Friday, June 17, 2016

5 Clipart Collections Featuring This Week's Top 5

"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap." Ani DiFranco

My husband and I enjoy many of the same things in life and most certainly share the same values.  We have a rather far-left view and can both be a tad impatient with those who even tilt right. Compromise generally comes easily in decision making since we both recognize when it might be wise to concede on a particular issue.  And for both of us, family is always first.

However,  do differ a bit in our interests. We love classic Mopars,  but his passion for vintage snowmobiles is a wonder to me. I read books voraciously; he has a stack on his bedside table that's been there untouched for years.

We share a mutual love of music. However, what we want to listen to at any given time can be at opposite ends of the genre spectrum.  Though I tend to select a playlist to suit a mood or time of day; jazz for a quiet dinner, for example; he plays to suit his mood. AC DC blaring out of speakers on a gentle Sunday morning, early enough that I'm still  sporting bed head, is not unheard of.

There are elements of our personalities that differ too. Many, truth be told. He is yin to my yang, north to my south.

Entering a room full of strangers, my guy will walk in with confidence, making his way through the mass, making new friends along the way. I will stick to him like glue, quiet in the extreme. Where he seeks out that person with whom he might find something in common, I hope they find me.


He's never been to a party he wanted to leave; I would generally prefer to stay home. He's a touch bull-headed (he admits this) and will strike with passionate defence of his  perspective. I am a true Libra who wishes everyone would just get along.

It all works, of course, because the differences support us as a couple.  For example, he is my comfort zone in social settings: I'm the one who reminds him the next day will come early and it's time to go home. It's an individual's tastes and traits that make them the special person they are. We might be puzzled by another's choices but they're not ours to understand.

In business, too, polarity is obvious. For instance, putting together promotions with a team can be an interesting endeavour as complete consensus on what looks good is unlikely.

Also, working in the online clipart industry it can often be an eye-opener when my colleagues and I take a peek at the most popular downloads. Though there is likely to be a commonality in a theme,  the styles can differ significantly from what one of us might choose.

I thought it might be fun, therefore, to take a look at the five top downloads for clipart for this week from one of our websites, then share the collections of which they're a part. Below are the results.  The strength is in their differences.

iCLIPART.com Image #537002 Collection

iCLIPART.com Image #540005 Collection

iCLIPART.com Image #506666 Collection

iCLIPART.com Image #387466 Collection

iCLIPART.com Image #532965 Collection

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Restore an Old Photo in Photoshop

In the hashtag world of social media probably one of the most familiar is Throwback Thursday or TBT. The point is to wax nostalgic by posting old photos to stir memories and often just for your friends entertainment.

Personally it's a favourite.  Having taken copious amounts of pictures over the years, particularly of family,  what a treat it can be to sit for hours with an album on my lap, leafing through page after page.

I never tire of reliving the moments nor of seeing much loved faces.  Smiles so bright you can almost hear the laughter behind them brighten any day, while pictures of my sweet grandchildren are guaranteed spirit lifters.

Another pleasure in searching through photographs, particularly old ones,   is in the glimpses of  those no longer with us, but always close to our heart.  Sitting on the lower shelf of my coffee table is an album of my mothers. It includes all black and whites, taken in her childhood, through her teens and Dad's courtship. There are a few as well of their early marriage and of my siblings and I as babies. 

It's nothing less than a treasure.

The other evening while waiting for my husband to join me for a bit of television, I glimpsed the album and did a little flip through some of the pages.  Though this is less about memories then about remembering it was a lovely way to pass some time.

As I looked, I thought of old some of the photos were and how well they had endured. There were though the crumpled corners of some  and a few wrinkles across others, I began to wonder about restoration, how difficult it is and if the effort would be worth it. Since none of these were in terrible condition, I suspected that it might be worth a little investigation.

I found several tutorials that seem fairly straightforward with decent results. It seems that I just might have that retirement project I've been looking for. It will undoubtedly be a labour of love.

Here's what I found:

Restore a Heavily-Damaged Photo With Photoshop

Old Picture, New Life

Restore an Old Faded Photograph

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Collection of Dynamic Fitness Photos

"In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired."  Unknown

An expression I have paraphrased many times in recent years, as my husband and I joke about the way we feel upon waking each day.  Stiff and aching, still tired, we wonder why a night's sleep has failed to recharge mind and body.

Admittedly, our lifestyle might be partly to blame. There's a lot of work, plenty of play, but very few hours dedicated to exercise.

With the morning alarm startling us into reality already far too early, there's little time for much more than a few yoga poses before heading to the shower.  I bike my short jaunt to and from work, the same at lunch, and I walk on breaks. There's also a weekly yoga session.

With bursts of energy in various forms, at select times throughout the workday, co-workers and I try to undo some of the damage that hours behind a desk will cause. Push-ups, a plank, squats and downward dog get the juices flowing.

