Deceptively Destructive Beauty

Holidays continued.....

I made it to my parent's after the worst of the ice storm. The sun actually came out and every surface shone and shimmered like I have never seen before.

I then headed into town and this was the view just down the road.....I could have taken picture after picture. It was so incredibly beautiful!

After a day of running errands, it was home to put the finishing touches on the decor...We continued with the red and white theme again this year. The piece of art is from The Garage in Belmore as is quite a few of the other decor pieces. The plaid throw is from Acheson's in Harriston (they also have a location in Orangeville and it is one of my favorite Home Decor stores) and the snowflake runner is from Finishing Touches in Wingham. was time to sit, relax and enjoy the tree.....

The next few photos show our Christmas Eve morning was absolutely gorgeous!

And this was sunset.....I could have sat out on the deck (if it hadn't been so chilly) and just soaked it all in!

Some other shots of nature's beauty....So beautiful, yet so very destructive!

The weather then began to warm a bit and the snow started falling....Charlie loved it and could have sat outdoors all day long!

We also had a visit from a Doe and her twin fawns.....they're getting so big!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday surrounded by those that mean the most to you!

I would also like to say a huge, "THANK YOU" to all the men and women who worked over the holidays, away from their family's, to get the power back on. This icy beauty caused destruction like we haven't seen in quite some time....My 9-5 job is with a Utility and I have never been more proud of the  people I work with then over this past week and a half. Thank you for all you do....



December 1st rolled around and I realized that I still had over half of my vacation days to started December 19th this year! I usually try to have most of my Christmas shopping done by the beginning of December, but, that wasn't the case this year, so I was SO GLAD to have some extra days to get caught up. 

Holidays meant local shopping in downtown Guelph, out for lunches & brunches, bevies (found a new fav!), cozy nights in and time with friends...all my favourite things to do this time of year! (...any time of year really)

The holidays started like this...on the couch, with a glass of wine, candles and doing absolutely nothing but relaxing!


After an evening of relaxation, time to start wrapping! I also had a wee helper to keep my mug of coffee filled and my supplies ready at hand....

Let me introduce you to....Bling Crosby!! The best Holiday Helper (aka Stuffed Dude) ever!! was time for some shopping!!

At trip downtown Guelph wouldn't be complete without a stop at Blush!

I'll take one of each, please!

Then, it was off to another one of my favourite shops....

Coriander!  I absolutely LOVED these home decor pieces!

This ornament...too cute!!

After all that shopping, time for some lunch!

Off we went to Atmosphere for an amazing salad and BLT pizza!

Then to Sapphire for dessert (their homemade icecream and a brownie) and an 'adult' cappucino! Emily, thank you sooooo much for introducing me to this! Adult = Amarula! Yum Yum Yum!

It was so good, I had to go back for lunch again the next day....with magazines in tow! By the way...their sandwiches are fabtastic! (my fav is the summer sausage!)

Then back home to continue wrapping and Holiday preparations!

With plenty of coffee, espresso, Amarula on hand, I had all the necessities for a wrapping marathon! I also had Rick Grimes (of the Walking Dead) to keep me and Bling Crosby, company too! Another thanks to Emily for introducing me to that series!

Ready to press....

A HUGE "Thank You" to my wonderful gals pals for your generous gifts of all the holiday essentials, whether I'm snuggled up with a good book or getting ready to host some friends!

Then....Mother Nature decided to throw us a curve ball....a very, very icy one!

 These photos are of my lilac bush in front of my home...

This absolutely insane weather was frightening yet beautiful....picturesque yet destructive! When the weather system blew through, it brought us all out of our homes in a true sense of, salting, sanding...driveways, sidewalks, vehicles...all the while, laughing, telling stories and making the best of a difficult situation.

Then...after packing up my was time to head to my other home...Mom and Dad's in the country.

To be continued...


Mixed Metallic

I went back and forth about how I was going to decorate my home this Christmas Season...

Black and Copper or Turquoise and Silver or Green and Gold.....I couldn't make up my mind. Then I realized there seemed to be a common every combination I was considering, I was planning on using a metallic. Soooo.......after much contemplation.....I went with MIXED METALLIC! 

Bronze, Copper, Silver and Gold have been sprinkled around my home, bringing shimmer and sparkle for the Holidays! I've also mixed in natural elements such as wood, fur and pine cones for a truly Rustic Glam effect.

See below how you could win a metallic piece for your home!


As a way to welcome in the Christmas and Holiday Season and to celebrate the wonderful year it has been for Rustic Retrievals, I want to help bring some metallic charm into your home!


