Friday, June 23, 2017

See the Golden Years Here in All Its Glory With 2 Amazing Retirement Clipart Collections

Clipart Image of a Senior Couple Golfing
"Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing." — Oliver Wendall Holmes

Summer has arrived. Days are longer, temperatures higher. The sun shines brighter against the azure skies, while campfires cast a glow on starry nights. Life is easier, stress lower. The shorter hours of darkness give us time to do more, to pursue more, to complete more.

Amidst the clamour of this busy, busy world it's as if we have suddenly earned moments to kick back and relax. Work is shifted, or even dropped, for a round or two of golf.  Weekend chores are put on hold as we head off to the beach.  We give ourselves that one extra chapter in the book,  one more morning coffee. It's like a hint of what life will be like when we can leave behind the toil of the workaday world.

Having reached a certain age the notion of retirement has presented itself on occasion in recent months.  It's a word I've heard attached to negative connotations by a few others, who fear the notion of a life unfulfilled, of long days with nothing to do.  Personally I can't imagine it. Though gainful employment might be gone, I, like Oliver Wendall Holmes, love to play and doubt I'll be quitting that any time soon. Extra time in which to do it  can only be a good thing to my mind.

I look to my parents too and the joy they found in their 'golden' years.  They were fortunate and retired early, both of them by their mid-50s. They spent summers at their vacation spot in a popular lakeside resort town.  My father took up golfing and enjoyed endless hours on the links with his friends and grandsons.

My mother, who defined the term social butterfly, made it her personal mission to become acquainted with everyone she met. Her place became the one for coffee breaks with homemade treats, for knitting and crocheting lessons.  Moments without conversation were whiled away in the kitchen where she pursued her love of baking,  before the TV, knitting needles in hand while watching her favourite soap, or walking, where she typically made at least one new friend.

Summer evenings were spent with drinks at campfires or in a friendly game of cards when rainy skies shooed them indoors.

Winters, for many years, meant weekend dances at their favourite haunt. Drinks and cards at the Legion, coffee chats at local restaurants were just some of the activities that kept them moving. For a long, long time they celebrated retirement and played. Well.


So unlike some people I'm not remotely fearful of the word retirement. It is to me synonymous with useful leisure. In another recent blog, I spoke of retirement and of the interests I might pursue. Because then there will be time. I can't see anything negative about that.

The majority of retirees that I know are active, fun-loving and ready to go. They travel, seeing the world and learning about new cultures. They volunteer, able now to pursue selfless activities that interest them. They socialize, able to fit in those visits that they've long had to put on hold. And, yes, they play any way they can — golfing, bowling, dancing, and on and on.

You can see every element of retirement and its possibilities, including some humorous takes on the topic,  with these terrific clipart collections:

Clipart Image of a Retired Couple Walking on the Beach


Clipart Image of a Senior Golfer Talking to a Mechanic With an Empty Speech Bubble

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Want to Learn More About Photoshop? Improve Your Abilities With These Amazing Beginner Tutorials

Clipart Image of a Senior Man Ready to Retire
"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." — J. Lubbock

I am one of those people for whom the word retirement is finding its way into conversations with increasing frequency. The majority of my friends and acquaintances are already happily welcoming Monday mornings in the same manner they welcomed Saturdays for decades. They enjoy days of coming and going as they please, time spent in interests and pursuits of their making and for their pleasure.

They have finally achieved something close to a hedonistic lifestyle. Let it be said, however, that not one of them should be relegated to any presumed stack of grey-haired uselessness either. They are all living life to the fullest, passing hours committed to charitable deeds, socializing and the proverbial pursuit of happiness.  

Clipart Image of a Senior Man Relaxing on a Beach With a Drink in His HandThere is time for rest, too of course.  Not, as Sir Lubbock averred, in idleness, but in moments savoured, in life and nature appreciated. They have ultimately found the time to take a break and a breath in this busy, busy life.

And then there are the hobbies.  All of the  untapped talents, the unexplored interests, the passions are suddenly pursued with abandon. They have become quilters and golfers,  travellers and potters. Rather than filling a few spare hours not dedicated to full-time employment, they now give the things they want to do more attention than that which needs to be done.

