the latest threads...

 Hello friends, here's the latest sewing project (again) for Azriel to flounce around in.  I had fun whipping this dress up (a similar approach to the pillow case dress).  Don't you just love the retro feel of this polka dot kitten heads fabric?

 A sweet toothy grin for all you out there. :o)

 I added the tutu underneath to fully flounce out the 'billowy factor' on this dress.  Detail: the pocket is going to match some bloomers I still need to sew.

Summary of style:
dress - mama made
shirt/leggings - Zellers
green tutu - dollar store

Despite not being able to get onto my laptop - I was eager to post from a friend's computer and link up here again with Mama Loves Papa today.

Have a beautiful day!


Will you sing it with me?

I wanted some colour on this gray day. I wanted some dancing for my sleepy bones.  I wanted some funky fabulous stocking feet in tap shoes!  Where do we go to get these needs met.... Sesame Street, of course.

While my daughter still just wants to watch Elmo's song endlessly (thanks for the torture big sister).. I stumbled upon this video of sweetness.  Azi is slowly starting to grasp and slur her 'a.b.c.'s how fun.  

I'm still locked out of my lap top, eager to get back to 'real' posting soon friends!
Have a bright day,
Mel :o)


stuck in a moment you can't (wait) to get out of..

Hello friends,

Can I just say how much I miss you... and the ability to post something... anything.. right now!  I am terribly sorry for this (hopefully brief) hiatus of blogging right now.  Our lap top power cord is pooched... and the postal service has literally 'locked out' our option of getting the new one we ordered weeks ago... sheesh!

I miss my lap top.  Though not having it has afforded other sweet moments.  Time to just sit on the couch and be still.  Time to take a long soak in the tub.  Time to just be with my Ben and my gal without the distraction of.. this online world.

I am eager to come back soon though,  until then - I may try to post meagerly from other friend's computers...  and there's lots to post when I do get back.  Thanks for your patience in all this.  

Hope you're having a great summer so far!
Mel :o)


Latest adventures in dressmaking - baby fashion.

 Eeeek!  Today is such a delight, friends.  Did you see how sweet Morgan over at Mama Loves Papa did a guest post about this blog... and this cutie - Azriel?!  Well, that just made our day.  Not to mention we got to go 'out on the town' today for a family date (Ben, Me and Azi).  We got some poser shots of Azi sporting my latest sewing attempt.

   We drove up to 'Nana & Grandads' where Azriel always get a raw rhubarb to make faces with.

 So yes, this is the dress I made her.  I love the patchwork plaid look (though it does exaggerate my lameness at sewing a straight line).  I'm convinced this material is dyed gossamer... or maybe fairies wings... it's the lightest cotton out there - transparent too.  Breezy!

 The booty shot... showing the complimentary fabric I used with lace trim to make a pocket.

Our wee pianist in the making... hopefully she doesn't inherit my sausage fingers!

Thanks again for all your sweet comments, I find this Small Style thursday series to be such a delightful way to meet other marvelous mamas.

Have a great day,
Mel :o)


tour our nest [Azriel's room]

 Welcome to the long anticipated tour of our daughter's room.  I'm excited to show you all the cuteness and craftings I've crammed into her room.  You may even feel a sense of deja vu if you first saw this tour over at my lovely friend's blog Apples with Honey a while back.  The fabric hoop profile on Azi's door was the first d.i.y tutorial I ever posted on my blog... remember it? 

 Azriel's room gets all the beautiful west-facing sunshine spilling into her windows.  I am really happy with the apple green wall colour we got her (sorry, a custom mix folks).  Currently she's still staying in her crib [having only jumped out once!].  She'll graduate to the 'big girl' bed soon I'm sure.  The headboard was made by my Dad and I years ago... and I still love it.  The curtains, "Azriel" name blocks, and bird mobile over her crib... were also crafted by me.

 I had fun making this simple fabric banner for her window nook - such a great way to incorporate colours and patterns from her room.  The nook is her playing.reading.colouring area... a real sweet spot to be in.

Here's one of my favourite craftings for her... Mr.Fox and Foxy Lady.  (Side-note: Azi has now started saying "fox" which is pretty awkward when it keeps coming out as "foc"...).  Anyhow, I did also upholster.paint the bench and sewed some of the pillows here too.


confessions [of an artist] part.3.

