Friday, May 5, 2017

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

Clipart Image of a Balloon Bouquet, Confetti and Streamers with a Banner
"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:

Clipart Image of a Little Girls With a Stack of Presents


Photo of a Smiling Man in a Birthday Hat With a Cake and Candles


Clipart Image of a Little Blond Boy Opening a Gift

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

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

Photo Collage of a Mother and Children for 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:

BeFunky.com

PicMonkey.com

Fotor.com