Our Family Scrapbook
This is your place to showcase just about anything you would like to share
with fellow members of ‘the family’. It’s a place to ‘proclaim’ and to remember.
Have a look at the following submissions for inspiration and then drop me a line either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or to PO Box 27, Lawson NSW 2783 and I’ll happily add your entry to the scrapbook for all to see and share!
The family of readers and supporters of Rick Rutherford’s Country continues to grow, with wonderful bonds of friendship and support being fostered between individuals and groups as far-flung as Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and, of course, all over the Australian continent.
In the interests of further supporting and sharing with each other, this department of the eMag is designed to feature a whole range of ‘family’ issues – from championing causes to sharing anecdotes, featuring photographs of celebrations and events, to sharing memories and marking the significant occurrences and gatherings in which we each take part. And of course there is absolutely no charge to take part, so if you like to commemorate, celebrate or otherwise generally participate, all you need do is make contact via the website here and I’ll do the rest.
The Glory of the Garden
Long-time RRC supporter and regular Forum contributor Toni McLean has something to share. Toni’s magnificent garden is coming into full bloom for spring, and after so many other Forum members have asked to see images, Toni decided that it was time to submit a few so all could share in the ‘glory of the garden’ with her.
As Toni tells, she and husband John selected the property they ultimately purchased some 18 years ago as it offered sufficient land around the main homestead to allow them to indulge in their passion for planting and establishing a rambling garden. As Toni tells, at the time she was enamoured with the garden style of renowned early 20th century Australian landscape designer Edna Walling, who in turn had been strongly influenced by the garden concepts of one of England’s most famed garden designers, Gertrude Jekyll.
“At the time I was a great fan of Edna Walling, so I initially planted in her style, only to find out a few short years later that it was a garden design that required a great deal of upkeep and maintenance” Toni tells. And so, over the years since the garden was first established, a great metamorphosis has occurred as it has been virtually ‘re-created’ anew. “Particularly with the difficulty of the drought years, I have had to change a lot of the plantings. Now years down the track I have added a vegetable garden which produces fresh food for the table all year round. Along meandering pathways there’s seating spotted here and there for relaxing and taking in the vistas. A gazebo looks out onto colourful beds and blossoming trees. There are numerous fruit trees and an English-style green house which allows me to grow a selection of winter vegetables as well as raise my own seedlings for planting out each spring. I make pickles, sauces, chutneys and marmalades with our own garden produce and freeze veggies for the out-of-season time. The chickens keep us in fresh eggs and are also a great source of fertilizer” Toni tells.
And beyond such wonderful practicalities, the McLean’s garden is a constant source of inspiration, comfort and pleasure … and not only just for Toni and John. As Toni states “the garden gives myself and my family and friends a lot of enjoyment as many happy gatherings are spent in it. My two granddaughters love exploring amongst the shrubbery and playing hide and seek. I enjoy sharing my garden with others and hope that it might encourage others to create their own if they do not have one so that they too can come to experience the endless joy and satisfaction a garden can bring into one’s life.”
By her own admission, Lynne James is a fully fledged Fitz & Floyd fancier. She raves about their ‘Ricamo’ rooster collection. She covets their ‘Chanteclair’ chook figurines, tureens and other table accessories. And when it comes to their ‘Seaboard’ story … well, she simply can’t help herself! In recent times she has been avidly collecting the beautiful American ceramics, each one adorned with crustaceans and other such sea creatures, and many in the shape thereof! The butter dish shaped like a crab; a ‘snappy’ gravy boat with lobster handle; crab-encrusted salt and paper shakers; shell-shaped dishes to coordinate; shell-adorned candle rings and serviette holders and – the pièce de résistance – a magnificent tureen crowned with a huge lobster.
Such a splendid ceramic commanded nothing less than Lynne’s delicious lobster bisque to be served … something she did this past Good Friday as she created a ‘fish-themed’ feast for those gathered on this holy day. Because Lynne had purchased all her beautiful Fitz & Floyd treasures from the Rick Rutherford’s Country Lawson gallery, she was delighted to share a picture of the finished table with us. (For more Fitz & Floyd inspirations, see the online shop or call the Lawson gallery. Many pieces have now been remaindered, making them all the more covetable and collectable!)
A Quilt For Life
A very beautiful lady has great reason to love her life … for she has fought an enormous battle to save it. Queenslander Libby Bishop was diagnosed with lymphoma some time ago … and so the fight began. Harnessing courage and determination she committed to secure victory over the disease. As part of her battle strategy, Libby made a very special quilt which she embellished with many of her favourite quotes and words of inspiration which she had read in magazines written by yours truly over the years.
