creating: the time...

 One of the most common questions I get asked is: "how do you find the time to be so creative?!"
And, while I've answered this in video in the past, and showed what a normal day in our life looks like, I think it's still a bit baffling to some.
So I thought a few more details may help...
*I want to share this today because sometimes I *fear* I likely frustrate some readers... since I know we all struggle with 'comparing' ourselves too often...
 So maybe the creative souls who work all day with kids or careers... and are too drained to even imagine embarking on a creative project - may pop by my blog and think "oh geez, there she goes again creating something new!  She must stuff her kids in a box all day!".

I know, I'm a bit much.
Somehow I manage to blog each day.
While also creating... which is a bit of a double-whammy I guess.
It seems silly to apologize, but I just want to say I reallllllly hope this space doesn't aggravate those of you who desire to create - but for whatever reason can't find the time right now.

I honestly want this space to simply inspire creativity in all of us.*
So, here's a few details about how I manage to balance home-making + art-making:

If you ask my husband, he will tell you - I rarely stop moving all day!
Playing with the kids.
Visiting with people.
Checking e-mails.... what have you.

In this regard, I'm probably a lot like most of you.
What *may* be the difference is how we relax.

  When evening hits, and all the family tucks into bed.
What do you do?
T.V, Netflix, Internet, reading, online shopping, etc?

1) I create.
Those few hours of quiet, uninterrupted bliss in the evening is where you'll find me:

2) I don't watch T.V, and movies are rare...  (I should read more though).
I just love.love.love to create... every.spare.moment afforded in the day is given to this.

3) I'm also blessed to have a helpful, involved husband.
He's home a lot in the day due to his work (or lack thereof).
Which frees me up to clean/create while he wrangles the kids sometimes.

4) Our parents (both sets) live in the same city, and they like to steal away the kids often enough.  That means more time to create!

5) I don't fixate on a super clean house.. it's kept to a tolerable state of shabbier chic, so that I have more time to .. yep.

So, does that help?

Again, I hope this space inspires you instead of tires you.
But I guess you wouldn't keep coming back if it did the latter.. ?! har har.

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


[M.M.15] and a bridge between...

Welcome back to Monday Mamalogues!
'Linking up to share the beauty and breakdowns of motherhood'.

Looks like winter has finally loosened it's grip... and now we've jumped straight to summer!
Ben even broke out the shorts today, and daughter Azriel squealed:
"Daddy, you're not wearing any pants!!"
So it made for a fun hike on a glorious day.
Our skin is sun kissed, and our hair wind blown.

Aren't family hikes the best?!
(ok, other than the kids whining about their need for snacks + no more walking!) 
What adventures do you love doing with your fam?

Mel ;o) 



A.musing.mama! 1.3

Marriage is hard work, they say.
And, raising children can be..well, exhausting.
So.. having the needed energy to work at marriage - with kids in the mix - now, that's a pickle.

While the best way to love your kids, is to love your spouse, they also say.
Well, loving my spouse doesn't feel like work.
I'm quite lucky to have a guy that's easy to love.
 And, while these kids can be draining, they also overflow my cup with affection.

So yes, this whole raising a family deal is a wild ride.
My Ben and I still look at each other with longing eyes...
...over the cacophony of children's chatter and cuddling and crying in between us.

And sometimes, sometimes the best thing said between lovers, is nothing at all.

Mel ;o) 

(Catch up on the previous comics here!)


couch recovery...

 ...so we're in that shabby-chic stage of home decor around this nest.
You know, when you can only afford shabby (second-hand, or *free*) furniture... and you attempt to make it look chicYah, that.

We've been given a few different couches during our marriage.
Most were passed down from grandparents/parents...  so they are abundantly 'floral' in nature, and rather saggy centred.  You can guess how delighted I was to find two couch covers at a yard sale for $5!
At the time it was even a lucky strike that they matched our current wall colour - khaki olive taupe tone.
But then, recently this hit me:

I bet you can't even see me, it's like couch camouflage.
To say I started hyperventilating may be a stretch... but I was totally weirded out that our living room seemed so monotonous.
Now, maybe I'm just craving the palette of Spring flowers, or something... but either way, I was instantly consumed with quilting a punch of colour into this space.

 I quickly set to work.
Chopping through various upholstery/vintage fabrics from that freshly organised sewing nook.
I made 4 rows of 6 squares if you're curious.
The fabric was cut to 8'x10' size roughly.
And, as with any sewing project - the cats were all over it.. geeeez.