As they zealously celebrate this reward for jobs well done over the bigger part of their lives,  they continue to throw out the word to my husband and I. "When", they urge, "are you retiring."  On this subject, however,  we continue to be staunchly evasive. Not because we don't have some idea of the when; just that we prefer to not commit at this time.

It is, however, coming close enough that I have begun to seriously consider what interests will occupy my time during retirement. The one thing that keeps coming forward is photography.  Having spent 21 years working in journalism I discovered a pleasure in capturing images that I had previously not known existed. With the arrival of my grandchildren that has only intensified. Those faces brighten every day and preserving them at each stage of this all-too-swiftly passing life is my focus.

Clipart Image of a Senior Woman at a Laptop
I'm also eager to pick up a bit more knowledge on image editing. Particularly Photoshop.  With a good part of those aforementioned 21 years spent working with film and photos in a darkroom, the arrival of Photoshop to our newsroom was quite an exciting alternative for me.

However, with the pressure of deadlines, my education in using the image editing software was rudimentary at best. A crash course taught me what I needed to know to get the job done, and the hectic schedule left little time for advancing my limited skills.

Enter the 21st century and I'm starting to feel a little left behind. Everyone, from graphic designers to grandmas, is talking about image editing software for their projects, while my abilities  have continued to stagnate. Let's face it. What's required for getting a weekly newspaper together doesn't generally get put to a lot of use when you step outside that atmosphere.

And what tends to pop up on the internet for education is often quite advanced. Seeing so many tutorials for everything from creating vectors to mastering 3D effects,  I got to wondering if there's any hope for novices to catch up on their own. A few years ago I decided to scope out some tutorials geared specifically to beginners — Photoshop 101 you might say — and actually was pleased to discover there would be  plenty of opportunity to up my skills when I was ready. Here's that list again, with a few new additions:

101 Photoshop Tutorials From Competent to Magnificent

mashable.com 12 Beginner Photoshop Tutorials

psdtuts+ 50 Photoshop Tutorials for Clever Beginners

makeuseof.com 10 Must-Know Introductory Photoshop Skills for Beginning Photographers

The Ultimate Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners

Photoshop Essentials Basics

Friday, June 16, 2017

2 Awesome Sources of Fun Dad Cartoon Images for Your DIY Father's Day Projects

Clipart Image of a Superhero DayFather's Day is this Sunday, the time to honour and celebrate the first hero in our life. Whether he's the giant of a man looked up to by an adoring son, or the handsome knight revered by a devoted daughter,  Dad is the one who provides quiet comfort and strength. If Mom is the framework of a family, holding it all together, Dad is the foundation, keeping it solid.

At least such was the case for people like me,  who grew up in the 50s and 60s. While mothers kept the home fires burning, fathers went to work, their role as a parent defined by the free time they had and the firmness of hand required.  Helping with babies was virtually unheard of.

For my generation, with kids born in the 1970s and 1980s, husbands, unlike their fathers, knew how to burp a baby and change a diaper. Generally, though, this happened only if their wives weren't around. 

Clipart Image of a Dad Pushing a Baby in a StrollerToday, fathers of course take a much more active role in parenting. They have parental leave from work after the birth. They are involved in every aspect of the child's upbringing, from bathing and feeding to carpools and even becoming the principle caregiver. Yet, when a soft shoulder is needed, it's generally to Mom that a child will run, while they turn to Dad for fun and games. Perhaps this is why, when it comes to recognizing parents on their special days, the message can be significantly different.

Drawing on my own experience, as a daughter and a mother,  Mother's Day is all hearts and flowers, while  Dad generally gets less sentimental treatment. The gifts to Mom  evoke oohs and aahs —  because they should. It seems so easy after all to make the perfect choice for her since the options are endless — books, perfume, candles, soaps, clothes, jewellery, spa treatments, on and on and on.  She also gets super excited about anything handmade.

Dad, conversely, seems to be more difficult to buy for (think of the much joked-about tie).  Besides being of simple needs, the things he actually really does like (now think of boys and their toys) are generally beyond kids' budgets.

Whereas Mother's Day often means breakfast in bed for our favourite lady, on Father's Day we often take our hero out to a breakfast hosted by a local service club. Which, when you think about it, is actually more of a gift to his wife.

