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....


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

It's beginning to look….

…a lot like Winter!!

I thought I would get out of the city for the weekend and go visit my parents. Who would have guessed that the next morning we'd wake up to this….

Charlie LOVES the snow (I do too) so needless to say he had a ball rolling and sliding his way around the property.

It was a heavier, wet snow that clung to the branches in all its glory…and was it ever beautiful! Talk about a perfect "Welcome to Winter".

These are trees in the back field that border the old horse pasture…the sun comes up directly behind them and their branches covered with the layer of snow were stunning!

This is the view of the front yard…the spruce trees looked like they were covered in white cotton batting.

This is the view down to the pond…..a few minutes after I took this picture a deer wandered through to add even more magic to such a gorgeous morning.

Winter perfection…one of our Maple trees looking absolutely picturesque! 

All this snow has really gotten me in the holiday mood! My Mom and I just got back from shopping at some local stores in Belmore (The Garage) and Teeswater (Gay Lea) and I can say that I have a great start to my Christmas shopping!

I'm also going to take some greenery back to the city with me and get started on my urns and wreaths.


I'm taking orders again this year for urn inserts, wreaths and swags. Pricing starts at $30 for swags, $40 for wreaths and $50 for urn inserts. They can be either live/real greens or faux greenery, whichever you prefer.

Also, if you live in the West GTA, KW Region or Southwestern Ontario Region and would like some assistance with your holiday decor (both inside and outside your home), please just send me an email and I would be glad to help! I offer everything from decor consult services, to sourcing to DIY projects. 

I can be contacted at or send a message through the Rustic Retrievals FB page.


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

Bloggers Who Brunch..

Brunch has been a bit of a theme for me as of late....I LOVE spending lazy Sunday mornings with friends over tres yummy food, great coffee and even better conversation. So...needless to say, when I got an email from Heather, a fellow Guelphite who I met at BlogPodium, suggesting that some of us local Bloggers get together for Brunch, I was 100% in!

We met at 39 Carden Street, a newer bistro in downtown Guelph, across from City Hall. I had been there for dinner about a month ago with a friend and loved it, so I was realllly looking forward to having the chance to go back, but even more so, to meet the lovely ladies I had been emailing back and forth with!

As you enter 39 Carden, it literally draws you in! Their decor and atmosphere are the epitome of my ultimate decor aesthetic! It is the perfect amount of rustic... the leaded glass cupboard windows, the iron details in the table legs, the industrial bar stools, the chalkboard menu, the black harvest chairs...combined with just the right amount of polish and glam...the beautiful chandeliers, the vintage-look light fixtures,the tufted benches, mercury glass mirrors and white bistro chairs.

Once we all arrived, introductions had been made and we and had had a chance to `take it all in` was time to get down to the nitty gritty...what to order for brunch! I ended up going with the tried, tested and true....bacon and eggs (over easy)! The food...and the bottomless cup of coffee in those cobalt blue mugs, was absolutely scrumptious!

We`d settled in, food was ordered and conversation just naturally turned to learning more about eachother, chatting about some blogger `hot topics` such as Blogger vs Wordpress, Stats & Numbers but most importantly, and what I found the most interesting, was as the discussion many similarities emerged! This is a group of women who are driven, entrepreneurial, creative, passionate, with strong opinions and we all enjoy putting our thoughts, brands and ourselves into our work and our blogs!

Here is the group of lovely #guelphblogbrunch ladies - lovely both inside and out! 

From left to right**:

The diversity of topics, writing styles and design of our blogs say a lot about each of us as individuals but I think you will also find that as a collective...our shared love of writing and our passions shine through!

I think we could have sat there all afternoon and kept talking, but then reality set in and it was time to pack up and get going. We all wandered around the bistro, snapping photos and admiring the decor. A HUGE Thank you to the staff at 39 Carden Street for being so welcoming, the amazing service, the delicious food and for allowing us to come in and make ourselves at home!

Ironically enough, the contractor responsible for crafting, designing and pulling together 39 Carden was also there having brunch. We had a chance to meet Matt Robertson of Iron Edge Design and he even shared with us some of his sourcing secrets!

Here`s Matt, the creative genius behind the reno of the bistro - I think there is quite a Chris Daughtry resemblence..**

Thank you again to Heather for organizing this..such a wonderful idea! Thank you to 39 Carden Street for having us! And thank you to all the ladies for attending and for the chance to get to know more about each of you...I am really looking forward to next month!

Cheers to brunch, cheers to blogging and cheers to a group of inspiring women!**


A New Old House...

I just recently re-activated my subscription to House Beautiful magazine (I really have to stop moving so much...I lose track of these things and had really been missing getting this magazine every month)....

My new issue arrived and let's just say, there is a kitchen in it (an no, it's not the Kitchen of the Year..though it is fantastic too) that had me absolutely drooling (if you have the new issue...keep an eye out for the copper pots).

I also follow House Beautiful on my Rustic Retrievals Facebook Page and noticed HB had posted the photo of the amazing soapstone sink in the room with the stable door (see below) and I just had to have a look at the rest of the house!

I'm sure glad I did!

The home, in Nashville Tennessee, is amazingly beautiful, airy and bright.....a fluid mix of rustic charm and southern beauty.

The following are a few of my favorite rooms and needless to say, I absolutely love this home!

Whether is was the amazing fixture/s in the staircase, the numerous soapstone sinks (LOVE how they have one double as a bar cooler), the gorgeous outdoor spaces, the immense walk-in closet, the modern stone fireplace or the kitchen that just begs you to entertain in it....every photo provides wonderful inspiration and perfectly illustrates the allure of this lovely home.



