Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Altered Y "Thank You" Card

My boss mentioned to me yesterday that he needed to send a "thank you" card to someone, so I told him that I would alter one of the old Y cards for him and bring it to work, today. I had been thinking that I should make other kinds of cards!

This is the card I made last night. It uses many of the same elements as my "condolence cards," but is cheery and not too fancy-shmancy for a man to send. The little flowers are adhesive-backed and were the last elements I added to the card. I decided that I didn't like the "floating in air" look of 'em, so I used a journaling pen and drew some stems and leaves. Not bad. Not bad, at all.

And, Ken really LIKED it! (Plus, he sent another of my "condolence cards," today.) I am adding a few embellishments from my stash to my latest cards, but they are still simple and inexpensive to make. At some point, I may request some kind of recompense for my card making -- some supplies or a new tool, perhaps, but for now I am just happy to be paid with a big smile and a compliment. (grin)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The YMCA brochure I designed!

My scan wasn't perfectly straight, but my second attempt wasn't any straighter than the first (likely because the brochure has creases from being folded), so it will just have to do.

On the front is a photo of my daughter-in-law, Joy, and her two children, Kaleigh and Kamdyn. It was this photo that I "doctored." The center (back) photo shows Kaleigh playing in the Y nursery. The CEO, Ken Rapp, and a sweet member are featured on another panel -- and a little boy who was enrolled in the Y Day Camp (mama signed a release form) was photographed during a group swim lesson.

Below is the "original" photo. Can you compare and see the results of my photo surgery?? I removed a window sticker that seemed attached to Kamdyn's head...removed a bruise from Joy's leg (you're welcome, Joy :)...straightened the mats in several places...and removed a tiny window sticker that peeked between Joy's waist and arm. Kaleigh was PERFECT -- no touch-ups needed!! (grin)

The brochure is being mailed to several hundred prospects and business professionals in our community, so I was TICKLED that Ken allowed me to use my own family members as models! It made the project LOTS more fun than it would have been had I just recruited unknown YMCA members or used stock pictures from the national Y website.

Monday, August 6, 2012

You've heard of the "Song that has no end?" Well...

Creating altered YMCA condolence cards ALSO seems to have no end in sight! I'll be making them as long as the supply of old cards holds out. Wouldn't it be FUNNY if there were BOXES of them in a storage closet??!! HAHA!!

Perhaps, when I've FINALLY depleted the inventory, my boss will give me freedom to order some replacement cards with the NEW logo! If that happens, I'll keep 'em simple and leave blank space for "special touches" to be added, as time allows. In the works is some "formal stationery" that I recommended be made, but my initial design didn't meet Y "Branding" regulations, so I had to table the idea until I have time to READ ALL ABOUT logo rules. Fun, fun. (grin)

Here are two altered cards I made tonight which I will take to work tomorrow.

I kinda LIKE these!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Still MORE Altered YMCA Condolence Cards (a looong post)

My boss has used four of my altered cards in recent days -- very gratifying that he requests them of me and thanks me for making them -- and I've been using evening "TV time" in my little craft room to replenish the supply. Because I am using the Y's premade "former logo and tagline" cards and envelopes, with only a few of my own supplies, the cost is LOW, while the satisfaction of meeting a need is HIGH.

As a reminder of what I'm working with, here is a photo of an original card that serves as the base:

And, here are altered cards that I made this week:

And these:

(Funny how the camera angle makes some cards look big and others small, when they are all the same size.) I think that I'd like the last card on the left MORE if I'd edged the white "Thinking of you" die-cut with black ink. I'll remember that for next time. :) I don't think that I can improve on using the Sizzix Top Note die to cover the old Y logo -- surely makes it easy-peasy to just add a few elements and "call 'er DONE!"

Speaking of the Y, I learned a couple of NEW TO ME processes this week!! I am working on a MAJOR project for which I ordered and received special stationery and envelopes, and I composed a half-dozen "form" letters that are to be mailed as individual "personal" letters. Composing is my STRONG SUIT, but I have NO experience working with data bases in Excel (took an online Excel course through my local Vo-Tech before applying for my job, to acquire a nodding acquaintance with the program), so as the letters neared the "need-to-be-merged with names/addresses/salutations" stage, I felt a bit of apprehension about my ability to pull it off. I'd entered all the data in the Excel workbooks, just guessing at the proper format and hoping that I'd done it correctly -- and Thursday, IT WAS TIME TO MERGE. (Gulp)

A young woman who just joined our clerical staff last month stated that she had used Microsoft Word and Excel data bases, at a former job, to address envelopes (my boss wants a more formal look than labels produce) and she would show me the steps to print personal envelopes using my Excel workbooks -- YAAAH!!! Well, thankfully, she has a determined will because the details of the process were blurry for her. We both took an hour to TRY OUT various steps, when she exclaimed from her desk that she'd FINALLY discovered a way that worked!! WOO HOO!!

Using the Word "Mail Merge Wizard for envelopes," I printed several hundred envelopes for the various mail-outs that must be sent next week. That was Thursday. Yesterday, Friday, being "smarter than the average bear," I thought it possible to use the SAME PROCESS -- only for LETTERS -- to merge my compositions with the same Excel workbooks and produce the personalized letters that were required -- and GUESS WHAT?? IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY!!!

By day's end, I had ALL of the various Stage One letters merged and printed and had stuffed several hundred envelopes with their matching letters!! YAAAH ME!! (grin) Next week, I will have to include in the envelopes a new brochure and "response card" that I designed and are, now, at the printer, and "return envelopes" on which I must affix U.S. stamps -- and the letters SHOULD be in the mail by their Friday deadline!! (Just HOPE that the printer gets the brochures and cards completed by Wednesday, at the latest.)

OH!! One more lil tidbit that may be of boss put me in charge of setting-up a photo session to get photos for the new brochure, so I recruited my pretty (and Y member) daughter-in-law, Joy, and her two adorable lil sweeties, to meet with the photographer at the Y and take some shots. I had several poses in mind and we tried them all, then I chose FOUR photos to use (two with my family members) -- and emailed them to the printer, along with the rough draft of my brochure design.

I had to MAJORLY touch-up a photo before sending them. Using "Paint," which is NOT a sophisticated program, I managed to remove a sign that appeared "attached" to baby Kamdyn's head -- not good...remove a bruise from Joy's leg..."straighten" two entry mats that have seen a lil wear on the edges -- and remove another little sign from the background, so the photo would be CLEAN. All I had to do on the other shots was to crop -- THANK GOODNESS.

The brochure will have a photo of my boss and a sweet, elderly Y member; a boy who is swimming in the pool, and either a solo shot of my granddaughter AND/OR the "mom and darlins" group shot that I tweaked -- all shots that I planned with the photographer!! VERY CHALLENGING tasks, but ones that I took SERIOUSLY and gave my BEST effort! (When the brochure is completed, I should be free to share photos on my blog, so will post pics of my dear ones -- maybe, even BEFORE & AFTER photos of the group shot.)

Thanks for tolerating my lil PERSONAL account, for my work at the Y is, now, a BIG part of my life!