Windows users, look away now! Making calendar with iCal

This post is about making calendars using iPhoto and iCal and is only applicable for Mac users.  Sorry about that PC folk.

I’m going to walk you thru what I think is the most useful and easiest calendar to make, assuming you want to print one at home and decorate it in a scrappy or stampy sort of way.  I don’t personally make A4/US letter size calendars, but it came up on UKS the other day and while there were a few replies about Windows-based programs there wasn’t any Mac-response.  So I had a play and came up with this.

Note: you can use the process to create a calendar that has the photos embedded, then either print at home (oh the INK you will use!) or click the BUY button and order one or more.  Now, if you are clever, you should be able to add, for example, a digi-page to iPhoto, or scan an actual layout and just drag that over to your calendar, but I am not going to deal with that now.  If you are a digi person, your skills may surpass mine and you will know what to do already.  What I am focusing on is very particular – “typical” A4/US letter calendar, blank space on the top half of the page, and calendar at the bottom.

I did experiment with recording my workflow as a movie, but because I have a two-monitor set up, one portrait, one landscape, and both widescreen, the results were simply too small to see without heavy editing .  So this will be still shots.  I am also still on Snow Leopard, but I think this process has only been improved in later versions of the OS.

Let’s get to it!

1.  Create an ALBUM with all the photos you want to use.  Have this selected. Select more photos than you need for the 12 months – I’ll show you a neat thing with that in a bit!

2.  Go right down to the bottom of the screen and click on the little Calendar icon

3. This will bring up a selection screen –  CHOOSE your calendar option.  Note: anything that appears as GREY will actually print as WHITE, so Colored Paper, or Vintage, for example, are NOT good choices.  Modern Lines is leaves faint lines marking the photo position but BIG DATE is good, as is Picture Calendar.

4.  The next screen will offer you some options.  You can pick the date range, the holidays if you want them to be printed on the calendar, you can add any of your personal calendar bits as well as birthdays from your address book.  You will also be able to add info to specific date blocks by typing it in.

5.  When you click OK the calendar will come up.  You can drag the photos from your album onto the page IF you want to print the photos.  And you can edit the text for the title and subtitle.

But about those extra photos… you can also drag a photo on to a date and it will be sized for you. It hides the date but so long as you don’t do a row of them it’s probably not going to matter!

Cool, humm?

6.  Now click PRINT.

7. Click PDF > Save as PDF

8.  Best to save it to your Desktop – I think the default is DOCUMENTS but you will want to use it right away so better it is someplace you can see it.

9.  You may get this box – just click OK.  It thinks you are printing when you are really creating a PDF and need no paper 🙂

10.  The PDF will be created and saved.  It takes a minute.  When it is done, double click to open it. See that the first page is the cover?  You don’t want it there.  Click and hold then drag it to the bottom of the list of pages.


11. Now it is just the actual printing.  To do what we want, which is to print the blank at the top and the calendar at the bottom, you need to make some changes to the PREVIEW print options.  Click print and select these options:

  1. Leave PAGES at ALL if you want to print the whole calendar. You could change the COPIES to 2 or more to print multiple copies at one time – just make sure you have enough paper in your printer!
  2. Selected the paper size that is appropriate for your country (Me, A4, you may be US Letter/8.5 x 11)
  3. Click SCALE TO FIT and Print Entire Image
  4. Select 2 images per page but NOT 2 copies – that would give you a sheet of the month block x 2 and then a blank sheet.

Click the PREVIEW drop down and you can set the paper type (I tend to use Photo Paper Matte for cardstock, but your printer may offer different choices than mine) and if you want the QUALITY (I do HIGH) and sometimes COLOR PROFILE.

The reason you moved the cover page is that your calendar PDF now begins with a blank page and is followed by the month info.  Selecting 2 images per page will print a blank space followed by the calendar for all pages – you can see that at the left in the window.  Your cover page will print on its own last. You could then add a photo and print just Page 25 on photo paper for your cover.   I am guessing you would do it Pages: 25 to 25, untick 2 images per page, and change the scale to Fill Entire Page.  I’d say start there and  play with the options  to get it the way you want it.

