Monthly Archives: August 2013

end of the summer color inspiration


Not sure if these color inspiration palettes are actually useful for anything, but I have fun making them!!  (it relaxes me to play around with the photos and colors)

Maybe someday I’ll make a card using one of these color palettes…or a digital scrapbook kit….or paint someone’s door in stripes…..who knows.  Today’s color inspirations come from different projects I’ve worked on this summer….

cotton candy princesses Color Palette by dennas - Page 060These little ladies were super fun to make!  I will hopfully get a post done of the how-to.

lavender & mint limeade Color Palette by dennas - Page 061Cookies for a lovely anniversary…limeade just for me!!

strawberry kitty cat Color Palette by dennas - Page 062Remember Custard the Cat from Strawberry Shortcake? Kitty for a special little girl’s birthday.

sugary almond citrus Color Palette by dennas - Page 063New recipe for Almond Sour Cream cupcakes, with a hint of brandy extract in the frosting!  My life has been all about yellow and orange this summer…you might kind of notice that…boy do I Iove those colors!

arriba aguacates Color Palette by dennas - Page 065(FYI, that’s an upside down exclamation point, if you didn’t figure that out…well, I guess it could be I arriba aguacates, because I do happen to like avocados a lot!  Ay, ay, arriba arrrrriba!)

I find that I cannot photograph light green objects!!  Either my camera’s wonky or the light from my windows is just awful or….something else…

la watermelon rosa Color Palette by dennas - Page 064Please let me know if you ever find these color thingies to be at all helpful to you for any reason!! 🙂  And for sure “pin” them on Pinterest if you hang out there a lot, but only if you want to….

to the north

to the north

The breeze was whipping past my face as I sped near the edge of a cliff, traveling parallel but closer and closer all the time.  I was standing on the back of a truck, holding on tightly, staring out to the scenery flashing by.  Finally I was right at the edge, because this is what I came for, the glimpse over the edge…I looked down and there was no guardrail at all, just the edge of the road, a strip of dirt, and then nothingness until far down I could see a thick cushion of treetops, dappled by sunlight.  There was the white facade of a church peeping out of the trees, along with glimpses of a few other building from the town.  Lifting my eyes up, I could see the greenness turn deep blue as my vision extended to the far hills and mountains.  Then I decided I’d rather see this from behind some sort of guardrail, so I looked for even a small one that I could stand behind.  There was a small one, of sorts, but we were traveling so quickly past it.  (and that’s how you can tell it’s Central America,  few guardrails!)

Now I noticed a beautiful sound, a song that I recognized, playing past the rush of the wind.  I started humming along with it, as I looked down at the treetops and breathed in the clean fresh mountain air.  The cliffs and mountains were on my right, but  now we were turning left and I could see some ruined buildings.  I knew it was a part of Antigua.  There were all sorts of old ruined cathedrals and bits of old walls and columns.  I wanted to look at them all, but we were approaching so quickly that my eyes fixed on one that was painted bright pink, and I gazed as we drove past at golden lions intertwined among the black wooden railing on the window boxes.  I dearly wanted to see the other ruins and was determined to come back with my camera….

And then Henry said, “Good-bye, I’ll give you a call later”….and the music in my dream tapered off and the ruins and mountains melted into the daylight behind the curtains in our room as he kissed me goodbye.

Yes, that was what I was dreaming about 2 hours ago.  If you know me, you know that I have very vivid dreams, and remember a lot of them (too many, my Mom would say!)  I can hear and taste and smell in my dreams!  I dream in both English and Spanish.  And yes, Guatemala is my favorite place to dream about….it’s probably where 90% of my dreams take place, go figure.

A few minutes later, I “happened” to pick up a book I’ve been reading, and read this quote:

“Oh hurrah!” said Shasta.  “Then we’ll go north. I’ve been longing to go to the north all my life.” –THE HORSE AND HIS BOY, CHAPTER I, “HOW SHASTA SET OUT ON HIS TRAVELS”

And then after some more quotes from that book, where the boy Shasta is setting off on an adventure to the North with Bree the talking horse, this book continues on:

For while Shasta, like Reepicheep, was motivated by desire, his was a desire of a very different kind.  In part, it was nothing more than a vague sense of not belonging, of being a stranger in the only place he’d ever been able to call home.  But it went far beyond this.  For reasons he didn’t comprehend and couldn’t have explained, Shasta was consumed with a deep, almost inarticulate desire to go north.

“So is there in us a world of love to somewhat,” wrote C.S. Lewis in Surprised by Joy (quoting seventeenth-century English poet Thomas Traherne), “thought we know not what in the world it should be.”  This is Shasta’s story in a nutshell.  He was a victim of what the Germans call Sehnsucht: an ardent yearning after a nameless, indefinable object.  Lewis referred to it as a “lifelong nostalgia—-”  “our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside.”

