The weather has been amazing here…and nature knows what to do…pops of vibrant new growth green contrast from the hearty brown that survived the winter.

As my baby belly grows big I feel constant flutters of life and an occasional bum or elbow stick out for it all to be so real.

Baby dear #1 is excited for “my baby”…her baby sister to join us…she thinks she is at least…

My hubby is settling in but misses his country. Not so much his country but the lifestyle he knew. Everyone knows him, he has tons of respect and a good reputation built up there. A go getter who can no longer do it all by himself. Language and delicious Turkish food. (I miss the food too and feel fortunate to be able to relate to all those feelings as I lived in his country for 5 years:)

I have been writing lately. Feels good. Defining what I’m doing. reminiscing. exploring. The beginning of a bio for my new Kisa Kollections website, perhaps?

Since I can remember I have loved the hunt and the gather with my hands… my eyes… the experiences with all the senses involved…that treasure hunt for beautiful and interesting things.

Lilac flowers pop in May in Minnesota. When I was young during this time this was MY hunt.

I would creep in around neighbors yards, having previous years mentally mapped out where the most fragrant lilacs bloomed.

Down by the edge of the road grew the whitest ones, the lightest lavender hue.

If I stood on my tippy toes at the edge of the neighboorhood I could pull down the branch and clip the coveted “double” one, double dose of pretty petals.

The smaller variety with the deepest lavender hue popped from the corner of the yard, over the compost heap.

I would bundle these beauties all together and present them, usually to my mother, to adorn the dining room table and allow us all to gasp at their fragrance and beauty.

My own back yard has grown, although solidly rooted in Minnesota but branches have embraced experiences around the world, most personally profound were 5 year stints in each southern California and my now second home of Turkey.

While my hunt has progressed from lilacs to other lovely treasures to adorn the body and elicit gasps of “where did you find that?”. My heart remains the same.

I hope you will enjoy the collections I have put forth for you. You too appreciate the hunt, the travel and the stories interwoven in the pieces; from their evolution of materials, ancient techniques and histories, to story of how they got on your lovely self.

wear, share and make new stories…

How are you all?

How is spring effecting you?

Just a little reminder…I heart comments!



Busyness planning…

Well my darlings, many of you know of my craftiness and wanderlust and my hope to bundle it into a sweet business package or two:)

My biggest excuse or complaint is not that I can’t do it but my lack of time, or is it my own focus? This new path has not been paved for me before…Fresh asphalt found and laid by me…so…

I have enlisted help;

A: My most important job still is mother. And mothering is no joke. I have the utmost respect for single-mothers, all mothers truly! If you do it well that involves constant attention, teaching, monitoring, healthy food preparations and clean ups, laughter, patience and so much love but I am trying to balance it all a bit more. Chasing balance…(megs)

B: Between my own dear mother, my hubby and his enrollment in English courses that offer childcare it is such a gift! Dearest aunties and uncles close by are so sweet to help when they can!

C: Finding a schedule…I have to work in the mornings! This growing baby belly makes me sooooo sleepy other times of the day! Or evenings if a nap was fit in:)

D: I enrolled in a small business class at women venture to kind of figure out if this is a feasible, viable idea for me and my small growing family. Trying make a real go of it. Help with pricing and where to sells…so hard…the making and collecting is the fun part …not so much a fan of the rest of it:)

I have scratched the name Mavisu Designs and am leaning towards Tied to Travel?, Traveled and Tied? something…anyone help me brainstorm here…silken wanderlust?…

Here is my “elevator pitch” for the class…the 30 seconds you may have to tell someone what you do:

-Tied and traveled designs are my jewelry lines that evolved from two of my most life changing experiences, the loss of my father and living abroad(ultimately making a second home) in the country of Turkey.

-Tied: stems from repurposing my father’s stunning silk ties into modern, wearable art. Custom orders are very welcome to help you keep a bit of your loved one close.

-Traveled: While living in Turkey I was constantly inspired by bold colors and textures. These collections use hand-dyed Turkish silks, semi-precious stones, gold plated brass and hand-woven needle lace flowers with their own story to tell.


