It’s official my Day 4 layout has been well and truly superseded by Day 9. I had such a gloriously good time making this one and am crazy about the result. Day Nine started out as a bit of a dud to tell you the truth. I didn’t really have a story to tell since it was one of those I’ve-been-crafting-too-much-and-the-house-look-like-a-bomb-hit-it kind of clean up days. Not only that but like I said I’d put that Santa Claus paper in place for my day eight layout when there was just no way it was going to work with birthday photos so it got bumped up to Day Nine. Enter magnificent inspiration… it was really one of those DUH, why haven’t I thought of this before things. My Christmas plans live and die on my ability to get them out of my head and on paper. I have lists for everything. I love this time of year so much that I go into a kind of Christmas crafting frenzy, December Daily is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s decorations to craft, gifts to be made and then there’s the wrapping – I love me some fun wrapping. Being the ideas girl that I am, you can bet they flow fast and freely at this time of year, so keeping track of my plans and my progress is paramount or I’d fall into a heap. That’s where my Christmas Control Journal comes in. It started out as an innocent Flylady Holiday Control Journal and has morphed into my own personal idea of heaven. Despite it being an essential piece of my Christmas preparation I have never thought to say anything about in any of my December Daily’s.I had the idea to house my list pics in a kind of Heidi Swapp Memory File type arrangement but since I’ve never bought one and am still on my Frozen 30. I was all about ‘using what ya got’ for this one. I concocted my own Memory File type arrangement out of DIY Shop Project Life cards and various gathered/hoarded items from my stash, including some gold foil paper stock that has waiting for something beautiful since my uni days.These letters are another of my hoarded items and came in the same type of arrangement as my 1800 Tags so it was fantastic to get so many of them on here and I just love how the fond and colour fits so well with the color scheme on this layout. As for Santa himself I really did wonder the first time I saw this paper just how I was going to be able to work around him and what kind of design he could possibly fit with, but I absolutely adore the pop of red he adds to the page and how he inspired the subject matter. Just a heads up I have my family coming to our place for Christmas this year and some major, major cleaning and crafting to do before they get here so this will likely be my last post before Christmas. Wishing you all the best and merriest Christmas Day and hope it’s awesome!
For my layout on Day 8 I had to do a little rearranging of foundation pages first before I could get into it. Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight when I put the Santa checking his list paper on that particular day. So it was a matter of figuring out which day it would actually work for and then rearranging four or so others to make it fit where I wanted before I got going. I was really inspired to go with a grid for this one and began with some Project Life Cinnamon edition cards. I really like the look of different embellishment clusters in a grid design and the fact that you get to play around and make vignettes in each space. You can go as wild or as simple as you like but the effect is still quite pleasing to the eye because you have that separation of space between the elements of your grid. Cinnamon is a lovely neutral colour palette of browns, greys and creams and was such a great complement for letting my photos stand out. I decided to use a couple of Heidi Swapp stars just to bring in the blue of Josephs shirt to my embellishment clusters and added in a subtle touch of repeating his age too. Can you guess how old the little guy was this year? One of my favourite things to include was the ‘Start each day like its your birthday’ die cut from the Kaisercraft Take Note collection. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting it on so many layouts and finally decided it just had to go on this one.It was a fairly low-key kind of day and I feel like the photos speak for themselves, so I opted to not do any journaling for this one. I figure I can always go back and add some later if I feel so inclined. It took a couple of days to pull together but I’m pleasantly happy with the outcome.How do you go about including elements in your design that are a nod to your subject?
In my post for day one I spoke about knowing what’s most important to your storytelling and explained that I see December Daily as more of a family album than my own personal documentation. Naturally then, it falls that there’s got to be some stories about the farm and our day-to-day reality featured in it. Day Six was one of those days where things were happening on the farm and just ripe for a December Daily entry.My husband has wanted to fix the lanes on this property ever since we arrived and this was the day that it finally got done. If your unfamiliar with farming, property improvements are by necessity or design things that get put on the back burner until the milk price is right or no disaster has befallen something and it needs fixing now (always happens) or the perfect storm of circumstances arrive. It’s been a job waiting in the wings for what seems like forever, so when we had a load of dirt from another job that just had to go somewhere, topping up the lane was the perfect fix. The best thing about it was that he was the one that suggested I go out and photograph it – love when that happens. I love that this is something my family feel inclined to help create even if it’s just suggesting a topic and it’s another one of the reasons why this is more of a family album, their stories matter.Side benefit of farming is that my boys get to see all the excavators, scrapers, bulldozers and trucks their little hearts desire. It’s like little boy heaven. So I didn’t have any trouble convincing them to come out and take a look with me.Day Seven was a Sunday and therefore a church day. We have a lovely community of people at our church and one of the things they like to do is bake a cake for anyone with an upcoming birthday during the next week. Since Joseph was the man of the hour this week he got the cutest cake made for him complete with Tiny Teddies in little Mars Bar cars. How adorable is that. Being the first Sunday of the month also meant that it was a Church Lunch day were we all bring and share a main and a dessert and just hang out and enjoy each others company. So most of this day was filled up with friends and family and rounded out nicely with an impromptu dinner invitation and visit from his aunt and uncle in the evening.I kept the palette fairly neutral for this layout using some papers from a 6×6 Kaisercraft travel themed line called Check in and also cut apart some bits and pieces from a sheet out of Teresa Collins Summer Stories 6×6 pad. With a little Crate Paper Love Notes thrown in for good measure. I’m thinking I want to add a little more colour to it though and might see what I can find in similar hues to the blue and red on some of the pieces.
