Friday, November 14, 2014
Actually, even walking was a bit treacherous with a fresh blanket of fluffy white covering slick ice crystals beneath. My steps therefore, though I was wearing my 'serious' winter boots, were slow and steady.
It gave me time to reflect a bit. On this particular day, on the first one of snowfall this season, I looked back to the delight I used to have in winter's arrival when I was younger. Though the plunge into cold and ice meant summer fun had ended, there was still plenty to get excited about. Most notably time spent at our local arena. As a little one, my Saturday and Sunday afternoons were dedicated to skating, a great way to pass a couple of hours with friends.
Saturday nights on the other hand were also spent enjoying a winter sport, albeit in front of the television, with Hockey Night in Canada and the Original Six. It was the heyday of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the rivalry between them and the Montreal Canadiens as they faced off against each other and teams from New York, Detroit, Chicago and Boston had most glued to the TV each week.
When I became a teenager, my love of hockey returned me to the arena and to our own local stars, the boys with whom I attended school, and their out-of-town counterparts. It was a given that at least some portion of the weekend would be spent cheering on the home team from the stands, even if we had to miss the Leafs to do it.
In an area where warm weather fun only happens for a few months each year, passion has to run for winter sports. And for most Canadians there really is only one. Here are clipart collections to celebrate our national pastime:
iCLIPART.com Hockey Illustrations
Clipart.com Hockey illustrations
Acclaim Images Hockey Clipart
ClipartGuide Hockey Images
ClickArt Online Hockey Illustrations
TOONClipart Hockey Cartoons
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Not that I have much of the latter left to do. Getting the list checked off early is a practice that began many years ago when I was a young mother. Picking up gifts starting in August meant spreading the cost over several months which seemed to hurt the bank account less. It also ensured that I wasn't one of those parents scrambling at the last minute to find that special toy all the stores had sold out of by the beginning of December. I might not have waited for any seasonal specials, but I had that Cabbage Patch kid in the closet waiting to make a little girl happy on Christmas morning.
The only problem I discovered that first year was a result of the fact that I love to shop. With extra time, I always purchased more for each person than I originally planned. Stocking stuffers were a challenge too as I picked up things randomly, then realizing I had far too many for, or spent too much on, one person, set out to balance it.
This year, however, my kids, all grown up and with a lot more control of their mother than back in those days, have said things will be different. They've reigned me in and though my initial reaction was disappointment, I've come to see the silver lining. With my typical headstart on the holiday shopping season, I managed to whittle down that list so that shopping with my bestie should be perfectly relaxing. All the fun, without the pressure — as satisfied and happy as the shoppers in these photos from iPHOTOS.com.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
History and geography are fine, interesting from time to time. But where my talents shine, where I find fascination is in the arts. Whether it's players on a theatrical or a concert stage, I love to watch and listen, appreciating how easy they make something seem that is most definitely not. I feel the mood of a great photographer's work. I adore the written word, losing myself between the pages of a great book at every opportunity I can find.
My pursuits, likewise, follow these passions. I like to write, sing and take pictures and occasionally challenge myself still to try and improve my abilities in these fields. For entertainment, I attend theatre and music productions often.
There is one area, however, where I admit to being a bit of an artistic washout. I have no understanding of what makes a great work of art, not do I have any ability of my own in this area. At least not to my knowledge. The closest I came was in high school when a friend of mine, who wanted to be a fashion designer, began drawing young girls adorned in her idea of modern attire.
The fact that I could copy her images so easily probably explains why the fashion industry never came calling for her. My work, for me, however, was surprisingly accurate to have made me wonder over the years if there might have been a bit more there than I think. Enough that as I look towards a nearing retirement I being to wonder if a new hobby might be discovered. I'm not saying I hold any notion that I'll some day be a Rembrandt but just for fun, drawing might be, well, fun.
Like anything else these days, of course, there are plenty of resources online to instruct you in the art of drawing and I've begun checking some out. Here are a few of my discoveries:
Easy Drawing Tutorials
Clever Tutorials and Techniques on Traditional Drawing
Drawing Tutorials Online
OnlyPencil Drawing Tutorials
How to Draw Step-by-Step
Comprehensive Drawing Tutorial Collection
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
It's the drink that kicks off our day, that revs our engines and snaps us out of our lethargy. It's perfect for a break, accompanied by a muffin or doughnut, and goes well with dessert to finish off a meal.
But besides being a favoured beverage, coffee's also a social event. It's a reason for people to stop in the middle of a day and meet with a friend. Let's face it, no one ever says, let's get together and have a glass of water, or a pop. When it comes to daytime socializing, coffee is the 'buzz'word. And if the opportunity to share time with a friend isn't enough to entice you to the cup of java, the compelling fragrance has to be.
There is a store in a nearby urban centre that I love going in because it's aromatic. I have searched for the coffee-scented candles or fragrance diffuser to no avail. It was only after asking that I was learned the secret was the trendy coffee boutique next door. The delicious smell was all because of them and the vents and cracks that allowed it to seep through the walls.
From the 1960s beatnik coffee house, to Tim Horton's, to the designer brews synonymous with Seattle chains such as Starbucks, to the internet cafés, coffee has become a cultural trend. A quick look at a clipart site will turn up thousands of related illustrations, perfect for all kinds of purposes, from menus and promotions to invitations. Here, for example, are collections from iCLIPART.com, Clipart.com, Acclaim Images and TOONClipart.