this little light of mine.

It's New Years Eve.
The familiar 'pops' of cheap fireworks are lighting off around our neighbourhood.


Bang! Fizz. Silence.

On the eve of a fresh new year, we tend to grovel in resolutions for change - tend to reflect back on the year fizzing out in smoke behind us.

Not to be (too) morbid with you - but I'm picturing our lives as a sparkler.
 Here for a moment - a flash of dazzling light - snuffed out in another moment.

Or, as Scripture would put it: "your life is a vapour" James 4:14.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to waste it.

 I trust that as this new year begins with one small step.. we would each be stepping in the direction of showing more kindness towards one another.
Loving more, judging less.
Reading more, watching less.
Listening more, talking less.
Trusting more, worrying less.

Much to grow in, much to prune away.

Or, back to the sparkler imagery... "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine".

Happy New Years friends,
Mel ;o)


winter, wonder, and waiting.

It is Sunday.
All things are still.
The world is in frozen wonder outside.
White and shimmering like a crisp blank page...
... waiting.

Warmth inside.
Christmas lights twinkling.
Fresh baked bread from the oven.
Gifts being wrapped in crisp colourful papers...

Now is the season of waiting.
The advent calendar is in it's last few days.
The preparations have been baked, wrapped, written...
...waiting to gift them to loved ones.

A baby kicks within the womb.
...waiting to enter the world in a fresh new year.

Likewise we wait,
in a season of blur and busyness,
chaos and consumerism.
We seek to carve out a sacred space.
A humble hollow into our hearts.
That the King of glory may be birthed there.

I hope the wonder and beauty of this season fills your homes and hearts with warmth.
From our family to yours,
a blessed and Merry Christmas to you!

Mel ;o)


...and MORE Christmas crafting bits:

 Can you keep a secret??
Ok, a week left until Christmas - a week!  The last threads have been stitched (almost) and there's just a few more wee projects I hope to finish in time.  But, this labour of love for our daughter... the fabric mini playhouse I mentioned before... is done!  Happy dance.
I wasn't going to get too crazy detailed with embroidery work..  so a hot glue gun saved time with some features (like the button 'plate' wall above the couch).  Windows on each side reveal a peek-a-boo owl under the curtains.
I'm pretty smitten with the lace 'snow covered' rooftop, of course.
Now I just have a simple toy drum to make for our little guy.
A larger version of this one from before... made this time with one of those big metal coffee tins.
Oh, and I finally whipped off two more jumbo silk stockings to add to the mantle.
Having been almost out of the previous fabric with that tree motif ... I used this ivory silk and leftover scraps of the tree fabric for accent pockets (perfect size of a chocolate bar.. hint hint, husband!).  I also used a green damask fabric for the back since I had no more of the red.
I figure these two stockings will either be for the boys in the house - and we girls will have the original three.  But it may just be the parents that get the two new, and the kids have the three...
 ...either way, I have to sew the large bells back on to the toes of all the five stockings since our lil' guy was delighted to tear them off.

So there you have it.. a few more projects hot off the press from this nest.
Have you been creating much for this Christmas?  I'd love to hear!

Mel ;o)


pregnancy and all that craziness...

Hi friends,

Here's a rather blurry picture of my lil' lumberjack and me (with the basketball hiding under my sweater).  So I'm just about to crack in to my eighth month of baby brewing.  All things with a waistline are becoming my enemy... maybe I'll be wearing some festive muumuu's soon.

Anyway, talking with my midwife today it hit me that this new addition is just around the corner.
Which got me thinking about all those crazy bits of pregnancy/delivery that no one seems to tell us...

Granted, I've rambled on about this topic before... but there's a few more nuggets I just wanted to vent today.

* Due dates are the of the devil.  No one should ever spin a small calendar dial... and say that your little miracle will likely be arriving on/near that specific day.  It's just a torture tool really.
As the pregnant mama who feels she can't get a day bigger before imploding.. it's tempting to pin your hopes of 'relief' on that date.  When the date comes.. and goes.. and you're still gaining mass by the second, you start to feel like the coyote that's run off the cliff and realises he's in mid-air.  Then there's all the friends/family/well wishes who keep calling... and waiting by the phone... and 'have you popped yet?!'.  (Our phone will be disconnected the end of February - fair warning).

* 'Sleep while you can before the baby comes' is the silliest piece of advice.  Strap a bowling ball to your gut and have a nice rest... does it work?  Every night, all night I'm on the rotisserie setting trying to find a sweet spot for sleeping.  Every attempt to roll over has me envisioning a breaching whale crashing the waves for my poor husband beside me.

* Your water keeps breaking.  Yeah, that was new to me with my last labour.  I had always heard of one's water 'breaking' and took that at grammatical face value - it breaks, it's now broken, done deal.  I never quite realised it meant you keep springing out like Ol' Faithful anytime a contraction hits.  So be prepared - grab yourself some Depends (adult diapers) and ride the wave.

* Keep the man above the war zone.  Most husbands find your labour to be almost as traumatizing as going to war.  It's a blood bath.  They come out veterans.  Best to keep those guys up near your head - where you can comfort them with gentle words and reassure them that you are not about to be ripped in half by this miracle/monster down below.  I remember at my last labour looking over at my husband and saying "are you ok?!".

* Slime and sweetness are strange combinations.  A baby - a real live human - has just been pulled out of you.  Mucus and blood and slime and wonder.  They slap that sweetness down on your chest and in your euphoric joy you're kind of thinking.. "um.. eww".
I think it's a bit naive to tell new mamas that the moment they see their baby such a new well of love will gush from their hearts.  There is plenty of gushing in this moment.. liquids are abounding.  Love is a bit trickier to tap.
Maybe the first problem is if we are simply looking for love as a feeling.
That doesn't work in any avenue of life.
Feelings are for roller coasters and high school.

You will choose to love.  You will live love.
You will nurse, and comfort, and clothe love.
Every day will unravel a new layer of your heart.
That love will thread a new name over your entire being..
... "Mother".

It's a wild wonder.
A captivating craziness.
A glorious gauntlet.


So, now you know.

Mel ;o)


Seeing the real gifts among us:

"Where society is rightly ordered children are regarded, not as an encumbrance, 
but as an inheritance; and they are recieved, not with regret, but as a reward"

I read this quote in a book the other day and it hit me right between the eyes.
Because some moments it's really hard to see your kids through eyes of grace and gratitude.
Cue those times of whining, power struggles, disobedience and all around mayhem.
Those moments when you shock yourself with how hot your blood boils, and how insane your thoughts whirl.

Motherhood can be really hard.
It can have you so discouraged you wonder how any of you will make it through another day.
That's just the honest truth.

 But it truly is a gift.
Children are an inheritance.

We mothers 'in the trenches' sometimes lose sight of that.
 The stick and grime of daily messes that require continual cleaning cloud our eyes to the sparkling truth beneath.
That little 'mess maker' is a beautiful soul entrusted to our care.
Sometimes we just need to step outside of the daily chaos and hear the voices of those with a clearer perspective:

The aged Grandma... who's eyes twinkle with the remembrance of tiny footsteps.

The empty-nest Mother... who wonders at how quickly her kids grew and moved away.

The friends/family who have miscarried... and long to hold such a gift in their own arms.

The Author of Creation... who knits the soul together in their Mother's womb.
These voices all say remember.
That precious child in your care is a gift.
Better than any parcel under your tree.
Opening layers of your own heart you didn't know were there.

I know my heart needs these reminders daily.
To treasure these moments 'gifted' to me.

When I look back at moments like these, how can I not delight in our inheritance?

Hope you squeeze the ones you love tighter today
(just not around the neck)!

mama Mel ;o)



Recent creations and distractions...

Hey there friends,

I just thought I'd show you a few more of the recent creation'ings I've been working on around here.  My creative side is definitely back in full swing with this festive season.. and we're making up for lost time it looks like.

