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Touristy fun, for a change

Last week, the Bombay Sapphire distillery opened near Basingstoke.  Be warned that you must confirm you are over 18 to even visit that link. It is a stunning location even on a dreary day, and MIL and FIL declared it fascinating….

Bombay Sapphire-5

{imagine all that glass on a sunny day!}

Bombay Sapphire-6

…not least because you get a drink, custom tailored to your own punch card of preferred botanicals, after a series of sniff-tests. The greenhouse of the botanicals is lovely and toasty – poor MIL was, I think, chilled to the bone for most of the visit, so this must have been a welcome moment of warmth.

Bombay Sapphire-23

The selected drinks ….

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Non-alcoholic options are available for the driver of the group and a doggie-bag, tiny bottles of tonic and tipple, is provided for later consumption. And oh that blue bottle! This is not the mini-version from the doggie bag, but how pretty it is…

Bombay Sapphire-62

The Bombay East version, which we tasted after dinner, was amazingly different, with the addition of lemon grass and black peppercorns to the standard version.  I’ve never thought of gin as a sipping drink, but this one was fine over ice.  And a total bonus was the prettiest printed tissue paper and carrier bag, that will surely get used when I manage a return to craftiness, very soon.


Pipe Insulation Gelli tools

A few years back I saw something by Traci Bunkers about making stamps for printing.  One of the ideas was for using a soldering iron or wood burning tool to make incised pipe insulation tubes to turn them into rollers.  I always hankered after giving  it a go, but the only tool I could find had a US plug on it.  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned it to DH and he said we DID have a UK-plug soldering iron in the garage someplace.  I found it, but the tip was like a little bar, where what I wanted was a fine point.  I kinda gave up on the idea, but then, when trolling the wallpaper aisles I found this little roller set for like £2.  With no firm idea in mind, except maybe experimenting with wrapping the foam rollers with twine, wire, or string and using it to create a pattern (which does work, BTW)  I took it home.


While tidying up (still am not done with that yet!) I found the tubes.  And all of a sudden I had two idea.  First, I could clearly see that the foam roller, if slightly stripped, would fit neatly into the hole in the pipe insulation.  As the rollers are meant to be interchangeable on the roller handle they would turn a series of insulation tubes into rollers.




I tried carving (sort of) the insulation tubes by just cutting then with a knife and ripping out areas.  You can kinda see that above.  Once you get it started, the insulation material rips away easily.

3pipetoolSIMPLE patterns are best, blocks and lines.  With a decent woodburner and the right tip I think I could use the original idea and create “better” designs.



The prints are cool – but do bear in mind I only had a short time to play, as the next 4 days or so are pretty chaotic around here. But this will give you an idea. One important thing to note – don’t be too heavy-handed with the paint!  And keep the roller handle fairly flat, ie parallel to the surface.  If you increase the angle to 90 degrees, or even 45 degrees, the roller will sort of skip/slide across the surface.  flat angle and it rotates/rolls




Keep in mind once the roller is loaded it becomes a stamp – just roll the paint off onto another print.

So THAT got me thinking – could I make pattern rollers with Fun Foam?  Yep.





and another:





and a flawed one



The issue with this is that text on the plate is problematic.  You have to choose if it’s more important to have the text right way or wrong way, as a “stamp”


or a paint removal tool.



Now if you limited your choice of letters, using ONLY those that read the same forward and backward V M o O Y…etc) than it would read right either use.  But might be sort of boring.  Still, it’s a thought.

Now, the fun foam sticks, but not permanently.  A few of the super-thin letter ended up in odd places (stuck to the hem of my shirt, on the toe of my boot…) and one I did with thin strips of fun foam curled into spirals worked fine but by this morning the spiral had come loose in areas.  Big circles slide along the plate more than I wanted.  So that is an idea to play with a bit more.

I really want to have the time to work with these to make actual useful prints rather than quick playtime samples. but not this week, that’s for sure.

Have fun.



