stitching love on our walls...

 Hello lovelies,

Here's a simple embroidery project I completed this week... and I'm pretty delighted!
(Considering the piles of projects that are half-started... it's always a nice treat to begin - and finish - an idea).

 My guy Ben and I considered a few options of what words/text/verses I could go with.
I wanted something that inspired/defined our home.
Having just spent time reading 1 Corinthians 13... it struck me that the verse "love never fails" would be a beautiful choice.
(This also happens to be the same chapter that inspired my wrist tattoo).

 I cross-stitched the verse on to a stamped piece of muslin/canvas I had inherited.
Isn't the stamped design so pretty?  I loved working around that pattern.

 This stitched hoop now hangs in the ever-growing hall/wall of family-sentimental memories.
(You can learn more about this collection here).

(I also hung that painting on the left that  I did for my home.brewing home.slice baker ben!)
I really enjoy seeing this reminder every time I come down the stairs.
Every start to a new day.
"Love never fails".

We fail.
We falter.
We suffer heartbreak and hurt.
But 'love' isn't the cause... just the absence or abuse of it.

So I want to hold tight to the source of Love.
And I want to shine it out in a home - in a world - hungry for real love.

What word/message would you stitch on your walls?

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


here + there

Nothing beats a fresh box o' crayons.
Azriel drew 'mom + dad'.. nailed it!
play house + hoot
chopping + crock potting
cute crawler
sunrise + snuggles
The days keep rolling in and fading out... like waves crashing on the shore.
Sometimes the routines feel like utter futility.. building sand castles just to see them sunk.
Cleaning, Organising, Cooking, Laundering.. repeat.

Sometimes the routines feel like a content rhythm... the peaceful sound of waves rocking in and out.
Restoring, Rebuilding, Redeeming... repeat.

Another week, another peek at the moments in our nest.
I feel like I'm really trying to be mindful of what my mind is full of lately.
Am I resenting my current role as a mama... or rejoicing in it?
(Just ask me in another five minutes... it's subject to change).

Overall it's been a lovely week here so far... and I'm eager to paint more today as my parents have abducted our daughter for another sleepover!

I'll have this cuteness to watch when I miss her:
(Um, no Hudson isn't drinking Coke.. it's prune juice water.)

How's your week going friend?
 Are you feeling submerged under the waves of life, or doing the backstroke lately?

Mel ;o)


colour me: brushed in blue.

Brushing out the winter blues here...
...with more blue hues.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of painting skyscapes, they are the perfect blend of abstract and realism.

I see art as a form of 'truth-telling'.
Or as Keats penned, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty"... 
So whether a painting is abstract or realistic it can be beauty-full if it is truth-full.

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original:
whereas if you simple try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it"  
("Mere Christianity")

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


[M.M.6] more Zzzzzzz's please.

 Welcome back to another edition of Monday Mamalogues:
'sharing the beauty and breakdowns of motherhood'

This week I'm ranting sharing about that topic so many of us face:

How many of us could easily be in the cast of the Walking Dead... (and I'm not meaning as the pretty humans)?!  I find myself staggering around mumbling... "braaaaiiinnns.." because it often seems I don't have two of those cells left to rub together on a given day.

It's a wonder we're even allowed out in public,
let alone behind the wheel of a car.. or in the workplace.
Now I know why sleep-deprivation is used to torture people.... because, it works!

Speaking of that... how many of us mamas get an almost sick pleasure out of hearing other parent's horror stories in child-rearing?  (Just me... oh, um.... never-mind then).
When faced with a 'rough patch' we tend to think we're the only ones who have it this tough.
Until other mamas share the chaos happening in their nest, right?

Mom A: "Johnny got up twice last night, twice!!"
Mom B: "well my Jane got up ten times... TEN!!"

Mom A:  "Oh, coffee??"

This is the part where I share what I consider to be our personal year of utter chaos!
 *Ever since Hudson was born.. it's been a cluster-cuss of sleepless nights.
*That big boy still wakes up throughout the night.
*Despite his cuteness in the day... he can be a night-fury.

