Homemade Cat Toys: Floss Shaker

Dragon is my first and only kitty. My goal is to teach him that courage and curiosity is essential to growth and braving the outdoors. 

I also believe in making a lot of my own things so check in every once and a while for ideas on how to make cat toys! And feel free to let me know what you think and what your kitty thinks! 

The Floss Shaker

1. Find an empty floss container. Shoutout to GUM SunStar for their floss today! (Removed the spool from inside.) 

2. Open the floss container and fill it with a few grains of rice. (Not too many or else it won’t rattler.) 


3. Cut a desired length of yarn. Tie a couple knots at one end.

4. Insert the knotted end of the yarn into the floss container. Snap it shut and easy peezy! A new toy! 


If you want to make it the delux edition, slip a little catnip in there!

Let me know how it goes! Feel free to post your cat toy photos on my Facebook page @MelbasToast.com

Pottery is Healing

*Photos in this post are taken from my trip to Warsaw, Poland.


I have always been fascinated with ceramics and handmade pottery. Ever since I became a potter myself it’s become more than just a passion, but a way of life.

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Curiouser and Curiouser.

10April 2016
  I’ve been seeing this symbol all over Warszawa. 

At first I thought it was a tag, a signature maybe some random logo of a local graffiti artist or propaganda.

  
Today while wandering Old Town Warszawa, I learned something powerful, in regards to that symbol.

  
It stands for the Warsaw Uprising. 

Adam explained to me that during WW11 when the Germans had occupied Poland an underground army formed to retake Poland. WP was used throughout the resistance to bring hope and was a symbol that strengthened the Polish people. 

This was literally an underground army because they used the sewer systems to communicate and disrupt German occupations.

  
The other highly interesting thing Adam taught me, was that the Warsaw Uprising consisted of mainly youth (most likely between the ages of 11- 17). The ones that were too young to fight in the war or the ones left behind because they were not deemed as a threat to the German installations. 

  
It was through these youth insurgents that after a 63 day struggle, beginning on aug 1, 1944 the liberation of the city of Warsaw was achieved. 

  
So when I see this sign around now, I know it’s more than just a tag or some kind of brand – it’s a symbol and reminded to all, of the bravery and cost of freedom. 

Melbas31 Snap Shirt Selfies.

A callback: a joke that refers back to another joke performed

earlier in the show; often presented in a different context.

Snap Shirt: A shirt with snap on buttons. Very often coming in plaid.

My love for snap shirts has always been something of a thing in my life.  When I first moved to Wood Buffalo, it wasn’t long until people knew me for my insatiable and compulsory need to snap, Snap Shirts.

I’ve essentially been building this joke  in my community – this  callback – for the past 4 years.

Background.

In 2014, Chris and Jonathan Bowers quickly learned of my love for snap shirts. The three of us had been casted in Les Miserable at Keyano Theatre and we barely even knew each other. Correction. We actually didn’t know each other at all. Then one day Jon shows up in one of the earlier rehearsals and lo and behold, the man is donning a Snap Shirt.  Before I could control myself, my hands propelled themselves forward and in one motion *snap *snap *snap. Every single one snapped open.

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From then on, John and Chris would wear Snap Shirts for me. Not all the time… just as a treat. My goal for Snap Shirts is to always try unsnap all the snaps in one motion. To succeed in this, means you are a true snap shirt ninja.

One day, Chris and Jon came into rehearsals wearing their plaid shirts and chatting with each other in the hallway.

This was the unicorn of all snap shirts. The Ultimate Double Snap. To become a true Snap Shirt Master, I was to – unbeknownst to them – swoop in and get both shirts in one movement.

I grounded my feet. Took a low stance, not unlike that of a ferocious mountain lion getting ready to pounce it’s prey, and I began to run. I ran with the grace of a tiger , the speed of a leopard and the stealth of a wolverine. As I drew between them, their backs facing me, I aimed high and near the collar and with the skill of a marksman I ran my hands down from top to bottom. *snap *snap *snap *snap  *snap *snap. I maintained momentum and disappeared around the corner.

Simultaneously, I had succeeded in the Ultimate Double Snap.

Or had I? As I wheeled around the corner there was also a new sound ringing behind me. Something felt different in one of those shirts. Something wasn’t quite right. *click *click *click *click.

It was the sound of plastic.

Buttons.

Ultimately, Chris had in fact, NOT been wearing a snap shirt.

