Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Celebrating Victoria Day Weekend With Amazing Summer Fun Clipart Collections

There are very few people in the working world who don't look forward to the weekend. However, Canadians are even more excited about the one coming up.

In just a few days, Canucks will be enjoying the Victoria Day weekend, the first long one of the warm season. Though the dog days of summer might still be a few weeks off,  those three days hold all the promise, with time spent at cottages and campgrounds, with gatherings for campfires and fireworks.

A federal holiday, still known affectionately as May 2-4, Victoria Day is celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25 in recognition of Queen Victoria's birthday. Yet,  in all honesty I suspect there are very few of us in the "true north, strong and free" who give much thought to the late monarch as we pursue our pleasure during the break.  I know at our house minds are focussed on prayers for good weather,  plans for the completion of outdoor projects to get everything looking spiffy for summer, and hopes for plenty of socializing and fun.

Ultimately when all of that comes together, though the official date might still be a month away, it's clear that summer is on the way.

There are plenty of other signs too. Kids have traded in skates and hockey sticks for cleats and baseball bats. Soccer fields are filling in pre-twilight evenings with players and parents,  and tennis courts are seeing action again.  Registrations for swimming lessons are underway at community pools.  Classic cars and recreational vehicles are making their way out of storage for the return to their summer homes, while cottages and cabins have been opened up and aired. Closet inventory has changed too as shorts, t-shirts and sandals are back while pants, sweaters and winter boots have been tucked away.

One has to agree that it all points to at least the possibility of days of warmth and sunshine.

Not that living in Canada at this time of year can't be a bit of a tease.  Yes, there will be more and more days when we revel in balmy temperatures,  in birdsong and colour. But then we wake to a bad joke, to a morning so cold, to tiny flakes of white wafting down from gloomy grey skies as we huddle indoors away from the shock. 

I recall a Victoria Day Sunday several years ago. A wedding group was standing on the lawn of a beautiful hotel, gathered together  for a photo. Girls in short-sleeved dresses shivered and shook as snow fell.

Needless to say, that's not what any Canadian hopes for when we're anticipating our unofficial kick-off to summer.  We know it's unrealistic to expect too much this early in the year, but we do.  By Victoria Day in Canada it's likely that we're dreaming of days spent reading in the sun, of lazy nights around a blazing campire. We are ready for fresh air pouring through open windows.  It's not that we want to rush time. We want spring to last. We just want it to feel consistently more like summer.

So as I look ahead eagerly to a nice long weekend (since I believe in the power of positive thinking) I thought it would be nice to share some clipart collections focussing on warm weather fun:

Friday, May 12, 2017

Find the Colours of Summer in These Beautiful iPHOTOS.com Flower Photos for This Floral Friday

With Mother's Day this weekend, and landscapes beginning to bring us the colours of summer, these days there's been a lot of chatter around our office and in social conversations about flowers. 

It seems then, that since this blog is often dedicated to the sourcing of quality images collected around a particular theme, I will give you a heads up that you will be seeing some very pretty flower pictures courtesy of iPHOTOS.com.

Before then, however, I'd like to do some personal mental meandering through the gardens of my life.

When I think about flowers and the people who can make lovely outdoor spaces with them, my grandmothers are always the first to come to mind. While my dad's mother was a farmwife, with land, lots of land, on which to create beauty in various spots on her designated plot of property around the house,  my maternal grandmother transformed a spacious backyard into an oasis that served both an aesthetic and a practical purpose.  It was this one then that most inspires my strongest memories.

For my cousin and me, it was a magical playground.  Surrounded by a white picket fence, the heady fragrance of peonies greeted us as we passed through the gate.  The perimeter was a riot of colour and texture, where towering gladioli held court with posh roses. Dahlias in every hue shouted their bold statement while varied irises put on a show of their own. 

There were other more modest, but no less beguiling blooms, all quietly bringing their special beauty to the mix. Within their glory, we discovered the wonder of flora and fauna, searched for worms, snails and toads, studied bugs, bees and birds.

This delightful border enclosed an extensive vegetable and herb garden, where raspberry and strawberry bushes provided the best of summer treats. We ate peas right from the pod, carrots with mother earth still clinging to them.