Clipart Image of a Father Looking at His Number One Day TieI've noticed, too, an interesting practice in card selections for these two special days, too. When purchasing the right card for a mother, people tend to lean towards the sentimental. The greetings for fathers, however, are more about the punch line, almost as if we're afraid to be emotional with these big strong men.

Of course, Dad's never seem to see these discrepancies. Or if they do, don't mind them. They love, or pretend to love, the tie. They never complain about where they're eating as long as they're going to eat.  And who laughs the loudest at the goofy card?

So in keeping with their simple acceptance of everything on their big day, here are some fabulous cartoons with dads at the heart of them, perfect for a personal message, t-shirt or some other creative project just right for your first hero.

An iCLIPART.com Father's Day Cartoon Collection

iCLIPART.com Father's Day Cartoon Collection

Father's Day Cartoon Collection from iCLIPART.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Show Dad You Love Him With a Father's Day DIY Project Using Images from 2 Great Clipart Sources

Clipart Image of an I Love Dad Message for Father's Day
Father's Day is just a few days away.  It's a time to honour that amazing man who has been your rock, your support, your guide, your strength.

While saying thank you is easy, for some reason finding the perfect present for this special guy can be a bit of a challenge. His needs seem to be simple, his wants often big ticket.

Of course, they've also thankfully shown themselves to be fairly gracious recipients. (Think nasty tie) I remember when I was a child how excited my father would get over every gift —  from a cheesy dime store tie clip to that predictable tie. One of my favourite memories of him was from a Christmas morning when I was a about eight years old. Having done what I could in the gift purchasing with my meagre allowance, my heart broke as my big brother chortled at the cheap cufflinks I had given him. Dad gamely stepped up stating he'd take them and wear them proudly. Which he did that day to church and to dinner at Grandma's, as well as many times after. My first hero grew even more super that day in my eyes.

Clipart Image of a Little Blonde Girl Holding a Gift for Dad
I soon came to see that the reaction was the same for every gift he received, whether it was a horrendous sweater or a hobby in which he had no interest.  The hand-drawn card created in a grade school classroom was displayed in a place of prominence. A worthy purpose was found for the decorated shoebox. And his favourite treats baked occasionally with the odd ingredient missing or substituted were consumed with no less avarice than if they had been Mom's delectable offerings.

I suspect it could all be explained by his upbringing. Having grown up in The Depression, he was ever grateful for anything that came his way through another's generosity or thoughtfulness. Regardless of how minimal that generosity might be or how misguided the thoughts.

Later, though, watching my husband react to the gifts from our kids when they were small, I noticed much the same reaction as my father's had been. Perhaps it was being the second youngest of seven in a farm family, where I suspected fighting for everything was customary, but he accepted every gift, every gesture with humble appreciation.

As children get older, however, expectations, at least theirs, get higher.  I listened as my kids pondered the possibilities, just as I had done. The challenge being to find the perfect present — a somewhat daunting task given that this guy, like my own father, bought what he needed. 

While adult children can go out and buy gifts for Dad, little ones, unless they are going to get a bit of financial help from Mom,  often have limited options.  They tend to need to get creative to find a way to honour their favourite man.

This can mean anything from taking a plain white t-shirt and personalizing it to decorating a hand-made card. Whatever it is, there's never any question that for Dad it will be priceless. Let's face it, taking the time to make a simple present has to be better than getting yet another tie.

For anyone looking for illustration to get them started, there are many resources offering affordable options for clipart which you are assured can be used legally. Here are just a few fun collections, perfect for Father's Day projects:

Clipart Image of a Glittery Super Dad Message for Father's Day

Clipart Image of a World's Greatest Day Burst

Friday, June 2, 2017

Celebrating Summer and Vacations With Super Clipart and Photos For Your Seasonal Projects

Clipart Image of a Time for a Break Sign Beside a Stack of Books and an Alarm Clock
"Isn't it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?" — Zig Ziglar.

Ha ha. I was actually thinking that very thing this morning as I ran out the door on my way to work. In the previous half hour I had packed suitcases, watered plants, washed dishes, threw in a load of laundry in the washing machine and paid bills.  It was frenzied and chaotic but imperatively essential that I had gotten things organized and settled. I am, you see, leaving for my a summer vacation right after work this glorious Friday. 