Libby called the quilt ‘Emerging From The Dark’ which tells of her journey from sickness to health. Entered into the Redland Quilt Show, she proudly won second prize, as awarded by the Queensland Quilters Guild. As Libby so wonderfully proclaims “I am now well, my journey continues … hopefully for many years to come.” What an amazing thing it is to know that humble words have had such a profound effect on the life of another, and their battle to save it!
Christmas 2008 in Store
November and December 2008 marked the second Christmas celebrations staged at Rick Rutherford’s Country in the heart of the NSW Blue Mountains, and the first time the store has traded seven days a week for two full months. The number of people who came through the gallery during this time was phenomenal, matched only by the amazing array of ever-changing stock which went out the door! To launch the 2008 Christmas collections, three functions were staged – back to back – on November 1st, with nearly 200 invited guests in attendance. And they came from everywhere … including Eira Clapton (pictured with yours truly, left) who ventured all the way from Western Australia, and the Thoroughgood family who came from Ulladulla (the Christmas launch presenting the opportunity for four generations of the family to be gathered at the gallery – pictured opposite, left to right, there’s Glenda, Marie, Paris, yours truly, Sky and Melissa.) Christmas festivities this coming year are sure to be as spectacular, with a wonderful Yulefest – Christmas in July event already planned and an even greater array of Christmas treasures on their way for the 2009 festive season. (Contact the gallery direct if you would like an invitation to one of the launches and the opportunity to buy up big .. with 10% off everything!)
A Cause To Celebrate in Cairns!
By her own admission, she’s hooked on country, and she declares she’s the ‘Op Shop Queen’ of Cairns to boot! As Karen Crompton explains, it all started when she walked into her local newsagency one day and discovered a magazine written by yours truly!
“I picked it up, browsed through the pages and I was hooked! Reading through the home editorials and the stories about Aunty Ness, your grandfather and family, I felt as if I had known you all my life” Karen stated in a recent message to me. Once her country passions were ignited and she was ‘hooked’, Karen was off on a merry collecting chase to find all the treasures that go into making a house a country home. But living in Cairns, the opportunity to find many wares locally is very limited, so the magazines I produced over the years became her ‘lifeline’ as she scoured the pages for ideas and inspirations, leads on stores that did mail order and other such contacts both in Queensland and throughout southern states.
And importantly, she started to hunt the vintage stores and op shops of her region in the hope to find things old and pretty, vintage and lovely … and came up with a bountiful booty of interesting old pieces in the process. “I don’t knit, sew or do any crafts so this is why I have been so inspired by the magazines you have done over the years as they have provided a major insight into the other side of country decorating which centres around collecting. I collect anything and everything that is pretty and represents good value for money – from teddies and dolls to crockery and glassware, doilies and craftwork, paintings and even furniture” Karen explains (she’s pictured here standing in her garden).
Recently Karen and a group of like-minded friends decided to get together and celebrate all that they love about country by staging a special afternoon tea party. They were inspired by the story here on the eMag about the group of South Australian devotees who had similarly come together in a spirit of friendship and country passion (see the story later on in this department of the website) to meet and share their love of home and all that it represents. Karen tells that the event was staged at her friend Julia’s home (pictured below standing at the dresser with friend Josie), with other country lovers Debbie (who owns an antique shop in Cairns, several photos of which are included at the end of this story), Robyn and Ellie also attending in the company of husbands Paul, Fred and Louie.
With all their favourite pieces of china and old linen on display and lashings of fabulous food, it was a wonderful afternoon of tea and talk, laughter and sharing a love of home … something this close-knit group will definitely do again as they each continue to decorate, collect and inspire each other in the very best of country traditions.
Rick Rutherford’s Country Yulefest July 2008
It was huge, with visitors coming from all over the region, the state and even the country! Rick Rutherford’s Country launched its first annual Yulefest celebrations with two enormous functions – on July 4th and 5th – and the response from people far and wide was truly overwhelming. The entire gallery was decorated with a distinctive ‘Blue Mountains Winter Christmas’ theme as a huge cache of specially-imported and handmade Christmas treasures were showcased throughout. Some items were previewed in anticipation of the decorating delights set to happen later in the year (the shoppe’s traditional Christmas celebrations start at the beginning of November and go through to Christmas Eve, with trading seven days a week) and others were only available during the Yulefest.
The Yulefest ran from July 4th until the 20th. Some vistors were so inspired by the displays and collection of unique treasures that they visted three and four times during the event. There were many highlights, principal amongst them being the special ‘celebrity appearance’ of five dear Forum members, two of who travelled all the way from South Australia especially for the occasion.
