Black Friday Alert!

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Before anything else, I want to give a tip of the hat to my good friend, Michelle a.k.a. Dogkisses. I met her through a comment she wrote to my blog almost a year ago. She’s an incredibly brave, strong, and loving woman who’s got a lot on her shoulders yet still finds the time to help keep my spirits up. She’s also a very moving authoress who’s words paint pictures and move your heart. If you haven’t discovered her blog DOGKISSES yet, I highly recommend it. While you’re there, in addition to her regular posts, check out the other tabs where she hides some of her very best stuff.

I’ve been extra busy the past few weeks, creating a bunch of new designs for greeting cards, postage, postcards, stamps, and gift labels so they’d be ready for the holidays. With Black Friday coming in a couple of days, you might want to make a note to check out my online shop – as well as other artist’s Zazzle Shops – as we’re all going to be running some really great sales which will change every hour. So you’ll want to check there often. Depending on when you get there (online) you’ll find savings as much as 75% on all kinds of great gifts, clothing, cards, and more. Share the news with your friends and if you all use this link you’ll get a coupon with your purchase worth at least 10% off of your next purchase from ANY Zazzle store! How cool is that?

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Going Postal Over Thanksgiving

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In doing some research concerning the history and traditions of our celebration of “Thanksgiving” here in the US, I came across something that really peaked my curiosity. What I found was that a dozen or so countries around the world have issued one or more postage stamps depicting either the “Mayflower” (the ship which the first wave of pilgrims journeyed) and/or honoring those pilgrims in general or individual passengers that landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusettes on November 21, 1620. (November 11 to those of you using the Julian calendar, as did the pilgrims themselves).

Among those countries, I found stamps issued by: the United States, Bangladesh, Chartonia, Great Britain, Guinea, Isle of Man, Oman, GrenadaUganda, Burkina Faso, Canada, Antigua, Liberia, and more. The question I was not able to find an answer to, is “Why?” Why would any country, other than the US, have any connection to or interest in honoring the Mayflower or those pilgrims?

While the ship did depart from an area of London, England known at the time as “Plymouth”, the pilgrims were fleeing that country due to oppressive (deadly) means of dealing with those who defied the rules of the Catholic Church. They were not government-sponsored explorers or emissaries that Britain could claim bragging rights in the more traditional manner. So had their issuance of such stamps been with the attitude “Thank G-d, we got rid of them buggers! They’re your problem now.”? Or was it simply a matter of commerce in that they saw the US as a great marketplace that they sought to exploit by appealing to our vanity? Me thinks that is the most likely explanation, not only for Britain, for all of the other countries as well. What do you think? And while you’re at it, anyone ever heard of Burkina Faso before? Or am I the only one so ignorant?

Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

The Welcoming Committee

Mayflower Landing at Plymouth RockMayflower Landing at Plymouth Rock (2)

Turkey Feast

Mayflower Landing (3)

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Get Your Red Hots Here

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I don’t know whether this is solely an American (er, USA) experience or if there is something similar in other countries and cultures, but if you’ve ever been to a Major League Baseball Game you’re likely familiar with the sounds and smells (and frequent splats of mustard) coming from the vendors trolling up the aisles, flinging hot dogs over your head while chanting their anthem, “Red Hots! Get Your Red Hots, Here! Red Hots!” It is one of those silly things that old folks like me wax nostalgic over. And while the intent and purpose of those vendors with their theatrical delivery and sing-song announcement of the goods they’ve got for sale is absolutely no different from Billy Mays shouting (as if he were unaware of the invention of microphones) and doing whatever else it takes to grab your attention just long enough to plant in your subconscious a sense of familiarity with his products and name. The theory being that the next time you go down the cleaning supply aisle at your neighborhood grocery, you’ll naturally pick up the familiar bottle of Oxi-Clean your annoying old friend Billy told you about. The selling style of the Billy Mays of this world (G-d Rest his Soul) seemed so crass and irritating that I grab the remote and shut off the TV the minute his puss appears on the screen! My reaction to loud-mouthed, hard-sell tactics is not exclusive to me but it’s not exactly reasonable or fair to the extent that you really can’t judge the quality of a product by the volume of the salesman’s pitch. So as a consequence of my delicate sensibilities, I’ve probably missed out on some worthwhile goods.

