posts filed under the 'Fall' category :
October 28th, 2011

happy halloween!!!

Hello lovely friends :) I hope you are gearing up for a spooky weekend; we here at 4389 certainly are (whoa, 406 no more!)! However, with the move-in, things have been MUCH tamer this year with regards to Halloween (much to poor Jeff’s disappointment :( ). It’s just been difficult to find the time with the unpacking, working (Jeff), job-hunting (Me), and all around getting settled.

BUT! Are Spooky Chew and Icky Vikki going to let a Halloween just pass them by!? NEVER! Behold! The Buoy Bird Halloween Craft of 2011:

Good House Keeping Spider Pumpkin

image from Good House Keeping

You might recall last year when I came up with this spooky little treat: great fun :) When I found this year’s craft online last night I thought why not share it with you and make the BB Halloween Craft an annual event!

For this year’s craft you need to meet the following requirements:

  • NOT have Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • NOT have Arsonphobia (fear of fire)
  • NOT have Cucurbitophobia (fear of pumpkins… seriously, google it!)

Must procure:

  • cute mini pumpkins (color of your choosing)
  • black pipe cleaners
  • tea lights (dip into that bag o’ 100 that everyone has in a drawer somewhere)
  • tracing devices, knives, and fancy carving tools of your choosing

spider pumpkin suplies

First, remove the wax portion of the tea light from its casing. It makes tracing the diameter on top of the pumpkin much easier. Trace your circle, erring on the smaller side so that you don’t end up with too big a hole (which would allow your candle to fall right in).

trace your tealight

Next, pick your carving tool and lop off the top of that gourd! Again, keep on the inner edge of the circle: always better to be too small and make it bigger later.

knives and kitties

Spot the mischievous feline? BLK (bad little kitty).

Next, gut that cute little guy (the pumpkin, not the BLK)! Scrape out as much pumpkin-goo as you can, and take a big whiff: it’s the smell that brings you back to childhood pumpkin carving; a special smell usually encountered only around this time of year (unless you are a year-round pumpkin pie maker: I’m looking at you Doms! xo)

gutting the pumpkin

Next, return your candle to its casing, and squeeeeeeze your candle into the hole. The tin-cased tea lights have some give, so you really can wedge it in there, but if need be, widen your opening a little, but make sure to keep it a snug fit. Push it down to be as flush as possible without it falling into the pumpkin. When it does fall in (which it will unless you are an expert unlike myself) fish it back out, wash the pumpkin-goo off your fingers, and try again.

insert your tealight

Next, mark out where you want to place your spidey legs. Fake being a lefty if need be for the sake of getting a non-blurry shot with your dominant hand. Use a sharp knife to make tiny circles into the pumpkin flesh, deep enough so that the pipe cleaners will push into the softer flesh with ease.

cut leg holes

Fold your pipe cleaners in half and cut in the middle (4 pipe cleaners = 8 spidey legs). Insert your pipe cleaners into the leg holes, until you end up with what looks like a scared spider, all 8 legs raised in surprise!

insert legs

Bend the pipe cleaners at the tip to make little feet, and then again in the middle-ish of the leg to make “knees”.

bend legs

Find somewhere spooky for your new friend, and light that bad-boy up! TA-DA! There you have your very own spooky spider pumpkins! You can add eyes, a face, etc. if you wish, but I liked the classic, clean look of the white pumpkins. Even without creepy bug eyes, you get the picture.

pumpkin spiders

Oh! This is a good time to mention: NEVER EVER EVER leave your candles unattended, especially if you’re working with home-made holders. Trust me: the Christmas Party Fire of ’08 was a close brush with disaster (another story for another time), and I don’t want a cute Halloween decoration turning into tragedy. There, due diligence done! :)

I hope you enjoyed this year’s craft (original inspiration found here)! If you have any holiday crafts you’d like to share please add ’em in the comments section¬†(I’m even already prepping for *the-holiday-with-the-¬≠big-jolly-red-guy-that-is-not-to-be-mentioned-until-after-Halloween* ;) )!

Happy Halloween Everyone! xo

ps: I’ll be back next week with more new-house updates, promise, promise!

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 2nd, 2010

inside the rosebud

There is nothing like a day of baking cookies and pies to make you ready to write about the great indoors. I mean, check out this kitchen: baking in it and then writing about it? Easy.lanterns

The first time we came to the ‘Rosebud (approximately a month ago), we didn’t know what to expect. And to be honest, the same to can be said even today. As I mentioned, there is always plenty to do here, but there is also always plenty to look collagedining table

I have found myself being pulled to head outside on the sunny days we have spent here, only to be pulled even stronger to stay in the house to craft, cook, or even just to take in the scenery which lies within. Autumn is always a time of deep, rich colors, but The Winking Rosebud has managed to include all these beautiful colors inside the main house, making it just as beautiful as the changing leaves that are just beyond its big picture windows.tablescapepumpkin candles

There is no category that the main house fits into. There are Mexican tiles on the floors, African tapestries on the walls, Tibetan instruments in corners, and plenty of Canadiana sprinkled around liberally. Not a hint of beige or white, let me tell you. This hodge-podge of color and culture comes together to make a home that is warm, full, and oh-so inviting. I felt it the moment we walked through the hand-carved front door.dragon collage

Although the ‘Rosebud is a very eclectic place, it carries the classic comforts of home, allowing it to be both an amazing gallery of art and furniture AND a loving place where you can kick back, relax, and feel like one of the family. There is a lot of love here, and it is evident in all that this place is and that these people are.odiefireplace

So, that’s all for me from The Winking Rosebud. A HUGE thank you to our hosts; you have inspired us, and reminded us so much of what home really means. This place truly is a ‘retreat’, as any guest (myself included) would flee to this place again and again.

