Category Archives: T stands for Tuesday

♥ February ♥

here we are in February already…

magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-le-pain-signheart month…  magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-heartsI have accumulated a bit of a he♥rt collection over the years and even have a “heart” category on my blog…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-omis-heart-bench

something very precious to me is a stool Mr Magpie made many years ago and my mother painted with intentions of giving it to me (the apple tart is from the shop in the photo above with the ♥I wheely like you♥ sign…they sell wonderful organic farm bread too)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-omis-daisies

my mutti found the stool so useful (she wasn’t quite five feet tall) that she had it in her kitchen for many years before it came to me…magpies-nest-omis-bench-built-by-jim-s

each speckle adds to the patina and charm of so many years in her pantry…patty-szymkowicz-love-always-collage

wishing you a Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover where all you need to join in the fun is to share anything related to a drink (guess what! I found a way to post photos again that can be clicked on for a closer look = hoorah!)…magpies-nest-paris-candle

as an aside a few of you have asked from previous blog posts what was inside the Paris box I have shared in photos…all is revealed above… (I was content with just the box but the candle is very nice too!)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-heart-collage

“February, a form
Pale-vestured, wildly fair,—
One of the North Wind’s daughters,
With icicles in her hair.”
~Edgar Fawcett, “The Masque of Months,” c.1878

cup of courage …

with news that is cringe worthy each and every day I am trying to keep my balance and focus on the good…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-snow-showers

being grateful for little things like fresh flowers and being able to arrange them in our new farm sink which is one of my favorite things about our recent kitchen remodeling…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-farm-sink-blooms

I have noticed that WordPress no longer offers a way to click on photos to enlarge them or it could be my limited tech knowledge that hasn’t found the right button in the new format for creating blog posts…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-cup-of-courage-be-brave

so you may not be able to read my BE BRAVE canvas or see that the cup says: Cup of Courage…magpies-nest-ranunculus-hellebore-dried

I held off for months but now there is no longer a choice to revert to the old and friendlier way of drafting a post…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-eastern-bluebird

as our son would say these are “first world problems”…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-tolerance

I am joining the group over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover to wish you a Happy T Day (all are welcome to join in!)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-cup-of-courage

“Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go, it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.”  -Alice MacKenzie Swaim


turning over a new leaf…

typing on my new iPad that Mr Magpie surprised me with waiting to see how it works posting on my blog…img_0211so here goes…img_0238

WOW it works like a charm and it fits in nicely with my word for 2017 (SIMPLIFY is a word I have chosen as my  word of the year in the past…turns out it still needs work)…img_0236

these days I take so many photos with my iPhone it should be easier to attach those photos in my blog posts directly instead of having to send them to myself and work with them from the main computer… magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-january-sunlight

a more streamlined process that I am really excited about with some tricks still left to learn…1magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-candlelight-cuppa

I am joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover for T Stands for Tuesdaymagpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-time

wishing you a happy day (footnote: in the end I did have to fine tune a bit from my real computer but the iPad will definitely open new doors and I can stand instead of sitting all the time too!)

birthday getaway Anne Hathaway style…

at the end of November we took a little break from home improvements and drove about 2.5 hours southwest toward the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia…

we booked three nights at the beautiful Inn of Old Virginia and stayed in a lovely room in the renovated barn where some of the exposed beams date back to Civil War times…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-inn-at-old-virginia

there were some beautiful sunrise views from our balcony…magpies-nest-jim-szymkowicz-sunrise-over-blue-ridge-mtns

breakfasts at the inn were delicious with such great attention to detail…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-inn-of-old-virginia-breakfast

it had a relaxing atmosphere with very gracious hosts…

magpies-nest-inn-at-old-virginia-restored-barnthe nearby town of Staunton (pronounced STAN-ten) is known for being the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson who was the 28th president of the U.S… magpies-nest-staunton-va-xoxo-doorsit is home to the American Shakespeare Center with a replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre… magpies-nest-staunton-shops

we enjoyed a performance of The 12 Dates of Christmas which was thoroughly entertaining and captivating in the beautiful wooden theatre…magpies-nest-giant-watering-can-and-garden-pots

one of the main reasons we chose Staunton was because of a special tea room…magpies-nest-streets-of-stauntonwe even brought our Traveling Tea Cup along…magpies-nest-anne-hathaway-cottage-tea-room-with-the-traveling-t-cup
I could hardly believe there was a REAL thatched cottage in Virginia which reminded us of the thatched cottages in the UK when we visited back in 2013 (photo below)…magpies-nest-stratford-upon-avon-uk-tour-2013

that is us standing in front of Anne Hathaway’s real cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon and we stumbled upon Hathaway TEA Rooms there and enjoyed a huge tea for two out in the garden…magpies-nest-anne-hathaway-birthday-tea-dec-2016 back to Virginia where we celebrated my 5 December birthday at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Tea Room (tea for one and Mr Magpie had the Plowman’s Lunch…we shared a pot of Earl Grey)…magpies-nest-jim-szymkowicz-1600s-english-farm

such a fun time and I didn’t even get to tell you about our visit to the Frontier Culture Museummagpies-nest-1700s-irish-farmbut I’ve kept you so long already…magpies-nest-frontier-museum-reflections

wishing you a very Happy T Day along with everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

coming to the end…

joining Elizabeth’s T Stands for Tuesday with a little look back over the year as I try to get back in the swing of things after such a long disconnect…patty-szymkowicz-t-stands-for-tuesday-2016

