Saturday, November 30, 2013

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

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.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Family = Friend

It has been said that friends are family you choose for yourself. My cousin Bradey is family that I would have chosen as my friend.

We have lived our lives at opposite ends of the province (she's in the North - Kenora to be exact) and I'm here in the South. When we were younger, we spent our summers together at the Camp (our family cottage) on Clearwater Bay/Lake of the Woods and those are the days I will remember forever!

From Barbies and learning how to water ski, to where we are today....we sure have come a long way and I know that if we didn't live 23 hours away from each other, we'd be a 'dangerous' combo (in a very good way!)!

Bradey has the entrepreneurial spirit most of us only dream of. Her genuine love of life and positive outlook are infectious! top it all off...she lives on a lake, in a log home her hubby built for her and her four boys...Talk about Super Mom!

Yes...this is her home...handcut logs, wrought iron and a bridge/walkway between the 2 upper areas/lofts.

Bradey with 3 of her 4 boys spending a day on the lake...

Bradey wrote this on her FB page today and it really does give you a snapshot of the amazing woman she is....

1. All four of my kids have the same blood type - A+. Same as their dad, NOT same as me (I'm A-). Go figure 

2. My top FOUR front teeth are veneers. And those of you who've been around long enough will remember the sad sad night of Pick It Up. Sigh.

3. I actually don't need vodka/wine/beer to tell me I can dance. I can and do at will....just do it 

4. I have started running. Again, those of you "in the know" will know this is some sort of voodoo magic. And I'm speedy 

5. I graduated as an Ontario Scholar and was nominated for Valedictorian the year I graduated. Which will remain a quiet, unnamed year in history.... 

6. I ALWAYS wanted 4 kids. Didn't matter what kind - despite the VAST myriad of people to assume otherwise - and I'm so blessed to have the ones I've been gifted.

7. I have been in love with my husband since I was 17 years old.

8. I collect aprons. Antique, vintage, new....I love aprons. And I wear them all the time 

9. I am content: with my life, my family and even myself.

10. For someone who talks a LOT, this was really a challenge. Apparently I must not talk about myself too much, because I had to THINK about most of this!!!

Number 6, 7 and 9 bring the biggest smile to my face... she just rocks!

I mentioned her entrepreneurial spirit as she has/had a home based business, making amazingly delicious home-cooked meals and selling them to the local community (ie. fresh, from scratch, wholesome, yummy and ready for you when you were home from work). She has put this business on-hold for now, but she still cooks and bakes everyday for her family and the pictures she posts make my mouth water every, single time!

There are just a few:

So if this doesn't have you salivating yet, this recipe will! 

I was looking for a tried, tested and true banana muffin recipe a while back and of course I turned to Bradey. This recipe that she sent me is FABTASTIC! It turns out every time and the muffins are absolutely delicious! I took a batch into work (ie. to a group of 12 guys) and they were gone before they headed out to the field for the day.

Bradey's Banana Muffin Recipe!
1 3/4 cups of flour (straight white or a mix of  3/4 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white)
1tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (can also use coconut oil - I usually do 1/4 cup butter &1/4 cup coconut oil)
1 1/4 cups sugar (can use all white or a mix of white and brown)
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
3 medium bananas
Chocolate chips, coconut...whatever extras you'd like to add
I also put a tiny bit of vanilla extract in too 

In a large bowl, whip butter/marg and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in (by hand or on low speed) sour cream and mashed up bananas. 
In a separate bowl, mix all the other dry ingredients together. If you're adding choc chips or coconut, add them in with the dry ingredients.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (by hand!) and then put into the prepared pan/muffin cups (ie. spray pans or use liners prior to adding batter).
Bake at 350 for muffins or a 9 x 13 pan or 325 for a loaf or bundt pan. Muffins or the 9 x 13 take about 25 minutes. Loaf/bundt take about 45-50. Test with a toothpick and if it's clean, you're good to go!!

There we go...I made a batch this morning and needless to say, they were breakfast (still hot, just out of the oven with the butter melting into them...yummmmm). Oh...they were lunch too!

Tomorrow is Bradey's birthday (Nov.17)...soo HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY! Cheers to another year and thank you for being the wonderful woman you are! Miss you lots and can't wait till we can get together again.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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**

Saturday, November 9, 2013

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

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