how we 'role...

...play', that is.

I'm learning to be a child again.
Especially since this lil' red is obsessed with dress-up/make-believe.

"Mama, let's pre'end I'm liddle red riding hood.. and you can be the big bad wolf".
Ok, deal!

"Now you be the Grandma, and I'll take care of you".
Even better... I get to just lie on the couch (acting old) for this scene.

"You be the teacher, mama.. and I'm the student.baby"
Um, ok.
"NO, use your teacher voice.. not your mommy voice"
<high pitch falsetto> Ok!
Oh the fun that is had here, I tell ya.
There isn't much cuter than a kid in costume.
Granted, when Dad uses his falsetto voice... that's a close second.

Room with a view - House head girl  /////  Magical toadstool fairy
I love watching this gal's imagination come to life.
Lately she talks to (with?) her toys endlessly.. inventing stories for all the little creatures under her care.  She tends to narrate her own actions too, so, that's something.

It's hilarious to hear her splice together various nursery rhymes, children's songs and Bible stories into one big make-believe mash up.
You may recall (Facebook friends) how the other day she said:
"Lets play Daniel in the den"
So, I surrounded myself with savage stuffed animals as 'lions' and prayed for help.
"Are you an angel sent to help me?" I asked her.
She, wearing her fairy wings, looked down at me and said:
"NO, I'm busy".
Things do get a little fierce around here when we're make believin'..
Aren't we scary?
Yes, yes I am wearing lil' Hudson's wolf pants on my head... I'm trying to get into character, people.
This 3 yr. old is teaching me how to be a child again.
To see life through imaginative eyes.

As a child I remember endless days of playing 'cops & robbers' 'cowboys & indians natives!'
and pretending my best bud and I were monkeys in our favourite climbing tree.  I think we finally outgrew those roles when we were... thirteen, maybe?!
What did you love pretending to be?

Make believe.
It's a howling good time,
mel ;o)


here + there

colourful critters
bright baby.food
guys + dolls
cheetah cheeks
frames + feather
cozy corners + cute cat naps
mama + mini-me
Another week, another peek at the moments in our nest.

How's your week going friends?

Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion #15 (D.I.Y)

 It's time for another (extra-fun) edition of taking something thrifty and re-fashioning it into something nifty, friends...  to the power of five!

 That's right, one large wool sweater - five creations!
Talk about a giving sweater...  sooo, here's the breakdown:

 1. Wool skirt: Cut the bottom off sweater - hem in the sides - make the bottom edge of sweater into the waist for the skirt - flip lace around the 'raw' bottom edge and sew (zig-zag for stretch).
Boom, baby.

 2. Toddler poncho... cosy cuteness with lace folded around the raw cut edge.

3. Mittens from the sweater wrist cuffs.
4. Toque (in progress) from one arm of the sweater.
5. Hot water bottle cosy from the other arm of the sweater.

Simple sweater-upcycling sweetness.
You may recall my previous pack o' projects from one ol' sweater here.

Cosy fun for everyone in your nest.
Happy upcycling, friends!

mel ;o)


[M.M.2] What no one tells you ~ [labour.delivery]

Welcome back to Monday Mamalogues friends!
We had a lovely turn out from last weeks first 'link-up' and we're always welcoming more to the mama circle here.
(I've even *mastered* the html beast and created a button you can copy/paste at the bottom of your posts (you'll find it in the right column below--------> ).
Hudson born ~ 02.15.12
 Well I'm back with my second part of the four-part series: 'what no one tells you' and this highly sarcastic subjective one is about:


Oh, where to start...
One of the primary concerns that I remember with approaching my first labour was: "how will I handle the pain"?!  
Because you hear so many extremes about it:
*Pushing a watermelon out a grape sized hole.
*A tigress roar and 'pop' you have a baby!

To all of that, yes.

Maybe we fear pain so much because we live in a culture of self-cushioning.
Got an ache? Medicate.
Too hot? Air condition.
Too cold?  Crank the furnace.

This whole notion of 'embracing' or 'pushing through' (instead of running from) pain is quite foreign to us. I remember dropping a jar of olives on my toe while pregnant and forcing myself to 'breathe through the pain' instead of the usual cluster-cuss-shrieking-hopping-on-one-foot reaction.

Both labours I've experienced were full throttle intensity thanks to being hopped up on Oxytocin (since both babes were 2 weeks overdue... and required some 'encouragement' to get out... lazy babies).  I was still convinced I could push through the labour without taking pain medication.  Ha.. hahaha.. ha.

During Azriel's birth I had to get an epidural due to complications (birth story).
 During Hudson's birth I managed to make it through (birth story).
But that intensity of every molecule in your body pulsing pain came close to making me feel completely unhooked.