Don't fall for that angelic face (he's still a rascal).
Anyway, you may recall about half a year ago I was dreaming of the day when our two kids could finally share a room...
(read: my man and I could have our room(ance) back!).
But we're still playing musical beds around here...

So, all in all an average night in our nest looks like this:
6:30ish.. everyone, but mama, to bed (even the 'baker' husband!).
 10pm.. mama sneaks/creaks/slinks into bed.
12am... Hudson is crying... nurse, burp, bed.
3am... Baker is up to go to work!
(I now lay awake wondering if there's much point to falling back asleep)
4:00...Hudson likely needs to stretch his lungs again.
5:30... Azriel gets up and jumps in to snuggle with me.
6am... stumble out of bed being dragged by a toddler.

the truth!

So tell me mamas, how do you survive this stage of parenting?

Sleepless in Ontario,
Mel ;o)

*All mamas are welcome to join in this weekly link-up here... and feel free to grab the Mamalogues button from the right side bar here --------->*


colour me: in summer cheer!

 I just can't get enough of our kid's room.
the sunlight
the colours
the creativity
...it's enough to cheer up any dreary winter day.

This is my happy place.
I love to play with the kids here... or read a book on that couch while they entertain each other.

But maybe what delights me most is to see all the creativity poured into this room.
Almost every.thing in this room has been painted/upholstered/sewn by yours truly.

From curtains to clothes.
Bunting to benches.
Pillows to paintings.

It's really wonderful to be able to fill a room with love for your loved ones!

What place delights you in your nest?

Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion. #16.

 It's that time again, friends.
All together now: 'take something thrifty ~ and sew it into something nifty!'
(Granted, I technically made this poncho from a bolt of tweed fabric given to me...but, I still maintain that I *upcycled* the accent pieces of leather and wooden buttons).
 Here's the basic pattern I invented to make my poncho.petticoat.cape...thing from.
You know, because I would rather the frustration of blindly inventing what I think will work... than the frustration of having to submit to following a real pattern.
I know, me sew crazy.

If someone said I could have a comedy show, I would totally call it:
"Sewing with Mel".
I laugh at myself anyway.
(Sewing collars in backwards... using a pasta colander for my 'neck-line' shape... re-inventing what nip & tuck means...  etc).

But, as in most areas of life,
I learn best from my mistakes.

Charcoal tweed poncho.
Wooden button detail.
Leather inset strips (where I first envisioned arm holes).
Inside lining is a camel coloured linen.
Accent lining of wine fabric under the collar. 
Sure, it's a lil' messy and haphazard in the details... but that just makes it a better reflection of it's owner.
I think we're going to get along just fine.
Oh, and one last thing:
(Just had to get that in here).

Mel ;o)
P.S:  Yes, this is the "handmade pea-coat poncho vest?" thing my hilarious husband was referring to in his recent valentines blog post to me.
(And here's the 'paisley tribal leggings and the 'beaded sailor's hat' he also dislikes!).

*C'mon dear, I don't rarely wear vests anymore... why can't you love it when I want to wear a shapeless wad of draped fabric over me.. or some garish patterned threads?*
P.P.S: if you want to catch up on previous editions of upcycling sewing adventures.. they're here.


here + there.

birthday boy + balloons
doily + dreamer
coffee + conversation
spicy peanut Szechuan noodles...mmmmmm.
snow + sunrise
wheels + squeals
Another week.. another peek at some moments in our nest.
I'm noticing a trend here.. a slide.show of my favourite things... which aren't even things ~ it's my family.  It's so easy to just take a billion cute shots of our kids isn't it?
I really try to restrain/filter not filling this entire blog full of them!
Soo.. I'll try to get back on board with showing other glimpses of our nest here... maybe.

The birthday weekend was lovely!
Good food, family and friends.
Now it's back to the usual week of kid-wrangling, cleaning, cooking, crafting, errand running etc.

