diy {best of my days 2014}


I started getting emails and comments in late October asking if I would be posting another one of these for 2014. I can’t tell you how much fun it is for me that some of you like this enough to ask me to do it each year. I am not a graphic designer – I should get my sister to help me with this next year. Hear that Lesley? Add it to your long To-Do list!

If you are new to the blog, this is a very simple idea. It is kind of like a little notepad, but with a goal of recording something great from each day. Maybe it is a big event or maybe it is just something small. Recording the joys of each day helps me nurture gratitude in my heart. The calendars were actually created with the idea of giving them as a gift at Christmas. It can be something to slip in with gifts for friends, teachers, family and kids.

The first year we kept this going for a bit with the kids, but then I dropped the ball. This year the older four our getting one in their stockings. I am really going to try my hardest to help the kids do this each night before they go to bed. I think it will be a great practical way to practice gratitude, but it will also be really fun to look back on one day. I keep my own list in my perpetual calendar.

Step 1: Download the pdf files by clicking here (you will need to open each file by clicking on the picture of it, then go to the bottom right corner and click on the arrow, then download)

Step 2: Print each pdf on cardstock paper. The text is blue, but if you wanted to save money by printing it in B&W, it would still look good that way. I print mine at FedEx Kinkos.

Step 3: Trim each page. Mine are cut to about 3.25? wide.


Step 4: Punch a hole in the top corner and add a metal ring to hold them all together.


Step 5: Add paper, ribbon, tape, etc. to wrap around the calendar for a bit of embellishment before you give it as a gift.

Left: wood wrapping paper (Target), arrows, tag (I made using a vintage postcard and tag punch)

Right: Scrap paper from an old book, ribbon, shimmer twine, deer (Hobby Lobby), tag (I made using scrapboooking paper, reinforcement circles and twine)12.13bestofmydays-6

Left: scrap fabric, twine, pinecones (from Hobby Lobby, I attached them with hot glue to the twine), paper clip

Right: Scrap fabric, trim, flag, tag (I made using scrapboooking paper, reinforcement circles and twine)12.13bestofmydays-8

I really LOVE having three boys, but I would have much rather wrapped all of these for girls. Boy wrapping is so much harder! Hopefully next year Little One will be talking and ready to keep her list….and I’ll get to wrap two girl versions!12.13bestofmydays-10


And just a little update on SnapShops (my online photography workshops):

Phone photography course

January 5-26, 2014 – BOOKED

February 23 – March 16, 2014, registration opens January 6, 2014

DSLR course

January 5 – February 2, 2014 – BOOKED

February 23 – March 23, 2014, registration opens January 6, 2014

If you would like to purchase a spot in either of the February/March courses as a gift, please email me at ashleyannphotography at yahoo dot com


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  • Meg - Yay! I’ve been waiting for this! I gave one to my 96 year old grandma last year… she loves journaling and the 2013 calendar sits on her side table… she writes on it every day! She’s going to be so excited to get the 2014 version! THANKS!!

  • Ashley - Love this idea. I am going to have to try it out! I need to take some serious notes on your wrapping abilities…I am so lacking in that department.

  • ashlee - Yes! These are going in my 6 oldests stockings! Thank you!!

  • Amy - I love it! Just wanted to mention though, that as a girl raising a girl, I prefer to “boy” wrapping that you did here. In our house that’s what any girls on my list would receive too! Lol. Thanks for always being so inspiring.

  • ashley jensen - After years of seeing you make these I finally printed them off! I think I need to do it for my daughter too. That will be fun to see what the best of her days are! Here is to positivity and memories documented in 2014!

  • Taylor - This is such a cute idea! And it seems pretty easy. My kind of craft!


  • mandi@herbanhomestead - I love these! Thank you for creating a new one!!!

  • Jessica - Your perpetual calendar is one of my favorite things! I’m about to start my 4th year and it’s so fun to look back on all the changes. Thanks for such a great idea!

  • Michelle Icenhour - Yay! I’ve secretly been checking the blog since October for these lovelies! I can’t wait to print them out for my gifts this year! Thank you for sharing these free, such a kind heart!!

