Category Archives: Art Collaboration

full of grace …

this month’s rotation of our local Mixed Media Collaborative altered book round robin brought me my friend Linda Yeatman’s “Women” themed book…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Linda Y's altered book

I glued together some of the pages and tore a hole in the center ones… 

Patty Szymkowicz Blank Pages

the book stayed like that for some time while Mao Zedong’s  “Women hold up half the sky” quote kept swirling in my head…

Patty Szymkowicz Full of Grace beginning pgs

 once I got busy everything began to flow…

Patty Szymkowicz Webster's Dictionary

I created some pressed flower fusion paper using part of a “W” page from a big old dictionary that someone had unsuccessfully tried to hold together with duct tape for the background …Patty Szymkowicz Flower Fusion paper dictionary pg

a Leonardo da Vinci drawing of the head of a woman in profile seemed just right behind the peekaboo netting window I created…

Patty Szymkowicz pgs 1&2 close ups

here is part of the view when you turn the window page to reveal pages 3 & 4 of my spread below…

Patty Szymkowicz pgs 3&4 close ups

it was such fun finding bits of this and that to build onto my collage paper backgrounds where I used napkin, stamped tissue paper, pattern tissue, pressed flower fusion paper, plastered vintage book text, paper doily, netting, assorted lace and other embellishments including computer generated text along with touches of white gesso…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Full of Grace pgs 1&2

I am joining in with Art Journal Journey’s “Masculine-Feminine” challenge this month…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Final Pages 3&4

 and Mix it Monthly’s  “The Facial Profile” challenge

local “what do U see” swap for Sandy

this is the last round for our local “what do U see” swap…

Sandy’s acrylic tag  and ingredients gave me pause at first …

as with most any project once you begin things start to fall into place…

each player received a similar array of items to begin with…

I wanted to leave some open space so the acrylic could be seen…

the “fly” text stamp is from Catslife Press

I added the Italian paper at the bottom along with the Cavallini bird sticker and butterfly postage stamp from my stash because it all just happened to be handy on my work table…

 a torn piece of my Citra Solv treated National Geographic with a wooden dragonfly clip along with another postage stamp…

because parts of things would be seen from both sides it meant lots of flipping and trying on for size before attaching things permanently…

I stamped some random text on the back of the flower too…

it was a fun creative stretch…

“You can’t stop time. You can’t capture light. You can only turn your face up and let it rain down.” ~Kim Edwards “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”


the tallest handmade book in the world…

Alicia of Altered Bits is at it again with a really brilliant idea … pop on over to read all about it here AND it’s all for a very good cause too!

what do you see…hoop la la

Carole sent lovely fabric bits and a wooden hoop for her Queen Bee “what do you see” challenge…

eventho I am very fond of playing with fabric…

these ingredients had me wondering where to begin…

bravely cutting into that lovely small crocheted round that Carole sent…I decided to stamp on the twill tape and added an embroidered hankie that I tea dyed along with some green buttons from my stash…

the green doily is from my Mom’s house…I stretched it in the hoop cutting around the edges…sealing the ravely bits with a clear fabric glue…

a golden key…Eiffel Tower charm and wooden Fleur-de-Lis from my stash were the finishing touches to Carole’s almost 7.5 inch (19.05 cm) finished hoop…really fun…

now I’ve shown you all of the swap pieces I’ve created for NathalieLinda and Margaret

the last two of my kipper tins are on their way home…I will share a look at them soon…

it’s Friday and Ana has another exciting Friday Archive Dive...stop by…you won’t be sorry…you are welcome to join in the fun too!



what do you see…a Swiss bloke…

here are the bits that Margaret sent for our Queen Bee “what do you see” swap…

I fell in Love with the blues…the piece of black netting…such a pretty blue and white napkin in the background and that lace…ooo…

a rusty nail came my way…thank you Mr Magpie… I tucked it away with Margaret’s bits knowing it would make the perfect hanger for my bingo card creation for her…

I used a medallion behind the gentleman’s head…

a piece of peeled napkin from my collection carried on the rusty look I was after…

really fun distressing the bingo card by tearing and inking…

didn’t really want to send Herr Blauman back home…such a fun swap we’re having…

for a closeup view you can click on the photos




what do you see…something fishy from Switzerland comes

smooshed tin number two has arrived for our QB5 swap

and mine with the Live Laugh Love zipper makes three…

Margaret let her sense of humor shine through…along with her metal punching skills…really fabulous…

