Being a memory keeper I wanted them to have some family photos and memories from home while they're gone, but I knew if I sent them with a small photo album or scrapbook they probably wouldn't have much time to get it out and look at it. So, I decided to make them each a perpetual photo calendar that they could have out on their desk or dresser with a photo for each day.
I kept the design totally simple because that fits my boys' style and personalities. Plus, with 366 sheets of 28# photo paper I didn't want to add anything bulky. (Of course I had to add a little washi tape to the front cover!)
I left off the days of the week and the year so they could use it for both of the 2 years they'll be gone, and they can start using it anytime. I used a simple Photoshop template with four calendar pages on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet.
I simply added my photos over the photo template layers in Photoshop, created a clipping mask so that each photo I added took the shape of the photo template layer below it in the layers palette, and then changed the dates in each text layer as needed. I flattened each image and saved each one with a unique name as a JPEG file.
If you'd like to use the layered Photoshop template I used to make this, you can download it for free HERE.
I took all of my completed files to my local copy center and they made color copies, cut them, and drilled them for me since they didn't have a binding coil large enough to fit the stack of calendar pages. I added some 2 1/2 inch binder (or book) rings to hold the pages together.
I selected photos from my digital files to match the corresponding months in the photo calendar. While the days don't exactly match up, the photos in the calendar match the month they were actually taken.
This was a labor of love, but totally worth every minute for my boys to have a daily memory from home while they're away for the next two years. What do you do to keep your memories visible and accessible?