WOYWW 219 – word search info

OK, so I managed to capture all I think you need for this.  But first, a remarkably tidy desk for WOYWW this week!


The process for creating a Word Search background for any use is way easier than you might think. What I use is this link – geared towards teachers, it allows you to create a word search grid simply by filling in the options online.

There is flexibility here, but this is what I did. On the menu screen I changed things to suit me.  Just added a random word and selected COLORS for the word list.  You have to pick SOMETHING in order to create a grid, it won’t let you create just a grid of random characters.  So far as I can tell this just adds the one word to the grid.  It might be interesting to add a list of RELATED words in the CHOOSE YOUR OWN WORDS section and NOT tick the EXISTING WORD LIST. In the generated grid, ones that you type will appear in the grid but not be highlighted unless you change the colour of them.  Imagine  I LOVE YOU highlighted, but other love related words there in the grid – SWEETIE, KISS, HUGS, ADORE, etc. Then the recipient will “see” them even if they aren’t the focus IYKWIM.  I would select FORWARD WORDS ONLY cause backwards ones may not be even marginally noticeable.  I edited the original grid and I didn’t want a lot of actual words in there, but thinking on it,  it might be cool.


I make a few other changes – I make the grid 15 x 25 (or 25 x 15 depending if I want landscape or portrait orientation) and select lower case and Verdana for the font.  That really doesn’t matter as I change the font in my program anyway. Comic Sans is the default and I blinkin’ HATE Comic Sans.  If you wanted to create a grid with actual words you can make the changes on the right, to forward only words, for example.  But again, as I edit it anyway you don’t really need to. This is what you get:


One cool thing is you can copy and past the grid as INDIVIDUAL characters and NOT as an IMAGE of the grid. That makes each character totally editable.  Just selecting them grid to COPY>Paste you can see that:


All I do is then paste THAT into my program then change the font to a monospaced one.  I used Cousine.  I then select the letters to change and to make the words I want to use as the sentiment:


Obviously this is personal preference but I usually make the letters all a medium grey,  so the words (in this case THINKING OF YOU with OF and YOU intersecting) really stand out when I make those letters both BOLD and the colour I want.  One word of caution – I mentioned  it above, but make sure you select a MONOSPACED font.  This means that each character takes up exactly the same space within its block and is placed in the block in the centre.  That means they will all line up as a perfect grid.  Non monospaced fonts won’t!

NEW INFO!  PSE spaces the characters differently than my program does.  Making the text bold makes the letters not line up perfectly.  PSE doesn’t have kerning so other than changing the point size of the SPACES between the letters, space by space, I don’t know how you would do this in PSE.  BUT Ifa, on UKS gave this a go and tells me that you can do it in Word on a PC and the spacing stays the same.  I’ll try to see if I can push DS off his gaming PC and give it a go.

You can make the grid fit an area in a couple of different ways – either create a much larger grid then select just the dimensions you need (say 4 x 6 for a card topper, or 3 x 4 for a Project  Life  printable) OR mess about with the font size, so it fills the space,  or tile the grid if you wanted to fill a 12 x 12 scrapbook page!

I had a thought.  I will go ahead and add the card toppers I created as  PDFs for you.  If you like the idea but don’t want to go thru the steps to create your own, you can use these.

Portrait orientation, JUST A NOTE PDF

Landscape Orientation, THINKING of YOU PDF

I ‘ll also add them as a .png – that will allow you to edit the colour, but I tried and you can’t edit the text as text. You can resize them.

Portrait orientation, JUST A NOTE PNG

Landscape Orientation, THINKING of YOU PNG

Just click ENHANCE > Adjust color > Adjust Hue/Saturation then tick COLORIZE and use the sliders to change to a colour you like.


From there it’s simple…or is it?  It IS simple but takes a few photo to explain so as this is already way longer than a usual WOYWW post I think I’d better save that bit for tomorrow.  Maybe by then I will have some different samples to show you.  Can’t wait? If I say MASKING, will that be enough info for you to have a go yourself? Probably …..

