Friday, November 15, 2013

Let the Christmas Shopping Begin

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style" is what I'll be walking this weekend as a friend and I start, and finish respectively, our Christmas shopping.

I know some people find it strange that by the first of December my gift purchases will be pretty much wrapped up. But I got in the habit a lifetime ago, while expecting my first Christmas baby.

There was extreme pleasure in the fact there was a dearth of like people hitting the malls with me.  On rare occasion I might pop in closer to the end of the shopping season and couldn't imagine why anyone would choose to  fight the masses.

Also, with so many other chores involved in Christmas preparations, it made sense that if there was something that could be gotten out of the way early,  I should get it done.

Apparently, it was a shining example to others, though, as while I mentioned before that some people find my early shopping strange, there are many more who have begun to follow my footsteps downtown and in malls.  Store promotions are well underway, and the line-ups have started.  "In the air there's a feeling of Christmas".

So let's get the my spending weekend underway with this fun collection of Christmas shopping  themed illustrations: Christmas Shopping Illustrations Christmas Shopping Illustrations

ClipartGuide Christmas Shopping

ClickArt Online Christmas Shopping

TOONClipart Christmas Shopping Cartoons

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Celebrating Females on International Girls Day

Today is International Girls Day.

Information from the Just for Girls website explains that the event was created on behalf of the Confidence Coalition by Kappa Delta Sorority in 2010.  It celebrates girls and the spirit which lies uniquely within them. The intention is to encourage them to make their dreams a reality, to inspire them and to build confidence.

The blame that this was deemed necessary is put soundly on the media messages and cultural stereotypes that have instilled in young females a need to try to act and look a certain way.  That pressure is certainly unfair as there is no perfect one-size-fits-all reality.

If there are any words that I think should be part of every young (and older too for that matter) girl's mantra it is the chorus from Christina Aguilera's Beautiful:

I am beautiful no matter what they say.
Words can't bring me down.
I am beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can't bring me down... Oh no,
So don't you bring me down today.

The reason? According to statistics from Just for Girls, 74 per cent of girls say they are under pressure to please everyone . Thirty-one per cent of the girls between the ages of 13-17 have starved themselves as a strategy to lose weight.Three out of four girls feel pressure to be "super girls". Sixty per cent of female teenagers make comparisons between their bodies and those of models. 

Those are just a few of the sad realities. It's imperative, therefore to help empower them to love themselves and each other.  We need to let them know that they are each and every one of them wonderfully and uniquely beautiful, no matter how they look, no matter what they like, no matter how they think.

These photos collections are intended therefore to pay tribute to all the great girls, and wonderful women, who are part of a very special sisterhood.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Add a Splash of Colour to Your Black and White Photos

Not to date myself or anything, but I grew up in a black and white world. As a wide-eyed, nine-year-old I developed my first crush after seeing The Beatles on a good old black-and-white TV.  Likewise, our old Brownie camera drained our technicolor world for posterity.

Then, colour was introduced. Television  presented life as we saw it. (Beatle Paul got even cuter) Photography captured images as they were intended to look.  And, of course, everyone turned their back on the monochromatic view

However, we are an easily bored society, and ultimately what is  passé always has its day again. The same can be said about black and white photography.  Once boring, it's now a popular option as it offers a different way of looking at things. Black and white makes a statement, adding interest and drama to your pictures.

Also, though, thanks to image editing software, we aren't limited to one or the other.  Besides being an interesting effect, an infusion of colour into a black and white photo can highlight a point of interest. It's a relatively simple technique that can be done a few different ways. Here are some examples: Highlight What Matters With a Splash of Colour

Digital Photography School Colour Effect in 5 Easy Steps

wikiHow Turn an Image Black and White Except for One Colour

photodoto Black and White With a Splash of Colour

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cartoons to Put the Cheer in a Winter Day

This morning The Weather Network alerted us to the first snowsquall warning of the winter for our area.  Already a fresh blanket of snow lay clean and pure over the landscape and little bursts of fluffy flakes fought for dominance over spells of sparkling sunshine.

All in all, it was a prime example of taking the bad with the good when it comes to winter.  When you're tucked away all cosy in your den, wrapped in a plush afghan, hot cocoa in one hand, thrilling novel in another, there's probably not a prettier site than winter through a window. It can be quite romantic, really.

But when you're travelling or have loved ones on the road, it can prove a worrisome condition at best.

So it was with mixed feelings that I greeted this morning's snowfall. I appreciate, how very fortunate I am to live in an area where we are treated to four  distinct seasons and winter is one of the most beautiful.  But I dread the driving and suffer the shovelling.  I shiver and shake, throb and ache from the cold and damp. 

Yet one must focus on the positive, even when winter makes me feel most miserable. Which is why I opted to share this collection of illustrations today.  These cute cartoons are sure to put the cheer into a chilly winter day:

TOONClipart Winter Cartoons

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day Photos

As I write this,  my work colleagues and I have just watched the Remembrance Day services on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  And as always I was moved by the stories of the First and Second World War veterans, by the site of those now aged faces wearing the countenance of sorrowful memories.

Where once their numbers were legion, today we notice their diminishing ranks.

From childhood we have remembered them and their sacrifice. Sadly today, those thoughts are now shared with the men and women still fighting to make this world safer.

For all of our veterans and those still in combat I share these meaningful  photos, "Lest We Forget". Remembrance Day Photos Remembrance Day Photos