Author Archives: Tracie Peters

Holiday Schedules – and Blessings

Many editors call and ask why LPi changes their transmission times for holidays by two weeks or more. That means some editors may have to send a bulletin twice in one week!

We understand how confusing this can be for some of you, and it’s necessary for us to accommodate our printing and shipping schedules so we can ensure everyone gets their bulletins on time.

For example, because we are closed on Thanksgiving Day and the day after, we begin two weeks before Thanksgiving so by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we are all home enjoying our dinners, knowing all our customers have their deliveries and can enjoy their holiday as well.

These transmission changes only happen a few times a year so we are grateful our customers understand our schedules and abide by them. We appreciate your help and understanding in getting your bulletins and/or newsletters to us in a timely matter. We count you all among our blessings!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Why Am I Always Late??

This is the perfect topic for me as I tend to have difficulties with time management! Something always gets in my way of being on time! Then guilt sets in because you are late…again.

Is that how your day goes in the church office? You are expected to get your bulletin transmitted at a certain time to LPi and what happens? The phone is ringing off the hook, people are coming in and wanting to chat, Father can’t find the notes he was using to produce his article, there’s a problem with the plumbing while you’re alone and cleanup is absolutely necessary, Mrs. Smith slipped on the step coming into the office and needs an ice pack, and…there’s the phone again!! Good heavens, I hope no one needs to plan a funeral!! Oh no, I just received an email from LPi wondering where my bulletin is!! Calgon take me away!!!

First of all, let me tell you the most important tip. Breathe!! Step back and take a deep breath and relax. The more you stress, the more mistakes you’ll make, and then your publication will be even later. How can I produce a bulletin when I have so many other things to do? You need a plan.

Here are some tips I’ve heard from other editors.

  1. Get all your materials that you need to use in one place so you won’t have to stop and look for something.
  2. Set a bulletin deadline. Place a notice inside your bulletin informing parishioners what the deadline is for getting articles to you for the bulletin and STICK TO IT!
  3. Handle any interruptions you have as quickly and efficiently as possible. Let voicemail take your phone calls if that’s possible or ask the caller if you can get back to them later.
  4. Don’t leave everything until the last minute. As soon as one bulletin is completed, start planning on next week’s. Work on the bulletin every chance you have so you have the basic “bones” completed.
  5. Many editors are late because they are waiting for someone’s article. Often there is nothing you can do about this except wait it out if this article is absolutely essential to your publication. Have everything else finished so all you have to do is insert this article when you receive it. If possible, have a talk with these individuals and tell them how important it is to stick to the deadline.
  6. If you need technical help, call Technical Support at LPi and get their expert advice on how to solve your problem as soon as you encounter the problem. This will save you a lot of wear and tear! They can virtually walk you through sending your bulletin.
  7. If all else fails, call Customer Service at LPi and let them know you will send the bulletin a little late. We understand things happen so please just let us know as soon as possible when you will be sending.

Contributed by Milwaukee Customer Service Representative Mary Spongberg.

Microsoft Put a Ribbon on Office 2007 and 2010

Introduced as a way to make our tasks easier in 2007, with the exclusion of Publisher 2007 (which is why some of you will find this a surprise), Microsoft Office released a new version of their office suite with a new look and feel. This change was the addition of a Ribbon to replace the normal menu bar. A few months ago, Microsoft released their 2010 version of Office, this time including the Ribbon to the Publisher program.

For those who haven’t upgraded yet (either to Office 2007 or Publisher 2010), the Microsoft Ribbon uses graphical representations to display the most commonly used functions.

For example, if you wanted to insert a picture from your computer into your Word or Publisher document, you would simply have clicked the Insert menu command, chose “Picture” and selected “From file”. It’s straightforward only because we’re so used to it.

Change is difficult but the Ribbon is very nice for people (like me) that appreciate graphics and simple, one click functions. It’s like LPi Express (coming soon if you don’t already use it for uploading documents to us). It was different and odd at first, but once our editors realized how much easier it was to submit documents – no more creating .pdfs then having to browse separately – there was no more nervousness.

