Friday, January 22, 2016

2 Collections of Love and Romance Photos

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that it's time to slow down.  Especially if you're my husband.

Made of strong German stock and raised by a fun-loving father and a tough, hard-working mother, my guy is a champion at burning the candles at both ends. Toiling at whatever labour is there through the day, he's easily convinced to enjoy a night out, then work the next day on just a few hours sleep.

Dragging him out after working all day might seem harsh, but trust me, it's often the only way to get him to stop a job.

The problem with this of course, is that it's not exactly a restful pattern So, if there's one thing I can do from time to time to really get him to slow down,  to take him away from work and busy nightlife,  it's to take him some place without responsibilities or too much entertainment.

Our kids know the importance of this too, and for Christmas gave us a getaway package. Nestled away in a lovely country inn, time together amidst peace and quiet will be the focus.

No matter who needs to stop and smell the roses, romance is often the perfect distraction.  And it need not be anything too difficult to attain.  Candlelit dinners, quiet walks on moonlit beaches,  and gentle conversation enjoyed over a glass of wine by the fireside,  are perfect options to still busy minds, bodies and souls without asking too much.  You just need to come up with an idea and make the appointment to stop your busyness for a time.

If inspiration is what you need,  hopefully it can be found in these collections of love and romance photos:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

227 Charming Vintage Valentines

Each year around this time I share an image collection for no other reason than I love it and it's time to start thinking about the holiday for which they can be used.  Since it's only just a little over three weeks until Valentine's Day and it's Throwback Thursday, today seemed as good a time as any.

The stores have their shelves stocked with assorted greetings for children to give to friends and family,  and for adults to share with their sweethearts.  For something original, however, you can find some terrific collections of Valentines online.

With a subscription to an online graphics service, you could not only download as many adorable Valentines as you need, or images to create your own, but you would also be able to access them for other projects as long as your subscription lasts.

When I think about the romantic holiday, I recall the excitement in my early school days — the build-up to Feb. 14 when we would deliver our little missives of love and friendship to our classmates. There were special containers to be constructed in arts and crafts in which we could receive and take home the cards.

I remember the adorable designs with the kitschy verses and puns, such as the one above.

While there are many beautiful modern cards and designs today, for me, vintage is a style that will catch my attention every time. For nostalgia alone,  ignoring the fact that they are positively charming,  this collection is a favourite:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Fun of Vectors

The accessibility of online graphics has made it easy to create unique personal projects, as well as business materials. Even for the novice, the diversity of images ensures you can find what you need without worrying about altering it.

Yet, sometimes it's just fun to play. Whether adding, subtracting or changing a colour, there's a format that allows you to download an image, then redesign it or resize it to suit your wants and personal style — vectors.

First, let's consider that you've found the perfect illustration, but it's a little small for your purposes. The versatile vector, unlike bitmap images, which are comprised of pixels, is based on mathematical equations such as points, lines and curves.  So, while a JPG or PNG might distort somewhat when you make it larger, the vector formats will maintain an image's crispness and quality.

Another attribute of vectors is that they can always, unless they've been created with a coloured background that is part of the design,  be saved as a new file with a transparent background.

Should you find two graphics close to what you are looking for, but neither is exactly right, selecting the vector files will allow you to combine elements of both to make your own unique design.

Perfection though, is of course always elusive, even for vectors. One disadvantage is that they can't be used in producing realistic photos, as they don't possess a continuous flow of subtle colour tone and shade variations.

Vectors come in a number of formats, including AI, EPS, PDF, SVG and WMF. Working with them requires quality image-editing software. Among the most popular are CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator.  There are a few free online options too.

While they can be opened in Adobe Photoshop or free software programs such as GIMP, they will be rasterized. This means that they no longer function as a vector.  This is not to say that these types of programs don't have their uses. For example,  you can increase the size of an image when you open it in Photoshop.

To help you learn more about vectors check out this  informative site:

Tech-FAQ Vectors

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3 Terrific Collections of Winter Sport Clipart

So the saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Though in this case, 'em would actually be an it I suppose.

Winter hasn't been my friend for a long time. Having spent this past weekend with a toddler and a preschooler  I was actually surprised to discover, however,  it's not always their friend either. After bundling up for some outdoor fun on Sunday,  it wasn't long before the biting wind and blowing snow had chased away any pleasure that might be found in building forts or snowmen.

Usually, winter is a natural miracle for these little ones.  Only magic, after all,  could cover the landscape so quickly, transforming it from the norm to something pristine, pure and so very fluffy.

There are many adults, too, who enjoy the chilly months, seeing the blanket of white not as an inconvenience that must be shovelled, but rather as the perfect set up for fun. The first fleck of snow gets their pulse racing.  Traversing fields on snowmobiles, gliding over ice on skates, crossing country on skis, flying downhill on snowboards are eagerly anticipated.

If I get a little nostalgic I can recall the fun to be found in winter, too.  Skating and tobogganing were frequent pastimes in my youth. I later fell in love with an avid snowmobiler and only stopped going along for the ride after babies began arriving.

However, as I look forward to weeks yet of cleaning off the car and clearing out the driveway, of bundling up then trudging along icy sidewalks, of shivering and shaking even indoors, I am disinclined to 'join  'em' in their zealousness for winter.  I can try to alter my completely negative perceptions though with these entertaining collections of winter sport clipart:

Acclaim Images

ClickArt Online

Monday, January 18, 2016

When Free Isn't Good

There's nothing like hearing the word 'free' to get people excited. However, when it's being used to describe graphics on the internet,  it would be wiser to take a deep breath and look elsewhere.

While the idea of getting something for nothing is undeniably appealing, it shouldn't hold true in the world of online graphics.

'Royalty-free' is a very different story.  This  important descriptive is attached to the service provided by the Vital Imagery Ltd. family of online graphic sites. These include , AnimationFactory , and School Edition

What 'royalty-free' means first is that when a person makes the decision to purchase a subscription or image they have access to millions of some of the world's best clipart, photos, fonts and animations without any hidden costs.

Another benefit of using sites such as those mentioned above is quality, ensuring a clean, crisp, professional addition to a project. Anyone who's ever used a 'free' image from a website knows it certainly offers no such guarantee.

Also, by purchasing artwork, the work of talented artists is being supported.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this however, is that using royalty-free images legally protects the buyer. Lifting 'free' images found on the internet is essentially theft and could land a person in a lot of trouble.

For more about this, here's a great article by graphic designer Chris Dunmire, which clearly outlines the risks:

Before You Steal That Image