Above right: Fabulous ‘forumites’ who joined in with the Yulefest opening activities … Val McKenzie, Cathy Robson, Julie (aka Hyacinth) Craig from South Australia, Mary Beness and Deb Hartley (who also travelled all the way from SA).
Women of the West
Who said the Blue Mountains is too far to travel from the west coast of Australia? For two groups of true country devotees who recently made the huge pilgrimage across the nation to visit yours truly and discover firsthand the Rick Rutherford’s Country Shoppe in Lawson, the journey was one of great adventure and reward. I was so thrilled and honoured (not to mention a little overwhelmed) to think that these wonderful souls had travelled so far to venture to the gallery. One even said that making the decision to do so was easy … how could they not come to witness firsthand the true heart of country style in Australia. What praise! To these beautiful ladies – and to all those who have already travelled from Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and even the Alice – to see the store, I am so deeply grateful. And I promise to continue on the course of continually updating and changing around the gallery displays to keep that country inspiration coming!
Left: Ros Robilliard and Helen winged in from the West – complete with the gift of a most delectable bottle of red from the Margaret River region for yours truly – to spend a wonderfully happy morning in the gallery.
Right: A marvellous, madcap day was certainly had when these four gorgeous gals breezed in from the West. The camaraderie – not to mention the hilarity – between the four was infectious as they shopped, ventured off to dine, and then returned to shop some more. The girls even ‘took tea’ in the gallery’s tearooms and filled the entire building with mirth. I’m looking forward to their return someday! Pictured from left to right is the ‘fab four’: Raelene, Liz, Tamsin and Jodie, with yours truly in the middle of all those beauties!
Of Hearts & Minds!
She has become ‘the morning tea queen’ as she brings kindred country lovers together within the midst of her gorgeous country-inspired home. For South Australia’s Julie Craig, her regular morning tea gatherings offer the perfect means of sharing camaraderie, companionship and ‘country love’.
When she first mooted the idea, Julie received great interest from other Forum members from all over the country and is hoping that the idea will be taken up by fellow country lovers in other states so that they too can embrace their love of country, family and home together in an atmosphere of fun and friendship. As she stated at the time “ I hope we can have more morning tea get-togethers in the future and I’d even like to do a lunch. I’m hoping it might foster the idea for other country lovers to open their homes to welcome others in for a morning tea or similar gatherings in their area. We are looking forward to meeting those who come, and it will be such a pleasure to share it with your readers … It’s such an honour to be asked to share it with all – even in other parts of the world – via the website, so thank you Rick”.
The very first of Julie’s gatherings occurred in April 2007. Being a wonderful correspondent and message writer, Julie detailed the proceedings so well I’m delighted to quote her report of the ‘meeting of hearts and minds’ as follows:
“What a wonderful time we had together at our morning tea, meeting each other, sharing and forming deeper friendships. I would like to convey to your readers how the idea was born, to come together as we did. Last October, I joined the Rick Rutherford’s Country website Forum. There I read about Deb (a.k.a. jerri) and discovered that she lived near to our home, so I emailed her and introduced myself. We emailed several times and discovered that we had so much in common. I invited Deb to my home for lunch and we have become great country friends.
“I mentioned to Deb that it would be really great if we could get any other country friends in South Australia to come over for morning tea, and so the idea was born. It took several months for the idea to eventuate, but finally happened on Tuesday April 10th. The table was set, the food was laid out, the kettle boiled and it was with great anticipation and excitement that I awaited the arrival of fellow Rick Rutherford’s Country Forum members. Deb (a.k.a. jerri) arrived first, shortly followed by Danni, and then Deb (a.k.a. debglasses).
“We all greeted each other with great enthusiasm and hugs all round. We were all overjoyed at finally meeting in person and putting faces to the names we so often read on the Forum. We eagerly chatted as the guests looked through each room in my home and then ventured out into the garden. I gave each one a name tag and re-boiled the kettle as we finally all sat down to enjoy our cuppa and cake.
“We chatted constantly about our beloved RRC magazine, and now the wonderful website. We mentioned other Forum members who could not make it to our gathering and those who sent their well wishes. We also chatted about recent topics posted on the Forum and I asked each guest to write down a comment about our morning together so that they could also share with other readers about the wonderful time we had together.”
In her entry, Danni thus wrote the following: “I had the best time. It was certainly worth the drive (an hour and a half). It was such a pleasure to meet some of the girls from Rick’s Forum. Thanks so much Jules for organising a lovely morning and the tour of your gorgeous home. Hope we can do this again.”