There are still functions I can’t always readily find. And for this I turn to a handy little interactive guide Microsoft invented. Obviously I am not the only one needing a bit of help! The link is below.

In the meantime, I encourage you to give Office 2007 or 2010 a try. Graphically it’s more organized and once you’ve gotten used to where things are you’ll realize the best way to improve something is simply to put a Ribbon on it.

Going Green = Good Business

This is a follow up to the previous blog titled “Going Green = Good Stewardship”. There are a lot of great ideas and it’s definitely a good start. The blog got me to thinking though, as I sit here listening to the presses winding up for the day, what about all that paper in the pressroom?

I did some research, asked our Press manager to help me and here are some of the things I found out:

LPi Corporate wide uses approximately 8.2 million tons of paper each year. The Milwaukee facility alone, which I am writing this blog from, uses approximately 3.9 million tons a year.

Sounds kind of alarming, at least to me. Fortunately, we here at LPi live on the same planet as you and we are very concerned about our environment. Here’s proof:

We purchase paper from a mill that is SFI certified and FSC Certified (click to find out more).

SFI Certification is a forest management program that promotes environmental, social and economic values for the conservation and sustainable use of our forests for a variety of purposes. This means that the paper we use is produced from a forest that is properly managed with a sustainable future clearly in mind.

FSC Certification has much the same purpose in mind. They were created to ensure forests, not just in North America but around the world, are properly managed. Initially created as a response to global deforestation concerns, the FSC certification means our vendor is responsibly managing a valuable resource, again with sustainability in mind.

We are constantly creating and improving methods to reduce overall paper waste. We use CIP technology to help color calibrate the press machines in less time with less paper waste and also provided the press team with larger monitors, to better see how well the color matches right away (no guesswork = less waste short and long term).

In 18 months time, we have reduced our paper waste by approximately 13% and any paper that is “wasted” is recycled. The initiative to continue reducing waste is ongoing, with new procedures and processes implemented regularly company-wide.

As I am finishing this blog, I am listening to the whir of the presses. I have a small stack of bulletins next to me that I always keep around for samples. And I am breathing a bit easier knowing that while we are a printing company, with the implication of paper waste attached to us; I know we are doing our part. The benefits reach even further too since less paper used and less paper wasted means a cleaner, more sustainable future AND cost savings to you, our customers!


There are a lot of excellent methods to gaining attention to important articles. Some of them have been hinted at in prior blogs, including graphics, special characters, and adding color. There is one method that seems to vex many editors (and with good reason!) and this is adding watermarks.

Watermarks are the graphics that show lightly behind your articles. For example, if I were writing about a married couples retreat, I could put a graphic of a pair of rings behind the article. Watermarks can be used in any article you print, however I do have some cautions against their use.

  • Make sure the graphic you use is not too complicated. Graphics with text or writing it them won’t turn out well.
  • Color the graphic very light, so it is still easy to read the text on top of it.
  • The graphic should have relevance to the article.
  • Less is more – use one or two per page.

The method I use for adding a watermark is to add the graphic you are using after the article is written.

  1. Insert the graphic. The graphic will move the text over or cover it entirely – that’s OK! It will be fixed in a moment.
  2. Recolor the graphic so it is much lighter. 20% or less is usually a good benchmark; however you will still want to “eye it up”. Printing it out when you’re done is also a very good test.
  3. Change the order so the graphic is sent to back (Send to Back). If you are using Publisher, InDesign or Quark and do not see the graphic behind your text box, make sure the text box does not have a fill (including a white fill, which is still opaque).

To read this article with a watermark, click here.

