Friday, October 4, 2013

Illustrations for Love and Romance

Autumn can be a golden month, but tomorrow for our family it's going to be even more so.

Oct. 5, 1963 was the day my sister and her husband were married. As I was a very young flowergirl for the occasion, my memories are comprised primarily of images from photographs and stories from others. 

Just the other day, for example, my mother (yes, God love her, alive and well alongside my father these 50 years later) remarked on what a beautiful fall wedding day it had been.  Having seen the photos of little me in my short-sleeved golden taffeta dress, standing outside the church, sun glinting of the kaleidoscopic foliage, I trust she is right.

Tomorrow, the happy couple are marking their occasion with a party, of course. After all, staying married  is kind of a big deal. Especially these days.

In fairness, let's first acknowledge there are many who claim we were never intended to be married so long. For that  reason they maintain that we shouldn't be expected to stay with the same person 'til death do us part. After all,  in ages past our life expectancies were short and marriage was early to accommodate a couple's most fruitful years. Medical advances and education, however, have changed that and it's not uncommon now to see people celebrate 50, 60, even 70 years together. (Mom and Dad will be doing that very thing this December).

Through decades of togetherness, a husband and wife will grow and change,  demands will burden them, children challenge them.  There are years when it's seems you find adversity down every road,  while others take you on a tour of easy street.  I don't believe in staying in a bad marriage, but if staying together is worth it to you,  fighting through those tough times makes you stronger together for the best ones.

So, in recognition of marriages and making it to those anniversaries,  I offer these collections of illustrations — perfect reflections of love and romance:

iCLIPART.com Anniversary Illustrations

iPHOTOS.com Anniversary Illustrations

Acclaim Images Anniversary Clipart

ClipartGuide Anniversary Illustrations

ClickArt Online Anniversary Images

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Illustrations to Celebrate Oktoberfest

Researching your family tree is an interesting, and occasionally eye-opening endeavour.  There are the black sheep, surprising origins and occasionally even the odd newsmaker you discover around your ancestry.

I've been digging up the roots of my tree on a very casual basis for some time.  The biggest brick wall to my enthusiastic pursuit of this hobby is the loss of records in Europe during the war, which probably means that once retired I must take a trip to see what I can discover in the land of my heritage.

That land is Germany. Or, more specifically with regards to my father's family,  Bavaria — the place of dirndls and lederhosen, folk music, pretzels, beer and, of course, Oktoberfest.  This annual fair is held in Munich, for 16 days beginning near the end of September. 

The tradition began in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig was married and the citizens were invited to to attend the royal festivities in a field.  Today Munich's Oktoberfest is known as the Largest Volksfest (Peoples Fair) in the World.

Here in Canada, the Greatest Bavarian Festival and second-largest Oktoberfest internationally is held in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, an area where many residents still claim German heritage. This party starts on the Friday before Thanksgiving and ends on the Saturday after.

Therefore, in celebration of this 'gemütlich' time of year, here are some terrific Oktoberfest illustrations sure to have you raising a glass and shouting "Ein Prosit".

iCLIPART.com Oktoberfest Illustrations

Acclaim Images Oktoberfest Illustrations

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Counting Your Thanksgiving Blessings

Next weekend  is the Canadian Thanksgiving.  Always the second Monday in October, the holiday is meant as a time to count our blessings and celebrate the harvest.

The first part I do each and every morning, as a gentle reminder to live in the present and appreciate the many gifts this wonderful life has given me.  But come Oct. 14, I become the corny, sentimental mom, who as our family gathers around the dinner table, asks each one there to share for what he or she is most thankful. 

They apparently hate it — but I know secretly love it.  How do I know? Well, I have been under strict orders from them for the past several years that I can't keep saying "My family".  So, confounded on where else to go, as my gratitude is deep when it comes to my husband, kids and grandkids,  I actually forgot  to get things started.  It didn't take long before they were all asking when we were going to begin.  They can no longer, therefore, at this annual meal, give me the moans and groans of years past when I mention the tradition.

I suppose being grateful for one's family is a given — and therefore not very imaginative.  So, while searching for some nice Thanksgiving photos to share in this blog, I decided to try and get a little inspiration from them.

Yes, then,  I am indeed grateful for the beauty of autumn, and this wonderful country in which I live with its abundant, rich farmland. I am thankful for pumpkin and the pie, apples and the pie. I am especially appreciative of the turkey that gives its life for my sustenance and enjoyment.  But in looking at the pictures, and seeing all of that, I still feel most blessed for the family who enjoys all of it with me.

iPHOTOS.com Thanksgiving

iCLIPART.com Thanksgiving Photos

Acclaim Images Thanksgiving Photos

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Creepy Halloween Effects

Well, it's the first of October — the month that makes us think of pumpkins, and here in Canada, turkey.  It's a gorgeous time of year with trees creating a dazzling palette of crimson, gold and copper. 

At the start of this month the world around us is a burst of colour, a cheerful time when sunlight sparkles through morning mist, then kisses the dew on grass and leaves. We are freshened by the new pleasant crispness in the air, then take quiet respite indoors as sombre evening falls.

But, by month's end, it's kind of a darker place. Trees, now bereft of dense foliage are stark and barren.  More hours are filled with night-time shadows and stillness.  It's really the perfect time for the creepiest of holidays — Halloween — exuberant fun in a world lit by mist clouded streetlights and sneering jack-o-lanterns,  before winter's cold and frigid landscape falls.

So, in preparation, I thought it might be fun to get ourselves into the spirit of the season with some tutorials to help you create eerie effects using image editing software:

tutsplus 40 Spine-Chilling Photoshop Effects

Tutorials Share 40 Halloween Photoshop and Illustrator Tutorials

Illustrator Tutorial for Spider Webs

CorelDRAW Create a Haunted House Collage in Paintshop Pro

psd.fanextra.com Manipulate an Eerie Grim Reaper in Photoshop

Tech Gorilla 30 Terrifying Photoshop Horror Effects

psd-dude.com Dark Horror Photoshop Tutorial

Tripwire Magazine 40+ Halloween Photoshop Tutorials

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Only Cute Mouse Is... ?

So, it seems we have a little visitor in our office right now – though I suspect he won't be with us much longer. He's the first of his kind to have made it in and hopefully the last.

Not that I'm afraid of mice or anything. I suppose in their own way they're kind of cute with their tiny little noses and ears. I mean there are people who find them adorable as pets, who let them run up and down their arms and over their shoulders.  I just think that everything has its place and mice have no business being in mine.

Unfortunately, I have had more than my share of the little critters setting up house in my living spaces. When my husband and I purchased our home decades ago, it had sat empty for two years after the previous owner went into a nursing home. It was an old brick Italianate, and while the intent was to renovate, I think our first year was spent primarily setting and emptying traps.  If I remember correctly I believe the number caught was 25.

Fortunately, seeing vermin in my abode has been a sporadic occurrence since. Good thing too, because in the real world, as far as I'm concerned the only cute ones are found in illustrations such as these:

iCLIPART.com Mouse Clipart

iPHOTOS.com Mouse Clipart