Some things that spring to mind:

  • Perfect if you want to make a larger wall calendar rather than a CD one.  There is LOADS of space to stamp, for example.
  • You can build a flat layout on the empty space and make it very scrapbook-y – limited thick embellishments might be OK. You can add printed photos rather than printing them so not so piggy with your ink!  Or you could add photo corners and use them to add a lumpy A5 layout, then remove it when you flip to the next month.  It would make a great mini-book at the end of the year, just stick them back to back and bind or add a book ring!
  • Easy to assemble – just use your Bind-it-all/Cinch to add the binding wire at the top – it won’t be a back-to-back page like commercial calendars, but you can accomplish that by printing one page, then turning it over and printing the next page on the back – just make sure you know how your printed handles the paper orientation!

You could, of course, edit the PDF in Photoshop and change the month font and colour, or delete the blank pages then print&cut just the month bits to use in a variety of ways. Personally I think it is slightly more stylish than the standard print-a-calendar sites so for me it’s worth the slight extra effort.  Plus I LOVE the adding photos to the day blocks and the fact you can customise it so totally.  I had the thought that, for example, if you wanted to do a month in review sort of layout, you could print the month, including all your iCal calendars with all your appointments, birthdays, reminders, etc, and have a record of what you did that month.  And you can drag in photos for certain days as well and print them right on the calendar. Need it smaller? you could edit the PDF to delete all the blank pages and print them 4 images to a page.  Really, I think I have only scratched the surface of what you can do with this.

Over to you…..


BIG CARDS – 6 of Clubs

OK so this is a weird one.  It occurred to me that so much of what I do is on my computer, not at all sticky, inky, scrappy or messy, and that fact is not reflected at ALL in my BIG CARDS.  I had the idea to stamp all over the sheet, with some of the 100s of letter and number stamps I have, for one of my BIG CARDS, and it kinda hit me that the same thing would work well, better, maybe, with fonts.  So that’s pretty much it.  Here’s the card – I simply created the file in my drawing program and the only thing I did was Copic colour the pointing finger dingbat.

I actually considered printing it on coloured card or paper, but I really wanted to colour the hand so left it on white – interesting, isn’t it, that the white of the card is so…NOT.

5 to go! I freely admit I NEVER thought I would manage to follow-thru on this.  With only a couple of weeks missed out for previously used cards, and a couple of not-Monday posts, I am now so close to the end.  I really have enjoyed challenging myself, had a great time playing with techniques and supplies, and need to come up with something for next year that will keep me experimenting!

But for today, it’s my birthday and I am having a lazy day, so not going to worry about THAT just yet…..


Changing the Calendar PDFs

I am off at the WOYWW crop today (WooHoo!) but I know there are at least a couple of people awaiting the CD calendar PDFs.  You are welcome to wait till I get to them, which I HOPE will be this week, but if you don’t want to wait, or if you want to change my calendars slightly to make them more your own, or just more your style, this is an easy way to do it.

I use PSE 10 but I think these will work for older versions.

First let’s talk about the fonts.  I used a decorative font for the Month name and the year, at the top. BUT I used a pretty plain font for the days of the week.  My thought here was that people could d a minimal amount of work to alter the month names and year but keep the basic, white-bread font for the days and still get something they like better.

IF you want to use my PDFs but have a different font for the headers:

1. Open the PDF with Photoshop Elements (or some similar program).  I do this by right-clicking and selecting Open With > PSE. The multi-page PDF will open and you can select the page you want to work on in the thumbnail view.

Click FILE > duplicate then close the original and work on the copy.