This is a design I did for my sister using on of our Dad’s pasley ties(he could pull of anything and look handsome, even look manly in pink!), vintage buttons, rough cut dyed agates, baroque pearls and a little lace…

You like? I am kind of a tease as many of you said you liked my Turkish imports…but I promise I am getting my act together and things will be up for sale soon!

Thanks for reading…

Thanks for looking…

Thanks for the support…and patience…


Do you ever read your baby book?

Do you have something to read?

Did your parents keep up your baby book?

Is this even part of your culture?

Not a Turkish thing but very much an American one…Where did it come from?…“Many baby books were giveaways from companies that sold baby-related products, from Mellin baby food to bank accounts”.

My youngest sister is almost crying reading this as she is the youngest of 4 and she has no baby book or a basically empty one in the least.

I have the most written in mine being the oldest of the 4. Progressively gets less and less down the sibling line as less and less free time is allotted for our dear mother with progressively more and more babies!

But to be honest I have only read mine maybe twice in my life so to my dear youngest sister you are not missing much:)

To our mother’s credit we each got a box in the basement stuffed with drawings, report cards and the like. We just went through it together a few months ago.

Alot was hilarious, more was just crap that got thrown away or reshoved into the box as we are a bunch of saps who can’t get rid of stuff. Poor mom is still stuck with those boxes(plus a ton of other stuff) in her basement.

For our daughter though I decided to do something a little different…

I didn’t want a fill-in-the-blank question and answer form so I got a gorgeous blank book from paperblanks, specifically Filigree Floral Ebony inspired by French textile design. Has a magnetic closure and a pocket in the back for “extras”. Good blog actually, gorgeous books and a wonderfully inspiring company I just found out…

Our daughter’s life has been extraordinary since day one, she flew across the world in a baby duffle bag at age 17 days. Her life will always be intertwined with death as she is the true light that kept us going showing us the full circle of life! A global citizen always she will be… Here is her’s and her grandfather’s song…

Beyond that she is an amazing little creature who is constantly evolving and growing (hopefully we all are) into her own little being…oh those terrible twos aren’t too bad but we had a tantrum this morning…goodness one for the book all because she ONLY wants to be OUTSIDE next to the neighbors chickens! I know…the excitement…real live chickens that she gets to feed…with her own tiny two hands!

Her book is mainly written by me; her mom(surprise) but has so many wonderful inserts from her baba of course, both grandma’s, her aunties and uncles, my’s dear friends that have visited us and who knows who else for the future…Those whose lives she has touched and are constantly feeding and stimulating her growing soul! I need to not get too crazy, write small and make the pages last until she’s older!

Currently I am working on a illustrated collage of her summer finishing up her second year of life, Didim 2011.

Full of her favorites; turtles “tutle”, swimming and the sea.

Yes, our daughter’s name is Mavisu which means blue water in Turkish.

Her two best comfort friends; mine + benim ponies= “minem pomo”. She has a recent stronger affinity towards the Zebra these days, who knows why?

We paid daily homage to these birds several times per day for about a month of pigeon nesting season.

The pigeon’s (or is it a dove’s?) nest on the third floor of our house that had three different mother birds (for her sake I hope or was it the same?) with 3 sets of twin eggs right after the other, although two different times one of the babies fell out or was pushed from the nest for my two year old with eagle eyes to find both times…slightly tramatic but we worked through it. The mother wouldn’t take the bird back though even when I put it back inside the nest using a piece of paper as to not get my scent on it. Harshness of mother nature up close…the mother not letting this ugly little chick under her to keep warm and then sat on it and smashed it…ekkk.

All birds are “ga” in my daughter’s vocabulary which is neither Turkish nor English but her own special language that I beleive evolved from “quack, quack”?? Everyone just goes with it…

Here is a glimpse of her oak tree growth chart with the Minnesota inspired squirrels her daddy loves to watch run around my mother’s yard.

Feels good to draw again…need to keep at the practice though!

Will post finished pictures when completed…

I L.O.V.E. love the illustration over at Rumisu!

Will finish the collage with some chickens for sure, a hammock, more sea and sun.

