I have a confession to make, which I feel comfortable sharing because it’s not really a secret at all….
I’m a procrastinator. I’m flaky, scatterbrained, and absent-minded, too.
And I don’t use calendars.
I love the concept of calendars, though. And I usually purchase one every year… you know, just because.
Well, except for last year, because my good friend Jessica Doyle e-mailed me one of her 2011 printable calendars for free, to test-drive her website functionality. (Jealous?! ….Hahaha, you should be! But her 2012 calendar is still available.)
I printed her calendar pages, carefully cut and assembled them, and proudly hung the finished calendar near my workstation. I even remembered to change it monthly, albeit belatedly… up until May. My confession is that her lovely calendar has been stuck on May’s image (titled “Soft” – a starfish-amoeba-looking creature) for the last seven months. *blushing*
I could argue that June’s image was too scary for display… (not really, but it resembles a fanciful mushroom… and well, mushrooms are scary to ME).
Honestly, I just forgot to change the calendar because I never used it. Same goes with the monthly planners that I keep in my purse, in a last-ditch effort to be seen as a “sophisticated” adult business-person. Two or three sheets will be filled out with meticulous notes, and the rest….. are blank pages.
I never know what today’s date is (without checking my computer screen), and holidays ALWAYS catch me by surprise. Christmas is only 3 weeks away?! Yikes!
Yet calendars continue to fascinate me.
As an artist, I love the pictures of course! I’ve collected calendars of black cats, kittens, fairies, Disney princesses (for Lydia), English castles, and Michael Whelan’s dragons (I’ve got his checkbook cover too! The checks were too expensive to re-order… LOL)
As someone who hides under the nearest rock (Hellooooo, Plymouth!) whenever a holiday rears its ugly head, calendars can make great warning signs: “Beware, Christmas Ahead!”
I realize that I’m in the minority… heck, can a “minority group” even consist of just one person?!
Most people use calendars, and most artists and photographers are eager to supply the demand for them.
This year, as I watched all my artist friends busily designing, printing, listing, and promoting their 2012 calendars… in September and October… I began to consider doing one myself this year.
Many folks are getting theirs printed from places like Zazzle and RedBubble, because it’s much more affordable to create wall-sized calendars through a major printing company (even if the profit margin for the artist is very teensy).
Other artists, like Jessica, print mini calendars at home (or sell the PDF files)… the cost of ink and paper being too expensive to print large images every month. Could anyone afford to buy a $240.00 calendar? ;)
I could do what everyone else is doing, and perhaps next year I will. This year, however, I asked myself: “What would you actually use?”
I don’t really need a wall calendar or desk calendar, to be honest, because computers are everywhere in our house. And I can check the date on my cellphone from anywhere else.
I kept returning to the monthly planner idea…. if I could have an attractive portable calendar for my purse, which included pages for jotting reminder notes, it would likely get used for a few months at least. ;)
So I began with an idea… created a template with scrap copy paper… and spent 4 hours assembling my prototype (because there were some glitches along the way).
I wound up with this: a small, portable calendar bound with ribbon inside a hard cover (to protect its pages from the chaotic mess inside my purse)….and No, I will NOT show you the insides of my purse, you’ll just have to trust me! It’s unforgiving territory.
I’ve included major holidays for the US, Canada, and the UK… (forgive me if I miss anything, blame Google instead).
I’ve also included religious holidays, and as I’m somewhat of a nerd when it comes to researching religious stuff (having once spent hours reading up on Thomas Aquinas simply because someone quoted him)… this proved to be quite a distraction from actually finishing the calendar.
At one point while looking up Jewish holidays, I came across a website specifically dedicated to which dates were particularly favorable, or forbidden, for Jews to marry. I also learned that the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam each have their own lunar calendar, and apparently their holidays don’t always occur simultaneously. Pretty heavy stuff! But anyway….
Once I had the layout for my calendar, I printed 4 months onto a 13″x19″ sheet of Ultra Premium Presentation paper using my pigment ink. The print quality would be the same as purchasing from my Etsy shop. Each calendar page measures 6″x9″, with the image itself measuring 4.5″x6″.