Here is a card from yesterday for you so you can see what it looks like all in this post:


Happy WOYWW!


Endless book pages, digitally

This question came up mere moments ago on UKS and I spent a little bit of time sorting it out and finding links so I could answer, and as I had already done the work, and as non-members can’t see the attachments, I thought I would pop it on to my blog as well.  I have used Alice In Wonderland as an example, but there are lots of books out there available in electronic form.

I started with what I thought was the easiest way to access the TEXT, in a way that can be manipulated easily – that meant Project Gutenberg, which does have Alice In Wonderland available as an e-book.

The problem with e-books is they look like your computer screen.  The fonts are selected for readability, not cause they are nice to look at.  Just grabbing the text from the page online gives you something that just isn’t pretty.


But, if you copy and past the boring screen shot into some program or another (PSE should work, but I use Intaglio.  I imagine WordArt would work on a PC) then change the text, you can get something that approaches usable.  I think this version is best where you may want to use a bit of the actual TEXT, like to add it as a sentiment on a card, or text on an ATC or an art journal page.  One problem I am always having is going to a page in my dictionary, the French/English one that I use when I need book paper words, only to find that I tore it out cut up the word I am looking for!  This gives you an endless supply and lets you change the font a bit.  But to be fair, it’s just a time saver – you get the same thing by typing the text into your program and manipulating it.


I think I would play a bit more with the baseline and kerning of the text, to spread out the words and space the lines more like the original, and make words or phrases easier to cut out.

I have a pack of old paper that Alison passed on to me at crop that works great for printing.  You won’t be able to see if from the photo, but this paper was stored for a long time, and has a nice, ivory/yellowed look to it that makes it look like actual book paper, albeit slightly thicker. A newsprint pad or sketch book might work as well.  I wonder if shops are missing out on selling OLD, yellowed pads at a premium, cause who has time to let one moulder in the sunlight for a month or two?


Good, but nothing like the original if you want to be able to use it in a more decorative way. For that, look for the actual book pages in something like Google books.  Using whatever sort of screen shot capture program you have, and for me on my Mac that’s GRAB, you can take that and print it.


The advantage there is you get the illustrations too!

Now I would warn that this is probably fine for using on your own art, but I would research it before you used it to make things to sell.  Although I believe Alice is in the public domain, I and not sure  that sort of use, on items to sell, is OK. Some of the pages clearly have COPYRIGHT on them so be careful how you use them!

Anyway, I think this opens up a huge world of possibilities.  And the thought of having an endless supply is appealing.  This is an image I rather stumbled on, but doesn’t it look a bit like a headless dancer?? Can you see it? The area marked 1 at the top is the “neck”, the 4’s are the arms, the lower 1 and 13 the “legs”…



I think it needs a Stampotique head on it, don’t you?



A strange sort of post….

This is a sort of strange post for me.  It concerns crafting, sort of, but from an odd angle.

I am planning on going to a crop on Saturday, and I had said last month that I would bring my Gelli Plate with me, and those cheap paints I mentioned a bit back, so anyone who had seen all the buzz about it could have a look, have a play, and see if it was something they wanted to get in to.

Flash forward – DH had ordered this odd little gadget that basically plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and turns it into an Android tablet.

We have been playing with it a bit, and it seems to work really well.  OK, so it isn’t a Mac product, so for me the learning curve has been higher, but it’s getting easier to use.  The theory is that if you are travelling, for example, all you need is this – no monitor, no keyboard, only a mouse.  With new technology, DH always looks for the thing that will make me WANT to use it, and for this, he loaded up the TED lectures.  From the site:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

In the evenings we have been watching the occasional lecture on many and varied topics.  Again, to keep me interested, he usually lets me pick the topics LOL!  Last night we watched this one:

OK, so I know you are wondering how this all ties together….