Taking an extended absence from our regular life ensures there is always plenty to do — not just in preparation for the things we will not be able to do in the upcoming days but in tidying up loose ends before we depart. Having met all the demands on my essential lists, I'm ready to now relax guilt and worry free and enjoy my vacation.

It might seem I'm beating the starter's gun on this one. There are still weeks remaining before spring fades to summer. But, with no children in our home any longer, my husband and I have the advantage of choosing our holidays at any time during the warm months, not just when school lets out. As such we often book one of our breaks early in the season and at least one towards the end. Temperatures might not soar but these times of the year can be a little quieter than the typical summer sojourns. They are the perfect bookends to the loveliest, most social, enjoyable time of the year in our northern climate.

This first one is going to be less about recharging my batteries than it is about a change of pace. One afternoon will be spent with old friends, three other days will be in the company of my two siblings and their spouses. Yet even though there won't be lots of time to kick back and relax, I will be seeking out hours of sunlight on my deck, book in hand. There will be slow walks on the beach to watch the sunset, cold beer and chilled wine.  Mostly, I'm eager to enjoy morning coffees without worry over what needs to get done.

Everyone has their favourite thing to do on summer vacations. For example, for years my daughter and her husband revelled in the deep-in-the-woods style of camping.  Accompanying them on many occasions my guy and I opted instead for a stay at a four-star lodge nearby.

There are RVers and cottagers, boaters and world travellers. Some even prefer a stay-cation, enjoying the pools, gardens, patios and decks at home that they seldom get to take advantage of in the busy work world.

There are those for whom the idyll is anything but idle as they cycle, swim, hike, kayak and jetski their way through the days. Others want a more restive time, choosing to spend slow, lazy hours rocking in hammocks,  lounging poolside or relaxing on the beach.

Whatever your choice, the time of year is here when we will all have our time to get away from it all, to spend precious moments doing all the things we crave but have no time to do in the real world.

For a little inspiration as I look forward to my own little piece of quiet here are some super summer vacation clipart and photo collections perfect for seasonal promotions and personal projects:

Clipart Image of a Top View of a Beach Towel and Parasol on Sand


Clipart Image of a Little Girl With Beach Toys


Photo of a Back View of a Woman Sitting in a Chair Looking at a Green Garden on a Summer Day


Photo of a Woman Holding a Kite While Walking on a Country Lane in the Summer

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This Collection of Thousands of Photos from iPHOTOS.com is for the Birds

Photo of a Robin Finding Worms in the Grass
"Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?" — David Attenborough

A lazy Sunday morning. The sun had begun its slow ascent above the horizon hinting at the possibility of a perfect day. Outside the window a mixed chorus began, the music of cardinals, robins and finches, the cacophony of crows and gulls. Though their songs and calls had awakened me and had reached such a level as to make a return to sleep almost impossible,  I also found them conversely soothing.

Which is strange, given that this was the weekend and as a working girl I'm rather selfish about the two opportunities it provides for a bit of extra sleep. To disturb me then is to take your life into your hands. Yet, though the sky still held a shadow of darkness, though the clock hadn't struck six, I felt content. Though the discordant cries of the larger birds were something I could have done without they were balanced by the pretty tones of the songbirds. It was the best alarm clock.

Perhaps it's my age; I don't recall being so enamoured with our feathered friends when I was younger. But, in recent years I have found myself becoming increasingly fascinated in their actions and activities. Robins and their welcome return to the area heralding that spring is here,  offer some of the best entertainment. From the playful pleasure they demonstrate in a rain to the skips and hops around the yard in search of worms, they are ever present and habitually on the move.

With two nests in our garden this spring, there have been an abundance of fluffy baby robins to amuse us. We discover them in various places close to us— on the deck, on a chair — sitting for hours before puffing out their chests a few times then testing their wings. Their short flights to the closest branch always make me smile after a performance of such bravado.

Our red-chested friends aren't the only ones to intrigue me, however. The elusive cardinal teases as it moves from treetop to treetop. My eyes turn toward its distinctive song in the hope of catching a glimpse. When they do come near us, at feeders or in flight, they never linger long. I am, therefore, inspired to stop everything I'm doing to watch.