I'm always torn between Gold and Silver and when I saw these two pieces (Stag/Deer Decor) I was instantly drawn to them both.

The Gold Stag is more rustic traditional and I can see it in a front entry to hang keys, a purse or a scarf on.

The Silver Stag is a more Rustic Modern piece and I would hang it in a bedroom and use it to hang/display pretty baubles.'s your chance to win one of these Stags to add to your home decor!

Here's what you have to do (it's super easy):

1. "Share" this post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc with the hashtag #goldstag or #silverstag (whichever is your favourite and the one you'd like to win).

2. Comment below, noting that you've shared this post. In your post include which Stag you'd like to win and where you'd use it in your home.

There....that's all! Done and Done!

Best of luck to you all! Winners will be announced next Sunday December 8, 2013.



**All photos are property of Ardis McDonald/ Rustic Retrievals

Holidays in a New Home - Part Two

Time to move onto the inside...

Our first Christmas after the fire was in the farmhouse my parent's were renting while they finalized plans to build this new house. I will admit...that Christmas was full of mixed emotions. We are a family of sentimentality....we had and lost over 50 years of ornaments and decorations from family and loved ones. Every year, decorating the tree turned into a walk down memory lane as we put ornaments on the tree that held such significant meaning...especially the ornaments from those loved ones we have lost. Those will never....ever.. be replaced. But..I still have the memories of  decorating those trees, those ornaments and the significance they had. And...this first Christmas in the new house was a chance to start new traditions and make new memories while remembering and reminiscing about old ones.

As long as I can remember, we always had multi-coloured lights on the tree and that tradition continued in the new home. There's something so cheerful about the reds, greens and blues glistening through the branches.

As upsetting as it was to lose our family's ornaments, we did our best to turn that into a positive by constantly being on  the search for new ones...ones that reminded us of Christmases past but also brought something new to our Holidays as well.

Remember C.A.L.M from previous posts..... We saw these ornaments and just had to get them (oh...and my Mom LOVES decorating with red at the Holidays too)...These were perfect for more than one reason!

We just loved these vintage-look ornaments for the tree (they were actually gift tags that we decided to put on the tree instead). Those shimmery snowflakes were also a must have as my Mom collects snowflakes. 

So after picking the perfect tree, hanging the lights, arranging the decorations (a few times)......VOILA!!

This is the front entry... We used a combination of red, white and grey with a piece of artwork that symbolizes our summers on Lake of the Woods. 

Pinecones, painted feathers, Holiday ornaments, Christmas crackers.....they all worked together sooo well!

Another close up of the tree...I see a bit of a snowflakes.

Then there's this guy...the official Gift Guard.....with his new squeaker (he got to open a gift a wee bit early).

We then realized that we'd mayyybbbeee purchased a few too many decorations. We also decided that we wanted to keep a bit of a theme on the big tree...soooo.....I brought my smaller tree from my house and a second tree was decorated! A new tradition in the new house...2 trees!

This one had a more rustic and cottagey was covered in antlers, deer, moose, bears, plaid, fisher-snowmen, tackleboxes, burlap....This truly was for my Dad...

This guy is my favorite....Something about him reminds me of my Dad...I think it's the boots...(my Dad also collects moose)..


This was in a card my parent's had received from one of their just seemed so very appropriate and suited the mood perfectly! 

"Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world".

Looking back through these photos from last Christmas brought a huge smile to my face....and also a few tears. So many memories came flooding back...not just from last Christmas...but from all of them. One thing that I will always keep very close to my heart is my family....without family, for me, there would be no Christmas. They are what truly 'make it' for me.....


**All photos are property of Rustic Retrievals/Ardis McDonald.

Holidays in a New Home - Part One

Last Christmas was my parent's first Christmas in their new home so needless to say, I wanted it to be perfect both outside and inside!! 

We have always been a family who had the perspective that less is more when it comes to decor. 

Keep it simple....Keep it natural ...... 

My Mom had bought these fantastic planters at a store called The Garage Home Decor in Belmore, ON (I too have a set) and as you can see, they were/are the perfect base for the holiday urns I put together for them.

I took a set of "snippers" (my technical term for branch clippers) and off to the bush I went to cut the greenery. I used a mix of cedar, spruce, pine and red willow. I even used some teasels I found on the edge of the old horse pasture. I added a little bit of shimmer with some silver accents, but other than that, the greenery was the star of the show!