Oddly, my mother inherited none of her mother's horticultural abilities. Mom's love of pretty things did not extend even to small flowerbeds which at our home were minimal in number and minimalist in the extreme when it came to content and level of required care.

As I grew older then, I discovered a little of each of these women's gardening gene had taken root inside of me. Like my grandmother I want flowers around my home, though my thumb is sadly not nearly as green as hers was.  Then on the flip side, is the hope that whatever my landscape design becomes it will require little maintenance or upkeep.

My knowledge has increased over the years. I have more understanding of the challenges of my property with its plethora of stately maples,  and more information on the types of plants that will thrive in spite of this.  Conversations and advice from friends have been absorbed and saved.  And my flowerbeds are beginning to, if not compare to my grandmother's, at least would not embarrass her if she was around today.

All of these, however, had been existing beds from when we purchased the home and to which I've had to adapt to the changing shade conditions. Now, with a new summer getaway, I'm looking forward to starting with a clean slate. After  brainstorming with a friend, plus some advice from an expert at the nursery I'm hoping I can do my grandmothers proud on this project.

Besides the understanding of plants and their requirements to thrive, photos can go a long way in helping you determine what you'd like to see in your gardens. Enjoy this sampling from iPHOTOS.com

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Isn't it Romantic? Find Love and Passion in These 2 Amazing Clipart Collections

May 10, 1980 dawned early for me. After a night spent sleeping on the floor  (my parents' house was full and as the baby of the family the cheap seats or the most uncomfortable space typically went to me),  my lids flickered open to a bright ray of sunshine streaming through the living room window.  Though not a morning person, on this particular day I woke with a smile and an eagerness to get on with my life.

Or at least the next chapter. Having met an awesome fellow at a house party three and a half years before,  I had became a fiancée the previous fall and on this day was to become a wife.

I'd heard about cold feet, that peculiar phenomenon that occurs in some people prior to the wedding, an uncertainty or nervousness about the big step they're taking. For me, however, the sensation couldn't have been more different.  I had never felt more sure of anything in my life and knew without question that I was moving in exactly the right direction, with the right person, at the right time. I was keen for the journey to begin.

That was 37 years ago (in case you don't want to be bothered with the math).  Of course, the journey might have been a bit more rugged than my youthful naivete had envisioned back then. As many idealistic newlyweds I believed in the storybook charm of a model husband, of perfect children, a lovely home and a white picket fence. 

The unrealistic part of that was that nowhere in this storybook tale was there ever any talk of mortgages,  job woes,  or changing interests. There are a lot of outside forces that insinuate themselves into a marriage. But when you're facing them with your best friend, your partner, your love, you soon realize that they only win if you let them. Marriage has its peaks and valleys; it's up to each half of a couple to decide whether they'll take the bad with the good as a united front and traverse them together or give up.

What I have learned in 37 years is that the good far outweighs the bad and I was right to be so excited for the beginning on that shining May 10 day.  Certainly this hasn't been storybook perfect. But, I found a person who has made me laugh every day since I've met him. He's the extrovert to my introvert, yin to my yang. He's a devoted family man, a loyal husband and friend.  He has worked hard to ensure that we've never done without. 

Bottom line, he's about as perfect as reality offers. Or at least perfect to me. And together we have invested ourselves 100% into this life of ours.

So on May 10 we will celebrate. Nothing major;  there have been some big renovations and purchases which we have decided are treat enough. But in tacit agreement we both knew after that reaching that conclusion, that our day would not go unacknowledged.

We've heard people say about their anniversary that it's just another day.  Which makes me rather sad.  Life has a way of intruding upon the idealistic notions of romance and passion.  Couples owe it to themselves and to their marriage to celebrate the love that brought them, and held them, together.

Today then, in my search for images, I feel like celebrating all of that good stuff.  Not just because of my impending anniversary, but for all of the newlyweds, as well as the old married folks,  and the soon-to-be-marrieds. Here then are two fantastic clipart collections that have something for every romantic project imaginable, from wedding invitations to a personal pronouncement of undying devotion:

Friday, May 5, 2017

You Can Make Amazing Birthday Cards and Decorations With Great Clipart From Vital Imagery Ltd.

"What life expects of us is that we celebrate." — José Eduardo Agaulusa, The Book of Chameleons
Today is Cinco de Mayo Day.  For Mexicans it's a celebration of historic significance and culture. Commemorating a military victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on this day in 1862,  the events focus on everything from cuisine to music, and take place in countries the world over.