Every woman who has experienced birth is a super hero.
You feel ready to take on any challenge in life after that.
Although the challenges of becoming a mother... that I wasn't feeling quite ready for.
They plop that baby in your lap and you sit there stunned.
'Now what do I do with them?'  I thought.

And then, wonder of wonders... they actually let you take this precious helpless bundle of baby home with you!  You feel like you're walking out of a bank with all their money.
Like any moment now someone's going to run after you and say 'wait, you're not fit to be parent!'.
But you keep driving.

The first day of the rest of your life - as a parent - has begun.
It's about to get a whole lot of crazy up in here...
next week: what no one tells you about infancy!

mama Mel ;o)

Welcome to any/all mamas out there who would like to LINK-UP in the mamalogue circle here:


STAY at home.. mama.

So this,
this here is why I shouldn't be allowed out of the house.
Or, to be more precise... why I shouldn't get near clothing stores.

Y'all know by now I have a soft spot for lace/doilies... and the retail dealers still know they can hook me with their fine wares.
(Gah!  Why am I so darn predictable!).

So this,
we were trying to just 'get out of the house' and 'let the kid run off some steam' so we opted to go to the most forsaken mall on the planet.
(You locals would know it as 'Portage').
This place is creepy.. like a post-apocalyptic walking-dead kind of mall.
Most shops are empty and barred shut.
Translated: a huge indoor race track to let our daughter run down instead of getting frostbite outside!

So, who knew I'd get sucked in by the teeny-bopper clothing shop that still remains there.
They had crazy cheap deals on everything... and entire sections devoted to lace shirts and dresses!
This is why I shouldn't be allowed out of the house.
Oh, and these fan-freakin-tastic aztec tights... yah, that happened too.

See, I have no willpower.
Despite no 'budget' for random clothing... I can justify/rationalise/plead the reason for why I neeeeeeeeeeed these new items in my closet.
I could blame my Ben for being too sweet as well, since he'll just respond "go for it babe, you never buy yourself anything nice".  Awww.

So there.
I'm weaker than I think.
I'm more girly than I like to admit.
But I'm dressed a bit more funky!

How's your willpower in the face of a 'SALE' sign?

frugal fashionista,

Mel ;o) 

P.S ~ how I wish I could have shown you a video of lil' Azriel dancing like a ding-dong to all the bass pounding beats of that store's music.  (We were both busting out sweet moves in the change room too!).  Exercise?  Check.


share the love (a giveaway of sorts)...

 Artists appreciate art.
Crafters appreciate crafts.
So nothing thrills this artist/crafter's heart as much as giving/receiving handmade-with-love creations!
Like these delicious 'rainforest green' knitted wrist warmers sent from my dear friend Lynn.
(Hi Lynnie.. hiiiiiiii!)
We both eagerly agreed to do a craft exchange and wondered why we hadn't done this sooner (we used to be house mates.. but then I got married, and she up and moved way out West with her man.. Hi Steve, hiiiiii!).
Anywho, she - being the sweetie-pants that she is - also included these funtastic turquoise glazed hand pottered buttons she made (she introduced me to pottery).
Aren't they just cute as a... yes.
She even threw in a crochet turquoise dishcloth too.

I also sent her a bunch of my hand crafted lil' goodies. Fun fun.
That same day I got a sweet letter from my blogger bud - Nicole.
While this delightful bunting behind me (from pages of this book ) was part of a BIG Christmas parcel from my Australian e-mail pen/pal (Hi Gayna.. hiiiiii!).

Fun mail is awesome.
I love it, don't you?

So I figured it's about time I share the love again... but only if you pay it forward too! ;o)

So here's the scoop:
First 5 comments here get a pretty lil' surprise handmade from me..  it may be a piece of jewellery, or art, or other crafty goodness I create for you.
It will flit flutter and fly over to your mailbox sometime in the following few months!
(Note: if you comment, leave an e-mail that I can reach you at for mailing info... if you leave your blog address my 'filter' will hold you message until I check it.. so don't worry if it doesn't appear right away.. I'll know you were here!).

But there's a catch - if you want to win a lil' love, you gotta give a lil' too.
Send something sweet to 5 more friends/folks in your life too.
Even if you aren't crafty... a nice tea, a mix CD, chocolate!

Ok, go!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


here + there

scruffy smiles
pudgy perfection
sips + stripes
rosemary + roasted red pepper + spinach + feta  ...mmmmmm

greats + grands (our new nephew Finley!)
mellow mama
beard + brews
savory soup
Another week, another peek into the moments at our nest.
This season of 'hibernating' is a welcome treat when I get to be around such loves as these.

