Friday, January 24, 2014

Sending Sunshine Your Way

Short days, long nights make many people less than happy. We know the negative issues of too much sun exposure. However, it's also  a reality that too little is  a serious health concern for many people causing not just physical, but emotional and mental problems as well.

Speaking with a woman in Arizona recently I was surprised to hear her say she hated the warmth and sunshine and would love to live somewhere cold and grey. I'm fairly confident in my assumption that she is most definitely in the minority. Even folks who live to hit the slopes or ride the trails every winter,  prefer to do it in the sunshine. And while I personally spend most of winter hiding from it, I do feel the spirits lift when the deep freeze is brightened by a day of brilliant sun.

Northern climate habitu├ęs flock in droves to southern locales in the blah months of January, February and March to feel the heat and forget the cold. Days of fun in the sun warm their bodies and souls while Snowbelt folks are frozen in place,  praying for a glimpse of a sun that is brutally short on heat.  It is for all of those who depend on the cheerfulness of the sun during the winter then that we send this image collection of pure sunshine your way: Sunshine Illustrations

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beautiful Photos of Winter's Artwork

A few minutes one way or another when you head out the door for work can make a big difference in how affected you are by the comings and goings of others. Particularly where I live, a small village in rural Ontario, where traffic is never exactly terrific.

On this crisp winter day all aspects of the morning scramble worked for me and I was out the door well ahead of schedule for the walk to work. A light snow had fallen through the evening settling a layer of powder on everything around me. The typically quiet streets were even more silent; few cars passed and not a soul was present for a wave or cheery greeting.

Such solitude gives one time for reflection and to take in all that is. Treading along my route, I became aware of the footprints of those who were out and about before — the firm, solid imprint of the male, the smaller, daintier one of the female or child, the paw prints of a pooch. Perhaps they walked together, perhaps alone,  but that they were there was proven in the patterns they created.

It got me thinking about the many ways Mother Nature creates artwork beyond the normal beauty of flora and fauna.  The softness of snow on concrete, the sparkle of sunlight on ice,  a white landscape broken only by wildlife tracks are her pictures of winter. And perhaps none is more beautiful than when, with the assistance of Jack Frost, she paints a chilly design on a window.

So,  inspired by my quiet stroll today, I decided to gather a collection of beautiful photographs depicting the artistic talents of Mother Nature in winter:

iPHOTOS Photos of Winter's Patterns Photos of Wnter's Patterns

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Must Have Lenses for Wedding Photography

A young couple we are acquainted with recently returned from their wedding week in Mexico. While the invitation was open to anyone who knew them and was willing to make the trip, it sadly wasn't practical for my husband and me. Regardless of how nice it would have been to enjoy some sunshine, time wasn't on our side.

No, instead, we  celebrate vicariously with them since their return, enjoying candid photos taken by attendees, as well as the wedding album the couple has posted on Facebook.  All, professional or otherwise, convey the essence of the event — idealistic joy.

There are never as many smiling faces anywhere as you will see in wedding pictures. Thankfully, long gone are the stiff formal poses of yesteryear, with bridal parties lined up in order before the altar, smiles as glued in place as the hairstyles.  Today's photographers are finding innovative ways to set up shots that are playful, yet, perfect for the mood.

Spontaneous photos are also popular. There is, after all, nothing more beautiful than a joyful face caught unaware.

Yet, while finding ways to preserve the happy couple's big day for the future is essential, the right lens can make it all come to life. Here are some suggestions:

SLR Lounge 6 Must Have Lenses for Wedding Photography

DPS Choosing a Lens for Wedding Photography

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Backgrounds and Elements for Romantic Projects

Two years ago now, my youngest daughter was deep in the busyness of wedding planning.  From beginning to end, she knew what she wanted, including the decision that she had the ability and creativity to make her own wedding invitations, cards, etc.

Choosing the popular theme of black and white, and touring around royalty-free clipart sites such as she soon discovered that most of the work would be done for her.  The amazing assortment of backgrounds and elements that appealed to her might have been a bit overwhelming to someone without her focus.  Instead, deciding first on a style, Victorian, she began to narrow the field to quickly make it less daunting, then began to pick favourites from random selections. 

It was, she agreed, graphic designing made easy.  The problem wasn't what would she use, but which one.

Once it was determined what she wanted to use, it was soon obvious that basically all that remained was the addition of some text. The illustrations stood on their own with little if any need of extra embellishment.

And when it came to the big day, what was most important was that no one had any idea her wedding stationery and favours (she also did a CD of music, the label of which was an illustration from They looked professional and unique.

So, for anyone else who might be interested in exercising their creative side when it comes to wedding stationery here are some lovely collections to get you started. Victorian Elements Victorian Frames and Borders

Acclaim Images Romantic Backgrounds

ClickArt Online Romantic Backgrounds and Elements

Obviously, when it comes to romance and weddings tastes and styles differ greatly. These collections are just a sampling of what can be found on these and other clipart sites.

Monday, January 20, 2014

100 Lovely Red Roses

As frosty, cold days ease in to bitter cold nights, it is summer's warmth and sunshine that I miss the most in winter.  Coming a close third, however,  is the kaleidoscopic palette of gardens, some structured and elegant, others riotous and carefree, but all alive with colour and texture.

When it comes to variety, there is probably no other flower that offers as much as the rose. So much so, that they can be a garden on their own. With literally thousands of kinds, bearing names with old-world charm such as Victorian Lace, or personality such as Sam Tucker, they are a favourite of many green thumbs and romantics.

Not satisfied to be as glorious aesthetically as a bloom can be, the gorgeous rose also holds a special place in the realm of symbolism.  White, often the popular choice of dewy-eyed brides, stands for purity and innocence. Pink can signify appreciation and gratitude, or in its lightest hue, sympathy. There is joy and gladness, friendship and promise in the yellow rose, while peach conveys modesty, sincerity and gratitude.

There is probably none, however, more romantic than the lovely red rose. With Valentine's Day less than a month away, this photo collection offers 100 examples of the floral symbol of love, passion and beauty: Red Roses