The above 'Noel' deer was a painting I whipped up as a distraction while creating for last weekend's Craft show.  I do that a lot.
With the pressure to get one project done.. I invent other ones to be distracted with instead.
I just wanted something more festive for our walls, while all my art is up in local coffee shops.

Those hoops I painted/stitched were also in preparation for last weekend's show.  They were quite the hit... especially my fox/owl options.

Yes, the craft show went well for those who were wondering.  While I regretted not being able to attend the Saturday show, it was still a good day selling there Sunday - despite a quiet pace of customers.  Thanks to those who made it out!

IF any locals want to order some last minute items from my shop, just shoot me an e-mail and we can arrange delivery/pick-up!

Hope y'all are having a merry day out there!
mel ;o)


A.musing.mama! 2.1

Is there any thing more unnerving - sanity sapping - heart breaking.. than a baby's cry.
Especially when it's your baby.
Annnnnnd they're just downright cranky, or inconsolable.
Despite your best efforts to soothe, suckle or strut like a flamingo... they just keep screaming.

Yeah, that.
I used to think myself a very mellow, patient, calm type of person... but when these kids let loose an ear-splitting shriek it's enough to knock over this 'house-of-cards' sanity I pretend to have.

So, while Tolkien's creepy ring-wraith's may have a truly disturbing screech... nothing can outdo how undone I get from our kid's cry.

Side-note: wow.. it's been a blur of a week here - since my last post was last week's comic.
The weekend is even more of a whirlwind (including my craft show.. woooo!).
When the dust settles I hope to reconnect with y'all next week!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


A.musing.mama! 1.10.

That moment that happens once every 360 days... where you child sleeps in!
I don't know about you, but I tend to do a happy dance of utter delight, if they keep sleeping I start to get paranoid that they've likely stopped breathing...
On a related note: did anyone else suffer the delusion that becoming a mama would somehow instantly grace you with the ability to be a 'morning person'.  Alas, four years in the making and I still can't thrive from getting the early worm around here. 
It's been quite a long time since my last edition of these 'parenting' comics... we'll see if I can whip up a few more in the future again!
If you missed the last handful of funnies - based on real life - then you can check them out here.

Happy weekend friends!
Mel ;o) 


The craftiest time of the year!

It's that time of year.
Once the first dusting of snow hits the ground.. my brain turns into Santa's workshop, just busting with creative notions wanting to be made!
There's the homemade decor for the nest to be created with the kids.
The crafting of gifts for loved ones.
The making of goodies to sell at a craft show.

Just time... and energy, required.... yeah, those are rare commodities aren't they?

Needless to say I've dusted off my long neglected sewing machine and wedged my bulging belly into the crafting corner - a few hours here, a few moments there.
My wrist warmers (seen above) are all ready for our local FOCUS FAIR.
They sell out every year.. but I think I made enough for now. (I'll only be there for Sun.dec.8th).

Then, there's the labour of love creation for our daughter... a fabric mini play house.
I'm very loosely being inspired by the pattern from One Yard Wonders here.
You know I hate patterns.. and committing to a project that takes more than one sewing session... but, if it turns out - it should be cute!

I'm also needing to add a couple more stockings to the mantle (granted I'm all out of this tree fabric so I'll have to get creative).  The rest of my scheming and dreaming will take the back burner until I know there's an inch of time/energy left to throw their way.

What about you?
Crafting and creating and homemade goodness this season?  Do tell!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)



D.I.Y: paint dipped pinecones (kid-friendly).

Finally.. an actual Do.It.Yourself crafty project from this blog... I bet you just choked on your egg nog to see this miracle!

Granted, we did quite a similar creation last Christmas.. (you may recall dipping pine cones in red paint with my daughter).

Anywho ~ this is one of those kid-friendly projects to decorate the house with for this festive season.
1. Dip pine cones halfway into a can of paint.  Let drip dry/brush off excess.
(Kids love dipping... but it's less messy if you just dry brush paint straight on to the cones).

