Wordles = Free DIY Typography Art!

wordle

If you’re like me, you’re a bit artistically challenged, at least when it come to painting, drawing, sketching, etc.  And if you’re like me, you’re often financially strapped and unable to shell out the big bucks for real art (Ah… some day…).  However, one of my favorite DIY ways to create art, especially typography-style art — without having to resort to stick figures and crayons — is to use a lovely little website called Wordle.

 

Straight from the website, Wordle is “a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide.”  Best of all, it’s free!  You may need to download a Java applet if your computer doesn’t already have it, but that’s free (and painless/easy) as well.

How it Works…

Well, of course you can check out the FAQ on the website for some real help, but in case you’re wanting a quick-start guide and don’t want to wade through the bajillion FAQ (they’re so darn helpful), here goes:

First, click on the “Create” tab at the top of the screen.  From here, you can type in as much text as you want (tip: the more words you type, the better your wordle will look).  You may also enter the URL of a blog, website, or del.ici.ous username to make a wordle of their tags (I don’t personally recommend this feature, it never turns out as interesting as I hope it will).

Things to keep in mind…

The size of the word is based purely on how many times you type a single word.  Type it ten times, it should be quite large; just once, it will be the smallest.

To put phrases into your wordle, separate the words with a tilde character —-> ~  (no additional spaces needed).  So if I wanted my Wordle to have the phrase “I love you.” I would have to input it as: I~love~you.  Get it?

Again, the more words the better.

Next, copy and paste all of your words and phrases into a text field of some sort.  This is tres importante because once you hit “Go,” you won’t be able to go back and change anything — all the text will be lost if you go back on your browser or hit “create” again. (I just paste mine into a MS Word doc, just in case I notice a typo or want to add more words after I hit “go.”)

Hit “Go” to generate a wordle!  Ooohhhh….. Aaaahhhh…….

From here, you can alter the font, color, and layout of your wordle.  Play around with the different features until you find what you’re looking for.  You can also create a custom color palette, changing the background as well (so it’s not just limited to black and white, in case you were wondering).

You can’t save wordles from the wordle website because they are Java applets, however you can take a screenshot of your Wordle and edit it in Paintbrush!

“How do I take a screenshot?”   What a fine question!  :)

On your computer’s keyboard, hit CTRL and the PRTSC/ SYSRQ key (bottom left hand corner and top right hand corner, respectively).

Then open Paintbrush (or a similar program) and hit CTRL + V to paste the screenshot.

From here you can use the cutting tool in Paint to cut just the Wordle.

Then on your keyboard, click CTRL + N to open a new Paint window, choose to not save the current window, then hit CTRL + V one last time to paste your cut Wordle on the Paint canvas (isn’t it purdy?).  From here you can minimize the white space of your canvas by pulling it in from the sides (look for those handy arrows that creep up when you run your mouse over the sides).

Finally, you can save the cut wordle by going to “File” at the top of the screen, clicking “Save As,” and giving your Wordle a name (then, you know… save it!).

Now that you have it saved as an image file, you can do whatever you want with it!  I think I’ll be sending my to Staples to get printed (their color printing is so much better/cheaper than what my printer can do).  Then it’ll go in a frame and I’ll stick it on the to-be-revealed-one-day-art-wall (we’ve still got some work to do).

But first, I have to decide which one to pick/print.  Josh and I honeymooned in New Orleans, and it remains one of our very favorite places to go.  I thought of as many NOLA related words as I could, then typed those into the Wordle text field and voila!

Three fun options for the future art wall:

(This first one has a typo…  I know, I know…)

or…..

wordle

 

or………

 

 
 
 I think I’m leaning towards the second one. What do you think???
 

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Handmade Gifts

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Handmade Gifts, Part 2 (still patting myself on the back)

Ok, so I’m  s l o w l y  returning to the blogging thing, post-holiday, and due to the fact that I kind of checked out last week, that means I have a load of holiday-related things to share with you (still)!

I know, Christmas is over.  Move on.

