Photography is a Love Affair with Life!

I love to capture moments in time to be able to remember them forever. I have always enjoyed photography and the smile that comes across my face as I look through old photos and memories they stir that come flowing back.

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don't, you should!) you will know that after a lot of encouragement from family, friends and fellow home décor enthusiasts, I have added a "Shop" section to my website to allow you to purchase my photo prints, canvases and photography services.

I'm re-vamping my gallery wall today and to be able to look at these prints and re-visit these breathtaking views of the world around us is inspiring! Whether it's Notre Dame surrounded by Cherry Blossoms or the shore of Lake Huron at sunset with the waves crashing in, as much as these photos hold memories for me, they also illustrate the magnificence of these stunning locales, which in turns adds beauty to the home of those who hang these pieces of art. 

Through my website Shop, you can purchase separate prints and I'm now happy to offer collections that will almost instantly help you start your own gallery wall!

I'm also holding a giveaway on Instagram where you can win one of my prints. Be sure to pop over and check it out!

I'll leave you with this.....

" Photography is the art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them." - Elliott Erwitt

RR

2016 - A Year in Review (Part 2) - July to December

JULY

Canada 2016 was a veryyyy chilly day, but we decided to head to the lake anyways. It was veryyyy weird to be the only people (yes, the ONLY people) on the beach in Port Elgin on the July 1st holiday. No matter the weather however, Lake Huron will always lure me to it.....always...

We celebrated a wonderful friend with a night at the races. We didn't 'win big' from a monetary perspective (we mainly placed bets based on the names of the horses), but it was a HUGE win to be able to spend her special day with her and her family.

My backyard continues to come together nicely and I was able to add some fantastic details with yard sale finds (or should I say steals?!). Last years fence looks great, the mulch settled in nicely, the plants I re-planted all survived (thank goodness) and I can now officially call this my sanctuary.

AUGUST

This was a much warmer day along the shore of Lake Huron in the town of Kincardine. If you walk to the very end of the boardwalk, you get to a section of beach that has HUGE pieces of driftwood.....I just couldn't help myself! (and I really wish I could have sneaked them home in my truck....but oh well, better to leave them for everyone to enjoy).

 

On a rainy Saturday morning, I took a wee road trip to a city I used to call home....Burlington. In between rain showers I wandered along the pier, visited the bakery that Charlie and I frequented every Saturday morning and stumbled upon this amazing store on Brant St called Centro Garden. As you can see in the photo above, from their home décor pieces, to their housewares, to their garden centre....I'll take one of each please!!

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And then there's this guy....from the moment I laid eyes on that handsome face, I knew he had to be mine. This is Light the Night (aka Lightning) and he has brought so much happiness to my life, I can't even put it into words. He's a 16hh draft cross (Percheron + Paint) and I swear that somehow, Charlie's personality was morphed into this horse! Just like Char, he's so stubborn yet so smart, he's such a kind and gentle creature and those eyes...he can be trying my patience to almost the tipping point and then he gets 'that look' and I forget really quickly how frustrated I am....Welcome to the family big guy!

SEPTEMBER

So you can’t have a horse without tack, therefore, I headed to Pleasant Ridge in Brantford to get everything I needed for Lightning. I grew up mainly riding Western and seeing as my guys is quite green (ie. Only been ridden a dozen times), I thought we’d start out with what I was comfortable with and go from there. Doesn’t he look dashing?!

Mom and I travelled to Stratford to see my Grama after she had surgery and on our way home, we stopped to take in the stunning gardens along the river (and maybe have an ice cream cone too). If you’ve never been to Stratford, you need to put it on your ‘to visit’ list for 2017! It’s a beautiful and historically significant town with so much to offer (shows at the Theatre, amazing restaurants, local artisans/shops and magnificent character homes).

If you’re a regular follower on Instagram, you know how much I love to photograph sunsets. This one was taken at the farm, just as the sky was clearing after a rainy day. Such a gorgeous late summer/early fall evening!

