posts filed under the 'places i love' category :
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!

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 ;)

January 7th, 2011

buoy bird down

Oh, she’s a sick little bird :( I am so sorry I haven’t been around, even after my promise of being around once the holidays had passed. I am ill. Not hospital-ill, don’t worry; just sore, sick, unmotivated, living on the sofa-ill. I can’t complain too much, as this doesn’t happen to me very often: I guess my germs are more about quality than quantity.

Trust me, I am feeling RIDICULOUSLY motivated about 2011, so there is plenty to look forward to. I just have to get over this little mole hill, and we’ll be good to go. In the mean time, I CAN share with you some nice news: my girl Jenn over at A Home in the Making just gave me a Stylish Blogger Award, and I couldn’t be more flattered! Thank you Jenn; love like that coming from a bright, creative, and talented person like you means the world to me. I intend to give out my own set of Stylish Blogger Awards, so stay tuned!

I also wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all my amazing friends who came up to me over Christmas, complimenting me on this blog! Jeff and I were gobsmacked at how many of you mentioned it in just one night that we were out at the pub. I am flattered and humbled; I had no idea I had such a supportive audience! Hearing your words makes me want to just keep giving you more and more, so please, come back soon and we’ll celebrate 2011 in a creative and inspired way!

Enough words: here’s something pretty to look at!pond

Ahhh home. Ain’t it pretty?

December 12th, 2010

mappy birthmas 2010!!!

Thank you all so much for the lovely feedback on my post on Matt and Kim! Trust me, it was my pleasure. :)

So are you curious? What is this Mappy Birthmas I speak of? Well, it’s the best of Christmas and a Christmas-time Birthday all rolled into one! We have been hosting our annual 406 Holiday Party for four years now, and last year my SPECTACULAR friends decided that since they never get to celebrate my birthday with me (as I’m a Boxing Day baby, and always in Nova Scotia for the holidays), they would bring my birthday to our holiday party! And yes, it does mean that we party that much harder!PB Balls

Last year the gals had a cake made for me that was simply to die for: a Pug cake by SuGaR, complete with hand-painted paw prints and individually rolled pieces of fondant dog food in the pug’s food bowl. A-mazing. Also, a beautiful Anthropologie apron (which I’m coincidentally wearing as I pen this post!).Kyla's CookiesWillow's Tres Leche Cake

This year I was just as spoiled, with a good many bottles of wine, a gorgeous door hook from Umbra (which went to good use when the coat rack fell to pieces), and the bloggers’ best friend: a Laptop Desk Pillow. My only issue is keeping it away from the web designer boyfriend (give it back!).Candy Canes

I love hosting this party each year. Having my friends (and their friends) all under one roof, around our tree, enjoying plenty of food and drink and laughter… it’s probably my favorite moment of any given year. I am always surprised by how many people we manage to squeeze into our one bedroom apartment, but it just makes things all the more cozy. The fact that the real party always migrates into the kitchen truly makes me feel like I’m down home.Ol Saint NickSkates

As usual, the night flew by, with me running around saying hello, tending to empty trays, and visiting Jeff at his station behind the kitchen island. I always feel like I blink and it’s over. I found myself pouting when guests started leaving, only to realize that it was past 2 am. I think the door officially shut somewhere after 4.Christmas Cups

Amongst my busy-ness, I didn’t have much of a chance to take many photos this year, but not to fear! My very great friends Kyla and Ace came to the rescue (along with Ky’s yummy SLR camera), and took all these shots for me so that we could look back on our special night together! Thank you SO much girls!!!Festive Feets

So that was Mappy Birthmas 2010 in a nutshell! It brought all the warmth and cheer that I anticipated it would (as it has in years past), and I couldn’t help but smile when my guests told me in the days following that it truly got them in the Christmas Spirit. That, my friends, is the greatest gift you could ever give me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! xo

all images by Kyla Tingley and Ace Hicks (*mwah* ladies!)

November 6th, 2010

i heart blogs

hello buoy birds! Well, the spooky times are behind us, and I am truly starting to settle in to the cooler months that quickly approach. A big part of my indoor leisure time is spend trolling the web for endless hours, discovering amazing blogs, articles, and inspiration. My friends can testify; I love blogs. And although most of the blogs I read are creatively inclined, it doesn’t stop my pals from thinking that I’m a computer nerd through and through. And hey, who am I to argue; being tech savvy and using those skills to be inspired by all the beautiful creators that are out there in the world? As far as interests go, it’s a match made in heaven!

