Sunday, October 20, 2013

State to State Love - A Perfect Engagement/Wedding/Anniversary Gift!

Philly/Kalamazoo Love
A friend of mine posted some photos of her engagement on Facebook and she had decorated her wall with cute sayings, photos, etc. One piece of art that I particularly liked she got from Near and Dear Designs on Etsy. $32 for a very cute piece of art, showing the home states of the bride and groom. I figured, why not try and do it for less?

Of course there weren't any instructions available so I made it up as I went along - feel free to tweak these however you see fit! The original design was all on 1 print so if you have a color printer and Photoshop, you're welcome to print it out there on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. I, however, wanted to make it pop just a little more:

Step 1 - Pick your states

Since I'm from Michigan and my husband is from Pennsylvania, I figured those would be ideal for this project.

Step 2 - Take outlines of those states and put them onto a Word doc.

I found perfect examples here: initials of state here)_maps.htm. So for Michigan, I put in and clicked on "Blank Outline Map". For Pennsylvania, I entered and did the same thing. Just click and drag those states onto a Word doc.

After you've dragged them to the Word doc, double-click on them and click on "Layout". Make sure they are "Behind Text". Also, you'll want your document to have .5" margins around the borders.

Step 3 - Decide where you want to place the states and the ampersand sign (&)

This took the longest for me, because I'm so picky. In the original design, the ampersand sign takes up a quarter of the entire page, the states are relatively the same size, they're close together, and not near the borders. For a perfectionist, this proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Because the states I chose are so awkwardly shaped (damn you Upper Peninsula!), it took a while to figure out where I wanted to place them. After 45 minutes of moving, resizing, and moving them again, I finally got them where I wanted them. My ampersand was Size 450 and Times New Roman.

Step 4 - Print out your states on white cardstock and cut them out

I recommend states like Colorado or Wyoming...

Step 5 - Print out the ampersand only on whichever color paper you like

In the original design, the ampersand is lighter than the color of the paper. I had to go darker because otherwise it wouldn't show up at all. My color printer wouldn't print out white. Who knew?

Step 6 - Tape or glue the cut-out states to the paper with ampersand

Now I used Elmer's glue and I regret that decision. You can see the bumps under the paper where there was too much glue used so the state is not flush with the paper, which is why you might want to use double-sided tape. However, if your state has a bunch of little ins and outs, the tape might not be your friend.

Step 7 - Print out and cut tiny red hearts and tape/glue them to where your hometowns are on the states

Step 8 - Draw on a dotted line between the two hearts. Another mistake I did - doing it freehand, which allowed for my dotted line to look sloppy. If you can follow the curve of a cup or bowl, do that.

Step 9 - Put in frame!

I already had these supplies:

1. Colored cardstock
2. White cardstock
3. Glue (though you might want to use tape)
4. A 8x10 Frame
I bought the frame from Target over a year ago in West Hollywood and I think it cost somewhere in the ballpark of $15-$20.

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes
45 minutes trying to figure out the layout of the states
10 minutes with printer issues
The rest of the time used to cut out states and hearts, glue them to paper, draw dotted line, and put in frame

EASY-PEASY SCALE: 3 out of 5
If you're not a tech-savvy person, placing the states and getting them the size you want on the Word doc might be a little more difficult for you, but not impossible. You're just putting them on the Word doc to see how big they should be before printing and cutting them out. If you're familiar with editing photos in a Word doc, this will be a piece of cake.

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