© 2012 photobookgirl

Mixbook Calendar 2012 Review

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This past holiday season, I decided to make calendars for my family. Mixbook provided me with two complimentary large landscape calendars and I purchased Groupons for savings on the rest. I made two different versions of the calendar, one for my side of the family and one for my husband’s side.  I also tried out the calendars in two different sizes.  The 11 x 8.5 is $19.99 and the 14 x 11 is $34.99 (also available in other themes is the square format for $29.99).  You can see the difference in size from my comparison photos.

make your own custom calendar

The main photos I used were the same for both versions, but the birthdays and other events were different. Since my main pages (the top page of the spread) were going to be the same, I completed one whole calendar, duplicated the project and then just changed out the birthdays and added the details from there. There were several unique and good looking calendar themes that I looked at, but in the end, I went with the blank canvas and made mine from scratch. That doesn’t mean that I had to make the whole calendar from scratch (meaning the actual month pages), I just didn’t pick a theme so I could customize all the photo layouts and design myself.

I barely utilized how much customization I could have done to the calendars, as I had to stop myself from “playing” for too long.  As I used the software, I learned more about what I could do with the design by the time I was creating the second calendar, so that one had a lot more clip art, including some cute embellishments I found for free on a few digital scrapbooking sites. What’s unique about Mixbook is the ability to upload your own clip art and embellishments, though there is plenty of free clip art within the program already, so it’s not necessary unless you have something special you want to use. I was surprised that I could liberally add elements to any part of the page and I was not limited to staying within the calendar grid (see the hearts I added at the bottom of February).  The flexibility of the software is one of its biggest pluses and works the same as the software you can use to make custom cards and photos books as well.  For those who are familiar with traditional scrapbooking, out of all the software I’ve tried, Mixbook has the most “digital scrapbooking” type tools and the most free high quality clip art I’ve encountered thus far.  For those who find themselves working on more than one computer, it is really convenient that the software resides online.  You just upload your photos once and then you can work on your project wherever you can get an internet connection.

Another nice feature is that you can start from any month of the year and do 12 months from that point on. So, if I were making mine now, I could start with February 1 and it would go through February of 2013. 

Entering an event is easy. There’s a chart that pops up and you can type in the event and date. Popular holidays are pre-entered and you can select whichever holidays you wish to appear by checking a box. It’s easier to check the top box assuming you want most holidays in there and then uncheck the few that you don’t want. Clicking on “Update Calendar” automatically populates the events and holidays so you can focus on making your pages look nice. Mixbook calendar

When I received the calendars, I was happy to see the photos I’d selected printed very clearly and the color reproduced faithfully. Most were my favorite landscape photos with a focus on nature – a topic I figured would have universal appeal (I did personalize each with a collage of family photos on the back of the calendar.)  The cardstock is of good sturdy weight and I found the calendars well constructed. I was very excited to give them to my family over the Chinese New Year (Yes, I got started on them later than I’d hoped), and watched them marvel at how photos of themselves appeared on their birthdays. Until they started to flip through it, they didn’t realize it wasn’t store-bought.  The personalized aspect is what they were most excited about.  Only problem now is they expect one every year going forward!  Mixbook makes that easy by saving all the custom dates you entered – a clever business move to encourage repeat customers I’m sure…

The $15.00 Mixbook Groupon which has been available fairly often as of late, will buy you two 11 x 8.5 calendars and you’ll still have $10 of credit to play with, all for $15.00! (The Groupon provides you $50.00 worth of credit for $15.00 – 70% off savings.)  (I used the balance to make a few Valentine’s cards featuring Photo Book Baby to give to the family and a customized wedding card for my dear friend getting married this month.)  You could also opt instead for one large calendar and one standard size if you put in an extra $5.00.  (These do not include shipping costs.)  These would make lovely Valentine’s gifts (remember you can start your calendar with any month you choose).  Why not create a theme each month around something you love about that person (i.e. I love your cooking! I love your smile! I love your little toes! etc.)

Have a great weekend!

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14 Comments

  1. Sally
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 12:01 am | #

    Have you ever made a Shutterfly calendar? It sounds like Mixbook is very similar to Shutterfly in that you can customize dates (no clipart though). If you have created a Shutterfly calendar, I’m curious to see how the two compare. Thanks!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm | #

      No I haven’t used Shutterfly yet. I tried MyPublisher (but it was a gift sent directly to my friend so I didn’t see the end product) and I used Picaboo (you can see that review on my site off the main Picaboo reviews page). So far, Mixbook offers the most customization, probably Picaboo second and then MyPublisher. At the time I did the MyPublisher calendar, they didn’t have it available for Mac users so I had to do this weird Windows emulation and it wasn’t easy. But they may have updated it since then and their print quality has always been very good. Also, at the time I made my Picaboo calendar, you couldn’t personalize the days but you can now. It’s great that companies are making their products better as time goes on – good for us!

