Where Has This Year Gone??


How on earth is it November 19th??

This year has absolutely flown by and I can't get over how full every day is and when I say full, I mean it in only the best way!

I will fully admit that I haven't been spending as much as I would like to with the big guy (aka Lightning - my horse), but the time we do spend together is so good for my soul....and his too I think. I snapped this photo as he was eating his dinner and as he does so, I lean on him like he's a big, furry pillow. He munches away and I get to breath in the horsey aroma that has intoxicated me since I was a child. So simple, yet soooo good.


Speaking of big guys, it wouldn't be November without a trip to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. My bestie's family shows there every year so I went in to see her daughter and uncle show on a Sunday afternoon. The day I was there her daughter showed a Clydesdale in a line class and she did a fantastic job. These gentle giants are truly magnificent creatures and Clydes will always be my first love of the equine world.


There's something magical about the first snow and as I stepped out my front door at the City Cottage on the sunny morning after ours in Guelph, I couldn't help but smile and revel in the beauty that surrounded me. 

The second photo above is the view from the end of the laneway at my Moms home (the Country House). The tamaracks are so beautiful with their rusty-burnt orange hue this time of year...I was out gathering greenery and couldn't help but snap this photo.


The greenery I was collecting was for these....I got a head start on the Winter/Christmas decor at the Country House by putting together the planter inserts at the front door. Every piece contained in the insert is from our property and I'm beyond happy with how well they turned out.

They're so full with a variety of textures, from the hydrangeas to the cone flowers to the 'fluffy weeds', I just love them!!

I wouldn't have been able to pull these together without the help of this guy.....


My Charlie Bear helps me with the outdoor decor every year and this year he was right beside me, ensuring only the best from a quality control perspective... I just love him to bits and with that face, how can you not?

I hope you've had a wonderful November too and can you believe that it'll be Christmas in 5 short weeks?? I better start my shopping!!!


Spring Has Sprung!

There's something special about the way the light floods into my home that signals Spring has finally arrived.

I was sitting on the couch one day in late April (under a cozy blanket as there was still a wee chill in the air), looking through magazines while sipping on a latte and as I looked around my living room, I noticed 'that light' was filling the room and a huge smile came across my face! SPRING!!

This is from our first sunset at the lake this Spring....we lost Dad two years ago and we started a tradition of going to the lake (one of his favourite places) on his anniversary. It was such a beautiful night and this handsome guy enjoyed the quiet and tranquil evening just as much as Mom and I did.

I'm a huge fan of visiting lake/cottage towns on the 'off season', before they get crazy busy. A good friend and I did a road trip to Muskoka a few weekends ago and we had to stop in Bracebridge to get a closer look at this insanely fast running/crashing water! I posted a video on my Instagram and the sound alone, let a lone the sight of it, was enough to take your breath away!

This is one of my favourite sections of the sideroad, just down the road from the Country House. This span of trees looks amazing in any season, but we happened to drive down literally just as the leaves had 'popped'. Soooo pretty! And....the farm on the right has a Clydesdale foal that I have to stop and say "Hi" to whenever I drive by. 

This is my first Spring with this handsome guy and it's been interesting to watch the transformation of his coat through the seasons. He went really dark, almost black, over the winter, but now that he's shedding his coat (and my goodness, I had forgotten how much fur a draft horse grows for the winter), he's turning back to his reddish/bay colour I knew from last summer. As he was standing there in the rays of the sunset the other evening, I couldn't help but capture this image as it really hilights the beautiful tones of his coat.

Spring is also a time of surprises. Whether it's tulips that randomly sprout up after being 'relocated' by the squirrels, or a plant that made it through the winter that you were afraid wouldn't, it's always fun to see what 'springs up' this time of year. I moved into my home in August and when the next Spring came around and I realized I had this beauty outside of my front door, I literally squealed with delight! From what I can tell, its an ornamental crab apple tree and its blossoms are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!! Just as they're wrapping up, my beautiful and fragrant Korean Lilac on the other side of my front entryway comes into bloom...... Oh how I LOVE Spring!!!


Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!

It's Boxing Day and I'm sitting here at the Country House beside the Christmas tree in a partial food coma. It's been a mix of emotions the past few weeks but as I sit here, I'm feeling very lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful family and friends and am very grateful for their love and support!

I will admit, I found it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year and I know many others expressed the same feeling. I think it had to do with the fact that we had double digit temperatures (in the positive #s) and green grass that could have almost used a cut on Christmas Eve. There's just something about a fresh blanket of snow to realllllly get you in the Christmas mood (not that I'm complaining at all about this amazing weather we've been having!).

