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December 2021

January 2021

My Homemade 2021 Planner + Free Printables!

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Hello my friends and Happy New Year! I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well. :-)

As I announced yesterday on my Instagram and Facebook, I have posted links to all my 2021 planning sheets - at long last! I have them all pinned at the top of this page - which, you might have noticed, has gotten a bit of a makeover ...

New year, new design!

Anyhoo - my apologies for getting my planning sheets up so very late this year. My hope was to post the PDFs last weekend, but computer issues bogged me down ... and then Thursday morning, as I was chugging along getting very close to the finish line, Earlybird became suddenly quite ill. We ended up taking him to the emergency room and then staying overnight at the hospital. Not quite the way we wanted to spend New Year's Eve, but perhaps rather fitting for the infamous year that was 2020!

Most importantly though, Earlybird is home now and doing much better. He'd been diagnosed with a sinus infection Tuesday at the pediatrician's, but by Thursday morning his face had swelled up and he'd developed a high fever. At the hospital he was diagnosed with "facial cellulitis" and immediately put on intravenous antibiotics. As you can imagine, this experience was incredibly difficult and frightening for Earlybird (as well as his parents). Thankfully the hospital staff was excellent - sensitive and supportive - and EB was so brave, a real trooper! Unfortunately, his fear of needles made it impossible to continue the IV treatment on Friday once the first portal became corrupted, so we were sent home with oral medication and instructions to monitor his recovery closely. So far, (two days post-discharge), he has improved quite a bit. I have been begging prayers all around my social media platforms and I will ask them of you all too, if I may. If you could think of my EB and send him positive thoughts and healing energy, and any prayers if you can spare them - that he continues to heal fully and without any further complications ... I would be so very grateful!

Ok, now - enough of all that, let's take look at my planner, shall we? 

This is the fourth or fifth year I've made up a homemade planner like this, and I must say I am especially pleased with the results this time around! And I know I say this every year, but I really do hope to make this planner available for purchase sometime in the near future. I think I've really got the hang of making it now, I just need to figure out the "logistics" of setting up shop! (Watch for a planner mailing list later this winter for interested folks!)

In the meantime however, please feel free to use these sheets any way you wish, as long as it's for personal use. And if you post about them online, please give me a tag!

Ok, so let me walk you through how I put this planner together ...

First of all, I use a higher quality printer paper for printing out my planning sheets. This year I used Xerox "Bold Professional Premium Quality Printer Paper" (24 lb., 98 bright). I purchased it at CVS. I find that if I use a lower quality, "copy" paper, the planner pages are somewhat see-through, a little rougher to the feel and don't take my pen-ink well.

I use this paper to print out the 12 monthly PDFs plus the Front Section PDF and stack them in order.

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I then choose a pretty piece of scrapbooking card-stock weight paper for my cover. I decided to go with a soft bluish-green plaid paper this year ...

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... and I used some glittery, soft-aqua letter stickers as well. :-)

Ok, next!

I then create 12 monthly divider pages using thicker card-stock paper. This is not strictly necessary - you could edge the monthly title pages with washi paper to make them stand out - but I like the extra strength and stability those thicker dividers lend to my planners.

For these divider pages, I like to use vintage-style scrapbooking papers I found on Amazon years ago. The particular designs I used have gone out of print, but Graphic 45 always has lovely collections to choose from! As an example, here is the January divider:

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(Note: as these collections come in 12"x12" sheets, I cut them down to fit my 8.5"x11" planner.)

I also use a sturdy piece of chipboard for the back cover of my planner.

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Just for fun, I made a cozy little date-stamp for the back cover:

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(I can't remember exactly where I purchased that nest sticker but it might have been at Paper Source.)

Once I have all the pages of my planner in order, I bring my planner to Staples to have it spiral-bound. This costs about $5 and is usually a pretty quick service. I was happy to have a choice between black and blue coil-binding this year - and I went with the blue!

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(Note: I have also used these sheets in a 3-ring binder. I love that option for the flexibility, but I find writing in a spiral-bound book much easier than writing in - and carrying around - a binder.)

Ok, here is a look-see through my planner!

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Title Page

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New Year Thoughts Page

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January Cover Page

(Note: I search Pinterest for *vintage "month" images* to use in my planners. As long as I'm not profiting from these planning sheets I believe the images are free to use for personal use.)

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Two-page monthly calendar spread (right side).

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January Notes Calendar

(This was my original month-at-a-glance calendar before I figured out how to make a two-page spread! I've used this in different ways over the years - for dinner menus, nature notes and even as a habit tracker.)

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January Overview: To-dos, Home & Garden Goals, Budget and Seasonal Ideas.

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The weekly spread, left side (overview) ...

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The weekly spread, right side (agenda and notes).

(Beginning with the coming week (1/4-1/10), there is a spread like this for each week of the year. In addition to the monthly pages shown above, there is also a monthly review page as well as a couple of extra lined planning pages for each month.)

In a follow-up post I will show you some of my completed planner pages to give you an idea how I actually USE this planner! But for now I will wrap up, and bid you all a fond farewell on this dark, snowy Sunday night. Please let me know if you have any troubles with the links for my planning sheets - I should mention that sometimes the files can be slow to load. But I do hope you enjoy them and I will look forward to talking "planners and planning" again here with you all very soon!

Take care, my friends! Be well and at peace.