviction in front of large crowds... and not break a sweat?  Crazy, right.  It's already there, I see it in you.  The courage you have to be yourself, and to not get duped by all the high school girls trying to be popular and pretty.  You've always dressed unique, and that's pretty cool in my books.
Speaking of cool... you getting your nose pierced in the bathroom of your high school?! Ha.  We still love it though.  Guess who went and get herself tattooed too?  Shhhhhhhh.

I also love that you think you're a real hippy.  You burn incense in your beaded room with silk scarves hanging all around your bed... you picture the future as a Volkswagen van packed full of canvas and paints, with a trusty dog at your side.  (It would help if you got your driver's license!!).  But travel you will.  You dream of exploring the world (but deep down you doubt it will really ever happen)... be encouraged, it's going to be awesome!

Now, it's funny you imagine your life in the future as being single... because you're about to hit some roller coaster relationships.  Some major laughs.lessons.betrayals.rejection.reality checks are coming around the corner.  Hang tight, there's a gem at the end (keep your eye out for that witty young guy named Ben).

The future is bright, don't worry.  

You have no idea about the wee wonders that will fill your nest and heart.  
The strength that lies in you to birth those beauties in to the world.  
The doubling...tripling in size of your love.capacity.  It's an amazing journey, thank God for it!

If I can leave you with a few pieces of advice... the kind you'll learn later, but wish you knew now:

+  Don't be afraid to speak up. stand out. be unique... it inspires others to do the same.
+  Get your dang driver's license already... !
+  Stop wearing clothes two sizes bigger than you are... it is not scandalous to show that you have a shape.
+  Being perfect is not going to happen, and fear of making mistakes will kill creativity.
+  You never have to be some one you're not with people who truly care for you... forget the rest.
+  Hold on to hope for Mom and Dad... it's not pretty right now, but God is going to restore their relationship with such beauty and love in the future.
+  Go spend more time with your Grandparents.... they are delightful souls, and you're going to ache to be around them just one more day when they're gone.

The rest is up to you, I trust you with our path.  But don't trust your own heart, hold to Jesus and He will lead you beside the still waters and restore your soul.

Love you, me.

So there you have it - the streamlined edition. ;o)
It's quite a unique writing assignment, and I'd recommend it to all.
Wouldn't it be wild to know what our future self would say to us today?

Thanks for hearing my self-rant!

Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: upcycled tank top = toddler tote

Goooood morning friends! 
Sometimes you just want a really super.fast. really stupid.easy sewing project to accomplish... amiright?  Well today's the day.
We're going to upcycle a tank top into a toddler tote (travel bag/backpack.. thing).

 Supplies needed:
One tank top of choice (try to avoid the nasty white ones with those yellow pit stains...ugh).
Sewing machine
1. Turn the shirt inside out and fold lengthwise. SNIP a curved edge around the bottom, and cut out the top of the collar area.
2. SEW a tight seam all the way around the bottom, and the 'neck' area (seen here in blue stitching).
3. FLIP that bag right side out and marvel at creating something in 10 minutes flat! 
(Unless you want to be real fancy and line the inside, I won't stop you).
I wanted this to be a cute back.pack for my daughter... just stick her arms through the 'arm holes' and she's ready to go.  But how/what you use this for is super flexible:
beach bag
grocery tote
project bag
casual purse
diaper bag

She makes it look pretty darn cute, don't you think?

Happy upcycling friends!
And no worries if you're a sewing novice... you've got this one in the bag,

Mel ;o)


summer is...

 ...if you want to see a hissy fit every five minutes, come to our place during the hot.humid.heat of summer and watch this mama meltdown repeatedly!

Meanwhile, this is how our daughter Azriel enjoys the season:
+ Running feral in the back yard.
+ Splashing in the kiddie pool.
+ Chalking graffiti all over the house.
+ Painting in the cool of the day.
+ Strawberry.Rhubarb crisp'ing.
+ 'Pop(sicle) it like it's hot'.
+ Tent 'tea partys' with brother Hudson.
+ Flaking out on the couch to Netflix shows.... while holding brother's hand.
...plus a whole lot more fun!

How are you and your crew beating the heat?

Sweet Sweaty Mama,
Mel ;o)


colour crush ~ turquoise!

Things just got blued up around here!  Remember how earlier this week I was saying that the one colour I adore is any/all shades of turquoise?  Here's some recent paint jobs/d.i.y ideas that prove my obsession:
Hooooo could resist these ombre owls?
I gave them a fresh look from their past life as a pewter salt/pepper duo.
Did you ever have those retro wooden salad/cereal bowls growing up?  We did.
I had recently thrifted these wooden napkin rings (and the bowls previously), but felt they needed a certain colour boost.
I spray primed the bottoms of the bowls and then painted each a lighter shade of teal to pale robin's egg blue... love them!

