Friday, February 8, 2013

Clipart Collections of Hearts and Flowers

If you can get past all its bluster, February tends to be kind of a romantic month. Brides need to start getting organized, choosing gowns, finding photographers, booking halls, and on and on. And smack dab in the middle of the month is Valentine's Day. 

My days of courtship may be long behind me, but I still consider myself a romantic.  I love lingering over a candlelight dinner, soft music in the background. I love quiet nights and conversation with a glass of wine.  I love that surprise gift — an offer to clean up the kitchen because he knows I'm tired,  a new CD he bought just because there was a song that made him think of me.  I love a bouquet of wildflowers picked on a summer afternoon.  

Romantic gestures aren't difficult to extend. You don't need to be imaginative or creative. There are some symbols that are intrinsic, that are a deep-rooted association with the notions of love and romance, that on their own are all that's needed. Who doesn't associate hearts and flowers with  devotion and ardour? Oscar Wilde neatly packaged the two together when he said,  "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."

So on this wintry February day, may these clipart collections of hearts and flowers bring a little romance your way. Hearts and Flowers Illustrations

Acclaim Images Hearts and Flowers Clipart

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Beauty of Waterfalls in Photos

You don't have to be a nature lover to appreciate nature. Even the most die-hard of urbanites, more comfortable among concrete and crowds, has to recognize the pristine beauty in green spaces,  majestic mountains and lush forests.  Stepping away from the busy into the quiet is sure to bring an 'ah' moment.

Several years ago, while visiting our daughter at her new home,  she mentioned she had a treat in store for us. Living in a charming neighbourhood of large treed lots just minutes away from an industrial city, she had the best of both worlds. What we didn't know was exactly how good it was. 

We set out on our little adventure walking the rolling roads of the neighbourhood before entering a spacious conservation area, a short jaunt from her house. "How nice", I remarked, to which she replied that I hadn't seen anything yet.

Shortly after, we found ourselves looking down a steep slope at a series of well over 75 natural and man-made steps.  Finally reaching the bottom we looked around and discovered the effort had been worth it. This was a paradise.  Surrounded by rocky facades we had stepped into a verdant space of trees and wildflowers. The highlight, however, was the waterfall cascading down the side.

There may be nothing more stunning to me in nature than that of water rushing literally off the edge of the earth.  No matter their size waterfalls hold power and beauty in equal portion.

We took our time enjoying the space that day, touring, trekking and taking pictures. But, mostly we sat, truly in awe of the beauty around us.

These collections of photos captures some ah-inspiring waterfalls, of every size, in every season: Photos of Waterfalls

Acclaim Images Waterfalls Photos

Huffington Post 30 Prettiest Waterfalls in the World

Mother Nature Network 14 Most Amazing Waterfalls

noupe: Beautiful Examples of Waterfalls Photography

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Winter Clipart Collections

Cocooning — my one true favourite winter pastime.  There's nothing I love more about this season than listening to chilly winds blow outside while I snuggle up indoors.  It's a picture painted perfectly to me by the poetic prose of Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in Song for a Winter's Night:

"The lamp is burnin' low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you."

Other than the missing person to snuggle with, it sounds perfect to me.  However, a recent Facebook event promoting a snow volleyball tournament reminded me there are others who approach winter differently.  While I'd be happy to hibernate through this bitter, blustery few months, there are many for whom business is booming. While I'd love to curl up under blankets, with a glass of wine and a good book from Jan. 1 until the snow melts, there are others who take a far more spirited approach to the season.  From sliding down mountains to polar dips these folks dive in with enthusiasm. 

And from a business standpoint, even if your enterprise isn't one of the ones that might benefit from the season, there are always the winter sales to bring folks in.

So whether you're someone who, like me, prefers to tuck away indoors until spring doing quiet pastimes such as scrapbooking or reading, or whether you're involved in the business of winter and the outdoor fun that goes along with it, here's a collection of clipart to help you with personal or promotional seasonal projects. Winter Illustrations

TOONClipart Snow and Winter Illustrations

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Who's Up for Some Italian Food

I grew up in a meat and potatoes household, the staples of mealtime in a farming community.  Dinner time meant hearty fare — savoury pot roast. tender chicken or succulent pork accompanied by heaps of creamy whipped potatoes,  buttered corn, crisp coleslaw and flaky biscuits. 

Of course, coming from a German background we could also count on having plenty of sausage and sauerkraut as well.  This was all not just tried and true fare, but all I knew.

The tradition continued through to my early 20s. But, I love to cook and it wasn't long after I was out on my own that I came to realize there was a lot of good stuff I was missing. I was 23 when my future husband took me to an Italian restaurant and I had spaghetti for the first time. I was sold and kept my eyes open for pasta and tomato-based recipes to add to my culinary repertoire. 

Now with ideas for supper available literally at my fingertips thanks to the internet,  the meat and potatoes of my childhood have taken a back burner. The flavours of Italy are featured fare at our home on a regular basis.  Nothing tastes or looks as delicious and these photos featuring the wonderful variety of Italian cuisine are sure to get you salivating. Photos of Italian Food

Acclaim Images Stock Photos Italian Food

Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Get Great Pictures of Your Pet

It was a gorgeous summer day on the deck and I was spending some time with my favourite guy and my other best friend — our Siberian husky mix, Ani.  My lovely girl, who had devoted herself to me almost from day one,  had, at that time,  been a member of the family for almost a decade. 

As the camera is never too far from me, I decided to take some pictures. It dawned on me that I didn't have a nice one of Ani with me,  as I'm usually the one taking the pictures, so asked  my husband to take one.

It was, of course, not nearly as simple as it sounded.  Seeing me get down to her level my high-strung, eternal puppy was more set on playing than posing.  I called, she came; I sat, she dashed. After 15 minutes of this we finally got her settled enough to grab a fairly decent picture, not wall-worthy, but good enough. And I'm so glad we did, as two years later, she was stricken with cancer and we had to say goodbye.

But I remembered during that playful afternoon,  the comment attributed to W.C. Fields about never working with children or animals as you're sure to be upstaged. We love our kids and pets, but let's be honest, getting them to listen isn't always simple.  And with animals, there's the added element that as smart as they might be, they probably don't respond appropriately to every cue.  Hearing their name is as likely to get them to come to you as it is to get them to face the camera.

That said our pets are a part of our hearts and our families. Yet, we have them for so short a time. So, finding some helpful tips on photographing them seemed a fairly useful endeavour.  May these tips I found help you capture a wonderful memory of your best friend.

DPS Pet Photography Tips

DPS How to Photograph Pets

NY Institute of Photography Pet Photography 101

PictureCorrect Pet Photography Tips and Techniques 

Exposure Guide Pet Photography Tips

PetsInPastel Oil Pet Photography Tips

mcp actions Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dog's Personality

Digital Camera World Tips for Taking Pet Portraits