  • Tiffany - Thank you for this!!!! This is one of my favs! I also am so grateful for your DIY gift ideas. I have been working around the clock at my job. I have a *HUGE* family that I am traveling back home to see and was stressing about gifts and my budget. The ideas here have given me some much needed breathing room….. Now on to time management and getting the paper cutter out! Thanks again…and keep the DIYs coming…I LOVE THEM!

  • shayna - love everything about this! thanks so much for sharing!

  • Stacie - Thanks a whole bunch!!! I was one of the askers :)

  • Kami - Thank you so much! What a great idea!

    I just love doing this and have recruited my adult daughters and their daughters to join me in this endeavor. Hope you and your family have a marvelous holiday season.

  • Kristin S - I gave these to so many friends last year. Not only were they fun to make but even more fun to give. I wish I could do it every year!

  • DawnTalks - Yaaayyyy finally!! Perfect timing!! Thank you ashley! Thank you sooooooooooo much! Hahaha i’ve been waiting for this! Hahahaha

    Hashtag Leaping for Joy

  • Sydney - Yay!! Thank you – I wrote on mine every single day this year and love giving these as gifts to kids and adults alike. Merry Christmas to you!

  • Julie - Thanks for a little more crafty inspiration. I especially like how you wrapped each one so creatively!

  • amy cornwell - Love this idea! This year was the first where I wrote a sentence for each day and enjoy looking back to it. My daughter will love documenting the days! Thank you!

  • Jenn - just made one for my daughter. my sons is next. so excited to do this for 2014

  • Kristin - Thank you so much for this wonderful idea and the free download. I made one of these for a stocking stuffer for my Mom. Although it’s been a really tough year for her, she’s always looking on the bright side, and I know she will love taking the time to remember her blessings each day. I made one for my MIL, too, just because I love her.

  • Crystal - I just started following your blog this year, when taking your snapshop course, so this is my first time seeing this awesome idea. I read this post this morning and thought, “I must make these!” I made 8 of them this evening and have so many more people I would love to give them to. So, thank you so much for posting this. What an awesome idea and I can’t wait to so it, myself, in 2014.

  • Penny G - I love calendars & I love these! Planning to give to my family & my Bunco group!

  • elizabeth H - as always ~ BEAUTIFULLY creative + inspirational … just like you!
    can’t wait to print these for my boys stockings!
    Blessings to you & your family this wonderful Christmas season!

  • Amy - Thank you so much! I am “helping” mu husband with his secret Santa gifts for work. The theme for tomorrow’s gift is “inspirational” and this came to mind. Downloading and printing now!

  • Jancy - Thank you! I printed out 12 of these for my coworkers and will be doing them for my kids as well. Perfectly simple, meaningful and cheap! Welcome 2014!

  • lovely, happy gift ideas for the last minute shopper : Holy Hen House! - […] 2014 is knocking at our door. What sweeter gift to give than this best of my days notepad calendar?! It’s a place for someone to jot down special memories and thankfuls at the end of each day. […]

  • jessica - i searched for your cute deer at Hobby Lobby today and couldn’t find them! what department did you find them in? I need him!!

  • AshleyAnn - Jessica – they are in the dollhouse section

  • Friday Favorites | Cupcakes and Commentary - […] you are looking for a quick and wonderful little DIY for stockings I highly suggest this best of my days calendar. I made one for […]

  • 2013: The Year of Family | scottandalliebuyahouse - […] mine came recently from Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore blog. She created a calendar called “Best of My Days” where you record a joy from each day of the year. Like she said, I hope it “nurtures […]

  • Lindsay Pappas - thank you for inspiring me again! i’m a bit late, but i just finished these for my 3 nieces/nephews!

  • best of my days | - […] favorite blog to follow is Ashley Ann Photography’s blog Under the Sycamore. She is a Mom of 5 kids (one who they adopted from China with a cleft palate). They live in OK, she […]

  • Claire - I have now been doing these since 2011 since a friend gave it to me. So special – thank you for always sharing it with the rest of us :) Thank you!

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