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Review of "Everything that starts with A ..."

published 04/12/2003 | ElizaF
Member since : 14/08/2003
Reviews : 73
Members who trust : 99
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Pro May save you a few pence & keep kids occupied for HOURS
Cons Requires work. This is for Windows computers only.
very helpful

"Arts & crafts - Making your own Xmas cards (2004)"

Snow, man

Snow, man

Picture the scene; it is 3 weeks before Xmas, we have 33 Christmas cards left to write. There is very little money in the kitty left over to buy cards as Daddy (quite reasonably) refuses to live on cheap white sliced bread and 12p per can baked beans from now until the new year......

From yonder, a choir of Angelic children's voices are heard singing through the rapidly approaching dusk....

"Christmas time, mistletoe and whines,
Children screeching without tune nor rhyme,
She's like a briar, the gifts haven't come free
A time for not strangling all that she sees"

Seeing how it felt like they were singing just for me, I empty the last of the kitty into their copper collecting tin.

Now what to do for Xmas cards..........

"Right kids", I yell, startling the life out of the little darlings and causing youngest nephew to drop his grip on the chunk of hair he had previously, and lovingly, being trying to remove from his sister's head. "We're making our own"

I dispatched the little darlings to find card paper and envelopes. Two hours and one wreaked house later, we counted up our spoils. Two half packets of card paper (from Jonelle at John Lewis £2.49 for 40 sheets) and some matching envelopes (from the same range and shop, £1.49 for 20, a dog leash (we have cats) a dolls head that had been missing for years and a pair of Daddy's battered slippers that I was sure I put in the bin 11 months ago.

The first port of call was to find pictures suitable to put on the cards, these, I found in abundance from the internet clip-art site: http://webclipart.miningco.com/library/Xmas/blxmas48b.htm. This is a site that you can copy non-copywrited images from onto your computer and there are 100's there devoted to the festive season.

At the bottom of this op, I have included some images for you to copy and paste to your hearts desire.

I picked 4 images, one of a Tree, one of a parcel, one of a nativity scene and one of a snowman. To select an image for download, I right clicked on it and selected 'copy' from the drop down menu that appeared.

Then I got on with the clever techie bit.

On my Windows machine, I went to the 'Start' menu, selected 'Programs' then 'Accessories' and paint.

Paint in Windows is a cheap and cheerful programme that comes as default with all the operating systems designed by Microsoft for the purposes of simple picture editing.

When the application opens, go to the 'Edit' menu and select the 'Paste' option from the menu.
At this point do a quick 360 degree scope of the room and make sure none of your sprogs are putting their fingers in sockets or running with scissors.

You will notice now that the image you copied from the internet are now pasted into Paint. Now go to 'File' on the menu bar and choose the 'Save as' option Give the file a name you will remember and in the 'Save as type' drop down menu, select the 'Monochrome Bitmap' option. This will save the image in a black and white format.

Now stop the children from leaving home in protest that you are paying more attention to the computer than them. You'll need them later on.

Now highlight the image that you have just saved and go to 'Edit' and 'copy' from the menus. This will place your image on a clipboard which will mean you can open other applications installed on Windows and paste your image into them

Now, open your Word application. Go to, yes you have guessed it, 'Edit' and 'Paste'. This will place your image in a position to be edited further. Once the image has appeared, right-click on it and select the 'Format picture' menu option. Go to the tab called 'Layout' and choose the 'Behind text' option. This will mean that you can type around the picture without the image disappearing off the edge of the document.
Now select the document again by clicking on it and keeping the mouse pressed down, move the picture to about an inch short of the bottom right-hand corner of the document. This will be the front face of your folded card when it is printed out.

Now to insert your message of good tidings - Go to 'Insert' on the main menu bar and select the 'text box' option. Your mouse curser will change to a cross. Press down on the mouse and drag out the text box to the length of the bottom of the image. This way, your text will be neatly under you picture. Type in your greeting.

Now all that is left to do is to put your signature on the bottom right-hand side of the card. Insert another text box and place your production credits there. Ours always read 'Design by Mummy inc., production by Daddy Inc., artwork by the Fiennes midgets'

At this point SAVE the document again.

Now, send the children on a crayon, pencil, pen, marker search….

Still in Word, go to 'File' and 'Print Preview', this will let you see what the printed page will look like. If any part of the printing appears off the page, simply click on the element to select it, hold down the mouse button and move it across the page a few millimetres.

Save the document again to preserve any changes you made.

Now for the first proof, ensure your printer is switched in and on, out a page of plain paper in the paper receptacle and print out your masterpiece. Fold in four and admire your handywork. If there is any part of the document that has disappeared off the edge of the page, move it again until you are happy with the finished result.

Now place your card in the printer, unless you have a really high spec printer, I would advise reeling off no more than 3 or 4 copies at a go just in case a blockage occurs and you lose some of your precious card paper.

As they come out of the printer, fold in 4 and hand over to your shiny eyed expectant sprogs and let them run riot with their choice of weapon … err….colouring in tool.

We have done this every year since our nieces and nephews were small and it is a wonderful way to send keepsakes of their artwork to friends and family. It is very interesting to follow how their tastes in colour and their design ability has changed over the years and provides an invaluable record of these changes. This will be the second Christmas my own son (27 months old) will do his own exclusive Christmas 'artwork'. I just hope I can clean the crayon marks off the TV as easily as I did last year!

Thanks for reading
: )

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Comments on this review

  • RICHADA published 09/06/2005
    Thanks for writing.......a superb review, never mind the kids! This sounds like FUN! We send masses of (very expensive) cards right through the year, now we have a digital camera I'm sure that we can be quite inventive - might even send one to Cillit BANG telling them what I think of their bathroom cleaner - um .... which image? Got It ! Mooney of course! Many thanks for a very good review. R. (I'll have to pace the rest because if they are all as good as this I'll run out of E's.) R.
  • bpg2504 published 08/03/2005
    They are very good, and good review, contains all the details. Certainly i will give this a try. Thank you :)
  • Scarlet_Ribbons published 07/01/2005
    They look lovely. I cross stitched some a few years ago and every year since my mother has displayed hers...bless her x
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