2.  Select the Marquee tool and draw a box around the Month and year.

3. Delete.

Now, do not be worried that the deleted area has had the white removed!  Your printer does not recognize white – it translates that to NO INK.  In effect it is only going to print the (in this case) brown of the letters and ignore the rest. Oh, and the little red cut line guides.  If you want, you can remove them in the same way – mark a selection around them and delete.

4. Select the Horizontal Type Tool and draw a text box – then go to the top bar and set your font, size, and colour. Type in the month word and the year.

I couldn’t capture it properly but if you click the equivalent of the BROWN BOX at the top on this screenshot, you will bring up the colour picker.  It will be in the same place, but yours will be whatever your Foreground colour is set to, likely black. If you click the eye dropper that pops up on one of MY word or number bits, it will match my colours.  Likewise, you could leave the numbers brown or black, and make the heading any colour you want!

5. Carry on editing the Months and Year bits and when it is all as you like it, name it something sensible and SAVE AS then select PDF in the Format drop down.

Save it and now you can print your own version with the new font you have used!

Now as I was sorting this bit out I realized that to make your own CD calendar sheets really isn’t HARD, but it does take a few different steps.  I’ll list them, because if you are the kind of person who is not inclined to do it, you’ll just skip over it – and if you are, then the steps, following on from what I have already said, will make sense.  The former will wait till I make them and the latter will do it themselves LOL!

  1. Open the PDF and duplicate it.  Close the original.
  2. Create a new file, either A4 or US letter and set it to LANDSCAPE (lengthwise) because the standard size for a CD calendar is 5 x 4.75 inches
  3. Back on the PDF,  select the entire month block with the Marquee tool .  Copy – either using the Edit menu or Command-C (for me on my Mac)

Go to the blank file and Paste it.  Go back and copy the next month and Paste that in the blank file as well. Rotate each layer so there are 2 side by side months. Align and either print it now (in which case you can carry on using the SAME blank file as you create each 2-month page) or Save it as JanFeb then open a new blank file for MarApr, etc.  You can save as a PDF, or as a .jpg – I’m not sure it matters. Carry on till you have all 12 months, two to a page.  Print them all and trim to the correct size.

I can’t speak to other editing programs but I hope you can translate the steps to whatever you use.

And it this sort of thing makes you glaze over, next week I’ll hopefully have a nice simple download for you.

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Sunday-someplace-else (Instagram links)

I am intrigued by Instagram.  I have the app but have yet to use it.  It came up at the crop I attended yesterday and it got me thinking about how I might use it for my scrapbooking.  I did a little research and here are a few of my favourite Instagram links for you:

TechNewsDaily has 6 tips for using Instagram here

Cheat sheet by FatMumSlim.

Instagram photo strip tutorial by College Prep

Geeksugar has 11 ways to print Instagram photos linked in the post here.

MakingUseOf has six sites that can help “enhance the Instagram experience

Get the app 100 Cameras in 1 for 100 different effects

Sort of related, Instagram filters converted to Photoshop actions, by Daniel Box.

Check out the 10 cool things to do with Instagram from MacWorld here.  And what about making a cushion from your Instagram photos?  Might be a fun way to commemorate an event.

Now I just have to give it a go.


Art Journal samples made digital

I was playing around with paints and made a small ATC sized art journal sample piece.  I am new to all this so I really was just having a play.  I just used a couple of colours, and some white, and a plasterers texture scraper – it’s a bit like a credit card on one edge but the other has some saw-tooth like notches.  The thing is, my craft mat was a bit messy and the scrapper, which I use a lot, had some residual ink and other muck on it, so scraping it across the sample left bits of other colours, of black ink, of all kinds of stuff.  This is what it looks like in its natural state:

And just a bit closer so maybe you can see the texture of it:

I was looking at it and really, really liked it.  But I know from experience there was no way I was ever going to be able to duplicate it, or even get close.  Sure, I might make another one, but it may not be as nice – it could be better, but chances are it won’t be,  ’cause life’s like that.  So I thought how might I capture it to make good use of it? It’s only 2.5 x 3.5 so nt a lot that can be done with it in that small size.  I thought about the printables that I make and thought what if I use my own sample to create something that uses the sample as the colour, rather than a flat colour fill?

