Category Archives: Nature

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

fireflies on a summer night…

lightening bugs… glow worms… whatever you call them if you’ve seen them on a warm summer’s night blinking in the darkness you know they are full of magic…Magpie's Nest Firefly supplies

I have several lasting memories of lightening bugs (none of them involve pulling off their lights to make jewelry as a kid!) and when I read a recent article about their decline I was inspired to make a page…

Magpie's Nest bee rubber stamps

shhh don’t tell the precious bees that I used them as a “model” in my collage…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Fireflies

another page for Yvonne’s IN MY GARDEN there is challenge for Art Journal Journey (as an aside I could not believe how long this simple page took me) …

“Ask me about my childhood, and I will tell you to walk to the edge of the woods with a choir of crickets chirping from every direction, a hot, humid breeze brushing through your hair, your feet, bare and callused. Stand there, unmoving, and watch the dance of ten thousand fireflies blinking on and off in the darkness. Inhale the scent of cured tobacco, freshly plowed southern soil, burning leaves, and honeysuckle. Swallow the taste of blackberries, picked straight from the bushes, and lick your teeth, the after-taste still sweet in your mouth. Now, stretch out on the ground and relax all your muscles. Watch nature’s festival of flickering lights.” -Brenda Sutton Rose

 

in the gloaming…

Misty Mawn's collage paper gifts
inspired by some collage papers that I received as a gift several years ago I got busy on two pages where I used white gesso and blue paint for the background… Gloaming definition Blue Gesso page
almost too nice to cover up I forged ahead adding collage bits…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Pink flower girl
 sparkly netting… rhinestones…
Magpie's Nest in the gloaming left page
a bit of rubber stamping…
Magpie's Nest twilight suppliespressed flowers and leaves…
“The French called this time of day ‘l’heure bleue’.  To the English it was ‘the gloaming.’ The very word ‘gloaming’ reverberates, echoes – the gloaming, the glimmer, the glitter, the glisten, the glamour – carrying in its consonants the images of houses shuttering, gardens darkening, grass-lined rivers slipping through the shadows…..” –Joan Didion

out and about…

a visit to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens was the only outing we had planned for the 4th of July holiday…Magpie's Nest Loti Samplerfeeling hungry after hours of admiring the loti we thought we would try a local PAUL Bakery and cafe Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Paul Cafe Tysons VA which is located in a shopping mall we hardly ever visit…Magpie's Nest Jardin des Tuileries Paris Franceback in April we had enjoyed a tasty bite to eat at a PAUL concession in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris (above) and were delighted to find out there were a few here in the US…Magpie's Nest Paul Cafe de Teaso on the 4th of July we feasted on silky custard veggie quiche and some delicious French pastries with cappuccinos and brought home a delicious sesame seeded baguette made with organic flour that was baked on the premises…Magpie's Nest Anthro Meant to Beafter all that we decided to walk around each of the three levels of the enclosed shopping mall…

Magpie's Nest Anthropologie Tysons IIyou know how one thing can lead to another… we ended up going into one of my favorite window shopping storesMagpie's Nest Anthropologie displayand made an unexpected purchase…

Magpie's Nest Linea Carta by Diva Pyari cups Mr Magpie was right that we needed the I Paris mug and then I spotted the I San Francisco mug (two of our favorite cities how could we resist)…Magpie's Nest Tysons Corner bldg coming downwe drove home in the rain but stopped for a quick out the car window photo shoot of a building being demolished…

Magpie's Nest Tysons Corner demolished bldg reflectionsit always fills me with a bit of sadness along with wonder and fascination to see buildings being taken down like that (fun reflections in the building across the street)…Magpie's Nest Oak Marr Allium plantingsand finally I just had to share the beauty of some gorgeous allium bulbs planted at the entrance of a community recreation center which looked a bit like fireworks to me…

Magpie's Nest Oak Marr Rec Center entrancewe walked out under umbrellas with me snapping photos while Mr M made sure we didn’t get run over…

Magpie's Nest Loti 10 July 2016on 10 July we enjoyed our second visit to the aquatic gardens and even snapped a couple of photos of the beautiful waterlilies which are quite different from our favorite lotus blooms above and waterlilies below (we also stopped in for a bite at PAUL’s  again = YUM!)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Waterlilies Nature collagewishing everyone a Happy T Day ~♥~ thank you as always for making the time to visit with me here

sacred lotus…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotus Welcome sign frogit is that time of year again when the loti are blooming about an hour’s drive away on the other side of Washington, DC…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotusland first visit 4 July 16it was a lovely low humidity day on the 4th of July so we made our first visit of the season…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotus collagesince 2013 when we first visited we try and go as many times as we can during July and August…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotusland 4 July 2016I had to remind myself to breathe as all that beauty takes my breath away…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens photo opsbecause it was a bit of an overcast morning there were more photographers than usual with their fancy camerasMagpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Loti Reflectionswe don’t even use our tripod and manage to snap hundreds of photos that make us very happy…Magpie's Nest Gesso Citra Solv art journal pagesinspired by the loti I worked in a small art journal that I made using Citra Solv magazine pages washed with gesso and machine stitched down the middle…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz TAP transfer on cottonthe little Debrina Pratt girl is a TAP transfer on delicate cotton and the dragonfly is a sticker that popped up when I was looking for something else…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lotus Art Journal Pagesjoining Yvonne’s lovely IN MY GARDEN challenge over at Art Journal Journey…

