Tuesday, August 15, 2017

It's Almost Time for Back to School. See Shiny, Happy Student Faces from iPHOTOS.com

Photo of a happy little girl wearing a backpack for back to school
"All children start their school careers with sparkling imaginations, fertile minds, and a willingness to take risks with what they think." — Ken Robinson

The 'S' word has been finding its way into conversations increasingly of late. First there was the discussion with our daughter regarding the near-future plans she and her family have in place. Listing those leisure activities,  brought the realization of how soon back-to-school time was going to be here. An educator in a Junior Kindergarten classroom, she declared, with no little amount of shock,  that in just a few weeks she would be "back to reality".

Our son, who is currently vacationing at our summer spot, remarked this past weekend that he might not stay in this place of respite for the whole week. A teacher, he noted that it's just about time to start planning for the upcoming term, then commented that his brain might not give him the calm he needs to enjoy too much of a sojourn at this point in the summer.  He knows his obsessive qualities would preclude any ability to relax so assumed he'd probably cut the idyll short in favour of beginning the work he knows is ahead of him.

Social conversations are also moving in the direction of back to school.  At parties and picnics, friends with kids in university and college are talking about tuition and lodging; others with post-secondary students in their family are pondering course selections that will enhance future goals and dreams.

Photo of a young man with a laptop in a library
At Vital Imagery Ltd. we are hearing often  from teachers like my son, who are already in work mode and looking for the right resources for their lesson plans and assignments. The needs vary, but the message remains unchanged.  It's time to get back in the education game,  to ease summer out of play and get down to business.

Obviously, there's still plenty of time left to relax before the real work begins. There are weeks left in which families can sneak away on vacations and focus on nothing more than sand, surf and campfires.  There are oodles of long, lazy days ahead to be whiled away at the beach;  evenings still offer sufficient balminess to inspire outdoor games into the late hours.

However, the signs that youngsters will soon be heading back to academia are there if we care to notice.  Baseball diamonds have quieted with most little league teams all played out. Soccer fields are silent with tournaments over and the season's winners decided.  Even the excited hoots and hollers from energetic youngsters in the swim at area pools have diminished as the heat of summer fades.

Soon, the same boisterous, high-spirited sounds will be coming from school playgrounds during recess and lunch breaks. Hallways will welcome back the sounds  of exuberant youngsters returning from their extended layoff.  Classrooms will again be enlivened by the energy of youths at work and in discussion.  Gymnasiums will fill with shouts and laughter. And teachers and administrators will again be challenged with the responsibility of nurturing supple young minds.

University and college campuses will come to life, too, as adults, young and old,  return for that final lap in their academic ride.

So as we think about saying goodbye to our 'unofficial' summer, and hello to back to school, this collection of pictures from iPHOTOS.com shows eager students of all ages.

iPHOTOS.com Student Photos

Friday, August 11, 2017

Get Your Projects Moving With This Eye-Catching Transportation Clipart

Clipart image of a sweet baby in a toy car
"Baby you can drive my car, yes I'm going to be a star.
Baby you can drive  my car, and maybe I'll love you."

The popular Lennon and McCartney song, it has been suggested,  might actually have a slightly less innocent reference than that of transportation. However, while that might appeal to our base instincts, there's no doubt that in this busy, chaotic getting from here to there, whether by automobile or other means, is also super important.

My husband loves his cars. He's never had to have the flashiest; quite the contrary really. The newest vehicle in his fleet is over ten years old while the most revered is a lovingly restored example of 1967 Mopar muscle. But he has always ensured that besides that classic Coronet, driven only in summer on momentous occasions or to special events, we have one for him, one for me and often even a spare parked in the driveway.

Though a third one for everyday use might seem excessive, the practice has proven its worth more times than not. An apparently superfluous set of wheels can definitely come in handy. Vehicle number three has recharged a dead battery on his or my car when one or the other of our usual rides is out and about. It has filled in  when an emergency breakdown has occurred, a real bonus given that we all know when we have plans to go somewhere the last thing we want to have happen is discover we have no way of getting there.

Of late, my hubby and I have been giving some consideration though, to reducing the fleet.  With retirement drawing ever closer we're thinking that maybe we could get by with just one car and over the last several weeks have decided to give it a try and see how far we get.  We did pretty well too, until this morning, when with hubby out of town, cloudy skies threatened my morning walk to work and I decided it was in my best interests to ride. That said, without the job to go to, the one car experiment would probably have still been going.

Unquestionably, travel is a big part of society today, whether short jaunts to nearby places or long trips to far away corners of the world.  We find our way to these places a variety of different ways.

Generally, for reasonably close excursions made independently, we rely on our cars and trucks.  Others, though, like to put a little more effort into their touring. Our son, for example, has recently discovered great pleasure in cycling from town to town, destination to destination. His tour might be of necessity, or simply a summer diversion, but whatever the reason when he heads out he's happy to be leaving the car at home.  He has found peace on the assorted trails and rural roads and relishes nature and the new sights in his stops along the way.

In larger urban centres there is public transit to take people out of the city or out of suburbia. We have trains and buses that move us across country, planes that carry us  over land and sea, ships that cruise us to ports around the world.  We drift in hot air balloons, pedal steep slopes, ride waves. We travel for work, for play and simply because we can. We journey using wheels, rails and wings.  And you can see them all here in these fantastic transportation clipart collections:
Clipart image of a hipping, delivery car, ship, plane transport on a background map of the world

Clipart image of a scooter

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

You'll Love These Fantastic Photos of Beautiful Butterflies

Photo of a Monarch butterfly on a pink flower
They are not just one more welcome summer visitor. They are also symbolic to many, offering a connection that is both spiritual and life-affirming.  With their presence comes an affirmation of hope and comfort.

The suggestion of butterflies as a representation of life and resurrection first was presented to me following the passing of a young friend just over a decade ago. It was a day after the service when her aunt while working in her garden, looked up to see dozens of pretty butterflies fluttering around her, filling the yard with colour and energy.  She was immediately soothed by their beauty and the message of hope that is attached to them.

A friend too had had a unique experience with butterflies recently — their appearance over the past several days not just sudden, but abundant. Fabulous Monarchs were finding her,  not just while she tended her gardens, but also in quiet moments of respite or during rejuvenating walks.

Each time she was captivated by their actions. They weren't flitting quickly past her, nor shyly darting into view and back out. There had been no coyness in their dance; they had instead boldly lingered and frolicked around her like children come to play.

During our conversation, it struck me that it had been some time since I'd seen a Monarch. Cardinals, another creature to which spiritual significance has been attached, have,  if not always shown themselves to me of late,  let me know they were there with me in their whistling call.  I have found with them that a level of faith has not been required to believe the significant meaning since I am consoled by their presence.

But the pretty Monarch has been elusive.  Until, of course, my friend's story was shared. It's interesting how conversations will often conjure that which we've discussed. There's the person you haven't seen in some time. You mention their name for some reason and they contact you the next day. Or the song that you've been wanting to hear begins to play on the radio after you mention it to someone.

So it was really no surprise to me when I stepped out on to my deck this past Saturday morning and was greeted by this flamboyant creature. Like those who have visited my friend, this one was in no hurry to pass through. As I stood waiting, coffee and book in hand, it floated around me, hovering and flittering. When after several seconds of watching its dance I decided to sit down, it seemed to follow me, swooping back and forth as if trying to get my attention.  The book was forgotten as I watched, smiling.  It probably stayed with me for five minutes before moving on to make another person's morning.

Later that day two more popped by for another quick visit.  I don't know if these guests did indeed represent something special — a message from a loved one who has passed, for example. But I like to think that their presence was somehow connected to my late parents and it left me feeling calm and centred, at peace, content.

It is not just to the Monarch that this significance is cast. All butterflies are believed to be a deep representation of life. For that reason, as well as for their photogenic qualities today's image collection, I've chosen to highlight these fantastic photos of beautiful butterflies from iPHOTOS.com

Photo of a green butterfly on a leaf

Friday, August 4, 2017

Terrific Back to School Clipart For Your Promos, Products and Projects

Clipart image of a little girl skipping in front of a rainbow
In our world of images here at Vital Imagery Ltd. we're always looking ahead. We trumpet the arrival of vacations and seasons.  We proclaim in our blog posts when things are about to happen, often weeks before they do,  for the simple fact that the people who will be looking for clipart to use in promotions, products or projects can't wait until the event arrives.

So,  today I ponder a reality that looms several weeks before us that just happens to be a little tough to fathom.

Looking out the window on a hazy, rainy summer day, my mind full of plans for a weekend in lake country, it seems incredibly difficult to turn my thoughts to the fact that it won't be long before children and teens head back to school.  It barely seems like any time has passed  since the schoolyards were filled with the lively sounds of exuberant youngsters let loose for recess. It won't be long though until the bells are no longer quiet, the halls no longer empty.

The foremost thought as I contemplate this, is life's swift passage. I really don't understand when summers became so short. I remember those of my youth as being long and lazy, almost endless.  When the school bell rang for the last time each June it felt as if forever stretched before us until we would return.

And it's not as if nothing happened during those two months. There were so many activities crammed into just eight weeks, yet the time seemed to move along like the tranquil flow of a forest stream.  There were week long visits with country cousins and family vacations at the beach.