OCTOBER

I’m not easily surprised, but these two absolutely succeeded in doing so, having me in happy tears with the biggest grin on my face for hours! Cheers to these two incredible people, their new life together and the amazing new chapter that will start for them in 2017!

I had to stop and snap this photo one the way out to the farm one morning. The sky is the most spectacular blue in the Fall and those colours popping against it….oh wow!! I just couldn’t resist capturing it!

We celebrated the most important woman in my life in October as she hit a milestone birthday and we were able to celebrate in the most idyllic and tranquil setting thanks to my brother and his amazing lady friend (her family cottage). It was a perfect way to spend Mom’s birthday (Minions and all) …Thank you soooooo much Anne-Marie and Mike!!

NOVEMBER

I attended The Royal this year and was so lucky to be able to see this vivacious gal and her pony put on quite the show in the ring! I enjoy everything about The Royal, from the horse shows, to the vendors, to behind the scenes in the barn…it was a fantastic day of experiencing ‘country in the city’.

Charlie and I really enjoy our morning walks at the Country House. This was a frosty morning, just as the sun was rising. Fall is my favourite time of year and this photo captures why.

With over 7000 photos on my phone and with some prompting from family and friends, I re-opened my Etsy shop to be able to share my photo prints with everyone. The collection will continue to grow into the new year and thank you to you all for your support!

DECEMBER

Every year that I decorate at the Country House, I have this guy as my helper. He keeps me company as we walk around the property, collecting greenery and other décor pieces and always has to pose in the final shot, once the job is complete!

I made my rustic chic wreaths again this year and it was by far my most successful year yet! Soooo many orders allowed me to really get creative and I thank you to my returning and new clients for their support and incredibly positive feedback. I just love making people smile and creating a one of a kind piece for their home.

Oh Christmas tree….you’re always there to help round out the year and bring shimmer and shine to our home over the holidays. I really enjoyed basking in its glow this year….thanks Mom!

Looking back, all I can say is ‘Wow, what a year!’. I hope you’ve had as great a year as I have and I wish you the best for 2017! 

RR

Winter Neutrals

Not only have I been neglecting my blogging this year, but I've also been neglecting my home decor. That being said, Friday night was the night for Christmas to arrive at the city cottage!

I make a point of decorating more so for Winter versus a scheme that is 100% Christmas as I enjoy leaving the decor up as long as possible, seeing as I'm not home all that much to truly enjoy it!

This year was no different....I decided to go with a neutral, rustic theme this year, with a bit of metallics added in for some sparkle (it is Christmas after all). I put on the Love Actually soundtrack, cleared off the sideboard and raided the many rubbermaids downstairs that are overflowing with Christmas/Winter decor. The sideboard was soon transformed into a neutral, rustic centerpiece for my home.

The photo above was taken at about 9pm, shortly after I finished (my apologies for the not so great photo quality) and I just love the glow of the lights, the variety of textures, the rustic charm and natural elements.

I was so happy to wake up Saturday morning and love the sideboard as much in the daylight as I did at night. 

As you know, I have an affinity for trees and I try to use them in my decor as often as possible in some way shape or form. What better time of year to incorporate them then during the winter months? 

Fur, feathers, wood, glass, metal, burlap....all the elements that speak to me in their rustic ways and when they all come together, a little magic happens!

I've done a few little tweaks here and there since Friday and just love how it all came together!

As I'm writing this I've just come in from decorating the outside of my cottage (more to come on that soon) and I'm sitting down to enjoy a latte, an amazing cinnamon bun and just take it all in.

 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and have been able to find some festive cheer to incorporate into your home!

RR

 

 

The Wonderful Willow House

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The power of social media and a strong network of amazing local women never ceases to amaze me!