For my Canadian family, however,  there is another awesome reason to celebrate May 5. Three years ago, our daughter and her husband welcomed a son on this day. Of German-Irish-Czech lineage —  a tow-headed treasure with sparkling azure eyes— he's as physically removed from the swarthy Latin aesthetic as you can get.  Regardless, when it came time for our Little Mister's first birthday, his mom incorporated the  Mexican holiday into the theme with sombreros to wear and piñatas to burst.

This little dude isn't the only May celebrant in our brood, however.  Our younger daughter blessed us with a sweet granddaughter just eight days after Mister's arrival. Since gathering all of us from various places for two birthdays within a week stressed already busy schedules the girls decided after that first year to combine them from here on in. This weekend then is the big event for us to celebrate the two bundles of adorableness that have enriched our lives.

The combo gala has taken the Mexican theme away. (Though the piñata remains, because, let's face it, it's a lot of fun to beat the crap out of something and get candy for it.) Instead, the theme this year is dinosaurs, because what three-year-old, male or female,  doesn't love a prehistoric monster?

I love that my two daughters really get into these parties.. When my kids were still under my roof their special day was always commemorated by two gatherings —  one for their friends and one for family.  They weren't fancy,  and sometimes they were downright simple, but acknowledging them was a big deal. All of them, including my husband's and mine.  I'm a huge fan of birthdays, you see, regardless of what number accompanies them.

A blog by Jacqueline Woolley, Ph.D. concluded that it's not how you celebrate a birthday that matters to a child, it's that you celebrate.  She stated that "children, like adults, are driven to seek explanations for personal, meaningful events. To children, the annual experience of the seemingly sudden change from one age to another is of great signficance. Yet, there is no obvious physical cause, as there is with other sorts of changes. Thus, children may grab onto the event that regularly co-occurs with this age change — the party — and assign it a casual role."

The rationale for me was more simplistic. I always hoped that it was a positive practice to recognize these special days so my offspring might understand that life is here to celebrate, that each day here is a blessing. Or as the quote above states, that life expects us to celebrate.

And, regardless of what might be the focus of the celebration, whether it's a holiday like Cinco de Mayo, or personal like a birthday, creating items associated to it is easy.  There are online tutorials covering a variety of subjects, from  making an invitation to decorations, flyers and banners

You'll also want to find a safe resource for for the visual elements you'll need to enhance your designs.  You can find wonderful clipart and photos on sites such as iCLIPART.comiPHOTOS.com and Clipart.com These subscription services offer access to thousands of images that you can use in many different projects over and over again. Be sure to read the terms to ensure that your particular usage is permitted.

Because birthdays are on mind mind these links will show you just a portion of what's available on each website:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Make it Personal. Create a Photo Collage for Mom on Mother's Day.

Mother's Day will be celebrated in North American on Sunday, 14.  While she's probably just happy to spend time with you, it's probable that you've been trying to come up with the prefect gift for her.

When you think about it, there's little that measure up to the value of someone who carried you close to her heart for nine months, who gave you life, loved you unconditionally, who sacrificed and guided. Over the years she has worried over you, occasionally anguished over you, protected and defended you.

She has been a shoulder to cry on,  confidante,  advisor.  She has advised what direction to take,  while encouraging you to follow your dreams even if they led you away from her.

Given all of this how can any of us possibly come up with the perfect way to honour Mom?

My advice? As a mother of four I know that the most precious gifts from my children are the ones that are all about them or time with them. A surprise visit for no reason other than me,  a mother/daughter outing or a mom/son lunch are guaranteed to brighten my life far more than something extravagant. 

Photos of my kids are also on the  list of favourites.  In particular, I love those pictures revisited from the past, where siblings take old poses and stage them again.

Another nifty idea is a collage, whether it's a walk down memory lane or a group of family portraits.  The nice part is that these are easy to do in Photoshop with just a basic understanding of the software.  With some great images from  iPHOTOS.com I've put together a collage for Mom to demonstrate.

I selected a soft daisy background (#453002) to begin. After opening a new 10" x 8" document in Photoshop, I open the illustration and dragged it onto the page. This is the first layer. (It's good to rename each layer as you do it to make it easier to work with them. Simply double click on the layer name to do this.)

