Tag Archives: Photography

Another Tea Time…

inspiration is everywhere and I marveled at how nicely my choice of drinks happened to match the colors I selected for my background for Erika’s “Tell me a Story” challenge over at Art Journal Journey…

img_0525blackberry and cucumber flavored sparkling water … 0-calorie  0-sweetener   0-sodium = Innocent! as written on the front of the can…img_0526

I am enjoying getting reacquainted with my water soluble crayons scrubbing after scribbling randomly with a damp brush to blend the colors (the book text also had some white gesso on it)…img_0008

Mano Svanidze’s brilliant photo “Another Tea Time” of the lady with her tea cup and tea pot inspired me along with pieces of corrugated cardboard  and heavy gesso…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-t-pot

for the left hand page I used one of my photos layered with artwork using iPhone apps along with some words I had jotted down…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-trust

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

“The Universe has your back.   Instead of trying to control the outcome, just enjoy the journey.” -Dawn Gluskin

take your broken he♥rt …

since 1999 … January has been a challenging month with the anniversary of our son’s death… he was killed exactly one month before his 17th birthday…magpies-nest-turn-into-art-left-background

this year I wanted to create a January Art Journal to help me through this bumpy time… turns out I am feeling like I’ve turned a bit of a corner with lightness and joy and many more bright days than dark (extremely grateful for that!!!)…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-turn-into-art-right-side

losing a child is every parents worst nightmare…  even I have a hard time finding the words to comfort friends that have lost a loved one…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-heart-closeup

it is not my intention to look for sympathy by mentioning Alex but rather to share that there is hope for joy in life after great loss as I’m sure some of you have also experienced… somehow we keep on going…

what I would say to anyone suffering from grief and loss is be gentle with yourself… there are no rules… seek healing in ways that feel right to you and know that it will get more bearable over time…magpies-nest-patty-szymkowicz-take-your-broken-heart-turn-it-into-art

I am joining Erika’s “tell me a story” challenge over at Art Journal Journey…

and thanks to Susi’s invitation to join the L♥VE theme over at Moo-Mania & More

“It has been said, ‘that time heals all wounds.’  I do not agree.  The wounds remain.  In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.  But it is never gone.” ~Rose Kennedy

when snow falls…

img_0414we had a “conversational” snowfall on Saturday which was just enough to add a sheer white blanket to the garden…img_0413

the birds got extra excited at the suet feeder even over just a few flakes…


I am joining Erika’s “Tell Me A Story” challenge at Art Journal Journeyimg_0417

the story behind my two page spread is simply my Love of snow with the special hush and purity it brings…img_0005

a couple of images torn from The Washington Post along with the words “drift” and “snow” were added to book pages that I had brayered with gesso…  I printed out the rest of the quote using our laser printer… the font that I chose happened to match perfectly… the finishing touch was some splatters of gesso…

“When snow falls, Nature listens” -Antoinette van Kleef

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…


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…


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…


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…


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

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 🙂



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!!!