I'm sitting in my living/dining room area after finishing a yummy breakfast of  frittata made with Farmer's Market fresh veggies, eggs and hashbrowns and a tres yummy latte, and am thinking I would like to re-fresh some rooms in my home.
I am a big fan of change, especially around the house and especially when it comes to keeping things fresh. So of course, where do I turn to for some inspiration but Pinterest ....

I have a lot of these pieces in my home already....rustic wooden boxes, barn board, mercury glass's time to move them around and re-imagine the uses of theses pieces.

niceroom:    1richtungsblog
I'm looking for a new entertainment stand/console...this table would be perfect! I would like it to run the entire length of the wall that houses my tv and I may have to add some framed mirrors on either side of my tv as well!

Saddle stand entry decor
I am always on the look out for equestrian-style accessories.....I would really, really like to find an old saddle and bridle to add to my home....

I don't see anything in this picture that I don't like...the cow hyde area rug, the rustic sideboard/dresser, the exposed beams, those windows and fireplace........LOVE! I think it may be time to head to the Old Mill and get myself a new area rug....
I will always love an exposed brick wall....I had them in my loft and loved the warmth they brought. I  like this idea of painting them out in a grey/white wash...I just don't know if I would have the guts to do so...

I really like my current dining set, but again, time to refresh....I would love a rustic barn board table and these green chairs are a perfect pop of colour!

Rustic elegance...
This mix of rustic and clean lines is the look I would like to work towards in my home.... it
Rustic Simplicity for the kitchen...a piece of barn board and an iron bracket....

loving this pallet desk!
A perfect DIY...a pallet top desk...I can make it whatever size, whatever height and whatever colour I would like to suit my not overly large office...

The next few photos are some of my 'dream' home ideas...someday I will be able to incorporate these into a home I own.....

fireplace crackling #modernthanksgiving


loft and glass

Wine room

Lovely loft

library via verdigris vie & houzz, by robert hawkins architects

I hope you are all having a relaxing, lazy Sunday....Why not hop on the internet or look through some old magazines for some inspiration to re-fresh some rooms in your home!


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!

For the Love of Lonny!

Every month when I receive the email that the new issue of Lonny is live, I wish I could stop, put everything that's going on around me on hold and dive right into this amazing online magazine!
I LOVE this magazine!
To say that it is inspirational is the worlds biggest understatement! From fashion, to home decor, to restaurants, gift never ends! And.....what takes it even a step further is that it is interactive! Just click on the pages and the magazine links you to the website of the sources on the page...DOUBLE LOVE!!!
Here are some of my favs from the past few months...and if this little tease doesn't make you want to subscribe..well....I just don't know what to say/do!
December's issue is full of amazing gift ideas!!


November's issue has some amazing workspaces and drool worthy rustic decor!


The great outdoors was celebrated in the September issue...and the featured East Hamptom home is my dream...

So now that you can't wait to dive in just as much as I can't, get yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea, put on a fire, get a cozy blanket and curl up on the couch to look through the December issue....and all the archives too!!
Cheers to Lonny!

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


Some of my favorite ladies!

Some of these gals I know personally....and some I know via their Blogs, Instagram, Facebook etc...But... from our interactions and discussions, I feel like I know them personally and they are my long lost internet soulmates!
Steph is a good friend of mine from London. We're both Kinesiologists and work in the Rehab/Disability Management field full time, but we also have our 'part time' passions. Steph makes gorgeous cards, invitations and other paper products via her Etsy shop, A Paper Buffet. She has also recently opened a second Etsy store called, Knitley Road, where she offers her amazing felted wool and knitted products (I have the iPhone cozy and LOVE it!). Steph is also a very talented photographer and my avatar on Insta, Twitter and FB is a pic she took of me a few summers ago :)

Live Love and Laugh Happy Birthday Greeting Card

Felted cell phone cozy in brown and teal , smartphone case fits iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones

Lovely and Chic
When I moved into my new home just over a year ago, not only was I lucky enough to find a house I love but I also soon found out what a wonderful neighbourhood I had become a part of and Michele and her hubby are the best neighbours/friends a gal could ever ask for! Michele owns an incredible boutique in downtown Guelph called Blush and has a very loyal and devoted following of fashion conscious and stylish patrons! Everytime I walk into her shop, or even pull into my driveway (she has a shop-on-wheels called BOW that is every gals dream of a shoping experience!)...Michele's fantastic sense of style and grace are ever present!

Style 8

Design the Life You Want to Live
I would have to say that Lynne is my long lost internet soulmate! She and I have never met (we will someday soon), but her sense of humour, her outlook on life and her supportive nature remind me a lot of well as our like/love of G&Ts!
The other interesting tidbit about Lynne is that she lives about 45 minutes from my parents on an absolutely spectacular piece of property with a gorgeous home/pool and very, very cool treehouse! Her wonderful home and grounds were recently published in "Our Homes" magazine...definitely have a look!

In ground Pool built in an old barn stone foundation

Tree fort living

Heritage Row Reno
A&J are renovating a 1890s row house in St. John's and her pictures/blog make me want to pick up and move out there...or at least find a vacation getaway like theirs anyways! We have never met, but she won my 'Backyard Contest' this summer and through our interactions, her photos, her blog etc, I think that if we lived down the street from eachother, we'd be fast friends! We have a similar style, enjoy the same things like escaping to the water (in her case, she gets to go to the ocean to her cottage), the outdoors, DIYing....and...they have a Choc Lab!!!

Here are a few more ladies and their Blog's that I read/follow and offer me never ending inspiration:

Sashay - Meredith Heron
Made By Girl - Jen Ramos

Thanks again to these ladies for being part of my life in their own unique ways!