Friday, November 24, 2017

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

Animation of Father Time
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 important. Because of the miles between us, many of these visits have to be found and appreciated in whatever way we can.

Animation of a baby's face on a laptopThank goodness, then for today's technology. Years ago if distance separated us from loved ones, if responsibilities kept us from being where we wanted to be, we had the telephone to help us stay in touch. Today, programs such as FaceTime allow us to not just converse but to see those dear faces too. If you can't be in the same room, it's the next best thing.

The other evening, my daughter called to ask me if I would mind a FaceTime break with her babies since she was behind on her supper preparations and felt a distraction for them could help her out. That my supper preparations were in even worse shape held no significance in making a decision. This was one of those moments when my world needed to stop for something far more important.

What fun we had. The rambunctious pre-schooler bounced in and out of the frame, fetching items for his version of show and tell, while his big sister filled us in on the latest kindergarten news. Before my hubby and I knew it, 15 minutes had passed far too quickly and Mom, now with things under control, was calling them to the dinner table. Her thanks as we signed off was rather ironic since the gratitude was all ours.

Animation of a redheaded girl in pigtails textingEven if a visual glimpse isn't possible, technology has provided so many ways to keep in touch — from instant messaging to chats on Facebook, from emails to texting.

The latter is something the aforementioned granddaughter has latched on to with enthusiasm. Her version of texting is not exactly about conversation since, at five, her ability to spell and type is rather limited. But when I hear the ringtone, nothing makes my heart smile more than a message full of unicorn and rainbow emojis. It's enough to know that we are connecting.

And I love to imagine her giggles when I respond with some of the adorable Animation Factory sticker packs from Vital Imagery Ltd. Available on iTunes these fun animations, for iPhone and iPad, infuse humour and visual interest in mundane texts.  This one is sure to put the Merry in your Christmas messages:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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

Clipart image of a girl in red doing her Christmas shopping
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 you drop.  I have exhausted many a novice and die-hard, even been asked by a much-younger someone if we could please be done. 

Within reason, I buy what I want when I want, I'm a sucker for the 'spend this much and get a free gift' pitch and I have never seen a bargain I could ignore.

That said, even I have my limits. There's one time of year when I strenuously avoid retail centres — the very time that most others fill them. No enticement or inducement is strong enough to lure me into the pre-Christmas rush. Or perhaps I should say crush.  

Instead, early in November, a friend and I head off to the big city for a two-day shopping binge. The Christmas list is attacked with extreme focus and items checked off with alacrity. And what doesn’t get done is quickly finished online.

Clipart image of Santa relaxing in a chair with a glass of wine
So now, as others are getting into the spirit of things, I have checked everyone off the list and am sipping wine by the twinkling lights of my tree while they are out fighing the bargain-hungry masses.

None of this is to say that my way is the best way. It’s simply the right way. For me.  I know plenty of people who actually prefer being out in the hustle and bustle of the last-minute shopping blitz. 

The end of this week is Black Friday, the day after the American Thanksgiving, when retailers inspire shoppers to come out in droves with tempting deals on everything. While you won't find me there, the craze  obviously holds huge appeal for many. Specials so incredible apparently make
Clipart image of a rush of shoppers
the challenge of spending time with the hordes of other people out to get the goods worth it. Friends and family of mine on this side of the border wouldn't miss making the trip to the States on the last Friday of November each year.

Those who share my aversion to crowded retail outlets need not miss out completely, though. The internet has given us the advantages of Black Friday from the comfort of our home.

So as we approach one of the most significant pre-holiday shopping extravaganzas  in western consumerism,  here are some Black Friday illustrations for use in business and retail from and