Distractions and Calendars

If you have arrived here for instructions on how to use the DBA Calendar, then you can CLICK HERE and skip our ramblings on life and barges and go straight to that stuff.

No, sadly, this is not an update on our cruising through Belgium this year, instead, it is an ‘occasional’ post – sort of barge lifestyle item. But it does represent one of the reasons we are so far behind.

Distraction

When we returned to Melbourne about six weeks ago, ‘normal’ life resumed – family, friends, household chores and work.

This guy was in charge while Ian was away. He actually did a pretty good job!

This guy was in charge while Ian was away. He actually did a pretty good job!

This pretty solidly consumes most of our time. In our ‘spare’ time, where blogs should be written, we need to cover off doting on grandchildren and directing craft activities in their direction (Lisette) and volunteer activities for the DBA – the Barge Association (Ian). Blogging consequently suffers.

Ian’s Distractions

Taking the latter first, Ian edits the Association’s electronic newsletter, which is published in a two-monthly cycle. The next issue had to be prepared in October. Ian also prepares an annual photo calendar for our enjoyment and as a minor promotion for the Association. It’s something he enjoys, but it also is time-consuming to compose – early November gone too. Scratch any time for blogging over that period.

Calendars

Like many people, we have prepared photo calendars for ourselves and friends over the years. There are now many commercial services and software packages out there that can generate wonderful mementoes and gifts from a collection of photos. Over the last decade or so, we were using a PC program ‘Simply Calenders‘ that did the task more than adequately (even if ‘calender’ is the wrong spelling). Once we became hooked on the idea of the barging lifestyle, we looked around for a Barge Calendar. To our surprise and pleasure, we found a free one published by a barge broking company (=they sell barges). It’s still published each year – check it out here.

The MMXVI (2016) Calendar from www.luxe-motor.com

The MMXVI (2016) Calendar from www.luxe-motor.com

We found this calendar to be a little too ‘industrial’ for our taste as its audience is clearly the commercial barging community, so it was a natural progression to decide to create our own calendar using recreational barge photos. However, as we weren’t cruising at the time (this was 2013 before we bought Neo Vita in 2014) sourcing the photos was the issue.

Ian made the suggestion to the DBA – The Barge Association, which we had just joined, that he would make a calendar, with some DBA branding in exchange for some good will and support to request that members provide some photos. The calendar would be freely available to the Association’s members and the general public. Given the uncertainties in demand and costs in production and handling, it was decided to keep the calendar as just an electronic download that, if interested, people could print themselves.

This worked well and the 2014 calendar was prepared using Simply Calenders.

This first calendar focussed mostly of barge lifestyle, with barges somewhat incidental.

This first calendar focussed mostly of barge lifestyle, with barges somewhat incidental.

Since then calendars for 2015, 2016 and now 2017 have been prepared using Apple iPhoto and latterly, Photos, composed of images supplied by members of the Association.

Front cover of the 2017 calendar

Front cover of the 2017 calendar. Evening in the French town of Montherme. Photo by our friend Peter on ‘Fairhaven’.

What to do with a Barge Calendar?

Of course, our reason for embarking on the project was to have a calendar hanging on the wall to use and enjoy. The Simply Calenders software only allowed the calendar to be self-printed and this is what we did, using photo paper and our colour inkjet printer. Binding the pages was a bit ad hoc, but usable.

Since 2015, using the Apple software, we have been able to get a professionally printed calendar produced and delivered by their service. It’s not cheap, about AU$35 per copy, but it’s a yearly and year-long treat we allow ourselves as an indulgence.

We hang the calendar on the wall at home and make note of upcoming events and when we cruise, we make a note of where we moor each night. We expect that these calendars will be a marvellous memento in the years to come.

Our DBA calendar recorded and exciting month for us this year, tracking our moorings and our guests.

Our DBA calendar recorded an exciting month for us this year, tracking our moorings and our guests.

The other main use of the calendar is as a regular feature in the Barge Association’s eNewsletter, where two months are featured each issue and readers can download larger versions of the thumbnail that appears in the newsletter. It seems to be a popular item.

The full calendar is available for free, to anyone, at the Association website at this link.

Some ideas of how to make a calendar are described below.

How to make the DBA Calendar

The DBA calendar is prepared using the Photos app on our Macs. We send this from the app to Apple, it’s then printed and delivered to our door ready for hanging as a professional calendar. However, that’s not the only way it can be generated.

Apple Printed Copy in Australia

If you want a full quality calendar, printed by Apple and live in Australia, let me know and I can arrange to print from my copy and send it to a different delivery address. We can settle the costs ($34.68) by bank transfer. Unfortunately this doesn’t work for anyone overseas as there is no convenient way to change a delivery address to another country – believe me, I’ve tried!

