Make Your own Creative Layouts | Calendar and Postcards

Today I am offering some inspiration on how to make your own items, like getting your prints on a calendar, ornament or postcard. I have tried out Cafepress and will in short review that site here. But first and best; I have designed my own wall calendar! Love it!

Make Your own Creative Layouts at Café Press like this Creative Year Calendar by iHanna (copyright Hanna Andersson)

I call my calendar “A Creative Year 2009”, in kind memory of the blog book A Creative Year 2006 that I self published. I think this might become a yearly tradition from now on.

I scanned images from my Art Journal and then cropped and color corrected details in Photoshop. In Photoshop I have also added inspiring quotes to the layout. Each month has a special quote that will keep me inspired thoughout the year. I had lots of fun playing with layout, as you can see.

Here is a mosaic of all the pages I created;

Make Your own Creative Layouts at Café Press like this Creative Year Calendar by iHanna (copyright Hanna Andersson) (all the layouts)

I’m happy with the quality of my 2009 calendar and the other stuff I bought (like the cool notebook junkie magnets, but I don’t want to sell you anything through their site because I won’t make any money that way. You can get the magnets in my Etsy Shop though.

Art Calendar 2009 (copyright Hanna Andersson)
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so as Shakespeare said. One of the months in my A Creative Year Calendar 2009, and me with my fresh from the printer wall calendar.

Give love, be creative and enjoy the moment

I also made a pack of postcards with the text Give love, be creative and enjoy the moment. Kind of a good mantra, don’t you agree?
Postcard package - I made these (so copyright Hanna Andersson)
The print color came out nicely, but the paper is way to thin for postcard quality I think. I would not sell these as postcards, but you could use them as notecards if you send them in an envelope. I really really want to have my own line of postcards, so if you have any ideas let me know. At cafepress you can’t do much fun with postcards. There is no way to design the backside and you can’t get a pack with different designs. I bought my own postcards in a package of 6 cards, but I want to have 6 different designs next time. Hmm…

Give it away (copyright Hanna Andersson)
Give love, be creative and enjoy the moment… as iHanna always says. :-)

I wanted to make the calendar 2009 available for you in November 2008, but I was kind of late… as I always am. I need to be more business minded about these things. And then, even after I did this test order of stuff, I discovered that Cafepress has lots of crappy rules so I won’t sell through their site… They didn’t answer any questions via e-mail and if you are outside the US (like me) you should not use their services as they don’t send money your way! Expensive stuff, crazy rules, but nice calendar. Looove the calendar. And “designed by you” stuff makes great gifts to friends and family, right?

So, if you’re interested doing something “your own” also check out these links:

I made shirts too. One for mom and one for me!

Creativity is my religion (copyright Hanna Andersson)
Creativity is my religion on the front. And it says amen to that sister! on the back.

Mom’s shirt is white with long sleeves. Mine has pink sleeves:

Creativity... (copyright Hanna Andersson)
I think the quality of the shirts are okay, but not very fancy for that high price. Though making it your own is fun, and if you have a message I think you should let the world know. Make it your own! All you need is a text or an image that will look good on a shirt. Your own artwork, your kids drawing, your motto… Have fun with your own creative layout.

Just for fun I also did these Christmas ornaments…
Christmas Ornaments (copyright Hanna Andersson)
I don’t think I showed these to you back in December? Or did I?

Christmas Ornaments (copyright Hanna Andersson)One for my grandmother featuring her dog Jocke, and one for me with Smilla. These things are flat porcelain things to hang, called “ornaments” at the site. They are quite silly if you ask me, but my grandmother loved hers. I also made her a photo book of her children and grandchildren using my photos. It was my first published photo book and I made it through a Swedish service (Extrafilm). It’s a floppy little folder thing but she loved that too. I had fun making it the first time, then I had to re-make it because of their stupid time-out website and me not being logged in when I started. Yuck, no more online designing for me thank you. I’m going to try for my next project.