2. While paint is still wet.. sprinkle sparkles all over it.
(Yes, this mama finally caved and brought the dreaded demon of sparkles into our nest!).

3.  Once they are dry, the adult can hot glue a dab at the base of pine cone and attach pretty ribbon or twine to hang the decor in your window.  Ours are all dangling in our large living room window... with this gorgeous view outside today:

Goodness, it's a merry sight!

Happy crafting with yourself.. or your kiddos!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


Latest Painting: Patchwork Valley.

Good Monday morning to you friends.

I mentioned last week'ish that I would update you on the final outcome of this recent commissioned painting I was working on.

Those with a stunning memory for detail may recall that this painting used to be my muted/foggy version of Patchwork Valley.  I opted to give it a more vibrant tone - with a glowing sunrise through the sky.  The rolling fields are more lush greens, and clusters of sheep and red flowers are speckled throughout.  The little house in the foreground became a little chapel as well.
The sky is a lighter blue than seen here.. but you get the idea.
(Alterations were made to suit this painting as a gift for a sweet couple that are moving away from our church/city.  I wanted them to take a bit of their familiar countryside with them to a bigger city, and to remind them of a little chapel they spent many tireless years serving and encouraging at).

In other painting news:  for any local folks wanting to see some of my larger paintings ~ they are back out on display at Haaselton's Coffee Shop downtown.

*I'll also be selling my mini Skyscapes paintings (5"x7") at the upcoming Focus Fair on Sun.Dec.8th at the SPILL coffee shop - 11-4pm!!

I'd love to send you home with one of my painted creations over the holidays!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)



the huge update:

By 'huge' you know I mean.. pregnancy and what not, right?
Because, yeah, I'm hitting that ginormous side of massive lately it feels like... pretty soon I'll be the new gravitational pull for all you fine folks who thought it was the Earth's job.

And, I still have a looonng way to go.
I think I've been in my fifth month for about a year now... in fact, I keep having to Google my due date to remember how far along I actually am.
Which, is 26 weeks by the way. (6+months!)
Only around 100 days left... um, can I get a chocolate advent calendar for that?

Speaking of chocolate, I get to do that Gestational diabetes test thing with my midwives this week... meaning: I get to eat a box and a half of SMARTIES and then they take my blood to screen/test my sugar levels... or, something like that.
Basically, I get to eat chocolate for my health.
So, I'm in.

In fact, I've been practising just to make sure I'm ready for the test, being a good mother and all.

Which leads me to acne,
I mean, the every-mama-feels-it moments of wanting a 'make-over'!
I've let my hair grow out to a big nest of frizzy fullness.
I drape my clothes around my growing form.
I still get acne like a kid in highschool.

You know, those little elements that help a woman feel like a sack of porridge left out too many days.

Now I know my heart matters more than the shallow surface of my skin.
And I value character more than cosmetics.
But we all have our weaker moments don't we?

I even want/need a new pair of glasses, and frankly, our lil' Hudson looks way cuter in them any way!

So that's just the mini-ramble on where I'm at here lately.. and I'll have you know that I'm also crafting for an upcoming Christmas show (Focus Fair -dec.8th!) so that's fun!

What's new in your corner of the world friends?

Mel ;o)


A spot of tea : Linen+Leaves

Calling all tea-grannies, and sweet sippers of the delectable brew!
Today I have a special feature for you.
My friend Stacy has an entrepreneurial spirit - she's always creating something simple and beautiful out of whatever loose ends life throws her way.
We've done a few craft shows together in the past, and her creations always reflect care and integrity.

She's now launching a new delicious business: Linen + Leaves.
If you're a fan of loose leaf teas... or would like to stock up for this upcoming festive season, now is the time to check out her many flavours!
For an added bonus, if you buy from her SHOP before December 10th, and use the promo code: needleandnest10 then you'll receive 10% off your entire order.

Happy sweet sipping friends!

Mel ;o)


Lately here...

