posts filed under the 'crafts' category :
February 14th, 2011

crafty love

Well here we are! Valentine’s Day and the final Vday post (until next year anyway!). Much much much love to all my special supporters out there; you inspire me and help make this blog an easy labour of love.

Remember how this all started with a craft? Well, here is that craft! It starts a little something like this…banner triangle

And soon it starts to look like this…L for love

A couple sticky fingers and lots of glittery paper later we have this…LOVE

The cup holder on my lap desk from James didn’t fit around the bottom of my wine glass, but it made a great scrap catcher!garbage cup

Add a few hearts….more love

And Voila! LOVE! See how easy it is to make love!? I encourage all of you to create your own kind of love today, and be sure to share it around!love banner

A special shout out to my favorite Valentine, Mr. Jeff <3 I love you darlin'; you make every day so full of love.

And another special shout out to chalk pencils… this little guy makes crafting SO easy :)chalk pencil

In memory of my Grampie, Percy Barron. xo

February 13th, 2011

love blooms

Happy Day-Before-Valentine’s-Day! You know what that means: time to grab your darlin’ a bouquet of flowers, to remind her (or him) of your ever blossoming love! I personally love ’em because they help keep the hope of an early Spring mine

VDay shows of affection need not be a pricey affair: I’m just as happy with a bundle of carnations or daisies as I am with roses. They last longer, and getting more bang for your buck means you can spread them around the house liberally.

Sweet notes written here and there are an easy way of bringing the romance: the reusable message-top on my matchbook project was the perfect place to pose *the question* to my Valentine.three heart jar

Of course, if you are going to go the not-so-showy route, a little bit of extra handcrafted love definitely helps up the sweet factor.close up three heart jar

Revisit your days of grade school and making homemade Valentines for your classmates. Paper hearts, doilies, and a bit of string can go a long way in the love department. Craft or bake together (with partners or friends) for even more shared Valentine’s Day ribbon

A little bit of heart goes a long way. :)

February 9th, 2011

days of love

Well hellooooo! Miss me? I know, I know, I’ve been absent and unpredictable at best. The only thing I can chalk it up to is having a serious case of Canadian city-locked winter blues, and being a little under inspired. My Canadian sisters and brothers, I can feel your empathy from here. Thank you :)

However, as I shouted from the rooftops (and hootsuite) last night, I have been bitten by the inspiration bug. Or maybe rather hit by Cupid’s arrow, as my inspiration this week came from… VALENTINE’S DAY! Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day centers around all things pink, red, sweet, and sensual, and that my friends has inspiration written all over for me.

The idea was to just do a post on my Valentine’s Day crafting. I wanted to add a little *love* to our nest, without going too over the top with the campy-campiness of the holiday. Before I started, I decided to photograph some inspiration to get me in the Valentine’s/crafty mood. One vignette turned into many, and now I share with you the first of six days of V-day inspiration (well, five days, as tomorrow is reserved for Kim and Matt. Hollah!)!

I started with my pink mini eggs

Lady agreed that it was a very good place to start.eggs and lady

Next, a little pink bubbly.bubblypink bubbly

Lady also agreed with this but Ziggy was getting jealous of her being heavily featured on the blog.

So I moved on to a scene out of kittens’ reach: some lovely old antiques.vintage vignette

The typewriter, candelabra, and milk glass vase were all roadside scores (yeeees!), the Betty Crocker cookbook is from Ethel down in Leslieville (I still have to post on that adventure!), and that drawing of the girl and her dog is from my childhood bedroom. I know there is a story around it, but it’s not coming to mind. Mama, can you elaborate?vintage vignette two

Keeping with the vintage, I pulled out some old CHFI records I found (also on the side of the road); just tell me that album front isn’t exactly what you want your Valentine’s day to look like. I can’t get enough of it. So I photographed all four volumes together.recordfour records

Ha! There are actually some great tunes on these.

And there you have it, a little Valentine’s inspiration! Oh, the actual crafts for which I was seeking the inspiration? Well, you’ll just have to check back in the days to come.

It’s good to be back :) xo

February 9th, 2011

inspired by love.

They say that sometimes you have to wait for inspiration to come before you act. That inspiration is here. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come over the next SIX DAYS here on Buoy Bird! Check back everyday this week for new, love-inspired posts! sneak peekxo :)

November 10th, 2010

keeping it pretty (and planned out!)

Sometimes you have some paper, and ribbon, and glue, and you just have to do SOMETHING with that paper, and ribbon, and glue.