In the neighbourhood, my friends and I filled our days with fun. There was pick-up baseball. We crowded the playground,  swinging until our feet touched the lowest branches on the tallest trees, riding the  playground until our heads spun and our stomachs lurched.  We spent hot afternoons chilling at the pool and warm evenings working up a sweat in games of chase and hide and seek.  We hiked, we ran, we played through all of the glorious summer weeks of our golden youth.

And by the time Labour Day arrived, we were actually eager for the return to formal education. There was always the back-to-school shopping first, meaning new duds and supplies. The latest fashions in everything from clothes to pencil cases were sought and bought.  The first morning back we eagerly donned our spiffiest outfit, grabbed pencils, papers, etc. and headed out the door ready to return to the classroom.

We were keen to find out what the classmates we hadn't seen had been up to during those long lazy weeks. We were excited to get into our classrooms and see if we'd be sitting near any of our friends. Regardless of how much we enjoyed the break,  that first day back to school was always exciting.

While students, young and older, might not be quite ready for that heady back-to-school vibe,  businesses and educators will soon be thinking of nothing else. Here then are two clipart collections to get them in the mood.
Clipart image of colouring pencils forming a frame around the words back to school

Clipart image of an open classroom door under the words back to school

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It's a Day at the Beach With These 2 Sunny Clipart Collections

Clipart image of a beach scene
One of the best parts of summer is the long weekend — an extra day of fun in the sun,  of sand and surf, of hammocks and  shade trees, of croquet mallets and golf clubs.  The long weekend gives us a little more time to see the people we love and do the things we choose.

And this weekend, in our corner of the word we are celebrating the Civic Holiday.  On Monday offices will be locked, stores will be dark, factories quiet while families and friends will be kicking back and enjoying time spent in leisurely pursuits.

For my guy and I it promises to be a crazy busy long weekend.  With family visiting from the other side of this vast country there are more occasions and events than is typical, including a fundraising tournament.  From music to games to the beach the three days and nights will be a dizzying whirl of activity. Entertaining for sure, but a little outside my comfort zone.

Clipart image of a girl reading under a tree in a gardenAn introvert, my happy place is found in quiet hours on the deck, or enjoying a tête à tête with a close friend. Listening to music in a crowd, I am the one who is happy to be lost within the sound, thriving in the driving guitars and pulsing drums played so loudly that conversation is difficult. I am the one who seeks entertainment between the pages of a book, who upon entering a busy room moves quickly to a familiar face in a secluded corner.  I am energized by calm and quiet, depleted by noise and confusion.

And I'm married to an extrovert who thrives on the company of many and finds a lazy Sunday afternoon  pointless and boring. Over decades of marriage, however, we
Clipart image of a group of people partying
have learned to understand these differences and work with them. When we must be around a large crowd, he stays with me until I'm settled. When we have a rare few hours alone, I respect that he will look for ways to be less still after a time.

So our approaches to, and anticipation of, this upcoming long weekend will be quite different. Where he  will zealously seek out as much interaction with those surrounding us as possible, I will probably steal moments of alone time.  Of course, there will be shared activities too — those little conversations and private jokes typical of long-married couples,  our enjoyment of a concert, and our pleasure at being able to spend the majority of the weekend in cottage country.

Clipart image of a cottage at the beachWhen I think about it, time at our summer place seems to blur lines between extrovert and introvert.  The former soaks up the vibe and can sit and be cool, the latter is comfortable in the relaxed atmosphere and spreads her social wings.

The beach is peace and calm. It's a place to recharge your batteries. You can be as alone as you want or as busy as you desire. Sand underfoot and sun overhead quiet heart and mind.  The sounds of rushing waves lapping at the edge of the shore is nature's best song.

As we head towards a lovely summer long weekend my daydreams stray to the beach and the wonderful images that fill my mind when I look ahead. Here's a sample of those from iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com

Friday, July 28, 2017

Celebrating Birthdays and July With Amazing Animations

Animation of the calendar page for July riding on a Rocket
July... our time together will soon come to an end for another year.  We have felt your moods — the burning kiss of sun on skin,  sweet breezes brushing against our cheeks, rains cooling and refreshing the air around us.

We have also, however, enjoyed the leisure and entertainment you've provided. From long weekends to vacations and special events, like Canada Day and Independence Day, July is the month to party.

This month the team at Vital Imagery Ltd.,   marked 11 years of delivering top-quality online images to customers for business and personal use.  As well, two colleagues have celebrated their special days recently, while there have been several July celebrants among our extended family.

And as the light fades on July's final sultry days, our family is getting set to make merry at our granddaughter's birthday bash.  Little Missy is turning five and the unicorn-themed event will be highlighted as always with games, cake and ice-cream, followed by an evening campfire and fireworks.