The front door was flanked by the planters overflowing with natural greenery and a simple swag of greens hung from the door. We found a gorgeous antique toboggan at a local shop as well as a wooden angel (there's a story to our family and angels that I have told before but will tell again soon) to add to the decor. I had found the "Keep Calm and Carry On" mat at Urban Barn and seeing as our family has also always incorporated the word 'calm' in to our day-to-day lives  (see this post as to why), it was the perfect last piece of the puzzle.

The other end of the front porch was also kept simple and natural... 2 planters full of greens, white lanterns and the seating area that stays outside 365 days a year (a great spot to enjoy a morning coffee, even after a fresh snow fall).

I so wish I had remembered to take a photo after it snowed...but needless to stay, it all came together so well and looked absolutely amazing with a fresh blanket of snow.....

We went back and forth about whether to put lights in the planters....but after much discussion, we decided that we liked the more rustic and again, natural, look of the planters with the outdoor sconces shining down on them. I DEFINITELY think it was the right decision!

Once I had their outdoor decor was time to put together the planters/urn inserts for my home. I had already decided on the colours I wanted to use...the bronzy coppers, shiny chocolate brown, and some shimmery, creamy ivory. I still wanted an overall rustic look, but with a little bit of glam.....

I think I succeeded with the RUSTIC GLAM effect! What do you think?

The momentum from all the creative juices that were flowing also morphed in me completing a wreath for a friend/client of mine. She always leaves it up to me with regards to style and colour scheme and I decided to keep with the Rustic Glam vibe while completing her wreath. I used a grapevine wreath as a base, added fresh greens and them some silver sparkle..Anddd....


Again...simple, nature and rustic...with just enough sparkle and twinkle to also say "holiday"!

As you can likely tell...I realllly enjoy decorating outdoors for the Holidays/Christmas!! (yes, that is the understatement of understatements) I would LOVE to help you with your outdoor decor...whether it's a simple swag for your door or multiple planters/urns or even an online decor consult (I just need pictures of the area you are wanting to decorate), I have sooo many ideas running through my mind that I can't wait to bring to life. Send me an email to with what you're looking for and we can go from there.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


**All photos are the property of Rustic Retrievals**

All You Need....

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and continue to have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends!
I am very lucky in my line of work to have been able to take time off around the holiday season this year and spend that time with those I care about most. However, many of my friends work in fields such as healthcare, emergency services and retail and they do not always have this luxury.
Our hospitals never shut down, accidents continue to happen, people still get sick... so those of us in the healthcare/emergency services field understand that there will be holidays that will be spent at work, away from family. That being said, for any of my friends that work in these fields, they don't work every holiday, they rotate on and off and do have a chance to spend some holidays with their family....
Then....there's retail. I just texted with a friend of mine who is a Store Manager at one of the busiest malls in Canada, just to see how she is doing....she sent me back a 2 word answer...."Friggin Crazy".
She loves what she does, but, as her friend, I would love to see her have the opportunity to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with her family/children. As a Manager, she is there until close on Christmas Eve, is there first thing on Boxing Day and generally stays until the bitter end...EVERY, SINGLE YEAR!
Like I said, she loves what she does and she is darn great at what she does, but, if I could have one wish granted, I would love to see Boxing Day moved to December 27...or even December 28! I would love to see her be able to stay in her pajamas on Boxing Day, curl up on the couch with her 2 beautiful kids and just relax!
My friend and her daughter at the lake this summer...
We spend an entire day opening gifts that we haven't even had a chance to truly appreciate and enjoy, yet, some of us feel the need to line up as early as 1am on Boxing Day (or even before), to go buy more 'stuff'...yes, 'stuff'. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but, let's be thankful to those people who have given up their holiday time to be there to sell you 'stuff'.
We are a consumer driven society and yes, I understand completely that we need to continue to be consumers to ensure our economy stays on track...however....we also need to find a balance between needs versus wants! 
A person may need medical care on December 26 but no one needs to go out and buy an iPad on December 26.
As you can likely tell, I've never understood the hype behind Boxing Day...I'd much rather spend the day with people I care about versus fighting through crowds of strangers for 'deals' on material things.
I challenge you to spend time with your family today rather then your debit/credit card. Be thankful for what you already have versus what you feel you still want.
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Hidden Gem

Let me introduce you to an amazing and very talented woman who I am sooo very lucky to call one of my best friends!
Kristy (Ireland) Zagorodny and I met in Grade 9 homeroom and the rest....well, the rest is history! Since I met Kristy, I have been absolutely amazed at her creative nature and her eye for attention to detail! In addition to being one of the most artistic people I know, she also has the biggest heart and welcoming/warm personality of anyone you will ever meet!
Kristy's Wedding - Kristy and I
Kristy lives outside a cute little town called Mildmay, the Lamplighter Town, in Southern Ontario. There is a beautiful old stone hotel in Mildmay which has been converted to a charming pub and coffee perk/shop called Harleys . The main floor of the hotel is the pub and perk, however, there are 2 floors above that when you climb the beautiful wooden stair cases, you feel like you have stepped back to 1827 when the hotel was built.
Kristy was commissioned to decorate the 2nd floor of the hotel for the local home holiday tour and the transformation was spectacular!....As I wandered from room to room, I felt as though I was transported into a story book from Christmases past....