life goes on for everyone and I know you have all been busy creating and blogging and I have missed so much…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-best-of-france-tour-2016

my creativity shifted from art journaling and creating to making decisions and plans for all the changes we’ve had going on here at home for the last many months…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-new-kitchen

our kitchen remodeling is finally complete and we are enjoying it very much…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-omis-tea-set

after adding cabinets to the side of the room where the computer once was we decided to move the main computer upstairs and out of the main flow of things…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-new-kitchen-place-to-play

with only a cell phone and typing with my pointer finger I felt a bit limited and was not able to visit blogs or update my blog (one finger typing worked OK for short exchanges on Facebook)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-fa-la-laaa

blogging has been a part of my life for so many years I have missed connecting with friends all around the globe…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-tannenbaum

thank you all for a wonderful year of connection and inspiration…magpies-nest-kiwi-tree

~*Wishing you Brightest of Blessings in the New Year *~

out with the old and in with the new…

we have lived in the same house for over 32 years which was newly built when we moved in…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-32-yr-old-kitchen

the original cabinets and laminate counter tops were nothing fancy but they served us well over the years (I really liked my stainless steel sink a lot too)…magpies-nest-enclosed-back-porch

since the contractor that did our recent renovations did such a nice job and there happened to be a 25% off cabinet sale we decided to get new white cabinets and counters to update our kitchen…magpies-nest-open-kitchen-shelves

that means moving everything out (Mr Magpie built these shelves for us years ago)magpies-nest-dream-shelf

over the weekend we enjoyed some cherry apple canelé baked at our local Le Pain Quotidien bakery… they were almost as good as the first ones we got to try at a Sunday fresh air market in Libourne, France back in April…

our tour director introduced us to a gentleman that still made them the old fashioned way brushing the fluted metal molds with beeswax which gave the cannelés a special crunch on the outside YUM (that is a new heart rock that Mr Magpie surprised me with above)…


it was such a special happening right there on the street that we did not get any good photos of that encounter (the old metal pans were a thing of beauty)…

2016 has been an exciting year of changes for us…


not sure how plugged in I will be while the renovations are going on the next couple of weeks because the main computer has to be moved and that is the only way I can do blog posts or comment…magpies-nest-autumn-days

here’s wishing you a Happy November (ALREADY!) and a Happy T Day too as I join everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover…

Plum Torte time is here again…

 last year around this time I shared the fun of making this delicious plum cake with you heremagpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-real-plum-quote

 there is a link for the recipe there too if you are interested…


I have been off my game lately when it comes to taking photos and being connected on line…magpies-nest-plum-torte

but I did take a photo of the Plum Torte that Mr Magpie and I whipped up over the weekend…magpies-nest-dogwood

letting it rest overnight after baking as recommended is not easy when the house is full of delicious cake smells…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-life-is-fragile

but like so many things we have to wait for in life it was worth it in the end and so delicious…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-morning-sun-on-ferns

joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s T Stands for Tuesday to wish you a happy day…

basket case…

before making another run to the local charity shop I snapped a photo for posterity…magpies-nest-appalachian-style-baskets

a couple of years after the birth of our middle son I took a basket weaving class and caught the weaving bug which lasted a fair number of years…


I sold lots of handwoven Appalachian style baskets (along with dried flowers) at a wonderful fall festival each October taking more classes and broadening my repertoire over the years…magpies-nest-colin-patty-works-of-the-heart-1991

that was then and as we all know things change…


joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s Altered Book Lover for T Stands for Tuesday…

“And that is how change happens, one gesture, one person, one moment at a time.” -Libra Bray


Bountiful September…

before too much more time passes I wanted to join everyone over at Bleubeard and Elizabeth’s T Stands for Tuesday to say hello…


my focus is still on purging and clearing out while we continue with some home improvements…


consequently I have not been on the computer much at all…


♥~ hope you are well and enjoying your September ~♥~

“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliot


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)…


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”…

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 🙂



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…

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

room for sunshine …

lots of excitement here as we are still in the throws of construction  (one thing definitely leads to another after so many years of not doing much…the guys doing the work are so nice and doing a fabulous job)Magpie's Nest new back doorbefore the carpet installers came I wrote a message in the corner of the porch and snapped a few photos of the paint splatters (we chose some ruff and ready earth colored carpet that I hope grows on me)… 

Magpie's Nest Paint on Cement before carpet

fun to see how a coat of paint can bring new life to an old dark oak dresser that we had rescued years ago (we picked up the top at a yard sale for ten dollars way back when)Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Oak Dresser

our old wicker was in need of paint too and now it will last a long time since it won’t be exposed to the elements like it was when the porch was open on two sidesMagpie's Nest fresh white wicker

there shouldn’t be any more butterflies to rescue from the skylights (we were amazed at how many would get trapped trying to reach the sky when the porch was open)…Magpie's Nest Patty Szymkowicz Tiger Swallowtail

 one of our passion vines is flourishing in the tropical summer heat… a handful of flowers open each day in the midday sun… Magpie's Nest Passion flower vine

they look and smell so pretty floating in water but only last a day…

Magpie's Nest passion flower roses

it is lovely to have the windows wide open with no worry of being bothered by bugs (we are looking into a ductless wall mounted unit that will heat and cool the porch nicely so it can be used year round)…Magpie's Nest by candlelight

joining everyone over at Elizabeth’s T Stands for TuesdayMagpie's Nest work in progress

~♥~ thank you for visiting with me ~♥~