Today I got to paint!
It's kind of a big deal.

For over the past six months most of my 'creative energy' has been sapped by this new creation growing in my tummy.  I've missed crafting/painting/sewing so SO much.
Those of you who remember how saturated this blog once was with recent projects/d.i.y's will have likely noticed this absence as well.  Um, sorry?
(It seems that a pile of visitors have come across this blog through projects they've seen on Pinterest/google searches.. and then if they stick around they get the 'bait n' switch' of me not being so creative and just ranting/confessing/rambling about family life and motherhood and where my heart is at lately.  But I'm ok with this blog shifting, and for those of you who have stuck with me.. thanks)!

Anyway.. it feels great to be forced back to creating again.
In that, this recent painting is another commissioned piece I've been working on.
I'll show y'all when it's done - just imagine a colourful large sky and rolling country hills.

Having the space to create in our bedroom/studio is kind of a big deal too.
It means we've finally booted our girl + her bed out of my studio corner.. and in to her room with the fitful younger sleeping brother.
(That's still a mess... and I'm afraid I'll be used to not really ever sleeping well again by the time they hopefully do sort out their sleeping patterns, ah well).

Having a husband that helps entertain the kids while I sneak off during daylight hours is the biggest help - so thanks Ben!
Creating is a rare gift nowadays, I'm savouring every second I get.

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


confessions (of a Mel) part 16. re:love.


Have you ever met an unlovable person?
You know, the ones that irk you, rub you the wrong way... or get right up in your face hostile with you. It seems that life is more difficult with them in it.
Throughout my life I felt 'stuck' with these people in my world.
In elementary school it would be that guy assigned to me as a group work partner.. "oh great, I get to watch him enjoy the contents of his nostril next to me" I would moan inwardly.
As a young kid who still didn't understand the delicate balance of truth-telling.. I thought I should be upfront and say I hated him when asked by the teacher.

In highschool it was that awkward girl assigned to share a locker with me.
"I hope no one sees me and her together here" I'd worry whilst fidgeting with our lock.
Looking back, I just remember her body odour was frightful, and she managed to have even more acne than I... which deemed her 'unloveable' in my books then.
Maybe I should have gotten to know her story better.. 
Now, at that stage of life I had learned to bite my tongue and not say "hate" about another person... but I held them at a cool distance, treating them with the warmth of a human iceberg.

I obviously share these stories to my shame... knowing that they reveal more about the state of my heart than those seemingly unlovable individuals.

And yet.. the struggle to live authentic love continues.

I remember being struck by the perspective that we use love like currency.
In that, if we value some one.. we see them as worth investing our time/affection/energy in to them.  Sounds like money talk.  And, to take it one step further... when we find someone rather unsavoury in our life we withdraw our love.  We may possibly even dangle a 'deposit' of love their way like a shiny carrot... IF they change themselves to meet our expectations.

It gets me thinking... am I Scrooge-like with my love?
Do I only invest it in those I deem befitting my affection... and withdraw it from those that I feel at odds with?  How do I treat the rude person in line at the store?
How do I react to the slow driver in front of us?
How do I engage the loner in the crowd?
How do I respond to the obnoxious co-worker obsessed with their own success*? (Not speaking from my current employment.. ha!)

And more so,
How do I love my family when they test me?
When the kids are pushing every one of my buttons?
I can already feel the ice forming in my facial expressions when I'm getting exasperated.

I've been feeling convicted on this issue once again lately.
Because when I look in the Bible, I don't see my heart reflecting the heart of God.
Throughout Scripture we see the God who pursues... who sets His love upon those still deep in their messes (dead in their sins even).
Despite what you may have heard... we can't clean ourselves up first to be deserving of His love.  That's the beauty of grace.  In our weakness, that love is strong.  I was the one spiritually 'smelling rank of body odours', covered in acne, a filthy mess of repeated screw ups... and He lavished His love on me.
(Ephesians 2).

How can I hold back such love from others?