Apple Printed Copy in Overseas

If you have a Mac, I can provide my Photos library with the calendar for you to open with your copy of the Photos app and then you can send your own copy to Apple. It’s a fairly large download (200 MB) but using it is quite straightforward.

All other uses are based on the Adobe pdf version that is available on the DBA – The Barge Association website. This .pdf can be printed by a calendar printing service, on a home printer.

Commercially printed copy from .pdf

The US printing service PrestoPhoto will print a .pdf file produced by Apple Photos and generate a calendar. Click on this link and scroll down to the section entitled ‘Apple Photo Calendars with More Choices’. I haven’t used the service, but their site and support look to be comprehensive. It is cheaper than the Apple product in the US, but the cost of shipping makes it more expensive to deliver to other countries.

Self-printed copy from .pdf

If you have an inkjet or good colour laser printer, then simply print the .pdf file on that printer. The only drawback with this method is that you have to work out a way to bind the pages to make a calendar that ‘flips’ nicely. My efforts to do this have been pretty crude – punching holes and using binders – so pretty much anything you come up with will be equally good. Let me know in the Comments below if you want a US-paper sized version.

Our Favourite Month

We’re going to have to wait a long while to be able to display our favourite month of the 2017 Calendar, it’s December!december-2016

Why is it our favourite?

We like the photo, it’s atmospheric and unusual. Shot with an Android smartphone and a little bit of post-processing in Aurora HDR – striking.

The barge subject in the photo is dear to us, the first DBA member barge that we travelled with along a canal – last year. We met Peter and Winny who live aboard Kabouter when we tied up at Oudenberg and were firm friends before we took the convoy run towards Sint-Jorisluis, both of us spending the next night at Diksmuide. A few days later, we met up with them again at Fintele, where they had waited for us and we travelled onto Veurne together. Peter and Winny wintered in Veurne and looked after Catharina Elisabeth while we were away – wonderful.

The other subject, the Ascenceur 4 at Thieu, was one of our favourite experiences this year. We ascended it in July and later, in September, moored overnight in exactly the same spot as Kabouter. We had lovely evening chatting with Aussies moored nearby and harvesting ripe raspberries growing wild at the bottom to the lift – delightful.

The photo brings back memories of two very enjoyable evenings spent with the photographer, Shaun, and his wife Lynn, onboard their cruiser Elle. We remain in close contact, checking out each other’s blogs, continuing a long-range friendship until our vessels meet again – memorable.

So that’s our calendar. For us – striking, wonderful, delightful and memorable.

Lisette’s Spare Time

As this blog is composed by both of us, it only stops when neither of us has spare time. Lisette has been busy with sewing, knitting and crocheting for our two granddaughters, Charlie and Zoe and, most recently, for our first grandson due in February. Consequently, her blog writing has suffered too!

Significant set of repairs needed to bring this very much worn princess dress back to new look for Charlie

The result of a significant set of repairs that were needed to bring this very much worn princess dress back to looking new for Charlie.

 

Busy crocheting and knitting: baby blanket; top for Charlie; jacket for Zoe; pants for grandson.

Busy crocheting and knitting: baby blanket; top for Charlie; jacket for Zoe; ‘onesy’ for grandson.

As you can appreciate, these are time-consuming but a source of delight for Lisette.

We’ll keep on trying to produce the next episode…

6 thoughts on “Distractions and Calendars

    • No way we’re going to finish by then but I was thrilled to see a new post from ‘Elle’ – just haven’t had time today to sit back and relax so I can properly enjoy your adventures – but soon…

  1. I love snapfish for calendar printing and really cheap when they have their specials. I just did 3 for the extended family at $12 each.
    Love the dress Lisette!

    • Thanks Meri. I am having so much fun making things for the girls, and have started my first of what I trust will be many boy outfits for the coming grandson. What is even nicer, is that while I love doing it, our kids really want hand made clothes for their children. Charlie’s princess dresses take a bit of a beating as her amazing mother lets her wear them whenever she wants – that’s what they are for – fun. So I repair them as needed. Fortunately she has quite a collection.

  2. Thinking of you back in OZ recently, you were crocheting the little jacket during our stay on Catharina Elisabeth it is very stylish Lisette. I’ll phone soon, love from us both Gina and Geoff

    • Thanks Gina. With a third grandchild on the way, I expect to be kept very busy knitting and crocheting and sewing. I’ve been making clothes for my own children forever, even as adults and including their wedding dresses, so it’s lovely that they want me to keep this up for their children.

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