Drawing with her baba…I must write I am already impressed with my baby girl’s drawing and puzzle skills! Maşallah!

What else should I put in her book? current events? More pictures?

What is in your baby book that you cherish? facts? locks of hair? family history?

What is an individual heirloom or piece of your childhood that you cherish?

Are there traditions for children from your culture or family you could share?


Sweat, Tears and The Sea

Can my baby really almost be two? As I plan her little seaside party we celebrate her and the sea…

As my baby is almost two it means we have been without our fathers for two years…can that be?

We hold on to little things that bring them back to us…my father-in-law’s kepekli ekmek(wheat bread) he would always buy, a diet coke can can make me cry or put a huge smile on my face…

Here is a revisit to a post I wrote;

I feel as if there is a giant blow dryer on high pointed at Turkey between the hours of 12 and 4 o’clock!

Hot wind…I sweat as I sit trying not to move or even think somedays.

Hot sun!

I look out my window…brown dry weeds except next to the houses which have gorgeous pops of pink puffy bougainvillea flowers and well tended greens.

I wipe my brow.

Through my gauzy white curtains I see the piles of house rubble that blocks my view. Will city ever come take it? Illegal dumping is a big problem in Didim.

Chug a glass of cold water…

I look at my dog. She is too hot to eat, too hot to bark, she just sleeps and pants heavily, noisily.

I look down at my belly. Wonder how my growing daughter inside is doing. If she will be like her mother(crazy in the heat) or her father(who much prefers hot over cold).

I wipe the sweat. Taste the salt.

I look past the dry brown dirt, the dead weeds, the one abandoned house and then I see it…

the beautiful blue Aegean sea. REFRESHES ME! We are so fortunate to be next to the sea.

As my belly grows my body feels so heavy. My fingers swell. Wedding ring off. My feet pound with presser.

Blue beautiful water outside my window. Rush to get my suit on!

I waddle down to the beach, my duck walk as my husband coined it.

Throw everything down! Can’t get there fast enough!

Immediately the cold water calms me, relieves my heat induced surliness, my feet throb and cramp until they get used to the water. I dive in fully…

Ahhhh…cold. I feel light for now, free, my movements open. My hips can bend.

I can be on my back(which you can’t do when u are pregnant only sleep on your sides).

I taste the salty sea, it cleanses me.

Light and relaxed I twirl my arms, back stroking, loosening up my joints and muscles. I take deep  Yoga breaths. I think of my mother when I back stroke…she always loves this at the cabin, on the lake, in Minnesota.

My mind opens as my body does. Free, light, I am blessed. I think about our fathers, my husbands and mine, the cancer. The change. I hold my breath and plunge back down into the sea.

Grasp for air. Look up at the blue sky that reflects down on the clear water making it appear blue- MAVI in Turkish. Some days dark and fierce, others turquoise and calm, green or Grey…so beautiful. I know our baby loves the swimming.

I think about the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. How different that water is than this; colder, darker, more wild. How different my life was there.

As I float I am still, close my eyes and listen…

Listen to my own breath under water, I wonder if this is what my breath sounds like to my baby. If that is why I get nostalgic from listening to my mother breath.

LISTEN…waves, birds, muffled underwater.

I float…I thinking of fun cabin times on old Tractor tires. Family

My eyes open… my hands wade, my belly, my feet and then the bottom of the sea. The water is so clear.

My father when we were little. When I would put my foot in his hands and he would throw me high in the sky. I would plunge back down into the lake water, loving every second!

The sun is starting to set. The air is cooling. My husband swims out to me.

I love the sea.

“The cure for anything is salt water

– sweat, tears, or the sea”     -Isak Dinesen-

As two years have passed now we are celebrating the little things that bring them back to us and to new things that move us forward…

I am going to go throw my baby around in the sea now…xo

The little green house…

I opened the fridge today and saw my little village cucumbers were wilting. They have great cucumbers here (persian cucumbers as Americans know them).

I brought them out. Washed them. Felt thier different levels of limpness.

Salvageable pile and compost.

Peeled and started chopping…

What to do with all these little green cucs?

