Friday, November 29, 2013

Wrap Up Christmas With These Illustrations

Baking begun? Check. Decorating? Check. Tree? Check. Presents bought. Check. Presents wrapped? Not even close.

An early shopper I  completed our list a couple of weeks ago. There are a few odds and ends I can pick up some evening should I feel the need to experience the downtown holiday shopping atmosphere — snow gently falling, carols playing,  lights twinkling, cranky clerks and pushy customers.  But if it didn't happen, it wouldn't mean someone might feel deprived on  Christmas morning.

Yet I digress a bit. Arriving home from my shopping bender I dumped a trunk load of merchandise into one of our spare rooms, then dragged out the box of wrapping materials.  Sadly, though, the process has stalled as other elements of Christmas preparation were tended to.

Unable to tolerate the chaos in my makeshift wrapping room much longer  I have now, with the utmost conviction, set a goal – to have all of the presents under the tree by the middle of next week. Wish me luck.

So to keep bows and ribbons on the brain, it seemed appropriate to feature Christmas gifts in this collection of holiday illustrations.

iCLIPART.com Illustrations of Christmas Gifts

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ideas for Taking Winter Family Portraits

Spring, summer and autumn are wonderful backdrops for outdoor family photos. The first offers a sense of freshness with all the vitality of a world in bloom. 

Summer is alive with foliage and space, providing opportunities galore for location, location, location — from sunny beaches and waterfalls, to woods and farmers' fields.  Autumn is riotous colour in the canopy above and the carpet below.

We shouldn't overlook winter, however. For fun, playfulness and the best backdrop for matching fashion tones in your family pictures, there's nothing like a day in the snow. 

It doesn't come without its challenges, of course.  Places you can get to without wading through a foot of fluffy flakes limits might be limited.  Keeping everyone warm and dry could also pose a problem.  Finding the right kind of clothing so shivering is kept to a minimum without being swaddled so well that everyone is unrecognizable can certainly be an issue. Also, you'll need to consider the ages in your group as the elements could be more than an elderly person or tiny tot can handle.

But if none of these make your nervous, if you're game for something different,  below are some informative links to help you get the job done efficiently. After all, the sooner you're back indoors for that hot chocolate, the better.

eHow Taking Family Portraits in the Snow

Picture Ideas Winter Family Photos

eHow Ideas for Family Portraits in Winter

McPactions Get Amazing Portraits in the Snow

Chris Watkins Winter Portraits

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Get Out and Have Fun This Winter

You might say it was a stormy beginning to a relationship.

My husband and I met mid-October of 1976. It had snowed a week earlier and didn't leave for the rest of the fall or winter. We joked about whether or not we were being sent a sign, as he would pick me up for our date with clear starry night skies overhead, only to find ourselves driving back home in a blizzard short hours later.

It was fortunate, therefore, that many of our dates took us off the roads and onto the trails. An avid snowmobiler, when it came to winter travel my guy preferred this option for getting around.  Which meant it's a good thing love is blind, because most of my weekends were spent in bulky clothes, sporting helmet hair and stinking of snowmobile exhaust.

Granted, they were good times back then. Hooking up with a large group of like-minded folks we'd take off across fields and down country lanes, finding refuge in quaint little inns for hearty fare and a pint or two, before setting out once more.  Arriving home, cheeks perfectly pink,  we'd settle our weary bodies, enjoying the deep sleep that comes after hours of time spent in the great outdoors — and let's be hones, a few brews.

Getting outside in the winter is undeniably exhilarating and there are plenty of options for kicking up the fitness level from extreme sports such as snowboarding to quiet walks in the country. These collections illustrate just some of them:

iCLIPART.com Illustrations of Winter Outdoor Activities

ClickArt Online Winter Activities Clipart

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Delightful Christmas Tree Illustrations

I shouldn't be panicking. I know there are many others who don't understand why I'm getting myself flustered. There's still plenty of time to complete all the things that need to be done, but I'm a person never content with knowing I must do. I settle down only when the do is done.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I need to spend evenings and weekends in pursuit of completing all things Christmas. There are tags to make, far too many gifts for wrapping. I must bake, and bake some more. Then let's not forget the housecleaning and organizing.

And while I do have all the decorations up, the tree has still not made it to its rightful place in front of the window.  Typically a task done by the end of November, I'm feeling the crunch of my personal deadline as I look at the busyness of the rest of this week and find myself wondering when, when, when will I find the time.

Calm down, you say. Again, there are those who will argue I have no need to rush. However as someone who enjoys the prelude to Christmas far more than the afterglow, my tree and decorations are back in the box before the new year. Thus it's important to me to have several weeks to enjoy it. As snow floats gently outside the window, there's nothing more warming to the indoors than the soft glow of Christmas tree lights. I'm eager to wrap myself up in a blanket and curl up, cocoa in hand, beside them.

In the meantime I'll just have to look at these delightful illustrations:

iCLIPART.com Christmas Tree Illustrations

Acclaim Images Christmas Tree Clipart

ClickArt Online Christmas Tree Illustrations

ClipartGuide Christmas Tree Illustrations

iPHOTOS.com Christmas Tree Clipart

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let it Snow. For Now.

Mother Nature decided to paint as pure and crisp a landscape as possible this past weekend.  From Friday night to Sunday night a mantle of snowy white fell across our area. Evenings we sat snuggled up in the warmth of our homes, while outside we saw snowflakes twinkle as they danced below the streetlights.

In the mornings folks dragged out shovels and blowers, pulled on snowsuits and mittens to work and play amid the fluffy blanket.

The first substantial snowfall of the winter can bring out the kid in most of us — even ones such as myself, who'd rather it was summer year round. Bundled up and heading outdoors we breathe in the exhilarating freshness. Our footprints and snow angels break the smooth, sparkling cover as we walk and cavort through it.

Yes, it can get tired pretty swiftly. By February, it will take a miracle for me to find any redeeming qualities in winter.  But Sunday, listening to my tiny granddaughter chatter merrily as we trundled slowly along the path Papa had cleared for us, sensing her enjoyment and wonder at this change that came overnight and unexpectedly to her world helped remind me how perfect everything is — even winter—  if you look at it from a child's viewpoint.

These photos show winter and all the fun stuff that goes with it:

iPHOTOS.com Winter Photos With People