If you need to change the size use Edit > Transform > Scale. Hold down the Shift key and move the edge of the picture until you get the size you want then hit Return.

The photos of the mother and her children are #1202747, #310715, #811582, #311159 and #811606 from iPHOTOS.com.  To place the first picture, I clicked on the background layer, went to File > Place and made my selection. After renaming the layer, I added a small frame. The steps for this were Layer Style > Stroke, after which I selected the size and colour I prefered. Then I simply repeated the steps for the rest of the photos.

As I was happy with the results at this point,  there was no need to angle any of the pictures, but if you would like to do so choose Edit > Transform > Rotate. I then used Text to fill in a top space with that most important word — Mother. The font I chose was Forelle,  iPHOTOS.com's #765

Nothing fancy, super simple but guaranteed to make that special woman's Mother's Day.

If you don't have Photoshop  there are some great collage makers to be found online. Here are just a few:




Friday, April 28, 2017

For Countless Hours of Rainy Day Fun Try These Colouring Page for Your Littles Ones from iCLIPART.com

Having raised four children and now blessed with six grandchildren, I believe I know a thing or two about the attention span of the young mind. I might not have been schooled academically in the psychology of little ones, but I feel fairly confident when I say that too many rainy days can be a test of endurance and patience for the adult in charge.

My husband and I recently purchased a summer getaway, about which our offspring and their spouses are already eagerly discussing. It seems that rather than a pre-retirement retreat as I'd assumed, there's a good possibility this might be more of a happy holiday haven for our entire family.

I'm okay with that. At least for now. Our kids don't live that close to us that their visits are as frequent as I'd like most of the time. So if a summer idyll is what it takes to enjoy some time with them, it's all good.  There will be rules of course; I'm not doing any extra laundry for example; but generally it will be mi casa de verano es tu casa de verano when it comes to my babies and their crews.

In truth, I'm really quite excited. There will be glorious days at the beach spent slathering on lotion, building sandcastles and dipping into cool waters. The easy access to the playground from our place means hours of entertainment for the youngsters, while the elders can watch from the comfort of the deck.

These are familiar images to me. Years ago when our own kids were small, our family spent summers at a lakeside retreat. At the end of the day, all the fresh air meant tired, happy babies, aglow from all the wonderful sunshine. Bedtimes were easy, sleeps were long and mornings happy with lively little bodies ready to do it all over again.

Unless it was raining. That put a whole dark, dreary spin on the moods. One can only splash in puddles so long after all. On those days it was imperative that the grownups be able to find entertainment fit to fill hours spent in cramped quarters. Not always easy, especially when the kids were of an age where they were still too young for wandering about without Mom and Dad.

So it is then, with all of these thoughts in mind,  that I made certain there will television channels and DVDs ready to amuse our pack of preschoolers at these times. It's hard to believe but there will be days when we'll be grateful for Storybots, Peppa the Pig and Thomas the Train.

Only, however, when the situation becomes desperate. I'm still a firm believer that television is a last resort. There are always indoor games, such as these from personalcreations.com that can burn a bit of energy and inspire imagination.  Even in small spaces. Crafts are always fun for exercising one's creative side. And when it comes to our oldest granddaughter, colouring can occupy endless hours of a rainy day.

While there are endless colouring books you can buy,  iCLIPART.com,  an online subscription graphics service, has some wonderful images that can be printed off for your little ones to colour. Some are educational, others are just fun. They are categorized, as well, so finding ones for specific holidays  is simple.

These links will take you to some of my favourite collections:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Colour Your World With These Great Photos With Swatches from iPHOTOS.com

"Man needs colour to live; it's just as necessary an element as fire and water." — Fernand Leger

Perhaps that statement from the French artist might be a bit hyperbolic. Few could argue, though, that a life without colour would be rather dismal. Colour is happiness. It's sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

And we are beginning to see it reviving all around use. The most difficult part of winter for me, besides the lack of invigorating sunlight, is the boring blandness of the monochromatic palette.  Therefore as spring arrives, how awesome it is to see the emerging colours — buds and blooms infusing the landscape with passion and vigour. The liveliness captures the spirit and we fill with energy.

