Monthly Archives: December 2012

K.I.S.S. – A Quick Tale from a Former Poser

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We have probably all heard the K.I.S.S saying before.  I don’t like what the last “S” usually stands for.  I don’t like to throw in derogatory or demeaning names just for the heck of it. (ok – personal soap box is over)

The K.I.S.S. idea and motherhood has been a struggle for me to keep things simple.  Ten years ago, when I started staying home I decided to become Martha Stewart.  Literally.  I put her up on a pillar of what was right, expected and needed by my family of 3 at the time.  I would make meals from scratch, stay up on all laundry and ironing and I would set ridiculously high expectation levels that robbed my life of JOY.

Until one day I stumbled on a show hosted by Martha Stewart’s grown daughter, Alexis.  It popped my self-imposed and society-imposed bubble of Martha Stewart goodness immediately.  OUCH!  I felt different after hearing another side of the perfection saga of Martha Stewart.  Alexis shared that as a child she couldn’t live up to expectations, she didn’t have fancy treats or meals, and rarely a Halloween costume.  Seriously??  And here I was trying to be Martha!  The construction, expectations, and appearance boiled down to a pretty poor relationship with her only child.  No thank you that is not the legacy I was after.

I knew I had to learn the greatest lesson that Martha could teach me.  I needed to learn and live K.I.S.S. – – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  I still enjoy a craft or 12, but I don’t want perfection.  I still enjoy cooking, but a meal from Costco to warm up is ok by me.  By keeping it simple, I can keep up.  My kids can depend on me to sit and listen.  They know I would rather read with them then have a clean and empty kitchen sink or sparkling bathroom counters. And I am focused on the simple things.  It pours into how we live, how we celebrate and how we can do more for others.

I highly recommend in this time of out-doing yourself, your neighbors, and society that you K.I.S.S – K.eep I.t S.imple S.ister.  Trust me the impact is worth it.

Blessings at Christmas to you and your family.

Kristin Wooldridge

A Recovering Martha Stewart Poser

Word Clouds Are COOL Gifts! Let me tell you how!

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Word Clouds Are COOL Gifts!  Let me tell you how!

Recently I wanted to give a thoughtful gift to 22 members of my Mothers of Preschoolers Steering Team but that can add up quick.  Even if I kept it to $3-5 per member!  I was looking all over the place for a personalized way to give them a gift that would meaningful to each of them and possibly their families.  I tried the internet, Pinterest, strolling through ornament aisles of stores.  I just couldn’t find the right thing that didn’t feel like I just bought 22 of something for them.  They each mean so much to our group, the ministry as a whole and to me personally.  Twenty mini bottles of lotion or $5 gift cards didn’t cut it for me as I wanted to honor them.

The answer came from the school hallway bulletin board outside my 7 year old daughter’s classroom.  There were over 22 shapes that caught my attention and they listed so many sweet qualities of each child.  It prompted me to email the teacher and ask how she taught them that.  She replied it was a website and it was easy.  Well, I wouldn’t say it was so easy to just go to the site and try to figure it out, but once I did I knew that it was the perfect gift with heart!  One of the leaders from my team posted the gift that she had framed and it gained some attention on how others could make one.  So here goes I am going to break it down, so you can create word clouds with meaning as gifts.

First let me show you a couple of examples…

This is from putting in my blog web address. (I love it!!!)

boogie oogie oogie  rectangle

Lovely Christmas Season words…

Christmas tree Longleaf pine 3

Jumbled up heart with  my family’s names…

My Friend’s family names in horizontal layout…

Enough of the show and tell!  Let’s get to it and see if I can brush off my internet click through how to directions!  (It has been 11 years… I bet we can do this together!)

There is a FREE website called Tagxedo.com. (www.tagxedo.com) It is a great word cloud creator.

creator 2

You can do like I have done and load a blog website or any website for that matter.  It will automatically fill your word cloud with whatever words are on the site.  And the more a word is repeated the bigger that word will be in the cloud.  Cool, huh?  No thinking!

But chances are you are reading this because a personalized word cloud suits your needs.  So here goes!

1 – Open up www.tagxedo.com in a browser

2 – Click the CREATE button in the top right corner and it will open the Tagxedo Creator page.

3 – To load your words – click on LOAD in the left side bar.

> In the LOAD menu, you can upload a file from your computer, a webpage or your own text.

> To make a family name word cloud here is the “formula” I used for the clouds I gave as gifts

– Mom’s name 10 times

– Dad’s name 10 times if you want it the same frequency as the mom (I did 7)

– Each child’d name 5 times

4 – Once  you have typed the names in without commas in a run-on sentence or in a list – hit SUMBIT.  Your words will be put

into a cloud! WOW!

5 – Now the FUN BEGINS! Color/Theme/Font/Orientation/Layout and an ALL button!

Let’s look at the buttons by these prompts:

Rotating Arrow – this is like a free spin and it changes the cloud for you

Right facing arrow (like a play button on your DVD player) – this opens up a menu for you to make a choice

Lock – When you get one of the formating items how you would like it you can lock it in as you work on the other

components.  You can unlock at anytime to adjust.

COLOR – changes the color scheme you have already chosen by a shade or two each time you click it.

THEME – choose a new color scheme

FONT – gives you a listing of all the fonts available.  You can remove fonts that might not fit your theme or may be

too big.  I usually click off Boston Traffic and Headline One because they are just too big.

I use the rotating arrow a lot on font to see different combinations.

ORIENTATION – gives you a menu for any, horizontal, vertial or both horizontal and vertical.

LAYOUT – mixes your words around

ALL – is the master spinner of all these prompts.  It changes everything for you.

OPTIONS:

SHAPE Menu

> There are 114 shapes

> You can even add your own image – which I haven’t figure out yet)

> So pick a shape — love it — keep it — hate it — change it!!

HISTORY keeps a copy of each change you made as you play with the cloud.  It doesn’t save it longer than your session

WORD/LAYOUT OPTIONS

> If you want to do more specialized words, skips, layout changes, you can play with these options.

> I didn’t tweak any of these.

> Theme preference for color family options is helpful.

> Font preference for the number of fonts you would like is helpful too.

Then once you are happy with your word cloud, go back up to Save/Share.  You will be given many different options for saving.  I save an image at 500KP (JPG).  Here is how I format it when I save one: Name of the piece shape of the piece font color family.  For example for the family heart above it is Wooldridge_heart_colorname.

I hope this walk through has been helpful.  When I started last week, I felt like I needed someone to help me.  Since I can’t loan out my 7 year old daughter, you all are stuck with me!

Please enjoy www.tagxedo.com and make gifts for those you love.  Get your kids into it too!  I could see this being a great way to make a yearly ornament for kiddos with what they are involved in and of course involve the year many, many, many times!

SHARE, PIN and LIKE this post.  I would love the help in sharing this great site.

Happy Creating!!!!