I have been recording small daily tidbits since my first child was born. I took a regular dollar-store type calendar and just wrote notes on it. I recorded the big things like my son’s first steps to the small things like taking an extra nap that week. When I approached memory recording in such small chunks I didn’t feel like I could fall behind. While my journaling was up-to-date, it took me years before I took this approach with my layouts! I felt so far behind until I started using BLANK calendars to do my layouts AND my memory recording.
I now approach my scrapbooking a month at a time. I look over my photos from the previous month and choose photos to tell just one story for each child from that month. All the other stories are already recorded in the calendar journaling format! I don’t feel like I have to capture every interesting story in a full scale layout. I hang my calendars in the living room and it acts as an ever changing home decor item as well! You notice in the finished layout below the binder ring at the top used to hang the calendar in the house and the spiral binding at the bottom that holds all the pages together.
I got my first calendars from Stampin’ Up, though they only carry desk size calendars now. There are many companies that make calendar items such as 12 x 12 calendar paper from Creative Cafe available at Two Peas in a Bucket or the Year of Memories Keepsake Calendar by SRM Stickers available from Addicted to Scrapbooking. I’ve never used those products but it is something to get you thinking about what is available. Check your favorite LSS or online retailer for more items.
I used the 81/2 x 11 calendars to start with. You fill in months (I used stamps) and dates (I wrote in mine by hand) in the provided calendar grid and then use the blank page to do your layout. My goal was to do ONE layout a month for each child. That was only 3 layouts a month total for my 3 kids. I felt like that fit my busy schedule!
You can see below how an 81/2 x 11 page looks tucked into a 12 x 12 album. Because the calendar pages are back to back I had to place the pages in sideways into the book to prevent some pages from being upside down. This was something I didn’t think about when I started the calendars. But I just let it go and put the pages in sideways. No big deal.
After a while I got tired of the 81/2 x 11 size and the back to back limitation. So I decided to do my own calendars. I used Microsoft Excel to create a calendar template (also available from my Freebies page). There is the original .xls formated document (calendarblank.xls) which you can open, edit and print. There is also the .pdf version (calendarblank.pdf) which you can’t edit but can print as many as you want. Now these pages are in 81/2 x 11 format since I only have a printer that allows me to print that size. You can use the smaller page to incorporate onto a 12 x 12 layout, use it on a companion page for a double page spread or tuck behind a layout as hidden “journaling”.
As you can see from the photos above, I punch my calendar pages with a 3-hole punch and store the in a 3-ring binder. I used tab dividers to keep the pages separate for each of my kids. I keep the binder on a bookshelf in the living room for easy access. I even tied an ink pen onto one of the binder rings with some ribbon so I would never have to go looking for a pen.
I plan on adding in a calendar section for general family stuff –all those layouts that apply to no one child in particular, to my husband, to myself or to all of us collectively. This will bring my total monthly layouts to 4. A very manageable number I think. If you are like me and really like to stay chronological and up-to-date you’ll appreciate this method. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!