Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My December Daily 2011

UPDATE: I somehow neglected to take a picture of several pages of my book but after putting off this post for a week, I am still in bed sick with the buboni-something-plague and since IT IS a DECEMBER Daily, I thought it best to actually post it IN December…at the rate things are going it will be January before I get the photos taken, so I am posting it as is.

Have you heard of a December Daily?  Up until about 2 weeks ago,  I never had.  Then, I saw it mentioned on one of the blogs that I follow.  I'm sorry, I can't remember which one but as the week went on, I saw more and more mentions of this December Daily including posts by RhonnaHeidi, and Janet.  December HUH? Daily What? December WHO?

What IS this December Daily they speak about?  I have no idea….must investigate.  Somebody had a link back to Ali Edwards' blog so being the ace detective that I am, I decided that would be a great place to start.  It probably won't come as a surprise to know that- being the great detective that I am- I was correct.  I learned that Ali Edwards created the concept for the December Daily in 2007 and since then it has become quite the phenom.

What exactly is a December Daily and why is it different from a traditional scrapbook album?  The idea behind the album is that the holiday season is so busy that we are often so busy there is little time for documenting what is, for many people, the most important time of the year.  The December Daily is simply an album where you document the small things that happen, the quiet moments, a single thought or concept, a family tradition, a receipt, a scrap of wrapping paper, or a family recipe.  The December Daily is completed one page at a time during the month of December.  It is not meant to document everything that happens over the holidays and it is not meant to hold all of your favorite photos.  Leave those for after the holidays, when you have time to breath and edit and print all those photos.  Leave those for your traditional scrapbook album.

Part of the 6x8 template 
Ali's idea for the December Daily is an album for documenting a story-a-day beginning December 1st and ending December 24th.  Can you change that up to fit YOUR life?  Sure.  The memories can be big, or small but think "single event" not "everysinglethingIdidandthensome".  Remember, it is supposed to be a low-key, non-stressful memory project.  My friend Mandy has made a December Daily for the past several years.  I asked her what she puts in hers and she said: pictures, journaling, receipts, and recipes.  Ok, I can do that so I decided to jump in and make one.

First the specifics of creating a book:  It imperative to the success of project that the basic pages are done BEFORE the holidays
Brushes in Ali's awesome handwritting
start.  I don't think anybody has time during the month of December to MAKE an album AND fill it out day by day; if you do then go for it but most of us need to have the bones of the book completed.  Choose the size you want to work with and album structure; the specific papers and the general embellishments; and pick your main colors AHEAD of time.  Ali has a lot of information on her blog about what makes a good book and she has hints and tips on what type of content you should consider  as well as techniques to making your book look terrific. You can read her tips here and here.

As I noted above, this year seems to be the year the December Daily "blew up"as they say in the music biz.  It is mentioned more and more in the blogs and as you will see below, there are now many places you can go to read about how to make one, see what others have made, and share your album.  Several companies (I think they are all associated with Ali) have introduced products this year specific to creating a December Daily album (more below).  These products are all supplies for the crafter who wants to create her own album, but I suspect that next year there will be pre-made December Daily albums for sale at Target and other big box retail outlets.  If you love the idea but have NO interest in creating an album and you don't want to pay the price for a handmade album from Etsy- give it a year.  For those who just want to add memories and pictures THIS year- grab a Moleskin journal from the stationary section at Target and go for it.  Your book won't self-destruct if it isn't an official December Daily.  

As the mother of the December Daily, Ali Edwards has a lot of STUFF to help you create the perfect book for you.  And by stuff I mean information, templates, brushes, stamps, ideas, and overlays.  Some stuff is free, some is retail.  She has templates for a 6x8 book (shown, above) available here.  The Photoshop brushes (shown above) are available here.  The overlays (seen below) are available here.   If you aren't into Photoshop, never fear, there are good old fashioned rubber stamps available from Technique Tuesday (shown above).  Want to show off your album?  You can post to the Flickr group, or Ali's blog.  Need to Tweet about it?  Follow December Daily on Twitter at #decdaily.

Ali's 2010 album
There are very detailed pictures of Ali's 2010 album;  part one and part two . She includes the "blank" before and the "completed" after.  Scroll down the page for her thought process and how-to's for planning her 2011 album.  Need more info still?  Scroll down  the page and you will find the preplanning and basics for 2010 album and then the 2009, 2008, and finally the original one, the 2007 album.  Ali has compiled a huge amount of information, a large number of photos, and ideas on how she brought each page together.  Ali's albums are simply stunning and worth browsing.

From JMP Girl
There is so much great information on Ali's blog and design inspiration from my favorite bloggers like Janet Hopkins, Nancy at Love to Create, May at Confessions of A Chocoholic, and one of my favorite books at JMP Girl.  Check out Ali's blog, Flickr, or Google December Daily and you will find thousands of examples