This for sure stuck a chord in me.  I know that I do long for Guatemala, but really, I know it’s deeper even than that.  Farther on in this chapter the authors add:

Have you ever felt that bittersweet pang, that stab of joy, that soul-piercing arrow of heartbreaking loveliness and longing that, for Lewis and Shasta, was “shot from the North”?  It comes to each of us in a different way.  We encounter it in the light of a red gold sunset, the melancholy of a misty seascape, the cold gleam of stars among bare branches on a winter’s night; in “the smell of a bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”

Wherever we meet it, it confronts us with inescapable evidence that we, like Jack and Shasta and the Old Testament patriarchs, are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13), exiles in a foreign land, hoping to discover a way back home.

Put yourself in Shasta’s place.  You’re sitting on the seashore, absently mending the nets, gazing off longingly toward the north.  Do you sense the undertow of nagging restlessness?  Can you relate to the undefined feelings of homesickness, the ache of unspoken discontent?  If you can, you may begin to have some idea of what the Bible means when it says that God “has put eternity in [our] hearts”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

The implications are well worth pondering.

REFLECTION:  We were meant for bigger and better things.

And so ends the chapter called “NARNIA AND THE NORTH” in the book Finding God in the Land of Narnia by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware, published by SALTRIVER, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2005.  I have really been enjoying reading this book and what I read this morning really complimented what I experienced in my dream today.  I recommend it for every Narnia fan!!  It’s something to think about today….

I wanted to include some photos of Guatemala that remind me a bit of my dream, so I found these on my friend Sam Ovalle’s facebook page and grabbed some of the ones of his climb of the Pacaya Volcano in 2000.  (Thanks for permission Chrissy!! 🙂scene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovallescene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle scene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle  volcano photographed by Sam Ovalle scene from pacaya volcano photographed by Sam Ovallevolcanos of Guatemala photographed by Sam Ovalle

A bite of a sunny day…


The summer isn’t over yet!!  We can still squeeze some gorgeous days and sun-filled moments out of it…like I did today.  My laundry dictated my day…I was washing up some tablecloths and runners from a party over the weekend, and their tags all said Do Not Tumble Dry (of course).  So the brilliance of the day called me outside to string up a makeshift clothesline in my little backyard.  I had forgotten the joy of hanging clothes out to dry!!  Yes that sounds funny…joy…in laundry, but really, there’s something wonderful about the smell of clean damp washing when you can hang it outside on a bright summer day in the breeze.  (There’s nothing at all lovely about the smell of damp laundry when you are down in the fusty basement on a freezing winter’s day, believe me!)
denna's ideas: thyme harvest from my gardenI have been enjoying my little patch of garden, and I mean little…what shows in the photos is my bit of garden.  The rest of the little backyard is taken up by bicycles, a BBQ and some snow shovels.denna's ideas: from my garden

At Easter time, the kids planted sunflower seeds and they have shot up, but haven’t flowered yet.dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - drying wash

I felt so pleased to be doing this little chore today (and not some other horrible, messy chore that I still have to work on later).  I love the sight of the orange and yellow laundry flapping on the line!

When we lived in Guatemala, hanging the laundry was a regular chore in a few of the houses we lived in that didn’t have a dryer.  But I (mostly) didn’t mind hanging wash out on the upstairs patio in the Guatemalan sun (I only remember the sunny days) and listening to the laughter of children from the school across the street and the buses clattering by.  So today I was in nostalgia mode.  Enjoying the sun and blue sky and my little patch of green.  Listening to Gloria Estefan’s Mi Tierra seemed fitting.

I was even able to harvest a few things from my garden!  I have a small pot of what I think is thyme….well, I’m pretty sure it is…and I snipped some sprigs to dry.  My new gnome stands guard so cats don’t mess with my herbs!  (There’s Mi tomillo, the herb that goes in all my Guatemalan cooking) the basil that is on it’s last legs….dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - new gnomedenna's ideas: thyme harvest from my gardendennasideas.com_my garden harvest - thyme

Two small lavender plants grew up in the garden patch this year and actually flowered!  Last year they were just sad looking bits of spiky leaves.dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - lavender harvest

There was enough for a little bunch to dry…dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - lavender

The smell and taste of lavender always reminds me of a wonderful summer trip to Kelowna, B.C. that we had years ago.  Inspired by my memories and my little harvest, I whipped up a midday snack for myself. 😉  Some lavender lemondade!!  Ok, it was really limeade, and I added some chocolate mint leaves that are in a corner of my garden patch.dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - lavender mint lemonade

So pretty with a few lavender flowers!!  And tasty!denna's ideas: mint and lavender lemonade from my garden

A little snack would be nice, using some of the fresh thyme and my favorite sun-dried tomatoes and some interesting gluten-free crackers we’ve been eating lately…dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - thyme bites

Yum yum!  I might add that I have never been accused of never pampering myself….dennasideas.com_my garden harvest - thyme and dried tomato bitesSometimes I go a bit overboard, for the sake of photography…so I added some dessert, not intending to eat it, just for the photoshoot…denna's ideas: mint and lavender lemonade from my garden

The citrus cookies are from the party I was baking for on the weekend.  They seemed so perfect with the lemonade that I did feel the need to eat one…

What else should I have done on such a lovely day and no one around to share it with?  I decided to bring out my camera so I could capture it and share it with you.  I hope you have a few sunny days left of this summer that you can use for relaxing, enjoying and maybe even spoiling yourself a bit, even if there are chores to do!!  🙂