I follow Willow House Furnishings and Design Studio on Instagram and Facebook and have fallen in love with this store through their photos and posts. Not only is their store absolutely stunning, but so is the store's founder and proprietor, Kim! It's funny how you can 'click' with people over social media and then when you have a chance to meet them in person, that 'click' becomes even more amplified. 

A few weeks ago Willow House posted that they'd be hosting a Trends in Fabric event featuring Avant Garde fabrics and I immediately RSVP'd for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I really wanted to finally meet Kim and see the beautiful store/business she'd built over the past 20 years, but I also have a 'thing' for exquisite fabrics. Looking through fabric books, feeling the various textures and weaves, seeing the mix of tones and colours and seeing how a variety of prints with work together is something I could do for hours on end.

I intentionally arrived early to the event so I had time to immerse myself in the shoppe but also so I could have a good chat with Kim. Kim's smile and magnetic personality fills the store and adds another level of amazingness to her already beautifully curated space.

As you can see from the photos, it's the kind of space that implores you to want to re-decorate, to 'spruce up' your home and make it your own through their beautiful one-of-a-kind, rustic-lux pieces. I literally could have taken home entire vignettes just as they were as they'd been styled so perfectly by Kim and her wonderful staff. I did take one piece home with me....but I'll show you that a little later in this post.

Over 40 stylish and design savvy women filled Willow House's Design Studio for the Avant Garde presentation. I'm planning on re-doing my dining chairs as well as window coverings in two of my rooms, so needless to say, I was uber inspired by all of the luxurious fabrics we were shown. It sure sounds like grey is here to stay (YEAH!) and I was so glad to see it being reinforced that it really is the 'new neutral' that works with almost every colour. The jewel tone blues and greens, the burnt oranges, the sunshine and butter yellows...the combinations are endless. I fell in love with the velvets (I'm leaning towards using velvet for my dining chairs to add texture and interest and wee bit of luxury to my space) and will likely use the chairs as a venue to introduce some colour into the space. I always have a soft spot for linens and we were told that they're now even more suitable as window covering due to the dyes that are now being used to prevent sun damage (double yeah as I am planning on using a linen based fabric for my window coverings). 

The photo above shows one of my favourite fabrics of the night.....the multi tones of grey with a touch of cream and white, the stripes to add interest, how beautifully it hung...I just loved it!

After the presentation, we were treated to some scrumptious cheeses by C'est Cheese Please ...... 

I was in heaven!....Two of my favourite things in one space... Home Decor and Cheese. Thank you too to C'est Cheese Please for the bag of goodies we got to take home!

Thank you to   Justyna Sokolowski   for taking this photo!

Thank you to Justyna Sokolowski for taking this photo!

And here we are....Kim and I chatting like old friends. To say she's one stylish lady is the understatement of the year! I'm really looking forward to growing this new friendship and to also work with her to continue to make my house my home and freshen up my space.

When I walked into the store, a certain piece immediately caught my eye. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know about my love of horses. These creatures have brought so much happiness to my life and I love how you can truly see their souls through their eyes.....

So after walking by this piece at least 15 times...stopping...looking...being drawn in.....I knew it had to come home with me....and I'm SOOO glad it did!

I woke up and walked out to my living room yesterday morning and seeing this immediately brought a smile to my face. Yet another step in making my house truly my home.

I need to extend a huge "Thank you" again to Kim and all of those involved in making the Trends in Fabric event happen. It was such a great evening for many reasons and I can't wait to get back to Willow House!!

RR

Inspired Spaces...Bring on Spring!!

I really do cherish my weekends at home as they're few and far between. Some gal pals were coming to visit last weekend, but due to some crazy weather, we had to cancel our plans (insert sad face here). With the change in plans, I thought I'd take advantage of my time at home to freshen up the space a bit and start bringing in some Spring.