I just ripped off all the buttons of his shirt.

My screams of glee and triumph instantly changed to a look of horror and shame.

Chris was so mad.

I sheepishly returned to him, picking up each shameful button one by one, and told him I’d sew them back on for him immediately.

Since then, it has been an ongoing joke in the community and friends now wear Snap Shirts just for my own personal pleasure!

I have not since reattempted the Ultimate Double Snap. The opportunity has never come up since. It truly is the unicorn of Snap Shirts.

And so, its been nearly 3 years since that incident and Chris and I are obviously still friends, and he still wears his Snap Shirts for me. In fact he’s wearing one in our debut of stage production of #Surething. Just for me :).

 

Lastly, I wanted to share with you all this. For my 31st birthday, I asked for one thing from my friends. A #snapshirt #selfie.

Because whatever Melba wants. Melba gets.

Check out Chris’s Blog at CJBuzz.com

When You Fall Off the Horse, Get Back on the Pole. 

I bought a fitness pole in 2008 after my Aquatic Supervior (mother of two and kick ass quilter) and I attended a pole fitness clas together in Vancouver. It arrived two days before my birthday and just in time for my party. 

I remember the very first video I posted. If I can scrounge it up I’ll be sure to post it for you. 

  
I was wearing all green and dancing to Maroon 5. This was Day 1 of my progress. I began to watch videos on YouTube and teach myself spins, inversions, stalls, all of it. And everytime I spent more than 15 minutes practicing I made a progress video and named it by Day. 

My family and friends all followed my progress and many actually became skilled pole users themselves. My dad included! 

 
 People who know me, know that I do it for fun and fitness and I enjoy the challenge of learning new skills. I remember the first time I worked out on it, I was sore for 3 days and couldn’t lift my arms above my shoulders. 

I used to log all my pole practice time and load my videos on YouTube but a few years ago I went through a time where I let someone make me feel self conscious about my pole fitness skills . I ended up deleting all my videos and lost my community that taught me so much. I’m back now. 

This experience has taught me a valuable lesson. If you love something, do it. If it enables you to be a better, healthier and happier person, do it. Don’t let other people make you feel less of a human because of what they think is “inappropriate.” 

   
I don’t strip, I don’t dance for money. And honestly if I did, that would be my choice and prerogative. Pole dancing, pole fitness, whatever you want to call it, is hard. It’s physically demanding and it’s therapeutic. 

And I will never let anyone make me feel bad again about something that I’m good at. Something that my friends and family admire about me. And something that keeps me fit mentally and physically. 

This is Day 1 in the year of 2016.

  

Life Is Never a SURE THING.

As the showcase draws near, it’s time to reflect on what has come to pass in these past few months. What I have learned. How I have grown. What changes I have witnessed in other people.

4 months ago I faced the disappointment of not being casted in what I thought was to be my last show in Fort Mcmurray.

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Happy Birthday. Father.

When I was a kid, even now, people around us thought my dad was not as present as he should be, or that he was too hard on us, or that he should do better in this and do better in that. Everyone always has something to say. Under our particular circumstances I think he did a remarkable job. I just wanted to say thank you.

My dad was visibly a single dad for 3 years. From when I was born until he met my stepmom. And even then – he was a single dad. Just, a “married” single dad.

He worked 5 days a week, 8 hours to 10 hours a day. After which he would either come home and cook or bring home Chinese takeout. When my brother and I were older, we began to cook. Then he would placate my stepmother for hours until she would let him sleep and then repeat.

On the weekends my dad would tend to the garden, run errands, buy groceries and cook the legendary meals I know him so well for.  He did pretty much everything.  He did pretty much everything with more patience and endurance than any other human could, in the situation we were in.

Thank you Dad, for providing for us.

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From my dad, I learned the foundation of being an epic human being. He is huge part of why I have a passion for communicating with my fellow human. He taught me the value of patience and how practice makes perfect.  When I was growing up my dad would play ping pong with me in the basement and teach me that repetition and perseverance is how we become better at something.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10 000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick, 10 000 time. ” Bruce Lee.

This is where I get my dedication from. People always regard me as someone who’s very active and seems to be involved in a lot of things. However, those who know me well, know that I don’t just randomly dabble in things. They know that when I am faced with a new challenge I tend to face it again and again and again until I get it. Or at least until I progress. Then I might take a step back and try again later.

Thank you Dad, for teaching me dedication.

