Well, folks, today after work I sprang for the calendar generation software package I tested out last week ... I chose SmartDraw after all, since they were offering a half-price "special" ($99.00) to trial testers. So I gulped, got out the credit card and set about downloading the program ... what I didn't realize at first was that though I thought I was just buying the Calendar module, what I eventually ended up installing was the entire SmartDraw suite of graphics applications! Now, I was pleasantly surprised by that, and felt that after all, it was a great value for the money. In addition to calendars, I can do all sorts of business/personal type graphics from engineering diagrams, flow charts and such, to family trees, certificates, flyers, event planning and even landscaping plans and much more! All in all, a pretty good deal after all!
I've enclosed a very basic mock up that I put together tonight, just to give you an idea of what it might eventually look like. I'm going to go with the standard 11" x 17" calendar format, with the photo at the top, though there are so many templates to choose from (and they can change from month to month) and some include multiple images, so the flexibility I wanted is definitely there, from cell shading to fonts, colors and much much more. Now we're excited to get this project underway seriously! At this point, we've provisionally chosen what we want for each month and we just have to pick out the photos we want to use, add the content Fernymoss has been working on, and fill in all the details.
This should be fun, and we really hope to be able to produce a professionally done product when we're done. If nothing else, we can make our own calendars every year just how we want them to look, and if this does eventually do well as a Christmas gift to people, we may just continue it next year once we have all the kinks worked out vis à vis the formatting and printing. Our thinking at present is that we'll make the basic calendar and have it printed at Kinko's (or some such place) depending on what the eventual cost per calendar turns out to be. But those are details we'll get ironed out in the next couple of months once we have the final draft done ... we're hoping that they won't be too prohibitive cost wise, because we want to give a lot of them out to friends and family. We'll see ... but for right now, I've got the tool I want to get the job accomplished, and am going to enjoy putting it all together. SmartDraw is fun to use, pretty intuitive, yet powerful in what it can do ... Of all the programs I tried out last weekend, it is by far the best option I tested.
So once again, I'll put out the 'any requests?' call for photos or potential content ... I'll consider any ideas proffered, so don't be shy about requests, and if I can include some of them, I'll do my best to oblige. This will be a work in progress throughout October, so there's still time! My ideal timing is to have it all finalized by mid-November so we can have them printed up and ready to send out in December ... we'll see if work and other demands will allow that, but given how much I was able to do in a short time tonight, it's just a matter of deciding on formatting for each month, photo and textual content ... Yippee, this could be fun and educational for me all in one fell swoop.
I'll keep you all posted on how it's going from time to time ... so let me know what you think and offer suggestions! Thanks in advance ... IVG