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Fred goes

Surfing for Valentine's

Hewlett-Packard

Visit HP's "Projects" web site and check out their Expressions of the Heart section all about St. Valentine's Day. It includes a brief history of Valentie's day, Related projects and downloads like Romantic Valentine's Day table accents where HP teamed up with lifestyle and party planning guru Colin Cowie to design these romantic Valentine's Day table accents. The passionate party elements will make your Valentine's Day unforgettable.

HP also offers a variety of nice ideas in their Valentine cards department. Obviously, if you sell printers, you'll want to help your users get the most out of your products, right? Well, try some of these Victorian postcards. Download art (PDF)   Their From the heart 3d card makes a nicely folded 3D card that's easy too. (PDF)

Another favorite is the Valentine's Box, with its watercolor decorations on an easy-to-make gift box. (Download the PDF)

HP's scrapbooking projects and ideas: HP Creative Scrapbooking Assistant software projects � sweet valentines project (See Picture

HP Valentine coupon books make an original gift -- Hand make your Valentine, coupons from the heart. Include a personalized message on your own Valentine day's stationery

For the Kids, HP Kids' provide Valentine's for the kids to take to school -- and the HP Valentine wrap sets offer wonderful ideas art and downloads for packaging your valentine greetings

Find these and many more at the Hewlett-Packard web site.

Web Candy Dot Com

Here you'll find lots of images including these Victorian designs from antique picture greeting cards.
      Also check out their rather special collection of hearts like this abstract modern heart, this row of flashing heart lights; or a wonderfully rendered box of chocolates that get eaten to reveal a message. Many more to be found at Web-Candy.com

Cal Shop "San Valentino

At this web site you'll find some good backgrounds and card art in sufficient sizes to allow clear printing on your inkjet printer. Pick designs like this huge heart field background, or an array of "soft art" card faces. These and many more can be found at calshop.biz

Do Crafts, UK

This site has lots and lots of crafts ideas and projects all of which are good idea starters. (Actually the ideas are better than the specific projects. Heart with Foil and Folding Tent Card are two examples. Others to see:

And, there's lots more at Do Crafts dot com

The Zoner Site

This site has some snappy images -- not much good except for the web, but most are pretty bright -- much better than those found at the hack clip-art sites. Here's their "Lovers" page. Their Resource Center has collections of Business cards , Flags, Frames, Invitations; Leaflets Menus, and Photo Albums all built around the Zoner Draw software. (Which I've never heard of!)

More. . .

Cochems Consulting has some backgrounds by Chris Cochems that look promising

The Clip Art Palace at MSN offers some interesting pieces and the list of titles is exhausting. (Start here! but beware, broken links and spammers abound)

Billy Bear for Kids - although this site seems to be primarily and advertising site, it does have some neat things for kids. Their Valentine's page (once you get by all the blinking ads) has a crafts department and some printable personalized stationery

but Billy Bear will be frustrating for most and should be avoided except as a last resort.

... and now for the bad news ...

Sites to avoid:

Knock-off sites Beware:

The clip art scene on the web is just about as jaded as the porno world. Rip-off artists abound and you need to be careful. For instance, several sites we visited promising "free" clip art downloads actually had scans of commercial products. The Rocky Raccoon and Ribbon Card are obviously scanned from commercial greeting cards -- I'm sure the site didn't pay any licensing or royalty fees. Some are blatant rips of licensed products like this Sponge Bob card and this "Oscar" animation obviously ripped off the Sesame Street web site.

Holiday-clipart.net... NOT!

Beware of the site: Holiday-clipart.net. Here you'll click and click and click to find only a few images -- all of the ones we found were low resolution and not usable for anything. The site is a spam site, and each click gains the owners a slew of affiliate link views. Avoid http://holiday-clipart.net/ for sure.

Clip art in the URL?

Another, suspiciously like the "Holiday-clipart.net" site is "Valentines-day-clipart.com" ... the art is basically the same, the scam is the same, just the domain has changed. Note, they've registered ALL of the holidays as domains, each of which merely leads to the same cookie-cutter site.

free-stock-photos.com

NOT. It took 12 clicks through blinking affiliate ad layout pages to get to this image - one of two "Cupids" from a link offering "Cupid Photo Library". The pitch is "Free stock photos" but the collection is dismal and it will cost you lots and lots of time to discover this for yourself. Stay away. Be aware of any clip art or image site with the word "Free" in the domain. We found a number of different variations all owned by the same outfit, or "affiliates" of the same outfit. FreeGraphics.com is another replicator site to waste your time.

Barb's Pics ... NOT

The promise of this site was undeniable, but with deeper exploration we found nothing usable. Most of the images are those picked up from various other clip art sites and stock photo houses that involved payment of some kind. Barb didn't have anything to offer other than letting you help stack up advertising pennies for the site. Avoid http://www.barbspics.com/

So there you have it -- the 2005 Valentine's surf. This one took about five hours, including building this page. I sincerely hope I've saved you some time by helping you get to the good stuff faster. If you find any really good references on your surfing trips, please pass them along to share with the rest of the readers. 'Til next time. . .

lipsHappy Valentine's ... hope you enjoyed our surf!

Fred Showker
Editor / Publisher, DT&G Magazine

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