We love December Daily!! This is our second year creating an album and we’ve loved the entire process!!! For those unfamiliar, December Daily is a scrapbook concept created by Ali Edwards, which documents each day of December. Even in all the busyness of the month you can slow down and document the moments both big and small.
In late November I pulled out our December Daily album from last year. We flipped through it together as a family. Georgia loves looking at the daily photos of Billy, our Elf On The Shelf. I love seeing how little the kids were only a year ago. Simply having this album brings the whole family joy.
Lately, I’ve really been into watching YouTube videos of people either showing their December Daily process or walking through their albums. I’m slightly addicted. If you’d like to join me in this obsession, I recommend starting off with Amy Tangerine’s walk-through of the last 5 years and Victoria Marie’s process videos! And, if you want, you can also check out the video I made last year. Watching how others scrapbook is very inspiring and I’ve learned many new techniques. However, I have learned the most from simply making our album last year. Here’s what I learned…
LET THE PHOTOS TAKE THE LEAD
Last year in November I loaded up all of my pocket pages with fun cardstock. I thought by prepping the album in advance it would save me time and make things go faster…WRONG! The more I pocket-page scrapbook the more I am learning what works best for me. Here’s what you need to know about me: I take A LOT of photos!! I love capturing the everyday little moments. It helps me remember them in the hectic times of life. I’ve become very good at quickly pulling out my iPhone, snapping a photo, and then continuing on with life. Because I know this about myself, I let the photos take the lead this year.
This means there wasn’t much prep I had to do in advance. I simply made sure I was taking photos during the day and then I kept a list of our activities and the stories I wanted to remember in my Get To Work Book. Twice – once in the middle of the month, and then once at the end of the month -- I went through my photos and had them printed at CVS. I printed some of the photos in multiple sizes. I still enjoy physically holding the photos and deciding how I want to lay them out. I let the photos for each day determine what layout I chose. I used a Simple Stories SN@P album again and I love all the different layout options they offer. I also really love the 6x8 size because it makes it easy to take with us while we travel. Bringing the album to North Carolina when I knew I’d have the time to scrapbook was extremely helpful.
Another thing I’ve learned about myself is that in order for me to finish something, I need to set a deadline. Last year I had more concrete deadlines – and, in turn, had the album completed by the first week of January. This year I had looser deadlines, so it did take a little bit longer to finally close the album and put it on the shelf.
Deadline #1- PHOTOS
Instead of doing each page from start to finish, I did the entire album in steps. I started with the photos. In order to stay on track, I told myself I would have all the photos in the album before we left North Carolina.
Deadline #2- PATTERNED PAPER
When we were back in Brooklyn, I made my next mission to fill the remaining spaces with patterned paper. I bought a 9x11 pad of paper from Hobby Lobby because I wanted the entire album to feel cohesive. I love bright colors so when I found this pack that was centered around light brown kraft paper (similar to the cover of the album) with bright reds, greens, and whites, I kinda fell in love. Since Georgia really loved Billy The Elf being in our book, I decided to make him extra special this year - I used glitter paper for his border. I still haven’t been able to successfully print my Instagram photos with the entire border. For some reason, one of the edges gets cut off. To fix this, I cut the border off and then mounted it on the glitter paper so that it was symmetric. I used glue dots instead of a glue stick so that it was able to grip the glitter paper.
Deadline #3- EMBELLISH & JOURNAL
Once I had all the pockets filled, the fun really began: embellishing and journaling. Since one of my goals for this year was to keep the album cohesive, I chose three different styles of alphabet stickers. I used the same red and green glitter letters I used last year. I found a thicker cardstock kraft-colored set in the $1 bin at Target. I bought two packs – and wish I would have bought more. The color worked perfectly with the album as a whole. I also used some thick gold stickers I had in my stash. I really couldn’t get enough of the alphabet stickers in this album! I used the same set of white number stickers to identify the date once December started.
For other embellishments I mainly stuck with my two favorite sticker lines: Mambi Clear Sticks & Mambi Chips. I love the clear stickers because you can put them right over the photos. I love the chips because they have great sayings & add a pop to any layout. I had bought a couple packs for my summer mini album and ended up using them in this album.
