{waterlilies} …another good find!

I’ve always been fond of the Impressionist movement.  The style.  The colors.  The imperfection of it all.  I guess I could call my “style” impressionist inspired.  Although I can paint clean lines with intricate detail, I rather enjoy a piece that is a little messy.  I’m a little messy.

One painting that I have been planning in my head has been a reproduction of Monet’s Waterlilies of Giverny.  My favorite paintings.  For so many reasons.  I can just imagine how peaceful it must have been to set up an easel by a babbling brook and paint the waterlilies and the light reflecting off the ripples.  Monet is one of my favorite painters of all times.  Maybe one day, Nick and I will make it to France to see the waterlilies….

Nine years ago in November, we actually saw the Waterlilies of Giverny.  Up close and in person.  Paintings that Monet stood before with a brush and created.  A handful of Monet pieces and The Waterlilies were touring 3 cities in the US.  Raleigh was the last city on the tour before going to their final resting place in France or Italy…..wherever paintings go to retire.  And Nick took me to that exhibit.

It was crowded.  This one French lady with big hair kept getting in front of me.  I was a tad disappointed that I couldn’t meander through the gallery and study the paintings.  We were being pushed along with the crowd…..until we rounded the corner and there they were.  The Waterlilies.  Just beautiful.  And for a moment the crowd parted and we actually had some breathing room to study those masterpieces.  It was just beautiful.

Then I turned around and there he was.  The love of my life on one knee.  With a ring in his hand.  And a huge smile on his face.  In front of my favorite paintings by my favorite painter.  It was one for the books….

Well, while meandering through an antique store we came across Monet’s Waterlilies of Giverny.  A textured print, of course.  But Monet’s Waterlilies, nonetheless.  Every time we see that painting, we are fondly reminded of that special day.  We were so crazy in love…and still are.

So we took a picture in front of it……


After we bought it and hung it in our dining room, that is!


Another perfect addition to our “antique store finds.”  Just about every piece of artwork or décor we own has a story behind it, and so many great memories…  And now we have a piece to remind us of the day we decided to spend the rest of our lives together.

Another good find!!


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{25 things} what’s a mom to do?

1.  my house is a mess

2.  but it’s quiet…

3.  hubby just left for oklahoma city again

4.  {sad face}

5.  maggie rose is snuggled in her bed

6.  jake is lying under the dining room table at my feet

7.  snoring…

8.  what is a mom to do?

9.  i could wash dishes or fold laundry

10.  my two least favorite chores

11.  not happening

12.  it’s still before 9:00

13.  i could do a little baking and paleo food prep

14.  but baking requires going into my pantry

15.  and if i go into my pantry, i will pull everything out and reorganize it

16.  baking is out

17.  so what’s a mom to do?

18.  i could probably pour a glass of wine and take a bubble bath

19.  but i have no wine

20.  and my bathtub is probably dusty from lack of use

21.  and i really do not want to scrub a bathtub tonight

22.  oh!  i could price all my yard sale items in the study

23.  but that could take foreverrrrr

24.  and i do not want to stay up too late

25.  so i guess i’ll just go to bed.

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{Spread the word} Jaymie’s Story

It is now after 2:00 in the morning.

I should be going to sleep right now.  I should have gone to bed hours ago.  But I just cannot go to bed without putting down in words what is on my mind, and in my heart.

I stayed up too late…like I typically do when Nick is out of town.  And right before I turned my tablet off–so I could wind down–I saw a post on Facebook.

It was a gofundme link.  But it wasn’t just for some stranger this time.  And my heart just sank.  Because I remember the moment that Nick told me about Jaymie’s injury.  He was pretty torn up about it when he found out.  For so many reasons.  And I cried when he told me.  Our hearts broke for Jaymie and for her family.  Because they were our family too, for so long while we lived in Durham.  And quite frankly still are…regardless of where we live and the career path we have chosen to take.

I remember the day Nick and I moved out of our house in Durham.  We were moving to Texas and it was stressful.  Everything happened so fast at that time in our life.  I had no idea how we were actually going to pull it all off.  And then that morning, a band of Durham’s finest showed up at our door…ready to help with all the heavy lifting.  And they were happy to be there. 

