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Showing posts from 2017

Ring in the New Year with Fun Festive Photos from iPHOTOS.com

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice." — T.S. Eliot

So we have unbelievably reached this point. Again. With amazing speed, like melting ice down a window in the sunshine, another year has passed. All the fun of Christmas is behind us, and we now look ahead to the promise of all the good things we hope for in 2018.

The festive holidays for me were perfect; counting my blessings each day was easy as they were apparent at every turn.

All of it began a few days before Christmas with an elegant feast hosted by a friend, followed by a relaxing bit of socializing. The next day we travelled to enjoy turkey dinner number one at our daughter's home with her in-laws. From there, it was the joy of having all I ever need under my roof. On Christmas Day, family surrounded me, a bounty of gifts spoiled me, the abundance of food and drink flowed. It was an excellent  reminder of how fortunate I am to enjoy so much.

Ring in the New Year with Memories, Fun and Great Clipart from iCLIPART.com and Clipart.com

The lights twinkle on the tree. Garlands and holly grace mantles and staircases. And Sir Paul McCartney melodically reminds that he's "simply having a wonderful Christmas time".

Today is Friday. But perhaps most significantly, it's the last Friday before Christmas. By the time I return to my station here next week, Dec. 25, 2017 will have found its place in the memory files. The bows and paper have been torn away and relegated to the refuse bin. The presents have been accepted, as cherished treasures or secretly set aside by re-gifters. Cooks are practising their culinary creativity as they look for new ways to dress up that leftover turkey.

And as we look ahead it will be to the end of 2017 and to the start of 2018. These are the days when we often find ourselves reflecting on the year soon passing. We think of the special events that brought us closer to the people we love. We remember moments that surprised us and filled our hearts. We look to the beautiful memor…

Put the Personal Touch on Your Merry Christmas Greeting With a Custom Holiday Card

"I love Christmas, not just because of the presents, but because of all the decorations and lights and the warmth of the season." – Ashley Tisdale. 

Normally at this time of year I am well ahead of the season. The decorating was completed so long ago I can barely remember what the house looked like before. The presents have been bought, wrapped and placed under the tree. The baking is done and stacked away in the freezer. The turkey is ordered, the wine cellar stocked.

As of last week all that remained was the selection of an image to use for this year's festive eGreeting, which was completed efficiently after a perusal of iCLIPART.com.

Yes, while others are tying up loose ends, completing their shopping amidst the busy whirl of seasonal commerce, I have been sipping pinot grigio,  warmed by the crackling fireplace and twinkling tree lights. While deep in the pages of a good book just the other day, however, it crossed my mind that Christmas cards are needed to accompany…

Christmas – a Time for Traditions Including Hanging Those Stockings

It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul." — Caroline Kennedy.

When I look back on all of the Christmases in this life,  I'm blessed to be able to say that few of the memories are bad.  From the Sunday School concerts, followed by the drive to see the lights around town, to the presents under the tree and supper with the cousins at Grandma's and Grandpa's, the images of my childhood festive holidays are ones I hold dear. They do in fact bind me, with threads of sentimentality and love, to those with whom I share them.

Later, as a young mother of four beautiful children,  the memories created were often from the traditions that began with this new life my husband and I were beginning. There was nothing p…

Perfect Your Christmas Light Photography With Great Tips from Expert Resources

It happens that I am one of those people. As the year winds down, as the final months flip away, I can barely contain my eagerness. Christmas is on its way and in the weeks leading up to it I'm keen every year to begin celebrating this wonderful season of peace, joy and goodwill.

Though I have disciplined myself to (when it comes to many aspects of the holiday) hold off until after the solemn observance of Remembrance Day,  the shopping is usually well under way by November.

And the rest, of course, follows soon after.

It is to me, such a beautiful celebration, from its message and music,  to its food and adornments, that it seems a shame to not get a good start on all of it. And I really do love to decorate for this festive season. A project that began with a tree in a cozy corner and a few garlands over doorways in my first year of marriage, has grown to encompass most of the house. There's something about the twinkling lights, the holly, the greenery and candles that makes…

Christmas Tree Images to Put the Festive in Your Seasonal Projects

It’s tragedy, drama and comedy rolled into one.  It’s the Agony and the Ecstasy. It’s War and Peace. What begins every year as A Fine Mess ends always, with certainty, as It’s a Wonderful Life.

Thus describes my annual tree trimming escapades.

Please forgive the literary and film references above, but when it comes to this seasonal ritual I've often felt that the trials and tribulations are too bizarre to be reality. Year in and year out  no matter how organized I might be, no matter how much time I allow,  decorating the tree is a painfully frustrating exercise.  A problem arises and I hopefully address it the next year, only to find another problem arising.

Yet, always, always, the end result is worth every miserable moment. There is such warmth to be found in the glow of a Christmas tree.  It's the beckoning light for family to gather around, for friends to be entertained by.

