posts filed under the 'home sweet home' category :
December 18th, 2011

Christmas Crafts and Decor

Time is limited folks! I am smack in the middle of pre-Christmas-Sunday-Family-Holiday-Programming!!! But I wanted to share some of my Christmas Crafts and Decor with you!!!grape vine star

I was going to do this with driftwood, but I didn’t get a chance to scour the beaches yet for my driftwood stockpile, so I used some dried grape vine I had from an old arrangement. Jeff claims it’s a little Blair-Witchy, but I say Christmas Star all the way!

Next, I found THIS on pinterest, and had to give it a go. People always scoff when I say I save my corks to someday make a project, but to all those scoffers: how do ya like ‘dem wreathes!?cork wreath

I was going to document making this as a buoy bird craft, but the camera settings were all wonky and even after photoshop lightening the pics were STILL this dark!

cork wreath suppliesstringing corks

Eh, no biggie, instructions here! :)

Next was one of my favorite 2011 decorations. I found the most BEAUTIFUL hand cut paper snowflakes that my ridiculously talented friend Joanna made me a few years back, and I always wanted a special way to display them.

joanna's snow flakes

These babies deserved to be in a giant frame (found roadside in ol’ TO years ago)!

Some 1/2 off flowers for a cheery Christmas arrangement, a Tree, and I dare say we are ready for Christmas around these parts!

Christmas FlowersChristmas Tree 2011

Or at the very least, the Christmas Party we had this past Friday! Stay tuned to see how that turned out!

christmas elf 2011

Merry Hoho Everyone!

ps: MUCH love to my sweet boyfriend for making my blog “snow” yet again this Holiday season :) xo

December 9th, 2011

Christmas, Christmas time is here…

Oh Happy Day! I loves me some Christmas!

Jeff and I went and found our tree on Sunday, and started our first Christmas tradition since arriving back in NS! We found the perfect u-pick/u-cut farm a few communities over, and made a day out of driving through the coastal country-side on our way there. On the way home we stopped in the beautiful town of Chester, where we had a warm dinner and great beers in Nova Scotia’s oldest rural pub, The Fo’c’sle Tavern.

jeff and vikki's tree hunttree loveManly manfo c'sleYou may recall me bragging in the past about my supurb Christmas Tree  pickin’ skills. Actually, words weren’t spoken in the past, but isn’t a photo worth a thousand words? Well, this year I’m saying it: I pick a mean Christmas Tree!

Tree 2011We’re calling it a Chew-Humphrey Hybrid. A Humphrey Tree is historically known as one that is almost as fat around as it is tall. Mr. Chew happens to come from a home where the perfect “A” shaped tree is favored. I think we found a nice middle ground. :)

Our star from trees of years past has never been my favorite thing, and seeing as I come from a family where there is much love and tradition surrounding the Christmas Tree Star, I just knew I had to create something that could stay with us for years to come that would compliment our own tradition and style. So…..

christmas starI made it myself: you like??? :) Well, I glued lights to a pre-made grape-vine star, but it is just perfect for what is going to be the best country-coastal tree you ever did see!

And isn’t it truly a Christmas home once you have your lights on the tree? There is nothing like sitting in the living room with all lights off except a glowing Christmas Tree. I’m especially thrilled that we get to show off our tree in our big picture window: you can literally see it when you come around the bend up the road, and it gives me the feeling that I am truly coming home to OUR home. *sigh*

lit treeMerry Christmas Everyone! I hope your holiday season is starting off as happily as ours is!

Stay tuned for complete tree decorating; I’m making some fun changes this year! :) xo

***oh my, just realize it’s “Christmas, Christmas time is NEAR”, not here… which in the blog post’s case is actually more appropriate!

December 1st, 2011

anchor wreath update!

