Friday, December 28, 2007

Calendar Craziness

After the fruit cake tasting, I got down to business.

Every year, I spend a solid week sitting at the dining room table making calendars to give to my family and friends as gifts for Christmas.

I love making them.

I print the calendar part on card stock. Then, we take them to Copy Corner and get them bound for about $2 each. The calendars are blank except for the name of the month and the days of the week. Then, I take each one and write in the numbers and holidays. For each person I'm giving the calendar to, I also write in all the birthdays, anniversaries and other special days for each family member.

For instance, a couple years ago, I emailed Lynsey's family and asked them to send me all the special days on their side of the family so that I could write them on the calendar I was giving to Lynsey. This year, I also emailed all our friends and asked them to send me their special days they celebrate in their home so that I could include them on the calendars that applied.

Then, on the holidays like Father's Day, Mother's Day, their birthdays, anniversary, instead of just writing those holidays in, I like to write, "Happy Birthday Jason!" or "Happy Adoption Day, Justus!" or "Happy Mother's Day Kirby!"

Each month is decorated with fun paper and my favorite pictures from that year. I sit down one evening and pick out the pictures I want for each person for each month. All the calendars end up having different pictures in them. I think it's especially fun to try and include a picture that corresponds with someone's birthday for that month. So, for April, in my family, I try to put a picture of Kaylyn or Aaron. Then, I send the pictures to HEB in College Station and get to go pick them up the next morning! So fast!

It was extra fun making the calendars this year, because so many of my friends are bloggers or have their pictures uploaded already on slide show dot com, in Kodak Gallery or have pictures right on their blog I could steal and get printed. I loved including pictures of my friends and their kids in the calendar for their family.

This is a fun, inexpensive project, and even though it is labor intensive, I enjoy it, and get to be right in the middle of my house, out in the open, available to my kids while I work. This year, about 8 Scrabble games went on at the same table I was making calendars. So fun.

I had to wait and post this after Christmas, so my friends and family would NOT see their Christmas gift online before they unwrapped it, but I would LOVE to know other meaningful, inexpensive gifts you gave or received this year, or in years past. If you post pictures of them on your blog, I'll link to it, and then repost this whole thing next November to give others some great ideas for Christmas.

Some things we have done in the past are...

Make crosses. Most of them slid right off the frame after about a week on the that was awful, but the ones that stuck were so cute. I'll get Ashley to send me a picture of hers since it was a keeper, then I'll post it later.

Made mousepads. These are cheap, but come out INCREDIBLE!

We also made coasters. There were four grandkids at the time, so we just did one grandkid per coaster. I don't know if Kodak Gallery lets you pick four different pictures, but Snapfish does.

We made cookbooks, after asking our friends and family members to send us all their favorite recipes they actually use.

One year, Jason and Lynsey made us ornaments...

and they made us the coolest chicken wire picture holder.

Aaron's mom makes blankets for the there anything better than a handmade blanket? I love them.

I want to know your ideas! Share the love!


Anonymous said...

We just LOVE the calendars! I think everyone would be at a loss, if we did not have them to keep us all reminded of who is when and why. :-)

Thank you so much for taking the time to put these together. They will be cherished forever.

Love you all so much!

Heather's most proud Dad!

The Kramer Family said...

I LOVE my calendars!

It wouldn't be the same without them. I have them dated all the way back to 2000 (my first Christmas with you guys) in a plastic container. It is so fun to go back and look through them and see how the boys have changed....sniff, sniff. I was looking at the very first one the other day when Anson was just a bitty baby boy.

They are something that I will treasure forever!

The truths of becoming said...

Oh my gosh!!! I love these ideas! I love making things but feel that I run out of ideas so quickly. I think a fun idea is to make a CD for someone. This year I burned a few of my original songs onto a CD for my grandparents. The quality of recording isn't fabulous since it's recorded on my laptop, but they love it.

Freshman year of college, my friend and I made a "mix tape" CD for another friend. In between the songs we added commentary that we had recorded. All the songs and commentary had to do with things that the three of us had done to talked about that year. It was so much fun to make and our friend loved it.

hisbride said...

I love you ideas. How fun. I am sure your family loves them.

Over at my blog I am starting a bible study with my blogging friends and I though you would like to be part of this. All the information is on my blog. Let me know what you think. vanessa

Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

Just thought you'd want to know my uncle came up with another name for poop while we were there at Christmas. Random conversation, people talking, and my uncle pipes up, "BULL DUKEY!" I almost laughed out loud. It was hilarious.

Thought you and the boys would want to know that. ;P

Garratts said...

Along the same line of the crosses. We were going to do this
this year, but we ran out of time.

Get your hubbies to nail 2 pieces of wood together to make a cross and then have your kids paint them however they want.

Reese made one for Carter when he was born. She wrote her name, Bryces name and Carters on the back with a sharpie.

It was very special. We will hang it in his room.

The Campbell Clan said...

I love the chicken wire frame! That is such a cute idea and a great place to hang christmas pictures. Too cute.

Landreneau Family said...

Such great ideas!