This urge came to me at about..ermmm… 2 am on Saturday night (technically Sunday).craft musings

Trust me, I didn’t know where I was heading when I started, but I was crafting with the mantra that “it is not about the destination, but the journey”. So I let the available supplies take me where it would.ideascoming along

And after looking and looking and looking at my original layout, saying “what could this be?”, it came to me: a blogging calendar!blogging calendarmodified planning

Now mind you, I’m already off track, but it’s a great framework to have at my side, keeping me somewhat current and also looking ahead. Note that things are written in pencil, not pen. The little tie ribbons allow me to move to the next month through gentle removal or gratifying ripping, depending on the mood of the incoming month.plans by my side

New calendars are all the rage right now amongst my fav blogs, with 2011 fast approaching, so I was happy to make a little calendar to call my own. It serving a strict purpose is just icing on the craft calendar final

I hope my little creation entices you to get out your glue guns or hole punches and to get back to basics with your hands, or to even explore the pleasure and gratification of looking ahead with a calendar and making plans that you’ll be all the more likely to stick to. Mixing craftiness with organized planning: my secret vice.

November 3rd, 2010

post fright (…or fright post)

I don’t think anyone, myself included, realizes how much time I put into holidays. I’m sure that MANY of you can empathize with this, but I think that for the majority of people, the holiday that they get carried away with the most is dead girl

Such is not the case in my house.

Don’t get me wrong; I go full tilt for Christmas. But I honest-to-goodness believe that a more concentrated, prolonged effort goes into celebrating Halloween here at 406.front porch

So you will forgive me for being absent as of late. But what is a Halloween (and a HUGE Halloween party) without tombstones, cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and spooky edibles!?food collagetypewriter

Check out my Mummy Dogs: hot dogs rolled in phyllo pastry, and dipped into a blood bath (ketchup) or pus (mustard). A last minute idea to turn our cheeses into tombstones with clove-marked RIPs was captured only after many people had already devoured their share of cheese.

I turned my vintage typewriter into a lost love’s last letter, penning a farewell note, only to be cut short with a spattering of blood from behind. Our guests that discovered this little “easter egg” found it quite amusing.creepy hostswitch of the east

Halloween 2010 was no year to skimp on the costumes! Jeff as the Wolfman (check out that face!), and myself as Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl”, we set the bar high for our guests and their creations. And let me tell you, we were not disappointed! Top prizes go to our Frankenstein’s Monster (see below) and The Wicked Witch of the East. Yes, that is Dorothy’s house that fell on her head. How ridiculously clever is my best friend <3 (she also handmade ruby slippers… talent abounds!)spooky boysjackolantern collage

The party on Saturday was a booming success, and on night two (actual Halloween) we had a couple close friends stop by in their Sunday best to help spook the trick-or-treaters and to pass out candy. The boys carved some mean jack-o-lanterns so that all the little ghosts and ghouls knew that they were welcome here on 406’s door step. A few creepy flicks later, and Halloween was behind us for another year.

But the spirit of Halloween lives on 365 days a year here at 406. And to ensure that, we always have the scariest thing ever to remind us that something spooky lurks this way. Buoy Bird readers, you’ve been warned……pug bag


Happy Belated Halloween! xo

October 27th, 2010

bloody candles!

“Four more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween! Four more days till Halloween, Silver Shamrock!”

No folks, I haven’t gone completely crazy. Just a little ditty from a special Halloween flick; kind of a theme song at our house around this time of year.bloody candelabra

So, I hope all your Halloween preparations are going well! Things at 406 are moving along nicely, but I hit a bit of a road block the other day. Did you know bloody candles are hard to come by? Sacrilege, right!? Well, I’m not one to let a formality hold me back, so when you can’t buy it… you make it!!!what you need

For these spooky candles you will need:

~ as many plain candles as you’d like to blood-ify

~ paro-wax

~ red food coloring

~ red crayons

~ two pots to make a double boiler; one medium sized, one small

~ a spoon you’re willing to get all waxy

~ a holder for your candles (again, willing to get all waxy)

~ optional: perfume oil to scent your wax withdouble boiler

Create a double boiler by filling your larger pot about half way full with water, placing your smaller pot within it, making sure no water can seep into the smaller pot.melt your parowax

Add about half a cup of paro-wax to your smaller pot, and use a medium heat to warm your water enough to melt your paro-wax.pot of blood

DO NOT do what I did, and add your food coloring, expecting your wax to turn bloody red… it won’t. Instead, remember the crazy projects you use to do as a child, thank the lord that you are still as kid at heart and actually have crayons in the house, get yourself a couple red crayons, and melt them into the wax, turning it the perfect shade of blood red. Add your perfume oil at this point if you’d like. Mmm… strawberry scented blood.drip your blood

Using your candle holder to hold your candle upright, CAREFULLY drip the red wax over your candles, one at a time, until you achieve the desired effect. Allow the wax to dry, then remove from your holder, and continue to do as many candles as you wish, adding more and more gory goodness to your home with every additional candle.bloody candles

Distribute and enjoy your new creations, and maybe do as we did on Jeff’s advice: leave a bloody candle in your original holder, seeing as it’s already super bloody – aka: super spooky.spooky lady

I hope you enjoyed my creation! A special thank you to my Mama for letting me play with wax and heat even in my young age, thus encouraging projects like this! xo

October 18th, 2010

roadside finds – the gorgeous shade

Hey hey! Time for the second installment of roadside finds!glass shade

I stumbled upon this beauty a week ago about midway up my street, and I fell in love. I would die to have a long, dangling fixture with a shade like this in a corner of my home, so I tossed it in my bag, with every intention to create just that.