The napkin rings got a half-dipped look in the same tones and a clear spray varnish after.
(Now to get crafty and make some new napkins...

I love the idea of making a place setting with the nesting bowls under food dishes (no, I don't serve two apples for dinner... but I wasn't about to cook up a fancy 'prop' for this shot!).
Annnnd talk about shopper's euphoria: see those 4 bowl-plates and wee oblong bowl at the left?  
Just scored those for only $2 each at Indigo/Chapters... on clear out!  I've been drooling over their perfect turquoise tone every time we went in there lately, and for that price I couldn't say no! (They're way more lovely in person.. this picture doesn't do them justice).  Now to see how long they last before we chip.ding. or break the wee beauties!

For being such a blue girl, I'm real happy. 
Mel ;o)


Confessions [of a mama] part.12

 You know you're a stay-at-home-mama (to a toddler) when:

+ You see an unexpected guest pull into the driveway and you immediately wonder "have I even brushed my teeth or put on a bra yet?!"

+ You know the mind-numbing theme songs to a dozen children's shows... and often catch yourself absentmindedly singing them with your husband at the end of the day.

+ You arrange 'play dates' with other mamas... just to see if you still remember how to communicate with someone over the age of three.

+ You envision the chariot race from Ben Hur while you're all pushing strollers down the sidewalk together. (Scene 03:50 from this video clip).

 + You wonder why no one else seems to recognise that your kids are the smartest. cutest. funniest creatures that ever lived?

+ When other mamas tell you about how their kid is doing.. you're mentally comparing them against your own child.  This is usually when you interrupt them and say..."Hmmm? Oh yah, that's great...but you know what?  MY lil' one is already learning to speak Mandarin.. and that's not just the fruit!".

+ You also know you're a mama when you dream of the day where your child will tire of pooping in anything/anywhere BUT the potty!

+  Or when the chance of 'escape' is granted and you're out shopping.visiting.etc... but all you can think of is how eager you are to see your kid(s) again. 

+  You have a purse that has now morphed into a Mary Poppins bag... holding all the necessary items for a child in need,.. or.. a zombie apocalypse.

+ When even having the time.energy to hold hands with your husband becomes an 'intimate encounter'.

+  You also know you're a mama, when you watch those souls soundly sleeping... and it's like the closest thing to Heaven on earth.

+ You wear the scars and stretch marks of birthing a masterpiece into this world.

+  When you see how weak you are - and are desperate for God's grace.
+  When you see how strong you are - and are thankful for God's grace.

+  You give. give. give from dawn to dusk.  Wake up.  Repeat.  And you wouldn't have it any other way.

+  You feel like this crazy.cycle of dishes.laundry.diapers.tears.tantrums.sleeplessness will never end... but you also know that in mere moments they'll have grown and gone.

+  You know you're a mama when you land on your knees and say: "God, I think I'm starting to understand You better.. no matter how much I sit in my own filth, or run away, or throw a fit... You are always so eager to hold me close and teach me to walk and grow in grace".

You know?

This toddler's stay-at-home-mama,
Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: fireplace & mantle decor

 I know, I know... it's the middle of summer, why am I even talking about fireplaces?!  
Well, first of all - half the world is entering winter... so lets not forget them - and because I feel like it.  Good enough.  Here we go:

 My first advice for homeowners who have an ugly brick fireplace:
paint it.
That's right... you won't bring a curse upon your home to stick paint on brick... your eyes will even thank you for it.  To see how we transformed this piece of nasty you can look here.
When it comes to your mantle, I think it good to anchor the space with a large centre focal piece: seen here is a large storm window, mirror and comically modern clock (I don't recommend the clock... but we need to know the time!).  You could use a large painting, photo, or wagon wheel on your mantle.
 I also think it's good to have a theme for your mantle decor.  Ours is generally a 'nature-theme' and more specifically: birds... what with the nests, feathers, bird cage and all.
If you can cluster like-minded objects together it creates a sense of 'story' to your space.
And here's a quick d.i.y idea: wrap birch bark around an old soup can for a 'natural vase' (seen above).

 Speaking of stories, this is also the reading-corner in our living room.
Azriel's books are all crammed into the fireplace (though I wish it was a working fireplace... it makes for a good storage spot).

I used to have an old mirror tucked back behind her books... but recently I opted to use that fun tapestry again and cover a back-board for the space.

Other decor options for this spot:
cut birch branches
cluster of large white candles
gnome collection
whatever reflects the personality of your home!

Hope that helps your cozy up your corner of the nest.

What's on your mantle?
Mel ;o)