I tried doing the coasters at Winkflash this year, but the pics I picked weren't cropping right. So I went to Hobby Lobby and found some beautiful glass coasters that you just crop your own pictures to stick in them. They were $13.99, but I got them for half price! We put one picture of each child (3), and one picture of the three together. Next year, I'm going to pick new pictures to replace them with and I can just do that every year instead of buying new ones. They were such a hit.

I also did mousepads this year. Another hit.

I want to do the calendars or cookbooks next year. I just ran out of time this year. I also loved the magnet idea that you'd emailed me.

Thanks for the Christmas card. Claire got a big kick out of seeing your family hung on my wall!


derrickoliver said...

Your calenders rule.

For the past two years (and perhaps for the remainder of my years) I give people (my parents) framed, blown up photos that I've taken. Isn't that nice? I mean, it's ok. It's not really that nice.

I also sometimes give people (my parents) a DVD of me and my friends creating musical fusion on a LH stage. I think they like it, but I'm pretty sure they haven't watched it yet...

Love. Miss.

Mindi said...

Hey! We make calendars every year too. Only mine aren't quite as cute as yours. Hopefully none of my family members will read your blog and wish they had you for a niece, daughter, sister in law, etc.

I just take my 13 pictures to CopyMax. I had a coupon this year so they were cheaper. I also try and match each month with someone's birthday or a holiday, etc. I have been doing these since 2000 too!

I have also bought clear glass ornaments at Hobby Lobby and let the kids paint them. One year Molli was a tiny baby and I put her tiny handprint on them. They were darling.

We have made angel ornaments with the kids' faces. It's easy and involves a paper doily, gold pipe cleaners, magnet-on-a-roll, and a clothespin. (and kids' pics)

We have also done framed enlarged family photos (usually the one I send in Christmas cards).

We do a lot of homemade goodies for teachers, neighbors, etc. - the best received are the Coffee Mug Cakes (a cake mix and icing mix you put in ziplocs inside of a Christmas coffee mug, with instructions on how to bake the cake in the mug in the microwave) and those layered brownies in a quart mason jar with a wooden spoon tied to the jar.

OK, enough from Mindi . . . but we were so poor for so long that homemade presents were all we could ever do!

Mindi said...

Ohhhh, silly me! I forgot to write about the REAL reason I was posting . . . homemade Memory Books! I made a book for my 1 year old niece on Matt's side and my 2 year old nephew on my side.

Little cousins often forget my kids (there are six of them after all) and their names and what they are like. So I made a little book with pictures of the child, their siblings if they had any, the child's parents and grandparents, our family, and then each of my kids (one per page).

I added text like, "Hi! My name is Levi. I am two years old and live in Ennis, Texas."

And "These are my grandparents. They live in Michigan. I like to visit them in the winter when it snows outside. They love me very much."

And "This is my cousin Maci. She has big blue eyes and is a cheerleader. She also likes to play volleyball, and playing with ME!"

I haven't given them to the babies yet (hopefully they can't read yet) but I'm sure they will be well-received.

I was going to make them on my computer and have them bound at CopyMax but I found some on that were hardbound and larger sizes, with your choices of fabric covers.

Jennifer Bacak said...

I like the memory books, Mindi.
I am making calendars right now, but not with pictures. With my kids journal pages for the grandparents. They do their journal everyday, and they draw these amazing pictures about what we're learning, or if you're Jax, about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, morphed with what we're learning, and then write their own words/ sentences about them, or I write down the story underneath that goes with it. They are SO priceless to me!!!! I just color copy these pages and glue them into blank calendars.
I also am making frozen meals for my parents for Christmas this year. They are loving homemade Chicken Pot Pie, etc. in their freezer for the two of them when they come home from work.
I make blankets. The fleece tie ones. I made a Yoda one for Jax this year, and it's one of his favorite gifts! He loves blankets.
I make ornaments with my kids pictures. Actually they help me make them. Just construction paper, their little picture, laminated, and ribbon through the top. We made those for grandparents and birthmoms also this year.
I've been making bookmarks lately, because I have a home laminator that I'm in love with and I'm going a little laminator crazy. But they're pretty cute, right Heather?
I love my calendar, friend!
Homemade gifts are the best!!!

Garratts said...

Also I did calendars this year too and most years.

But this year I made them on Shutterfly. WOW, so easy and cute too.

Grandparents loved them.

Hendrick Family said...

These are all such great ideas.

Jenn's bookmarks are super cute!

Ashley, can you guess what your present is this year? Ha!


Grandma said...

I went on Ebay this year and just put in each boy's name - and waited to see what came up.

Anson, I found out, is a famous maker of jewelry and custom pens. So Anson got a mechanical pencil by Anson.

When I entered Ashton, appeared wooden cigar boxes with "Ashton - Hand Made" engraved on them. (Who knew there was a cigar named Ashton?) Ashton got 3 of the neat little boxes.

Hayden's name produced (1) pictures of Hayden Palmieri, as in Save the Cheerleader, Save the World, and (2) motorcycle parts. Not so good.

But it was fun looking.