My hands started working. My head wandering.

Cucumber patches at the little green house. Grandma and Grandpa’s days of their grand gardens.

Cucumber boats carved out of  leftover giants.

How spiny and prickly thier variety was compared to these thin skinned smooth little ones I was peeling now.

I made what I remebered of grandma’s creamy cucs. Chopped the onions, chopped the dill added some vinegar. Instead of mayo and sour cream I added the staple in Turkey of whole milk yogurt.

I reached for my tomatoes. Smelled…

The grand garden flooded in…

It’s summer now. The tomatoes are “real” again. Ones grown from inside the earth. Outside in the sunshine.

My Grandpa would bring his own “real” tomatoes with him to restaurants and stick them inside his burgers.

He had picked them straight off the vine next to that little green house.

What will become of that patch of land that nutured tomatoes, and cucumber, strawberries and asparagus, Rhubarb and raspberries- the patches I would run to as a child and pop fresh berries into my mouth.

What about that patch of earth that would freeze solid under 10 feet of minnesota snow.

Will it get plowed over with dozers and bobcats? Grandpa would have something to say about the job will do anyhow.

That patch of earth where generations of little feet had run around chasing the riding lawnmower for rides. Inhaling that sweet cut grass smell. That smell I love.

That place I love.

I love my grandpa and he just died, Leonard Etzel

He lived in a little green house with my grandma for a million years with a willow tree out front that lived and died along with them.

There is such happiness and peace knowing that he had been “ready to go” for a long time. He is with grandma now, backtogether again.

In grieving for grandpa it is not just grandpa you will miss for it is all that came with him. His jokes, his food obsessions; mush and “juice(bacon vinegar)” just two of the most recent.

How he couldn’t pronounce my foreign husband’s name though he would be sure to kindly ask, “How’s your husband?”(My own father, Kim was “Tim” off and on for 35 years). Just smile and say good! Our daughter was no longer Mavisu around that welcoming round wood table but rather “little Maud”.

There is Costcus and CaJun, BBq chicken wings, Smiles towards thoughts of tip jars for Saturday morning breakfasts.

The round kitchen table were there was always room to squish one more in or ate in rounds, “I’m done, your turn.”

Family gets wonderfully crowded when you had 7 kids and babies on down the lines.

I will miss it all…the food, the obsessions, the language, the kisses, washing his dentures for him, trimming his finger nails, scratching his itches, shooting the shit.  He just liked a good chat!

The willow; branches that hung long and strong and swung generations of kids decked out in willow headresses.

Making special trips to Grandpa’s to “pick up sticks”. Those willow branches down after a storm encumbered  the grass from being mowed EVERY single day.

The duct tape contraptions and fix jobs, the inquisitive mind that never forgot a thing but could not see nor hear(?).

The link to a previous generation; one that knew the great depression, one that fought wars that seemed very knoble, one little green house that had a lot of love.

As grandma had already gone to heaven, and so had his twin brother you wanted grandpa to be with them for him.

For him you wanted it but for yourself you wanted to just hold on  just a little bit longer. Hold on to gramps huge crooked fingers,  squeeze his tennis ball elbows just slightly as to not hurt him. Once more watch him adjust his trucker hat, give him a kiss and hear him say “love you sweetheart” as you loved him back so very much.

Because with gramps going that means the little green house, the willow stump, the rhubarb patch, the aspargus patch and did I mention the little green meeting ground, the meeting ground where you  are always welcome, the meeting ground for the 7 kids and their kids and theirs,  the seven branches of grams and gramps love and kisses.

Well…will be different now.

I feel blessed to have roots from the little green meeting ground and to know what “real” tomatoes taste like!

Thanks grams and gramps! We love you forever!

Also I ended up making grandma’s tomatoes. The smell was there…it took me back!

Tomatoes, lots of chopped garlic, chopped basil, vinegar, oil(I used some amazing olive oil as i now live in Turkey but that is another blog post), sprinkle or sugar, salt always and time…let the flavors mingle.

Did I miss anything mom? aunties?

Does cooking bring you somewhere?

What are your families favorites?