I LOVE calendars and planners and all those fun things that help keep me organized and on task! But I especially love custom photo calendars and I'm so excited to share with you today my secrets for getting the perfect calendar which also makes the PERFECT gift! Grandparents love these! Adult children (which I have for the first time ever) love these! Even my young kids love this!
Before I get started with all my tips and tricks, let me share a tender memory with you about a calendar I made a few years ago. I've been making these custom calendars for about 10 years now and it is what I give the grandparents on both sides. Well, 7 years ago, my dear cousin passed away from cancer, leaving her mother alone. As her older sister had passed a few years previous, my Aunt was left with no spouse and both children gone. Her own health was declining and me and my siblings reached out and treated her like I knew my cousin would have wanted us to. Growing up, my cousin and I were only 8 months apart so it was easy for me to be the surrogate daughter for my aunt when I could. The second Christmas after my cousin's passing, I made one of these calendars for my aunt. I included the birthday's of her two daughters, her grandsons, etc. and presented it to her. She cried as she looked through it and thanked me over and over again.
Several years went by and as her health got worse and she became taken over with dementia, she is currently living in a facility and most days doesn't know many around her. She slips back and forth between her past and reality and another world we don't really know. I live several hours away and usually only get to see her once or twice a year. But I make sure to take her calendar every Christmas. She doesn't usually recognize me but will talk about me to me and talk over and over about her precious calendars. She will tell most family who visit her about her calendar. It warms my heart to know that such a simple gesture has come to mean so much in these last days of her life. We don't know how much longer we'll have her with us, but I'm already planning her calendar for this year and hope to deliver it to her in a few months.
I share this because I think there is something precious in any homemade gift and calendars, particularly digital ones, are not only easy to make, but easy to duplicate and can be loved by so many! If you don't have time to finish your albums this year or complete all the things on your list of memory documenting, I promise you will never regret making your own calendar. You will enjoy the photos all year long and beyond. My kids still flip through old calendars and talk about the pictures and the things written on the dates. They really can serve as their own little album!
Let's get started, shall we?
Here is the Calendar set we'll be using. And I have added them for free to my resource library! These are 2018 calendar templates. Each top is a landscape size of an 11x8.5 sheet of paper and so is the grid. Once put together, these will make an 11x17 calendar:
These are great, especially for printing at home! They aren't huge but nice to hang next to a desk or in the kitchen. (I almost said, "to hang next to the phone in the kitchen"--wow! Have I transported back to 1995?)
To get started, I first open my first month grid. It is layered like a template:
Here is what it looks like, after I've added some papers and replaced the elements:
Next, I open one of the toppers. It looks like this:
I clip papers and replace the elements, add in the photos and here is my completed calendar top:
Repeat this process for each month! You can customize to your heart's content! I clipped papers to the grids and png's but you can change the color or do whatever works best. You can add shadows, more elements, etc.
For these, you can print these out as jpegs and trim off the white border that will most likely be left from your printer. There are printing companies, such as Shutterfly that won't let you customize the calendar bottoms, so you can just scrap your toppers and then use their bottoms.
See how easy this was! Now it's your turn! Simply download the calendar templates from my Resource Library and start scrapping!
And remember, no mother-in-law will turn up her nose at this gift!