I first scanned my small sample at 300 dpi.  I opened that in PSE, as well as a blank file.  Then I set about creating a number of border-y things – rows of triangles, scallops, banners (mostly by tiling the Shape Tool images to fit across the page) in black.  I dragged in my sample then did the  Create Clipping Mask thing to fill the black with my sample.  Cool.

I also did the more simple  Select>Paste for some plain circles.

I love the look of the checkerboard edges (I love them on my scrapbook pages too, and have lots of that sort of paper collected) so I also made a strip of solid black and solid white squares.  I aligned the squares. selected just the black, then just the white,  doing a Merge Visible on each group.  Then I filled the white ones with black too, and added the Texturizer on them, just so they didn’t look quite so flat.  Did the same clipping mask command to fill one set with my sample then staggered the two strips (one black, one with my sample) to create a checkerboard.

Here’s what they look like printed!

I can now print them and cut them out to use them on anything I like.  I did take the further step to copy over the two black box strips to another file and saved it as CHECKERBOARD.  That way I can drag over anything else I want, to create that pattern with ease.  I did the one, then duplicated it so I had three of them, but in future I think I would make different ones so the coloured areas aren’t the same on all three – the idea was to be able to create a longer strip, and I can still alter them a bit by copying over the strips and flipping them or overlapping bits so they a double-length strip isn’t just the same “pattern” side-by-side, but it would be easier to create different strips for more variety.

So from a small 2.5 x 3.5 sample. I now have a full sheet of collage clips – and one that I can mess about with, doing colour variations, for example, to create even more fun stuff.

It only took about an hour to do so no reason I wouldn’t do this for any sample that I make that I really like.  And I expect I will play about a bit more with the tools and techniques before I decide if the whole art journal thing is for me.  I am feeling too splintered at the moment, with scrapbooking, making printables, art journaling, even making cards and ATCs all fighting for dominance in my head space.  Something has to give, but in my heart of hearts I know scrapbooking is likely to win out.

It’s interesting.  I wonder if the art journaling thing is a more honest expression of who some of us scrapbookers are as (dare I say it? Yep.) artists?  MOST scrappers I know say they make their pages for their kids, for their family, as a record of their lives.  But as time goes on, some of them have also said to me, almost as if it is sacrilegious, that they really scrapbook for themselves, as an artistic expression that happens to use family photos.

Maybe it’s almost as an excuse for making time for art, as if they need to justify it with the higher purpose of doing it “for the kids.”  Now I am IN NO WAY saying that is true for every scrapbooker, but I do wonder if the progression of some scrappers from layouts to art journals (which tend to be by, for, about, the creator – I mean if there is  an art journaler out there who is journaling someone ELSES life, I’ve yet to stumble across them!) is because the kids grow up, move out, move on, and all of a sudden there is this gap where the reams of photos each month dwindle to a handful, the grandparents have enough mini-books to keep them happy, and there you are.  A scrapper with few photos to scrap (unless you are happy to live in the past and catch up on all the unscrapped photos from years back) and all this creative energy with no outlet.

It’s hard (at least it is for me) to make the shift to scrapping stuff I care about, or aspects of my life.  I am in awe of Shimelle because she does it so easily.  Is it because she started out scrapping her own life? Is it harder to go back and adjust your focus, and is art journaling easier because you are beginning fresh, with a new purpose?  I am just FULL of questions today! But that is enough.  I’m clearly in an introspective mood and maybe THAT has to do with considering art journaling as well!  I’ll leave it, but if you have thoughts on this, comment and let me know.

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Sunday-someplace-else – teeny tiny printer

How cute is that?  This little wireless printer is due to be available in 2012.  The maker, Berg, says this is the first of a few products that will be part of the Berg Cloud.