Ya know when something isn’t quite right? Well, the tiny little red bow on that anchor wreath just hasn’t been sitting right with me, sooo…

new bow…I *jujjed* it up a bit. :) Off to continue decking the halls! xo

December 1st, 2011

our anchor wreath

It’s December 1st, meaning… IT’S CHIRSTMAS!!!! :D

Now of course I know it’s not accctually Christmas, but the Advent calenders are out and Jeff is consuming that awful Advent calender-chocolate, so that mean I can say, “IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!”

It was serendipitous that I happened to not be working on December 1st, as it’s allowed me to jump right into my Holiday crafting/decorating/over-indulging. And keeping with the trend of turning our little sea-side cottage into a nautical extravaganza, I figured I’d bring the holidays and the sea-theme together, and I came up with this:

anchor wreath

Move over simple, round Christmas wreath, you’ve been replaced by the new kid in town.

I have been brain-storming about this one for a few weeks now, and although I originally thought it was going to require a mess of chicken wire as a frame, I soon found out that chicken wire ain’t cheap in old NS, and I wasn’t shelling out 16 bucks when I only needed 2 feet. Plan B: Coat hangers.

shape coat hanger

I started by shaping my coat hanger into one side of the anchor. One coat hanger did one “side”, and I replicated the shape so I was left with 4 curvy bits of hanger. Four coat hangers = FREE from my friendly neighbourhood dry cleaner!

coat hanger template

I knew I wanted to double up my coat hangered-garland, so I had two coat hangers per side.

coat hangers doubled up

Next, I attached evergreen garland ($6 for 3 bunches) to each individual coat hanger shape with zip ties. I found really tiny zip ties so that they would be easily hidden when all was said and done.

garlandmini zip tagsattach garland to hanger

The garland was wired and it took to the shape of the coat hangers pretty well, so I just attached with the zip ties every few inches. And I know that some of you might be thinking, “What’s the point of the hangers if the garland is wired?” Well, the garland isn’t THAT strong, and it would definitely droop and not hold its shape, so in this case the coat hangers are the strong, sturdy base. And doesn’t every good project being with good bones?

Once I had two of the coat hangers covered in garland, I laid ’em out to see the basic gist of where my anchor wreath was going. And just as I suspected, only one layer of garland looked skinny and sparse.

thin wimpy wreath

I doubled that bad boy up and now I had the beginnings of a nice beefy anchor wreath.

big beefy wreath

I continued on to my third coat hanger, and once completed I realized that if I added a fourth, the middle shaft of my anchor was going to be MUCH beefier than the rest. So instead, I just added extra small pieces of garland to the bottom and top sections of the third hanger.

three separate garland hangers

Put it together and:

starting to look like an anchor

Ta-da! Dense foliage all over!

Next I had to figure out what I was going to use as the circle at the top of my wreath (I later realized I could have use an *actual* small wreath for this, but my way was more fun ;) ).

lobster trap opening

Any guesses as to what that is? No, I did not make it myself… No, we have not found Blair Witch-like crafts hanging in our back woods…

It’s the opening of an OLD lobster trap! I picked a couple of them up from my new friend when I got these, and they happened to come in handy sooner than I expected! It’s amazing that all this stuff use to be made by hand. Fishermen of days gone by: you have my respect.

So I covered my round lobster trap opening in garland, the same as the hangers…

round anchor top

And took a step back to eye-ball where I was heading.

lookin good


Next I had to attach the whole kit and kaboodle, so using bigger zip ties, I connected all my pieces.

bigger zip tagsattach all the pieces

I gave all the zip ties a trim…

trim zip ties

And Voila! Evergreen anchor!

evergreen anchor

A red bow ($1 for two!) for some flair…

pretty red bow

And there you have it! A nautical take on a Holiday classic.

anchor wreath hung

Of course the final step of calling your boyfriend outside to justify your crazy craft is optional. ;)

my Christmas elf

Happy December Everyone! xo

UPDATE!!! Anchor Wreath got an upgrade later that day! Check it out HERE! :) 

Post *linked up* to Sally Lee by the Sea’s Holiday Link Party!