Lavender Blue…

for years now in our Virginia garden June means it is time for the Lavender to bloom…

Magpie's Nest Lavandula x intermedia Provence it often happens around Father’s Day…Magpie's Nest Atelier de Sage hand painted dishthere is nothing quite like the soothing natural fragrance…

Magpie's Nest Lunaria Forget me not backswhich is right on time as I have been feeling a bit lost…

Magpie's Nest Kim Edwards quote trying hard not to be too discouraged with world events…

Magpie's Nest Resident Rabbitnature always provides a precious respite…

Magpie's Nest snail trailsin the early morning sun the other day I spotted these shiny silver slug trails on slates (try saying that five times quickly) near one of our bird baths… Magpie's Nest morning sunthey were only visible for a short while and I had to tilt my head a certain way and use the real camera as my cell phone would not pick them up at all…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz shades of blueI just came across the plant tag I had tucked away to help remind me of the variety of Lavender that has done so well for us for so long…

Magpie's Nest Lavender over red rock patioLavandula “Provence” (L. x intermedia) Lavandin enjoys the strong afternoon sun and very good drainage…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Lavender bluethank you for visiting… Magpie's Nest Spiderwortas always I am sending very best wishes your way…

“There is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don’t even know it.”-Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

 

Hospitality In The Valley…

for Elizabeth’s T Stands for Tuesday this week I am sharing another update on our son’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT)…

Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz on the ATon Friday we drove south for a little less than three hours to spend the weekend with him in Waynesboro, Virginia…Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz Panoramahe decided to take a zero day/day off on Saturday to recharge his battery spending time with us and doing some laundry… loading up on carbs and enjoying some nice hot baths/showers too (his Dad even gave him one of his famous foot massages)…

Magpie's Nest Colin Szymkowicz AT viewmost days on the trail he hikes 20+ miles and even clocked in 31 miles a day or two burning lots and lots of calories in the process (we have never seen him eat so much!!!)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Harmony quotewe enjoyed hearing about his life on the trail and got to meet some of the hikers that seemed to pop up all around town…

Magpie's Nest Devil's Backbone Brewerythey know all of the best all you can eat buffets and watering holes near the trail…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Edelweiss Restaurant Staunton VAthe Edelweiss Restaurant was a favorite of ours on the way back and forth from Virginia Tech when Colin was going to school there… right after I explained how special the song EDELWEISS is because it was the wedding song I walked down the aisle to we stepped into the restaurant and guess what that gentleman in lederhosen was playing on his accordion ♥

Magpie's Nest Colin Deuces on the ATthru-hikers take on a trail name… 

DSC04723 Keats quoteColin’s is Deuces

Magpie's Nest AT Trail infoWaynesboro really lives up to their city motto of Hospitality in the Valley by offering free rides from the AT into town with everyone being very friendly and gracious (they maintain a volunteer calling list to provide rides to hikers all around town)…

Magpie's Nest CJS Traveling T Cupby Sunday morning he was itching to get back on the trail so he enjoyed a last big all you can eat breakfast at the hotel and we bid him Auf Wiedersehen after a quick Traveling Tea Cup photo (pinkies in the air)

Magpie's Nest Deuces Skyline Drive~♥ happy trails to you ♥~

Avignon …

Avignon sits in the heart of Provence, France…

Magpie's Nest Papal Palace Avignonin the early 1300’s it was the seat of the Catholic Church for about 70+ years…and home to the Palace of the Popes with a beautiful castle and cathedral surrounded by lovely gardens…

Magpie's Nest Liberte French Flags Avignonlots of towns in France have a carousel…Magpie's Nest Avignon Carousel Belle Epoquethis two story one in the main square in Avignon was lovely…

Magpie's Nest around Avignon the Palais des Papes was the largest Gothic palace ever built by Pope Clement V, who abandoned Rome in 1309…

Magpie's Nest Avignon Statuarysuch rich history…Magpie's Nest Avignon BridgeAvignon was immortalized in a song you may have heard about the famous medieval bridge which has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

Magpie's Nest Le Cafe du Rocher Avignonwe hiked up the hill for a great view of the Rhône River and recharged our batteries at le Cafe du Rocher while we watched a mother duck and her ducklings play in the fountain…

Magpie's Nest Avignon France ProvenceI was not much of a shopper on our trip concentrating more on collecting memories and photos…

Magpie's Nest Provence Rest Stop Gift ShopBUT there were temptations (Linda the poppy mug made me think of you!)…