 Along the way, daughter Azriel showed her delight saying:
"this is sooo beautiful mama, I need to do somersaults on it"!

Of course, the cats love it too.
As do I.  So I sewed up two!  Now both couches can feel bright and cheery.
(Especially since our ol' couch covers were starting to show every *stain* of child-rearing...ugh).

I still need to do some final stitching/embroidery to finish these off, but wanted to show you the funky project.  I've only ever made a tiny baby quilt before, so I never realised how fast it is to zip off rows of squares like this... fun, fun!

Have you made a quilt before?

Now to recover those throw pillows, hehe.

In colourful stitches,
Mel ;o)

here + there.

logs + laces.
wide open spaces.
savouring the scenery.
taking home the 'greenery' (pussy willows).
caught snuggling.
 again, that face.
fancy feathers + boot envy.
quilting + colour crushes!
Wow, already halfway through another week?!
I guess it's flying by because it's been full.
Full of nature walks in the sunshine.
Painting canvases during naptimes.
Visiting friends, doctors (for lil' Hudson - all good!) and family.
Quilting in every other spare moment. (more on that tomorrow).
Playing with the kids.
Washing the dishes...
...and all that jazz.

We truly are blessed.
Even in the trials - I see so much to be thankful for in these simple moments around our Nest.
I think Springtime is breathing some fresh life/hope in these parts.

How about you, ya sweet nutters.
How's your world spinning this week?

Mel ;o)


thrifty & nifty threads: upcycled fashion.#18.

Well hey there lovelies!
I'm back with another edition of taking something thrifty and sewing it into something nifty.
I'm still working on some new spring fashion to wear... and this piece caught my attention.
(Oh, and I'm also needing to work on that ghostly pallor of my skin... sorry to blind you!)

 Much like that polka dot dress I discovered in my fabric stash, this green button-up shirt was mashed in there too.  I always liked the style of this shirt, just not the length (it barely made it to my waist).  So, since belly-tops just aren't my thing... I opted to chop it and then lengthen it big time!

 (Sorry for no 'before' shot... I sewed this project at night!)
You get the idea though, I just cut the bottom half off the shirt - leaving the buttons/edge in place.
I then attached the lighter floral fabric to the shirt, while using that lovely green lace to hide my seams.  Sneaky sewing suits me best.

Annnnnd, in a final stroke of upcycling *genius*, I used the leftover green fabric to make large front pockets and accent edging around the bottom of the shirt.
I then sat back and wondered why/how I never thought to do this before! (Face-palm).

Oh, and the awkward cat picture.
Yah, I don't know what's going on there either.

Needless to say, I'm now hunting through my wardrobe to see what other shirts I can hack and customise like this one.
Hope it inspires you to upcycle too!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


[M.M.14] professional fence sitter.

Welcome back to Monday Mamalogues!
'Linking up to share the beauty and breakdowns of motherhood'.
 Today I'm just going to 'put it out there'...as I've been hesitant to write on this topic for about, oh, two years now.
Because it's a daunting topic to me.
Because there's pros/cons to both sides of it's debate.. and passionate contenders on each end.
Because I'm still stuck right in the middle... the fence sitter expert now.
To homeschool, or not to homeschool.
That is the question.

See?  The very issue already has those familiar buzz words likely coming to mind?
'socialization vs. isolation, education vs. indoctrination...'

Let me first say that I don't think there is only one right answer here.
Each family makes their decisions based on their convictions, I respect that.
I'm just trying to lay out our concerns/goals/hopes about this issue.

I've avoided it.
Stalling the need to address it.
 Trying to hold back the clock.

But, our little girl is getting bigger... and we can't hide from the decision much longer.

I keep trying to weigh out the issues.
Filter them according to 'right' and 'wrong' motives.
Trying to live out 'grace-based' parenting instead of fear-full reactionary approaches.
But, there's still a lot of fear mixed in there... muddying up my clarity to decide.
(Though, when I read articles like this I start to wonder...)

 Ben is always more pro-active and wise in his approach, I'm a bit more emotional... and debate it out with him every so often:
"What if we send her to school and she gets her poor widdle feelings hurt??!!"
"What if we keep her home and I can't teach past 2 + 2 ?!!"
Highly logical thought processes happening here, as you can see.
At a deeper level though - we really want to be intentional about being present with the community God's placed us in (i.e. schools/neighbours) and not 'cloister' ourselves away.
Although I know that IF we did homeschool.. we'd be sure to do it in a co-op/group approach.
Back and forth my heart sways...
Anyway, all that to say, I don't know what to say!
We still feel lost in transition here too.. in that we may attempt moving in a couple(?) years and wonder if we should just *keep* her until we settle somewhere.  But that's not even sure yet either.