I’m a little ashamed to admit that what lies at the base of my discomfort with “In Your Face” sales techniques is most likely remnants of snobbery hidden in the recesses of my brain, assimilated as a child from relatives a generation or three older. For various reasons (some good, some sad, some downright idiotic) certain members of my family wanted to distance themselves from their Russian or Roumanian peasant heritage and one of the ways they chose to do this was by trying to mimic East Coast Old Money crowd. The so-called “High Society” set that my parents, grandparents and great grandparents looked up to, acquired the things they wanted through private appointments with exclusive shops or by commanding a private showing in their homes by the designers, jewelers, artists and craftsmen directly. The difference between acquiring treasures (and even ordinary goods) in the way a Vanderbilt or Astor did was considered the epitome of class and taste. In their rarified stratosphere, it was beneath them to even consider letting themselves be “sold” something by a grimy street vendor who obviously needed the money to feed his family and so didn’t care who you were as long as you paid cash. Such an unseemly, distateful situation naturally cast suspicion over the quality and value of anything bought from such a wretch. Or so their societal biases lead them to believe. Please don’t get me wrong: I do NOT condone such irrational and cruel prejudice or the vain, shallow persons who believe themselves to be superior human beings simply because they have the luxury of not worrying about where their next meal will come from or whether they can scrap enough together to make sure their children have a pair of shoes of their own. I’ve lived on both sides of that aisle and don’t want to let myself ever forget that. Nevertheless, if I am to be perfectly honest, I often have to consciously remind myself that there is nothing shameful about commerce and trades, or in asking people to buy your wares.

You may already have guessed what brought this subject up tonight, as I’ve talked before about my recent decision to place my artwork for sale on the open market. Despite the fact that I’ve owned and operated a number of businesses over the past 40+ years, it’s taking me some time to get comfortable with the idea that promoting is not the same thing as bragging and I shouldn’t be embarrassed to say “Look at what I did! Ain’t it great? How many do you want to buy today?”. Well, okay, maybe if I insisted on reciting those words out loud, I should be embarrassed. But I think you probably get the idea I’m trying to express here. I started out with only one (1) poster for sale back in May 2010 and now, five months later, I have over 80 different products in my store, with new ones being added weekly!

Despite this breakthrough in finally recognizing the value of my work, I still find myself feeling awkward and shy about trying to promote it. Yeah, I’ve mentioned the store a 3 or 4 times on this blog and have a Flash widget displaying thumbnails of my products in the right-hand column, but according to all the marketing gurus, I’ve done a woeful job of spreading the word about how the content of my store has grown and inviting people to check it out often to see what’s new. A part of me feels like I’d be violating some trust between myself and my readers who originally came to this Blog for a handful of free icons and a few minutes of reading the down-to-earth thoughts of a person just like them who lives with incredible challenges yet despite the pain and fears is determined to smile, find joy in the life that she has and even dare to dream of a future. So I’d like to assure my loyal readers, that I have no intention of abandoning my original mission in starting this blog and will continue to share my feelings, thoughts and discoveries and, yes, continue to post as “Freebies” various icons and clip art I’ve created. But rather than only publishing a new post when I’ve had the time and been well enough to write something of substance and being silent and visually absent for days in between, I’m going to starting filling those empty days with posts introducing news, photos and links to my latest products available at my Zazzle Store. While I hope you see something you like and will buy and that you will even pass on your recommendations and my links to your family and friends, I hope you will think of such posts along the same pleasant line as the Old-Time Hot Dog Vendors at an exciting ballgame. 😉