But I can’t let go — yet.  I even thought I could justify it and say that I was still within the realm of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” even though I don’t really acknowledge or celebrate that. (What am I talking about?  Ask Wikipedia.)

However, Twelfth Night was January 5th, so now it’s just getting tacky.  Whatever.   I decided to embrace the tacky, and go ahead and do a little show-and-tell of the other handmade gifts in my life, this time the ones that Josh and I received (you may remember the previous post where we talked about the gifts we gave).

First, let’s start with the handmade gifts Josh and I gave each other:

dog silhouettes

Yeah, you’re probably thinking “That’s a lot of dogs.”  Let me explain:  I gave Josh the framed black and white photo, and Josh gave me the two silhouettes, you know, of our dogs.  Yeah, we basically gave each other the same thing.  Creepy, right?  And this was all done unbeknownst to the other (and by the way, we didn’t tell any friends or family who may have spilled it to either of us).  Creepier still, my first plan was to make silhouettes, too.  I planned on using this photo, but we didn’t have any black paper and I didn’t have a lot of time — Christmas Eve gift making, how shameful — so I didn’t follow through with my original plan (little did I know it would look just as good in white!).  So, I spray painted this frame that Josh found at the street on trash day, made a matte out of lime green paper, and framed the photo.

Josh was feeling far more ambitious.  He took two frames (he found these at the street on trash day, also), printed out the same photo on regular printer paper, cut it out, traced it (it ended up being the mirror image side) and then cut that out as well.  He backed it with lime green paper (needless to say, we have an abundance of lime green paper).

When we opened them — which happened to be at the same time — we had a weird case of the Twilight-Zones, and then accused each other of somehow stealing each other’s ideas, perhaps using a magic wand and a Pensieve when the other was sleeping.

Then we realized that was silly and decidedly attributed the coincidence to our compatibility.  Aww….. :)

And our crazy obsession with our dogs.

And maybe the fact that we walk by the Courtney silhouette everyday (this was done when I was like 6).

See it there on the table next to the Eiffel Tower ornament?

Who knows?  But we love them both and look forward to hanging them on our soon-to-be art wall (details in blog post form to follow).

Moving on to some of the handmade gifts we received from family…

My mother-in-law, knowing well of my loves for orange and green, recycling, and handmade gifty-ness, crocheted this reusable tote for me:

hand crocheted grocery bag

I love it!!!  Things like this amaze me to no end, because I have ZERO crocheting/knitting/sewing/anything-domestic-other-than-cooking skills.

My sister-in-law (a loyal GPP subscriber) took part of this blog’s paisley background image and made it into the lid of a magnetic box:

personalized box

Recognize the pattern?  Yeah, I literally squealed when I opened it.  And even better, when I opened the (magnetic) lid, I found a pair of earring that she had made for me!

I asked her where she had the box made, and she said she wouldn’t tell me (it’s a secret she feels she must keep as she has so many gifts made through this company).  However, she did say it was a website that I had mentioned on here before.  Considering that I’ve linked up to hundreds of websites in the 63 posts I’ve written since starting this on September 12, 2011… yeah, I’m sort of scratching my head on this one.

Sigh.  Maybe one day she’ll reveal her mystical secrets…

Amanda, the aforementioned secretive sister-in-law, gave Josh a framed shadow box of the Triforce (from the Zelda games):

triforce art

(Sorry for the overly-reflective picture. this was the best of a dozen attempts, believe me).

Now, I couldn’t be less interested in video games possibly, but even this made me go “OOOHHH!”  The picture doesn’t do it any justice, but in person, it looks gooood (Scouts’ honor).  And little did Amanda know we were slowly accumulating things for our art wall!  Perfectly timed.

The next gift is also one of those funny coincidences because it was something I had planned on blogging about, but hadn’t gotten around to yet.  As a fun way to give us some cash, my mother-in-law made origami with some dollar bills:

snail origami dollar bill

dollar bill rocket ship origami

dollar bill origami swan

dollar bill mens shirt origami

I think they turned out great!  I especially love the men’s shirt origami.  She also made an origami star, but no matter how many different angles I tried, I could not take a picture of it where it actually looked like a star (but it does in person, I promise).