How's your week going?

Mel ;o)


heART therapy

Creativity has a such a beautiful way of unlocking our spirit.
It awakens something nestled deep within us.. and stretches its wings out to fly.

This past weekend I was given a lovely gift : the opportunity to just create freely.
Ben watched the kids, and dropped me off at an 'artist retreat centre'.

Paintings by Anne Renouf
Ok, it's actually the gorgeous 'off-the-grid' home of my artist friend Anne Renouf who I introduced you too over a year/half ago!
I was delighted to be invited by her to join their ladies afternoon of:
art making.
tea sipping.
music listening.
discussion making.
laugh sharing.
wine bibbing.
snack munching.
fire crackling.
dog wagging.

real heART therapy.

 The hours passed slow and peacefully.
Five small canvases filled easily and freely.
I haven't painted like this in what feels like forever.

As a mama who's used to 'alone' time being a fast shower... you can imagine how rare this treat was to have hours lost in a playful palette.
On the drive home I felt so calm and relaxed,
"it feels like I've just had a massage" I told Ben.
"No wonder, it's probably the first time you've ever stopped moving..!" he replied (referring to the constant 'go' mode of motherhood).

All that to say, I love painting.
I'm thankful for this chance to create.
Thankful to Annie and her friends for sharing this space/place with me.
Thankful to my guy for encouraging me to go, as he stayed with the kids.

A little paint can go a long way to brighten my day.

colour me blessed,
Mel ;o)


[M.M:1] What no one tells you ~ [pregnancy].

Welcome to the first edition of Monday Mamalogues!
A place to celebrate the beauty and breakdowns of motherhood...
For my part.. I'll be starting up a mini-series that's been echoing around my head for the past number of months.  The basic theme is 'what no one tells you' about four separate stages of motherhood (pregnancy/delivery/infancy/toddlerhood).
*Warning: the following nuggets of maternal *insight* are highly subjective and based solely on this mama's experience; it contains truth with a pinch of hyperbole...  your job will be to discern the first from the latter!*
Pregnant with our first - Azriel 2009

I never dreamed of being a mama.  You may recall how I wrote about us not being 'kid people' in the past.  When friends started to announce they were expecting I used to be pretty non-pulsed.
"Meh" I thought.. "good luck with that".
But now - on the other side of baby hatching - I'm elated to hear of such news.
I rejoice with loud hurrahs!
"Congrats" I squeal... while in the far back of my brain there's this maniacal laughter snorting "they don't have a clue what's about to hit them!".
It seems that no one tells us a lot of *important* things before/when we get pregnant... (at least I didn't feel prepared for these):

* First, fertility is craziness!  
Peeing on a stick to say you're a "|" not pregnant... or "| |" you are, is a roller coaster of emotions.  (I don't recommend doing it at 3am and discovering that you ARE.. and then you're supposed to just go back to bed and pretend its a dream instead of waking your husband and freaking him out too!).

* Morning sickness.. is a myth.
All day, all night... no mercy is more like it.
Did you know vomiting is like being strangled... your eyes pop their blood vessels and you look truly horrific.. that's a thing.  I have the health card photo to prove it.
I thank God for the wee miracle pill Diclectin.  Not sure how the pioneers survived without it!

* Personal space is hijacked.
I think most women are a bit self-concious about their belly jelly.. it's usually not 'flat, taught or tight' enough.  So you get pregnant, and suddenly every stranger and their dog want to caress that growing - but still awkward - part of your body!!
I get that it's holding a blooming miracle. I do.
But I'm not a petting zoo.

* Cravings... now these are fun.
Whether it's pickles and ice cream... or 6 popsicles in a row, pregnant women get what they want!  Well... unless it's alcoholic... or loaded with sugar or caffeine.
So of course - those were my cravings!
(I was eager to test the theory about a rich Stout helping with milk supply after birth!).

No one really told me that 9 10+months of pregnancy is like a glowing gauntlet.
I think God timed it to take several months so that by the end of your 'baby.brewing' you're finally eager to embrace any labour pain - just to get that '10 pin bowling ball' off your tail bone!  

Now, don't get me wrong... it's a wonderful miracle to house a lil' soul in your belly.
(It's even fun to document your growth with fruit!)
I wouldn't trade this beautiful mess of a time for anything.
Oh, and you know what else no one told me?
Maternity pants are incredible.
Did you know such 'trousers' existed... with a stretchy waist you can pull up and over your own head?  The perfect solution for what to wear to Christmas dinners! 
Well now you know.
Just wait till next week where you hear more *insights* about labour/delivery! Ha.

