Finding the Right Birthday Book

I asked my sister Madeline, bookmaker extraordinaire  to make me something to help remember all the birthdays and anniversaries of the children, their spouses and grandchildren.

Give an artist a project and it becomes a mission. Madeline created a work of art, using collage items like buttons and photos, poetry and quotes, and applied fashion as a theme to remember the year. Each season has a different motif and different ways to record names on dates.

It’s beautiful; yet even she admits, not too functional. I love it; and have it on my shelf over my desk.

For July & August: "They say stay out of the SUN- NO! Be in the sun; play in the sun; worship the sun; DANCE in the sun! WEAR SUNSCREEN! Simple!

For July & August: “They say stay out of the SUN- NO! Be in the sun; play in the sun; worship the sun; DANCE in the sun! WEAR SUNSCREEN! Simple!

I had bought one for my mother, thinking that she too could benefit from it and has even more dates to remember than me. While it serves the purpose, it’s long and narrow and doesn’t fit on a desk or shelf. It needs to be hung on a corkboard, which my mother doesn’t have near her desk. 51VrgU7kmtL._AA160_

Having some time before a hair appointment, I entered a stationary store, and asked the proprietor, an elderly woman, if she had perpetual calendars, having learned that’s what these things are called when no year is given.

Delighted to have a customer on a scorching summer day, she smiled, and said, “You mean you still send cards?” I try I responded, if I can remember.

She dug around and found a book on a bottom shelf, covered with dust. It’s a greeting card organizer and comes with an assortment of cards, and each month not only has the dates listed but a pocket to store extra cards. photo-49 I could buy cards when I see them and save them for when they’re needed. Its design is no match for my sister’s creation – but it will work, if I remember to look in it!

The shopkeeper and I chatted about the lost art of writing personal cards- like thank you notes. Most of her business is custom printing for invitations and such. I suggested she move the remaining organizers to a higher shelf – certainly there are other grandmothers who’d want one as a gift.


Now if I could combine the artistry of the one Madeline made me with the usefulness of this one…


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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11 Responses to Finding the Right Birthday Book

  1. Just waiting for the new enry in the birthday book. Actually people seem to create teir own invitatins these days


  2. My mother had one of those organizers. I found it after she passed away with all the cards still inside. A few of my friends and I send cards on a regular basis. For Christmas I bought sealing wax for my friends… it was all the rage when we were in college. People still love to get cards and I love to send them.


  3. Colline says:

    The one Madeline made is more beautiful – and one I would look at more often because of it 🙂


  4. You sure have a creative family Lisa! I have never heard of these types of organizers – what a neat idea!
    Diana xo


  5. susanissima says:

    Brilliant and timely post, Lisa. I’m always forgetting birthdays and other special occasions and this kind of organizer will solve the problem. Thank you!


  6. I think the shopkeeper realized how useful it could be and that others might want one. I’m going to personalize mine with photos.


  7. Lovely post. Lucky you to have such a talented and generous sister! Personally, I wouldn’t care whether it was functional or not. It’s just lovely. 🙂


  8. What a creative idea! It makes me want to make one too.


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