Friday, January 15, 2016

390 Illustrations of Children and Snow

Finally, Friday! Tonight after work people head to various destinations to unwind in various ways as they celebrate two days intended to be all their own.

Regardless, of the many household tasks that often fill that time, there's always something to look forward to — whether it's enjoying a night out with friends, a visit from loved ones or just some gosh darn peace and quiet.

There's going to be nothing relaxing about my next two days. Yet, there will be plenty of fun. Tonight my husband and I are heading off to pick up two of our grandbabies.  Because of the distance that separates us, our daughter and I made a decision when the first was born that her children would come for a visit one weekend a month so Grandma and Papa's house is a warm and familiar place. As it should be and would be if they lived closer.

It's been a wonderful plan. My guy and I look forward to the next visit as soon as the first is over.  Tired our bodies might be at that point, but our lives have been energized by the magic that the presence of those two precious beings brought.

Part of that magic is always found outdoors, of course.  For me, seeing the winter wonderland through their eyes increases the wretched season's appeal. Such fun they find just walking and falling into the snow. There are snowmen to build, forts to construct, snowballs to toss and angels to make. Heck, even shovelling the nasty white stuff is fun, apparently.
So as I look forward to this weekend and the entertainment it holds I decided to scope out some illustrations to reflect part of what I will be enjoying. Here are some great clipart collections of children and the fun they find in winter:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

1,400 Photos of Peaceful Interior Spaces

Even the most positive people hit a funk from time to time. Feeling a little off physically, worry and stress, or disappointment can insinuate themselves into life, then challenge us to rise above it all.

For me, the funk can happen pretty much any given day in winter. Besides despising all the bundling required, the shovelling (well, watching my husband shovel), the slippery sidewalks, the blustery drives, I need summer's sunshine. As a SAD sufferer, I struggle through winter, eager to get to the other side.

With today being yet another grey, snowy morning,  positive thoughts weren't succeeding in lifting my spirits much. As I plowed through snow, feet placed carefully lest ice lie beneath,  my path took me past the door of an older couple's home. I was instantly surprised by a strange thought — how nice it would be to stop in there and hide for a bit. No one would know where I was. I could just be still and quiet. Well, provided the owners of the house didn't mind.

After wondering from whence that random notion came,  I realized it's been forever since I could actually had a room to call my own. From hubby to kids there's always been someone strolling in to any space I'm in.  For the most part it's fine, but once in a while we all need a place in which to breathe.

Where that might be is different for everyone. Whether bedroom, living room, den or garage, it's wherever you find comfort and quiet when needed.  For today's image collections, then,  I've gathered some photos of beautiful interiors and of people finding their quiet within them:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tips for Compositing in Photoshop

Outside the wind is howling, blowing the trillions of fluffy flakes from the sky and where they lie. A winter storm is raging, turning the landscape a bland white under a canopy of dreary grey.

Home from work, I push in through the door, doffing the armour that protected me against the driving snow and biting temperatures.  Supper in the oven I hurtle towards my comfy chair, wineglass in hand, afghan clutched in the other. I take this brief interlude to warm the bones and hide from the reality of what's going on outside.

As the chill eases and the wine relaxes, I let my mind wander to places of warmth and sunshine — summer at the beach,  walking around car shows while feeling the heat of the sun soothing my shoulders,  hearing the call of the loons at the beautiful French River. 

If only for a brief time it's a welcome escape.

Too bad we can't put ourselves into another place as easily as we can into a photograph with Photoshop.  Compositing is a fun way to transform a picture by adding one image to another, by replacing something less than perfect with something a little better.

Here are a few tips and tricks on how it's done:

10 Things You Need to Know About Compositing in Photoshop

An Introduction to Photoshop Compositing

Seamless Compositing

Time-Saving Tips for Compositing in Photoshop

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1,600 Adorable Winter Cartoons

We knew we weren't going to be lucky enough to have him visit sporadically — as he has been doing. We knew that he felt a sense of entitlement to come and stay for a few months. And we knew that meant he was going to show up, with all of his baggage,  and linger, probably far longer than he should.

With only a couple of quick passes through the area before the new year, Old Man Winter has decided the time has come to hang around for a while. He blew in  Sunday and has since given us nothing but the full force of the worst of his personality.  He has huffed and puffed,  stormed and squalled. He has pelleted us with, first rain, then ice, now snow.

Certainly we were due. The unseasonable warmth and lack of the fluffy white stuff was perfection for his haters, but we knew it had to end. The sudden onslaught of a three-day spree, however, replete with whiteouts, icy roads and bone-chilling cold is a bit of a shock to the system.

We had become a bit complacent, I fear, and most certainly spoiled. Coming back to the harsh realities that accompany our unwanted guest is an adjustment,  as we don bulky outwear, shovel walks and reschedule travel plans.

But, what Old Man Winter perhaps doesn't know is that in this corner of the world we are nothing if not adaptable. We use that trait to find the pleasures in what he brings — to shovel with the promise of a hot chocolate by the fireplace afterwards; to meet his bluster head on with a snowmobile ride, to dig out our skis and glide across his boring blanket of white, brought to life by sparkling sunshine.

So, with only a few weeks of winter remaining, we will successfully tolerate the new guest, the only way we know how. By finding the best in what he throws our way.  For starters, let's poke a little fun at him with these collections of winter cartoons:

ClickArt Online


Monday, January 11, 2016

3 Collections of Music-Themed Backgrounds

Choosing a theme for these posts every day is typically inspired by something that happens or is about to. Tying that in to the purpose is where the challenge begins for me.

There are days when a particular bit of news you hear in the morning, though,  can affect you in such a way that for a time it consumes your thoughts. It can happen as a result of a horrible tragedy, a shocking story or one of senseless loss.  It can make it difficult to focus on the routine parts of life, at least until the shock eases.

The untimely passing of some famous individuals can also have a profound effect on us. These are the ones whom you feel, despite their celebrity, are actually good people and in possession of a talent worthy of admiration.

This morning, hearing about the passing of the incomparable musician, artist and actor, David Bowie, I felt a true sense of loss. Still a teenager when introduced to Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, I was fascinated by the man and his music. Through the years I followed his transformations, admittedly with varying degrees of interest, but never losing the view that this was a brilliant, charismatic human being.  Described by the New York Times as a "shape-shifting master of pop theatricality", he never failed to intrigue and entertain.

The shock of his death at 69 just following the release of a new album, filled my mind as I settled at my desk this morning.  Since the focus of my missives here is on images, their uses, their creation and their many formats.  I wondered if I could find a way to talk a bit about this a man whose uniqueness, whose artistry held many in his thrall.

Then it dawned on me that the world of images and photography is most definitely a connection to the spellbinding Bowie and his artistry. 

In choosing images to highlight then I could have considered all aspects of entertainment. Bowie shared with us his eclectic and diverse talent in so many ways.  His music played the greatest role in my life; however,  (it seemed we matured together) so I  selected some edgy backgrounds to feature here today as I think of a man,  whose musical gifts to us will be missed: Music Backgrounds Music Backgrounds

ClickArt Online Music Backgrounds