As you came up the staircase, you were greeted by this beautiful tree done in golds, champagne and creams....
 The cozy and festive sitting area in front of the fireplace....
Sparkle and shine.... 

Greens, baubles, a wooden barrel and vintage windows.... 
 The fireplace...
Simple yet so very effective....greens, antlers and a bit of 'bling'..

The banisters, the chandelier, the antiques, the 14 foot ceilings.....stunning!
A little nook to sit, enjoy the holiday atmosphere and have a toddy...

The spectacular dining room....reds, black, silver....rustic chic! 
A window vignette in the dining room....

Seeing as this was a hotel, the rooms each had a sink to allow guests to 'freshen up'...Antique mirror and accessories...

 More modern colours used with a vintage feel....I LOVE this table from The Neustadt Mill Antiques

A perfect example of Kristy's advent calendar from a gorgeous antique frame and Christmas baubles....

We called this the 'peacock corner. with the blues, turquoises and greens....the Sleigh was the perfect traditional touch (and can be found at Neustadt Mill Antiques)

 The local sponsorship and support was amazing....Small town Ontario really knows how to come together!
Not only does Kristy have a very talented 'eye', but so does her father, Bill Ireland...these two winterscapes are photos of his of the local landscape....

"Winter Wonderland"


This is a handdrawn sketch of the Hotel....a beautiful, historic building that continues to bring the community together!

Kristy has an obvious passion for decor and styling....and as you can see, she truly is a hidden gem in the home/floral decor world!

Christmas is just around the corner...

So I think a contest is in order! 

Families tend to congregate in kitchens this time of year...baking, cooking, drinking, laughing...making memories!

The contest is simple....choose which kitchen you think is my favourite from The Top 10 Kitchens of 2012 from House Beautiful and win a Rustic Holiday Ornament. Just comment on this post or go to my Facebook page and list your guess under this blog entry post or the link I posted yesterday!

Here are just a fav may or may not be posted below! ;)

Happy Guessing....and Happy December 1st!


Christmas Countdown....

Now that Halloween is over (whew), let the countdown to Christmas begin! I have been out and about this week and love how the transition has been made to holiday decor in the stores (especially our small business owners...SHOP LOCAL!!!)....

 I can't wait to begin to start the transtion in and around my own home....

A mix of a rustic tree made of branches and the sparkle of a wreath covered in glitter!

Driftwood ornaments.... Rustic and Beachy all in one...

LOVE all of the trees on this table....yes, I seem to have a thing for trees (as you know if you're a regular reader of my blog).


My Holiday Workshop is coming together...getting organized and taking inventory!

Sparkle, Sparkle and more Sparkle!

Oh the mind is racing with decor ideas!


Gold, shimmering orchids for a custom order wreath! Can't wait to get started on it!


This burlap covered frame was painted white....wait till you see what I'll be doing with it!! The antlers add a rustic touch...

A simple yet effective grapevine lets the natural elements shine through....

My version of "Rustic Lux" (thanks Kitchen Cousins for that term).

Both of these wreaths are available in my Etsy shop and I also accept custom orders. Just email me at


Christmas in July....and August!

Pre-order your 2012 Holiday Decor Services....wreaths, urns, table settings, garland and home decor consultation...and receive 25% off your entire, I'm offering free delivery within 100km of the Guelph/KW area!

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Prices generally range from $30-$85 per item (could also be more or less, depending on the size, type of material etc) and my in-home decor consultation services are based on an hourly rate.

Email me by August 6/12 with any questions, for more details and to secure your pre-order discount!

Ho Ho Ho!!

Here is some holiday inspiration from some great websites/bloggers to get you in the spirit!

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**Also, if you place a pre-order and then refer a friend, receive an additional 5% more off your order for each friend who mentions your name!


*These are not my photos..For photo credits, please 'click' on the photo to link to the website. If there isn't a link, I was not able to find the credit*