Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Oma is...Coasters from Grandkids

I know it is really early for Mother's Day gift ideas, but if I don't share this now I am going to be too busy and not get it posted in time. So at least this way you have plenty of time to use this idea for yourself.
I had these marble tiles laying around from the many other coasters I have made in the past. The first was the half-marathon bib coaster I made for my husband and the second set was the monogrammed coasters I made for a girl friend who was retiring. I purchased these tiles at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore but you can find them for really reasonable at HomeDepot or Lowes.

My mother is lovingly called Oma by her five adoring grandchildren. As with every family, each child has his or her own special relationship with their Oma. So, I thought what better way to express that unique relationship then to ask each of them to describe their Oma with one word and make a set of 6 coasters with those words.

I love how each description was a representation of each child and my mom knew immediately which coaster was from which grandchild. 

Materials

  • Marble tiles (unsealed)
  • StazOn permanent ink stamp - This permanent stamp can be purchased at Michael's for around $7 (I believe) and if you use a coupon you can get it for 40% less.
  • Vinyl or stickers to use as template
  • Sponge brush

Method

There are many ways you can do this craft. I designed and cut the templates out of vinyl with my Cricut, but you can use stickers from the dollar store or even stamps to make them.

I started off by cleaning the tiles with a damp cloth. When I purchased them, they seem to have a powder all over them.

Once dry, I stuck the vinyl directly to the tile. I placed the vinyl in different locations and directions on the tiles so they were more whimsical.
Using StazOn permanent stamping ink in black, I brushed the stamping ink over the vinyl with a sponge brush.
I found it worked best to wipe the brush across the template as opposed to dab it. I waited a minute and did a second coat to get a really dark black.
Here is the one tile I dabbed the sponge on; you can see how the ink bled under the vinyl and didn't give a crisp line. It did not look horrible but not as nice as the others.
Here is one where I brushed the ink across the vinyl like I was painting it on. See much crisper.
Once all the tiles are stamped and all the vinyl/stickers have been removed, you need to bake the tiles to make the stamp permanent and fade resistant.
Don't judge the how dirty my toaster over is...I use it for everything!

I baked my tiles in my toaster oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Once the time was up, I turned off the toaster oven and let them cool in there. They retain the heat for a long time so please be careful.

Also, don't venture too far away when they are baking just in case your tiles do not like to be heated. Just be careful and aware!
I did not put a sealant over the tiles they they can absorb the sweat from cold drinks.

After they were cooled, I put rubber stoppers from the dollar store on the back. I have used the soft felt ones before but found they slid off tables really easily. So these work much better!
I had each of the kids write their names and date on the back of the tiles with permanent markers.
My mom loves them and the kids love to use their own coasters when they visit. The kids have even noticed when Oma was using their coaster, so she now has to pay attention to not use one all the time. Share the coaster love amongst all the grand kids :)

So that is it. Simple, easy, cheap but most importantly personal gift idea!

What do you think..do you see the possibilities with this? Mother's day gift, father's day gift, teacher gifts...really you could give these for so many different occasions.

Stephanie

Friday, February 15, 2013

Free Custom Birth Announcements Template

I designed this personalized birth announcement for a good friend of mine who was expecting her second child before Christmas. She did not know if she was having a boy or a girl, so I created one design for a girl and another for a boy.  That way, when the baby was born I was quickly able to update my template and have a beautiful and personalized gift for her while she was still in the hospital.

I personally favor the little girl birth announcement with the beautiful flower but what parent of a little boy wouldn't love the trains too.
Each image has been designed as an 8x10 in Microsoft Publisher. I was going to share with you step by step how these were created, but it is really easier for all of us if I just provide you with a free template to start your own with.

As always, I ask that you use this only for personal use. Please do not sell these.

Here is what you need to do to create your own personalized baby birth announcement:

  • Download the girl's birth announcement template here and 
  • Download the boy's birth announcement template here.
  • Note when you click on the link, Google documents will give you a note saying "Sorry, we are unable to generate a view of the document at this time. Please try again later." That is ok. Simple click on the arrow down button (next to the print symbol) to download the file. You will have no problem opening it in Publisher after you download it. Or it will say "click here to download original file" you can save it by clicking on the link. Be sure to download and not open with Word.
  • Open the file in Microsoft Publisher. No, I do not know how to convert these to a Mac compatible program...sorry.
  • Download the fonts (fonts can be found on free font websites or you can use your own favorites). Here are the free fonts I used:
Name, date, time - Poor Richard
Weight and inches -  Fang Song
Flower - Kalocsai Flowers
Name, date, time - Poor Richard
Weight and inches -  Fang Song
Train -  Miltrain
  • Personalize the numbers, text, colors, and anything else you want to.  
  • Here is a link to a post that will help you with stretching text so that it fits nicely in the space provided. 
  • Each row is in a separate box, so you can manipulate each row independently. Remember you can always Undo, so don't be afraid to change it around.
  • Sounds like lots of work, but the template will help and it really isn't hard to use.
  • Once you are happy with the design, save the image as a high resolution JPEG (to do this in Publisher follow theses steps: 'Save As', 'Save as type', 'JPEG', 'Change...' (Resolution), 'High quality printing or commercial printing (300dpi)') .  
  • Upload the image to your favorite photo developer and you have a beautiful but very cheap reasonable baby gift!
Please leave me a comment to let me know whether or not you have been able to download the file and if you create your own.  I would love to hear which file you like the best and I would love to see your finished products. Send them to me at fullofgreatideas(at)gmail(dot)com and I can share them with others on this post so we can all benefit from each others creativity.

