Elie’s Books

Illustration by Ciara Panacchia

I was born in the Philippines, in a house in a town called Angeles City, just forty-five minutes north of Manila, the country’s capital. My family moved to the United States when I was a little over one year old and I’ve only ever visited once when I was a toddler. My older sister and I moved back and lived with my relatives in the Philippines for about ten months when I was between the ages of three and four and I heard stories that I demanded bubble baths and oreo cookies with milk.

Growing up in America, English became our first and only language, so a lot of the Filipino language escapes my memory. I learned and still understand little bits and pieces of our native tongue, a dialect called kapampangan, because I spent a lot of time with relatives who kept our Filipino culture alive. And whenever I was reprimanded as a child and teenager, my mom would curse in Filipino. (Those of you with parents whose first language isn’t English might identify with me.)

If you’re of Irish descent and you have little ones in your life that you want to teach the Irish language and heritage to, you’re in luck. Graphic designer and illustrator Ciara Ni Dhuinn has written and illustrated Elie’s Books, named after her daughter, to whom Ciara wanted to each the Irish language. Ciara, a native of Ireland who moved to America in 2004 and gave birth to her daughter in 2006 wanted to pass on the language but not through boring textbook-esque Irish-to-English/English-to-Irish dictionaries.

Conversation Books by Ciara Pannachia

Launched in October 2011, Elie’s Books are rich with colorful and whimsical illustrations that honestly would look lovely to hang as wall art and inspire me to want to learn a little bit of the Irish language.

Elie's Books: Colors and Shapes / Numbers

Who says you have to be Irish or of Irish descent to enjoy these books with your kids. Pick up a copy or two on Amazon and learn more about Ciara oner her website.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Natural Vases

Shell vase photo by William Creswell

Here are few ideas for those of you who want to kill two birds with one stone by bringing the outdoors into your home with not only plants, but also with natural or nature-inspired vases, as well.

I fancy the idea of using an urchin as a vase, they seem to offer plenty of stability for smaller plants and offer loads of visual interest. You might remember Petit Beast, whom we interviewed earlier this month, that sells riveting jellyfish air plants — a vase and plant made into a beautiful new creature.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Jacinta Sue

Tree coasters by Jacinta Sue

If you’ve ever been told you won’t achieve your dreams, shrug it off and keep reaching for the sky. Meet artist Jacinta Sue, who was once told she couldn’t draw. She ignored the criticism and pursued art and her work has been featured in numerous publications including Parents magazine, HOW magazine, and most recently issue 13 of Uppercase Magazine.

Jacinta’s art style is whimsical and inspired by stories from her great-grandmother. I enjoy the patterns present in a lot of her work. The dots, lines, and shapes add further interest and keep your eye moving across her work.

Art by Jacinta Sue

For further inspiration from Jacinta, visit her site Allymoon or check out her works available for purchase on society6.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

A Foggy December Morning

The Wood by Andy Drake

Photo Info

  • Location: Oregon, USA
  • Camera used: Nikon D200
  • Lens used: AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor 18-70mm f3.5 - 4.5G IF-ED
  • Filter used: 67mm Quantaray UV filter
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter: 1/60
  • F: 3.5

This week’s featured photo was taken by freelance graphic designer and marketing director Andy Drake of Eugene, Oregon. Taken around 11am on a cold, dry, and foggy December morning, this photo stopped me in my tracks. You can view the rest of the photos from the set on his portfolio.

From Andy:
What I love about this photo and photography in general is that it takes me to a specific moment in time. Feelings, emotions, smells, etc are brought to mind. This particular morning was nicely foggy. I had been trying a new hiking trail near my house, and felt somewhat unsure of my surroundings. This image captured that mysteriousness of the wood around me. It has a fairytale quality; it is both bright/light, with beauty in the colors. The ominous nature of this fairytale effect is also intriguing, but makes me want to see more!

Really, I was just lucky to get the perfect light in a great scene. I’m just a lucky bystander of nature’s innate beauty.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Spring Pickin’s March – April 2012

Photo & Design by Donaville Herrick

Are you participating in our Spring Pickin’s project? Feel free to join in at any time this spring and leave a comment with a link to your Spring Pickin’s posts!

The first of my spring pickin’s from March through April were solely from around the house. We’ve had a bit of rain in the past couple of months which had its ups (we needed it badly and it brought forth loads of green around the house) and its downs (a lot of people in Southern California suddenly forget how to drive when water falls from the sky).

There were a few things from around the yard that I actually picked up and wanted to arrange, inspired by the arrangements of Miles of Light (that Mr Yen blogged about last week).

Spring Pickin's from the trees photographed by Donaville Herrick

And a few things that I preferred not to physically pick up or touch. I know snails are harmless, but they still give me the heebie jeebies. Can you spot the snails in the photos below? One of them does a good job of camouflaging itself like the roots of the plant it’s next to.

moss and snails

I’m hoping that our front yard grows more moss. It gives the yard a lot of charm and I think a garden gnome would love to make its home amongst the moss.

I snapped a few photos of the flowers in bloom, too, and would have picked a few for a bouquet if only my thumb wasn’t so black. The purple ones are a favorite of my little dearests and if they could, they would yank all of them out.

spring blooms photographed by Donaville Herrick

I photographed spring blooms in our fruit trees from the backyard, too. We seldom have the opportunity to pick apricots from the apricot tree because squirrels and birds usually get to them before they ripen.

fruit trees

Last but not least, is my favorite tree in the backyard because it so closely resembles a weeping willow (one of my favorite trees). The tree provides a great backdrop for photos that I’ve used in a few photo shoots for the seasonal guides on Discover Paper. It’s a spot where my little dearests and I like to hang out and enjoy the bountiful shade it offers. It also makes for a great hiding spot during a game of hide-and-seek.

I love the way the morning light filters through the branches and leaves. No digital filters or color correction were applied to the photos below.

tree photographed by Donaville Herrick

If you’re capturing photos of spring in your neck of the woods, let us know so we can include you in the list below!

Check out other Spring Pickin's from these wonderful folks:

Beverly of Pinjing
Bonnie of Going Home to Roost
Emily of Peck Life
Emily of WilderLace

Kelli of Borealchick Designs

Leah Kristina of Conspiracies of Soil
Lindsay of All of Our Love

Rachel of The Block
Ru of Short, Small, & Sweet

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.