Category Archives: Nature

Terminus Tea…

some of you might remember that our son set out on 11 April from Springer Mountain in Georgia walking north on the Appalachian Trailappalachian-trail

encountering all kinds of weather (even some slushy snow for Mother’s Day)…

colin-szymkowicz-snow-in-may-on-the-at

the Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in America with more than 2,000 miles of trail and 250+ shelters…

magpies-nest-colin-szymkowicz-on-the-atthe overall elevation gain makes it equivalent to climbing Mount Everest 16 times…colin-szymkowicz-enjoying-the-walk

each year a couple thousand people try to hike the AT from beginning to end in one season…magpies-nest-colin-at-new-hampshire1

only a few hundred “thru-hikers” as they are called manage to finish the entire hike…Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz Maine

we are extremely happy and excited that our thru hiker reached the northern terminus on 2 September and had some fun at the top  (his trail name is Deuces so it is special that he completed his quest on 2 September)Colin Szymkowicz Deuces has Fun at the top 2 Sept 2016

he said this photo was inspired by the Queen’s Guard (you have to imagine the black bearskin hat and red uniform…our boy has a great sense of humor!)…

Colin Szymkowicz reaches Maine Terminus 2 Sept 2016

in this photo you get a better idea of what the weather conditions were like that day (a bit brisk … his trusty backpack has been with him every step of the way)…at-energy-snacks-snickers (1)

you may remember the Snickers photo we took before he packed his food boxes… there is a tradition on the trail that says your last Snickers bar is your trail fortune as there is a word on one side of each bar…Colin White Blaze Trail fun

he got “Goofball”…
magpies-nest-cjs-traveling-t-cup

since I am combining this update with my T Stands for Tuesday post I thought I would include a favorite photo of Colin with our traveling tea cup when we met him in Waynesboro, Virginia back in June…Colin Szymkowicz Woodsman

it took lots of planning and preparation not to mention stamina and determination all along the way…  we are excited and very happy for Colin… he is camping in Acadia National Park for a few days and will be making his way south to Virginia🙂

 

 

the silence of growing things

ever since I was a young girl I have had a strong connection to nature…

Magpie's Nest Eastern Black Swallowtail in our garden

there were years when being a full time gardener was my saving grace helping me through difficult times…Magpie's Nest Silence of growing things

I do not garden as much as I used to for various reasons but my Love of nature is still strong…Magpie's Nest Thyme in the garden

these pages were inspired as I came across some get well cards sent to me in 2003 (I know!!! I am working to alter my saving ways with most of the cards now in the recycle bin but the card front which is the centerpiece of my right hand page highlights the natural wonder of herb gardening so I decided to do another spread)…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz AJJ Aug 2016 NATURE's WONDERS

many thanks to Gill for hosting the wonderful theme of NATURE’S WONDERS for Art Journal Journey this month…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Enjoy the Moment

there is boundless creativity and inspiration on the AJJ challenge blog month after month ~♥~ special thanks to Susi and Valerie for keeping the fun going!!!

Helianthus time again …

a local cut your own farm (Burnside Farms) planted over 30 varieties of “cutting” sunflowers (Helianthus) on about six acres in successive crops to ensure at least six weeks of blooming flowers…Magpie's Nest Burnside Farms Sunflowersour August tropical heat and humidity kept me indoors a good bit and I almost missed them…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz BEES

very happy that I made time to visit last Wednesday which was the last low heat and humidity day we would have for awhile…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Sunflower Paloozasuch a delight to see fields of flowers again this year

Pollinator habitat with so many cheerful blooms…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Morning Sunflowers

these two little girls were having lots of fun frolicking in the fields…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz two girls frolicking

I took a quick photo of the flowers I cut before I left the farm (the sun bleached out the deep red of the top of my parasol)…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Parasol cut blooms water

the cut blooms last a long time if you watch the water level…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Sunflowers and Figs

we are still waiting for our replacement carpet in the sun room as we had a bad experience with the first toxic foam padding that  smelled horrible even after a week of airing out…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz sunflower hair

we soon realized we could not live with it…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz sunflower lady reflection 1

so we are back to the concrete floor for now and have ordered new carpet and padding with low VOC which is what we should have gotten in the first place…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Front and Back we got excited rushing things a bit settling for what was quickly available… 