I think this one is my favourite spread so far. It is so super simple but effective, I love that red patterned paper and the fussy cut banner from the same Kaisercraft Yuletide collection I’ve used for my album, but those deer were just to adorable not to get them on here. They were given to the boys by their teacher at our last playgroup session for the year and totally make the page. The journaling is on a ledger pattern PL card from the DIY Shop Value Kit that I cropped the rounded edges off to fit my design. While the photos speak for themselves about what we actually got up to I chose instead to focus on the changes that attending this playgroup signifies for my journaling. We’ve attended the same playgroup since my eldest was a baby but this year we changed it up for various reasons, one being that he will be heading off to school and we wanted to get him used to the new environment. It’s been good for us to get to know some people associated with the school and for him to meet some kids his own age who will likely be going through school with him. While I miss our friends from the other group and the fact that their faces are missing from this years album its been a good year and we’ve all enjoyed the changes.The 5th was an extremely busy one for us, so busy in fact that I’ve given in a four page spread. We needed to do some shopping and had to head into Launceston to get it done. The main center of town is always filled with a busker or two, especially at this time of year, but I was rather surprised to see someone playing a piano as we went about our shopping. It turned out that the piano was not just someone’s idea of a way to make a buck, but in fact something for everyone’s enjoyment and entertainment. As we walked up and down the street we saw and heard people of various levels of ability having a go, and couldn’t resist a little turn ourselves, pinging out a rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’. Since I already had my PL cards out I just kept going with them and added some to bothe of the spreads for the 5th. The day was rounded out nicely listening to some family members sing at the local Rotary Club Street Party and Carols in the ‘liquid sunshine’ as one person put it – brollies were a must. Despite the rain we had a great time and caught up with a few friends, ate from the sausage sizzle and the boys even had a go on the jumping castle to round out the evening. For the journaling on the second half I just used the card design to dictate what was said. I could have added in a little more journaling if I had the space but it’s done now and I’m very much of the opinion that done is better than perfect in cases like this.
Have you got a go-to embellishment, that your working with at the moment?
It seems that my scrapbook mojo is actually working after all, it just need time to warm up. Day Two had me adding in a little dimension and speaking of warming up I even broke out the embossing equipment for my Day Three layout.
We’ve still got a bit of a post-calving fall out to deal with around here both in the house and the calf shed. It’s just a matter of things not being where they belong, cupboards in a state of disarray and even though the calves are in the paddock I’m yet to finish packing up the shed so it’s all ready to go next season (much to my husbands displeasure). Today was all about dealing with those niggling jobs that just need to get done – like sorting out the linen closet. With my family coming for Christmas I need to be able to find everything so no-ones left with out a set of sheets or heaven forbid – no towel. That could get a little scary in a house full of people. Yep I live in exciting times. Mind you it did provide enough entertainment for my boys. What is it with kids and pillows & blankets, or a cleared off shelf for that matter? You and I might see a bit of space or a pile of freshly laundered linens – they see a climbing frame and a jumping castle.
To put a little speed in my scrapping I used pre-made embellishments on this one and kept it really simple. Lay ’em out, stack ’em up and add a few pop dots and I was done. I did think twice about using one of those journaling cards but I’m really trying to train my brain to think that “there is no perfect layout”. Having it used is better than letting it lie. I was all set to get crafty-with-it for my layout on the 3rd about the Christmas gifts I’m making, but we got treated to the most magnificent meal prepared by Jae Bin, that it just needed to be documented. The feast was in celebration of the fact that Chan Joo’s heading home to Korea for a little bit and that he’d be celebrating his birthday after he left. It consisted of a Korean dish which I’m informed is called Hemul pa jeon (a seafood pancake), an Italian pasta of Mushroom and Pesto and an amazing chicken dish of Jae Bin’s own imagination which as a whole seemed like an interesting pairing of flavours but totally worked. And while my story may not have gone with a terribly crafty bent I did pull an eclectic mix of items together for my layout just like the meal. I wanted to get into some embossing and stamping starting with my photo mat and breaking into my long neglected collection of embossing folders. But because my mat was a tad to large for my Big Shot I got a little creative and used a rolling-pin over the embossing folder to get the design on my paper. It wasn’t perfect but it does the job. If you’ve got a braver I think that would be more effective just because of the distribution of pressure but I was working with what I had on hand and since I’m still on my Frozen 30 that’s still the name of the game. I also went a little crazy with some embossing powder in Platinum. The lace stamp is lovely but clearly I need a little more practise when stamping directly on a layout. The wood grain under my main photo was far more effective so I repeated a little more embossing on the journaling block and circled the 3 on the bottom to denote the date and then finished of my run of embossing with a Heidi Swapp ‘Celebrate’ stamp on the bottom right. Looking at it here I think I might go back and add a little something on the wood grain, maybe a title or something, but I’m not sure yet.