Colours in spring and summer are everywhere, beginning with pretty crocuses and greening trees, through to perky daffodils and glorious tulips then finally the riotous kaleidoscopic hues in lush gardens.

It's probably the vibrant crimsons and golds of the autumn leaves that make summer's demise more palatable than it would be otherwise.

Colour is clearly a welcome part of existence. We appreciate it's natural beauty outdoors and make use of it to warm our indoor world as well.

My husband and I recently renovated a couple of rooms in our house. One of the most thought-out aspects of the remodel was obviously the colour scheme.  Choosing the paint for the walls is an important decision since you're going to be living with that shade for a while. It creates the mood for the environment — calm and soothing, rejuvenating and vibrant.  You need to consider the usage of the room, whether it will be a gathering place for socializing and entertaining, or a quiet shelter.

Once that's settled, then decisions will be made on the accents. This means finding complimentary tones that blend, yet add interest.

It might surprise you to know that online graphics services are so versatile they can even inspire you in this creative project.  On iPHOTOS.com for example you can find an amazing assortment of pictures with accompanying compatible swatches. 

These can obviously be used in web design to coordinate colours for a more aesthetically-appealing result (a topic I will be covering in a future blog).  According to Buffer 90% of an assessment for trying out a product is made by colour alone.

However, these images would also help you make essential choices for many other design projects — from quilting to home decor. Virtually any place where you want to ensure a nice blend of colour.

The pictures in the collection can also guide you if you are creating printed products with the photo portion to coordinate any other colours you might use in the design. If the item is attractive people will be more inclined to look at it longer.  Matching the  hues will go a long way to making that happen.

Here then is the unique collection offered at iPHOTOS.com which will enliven your designs with colour. The ways in which you do this is only limited by your imagination:

iPHOTOS.com Colour Scheme Photos

Friday, April 21, 2017

Who Doesn't Love Mom? Here are Some Awesome Clipart Collections to Celebrate Her.

"A mother is the one who fills your heart in the first place." — Amy Tan

In just a few weeks we celebrate the women with children — whether they held them close to their hearts from conception, or loved them from the moment they physically held them there.  They are the soft loving arms that provide comfort and protection when the world wrongs us, or simply because a hug is important.  They are the stoics standing strong and confident when we fear or when pain might overtake us. They are our multi-taskers, our organizers, our rocks.

Mother's Day then, is a time to say thank you to all the moms for doing their best to love, support and guide their offspring. Today's featured clipart collections here will recognize this special event.

But first, let's consider motherhood. As most women,  I can approach this from both sides, since I have had one and been one.  From the moment I became a mother life got a whole lot better. For me anyway. I can only hope my children are as pleased and proud of me as I am of them.

Parenting as they like to say comes without a guide book. There are many factors that come into play that make the experience unique with each and every child. I know I wasn't perfect, but really, all any mom can do is follow her instinct, love her children unconditionally and make sure they always know it.

I was first welcomed into my own mother's arms in the last part of the baby boom.  Having already given birth to her 'millionaire's' family a decade previously, the announcement of my impending arrival came as a bit of a surprise to Mom. Or perhaps that's a bit of an understatement. To say she was less than thrilled was apparently more accurate. Yet, undoubtedly from the moment the nurse handed me to her that feeling changed. The process of pregnancy and childbirth makes the bond between mother and child something very unique.

Like those early times of my existence, the relationship between Mom and me remained a mixed bag through the years. We often butted heads.  The first time I heard the reference of oil and water was with regards to us. Yet, as I got older and had babies of my own I began to unravel the mystery of Mom, discovering that she was simply doing the best she could. Let's face it. Raising a teenager in the late 1960s and early 1970s couldn't have been easy. 

Even at our worst, however, it was always to her I ran when I needed something. It was always to home I came when I needed a boost. It was Mom I missed when I was under the weather, Mom I phoned just because I needed to hear her voice.

And these days what I wouldn't give to be able to hear it again. I was blessed to have my mother with me for 60 years. Yet, no matter when, the loss of the family matriarch is never easy for a family.  Though frail and fretful towards the end of her journey, though saying goodbye to her husband of 70 years took away some of the spark from this once spirited woman,  she was still the mother who gave everything in her to give to raise her three children. For that she will be forever missed and forever loved.