On today’s menu of Freebies, I’m serving up a gumbo of application icon designs I’ve done over the years for my own personal use. Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

agentorange-1

vacuum6vacuumBlue3

Cenon-Alt

addressbook6A-Song-Sung-Blue

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The Bronze Killer and Me (+Patriotic Desktop Pix)

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Still trying to catch up to where I left off before my trip. Too much to do but my body and mind just refuse to cooperate for more than a half-hour at a time. I am truly thankful for the fact that I don’t suffer from the huge mood-swings or periods of sudden rage that often accompanies Hereditary Hemochromatosis, at the same time though, I’m really frustrated by the increasing inability to focus both my mind – and my eyes. It’s like I’ve suddenly developed ADHD at the age of 56 and someone keeps moving my monitor closer than farther away then closer then… Well, you get the idea. HFE is such an odd disease in that it can have so many manifestations and it seems that no two people have the exact same combination of symptoms and the mix changes constantly.

Read More about Hemochromatosis Awareness Month

I’ve got great doctors – but none of them have HFE so they can’t really relate to what I’m going through, and I’ve been searching for other who have HFE to compare notes with. Through those searches, I came across a reference to the book “The Bronze Killer” by Marie Warder and on Amazon.com there were a ton of reviews of the book that were all just raving about how it’s considered the BEST book on the subject of HFE and more specifically, on the experience of the author’s husband and both children having it and how it’s affected all of them. Marie’s husband is like me in that he was not diagnosed until after he had already suffered permanent damage to his liver while her children were fortunately diagnosed before the disease had advanced that far. I ordered the book on Tuesday and received it Thursday. I used to read at least 1 book a day but those days are long gone and so I’m only on page 11. I’ll fill you in as I get farther along.

Completely off-subject but appropos for this weekend when those of us who are blessed to be Citizens of The United States celebrate our Independence Day on the 4th of July, I’ve created a few patriotic icons as well as a Desktop Picture (in 3 different screen sizes) for you. Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons & Wallpaper of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Star Spangled 1600x1200

1280×854 px 1600×1200 px 1920×1200 px

Old FlagColumbia

Freedom Flag

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It’s Always Mother’s Day In Heaven

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I used to dread Mother’s Day. Like way too many people, I had a difficult childhood growing up and as an adult, I had an inconsistent relationship with my mother. At times it was really wonderful but more often, it was tumultuous. My mother was an absolutely beautiful woman – she looked like a fashion model – she was bright, vivacious, had a great sense of humor, adored animals, volunteered as a Brownie and Girl Scout Counselor, volunteered at the local Veterans Hospital, wrote poetry, loved going to the movies, art museums, live theater, and reading trashy novels. Yet I don’t think that she ever was genuinely happy or comfortable inside her skin. There was always an undercurrent of fear and anger and estrangement. She was extremely critical of her children – on purpose. She believed parents are supposed to point out every single error their child may make or non-perfect trait their child may have. I never once doubted that her intent was good – she truly wanted to help us to be the best we could be – but her way of going about it could really hurt. Mom never learned how to simply observe and listen to her children (or her husbands for that matter) and so was incapable of providing guidance in a subtle, respectful way. Essentially, she never figured out how to differentiate between herself and her family. What I mean by that is, there is a huge difference between recognizing your child may have inherited this or that physical and non-physical traits from you and keeping in mind that you are responsible for keeping them healthy and safe and teaching them the skills and values needed to stand on their own as a kind, wise, loving adult and contributing member to society – versus – thinking your children are an actual extension of yourself. My Mom was unable to grasp this concept and I think she was aware that there was some great important “secret” she was missing and was deeply troubled as a result.

