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It's Your Party!
by Lisa Cahoon,  Virtual Advantage New Media & Marketing Inc.

 

As published in Summer 2001, Arts & Crafts Canada Magazine

From kids’ birthday parties, to weddings, dinner parties, anniversaries, family reunions, baby showers and company barbeques, we all have to plan special events once in a while! With a home computer and an Internet connection, the tools you need are at your fingertips. You can find a variety of helpful ideas and themes for your party online, including recipes, decorating tips and games or entertainment ideas. And with your inkjet or laser printer, some pretty papers and a variety of free clipart and fonts, you can expand your craft skills to create your own customized invitations on the computer, or even e-mail invitations to your guests or create an event web site!

When we planned our wedding last summer, the first thing we did was create a wedding web site, complete with a map of the location, an e-mail form for RSVPs and a gift “wish” list! We e-mailed everyone with an e-mail address on our guest the URL (web site address) first, and then created invitations for our offline guests with our laser printer. Our online guests were thankful for the additional information and the convenience of the e-mail RSVP. After the wedding, we used the web site to post photos and thank our guests.

Planning a Theme:

There are plenty of web sites online that will help you decide on a theme for your party–use a search engine to look for “party planning” web sites or check out some of the cool sites I found below. The Random Party Generator at The Plunge.com was my favourite for crazy and original party ideas! Once you’ve decided on a theme, date, and location, creating the invitations is the next task.

 Personalized Invitations or Greeting Cards:

The possibilities are endless–we printed our wedding invitations letter-style, on a pretty 8 ½” by 11” paper stock with matching envelopes. They weren’t expensive, but we added some pizzazz by stuffing the envelopes with glittery confetti. You could use some of the wonderful hand-made papers available, or make your own paper! Or how about using rubber stamps or decorative paint and stencils to create your own paper stock? 

Of course you can also choose to send your invitations by e-mail too, like we did! Or upload your information to an online greeting card merchant who will either print and mail the personalized invitations for you, or ship you the customized cards. Both options are very affordable and convenient. 

Fonts are Fun!

We used a fancy old-fashioned script font for the heading on our invitations and a handwritten-style font to personalize our message. There is no quicker way to convey the theme of your party on your invitations than by using a different font. From spooky fonts like “Chiller,” to funky fonts like “Curlz” and many more, you can create one-of-a-kind invitations that set the mood and style of your event. 

 Your computer generally has a variety of fonts pre-installed or with different software programs. You can also find a large variety of free fonts on the Internet, not to mention free clip art for your personal use. Another inexpensive way to collect font styles and clip art is to look for out-of-date publishing or graphic software on sale!

Tech Hints—Installing New Fonts in Your Computer:

Note: the directions listed below are for Windows-based (PC) computers.

To download fonts from the web, click on the hyperlink to the font file download. You will be asked to save the file to your hard disk. Click “okay” and then choose the folder where you would like to save your file. Note: It’s a good idea to create a directory in your computer like “My Download Files” where you save all your downloaded Internet files so they are easy to find. You can create sub-folders within this directory called “fonts,” “clip art,” etc.  

Once the file is downloaded, go to your “Start Menu,” “Settings,” “Control Panel” and choose “Fonts.”  The Windows Font folder will open up, and you will see a list of the fonts already installed in your computer. With the font window open, choose “Install New Font” from the File Menu. Note: If the file is compressed in a program like WinZip, (http://www.winzip.com) you will have to decompress the file first before trying to install. Navigate to the drive and the folder where you have saved your decompressed font files. Select the font(s) you want to install and click “Okay.” That’s it. Have fun! Once you’ve experimented, you’ll find many ways to use computer-generated graphics, fonts and photos in your craft projects of all kinds.

Web Sites for Reference: 

Party Planning and E-mail Cards

Free Fonts and Clip Art Online:

Lisa Cahoon is an Internet marketing and web-site design consultant based in Mission, B.C.  Her business, Virtual Advantage New Media & Marketing, Inc. designs and develops independent web sites for associations, businesses and individuals across the U.S and Canada. Lisa also publishes GetCreativeShow.com (http://www.getcreativeshow.com), an Internet magazine/show for crafting, sewing, quilting and needlework enthusiasts and writes articles on Internet marketing and web design for a number of international craft and sewing publications. You can e-mail her at virtualadvantage@home.com with your questions and comments.

 


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