Moms aren't perfect. They don't always have the answers. They don't always do what you need or say what you want to hear. They will make mistakes. But having had one, been one and now having watched my daughters become them I know that there is no greater love, no person who will sacrifice more or fight harder than your mom. Remember her this Mother's Day in a way that shows you know.

And if you need clipart for projects to promote our honour this special event here are some terrific collections:

With tens of thousands of new images added weekly there is always fresh, exciting content available for any project.  The Mother's Day collection alone is extensive with over 2,000 images.

Pay one fee and download what you need from over 20 million images.  From vintage to banners the Mother's Day collection has something for everyone.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Warm Your Heart With Awesome Animal Photos from iPHOTOS.com in Celebration of National Pet Day

Today is National Pet Day.  It might be a dog or cat you have, it might be a bird or rodent, it might be a lizard or snake, but today is the day to really show them how much joy they have brought you. Make that walk extra long, throw a special treat their way or just spend a little extra time snuggling. 

From here, in recognition of their special day, the collection of photographs to be shared at the end of this post will feature our feathered and furry friends.

The  pooch has always been my preferred choice of pet. Even when they weren't exactly everything one might hope for.  The first dog we owned when I was a child was a nasty-tempered fox terrier-chihuahua cross. Despite his diminutive size he possessed a ferocity that held strangers at bay and often had my young chums quivering.  Tiny  accepted pats on his terms. Picking him up was never an option. Crawling under the covers at night, he nibbled on any toes that might have brushed against him.

Why we kept him is anybody's guess. But just like a curmudgeonly old uncle will do, he managed to somehow earn our affection. When we ultimately had to say goodbye it  broke our hearts.

Since then there have been many dogs in our homes, all with unique personalities. While memories of them always bring a smile one make me shake my head as much as thoughts of that first one.  He was a holy terror. So much so that I only have one picture of him.

 Why he allowed himself to be snuggled between my young friend and me (one the right) on that day I have no idea. Since it often seems dogs are smarter than us, perhaps he thought it would be fun to leave me with this memory so no one in future would believe the stories I told about him.

In truth, getting a picture of any pet isn't easy. All that charm and energy can result in a lack of cooperation. If you've tried and failed, here are some tips that might help.


• Digital Photography School offers nine tips to getting that perfect shot of Puff and Spot. 

• Exposure Guide suggests some ideas to capture great photographs of your pet, along with some technical tips.

• Digital Trends spoke to pet and landscape photographer Josh Norem about working with animals as subjects and how to make the most of their personalities.

I had some success once with our beloved husky-cross Ani.   Which was fortunate, since having a nice portrait of your pet can be more important than you might think at the time.  The camera just happened to be in my hand after she stole a ball from a neighbouring pooch.  She laid down, proudly protecting it between her paws as she kept a close on me crossing the lawn, unsure of my motives. 

With her gazing straight into the camera lens it became a favourite following her passing, and now holds pride of place on a wall in our living room. 

Photos of people and pets reflect the special relationship and bond that we form with our animal friends.  iPHOTOS.com has a great inventory from which to choose. If you need something in recognition of National Pet Day or for other promotions or projects celebrating animals there are plenty of options from which to choose.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Be the Life of the Social Media Party. Here are 8 Sources to Create Your Own Memes

#TGIF #FridayFeeling #FridayNight #FridayFunday

Today is Friday, for which hashtags express one fairly clear emotion. That is if "Yippee!"can be considered an emotion.

There is plenty to look forward to on this particular day of the week. Whether it's two days and nights of socializing, or catching up on household chores, or just kicking back and relaxing, after a full work week it's all going to be good.

Friday. The day of the night when the weekend begins. We can meet for drinks after work and extend it into the wee hours since there is no alarm the next morning, the  starting gun for the typical daily rat race.  The break is at hand, yet we can look ahead to two days off from the grind; those 48 precious hours are still there for us.

I enjoy working. I love the environment and the people who share it with me. I like what I do and find it satisfying. But,  I'd be lying if I said I didn't take great delight in the weekend. Beginning Friday.

I love my Friday date night with hubby. We have set the mood for relaxing,  with a moratorium on cooking supper, instead bringing in takeout pizza. We turn off the television, sip some wine and chat about events that have passed and those ahead of us.  It's the perfect lead in to Saturday and Sunday, as we look ahead to sleeping in, chilling with family and friends, completing tasks if we want, pursuing entertaining distractions and enjoying a little more control over the 'where we will go' and the 'when we will get there'.