Deb (a.k.a. jerri) wrote: “Thanks Julie for a wonderful morning and for the opportunity to meet some of the lovely ladies from Rick’s Forum. I’ve spent a pleasant morning eating yummy food, chatting with like-minded country gals, enjoying your gorgeous home, the laughter and friendliness. Thanks also to Deb, Danni and Sharon (Julie’s overseas visitor) for your company and the thoughtful extras given to take home. Can’t wait til the next one!”
To the chorus Deb (a.k.a. debglasses) added: “It was wonderful to meet these lovely ladies. We all had so much in common. We talked about the magazine and Julie bought out an old one that Deb’s house was in, so we all chatted about that. Julie’s house is spectacular. She has so much to look at, and we really didn’t have enough time. Her talent is amazing. Julie’s doll’s houses and her miniatures were so beautiful. I wish I had more time to look … because the more you looked the more you saw! We all clicked so well and the morning tea – including the prize winning ginger and coffee log – was lovely. I really enjoyed the whole morning and everything about it. It was wonderful. Julie also presented us with a beautiful gift of a cup/saucer and plate, with tea bag, coffee bag, and chocolate. Our name tags were appropriately shaped as tea cups with our names on the tea bag string. A wonderful morning was had by all.”
It is therefore little doubt that the ladies who gathered had a memorable time, Julie hoping that it will not only be the first of many such meetings, but also that the idea will foster similar Forum member gatherings in other places across the nation. As she says “my prayer is that others will take up the idea of morning tea together with others in their area. I would love to see it become a national event, held on the same day every year. I hope readers will catch the vision of sharing their lives, hearts and home with each other. It certainly was a very rewarding experience for me and I hope to repeat it again and again.”
In a final salute Julie added “An extra thank you Rick for the wonderful inspiration you have been to me over the past few years. I received many beautiful compliments about my home, but it would not be as it is without your input from your dedicated work through the beautiful pages of your magazine. Thank you for the very large part you have played in all of this. You are a very key part in all of our lives and the love we all have for you was very evident in all our conversation over morning tea.” To Julie and all ladies gathered – a very humble author extends an equally humble ‘thank you’. I am truly honoured by your thoughts and sentiments. XXXX
Showing The Blue Side!
Given the opportunity Our Family Scrapbook offers to share with other country devotees, Wanda Ramsdell of East Gippsland (Vic) decided that she would like to make a contribution by showcasing to all her blue and white china collection. As she stated in her message “ I am an avid country collector and a reader of your magazines over the years. I have now found you on line and intend to check in on new ideas and great country purchases in the future. I have attached a photo of my kitchen hutch … as you can see I am a collector of blue and white china – especially Spode – and would love to share it with all the other country collectors out there.”
The Final Flower Found!
A regular contributor to the RRC eMag – especially seen in the Help Pages which she has really embraced by submitting the first entries for what we are aiming to be 100 great and easy country decorating hints – Eira Clapton recently submitted the picture (below) of her beautiful Flower of The Month china collection which she has just completed. As she told in her message “RRC Forum will know that I had been looking for the January mug for some time. Several lovely Forum members even kindly offered to help try to find it, so I promised them that I would send in a picture for the website so that they could enjoy the final collection.”
Never knowing where to start! This is the problem that has always beset Patricia Tomlinson of Inverell (NSW) in the past. When it comes to Rick Rutherford’s Country she has never known which chapter and department to read first. She maintains that wherever she does finally decide to commence reading, she always finds inspiration … to decorate, to shop, and to restore. One of her latest projects has been a vintage bench, found at a garage sale, which her husband has rebuilt to create the perfect place for three hand-dressed bears to sun themselves outdoors!
A Moment in Time
She calls them her ‘decorating moments’ … favourite spots throughout her home and garden which embody her love of country and passion for family and all the blessings that life has to offer. Mrs L. Colwell of Staghorn Flats (Vic) maintains that her house will never will win first prize in a home competition. In fact, it’s not even finished. As she told in her recent letter “I’m afraid my home is not formal … or even completely finished as it was wrecked by a storm 31 years ago. There was no insurance cover as it was said that it was an ‘act of God’. I love order and ‘Grumble’ loves clutter and chaos, so there has been issues over the years on how to move ahead with the house. But we’ve raised three children here and shared it with 15 disabled kids for 48 hours a month for 10 years. I have a gardenia bush growing to remember them all and how they enriched our lives.”
When, for the very first time, Mrs Colwell recently got out the camera to capture some of her ‘moments’ on film, she couldn’t resist sending in a few of her special images to share with fellow country decorators … as happily featured here to inspire all!