Friday, February 25, 2011

making personalized children's buttons

Over the past several weeks, Adelaide and I had been planning and preparing birthday treats for her to give away at her birthday party. I would like to share some of our projects with you over the coming days.

Something that I've been wanting to make for children for some time now are little button pins. This year, I was able to borrow a 1" button maker from a generous friend, and so I decided to make buttons for Adelaide's little friends who would be attending her birthday party.

I have found that little children really love and seem to appreciate having items personalized especially for them, so already knew that I wanted to make first-name-initial pins for them. However, I found myself procrastinating and a couple of days before the party I had yet to even begin. Because of the lack of time, I ended up doing a quick computer search through my old work for inspiration (something I often when looking to create something on the fly). I came across a flyer I had done for our neighbourhood parent-and-tot group years back now, and realised that I could easily pick and choose from my already-made-file to create cute portrait buttons for each child.

Technically, it was easy and fairly quick to modify my Adobe Illustrator file for each child's portrait, as they are composed of just a few simple shapes. The biggest challenge really was trying to correctly recall 18 children's hair styles and eye colours! But when each child's quickie portrait was done, I would show it to Adelaide, and found that she could enthusiastically identify each child. Relief!

Once all of the letter and portraits were finished, we printed them out onto regular paper and Adelaide was able to help me load up the button maker to pop out the buttons - a rather satisfying job which only took a few minutes.

I am always a little bit nervous, when making things for people, that they will end up being disregarded and simple tossed aside. This is especially so when creating things for little children. But I have been rewarded, and have found little children seem to love, appreciate and just know when things have been made especially for them.

And it was lovely to have one usually shy little boy grab me aside many days later, to show me that he had his little buttons pinned proudly onto his winter coat. Once he was sure I had seen, he flashed me a big grin, and then he was gone.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

four years old (today)

"All of the days I travel with you,
dearest to me, child.
You are dearest to me, child,
dearest to me, child...

All of the bells I ever knew
ring out at the same time.
We look up at the same time,

Happy Birthday to my sweet sweet girl, Adelaide.
Thank you for bringing such a light to my world
and for becoming my heart and my soul.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

addie's chalk, my boots, and a quiet place

Recently, I've received some concerned comments and emails, wondering where I've been and if everything is o.k. over here. I am happy to write that all is well, and I thank you so much for your care.

With this pregnancy I've been feeling very worn down and very introverted and just so... quiet. I've been looking ahead to having this baby coming, and being very reflective about it all. And so, I have been laying low, both in blogging and in real life as well.

I do wish to be back here more again, but please know in the meantime I am just off in a quiet place.

Love to all of you!

an invitation for an almost four-year-old

I recently set some time aside to make invitations for my daughter Adelaide's upcoming birthday party. I've actually not been in much of a party mood, and for a time I was kind of hoping that I could slip this one by her - but no luck! Addie has been chattering on and on and on about her birthday for months now, and so I finally realised that I need to just get it together and plan something special for her.

So, I was feeling rather blank and kept waiting for the elusive inspiration to come! Finally, one afternoon Addie made a random little comment: she said that she wanted to "make flags for all of her friends". And I finally had ideas, with which I made a loose sketches to keep for later.

When I had some time, I went through my bin of fabric and paper scraps and selected out many appealing bits (Adelaide helped with this). Using my sharpest scissors and an exacto knife, I cut out lots of triangles and other shapes, and with them made my composition. I then scanned them into photoshop, where I cleaned up my image and decided what was missing, and scanned and added accordingly.

When satisfied with my image, I saved my file into a .tif and placed it in Illustrator. I do this because I despise working with typography in Photoshop, Illustrator is much better for this kind of work. There I then added the copy, going back to slightly tweak the background image in Photoshop a couple of times until it worked out best for the space. The typeface I used is from the Neutraface family, a font which I adore!

One completed, I printed them out onto heavy watercolour paper using my (Epson Stylus Photo 1400) desktop printer, trimmed them down using a sharp new xacto blade and metal ruler on a cutting mat, and rounded the corners using my corner rounder. Ready to go!

In this age of evites and emails, invitations seem almost redundant, but I love the idea of having made an invitation for my daughter each year, collecting them up just for her. My goal, eventually, is to frame them up all together, year by year, for her to keep for always.

This is my gift to her.