The talk speaks of the Adoption Curve, which is a classic tool to show the spread of anything (remember the shampoo commercial? You tell 2 friends and they tell two friends, and so on and so on… ) and looks like this:

The talk is about how social networks can be used to predict epidemics, but funnily enough, when I was watching it, my craft-minded brain automatically made a link between this whole concept, and the virus-like spread of the Gelli plate! At first, there were the early adopters – people who maybe had already done gelatin printing and jumped on the plate, maybe with some skepticism, but then took off running.  Little bits of info, a few posts on blogs, and more and more people decided to make the leap.   Just based on my own casual observance of the Gelli posts, I could clearly see this curve replicated in real life!  And really, the same thing happens with all manner of  things, from Candy Crush (which everyone (everyone but me) at the last crop seemed at the very least familiar with, if not actually playing it) to taking up Project Life, etc.

But it also got me thinking about what happens next?  Like many, I got a plate.  I love it, find it hugely fun to play with, and posted a few times on things like classes or videos I had seen, making homemade tools, and eventually a few posts on actual things to make with the prints.  The temptation is to just pull print after print after print and worry about what to do with them later.  Not sure at this point if we are in the Late Majority phase or are already to the Laggards, but my thought is that we might be in the Adoption Gap phase. Because where I had seen a LOT of inspiring sorts of work using the plates, what I was not seeing was as many practical, anyone-could-make-this projects.  There was a TON of work that I would call real art on the Gelli Plate Facebook page.  At first it was just print after print after print. some explaining the techniques, but more just whole posts or videos of HOW to use it, and sample prints.  Then there were many art journal pages and collage work – fine if you do that, but less of a push to actually get a plate if it isn’t your thing.  It is perhaps only more recently that I am seeing stuff that is more mainstream crafting – tags, cards, scrapbook pages incorporating Gelli prints, Tattered Florals flowers for pages or cards, and ATCs.   And that is what, I think, is going to make even the casual crafter look again at the plate and think Do I need that?

It reinforces what someone said to me once, and that is that nothing sells like actual, practical, I can do that examples.  Just showing something and saying This is so cool! is not going to make most people run out and get it.  Seeing a fabulous and inspiring project, with step-by-step instructions on how to replicate it, IS going to push them in that direction. I do know I would be hugely interested in seeing the sales curve of the Gelli Plate, and see where, exactly, the tipping point was, the adoption fall off, or if it is still to come.

So now I am planning on getting out the plate, and having a play, so when I take it to the crop I can feel confident enough to demo it at least a little, rather than just plunking it down on the table and saying Have at it…. I may have to see if I can come up with a small, simple project that people can do so they can see the fun of the playing and printing carried on to a logical, practical, final project.  I’m thinking a card is probably the easiest, but maybe a set of embellishments for a page.  I’ll see what the prints look like and if that inspires me in one direction or another, I’ll run with it.

If you managed to read this all the way thru, I would love to know what you think.  Do you have one?  What made you get one? Was getting one something that was, really, outside your comfort zone? and if you got one, how much have you used it?  Will you carry on using it or will it join the other NEED THAT items in your stash that, in the end, you didn’t really need after all? Or has it opened up your crafty life in some surprising way?  Do tell…..


Turn a Blog tutorial into a PDF

I mentioned this before, but I though I would step thru it for you in case you are interested. PLEASE keep in mind that I use a very specific set of tools and some of them may be Mac-specific things so you may need to translate what *I* do into something YOU can do. But even if this doesn’t work exactly for you it might get you thinking about how you can do something similar.

What I am using:

  • Safari as a browser.  Normally I use one called Camino, a Mac-only browser built, I think on the Mozilla/Firefox bones.  I love it but to be honest I don’t know, in real life, a single other person who uses it.  DH hates it.  I love it.  There you go.
  • Snow Leopard – yes, it’s old, I know.  YMMV with more up-to-date versions of Mac OS
  • Readability – this is not unlike the Google Reader.  It converts a web page into something that looks a bit more like a magazine, without all the distractions.  It works well on Blog posts, getting rid of the headers, the sidebars, etc.