I wasn't going to let the lack of snow dampen my Christmas decorating and I had such a good time decorating both my City Cottage and the Country Home. You saw the decor for my City Cottage in my Winter Neutrals post and I will say, the evenings I spent wrapping at my dining table with a warm adult beverage and sweet treat (see above), the magic of Christmas was in the air...finally!

Since that post, people have been inquiring as to where they could find similar rustic and natural decor pieces. If you want to create a similar look as that above and in the Winter Neutrals post, some sources for the decor items include:

Then it was time to decorate at the Country House. One of the great things of country living is that so many of the elements from your back yard can literally be used in your decorating.

I literally walked around the `back 50`, cut some some cedar, pine, spruce and red willow branches and voila, we had urns! 

We went to a local tree farm and found the perfect tree (with Charlie`s help of course!). We got it home, let it drop, hung the lights and after adding snowflake themed decorations, we could just sit back and enjoy its beauty! I`m sitting here, with the lights all aglow and it makes me wish I could freeze time...that we could leave the decorations up all year long... 

 I hope you had a great time with your family and friends and that you had the opportunity to make many more wonderful memories this Christmas! All the best!





Davishill = Christmasville

With all the snow we've had, it was time to put the snow tires on my car, which meant a trip to Walkerton. I can't go to Walkerton this time of year without popping into Davishill Nursery...one of my absolute favourite places to shop during the holiday season (and really any time of year)!  

You pull up to the greenhouse and cabin and all you see is Christmas! Urns, wreaths, swags, greenery, branches etc etc etc....

But then...you walk through the door of the little cabin, and you're greeted with a Christmas Wonderland.... Every inch is covered in Holiday wonderfulness! Trees adorned in every ornament and bauble imaginable, in every colour scheme possible for every design and decor taste and style. 

I couldn't leave without a few new pieces for my Christmas collection.... a 'birch bark' table runner and a 'birch bark' tree (to add to my Christmas Forest on my sideboard...see my Instagram for pics!) along with  a few gifts too! There were so many things that I absolutely loved...like the burlap poinsettias, the leather leaves with a sprinkle of glitter, music note paper 'swirls', wooden sleds, the fur wreath (*drool*)...the list goes on and on.

I will let the photos speak for themselves....and if you're in the Walkerton/Hanover area this Christmas season, be SURE to drop in!

I'm making it my goal to support as many local and small businesses as I can this Christmas and I challenge you to do the same! As you can see, they have so many unique and one-of-a-kind pieces....Let's support our friends and neighbours and give thoughtful gifts that truly have meaning!


It's OK!!

It's that time of year that 'To-Do' Lists grow to epic proportions; our calendars overflow with parties, events and get together's; budgets get thrown out the window and literally every waking hour is filled with some sort of holiday preparation.

Just writing this is making me nervous in anticipation of the upcoming Holiday Season. I have lists upon lists, shopping to do, wreaths to create, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, a house to decorate, gifts to make, cards to write and mail, parties to attend, workouts to fit in, a 9-5 job to focus on......I`m sure this list of tasks is similar to yours and as overwhelming as it can be, I enjoy every second of these activities. But....in reality.....can I really do this all on my own? ...And even more so.....Is there a reason why I need to try to do this all on my own?

A gal pal and I were out for dinner the other night and got talking about the pressures that come along this year. We came to the realization that a lot of these pressures are purely self inflicted....We can be so hard on ourselves during the holiday season and this must stop!

We feel that everything must be perfect (we see everyone's "perfect" lives on social media and forget that no one's life is really THAT perfect), that we must do/create everything ourselves (heaven forbid you ask for help) and that it all must be done in a way that looks effortless (if only we had staff to help us)!


IT'S OK to not be everything, to everyone, at all times! Especially this time of year.

This is a time of year that flies by in a blur, when we really should be spending time enjoying it with family and friends, immersing ourselves in the beauty and magic of the season. How many of us can actually say that we've really been able to do this in the last decade?

When you're making your list for all of your Holiday Tasks....why not make 2 columns? One for "Made by Me" and the second being "Made by Others". This is the time of year to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize and be sure to truly put value in your personal time as every minute counts.