I was able to give my girlfriend a beautiful baby gift for under $10. I could have done it for even less if I reused a frame I had laying around the house or something I found at a thrift store.

Do you know anyone who you could make one of these for? What do you think?

Have a great day,
Stephanie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Dad is...DIY Wood Quote/Magnetic Photo Holder


As I previously mentioned, I set a goal of making most of my Christmas gifts from scratch this past Christmas; however, I really struggled with the gifts for my husband and my brothers.

I had Pinned something similar to this ages ago (here) that I liked but I didn't know how to create the exact look I wanted.

I was talking with my sister and we came up with the idea of using a piece of old barn board flooring from her barn (built over 120 years ago) to make this. My sister found a piece of wood that was approximately 12 inches wide and lightly planed it to get a smoother surface.

If you, like me, don't have access to old wood, you can buy freshly cut 12 inch wide planks from a local hardware store and distress it to get a similar look. Take a hammer to it, scratch it up, sand it a bit here and there. It is quite easy to do.
We cut 12 inch squares and lightly sanded the rough edges. We loved the imperfections, so we did not sand the top and once we were happy with the look, we sealed it using the same sealant I had laying around and used for the tree stump coasters.
Isn't the color gorgeous!? That is without staining it!
I designed and cut the saying out of black vinyl on my Cricut.  The metal circle was something I had laying around from the Dollar Store (it was used to hold 5 magnets that I purchased). It was originally bright silver, so I spray painted it Oil Rubbed Bronze. Once it was dry, I hot glued it to the wood.
I found pictures I liked of my husband with each of our children. He didn't like how I picked photos of him with his glasses on but we can always change them!
I put metal hangers on the back of the wood so we could hang it, but I prefer standing behind my couch on the table using a plate stand. Either way I display it, I love it!
Since we found all the materials for this project around the house, we were able to make these for nothing. If I didn't have all the materials, I think I could do this for around $10 each (if making a few).

What do you think? I know need to find something equally great for Father's Day!

Stephanie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Free 'What a Difference a Day Makes' Template

Do you remember last year where I made the Special Date Art on my $0 Budget? I used some of my favorite scrapbook paper and cut out the numbers on my Cricut. I love the end result but it took too long and was too tedious to make it as gifts for Christmas this year.
So, since I am becoming a wiz with Publisher, I thought I would try my hand at designing one with Publisher. It was very easy and I just love the end result. Grand total to print it was $0.89 and $8.00 to frame. I had amazing Christmas gifts for under $10.

I created two designs, one for a family of 4 plus a wedding date and the other for a family of 5 plus a wedding date.

Aren't they great!?

NOTE: I had intended this post to only be a tutorial sharing with your how you can make your own. But I really want to share with you as much as possible and I know most people aren't as experiences with Publisher as I am....so... I have tried to share my sample files on Google Documents. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the Download template links and instructions.  


Here is how I created my own from scratch (and how you will be able to edit the template you downloaded):

Open a new 8x10 file

To set a 0.5 inch margin around the image, select the 'page design' tab, 'Margins' and then set your margins to 'Moderate' .
Then determine how many rows of numbers you need. For example, if there are 4 people in your family (i.e. 2 parents, 2 kids) plus you want your wedding date, you will need 5 rows. To do this, I select on the 'Page Design' tab, 'Guides' and then 'Grid and Baseline'.
I enter 2 columns (so the middle of the page is clearly identified) and then 5 rows (for a family of 4 with a wedding date). If you are a family of 5 plus wedding date, you will need 6 rows. I keep the spacing between the rows at 0.
The next step is to insert a 'Text box'.
I draw the text box to be the full width of the page (between the two margin lines) and almost the full size of the row. This allows me to have space underneath for the names.
Insert the numbers and find a font you like.

The fonts I used are:
'Baskerville Old Face' for the numbers
'Nymphette' for the scrolls on either side of the name
'Adobe Arabic' for the names.
Insert another text box for the name.
Once you get the font and approximate size you like, you can play around with the spacing of the characters. This allows you to stretch the characters so they are the full width of the box (so all the numbers line up on either side along the margin).
Open the More Spacing box and the select Show Tool Bar (bottom left corner)
With this window you can make the letters/numbers further apart, wider etc. Play around and see what you like.
Once you are happy with the first row, I copy and pasted the text 4 more times. This will ensure you have the same font, spacing etc. Once you insert all the new numbers and text, you might need to play around with the spacing some more.
I added a heart in the middle of the wedding date just to add some color.