Even as a very young child, a part of me always understood, instinctively, that my mother was hurting and “broken” in some way and I knew that it wasn’t totally her fault. Although I loved her very much and felt great compassion for her, at the same time, I was always terrified around my mother, even as an adult, as I never knew when she would suddenly change from my gorgeous, fun “Momma” to the screaming, violent stranger that lived deep inside her. It got so bad that when I was 14, I was placed in a Foster Home for a year (with a very loving family whom I remain close to even to this day, forty years later.) At 17, I moved out on my own, 1500 miles away, as I feared for my life. Yet I never stopped loving my Mom. I kept in touch with her through occasional letters and phone calls every couple of weeks and we actually were able to grow closer that way from a safe distance. But even then, Mother’s Day was always the worst day of the year, regardless of where I lived. Perhaps it was because of her insecurities as a person and especially as a mother, that made Momma pin such intense importance to the day. Whatever, I knew that for the last few weeks of April, she would begin the harping, begging, then screaming and finally the “silent treatment” when she realized that I would not be coming down to Florida to see her. It was both heartbreaking and aggravating and got worse every year but I knew that it was for the best in the long run that I stay far away.

It’s been a dozen years now since my Mom tragically passed away at a relatively early age. Now, rather than dreading Mother’s Day and trembling inside with terror, I find myself with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, and praying that she can see me and hear me and feel what’s inside my heart. Not a day has gone by in my entire life that I have not spent a significant amount of time thinking about my Mom. Time, distance, and having to face my own mortality has been kind when it comes to my memories and relationship with my Mother. I haven’t forgotten there were bad times, but 90% of the time, I’m thinking about the good times. Although my Mom thought she was a complete failure as a mother, the fact she indeed didn’t always have the best of parenting skills, and found it impossible to live by what she preached, I marvel at how much my mother really taught me and how much I’ve relied on her words of wisdom in my adult life and in raising my son. I talk to her all the time these days – inside my head and inside my heart – and I feel like she is with me – not as she was, but as she wanted to be: relaxed, happy, wise, content, and supportive.

Is there such a thing as Heaven after we die? Logistically, I have a very hard time trying to figure out how that would work and where it may be and even why it would even exist. But spiritually, I like to think that Heaven is all around and within us and that Momma is finally at peace and enjoying Mother’s Day – with me right beside her – every single day.

Happy Mother’s Day, my friends.

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

FantasyPansies

HappyMother'sDay

Katie-Geranium

HappyMother'sDay2

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ZIP IT – with apologies to DEVO

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I started out 5 hours ago to write tonight’s post but just kept getting distracted by various incoming phone calls, e-mails, and notifications of some very relevant and significant new case-law handed down yesterday that I took the time to thoroughly read and digest. ( This was not a ruling in my case, as I expect that will be another week or two, but it could be important for me in the future if any part of my case gets remanded (sent back) to the trial court for more hearings. ) The long and the short of these distractions is that I am just too tired now to think. So this post will be another one of those short on talk but BIG on the freebies.

The reference in this post’s title to DEVO is probably obvious to those of you familiar with this quirky, brilliant band that originally hails from my neck of the woods. I was a big fan of theirs in the early-mid 1970’s when the members were still in college (and some in high school) and our paths had crossed often back then since I was working in radio, running the sound board for my hubby’s various bands, and a registered booking agent working with a handful of mall in the Cleveland-Painesville area. For those of you who think you are NOT familiar with DEVO, you’ve probably heard them a million times without even realizing it, as a number of their songs and derivatives of those have served as the soundtrack for a number of TV shows (‘Pee Wee’s Playhouse’, ‘South Park’, ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Rugrats’), movies(‘Austin Powers, The Spy That Shagged Me’, and commercials. Of the latter, there been one spot on for a few years now for a cleaning mop call ‘The Swiffer’ where you see this woman going off the deep-end sweeping and dusting everything in sight where her movements get more and more robotic as a techno-pop sounding song plays in the background with the chorus “You can Swiff it. Swiff it Good.” – The song is a parody by DEVO of DEVO’s own chart-topper from the 1970’s called “Whip It“. Once you become aware of the band, you’ll suddenly start hearing them everywhere – and most if not all of their work seems to incorporate one of their early trademark songs (‘Whip It’, ‘Mongoloid’, and ‘Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo’). It is not because the band isn’t creative enough to come up with something new – they are probably one of the most creative in the business (particularly Mark Mothersbaugh) – but if is perfectly in keeping with their philosophy of art and wonderful sense of irony and satire for them to spoof themselves spoofing others who take themselves much too seriously. – So the connection of my post’s title to DEVO is simply this: Every time I compress a file to make a zipped archive, I have this compelling urge that makes me sing to myself “Zip It. Zip it Good”. I know. It’s pretty lame but there you are.