November 30th, 2011

lookie at what i found

It’s about time this buoy-blog got a dash of its namesake with some nautical paraphernalia! Behold!

buoysOhhh sweet east coast man with a shed full of sea-side findings, won’t thou be-est my friend for all days!? Yes? Good. I’ll take that lobster trap off your hands too.

lobster trapThe beginnings of my shanty :)

November 13th, 2011

a perfect sunday evening

Hello friends! I know I keep coming back and sharing not-so-exciting/informative updates, skipping over all the details of new-home-ownership, but sometimes one just gets caught up in the simpler moments.

perfect sunday nightSuch as a Sunday night filled with cottage magazines, local wine, and making your first monkey’s fist knot! A perfect quiet night here in Bayside. :)

Buuuut, I promise to get my buns into gear and get posting about more home-related things, such as:

  • The Move-In (gotta get on that, it’s been over a month!)
  • A Halloween 2011 recap
  • Things being painted white, white, and more white
  • An inspiration board or two for upcoming projects
  • How freakin’ excited I am for our first Christmas in our first home!

All good things coming your way! Stay tuned! xo

*tutorial on the monkey’s fist here!



October 20th, 2011

my toilet has a sign.

It’s true. I’m one of those people whose toilet comes with a sign. Shoot me now.

I kid, I kid: it’s not that bad. I just always felt strange whenever I’d encounter a toilet with a set of instructions. Provided I’m anywhere in North America (‘cuz I’ve seen some pretty funky thrones from around the globe!), I always felt that little needed to be said about the bathroom-going experience. I always respected posted signs, but I always hoped that short of my “if you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie wipe the seatie” sign, my bathroom wouldn’t require much more signage.

Others with toilet signs: I now understand.

toilet rules upcloseI just realized I should stop here and apologize for the bizarre nature of this post, when there is surely MUCH more to be telling you about, what with the move in and the set up and the decorating. Truth is, this is just one of the many little quirks we are learning about our new home, and with the insane basement flooding due to the even more insane rainfall, this was about all I had time to whip up. But I guess I am technically sharing a craft with you: toilet sign making can be great fun!

Toilet SignSo I guess the rules (and the need for said rules) is pretty self-explanatory. The majority of the list is simply precautions: we’ve heard horror stories about people dealing with backed-up-this and flooded-that, and seeing as we spent every last red cent on getting into this place, we don’t need to be met with any fun little *surprises*.  So if you ever come by and get that strange feeling about being met at the commode by a list of *to dos*, please understand that I know how you feel, and empathize knowing that one day you too may find yourself typing up a how-to list on going potty. xo

October 17th, 2011

the big move

Oh hey! Did you hear?! We’ve vacated Ontario for our more coastal home of Nova Scotia! For my friends who read the site regularly, that was my attempt at sarcasm (as it’s all I’ve talk about for the past month). For those who haven’t visit BB in a while, it’s a genuine update!

It’s true, we have said farewell to Toronto and our almost six year tenure there, and headed for greener (or at least oceany-bluer) pastures. Home buying in Nova Scotia is muuuuch easier on the wallet than home buying in TO, and it was time to be closer to family and our roots. You can read the oh-so-fun details of first-time home buying here. And yes, that was a hint of sarcasm there too, but in all honesty the challenge was very fun.

