Hello again crafty friends! Leah here to show you the beginnings of my December Daily album. I attempted this project a few years ago, but I failed a few days in. When I first started prepping for the project this year, I started with SUCH excitement and confidence. I had a ton of fun decorating the cover! I’m using the 6x8 Striped Holiday SN@P! Binder for my album this year.
Before I jump into my album, I thought I'd share an A-HA moment I had as I worked on this in the hopes that it might help YOU along the way :)
On December 1st, I started strong. I took a few photos and noted the story I wanted to tell for that day, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to assemble my album pages on that day. As the December days continue to pass, I am trying to stay diligent in recording the details. As I sat down to start pulling layouts together for the first couple of days of December, I quickly remembered why I failed at this project before. I have this frustrating tendency to overthink everything. It is always a challenge for me to set aside my eagerness to keep adding more details until my layouts are “just right.” As much as I try to avoid the fact that I can be quite a perfectionist, that trait of mine rears its ugly head during daily projects like this. “Perfection” is a very relative idea that varies from person to person. For me, my joy and my demise are in the details. I need and love the meaningful details that I put into my layouts, but I can also spend a lot of time pulling those details together sometimes. I really enjoy the process, no matter how long it takes me but for a DAILY project, extensive time spent on every page of my album WILL eventually overwhelm me and burn me out. I thought I had learned this lesson the last time I tried to create a December Daily album, yet there I was again, as I sat down to start the first pages of my album, questioning whether I would actually be able to fulfill my commitment to this project. I am determined though, so I pushed through the self-doubt and told myself that I’m going to take this one day at a time and do the best I can. There is no time limit.
After my first couple of layouts, I started to find a rhythm. I figured out a few things about myself that are starting to help my layouts come together easier.
1) I MUST limit my products. I have chosen to use the Classic Christmas collection from Simple Stories and a few other supplies from my stash, but I have to make sure I never have too many choices around me or I will start feeling overwhelmed.
2) I need a special, organized space to work on my album. Before December 1st, I set everything up on my dining room table and organized my supplies where I could easily see them all. Now, this space most definitely does not stay clean as I start working. Try as I might, I am a very messy crafter. However, I have made a huge effort to make SURE that when I am done crafting for the day, I tidy up and put everything back in its designated spot. This has been critical for me because a messy space is not welcoming, and I need to come back to this space every day in December.
3) Something as simple as arranging my page protectors in my album stressed me out SO much. With everything else I have to think about in December, I was not about to let this be the thing that did me in. I read Ali Edward’s blog post on her foundation pages and she actually provides a link to the map of how she arranged her page protectors. If you are someone who tends to stress over details, I highly recommend giving yourself a pass on this one and mimicking the arrangement of Ali’s page protectors, or create a simple formula by laying out all the types of pocket pages you have and just arranging them in the same pattern over and over. You can make adjustments later if necessary.
4) Because I know that I tend to overcomplicate things, I tried really hard to keep it simple. I saw these beautiful, simple pages that all my crafty friends were putting together and wished I could do the same. I tried to conform to this simple style with the clean lines and beautiful design, thinking that’s what I needed to do so that my brain did not become overwhelmed with adding the decor instead of focusing on the stories I wanted to tell each day. Well, I couldn’t do it. This is the most important lesson I have learned from this project so far: you have to make your project YOU. Yes, I needed to find some balance. Realistically, I cannot spend hours a day making layouts for this album. However, I can make it more “me” by adding crafty details and giving it more of a “messy” and handmade vibe. That is not everyone’s style and that’s okay! Some friends I know are documenting their December memories as mini albums, or in a traveler’s notebook or planner. You really have to find a memory-keeping system and style that is going to work for you, because not only will you hit roadblock after roadblock if you try to conform to something that isn’t you, but the entire purpose of this project is to document YOUR stories. The memories will mean more to flip through in the future if you can connect with the perspective in which they were being documented - through your eyes, in your style.