As I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to take decor8’s Blogging Your Way e-course a couple months back, and that is what helped kick off the whole world of Buoy Bird. One of the homework assignments that we had was to list five blogs that we love, and why we love them so. Whittling down to only five sites was no easy task, let me tell you, but when finished I was truly able to say that I love these sites completely: they inspire me as a creator, a home owner, and most of all, as a fellow blogger.

Here are five blogs that I read and love, and why, as written for my homework assignment:

photo by Holly Becker of decor8

photo by Holly Becker of decor8

1. Decor8 – TEACHER’S PET! But all joking aside, decor8 definitely holds fast in my top 5. Holly talks about her life, as well as her loves. This makes her very easy to relate to, and makes it easy to imagine her as a real person. This inspires me because it reminds me that it is best when people speak from their heart, and teaches me an important lesson, while still indulging me with eye candy, ideas, links, and challenges (such as taking this course, or entering my home into different contests).

photo by Amy Azzarito of Design*Sponge

photo by Amy Azzarito of Design*Sponge

2. Design*Sponge – How Design*Sponge is organized makes it feel like a cozy home to me. Specific days and posts for DIY, Before and Afters, and “Living In:” all work together to bring me back to a page that I know I can depend on, relax into, and effortlessly spend time thumbing through, like reading a familiar book. I love Design*Sponge’s layout; it reminds me of opening up my mom’s sewing box as a kid: a world full of ribbons and colors and bits. The layout/design manage to incorporate texture, while still delivering a page that is bright and cheerful.

photo by Sarah of A Beach Cottage

photo by Sarah of A Beach Cottage

3. A Beach Cottage – Ohhhh, A Beach Cottage. This page stirs me deeply, as it plays on my nostalgia for the ocean, the whitewashed, and the worn. As a gal who grew up next to the ocean (and who is now VERY far away from it), A Beach Cottage is like a mini-teleportation back to the seaside, even if it is the Australian coast, not that of Atlantic Canada. I often find it hard not to immediately paint something, ANYTHING, white after visiting this page. Sarah is a girl of my own heart, as she explores building a home away from her original home, finding beauty in everyday life. I admire that the majority of her content is based on her world exclusively, as when I consider practicing this technique myself I am often plagued with worry that I will quickly run out of content! But though her stunning photography, decor skill, and humility, she delivers a page that keeps me (and many) coming back for more.

photos by Chelsea and Tec Petaja of oh my deer

photos by Chelsea and Tec Petaja of oh my deer

4. .oh my deer. – Through an uncluttered page, simple beauty, stunning products, and a feeling of love that emanates from her chosen material, .oh my deer. (Chelsea Petaja) gives me a daily page that both relaxes and excites me. If I could choose one touchstone that keeps bringing me back to .oh my deer., it’s the Petaja’s house. Man, do I love that house. Chelsea and her husband Tec’s life helps me paint a picture in my mind of what I would like my surroundings to look like. A porch swing. Beautiful weddings. Great friends. .oh my deer. manages to capture these pleasures of life, and reminds me that I too can live by my own rules and be happier and more fulfilled because of it. Also, .oh my deer. shows what a great team husband and wife can make in the blogging world, something I am exploring myself with my web designer boyfriend.

photo by Jane and Hollie of Love It A Lot

photo by Jane and Hollie of Love It A Lot

5. Love It A Lot – My love for Love It A Lot started as a simple support for my dear university roommate’s blog. It didn’t take long for her (and co-founder, Hollie) to justify this love. Lot It A Lot is just that, things that these gals love a lot. They love websites, clothing, wares, jewelry, people, and their baby, White Elephant. And being a lover of all those things too, Jane and Hollie made it possible for me (and all) to access these lovelies, taking me to places on the net that I might not have otherwise found. I love the way that both Jane and Hollie “speak”, making it sometimes hard for me to distinguish between who is writing the post before getting to the bottom of it. They are cleaver, loving, passionate, and quirky, and knowing these ladies in real life, I can say that they truly are just being themselves.

And that is that! I certainly hope that this post will ricochet all of you off to new places in the blogosphere. That is the beauty of blogs; they are such a thing of sharing, of community, and they all work together to bring endless beauty and inspiration to you and me, the audience. I’m so happy to share some of my favorites with you!