December Daily | Lessons Learned

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This past year will mark the seventh year that I have created a Christmas album. I say “Christmas album” instead of “December Daily” because I have never truly done a December Daily until this year.

Way back in 2009, I began putting together my Christmas photos into some type of album. Then it was usually something handmade. One year, I even die cut a small box, wrapped it like a present, and printed my photos in 3×3, and put them in the box. So cute!


Most years I waited until after Christmas, gathered all the holiday-related pictures, then completed my album. I picked out my supplies early, but never worked on an album ahead of time.


Until 2015. That year I featured my album on a series of blog posts at Counterfeit Kit Challenge, so I had to work a little ahead of time. I still wasn’t doing a true December Daily, but I did lay out much of my album in the first two weeks of December. I even filled in a few of the earlier pages to feature on the blog post.


That year was the first year I had ever worked on my album during December. I really enjoyed it! I liked creating holiday pages during the actual holiday season.


So this year, I decided to {GASP!} actually do a December Daily. I used a Simple Stories 6×8 album, a Christmas kit from Noel Mignon, and journaling prompts from Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas.


I purposely made the album simple–two photos from each day, one on each side of the spread, journaling with each photo, and minimal embellishments.


And I did it! I have a completed album documenting twenty-five days in December. I did fall behind a bit around the second week, due to the many events going on in my life. But I knew that I would have some time to catch up later on in the month.



What was most interesting was hearing and reading about many people’s experiences with December Daily (some positive, some negative), which was a topic on every podcast I listened to and most Facebook pages I read. After the holidays were over, I reflected on many of the lessons I learned from this project.

  1. If you don’t LOVE Christmas, don’t try to do a December Daily. I have always made holiday projects because Christmas is my second most favorite time of year (summer is my favorite). I LOVE Christmas and everything about it. (I LOVE summer too–and I often make summer albums. I have not, however, made a winter album, because I loathe winter.)
  2. Limit the supplies you use for your album. I chose ALL of my supplies ahead of time so that I could quickly put my pages together. I didn’t have to rummage through my entire stash of Thickers just to find the right ones. I used the ones that were in my kit.
  3. Perfectionism has NO place in a December Daily album. If I made my album polished and shiny, I would STILL be working on it. I have photographs that are blurry, dark, too far away, or crooked, but they are in my album because they represent what we did that day. I (and everyone else who looks at this album) will love the memory that the picture represents, not judge its quality. My pages aren’t stellar works of art, but they each have heartfelt journaling and at least one cute embellishment.
  4. Make December Daily your own. Don’t be discouraged by all of the hype surrounding December Daily. Do what makes you happy–make a traveler’s notebook, create a series of layouts, or write in a journal. Just do what you LOVE.
  5. Don’t give up! I fell behind around the 11th of December which was a busy time for me and my family. I almost gave up, thinking, how am I going to do a December Daily when I’ve missed three days? But I just did a little at a time until I could catch up.


Will I do a December Daily again next year? I’m not sure. As much as I enjoyed working on an album during the holiday season, I did feel some extra pressure to be in my craft room when I could have been doing something else (like wrapping presents or making cookies.) However, by keeping the album simple, I was able to put together pages fairly quickly.

The main reason that I think I will do this type of album again is that I reallyfelt like I enjoyed each and every day of this Christmas. And I have the album to prove it!

Now go create!

The Perfect Day

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What does your perfect day look like? That was the question posed to the Master Forgers in our third challenge at Counterfeit Kit Challenge.

This month our inspiration kit is the UBUD Dreams collection from Kaisercraft.

And this is my kit, Coming Home, created from the inspiration collection.

My perfect day is a warm, summer day with a gentle breeze and just a few clouds in the sky. I have just finished a morning ride with my horse, and now I am sitting on my porch with a glass of cold sparkling water in hand. And here is how I documented my perfect day.

The photograph is bright with deep colors, so I used a white background to make the picture pop. I placed a few papers in soft colors and organic patterns to showcase the photo as well as add to the outdoors theme of the page. Finally, I included embellishments that brought texture to the page.

If you would like to see what other Master Forgers created with this prompt, head on over to the Counterfeit Kit Challenge blog.

Now go create!

Clean and Simple

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When I first started scrapbooking, all the popular magazines were full of vintage, shabby chic, and artsy-styled pages. I tried over and over to emulate these styles, but was usually not satisfied with my work. Then Simple Scrapbooks magazine came along. The layouts in this magazine were exactly my style!

I have always been a clean and simple scrapbooker. I love the perfect symmetry of the 12×12 canvas on which to work. I love to use one or two photos to perfectly capture my story then complete the page with only patterned paper and a few well-chosen embellishments.

To document my daughter’s 16th birthday, I knew I wanted to make a page with a very clean and simple style. My daughter is a very uncomplicated, straightforward young woman and my goal was to create a layout that reflected her personality. I converted the photo to black & white to minimize distractions in the background.

I chose a neutral background then added just a few more patterns in strips of paper under the photo. Finally I added just two enamel dots to add a little texture to the page.

The clean and simple style is one that I use often. I love this style in that it allows the photograph and story to shine. To see more examples of the style, go on over to the Get It Scrapped blog.

Now go create!

Google Photos

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A few days ago I listened to a webinar for the Get It Scrapped members by Steph Clay about using Google Photos. I am always looking for new ways to upload and store my photographs so I was very interested in learning more about Google Photos.

Currently I back up my photos to an external hard drive and Dropbox. Both of those solutions have been great so far. However, I would love to have an alternative to these storage places.

So far, what I have learned about Google Photos is the following:
* the search function works very well without manually tagging photos
* RAW photos will be compressed to smaller JPEG files
* access to photos is available from any device through the app or website
* the assistant will make movies and collages with photos
* it is free!

If you have many, many photographs I would recommend looking into using Google Photos as a storage or backup solution, especially if you are not currently backing up your pictures.

If you would like to know more about using Google Photos, especially with memory keeping apps like Project Life, check out Steph Clay’s course at Modern Photo Solutions.

Now go create!

Just Turn It

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One great thing about using sketches is the fact that you can always turn the sketch in different ways to create a whole new look! For this page, I turned the sketch 90º clockwise so that the photograph is in the upper left hand corner. This technique is helpful to use when you have a sketch with a horizontal photograph, but you have a vertical picture to scrap.

My husband volunteers as an EMT and fire fighter at our local fire department. This year he is in a leadership role within the station and I wanted to document that story. I found this photo of him that was perfect for my page. By just turning the sketch, I was able to make this layout with the vertical photo.

This layout was somewhat of a challenge to create in that I was scrapping a photo with bold colors and masculine topic with a kit that has a more feminine feel. To make the page, I selected a light blue cardstock as the background. Then I went through all the papers and embellishments, selecting those in yellow, blue, or red. For many of the embellishments, I only have a little piece peeking out here and there to add layers, but also to adapt a supply on a different theme to this layout.

For example, the yellow paper next to the photograph actually has a subtle fork-and-spoon print on it. By just using a small sliver of the paper, I added color and dimension with a themed product.

So take your favorite sketch, rotate it, and see what you come up with!

Now go create!