A Year of Gifts from the Garden
This year, I decided to share my garden with family and friends all year long by having wall calendars made of photos from my garden and giving them as gifts. I have been thinking about this gift idea for several years; and if I had known how easy it would be, I might have done it sooner.
A number of national office supply and printing chains offer personalized calendars. I ended up using the FedEx Store’s calendar service because they have a store near me and I was able to go there and actually look at the quality of what they were offering. I would have liked a larger art calendar format, but the biggest size on offer was 8 1/2 x 11, so I went with that. Since I wanted to link the calendar to this blog, I used the blog title and header photo for the cover of the calendar, and I pasted a label on the back cover of each calendar with the blog gravatar and web address.
The real fun of this project was choosing the photographs for the calendar. Since the cover photo represents high summer in my garden, I also used it for July. It would have been nice to use photos representing how my garden looks each month, but this is a Maine garden; four photos of snow and one of mud would not really be very appealing! In the end, I included only one snowy picture, for December (and I hope Rosey is flattered rather than offended by my borrowing the idea of her much more dramatic winter blog header photo). For January, I referenced the white (of snow) and green (of conifers) of my garden in winter by using a photo of white flowers and green foliage. I’m not sure why a blue flower seemed right for February, or pink and white for March, but they did. The violet and yellow colors of the April photo are colors I have long associated with Easter. For May-November, I used photos that were taken in that month or in an adjacent month. Here are the photos I ended up with:
Once I had chosen my photos, I went to the FedEx Store website, selected a calendar design from the dozens available, and uploaded my photos, tweaking and cropping as I went along. (I used the “add text” feature of the software that came with my Canon camera for the cover title.) The following evening, I received an email that my calendars had been printed and were being shipped. Less than three days after that, they were delivered to my door. I placed the order on Monday afternoon and had the finished calendars in my hand on Friday morning, all without having to leave the house.
Just as with gardening, I learned some things from this process that I would do differently the next time. Some of the color values in the printed calendars were a bit “off;” this was especially true for the blues, which are notoriously difficult to reproduce and which ended up looking more muddy and purplish than clear blue. This made the pages with close-ups of blue flowers disappointing, and I will probably avoid blue close-ups in the future. The next time, I would probably also pay a little extra for the heavier paper option. One gift calendar I received for Christmas, produced by a local birding club as a fundraiser, had a format that I liked better than the options available from FedEx; I intend to contact them to find out where they had it produced.
My friends and family loved receiving these calendars, so I will definitely do this again. Meanwhile, let me take the opportunity to wish all of you a happy and flower-filled 2010!