Magpie's Nest Avignon Rest Stop Ladies Bathroomin the Provence region Lavender is a big attraction and I just had to snap a quick photo of these full length bathroom stall doors at a rest stop (designed with privacy in mind…they are not uncommon throughout Europe)…Magpie's Nest Paper Napkins back at home after coming across three different napkins in my stash I got busy peeling away several layers and tearing and pasting pieces of napkin for quite a long time…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz pressed LavenderI added several sprigs of Lavender that I had pressed from our garden hoping that “fleurs partout” translates to “flowers everywhere” (French Lavender fields won’t be blooming until around late June – July I believe) …

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Flowers Everywherejoining Elizabeth’s T Stands for Tuesday and Art Journal Journey today for the last day of Erika’s lovely JOURNEYS challenge…Magpie's Nest Avignon angel on Tpot(Avignon angel photo layered with Diana iphone app onto my teapot/cup photo)

~♥ thank you for visiting ♥~

 

save the bees…

Magpie's Nest Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel Hotelwe had occasion to speak to French bee keepers in the lobby of our hotel in Paris…Magpie's Nest Attention Abeilles Paris

their education booth was a nice surprise and we learned that city bees are doing better than country bees these days…

Magpie's Nest Queen Beefor over 15 years Paris has officially been a pesticide-free zone which aids breeding in addition to the warmth of the city environment…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Up on Arc de Triomphewe enjoyed the views of Paris after walking up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe (you can see the people along the top…we could feel the wind vibration in some of those security spikes)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Green Paris Rooftops(some lovely Paris rooftop gardens with a new one going in on the bottom left)

I am joining Erika’s JOURNEYS challenge over at Art Journal Journey with this spread in my French Travel Journal…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz French Bee Journal Pages“Stop using chemicals in your garden.  In the US more chemical tonnage is used on lawns and golf courses than on crops.  Even people with apartments routinely use pesticides on their window boxes, killing every butterfly that visits.”  –Mark Daniels, Director The Strange Disappearance Of The Bees


Giverny in April…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Giverny Reflectionsgetting to visit Monet’s Garden was one of the reasons we decided on Trafalgar’s BEST OF FRANCE tour (we can not speak highly enough of our brilliant tour director Krista Taylor and great coach driver Francis and thank them so very much for a memorable journey through France)…

Magpie's Nest Magpie's in Monet's Gardenwe visited on a Wednesday and there were quite a few people there…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Monet's Housesuch a beautiful place both inside and out…

Magpie's Nest Monet's Dining Roomwe can only imagine how crowded the gardens would be later in the season with the parade of flowers that never ends…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz in Monet's Gardenstanding on the Japanese bridge even without water lilies blooming was a dream come true (I wanted to bring my paper parasol but it didn’t fit in the suitcase so my fold up Monet’s Garden umbrella had to do)…Magpie's Nest Room with a viewwe lingered a little longer and then had a bite of lunch in the village under a bright red sunbrella where we also visited a cute boutique for some cards and a slice of berry tarte…

Magpie's Nest Giverny Tea Room La Capucinewe were delighted by the precious rabbit hopping freely around the garden…

Magpie's Nest Giverny Monet Quoteleaving the village of Giverny and walking back to our coach I spotted a great bird refuge sign that inspired me to create a page in my French Travel Journey linking it to Art Journal Journey for their JOURNEYS themeMagpie's Nest Giverny beginning pagesErika couldn’t have picked a more inspiring theme this month as it has really helped me keep busy working in my travel journal trying to preserve some memoriesMagpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Bird Refuge Giverny(French text, heavy gesso, pan pastels, French bird refuge sign photo, used tea bag, pressed Virginia flowers)

Appalachian Trail Update …

just as Mr Magpie and I were getting ready for our French adventures back in April our son was preparing for his thru hike on the Appalachian Trail…

Colin Szymkowicz enjoying the walksince some of you have asked how Colin is doing I thought I would give an update (a little over a month down the trail he is slathering the Snickers bars with peanut butter to add some extra calories)…

Colin Szymkowicz Hiker manhe is having the time of his life and has said: “rain or shine I’m doing fine”…

Colin Szymkowicz Blooms along ATthe photos I am sharing here are in no particular order and I combined some in mosaics…

Colin Szymkowicz heading to Mainewe are really grateful to have Facebook so we can see some of his journey…Colin S NC GA lineColin posts when he can but is really enjoying being unplugged and out in nature (crossing the Georgia/North Carolina line above with all of his belongings and approximately a weeks worth of food on his back)… Colin Szymkowicz along the Appalachian TrailI used Pixlr Express to add his name to photos he has shared on his FB page…

Colin Szymkowicz Snow in May on the ATstill some miles to go to get closer to us here in northern Virginia…

Many more miles to go till NOVAwe hope to meet for a couple days before he continues on his trek north…

Colin S Grayson Highlands State Park Wilburn Ridge VAproud of our boy for weathering storms along the trail while he keeps putting one foot in front of the other (500+ miles and counting)…

Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Appalachian Trail Collage 2inspired by our son’s journey I am joining Erika’s JOURNEYS challenge over at Art Journal Journey with a digital collage I created using one of Colin’s photos and an Appalachian Trail map and bits of this and that…

*Monday update*

16 May 2016 quarter way point