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz morning light

joining with T Stands for Tuesday and wishing you a happy day…

Magpie's Nest Sunflower Lady

I also created a digital sunflower piece for Art Journal Journey’s NATURE’S WONDERS theme which ends on Wednesday…

true wonder…

earlier this month I created a page for Gill’s Art Journal Journey’s NATURE’S WONDERS that I shared hereMagpie's Nest BEFORE true wonder pages

more often than not I work on a spread rather than just one page but this time was one of those times…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz page in processI stamped two Lynne Perrella stamps on the white thin layer peeled from a napkin adhering them to the page with matte medium adding color with a toothpick (the black highlights are Tim Holtz rubons that I also used on the Wonder page)…Magpie's Nest TRUE page

one of the things I enjoy very much about working over text in my collage backgrounds is what reveals itself without even trying… the rays and the French word for sun/soleil above are a good example

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz TRUE Wonder journal pages

nature truly is a continuous wonder

August Visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens…

between scorching hot summer temperatures and all of the upheaval with our home improvements it had been four weeks since we last visited the aquatic gardensMagpie's Nest Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens wildlife

instead of a packed parking lot like at the end of July we were one of just a handful of visitors bright and early on Sunday…Magpie's Nest Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens August Panorama

even though there were fewer blooms than earlier in the summer the lotuses (loti) did not disappoint standing tall in the morning light with pearls of dew sparkling like diamonds…

Magpie's Nest Morning dew on lotus leavesthere were lots of handsome lotus pods with their rattly black seeds…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotus seed heads

and a fair number of fresh buds too…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Loti all stages

the bees seemed extra busy…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Bees

this visit the tropical ponds really captured my attention…Magpie's Nest Tropical lily pond

the plants in these ponds have to be overwintered in greenhouses each year since they are not natives…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Victorian water lily in bloom

we were lucky to catch the big Victoria amazonica water lily in bloom as it only opens when it is cooler in the mornings and closes in the midday heat…Magpie's Nest Fred on Head water bottle

in the photo above you get an idea of how tall the loti are this time of year… surpassing Mr Magpie’s 6 foot 7 inches (measurement INCLUDES the FRED water bottle on his head)…

Magpie's Nest Praying Mantis and Dragonfly

each visit to this national park is a delight with beauty and wonder at every turn (this was our fourth visit this summer)…Magpie's Nest early morning loti

with dew soaked shoes we headed back to Virginia by way of PAUL’s  and had a yummy bite to eat…Magpie's Nest PAULs Tysons 11

joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover for T Stands for TuesdayMagpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz golden lotus painted background

and offering another digital piece combining my photo and artwork for Art Journal Journey’s NATURE’S WONDERS theme ~♥~ thank you for your visit

nature’s wonders

NATURE’S WONDERS is Gill’s theme for Art Journal Journey this month…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Passion Flower

oh how I enjoy nature and always have growing up in a household with parents that honored and preserved nature as much as possible…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz lotus collagemy father was known to have annual feuds with sparrows that were relentless in their attempts to build nests in his Purple Martin houses… he cared alot about the Purple Martins who were great at eating mosquitoes returning faithfully to the garden each year…

Magpie's Nest Red Rosin Monoprint Journal Cover

 I created two more pages in my red rosin monoprinted journal

Magpie's Nest BLOOM supplies Lynne Perrella

PaperArtsy’s lovely Lynne Perrella stamps were fun to play with adding another favorite Tin Can Mail butterfly wing stamp for the background..

Magpie's Nest Bloom right page

it was a bit of a challenge to incorporate one of my 5 x 5 collages onto my already monoprinted pages trying to match the paints I used earlier…Magpie's Nest Bloom left

the final touch was adding some pressed flowers using matte medium under and over them on the pages with a couple of rubons too…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz BLOOM red rosin pages

I like how the words I used in all of the spreads flow like a bit of found “poetry”… they evolved after working randomly with no  theme for my journal (all it needs now is binding and a cover):

Keep moving forward… 

Happiness… 

Keep close to nature’s heart… 

Pull Love closely around you and snuggle into its bliss… 

What we think we become… 

Wonder… 

The present moment is a powerful goddess… 

Bloom

 -Patty Szymkowicz

blossom and grow…

a recent photo of mine of a passion flower and some pink fairy roses

Magpie's Nest Passion Flower Roses

layered with the pages of an old ledger using lots of filters to create a digital piece for Art Journal Journey’s NATURE’S WONDERS theme…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Passion Flower Roses so many variations

flowers are an endless source of wonder and joy for me…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Blossom and Grow collage

