May 30th, 2011

the return of roadside finds monday!?

…Perhaps. I’m sorry, it’s hard to be on the computer when it’s 31 (feeling like 41) degrees out: ya know that glare ya get off your screen from the sun? Yah, it just doesn’t work.

BUT BUT BUT! Lookie at what I found tonight! Mmmm delicious Ritz tin with Fred and Ginger. Thank you recycling night! Fred and Ginger Ritz TinFred and Ginger Ritz Tin2

I keep being told to stop bringing things in, but the thought of someone else snatching this off the top of a roadside blue bin is just too much to fathom! Alllll mine. :)Fred and Ginger Ritz Tin3Be back soon, promise promise. xo

May 15th, 2011

pick-a-little, talk-a-lot

Why hello blogosphere! Stuck inside enjoying the rain this weekend? If no: I’m jealous. If yes: join the club! But I can’t complain. The tulips are in full bloom here in neighbourhood 406, and wandering around under an umbrella does have a bit of a romantic vibe. And I certainly didn’t let the soggy weather stop me from being out and about! A rummage sale, a free Sloan concert, and a cozy sit in a local pub proved perfect fare for my rainy Saturday.

So the rummage sale: oh sweet springtime Portuguese village bliss. I am so happy that we live in this neighbourhood. All the locals are clearing out their basements, and every church, Kinsmen’s hall, and backyard is turning into a weekly free-for-all, in which I drool and bargain over what, in my mind, is pure treasure.

This past week I had a long conversation with someone about my love of “picking”: roadside finds, flea markets, cast offs from 406 tenants gone by. We talked about all the latest picking shows that are popping up on tv, and shared our enthusiasm about that fact that people are actually making a career out of turning trash into treasure. When I was asked about the touchy subject of haggling, I realized I kind of have a gift for this “looking out for number one” trade. With a little bit of head-strong, and a whole bunch of charm, you too can attend your local rummage sale and never once have to break a bill! Case in point:candelabra

Real brass candelabra. Asking price: $7. All mine for $4 (though I had to wait until the poor man’s stern wife turned her back…)

milk glass bowl

Milk glass bowl. Asking price: $2.stein

And funky (Greek, Ukrainian, or Russian?) beer stein. Asking price: $1.

How about both for a buck?bowl and stein


Silver platter (which needs a bit of love, I argued!). Asking price: $2. Got ’em down to $1.silver platter

Three lovely plates, each $0.25! I happily handed over the $0.75, no questions asked.three plates

And a sweet coin purse (which I now had no coins to fill it with). Asking price: $2. He let it go for $1.coin purse

And that is how I spent $7.75, saved $7, and came home with priceless finds! The fact that I got most of the items for $1 made me think of the dollar store, and I sure won’t find any milk glass or real silver at any dollar store! The character of these pieces is what makes me love them so, and knowing that they won’t end up in a landfill any time soon made both the buyer and the sellers smile.

Let me know about any special treasure you might be finding now as the days turn warmer. Keep your eyes peeled; you’d be surprised what you may stumble upon!


May 3rd, 2011

i *heart* 406 media

23 days!? Really? It’s really been 23 days since I last updated Buoy Bird!? Shame. On. Me. I’m sorry BB followers; I could offer you a plethora of excuses, ranging from general pre-summer blah to spending most online hours house hunting, but I will simply ask for your forgiveness. I *heart* you!

But, as the title states, I too *heart* 406 media! I mean, sure I’m biased, its owner being my boyfriend/best friend/all around awesome guy, but hear me out! My man took the leap less than a year ago to become a self-employed sole proprietor, pursuing his *second true love of web nerd-ery, and he hasn’t looked back. Going out on your own takes ridiculous bravery, skill, and determination, and Jeff has not been short in any of these areas. And it’s paid off! His client list and portfolio speaks for itself, and he daily wakes up to a girlfriend grumbling about the fact that he gets to stay in the nice warm house while she trudges out into a rainy May day.

Seeing as our residence IS also Jeff’s place of employ, I figured we needed to mark it as such. I decided to make him a little treat.the beginning

Off to Michael’s I went with no more than a destination: the route was to be inspired by whatever the shelves had to offer.paintspaint mixed

After much time, money, and drool, I finally made it out alive. Seriously, our *house down payment fund* is lucky that Michael’s is two subway rides and a walk away, else we could kiss this home ownership thing bye-bye! But I digress.