I am wondering if she and Eloise are one and the same…

fun king fish riding the bike too…

so far we have mine...Linda’s and Margaret’s on the jump ring…

so neat to see what ingredients each person ends up using from what I sent them…

I can’t decide whether I’ll use this side of the tin I altered on top

or this side…

that chocolate rabbit button arrived from Impress Rubber Stamps and hopped right onto my tin ;)…

nice thing about the jump ring is the tins go on and off easily…



what do you see…my first kipper tin has landed

back in February I sent out packages of these bits to each of the Queen Bees for our latest “what do you see” challenge/swap


including a smashed and grilled kipper tin for the base (there is a tutorial on my sidebar on grilling tins)…

no actual kippers were harmed in the process…

I like saying “kippers” …

pilchards” is another catchy fish word…thank you Nigel

the only guideline was that we try and use at least half of the items sent to us including the main piece we would be creating on…

adding bits from our own stash as we saw fit…

Linda’s creation was the first altered tin to return to me…

isn’t it beautiful…

pretty enough to wear as a necklace with the velvet ribbon…

well it would be a 7 inch (17.78 cm) long necklace including the dangle…

all the way from Texas…

Love how she layered the golden flimmer after she removed the foil wrapped chocolate center adding the round ‘Bass tag’ I sent…

the pearl drop dangle at the bottom is a wonderful touch of bling from her stash…

so cute how she lined up “the girls” I sent…they look like little sardines…I mean kippers …

here is one side of my Live Love Laugh tin that I altered for myself… along with Linda’s lovely creation…

held together with a black jump ring…

what a fun metal book I’m going to have when the other three tins arrive from around the world…


what do you see…girls with parasols…

time for my first reveal in the Queen Bee 5 “what do you see” swap…

I have a thing for paper parasols…large and small…

what fun to see that Nathalie included one along with the other lovely Asian bits that she sent for our swap for her…

the big challenge here was working on a four inch round (10.16 cm) coaster with nothing hanging off the edges per Nathalie’s wishes…

I do enjoy collage…the red coaster was so nice it was hard to cover it all up…I added some sparkly fabric from my stash (thank you sweet Jean) along with the metal dangle and some collage pieces that Nathalie sent…including a piece of the turquoise parasol…

I decorated both sides using a favorite image of mine on this side of three young girls with parasols…

the last touch was adding

ICHI…NI…SAN

One…Two…Three

in Japanese…

you can see my coaster for Nathalie  here … she shows the box the coasters will be stored in when they all return to her too

what do you see…just a peek for now

our latest Queen Bee swap was quite a challenge…

early in the year each of us gathered approximately a dozen or so items along with a substrate…all going in completely different directions with our ideas…

we sent the same surprise package of bits to each player so they could create something and return it to each of us…

I was inspired by kippers for my substrate…

Yes…Fish…a good source of calcium and iron…

funny…when I was a young girl I would run in the other direction when my parents ate sardines and such…

Love the long shape of the tins (about 6.25″ . ..16.87cm long)…way too good to throw away…

I grilled them and smashed them with a wooden mallet…punched a hole in one end so they can all be put on a metal ring when they are returned to me here in Virginia…

these are the items I sent to everyone…some of the gals said I sent strange items…hmmmm…

here is a peek at one side of my kipper tin that I made for myself using some of the same bits that I mailed out to everyone…

our mission was to try and use at least half … if not more of the items sent to us…

adding a few bits from our own stash…

this post is a small peek at what I created for everyone…

first was Linda’s house from Texas…

next … Nathalie’s Asian coaster from Missouri…it says one…two…three in Japanese … created before the recent tragic events…

Margaret’s bingo card from Switzerland…

and Carole’s wooden hoop from New Zealand…

this swap proved good therapy for all as we coped with death and earthquakes and more in our group…for me it felt good to know I still had some creativity that I could tap into…

thank you to all that inspire me on a daily basis

the next step is to get these packaged up and in the mail to everyone…

when they arrive at their destinations we’ll be doing a full reveal on each of our blogs

Ana’s Friday Archive Dive: Inspired

another fun Friday over at Ana’s I Made it So … I searched my Posts for this week’s theme of INSPIRED...


and decided on this post…too good to miss and such fun to revisit…for the whole story you can visit here

why not join in Ana’s fun Friday Archive Dive here…the button for that is on my sidebar…

wanted to share my March 2011 calendar quote with you…we all have trials and things to get through…so here you are dear ones:

“Though the way may seem fraught with dangers, remember that within you lives a dauntless spirit of courage.  You were born with this courage, as a baby is born with the desire to stand and to walk.  Walk forward bravely, my child, and I will catch you if you fall.” ~from Angel Spirits, Sulamith Wulfing 2011 Calendar