Publishing a photo book is next

I’m reading how to import your custom design into BookSmart, because I’m never satisfied with how the layout of the ready-to-go-pages looks (and that’s why it takes for ever for me to do anything…). (Check out full-bleed page specs if you are similar to me and want to do your designs in inDesign, Quark or Illustrator, adding your own text etc).

Photographer Kevin Kelly wrote a must-read article and review about Blurb * Lulu -it’s really great and thorough. He writes;

being able to print as few as one copy — instead of a minimum of a thousand — shifts the economics of bookmaking toward individuals with more passion than money

…which absolutely include never-enough-money-iHanna (me)! An artist called Tina posted in a forum at with the topic Self publishing: Lulu vs. Blurb. She writes that Blurb’s books overall just look more professional and polished. Another good read is Lessons Learned Self-Publishing With Lulu! Tips; if you’re not sure what service to go with just google “X vs. Y” and you’ll find interesting stuff!!!

Stay tuned girls!

Isn’t this a crazy long post!? It’s long overdue and I’m sick of my “short post, one topic” internal rule. It’s what makes me stressed, being late and irritated. I don’t really care if anyone reads this post right now. I just want to POST it away.

Anyway, lastly, here is the money rant below! If English were my first language I’d express this a bit better but I wanted to post it here in case someone else is looking for this kind of information… Bottom line, don’t accept US checks if you’re in Europe.

* Why I can’t sell at Cafepress site; because they only offer to pay with checks. Paper checks in the mail!? Ever heard about paypal or VISA or the cool new way to transfer money electronically? Hehe. It’s way cool. US checks does not work well over seas, just so you know. I’ve already been payed with a check sent from a publisher (another company in the US) and it was a hassle to get money from that one! I don’t know if I ever did… It might sound incredible, but they actually only send the paper but not the actual money. So it’s not really a payment that you can relay on!

During lunch break I had to run to the bank (that has stupid opening hours), and then stand in two lines to get to a banking lady who told me the rules. My bank will give me a loan for the amount, minus the cost for them to ask the paying company to send money to Sweden. Then it will take a few months (up until 6 months?) before it is confirmed if I will get to own the money. If they refuse to pay by then I will get nothing and the money that was sitting in my account will be taken back by my bank! I think the Swedish bank is being generous here, but the check is just crap (big hassle) to me for that amount of money! Checks are so old fashioned, what about direct transfers? Or paypal? Or at least a check that gives out money and not more work!

So check out how you will be payed before setting up an account with anyone online. Good examples; With Google Adsense that I use I get the money to my Swedish bank account and with Amazon Associates I get an e-mail with a gift certificate that I can use for books that I know I want to get. Selling via Etsy the money goes through paypal and I can use them directly, or transfer the money to my Swedish bank account if I don’t want to shop online. Easy, no hassle!

19 Responses

  1. Interesting stuff. I’ve heard really good things about Blurb so far and I think I’d probably go with them if I ever need to make a book.

    Money should be the same everywhere. It would be easier on everyone.

  2. You are so creative. I l actually got a glimpse of seeing your face!! Nice to see you. I dig the calendar and the t-shirt. I never thought of even doing something close to that. It’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing all your great creative adventures.

  3. Very long post ! But I read it entirely. First, congrats on your winning Crusade 28 !
    Second, bout Blurb, I made a book with them, was very happy with the result, and fastness, it was sent from Netherlands 4 days after my order online, so really fast.
    Layout : you can of course make your own on your computer and import it as full page, but beware of quality, what you see on the computer is not what you will get if your picture is not large enough.
    You have also a personal printer via Flickr, Mom made calendars and notecards and was very happy with the result.
    Going to work now !

  4. Hi Hanna , Congrats on the Crusade! You could also try printing postcards through MOO and sell them in your Etsy shop.

  5. I recentyly made a book and had it printed and an independet prinf fanatic and then hand binded by a binder who works for love and a bit of profit.

  6. What a great post! I was just chatting with my Australian soul sister about checking out Cafe Press and she spotted your blog and sent me over for a lookie. I love, love, love your calendar and the message on your t-shirt is perfect! I’ve printed note cards and calendars using Shutterfly but recently printed Moo cards and postcards from Moo. I prefer Moo. I’ve used both Shutterfly and Blurb for books. Shutterfly is very template driven so I prefer Blurb as I can customize the design and work on them on my local computer. Cheers to seeing our stuff printed on things!