Ask yourself, what are the Top 6 Holiday Tasks that I would "like to create myself" but that you know wholeheartedly that someone else could do for you. For instance, something like Holiday Baking...sure, you can head to the grocery store, buy all the supplies you need, get home, do all the prep, bake, cool and package the cookies, cupcakes, tarts, squares......I'm exhausted just thinking about all of this. Even though it's something you enjoy doing, maybe this year it's time to contact a wonderful local bakery and ask them to do your baking for you. Sure, on paper the direct monetary cost may seem to be a bit more (or it may not be), but remember what your time is worth. Your baking marathon may take an entire weekend, whereas you can pick up a phone and place an order for Christmas Goodies in less than 10 minutes. When you pick up the Goodies (or maybe they even deliver), you can still package them up in your own unique way, or maybe the bakery could even do that for you too. 

Take those 6 Tasks and put 3 into the "Made by Me" column and 3 into the "Made by Others"column.

Believe me....I understand how difficult it is to 'give up' part of your Holiday Ritual(s) that you enjoy doing, but what you gain back in time and decreased stress levels lets you truly focus on those 3 tasks you're going to do yourself. It also gives you the opportunity to find or return to great local resources to use again in the future, let alone how important it is to support local small businesses!

Remember, IT'S OK to prioritize to allow you more time for you and your loved ones this Holiday Season. No one will remember whether or not you baked them a cookie, but they will remember the afternoon on the outdoor rink, with huge fluffy snowflakes falling that you were able to spend with them because you weren't holed up in your kitchen all day.........


"That" Time of Year....

It's that time of year when we head to our basements in search of the boxes labelled "Christmas" and begin rummaging through decorations full of memories. Some of us start decorating immediately after Halloween while others wait until closer to December.

Even if you aren't starting your decorating now, I'm willing to bet you are starting to think about your holiday decor, dinners, entertaining, gifts, shopping etc etc.... Did you feel your pulse race a bit, either in happy anticipation or with a tad bit of anxiety for all that lies ahead over the next 2 months? I'm a fan of decorating for Christmas earlier than later for many reasons. It allows me time to truly enjoy the festive atmosphere in my home for a longer period of time; I can host family and friends through the entire holiday season with my home 'ready to go'; and decorating early takes one item off the longggggg Christmas/Holiday "To Do" List which for me, helps lower my pulse rate and stress levels. 

I definitely have my decor plans in place and will be implementing them sooner than later.....Do you? 

Wreaths, Urns, Swags, Garland, Decorations, Greenery, Sparkle.....Where to start?

Whether your holiday decor equals a wreath on your door or adorning every room in your home, Rustic Retrievals can assist you with pulling ideas together, implementing them and making them a reality...

I am taking orders for wreaths, urns, swags and centerpieces for both indoors and outdoors. You choose either live greens or artificial greens; you choose your colour scheme (I can also assist with this); and then the creative process begins!

Pricing varies depending on the materials used and the size of the piece(s), but they start at:

  • Wreaths - $45
  • Urns - $45 (per insert)
  • Swags - $30
  • Centerpieces - $30 

       ***discounts for multi-item purchases*** 

I also offer Decor Services....whether it's one hour in your home to help pull your ideas together or full decor services (ie. consult, plan, implementation of the plan), I can assist in making your home a holiday space to welcome your family & friends and for you to enjoy well into the New Year! Pricing starts at $45.00/hr for Decor Services. 

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Cheers to the Christmas and Holiday Season! December 25th will be here before we know it!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to email me at rusticretrievals@gmail.com or follow along with my holiday projects on Facebook and Instagram......






A World Where There Are Octobers...

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L.M Montgomery (a wonderful Canadian author) says it the best; 

  • "I'm so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers."

Those words couldn't be more truthful.

To live in a world where we get to watch the leaves turn colour, the evenings have a chill in the air, the birds fly south, crops are harvested from farmer's fields, pumpkins and gourds are staples in decor, boots and scarves become a wardrobe staple...the list could go on and on about all of the wonderful things that come along with the month of October....with the Fall season.

Fall is my favourite time of year for a multitude of reasons (most of which are noted above), but also because I see it as a season of a fresh start and new beginnings. You may say or ask why I see it as this as Fall is a season of the end of a life cycle for so many things. Yes, the trees lose their leaves, we get the last bit of bounty from the garden/fields....but, through this end of life comes inspiration and a culmination of what the Spring and Summer has produced. It may be the end for somethings, but with every ending comes the chance for a new beginning.

We change our flip flops for rubber boots, summer flowers for grasses, summer fruit for pumpkins and squash, cold beer for warm apple cider, shorts for jeans, t-shirts for sweaters, corals for burnt orange....the list goes on and on. 

As I sit out on the back deck wrapped in a cozy blanket rather than on a towel, I welcome the chill in the air, I watch the squirrels and chipmunks rushing around as they put away the walnuts for the winter, I look up at the tree canopy that is now almost void of leaves...... We're in a transition....a transition to new beginnings....