Jaymie’s dad was there; as was she.  Moving days are always stressful, but that day went on without a hitch.  Maggie was in her swing, and Jaymie was running around playing.  I held her and played with her; while the guys cleared out our house.  I remember all of us sitting in our empty dining room eating pizza, and laughing, and watching Jaymie bounce on one of Maggie’s toys.  It was a special day for so many reasons.  That’s definitely a moving day that I will never forget.

And that was the last time I saw Jaymie before her injury.  {And I say “injury” because it’s tears me up inside to even speak the actual words I want to say about what happened to her.}  The next time I saw her, she was in the hospital.  I had come back to North Carolina to visit family with Maggie.  And I made sure to visit with Jaymie and her family in the hospital; because they were our family.  I’m just so amazed by the strength her parents have shown throughout this process.  They carried on…they carried on for Jaymie.  Jaymie is blessed to have such wonderful parents and such a loving family.  And I am blessed to have known them as family, even if for a short time in my life.  Because once family, always family.

And that is why I am sharing this gofundme page.  Jaymie and her family are so near and dear to mine and my husband’s hearts.  Although we fail, at times, to show how much they mean to us and to stay in touch as much as we really should…they are in our thoughts and prayers.  And this story bears repeating, because this is a family that is truly deserving of a blessing.

Please read Jaymie’s story and spread the word.

{click on the photo to follow the link to her gofundme page}


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{flash of yellow} the day i almost lost everything…

the sixth day of april….at five thirty-seven in the evening.

that was the day i almost lost my beautiful family.  that was the day i almost lost the sweet giggles of my daughter and the loving gaze of my wonderful husband.  that was the day i almost lost my life.

it was a beautiful day.  and it was bulk trash day in sendera ranch.  and if you know us then you know exactly what we were doing.  we were curb shopping. 

well, we were on our way to go curb shopping….when it happened.  or almost happened.  or didn’t happen.  however you want to say it.

we were sitting at a red light, and we snapped this selfie.  let me repeat, we were at a RED LIGHT.


maggie was in the back.  you just can’t see her.  she was laughing or singing or doing something cute.

then the light turned green.  i was posting the selfie to nick’s facebook and i felt him let off the brakes.  a second after that, i heard him catch his breath and slam on the brakes.  as i looked up, i saw the green light.  and before i could tell him “clear, proceed” {that’s train talk for “it’s green, go” by the way}, there was a flash of yellow.

several thousands of pounds of yellow steel flashing before my eyes.  followed by half of a pre-fab home.  it was going so fast, i had to blink twice to really understand what had just happened.  or almost happened.  or hadn’t happen.  however you want to say it….

we sat at the green light for a couple seconds longer.  the cars behind us didn’t honk either.  they were probably just as shocked as we were.

had nick not looked to the left just in time, he wouldn’t have seen that yellow 18-wheeler.  had he not reacted so quickly and stopped just in time, that yellow 18-wheeler would have barreled right through the front of our silver ford escape.  and there is no way any of us would have made it out alive that day. 

nick would have bared the brunt of the impact.  there’s no way he would have lived.  our car would have surely whipped around and we would have been sucked underneath that pre-fab home…. and then maggie and i would have been crushed.

i would have lost everything in that crash.  my heart just wrenches in my chest when i imagine maggie’s tiny little body….i can’t even finish the sentence.  i just can’t……

i swore i was going to write a letter to someone.  someone needed to answer for what had happened.  or almost happened.  or hadn’t happen.  however you want to say it.

but who?  and what would that do?  really, traci?  all i saw was a flash of yellow–running a red light–pulling half of an “SE Homes” house behind it.  that truck was going so fast, there’s no way i could have gotten a license plate.  nor could i prove what trucking company was barreling down saginaw boulevard at 5:37pm on April 6th.  so i never wrote the letter.  oh, but i drafted that letter in my head.  very eloquently, i might add.  and whomever received that letter would have been moved to tears.

i honestly shutter to think…. that the picture above would have been our last picture alive.  that my sweet baby girl would have never learned to pee pee in a potty like a big girl, or say the alphabet, or dance at her prom, or fall in love, or become a wonderful mother one day….. so many things that would have been swept away from her.  i would have never grown old enough to see my husband with a full head–and face–of silver hair….or hold his hand while silently watching a texas lightning storm roll in.

