Sunday, June 3, 2012

Treasures from Nature

We’re lucky enough to live in a place where we're surrounded by gifts from nature in their natural forms. This first piece, while not made by animal or insect, is something Mister Man found one day when poking around in our old barn area.

We call it our old barn area because there used to be a huge animal barn behind our house but was struck by lightening the turn of the last century burning it to the ground. There are still a lot of relics to be unearthed and luckily the husband found one. This is a small zinc-copper handle still attached to the original wood. The metal is somewhat soft and I love its patina, the shape of the worn wood and the small bit of brown moss still stuck to the surface.

We noticed a paper wasp nest being built last weekend up in the eaves but thanks so a very strong thunderstorm and high winds this past week it was sent down to the ground. It was either that or Mister man was going to spray it but now I have a beautifully shaped treasure.  I love the light gray color and the white band around it. I guess we aren't the only ones who like to decorate our homes.

The nest split open when it hit the ground revealing the inside brood cells that would have held the young. The nests are made out of plant and wood fibers and mixed with saliva and chewed into a papier-mâché like material. Look how thin the paper is you can almost see through it.

My next couple of treasures is a whole knot from a tree and the beginnings of a knot.

This one was just beginning to form into a tree knot but fell out before it was fully formed. I found this bit of information on google how a knot is formed….

During the development of a tree, the lower limbs often die, but may persist for a time. Subsequent layers of growth of the attaching stem are no longer intimately joined with the dead limb, but are grown around it.  Dead branches produce knots that are not attached to the tree.

You can see on this half formed knot how other layers grew around the dead branch.

Here’s my whole tree knot! This was really a wonderful find but to be honest we didn’t find it in the forest. We found it in the dirt under Mister man’s workshop when we were starting the renovations on our carriage barn a couple of years ago. It must have dried out and fallen out of one of the whole trees used as the floor joists.  

I love this Grouse feather and picked it up for its delicate coloring, it has kind of an ikat design feel to it. The male birds like to sit up in our woods drumming away to mark their territory.

Mister man and Dylan dog were out hiking one morning when something blew across their way, a small birds nest and they carried it home to give me. Look at the delicate bits of pine needles used around the top.

While I don’t know what kind of bird who built this nest I do know it’s small. The paper wasp nest is slightly smaller then a golf ball and you can see how small and deep the nest is next to it.  

I love my little treasures and it’s making a wonderful collection. Have any of you found anything lately in the great outdoors?

We’re in for a week of rain so time for this girl to get outside and get something done. I hope you all are enjoying your weekend and have a fabulous week!



Pura Vida said...

I am so impressed with people who find such beauty in nature and God's earth. Your gifts are amazing

An Urban Cottage said...

All very cool. I've never seen a wood knot like that. That is awesome!

michele said...

discovering the most amazing meaningful posts tonight, and i am filled with wonder...which is how i want to feel instead of cynical and confused and annoyed by inconsiderate drivers on the road or teenagers, ya know?

we are surrounded by these miracles and we almost never take the time to honor them.

thanks for this.


Unknown said...

Wow, how amazing to see that knot...would never have imagined it. I like to collect little treasures along the way as well; humbling and inspiring. Beautiful post. B

Splendid Sass said...

No, but you have inspired me to look! Nature is amazing, isn't it? So much goes into these pieces, and it is like design!
Have a great week, Debra, and thank you for sharing.

Heather Robinson said...

What a wonderful, wonder-filled post, Debra. I love that you appreciate these treasures just as much as your amazing antique fabrics. Says so much about you!

Greet Lefèvre said...

These are indeed wonderful treasures by nature! You are lucky to be surrounded by them!!

Thoughts on Design said...

Mother Nature's little things. Such a delight to the eye. Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

A child would have a complete blast going a walk in your yard and finding so many cool treasures! I remember taking my kids for walks when they were little and they would get soooo excited when we would find a feather or a sand dollar at the beach. Your grounds are so amazing. You must feel so blessed to live there. xo

The enchanted home said...

Hi neat that these things abound on your property. The zinc handle is gorgeous, the knot so interesting and unusual and the birds nest is so sweet and must feel like a field trip every day walking around your vast property, does Dylan know how lucky he is???
Enjoy your day, we too are supposed to get more rain, wish I could stay in and do nothing!

Victoria said...

Such lovely treasures. I have never seen a wood knot. I love the zinc pull and the sweet nests. I have never seen a grouse, but I do grouse a lot. Now I understand the basis for the expression, since they sound like they grumble to state their case. Recently, I found a rather small bird's nest in the crotch of my gardenia tree, but I left it there, in case they want to come home again, but no treasures as interesting as yours.

quintessence said...

Amazing what beauty is created in nature! The delicate geometry of the wasp nest and beautiful patterns on the feather are true works of art!

designchic said...

What treasures you have found in your own backyard. Love the knot wood and is there anything more interesting than a bird's nest?! Such a treat to see what they use to weave them. Hope you are having a great start to your week!

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

my kind of treasure too! :)

Taylor Greenwalt said...

I would love to live on your property.It sounds like it is a big treasure chest. I have always thought it would be fun to go on one of those scavenger hunts through an old barn filled with junk and antiques. Isn't nature amazing? The wasp nest is wonderful.

I Dream Of said...

What a lovely cabinet of natural curiosity you have started, Debra. Isn't it wonderful how much beauty is out there in the world if you look for it. The wasp and bird's nests are such marvels of construction. Nature is full of works of art! Stay dry (it's raining here, too). XO

Room Seventeen said...

Lovely treasures from Mother Nature : -)

Unknown said...

