Friday, August 10, 2012

Christmas in August - Alphabet Birth Announcement - How to make yourself

Well it is Christmas in August here at Full of Great Ideas. Last Saturday my husband and I were sitting out back, after the kids were put to bed, enjoying a bottle glass of wine with a little music and for some reason our iPod was determined to play Christmas music. It seemed like every other song in the random shuffle was a Christmas one; so it made me think that maybe it was a sign that I needed to start thinking about it.

I know you think I am insane but hear me out. Don't you find you have great intentions on saving a few dollars by making your Christmas gifts? Then December rolls around and you haven't done the majority of what you wanted to. I have always left my Christmas craft way too late and ended up buying gifts or staying up late of Christmas Eve spray painting something. So, I am making a deal with myself that it is not going to happen this year!
This gift is something I am making for a friend of mine who is pregnant and due right before Christmas. I don't know if she is having a boy or a girl or what color their nursery will be. So I made a few colors and layouts so that when her little one makes his or her entrance into this world, all I have to do is change the name and birth information, send it to Costco for printing and her gift is done.

Here are the designs I made and will show you below how to make them yourself. So for around $10 (less if you have a frame already) you too can make these amazing gifts! They take 10 minutes to design and cost under $2 to print.
These can be made using many different programs but I like to use Microsoft Publisher since I know its ins and outs.

Start by creating a new file. I made mine as an 8x10 image, but you can do any size you want.

Insert a text box and type the complete alphabet in capital letters. If you forget the capitals, you can change the case using the icon that looks like this 'Aa' on the Home tab. At the end of each of my rows, I used a hard return (is that term still used or was the lost when we stopped using typewriters?) so each row can be manipulated individually.

Select the font (I used Penshurst) and font size you like.
Now to get the font to go the entire way across the page, you need to highlight one line of the letters and select character spacing.
 Select 'More Spacing'
I change the 'Tracking' so there is more space between the letters but you can also play around with the 'Shrink and Stretch'. Remember you can always undo changes so don't be afraid to try different things.
Once you get all the rows but the last to the width of the text box, insert another text box on the bottom right side. This is where I insert the "is for Christian".
If you want no background, you can skip ahead a bit, but if you want there to be a pattern or texture behind your letters, select insert picture.
I inserted a free scrapbook paper I downloaded off the internet (just google 'free digital scrapbook paper' and you will find hundreds).
 If the text box moves down because of the scrapbook paper, select 'wrap text' then 'none'
 If the scrapbook paper is in front of the text, select 'Send Backwards' and then 'Send to back'
I then played around with the color of the font. I made all the letters white except the initial and the 'is for Christian'.
I added a button that I downloaded with some free scrapbook paper and I was done with this one.
To save the file as a JPEG, select 'Save As' and then 'JPEG'
Now this is important! Be sure to change the resolution to 'High Quality'. This will allow you to get a nice crisp 8x10 photo printed.
Once I finished with my first file, I easily changed it to make a few different looks. I added another text box to the bottom with weight, date and time.
Then I thought I would do a couple with the name on the side of the page. To turn a text box on its side, use the green circle on the top of the box and drag it around. The image below is with Broadway font.
To add a line below the name, select 'Insert' and 'shape'
This is how you change the color and width of the line
With these templates you can quickly change the look by removing or changing the background, changing the font style and color, etc.
The possibilities are really endless. I think my favorite design is this one.
Here are the other ones I have done so far. Which do you like the best?


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