It then dawned on me that it might take a little more work, and possibly a little outside help, to turn this stand-alone shade into the light fixture of my dreams. So in the mean time, I had to find something to do with this so that it wasn’t just another piece of *junk* hanging out by the front door, waiting to have its true artistic nature pumpkin and leaves

Keeping up with the pumpkin theme, I came up with this! You like?add some candles

I decided to go a little further in inducing some warn autumn charm into the house by putting a couple battery operated tea lights underneath, and voila! Glowing antique glass pumpkin!glass pumpkin

Keep your eyes peeled folks! You never know when you might come across a holiday appropriate find to add some unique flare to your decor!

October 15th, 2010

the great white pumpkin

Oooooo! Things are starting to get spooky around here! In case you didn’t know, Halloween is one-half-of-the-human-population-at-406’s favorite holiday. Seeing as my boyfriend is commonly referred to as “Spooky Chew”, I’m sure you can guess which half I speak of. But don’t get me wrong, Halloween is VERY near and dear to me, and although I didn’t think it was possible (my mom made Halloween very special for us as kids), I might actually like Halloween more now as an adult than I did as a child!

Getting geared up for the night of horrors and haunts, 406 is typically transformed into a deathly graveyard; a house of spooks and ghouls. This year is no different, so it is time for the Halloween projects to commence!

This eerie little treat is inspired by one of my daily emails from Better Homes and Gardens. They’re always sending me tips on home decor, crafts, and allllll the good stuff I love. My favorite time is from now until the end of the year, when my inbox is flooded with BHG articles, split between my top two holidays: CHRISTMAS, and Halloween.white pumpkin

For this project, one needs:

~ a pumpkin in the color of your choice (I opted for a fake-y so that I can reuse my creation year after year, but I have every intention to do another on a big orange real guy.)
~ black paint
~ a paint brush
~ plastic spiders
~ fake spider webbing
~ your trusty glue gun and glue stickspaint vertical lines

Step One: Paint vertical lines down the veins of your pumpkin. Work your way around, and use a wet cloth to wipe off any wobbly bits if you have an unsteady hand.paint horizontal lines

Step Two: Paint scalloped lines across the pumpkin, connecting the veins and emulating a spider’s web. Like the BHG example, I only worked half way down the pumpkin; those spiders still have some work left to do!silly lady and spiders

Step Three: Cut any unnecessary bits off of your plastic spiders (mine had rings).

Step Four: Take a break and take a photo of your ridiculous cat.

Step Five: Proceed to glue your spiders on to the surface of your pumpkin.finished pumpkin

Step Six: Continue attaching your spiders in a haphazard fashion; use as many as you’d like for your desired effect.

Step Seven: Use your fake spider webbing to really creep out your pumpkin, dragging it between the stem and your spiders’ legs.

Step Eight: Place your creation near something scary in your house, like a bowl of skulls, or a messy kitchen counter.creepy spider pumpkin

And you’re done! I hope you all enjoy, and I’d love to see photos of your Halloween creations! If you have any projects that you’d like to share, PLEASE send them my way, as I love crafting new, ghastly decorations. Keep me in mind for any upcoming Christmas treats too. ;)

If you’d like to receive home, decor, and craft ideas, sign up for Better Homes and Gardens newsletter at I highly recommend it!

Jeff just made the point that a white pumpkin works best for this project because it “makes it look like the spiders sucked all the blood out of it”. Did I mention the moniker Spooky Chew? ;)

October 14th, 2010


“Hiiiii… Shane was it? Hi Shane. My name is Vikki Humphrey, and I hold a Visa card with your company. Yah, well, I’m on vacation, and I could reeeeally use a credit limit increase…”

You can always judge a great vacation by how much money you blow. I had a really, really great vacation :P

Jeff, myself, and a couple friends headed down to Chicago this past weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving to visit with a fellow, relocated Canadian. I knew the weekend would be a blast, just based on the company I would be keeping, but I never imagined I would fall so in love with a city that I otherwise would have never explored.lighthouseboat collage

The first endeavour we took on was the river and lake architecture boat tour. Definitely no regrets. With a river running through the city, towering sky scrapers, and a harbour front reminiscent of those in Nova Scotia, I felt like I was in a million places all at once. It was very nostalgic and awe inspiring.building collage