Michael’s offered up most of the supplies, but an impromptu stain made up of paints and mediums from under the sink helped accomplish that rustic vibe that Mr. 406 loves oh-so-much.a little glue

This seriously might be one of the simpler projects I’ve ever whipped up, but it was still loads of fun warning Jeff to “stay out of the kitchen!” whilst making it.stamp padmy fav nerd

And I got to put my awesome new stamp supplies to good use. Nerds + Crafters = True Love Always.and done

And VOILA! 406 media attains its first (and Jeff claims only [so sweet!]) sign! Not only am I grateful to Jeff, as he literally built Buoy Bird for me, but I am so proud of him and his accomplishments. A sweet little sign is the least I could do to show him my love and support.406 media

Show him a little love of your own and check out all of his work over at his website. Tell him the grumbly rainy-day gal sent ya ;)

*(ahem! The first being me, of course! ;) )

April 10th, 2011 – monthly love

SIX MONTHS! WOO! Six months is a milestone in my opinion, so we are gonna once again celebrate the love and talent of Mr. and Mrs. Madden!

Forgive me, readers and M&K: I’m a little sore today, as I partied along to one of the best east coast bands last night, Slowcoaster. So if I’m lacking in the words and the story-telling, you know why ;)boots

The 10th of the month crept up on me this time! I suspect this is how it’ll be Matt and Kim: the time flying by, and you guys enjoying every second of your together-dom. So in the spirit of time passing, I thought I’d share some of K+M’s subjects that have definitely seen their fair share of time.old docktins

Gritty and old and romantic in the most un-obvious way. Me likey. The nostalgia of things and places like these stirs something deep within me; you know that they have seen many great stories, and their history inspires the imagination. Kim and Matt are the best at capturing this beauty.cornfield

A step back in time. Nova Scotians are so lucky to be able to access these time-worn places; places that seem frozen in their former glory. A living museum. I can’t wait to get back to explore the back roads, walk along a cow path or two, and definitely root around for some vintage finds.suitcase

Well, I hope you found a similar Sunday calm that I did through this set of photos. I introduced Matt and Kim’s work on BB by saying they evoke a nostalgic feeling within me, and I’ll stick to that story again and again. Thank you guys for giving me a touchstone to bring me back to my slower, simpler roots.

Check out more of Matt and Kim’s work at

all images by Matt and Kim Madden.

March 26th, 2011

happy earth hour 2011

I hope you all had a candle-filled Earth Hour! Here’s a glimpse into ours:earth hour gameearth hour vikkiearth hour jeffI’m sorry the pics are very very dark, but it was EARTH HOUR! :) Reminds me that turning out the lights and relaxing by candle light with a great convo partner is something we should all do more than once a year.  I hope you are all having a great weekend! xo

ps: yes yes, I know. The ipod is stored electricity, but hey, we were off the grid! ;)

March 25th, 2011

happy friday

Horray! Friday! Again, not much in the way of words, but I just had to share this beauty with you. lady and her flowerDid I mention I am a 28 year old crazy cat lady?  ;)

*this is definitely good life – linked up at A Beach Cottage‘s Good Life Wednesdays

**also linked up at Funky Junk Interiors’ Saturday Night Special (RIP sweet Beethoven xo)

March 24th, 2011

for baby Alex

Hey gang! I’m very pooped after a long work day, but I just had to come on and share some more big news: I am officially now an aunt six times over, welcoming the new addition to our clan, Baby Alexander Francis MacNeil! A HUGE congrats to my sister Ally and brother-in-law Dave, and to two eager big sisters, Heather and Julia! What a beautiful family, made all the more beautiful by a new baby boy! baby boy macneil

March 23rd, 2011

the big news

Snow!? Seriously? Lots and lots of SNOW!?! Ugggggghhhh…

…but I digress.

So, I mentioned on Monday that you may have noticed my little “home design” blog being particularly light on the “home design”, and stated that there is a reason for that.

Well, the reason is: WE’RE MOVING BACK TO NOVA SCOTIA! Ahhh, just saying the words makes me think of salty-aired mornings and family within a two hour drive.

Now let’s not jump the gun: we’re not moving YET. Jeff and I decided last October that we would have one last (awesome) Toronto summer, heading back to the ol’ NS in September/October of 2011. So far, so good, as we’ve started saving, scouting, and getting the word out to close family and friends.

Guys, we couldn’t be more thrilled. Toronto has been an amazing chapter in our lives, teaching us patience, open-mindedness , and lessons in growth and happiness . It’s just time to “go home”. We always said TO was never a *forever* thing, and after 5 years of schooling, working, partying, and living to the max, we’re ready to move on to the next chapter. This includes buying our first home (YAY!), buying our first car (DOUBLE YAY!), and really settling into our chosen careers.

