Friday, August 2, 2013

Enjoy the Long Weekend, Canada

This weekend is a long one for folks in some parts of Canada.  Most commonly known as the Civic Holiday, it goes by many names throughout the country — different in different provinces, different in different cities.  Some places mark it as a statutory holiday, others don't.

So, you might think of this long weekend as a bit of an enigma. Ask many Canucks what the occasion honours and no one knows. Ask them why there's a holiday Monday in August and most would probably admit they have no idea.  It is simply, it would seem, to be enjoyed for no reason other than we can.

And so we shall. There are so many ways to take advantage of a perfect extra long summer weekend. My plans for three days are in place. The weather promises to be bright and cheery so far, which I'm counting on for car shows, barbecues and playtime with my granddaughter.

It will be a good time to enjoy the outdoors, both in a relaxed way and recreationally.  Just like the people in these wonderful illustrations:

iCLIPART.com Summer Illustrations

iPHOTOS.com Summer Illustrations

Acclaim Images Summer Fun Illustrations

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Running Away to Europe

The eternal optimist will tell you when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Well folks, I hope you're thirsty because right now I've got enough lemonade to share with everyone. In the big scheme of things the lemons are fairly small, but they certainly do seem to be accumulating.

Okay, I'm a grown-up. I've spent enough decades on this earth to understand and accept that from time to time we get those chapters in life when most of the pages are full of folly, rather than fun.  It's a good time to chant a mantra of all the clich├ęs, reminders that my cup still runneth over, that it's always darkest before the dawn, that this too shall pass.  Trite, perhaps, but true. Nothing lasts forever, not even the negatives.

Yet,  for one brief moment the other day none of that really mattered. I indulged in a little self-pity and daydreamed of what it would be like to just run away, just my guy and me.  Europe, might be nice this time of year, I mused.  Picturing us sipping wine in a Tuscan villa,  taking a romantic stroll along the banks of the Seine or visiting a lively pub in a picturesque Irish village, were divine images.

But the moment passed and I thought of how much I'd miss the life I live here, lemons and all.  Instead I will enjoy these photos of Europe and plan for the day when I will visit the normal way, actually letting people know I'm going, leaving contact information for them and probably bringing along some of those lemons.

iCLIPART.com Photos of Places in Europe

iPHOTOS.com European Places

National Geographic Travel Photos Europe

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No Green Thumb Needed to Make Flowers Bloom

You don't have to have a green thumb to appreciate flowers.  Their varied hues and textures, their fragrances and their ability to attract equally colourful critters bring a special feeling to summer, making it a vibrant season full of life and vigour.

And in the world of images you don't have to have a green thumb to make flowers bloom.  With image editing software and a little artistic ability you can create a  garden of beautiful illustrations to enhance and decorate your designs and projects.

So,  as I struggle with the ever-changing sunlight on my well-treed property, as I watch the profusion of blooms on my hydrangeas and question why everything else has failed to perform as well this year, I begin to think I might do better in the virtual world than the real one when it comes to horticulture.  Should I decide to put that to the test, these excellent tutorials will get me started on the right garden path:

wikiHow Make a Flower in Illustrator

vector tuts+ Vintage Vector Flowers and Floral Ornamental Sets

Make a Flower Bouquet Using Photoshop

ndesign stuido Stylish Vector Flower

rdesignonline Quick and Easy Flowers in Illustrator

psd tuts+ Create a Flowerpot from Scratch in Photoshop

Alfoart an Abstract Rose Bouquet

abduzeedo Flower Text Effect in Photoshop

Drawing Flowers in CorelDRAW

Make a Flower in CorelDRAW X3/X5

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Natural Beauty of Trees

There is beauty in their existence, comfort beneath their canopy and solitude among them.

Trees, alone or in abundance, are an essential part of life on earth. They provide decorative shade, serve as a resource,  or habitat. Rivers run beside them, people shelter under them,  animals find home and sanctuary within their foliage.

My husband is a tree lover. It was this fact that attracted him to our first home, situated as it was on a street lined with mature, majestic maples.  "When we lose these trees," he told me then, "we're moving".  Instead of that he began a personal tree planting campaign that has transformed our property into a pseudo park. There is no sunlight for a vegetable garden and both lawn and flowerbeds struggle to survive.


Yet,  I love the stately trees on our property. In summer their verdant foliage cools our house by day while the summer breezes gentle rustling of them at night lulls us to sleep.  Birds sing from their branches and squirrels frolic around them. I can't imagine our yard without them.

And it is this natural beauty that inspires our visits north each summer, where trees and crisp, clear waters are all the visual stimuli necessary.  To see what I mean, you need only check out these gorgeous photographs:

National Geographic Patterns in Nature: Trees

iPHOTOS.com Trees and Forests

iCLIPART.com Photos of Trees and Forests

Acclaim Images Trees and Forests

Monday, July 29, 2013

Photos of Flowers to Brighten a Dreary Day

After a spell of hot, humid weather, dreary, damp and cool seems to have made a comeback.

Weather dampened most weekend fun in our area and kept outdoor activities to a minimum.  Unless, you like the soggy look, it was a good time to read indoors, or huddle under cover somewhere.

Our family was enjoying an outdoor celebration — our granddaughter's first birthday. The day brought several soakings for the men as they channelled their inner primitive and tended the suckling pig on the spit.  Women scurried back and forth from the tent between rain showers, trying to maintain makeup, hair and snazzy duds, while socializing. The day could have been much worse, but when the downpours hit there were moments when it was difficult not to feel just a little cheated.

At one point, however, in a break between the relentless spate of drizzles, I noticed a raindrop glistening off the petal of a gorgeous hibiscus on my daughter's patio and was cheered.  There was something so pure and fresh about it, that it shook off any doldrums I might have been feeling.

So with another dreary day looming, and a desire to not let it dampen a good mood for even a second,  I'm hoping these pretty photos of water on flowers will do the trick.

iCLIPART.com Water on Flowers Photos

iPHOTOS.com Water on Flowers

Acclaim Images Phots of Water on Flowers