Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Sentimental Map Art

I love maps. There’s something about a map that is so interesting and pretty… it’s probably because they are often blue, and that’s my favorite color. And even though I can’t read a map to save my life, I’ve been into repurposing old maps lately and have used them in several recent projects including decoupaging my craft room drawers and revamping an old silver tray. There’s one project I’ve been saving my State of Maryland map for (the other projects were from thrift store atlases), and it was inspired by Everything Fabulous’s post on map art. I love what they did with their frames, so I was hoping to get a chance to make my own.

Instead of having several frames, I picked out one frame for my sentimental map art. It took me a little while to figure out just what places to cut out, then I decided on four: Fenwick Island, DE., where the hubby and I met; Bowie and Crofton, Md., where the hubby and I first lived together; Mt. Airy, Md., where the hubby and I got married; and Columbia, Md., where the hubby and I live in our first house! So cute, right?

Once I figured out what locations to use, I cut up my map into four hearts, each one surrounding the name of the city.

I then grabbed my backless frame off the wall — I hung it already in our bedroom with nothing in it so there would be a spot on our gallery wall for it. I cleaned the frame really well since you can see pretty much any and all smudges on these types of frames.

Next, I put painters tape on the backs of the four hearts. Painters tape is great with paper because it’s less likely to rip it. It made the next step really easy.

Once all of the hearts had tape, I arranged them in the frame, sticking the tape directly to the back pane of glass. I was able to easily adjust the hearts without ripping the paper because of the painters tape.

With all four hearts in place, I put the frame back together.

I made sure to tape down the little levers holding the frame back on because they move occasionally and I didn’t want to be able to see them through the frame once it was hung on the wall.

And voila! Super cute 🙂

{A Smith of All Trades} Map Art

It’s a really simple decoration, but I love it. Yay!

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Graphic Design

Maryland State L-O-V-E

I’ve been playing around in InDesign, trying to create a fun way to show my love of the State of Maryland. I’ve been at it for a while, but have been super disappointed in the designs I’ve come up with. I saw a fun DIY post from Design That Inspires that inspired me to create a fun “I heart Maryland” print either for our home or my office at work.

Here’s what they came up with to show their state love:

{View their DIY}

They painted their designs, but I’m not talented with painting at all. So, I turned my funky InDesign work-in-progress into my own version of their super cute State Love project.

I started out by snagging an outline of the state off of the interwebs. Originally, I tried filling the outline with the names of cities and counties in the state. I haven’t completely given up on this idea yet, but it’s stumping me for now.

The outline isn’t too pretty, so I used the Live Paint tool in Adobe Illustrator to change the stroke of the outline to look a bit smoother.

I popped this image into Photoshop and quickly filled the white areas with a pretty shade of blue using the Paint Can tool. Then I uploaded the .PSD file directly into InDesign.

Back in Illustrator, I created a ruby-red heart using the Pen tool. This is tricky, but I learned how to better use this tool in an Intro To Illustrator class I took recently.

I copied this heart into InDesign and dropped it right over Columbia! Added my favorite new font, Mossy, to the top… and Voila!

It’s too cute and not terribly difficult to do.

Plus, I really do love Maryland. Best state ever!

Graphic Design

Word Art using Adobe InDesign

I recently got a computer upgrade at work and am now the proud user of a MacBook Pro. It’s been fun getting to learn my way around a Mac (I am a PC user at home). Like I mentioned in my Love Prints post, I’ve been fiddling around with InDesign. I learned InDesign in a “Graphic Design for Newspapers” class I took as part of my journalism degree, but we used Quark for page design at The Diamondback. At the business school, I do a fair bit of design work, but it’s mostly fliers, programs and the like, so the creativity quotient isn’t always at its highest. So I decided to bring my Mac home every so often to familiarize myself more with the program. It’s amazing what you can do! I’ve made a bunch of word art, which is exactly what it sounds like — art made of words. Here are some of my favorites:

No. 1: Born This Way word art

I am a big fan of Lady Gaga, but I am terrible with lyrics. I can botch up the lyrics to any song like it’s my job. And, let’s face it, Lady Gaga isn’t the easiest singer to understand all of the time. However, the Glee cast did a cover of Gaga’s “Born the way,” and I finally was able to understand all of her lyrics — and they are wonderful. With all of the bullying of gay teenagers, this song is truly a breath of fresh air and couldn’t have come at a better time. I find them truly inspiring and I believe wholeheartedly that whether you are gay, straight, transgender, bi, or any other label out there, you were born the way you are and should therefore be proud and own it. So, I played around with the chorus of the song to make this lyric art.

And here it is all printed, framed and beautiful:

I’m making a list of other inspirational/uplifting songs I want to turn into art. I think it could make a cool sort of gallery to have an entire wall dedicated to lyric art!

No. 2: Ocean Scene word art

This piece of art is truly experimental. I stumbled upon a text tool in InDesign that allows you to have your text follow an edge of a frame, so you are able to wrap words around in a square or around a circle… or, as I discovered, along a free-drawn line. I created a sea scape using the line tool, then I replaced all of the lines with text. I used different fonts, colors and sizes, and slowly but surely created a mini sea scape out of words and lines. I used tongue twisters, song lyrics, and poems for the individual shapes (i.e. “She sells sea shells” for the water; “Like a bird” for the flock of gulls; “Mr. Sun” for the sun; etc.). I think it would look cute in a kid’s room or in a beach-themed room. What do you think? It was a fun little experiment!

No. 3: Words for friends

My co-worker Millicent celebrated a big birthday in 2010 so we threw her a hot-pink-and-Michael-Jackson-themed surprise party to celebrate. My eloquent boss Rebecca wrote Mill the sweetest, funniest poem that Mill later asked me to play around with so she could use it as art in her office.

She printed it on a textured, neutral paper and it turned out fabulous:

I’m brainstorming other fun uses for the program. If you have any ideas, feel free to share! I pretty much jump at any chance to take my Mac home and play around with the Adobe Suite.