India from the heART land

another pass in the Six Players group swap…

Elizabeth‘s tag…stitched with golden thread…really set the flavor of her inspired elephant pages for my India theme…

she knows I have a thing for elephants…to see more of my elephant posts…you can type the word elephant in the LOOKING FOR SOMETHING Search block to the right on my sidebar…

the addition of the marcasite elephant beads…just perfect…

marcasite and rhinestone jewelry trumps diamonds for me every time…

being able to touch these pages is definitely part of the enjoyment…

so many great details…I discover new things each time I sit with the pages…

her post today gives super details of her creative process which always fascinates me…her close up pics are brilliant too…

Elizabeth is a natural…the way she layers and collages with her sewing machine is inspiring…

last and certainly not least…the heart of India to me… Mahatma Gandhi…loving called Bapu or Father…Elizabeth dotted her “i”s with perfect marcasite moons…she totally outdid herself capturing the heart and essence of India…

here are my India pages so far…I am going to have to come up with a really special cover to house these amazing pages…my original idea of using a Simple Abundance cover is not going to work as these pages are already so bodacious…

I was amazed when Elizabeth’s bulging envelope arrived with extra goodies galore…

the ceramic teacup made the journey perfectly in tact…

as if these beautiful India pages were not enough Elizabeth created one of her stitched journals for me…

the really special denim journal cover was stitched by Halle

with a great pocket sewn in the front cover to hold pens…

it is impossible to show you all of Elizabeth’s sewn pages…

there are two signatures packed with goodness…

again so much to discover on each and every page…

I will have to think of something very special to do with this wonderful journal…

for now I am really enjoying just turning the pages…

many many thanks Elizabeth and Halle too!!!



Queen Bee Stitchery Round Robin Reveal

it is finally time for more than a sneak peek at the stitcheries that have been popping up the last several months…

back in May some of my talented friends … the Queen Bees (QB5) … started a stitchery round robin … each of us did a bit on our own piece … me … not so much …

my TAP transfer lady … a favorite postcard image of mine … had humble beginnings on a scalloped and stained linen dinner napkin…with a an old doily behind her … a bit of hat netting along with a vintage flower  …

seems I stitched her on a bit cockeyed … more about that later …

time to send her off to her first destination … a visit with Nathalie in Missouri

just look at the delightful corner Nathalie filled with stitched goodness in gorgeous threads  … a sweet birdie singing “Tra la la” … “I SO needed to stitch today”… along with pretty tatted pieces too…

next stop with Linda in Texas … she stitched the lovely “breathe” … a swan … YES a swan … the pretty tea cup… “Tuesday Tea”and the plumed birdie on its lace perch … just found out Linda added the pearls around the center piece doily too… just perfect…

on to visit with Margaret in Switzerland…a precious pink seed bead and button heart stitched with “my heart’s desire” along with beautiful bits of lace and buttons and more lovely beads and special bits on the right side too…

last stop with Carole in New Zealand…who is celebrating her birthday this weekend … as she said … she crowned it with “lots of yoyo Love”… wee little yoyo’s made out of pretty flowered fabric … along with other special bits and layered goodness…

I am totally charmed and in awe of what was returned to me … beyond my wildest dreams…so worth waiting for these five months…

I got so excited when my stitchery arrived … I was inspired to stitch … to do something…

I decided to remove my lady transfer and add a piece of old pink hat netting behind her … giving me a chance to straighten her out a bit … funny enough … she is still not completely straight … she obviously has a mind of her own … which seems just perfect to me … I added a few other bits here and there including one of my wire birds nests …

found a bee bead while cleaning out a drawer … I had picked it up two years ago at a bead shoppe in Sebastopol and tucked it away … the perfect final touch…

after months of making her way around the globe … my lonely lady returned to me surrounded by Love … beauty …  kindness and thoughtful creativity … an absolute treasure!

Linda’s stitchery

our Queen Bee5 group is in the middle of a stitchery round robin … pieces are winging their way around the globe … from here in Virginia to Missouri … on to Texas then across the ocean to Switzerland … next stop New Zealand … and back again … quite a trip…

hope Linda likes the felted heart “totem” I created on her lovely vintage tulip napkin …using bits from a vintage hat …


Mr Magpie was a big help in giving me the idea for a final touch … he used to freeze up back in the day when I’d ask his opinion on this sort of thing … I remind him to not think too much … just react …

I can hardly wait for our big stitchery reveals in the next month or so …

absolutely delighted to find out I won Linda’s giveaway prizes for the fifth day of her celebration … you can’t say I didn’t tell you about her week of generosity 🙂 … there were so many super prizes to be had each and every day … thank you Linda!!!