Honestly, I haven't had time to read all of Ali's information but my plan is to start early next year and read it all.  I will start in the fall and get a better grip on the project.  This year I went with the theme of flying by the seat of my pants in order to get one done on time.  It was late November when I discovered the concept and another few days before I decided I was going to jump in.  Add that to the fact that although I love scrapbooking products, I'm not really a scrapbooker, so for me to make a blank album, under a time pressure, well it was intimidating.  Making a pretty album wasn't the problem- I can do that with one hand tied behind my back (not really).  No, what I found difficult was deciding what WILL go WHERE.  I didn't know what I would want to document on a particular day.  Each page is one day in my album.  So, for each page I as faced with questions of how much undecorated space to leave?  big page? small page? pockets?  frame? no frame? It all gave me angst.  I thought about making the pages without any numbers, which would give me the chance to choose the appropriate page from my stash each day.  After choosing the best page for my layout, I would simply add the applicable number 1-24 to represent each day/date of the month and slip the page on to the binding ring.  But, in the end I decided that nobody else seemed to be doing it that way and frankly it seemed a little bit of a copout.  Ok….and it goes a little bit against my oddly placed OCD.  If you are a new reader you will at some point realize that my house is almost always a disaster but something like NOT pre-numbering pages in an album will drive me INSANE…and….I get sooo aggravated when my son doesn't stop to pick up all of the virtual Lego studs on any Lego Wii game, but I trip over real Legos in my real home all.day.long.  In fact, there have been real Legos all over my real living room floor for 4 years and it doesn't bother me nearly as much as those studs on the Wii.  One look at those little Lego Harry Potters running through Lego Hogwarts casting spells to obliterate Lego spell books into Lego stud carnage and my hair stands on end…Seriously…I know…Its weird.  So, numbered pages it is and fingers crossed that I don't regret it.

After throwing parts and pieces of what I thought I might use into a huge pile this is what I came up with.  And I know, it says "December……" dead space.  I am ADDICTED to Tim Holtz' Idea-ology Alpha Parts and wanted to write the entire title with them but I only had 3 "E's".  Yeah, you already caught that didn't you?  It took me over a week to realize that it is "Daily" not "Dailey"***.  Soooo, I do have the correct letters, I just have to go and add them and hit them with Ranger Paint Dabber in Silver.  They take the paint so well and they end up looking metallic.  Mandy thought the letters on my "Holiday Wishes" mini-book were metal when she saw it in person.

Just for these photos I threw unattached tags and other embellishments on to the pages.  I made a them to have on hand with the intention of grabbing one as needed for journaling or decorating a page.
Cover- see Rudolph's nose?
Page 3 is the small scalloped chipboard page and page 4 is the full
size page with the sheet music and red paper. I love the blue sash.
Page 5 I just color-blocked this page for fun using the patterned paper.
Page 6 is all blinged up with blue and red rhinestones that took the
page from pretty to AWESOME.  The red tag is not attached.  
Page 7 is simply the music note paper with a rub on and metal tag.
They are hard to see but I glued the little blue glitter buttons to
the Heidi Swapp clear acrylic snowflakes- they look great. 
Page 8 has a few rub ons but otherwise ready for anything. It is
my birthday so I figured it was a safe bet that there would be pictures.
The rosettes are loose here. I used tinsel and snowflake buttons to decorate the centers.
Simply clip the shank off with wire cutters so they lie flat.
Page 9- the ornament, tag and bulb are loose.  The bulb and
ornamentare embellished with glitter in a few strategic places.
I ADORE the tissue ruffle on the bottom of the tag.
Page 10 is the first small tabbed page; Page 11 is the second tabbed page.
Page 12 is a red and polka dotted and I'm in love.  I simply ADORE
 the red paper with the Martha Stewart red berry vine and pinecones.
The vintage tree tag is not attached.  It is one of my favorite tags.  The tree is
a rub on and the embossed stitches are an Alterations
embossing folder.  Finally the divine 7Gypsies tissue forms the ruffle.
Page 13 and more loose tags. The Martha Stewart Holly Leaves are attached.
Lots of rhinestone embellishments.
Page 14 is decorated simply with the holly leaves.  The
tag is loose.
Page 15 is the cool little tiny 2-page booklet with Tissue Tape binding.
Page 16 is very plain- hope we have pictures to add that day!

Where are Page 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24?  No idea.  Well I know they are
in my book but where are the pictures?  Little brain hiccup during the photo shoot?
This page is for Christmas Day.  I didn't give it a page number and I can
skip it if I decide to do a bigger Christmas album.  I love the
page with the ruffle and stripped paper contrasting with the flower paper.
There it is- my pretty, albeit empty, December Daily.  This special project is about remembering the small things;  the quiet moments, a wonderful gift, an exquisite meal with friends, a family memory…  


***I can't spell.  If you follow this blog, you need to come to grips with the fact that I….CAN'T…SPELL. PERIOD. (and grammar escapes me which was made worse by my career choice.  Being a nurse I learned to write medical.  We use choppy, clipped, to the point sentences.  No extra words, nobody cares about correct punctuation. I am trying to be better.  Keep in mind, I graduated literally the top of my class, Victorian no, I know it isValedictorian in High School and With Honors from the University of Michigan.  I have two Masters Degrees (again, graduated with honors) but I cannot spell.  Thank God for spell check- though my fingers type faster than the spell check can keep up so sometimes the typos and mispellings get by me.  Oh, and if I text you…watch out because you will need to spend probably half of your time deciphering what I meant rather than what Steve Jobs thought I meant.  My self-esteem is intact because in college I had a terrific English professor, the type of character who had an undergraduate degree in Zoology and a Ph.D in English.  Needless to say, he was unique and amazing.  He told me, and I will NEVER forget it….are you ready?  Are you sitting down? Ok, here goes "Creativity and the ability to spell (accurately) are inversely related".  There…the simple sentence that saved my self esteem and changed my life.  Of course this was before Google- back when we used an abacus for calculus and a slab and chisel to take notes- so I had to take his word for it and just because he couldn't spell either doesn't mean it isn't true). 


  1. Intriguing project. And, I can't spell, either.

  2. Love your DD!! You make me laugh and who gives a shit if you spell it right or not you got it out there and we know what your talking about!I still can't get over how those letters look like metal when they are just painted plastic too cool! Hope you're feeling better.


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