  7. Great post and very interesting! I’ve been thinking about making my own calender and a photobook to design myself, I’m definetly checking out some of the links!
    And your calender is really nice.

  8. Thanks! Great collection of all the sites. You should check out Spoon Flower – they print on fabric. :-)

  9. Beautiful calendar, just beautiful.

    I ordered postcards from (through flickr). The postcard quality is very nice and the color is great – and shiny. I recommend them. moo is located in England so I can’t imagine you’d have any trouble with currency and shipping?

    Thank you for your post – I’m glad it is long. I censor myself a lot. I want to stop doing that. There are some people (like you, like me) who have a lot to say and share. That’s a good thing!

  10. Oh, my, this calendar idea is BRILLIANT! I am going to do it. Yes. I am. This post is filled with ideas, I can’t stand it! I am going away for two days without my computer, no blackberry, nothing. How can I follow all your links?! I guess I’ll have to come back. Honestly, Hanna, I go back to your posts two or three times before I can see everything, because you pack them so full.

    The little journal you sent to me, Le Petit Journal, is going with me on my trip. I was so inspired to take it and to take my two favorite pens and have it with me like a friend. You have started it up so pretty for me, that its really going to be a blessing to have. I’ve been busy busy and so scattered with everything to do that I really need your little gift with me to help me center myself again. So, I wanted to say thank you.

  11. Hanna,
    You might also try Vista Print ( I ordered business cards from them. They were good quality card stock, I could design them myself, and best of all they were cheap. They do other paper based printing (don’t think they do t-shirts yet) including promotional materials.

    Amy in Austin

  12. I love your site. I have had cards printed by Moo and I absolutely love them. I live in Canada and they were really quick and efficient. Their postcards look good too. i wouldn’t accept us cheques either;)

  13. I second VistaPrint – I’ve used them for postcards and business cards. Their quality is really good and if you sign up for their mailing list they e-mail special offers to you all the time!

  14. Fin artikkel og flott kalender! Fulgte kath_red da kalenderne kom ut, og der var det hva det kostet for folk utenfor usa ? f? tilsendt bok/ kalender som gav stort utslag for valg. Jeg vet ikke hva har om det?

    Quiltegruppa mi trykket kort og hefte i fjor, og vi fikk veldig gunstig pris hos et lokalt trykkeri. Laget pdf filer til dem ogs?, og s? fikk vi se pr?vetrykken (papirtykkelse + farge) f?r hele serien ble trykket. Vi regnet ut at med fjor?rets kurs p? dollaren, s? ble det litt billigere ? f? dette trykket i usa/ utlandet, men med portokostnadene, ble det omtrent samme pris (+/ – 300 kr).

    S? sjekk litt ut p? lokalt/ lite trykkeri: for oss trykket de opp i lite opplag og s? etterbestilte vi ettersom ?konomi/ salg sa det :-)

    Ser fram til videre gang i dette!

  15. I made postcards by attaching 6 postcard size collages to a regular sheet of copy paper then taking it to Kinko’s (copy shop) and color copying it. About $1 per sheet, I think. Nice quality reproduction. Then I cut them apart with a paper cutter. On the back I used a rubber stamp made for postcards with the word “postcard” at the top and a line down the middle. The cards looked rather nice IMHO.
    I have used Snapfish to make a photobook and was very pleased with the results, but want to make a birthday book for my soon to be 21 year old. I figured I would get around the layout issue by creating the pages in Photoshop and then using each as one big borderless print/page in the book. I am going to check out now. Glad I found your blog. I got lots of great ideas from just this one post!!!

  16. Okay, I know that I’m very late to the party but I just received postcards that I ordered from and I was very pleased with the results. No affiliation with the site — I just had issues with the quality of the first ones I ordered and saw that site mentioned on the Etsy forums. I couldn’t be more pleased, and they often have specials going on. Just wanted to pass along the info. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

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