The more I look around me and take it all in, the more I sure am glad to live in a world with Octobers!


SAVE vs splurge

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I was having a lazy Sunday morning, lounging in bed and reading the newest issue of Style at Home mag, when Editor Erin McLaughlin's words leaped off the page at me!

  • "In the past, having limited funds felt humbling and was something we kept under wraps. Now, we're proud of how little we spend - and how much bang we can get for our buck". - Erin McLaughlin

FINALLY!!! A mantra that I have been living for almost my entire life has become the 'new reality'....


Saving money is now 'trendy' ...I HATE that term (trendy)...but it's true! Even those celebrities and extremely successful business folk (who could afford anything and everything they could ever imagine) are making a point to show off how little they spend on items to decorate their home!

I, on the other hand, have ALWAYS been proud of this! Don't get me wrong, I do splurge on items from time to time, but 95% of the time, if it is on sale, is a deal or a steal and I love it....I'm ALLLLL OVER IT! And in addition to being all over it, I enjoy sharing where and how to find these deals (like I will in this post).

This was my view Saturday morning as I was having my latte and ritual Saturday morning cupcake....

I'm sitting at my dining room table ($80) from the Hanover Market  that I gave a 'face lift' to last year; on one of my dining room chairs ($10 - | paid $40 for the set of 4 at an auction and they will soon be getting a face lift); looking at my sideboard/buffet ($325 - and it also has a mirror that I use in a different room) from Craigslist and almost every object on top of the table or sideboard are deals I have found in shops across Southern Ontario (including the $7.50 tulips from the Guelph Farmers Market), or were gifts from amazing family/friends.


Not too shabby for an entire room of furniture and decor items for well under $1000.00!! What I almost love more than the amazing deals is the fact that everything has been upcycled as they're quality, solid wood pieces that just needed a bit of freshening up (you can see why the chairs will soon be getting a face lift). You truly cannot find this type of quality furniture being made nowadays, unless you want to pay thousands of dollars for just one piece. I will have my sideboard forever! It is a classic and one of my favourite pieces in my home as it is THE perfect blank slate for so many design/decor options in the room!


Then there's my living room. How do you like my coffee table ($10)? A friend spotted it at a yard sale and thought of me, so she bought it for me. I then brought it home, gave it a fresh coat of paint and, VOILA! My club chairs ($20 each) were another Hanover Market find and after having them professionally re-upholstered with fabric from Tonic Living, they were still less than most chairs you would find in retail stores and the best part - they're custom!! 


My 'entertainment centre'.....After years of looking for a rustic and unique piece such as this, I finally found it in the small town of Neustadt at a shop called Refurbishment. It was WELL within budget (less than $275) and I LOVE IT!!! It was well worth taking the time to find it as I think it 'makes' the living room with it's raw edge and weathered appearance.


This corner of my home has also been years in the making....I have had some of the photos/art pieces on this console table ($125 - a clearance find at Home Outfitters) for over 12 years! Pieces like the apothocary jar ($7.00 at an annual clearance sale in a small town near my parents - I can't share ALL my secrets *wink*) are multi-functional and can be used in every season by placing season-specific items within it. The little black leather stool ($5) was an auction find (I got 2) and the silver tray on top ($2) was from another cute little shop in Neustadt. The white deer ($15) and the 'Family' pieces (between $8-$20) are from The Garage in Belmore.


This is my bed side table and....drum roll please.....it was FREE!! My Dad and I made it (which makes it even more special) from barn board from our old house (the one we lost in the fire) and a solid iron frame that was once used to hold a barrel of oil. It truly is a one of a kind piece and encompasses everything that making a house a home means to me!

How do you make your house a home on a budget??

  • Buy/upcycle/make only what you absolutely love! You will be drawn to certain styles/items much more so than others. When you find 'your style' and you see a piece that fits into that style and that you LOVE, get it! Chances are, you will always find a way to incorporate it into your home for years to come!
  • Don't be in a rush! Take your time and wait for those pieces that you love. It has taken me years of searching small town shops and boutiques to find just 'the perfect piece' and it was well worth it. If you're working with a budget, there's no sense buying something now for the sake of buying it, just to buy the same item in a year or 2 because you finally found what you're looking for.
  • Buy multi-purpose pieces! The more versatile the piece, the more bang for your buck. The more you can rotate a piece through your home in different rooms and in all seasons, the more worthwhile is it to bring into your home!
  • Shop locally and frequently! There's no better way to stay on budget than to become familiar with your local stores and boutiques, be-friend the owners, and shop there frequently! You will become familiar with their stock and what they tend to carry, they can add you to email lists regarding promos and sales and if you shop there regularly, you'll be the first to check out when items go on sale!
  • Don't be afraid to DIY! Hop on Kijiji or Craigslist regularly too. When you see a piece you love, for a great deal, but it requires a bit of a face lift....go for it!! Purchase a test piece and try refinishing/re-painting it yourself. If you're not comfortable doing the refinishing, you can hire someone like myself to refresh your piece and even after paying for paint and the service, the piece will still likely be MUCH cheaper (and of better quality) than purchasing something brand new.

