Creativity

Holiday and Thank You Card Creation as Easy as 1-2-3


Since it is the Christmas season and there are several holidays available for celebration I thought I'd show you how to create some cards as easy as getting an image you like, choosing the right format, and sending out your custom made card!

Let's start with finding pictures.

Flickr is a great place to start with looking for pictures. In fact some Flickr users have released their images under a Creative Commons License, which allows you with proper attribution to use the image for your card, just put a small caption under the image when you use it.

sxc.hu is a good source of stock photography which is free to use in your card. You need to create an account, but it is free.

The format of the card is another choice you will need to make. A post card (3.5 inches to 4.25 inches x 5 inches to 6 inches) is a less traditional, but less expensive to mail format. A good size for cards which fold over is 5x7. This means that you will get one card per letter size piece of paper. I have included Templates for both types of cards to give you a start.

The last bit for a custom made card is sending it out. If you are sending the post cards just address it, write your message on back place a stamp, and you are good. If you made the folding card you will need to make or buy an envelope, address stamp and mail.


3x5 sheet music jotters (landscape)

Five 3x5-inch cards on one letter-sized sheet, each with four landscape-oriented blank music staves. Use the 2nd page for the back, if you'd like double-sided cards.

Thumbnail: 
thumb2.jpg
Usage advice: 

Keep a couple with the other blank notecards in your hPDA, for those musically inspired moments...

Paper size: 
Index Card (3 x 5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Language: 
NA

Wavy weeks

Month- or year-at-a-glance with days of the week following a sinusoidal curve. March-December 2010 on 12" square scrapbook-sized paper.
Created these pages to track baby milestones for a scrapbook but thought others might be interested in the "wavy weeks" (inspired by W. Bradford Paley's 2007 planner: http://wbpaley.com/brad/index.htm).

Thumbnail: 
Wavy weeks.png
Usage advice: 

You can generate your own "wavy weeks" string using the linked Google spreadsheet (just change the dates in the first worksheet). Or make your own spreadsheet with dates in the first column and fill the second column with this formula: =CONCATENATE(REPT(" ",(3-ABS(WEEKDAY(A1)-4))*2),(DAY(A1)))

Paper size: 
Other
License: 
Public Domain
Applications required: 
any PDF reader
Language: 
English

Problem Scenes

This one is related to the Scene Solvent template, but focuses on a scene you've already written, but aren't happy with. When I'm editing, I sometimes find it difficult to edit large blocks of text between lines and in margins, so I end up just rewriting them (especially if they're just really far gone). I put this template together to make sure I get it right in the rewrite.

Again, this comes from knowing how your own mind works. If I tried to fix a scene just in my head and by marking through and rewriting sections of it instead of the whole thing, God knows what would come out of it. This keeps my thoughts organized.

Thumbnail: 
Problem Scenes_Page_1.jpg
Usage advice: 

This is in classic size using text boxes instead of tables. I'm not entirely happy with this one either and I'll probably change it to letter size with tables when I use up the ones I've already printed. Of course I'll edit this post with version 2.0 when it's done.

The text boxes gave me all kinds of trouble, so those of you using the Word template may have to tweak a few things.

And again, I asked myself questions about the scene giving me problems and left space for ideas on how to improve it.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
MS Word or any PDF Reader
Language: 
English

Scene Solvent

This one is closely related to the Problem Scene template I'll post next, but they differ in one respect. Scene Solvent is for the scene that just won't go down on paper for you.

This happens to me all the time in my writing. I'll be trucking along and writing away until I get to one tiny little scene. Usually it's a transitional scene that is supposed to bring me from one important event to another.

I'm having a horrible time with two of my novels for just this reason. I've come to a standstill. I won't call it writer's block because I know what comes later; I just don't know how to get there. I created this template in an attempt to resolve these problems.

Thumbnail: 
Scene Solvent share_Page_1.jpg
Usage advice: 

Again, this is using Word Tables because I'm pretty good at manipulating them. It also is formatted with mirror margins, so it gives you plenty of binding space.