The sky was filled with big fat lazy snowflakes today... so pretty.
Our home was filled with the scent of crock pot 'beef stew'.
The kids (read: daughter) were driving me mental today.
Some days you just wake up and feel like the 'ability' to mother has vaporized.
But then I look back on pictures like these and heave a blessed sigh at how lucky I am to have them! 

Ok, that was me.
How about you.. how's the week treating you?

Mel ;o)



 Hey there friends,

I've been meaning to post pictures of these finished mini.skyscapes for a couple weeks now.
So here they are - my recently painted lil' beauties (5"x7").
(You may remember how I finally got to crack back into painting during my 'heART therapy' recently).

I'm really pleased with how these turned out.
I keep trying to 'free' my painting approach to looser brush strokes, hints of landscapes and subtle layers of colour washes.
Based on my past style of paintings... it's nice to see this transition.

I'm hoping to build up a new collection of mini pieces like this for another show.
Small is manageable during the kid's nap times!

It's also more feasible for people's bank book.  I know a lot of people over the years have expressed the desire to own some of my works... (so smaller pieces are easier to purchase for those who can't justify selling their first-born for one)!

If you're interested in a piece/commission... you can always contact me.

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


[M.M.5] leaving a legacy...

It's Monday Mamalogues!
~ let's share the beauty and breakdowns of motherhood ~
 Do you ever get hit with one of those profound epiphany moments that makes you go.. woah?
I had one recently (and I wasn't even on the toilet)...
The thought: 'how one's upbringing can shape their outlook on the world'.

Do you ever catch yourself saying/doing something and think "that's just the way my mother did this"?
(The way you check your teeth in the car visor mirror.
Or, how you slice your peanut-butter sandwiches.
 Maybe even how you look in the mirror and sigh..."does this make me look fat?")

This may cause you great angst, joy, sorrow, delight... depending on how you view your mama.
Sometimes it startles me how much - as a grown up albeit pretending adult - I can still be influenced by my upbringing.
Whether good or bad.
Now, I'm not going to get all Dr. Phil on you.. but the impact of our childhood experience can have have far-reaching ramifications.  (A classic example in my own life was battling that 'fear of silence' issue).

 This isn't a counselling session on recognising what motivates you based on your parents role...
but a reminder of what motivates us based on our children's reliance.

What the what, Mel?

 Ok, the epiphany.
So I was hearing all these women at a Bible study share how they couldn't always understand God's grace (a love that can not be earned, but freely lavishes itself) because of their upbringing.

"I knew if I disobeyed my parents, I'd be in trouble... and have to work back at getting on their good side" said one.
"I feared my parents anger" said another.
"I was abandoned at an early age" said one more.
In light of these backgrounds, these women were then viewing their relationship with God through that framework.

"I need to work hard enough to merit God's love".
'If I mess up, God will be angry".
"I'm not lovable".

(Which would all be a big fat pile of lies, by the way).
Anyway, after hearing all these women share... it struck me that we (mamas) carry such a huge responsibility/privilege to influence our children.

I knew before that it was a big deal, this motherhood thing.
It just never quite hit me like this... that even as adults, my kids could be viewing their relationships, their careers, even their faith... through a filter we designed.

I pray my kids will grow up with a strong framework of truth.
 Knowing that they are lovedUnconditionally.
Knowing that nothing they do - or don't do - will affect that.

I want to leave a legacy of Love.
One that points to the source of Love.

It's a high calling, this motherhood thing.

mama Mel ;o)

* Any and all mamas from any and all walks of life are welcome to link up today with their own thoughts/pictures/laughs about motherhood!*


cuteness + cupcakes!

Yes, he is a mischievous rascal of cuteness.

Yesterday I was saying how we'd likely have to puree his 1st birthday cupcake (since he always gags on any 'real' food we give him)...

...turns out he can chew just fine!

That lil' rascal just likes to spit/gag/choke on mama's attempts to give him avocado, crackers, ground chicken... but miraculously knows how to wolf down his first taste of sugar!

But really, who could resist his daddy's carrot/pineapple cupcakes + orange cream cheese icing!Nom nom nom.

