Friday, September 18, 2015

3 Clipart Collections for Autumn

You can feel its impending presence, softly and subtly filling  the air around you. Your mood shifts, your spirit quietens.

If autumn could be compared to a time of day, it would be twilight.  Spring is our morning, rising slowly before its burst of life. Summer is  the busyness of an afternoon. Autumn's  the end of the day and winter takes us to bed.

Fall's changing foliage can be likened to the kaleidoscopic colours of a sunset and its pace is akin to the sleepy hours before bedtime. While summer is the afternoon party in the sun, autumn is quiet evening drinks on the deck with a friend.  And just as we seize every opportunity to enjoy the time before sleep, we greedily hang on to the  final weeks before winter falls.

Like it or not, autumn's arrival is imminent. Though we might be sad to say goodbye to summer's brightness, like those calm twilight hours we can only soak up the unique beauty that fall brings us and appreciate each minute.

I'm a spring and summer person. But as we arrive at this time of year, I am awed by the glorious foliage above me.  The changing leaves feels to me like nature's way of going out on a high note before it's swept away on the bitter winds of winter.

Today's clipart collections then are a preview of  that autumn splendour:

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Get Amazing Amusement Park Photos

It's fall fair time in communities everywhere these days. Young and old gather to socialize and celebrate the harvest and a love of rural life. There will be candy floss and apples, exhibits and displays.  And, of course, the midway.

In recent years I haven't made the trek down to our local agricultural fair when it's in town. My kids are grown and gone away, I've never been an exhibitor,  so there's not really much reason to shirk personal and work responsibilities to attend. 

However, for over 20 years, that attendance was mandatory with my position as editor of the community newspaper. From the school parade at noon until the final event in the late afternoon I was busy snapping photos of happy faces and all the fun. I dodged cow patties to get the 4H champs, cruised the arcade games for a winner and searched out some shots that reflected the atmosphere.

The one challenge for me, though, was  the midway.  The kiddie rides were simple enough to get some good photos of; the trains, boats and dragons moved slowly and the riders' gleeful expressions were ever present. 

However, the same could not be said of the pictures of thrillseekers on the salt and pepper shakers, swings and teacups. As a writer with a camera I was just not a talented enough photographer to get the results I hoped for.  It would have been nice, therefore, if this information had been so readily available when I needed it back then:

Top 10 Tips for Amazing Amusement Park Photography

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

5 Sources for Tattoo Clipart

Somewhere in the world of strange holidays it says that today is National Tattoo Story Day.

Let me begin by saying I've never had one, I don't want one, but they are less unappealing to me than they were.  Especially if there is a story or strong symbolic meaning behind them.

All four of my kids boast body ink. Interestingly, the one that bothered me the least is the largest, most intricate and most in your face.  While those of his three siblings meant something to them at the time, as adults they regret them, or wish they had opted for something else.   They admit that they were impulsive choices made as impetuous young people.

Our younger son on the other hand has used his arm to tell the story of his life. He has painted it with loved people and pets, a favourite car,  symbols representing memories of places he's toured, all in a carnival midway theme. This, though I might not like or really even approve of, I can understand.

Of course, everyone's story is different, as is their take on how to tell it.  In the world of clipart there are many examples of tattoos, which might not tell a complete tale but the design can be an interesting starting point. Here are just a few collections:

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

4 Clipart Collections Celebrating Grandparents

This past Sunday was Grandparents Day.  I was reminded of this fact by my mother when I visited her in the nursing home Monday night as they had planned some special events around it.

The sad reality is, however, that the occasion is no longer celebrated here in Canada.  While it began in 1995 it was discontinued in 2014.  Other countries though have designated a day in which to honour the important of grandparents within the structure of the family.

I adore my grandchildren, but I will not be so pompous as to talk about the value I bring to their lives. What I will reflect upon instead is the impact my own grandparents had on my upbringing.

The connection to my maternal grandmother came at a very early age, beyond my recollections.  In the process of building a new house our family lived in the back of my grandparents home. As my father was also getting a new business off the ground, my mother took a job shortly after I was born to help out. Stepping in to nurture and care for me was Grandma.  The stories go that much time was spent cuddling and singing.  So much so in fact that by the time I was barely two I could croon a solid solo version of My Darling Clementine.

My mother's father was a gentle man, a sketcher of realistic horses, a player of games and reciter of poems. I don't recall a severe look or tone from him, but felt a quiet strength within him.

From my father's parents I discovered the charm of the farm, following in grandpa's easy steps to the barn and fields,  watching grandma's unfailing work ethic from morn to night. My cousins and I enjoyed the freedom of acres of countryside while they quietly laboured and tended to our needs. Respite for them came in music, as Grandma found time each evening to play the organ, or in Grandpa's German lessons.

I lost three of them while still in my teens, but I know how their presence enriched my life, if even for a short time. They were the calm in the storm, the quiet energy, the reasoned guidance.

So, while Canada might have decided that paying tribute to grandparents by giving them their own day isn't important, I disagree. Today's clipart collections celebrate them and their place within a family.


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Monday, September 14, 2015

2 Clipart Collections Celebrating the Harvest

We see it above us and in the air around us. There's the soft chill that the sun takes a bit longer to burn away each morning. The verdant canopy overhead is beginning its transformation into a colourful mosaic of umber, scarlet, orange and gold as the leaves take a spectacular final bow before fading into fall.

The changing season is also noticeable in the countryside around us as the fields are harvested and the growing season's bounty is brought in.

Though the seasonal shift has begun, though the summer social whirl of events is behind us for another year, there's always much to celebrate during early fall.  Particularly at the annual fair.

There is probably no other gathering that speaks as much to community in a rural area as this. First there is the healthy competition that is part of the exhibits. People collect to see whose sunflower is most radiant, whose pumpkin is most impressive and whose sunset photo captured the beauty most perfectly.

The fall fair is a place where people come to see their neighbours after the busy months of a summer in farming country.  As it was in the past and always will be, comparisons on the price of corn and soybeans,  or the latest news regarding  livestock production are the hot topics for the day.

Oldtimers  recall the way it was while new agriculturalists discuss the latest in modern advances and technologies.

And everyone will think about the benefits of living in a place where they know first hand what it means to produce the food put on a table and feel grateful.

With fall fair season underway in this corner of the world, then, today's clipart collections celebrate the bounty of the harvest season and those award-winning crops: