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?Shhh! Mom won’t dream her gift was crafted at the last minute

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Want to surprise the person who probably had a lot to say about whether to buy that faster computer you love so much?

An original, personalized Mother’s Day gift produced with a PC and an inkjet printer will prove to Mom that you knew what you were doing when you made that purchase.

Here are some presents that are easy to make and gentle on the budget or allowance.

Highly attractive

Canon recently released magnetic sheets that pass through its newer BJC printers and multifunction units. The craft possibilities for this are endless.

With the sheets, which cost $10 for three, you can make your own word pieces for refrigerator poetry.

Take a word-processing program such as Microsoft Works or Word, and type in a page or more of customized "Momisms." Or craft kids’ names, favorite places or even names of foods that Mom loves.

Then print out the sheets carefully, following the instructions that come with the paper. We produced ours on the just-released Canon BJC-3000, which sells for $99 after a manufacturer’s mail-in rebate.

Now just cut out the printed pieces and wrap them up.

Hints: Color the background to match mom’s kitchen or office decor and select font styles that fit her personality.

If Mom has enough magnets, try creating picture frames made from templates in Broderbund’s PrintShop and insert an original work of art. Again, results on the magnetic sheets using the BJC-3000 printer were stunning.

To a T

Thanks to lower-cost inkjet printers and improved specialty transfer papers, it’s getting easier to create T-shirts that are perfect for giving.

The right software helps, too. Clip art from programs such as Broderbund’s PrintMaster or designs from Microsoft Publishing Suite 2000 or Picture It 2000 are a snap to use.

For instance, if Mom is into astrology, check out the cool zodiac designs in PrintMaster’s extensive gallery.

Use the software to design your images. We chose a special Mother’s Day message and floral graphic for a plain canvas apron, available at crafts stores. We also chose Canon T-shirt Transfer paper, which produces excellent results. We’ve also have had great success with Hanes T-shirt Maker transfers.

When preparing a transfer, follow the directions carefully and practice on something first. Kids should get an adult to do the iron-on transfers.

Hint: Iron the apron on a hard flat surface such as wood or marble rather than an ironing board. Seal the transfer edges first before ironing the center of the design.

Other possibilities for transfers: canvas tote bags and mouse pads.

Write away

Create special note cards and personalize them with Mom’s name or line letter sheets with borders that suit her. PrintMaster and American Greetings Crafts programs contain projects that let you breeze through the steps.

Novices may want to select from the extensive collections of ready-made note card sets on the software.

Besides stationery sets, youngsters might want to create pop-up cards. The PrintMaster program contains easy guides that require only scissors and tape, and are simple enough for kids to use.

Petal power

You can discover how to make a paper rose at www.canonprintplanet.com. At the Web site, go to http://www.canonprintplanet.com/cards/seasonal/index.html. Use high-quality, sturdy bright white printer paper (we used Canon high-resolution paper) for more vibrant color reproduction.

Cut out the rose-colored petals and green leaves according to the directions. To assemble, you’ll need hot glue and double stick tape.

Other ideas

Don’t forget Grandma this Mother’s Day, either.

A good source of original and handmade creations is PrintMaster Platinum 8.0, which comes stocked with instructions for making dioramas, growth charts, bookmarks, coupons, certificates, picture puzzles, door hangers, bookplates, light switch plate covers, mobiles, napkin rings, fabulous fish with waves and more.

The software is available at computer stores for about $80, an investment that will last you well beyond Mother’s Day.

Colorful cards, an apron using specialty transfers and even a paper rose are some of the crafts that can be made with a computer.
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