Harvest Time

I was at a local festival the other night when I bumped into one of my neighbors Jim Wobick, who is a full time farmer from down the road. We were talking about the harvest and he mentioned how all the crops seemed to be ripening at once, of course complaining about how little time there is to get everything on the tractor for sale. He shrugged his shoulders and said, in a resigned tone of voice, “I guess I’ll have to make time to get everything done.”harvest_downsampled2

Does Jim have the power to create an extra hour in his day? Does he have a secret lab? Does he have a “time stretcher”? Hardly. What he does have is time management skills.

I asked around and found some really great ideas for managing some seemingly unmanageable deadlines, and I figured since I can use them, I might want to pass them along to our faithful blog readers too.

  1. Understand your limitations. You only have so much time in a day and you can’t spend the whole day working. Make sure you budget for fun and relaxation. This is just as important!
  2. Take stock of the activity and evaluate (realistically) how much time it will take. Try to plan ahead since some of these tasks might need to be done daily, weekly or monthly. Also make sure to add in a buffer for unforeseen complications.
  3. Always add time in for interruptions, coffee breaks, talking with people about their lives – you get the idea.
  4. Address the most time consuming projects first, at the beginning of the day. You are just beginning your day fresh and new and the bulk of the activities (i.e. distractions) haven’t started yet.
  5. Don’t procrastinate! There are always projects to do that we really don’t like doing. Get them out of the way first! They weigh on your mind (i.e. distraction) and when you finally get that task done, you’ll feel like you’ve hit the summit of a mountain. AND since that feeling of accomplishment is physiologically linked to happiness, the rest of your tasks won’t seem so difficult.
  6. Learn to say “no”. Personally, this is my most difficult lesson. You can’t be expected to do everything for everyone and while it’s sometimes almost painful to tell someone you can’t help them, you need to keep in mind your own limitations (see #1). Evaluate the requests and their importance. Besides, you can always help them later if you accomplish everything you need to get done.
  7. Try to plan ahead. Much of what we do is cyclical and happens every day, week or month.
  8. Combine activities when possible. For newsletter editors, planning the month’s activities at the same time as entering them into your newsletter page is one example. Try to find ways to streamline and combine your tasks.
  9. Prioritize and set goals! Figure out what can be put off for tomorrow and what must be done today. I am a huge fan of making lists (my husband thinks it’s hilarious) and I put everything from laundry to homework on it. Once I make the basic list, I then order everything according to the most pressing to the least. I start crossing things off the list one by one and feel like I’m making a lot of headway when I see all the things crossed off.
  10. This is the most important time management tip and one I heard from my neighbors and friends I talked to – HAVE FUN with your days! Take some time during your busy day to just breathe, take a walk or stretch. I have a small photo book with me and when I start feeling really stressed out, I just take a minute to pull it out and smile.

It sounds almost counterintuitive but a little bit of planning and some careful forethought is time well harvested.

The Friendly InDesign

Most of my editors here at LPi use Microsoft Publisher. Publisher is a very easy to use, user friendly desktop publishing program offered at no charge with some of the Office installations. However, I have a segment of editors (and they are slowly growing) that have discovered Adobe InDesign. I make no attempt to hide my love of this program and there are some preferences that can be set in advance to help make the program easier to use.

To open the Preferences dialogue, click on the Edit menu option and choose Preferences. There are a lot of options to choose from but just choose General for now. I will only touch on a few of the options that are pertinent to you, our editors and our printing at LPi.

  • First, select the Units & Increments preference from the right. This is where you can change the ruler units to page or spread layout (showing 2 pages at a time or just one) and inches vs. picas, points or metric.
  • Next, click on Autocorrect. I will leave this choice up to you but I really like the ability for my programs to catch when I get my i’s and e’s mixed up in relief.
  • Lastly, click on the Appearance of Black. Since we at LPi print in CMYK, not RGB or gray (like your desktop printer), please set the options to Display All Blacks Accurately and Output All Blacks Accurately, in each respective drop down. Also, make sure the box marked Overprint [Black] Swatch at 100% is checked.

With just a few settings changed in the beginning, with InDesign and so many other situations in life, you can make things much more user friendly.