You can find the how-to’s all over the internet; just do a Google search for dollar bill origami (and I recommend ironing your dollar bills on a low setting before starting — they’re made of cotton, they can handle it).

Hope you enjoyed the highlights of some of our handmade gifts!  From here on out, I will try my best to not mention the holidays… at least until… September?!  (I’ve got to do another Twelve Weeks of Christmas series next year, too!)

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This picture of my dog:

See the little nose poking out from under the cushion?  Yeah she’s pretty weird awesome.

A Follow-up from Teresa (Crafty Tips)

When I posted the blog-style birthday tribute for my mom last Tuesday (check it out HERE), I got an overwhelmingly lovely response from the comments and e-mails I received, and it turns out that you all think my mom is as cool as I think she is (though I’m not surprised, I had a feeling you were smart people, you GPP readers).   I decided to get a follow-up from her —  specifically, I wanted to get some more details on some of her crafty projects, and hopefully make them accessible to all of you.  After all, Christmas is really soon and a lot of her ideas and projects would translate brilliantly into handmade, cost-effective gifts.

So, instead of me trying to summarize her response, I decided just to directly quote her here, copy-and-paste-from-the-e-mail-she-sent-me style, and I have also augmented some of her responses with clarification and elaboration of my own (in italics) per her request.  Hope these tips help!

First, I want to start with a project that I actually forgot to mention in the previous post, but which I love all the same.  If you’re an HGTV fan, you may be familiar with David Bromstad, the first winner of HGTV’s Design Star, and also the host of Color Splash: Miami.  This interior designer, who is also an accomplished painter and muralist, loves to create original art for each room project he works on, and they often take on an abstract style.  Here’s an example of one of his paintings (found here):

by David Bromstad

Using a similar technique, my mom created her own version:

david bromstad inspired painting

By Teresa Hyke Foster

And here’s a some close-up:

David Bromstad inspired painting

David Bromstad inspired painting, close-up

Yeah, I like hers more.

So, here’s a step-by-step directly from her to help you achieve a similar effect (my comments in italics):

“The David Bromstad- inspired painting is done just by lightly wetting the canvas (with a spray bottle of water), dripping craft acrylic paint — from the little bottles, not the tubes — onto the canvas, and then using a spray bottle to spray the wet paint (no brush is needed, and DO NOT use oil paint as you will have a hot mess).  The paint will start dripping.  Add more paint, and allow to drip until the desired effect is achieved.  Very simple!”

Thanks, mom!

About the Preservation Hall painting, my mom says: “I wanted to paint you and Josh a picture that would remind you of your honeymoon and your love of NOLA. With Preservation Hall, I Googled a publicity photo, printed it out, and drew the design on the canvas and painted it. If transferring a picture is out of someone’s ability, then a picture could be blown up and transferred by using graphite paper and tracing over the design.”

(Oooh, graphite paper.  That’d be the option I would have to take.)

And here’s a picture, just to remind you:

Preservation Hall painting

Preservation Hall painting

And… last but not least the Statue of Liberty pillow:

Statue of Liberty pillow

Statue of Liberty pillow

This is an example of me assuming a project was done one way, when really it was a bit more complicated (albeit still totally accessible to the less artistic like myself).

Here’s what Teresa says about it: “When I painted the Statue of Liberty pillow, I Googled Peter Maxx (my family has one of his prints in their home). I drew a black and white version on paper with a black sharpie, then transferred the design with a vanishing pen to the fabric (when the ink gets wet, the marks vanish — those can be found here for under $3). I held the design that I had drawn with a sharpie up to the light (I taped it to the kitchen window and transferred the design to the fabric with the vanishing pen). If you have a light box that would work also (who has a light box, mom?).  Then I just painted the picture (with black silk screen paint), let it dry over night, heat set it with an iron, and then sewed the pillow. You could also use regular black fabric paint.”

(Doesn’t she make it sound so easy?)

Hope these tips help and inspire you!  If you have any more questions for Teresa/my mom, let me know and I’ll pass those on to her and try to get them answered!

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