So the move! HA HA HA! Can we start with the u-haul situation? Being a bit of a collector *cough hoarder cough* , I knew that I was to at least rent the two bedroom truck for our one bedroom apartment. And that should have sufficed, right? Well, let’s see. We gutted the rooms (with SO MUCH HELP from the best friends EVER! xo):

empty living room and kitchenyucky beige

(that last one is a photo of a previous [HIDEOUS] wall color that I at one time actually chose. Info on that here.)

mark and lady

And even without our bbq, my sun lounger, 2 muskoka chairs, 2 occasional chairs, a bookshelf, and my bike, we still managed to finish like this:

packed to the brim

A few children of the 90’s and one blessed word for you: Tetris. We got ‘er done. I wasn’t too broken up about parting with some of our wares (though my bike is being shipped), and really, it wasn’t what was in the back that mattered: all my most precious cargo was in the cab with me.

jeff uhaulziggy uhaullady uhaul

We said a late night goodbye to 406, and we were on the 401 headed east by 10:30 pm on Wednesday night (only 12 hours behind schedule! WOO!). We were to make it to Halifax by Friday at 9 am for our pre-closing inspection.

poutine and redbullvikki uhaulgas

Trading off driving shifts, one motel stop, and lots of fuel (of both the Redbull and petrol varieties), we managed to haul our @$$es cross country. A note to all small girls who apparently hug the shoulder when they drive: driving a 14 foot u-haul is freakin’ terrifying. Ya think that is a placid look on my face in the photo above? It’s pure and honest fear. Keeping your eyes straight ahead also wasn’t easy when you were passing visions like this:

quebec countryside

And keeping your eyes locked in the forward position is particularly stressful when you’re passing visions like this:

october 6th NB snow

Snow. Huh. Well, hello to you too, Maritime provinces.

But the October 6th snow soon cleared, and we pulled into Halifax at about 4:30 am on Friday morning, just in time to catch a couple z’s before closing. Things started to get a little bat-sh*t crazy at the end: both Jeff and I had our respective “I can’t do it anymore” freak-outs (his after 8 straight hours, mine after 20 minutes), and we both saw something fall from the late-night sky that was reminiscent of the meteor from The Blob. We checked the news and found nothing reported, so I guess we’ll chalk it up to McDonald’s-induced hallucinations.

bayside, NS

And welcome to Bayside, NS. Our new home. Closing day was toooonnes of fun (I’m a sarcastic Sally tonight!), with things like this greeting us as pre-closing surprises:

no hot water

“Nooo! We don’t need a hot water heater. Please, take it with you when you go”. A misunderstanding which was figured out by Tuesday (thank God for our little black kettle [love you Jo K.!]).

But really, it was all worth it. The insanity of the pack, the motel with no hot water (hey, just realized that repeating trend now!), and even the sadness of saying goodbye to the Toronto chapter of our lives: it’s all worth it to be home, to be with family, and to sit with an evening coffee enjoying this:

our view

Welcome to Bayside, Nova Scotia: the new home of Vikki, Jeff, Ziggy, Lady, and Buoy Bird. We can’t wait to share the adventure with you! xo

September 19th, 2011


Holy smokes, it’s been a whole year. Happy Birthday, Baby Blog! Where did the last year go? For a year old blog, you’re not doing too bad. We’re still taking baby steps, but you’ve provided me (and hopefully others) with lots of joy and inspiration.

Upon reflection, I wish I had been able to give more to you in your first year. Seeing as your sustenance is content on my house and home projects, and seeing as modifications to said house/home came to a bit of a stall over the past 9 months or so, I have had the guilt of not keeping you properly updated and full.

However, all that is about to change. For your first birthday, Baby Blog, and to all your followers, I have a surprise for you:

we bought a house!

That’s right!!! We have bought our first ever home! Internet, get ready for some mad, mad content!

dining room collagedining room view

Jeff and I decided last fall that this past year would be our last in Toronto. Since day one we always knew we would move back to the east coast to be close to family, NS friends, and our roots. We have spent the past year saving, hunting, and imagining the possibilities of being first time home owners, and now those possibilities are becoming realities.

kitchen collage

Let it be known: buying a house is hard, HARD work! Especially when you are buying a house in a different province. And especially when you are buying a country home. Well inspection, water inspection, septic inspection, house inspection… luckily Jeff and I were prepared to jump through all of these hoops having been raised on quasi-country plumbing, and due to our crazy determination to find our perfect country starter home.