For journaling, I picked up three individual sheets of paper at Hobby Lobby that matched the paper pad I had previously bought. I bought a thin green sharpie that I used for the majority of my journaling.
A note on journaling: part of me wishes I had room to write more, but than another part of me felt like I was just writing what I could already see in the photos. I can’t decide what information I will always remember when I look at the photos and what things I just remember now because it is so fresh in my mind. Hmmm… This is another reason why I enjoy making the flip-through videos.
Also, in this album I used several clear stamps. I have a couple sets by Kelly Purkey and also found one by Heidi Swap that has all the days of the week. One of my other new favorite YouTubers is JuliMakesThings. I like how she stamps her date a couple times so it looks like it fades away. I used the same technique with the day of the week. I like knowing what day something happened in addition to the date. For whatever reason, it helps me remember better.
Last year I was very diligent about making sure each day only took up a single side of the page. I have a tendency to go overboard and have incredibly thick albums. Last year’s album was very thin and I am happy with that. However, knowing the 17 pocket pages wouldn’t make the album too big, I allowed myself to let a couple days occupy more than one side. For me, it’s about what I want to remember and on a few occasions multiple things happened per day that I knew I wanted to document. This year my album ended up having 23 pocket pages.
Now that I have the album done, I’m already excited for next December to get here!! Eventually, I’d love to find the time to do a full Project Life album per year. In the meantime, I guess I’ll get to work on finishing our summer mini-album.
If you'd like to see every page in the album you can watch my flip-through video here. Note: I go through each page so it's about 20 minutes!!
Below are some different memory keeping strategies. I hope they inspire you on your next album…
TITLING A PAGE
Several times throughout this album I decided to simply give the page a title. I like this method of documenting because most of the time the story is told with the photos and giving it a title helps focus the page. I utilized my slight obsession with alpha letters, plus the bold sayings in the Mambi packs.
After church I asked our priest if I could take a photo of him with Chad and the kids. He’s our favorite and I wanted to include him in our album. I used the kraft-colored letters to spell out “We Love Father John.”
We had a photo shoot scheduled on the 22nd, but our photographer had to cancel because her kids were sick. We ended up using my camera and taking the photos ourselves. My mother-in-law Bobbie chose to have our “theme” be plaid this year. Genius, if I do say so myself, as Chad’s favorite shirt is plaid and he’s generally not too into our “themed photos”! I, on the other hand, live for them!!! We got two amazing photos out of the shoot. The first one is of the four of us on the side of the house making funny faces. I love everything about this photo. I knew I had to print it big. I was going back and forth trying to decide if I should add any embellishments – and this is why I LOVE those Mambi Clear Sticks because the white letters blend into the photo – adding a little somethin’ somethin’ without taking away from the photo itself. I used stickers to make the phrase “WE LOVE PLAID” on the bottom.
On the backside of this spread I used our favorite photo of MaMa & PaPa with the kids. Everyone looks great in this photo! I added the saying “This is love, pure love” because, to me, they are all beaming with love!!
Bobbie took a photo of everyone opening our matching Christmas pajamas. I titled the page “Matching Moo Moos” so that you know immediately what we were opening.
ALTERING A LAYOUT
I thought it would be fun to cut one of the pocket pages in half so I was able to fit more of our memorabilia in the spread focusing on our trip to see The Rockettes. I’ve seen this done several times before. However, I didn’t like how you could see half of the page behind it. I ended up taping on a strip of four 2x2 squares next to the two 3x4 photos to fill out the whole page. This gave me room to document decorating our tree as well as include the 3D glasses from the show. I used clear packing tape to secure the pockets together and then covered it with decorative washi tape.
EMBRACING THE NON-CHRISTMAS-Y DAYS
Not every page has to be Christmas focused because not every day in December is about Christmas. I am really happy with how this spread turned out. I kept it very simple and I love how it’s not as Christmas-y as the rest of the album. I used two photos from our craft fair that are very colorful. The top one is of my coffee cup & our yellow bags. In the background is our neighbor’s booth. She makes these crazy fun spandex pants in neon colors!! I loved them! It took all my will power to not buy a pair! I also really like the way a 4x6 photo looks when it’s cut in half. In the last pocket, I included a photo of Chad fixing our flat tire & the photo of Billy (of course). I used a clear sticker that says “My Man” and first stuck it to plain kraft cardstock so it is easier to read.