But first, the agony, the war and the mess. We've always had an artificial tree. For convenien…

Discover the Magic of Children at Christmas in These Beautiful Photos from iPHOTOS.com

It really is the most wonderful time of the year. In general people seem happier, full of the spirit of the season. The business of Christmas is attacked with purpose, yet its peace and joy are felt within. The social calendar is full and tthe vast majority will be anticipated with a festive glee. Some more than others.

This weekend my guy and I are very happy to be heading out to a favourite destination of ours. The lovely Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, Michigan has been on the road trip list virtually every year for decades, going back to when my husband and I first met.

In those days, the charm and history were less an attraction than the annual summer beer festival. With the tunnel-vision of youth when the opportunity for a dash of fun presented itself, our focus was on socializing and partying. A group of us, numbering anywhere from a dozen to 20, headed out, the Friday morning of the second weekend in June,  some in tandem, others too eager to wait, leading the way.

From then unt…

Reflections on a Christmas Tradition and Sharing 2 Amazing Snowman Clipart Collections

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." — Dale Evans

There is a Christmas holiday tradition, a particular gift for my offspring that I've enjoyed seeking and giving every year since the birth of my oldest child. It started simply enough – a Santa tree ornament for his stocking. However, it struck me soon after that this would be a great idea for every year so he would have a nice collection by the time he was ready to decorate his own tree.

It was just one of those happy coincidences, though, that I selected a bauble the following year that also had Santa on it. Thus a theme had begun and a tradition was formed.

As each of his three siblings arrived I chose a theme for them too.  It continues now, even as they are adults, and such pleasure it brings to see these added to their festive decorations.  It was an obvious no-brainer then that I would continue the practice with the next generation.

Sixteen years ag…

Make Your Messages More Fun for Loved Ones to See With Animated Sticker Packs

There are times while looking at our children or grandchildren when we wish we could find a way to slow time's swift passage. Moments are fleeting, days are ephemeral and the years move along with an almost incredible rapidity. We give life to new beings and before we know it they are grown. And, as they say, it did all seem to happen in a heartbeat, in the blink of an eye.

My generation speaks of it often when we're together. Having experienced the phenomenon with our own kids, we find ourselves determinedly, albeit futilely trying to grab every instant and hold on for just a little longer with our grandchildren. When we get older, you see,  we know how precious this time with little ones can be. We know that there are very few jobs so important we can ignore the reaching out of a tiny hand, or the sweet request that asks only for us to stop for a bit, to just enjoy being with them.

Living a distance from all of my grandchildren, making these connections is even more importa…

Gearing up for Bargain Hunting With These Awesome Black Friday Clipart Collections

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And in my case that just might be because of a certain penchant I have for retail therapy. Imagine my delight then in the necessary pursuit of everybody's perfect gift.
We all have our weaknesses. And one of mine just happens to be that I am seriously fond of shopping. Actually, were I to be honest I might have to admit to being a bit of an 'aholic'. The temptation is always there. I would rarely turn down an invitation from a friend to go buying. A special occasion is always the perfect excuse to procure a new outfit. An outing with the grandchildren rarely ends without a purchase of one kind or another, be it a stuffy or a sweet treat.
The restraint, when  presented with the opportunity to indulge, is virtually non-existent. Take me to a mall, any time, any day, anywhere and I will shop until youdrop.  I have exhausted many a novice and die-hard, even been asked by a much-younger someone if we could please be done. 
Withi…

Improve Your Holiday Photos With These Helpful Photoshop Tutorials

"Taking an image,  freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is." — Anonymous

There are many instances over a lifetime when the notion of 'freezing a moment' is yearned for. Often, unfortunately, after the fact. There are those precious times with loved ones that we wish we could hold onto forever. There are those vacations we took, those events we attended that were so enjoyed we wished they could go on forever. The best we can hope for typically is that we have a camera with us to at least preserve the memory for posterity.

Thanks to technology many of those memories are safeguarded these days. With digital cameras, tablets and smartphones, there are a lot of snap happy people out there running around here and there, grabbing pictures of this and that along the way. So much so that in the extreme they are often too busy capturing the moment to realize they aren't actually enjoying it.

Having long ago recognized the value of picture taking, I've bee…

Thanksgiving and the Season Begin with Wonderful Holiday Clipart

Little remains of the kaleidoscopic canopy that autumn created. The foliage began its slow fall weeks ago, littering the ground with colour and crunch. The days have shortened, the air is crisp and in this corner of the world we are anticipating snow's  appearance.

Now we can turn our minds to the special celebrations that will dominate life for the remainder of 2017.  There was an early start for my extended family this past weekend as we gathered for our annual 'Christmas' dinner. Too early? Maybe. But we have our reasons.