Lately I've been working away on a few commissions.  Here's some custom 'lil' hoots' I made.  The detailing is different from my normal hoots as these were to be 'gender neutral' baby gifts - hence some fun yellow button eyes and sage green feet/beaks.  I still love these owls - and will merrily sew them for as long as people want them (even longer!).

My bird mobiles are getting eager to fly lately too.  I have a few commissions to work on now.  I always love hate the challenge of mixing and matching patterns and colours for each customer's taste.  If you're local.. you can still go buy them here too.

This sleepy.eyed wonder is pretty central to how quickly I get said commissions done.  I truly appreciate the patience of my customers/friends as they know my projects aren't usually pumped out rapidly (until I can train Azi to be my own lil' minion on a sewing machine).  
Azriel isn't my biggest challenge in finishing project though.  My confession: it's me.  I am the worst when it comes to motivation for commissioned projects.  It's not that I don't appreciate the business/busyness or enjoy the creating....  it just loses that motivating ingredient of 'freedom' and 'spontanaity' so often required to create.  This is why I could never be a professional artist/craftswoman...  the 'demand' to create would likely deflate the 'delight' to create.
Am I the only artist.crafter out there that struggles with this?
I could win an award for how I procrastinate.... sitting down to my sewing machine... and suddenly I grab other fabric to 'wing' a project for my daughter.  Getting ready to do a painting... and suddenly I'm upcycling something for my house instead.  You should see me fumbling around in my studio for distractions I can 'justify'... all the while muttering "suck it up buttercup" and get to work!

Don't worry friends, I will get these projects done.  I can do this.... focus ... focus.  Hey, look another pretty blog!  Ok, for real, I'm going to sew.... now.
Have a great day!
Mel :o)


slide show sunday. take 6.

Hello friends.  I wasn't sure I'd get to launch this sunday's slide show.  But fear of disappointing you made me hold my eyelids open long enough to post these. ;o)  We had a great weekend at a friend's cottage, tucked around Lake Ontario. 

 Sweetness and sunshine.

 A wheelbarrow full of giggles.

 Kayaking in the setting sun... I was literally glowing.

 Chasing boys in canoes.. catch of the day - husband... and... seaweed.

I felt almost professional with all this high tech gear strapped to me.

Crackling fires, coffee and s'mores.. oh my.

Thrifted moccasins and campfire snuggles... complete coziness.

Dog days of summer.

Just had to include this terrible 'after shot' of our wicked burns from the day.  That will teach us to only put sunscreen on our daughter!  Note: we were told to 'look serious' for this shot... clearly I buckled under the pressure (as usual).  

My body is aching in places I forgot still existed.  My skin is glowing and warm.  We had a great time away.... and it was a good reminder for me that there is a lot of beauty even in just a 'scenic roadtrip' through some country side. 
Everything expands out there.
The sky.
The roads.
The patchworks hills.
My lungs.
My smile.
My thoughts.
All stretch open before me.

Hope your (Father's Day) weekend was delightful as well!
See you again soon,
Mel :o)


the Manly-Man's post.

 Well it's Father's Day weekend coming up here.  We're high-tailing it off to a friend's cottage, so I thought I better post early (maybe it will remind you to go buy Dad that tacky silk tie). 
  Now here's a tribute to the main men in my life.  First off, Ben.  He won't even let me buy him a cheesy - 'here's what your daughter bought you' - gift.  Harumph.  He wants to wait until Azriel is old enough - and kind enough - to give him something herself.  Well, I still get to say "happy Father's day", since this is my blog after all. ha!

Before there was three, there was we.  You and me.  I like 'we' better than just 'me'. And I love how you and me, did in fact, make three.  I may just adore when our number could be four!
That's enough Dr.Seuss'ing for me.

For the record, Azriel helped me make this picture for Ben.  She 'signed' everything she wanted me to put on the 'what Daddy is to me' list... I think the flopping on her back next to me/ dribbling her sippy cup on the couch/ trying to walk on the lap top actions came through loud and clear here.  October 29. 2009 marked a huge shift in our lives.  A dad, a mom, and a baby... were all born.
Ben, for all these ways - and countless more - you are a wonderful daddy to our daughter.