I figured the best way to create this form was to ask myself questions. I've found that I get further in my writing by doing this and writing down both the question and the answer.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
MS Word or any PDF Reader
Language: 
English

The Organizational Manuscript Planning Foldout

I don't know if I've described it before on this site, but one of the things I do to keep on track with my novels is to create organizational manuscripts of them once I get to a certain point. I do this because I am extremely scatterbrained and need to have some sort of guide along the way. In these organizational manuscripts, I include:

- Parts already written;
- Oodles of notes (culture, literary, characters, food, etc.);
- Character sketches for main characters;
- Character summaries for minor/supporting characters;
- Summaries of the settings/places important to the story;
- Maps of places in the story (some actual places, and some imagined - I use Open Office Draw for my fictitious maps;
- A summary of the story and a summary of intent/theme;
- An outline;
- Writing exercises and style notes for problem areas;and
- What I call ponder sheets. These are the most important for me. I ask myself questions about scenes I haven't written and leave space for writing ideas.

I've had a couple of writers say that this sounded too constricting for them. It's true that some writers will find it constricting, but I always leave myself plenty of wiggle room. An organizational manuscript I've been using for a while will be filled with smaller sheets of notes stapled into the booklet, exed out anything and everything. So no, I don't find it constricting.

In any case, this is a form I created to help me get started on new organizational manuscripts. I wanted something that would allow for everything to be on one page, so I made it a legal-sized fold-out.

Thumbnail: 
OM chart.JPG
Usage advice: 

This is 8.5x14 legal paper printed in landscape orientation to create a fold-out. I'm not entirely happy with how this turned out, so I may tweak it some later on when I use up all of these that I've printed out. I'd like to make it a little bigger. Maybe two letter pages taped together or something.

One recommendation is that you definitely need to use heavier stock. All I could find was 20lb paper in legal size, but I probably didn't look very hard.

There are two sides to this. There's the inside of the fold out and the front flap. Mine is laid out kind of odd on the front flap because of the way my printer is oriented, so you may have to do some moving around of the table.

Again, I've used Word tables.

Paper size: 
Other
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Word or any PDF reader
Language: 
English

Scene Builder Form for Writers

This is a form I came up with to help me organize the hazy images of scenes that roll around in my brain. This is also good for those of us with overworked memories who mourn the scenes we've forgotten. No mourning necessary if you have them written down already!

I've already used this a time or two, and it has accomplished for me what I wanted it to. It gave me a very clear picture of a scene I had been thinking about for several days, and now I know exactly how to use it in the story.

Thumbnail: 
Scene Builder_Page_1.jpg
Usage advice: 

I used Word tables. The font is very basic, but if you have Word, of course you can change it. This is a very straightforward design, but as most of you probably know, Word tables can be temperamental. Any wobbles will be easily fixable, though.

I have also included a PDF version. I've got them on mirror margins so it's like a 2-up layout.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
MS Word or any PDF reader.
Language: 
English

Review: I'd Rather Be in the Studio

First, I'd like to apologize to the author, Alyson B. Stanfield, for having taken a year to read and review this book. She graciously gave me a copy and in between my busy schedule, and reading the book, I got lost. In fact, I started this book three times over. Not because it was a bad book but because it was so chock full of good advice that every time I picked it up and read a bit more, my mind would churn and I'd go off to put some of her advice into practice. Time passed and I'd have to go and start it all over, just so I could make sure I gave the book a proper reading to write this review.

I'd Rather Be In the Studio is an amazing book that, while targeting artists looking to build their business and promote themselves, I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to promote their passions. Stanfield structures the book around eight basic excuses that artists (and writers, *ahem* *cough*) conjure up when faced with marketing and self-promoting themselves and their work— excuses such as "I don't have the time," or "There aren't enough hours in the day to do it all," or "I'm an introvert." Stanfield refutes each excuse in detail before going into the action-chapters that help to combat each excuse. For example, she mentions in the "My art speaks for itself" excuse that an artist's work never really speaks for itself, that when others say things about an artist's piece of art, they are simply reacting to it (good or bad). Then she follows up this section with two chapters: one that shows you how to harness the power of an artist statement, and another on speaking or teaching as an expert in the field.

Blog Brainstorm and Yearly Goals, Hand-drawn & Typed

Blog Brainstorm - Download (29.29 MB)
Yearly Goals - Download (33.22 MB)

View photos here: http://ahhh-design.com/goals-a-new-year/

Thumbnail: 
blog_brainstorm600.jpg
Usage advice: 

Letter sized, 3-ring binder

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Language: 
English