Since I’d planned to fold the calendar and staple it, I had to print the calendars opposite the actual image for that month. So October’s image of Trick-Or-Treat Kittens was printed with March 2012 beneath them, and my Easter Bonnet Cat is paired with September. Once everything was folded and assembled, though, it worked out perfectly, thanks to my experimentation with the scrap paper model. ;)
Actually, assembling the pages was essentially the same as creating my greeting cards… which I shared on video… the same measuring, cutting, and folding process. Except these 12 “cards” when stacked together wind up becoming one calendar.
Each sheet is blank on the reverse, meaning there are two blank “pages” between each month in my calendar. Perfect for writing notes!
Of course, I could always invest in some double-sided Epson papers for printing on the front and back of future calendars.
I did purchase a heavy-duty stapler, and 3/8″ staples, specifically for this project… only to discover that its throat wasn’t deep enough to reach the centerfold of my pages. There were a few moments of panicked head-banging and a subsequent headache, before I switched gears and decided to sew my calendar together instead.
See, I’m learning to be crafty! A couple of years ago, you would have NEVER found a needle in my willing hands! LOL
At first I wanted to create a softcover calendar, simply by gluing some decorative cardstock onto the front and back of my little booklet. But knowing how much abuse the contents of my purse suffer, I changed my mind and opted to create a real cover (aka cardboard covered by decorative paper).
Once upon a time, I had an instructional book on bookbinding… which I casually flipped through and misplaced. So this was done completely free-style, but the result looks rather nice!
I added the ribbon as an afterthought… as a fancy way to keep the calendar shut, and hopefully safe, inside my deathtrap purse.
I’m still debating whether or not to add an image to the front cover. Or a title. 99.997% of calendars have images AND titles on the front.
But Joe liked the plain cover, and I’m beginning to agree with him… it has an understated elegance.
This first calendar took hours to make, but fortunately I’ve worked out the major kinks so things should run smoothly now. Sans stapler.
I’ve decided to list these as made-to-order, because they do require assembly (cutting, gluing, sewing) … and it will allow customers to choose their own color palette (including ribbon color) for the cover. I have additional sheets of this green patterned paper, but I also have patterns in various other shades: apricot, brown, dusty rose, grey, ivory, plum, magenta, and sky blue. (And if I don’t have it here, there’s always Michael’s Crafts or A.C.Moore, right?)
Personally I can’t wait until January so I can begin using this new calendar! I might even start now by writing my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions on a blank page… to remind me to plan early for 2013 calendars!
Why is Plymouth Rock being held captive inside …what appears to be… an animal cage?! Did it grow frustrated with being a stepping stone, and angrily maul a fanny-pack-wearing tourist?
Did I miss the the headline “Plymouth Rock Kills Florida Man in Aggravated Attack”…?
After posting the photo (bravely taken by ScruffyNerf on Flickr) to my FaceBook wall, I received all manner of suggestions, including my favorite (from Lydia’s dad):
“You don’t know how tempting it is to want to break in there and paint on black and white stripes, and bolt on a ball and chain, maybe add a baby rock, and post a sign that reads “it’s the guard’s”.
So many possibilities.”
Then a British friend teased that it should “be in Plymouth… If so, we want it back. Stealing our rocks. It just wants to come home to England…”
Um, sorry old chap, but this Plymouth Rock was a native to this continent. It has never set foot rested its stones on British soil.
The Rock had the misfortune of being named after your shipping port town, after our pilgrims (having emigrated from Plymouth, England) landed on the shores of this New World… oh-so-creatively called “New Plymouth” …. in “New England”. O_o
According to omniscient Wikipedia, the rock originally weighed over 20,000 lbs…. and after being moved about, serving as the town’s lawn ornament for awhile, and having pieces chipped away for souvenirs, the State of Massachusetts decided it was safest behind bars.
Why not a glass shrine? Couldn’t the architect conceive of anything more attractive than a zoo pen?
I half-expected to see a warning sign posted: “Do Not FEED the Rock”.
This photo illustrates perfectly how I feel regarding holidays.