Learning to love,
Mel ;o)


The best sound...

Yes, this was the snowy view we had outside our friend's cottage/home last weekend.
We were just 40mins north of our city.. currently being soaked in rain/high winds.
But it was a beautiful sight.

It also reflects a beautiful sound to me.

I don't know about you, maybe it's just the stage of life we're in now (cough:insert - laughing/shrieking/singing/hollering kids.all.day) but I am such a big fan of silence.

It's the best therapy.
The quickest comfort.
A salve to the soul.

It's also what keeps convincing my man and I that we are made for 'country living' in our future.
Away from the noises of industry, traffic... motorcycles with mufflers from Hades.

Do you love it?
Does it frighten you?
I know our culture loves to keep you entertained/distracted... from that moment where you can actually hear your own thoughts.
Or, as this comedian put it rather profoundly (though crassly, for some) we even may run from this silence/solitude.

When you look at your day - do you make time for silence?
Or, is the radio alarm clock playing in the morning, radio in the car, noise of the day.. and then T.V all evening?

Silence, it's a beautiful thing.
Even if it can feel like a torturous beast sometimes.. it's worth taming.
I'm learning how vital rich times of silence are for my soul.
Being still, resting in the presence of my Maker.

Mel ;o)


Four > she's the birthday girl!

How do four years hold so much... heavy with rich memories, laughter, lessons (and lunacy).
Yet they disappear so quickly like rainbow coated bubbles from the playful blow of a child's wand.

We are richer for these four years.
We celebrate our darling daughter.
The silly, playful, dramatic, sensitive, creative spirit that she keeps growing up in to.

Happy 4th birthday you sweet lil' imp!

Mel ;o)


The perfect palette... picked!

Just thought I'd quickly update you on a successful colour crush I've found here.

You all know how much I love turquoise anything by now right?

But picking the perfect paint tone for this was like nailing Jell-O to a wall.  I'd stare for ages at the colour decks where I work (Benjamin Moore) and continually waffle between: "too blue" "too green"  "too bright"  "too gray".
Honestly, I'd be my own worst customer for making a choice of paint colour!

Sometimes the real trick is to find something else you love that's already in the colour you crave (a scarf, a painting, a piece of pottery) then find the paint chip to match it.

Voila ~ the perfect turquoise for me!
I got slap-happy with my paintbrush and brought this old wooden high-chair back to life.
Scuffing it up after ward for that yummy distressed look. 

Now that I've finally settled on a paint colour, it actually was the perfect pick.  It already goes with a lot of the turquoise pops of colour in our home... even the kid's room curtains.  So I'll be splashing more of it in there.
It even matches the tone of my turquoise/wood earrings I have for sale.
 So.. that's something.

For anyone wanting that perfect bold pop of colour... here's my top pick:

I wouldn't paint an entire room in it.. just highlight pieces.

A more subdued antique tone that I would love on our walls would be HC-144 Palladian Blue

Gosh, I am such a colour geek.
What's your perfect palette?

Mel ;o)


Give a girl a camera...

Here she is ~ our little budding photographer.
She snaps a quick candid of her family.
Captures all the golden leaves falling around her.
Stalks the boys in her life.
And like any good blogger.. takes about twenty pictures of her feet.


A sip of cider and catching up..

Oh hiiii, yes, we're still alive and well here!
Thanksgiving has come and gone here last weekend.. and I'm still sipping cider and nibbling leftover ham.  Most of the leaves have fallen around here, though a few trees are still ablaze against these rainy grey days.

Things I'm thankful for right about now:
+ a hot soak in the tub.
+ kids that are equal parts mischief and hilarity.
+ books that feed my soul.
+ hot chocolate with gooey marshmallows.
+ conversations with my man.
+ friends within walking distance.
+ washed dishes.
+ rain against the windows.
+ the sweet hallowed silence of evening.

Just to name a few...
..oh, and a sweet baby GIRL kicking gently from my belly! 

Hope the week is being sweet to you friends,
Mel ;o)