Friday, May 1, 2015

373 Gorgeous Flower Photos

This, The Weather Network has promised us, is going to be the best weekend of spring so far. Temperatures balmy, skies clear, everything so perfect you can almost hear the flowers growing.

Gardens in full bloom are as picture perfect as nature can be. Kaleidoscopic blends of stunning colours give aesthetic appeal to yards,  aromatic blooms bring heady fragrance to the air. 

I envy the green thumbs, the horticulturally-inclined capable of not just keeping flowers thriving, but also of knowing how to place them for effect and optimal growing. When I moved to our home 35 years ago, we inherited endless perennial beds, once the pride of the previous owner, now terribly overgrown.  A young working mother at the time,  I couldn't be bothered discerning weeds from the good stuff, pulling, tugging, digging, reading and learning, to understand and maintain the hidden gems. Most were removed in their entirety and seeded over.

Sad now, because they would have been a nice hobby. There's therapy in getting your hands in to the earth, in afternoons spent working with plants, in hours spent quietly surrounded by beautiful blooms.  As I don't see that many in my garden, I thought a featured collection of gorgeous flower photos from would be a perfect way to end the week and celebrate Floral Friday.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Restore Your Vintage Photos

 "Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days." — Doug Larson

I have no desire  to live in the past. Sure, those were good times. But my present too is quite pleasing, and if not given the attention it deserves will be soon part of what was rather than what is. 

There is, however,  something powerful in nostalgia. To paraphrase American movie producer, screenwriter and director Terrence Malick, it  can drown out everything.

Today is Throwback Thursday, popular in social media for sharing vintage photos of one's self and loved ones.  Of all the trends out there this is one of my favourites. It's not just about the vanity of letting the world see who you are; it's also a lot of fun looking at the golden oldies posted by others. Like music, photos can link us strongly to the past, recalling places and faces,  familiar and fond. 

Memories, unfortunately, can be capricious — fickle, fanciful, flighty. Time has a way of changing what we remember. One person's telling of a story may differ from another's, one's own reminiscences changing with embellishments in subsequent narratives.

Photographs, on the other hand, are tangible reminders, helping to piece together the time and tale. Sadly, however, they too can, over time, lost their clarity.  Faded, scratched, curled and torn, vintage photos stand as testament that memories change with age.

While we can't always bring to life mental pictures, today's technology can help us revive those treasured photos. Here are some terrific tutorials to help you rescue those vintage memories and remove those "rough edges from the good old days".

Digital Camera World

Digital Photography School



Repair an Old Photo in Photoshop Video


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

7 Collections of Beautiful Photos of Mexico

As temperatures start to warm and spring moves towards summer we begin to think of seasons of celebrations and long weekends. Depending on which side of the North American border you live, May will bring Victoria Day or Memorial Day at the end of the month.  July brings the fireworks displays for Canada Day and July 4th.

And on the list goes until the unofficial end of summer with Labour Day.

In between, however, there are events with a little less bravado, such as May Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Kicking everything off, however,  is the marking of an historic event, Cinco de Mayo on May 5, recognized by those of Mexican heritage, and anyone else who enjoys putting a little spice in their cultural experiences.

The anniversary celebrates the Mexican defeat of the powerful French army at Puebla. What makes this particularly significant is the fact that the victors were sadly outnumbered by a well-equipped, undefeated army of 8,000. This day then,  is a source of pride for Mexican Americans and provides an opportunity to honour not just the day but their heritage.

The selected photo collections for today then pay tribute to Mexico as we approach the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration:

National Geographic

Lonely Planet

Budget Travel's Most Beautiful Places in Mexico

Trip Advisor

LA Times

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Illustrations and Animations for Cinco de Mayo

In a week,  my adorable grandson will be celebrating his first birthday.  His party has been touted as Fiesta Time, complete with piƱatas, spicy music, hot tamales ... the whole enchilada.

It's not because our family lineage is rooted in Mexico. It's not that his name is Javier or Carlos. It's not that he looks great in a sombrero. What it is, is that our sweet blue-eyed, tow-headed baby boy, and all his German, Irish and Czech heritage was born on May 5,  Cinco de Mayo. 

As Mexicans around the world celebrate their ancestry and the anniversary of the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of the unbeaten French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, many others take the opportunity to appreciate the Mexican culture.  In looking for a theme for our Liam's big day then, Mom and Dad didn't need to look far.

The recipes have been found, the decorations, fashions and accessories  (in colours of the Mexican flag) have been planned,  the Tejano, banda and cumbia music is ready on CDs.  It will be, as his invitation says, no time for a siesta, because we're having a fiesta.

If you've got plans for some Cinco de Mayo fun, and need clipart to decorate your promotions or invitations,  here are some great collections of illustrations and animations:


Monday, April 27, 2015

Over 1,000 Baby Shower Invitation Templates

First comes love ....

As bridal season moves into full swing,  the focus of recent posts here has been on love and marriage with collections of illustrations featured for use in all types of wedding stationery.  

I remember well those starry-eyed days, from my own nuptials 35 years ago to those of my four children. But while weddings, and all the planning around them, are enchanting times,  they are just the beginning. For soon after a couple makes the decision to become one, they usually make the decision to increase the number again.

While having babies isn't for every couple, for most it is the logical next step in their new life.  I know that becoming a mother, times four, has been the highlight of mine. Also,  I've been so grateful to my own brood for the beautiful grandchildren they have brought into my world.

From the incredible moment when the pregnancy is announced to the high of the 'birth' day,  there is something magical in knowing that your family will soon be welcoming a tiny new addition.  It is the evidence of life sustained, of lineage continuing, of course. But it's also the restorative hope revived  by the the innocence and purity of an infant that makes their arrival so significant to people besides the parents.

The biggest recognition of this, particularly with the first child, is the baby shower.  While years ago they were held prior to the baby's arrival in order to  help Mom and Dad get all the preparations in order, these days they are as likely to be hosted following the birth. In this way, the gender of the child is known,  making gift purchases more specific. However, there is an ulterior motive — lots of cuddles with the new bundle of joy, whose attendance at the event is of course, mandatory.

If you're planning an event to welcome Little Mister or Missy,  here's a terrific collection of invitation templates from