Tuesday, 29 October 2013

My December Daily (Part 3) - putting your album together

Hi everyone! I am really excited to share with you some details about my December Daily album and process today :) I absolutely love all things Christmas, so this is a project that is really close to my heart. I have a lot to share, so I have written three separate posts. Part 1 (CLICK HERE) details how to put together your own December Daily kit, while Part 2 (CLICK HERE) gives you some ideas for photos and stories that you may like to document in your own December Daily album. In today's final post of my series, I will share with you pics of all of the foundation pages that I have completed in my album to date and give you a little info about my process regarding how I put my December Daily album pages/layouts together. I will also show you how you can embellish pre-made filler and journaling cards, and some ideas for how you can layer embellishments to create your own unique Project Life-style cards too. Enjoy :)

In starting my December Daily album, I chose not to decorate my album cover first up. When completing projects like this in the past, I have found that sometimes I can get too hung up on how I want the cover to look, and I have found it much easier to put it together later, so I will leave decorating the front cover of my album (and completing my title page and foreword) until I have finished putting the rest of it together. It's much less stressful for me that way :)

The photo above is an example of how I typically start putting together a spread in my album. This spread will be all about our favourite Christmas movies (left-hand side) and story-books (right-hand side). I start by choosing cards which will suit the theme of the photos that are to go in each spread, and if I don't have any cards that are exactly what I am after, I'll slip a piece of coloured paper in the pocket instead for the time being. Later I will come back and use that piece to create my own card for the pocket it occupies. I slip pieces of paper or cardstock in the pockets that are to hold photos and write a note on them regarding what photo I want to include. This makes it a lot easier to go back and finish off the spreads later on. I go ahead and do this for each spread in the album before I embellish anything at all. If you don't already do this, go ahead and give it a go. You might find it helps you too.

Generally I will complete one spread in my album at a time, layering embellishments on my cards and inserts before sticking anything down, before I move on to the next spread. I also adopt this same process in completing my Project Life spreads in my regular 12x12 Project Life album. The photo below is an example of how I do this. 

I love to embellish standard, pre-made filler and journaling cards. I don't scrapbook in 12x12 or 11.5x8 size anymore, so Project Life is the only form of memory keeping that I do now so I embellish my spreads just as I would a normal scrapbooking layout. Below is an example of how I embellish my cards. The card on the left is a plain Simple Stories December Documented 3x4 inch filler card. You can see in the card on the right how I rounded the corners, added an old piece of ribbon from my stash, a die-cut arrow, and a star sticker to it to make it look completely different. I love it :)

Below is an example of a 4x6 inch journaling card that I have made myself from scratch using a piece of tone-on-tone green patterned paper from the Simple Stories December Documented line as a base. Again I rounded the corners before layering some stickers, ribbons, a digital printable, a chipboard holly embellishment and some enamel dots to create a unique card that's ready for journaling to be added later on. I always hand-write my journaling so if you chose to type yours or print it out using a computer, you'll need to add the journaling before you stick any of your embellishments down.

Below is a filler card that I made using a piece of chalkboard-look patterned paper (also from the Simple Stories December Documented line) and a mixture of letters from different alphabet sets. If my alphas don't match my colour scheme (as was the case with the large ampersand on this card), I won't hesitate to paint or ink them with colour to them to make them work. They key to making this look work is to mix alphas of different sizes, shapes, and dimension (mix stickers with chipboards).  It gives the card texture and I really love the quirkiness this look adds to my spreads. 

 Here's some photos of the spreads that I have completed so far in my December Daily album. These are all double-page spreads, but some of my spreads further into my album will only need one page to complete them. I am numbering each spread from 1 to 20 as I work, to match in with my list of traditions that I am documenting in the album. Come December, I will add the photos and journaling to my entire album.

The spread above serves as kind of a stand-alone topic in my album. I live in Australia (Queensland) so for me, Christmas means Summer - swimming in my mum's pool or at the beach with my family, eating fresh prawns and mud crab, drinking a cold beer on a stinking hot afternoon, and evening thunderstorms. Looking for a way to use those snow-themed embellishments that inevitably always come with Christmas-themed scrapbooking collections, but which naturally don't apply to us here in Australia, I came up with this layout. I've documented how it never snows here in Australia for Christmas and how our Christmas falls in the middle of a sweltering hot Summer. I think it's my favourite in the whole album - I love it :)

The first spread proper in my December Daily (above) will document our Christmas tree. We always put it up and decorate it on December 1st so it was only natural that I make it the first of our Christmas traditions to document in the album. Again, photos and journaling will be added in later.

The spread in the photos above will document how we decorate our house for Christmas. I made a few extra 4x6 inserts to go between two 6x8 pages in my album. I like how it adds a little more room for a title, some journaling, or photos without having to add a full extra page or two to the album. In this case, I cut some old printed transparency that I had and added the spread's title to it. Love this look!

The spread above will document how my kids give their classmates at school a Christmas card accompanied by a candy cane every year. This is a really important tradition for them and it wouldn't be a December Daily album if I didn't include it. It'll be a special couple of pages to look back on and remember when they are all grown up, that's for sure.

