October 10th, 2011

maddenvallis.com – YEARLY love!!!


Wow, one year already guys. Time flies, huh? I am so happy that you found each other and that you are sharing a beautiful life together :) Your love can be clearly seen in your happiness, life, and adventures.

I totally forgot that Matt and Kim’s one year anniversary would fall right around the same time of Jeff and I becoming first time homeowners, so unfortunately this post can’t be as tricked out as I would have liked for a one year celebration. However, we could not let an occasion like this pass us by.

matt and kims peggys coveJeff and I took a drive out to Peggy’s Cove today (only 10 kms from our new home!), so I thought I’d share one of Matt and Kim’s amazing shots of this beauteous place.

Matt and Kim, when you get home from Italy (!!!), you will have to come have a proper celebratory beverage with us overlooking the Atlantic. Jeff and I wish you all the best as you enter your second year of marriage: we just know it will be as wonderful as the first.

*side note: Stay tuned for upcoming posts on *the move*, *the move-in*, and life-beginning-again in Nova Scotia. We can’t wait to share our journey with you!

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

image by Matt and Kim Madden.

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 ;)

September 10th, 2011

maddenvallis.com – monthly love

Hello to you all! If you are still visiting I owe you a HUGE thank you; I know my contact has been lacking as of late, but I promise there is good reason for that. And that it will soon change. Stay tuned…

Well, it is the 11 month anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Madden’s first year of matrimonial loooove. A whole year in only one more month guys: you must be over the moon :)

I unfortunately don’t have a boatload of time to post today, but I couldn’t miss celebrating M+K’s 11th month with a perfect picture of theirs. The summer days are certainly winding down here in ol’ TO, and this photo reminded me of the nostalgic last days of summer.

last days of summerSqueeze in one last bbq if it’s getting chilly in your parts folks; only so many sun-filled evenings before we bunk down for cooler days.

Happy “Anniversary” Matt and Kim! Can’t wait to celebrate the ONE YEAR mark with a post next month!

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

image by Matt and Kim Madden.


August 10th, 2011

maddenvallis.com – monthly love

*sings* Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Haaa-ppy Anniversary!

If you know me, you’ll know the exact tune/level of enthusiasm to which I sing that little ditty. And so what if it’s only Matt and Kim’s “month anniversary” (10 to be exact!); month anniversaries warrant made-up songs… Whereas annual anniversaries warrant presents ;)

This month I was dead set on putting together another maddenvallis wedding photo post. Seriously, these two have upped their game this summer, and you just have to see the totally amazing, wicked awesome work they are doing. Remember how I said one day I want them to shoot my wedding? Well multiply that “want” by 1000, and you’ll get how bad I want these two capturing my day o’ love (when it comes :) ).

While flicking around, I realized Matt and Kim already did the majority of my work by picking some great shots with which they made their flashcards and social media profile pics. Or maybe they were just watermarking their shots. Either way, I think these pics + branding = perfect perfect perfect. I think it shows exactly the kind of work that Matt and Kim are doing, their personal style, and their rediiiiculous talent. So without further ado…maddenvallis willow tree kiss

maddenvallis cliff kissmaddenvallis veil kissmaddenvallis young lovemaddenvallis boardwalk kissmaddenvallis bridge kissAre you jealous of all the people in those pics who got the chance to work with such amazing photographers? Cuz I am! If you have a wedding/engagement/anything that you want captured coming up, I HIGHLY recommend you get in touch with Matt and Kim, because with work like this, I bet they’ll end up booked solid! Jeff and I were lucky enough to meet up with Matt and Kim along with another affianced pair of friends while we were house hunting recently in NS (more on that later), but we didn’t get to do much catching up due to our love-bird friends being aflutter about potentially working with Matt and Kim in 2012! So M+K, next time it’s you and us, and hours and hours for nerd-talk, wine, and good food :)

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

all images by Matt and Kim Madden.


July 12th, 2011

when life gives you lemons…

…well, you know how it goes.bag o lemons

Not to worry, my life isn’t full of metaphor-ical lemons right now. More like alllllmost ripe apples, full of hope, but waiting for the perfect moment to be picked to yield their full potential… whoa.

But I digress: LEMONS! I just had to grab a bag o’ lemons yesterday on my way home from work. The gals over at Lot It A Lot posted this recipe the other day (as inspired by this recipe), and I thought I’d take a crack at my own version! Not to mention my excitement to use the glass juicer I picked up during a recent trip to Creemore, ON! Here’s what I came up with:squeezed lemons

  • 3 cups of semi-frozen strawberries (I’d frozen a big batch and let them thaw enough to puree with the hand blender)
  • 1 cup of lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 7up or Sprite

In a saucepan, heat your water and sugar just enough to dissolve the sugar completely, making a simple syrup. Puree your strawberries completely, and add your lemon juice and simple syrup. Give it a taste and add either more sweet (sugar) or sour (lemon) as per your own taste. In individual glasses, pour 1/2 cup of 7up/Sprite and top with your lemon-strawberry mixture. If your berries were still semi-frozen like mine you should be cool enough, but add ice if need be. Annnnd if a little vodka or gin makes it way in there, all the power to ya. ENJOY!strawberry lemonade

If you have a look at Hollie’s recipe at LIAL you’ll notice mine is about halved: reason being that I only had 3/4 cup of sugar, so I had to work around that. I’m thinking this would be delicious with blueberries as well, so use what ya got, and lemme know how it goes! Happy Summer Everyone! xo


July 11th, 2011

maddenvallis.com – 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.

