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…
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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…

~*Happy New Year*~

sending every good and special wish your way…

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“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”  -Oprah Winfrey

darkness to Light…

I have missed art journaling and playing along with my favorite challenge blog friends over at Art Journal Journeymagpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-progress-1

Valerie’s brilliant theme this month is “Light and Darkness” which is something I think about quite a bit having experienced a fair bit of darkness in my life (mostly in the form of loss)…

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we all have to face it at some point (I used a fine tip black Sharpie marker for highlights around the gold)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-dark-to-light-closeup

I have also been blessed with so much beautiful Light (couldn’t help but notice the difference in the Light in my photos)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-progress-3

this journal page began with what was left from a sheet of Christmas stamps (those little snippets always seem too nice to throw away)…

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“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” -Madeline L’Engle

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 *~

~* Sending Best Wishes Always *~

Hello dear ones … so much time has passed since I was last here…

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I think of you often and hope you are well…

 

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…
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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)…

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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)…
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2016 has been an exciting year of changes for us…

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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…

October dresses in flame and gold…

magpies-nest-october-right-pagethe free image of the rose lady had been patiently waiting in one of my art journals which is a thin book with glued together pages that I started back in January (still plenty of room in this altered book)magpies-nest-october-poem-simple-abundance

after seeing this October poem in one of my copies of Simple Abundance I knew where my pages would be headed next (the book is inspiring on many levels with lots of quotes and uplifting reading… it is also my favorite go to book when I am doing found poetry which is different than just using verse like I have done here)…magpies-nest-october-left-page

we had some record breaking hot temperatures for a few days and now our Indian Summer has gone and left us with crazy wild winds and much cooler temps so the poem fit that nicely too…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-october

pieces of two different napkins along with some smeared gesso using a plastic pallet knife finished two more pages for Valerie’s Art Journal Journey Indian Summer – Golden October – Autumn challenge

Autumn in Everything…

happy to have some time in the middle of our beautiful Indian Summer days here in Virginia to share two spreads that I created over the last couple of weeks…magpies-nest-autumn-grows-pages

these pages were inspired by an ad for a ballet performance that I clipped from The Washington Post and I just happened to have a stencil that I wanted to play with too…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-autumn-grows

I liked these pages so much I did not want to cover them up but I eventually forged ahead and had fun adding gold paint along with the Robert Browning quote…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-autumn-gold

now for something a little different… these green and gold pages were an attempt to step outside my comfort zone using colors and collage in a different way…

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I am still not crazy about the end result but thought I’d share both spreads with you since I had Valerie’s Golden Autumn theme in mind for Art Journal Journey this month when I created them..


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“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” -Joe L. Wheeler

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…

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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…

crisp in the fall…

the music lady I put together awhile ago waited patiently in one of my art journals until I figured out what was next for her (she was from a catalog and I gave her the music dress)…

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I am joining Valerie’s Art Journal Journey INDIAN SUMMER-GOLDEN OCTOBER-AUTUMN challenge…

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purple paint and yellow glaze along with spiderweb washi tape helped bring my pages to life…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-crisp-in-the-fall-left-page

the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote that I saw in a magazine appealed to me so I printed the words with our computer…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-crisp-in-the-fall-journal-pages

the border on the bottom of the left page along with the leaves were cut from assorted junk mail…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-crisp-in-the-fall-journal-pages-oct-2016

one of Seth Apter’s rubber stamps (on the right) along with some extra brushes of yellow glaze gave a nice finishing touch to my pages…

 

Second on the 2nd for October 2016

it has been awhile since I’ve played along in Elizabeth’s Second look on the 2nd challenge but I thought I would share this post from five years ago which happened to be on the 2nd of October…

button cuff completa…

she kindly sent me home with a blank black elastic cuff stitched and ready to be decorated…

I finally got busy yesterday while watching a little Doc Martin on tv…

it really IS fun to pick through buttons

I like keeping mine in jars

they look like candy…

I have two weddings to go to this month…

my new button cuff may be just the thing to go with my little black dress…

if I made another one I would sew each button on and knot it individually…

I bet that’s what Dot did…

there are about 40+ buttons on my cuff…

a very Happy Birthday to my sister and to my sweet Onkel Sepp (both do not read my blog) AND also to Marit my special bloggie art sister who has some really exciting news to share here

it is Gandhi’s birthday too…

“Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress”~Mahatma Gandhi, 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948

 

summer has flown…

the talented and prolific Valerie chose INDIAN SUMMER-GOLDEN OCTOBER-AUTUMN as October’s Art Journal Journey theme which sends my mind in lots of directions…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-golden-redbud-leaves

just when I think summer might go on forever it turned cooler which is perfect for open windows and warmer clothes...magpies-nest-glow-of-october-rainy-day

we finally got some much needed rain too…magpies-nest-flown-rubber-stamps

soon I will give up running barefoot around the house and get out my cozy slippers…
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autumn makes me think of golden leaves andmagpies-nest-sunset-plane-heading-to-dullesgolden sunsets so I added lots of gold to my scraped paint pages which was tricky to capture in my photos…

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the WONDER page on the right began with an index card that I had made awhile ago…

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~* Happy October *~

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”~ Jim Bishop

teach…

an all time favorite Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song TEACH YOUR CHILDREN  inspired this two page spread for Elizabeth’s BACK TO SCHOOL theme over at Art Journal Journey…magpies-nest-teach-inspiration

I challenged myself to use colors I don’t often use and found a napkin along with some of my mother’s old paints that helped move me in that direction…

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not totally comfortable with my color matching my favorite heavy gesso came to the rescue once again…magpiess-nest-distracted-by-dried-paintthen I got distracted for a bit by my paint tray noticing a small corner of paint sticking up… sure enough the layers of paint peeled out easily and yes I did save those bits for what I am not exactly sure 🙂 …magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-rainy-day-fun

then it was back to trying to make my pages work on a lovely rainy day here in Virginia…

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it was fiddly fun cutting and pasting thin pieces of napkin to carry the design from one page to another (that napkin was too good to cover up completely)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-teach-right-page

it took me awhile to get some matching turquoise and greenish yellow for my painted pages…

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some Adirondack BOTTLE stamping ink applied with a wet wipe worked for one part since a lot of my Tim Holtz DISTRESS STAINS seem to have lost their color over time…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-teach-art-journal-pages

a little more doodling with my gold paint pen and my pages are complete (tricky to photograph on a rainy day)…

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.
Songwriters: Graham Nash
Teach Your Children lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group