Eleven years ago, The Mister and I received a decorative wooden box as a wedding present from The Mister's sister Kate. The card inside the box said it was for storing photos so, for several years, that's what I did. Unfortunately, the photos I stored in the box weren't ones The Mister or I looked at very often so the box sat in a lonely corner of our living room collecting dust. It was a pretty box with a design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and its underuse in our house made me sad.
When I read a blog post about making a perpetual calendar I realized that this box would be the perfect home for this project, so I emptied out the photos and got started. I'd been looking for an easy way to document our everyday life and this simple calendar is perfect.
Here's how it works: You need 365 index cards, one for every day of the year. Write the month and day of the month at the top of each card (not the year). Organize the cards so the current day is always the top card. At the end of each day, pull out the card with that day's date on it, begin your entry with the current year and write a sentence or two about what happened. When you are finished with your entry, put the card in the back of the box. The new top card will be the entry card for the next day.
Once you've been doing this for awhile, it's fun to look back and see all of the different things your family has done on a given date over the years. For best results, complete your daily entry at the same time every day. You could complete your entry right before bedtime, or first thing in the morning for the previous day. Keep the box in a place where it is visible and easy to reach. Ours is prominently displayed on our kitchen counter next to the phone and our keys. Try your best to complete an entry for each day, but keep with the project even if you forget sometimes. I've been working on this since July of 2010, but not every card has three complete entries on it. I'm not perfect--now you know.
All you need to make this calendar is a container, a pen (preferably one you enjoy writing with) and 365 4x6 index cards. Design Sponge has a tutorial for how to make something similar here. The two major differences between the Design Sponge calendar and ours here at Casa de Costello are that DS uses a berry basket for the container and divides the months up with vintage postcards, which adds some color.
Vintage postcards would be pretty and I could definitely come up with 12 good ones, but since the calendar records our family activities, I think it would be more appropriate to use family pictures instead. The next time I print photos I'll choose one from each of the 12 months of the year and those will serve as our dividers.