OK so you are surfing’ the web, and you see a blog post that is just loaded with info – lovely photos, step by step instructions, and you really want to save it so you can give it a go later.  You bookmark it, then go back in 3 months  and the bookmark doesn’t work.  DOH!  You wish you had taken screen shots or saved at least an image but it was never going to be easy so you settled for a bookmark.  And it came back to bite you, didn’t it?  Ah well….

But wait – check this out!

1. When on the web page, with the Read It button installed in your browser (and you can see how to do that on the Readability site) you click READ IT

This is what you normally see on my sample blog post:



Lots of info on there, but not all of it what you need to see. When you click READ IT THIS is what you see!


And click that to see THIS:


How tidy is that?  All stripped down and clear of clutter.  See the red circle?  That is a printer icon.  If you click it, it brings up a print window.

2. Click PRINT


I usually opt to Open PDF in PREVIEW, so I can check it to make sure all the pages are included.  I admit it IS a little flaky.  Sometimes you won’t get all the pages, but if you repeat the steps it usually works – or does for me.

3. Once you can see it looks like you want it to, click Save as PDF. Save it.


Now, the title for the PDF will be quite long – Preview of “Blog article title from Blog Name – Readability view”.pdf or something like that.  This is my blog post, so I’ve edited it down a lt.  But I wouldn’t do that if it was someone else’s blog post.  I would want to make sure I knew where it came from.  and obviously you should NEVER share a PDF like this by posting it for download.  Not cool – not your work, not your right to do it.  This is JUST for YOU.

And here is the resulting PDF.  Looks like this:


On the last page it has the link, which is handy if you ignore my suggestion not to edit the PDF title LOL!

Original URL:

There you go.  You now have a PDF of a long blog post, with all the images and the text, so you can save the project for later.  MUCH easier than laboriously grabbing screen shots or copy/pasting text and images to compile your own.

And because it bears repeating, DO NOT SHARE THE PDF without permission of the original blogger!

Now, I know there are other Reader-type things out there.  Readability is just the one I use.  and they might work slightly differently.  All I can suggest is to have a play and see if you can do something similar, if you like the results.


E-reader holder

One of the Christmas gifts my daughter gave me was a little fabric stand for my iPad.

The choice of fabric was hers, and I love it because she picked it for me, but she clearly has no idea what my taste is, IYKWIM.


Now I have never been a fan of e-readers.  I vastly prefer actual books.  BUT DH stumbled on a book (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) that he gulped down in about two days.  Very unusual for him – he reads, but not so much fiction.  He suggested I read it and as it was already on his Kindle it seemed silly not to read it that way.  I did, and I really enjoyed it.  What surprised me is that I liked reading it on the Kindle more than I expected.  At first, the whole way you had to grip it, to avoid triggering a page turn got on my nerves A LOT.  But when I remembered this beanbag, it solved that and other issues.  For example, I read while I eat (breakfast and lunch, which I tend to eat on my own, never dinner, which we eat as a family) and the issues with real books (keeping to book open, turning the pages and not getting food on them, etc) can be solved with an e-reader if you can solve the problems e-readers and meal-time reading (keeping them at the right angle for easy reading.) This little beanbag worked a treat.


Basically it is constructed like those sour cream containers (US ones, not UK ones) where you take a rectangle of paper (or in this case fabric) and sew a tube.  Sew one end closed, fill with styrofoam balls (the small ones like for bean bag stuffing) then sew the other end closed the opposite.  You can see a paper version on Dan99‘s blog if that is difficult to picture. This bean bag is exactly the same, scaled up.

I think DH intended I would use it for my iPad, but I never USE my iPad, really, unless I am laying down.  Except to Skype DS at Uni, and that is the one case where this beanbag holder is less than ideal as the mic is blocked by the fabric. I should give it a go with a YouTube video or something, to see if the VOLUME on playback is affected like the MIC is for conversation.  If not, I can see using this more often.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to share it.  The company he bought it from, at a craft fair, is called ebeanies.