July 5th, 2011

in my own front yard

Well, in my landlord’s front yard, but in front of my apartment! Found these beauties beside the green bins, waiting for the trash man. Not a chance!bi-fold shutter doors

My landlord is a pack rat. Have I mentioned that? Well, he is, God bless his soul (now ain’t that the pot callin’ the kettle black!?). His pack-ratty ways have made it so that sometimes I don’t have to go very far to find my roadside (or garage or garbage bin) finds. When I peered out my front window this morning to see how blue the sky really was, these old bi-fold shutter doors were there waiting for me. And the potential headboard gods sang, “Ahhhhhh!”chippy white paint shutter

Seriously, what says country cottage home more than white, chippy-paint shutters? Nadda! I’ve been hoping to find myself a set or two to implement into a headboard. Now, I know these are just old closet doors, but with a little love, distressing, and leveling out (see how one is taller?), I know these babies will look (not-so) fresh off the farm.needs a little love

potential shutter headboardStay tuned for unveiling! I just have to decide if they’ll be for this place… or the next! :D

ps: Need a visual of what’s to come? The coastal cottage goddess herself, Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage did a tutorial on ’em for HGTV; check it out HERE. There is seriously NOTHING that woman can’t do!


pps: sorry Jeff. They had to come in! Trust me, I’ll reenact how I had to lay on my back like a crab, spinning them around on my feet to get them in place whist avoiding the ceiling fan… and it’ll allllll be worth it. :)

June 28th, 2011

buoy bird droppin’ in…

buoy bird… to say hello! Lots of great stuff happening in the Land o’ Buoy Bird, but with nothing carved in stone as of yet, there is little to officially announce (aka: internet announce; once it’s on the internet, it’s forever). Promise to keep you posted though :) Much summer love to you and yours. xo

June 10th, 2011

maddenvallis.com – monthly love

AH HA! Did you think I would miss two months!? Not a chance!

A HUGE apology to my lovely friends Matt and Kim: I’ve led them to trust that they would get special BB love on the 10th of every month, and what did I go and do? I forgot last month. Bad, bad friend am I. Love me still? :)

To make up for it I will share LOTS of M+K pics today, all based around my favorite spring/summer 2011 color: YELLOW!yellow barnyellow dykesyellow vineyard

See, this is the thing about Nova Scotia and the country side: dandelions can be a thing of beauty! I’ll always remember while growing up driving past the old church out in East Bay (ya with me Matt and Kim?) and seeing a field full of dandelions, and thinking never have I seen a more stunning expanse of *weeds*. I get that they are parasites for lawns ’round the world, but when you see ’em en masse like that, you can’t deny that yellow, sunny beauty.yellow houseyellow barn2yellow shoes

If you’ve ever seen the commercials for the maritime provinces, you’ll have noticed that we like to take a cue from Mother Nature’s color palette and splash our houses, boats, and lives with her bright colors.yellow canoeyellow shopyellow bus

Isn’t it great how Matt and Kim capture the happiness that is *yellow* against the epic, mysterious beauty that is Nova Scotia? There is something both stirring and settling about the juxtaposition. And although I don’t know how they manage to capture this perfect balance, I sure am happy that they do.yellow house2

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

all images by Matt and Kim Madden.

June 4th, 2011

seven stories

Ok, that title is deceiving because I really only have ONE story to share with you today, but you’ll see where I’m going.

I CAN NOT believe that Buoy Bird is almost one year old, and I haven’t shared this with you yet! This window frame-turned-mirror is one of my favorite things that I have ever created for our home, and one of the items I get the most compliments on, yet here I have been, keeping it from you. mirror window frame

You likie? I made it mysellllf :) Well, kinda. So the story goes that I was in a production of Seven Stories by Morris Panych about 3 or 4 years ago. The play is about a man (or in our case, a wo-man!) standing on the ledge of a building, contemplating his/her life and death, and through a series of opening and closing windows, he/she gets to consider the options from a number of different takes and POVs.

To get the effect of being on the side of a building, our set was built at least TWELVE FEET off the ground (yes, it was as scary as it sounds.) and there were double door windows all along the set, which we would pop out from throughout the show. The windows were these great, old, chippy-white-paint wooden beauties, and after the show closed, I begged our set designer to bestow one upon me. I was in luck: there was a spare window in the shop that he had been using to replace the set’s panes of glass with (like, for instance, when one of the actors accidentally put their hand right through the very real glass pane mid-show. Again with the scary.)

I lugged my score home, and it sat under bed, sofa, desk, etc. for months and months. Then came upon me the great idea to get some mirror into those empty frames! Luckily, I am an experienced glass cutter (stained glass university electives WHAT!?), and had all the material on hand to create my work o’ art. Armed with a couple crappy full length mirrors, my glass cutting tools, and some caulking, I whipped this baby up, hung it above the sofa, and have been enjoying all that reflective, crackly-paint goodness ever since. mirror window frame2

And ya wanna know who I get the most compliments from about this? MEN! They love it! The men who have passed through our doors mention it right away, and some even long after they leave, stating that it’s their favorite thing about our decor.

Well all I can say is me too boys, me too. :)