living roomliving room collageden

We have bought a house on the ocean, 20 minutes outside the city of Halifax in a place called Bayside. We call it Heaven. A small two bedroom bungalow, with loads of yard and a view that is TO DIE FOR, we are ready to settle in and see what this homeownership thing is all about.

bedroom collage

In the coming months you can anticipate many, many, MANY projects, renos, updates, and, I’m sure, funny little surprises. Isn’t that part of the fun of buying an old house by the ocean: coming across unique finds and challenges? Little house by the ocean: we’re ready for ya!

bathroom collage

I thought the year anniversary of Buoy Bird’s launch was a perfect time to tell you, the world, about “the biggest purchase of our lives”. This home will be so intrinsically tied to Buoy Bird that I don’t think I’ll have any choice but to be blogging much, much more. Of course there will be plenty to do whilst settling in (like, I don’t know, making money to pay for said biggest purchase), but as soon as I get rolling on projects, I will be sure to share them with you, my faithful followers. I will likely take some of the blogging pressure off by limiting my copy and upping my photo-sharing, just so I can keep you all up to date and maybe finally turn Buoy Bird into the blog I always wanted her to be: one full of projects, heavy home renos and decor, lots of inspiration, and info about building a home that we love.

outside collageoutside

Jeff and I both feel so blessed to be making this move at this point in our lives. It truly could not have been done without the support of our families. Thank you to both Mamas and both Daddios: we are so grateful for all that you have given us and taught us. We will never forget this, and we are indebted to you forever. Plans are already in motion for construction of the Humphrey-Chew retirement cottage-by-the-sea on the backside of the property. ;)

the view

google mapgoogle map closeup

And as for all other family and friends, thank you for your love and support. The past 6 years in Toronto have helped us to learn that home truly is where the heart is, and our hearts are wherever our friends and families gather. We hope to fill our new home with friends and family, laughter, food, inspiration, and love. You are always, always welcome in our home.

So, Buoy Bird and friends, this is our gift to you and to ourselves. A beautiful house that we will build into a home. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

If you’d like to check out a 3D rendering that I’ve put together of the house, click here. It’s been temporarily decorated on the rendering to some degree, but I’m sure things will be moved around again and again. And if you would like to check out my Pinterest inspiration board (holy crap, I *heart* Pinterest!), click here. Seaside cottage, here we come!

NOTE: All furnishings in the above photos are NOT OURS, but that of the previous owners. Though if they want to leave us their piano, we’d be ever so grateful ;)

July 11th, 2011 – monthly love

Eep! A day late! Matt and Kim, I know you’ll understand. I was distracted with thoughts of COMING HOME dancing in my head!

That’s right, I’m heading back to ol’ NS (for a visit/house hunting) in only 3 days, and I will finally get to sit down for a bevvie with Matt and Kim for the first time since we started collaborating: WOO!!!

In honor of our much anticipated trip home, this month’s M+K post focuses on one of the most beautiful places in this whole world and how beautifully Kim and Matt photograph it: The Cape Breton Highlands.

Sit back and enjoy the scenery; words can’t describe.

cabot trail sunrise

cabot trail lookoff

god's country

god's country 2

fishing shackI don’t know if that last one was actually taken in Cape Breton, but a little old fishing shack is the epitome of Cape Breton in my books.

Seriously, have you ever seen a more beautiful place? I’ve said for years that I am SO happy that Matt and Kim capture all the wonder and beauty that Cape Breton and all of Nova Scotia has to offer, as it’s been a touchstone for me during my years away in the “Big Smoke”. But now, moving home, I’ll be even more happy to appreciate it first hand, and maybe even with these fabulous photographers by my side.

Happy Nine Months Matt and Kim! We’ll see you next week! :)

Check out all of Matt and Kim’s work at their website!

all images by Matt and Kim Madden.