If I grasp the concept correctly, you will use your phone to collect up information and then print it all one like a tiny digest each day. And it has a function to send a little message to another printer.

This little video shows you a bit more:

I accept that this is clearly a novelty item, leaping BACK, away from a paperless existence, but it’s still charming.  Having said that, it is a thermal printer, so much like old pre-natal scans (ok I am mixing my terms here – ante-natal scans or pre-natal sonograms for the UK->US terms) that ended up just a black smudge, it may not have long-term archival possibilities, but hey ho.

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Sunday-someplace-else (Veronica at The Learning Lab)

Yesterday I posted a method for punching a circular frame using my newly acquired MS punches.  I broke my cardinal rule – I didn’t check t’internet first to see if it was truly unique.  Doh!  Usually, if I come up with something in my little crafty bubble, I dash off to Google to see who else might have had the same idea.  But the punches hit my door at about 11 AM, I tore them open and started playing.  When I had some success in creating circular frames by dividing the circles I was delighted and popped it on here right away.  Then I had a thought – my method worked for 8 punched elements, but what if I wanted to make a bigger frame?  I went to Google to look for a circular grid, thinking that would be a good guide – and imagine my surprise to see the first video hit was this! (Julia, look away – I’ve bored you enough on this topic LOL!  for everyone else, I should mention the Filter Bubble here because Google clearly knows where my interests lie and I have to wonder if anyone else doing the same search would get the same results.  DH didn’t, did you? )

Clearly mine was not a unique idea!  I did watch a number of other related videos, all for making circle frames using corner punches (ok, so I think I should be forgiven as these are the very first corner punches other than rounders I own so I had no idea this was “old hat”) almost all which began (and ended) with the method I tried first, of simply trying to line up the punch and hope it joined up in a not horrible way at the end.  But Veronica made it past my step of dividing the circle in fourths to doing REAL math – punching and measuring the motif to ensure perfect placement around a circle of any size using the grid of degrees for placement.  The grid she found also came up in my search – you can find it here.  Watch the video and download the grid and you too can get the fab results you see. I particularly like her versions where the punch is un-joined, leaving a border of unpunched shapes.  Just watch it and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

Now I’m thinking I need a few MORE corner punches because some of the samples are just lovely. Google is good for shopping too ….

Needless to say I won’t bother with a video – it’s been done well already.  Really.  watch it!


Printable and digital camera phone frames

So I was thinking that it might be a fun idea to have a camera phone frame. This is fairly stylized, and based on the look of my own phone so may not be right for everyone else, but you could possibly make your own version (it’s just black and white and grey after all) that looks more like YOUR phone if this doesn’t suit!

If you cut it out along the grey frame, you can then round the corners – I’ve gotten better about creating the rounded frames so the inner bit matches the outer when rounded a bit better than some of my past ones!

You can then do one of two (three?) things – either cut your photo to fit the white box as I did:

which is the easiest, or you can cut out the box with a craft knife and put the photo behind it.  Not sure the extra effort is worth it, but you might.  If you scrap digitally, you can download the .png file.  That has a clear background and a clear center box, so you should be able to drag in a digital photo.  It has no grey frame as I expect you would want to add a drop shadow and my feeling is that a grey frame might interfere – but you could add one back in if you want to. The PDF also is clear in the middle so I suppose you could open that in PSE and SAVE AS a .png but the corners aren’t rounded so not sure that buys you much!

Hope you can find some use for it!

Somehow the scheduled post wiped out the links to the files.  I’ve re-instated them!


Doing the Happy Dance!