SAVING A MAGAZINE SPREAD
This December our thermographed Skyline Cards were featured in Rachael Ray’s Every Day magazine. I added this page last because I knew I wanted to remember it. We are also in KonMari mode and I’m trying not to keep extra things in the house. Adding the magazine spread to our December Daily album was the perfect way to have it as a keepsake. I used the full 6x8 pocket page. I laid it on top of the magazine so I could figure our how I wanted to crop the cover. I knew it wouldn’t all fit, but I wanted to keep the main image and as much of the title as possible. I also added two stickers: “This Happened” and “So Awesome”!
On the back side, I cut out a section of the page featuring our cards, plus another excerpt describing them. I also added some journaling at the top and the name “BOXER” in alpha letters vertically! Boxer is the last name of Rachael Ray’s fabulous right hand woman who put in the good word to have our cards featured in the magazine!!
NOT THE BEST DAY EVER
I didn’t have that great of a day on the 17th. In fact, I didn’t take one photo cause I was in such a frustrated mood!! I still wanted to document it so I decided to be a little cheeky. I used one of the clear stickers that say “The Best Day Ever” and added the word “not” in front of it. I then jotted down a list of the unfortunate events that unfolded that morning. I used both a green & black sharpie so the story was a little more animated.
OVERALL DECEMBER MEMORIES
There were a couple overall December memories I wanted to include that weren’t date specific. One of them is our “team” of babysitters. We are so fortunate to have a group of college girls who help us with the kids. Georgia stayed home from school on the 14th & 15th with a cold, so I used these two days to highlight our girls! They always step up when we need them the most. I used the red & green glitter stickers to write out each of their names.
BIRDS EYE VIEW SHOTS
I love taking photos from above, especially of the kids. I think it’s a unique perspective. I did this several times in our album.
Conroy totally thinks Trader Joe’s is an all-you-can-eat buffet! He used to say “nana” as soon as we entered because I’d always let him eat a banana as I shopped. Now that he’s older he generally has a banana, a Babybel cheese wheel, the sample of the day, and possibly a yogurt. This specific day his whole tray was full. It was so hilarious that I had to take a photo. I reached over the stroller and snapped.
This was the first year Georgia was influenced by commercials when it came time for asking for presents – thanks, Nick Jr. Every time the Elsa Frozen Ice Castle came on during an episode of Paw Patrol, Georgia would call me over and have me watch it. “Mom, I want this!” So, she asked Santa! When we walked down the steps on Christmas morning, she saw an enormous box. I asked her if she asked Santa for something that big. She said, “No, mom, I didn’t.” When she saw the Ice Castle behind the box she said, “It didn’t look THAT big in the commercial!!” She loved it! My favorite part about this photo is that she’s wearing her Sofia The First gloves. I also love that the way the sun is coming through the window, it really lights up the castle.
Chad took this photo the morning we were all making Christmas ornaments. The first one he took without us really noticing. Then we smiled for a couple. The one of us working turned out the best and I think it really captures the moment.
I love documenting quotes! I am sure if I didn’t write these down I would definitely forget they were said. Often Georgia asks me to take a photo of something so she can remember it. It’s either something she’s built with legos, a unique food we are eating, something she sees on the street, or something she notices in the sky. I stenciled the quote “Hey Mom, Take A Picture of That”, then cut it out, and glued it over a photo of an airplane flying through the sky. Also on this page I wrote “Dad, Haul the Mail” cause that’s what they say when they want him to go fast!!
On the 21st we visited Santa. First we stopped at JCPenney to have Conroy’s hair cut (worst haircut to date) and then went into the mall to find Santa. Conroy was so excited. When he saw PaPa, who had went ahead of us, he shouted, “Hey, Papa, Have you seen Santa?” Then when we saw Santa, Conroy ran over to him – skipping and waving!! It was easily the highlight of my day!!