Ok, I've shared where I'm at... the debate still continues.
Now I'm curious, if you have kids - what motivated your decision to homeschool or not?
Even better, if you've blogged about it in the past.. feel free to link it up below today!

Thanks for hearing me ramble,
it still motivates me to address this decision afresh.

muddled mama,
mel ;o)


A.musing.mama! 1.2.

...surely I'm not the only mama who feels like an absolute bear in the mornings?!
(I keep trying to convince the kidlets that I would be a much nicer mom if given the chance to sleep in... but, no dice).
It's funny, I can still clearly remember waking up in the night - as a child - absolutely convinced that I was in a bear cave.  Freaking.right.out.
Turns out I was in my parent's room, and Dad was snoring like one.
Also, we just watched BRAVE again last night....  love it!
Have a wild weekend, friends.

mama bear,
Mel ;o)

P.S - you can catch the previous comics here.
 P.P.S - sorry the lighting/detail quality of these pictures is a bit sketchy... I'm stuck with taking photos of my comics.  IF someone wants to buy me a scanner, go for it! ;o)


confessions [of a Mel] part.13.

This photo may seem odd.
It should.
Yes, we have a toddler bed tucked into the corner of our room.
Crammed into my already small 'craft corner' to be exact.
It used to be a play pen.
Then, a crib.
Now, a bed.
For the past 14 months it's been one crazy round of musical beds.
The dream of having two kids sharing one bedroom was trumped by the 'night fury' - our Hudson. (*Incidentally, we may have discovered recently that he sleeps through the night when using asthma puffers/inhalers... still getting that diagnosed here).
But yah, Ben and I want our room back.
I also want my craft corner back.

Long has it been neglected.
I would tear in there - grab a pile of fabric - toss through another pile.. and exit again.
Since someone or other was always in there to nap/sleep/nap.
(I am a baker's wife still).
So, the floor was hidden under a mess of chaos.
My 'storage' bins of fabric were dumped helter skelter.
A bio hazard sign could have been taped across that space.

So you know what I did? I avoided it.
 'Too big a mess' thought I.
'What's the point, I can't even use the space right now' I reasoned.

For almost a year, that's been my thinking.
Until yesterday.
I finally had a couple hours to clear the clutter.
To save you the horror show I did not do a 'before' picture.
That big pile of stuff still on the floor needs to be cleared (wish I could just hit a magic 'delete' button!).  But the fabric stash is finally stored back into a submissive state.  Phew
Funny how this mess seemed so insurmountable in my mind,
but in action it only took a couple hours.

Confession: Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the *thought* of something...
when the *doing* of it is often simple.

 Best example from daily life.
The dirty dishes.
I used to look at the mess after dinner.. and avoid it.  Thinking I finally just deserved a break from the 'work' of the day... and wanted to put my feet up for the evening.

But like messes do, they just seemed messier the next day.
I'd resent those dishes for wrecking my morning.
I've since learned.
Tackling the messes while they're only small... dish by dish, is so much easier than the mountain.
Isn't it true for most things in life.
 Messes just get messier when avoided.
Sometimes it can seem insurmountable.

But one small action can deflate those despairing thoughts.
Clean one dish.
Organise one corner.
Utter one prayer.
Forgive one mistake.

Step by step the changes can come.
There's beauty on the other side...  just keep pressing on.

messy mama,
Mel ;o)


here + there.

hiding + squealing.
pajama clad neighbourhood watch.
paintings in progress.
homemade chocolate covered almonds/cherries. MMmmmmmm.
snuggled in her cozy nest.
a dilly of a pickle!
another work in progress (the painting too!).
Well hi there you bunch of wonders!
Here's another week, another peek at the moments that fill our nest.

I chose not to show you the sadly frozen over state of our budding gardens this past weekend.
Everything was encased in ice - poor lil' flowers - but they seem to have pulled through!

The power was out again last night too.
I felt like a real pilgrim... what with my candles and all.
But Ben and I had a tough time of falling asleep without the 'white noise' of the fan whirring... oops.

Anywho.  As you can see, lots of paintings are in progress here!
Mainly, mini skyscapes still... in preparation for an upcoming show at my favourite local coffee shop again (Black Honey, locals!) in the next month.
So, while the kids nap.. or the final golden hour in the evenings after their betimes... I paint!
 I'll keep you updated on the new mini masterpieces around here, friends.