So with this decision I guess I started envisioning the future, and put a lot of current home-updates on hold. Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t “checked out” of Toronto living yet. Jeff and I just both decided that it might not be as fruitful to keep bringing things *IN* when we shortly plan on moving *OUT*. So the little apartment has been pretty much the same; no major changes (although I am DYING to paint the bedroom white… we’ll see).

What I can share with you are some of the pre-existing projects around the house! I always forget that I made these things before Buoy Bird’s launch, and have to remind myself that although they are not “new to me”, they could be “new to you”! So on that note, here’s a little project I whipped up sometime last year: a MUCH needed jewelry rack!jewelry rack wide

My earrings were everywhere, and with two very mischievous kittens always looking for something to bat around, I had to figure out a way to get my precious (and not so precious) gems up out of kittens’ reach.earrings upclose

I can’t remember if I saw this idea online, but I do remember seeing something similar done with chicken wire when I featured Freedom Clothing Collective! If I could populate my jewelry board with their beautiful wares, I would be an even happier lady.

I used 1/8 inch pegboard to start. I had a great old frame laying around, so after painting each item white before assembling (always best for cleanest results), I glued the pegboard into the frame, and voila! Many little holes for my earrings to hang from! I also needed storage for long necklaces and bangles, so I decided to add a few small knobs to hang things from.knobs

Here is the back of the pegboard to show how the knobs are attached. One of the knobs worked from the back to front (right hand side), and because I didn’t have anything to cut the too-long bolt with, I just used a stack of washers to take up space.screw backs

I also added a small white box to the lower corner of the whole unit, to store things like stud earrings and loose pendants.little box

I attached the box in a similar fashion to the knobs.trinket box screws

A quick piece of hanging wire on the back, and my jewelry rack was in business! It has become much more filled up since its inception, so perhaps a chicken wire version will soon be in order!jewelry rack long

And how could I not feature this: the sign which hangs next to the rack (and above the toilet):if you sprinkle

“If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie wipe the seatie”! We had this sign in our camper when I was a kid , so when I saw it a couple years back in a roadside gas stop, I had to grab it. Not only do people get a kick out of it, but it’s a worth while reminder too!

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed the project, and we would LOVE to hear your feedback on our big decision. We are certainly going to miss many things about Toronto (mostly people!), but look on the bright side: you’ll have a cozy place to stay when you wanna get away to the east coast (which I will be pressuring you plenty to do ;) ). Much love to all our friends and family, both in TO and in NS; we appreciate all your love and support, and we love you!

***Linking today’s post on Faded Charm’s White Wednesday, Savvy Southern Style’s Wow Us Wednesday, A Beach Cottage’s Good Life Wednesday, DIY by Design’s Swing Into Spring, Debbiedoo’s Blogging and Blabbing Newbie Linkup, and My Backyard Eden’s Make It Yours Day!


March 21st, 2011

penne alla 406

Ohhh such a delicious little (ok, big) meal in so little time. It’s always nice to find out you can have something restaurant-perfect in your own home in as little as 20 minutes (and without using a takeout/delivery menu).

It’s no secret in our house that I la-la-LOVE pasta. Just ask my hips: they don’t lie. But outside spaghetti/fettuccine alfredo/”homemade beefaroni”, 406’s pasta offerings are limited. Until today.

Living up the road from a fabulous Portuguese butcher only sparks the imaginations of us self-proclaimed foodies.baconstove

And with pasta on sale at the local Shopper’s, we came to a great conclusion: Penne alla Vodka.

It’s been said that when cooking with wine, you shouldn’t just settle for the crappy table wine: it will only taint the food, and go against the whole reason for adding wine to the dish. We figured the same rules apply when using vodka, so Crystal Skull it was!crystal skull vodka

Add a thawed dish of Jeff’s famous “spaghetti” sauce, a splash of cream…penne alla vodka

And dinner is served! Such a treat -the bacon was cut so thick , and the sauce was so robust; this was definitely not a meal for the faint of heart (or of appetite).bacon upclose

And the company! Well, that’s the best part ;)aprons

Give it a try today, or share with us some of your creative uses for left over sauces, etc.!

So you may have noticed as of late that the Buoy Bird blog has been light on the “home building” and heavy on the everything else… there is a good reason for that. Stay tuned!

***Check out this post and many others linked up on Good Life Wednesdays over at A Beach Cottage :)

March 15th, 2011

my mother’s daughter

Jeff bought a delicious loaf of homemade bread from the Nova, and nothing brings me back to my mother’s kitchen more than bread, butter, and molasses. bread and molassesMakes me feel warm and cozy, just like you Mama. Love you! xo