Adding Hot Sauce to Mild Articles

I enjoy cooking and baking, and of course eating what I just made. I am taking raw food such as vegetables, meat, spices, and oils, and making really great meals out of it all. It sounds like what so many of you do every week or every month when you create your publications out of the emails, notes and verbal messages you receive.

Of course, I can’t make new recipes every week and invariably there are also a few articles in every publication that must be shown regularly (sometimes every week). They are the reminders of the council meetings on Wednesday nights, the requests for food pantry donations, and the advertiser of the week (written June 9, 2009).

These articles are important! You can breathe new life into these blurbs and get them noticed almost every time they print. How? Here are some tips for making sure they get the proper attention:

  • Use or change the border around the article/blurb.
  • If you have the ability to add color, make the heading, shading, border or a few specific words pop!
  • Shade the text box black (or the darkest shade of color) and make the text color white.
  • Write 2 or 3 different versions of the same information and swap them out occasionally.
  • Put a lot of white or blank space around it. Sometimes the absence of printing gets just as much notice.
  • Add some vibrant clip art once in a while. There are a lot of great choices in LPi’s Art & Media Portal.

A really good idea is to look to other publications, even magazines including Bright Ideas, for creativity and inspiration. And if you are wondering how I make those standby meals interesting for my family? That’s easy. I just set the hot sauce on the table.

Search: Design Inspiration

I was sitting with an editor the other week and we were talking about design and format. She wanted some feedback on her latest ideas for making her bulletin articles and headings pop.

After looking through her bulletin, knowing what it used to look like, I told her how well I liked the overall design. Smiling back at her, I saw she was no longer smiling back at me. She reached under a stack of paperwork and pulled out several bulletins from other parishes.

“I copied from these!” she said, a tortured overtone to her voice. “That’s plagiarism, isn’t it?”

That poor editor! She had done what so many other editors, designers, and countless other people had done in the past. I looked through her stack of bulletins and found she had gained INSPIRATION from them. She saw what others had done so well and tailored it to her own needs.

What I was looking at was definitely not plagiarism for several very distinct reasons:
  1. plagiarism4Publisher, Quark and InDesign has a limited set of shading variations, or gradients, that can be used for headings with any effect.
  2. The editor gained the idea to use this shading, provided by Publisher (in her case), from other bulletins that also use Publisher to produce their bulletin.
  3. My editor is not the only person to have used this type of heading. She never thought to use it until she saw other bulletins, which most likely got their inspiration the same way.

We then got on the internet and did about 2 minutes of research. A Google search (you can use Yahoo or even Bing) using the term “design inspiration” yielded blogs, college sites and websites devoted to gaining a bit of help with design ideas and even some ethical discussions that helped ease her fears further.

If you would like some inspiration from other bulletins and newsletters, page through other parishes and organizations that print with us on Seek & Find. Bright Ideas magazine has creative ways to use their artwork every quarter too. Who knows, maybe someone will look through your publication and get some inspiration!

Finding the Right Word

The LPi blog is officially launched and in preparation for writing my own first entry, I was trying to find words to convey my excitement in ways that you, our faithful editor, would find inspiring and interesting. At this point, it became obvious that the word “exciting”, and its many variations, was about due to be overused and I needed another word.thesaurus

Immediately after realizing my conundrum, I turned to my trusty thesaurus. Thought by children to be a long-extinct dinosaur, this is a valuable tool when looking for just the right word.

Microsoft Publisher has an excellent, admirable, and worthy thesaurus included with the software. Simply type your word, in my case “exciting”, and with your cursor placed on the word, click on your Tools menu option, choose Language and then choose Thesaurus. If available, a whole list of synonyms will appear for you to use.

A note of caution: In our zeal to find different words, we run the risk of using a word that may not be appropriate as a descriptor. As I start my first blog entry, I may not be keyed up or even wound up but I certainly am pleased, eager and enthusiastic!