I love these little treasures you've found from nature and the past!! We have another robin's nest under our patio umbrella. Smart robin mama built it one day while it was raining and since it had 3 beautiful eggs in it we couldn't bear to touch it. Only 1 little baby bird is left, but I will rescue the nest when they are done. Amazing how the birds and wasps and other little creatures create such intricate, textured and practical homes!

Raining here hoo. Oh well, just means some inside time.

Have a great day!
xoxo Elizabeth

Woodside Park said...

Hello, Debra ~
Cool finds! I love the bird's nest. I'd fill it with little quail eggs (from Ebay), and display it on a side table. I, too, love treasures from nature.....they give me such inspirations. Thanks for sharing with us. Have a great week!

Suzanne said...

Such wonderful treasures!

Leslie said...


It's amazing what we can find when we explore! What wonderful finds in your own 'backyard' ~ the wonder of nature!


Karena said...

Debra how unique and interesting to find these pieces out out in nature I have never seen a tree knot out of the tree!


Art by Karena

debra @ 5th and state said...

great treasures deb.
nature is the best designer. isn't it amazing to think that birds create sturdy nests without hands and the wasp nests are such works of art.

a few years ago a huge one was built by our pool, everyone was freaking out, but i was determined it would stay. wasps are great killers of the damaging garden bugs and no one was stung
have a great week indoors......we NEED rain!

La Brocanteuse said...

These are so beautiful! True cabinette de curiocite finds..
Thank you for taking care with these finds from nature and sharing with us. Colette X Afrique du Sud

A room with a view said...

It is like finding free artwork. There is so much character and dimension to each piece. Unfortunately, I have not stopped to admire anything outdoors recently except to wonder when I will have time to tend to my garden without relying on the gardener. And yes, we have had so torrential downpours.

Splendid Willow said...


Now that is REAL art! Where are you placing that wood piece with the zinc handle? Lean it against something. It is so pretty! (And the other finds too).

My kids collect heart shaped rocks from mother nature. We have a big pewter plate filled with them!

Hugs to you pretty lady.


Decor de Provence said...

Is that an old door knocker?!!! Your mister man has quite the eye... I absolutely LOVE it!!! What a sweet post! Once again I just adore how you are so detail oriented.

much love to you Debra!

Fashion-isha said...

Nature truely creates the most amazing beauty!! Thanks for sharing that...enjoy your week!

Phyllis Trevor Higgerson, Henhurst said...

Beautiful post!

sharon santoni at my french country home said...

Isn't that wasps nest the most exquisite object - in colour and shape!
Loved the pictures of your garden in the last post, your house looks so beautiful

A Perfect Gray said...

these are lovely finds. I have a small partial nest that I couldn't ID - now I see that it's from a paper wasp - thanks! donna

Luciane at said...

Hello Debra,

It's incredible, but you always have something interesting to share with us. Take a look at this post. How inspiring!

Wishing you a great day, my friend.


Luciane at

Ispirato Design said...

Hi Debra- Oh how I've missed reading your posts. Beautiful, lovely...and informative! I really enjoyed it as always :)

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello Debra,

I love the beauty of nature! That is why I name my log pine ones and acorns....these are indeed gifts for mother nature.

The litle nest, and those knots! I have never seen a tree knot! How did you know what it was?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend,


Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello Debra,

I love the beauty of nature! That is why I name my log pine ones and acorns....these are indeed gifts for mother nature.

The litle nest, and those knots! I have never seen a tree knot! How did you know what it was?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend,


Ivy Clad said...

Amazing how such "simple" natural things are really so complex, isn't it? I can sit and watch bees in a glass observation hive for the longest time. They're just so fascinating.


Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

What a fabulous natural collection and all found on your own property. That is really special. Have a great week, Debra. Xo, Mona

Paula said...

Incredible textures - the grouse feather almost looks as though it could be fur - amazing!
I love the old handle on the wood - it makes me think of a pirates ship for some reason! Wonderful treasures.
Paula x

Barbara@HausDesign said...

Mother Nature really does do it best! What sweet little treasures you found!

zanetastyle said...

These are so beautiful, your finds! I often worry that the busy life takes us away from seeing the beauty and letting the nature inside me a bit a child living near forests ... one has diffferent memories than now in Calgary downtown...but thankfully beautiful Rockies are not far and the air is clean... and so thanks for sharing the nature(:
xo Z

Mary Jane said...

The paper wasp nest is an absolutely amazing find. Simple beauty at it's best. Speaking of wonderful finds, I found you through La Dolfina and Atelier de Campagne and I am so glad I did. I am new to your blog and have to know who Mister Man is, that is what I call my husband and have never heard anyone else use that term. I will be back often. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos. Mary Jane

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


Hope you are having a good week so far. The rain just started here and will continue for the week.

Did you manage to get all of your yard work done!

Thank you for coming to visit!

Enjoy your day, Elizabeth

Girls Bedroom said...

Hey there
I truly loved this post. A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information. The majority of the information here was rather enlightening!

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Isn't it amazing what beautiful gifts nature has to share? You have wonderful treasures and the fact that they all came from nature is fantastic. I think you are probably the first blogger to say "Here's my whole tree knot"! I love that you see and appreciate such magnificent beauty. The nests are incredible and it is amazing to think how they have been formed (built). I adore the zinc handle pull.
I took a few days away from the computer and I'm so happy to come back to visit this fabulous post.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

So this is what you do when your not mowing, working or playing with Dylan? Looks like the perfect way to spend the day...can I come? The handle is just amazingly beautiful!


your photography is so amazing! I loved this piece--from feathers to wasp nests beauty in nature is everywhere! happy weekend!

pve design said...

I could spend a week following you around with my paint brushes. You find such beauty all around you.

Glad the package arrived and thanks so much for your kind comments and support of my work and artistry!

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