So yes, when the work week calendar hits Friday, it just feels good to be alive. It's anticipation and realization. Even though the weekend isn't all relaxation for the majority of adults, it's a change and Friday is the prelude.  It's the promise of a cup of tea and a good read, of having that time for a quiet walk in nature or a sit down with friends.

Is it any wonder that across the board on social media sites, this day is the focus of celebration. It's exalted, adored and enjoyed. Besides the hashtags to promote the Friday vibe, endless memes have been created praising this particular day of the week, essentially as it heralds the time for the party to start.  While sharing some of the best is common, it can also be fun to create your own, just because you want to. Or perhaps you have your own witty or unique thought to share.

There are  many online meme generators created specifically for this purpose. The one above was done with iPHOTOS.com Image #408845 and memebetter.com  Here are a few examples you might want to try:

imgflip Meme Generator

Meme Generator

Make a Meme

Meme Maker


Meme Dad

Meme Creator

Meme Better

If none of the photos offered with these programs are quite what you're looking for, or you want to be sure that you are covered for copyright issues, you can, as I did, upload one of your choice.  There are great online resources for images that provide many options. If photographs are your preference,  iPHOTOS.com has over five million images that offer quality and diversity. When it comes to clipart iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com each have extensive inventories.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

295 Easter Egg Hunt Photos to Enliven Your Holiday Projects

April is upon us. The skies are crying, but the flowers are sprouting and the birds are trilling.  In a bold move, I've packed away the heaviest of my winter clothes and intend to do the same with the boots very soon.

While sunshine is always favoured over rain, they both work to brighten and clean the landscape. Grass will green, trees will bud and flowers will bloom. All in time this year for an Easter weekend that arrives as late in the spring as is possible.

With a wistful hope for sunny skies and balmy breezes then, I'm looking forward to the air of excitement and wonder that accompanies my ever-increasing contingent of beautiful grandbabies most of the time. Let alone when something celebratory is happening. 

Since five out of six of them are under the age of five, this year's Easter egg hunt promises oodles of fun.  And in the hopes of contributing to that as much as possible,  I've already been on the search for games and goodies to make their quest even more entertaining.

Undoubtedly, Easter is first a religious celebration, one of the holiest on the Christian calendar. It's intended as a time of mourning and reflection, as well as a time to rejoice.

But on the flip side it's a holiday that captures imagination. It's carefree fantastical fluff, with images of soft bunnies, downy chicks and painted eggs. After a winter of dreary white and grey, Easter's pastels put us in a playful mood.  Sporting light and airy spring duds we venture outdoors for festivities, including the annual egg hunt. The joyful smiles, the enchanting chuckles and lively exuberance of a pack of little ones scampering like little bunnies to discover what's been hidden in the various nooks and crannies of the garden, are as uplifting as spring itself.

Little Missy, the elder of our crew, is clearly team captain on outings such as this. She's first out of the gate and always first to discover. But as a true leader, she's equally happy to help those younger than herself.  Watching her encourage and guide them is absolutely heart-warming.

Her brother, our Little Mister, is full of mischief and action. He's a confident, mildly chaotic hunter/gatherer, who takes delight in distracting the others with charm and shenanigans. An alluring scamp he's full of smiles and impishness while cavorting around the lawn.  It's quite impossible not to watch him and laugh.

Sweet Bean, who's just a week younger than Mister, sees the world with eyes full of wonder. She takes a cautious approach to hunting, not wanting to miss one amazing thing out there. Her awe at each discovery often puts her behind the others as she pauses to appreciate what she's found rather than rushing on to the next.

Little Lola is only a year and a half. But there's nothing that brightens her adorable face more than following her three older cousins around. I can hardly wait to see her participate this year.  And I suspect will be thinking too about the next Easter when her baby brother can join the fun.

There is so much to enjoy at this time of year. But there is nothing more amazing than seeing the happy faces of delighted, beautiful children. Therefore, if you need something to advertise an Easter event, these egg hunt photos are sure to get attention:

iPHOTOS.com Easter Egg Hunt Photos

Friday, March 31, 2017

10 Tips to Consider When Taking Your Vacation Photos

Well, it's a momentous time of year. Calendar pages have been flipped and perused, decisions made and vacation days booked.

