It’s pretty simple, really. First, have your wife and daughter sit down at the family iMac with a pile of CDs and select a list of songs for a mix CD. Organize and burn it with iTunes. Put it in the family car and listen to it obsessively for a week. Debate the track selection and order at every opportunity. Have them go back to the iMac, revise the playlist, and email the artists and song titles to you at work.
Marry a woman with a great photographic eye. (OK, maybe that part’s not so simple.) Have her select a portrait-shaped image of your daughter’s beautiful face and a landscape-shaped image from a previous trip to the zoo, and have her email those out of iPhoto to you at the studio.
Sit down with your daughter and discuss the relative merits of various titles for this birthday party CD. This will feel surprisingly like a client meeting. You will have a couple “perfect” titles that describe in a brilliantly concise manner the exact feeling that the list if songs will communicate to her friends and their families. She will insist on calling it “My Life is 7.” You will lose this argument.
Find a free hour at work. Import the portrait-sized photo into the Freehand (or whatever app you prefer) Jewelboxing template for the outside of the insert book. Place it on the right side of the page. Crop the image on its left side along the guide for the horizontal center of the page. Let it bleed off the three other sides. Lay the headline, set in a sensible typeface like Gill Sans, across the image with another small line of copy that says “Isabelle’s Birthday Party at The Zoo, June 6, 2004” stack-centered and set in white to reverse nicely out of the photo.
Import the landscape image into the same template, size and crop it as if it were going to cover the entire insert book template and bleed off all four sides. Send it to the back, behind the portrait image. Set the playlist so it reverses out of the left side photo. Print out a test and then 13 more. Set aside.
Open the template for the tray-liner inside. Copy and paste the landscape image from the previous template into it and align it so the right half of the image covers the entire template area. Print out a test and 13 more. Set aside.
While still in the tray-liner template, bring the “disc shape” layer to the front. Select the landscape image, copy and then paste that inside the disc shape. Copy that. Open the disc label templates and paste. Put the circle filled with the cropped landscape image over each of the two disc shapes on this template. Add text if you’d like. Print a test and then six more of these.
Open the template for the tray-liner outside and fill it with a solid color. Repeat the headline in white in small letters rotated 90 degrees clockwise. Put that on the part of the template that will be the spine of the final case. Put the already printed tray-liner paper back in the printer with the blank side out, print a test and then 13 more.
Gather all that stuff and bring it home. Assemble the packages at the kitchen table with your daughter. I’d suggest you taking responsibility for applying the disc labels and detaching and folding the tray-liners. She can do pretty much everything else. Head upstairs to the iMac. Burn the 13 labeled CD’s and snap them into the cases. This next part is very important. While at the party at zoo, please try to not lose any kids. Hand out the discs as party favors. Ta-da.
For even more fun, try this in Santa Cruz, Wenonah, Billings, Barrie, Ithica or San Francisco.