As time aged us, as it moved us along different paths, as work schedules became more complicated, as more people were added to the clan, my siblings and I, along with our now-grown children, found ourselves distanced by hundreds of miles in various directions as well as conflicting work schedules. The busyness of the traditional festive season makes it challenging enough to co-ordinate a special holiday time, let alone when you have to drive a couple …

As Thanksgiving Nears These Photos Remind There's No Greater Blessing Than Family

There would be no argument from anyone these days that these are tumultuous, interesting and unquestionably scary times in the world. From the threat of nuclear war, to the political maelstrom swirling around the right and the left, to mass shootings and turbulent weather, there is unquestionable uncertainty and concern felt by many.

At the end of the month, however, residents of the United States will be celebrating their Thanksgiving. There is probably no better time to be reminded that despite the chaos there is still so much for which people can be thankful.

Always first on my list is family.  As we celebrated our Thanksgiving here last month (Canadians count their blessings in October) I looked around our dining table at my kids and the six beautiful grandchildren they have given me. The first of the latter came into our lives 18 years ago and it was like the already brilliant sun began to shine a little brighter. Becoming a grandparent was better than I could have imagined and …

You're Sure to Love These 5 Collections Featuring This Week's Top Downloads from iCLIPART.com

"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap." Ani DiFranco

My husband and I enjoy many of the same things in life and most certainly share the same values.  We have a rather far-left view and can both be a little impatient with those who even tilt right. Compromise generally comes easily in decision making since we both recognize when it might be wise to concede on a particular issue.  And for both of us, family is always first.

However,  we do differ a bit in our interests. While we both love classic Mopars,   his passion for vintage snowmobiles is a wonder to me. I read books voraciously; for him it's newspapers and magazines.

We share a mutual love of music. However, what we want to listen to at any given time can be at opposite ends of the genre spectrum.  Though I tend to select a playlist to suit a mood or time of day; jazz for a quiet dinner, for example; he plays to suit his mood. AC DC blaring out of speaker…

From Baseball to Hockey There's a Sport for Everybody in These Clipart Collections

The World Series concluded a couple of nights ago a way that even the most die-hard Dodger fan had to feel okay with. It took seven great games of baseball for the Houston Astros to defeat the LA team and in so doing take home the coveted title for the first time in franchise history.

While that's noteworthy, perhaps the real reason that so many had their hearts behind the Astros is that this victory has given  a city devastated by Hurricane Harvey in August something to celebrate.

North of the border we folks in Canada, with our Toronto Blue Jays trading bats for golf clubs weeks ago,  had the luxury of enjoying the games without the passion and occasional heartache that can accompany rooting for your own team. We could pick a side without really caring.

The majority of people I knew wanted this win for the Texas team for the aforementioned reasons.  The Dodgers, after all, have been World Series champs six times already and it's always nice to see an honour bestowed on some…

Getting into the Holiday Spirit With Christmas Gift Clipart for Your Projects

The insistent beep pierces the air, slicing through the gentle stillness, until a hand sweeps forward to silence it. The alarm has called, yet eyelids struggle from slumber to see nothing as grey still cloaks the sky. Dark, dreary dawn does little to inspire any energy for the day ahead.

It's a day shy of November as I write this. Following a glorious autumn, the weather now reflects what is expected of this time of year. Temperatures have taken a nose dive. Skies are often dull and thick, heavy rains fall with a driving persistence.  The S-word has been dropped from meteorologists on radio and television, and while we've avoided it to this point, it's just a matter of time before a good dumping of fluffy flakes buries our landscape in pristine white.

For a sun-loving, summer-savouring woman, who finds her little bit of heaven in long walks in the sand or lazy afternoons on the patio, the winds of seasonal change are tolerated not anticipated. It's the time of year wh…

Honouring Our Selfless Heroes With 2 Photo Collections for Remembrance Day

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
In 1914, as war had broken out in Europe, Laurence Binyon penned his For the Fallenwhile sitting atop a cliff on the north Cornish coastline. It is the stanza above, the fourth in the completed work, that was his starting point and that has become familiar from its use at Remembrance/Veterans Day services around the world. Just a few months after Binyon's homage to fallen soldiers, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae composed his poem, In Flanders Fields on a Belgium battleground following the death of a close friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, killed by a German artillery shell. It is said that McCrae was asked to conduct a burial service as there was no chaplain and that evening he began writing what has become the most famous war memorial poem.
We are the dead: Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Lov…

Capture the Joy of Music With These Tips for Successful Concert Photography

"Photography for me is not looking, it's feeling. If you can't feel what you're looking at, then you're never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures." — Don McCullin

From my side of the camera, at least when I'm taking pictures of my six grandchildren, there's plenty of feeling involved. This hobby began quite a while ago with our now teenage grandson and it has continued after a long dry spell with the bundle of adorable little ones who have most recently blessed our family. My ultimate hope has always been that their vibrant personalities are as evident in my photos of them as in real life.

Did the enigmatic gaze of our blue-eyed beauty shine through? Can people see the sense of fun and joy in the tow-headed charmer that is her brother? Are they compelled to smile at our dimpled sweetheart. Does my picture effectively show the gentle spirit of our tiny toddler, or the inquisitive nature of her baby brother? Is there a …