Resizing Printables – a How-to

You know the old saying Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime? well, I think it applies here, a bit.  I offered adding some of my printables that I had resized to fit my 2.5 x 3.5 baseball (Pokemon) card holders for my own odd version of a Project Life-style book, and when I looked at the file I had I realized it was fine for A4 but a little too long for US letter.  While I was thinking I would need to create a new sheet that fit both I got to thinking that it would be far better to step people through the process of how to re-size ANY printable in PDF or .jpg form.

I first recorded a QuickTime movie but when I added it to YouTube the size was so small in the tiny window it was all a bit pointless.  I know you can zoom in I just haven’t learned how to do it yet – and whether that is only when using a camera to video the screen or if, in fact, there is a built-in zoom in QuickTime I don’t know.  Anyway I went a different way and grabbed screen shots instead so I could really focus on the important info.

OK,  First step is to download a set of printables.  I used some of my own for this but did test it out with others I had on my Mac.  It all works.  I didn’t actually try .png files but from working with them I am sure it will work the same (or easier)

1. Click on the printable PDF or file and OPEN WITH > Photoshop Elements.  when you do you may see this sort of screen.  Click OK if you do.  If the PDF is multiple pages you can pick ONE page to open at a time.


2. The PDF will open as a whole page.  Some people create their printables in a lower resolution.  Mine are 300dpi but look at that.  It will matter what resolution you set your new blank file to – and frankly if the resolution is low, like 72dpi, I’d pick different printables!


3. Select the Marquee tool (the little dashed box) and draw a selection around the one you want to resize.  You really have to do the individually because you need to get the sizing right.


At this point you are not too worried about being exact.  A smidge bigger or smaller is not going to make a tremendous difference – get as close as you can.

4. Copy the selection by either using your keyboard command (and I use Apple > C but not sure what it is on a PC – you will know) OR click EDIT > Copy.  This copies your selection to the clipboard.


5.  Now you can select File > NEW > Image from clipboard. This creates a new file the exact size of your selection and opens it.


6. Now you need to resize the image.  This is how I do it.  The difference in ratio between 3 x 4 and 2.5 x 3.5 is minor.  MOST things are going to look fine even if the resizing is not kept in exact proportion, but obviously if you do it and it looks rubbish, you will have to work a little harder to make it right.  But I’m betting that is going to be a very occasional situation. Click Image > Resize and in the box UNTICK CONSTRAIN PROPORTIONS and fill in the dimensions you want your final image to be. Note that mine shows it is 300 dpi in the Resolution box.


Once you have done that, your small single image file will be resized.

7. Open a new file. I selected A4 but you can do US Letter if you need to.  Make sure the resolution of your NEW FILE matches the resolution of your single image file.


8. Now it is just a matter of DRAGGING the smaller single image on to your new file.  You can then carry on resizing as many of the single blocks as you want – you can even open OTHER printables, resize just an image or two, and drag them ALL over till you have filled the sheet. Drag them to place them on the sheet.   You can rotate them to make them all one orientation then save and print.


Easy Peasy.

Now, if you have a Mac you can simply open the PDF in Preview and use the TOOLS option to select just a single “card” then copy it and paste it into another image editing file (me, a lover of ancient technology, I use AppleWorks and Intaglio but I see no reason Pages wouldn’t work) and bypass Photoshop entirely.  And I imagine that a PDF viewer for the PC must have some similar method of copying a selection.  The perhaps Word Art?  I am all adrift with PC stuff, sorry.  But I am hoping that once you see the method you can translate that into a method that works for you.

If you do, report back!  Inquiring minds want to know.

Now I will re-do the sheet so it prints on US letter without cutting it off and add them perhaps tomorrow.


Windows Users – this one’s for you!

