Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What I've Learned

Happy Tuesday! Time for another edition of What I've Learned This Week. For more, visit Musings of A Housewife. This week I learned 2 very useful things. I'm totally excited to share them with you!

1. Have you ever heard of Arnica Gel? I hadn't either until my friend Krista suggested I get some for my sore, knotted-up neck and back muscles, which are still hating life since my hospital visit. Arnica Gel is a homeopathic muscle relaxer/pain reliever. You rub it on the skin over the aore area just as you would BenGay or IcyHot. The difference is that it's a plant substance, not nasty chemicals. It has almost no scent, and doesn't leave you skin feeling hot or cold or weird. Yet it works amazingly well. I tend to be skeptical about stuff like this, but I give my full support to this one. The relief lasts longer than either of the other ointments I mentioned! It also helps reduce discoloration from bruises, and lowers swelling. Whole Foods carries it, and it's $8.99 for a good-sized tube.

2. I learned how to create a truetype font out of my own handwriting!!! How cool is that? I now have my handwriting on my computer, and I can use it in my digital scrapbooks so my kids will have my writing there! It was surprisingly easy to create the font. I'll do a little tutorial here. It's very much fun to type in your own handwriting!

Step 1: Visit this website and download the free trial of Font Creator. It's a 30-day free trial, which is more than enough time to create a font or two out of your writing. They don't ask for any account creation or credit card info.

Step 2: On a piece of white paper, use a black sharpie and write the alphabet, both capital and lower case letters. Each letter should be be about 3/4 inch tall. Leave a 1-inch space between your letters. Also write numbers 0-9, and any punctuation marks you regularly use.

Step 3: Scan your alphabet page.

Step 4: Using photo editing software (Photoshop is probably the most common; I use Arcsoft Photo Suite), open your alphabet page.

Step 5: Create a new, blank canvas, sized 300x300 pixels.

Step 6: Click back to your alphabet page. Using the square select tool, draw a square around the first letter on your page. Right click and copy (or use keyboard shortcut by pressing control and c at the same time).

Step 7: Click on the blank canvas. Right click and paste (or press control and v at the same time). Your letter should paste directly into the canvas. If there is any blue showing around the edges of your pasted letter, crop it to the edges of the white and resize it to 300x300 pixels. Since I don't have Photoshop, I can't give you specifics on how to do this within that program. Sorry!

Step 8: In the file menu, select Save As. Create a folder for your letters. Save the capital A with the name A, and the file type should be jpeg.

Step 9: Repeat this process for each letter/numeral/punctuation mark on your page. Save the lower case letters as aa, bb, cc, etc.

Step 10: Open Font Creator. From the file menu, select New. A pop-up box will ask you to name your font. I named my first font Em's Printing, and my second font Em's Script. You get the idea. There are three options below your font name. Leave them at the setting's they're already on. Click okay.

Step 11: You should now have a basic font grid up on your screen. The punctuation and numbers will be black. The letters will be a light purple. Double click the capital A. Another small window will pop up. It looks like a graph paper grid. Click the tools menu at the top of the main window and select Import Image. Yet another window will pop up. Select the Load button. Then go to the file where you saved your letters.

Step 12: Find your capital A, click on it, and click Okay. This should take you to a window where two of your A's show. You don't need to do anything with them, even though they're off center. Simply click the Generate button at the bottom of the window. It will load and take you back to the graph paper grid. Your A will be in that window.

Step 13: On the left of this window, there are 5 titles. These are the boundaries of your font. The dashed red lines define the boundaries. At the top of the window there are number units, from -16,500 at the left all the way to 16,500 on the right. Your letter should automatically have its left side lined up with the 0. If not, drag the letter to that it does line up with the 0 line. If for some reason your A drags, but not the space in the middle of the A, grab the space separately and drag it to the right place.

Step 14: Your letter should have a black box around it. Grab the tiny white square at the top right of the black box. Drag it up and to the right until the top of your A reaches the red dashed Cap Height line, and the width of the A looks right. For lower case letters, drag them to the line approximately between the CapHeight line and the Baseline.

Step 15: Scroll to the right of the window until you see a vertical, red, dashed line. Grab the line and drag it to the left until it almost touches the foot of the A. This red line sets the spacing between the A and the next letter.

Step 16: Close out that window. Look back at the main alphabet window. Your A should now be in the space formerly occupied by the basic A. Repeat Steps 11-16 for all your letters, numbers, and punctuation.

Step 17: Click the font menu and select Test. A new window will open. Click any blank speace at the top and begin typing. What you type will show how your new font will look! If there are any goofy spaces between the letters, or if they are too close, simply adjust the placement of that vertical red line. You can test at any point during the creation of your font. I recommend testing after you've done 3 letters to make sure the spacing is as you want it.

Step 18: Close the test window by clicking the Close button at the top right of the screen, NOT THE RED X! The red x will close the program.

Step 19: Open the file menu and select Save. You can confirm your font name, and designate where you want to save it. The file extension will be *.ttf (True Type Font).

Step 20: Open the font window and select Install. Follow the prompts on your screen to install the font. You should now be able to use this font in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and any program that supports true type fonts!

Note: Do not allow any of your letters to go above the WinAscent line, or below the WinDescent line. Those are the top and bottom boundaries. Any part of the letter that falls above or below those lines will not show in your font.

I hope this has been useful information for you, and that you have lots of fun in the process. It is a bit tedious, but the end result is quite smashing! It took me about an hour and half to complete each font.


Lori said...

So cool about that gel! I'm going to ask a friend who is going to Seattle soon to pick me up some! Hope you're continuing to recover well. :)

Tara said...

That is so neat about using your own handwriting. When I get a minute, I may just try that! Thanks for sharing..

Helen said...

I have terrible handwriting, so I would prefer Lucinda font anyway. I am glad to know about Arnica Gel now, though. Thanks.