Regular readers may recall me bemoaning the fact that my Cricut died.  In trying to sort out what the problem might be before rushing out to get a new one with old firmware so I could use SCAL, I went through a rigorous (not really) testing process, checking all the various plugs to see if I could identify one that was faulty.  I thought I had narrowed it down to the power supply, so I had DH bring mine along to a crop where someone else had one working.  Plugged in the power supply and mine turned on.  Finding a replacement power supply was not easy, unless you wanted to pay a bundle for one on eBay. I contacted Provo Craft international support (even though my machine was VERY old) and they said No problem – we’ll send you a new one!  Cue Happy Dance 1.  Weeks went by and no plug.  I emailed them again to say What’s up? and they told me they were out of stock of the UK plugs, no idea when they might be in.  After seeing A Little Hut last week I was itching to test something out.  I emailed Provo Craft again.  They confirmed the plugs were in stock and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing over me making a new support ticket or them simply acting on the existing one from last year, they confirmed they would be sending a new plug.   Missed a FedEx delivery a couple of days ago but when they re-delivered … Happy Dance 2!

Yay! Now you may wonder what this all has to do with A Little Hut.  If you saw Sunday-someplace-else, you know she makes wonderful cutting files – I adore her paper quilt and the Project Life filler cards.  But I am a DIY gal, and if I think I can figure out how to do something myself, I’ll always give it a go.  And I knew there was the function in Intaglio to Save As .svg.  That turned out not to work as I hoped (SCAL can only handle .svgs that are vector graphics) but creating in Intaglio, converting to an image, then opening it in SCAL and doing the auto trace worked a treat! Left see the designed image and right see the cut-file in SCAL.

And cut, then backed with coloured card:

Really happy with how it turned out.  Now, people who know Illustrator or Inkscape will surely scoff, but I don’t and while I have looked at both I see no reason not to use what I have, and know, if I can.  Is it as powerful? no. But I KNOW Intaglio pretty well by now and as this is not something I plan to do a lot of, it is nice to quickly and easily test the process and end up with something I really like at the end without spending hours learning a new process.

If you like mine, do go to ALH (blog for info with  a linked shop where you can buy stuff) and see hers – they are just fab.


Colour issues

Arrgghh! we all moan and moan when out mojo goes walkabout, but I have a different problem.  I got mojo.  I got plenty of mojo.  Loads of ideas, time I can use to work on them, but somehow, everything I try today seems to not work out like I expect it should.  I have been working on some printables for the winner of the challenge I did for Shim’s event.  All well and good – I emailed her, told her I would be happy to try to sort something that she wanted, as opposed to sending her something that I had prepared. We chatted. I had a plan.  I carried that through, and it was all fine till the printing.

Now, I don’t know if it is equal parts the problem I had with my monitor calibration, and the fact I tried out the “compatible” inks for my printer for the first time, but I recall thinking when visiting layouts people made from my printables for the challenge that some of them looked…odd.  The colours were not as I made them.  Mine, when printed, looked exactly like what I was seeing on the screen.  Having said that, it was Intaglio I was using.  These I made in PSE, because while Intaglio is fab for plain blocks of colour, it just doesn’t work for the distressed sort of papers I wanted to match her ideas.

So I printed the items and there was SUCH a colour difference I was stunned.  Not sure if you will be able to really see here, but this is what I see on the screen, as a screen grab:

It looks nice and bright, with the colours pretty on target with the paper line.  BUT when I print it, it looks muddy and dull:

Just not the same at ALL.  And I have no idea why or how to sort it.

Then, I was at the grocery store and had an idea.  I thought it would be kinda fab.  I bought the thing I was thinking of (thankfully just £1) and came home, all set to make something cool.  And…well, it just didn’t work out like I saw in my head.  I’m not giving up on it yet, but I am frustrated.  Especially because all those boxes are sitting accusingly on my desk, still unfinished, and I have another crop tomorrow that I really, really need to prepare and pack for.

One bright spot is I wanted to do a layout of one of DDs regular You Tube pages.  She loves watching videos from this woman, and I thought I would like to do a page documenting it.  I did a screen grab of the YT channel and printed it along with a photo of DD and that worked out perfectly, the colour just fine.

So it’s not all doom and gloom but it is trying my patience at the moment.  Hope your day is gong better!