Friday, January 21, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards

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Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays! I love helping my kids design their valentines to give to their friends. I like to come up with an idea that will let them help out in some way in the creation process. When I was browsing the internet for some ideas for the upcoming day, I found a couple of ideas that I liked and wanted to try to combine them into 1 solution. I like the simplistic basic idea behind these pirate valentines from and I loved the idea of the owl (and the play on words associated with it) from

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• A bold sans serif font. I chose Century Gothic Bold, because I love the sharp clean lines and round e's and o's that match the clean graphic look of the owl. This font came standard with my computer, but you can choose any font that fits your tastes.
• Some simple shapes. Some software programs have a variety of shapes built in or you could draw your own.
• Either some clip-art of an owl or a drawing program that will allow you to draw a very simple, graphic owl illustration (I used Adobe Illustrator).

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Gather all of your ingredients. Feel free to make adjustments, according to your own tastes. I opened up a letter-size document in Adobe Illustrator. I drew a box that was 4.25x5.5 in., which is 1/4 sheet. I drew the basic shape of the owl and then the eyes, beak, and heart. Then, using the text tool, I typed the phrase "Owl always think you're sweet." in the top center of my box. There are a variety of phrases you could use - anything that starts with "I'll" will be replaced with "owl".

I designed a simple back of the card to coordinate with the front, including a space to write the recipient's name and a space for my child to sign it.

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I chose to keep the valentines in bold black and white and will have my children color in the white heart shape to give it a pop of color and let them participate in helping create the cards. We plan to attach a lollipop or other "sweet" candy (to tie in to the message) to the card.

Hope you have fun creating some cute valentine's cards! "Owl" be anxious to see them!

Designer. Mother of 4.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Make Your Own Bookmarks

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I needed to find inexpensive gifts for a large group of women. I decided on a bookmark. I found several that I liked the look of, but they didn't convey the right message. I found some with a great message, but I didn't like the way they looked. I found one that I was okay with both, but they were way out of my budget (see above). So I decided to create my own.

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I found a quotation that had the type of message I wanted. Here is a good online source for quotes. Make sure you give credit to whomever you quote.

• Script Font - I used Feel Script (outside our GLCB budget), but I found some great alternatives (like Scriptina) here for free
• A flourish or ornament - istock has lots to choose from in an inexpensive price range
• Elegant Color Palette - I chose a couple shades of seafoam green
• Background Shape - to anchor everything together (I created my own in my editing program)

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I set up my document horizontally, and taking into account my printer margins, I divided the rest of my page into fourths. To make the final steps easier, I also included trim marks.

Type your quotation and adjust the size and margins until it fit nicely within the space. I made my margins about 5/8" from the edges.

Put your shape behind the text, and adjust it so the edges are between the edge of your bookmark and the quote. It makes a nicely proportioned space without anything feeling too tight. Adjust the top and bottom to match.

Place your flourish at the top and bottom. Since mine has a "direction", I rotated it between top and bottom so both curves point to the center of the bookmark. If yours is more symmetrical, you could just center it.

My layout program allows me to make items transparent, which I applied to the flourish, giving a more dimensional look.

Print on heavy paper, trim and you're ready to read and mark your place—in style.

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Since I made these to give as gifts, I spent a little bit more, and had them laminated. Most copy shops offer this inexpensive service which makes a more professional and durable marker. I also found a source where I could buy bookmark tassels and I'm sure you could also find them in a local craft or fabric store. The finished bookmarks turned out great, or so I'm told by those who have received them so far!

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Designer. Typography geek. Entrepreneur.

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