If you want, you can change the background by inserting a digital scrapbook page and 'send to back'.

You can see how many boxes I used to design this.
Once you are happy with it, save the Publisher file and then save it as a JPEG image. To do this, select File, Save As.
Change the Save as type, to JPEG
Then be sure to change the Resolution to High Quality Printing so that you will be able to deevelop this as a large image.
Save it someplace you can easily find. Either print the image at home if you have a good printer or send it to your favorite photo developer (my personal favorite is Costco).

I have made these for a few friends and family members and framed them in a floating frame. I love how they look and they are so much easier to create than the one I did a while ago where I cut out each number.
Wouldn't this make a great Valentines gift for your hubby?

DOWNLOADABLE Template:

Here is the link to the family of 4 plus wedding date and here is the link for family of 5 plus wedding date. Please leave me a comment below letting me know whether or not you were able to do this.

Here are the links again (I find they get lost in text) to the Publisher files:

Here is what you need to do to create your own personalized baby birth announcement:

  • Download the family of 4 plus wedding date and download the family of 5 plus wedding date here  
  • Note when you click on the link, Google documents will give you a note saying "Sorry, we are unable to generate a view of the document at this time. Please try again later." That is ok. Simple click on the arrow down button (next to the print symbol) to download the file. You will have no problem opening it in Publisher after you download it.
  • Open the file in Microsoft Publisher. No I do not know how to convert these to a Mac compatible program...sorry.
  • Download the fonts (fonts can be found on free font websites or you can use your own favorites). Here are the free fonts I used:
'Baskerville Old Face' for the numbers
'Nymphette' for the scrolls on either side of the name
'Adobe Arabic' for the names.
  • Personalize the numbers, text, colors, and anything else you want to.  
  • See below on how I made the design to help you with stretching text so that it fits nicely in the space provided. 
  • Each row is in a separate box, so you can manipulate each row independently. Remember you can always Undo, so get creative.
  • Sounds like lots of work, but the template will help you alot.
Please leave me a comment to let me know whether or not you have been able to create your own.

I hope you are able to use the downloadable files. Please let me know if you were able to do this yourself and/or if you have any issues.

What do you think? Can you make your own or will you try the template?
Stephanie

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Free Printable - Pregnancy Belly Stickers

Have you seen those adorable belly stickers that people have been using while photographing their pregnancies?

If you haven't seen them, they are 4 inch circle stickers that identify the week of the pregnancy. You stick on your belly or (if you are more modest like me) your shirt and photograph your growing belly. The idea is really cute and I wish I had thought of it when I was pregnant. I don't know where the original idea came from but you can find them on Etsy, private sites, specialty stores, etc. and they run between $10-15.

Well now that my sister-in-law's pregnancy has been officially announced, I thought I would share this small gift I made for her for Christmas. I made two different sets of the stickers since I didn't know which she would like the best. One with flowers and the other black and white damask style.

I designed the images on Publisher and saved them as JPEG images. I then printed them on full page label stickers and cut the circles with my Cricut. If you don't have a Cricut or Silhouette that will cut a perfect circle for you, you can use a paper punch or old school it with a pair of scissors.
I was going to give you a step by step tutorial on how I made these, then thought I would save everyone some time and just give you the printables for free.

What you will need to create these are access to a laser or inkjet color printer and full page sticker labels. Be sure to buy the labels that are right for your type of printer as some are designed specifically for laser and others for ink jet. The labels can be found at Walmart or Staples and cost less than $0.40 per sheet. It will cost you about $10 to buy a package but you can make 5-6 sets of these stickers with one package.

I created one extra sheet with 4 extra stickers that I thought would be cute that aren't weeks of the pregnancy. I added Over due (since no on in my family ever seems to go into labor naturally),  In labor, It's a Boy and It's a Girl.

To download these images to print:

  • Leave me a comment and tell me which version you like the best or just that you are downloading it ...please :)
  • Right click on the image you want and select open in a new window or tab
  • On the full size image, right click again and select 'save as'
  • Save it to a place on your computer where you can easily find it
  • You will need to do this for each of the images.
  • Print them on a color laser or inkjet printer.
  • Tip: When I first printed on labels, I had to print a few test pages before I managed to get it to print properly. The oddest thing happened every time I printed the sheets, the ink would smudge. I was stumped. How can a laser print smudge? Then I realized there is an option in your printer setup for paper type of LABELS. This somehow prints differently and they came out perfectly! So look for the paper type option and see if label is in there before you waste a few sheets of labels.
  • Please only use these for personal use!
  • Enjoy!! 
Here is the flowery version:

Here is the black and white damask set: 
 
 
 
What do you think? Do you know anyone you could use these for? Which is your favorite?

We are snowed in today, so I hope to get a few more posts done!

Let me know what you think,
Stephanie

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