Summer birthdays are the best. However, until the arrival of Missy, only one member of the family was fortunate enough to celebrate then.  While our eldest made his debut on a blisteringly warm July 2, his three siblings, my husband and I, were all welcomed into this world as days were getting shorter and temperatures colder. 

I remember how envious of our son's birthday his sisters and brother were when growing up. No matter how great we tried to make their parties, the fact remained that summer bashes are best.  They weren't very old when they recognized that that summer party was always a blast and offered more options for everything from location to activities.

Animation of a couple on a bench having a drink at a picnic
Over the years we opted to host guests for our boy's event at our summer place or at a backyard fete. The numbers were generally greater than our fall and winter celebrants' shindigs boasted since the outdoors offer infinite space in which to move.  Rather than a few hours of partying, as was the case for the rest of us, the fun at the July fêtes always lingered.

As the encroaching darkness at day's end came so much later,  it only made sense that the festivities be prolonged. Adults, never eager to give up on a gorgeous evening,  packed up weary children and headed home well past bedtime.

Gathering a group of people together to party, when the weather is conducive to outdoor activities is evidently a much preferred situation to cramming guests indoors. Even on rainy days there are typically breaks that allow for a bit of fresh air.

So, in planning  Missy's day, our daughter has always taken full advantage of the great outdoors.  The festivities should be the perfect way to end off a lovely summer month.

With so fun in mind for the weekend, it's hard not to be in the party mood. There's probably nothing that conveys that vibe better than birthday animations. From noisemakers and balloons to candles on cakes and happy children they can all be found in this adorable collection from Animation Factory
Animation of birthday balloons and gifts

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Advanced Search Options Help You Find Your Way Around Clipart Sites

Clipart image of a businessman looking through a magnifying glassIt doesn't come without its problems but among the more positive aspects of the internet, when used wisely and with good intent,  is the fact that it allows us to find things — from people and places to information and pictures.

While taken at face value,  it can be somewhat off-putting to realize anyone can track us down on the world-wide web if they want. However, the discovery of long-lost friends, I can attest to personally, is a real gift. I have re-connected through social media with chums from elementary school as well as from other aspects of my past life and established even stronger ties as an adult.

We can find our way with Google maps, etc. We get answers to questions that in the moment really feel must be answered. Of course, in doing so, we hopefully exercise the necessary due diligence to ensure what we have read is accurate, through further research on reputable websites to confirm it.

It's the picture part I mentioned earlier, though, that I'm going to focus on a bit more. Primarily because that is the industry in which I work.  Finding images for projects, whether they are for professional use as in presentations and worksheets or for personal projects such as scrapbooking, embroidery, invitations, etc., has never been so easy thanks to the internet. However, while free is tempting, it is advised that you be cautious when looking for images. For example, many 'free' ones  will carry a headsup  in tiny print warning that the image you're using could be subject to copyright.

The best way to find high-quality, virus-free content, that will also not lead you into a copyright issue, is to purchase them from a reputable site such as iCLIPART.com, iPHOTOS.com or Clipart.com. You can buy a subscription or individual image to use in projects, royalty-free. There are no additional fees or credits.

The other benefit is the diversity of the massive content available. With millions of images in the inventories, there should be something for every need, style or taste.  Typically, a simple keyword search will help you find exactly what you want.

However, the Advanced Search options are wonderful tools to help you narrow the field when necessary.  Regardless of what website you choose,  check for them and see what they offer. For the sake of example we're going to take a little stroll through the options on iCLIPART.com.
Let's assume that I want a simple colour illustration of an ordinary guy, just standing still. Sometimes it's best to try a lot of keywords, but you want to be careful too not to limit yourself too much. I've opted for our purposes here to start simply. Using just the word 'man' in the search box to begin with I knew would bring oodles of results, 124,505 to be exact.

Eliminating 'Santa', 'Christmas', 'hockey', 'sports', 'player', 'band', 'music', 'entertainment', 'cop', 'woman' and 'occupations' based on some of the images I saw that I knew I didn't want, as well as 'animal' and 'monkey',  because there are occasionally  random examples,  significantly decreased the choices.

Clicking off the B&W option also dropped the selections by thousands.

Next I selected the category 'People' which again make a significant difference in the number of results.  However, there were still plenty to wade through so I thought I would add the word stand to the initial keyword of man, which then brought me to 611 results.  Which included the winner – right in the top row.
Keywording is a human science and therefore open to interpretation as well as human error. It is, therefore,  prudent to try a few options when searching. As mentioned, sometimes the path is through a single word; other times as the best thing is to use as many keywords as you can consider.  Just remember that the Advanced Search options are well worth the extra steps and can eliminate any sense of being overwhelmed by what you see.