So on to tonight’s GIGANTIC menu of Freebies, in addition to a few random Felted images, I’m serving up a link to the complete set of my Felted Series, which includes #205 .png images (512×512 pixels each) plus the coordinating felted wallpaper in 3 different screen sizes. Zipped down it’s still a whopping 40.81mb – so if you’re using a dial-up connection, you may want to stick with downloading the individual images embedded in these related blog posts:

  1. I’ve FELT Spring In The Air!
  2. FELT BETTER? (Felt System Icons)
  3. I FELT that!
  4. On Being Real (I FELT your pain)
  5. Easter Never FELT This Good

BTW, Please note that the zipped file contains many more images than what I’ve posted individually on this blog.

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

FOR THOSE WITH HIGH-SPEED, WIDE-BANDWITH ONLY. DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE SET OF #205 IMAGES ZIPPED FILE= 40.1mb

Felted-Basketball

Felted-Graduate

Felted-Smile

Felted-Loc-HTTP

Easter Never FELT This Good

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Are you up late tonight helping the Easter Bunny to hide his eggs? I remember those years fondly when our (now, 26-year-old) son was at that age when he’d be like a Mexican Jumping Bean, filled with excitement, over the prospect of searching for those wonder of wonders, chocolate and jelly bean EGGS laid ostensibly by a most unusual species of Hare. One of Rob’s favorite things to do from the time he was 3 was to draw all kinds of maps – maps for “Hunting the Elusive Bear”, maps for his Grandma in Cleveland, Ohio to get to our home (at that time) in Winchester, Virginia; and of course, the most important kind of map of all – just ask any pirate – the Treasure Map! But he couldn’t draw a Treasure Map to where that Lop-Ear Minstrel of Merriment had hid her eggs until AFTER he had found them all. I was a real corker of a Momma back then, teasing the boy by coming up with ever more ways to drag out the game so he’d really have to think and search so when he finally found the handful of sweets he’d feel like he had accomplished something worthwhile. So I’d stay up half the night before trying to come up with some kind of clever riddles that when answered correctly, would lead Rob to each of the eggs. The first year we did this, was a breeze but as the years went on it got harder and harder for ME to come up with some place new and, harder yet, come up with a clue that was not too easy, not too hard, and hopefully worth a laugh. I finally got smart the last couple years we did this, though. I’d go hide the treats and then delegate the task of writing the riddles to me Hubby! Hmm, Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

As I mentioned, Robby has outgrown this game (to some extent…) but we’ve got a new twist on it this year. Later this morning we’re going to visit my Hubby’s 92-year old Mother at the Nursing Home she moved to a few months ago. And instead of hunting for Easter Eggs, Don, Rob and I are all going to hunt for Grandma’s dentures, eyeglasses and hearing aids!! Whee! — Well, time does seem to have a way of marching on and no one ever said that getting old is a dignified process. Thank God, we’ve all still got our sense of humor and that Grandma’s being taken such good care of by the Dominican Nuns and lay-people who run the facility she lives at now.

To all of my friends and readers who celebrate Easter and those who celebrate the renewal of life at this season, may you always be joyful and blessed and showered in sunshine and love.

——- Leslie

Free Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)

Felted-Fish

Phil A. O’Fish – Is Grateful That Lent Is Over!

Felted-iDisk2 Felted-Network-LAN-NOT

Felted-Server

Felted-Internal Felted-External

Felted-DMG

Felted-CD Felted-SmartStick

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