Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY Merry Christmas Banner

One day last month, we were walking through the park and saw where someone had had a little photo session.  They simply had a banner hung up from tree limb to tree limb and a red blanket layed out to sit on.  I thought it was such a cute and simple idea for Christmas pictures, and knew I could replicate that for very little money.  We can't afford to get professional pictures done this year, but are so very thankful that my uncle happens to have a very nice camera and lens and takes fabulous pictures.  So we asked him to take a few pictures for us for our Christmas card.  I borrowed a red blanket from my aunt, and created the banner. Since banners are pretty popular these days, I thought some of you might appreciate a little tutorial.  So here is how I created my banner...

What you need...

-Ivory cardstock paper (or whatever color you choose to use) - 7 sheets
-Red cardstock paper or red scrapbook paper (if you use the 12x12 scrapbook paper, you only need 7 sheets, but if you use regular size cardstock or scrapbook paper, you will need 14 sheets.  I used the larger was on sale and I loved that color red the best)
-Red ribbon - I bought 3 spools of 10 yards...BUT I only used 2 of them and had some of the second left over
-Scissors, hole punch, and either photo squares, glue dots, or tape...I personally love photo squares
-Microsoft Word or similar program

A brief how to on creating the Word document...

-Set your orientation to Landscape in Page Setup
-Insert an Auto Shape  - whatever shape you want (Square, circle, triangle, etc.  I used the rounded rectangle)
-I made my rectangle to take up about have of my page
-Then copy and paste 8 more rectangles - 2 per page
-Insert Word Art, choose the first option (it's an outline).  Type your "M" and choose the font you want to use.  (I chose "Plantegenet Cherokee")
-Then put your letter into your rectangle so it fits nicely (you will have to change the layout to be on top of text, so that you can see it over the rectangle.  Do that by right clicking on your letter, Format Word Art, Select the Layout tab, and select  In Front of Text, ok)
-You will also choose your color in the Format Word Art screen, under Colors and Lines.  I chose a deep red that matched my red cardstock paper.  And I also made the outline line black and made its thickness 2.75.
-Once you have your letter the way you want it, copy and paste it 8 times, and fit each letter into each rectangle.
-Now you just have to double-click each letter to change it to the correct letter, without having to edit the colors and font each time.
-Once you have all your letters layed out the way you want, print preview to make sure you like the way it all looks together (I changed my font a million times once I got to this point and realized I didn't like the font all together)
-I suggest just printing your first page to make sure you like it printed before printing all 7 pages

(For a much more detailed tutorial on the Word instructions, read my birthday banner tutorial HERE)

Now to make the stencil for your larger rounded rectangle...

-Copy and paste your shape on one of your letters, Right click on it, Format Word Art, select "Behind Text" and ok.
-Now you can drag your shape to be slightly larger than your shapes for your letters, creating a border (don't make it too big)
-Once you have it to the size you want it, copy and paste it to a new document, and print it.  This will serve as a stencil for you for your red paper (I had to do this because I bought the 12x12 scrapbook paper which does not fit in my printer.  Otherwise, if I had bought regular size cardstock paper, I could have just printed 7 larger shapes, not needing to trace the stencil on to cut them out)

Now that you have everything printed, here is how to assemble the banner...

-Simply cut out all of your letters
-Trace your stencil onto your red paper 7 times, and cut all of those out.
-Once everything is cut out, you will use your photo squares or glue dots to stick your ivory letter shapes onto your red shapes
-Hole punch at each corner of each letter (on the red paper), once on the top left and once on the top right
-Thread your ribbon through, starting with "M," poke the end of your ribbon down through the hole so that the ribbon will thread through on the back of the letter.  Pull it back up on the right hole of your "M" and back down on the top left of your "E" and continue on.
-Leave enough ribbon hanging on each end of your word for wherever you plan to hang it
-And you can attach bows at the ends if you like.  To add bows in between each letter, follow the instructions from my birthday banner tutorial by clicking HERE

So now you can use your beautiful banner for family photos, or just to hang in your home...I did both =)

Good Luck!  And please feel free to ask if you have any questions!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Life Lately

December is already here.  It's hard to believe there are only 16 days until Christmas!  Lots to do this month and not a lot of time left to do it.  So here is a quick update on our family and our life lately...

We wrapped up Fall, letting the girls play in the leaves.  They were definitely hesitant to jump in the huge pile at first but after watching Momma and Cooper, they gave it a try...

Flower picked by Daddy 

My sleepy girl.  So blessed that I get to wake up to this face every day. And get aaallll her snuggles!

Keira has had many encounters with my nail polish lately.  No matter where I hide it, she seems to find it, sneaks off to paint, and then comes showing them off to me.  (But they're actually not too bad for a 3 year old...proud)

We don't shop at Food Lion often, but when we do, this car is a must...I so wish they had these at Wal-Mart!!

It's Christmas time at our house...our tree is up and decorated, the stockings are hung, and we're waiting for Santa to put presents under our tree.  We're singing Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies, baking Christmas cookies, riding around looking at Christmas lights...and the list could go on.  We definitely have Christmas spirit.  And I am loving it!

Meet Ellie, our family Elf...watching Keira and Alyssa and telling Santa all about their behavior.  I wish Keira  only cared that there was Elf watching her every move.  And that she believed that if she misbehaved Santa might not bring her presents...but she is far too smart for that.

(Evidence of nail polish on her face)

We are sooo excited for Christmas!  It's really such a fun year for Keira.  I love this magical time of believing, and I can't wait to leave Santa cookies and milk and reindeer food, and to see their faces light up when Santa leaves their presents under the tree.  But we also know the true meaning of Christmas, and we really work hard to make the girls understand that this celebration is really all about the birth of Jesus.  For every time we talk about Santa bringing presents, we talk about Jesus' Birthday.  So on Christmas morning, not only will we be opening presents, and believing in the magic of Santa, but more importantly we will be singing 
Happy Birthday to Jesus!!