Any other things 'no one told you' about being pregnant? I'd love to hear!

Mama Mel ;o)

Now here's the real FUN part... any and all blogger mamas out there are welcome to LINK UP and join this Monday community here.  No commitment, no pressure.. just pop in a post any Monday you want to!  I'd love to see your heart here  -----------> 


so she sews:

 My sewing has been 'so-so' lately.
After the Christmas-craft-show-chaos... I was giving the machine a breather.
But now I'm starting to miss my projects.  I really want to get back to creating some upcycled and thrifty fashion pieces.  I hope to make unique stuffed creatures to roam around our house for the kids (and me!).  I also long to create colourful bunting to fill every room!

But for now, I've been doing a few necessities:
The above bird mobile for another custom nursery order.
(Available to 'locals' only due to the fragile nature of branches)

 Some basic hemming and fixing up of fraying household linens.

Oh, and this curtain for our kitchen.
You know, since 'good curtains make good neighbours'... (translated: no more creepy kids staring at us from their bedroom all hours of the night!).
I was going to use muslin for this project... but the thought of having to sew four straight edges was enough to make me have a panic-attack, so I opted to go thrifting for a lace panel that I could just 'hem' the bottom edge with.
Laziness for the win!

This project also won me back to my sewing machine.
We had a bit of a 'falling out' after trying to get that burlap haversack sewn.  I broke four needles on the canvas/burlap seams... FOUR!  When you bust that many you just start to get this eye-twitch and compulsion to finish the project just to make all those needles feel like they didn't die in vain.  Not to mention how many times the thread (and I) snapped!
 It's not always a pretty sight around this nest when mama's sewing.

Guess I'd put the emphasis on seam-STRESS.

What projects have you been working on/dreaming about?
I'd love to hear them!

Mel ;o)



 If you hear a bell ringing and someone yelling "unclean!"... it's not a hoard of lepers, just us.
Ok, the majority of us are all better now.
This past Christmas and winter had taken us down repeatedly.
I'm sure a lot of you out there were snuffling and sneezing too?

 But our poor lil' Hudson.  He's had a rough go of it.
Congested, fevers, ear infections, coughs.
He sounds like Darth Vader and a coffee percolator.

So, after THREE trips to the doctors in less than a week... we're hoping that this is the end of all the prescriptions (various ones that cleared out the money, but not his sickness).
A grandfatherly specialist in a dapper bow tie today gave the final diagnosis.
He's got a Respiratory Syncytial Virus... or, a bronchitis of sorts.

Translated: any cold/flu bug that gets near this guy will cause it to flare up into a congested mess again.

le sigh.
quarantine family.

More cuddles.
More snuffles.
Less sleep.
Less socials.

Can I just publicly declare to all my friends and loved ones out there... we miss you.
So many friends fall through the cracks when I'm home with these sickly kids. 
It's hard to find the time/energy to keep up relationships that you value but can't 'fit'.
Just know that you're still missed, and loved.

Let's make a rain check for coffee... how's five years from now?!

hibernating mama,
Mel ;o)


here + there.

a rare breed
gypsy dressin'
tapestry + toys
sunbeam CATcher
icing licker
double chocolate (reason #426 I love my husband) cake
relaxing with in-laws

 My glimpse of heaven.

Just a few peeks into the sweetness that filled our nest this past week.

Have a beauty-filled day friends,
Mel ;o)


D.I.Y: upcycled rice bag ~ haversack.

 Yes friends, for the 'price of rice' you too, can have an upcycled messenger bag.
I wanted to make my guy Ben a new haversack.
(For as long as I've known him.. he's always wearing one to carry his gear around in).
They've been lost, stolen.. lost again.. so this time I wanted to keep it 'thrifty'.
So I, being such a hoarder environmentally conscious person... opted to upcycle:

1. Fold an empty burlap rice bag (zippered top 1/3 downward).
2. Slice across one side of the inner part of the bag. (this is the interior opening).
 3. Fold a spare piece of canvas to line this interior section.. sew up the sides.
4. Insert canvas pocket into the sliced opening... fold canvas edge over the split opening of the burlap bag and sew in place. (Make sure you've sewn closed the slice that opened the top third of your bag).
5. Slice two small holes on the back of the bag for both ends of a strap to be inserted into and sewn securely.
You're done!

As you can see.. that top flap become a secret pocket with the pre-existing zipper of the rice bag.
Another 'super fast. stupid easy' upcycling project.

You may recall that one way to 'use up' a lot of rice - if you're eager to just sew these bags now - is a toddler's play station.  Our daughter still loves using hers!

Happy upcycling, friends!
mel ;o)