February is such a 'funky' month....we're well into winter, have snow up to our knees, the fun and festivities of the holidays are long over and we see Spring starting to pop up in fashion and decor. All of the bright and airy Spring looks and pieces have us yearning for warm sunshine filled days,  green grass, patios and flowers. Seeing as I don't see green grass or drinks on a patio happening any time soon, the way I like to start bringing Spring into my home is through flowers. Tulips happen to be one of my favs and they're in abundance right now...and...they're oh so reasonably priced!  When you can find them for $10 a dozen, I can't think of a more chic, fun and cheap way to insert some Spring and colour into your home!

I also like to turn to magazines for inspiration, especially this time of year, because part of the February Funk also can bring with it a bit of a lack of inspiration. It's a transitional time when it comes to fashion and decor...we want to bring out all the light and airy Spring pieces, but they seem out of place with snow still on the ground. I find turning to magazines helps with finding that balance right now and I owe a huge THANK YOU to House and Home Magazine for the article, A Study In Contrasts, in their March 2015 issue. The kitchen designed by Barbara Purdy and Olivia Botrie on pages 84-87 is the epitome of my dream kitchen! Every...single...detail and element from the exposed beams, to the colour palette, to the cabinetry, that island (swoon), the windows, the pantry (those doors)....EVERYTHING is absolute perfection. 

When it came time to freshen up my sideboard, I pulled my colour scheme from the pantry in this article...the muted, earthy tones...the creams, beiges, mochas, straw, winter white, light wood tones. These colour and tones are a great transitional colour scheme for this time of year. They're still warm and cozy, but have a lighter and more airy feel to them too.

The final product is very simple and has a natural, earthy feel to it. The grapevine wreath I made from vines in my backyard adds a bit of whimsy, the antique postal scale a dear friend gave me adds a sentimental and historical touch, the feathered wreath from Hive of Bayfield adds softness, the golden metallic tea light holders from The Garage add some *bling* and the oil cans from The Aberfoyle Antique Market add something unexpected and industrial.  They all come together in a muted, rustic chic way to slowly start to welcome in Spring.

I hope you can take some time today (it's a holiday here in Ontario) and read through some magazines and get inspired. Go down to your basement, open up some dusty boxes of home decor items and see what you can bring into your home to welcome Spring. Oh....and don't forget to treat yourself to some flowers!

I arrived home yesterday to a beautiful bunch of tulips from a great friend! Talk about a wonderful Galentine's Day! I can now spend the day relaxing, enjoying my space and continuing to get inspired!

Cheers to inspiration, great design, friendship, Spring and fresh flowers!

RR

Orange is the New Black!

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It was time to decorate the sideboard for Fall (thanks so much to Ruralist for featuring my vignette!) and as I was looking through my decor pieces, I suddenly felt an urge to go orange!

I have always gravitated to orange (my next pair of Hunter boots will be their burnt orange...I'm almost positive!), but have been somewhat nervous to incorporate it into my home decor.

Well, as you can see, I'm no longer nervous and love it! I also wish I had brought this colour into my home sooner.

I was visiting my parent's a few weeks ago, picking up my pumpkins and gourds for my outdoor Fall decor from a farm a few roads over when I decided to stop in at The Garage in Belmore. I am soooooo glad I did!

When I had started my Fall decorating inside my home, I felt something (or somethings) were missing, especially when it came to my sideboard (the focal point of my 800 square feet of living space). I was having this 'urge for orange' but didn't really have any pieces to fulfill that urge.

The moment I stepped inside The Garage Home Decor, I spotted the orange urn and the birch picture and knew they would be coming home with me!

As I wandered around the shop, I also noticed the orange and brown equine-esque infinity scarf, the deer print and the gold tea light holders. Literally every time I turned around, there was another piece I loved and wanted to bring home with me!

I also picked up a few more items and was so happy when the total came to just under $200! Wow....less than $200 for pieces I can re-use again and again and don't necessarily only lend themselves to Fall. 