Music is an important part of Christmas in our house. The pages above will document all of our favourite Christmas tunes. My children also learn to play Christmas songs on the recorder every year so I couldn't not include something in my December Daily about that. My daughter also plays violin at school and every December the school orchestra and band hold a concert. The red "MERRY" die-cut card is actually a flip-up card that I made myself which will hold a photo of her playing in the orchestra and some journaling about what Christmas music means to us as a family.

All four of us in our household are prolific list-makers, and with all that there is to do at Christmas, we always have a stack of lists to write. The December Daily spread pictured above will document that. I've included another 4x6 insert here between the two full-sized pages to hold the title of the spread, and a pocket to hold our many lists we all write - my December Daily traditions to document list, the kids' wish lists, shopping lists, lists of things to make, lists of things to do around the house, lists places to go and thing to take to each place on Christmas day...it's endless in this house, I tell you! We'd be lost without our lists :)

The pictures above show my most recent finished December Daily album spread. It will document how my family and I love to go to the shopping in December and gaze in awe at the beautifully decorated shops and shopping centres, visit the store Santa, and admire all of the lovely things for sale that we'd love to receive from Santa for Christmas. This spread is another of my favourites in my December Daily - I love how the stacks of embellishments and words look with the gold title.

I hope you managed to stick with me through my mammoth post! Thank you so very much for joining me for a peek into my December Daily album and the processes that I use to create it :) You will be able to see more of my December Daily here on my blog soon where will share photos of my album as I complete more spreads in it. I will be sure to share pics as I begin adding photos and journaling to it later on, too. Happy December Daily-ing everyone :) 

Karen xx 

My December Daily (Part 2) - ideas for what to include in your album

Hi everyone! I am really excited to share with you some details about my December Daily album and process today :) I have a lot to share, so I have written three separate posts. Part 1 (CLICK HERE) details how to put together your own December Daily kit, while Part 3 (CLICK HERE) shows pics of all of the foundation pages that I have completed in my album to date and gives and a little info about my process regarding how I put my December Daily pages together. In today's post (Part 2 of my series) I will share with you some ideas for photos and stories that you may like to document in your own December Daily album. Enjoy :)

You may feel like your December is not “interesting enough” to devote a whole album to. Please, don’t think that! You don’t have to go to special Christmas parties, do something different every day in December, or have a fancy Christmas Day to make a December Daily album :) You don’t have to take a photo each day to include in your album, either. I am not. As I said in my last post, don't be afraid to make your album completely your own.

I have chosen to document 20 December/Christmas traditions that are very precious to me and my family. I wrote them all down in list form and pinned the list to the wall in my studio so I can easily see what topic to document next in my album. Later I plan to put the list into my December Daily album too (more on that in the future). I've included my list below for you to give you some ideas for things you may like to include in your album. Please excuse it being a little rough around the edges...keeping it real :)

I have found some other layout/photo prompt lists that you might find helpful in deciding what to include in your own December Daily too. Here’s the links to them for you…

*Ali Edwards – 25 awesome prompts, direct from the lady who first developed December Daily.

*Scrapbooks Etc. – downloadable holiday photo checklist. For those of us who enjoy a Summer Christmas, instead of the snow-themed elements in this list, you could take a photo of footprints in the sand, building a sandcastle, a Summer thunderstorm, your kids’ favourite Christmas t-shirts/new swimmers/Christmas day outfits, etc. Fun ideas to try! 

*Katie Scott – Katie’s list of stories to include in her December Daily. I love her ideas!

*Kasia – as part of her “Inspire Me Christmas 2012” series, Kasia (of Worqshop blog) designed a downloadable December Daily prompt list. It’s fantastic! Scroll down to the bottom of her blog post and click the link to download it. 

Thank you so much for reading along today! I can't wait to share some pics from inside my December Daily album with you in my next post, along with some details about the how I put together my album and embellish my filler & journaling cards. See you soon :)

My December Daily (Part 1) - how to create your own album kit

Hi everyone! I am really excited to share with you some details about my December Daily album and process today :) I absolutely love all things Christmas, so this is a project that is really close to my heart. I have a lot to share, so I have written three separate posts. Part 2 (CLICK HERE) gives you some ideas for photos and stories that you may like to document in your own December Daily album, while Part 3 (CLICK HERE) shows pics of all of the foundation pages that I have completed in my album to date and gives and a little info about my process regarding how I put my December Daily pages together. In today's post (Part 1 of my series), I will share with you some details on how I organize my December Daily album supplies and how you can put together your own December Daily kit. Enjoy :)

As some of you may already know, December Daily is an album concept that was developed by scrapbooker Ali Edwards in order to document and celebrate the month of December in the lead-up to Christmas Day. If you aren't familiar with December Daily, you can find out more about it on Ali’s blog HERE. Ali’s idea has become very popular among scrapbookers the world over, particularly with the introduction of Project Life to the scrapbooking world. The Project Life method of memory-keeping is an awesome way to construct your December Daily album, and as a devoted Project Lifer, it is the format that I am using to construct my first ever December Daily album. 

