Friday, October 5, 2012

Take Me Out Tonight... Part 3 of 3

Finally...part 3 has arrived. And now the pieces start coming together. You know the concept, you've seen the container. Now the fun part...the cards. I love these cards. I found it pretty fun to design them - even though it required me learning some new things from Publisher and a ton of printer cartridge replacements. (I use an HP printer with what used to be called Vivera ink...a black cartridge and five separate color cartridges.)

I started by putting together the Excel list of date ideas that I talked about in part one of the series. Just one nice long "A" column of ideas.

Once I had those done I opened up Publisher and designed myself a cute little card. I imported a picture of Collin and I and then created a text box at the bottom of the card to hold the individual date plans. This is when I had to go research for help. I really didn't want to have to manually enter each idea one at a time. I also wanted to conserve paper, printing multiple different cards on the same sheet. So I hit the Google and did a little searching. I found some help in the Microsoft Office forums and quickly solved the problem, making myself a nice pile of labeled cards.

Now, if you're doing this project and you're making labels for something instead of cards, you can use those handy label sheets (Avery and the like). Just select those labels as your publication type before designing. I went with the Diamond Style Avery 5164.

With my design all ready to go, I needed to link up to my fancy Excel file. I used the Mail and Catalog Merge Wizard under the Tools menu. I chose the "Use Existing List" option and browsed to find my Excel file.

With that chosen, I selected all of my items in the list and hit "OK". Tada! Merged. was time to get that merged data imported onto the card. This requires creating a placeholder on the publication. So I selected the text box that I had created previously and created the publication using "More Items". This let me select my list. I inserted the correct field and continued the prompts at the bottom of the mail merge window.

I pulled up a print preview just to make sure everything looked hunky dory. I told you...I don't like to waste materials. The last thing I needed was a bunch of worthless labels on my photo paper. There was momentary panic at this point, as the print preview window still shows it as multiple copies of the same card. A quick read of the Microsoft Office Answer Box page reassured me that this is just a quirk in the program. It was just a quick click of print in the mail merge window and I was able to walk away to grab a snack while my gigantic pile of photo paper cards began to amass. (Look at me using fancy words.)

The print preview that caused me a minor stroke.
The final step was just cutting these pretty babies out and placing them in the box. Since they are in alphabetical order (I like a nice organized list), I wanted to make sure that we weren't pulling out ideas in the order they appeared in the Excel sheet. So...I just gave the box a good thorough shake. I figure if we do this every time before we pull a card, we should get a nice random pick each time.

Now we're all set to start having some fun and interesting dates!

This post is part of my 31 Days of Creative Crafting Series. To see a list of the other posts, click here. For a tutorial on how to make the Date Box, click here. And finally, if you want a nice list of date ideas for you and your sweetheart, click here. Happy dating!


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