Sadly, it's not enough to keep me in the shape I wish I was in. As recently mentioned to an acquaintance after seeing him cycling one evening then jogging the next morning, I want to be that person. There just doesn't seem to be enough gumption there at the moment. Having dragged myself home from work, prepared supper, threw in some laundry and cleaned up every night, I have far more interest in a glass of wine than in a good walk.

My pursuit of wellness, however, does come in fits and spurts. I've been known to attack my fitness goals with vengeance on occasion. It was highlighted several years ago by a determined effort to lose some weight. Mornings started at dawn with a four-mile speed walk. Nights ended with an hour of Pilates. I had never felt better — boundless vitality consumed me. So much so that sitting and visiting was difficult. I wanted to move.

Then for some strange reason a backslide started and I've never been able to get myself into the right frame of mind again.  I am, however, ever hopeful.

Never forgetting though the words of Josh Billings, a 19th century humorist. "There's lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven't the time to enjoy it."

Even in fitness there needs to be balance. Some day, I will find the time necessary to step up my game a bit.  For now, I will stay focussed on getting what exercise I can without having it disrupt the many just-being-still moments I love.  In the meantime I will continue to admire the hard bodies, the fitness buffs, the joggers, swimmers and cyclers while setting my sights on the near future.

For now there's inspiration to be found in these great fitness photos from iPHOTOS.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How To Create Greeting Cards in InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator

"One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters." — George Herbert.

Remembering what it was like growing up, my sister, brother and I often joke about how, when it came to discipline, Mom gave it her all. Dad on the other hand, could get results with a stern glance.

I noticed the same thing happening after having children of my own. My "No's" were typically greeted with cajoling, whining, stomping, any manner of negative reaction.  Conversely, when my husband spoke,  obedience was immediate.

They seemed to be under some delusion that there would be capitulation on my part if they kept trying to wear me down. Before that happened, however, I fell back, as millions of mothers before me, on the guaranteed method to obtain co-operation: "Fine, we'll wait until your father gets home."


My dad worked long hours and our time with him was precious. Perhaps that's why he was called upon infrequently to put us in our place. Or why we listened swiftly.

Given that I'm a babyboomer and grew up when parental roles were clearly defined, it was common that the principle caregiver was Mom.  Dad was the breadwinner, family decision maker,  Mr. Fixer and yes... the schoolmaster when necessary.   When it came to finding cards for special occasions, any of these roles could be the theme behind a choice.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, however, it's not always easy to get a card that reflects the right mood with the perfect sentiment.  And I am one of those people who will take all the time necessary to do so. Precious hours in this busy life have been spent in the aisles of Hallmark and Carlton stores, occasionally to no avail.

Thankfully, there are software programs now that make designing a professional quality card relatively simple. Since it's Father's Day this Sunday, here are some terrific tutorials for InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator to help you create an original heartfelt message for the family patriarch:

Easy InDesign Folded Greeting Card Video Tutorial

How to Design a Greeting Card Using InDesign Tutorials

Make a Greeting Card in InDesign

Create a Greeting Card in Adobe Photoshop Elements

Video Tutorial to Create a Greeting Card in Photoshop CS5

Make a Greeting Card in Illustrator in 12 Steps

Make a Card in Illustrator

Monday, June 13, 2016

2 Terrific Clipart Collections for Father's Day Projects

For many people these days, special occasions are given a more personal touch than in the past. Rather than going out and purchasing a card, they are able to create professional-quality home-made ones thanks to software programs and the superabundance of online images.  Quality card stock, the right graphics and a little creativity is all that's required.

With Father's Day only a few days away, it's a good time to try your hand at this kind of project, if you haven't already. Whether you want to imbue humour or sentimentality in your project, the artwork is an important element in delivering the message.

My father is no longer with us, bu there were many, many times that I was searching through racks of cards to find one that held special meaning. It often seemed that I liked the verse inside but didn't feel the fishing photo was appropriate for a golfer. Or the beautiful aesthetic of another would appeal to me, but the verse inside didn't speak accurately to my relationship with Dad.

In making your own card, that problem is eliminated. Not only can you select a verse that delivers your sentiment perfectly, but you can match it with a picture that befits the recipient.

It can also convey a mood and personality. For example, there are those dads for whom a saccharine-sweet card with elegant sailboats silhouetted against a vibrant sunset would be just too much. Still others might not appreciate the cartoon father looking with dismay at an empty wallet.

Typically I've found that no matter what graces the front of my card,  the words can be worked out to suit tone and style. It's why then, that I get such enjoyment from scoping out the perfect graphic to illustrate my project, then further enhancing it with backgrounds, elements and text.  With all of the amazing Father's Day clipart in these two collections, I can only imagine the fun I might have had.

iCLIPART.com Father's Day Illustrations

Clipart.com Father's Day Illustrations