“Every flower blooms at a different pace.” –Suzy Kassem

discover…

nature is full of things to discover and enjoy on a daily basis…

Magpie's Nest Discover

I had more fun with bits of napkin… plastered book text…Magpie's Nest Flowers

bird and flower catalog images along with a few more Tim Holtz rubons and some doodling…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz discover art journal pages

joining Gill’s NATURE’S WONDERS theme for Art Journal Journey this month…Magpie's Nest Eastern Black Swallowtail

“There is enchantment right in front of you, waiting for you to notice.”  –Janet Luhrs

“radiant with hope”

to celebrate Elizabeth’s 3rd T Stands for Tuesday anniversary last month some of us participated in an ATC swap and I was the lucky recipient of Linda’s  precious ATC (her gelli print envelope is beautiful too!)…

Art from from Linda Kunsmanshe and I share a fondness for all things French and napkins too for collage… look at these lovelies that she tucked in the envelope…French napkins from Linda KunsmanI thought of my tea and coffee drinking friends while doing a little window shopping over the weekend… Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz tea shoppe windowthe Madame Butterfly tea description almost makes me want to drink green tea…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Merrifield VAAnthropologie window displays turn everyday items into visual treats with a focus on ecology and nature…Magpie's Nest Anthro window Merrifield VAspeaking of nature here is an update on our Appalachian Trail hiker who is still going strong even though he shared recently that he enjoys the camping more than the walking…

Magpie's Nest Colin AT New Hampshirehe has already hiked more than 1,800 miles/2896.819 kilometers and worn out a couple pairs of shoes (there he is with all of his belongings on his back including his green tent)…

Magpie's Nest Colin Moose sightingright now he is making his way through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire

AT White Mtns of New Hampshirewith some miles still to go…Magpie's Nest AT Hiker CJS

“The US has enough on-shore wind to power the country ten times over.” #ANTHROEARTHDAY

Anthropologie’s wind quote made me smile thinking of all the crazy political news here in the US lately…

L♥ve Always…

we are in the process of having some home repairs and improvements done…Magpie's Nest window inwhich means lots of upheaval with workmen in and out of the house…

Magpie's Nest window outit will be nice when the dust settles in a few weeks…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Passion flower frillsescape to my art room is always a good thing and now more than ever…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Gesso JournalI created two more pages in one of my gesso journals playing with my favorite super heavy gesso…Magpie's Nest Love suppliesjoining Art Journal Journey once again for Yvonne’s IN MY GARDEN THERE IS theme…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Love Always journal pages

“In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.”   -Louise Beebe Wilder

days like these…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Passion Flower #1 25 Julythe combination of heat and humidity the other day here in Virginia of 112F/44.4444C was NOT my idea of a nice summer day at all…Magpie's Nest Praying Mantis

a low humidity day in the high 70’s low 80’s is much more in my comfort zone…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz DILL in the gardenwe do have central air conditioning as many people here in the states have so I cannot complain… 

Magpie's Nest Honeybee on Thymeit just means staying inside kind of like on a winter day…

Magpie's Nest Queen Anne's Lace in the gardenI created two more pages for Yvonne’s great theme of IN MY GARDEN there is over at Art Journal Journey…
Magpie's Nest remembering
I could have taken a ‘before’ photo of the newspaper image of the lady that I painted over but all you see here is my altered version along with a couple of Isle of Man postage stamps that I picked up in an OXFAM charity shop in Oxford, England…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz like theseit was fun using layers of paint to help the swan image melt into the page…

Magpies Nest Patty Szymkowicz days like thesemy “Life is but a dream” art journal is filling up nicely and soon it will be time to decorate the cover…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Life is but a Dream Journal“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming?  That’s where I’ll always love you.  That’s where I’ll be waiting.”  -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

 

… weeds make haste …

this page began with a copy of one of my recent background pagesMagpie's Nest Daisy closeup

the daisies are stickers that I have had for a long long time having bought them just because

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Weeds make haste

 thanks to “The Sweet Swan of Avon” for the perfect quote above…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Flower iphoneography

and here is a digital piece I also made for Yvonne’s Art Journal Journey  IN THE GARDEN there is challenge… there is a lot to say about weeds but I won’t go there

garden of dreams…

another spread for Yvonne’s IN MY GARDEN there is theme for Art Journal Journey…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz background pages

working in my DREAM journal with layers of paper napkin… paint and gesso…

Magpie's Nest Nigella

torn bits of Misty Mawn collage sheet fabric fusion paper with a Love-in-a-Mist bloom from my flower press...

Magpie's Nest black capped chickadeepressed flower fusion paper and tissue paper…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Garden of Dreams

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in – what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” -Victor Hugo