Friday, January 31, 2014

Finish Your Project With a Flourish

Sometimes, you just need that little extra something.  It's the cherry on the top of your sundae, the dollop of whipped cream in the hot chocolate, the extra old cheese in the omelette that can make the treat complete.

Sad, I suppose, that my spontaneous examples were all about food,  because really, this does apply to so many different things in life. Putting that little extra into your studying, into any task you're doing only makes it better. 

Creatively, too,  it can be one small facet that takes your work to the next level — that final little tweak to the painting when you stand back for a second look, that slight change to the final chapter of a book, that change to the key of a song.

In the graphics world, swirls and flourishes, such as the examples here, enhance projects of all varieties, from digital scrapbooking to advertising. They can be just that little extra something you're looking for.

iCLIPART.com Swirls and Flourishes

iPHOTOS.com Swirls and Flourishes

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tips for Engagement Portrait Photography

The time for this season's weddings to begin is still months ahead.  The time for preparation is most definitely now.

Having gone through weddings for four children I remember well what the first part of the nuptials year meant. Booking, appeasing, planning were constant facets of the pre-wedding action. In between there were the extra social events, such as stags, showers and buck and does.

One of the earliest things to get out of the way, however, is the official engagement photo session.  Like so many other examples of photography these days, this too has gone far beyond the formal studio poses more familiar to a generation ago. Given the casual air of present society. where jeans will take you just about anywhere, betrothed couples shun the ties and suits, the pantyhose and dresses, for relaxed, natural comfort.

For some, the engagement reaches far beyond the two of them. Children from previous marriages might be included, as well as much-loved pets.

And rarely do they opt for studio shots when there is no better backdrop for anything than the one created by Mother Nature — anywhere, any season.

Getting the best from, and for, the couple that day is almost as important for these shots as they are for the wedding pictures. Finding a photographer who understands what you want and can deliver it in beautiful photographs to last a lifetime is the goal of the bride and groom. The goal of the person they hire is to achieve it. Here are important tips to help:

Tips for Taking Perfect Engagement Photos

DPS Tips to Take Your Engagement Shots to the Next Level

Picture Correct Engagement Photography Tips

DPS Engagment Portrait Posing Tips

Unique Locations for Engagement Photos

Choosing a Photographer for Engagement Portraits

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vintage Valentines to Say Be Mine

It's funny what we'll remember from our yesteryears, how images from our earliest days will stick, while we have to be reminded by someone about a discussion that took place a couple of years before.

This applies to school as well.  I really find it quite fascinating the pictures in my school treasures memory album that are as vivid as if they were happening that moment.  There was the classmate, whose colouring of maps in geography class were works of art, ones that try as I might (and I did ad nauseum) I could never emulate. I also see quite clearly those colourful dot formations that taught us numbers and counting, the pictures of Dick and Jane seeing Spot run,  and tiny tots rolling out our blankets for kindergarten nap time.

Another memorable image is a classroom of little ones creating our special Valentine's Day boxes. This was among the early realizations I had of my inadequate artistic talents. Putting my best effort in, then looking around at the works of others was an early lesson in humility. They served the purpose, however, holding the bounty of cute messages from my peers.

It was nice in the primary grades when children were encouraged to give a Valentine to everyone in the class so no one felt shunned by one or another. So, opening the envelopes to expose  our greetings  demanded lots of time out of our regular school routine.

And those cards were adorable, decorated with cute little pictures, accompanied by pun-laden messages. So sweet in fact that I've decided to go back in time and point you towards some vintage clipart collections, great options for children and adults:

iCLIPART.com Vintage Valentine Collection
iCLIPART.com Vintage Valetntine Clipart

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Create Valentine's Cards in Photoshop

I'm all about getting personal. At least when it comes to the gifts I give. Unfortunately, any creativity I have is exclusive to short story fiction. Words rolling forth from my imagination I rarely have any trouble with.  While I wish the same could be said for artistic ability the spirit is willing but the know-how is seriously lacking.

In all honesty,  I've never really exercised my creative side beyond the scope of literature. Over the years I've said I'd like to try a number of things, from painting to pottery, but never actually followed through for one reason or another.

I'll never know I guess if there's a Dali waiting for the opportunity to burst from my fingertips or if I'm the next Josiah Wedgwood. These will quite likely forever remain mysteries now.

However, where I can experiment a little with any artistic talent I might possess, is in the realm of online images and/or image editing software, as well as the projects I could make with them.  Take for example Valentine's Day.  There's nothing more romantic than creating a card with your own personal message.  With a little pluck you can open yourself up to possibilities while letting your imagination go.

If you're ready to give it a try, here are some fabulous tutorials for creating your own cards, just in time for Valentine's Day:

Create Valentine Cards in Photoshop

Valentine's Cards from Scratch

Create Simple Valentine's Day eCard

Create a Valentine's Day Card With Shining Heart in Photoshop

Make Your Own Valentine Card

Make a Greeting Card With Abstract Heart

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Only Fun When You're Young

Well, this area has certainly been living up to its moniker this winter.  The Snowbelt on Saturday was buried again under another deluge of fluffy, white stuff, blown about by gale-force winds. After a break on Sunday we awakened again to more of the same as roads and schools closed.  It's really a miserably cold, inconvenient winter wonderland here.

After many winters of come-and-go snow, middle-agers are being  reminded these days of winters past, when banks built to dizzying heights and people knew that a perfect morning could fade out to winter white in no time leaving you stranded for days.

I remember a three-hour trip in the late 1970s turning into a three-day adventure, that included a stay with some kind strangers who opened their home to us. I remember my brother's January wedding day in 1971, when 20 of the 300 guests braved the whiteouts and closed roads,  to make it to the church on time and in some cases as white as the world outside.  I recall a harrowing trip down down a highway in zero visibility, but fairy certain that if I slowed down to any less than 20 miles an hour I'd find myself stuck.

It really is something we haven't seen at quite the same level for many years.  Now I understand why my parents were never impressed because as a young person, snow days way back when were generally a lot of fun.  Friends from the country were often storm stayed which usually meant a few days of sleepovers and no school.  While Mom and Dad shovelled and scraped, we did all the fun stuff kids get to do with an unexpected holiday and mounds of snow to play in. 

So as we grownups today suffer through a Snowbelt winter reminiscent of yesteryear, we offer these clipart and photo collections featuring kids — the only ones who could possibly think any of this is fun — playing in the snow:

iCLIPART.com Children Playing in Snow

Acclaim Images Photos of Children Playing in Snow