If you are a Windows user (or indeed if you are a Mac user and fancied the calendar I showed yesterday but couldn’t be bothered to do it) this one is for you. A reminder that this is a standard paper size (A4 or US Letter 8.5 x 11)  top half of the page blank, bottom half of the page with calendar) and includes UK or US Holidays.

It occurred to me that it was possible, in fact quite EASY, to do one additional step to make the calendars that work into printable PDFs for download! All that was required was to set it up for printing but do the Print > PDF > Save as PDF step one more time.  So I did.

There are two calendars, two versions. First, my favourite, BIG DATE.  This is what the calendar grid looks like:

I love that it includes the small Last Month/Next Month at the bottom and the grayed out dates to complete the grid.  The one you see has the UK holidays but I did a US Holidays version as well, in US letter size.  The be honest, I think the A4 version would have fit fine on the US letter paper, but as I had to make the Holidays version, it seemed silly not to make it US Letter as well.

UK Holidays/A4 paper BIG DATE

US Holidays/8.5 x 11 BIG DATE

Next, I did the Picture Calendar version, which looks like this:

UK Holidays/A4 paper Picture Calendar

US Holidays/8.5 x 11 Picture Calendar

I did play around with the option to change fonts but it refused to use the ones I picked so these are the standard, as they come, fonts.  I have also worked out how to remove the photo pages and replace them with blank pages, which makes all the other calendars work too, but I’m not going to make them all.  These two are the most useful.  The others either have coloured page backgrounds  (so too greedy with ink), Like VINTAGE:

Or are too “cute” to be of universal appeal, like Kids Cutouts:

And there may very well be more options for this process in later versions of the Mac OS than Snow Leopard, so Mac users do experiment!

I have a LOT on today – this is our scaled down and time-shifted Thanksgiving day.  DS is still up in Scotland, and the meal has been totally planned by DD – turkey, gravy, roast potatoes, green beans (or broccoli, she is still undecided) and pineapple upside down cake with custard.  I’ve never made one, nor eaten one, but it’s what she wants so I’m having a go.  So probably no more crafting for me today.  I put these on UKS for download (at least the UK versions) and people have tested them but if there are any issues, comment and I’ll have a look and sort it if need be.

Happy (late) Thanksgiving !


Windows users, look away now! Making calendar with iCal

This post is about making calendars using iPhoto and iCal and is only applicable for Mac users.  Sorry about that PC folk.

I’m going to walk you thru what I think is the most useful and easiest calendar to make, assuming you want to print one at home and decorate it in a scrappy or stampy sort of way.  I don’t personally make A4/US letter size calendars, but it came up on UKS the other day and while there were a few replies about Windows-based programs there wasn’t any Mac-response.  So I had a play and came up with this.

Note: you can use the process to create a calendar that has the photos embedded, then either print at home (oh the INK you will use!) or click the BUY button and order one or more.  Now, if you are clever, you should be able to add, for example, a digi-page to iPhoto, or scan an actual layout and just drag that over to your calendar, but I am not going to deal with that now.  If you are a digi person, your skills may surpass mine and you will know what to do already.  What I am focusing on is very particular – “typical” A4/US letter calendar, blank space on the top half of the page, and calendar at the bottom.

I did experiment with recording my workflow as a movie, but because I have a two-monitor set up, one portrait, one landscape, and both widescreen, the results were simply too small to see without heavy editing .  So this will be still shots.  I am also still on Snow Leopard, but I think this process has only been improved in later versions of the OS.

Let’s get to it!

1.  Create an ALBUM with all the photos you want to use.  Have this selected. Select more photos than you need for the 12 months – I’ll show you a neat thing with that in a bit!

2.  Go right down to the bottom of the screen and click on the little Calendar icon

3. This will bring up a selection screen –  CHOOSE your calendar option.  Note: anything that appears as GREY will actually print as WHITE, so Colored Paper, or Vintage, for example, are NOT good choices.  Modern Lines is leaves faint lines marking the photo position but BIG DATE is good, as is Picture Calendar.

