I'm a very big believer in no Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but I've come to a big crossroads in my scrappy calendar: to December Daily or not to December Daily [for more info on the concept, check out this collection of posts by Ali Edwards]. If I decide to do it this year, I'd like to have some stuff ready to roll before the Thanksgiving hoopla strikes... and that's not too far off.
To help me make the decision, I went back through my four past efforts. Some worked well... others didn't.
2008 Size: 6-1/2 x 12 | Binding: American Crafts 3-ring binder
On my first try, I went crazy. Crazy sizes, crazy mix of papers, stickers, rub-ons, ribbons, page protectors, etc, and crazy preparation. I made every page in this album in October... then I waited. Once December hit, I did pretty well documenting my days until about the 10th. Then I started sticking my pictures in and adding Post-It notes to myself with the intent of going back in to finish the journaling (Exhibit D). And then... towards the end of the month... there are just random pictures added in. Better than nothing? Yes, of course. But the whole making EVERYTHING ahead of time and not really having a standard size just didn't work for me. Fun facts: I mentioned Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert in my journaling... even back in 2008 (Exhibit A). Haha! I'm reminded of the days when there was a motorcycle in my living room (Exhibit D). And when my husband's face was naked (Exhibit B).
2009 Size: 8-1/2 x 6 | Binding: Scrap cardboard covers + binder rings
I resisted starting another failed album the next year, but I eventually succumbed. It started out as a simple gathering of Christmas cards and a cover, but by the 12th of the month, I started journaling and throwing some pictures in. I basically put no thought process into this one. It's put together with scraps, lots of ephemera, lots of cards, and no planning. Literally, I'd sit down every day, print a picture or two out, put them on some paper I pulled from my scrap pile, wrote some things down, and called it good. I only did the last half of the month, but this album is FAT. I love it. Fun facts: This one cracked me up because it played witness to the birth of two new holiday traditions in my family: Chris's Christmas tattoo and the Christmas Eve run to Redbox (Exhibit D). I'm also remembering that this was the year I became addicted to Guitar Hero (Exhibit C), showed the kids how to play it, and now Alec is like a master guitar player (at least in my world). For real.
2010 Size: 7 x 5 | Binding: Scrap cardboard covers + binder rings
I think this one's my favorite. The cover is hot glue circles + spray paint + patterned paper + Diamond Glaze... and that was fun. I actually bought materials for this one, but spent less than $10. I think I ended up with about 8 sheets of double-sided Echo Park paper from the same collection. I cut them all into 5 x 7 pieces, punched the holes, and had them ready to go before December rolled around. I added Christmas cards and miscellaneous ephemera as the month went on, but kept it pretty basic. I used one 3x4 black and white photo every day, added handwritten journaling onto graph paper (sometimes a lot, sometimes a little), and a date stamp. As I went back through this one, I noticed that I'd skipped the date stamp during the later days, so I need to go back and add that. No biggie. I made a plan, kept it simple, and stuck to it. The result was a (mostly) completed account of the entire month. Yay! Fun facts: That hot pink/clear page (Exhibit A) is part of some Victoria's Secret packaging. I journaled on the clear part with an American Crafts Slick Writer. Favorite!
2011 Size: 7 x 5 | Binding: Heidi Swapp mirrored cover + binder rings
Well, I had a system that worked well for me, so I stuck to it for the most part. But I decided to get fancy. I started with a photo-a-day challenge group on Facebook... each day I had a one word prompt. I made a PhotoShop template, a little December Daily logo, and the album base using an old Cosmo Cricket mega kit I had in the archives. Each day I'd take the photo using the Retro Camera app on my phone (this was before I had Instagram!), then combine the photo, template, and some photo-challenge based journaling in PhotoShop. Sounds easy enough... but I only made it about 10 days. What IS done, I think looks nice. I just wish there were more of it. I do have a month's worth of complete Project Life pages for this time period, so it's not a total fail.
So, what about 2012? I'm still doing Project Life, so a huge part of me thinks that's good enough. But another part of me really likes to have a collection of Christmas cards and holiday 'stuff' for the year and I really REALLY don't want to add everything to the PL album. Plus I love making mini albums. Plus it would be like breaking tradition if I quit now...
Perhaps another 5x7 album for cards and 'stuff.' Maybe add some full page photos and some journaling direct to the photos. Maybe finish it all up with my Bind-It-All. Right now, that's what I'm leaning towards. You?