Friday, December 22, 2017

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

Clipart image of a clock holding gifts
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 memories, to the blessings that came our way and our hearts are filled with gratitude.

It's a time too, to acknowledge the people who enrich our lives, the ones who have been with us through all of the years and those who entered our world just recently.  We also spend time reflecting on the ones we have cherished and lost.

Sadly, yes, not all of our 2017 memories will be perfect. There will be losses. There will be regrets over foolish fights, silly slights and overlooked opportunities. We might have spoken out of turn. We might have hurt someone who means the world to us.

Regardless of the memories, we are inspired at this time to year to think about who we are, who we want to be and what we can do to achieve that as the new year arrives. There will be resolutions made, some to be kept, most probably not. But at least we plant the seed,  and hope that some of the goals we set to make us more the kind of person we want to be, will be met in 2018.

Before then, though, there's a party to be had. New Year's Eve provides an opportunity to celebrate the promise of tomorrow with all the joy of living in the moment and no regrets over yesteryear. For decades my favourite date and I have celebrated the occasion with old, dear friends.

There was always music, noise and laughter. We counted on the consumption of food and drink with the same certainty we could count on midnight kisses. As reflected by time's passing only how much of all of those these changed.

Clipart image of a man wearing a party hat blowing a noisemaker for New Year's EveWhen we were young, with naivety and energy on our side, the gathering was a house party, a scene that suited us well since such exuberance as we displayed was best contained among close chums. The desire for fun was high; the interest in regret quite the opposite.

When we entered our 30s we came to the conclusion that we were probably civilized enough to take our show out in public and for several years spent New Year's Eve at a crowded dance. Gussied up and full of fun, we enjoyed sharing our circle with a wider group of acquaintances. While thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow were starting to get a little more attention, we didn't dwell on them either. There was far too much to enjoy in the present.

Eventually, lacking some of that youthful energy and morning after resilience, we found ourselves celebrating at house parties again. We had outgrown the noise and frenzy of a large gathering, complete with overly-friendly strangers. Though we still enjoyed a good time, there was no question we were a little more sedate. A contemplative atmosphere too, had settled over the notion of a new year, one that hadn't been there before. Time was spent on remembrance and reflection.

Then a few years ago, some of these old friends decided a nice dinner out was all we needed. However, there is apparently still a hint of those 20-year-olds in my guy and me. We were actually ready to put a little celebration back into the occasion. After dinner we headed out to a local nightclub where our son's band was playing for a night of music, noise and laughter once again. It was a grand time. So much so we plan to repeat it this year.

And with those expectations I've been inspired to share these fantastic collections of New Year's Eve clipart:

Happy New Year's Clipart from New Year's Eve Clipart

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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

Clipart image of an elf painting
"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

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 gifts for a few special friends. And then I thought, with all this extra time on my hands, why not try making them.

There's only one thing to stop me really.  I've never made a serious attempt at it before, and I don't easily jump into the unknown.

I guess some would say I'm a cautious person. And in all honesty I can't argue that assessment.  Where others will plunge fearlessly into new experiences, I sit back and consider the risks. While there are those for whom air travel is a common sense way to get around this world quickly, I  need a pretty darn good reason to get in a plane.

There are many for whom the daredevil curves and hair-raising plunges of a roller coaster are what amusement parks are all about.  Me?  I rather enjoy the carousel. I would never skydive, scale the side of a mountain or bungee jump. I don't mind staying close to home for my vacations and feel not the least bit regretful that I don't plan any trips to exotic, though occasionally volatile, destinations.

None of this troubles me or makes me feel inferior to people full of the spirit of adventure, though.  I am a homebody, content in the familiar, satisfied by what I have and  of my abilities. For this I make no apologies.

Yet, there is one aspect of this mild trepidation of mine that frustrates me — my reluctance to try new things, regardless of how mundane. I try to convince myself it's okay, because time is valuable,  I hate failure, so why subject myself to something I might not be able to do well and instead waste precious minutes that could be spent achieving other things.

The answer is, I constantly remind myself, because learning and experience are important. People never know what their capabilities and talents might be if they never try anything.  I'm too old and edgy to take up freestyle skiing, but there's no excuse for not opening up Photoshop and seeing what I can accomplish. Especially with Christmas to inspire me and the dozens of tutorials out there to guide me. Like these for example:

Make a Custom Holiday Photo Card With Photoshop Elements

Create a Christmas Tree Card

A Holiday Greeting Card Photo Border

Design Your Own Christmas Card

Create Custom Greeting Cards in 6 Steps

Design a Dazzling Holiday Card in Photoshop