We're having a fun birthday weekend here!
Hope yours is going sweetly too.

See you all Monday for the Mamalogues link-up again!

Mel ;o)


year ONE son.

Yesterday I was gushing about my man.
Today - February 15 - I gush about my birthday boy.

What a year it has been!
I've lost sleep and sanity.
I've gained smiles and snuggles.
We'll be celebrating this big boy's birthday all weekend with friends/family.
I think we'll have to puree his cupcake since he still likes to gag on anything with texture!

Here's hoping that he'll soon learn to:
 * eat like a real boy.
* stand on his own two feet.
* sleep through the night.
* ween from mama.
* say more than "DA-DA".
* not pull the cats tails.

Here's hoping he'll never stop:
* smiling non-stop.
* playing peek-a-boo.
* nuzzling/snuggling.
* adoring his sister.
 * squealing "Da-Da"!

Happy #1 birthday Hudson!!

we love you lots big guy, 
and there's lots of you to love.

mama Mel ;o)



So, it's February 14th.
The day everyone hates/loves for all it's mushy sentimentality, cupids, hearts, chocolates, flowers. Ugh.

On this highly sappy occasion, please allow me a moment to share my love (again) for this guy.  I still think I'm the one who lucked out to snag a man like my Ben.

You know what always has attracted me to him?
His sincerity.

See, I have a thing about phonies, about 'slick' fellas, salesmen and schmoozers... they make my skin crawl.  I've always held people to a high-bar when it comes to integrity.
Ben is one of the few people on this earth that hasn't disappointed me in this regard.
What you see is what you get with him.
He's real.
Now about rabbits.
Ben proposed to me with a darling story he wrote about two bunnies.  Someday I'll share it here at length.. it's a treasure.
Anyway... that next Christmas I bought him a random rabbit figurine (yes, it was weird - that's why it was funny).. coincidentally he bought me the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit (see we are meant to be!).  You need to read this simple book, about a dirty, discarded old toy rabbit that fears his owner (a young boy) will forsake him for new shiny toys.

But mostly, you need to read the book for this quote:
“What is REAL?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day... "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

I'm still learning this whole real.love thing.
Learning what it means to truly surrender my heart.
Realising that strength isn't strong if it can't be weak.. can't be vulnerable.

All I know is, there's no one else I'd rather learn this love thing with.. than my Ben.

Thanks for loving me 'real' babe.

mush n' stuff,
Mel ;o)

**P.S... my husband writes a blog post about twice a year.. so when he does, it's pure gold!
Guess who wrote me a valentine today here!!**


here + there

stories + snuggles
markers + markings
stockings + sunbeams
wonder-wool wrist warmers
me + my girl
Another week.. and a few more peeks in our nest.
Just a couple, really.
 Lately I've been forcing myself to not take the camera on every adventure.
Sometimes the mama-razzi needs to just enjoy the beauty and not snap at it.
Like this weekend, my Ben and I went snow-shoeing through our favourite woods.  The sunlight was dancing through the sparkling powder dusting the air like a magical snowglobe.. a secret world hushed and beautiful.  My trigger-finger ached to capture it all.. but it's good to just be and share that moment with my guy.
But I digress, aren't those colourful wrist-warmers fun.tastic?!
My sweet bud crocheted (is that even a word?) these for me with that amazing wool I had from two years ago.  It's like a rainbow spun into wool... love it!
In other news, this week has been a wee roller coaster of emotions around here.
Thankfully, our crew is all healthy again.  Though, my Grandma being sick in hospital is another reminder of how precious life is.
I went for a walk today.. the sun was blinding me, and the cold wind was whipping against my face.. but it made me feel alive.  In this stage of life it's so rare to be 'alone'.. to not be a mama or a wife or a friend or a daughter to those around me, but just off alone - as me.
 It's like visiting an old friend.  A weird one, but a good friend.
Ummmm, ok.. I think I've rambled on enough here.
How's your week going? 

Mel ;o)