Vikki and Jeff

love, Vikki and Jeff

October 1st, 2010

outside the rosebud

Mmmmm, the smell of fall in the country. I consider myself a lucky, lucky gal to be getting the chance to experience it. Usually I don’t hit an semblance of country until around December (home for Christmas! I have my tickets booked!), so I’ve been indulging in the chance to take in the smells, as well as the sights, around the exterior of The Winking Rosebud. And although I can’t share all the gorgeous smells of fallen leaves, wet grass, and crisp air with you, I can show you some of the wonderful property which is providing them.Deef

The other day I shared with you the guest house that Jeff and I have been populating for the majority of this week. Well, as there are now new guests up there, we have moved into the Big House. Just wait until you see the inside of this place…outside house

A few of the days spent here have been a bit on the rainy side, but that has been a-ok with me. It was the kind of rain that reminds me of the scene in Dirty Dancing when Baby and Johnny steal the car to go practice their moves (ya with me? anyone???), so I enjoyed the rainfall-romance from under a gazebo, glass of wine in hand, and computer in lap. Long afternoon bliss.rainy day

The wildlife around the property has been wonderful, reminding me of the peaceful souls in the world (the ones that aren’t crammed into the subway at 8 am, pre-morning coffee). Horses, dogs, squirrels, chipmunks and an apparent coyote have kept life existing around me, even in my quietest moments. Of all the moments shared with these creatures, I have loved the most my mornings with the chickadees. If you know me well, you know my (permanent) love for these little guys ;)green collagechickadee

There is always something to do at the ‘Rosebud, both inside and out. We have had parties, bonfires, dirt bike races, and hot tubs all week long. I have yet to hop in this canoe, which will likely happen this weekend, so don’t be too surprised if you don’t hear much from me over the next couple of days. This gal has got a lot more relaxing to do before she’s back to the grind.axe and canoe

So, in closing, I have to apologize for not sharing what Buoy Bird is predominantly going to be about: MY home. But I promise you, through experiencing another’s home that ignites the senses as much as this one has, I will only be better equipped to bring all the potential beauty of my home to the forefront. Just give me a few more days here ;)


photo by Jeff Chew

Stay tuned for Part Two: inside the rosebud.

September 28th, 2010


G’day Everyone! Sorry that I haven’t been around for the past couple of days with stories of shops, crafts, yard sales, and the like but, as many of you know, I am spending my week enjoying a much needed break from the city life.

Getting out of town is no easy feat for me and mine, being car-less and all. So when we were offered the opportunity to spend a whole seven days at a family/friends’ retreat, we jumped and held on to that offer good and tight.

Welcome to The Winking Rosebud Retreat.the winking rosebud

This is my home for the next week, and what a home it is.cottage

We hadn’t even pulled up the front drive when I felt myself starting to unwind, making me realize how tightly wound I actually was.driveway

The Winking Rosebud is my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend’s parent’s place (HA!), but to put it simply, we’re staying with friends. Great friends. These lovely people have built a home that they get to enjoy year round, taking in the simple pleasures of a country life.squirrel

I will feature much more on The Winking Rosebud throughout the week, but today I thought I would just share with you some of the simple pleasures that I am enjoying.pumpkinhorseshoesteeny horses

Check in through the week to catch more of The Winking Rosebud’s interiors, exteriors, and all that this wonderful place is inspiring. I’m off to do more of this…my view


September 27th, 2010

where’d ya go?

Hey folks! I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, as I did promise you all that I’d be updating at least 3-5 times a week. I am currently in one of the most inspirational places you could be during the fall in Ontario, and I might just need today to take it all in. Then I will start sharing all this fabulousness with you, so stay tuned!!! :) leaves

September 23rd, 2010

hello fall!

Happy First Day of Fall Everyone! I know that by late November I always question this, but Fall is without a doubt my all time favorite season. I love the colors, the crisp air, the pending holidays, and the culinary delights that seem to accompany this wonderful season.

Jeff and I tend to start to *nest* around this time of year; the house is kept warm and cozy, we spend many a night sitting on our front porch watching the leaves change, and delicious feasts become all the more frequent. So in that vein, I thought I’d share with you our most recent feast; a simple pot of Jeff’s homemade spaghetti sauce.jeff over pot

Jeff is actually just on his way home from a concert in New York City, but the night before he left, we decided to have a special at-home date. We have had a lot of little things to celebrate lately, and what better way than to spend some quality time together in the kitchen, preparing a lovely meal.simmer

This sauce is so delicious AND so simple. However, I am sworn to secrecy with regards to Jeff’s secret ingredients, so for now all I can share are some photos of the process.onionsthe good stuff

One thing that isn’t a secret is the fact that Jeff and I live relatively modestly, both being post- secondary grads and living in one of Canada’s most expensive cities. However, we made it a goal early on in our stay here that we would never sacrifice the comforts of home. Nights at the pub and the odd movie can be put aside, but we will always make it possible to have a nice meal and a cozy home.garlicblending

It’s amazing that in a season when it seems things are starting to die off, we here at 406 are actually celebrating new beginnings and fresh ideas. Then again, with inspiration like this being placed on the kitchen table more and more often, maybe it’s no surprise that we are such a happy, refreshed pair.yum

(Just a note to my new-to-blogging followers: if you would like to leave a comment, I’d be ever so grateful if you could do it in the posts’ comments section, so that all the world can see what sweet friends I have. To do this, click on the link at the bottom of any post that may say “Post a Comment” or “7 Comments” etc. and from there you can leave me a message on the specific post. I LOVE getting emails through the contact form from you all, but like I said, I think the world deserves to see your beautiful words too! xo)