So without further ado, here are the first few pages of my December Daily. I began with stating my “reason why” for this album, or my intentions for what I wanted this album to be. This year, I really want to focus on slowing down and enjoying the magic of the Christmas season. I typed up my journaling on this free printable from Ali Edwards, and then printed it out in a 6x8 size using Photoshop.
I cut down a patterned transparency from Michaels to use as a dashboard in the front of my album. I just traced a page protector to get the correct size and then punched holes for the rings. The gold cutout star is from my stash and I used the speckle patterned paper from The Reset Girl collection to put behind it. I LOVE the simplicity of that pattern so much and the cream and black colors coordinate so beautifully with the gold on the transparency.
Before I got into creating daily layouts, I decided to add a few more details to the front of the album. This calendar is from a set of Classic Christmas SN@P! Pages that I cannot wait to use throughout this album. They are going to add a lot of interest in between the pocket pages! I added some cream pom pom ribbon from my stash under the “December.” I then stamped the dates and added lots of Classic Christmas embellishments, such as stickers, die cuts, stamps, enamel dots and washi tape. As a planner girl, decorating calendar pages is my thing. I had so much fun with this!
One other element I added to the front of my album uses some of the free Classic Christmas printables Simple Stories offers. You can find and download them here! I used the “Making a List” pages and cut them down so I could add patterned paper to the background and a few other embellishments. I also printed another set of these list pages out separately for my planner. I scribbled the messy notes on those and then rewrote everything neatly in my album. I used gold glitter washi at the top of both pages and added my title using black foam Thickers on the left page, and the white letter stickers on the right are from the Classic Christmas Expressions cardstock sticker sheet. At the bottom of the left page, I added a couple of cardstock stickers and a small die cut from the Classic Christmas SN@P! pack. On the right page, the “Merry Christmas” is a chipboard sticker from the collection.
My layout for December 1st began with a large 6x8 photo of some festive peppermint mochas I made for my husband Patrick and I.
The story I decided to tell was about how Patrick and I assembled and decorated the tree while we watched Christmas movies and sipped on our mochas. After the tree was decorated, our cat Minerva, a.k.a. our resident tree inspector, gave it her stamp of approval.
On the right side of the layout, I chose a photo of Minerva with the tree and printed it in a 4x6 size. I chose a couple of 3x4 SN@P! cards for the top pockets and began embellishing. I used some washi tape, a word strip sticker, a couple of die cuts, and a chipboard sticker from the Classic Christmas collection. The gold numbers I’m using for my album are pocket pieces from the collection. I stamped the date on the journaling card and stamped the stitching pattern from The Reset Girl roller stamp in several places for a little extra detail.
As far as the album cover, I used one of my favorite patterned 12x12 papers from the collection on the front. I cut it down to the proper size and inked the edges. I used black foam Thickers for my title. Under the title, I used gold glitter washi tape with a couple of wordstrip and decorative stickers from the Classic Christmas collection.
The snowflake is a cheap wooden ornament I got at Michaels and I love the dimension it gives to the album cover. I punched a circle from one of the light blue papers in the 6x6 paper pad as a background for the year. The addition of the light blue into the otherwise traditional Christmas colors of this collection is one of my FAVORITE details. The icy blue really brightens the collection in a beautiful and unique way.
I lined the inside of the album using this patterned paper from The Reset Girl collection. I love how the bold pattern adds a modern spin to the Classic Christmas collection. I use bold black and white prints often throughout the album. The cute little red stocking adhered to the front of my album is from the Target dollar spot and I added a couple of chipboard stickers to dress it up.
I will be adding lots more pictures of my album to my Instagram throughout December, and maybe, just possibly…I might be filming a YouTube video or two for the first time. We will see how that goes! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my Instagram. Head on over to the Simple Stories and Carpe Diem Planners Instagram accounts to see all of the other amazingly gorgeous ways the Christmas and winter collections are being used!