These are just a few tips to help with the ongoing transformation of making the house you own or live in your own!

If you would like more assistance with anything and everything related to your home, send me an email to rusticretrievals@gmail.com and we can work together on your project(s). 

I'm off to stock up on spray paint and make a visit to a local shop that has a piece I have been eyeing for some time now....Think I MAY just have to get it (it went on sale the other day)!! 




A Weekend in the Country...

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I escaped to the country over the long weekend ... A weekend for family, being outside and welcoming Spring with outstretched arms!

As you can see in the photo above however, Winter was still lingering, but that did not deter Charlie from a swim in the pond. Every patch of snow he could find, he rolled in like there was no tomorrow. This time of year seems to be filled with thousands of new smells, at least from Charlie's perspective, and he stopped every few steps to take them allllll in!

I love to get outside this time of year (well anytime of year really) and take in all of the 'new'....the Spring flowers poking through the thawing soil, the birds that have returned form their winters in the south are chirping up a storm, the buds on the trees ready to pop open, where the sun is now rising and setting....It is an exciting time of year that reminds us of all of the potential that surrounds us!!

I also find it's a good time of year to reflect....as we start a new season, I also take the time to relax and look back on the events that have occurred the last few months....and also find myself perplexed as to how fast time seems to be flying by!

Our evening walk greeted us with this....

Our evening walk greeted us with this....

A sunny corner to curl up in, relax and reflect....

A sunny corner to curl up in, relax and reflect....

So fresh and bright...a true sign that Spring is right around the corner!

So fresh and bright...a true sign that Spring is right around the corner!

We aren't really a dessert family (I would rather have my cupcake/dessert for breakfast it would seem OR we have our 2am kitchen parties when we then feel the need to have our dessert), but how can you resist a Strawberry Shortcake!?

We aren't really a dessert family (I would rather have my cupcake/dessert for breakfast it would seem OR we have our 2am kitchen parties when we then feel the need to have our dessert), but how can you resist a Strawberry Shortcake!?

Another activity I realllllly enjoy this time of year is getting a jump start on the outdoor living season...ie. time to head to the local Garden Centre!!! My Mom and I (after getting my snow tires taken off), headed to one of my favourite landscaping supply stores just outside of Walkerton called Folmer Gardens.

I would have needed about 5 patios/decks and 5 acres for all of the furniture, urns, flowers and decor pieces I wanted to bring home with me, but in the end we decided on some hearty spring flowers to freshen up the planters/urns. I also got some flowers and new urns for my patio (more to come on those...let's just say, they're definitely going to add a "pop" to my back yard!  *wink wink*).

The photo above is the finished product of my parent's from porch....pansies, lanterns, willow branches (that I cut from their willow tree) and a handsome chocolate furry pooch (he just loves posing for pictures).

So....this was just Friday and Saturday of the long weekend.....stay tuned for the events of living a Bucolic Lifestyle on Sunday and Monday in an upcoming post!




  1. of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.

    "the stone house is lovely for its bucolic setting"



Around My House...My Home...

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My home is my sanctuary....My cottage in the city.......

My 9-5 career has me travelling quite a bit (which I love), but I also love getting home, putting my feet up, making myself a latte with my Nespresso, cozying up on the couch under a blanket and taking some time for me, looking through my new magazines that have arrived that week. I subscribe to quite a few mags (my guilty pleasure) and every time I come home to a new one in my mailbox, I can't wait to get inside and start flipping through it!

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As I'm sitting on my couch, I look into my kitchen and on those weekend mornings as the sun is coming up (during the week, I'm generally out of the house before the sun is up) the light that pours into my home is magical!

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I also like to surround myself with fresh flowers and greenery.....They add a sense of beauty and bring the outdoors in! Whether they are on my buffet, the coffee table or my bedside table, I always have them in my home.

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But ... my house would not be a home without this guy..... my Charlie Bear! He turned 9 this past week and if there's anything that makes me feel the best about coming home, it's him!