Upon returning to my parent's, I cut some grasses that would add some height to the vignette, but also some softness.  I integrated the grasses, along with some mini pumpkins, corn and gourds from the farm, as natural elements to the display.

I then raided my basement and other rooms in the house to pull the vignette together. I used feather wreaths from The Hive in Bayfield, a silver antler from Homesense and a glass cloche and coppery/bronze bowl from Achesons Pharmacy in Harriston. The wire and wood tray was a gift and I made the grapevine wreath from vine in my back yard.

I'm so happy with how it all came together! And I'm SOOO happy I took a leap and brought orange into my home. I stopped into Achesons this weekend and there are some orange and grey plaid pillows that I was THIS close to taking home with me.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend and that you too 'take the plunge' and incorporate some colour into your Fall decor!

RR


There's Still Plenty of Summer Left!

The days may be getting shorter, but there is still plenty of summer left! I know most would say we really haven't had much of a summer with the cooler weather we've had....I would have to argue that!

This has been THE perfect summer to get outside and enjoy your outdoor living space! The cooler nights call for a cozy blanket and campfire, the chilliness seems to have kept the bugs away and honestly, wouldn't you rather be outside when it's 19 degrees versus 33 degrees PLUS a humidex that makes it feel closer to 40 degrees? I sure would!

I had posted some photos of my backyard transformation on Instagram and one of my favourite websites, Ruralist, asked if I'd like to do a few pieces on outdoor decor/living/entertaining. Of course I said YES!

I ended up writing 2 pieces:

It was so much fun to pull items I already had  (I honestly purchased very few new items for the shoots) together into two inviting, comfortable and Rustic Chic spaces. A HUGE thank you to my amazing neighbour and friend Michele for her help! She is a styling GENIUS!!

I'll let you read the articles for tips on how to design your own outdoor space and as an FYI, I also included A LOT of my favourite local home decor sources that can be found all over Southern Ontario! THANK YOU so much Ruralist for featuring my outdoor spaces! 

The long weekend will soon be upon us, so why not have friends and family over to enjoy your outdoor space?

I'll leave you with a few photos of the patio and deck and if you should have any outdoor decor questions, feel free to email me at rusticretrievals@gmail.com .... ENJOY!

RR

The Abbey

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A friend and I were on our way, lattes in hand, to spend our Sunday morning at the Aberfoyle Antique  Market when we noticed a new shoppe had opened just north of it. Of course, we had to stop in and have a look at this chic new boutique!

The Abbey Interiors & Boutique is a breath of fresh air in the Guelph area and is just the type of home decor boutique we have been wanting/craving/needing!!

You enter through the glossy black doors to a bright, open, beautiful entry way, flanked on both sides by wooden staircases. The cathedral ceiling and chandelier also found in the entry take your breath away!

As you walk up one of the stair cases, you are greeted by the space in the photo above and you can't help but stand there an take it all in! The hanging light fixtures/chandeliers draw your eye up, that harvest table with all the amazing decor pieces pulls you towards it, the nook in the back corner with the contrasting corner shelves (again filled with the perfect decor pieces) invites you towards the back of the boutique....Literally every square foot is inspiring! 

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I purchased a few pieces and could have taken even more home with me!  I will DEFINITELY be back in soon and I have my eye on those cloches on the harvest table (along with many more items). This boutique appeals to all home decor styles and they carry pieces that will stand the test of time. 

This brushed silver and mirrored round tray is one of the items I brought home with me. I combined it with some vintage oil cans I also got at the Market that morning, along with some other items I already had at home, to make this vignette in my office.  This is such a versatile and timeless piece....I can already think of sooooo many uses for it!

This beautiful shoppe (which also has a women's boutique on the second floor!)  is located at 39 Brock Rd South, Guelph ON, N1H 6H9. Be sure to also have a look at The Abbey Interiors & Boutique's website, and all of their social media accounts: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

I'm really looking forward to going back and getting inspired!

RR