Friday, May 27, 2016

4 Collections of Beautiful Flower Illustrations

It's been a beautiful week, beckoning me to find my way out onto the deck. Cycling home at lunch on work days I enjoy some quiet time there, basking in warm temperatures and bright, cheery sunshine.  At day's end I find myself in the same spot while supper's cooking, with a book and glass of chilled, crisp white in hand.

These moments have also provided me with plenty of opportunity to admire the previous weekend's work. With a slow start to spring my guy and and I were starting to feel a little pressured about all of the yard work that needed to get done before we could relax and enjoy the lazy season.  Then the Victoria Day weekend arrived, complete with perfect weather.

For the better part of three days, we toiled in flowerbeds and puttered around the yard getting everything ship shape. And I must say there is nothing more satisfying than enjoying the end result.

I don't exactly have the greenest of thumbs. When we purchased our house I inherited a good number of perennial beds, but knew absolutely nothing about anything in them. Over the years my knowledge has grown, but it's far from extensive. Also, the success of my flowerbeds has been challenged by the ever-changing landscape around our property.

My hubby's a big fan of the mighty maples that have always graced the front lawn. He has dedicated much effort in our time there to the art of surrounding our house in shade. When a tree falls, he not only hears it, but quickly replaces it. Our gardens, therefore,  have been shaded, then sunburnt, then shaded. Which has, let me tell you, presented some interesting trials.

This year, a final  re-jigging and replanting, I hope,  seems to have resolved the issues. Thus, with sharp edges cut around the bed, with weeds removed and plants and flowers in their happy places, at least some of my horticultural efforts seem to be in pretty good shape.

So, as we look forward to another weekend, with hours to be spent on decks and patios, let's celebrate Floral Friday with some great collections of flower clipart:

iCLIPART.com Flower Illustrations

Clipart.com Flower Illustrations

Acclaim Images Flower Clipart

ClickArt Online Flower Illustrations

Thursday, May 26, 2016

5 Tutorials for Book Layout in Photoshop, AI or InDesign

Just as digital photography has turned so many folks into shutterbugs, the ability to create and publish a book with online tools and resources has inspired a lot of would-be authors. From fairytale stories for grandchildren to recipe books and novels, people from all walks of life are creating their original tomes.

Some day, is the promise I have made myself. After work, after life slows down, after I finally have a few minutes to myself,  I'm going to sit down and pen that tale I've always had inside me.  Until then I satisfy myself putting together photo collections and books for the grandbabies on my trusty Mac. They aren't meant for anyone but family of course.

When that day I spoke of finally arrives, however,  when I take the time to tell a tale for the masses, laying out the book will be almost as important as writing it.  Whether it's the cover or the font I choose, in the publishing world it all matters. There are resources that will take care of it for you, but if creativity is in your blood it might be just another element of the project you want to handle yourself.

Whereas Photoshop is typically the go-to software these days, that is not the case when laying out a book.  Since its most commonly used for image editing, when creating a picture or storybook the popular choice instead is a page layout tool, such as InDesign.

That's not to say, however, that it can't be done with other programs. Anyone adventurous enough to tackle the task is probably adventurous enough to step away from the norm.

Since I am closer to the day of retirement than not, it seemed appropriate to begin some investigation into exactly what options there might be.  Will the familiar Photoshop work or will I need InDesign?  I hoped to learn if the differences on what will be the easiest, what will work the best for me and what will give the optimal results are huge.

Some browsing on the internet resulted in several tutorials that I thought would be worth a little further study.  In the event they might interest others I have shared my discoveries here:

Setting a Book Cover Layout With Photoshop

Design and Layout a Book in InDesign

How to Make a Book in Photoshop

Illustrator Design Book Tutorial

Create Page Layouts and Cover for a Children's Book

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2 Clipart Collections for Memorial Day

In just a little under a week, citizens of the United States will be observing Memorial Day. Once known as Decoration Day it commemorates the men and women who have perished in military service for their country.  Held annually on the last Monday in May, this is far from a typical long weekend celebration, however, with many people visiting cemeteries and memorials.

I am Canadian. I grew up listening to grandparents talking about the Great War, about young friends and neighbours lost. I heard my parents and their peers reminiscing about life during the Second World War, heard the stories from those who enlisted and came home, heard about those who served and didn't.

A few local men fought in Korea in the early 1950s, and each Remembrance Day they would join the other veterans in telling young schoolchildren their stories.

Then there was the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear weaponry put the sweet optimism of youth under a cloud of fear. This was a time when my classmates and I practised emergency duck and cover drills in school.  This was an era when parents spoke in hushed tones about Russia and the United States and what it might mean for Canadians.

But, having reached my teens as the 1960s were coming to an end, when I hear the word war these days, my thoughts first recall one of the most controversial in American history.  The United States government's participation in the Vietnam War was perceived as a fight against communism. Many, however, including a good number of their own citizens, felt that this time it was not America's fight. As a result it was a time of conflict across the ocean and at home.

And though I might have lived across the border, for a young teenager it was an emotional time.  Culture reflected the divisiveness through music and art. The cry for peace had never been so loud.

Sadly, it seems, it wasn't enough that we had a strong idyllic desire for a conflict-free world. Today the wars continue, the battle being against terrorism.  Religious and ethnic differences continue to cause conflict. Megalomaniacs and sociopaths still rise to positions of leadership, and the meek follow.

So as we look ahead to a day commemorating the brave men and women for whom the dream of a peaceful world  cost them their lives, here are some collections of United States military clipart:

iCLIPART.com United States Military Illustrations

Clipart.com US MIlitary Images

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5 Collections of Beautiful Travel Photos

This past long weekend saw the return of our pre-dinner neighbourhood deck gatherings. When the warm weather arrives a group of us converge late afternoon on the last day of the weekend at one or the others' homes.

Given what has been a somewhat slow start to spring, we were all eager to celebrate the end of our hibernation yesterday. There were plenty of laughs and a lot of catching up to do.

Much of it was nonsense, the type of conversation that happens with people who have lived close to each other and have come to know each other well. But  a good part of it was listening with interest to the sharing of experiences we might have known about but didn't get a chance to hear about in detail before.

A lot of these involved travel. We talked about trips we took to the south to get away from the cold and snow. One friend had just returned from a business conference in Florida. Since I've barely had time to shed the tan I got during my holiday there, we enjoyed some minutes comparing notes about our sojourns in the sun.

Of course, there was also some chatter outlining planned getaways for the summer. Whether day jaunts or extended vacations, many are already on the schedule. From fishing outings to car shows to idylls by the beach, we are ready to go for summer.

Since this all happened on Monday afternoon and evening, it seems then a perfect segue to today,  known in social media circles as Travel Tuesday. With online clipart and stock photo resources offering wonderful selections of images from countries the world over,  I have scoped out a few collections to fit the trend:

65 Pictures of America from iPHOTOS.com

65 Pictures of Canada from iPHOTOS.com

35 Photos of Asia from iCLIPART.com

80 Photos of Europe from iCLIPART.com

Clipart.com Travel and Tourism Photos