Well after this weekend of hail, wind, ice and rain... I'm hoping to spend most of this sunny day outside with the kids!  Hoping to round up our crew of neighbourhood mamas and make a stroller conga line to the park together.

How's the week treating you lovelies?

Mel ;o)



D.I.Y: doily + painted feathers dreamcatcher.

 Oh yes lovelies... you just know I had to make this beauty now didn't you?
What with my affection for doilies... and painted feathers... it was only a matter of time.
It's actually a very simple approach to this gorgeous 'dreamcatcher' inspiration.

So here's how I whipped up the project:
+ large doily
+ embroidery hoop
+ ribbon (yarn, string, lace)
+ beads
+ canvas material
+ vinyl/leather
+ paint colours
+ glue

 Step 1: Sketch out the feathers on to canvas.  Paint the tips in complimentary colours of your choosing. (You're welcome to trace my designs here if you'd like).

Step 2: Cut feathers out with matching vinyl/leather material for the backing.

 Step 3: Insert your ribbon on the inside of the vinyl and coat with glue - pressing the feather design on top to seal it in. (Sewing the pieces together is also an option).

Step 4: String as many beads as you like on to the ribbon.. and hang from the outer hoop.

Step 5: Stretch doily across the embroidery hoop. Tighten. Trim. Glue around back edge of hoop.
A creative and delicate delight to hang in your nest!

Creatively yours,
Mel ;o)


[M.M.13] our little miss funny face.

Welcome back to Monday Mamalogues!
Linking up to share the beauty and breakdowns of motherhood.
Yes, she still drinks her tea with a spoon...
(the funniest thing about this video - the silence - from miss non.stop.banter.all.day).

This 3.5 year old gal is our daily source of hilarity!
Some days she has you laughing so much you could cry...
...while other days she's crying so much, you just have to laugh.
So, either way... laughter!
Lately I've started scribbling down the silly things she says, (fodder for those comics).
So here's a few gems from this past week or so:

+ "Mama, maybe you could get some music to come out from behind your mouth there"
(i.e. sing ).

+ "Daddy, you have strong powers to make my movie go on".
(flattery wins).

+ "WOW Mom - you look fancy... like a jaguar"
(????!! ...more like a cougar).

+ "It's raining rocks... ohhhh dear".
(i.e. hail stones... don't get me started).

+ (while her lil' brother is crying) "He wants butter and cream".

+ "I tooted out a garbage!!"
(i.e. a stinky fart).
Ah, yes, the things our children say.
It never gets old, and it keeps us young with laughter.

The craziest thing is - if I don't write these down - I'll have forgotten what she said two minutes later.
I miss my brain.

mama Mel ;o) 

* Any/all mama bloggers are still welcome to link up to their own blogs here today.. feel free to grab a Mamalogues button from the side bar for your own post!  Lovely!



A. musing. mama! 1.1

(true story).
Yes friends, Saturday morning mama comics is back by popular demand!

I wasn't planning on making this a 'regular' series... (since last's week silly sketch was just a fast, funny, rant about this stage of motherhood) but so many of you kindly encouraged me to keep up the sketching, so here we go!
Confession: I never draw.
For years the dust has collected on my many sketchbooks.
I only, ever, paint.
Filling canvases, not paper, with my creations.
As a child/teen I used to draw constantly... cartooning a lot.
So this is sweetly nostalgic for me to embrace again.

 I'm now realizing that this is a delightful way to get a quick 'creative-fix' too!
While the kids are playing (nicely) for a nano-second... I can do a fast sketch.
No clutter of paints to unpack.. or sewing machine to heave on the table.

So now I keep sketchbook and pen at the ready.
Yes, pen.
I like the 'all out commitment' of using ink.
Pencils make me hesitate.. adjust... fix... slow down.
What you see is what I drew - with no parachute!

Oh, and hunched over the sketchbook - with tongue sticking out - is more how I roll.

Now, I won't promise that this will be an every.saturday.comic.series... unless I feel so inspired!
But I plan to keep using 'real life' events/comments made by our family as the fodder.

Which is why I kind of love this project - it records all the hilarity that is our daughter, and inspires me to get sketching again!
Thus... I shall name it "A.musing.mama!"... get it?
(Don't worry I think I'm funny... even if no one else laughs).
*Speaking of funny.. stay tuned for Monday Mamalogues where I share just a few 'extras' of the crazy things our girl says... she just keeps cracking us up!*

Have a fun-filled weekend friends!
Mel ;o)