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:
It's $9.99 in our shop (click on the preview to purchase).
These can be used in multiple ways. They come in an 8.5x11 size to fit the entire page on a sheet of paper and can have a spiral thing added to the top to flip over each month. Here is an example of how one of these months would look:
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?)
But personally, I scrap mine a little different! I like mine bigger and more traditional so here is how I am doing mine. This calendar will actually be 11x17 or two sheets of 8.5x11 folded sideways with the printing on front and back and the spiral thing in the middle. To do this, I first open my first month grid:
and resize it to change the width to 11 inches. Normally, I don't make most scrapping things bigger as it can pixelate it, but for this, it doesn't seem to affect it and by doing the resizing with the templates before adding photos, it means my photos will be nice and clear!
Here is what it looks like, after I've added a white layer underneath:
Next, I open one of the toppers and do the same thing. It looks like this (at the 11 inch wide size):
The toppers were designed with a very simple style in mind. I wanted them to be used interchangeably and for a variety of looks. In the past, I have given my calendars a very scrapped look. This year, I'm kind of into a clean and simple look so these templates work for either one. I'm going to show you how I scrapped this topper in each style:
Clean and Simple:
That one can be saved as a jpeg and printed as is to create the top half of a calendar.
Here is how I used the same template to give a more scrapbook feel:
For that one, I shadowed everything and saved it as one layer and then moved it to an 8.5x11 canvas where I had uploaded an off-white digital paper:
For the bottom halves of each, I used the brushes/png's that come in the calendar set to add the month and birthday stamps:
For the simple calendar, this can be saved as a jpeg and printed. (to print double sided, you'll want to print the top of February on the back of January's grid. check your printer for the best way to do this).
But, for a scrapped look, here is how I did the bottom half:
And 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. Or these halves can be uploaded to Artscow and they will do the printing for you. They will often have a great coupon and if you send it off before October 1st, you'll have them back before Christmas.
Here are the two options, side by side. Notice there is plenty of white space in the middle where I will punch and put my spiral.
See how easy this was! To put together the simple ones, took less than 10 minutes. I spent a little more for the scrapping ones, but not over 20. My goal is to complete one month a day so that I have my calendars done and ready for printing before school even starts! It will be fabulous to have such a jump on Christmas gifts!
To get started, head over to our store and purchase the calendar set! Come December, you'll be the favorite daughter-in-law for sure!