Friday, December 6, 2013

On the First Day of Christmas...

"On the first day of Christmas..."

We can generally count on a lot more than a partridge in a pear tree.  The Twelve Days of Christmas begin Dec. 25 and end with Twelfth Night on Jan. 5. The Twelfth Day can precede this or come after depending on which Christian tradition is followed.  It is, however, the time when decorations should come down. Leaving them for later is considered bad luck.

While a few traditions may still remain, many for the Twelve Days of Christmas have been lost in western culture. Now, when one thinks of this it is the musical holiday favourite that tends to spring to mind.  An exercise in memory (Which comes first —  the drummers or the pipers and are there more maids a milking than there are lords a leaping?) it was always fun to sing at our annual school pageants.

Put into pictures, it can be equally entertaining as these illustrations show:

iCLIPART.com 12 Days of Christmas Illustrations

iCLIPART.com 12 Days of Christmas Cartoons

iCLIPART.com 12 Days of Christmas

iCLIPART.com 12 Days of Christmas Cartoons

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Create a Snowman in Photoshop

It's beginning to look a lot like.. well, spring.  After a day of warmer temperatures and rain yesterday, we awoke this morning to balmy temperatures and a world washed green. So it is this time of year in beautiful south-western Ontario, when the only type of weather we are promised is variable.

All of those wishing for a white Christmas should take heart, however. Tomorrow's forecast is for seasonal temperatures once again and while the closest forecast shows no hint of snow, there's little doubt in my mind that fluffy white blanket will soon cover our landscape.  Which is a good thing. Even I have to admit, it's the way the world should look this time of year.

And let's face it, whether you like it or not, snow can be a lot of fun. I am personally hoping for just enough of the good-packing kind so that we can have a snowman on the lawn to greet our granddaughter on Christmas Day.  Or maybe, if we don't get it done before, building one as a family would be a great way to wear off that turkey dinner.

If, however, you prefer not facing the elements when making a snowman, there are some nice tutorials for creating one in Photoshop. Here's a sampling:

10Steps Draw Your Snowman in Photoshop

TipsSquirrel.com Make a Photoshop Snowman

psd tuts+ Create a Snowman GIF Animation

WebDesign Draw Your Snowman in Photoshop

mfCreative Snowman Photoshop Tutorial

wikiHow Create a Snowman Using Photoshop

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Seasonal Favourite

I'm in my happy place these days. While tap, tap, tapping away at work on my computer keyboard my ears are plugged in to seasonal music.

Being the type of person who starts thinking about all things Christmas in October, the dearth of holiday tunes on the radio these days typically frustrates me no end. The music is some of the nicest there is and the time for listening is limited, so I've never understood why more stations don't play it more.  The other day, however, a friend told me about one  that's on the festive bandwagon, playing nothing but seasonal favourites 24/7.  I am now their most faithful listener.

With earbuds firmly in place I Jingle Bells with Streisand, rock around the Christmas tree with Brenda Lee and despite the melting snow outside dream of a White Christmas with Bing.  As I sit here now writing this blog I'm enjoying a tune that's a particular favourite of children.

And with that as a perfect intro, here are some illustrations of Rudoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as plentiful and diverse as the musical artists who have sung his story for us this and past holiday seasons.

iCLIPART.com Rudolph Illustrations

ClickArt Online Rudolph Illustrations

ClipartGuide Rudolph Illustrations

Acclaim Images Rudolph Clipart

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Free Fantastic Fonts for Festive DIY Fun

Christmas is a holiday for the senses. The music we hear, the foods we taste, the hugs we feel, the aromas of roasting turkey, of cinnamon and of pine that delight our noses, plus the sight of all this and other good things, help create the atmosphere of home and goodwill we associate with this time of year.

I love it all. But it's probably the images of Christmas that mean the most to me. From the decorations, so bright and cheery, to family gathered around a laden table,  these are the things that I look forward to with childlike zeal.

Thus, when creating festive projects such as greeting cards or gift tags the search for the right image is an important part of the task. It needs to be not just something reflective of the season, but of the right mood, whether that of humour, warmth or religion.

And yet.. while the right picture means a lot, there's another element required to make it picture perfect. At work on my projects this year I found myself facing a bit of a challenge. Finding the right font to extend my messages of  "Merry Christmas",  "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays", wasn't nearly as simple as finding the ideal image it seemed.

A trip to an iCLIPART.com Pinterest page ( Pinterest iCLIPART Free Photoshop Resources ) was just the answer for me though with a number of options for free seasonal fonts.  Here's a sampling of what I found:

We Lived Happily Ever After Festive and Free Fonts

Elegance and Enchangment Free Fonts for DIY Holiday Cards

Lia Griffith Favourite Fonts That Are Great for the Holidays

Monday, December 2, 2013

Say Merry Christmas With These Festive Illustrations

No need to spell it out — Christmas is on its way. 

Yesterday we flipped the page on the last month of the traditional 12-month calendar. Shopping malls are filling, with seasonal tunes piping the proper atmosphere throughout. The simple "Hello" has been exchanged for "Merry Christmas". Houses adorned with colourful lights warm the evening darkness while children's smiles are just a little brighter.

This past Saturday while visiting one of my girls I did a turn around the downtown core of the small city in which she lives.  It was a scene that said Christmas loud and clear as snowflakes floated gently down past shop windows adorned with fragrant pine and crimson bows. From the laughter of people in the coffee shop to the passing smiles from stranger to stranger, there was life and joy all around.

So no, there's no need to spell it out that Christmas is on its way. But if you do feel the need these collections of festive illustrations is surely the way to do it.

iCLIPART.com Festive Alphabet Illustrations

iCLIPART.com Gingerbread Alphabet

iCLIPART.com Christmas Alphabet and Numbers