so many wonderful moments–that i can’t even imagine–would have been stolen from us that day.  that day that i almost lost my beautiful family.  but it didn’t happen.  i’m still here.  we’re still here.  humbly, i am reminded that we are so beautifully embraced by the Lord every moment of every day.  we are on this earth for a reason, and He has blessed us with so much in this silly little life of ours.  {and on the sixth day of april, we felt His loving arms wrapped tightly around us.}

The Lord will keep you from harm–he will watch over your life.
The Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121: 7-8

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{my craft cave}

Slowly but surely I am creating my “craft cave.”  Hubby and I–and of course, Maggie–took a trip to Ikea to get some tables and organization for my craft room.  I am blessed to have a husband who supports my crafts…..he understands that I need it for my sanity!!  Not to mention, I’m sure he was tired of all my crafts on the kitchen table.

My craft cave is not close to being finished but it’s starting to look more and more like a workspace than a hot mess!  I can actually walk into the room and not feel claustrophobic.  It’s refreshing to see the progress, but I can’t wait to get it finished so I can actually create in there.  And get more items in my Etsy shop too!!


more pics to come!!

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my first giveaway {magpie’s nest}

magpie’s nest’s first giveaway..!! how exciting is that?!

i’ve seen so many blogs and sites do giveaways, and i figured it would be a great way to spread the word about magpie’s nest.  clearly, i’m not a well oiled machine just yet…and there will be some growing pains along the way as i learn trends and the supply and demand–and cost–of my work.  but i really feel that some people–maybe more than we truly realize–enjoy the journey and watching a small bud blossom into a glorious rose bush!

i want all my current customers and future customers to join me as i grow into a cute little shop on the corner.  ok, i may be drifting a little with my dream of a cute little shop on a corner just yet…but isn’t that what it’s all about?!  it may be years down the road for me, but it will happen.  {because i said so}

and i truly feel that the relationship that you create with your customers is what truly separates a manufacturer from a shop owner.  it all comes down to customer service and treating people kindly.  people want to feel special and be taken care of.  and they want to know that you care about the “why.”  because when you care about the “why,” you can better customize their experience with your shop and their product–whatever it may be.  you can make it special.

and i want all my customers–past, present, and future–to be able to know that i’m not just another underpaid worker on an assembly line going through the motions.  well, i may undercut my prices quiet a bit because i’m just starting out; and i may create my own assembly line in my little craft room to stay organized…but i will never be “just going through the motions.”

i may be giving away an ornament that takes time and great detail for no profit, but i will still enjoy making that ornament perfect for that lucky winner…….because i care about the “why.”

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{the beginning} Magpie’s Nest

I started an etsy shop in November with my custom painted home ornaments…and I was pleasantly surprised by how they took off.  I really enjoyed the conversations I had with each customer while I customized each one of their ornaments. 

I still have so much to do to really have a smoothly running etsy business, but this first experience with my etsy shop has really motivated me to really step it up and get this whole “at home business” thing going. 

Over the years, I’ve had ideas about owning my own shop one day…I’ve gone through all kinds of names and products, in my head.  I did murals off and on while working at the courthouse in Raleigh…I helped with a wedding…did random custom artwork here and there.  But I haven’t really had the time to really create a solid business plan.  And I’ve finally decided on “Magpie’s Nest.”

A couple different reasons for the name….

1.  Every funky boutique seems to have “gypsy” in the name…so that’s out…unfortunately.
2.  Maggie Rose is my amazing little Magpie, and being a stay-at-home mom has finally given me the opportunity to focus on my artwork and passion.
3.  Magpies are scavengers…and they like shiny things.  Me too..! Lol
4.  All the goodies I plan on making/selling are for nesting souls…home decor and gifts and accessories and artwork and more!  The kinds of things you want to show off in your home!  (At least that’s the plan!)
5.  A magpie’s nest is always full of unique, fun things…found objects.  And I plan to fill my nest with all kinds of unique and scavenged things!

And now that I have a room dedicated just for my artwork, I feel like I’m almost there!  I just need to get it organized!  So I’ve been trolling pinterest and getting some go

od ideas for my official “craft room.”  Figuring out “inventory” and packaging and trends… Right now I may just be the “research and development” phase but I’m super excited about each and every step I make towards my goal! And even better…….there’s an Ikea only an hour away!!  Yep, there WILL be an Ikea trip very soon to get my “craft room” all set up and ready to go!

This is just the beginning..!!


original artwork by ShopSroka

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