4.  The next screen will offer you some options.  You can pick the date range, the holidays if you want them to be printed on the calendar, you can add any of your personal calendar bits as well as birthdays from your address book.  You will also be able to add info to specific date blocks by typing it in.

5.  When you click OK the calendar will come up.  You can drag the photos from your album onto the page IF you want to print the photos.  And you can edit the text for the title and subtitle.

But about those extra photos… you can also drag a photo on to a date and it will be sized for you. It hides the date but so long as you don’t do a row of them it’s probably not going to matter!

Cool, humm?

6.  Now click PRINT.

7. Click PDF > Save as PDF

8.  Best to save it to your Desktop – I think the default is DOCUMENTS but you will want to use it right away so better it is someplace you can see it.

9.  You may get this box – just click OK.  It thinks you are printing when you are really creating a PDF and need no paper 🙂

10.  The PDF will be created and saved.  It takes a minute.  When it is done, double click to open it. See that the first page is the cover?  You don’t want it there.  Click and hold then drag it to the bottom of the list of pages.


11. Now it is just the actual printing.  To do what we want, which is to print the blank at the top and the calendar at the bottom, you need to make some changes to the PREVIEW print options.  Click print and select these options:

  1. Leave PAGES at ALL if you want to print the whole calendar. You could change the COPIES to 2 or more to print multiple copies at one time – just make sure you have enough paper in your printer!
  2. Selected the paper size that is appropriate for your country (Me, A4, you may be US Letter/8.5 x 11)
  3. Click SCALE TO FIT and Print Entire Image
  4. Select 2 images per page but NOT 2 copies – that would give you a sheet of the month block x 2 and then a blank sheet.

Click the PREVIEW drop down and you can set the paper type (I tend to use Photo Paper Matte for cardstock, but your printer may offer different choices than mine) and if you want the QUALITY (I do HIGH) and sometimes COLOR PROFILE.

The reason you moved the cover page is that your calendar PDF now begins with a blank page and is followed by the month info.  Selecting 2 images per page will print a blank space followed by the calendar for all pages – you can see that at the left in the window.  Your cover page will print on its own last. You could then add a photo and print just Page 25 on photo paper for your cover.   I am guessing you would do it Pages: 25 to 25, untick 2 images per page, and change the scale to Fill Entire Page.  I’d say start there and  play with the options  to get it the way you want it.

Some things that spring to mind:

  • Perfect if you want to make a larger wall calendar rather than a CD one.  There is LOADS of space to stamp, for example.
  • You can build a flat layout on the empty space and make it very scrapbook-y – limited thick embellishments might be OK. You can add printed photos rather than printing them so not so piggy with your ink!  Or you could add photo corners and use them to add a lumpy A5 layout, then remove it when you flip to the next month.  It would make a great mini-book at the end of the year, just stick them back to back and bind or add a book ring!
  • Easy to assemble – just use your Bind-it-all/Cinch to add the binding wire at the top – it won’t be a back-to-back page like commercial calendars, but you can accomplish that by printing one page, then turning it over and printing the next page on the back – just make sure you know how your printed handles the paper orientation!

You could, of course, edit the PDF in Photoshop and change the month font and colour, or delete the blank pages then print&cut just the month bits to use in a variety of ways. Personally I think it is slightly more stylish than the standard print-a-calendar sites so for me it’s worth the slight extra effort.  Plus I LOVE the adding photos to the day blocks and the fact you can customise it so totally.  I had the thought that, for example, if you wanted to do a month in review sort of layout, you could print the month, including all your iCal calendars with all your appointments, birthdays, reminders, etc, and have a record of what you did that month.  And you can drag in photos for certain days as well and print them right on the calendar. Need it smaller? you could edit the PDF to delete all the blank pages and print them 4 images to a page.  Really, I think I have only scratched the surface of what you can do with this.

Over to you…..