For me, December is a very hectic time full of Christmas goings-on (plus my birthday is on Boxing Day), so I have already started gathering my supplies and constructing my December Daily album. It's only October, I know, but knowing how my life can get busy at a moment's notice, if I don’t get my album put together early, I won’t ever finish it. My plan is to have my album constructed so that, come December, all I have to do is add in the journaling and photos as the month progresses and it’s done. This will really let me enjoy the holiday season all the more and add to the magic and excitement of counting down to Christmas and my birthday...December is certainly my favourite time of year! Here’s some details on the process I have used in constructing my own December Daily kit. Enjoy :)

I already had on hand this cute little red and kraft-coloured 6x8 inch Simple Stories Sn@p album/binder so I decided to use that for my December Daily album. I love how these albums come with everything you need to complete an album - cardstock inner pages, pocket page protectors, plus chipboard dividers. I purchased extra pocket page protectors for my album too as I have a LOT I want to add to it. The beauty of December Daily is that you can make your album any size you like, and include as much or as little as you like. There doesn't have to be any hard and fast rules so don't be afraid to make it your own. It's completely up to you :)

Many scrapbooking kit companies have released December Daily kits this year for you to buy. Some include Project Life cards in them (and even an album plus pocket page protectors in some cases too). They are an awesome idea if you want something that is themed, hassle-free, and easy to put together. Scrapbooking companies such as Simple Stories, Echo Park, My Mind’s Eye, Carta Bella, Basic GreyStudio Calico, etc. have released Christmas scrapbooking lines that are perfect for Project-Life-style December Daily albums too! Have a browse online and see what you can find if you think that is an option you'd like to explore. As I already had an album on hand, and a lot of embellishments in the colour scheme I'd chosen, I decided to put together my own December Daily kit using items I already had in my stash plus some newly purchased items. 

When I make Project Life pages in my 12x12 inch album, I usually put my own kit together from my stash based on a set colour scheme that I may have in mind for my spread. If I need to, I will then buy anything that I don’t already have which I need or particularly want to use to fill in the gaps to put my page together. I find that doing things this way helps me to use what I already have, create spreads faster, and cut down on the amount of money that I spend on supplies. This system works really well for me so I have used it to put together my own kit to create my December Daily album from too. 

As you can see from the picture of my self-made kit above, the main colour scheme that I am using for my album is aqua blue, red, lime green, pink, chalkboard/black, white, and gold. I use this colour scheme when decorating my home for Christmas each year, so it was a natural choice for me. If you are stuck on working out what products you want to use for your December Daily, I suggest choosing a colour scheme first. 

After choosing my colour scheme, I went through my supplies and pulled out all of the papers and embellishments I had that were in keeping with my colour scheme for my December Daily album. The embellishments I pulled out are those which I use a lot in my Project Life scrapbooking - patterned papers, sequins, ribbons, trims, buttons, enamel dots, paper clips, decorative pins, digital printables, tags, stickers, chipboard, alphabets, and little word stickers. I know there is a LOT of stuff in my kit, but I have done this because I find that if I have more options at hand when I am putting my spreads together, the less time I waste rifling through the rest of my supplies and my pages come together a lot more quickly and easily. 

Try this method out for yourself, too. Go through your stash before you purchase anything and see what you have in the colours you want to use for your album. Not everything has to be Christmas-themed, either. You might be surprised at just how much you already have that you can use in your December Daily :) If you want to, you can also throw in some stamps, paint, ink, mist...whatever you want. Of course, you can add as little or as much to your own kit as you like. I do my Project Life pages using an embellished, scrapbooking style, but if you prefer a simpler Project Life style, your kit won't need to be as full as mine.

Next, as I didn't have any Christmas-themed products in my stash apart from some brads and a few tags, I purchased some papers, embellishments, and alphas from the Simple Stories December Documented line and some of the Simple Stories Sn@p Christmas Project-Life-style 6x4 and 3x4 cards. When I had everything I wanted, I corralled all of my bits and pieces in some things I already had - a box, basket, bowl, and some little glassine envelopes and plastic bags (sorted according to type of embellishment). I put everything (including the alphabets and my filler & journaling cards) in a drawer housed in a rolling drawer unit which sits next to my desk in my studio, with my 12x12 papers on top of the unit in a 12x12 resealable plastic bag. This enables me to pull everything out and tidy it up quickly and easily whenever I need or want to. It might sound like a bit of work to set it all up like this, but it really doesn't take long at all, and it's a great way to keep all of your bits and pieces for your album in the one place. 

Try doing this yourself with all of the things you have pulled out for your own kit. Put them all together in the one spot, handy to your work area, so you can grab them and work on your album whenever you like. It doesn't have to be fancy - go with whatever works for you. It's a big help to my creative process when I do this, and it may just help you, too.

Thank you so much for reading along today. It's been a pleasure to be able to share some of my December Daily album process with you and I hope that you have gathered some ideas that will help you along as you work on your own December Daily. Next post I'll share some ideas for topics you may like to journal about or photograph to include in your album. See you soon :)