Typically, I tend to take my time off throughout the year as I see fit or as need dictates. This year, however, my husband and I have a different plan in mind. With an eye to a specific place we are focussing the majority of our holiday planning between the months of May and September.  Our decision is based on a need to hang out in an old haunt. To return to a stomping ground that shaped some of our best memories.

Because of my enjoyment of photography, we have revisited those memories over the years and often felt a strong draw to the place that created them. The pictures I took encapsulated a golden time in our lives — summers spent with our young family at a lakeside getaway. Friendships were made that have endured. Stories were written that we come back to with laughter when we meet those friends again.  And a resort town became our second home.

So, now it is time to write a new chapter. It's time to create new memories and to enjoy a little pre-retirement lakeside.  And since we're decades older than when we experienced extended sojourns there before, we're definitely going to need that camera in my hand again to help us remember every good moment.

As well as taking pictures of  friends and families, of our gatherings and parties, though, we can't ignore that we will be holidaying in one of the most picturesque places on earth. This is an area where sunsets are renowned.  The silhouettes of moored yachts rock and sway before the brilliant hues of pink and crimson. During the day butterflies dance in dunes, while gulls dip and dive from sand to surf. Boats cruise the water, kites dot the sky.

It's all just about as picture perfect as you can get. Yet, it can be challenging to do justice to even the most beautiful landscape when you're trying to capture it in a picture.  Knowing and understanding your camera is important for success, of course. But there are many other factors that I've discovered over the years, which are equally essential to consider.  Here are just a few of them:

1. Look with fresh eyes. One of the first lessons I learned about photography when working for a newspaper many years ago, was to try and find a way to see my subject differently than the rest of the world.  Sometimes that meant getting down on the ground. Other times the right shot came because I climbed on a ladder.  Ultimately, play with the angles and try to find unique ones that will change the way you see your subject.

2. Use the zoom. Getting up close and personal puts the focus on what's important.  Again in the newspaper business, it was desired when taking a picture that we fill the frame  and get rid of any extraneous details.  It's a lesson that's shaped a preference in my photography to this day.  No point in taking Uncle Bob's picture on the hill if we can't see it's him.

3. Don't miss the beautiful start or end of a day. No matter where you vacation, sunrises and sunsets will always be the perfect way to highlight your destination. Finding points of interest, such as a sailboat gliding by the setting sun, or early-morning runners moving towards the dawn, will make your photos even more visually interesting.

4.  Everything is worth the time. When taking vacation photos overlook nothing. When it comes to remembering that special vacation, everything is worth a shot — from the food on your plate to the twinkle lights on the patio.  Move in close to highlight something significant,  or zoom out to capture an environment in its entirety.

5.  Catch them by surprise. Candid shots are always a favourite. They capture the magic in a mood or moment.  It's wonderful to look back and see your loved ones happy faces of people who were blissfully unaware they'd been caught on camera.

6. Don't get caught unaware.  Keep your camera close in order to seize every possible opportunity for a great vacation picture.  While you can have a few situations or locations in mind that you know you want to photograph, never forget that there will be ones that your hadn't planned on. For these you'll want to be ready.

7. Patience as always is a virtue.  Find a place and wait. You never know when a story will unfold in front of you. How much more lovely a picture will your streetscape be when it includes the soft gentle kiss on the cheek of an elderly man by his sweet granddaughter.  Which will also take us to the next tip.

8. People. My husband was always a big fan of photographing the scenery of the places we visited. Pretty those pictures might have been, but it's the ones that include people in them that we return to time and again. Highlights of the landscapes we've seen are nice, but it's the faces of loved ones, some who might no longer be with us, that will be cherished through the years. Even strangers, as mentioned above, will make your photo more interesting.

9. Go for action. Sometimes you can't avoid those stiff, posed, formal shots. But since this is vacation photography it's so much better if you can opt for a little more fun and action in your picture. Don't just stand in front of the Trevi Fountain; toss a coin or indulge in a little tomfoolery in front of it.

10. Flip it. Don't just take horizontal pictures. Turn that camera on its side and zoom in for a nice, tight, vertical shot.  Some scenes demand it.