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One of my favourite things that my Dad would do for me (and still does on occasion), was that he would bring home a Readers Digest magazine whenever he received the latest subscription.  I never really thought much about it until about high school, when I realized that while everyone else around me was reading Fashion and entertainment magazines I was always drawn to community stories and real life inspiring stories. I really believe that because of this little tradition of exposing me  to Reader’s Digest magazines, I became a better human. A human that thought more about others and learned compassion and to this day draw from lessons that some of those stories taught me.

For instance some of you may even be familiar with the story about  about Major James Nesmeth. He was a man that spent seven years in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. For seven years he lived in solitary confinement inside a prison cell that was not high enough for him to even crouch and barely long enough or him to lay down. To keep from losing his mind and hope, he began to find ways to occupy his mind. He started to play 18 holes of golf in his mind, everyday.  He imagined each stroke, every smell and every possible detail. He visualized his technique and swing every day.  After seven years, he was released from prison and returned home. He played his first game of golf in over seven years and scored a perfect game.

The story has been told many times and the score and detail vary slightly, but the takeaway was ingrained in me from a very young age. I still think about that story and I have been using it in pretty much every thing I do. From sports, to pottery to manifesting my successes.

Thank you Dad for feeding my brain and for giving me the opportunity to learn through Reader’s Digest.

 

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Lastly I wanted to thank my D ad for this. Thank you for always pushing yourself to be better, stronger, wiser, and kinder. You heal with patience and laughter, and you treat those around you with compassion.  From your example Pablo and I challenge ourselves to do the same.

Thank you Dad, for challenging us.

Thank you  Dad, for growing.

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Thank you to Russell Thomas for inspiring me to paint in the style of Wild Colour Portraiture.

The Great Human Odyssey: Darren Fung From Sgt. To Composer

Personal growth is something I am constantly struggling with and then there are instances when I see someone else I know grow, that ignites something inside me and I suddenly can overcome my own complacency.

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The Next Phase 

It dawned on me while watching my friends perform an incredible show of Into the Woods directed by Paul Gélineau, that I may never perform on a main stage like Keyano Theatre again.

It comes with mixed feelings, to say the least. I feel like the most creative years of my life have been these past 5.5 years in Fort Mcmurray. Though never a lead role, I still get people approaching me and commenting on how they’ve seen me in this show or that. I think for many performers that is the greatest reward – to be recognized for your art.

All is not lost though. Because even this evening during the reception at the end of the show I was approached by two screaming girls. I couldn’t even begin to make out what they were saying, but for some reason they were so happy to see me! Their speech was slurred due to a combination of alcohol and excitement and one asked me if she could show me to her friends. An odd request I thought, but who am I to argue with fans? 

So off I followed this girl with the beautiful tight white dress and decorated with black feathers.  A few moments later she brings me to these two gentleman and I finally understand what’s happened. 

“Omg it’s her! It’s her! ” there’s a group of 6 or 8 people screaming and pointing! “You’re the girl in the photo!” “You’re the girl that photo bombed us! We’ve been looking for you everywhere!”
So apparently during intermission….( As I do with all photo bombing opportunities) I jumped into the photo of this group and made the best face I could.  

   
Lo and behold it turns out that I became “photobomb famous” in an evening. The group actually had a bet that whoever could find me would get 10 points. And each person made it their perogative to seek me out. Flattered, I am! Really! 

  
Anyways, it really was a great night. Filled with admiration of my amazing friends who blew my mind on stage and a sense of loss for what I feel I’ve only recently discovered and now I must leave it.

One of the other things that brings my journey to a full circle is seeing one of my dental hygiene clients that I’ve seen since I’ve moved to Fort Mcmurray. For the past few years he’s seen my shows and supported me. And everytime I see him I tell him to audition. He always said maybe but he wasn’t sure if it was his thing. 

And just a few months ago he called me up and offered me tickets to see him perform in A Few Good Men. It was such an amazing moment, to see someone actualize their ambition. 

Tonight I saw him and he wished me well on my new phase and it really accentuated the fact that I have indeed come full circle. 

Thank you Keyano Theatre and all my theatre friends.  You have reminded me of a love I once thought lost and you have reinvigorated a  passion within me that I thought I did not need. 

It is a difficult thing to say goodbye, but it is not goodbye but rather a so long. For I will see you all once again, upon a stage, beyond the stage and before the stage.