an easy Mother's Day gift idea ~ WordCloud Art tutorial

What do you give the person who has everything and is in the 'season of life' where they are downsizing their 'stuff'?  What about a thoughtful Word Cloud Art made specifically with your loved one in mind.

Simply having fun doodling on a piece of paper a few of my mother-in-law's sweet attributes, as I was thinking of her after a recent visit, one thing led to another and within one hour this WordCloud Art was made.

WordArt and WordClouds are so popular today and are easy to make using common programs most of us already have available on our computers.  I wanted it a little more custom than what I was able to achieve using the internet websites available.   This is a new learning curve for me and thought there might be others who would be interested in how I created this WordCloud Art using Paint and Picasa programs.

Most computers are already loaded with the program Paint.  Picasa can be downloaded free from here.  With the new updated version of Picasa it is easy to add frames now.  It is my photo-editing program I like to use.

First, I opened a new document in Paint and sized it 500 x 700 px  (that would equal 5"x7"):
Then I saved it as a JPEG file.  This is important to be able to 'edit' in Picasa.   (Do not save it as a PNG file)    It will be saved in the Picasa pictures file.  Give it the name of your choice.  Mine is named Granny's WordArt2.jpg.
Now, using Picasa, open your blank 'picture' and it's ready to be edited.  This is where the fun begins!  Open the 'Edit Text', you can choose your text color now or later.
Type your list of words as separate words giving each of them a different 'font'.  Don't worry about placing them on your 'paper' yet.
 You can see how my list is taking shape.  This was so much fun choosing fonts to match the word.
Once my list was made, I began to place each word on my paper using the easy re-sizing text tool to custom fit each word exactly where I wanted it.
This is my finished copy.  I've placed and sized the words and added a simple double border all in Picasa.  Click on the 'Print' button at the bottom.  I printed mine as an 8x10 on photo paper with high quality print properties.
and I'm done!  I'll put this in a frame and it's ready to gift.
I hope you've found this tutorial easy to follow and will try your own WordCloud Art.  And yes, Granny is all the above.  Can you tell she likes anything chocolate, sweet and purple?!
P.S. Another creative example added 5/4/2012:

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'Make your Own' Crochet Trim ~ oh-so-easy

I like to crochet and I like to sew, but somehow it never occurred to me to combine the two until I recently made a simple apron and wanted to add a feminine touch with a lacy trim.  Not finding anything suitable in my stash, it (finally!) entered my mind that I had all the tools on hand to crochet a simple little trim and could not believe how so very easy this project was.  Within a few minutes of 'playing' with hook and thread, using a couple of simple crochet stitches, a pretty crochet trim with an almost-picot effect was made.  From start to finish this project should take less than 1 hour and would be suitable for a beginner crocheter.
Size 10 crochet thread
Size 9/1.4 mm hook

Chain (ch)
Double crochet  (dc)
Slipstitch (sl st) 
Loosely chain (ch) 70.    This is what my apron needed and worked up to @11 1/2" long, but chain to 'size' for your project.
Beginning in 2nd ch stitch from hook, double crochet (dc) in back loop of each ch to end.  
*Ch 4, sl st INTO (see below) the next chain* repeat to end.   
That's it!  You're almost done now.
Finish off to prevent it unravelling.
The completed apron: 
While making a second trim for another apron I tweaked the pattern and I think I like this a little better.  Not much difference though, as you can see below:

At this point I've chained 70, completed all my dcs (double crochets) and am adding the 'picot-like' stitches by ch4, sl st.....
UNDER each dc.  You can see better in the photo below, the sl st is made putting your crochet hook through each open space the dc made.  Much easier and faster and this stitch 'slides' a little when complete and gives the piece a more 'lacy' look.   Finish off the same.
This is ready to be attached to my project piece.
To attach it to your project piece it could be hand stitched or using your sewing machine with matching colored thread, straight stitch through the ch stitch, then another straight stitch through the dc ch stitch.  The machine stitching literally disappears leaving the filigree openings and picot-like edges free to give it a little lacy look.
It was a 'lightbulb' moment to me to combine crochet and sewing into one project and want to encourage others to 'think-outside-the-box' in ways to customize and personalize your projects.  It did not add much time to make this little trim and it's a one-of-a-kind apron now!
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a pretty apron ~ easy to make

A friend who loves to cook whose birthday's drawing near,  McCall's Easy stitch'n save M5505 pattern, a yard of pink-flowered 100% cotton fabric that looks as bright and fun as she is, a couple of hours set aside and a pretty apron was completed for her...
All raw edges were serged and turned in twice so even the serged seams don't show.  This gives the apron a nice finished look.
All heavy wear points, such as neck strap and waist tie seams, were reinforced with extra stitching.
Thinking it looked a little too 'plain' and needed a feminine touch of 'lace' but could find no suitable trim in my stash....
 ....after a few minutes of crochet 'play'....came up with a pretty custom trim....
...checked for fit...
...pinned in place....
...sewed seams through the straight edges of the crochet.... the seams literally disappeared into the lace trim.
A simple touch...
...delicate and pretty.  You can see in the photo below the bottom of the trim is like little 'picots'...
....not a very flattering photo, but wanted to show more of the pattern of the apron...
....it is quite pretty on, as I've already made one for myself!
The instructions for the little lacy crochet trim I worked up for this apron will be printed in the next Piecework Treasures post; in the meantime, I hope my friend likes her apron as much as I enjoyed making it for her. 
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