Not to be forgotten, the two other men in our life.  My Dad, Perry, passed on his looks to Azriel (at least everyone always says "My how she looks just like your Dad!"... I'm not sure how that works, is my Dad pretty.... or Azi's handsome?).  Anywho he's my Dad.  The one I laughed with until he turned purple as a kid.  He told us (not read.. made them up) stories every night before bed.  He interviewed boyfriends. He walked (was dragged) down the aisle with me.  He gardens, he reads, he loves being "Grandpa" to his first granddaughter. 
Also, my Father-in-Law, Justin.  I feel at home with this man, he paints, creates, hides away in his basement studio, laughs heartily, wears his beard and hair wild.  He has also taken a real liking to being "Granddad" to his first granddaughter.
I am blessed to have each of these men in our life.  Thanks for all being such unique reflections on what a father.husband can be.  I love you's guys.

What do/did you love most about your Dad?
Have a wonderful weekend friends!
Mel :o)


my blue belle.

Azriel's outfit today
ruffle shirt:: thrifted
jeans:: Cherokee (Zellers?)
pine cone:: nature
suitcase:: Globetrotter.

Tiny toes and travel cases, oh sweetness.  This suitcase belonged to my mom when she was a child.  I love having it in our home now - and I often use it to display my creations at craft shows.

Pudgy fingers and pine cones.

I love all the turquoise dotted ruffles on this shirt.  She looks like the sweet blue belle of the ball.  I just may get inspired to sew another version for Azi soon. 

Once again, we're linking this post up with the cutie kids over at Mama Loves Papa.

Happy Thursday y'all!
Mel :o)


tour our nest [Master bedroom]

 Welcome to the 'bedroom edition' of our tour friends.  Now I know I technically already showed you a lot from this room in the past - as a 'studio tour' of sorts... but things have changed around here.  The hot summer days called for heaving the air conditioner into our 'nook' window... and making a space for Azriel's playpen to tuck in and stay cool with us over the summer.  Thankfully we haven't had to use it yet.  So yes, this is our newest layout as you walk in the door.  You can see her playpen tucked in the back corner - ('nobody puts Baby in a corner'.. except here).  I finally got the sheer curtains up, hanging from a cool branch I found (inspired by my older post).  Not that shimmery sheers is my first choice - but letting the light and breeze pass through was a must.  Another must.. finding a split-box spring frame for our bed that will actually fit up the stairwell.

 To the left of our bed I arranged our blanket basket as a mini-bench area.  The two dressers tucked in nicely together (had these suckers since I was a kid, many coats of paint later).  Speaking of paint, the walls were first coated in a burnt orange colour - Benjamin Moore CC-98 "Prairie Lily" and then I rubbed a wet wash of brown glaze over it all to 'age' it nicely.  The finishing touch was to tear strips of orange damask wallpaper and layer them into areas of the walls (seen here). 

 Close up view of our dressers.  My arrangement of meaningful mementos... a favourite shot of Daddy and daughter.  Hand ornament I made of Azriel when she was 2 months old.  Journals. Lanterns.  Plants. Pottery. Vintage heirlooms.  And yes,.... a stuffed beaver [my husband fought for that addition... ugh!].

 Speaking of husband... he is the best gift-giver ever.  It's like he knows me or something - since he always finds the greatest treasures.. like these two prints that he varnished and framed as a wedding gift for me. [Bonus points for who can state what movie they were showcased in....!?].

Speaking of wedding gifts.. this amazing birch tree painting was done by my amazing cousin Barb TenEycke.  Back in the day when I was doing house painting. faux finishes. and murals with their paint crew - she was the interior decorator/designer.  Now she takes the time to pound out amazing pieces that would make the Group of Seven take notice... check her out here.

I think that is finally the complete tour of our master bedroom.  As promised last time, we will be going to check out Azriel's room next (next week).

If you've missed any rooms along the way... you can sneak peeks here:

Thanks again for stopping by our nest,
hope you found some inspirations for yours,
Mel :o)


colour my day.3.

Azriel and her amazing techni-colour dream pants inspired this colour combo.
Turquoise, Butter cream, Pumpkin, Pink Popsicle... mmmmm!

Then I just couldn't resist putting these extra shots in of a beautiful windy day.  Azi has some gypsy.dramatic.rock moves when the winds blows fast and whips the laundry to dancing.

She kept running through the peek-a-boo tunnel of sheets... as they  flapped about her like boat-less sails.  You'll also see my sis-in-law [house-mate] tucked back in the shade.  She was working on a baby quilt... and is due in less than two months now!  We're super excited for the new addition around this nest... and the first cousin for Azi!  Eeeeeep!

Hope the wind was filling your sails today too!
It's been a beauty of a beautiful day.
Mel :o)

one tree love

There is a tall tree
in our backyard it stands
and it holds up the laundry line
with it's strong gnarled hands.

This is a tulip poplar they say, not your average tree to see around town.  I am a big fan of trees.  You may remember my previous post about the delight I have in all things woodland.  I love that how this tree towers over our backyard.  It's blooms come out and play all summer.. raining petals down on our lawn.

  They resemble lily pads floating in the vast blue sky. 
These flowers aren't very fragrant, but they are sweet buttery blooms to see through my kitchen window.  The trunk is carved full of deep twisted ridges.  You really should come check it out sometime.. it would take both our arms to hug it that's for sure. 

What's your favourite kind of tree?
Hug it for me.
Mel :o)


confessions [of a home-maker] part.2.

source: Lay Baby Lay (under Downloads section).
A good reminder for me today.  As I've posted before, I'm not a keen cleaner.  I have a love hate relationship with my kitchen sink.  I try.. I really do.. to keep a positive attitude about the daily messes.  Today is no exception.  You know how it goes.. the tasks of cleaning the home were looming ahead of me.  I had procrastinated long enough.  It was time to do a real blitz... washing floors.vacuuming.tidying kind of blitz.  For how much I avoid a big clean it actually does feel great in the end.
There is a distinct reward that comes from physical labour.
There's also that oh-so-satisfying joy of seeing results.  That floor was dingy.. now it's shiny. The toys were scattered... now they're organised.  Results are a calming balm to a discouraged soul aren't they?

My husband and I both have done our share of time in 'social work' fields... and it can get discouraging sometimes.  Any work that has people at its core - has it's share of joys and sorrows - like every human heart.  You can't really measure your 'success' as a worker by looking for results in people.  They succeed, and then they disappoint. I used to ride that roller coaster.. and suffered some burn-out from that trip.  I think it often boils down to expectations.  In my social work.. did I expect to 'heal.nurture.free.make better' people.. and then have those agendas crash down around me.  In my mothering... do I expect to keep a house 'presentable' while neglecting the more important issues of my heart, and this little heart in our charge.  I often need to be reminded to re-evaluate why I do what I do... in all spheres of my life.  Why do I mother the way I do? Why do I 'wife' the way I do...  what motivates my art?  What drives my daily routine?  For me it's the constant need to see the bigger picture - the 'eternal perspective'.  Do the daily worries and messes on the floor stand up to the importance of what really matters in the end?
So what am I rambling on about here?  I guess I was just reminded today that there is good to be found in cleaning my home [of course]... but that it should never distract from what really matters.  Nurturing the growth in my own heart and others should top the day's 'to-do-list'.

Blessed-fully clean,
Mel :o)

D.I.Y upcycle your granny's doilies.

Source: ish and chi.
Ah, the doily.  What a sweet little web it weaves.  Lately I am smitten by their intricate patterns... having sewn them into brooches and neck.laces.... and pressed them into pottery.
I first saw the above picture on Pinterest. [The blog that showcased this idea is a beauty to peruse for any home decor lover].  I knew I wanted to make such a table runner for our house.  It seemed fitting since I had turned a lace tablecloth into a skirt... that now I would upcycle doilies into a tablecloth.

   [Please ignore the crop-circles all over our table... I still need to sand.re-paint this beast over the summer!] 
 So I collected a stash of these lil' pretties over the course of many second-hand shopping sprees.  Deciding on a lay-out was going to be the real challenge.. yes, I too struggle with composition.balance.arrangement issues.

 Here's what was going to be the final arrangement.... and then... my husband Ben walked into the room. 
"What are you planning on doing with all those?" he asked.
"I'm sewing a pretty table runner for our table" says me.
"What.. and make our house look like a Grandma's Tea Parlour?" he says incredulously.

By this point we are both laughing... as this is just one more project I am trying to 'argue it's merits' to my unconvinced husband.  The joys of an artist being married to a minimalist.
Anywho, this wasn't a hill [of doilies] worth dying on... or forcing my husband to enjoy.  I figured that being the 'cougar' in this relationship - I should avoid introducing 'Grandma' vibes to our home.
Thus, the end of this upcycle project.
Don't worry friends, I'll find another use for them!
So maybe it will inspire you to make one instead... or inspire you to remember the beauty of compromise when it comes to your partner.

Mel :o)