This year, like last year, we had the kids buy something for each other. When Conroy gave Georgia her present – before she could even open it – he shouted “Georgia, It’s the best Frozen book you’ve ever seen!!” We all laughed!! Mainly because of his enthusiasm, but also because it was the best Frozen book she’d ever seen. She had seen it at the store and really wanted to buy it but, since she was there to pick out a gift for Conroy, we didn’t buy it for her. Chad and Conroy secretly picked it up and bought it for her as the gift from him. She was so happy!!
PAIRING DOWN VS. SPREADING OUT
In this phase of life right now, we are very busy. And, for me, that’s a great thing because I love being busy!!! Sometimes I’ve found, when scrapbooking, recording ALL of what we do can kind of be overwhelming when looking at one spread. Most days I chose to record just one memory or focus on just one story, but on a couple days I wanted to include it all. In some instances I squeezed it all on one page and in others I let it take over two pages.
December first was one of those days I fit it all in. There were three memories I wanted to record. (1) Tuesday mornings being my day to work; (2) Tuesday afternoons being Georgia’s and my time together; and (3) the photo our babysitter took of me reading to the kids. In order to fit it all on the page, I decided to make Georgia & me the focus. I used stickers to title the page “On Tuesdays we eat ice cream.” I put this title over a photo I snapped of my workstation. I like that you can see my cards, the CSI: Cyber DVD menu, and our Christmas tree. The photo of Georgia eating ice cream also shows her practice Gifted & Talented Test packet. I printed out the photo of us reading small and included it in the corner.
On the 19th we traveled to North Carolina. We didn’t leave until the afternoon and had a wonderful relaxed morning at our apartment before we headed to the airport. I knew right away this would be the perfect time to allow the spread to take over multiple pages. I used a pocket page with two 4x6 pockets. To document the morning, I used a photo Chad took from above of us making Christmas ornaments and a photo of Conroy painting them. We made a special ornament for our best friends. I wanted to remember this – and since we gave the ornament to them as a present – including a photo of it in this album is the perfect way to keep this memory.
The second part of the day is remembered with three photos. The top one of Chad & the kids walking with the luggage at the airport I took by running ahead, squatting down, and taking the pic without telling them. Our flight was delayed and we ended up spending six hours at the airport. We pulled out all the tricks in the book to keep the kids occupied. I texted my mom this photo of Chad & Conroy doing an activity book while Georgia watches YouTube videos. The last photo is a tradition we have with MaMa & PaPa – a photo of them with the kids and the sign they made for us at baggage claim. This photo really makes me laugh because it shows how tired the kids were. By this point it was about midnight. Conroy can barely keep his eyes open and Georgia is mid-yawn. It’s perfect.
POSTAGE STAMP PAGE
I saw Amy Tan do a “stamp” page in her album last year and I was immediately obsessed. I knew I wanted to dedicate a whole page to our stamps this year. The joy I had ripping the stamps off the corners of our holiday cards is a little ridiculous but, seriously, I love this page!!
I glued the stamps on a piece of a Starbucks bag. I was debating whether to use the front or the back of the bag and the back won! I love that it has the Starbucks logo and the red berries at the bottom.I also love that is says, “Reuse this bag again and again. Then recycle it – again.” I thought that was very fitting since I was repurposing it for this album.
I also wanted to point out that cute little sticker of our friends’ baby Max! It was part of their return address label and it just makes me smile.
ENDING THE ALBUM
I ended the album just as I did last year – with photos of everyone who came over for the Carter Christmas party. I love that Bobbie insists everyone has their photo taken! I plan to end every album this way.
Also, this year I decided to make an envelope pocket for all of our holiday cards. I used some of the patterned paper and packing tape to turn in into a pouch. I love keeping these cards. Last year I just slipped them into a Starbucks bag, but they kept falling out. I need to go back and secure them better. I know my method for keeping them this year will hold up much better.
Done and done!! I am so happy with how the album turned out this year! I don’t even mind that it took a little bit longer. I love that the whole thing is very cohesive, our memories are documented and it’s not bulging at the seams. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a peak inside my album. If you’ve made an album yourself or know someone who has, please let me know. I love seeing how other people document their month!! Now onto 2016 and more memories!!