Hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend! Although perhaps many of you are traveling or still on vacation – lucky! The holidays are falling on weekends this year, sort of reducing the amount of vacation time my husband gets…so it’s pretty much a normal week in our household. I suppose it’s a good thing, as I need the time to catch up on many projects. Nevertheless, every December I make myself a weekly planner for the new year. I always make my own planners, sort of like a date book that just keeps me aware of deadlines and events as well as my list of tasks per week. It’s really a simple process to create your own planner and the best part is customizing it to your particular needs. I never like to buy them because the calendar layout will not suit me or the lines are too close together for my giant handwriting…little things here and there. In terms of planner pages, there are so many variations possible – that’s why making your own tailored to your needs really helps to maximize usefulness.

I like to have a weekly view for my planner pages, just so I can see any major events and deadlines at a glance. Then I like to have a task list, so actionable items can be written down in small bits making it easier for me to accomplish and cross out with full satisfaction! When it comes to project notes or art sketches, I have journals and sketchbooks for those purposes because it’s something I will keep in the long term. My planner gets recycled at the end of the year as I use them for date keeping only. Although there are lovely digital calendars on our computers…I still like the old fashion pen and paper. It just works a whole lot better for me. Maybe I’m an old-fashioned gal, but everyone needs their old school date book, right? I created a custom page for my planner using my diary project graphic submission for the task list and boxes for the week at a glance.

It’s a simple grid and you can readily create your own grid by hand and just photocopy or create it in a graphic program to print out. There’s also many freebies out there like Amanda Hawkins’ DIY planner templates – many are free. Using a regular sheet of paper, I’ve just printed my planner page on both sides of 27 sheets of paper,  giving myself enough space for 2011 and beyond. If you create a whole stack printed front and back, you’ll notice that the left half will match up with the right half of the page when folded. So no special order or binding method is required, just stack ’em up, fold in half and attach somehow. You can see that I’ve used regular copy paper which is a bit see-thru being printed on both sides. If that is something annoying for you personally, think of using a heavier weight paper.

The binding I chose is a simple longstitch, nothing fancy. Since all the papers are stacked and folded in half, you could also just staple the center fold or punch a few holes and tie tightly with string. The important thing is to bind in a tight fashion as your planner will be used every day. If the middle binding that cuts through your planner page bothers you, just make sure your design is on the left side and right side with ample margins. In my case, I’ve purposed arranged my boxes so the center is the line between the date boxes…so it blends in nicely. If you choose to bind in a different way, just make sure your pages and ordering will turn out right in the end.

For my cover I used a thicker cardstock paper, but when you fold so many sheets of paper together, you’ll notice the inner sheets sort of sticking out over the edge of the cover page. To expand your cover paper, I usually just add another tab of paper around the edges. This makes your cover slightly larger and reinforces the paper edge as well, protecting the planner for everyday use.

I also decided to print out a little manifesto type of write-up for the opening page of my planner. I like to have a little statement or word at the beginning of planners, so everytime I open it I’m reminded of that thought. If you like mine, feel free to download as a freebie printable JPG below. I chose the Pantone color of the year, honeysuckle as well. I think it’s a very sweet color :)

Download 2011 manifesto ZIP file of JPG image

Finally, I decorated the cover of my planner with decorative paper, a tag and my own Home on the Head Rose artwork…as you saw in the first photo. Wah-lah! A simple DIY planner that is totally tailored to my specific needs. I hope you’ll try it out and make yourself an old fashioned datebook or calendar item. It’s easy to use the same idea and make a hanging wall version or desktop version calendar as well. A fun and easy project that will be very useful for your date keeping, I’m sure. Have fun!