I’d love to spare you my personal rant about the commercialization of holidays… but this is my blog, after all. If you’re brave enough to plant your feet on my turf, you’d better be prepared for an attack from my native tongue.
This year’s Black Friday Sale, which begins Thursday evening for many large retailers… corrupting the purity of Thanksgiving, just proves that Big Corporate Businesses could care less about “family togetherness” for all the pretty imagery in their commercials.
It’s all about the MONEY. They don’t care about you or your family. They don’t want you to save money, live better, shop smarter, or whatever cute catch-phrase they slap on their plastic semi-recycled bags.
They certainly don’t care about their employees…. who are robbed of enjoying the simple holiday pleasures of a sit-down family meal, and forced to work 12-14 hour shifts, “policing” the crowds who will appear at 9:00PM, 10:00PM, and even midnight… anxious to lay their money down on some cheaply made, Chinese sweatshop crap …that they couldn’t imagine living without …for ONE MORE DAY!
I apologize for sounding a tad bit bitter. As it’s affecting my family personally, I have a hard time looking at the Bigger Picture. What IS the Bigger Picture exactly? What is so gosh-darned special about buying something on sale, that you need to ruin someone’s holiday for it?
And yes, before you accuse me of being insensitive to all the military personnel, the firefighters, EMTs, nurses, and doctors who never get to spend time with their families…. let me assure you that I’m grateful for those people. They are our heroes! They save and protect our lives.
They hold respected and admired positions in this community, and this country.
What do retail associates have in common with them? Last time I checked, the cashier ringing up your tube socks at Walmart wasn’t doing you any great service… or you would have felt more grateful towards her. Maybe even named your unborn child after her. ;)
Why do post offices, trash collectors, banks, and schools get the holiday off? Aren’t their jobs more important to the community than the employee who stands around guarding a pallet of flat-screen TVs?
Can’t we stop talking about “buying” and “selling” and “sales”… just for one day?
Can’t retailers wait and hold a Black Friday Sale – ON A FRIDAY?! Wait… Wow! What a novel idea! Tara, you’re a genius.
My 13 years of retail experience can arguably be one of the main reasons, if not The #1 Reason, why I suffer from holiday-phobia. Fuzzy warm holiday words like “peace” and “goodwill” seem to mock the hell we experience on the sales-floor each season.
I will celebrate with my family and cook a lovely meal to “Give Thanks!” when this madness ends on Friday night! ;D
In the spirit of our forefathers’ journey to a harsh, unsettled country… led by the strength of their religious faith to deliver them from the oppression of The Church of England… I decided to paint a pair of Pilgrim Cats. :)
Like the colonists of Plymouth, I, too, hope to be freed from the chains of retail enslavement someday. My journey to self-employment will be no less harsh and unsettling in this time of economic uncertainty, as was their voyage across an uncharted ocean in 1620.
Fortunately many solo-preneurs have already charted this course, each taking his or her own route, establishing guideposts along the way.
“Beware – Thar Be Dragons!”
I have an amazing community of artists at my fingertips… my own Wampanoag tribe so-to-speak, willing to help with friendly hands and sympathetic ears. Get it? Ears of corn!
I can’t help relying on corny jokes after my brain has retired for the night. Guess who is working a 12-hour shift in a few hours?
Anyway… I painted this pair of kitties on stretched canvas with acrylic paint. I started working on them simultaneously, so the two portraits would share the same color palate and nearly identical backgrounds. They are both black and white cats… dressed in black and white! LOL
The male Pilgrim Cat is in the rough stages, because I took an interest in my female Pilgrim and wanted to finish her first. Her solemn Purr-itan face is almost done (mustn’t forget the whiskers! I always do.) … and hopefully this weekend I’ll get to finish her white collar.
I was hoping to have them finished before Thanksgiving…. I started them two weekends ago. Instead, I must be grateful to my boss for giving me overtime with holiday pay. And for my loving family who demands my undivided attention at home.
I am thankful for my family. And I’m thankful for you… for taking this journey with me, even though I can be a wild and tempestuous shipmate, with a head as hard as Plymouth Rock.
Perhaps someone should lock me in a cage for safekeeping.