Photo of Blue Jays at a Bird Feeder
The pretty, though noisy, blue jay is an aesthetic treat and a mischievous scamp. In the bird world, he's the dude with colour as vibrant as his squawk is strident. That he's also the symbol for our Canadian Major League Baseball team makes him a fan favourite too.

Then there's that little mimic, the oriole. Many slow minutes can pass as you listen to him repeat the whistling sounds you sent its way. Its brilliant colour enlivens the space it enters.

Lively golden finches, tiny sparrows and cute chickadees flitting and flying around the yard might not get quite the attention of their more flamboyant peers, but they're always welcome.

With a few weeks of spring remaining and summer waiting for us, it seemed the right time to celebrate our feathered friends with a collection of amazing photos:

iPHOTOS.com Bird Photos

Friday, May 26, 2017

Colour Palettes and Photo Sources to Enhance Your Web Design

Clipart Image of a Laptop Computer with 3D Shapes
Business success in today's technological world can depend significantly on one's online presence. Building and maintaining a website is vital to the growth and prosperity of a commercial enterprise, regardless of its size. Whether you own a mom-and-pop shop or a giant corporation, the company website is your introduction to the world. It provides information to potential clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and once established it's a cost-effective promotional tool.

You want then, to ensure your website is not just illuminating while being user-friendly, but aesthetically appealing too. With online resources, such as WordPress.com to guide you, it's even possible to build your own. Yet, no matter how the website is created, one of the most important elements of your design will be the images you choose to create visual interest. Selecting photos that put your best face forward, that make a strong first impression, are an integral component of any website design. Especially, if you want to be noticed.

Though there's no discounting the importance of this, there are really only three steps to consider when deciding upon the visual elements to enhance your website and how to best present them. These hold true whether you are working with a professional or building your own.


1. SELECT A COLOUR PALETTE:  The very first thing to ponder has less to do with any of the features that will actually be showing on the site and more to do with making a random selection cohesive.  Whether the graphics are generic or specific to your business, finding complimentary hues will make the end result more attractive. There are a number of websites that actually makes this quite simple. You can find inspiration in all of them, while some actually allow you to generate your own combinations:

• DesignSeeds.com
• ColorPalettes.net
• Color-Hex.com
• ColourLovers.com
DigitalTelepathy.com
ColourPod.com
ColorMind.io
• FlatColors.net

Clipart Image of a Laptop Computer With 3D Transportation Icons

2. SOURCING IMAGES:  For some businesses, all the images you need will be found within your enterprise, whether it's pictures of your facility and its content or the end product. However, if the type of business you have means you will  need to find outside sources for the visual elements, it's very important you access them from a source that guarantees you will have the legal right to use them. Online subscription graphics services provide options to suit needs and budgets. Most important, however, is that once you purchase a subscription you are able to use the images, provided the usage falls within the licence regulations, without fear. They will be virus free and you will be protected from any copyright infringement.

Once you find the source that suits your needs you can work with the palette to make your selections. To help you better see the possibilities here are some lightboxes from iPHOTOS.com — which offers quality photos, illustrations and more for business, education and beyond — that have been matched from various online colour palettes:

1) From DesignSeeds.com's selection 'A Door Hues' : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 1
2) From ColorPalettes.net's selection #3327 : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 2
3) From Color-Hex.com's selection Spring : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 3
4) From ColourLovers.com's selection 'Saxophone Blues' : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 4
5)  From DTelepathy.com's Selection 'SoftwareMill' : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 5
6) From ColourPod.com's 'Sense of Security' : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 6
7) From FlatColors.net's selection 'Warm Flat Rock' : iPHOTOS.com Lightbox 7

Clipart Image of a Person Working at a Computer With Various Items on the Desk

3. DESIGN YOUR WEBSITE:  Now that you've settled on a colour scheme and chosen the beautiful images to create the visual interest you need, it's time to design. Remember too, that responsive design is an important part of creating a website.

As an example, here's the fresh new look our team gave the Vital Imagery Ltd. website, with help from Canva.com and  iPHOTOS.com. The chosen palette was #76 from Canva.com's Design School blog

These were the lightboxes created for each of the colours:
• Turquoise 
•  Cool Grey 
• Brownish Purple 
• Orange Red 

From there, it was quite simple to select the pictures while designing the site with the surety that everything would blend beautifully.