Alexis’s DIY 2010 Agenda

final product

If you read this post and like what you see, I am happy to send you the soft copy of my 2010 Agenda via email, so that you can print and bind it yourself.  Just shoot me an email at  (Of course, this offer is for personal use only, and using my work, in whole or in part, to produce anything for profit is absolutely prohibited.  Thanks for respecting the integrity of my efforts, and the spirit of this site!)

If you’re anything like me, nothing gets done around you without the exhaustive creation of lists.  I make lists for everything – shopping lists, cleaning lists, project lists, lists of things that make me happy, lists of things that are bothering me – and on, and on.  I have also been known to make lists with the help of a spreadsheet, and my Christmas shopping list for three years running has been a password-protected spreadsheet file (to hamper any peeking) with different worksheets for different people.  Santa ain’t got nothing on MY list.

Obviously the most basic of all lists is the To-Do list, and I don’t exaggerate in the least when I tell you that I cannot function without it.  A to-do list is how I start each and every day of my life.  Do I ever finish the lists? No.  I am idealistic in my listing, as opposed to realistic, but they do serve to focus my brain, and that’s the main thing.  Completing them is mostly beside the point.

Because my lists are central to my M.O., I need my annual agenda to be fairly specific in format.  And because I’m now working solo, I decided that this year my agenda would be pretty.  There’s got to be some great, beautiful agendas out there that would satisfy those criteria right?  Well, I guess I’m a little more picky (surprise!) because I trolled the internet for days trying to find something that satisfied, to no avail.  Turns out, what I was looking for was in fact TOO SIMPLE for the mavens of organizational perfection who are driving the market for pretty agendas out there.

All I wanted was a pretty book with places to write my list for each day, and maybe some extra pages for notes.  I want it to lie flat on my desk, so I can see the whole week and plan some list items for future days ahead of time.  Sadly, while I could find a whole passel of agendas that fit the bill in the ugly utilitarian category, apparently their attractive counterparts can’t be complete without all the bells and whistles…

So! Being that I am embarking on a creative adventure in 2010 anyway, I decided to make my own agenda, free of noise making apparatus.  And then, because I’m injecting a little bit more life and vigour into this here site, I decided to share it with you!  Huzzah!

The first thing I did was set to work designing and laying out the pages.  The agenda is designed to open upwards, so that a whole week is displayed when the agenda is open length-wise.  My rationale is that it takes up less space on my desk this way.  Like so:

agenda spread out full

In between each week is a lined page for extra notes, and a blank page for sketches or whatever – more notes if you’re a scribbler!  See?  Simple.  Phew!  The pages are half-letter, so they measure 5.5 x 8.5.

I also made some drawings to introduce each month, and scanned them into my layout.  Here’s one about to be scanned by my trusty three-in-one Epson CX5000:

scanning months

Next I had to get my paper ready.  I got some heavier card stock from Staples – I want the pages to stand up to my abuse all year, so it’s gotta be sturdy.  I cut the paper down to size (halving each letter-size page) with something absurdly called a “Personal Trimmer.”  I giggle a little bit every time I say that, so let’s just call it a paper cutter!  Personal trimmer indeed – sophisticated product naming CAN be taken too far people.

Here’s a picture of the materials I used to bind the book:

binding materials & tools for agenda

That’s the paper cutter!  Also the card stock – there are 211 pages in the agenda and it’s double-sided, so I needed 106 half letter pages, which translates in to 53 pieces of cardstock halved.  Ta-dah!  I used a pencil and ruler to mark the cuts on each page, because I am a type-A personality.  The hole puncher and book rings finish off the binding.  I marked where I wanted to punch the hole on each page in my layup, so no punching till the printing’s finished.

Look! Printing:

printing the agenda

On my printer, I had to print the odd pages first, and then flip the stack to print the even pages on the backs.  This requires some brain-bending to make sure you get the flipsides printed in the right orientation.  For me, because the top of the page comes out first, it meant I fed the stack through with the directed tops UP the second time because the tops of the odd pages are the bottoms of the even.  Hope that makes sense…

Printing took a pretty long time.

Finally, I punched the holes as they were indicated and slid the stack on to the binder rings.  Voila!

agenda folded over

But I’m not quite satisfied yet.  My trusty new agenda needs a cover, so I got crafty.  I am pretty predictable that way.  Here’s what I used for the cover:

materials for creating covers

That is a couple of pieces of cardboard (from any old box) cut to the same size as the agenda pages; two pieces of cotton batting the same size; two pieces of fabric (I upcycled a sheet from Value Village) cut about an inch wider than the agenda on every side (for folding over); two pieces of the same cardstock used for the pages, trimmed down slightly to sit inside the borders of the cardboard; and finally some embroidery floss.

I embroidered the year on one of the pieces of fabric:

embroidered front cover

Then I glued the batting to the cardboard (not forgetting to continue punching those holes – I used one of the agenda pages as a guide for hole placement and a knitting needle to poke through the batting):

glue for batting

gluing layer of batting

making the holes in the fabric & fibre

Then I flipped the cardboard with batting over onto the wrong side of the fabric, and glued the fabric edges tightly to the cardboard – I used some thumbtacks to keep the fabric tight while the glue dried:

covering the cover!

corners folded and tacked

Then I had some lunch!  After I had finished eating, the glue had dried enough to take out the tacks, but I wanted extra assurance that those corners were going to hold, so I tacked them down with some more embroidery floss – right through the cardboard.  Bonus? It finished off the corners of the covers very neatly:

tacking down corners

Finally, I glued the pieces of card stock over the cardboard side of the covers – again not forgetting the hole punching – and put the two covers (glued sides NOT facing) under a stack of books to press them down as completely as possible:

setting the covers

covers set

don't forget the holes!

And there you have it – a nice, simple, pretty agenda that will see me through the year.  Plus, I finished it in the first half of January, which has got to be some kind of record timing-wise for me. Happy making!

simple binding

open detail - note page

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2 Trackbacks

  1. By The Home Office – a brief catalogue on April 28, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    [...] nothing to do with staplers or other office supplies – although I am still enjoying my “personal trimmer.”  I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between my working life now (at [...]

  2. By Charles on July 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    finn@wherever.march” rel=”nofollow”>.…


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