What are you playing with at the moment that’s got your mojo running hot?
Yep, I haven’t even posted the first layout of my December Daily (you can check it out below) and I’m gonna talk about pacing yourself. I know it’s a week after the fact that people have begun and that a lot of lovely bloggers out in blogger land (Ali included) have been doing daily posts. I too had the best of intentions to post every couple of days because I know I work on a slower schedule. But apparently with this project my version of slower is quite a bit slower. I’m totally okay with that. There are so many reasons why keeping up with daily layouts/posts from the get go is just not a realistic option for me and I’m hoping that by sharing my why you might find a little encouragement not to quit before you begin, if you, like me, have only just pulled your first layout(s) together or still want to start. I need time to mull things over: design-wise, story-wise, just life-in-general-wise I like to take my time. I’m process driven and find my joy in the details and doing things over a period of time. Like I explained about my Journaling process, sometimes the fermenting produces better results. The lead up to Christmas and the anticipation and planning of it all is just about the most enjoyable thing ever for me. It’s the same with my December Daily.
Sometimes our expectations are at odds with our reality: I plotted my post schedule, I made my foundation pages and cover, and I gave myself a set of parameters to help me get off on the right foot. But working with a blog in mind is a new adventure for me and in reality I’m still working this thing out. My current reality is that my previous way of batch processing tasks for DD doesn’t work with a strict posting schedule. Ultimately my expectations were just unrealistic for how I operate. I haven’t had a December Daily yet that I wasn’t still working on in January, so you think that’s be a pretty good indicator right there. By all means aim high, but be realistic and adjust if necessary even if you have to do it right off the bat.Challenge your ideas: I have to admit I got a little stuck on my first page, I chose the paper with the Christmas tree on it because I know that December 1st is always the day that we break out the Christmas boxes and decorate the tree (well our first tree anyway). But then after I’d taken my photos, I wasn’t sure that the decorating story was the one I wanted to go with. It seemed a little redundant and like I do it every year. Closer inspection of my previous albums showed that this was not the case. Sure it featured heavily in one but for the others I only really mentioned it in passing.
Know what is most important to your story-telling: The other story I could have gone with was a conversation that led to our workers pulling out my previous December Daily’s and spending quite a bit of time perusing them. I loved this on so many levels. The fact that my husband sent them to look things up in my albums to prove his point, the fact that they spent so long looking at and enjoying the work that I’d done, and the fact that it was another way of sharing our culture and traditions with them. The thing is though that this year was also the first year that both my boys were actually able to help with the decorating and were excited to do it with me. While the first story was a good one, it was really all about me. If you take a look around here you’ll know I’m certainly not opposed to scrapping about myself but for December Daily I like the focus to be more family centric. Decorating the house, is not a tradition without reason, but the new spin on it was something that I wanted to document and therefore the thing I went with because it fit with my values and focus for this album.Creative problem solving sometimes means you need to take a step back: Like I said that tree was causing me problems. Design-wise it needed to be considered when choosing my photos and my layout options. Part of why I don’t do the pocket page thing with my December Daily either is because I prefer more space to move things around and don’t like being tied to such a specific design. It can be quicker to just slip photos in pockets but when I have things that don’t move like the tree or a pocket set-up. It interrupts my process. Moving things around is just part of the joy for me. It sparks things in my brain that doesn’t happen any other way and usually ends up with me being much happier with the result. In this case I couldn’t figure out how to make it feel part of the design and not just a boring random element off to the side, so I walked away from it for a bit and moved on to the next layout.
Break it down even more if you have too: Finding my story helped my narrow my photos and finding my photos helped me narrow down my colour options but after deciding on that cluster of elements to the left I still wasn’t feeling the love for the tree. It wasn’t till a few days later that I saw my solution. My son had a sticker sheet lying on my desk that I realized would work great for anchoring the colours in my photos and other elements to the tree if I used them like Christmas decorations. Problem solved, page done. Working through these issues really helped me get into the game and last night I was able to prep and print five days worth of photos so maybe I’ll end up posting to my plan and maybe not. Whatever the case I’m just going to work with it and enjoy it along the way.
I hope this helped you out if your starting off stuck too. Got any pointers on how you do your DD process that works for you?