  2. Karen
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm | #

    I am curious of the quality of picture printing primarily. I have used Walgreens and Shutterfly– and I think they are just “ok”. I too, make calanders for gifts– and need a better source for end-result printing of pictures of my daughter. Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated. 🙂

    • photobookgirl
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm | #

      I’ve never used either of those services. I was very happy with the print quality of my Mixbook calendar.

  3. julzdsin@gmail.com
    Posted October 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm | #

    Just curious if anyone can compare quality of a Mixbook calendars to SnapFish calender. Traditionally, they have turned out great. Used a few otherlace but, the quality was the greatest. Calendars Re a lot of work and I want to know all the hard work will provide me with a quality product! Any thought?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted October 3, 2012 at 11:25 pm | #

      I haven’t done a Snapfish calendar before, but I can tell you that Mixbook’s was the most customizable that I’ve come across. I’ve done calendars on MyPublisher and Picaboo too. I would suggest that you go and just play with the software – it’s free to do so and you can give it a test drive. I know you can’t see the actual calendar and can only go by my photos, but I was very happy with mine. Hope that helps! There’s a Groupon for $15 (for $40) which will get you two calendars, so the price is hard to beat…

      • Posted December 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm | #

        I use mpix for all my printing needs, but when it came to the calendar i was disappointed cause i had lots of vertical pictures to use as well as landscape and it wont let you adjust the template to vertical…im sooo bummed and trying adormapix calendar but its not as clear looking on screen im hoping that wont be the case when i order. 🙁 and suggestions.

  4. Lisa
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm | #

    I’m not sure that I like the quality of the mixbook calendar. I absolutely love their photobooks so I was convinced I’d love their calendars. WRONG. They were printed to dark so then I had to brighten them & then they were printed too bright for some of the pics to the point where I’m leaning towards the first set. They were very cooperative with me so that was a plus & have attempted to solve the problem. But now I’m not sure which I’m going to go with. Also I have noticed that some of the paper is tearing where the calendar binding is & this is driving me nuts, I feel tacky giving these as a gift with that issue. And I am going to be super selfish & keep the “perfect” one for me.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 1:12 am | #

      Keep the good one – I’ve found that in some cases, only I see the flaws 🙂 My calendars have held up great and the color was good. I didn’t have any issues with mine, but I guess print errors can happen. Hopefully they’ve helped resolve them!

  5. Calvin Hilton
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 11:04 am | #

    Do you know if Mixbook has a way to accurately preview a calendar before ordering? I’ve followed their Help instructions and the only preview I see doesn’t format the calendar page correctly. The month and year are overlaid by the calendar grid.

    So far, I’m not impressed by the Mixbook calendar creator when compared to Adorama or MyPhotoCreations.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted December 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm | #

      There isn’t one in the editing mode which I thought was odd myself, but I think if you go to the site and look under your saved projects, I believe that preview should be accurate. That is odd that the month and year are getting written over. One thing I really like about Mixbook’s calendar is the ability to move any of the elements on the calendar grid side and on the top as well. You should be able to move the header back into place. If you’re having issues, I think you should save and then reopen the site. Best of luck!

      • Calvin Hilton
        Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm | #

        Thanks for your response.

        I followed these instructions from the Mixbook help: Click on the Home tab on the Mixbook site and locate your project. Click on the title of a project and you will be directed to the Preview page. This will show you a representation of how your project will print.

        There isn’t a page labeled Preview for calendars and even using the full screen view option the Month and Year still overlay the 7 days of the week across the calendar grid.

        If this is really what the calendar will look like I won’t be using Mixbook. I started with their White Portfolio design. Maybe it’s a problem with that particular design. I shouldn’t have to fix their design.

        More problems with Mixbook:

        1. Lack of phone support
        2. Lack of ability to attach anything to their contact web page.

        I give MyPhotoCreations at least 2 points for phone support and a real preview. I’m reluctant to use Adorama again because the largest calendar they offer is only 10×10. I used them last year but 10×10 isn’t really large enough.

        • photobookgirl
          Posted December 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm | #

          Did you try writing on their Facebook page? I find that gets their attention.

          • Calvin Hilton
            Posted January 1, 2013 at 8:25 am | #

            They e-mailed me yesterday and, if understand their response, they’re admitting that their design is flawed and they suggested that I fix it. I e-mailed them back to make sure I understood.

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