The architecture in Chicago is INSANE! The old world styles mixed with innovative and sometimes sci-fi looking buildings was pure eye-candy, and all the eras seemed to gel together to create a sky line that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.the bean

THE BEAN! I was dying to see the bean (aka: the Cloud Gate Sculpture in Millennium Park), and it did not disappoint. If you only got to glance at Chicago for a split second, the best way to do it would be via the Bean. The reflective surface is designed to capture the whole Chicago skyline in one magnificent image, allowing you to take in a 180 degree view just by standing back and looking forward. It was also cool to get really close up and make silly faces into the convex and concave surfaces, kinda like the mirror house at the circus.fall collage

We landed in Chicago at the perfect time of year, in my opinion. Fall is beautiful most anywhere, but Chicago had that specific autumn splendor in spades. Although we were treated to above average temperatures, the streets were still leaf-covered, sun drenched, and decorated for the season.centerpiece collage

Our biggest “excuse” for going to Chicago was to bring a proper Canadian Thanksgiving to our newly fake-yankee’d friend. Guess what? Fresh turkeys are HARD to come by a month before the host country is to celebrate their own Thanksgiving, so we had to settle for a couple fresh chickens. However, Jeff tried his hand at brining this year, and now none of us will likely be satisfied by anything less ever again. Moist and salty, and complimented by the fall harvest’s best veg, we were sufficiently suffonsified (Thanks Kyla ;) ). And what is a harvest table without a centerpiece!? Making due with that which can be found in a manly-man’s condo, I think I did pretty good.


OK. The shops (remember that credit limit increase?). I won’t go on about the scads of money I spent at superstores and bargain basements which we just don’t have here in Canada (for shame!), but I do have to share with you a couple of the ADORABLE places that were right within our host’s community.Maude the Pugpug collage

This is Maude. Maude is ambassador and co-owner of Paper Doll, a stationary and gift store in the heart of Wicker Park. Maude and Stacy (also a co-owner, along with sister Kelly) were kind enough to show me around Paper Doll, revealing to me all the wonderful things that I was then SO tempted to buy. What I wanted to take away with me the most was Maude herself (as many of you know, I’m a pug fanatic), but as she is quite attached to her loving Paper Doll family, I was shown other ways to take the spirit of Maude home with me: Maude Pins (made for the shop’s upcoming 10 year anniversary), Maude tee’s, and even a Port-a-Pug, a paper Maude-like creation that is cute, cardboard, and convenient.card collage

Paper Doll carries a plethora of indie-designed greeting cards and paper goods. The perfect place to pick up a Thank You card for a certain Chicagoan host.bird collagetea

Pins, figurines, candles, teas, and toys were just a few more things that I could have lined my shopping bags with, but I had to have some restraint. It’s one thing to get on hands and knees to photograph a stranger’s shop; it’s another to try to take all the stranger’s goods with you back through customs. However, if you would like to see more of the shop, and all that I had to leave behind, check out Paper Doll’s website here. If you’re in touch with them, tell Maude and Stacy I said hello, and give sweet Maude a puppy kiss for me. Pug breath lasts an hour, but pug love lasts a lifetime.bead collagebeadniks

The next local shop I stumbled upon was Beadniks, the best damn bead shop I have ever been in! Woods, metals, stones, and feathers in every color can be found in this earthy, upbeat shop. But the best find at Beadniks was the staff. Lauren was a creative genius like no other, helping me craft an awesome set of Halloween earrings, and a great felt-bead necklace. I wish I could have stuck around to take in a week’s worth of Beadniks workshops, like “Booze and Beads” (YAY!) and “Fringe Benefits”, a class on making beaded earrings. Check them out here, and if you are a lucky devil who lives in Chicago, be sure to visit the shop up on Division Street.Mmmmm

And last, but NEVER-NO-NEVER-NOT least, Chicago. Deep. Dish. Pizza. Holy crap. Just look at that cheese! This might be the main reason for me not to live in Chicago; I’d weigh a million pounds. Jeff and I were determined to have at least one slice of proper Chi-town Deep Dish before we left, so after coyly asking a valet attendant where to find the best of the best, we found ourselves on the steps of Giordano’s. You know when slang leaves your mouth in the most organic of ways while immersed in a particular culture? Well, I actually said “Mama Mia!” while eating this pizza without realizing it. I could go on ad nauseum about this amazing, decadent creation, but really, words just can not describe. Check out Giordano‚Äôs website here, but know that if you do, you’ll just be all the more likely to buy a plane ticket to Chicago just so that you too can have the cheesy, euphoric experience.vik and jeff in chicago

And that was Chicago. The most beautiful city I’ve ever been in, and one I intend to return to again and again. It swept me off my feet, tantalized all of my senses, and left me breathless, broke, and begging for more… pizza that is. :)