Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 4, 2009

December Daily 2009 Q&A and Holidays In Hand

Album cover in progress.

In the comments yesterday I received this series of questions from Jennifer. I thought it might be helpful if I addressed them in a new post today: 

Ali, I am in LOVE with this December Daily album. I have been following your blog for years and have been a major fan of the December Daily album you have done the last few years. I have collected things and then get so overwhelmed at the concept because I tend to get "stuck" in the wanting it to be perfect and then it consumes me and I don't even get started! This year I am VOWING to get one done. I have gathered my things and am planning on getting started this week/weekend. I do have a couple of questions though…How do you determine the sizes of your pages when you are making them? Do you have a general idea of what you want it to look like before you start? I have thought about using a ready made Christmas album – that would be easier but I think I like the various mediums of the pages better and I don't want to be confined to a certain size for all the pages. I LOVE yours and like the style but don't know how to determine which pages to put where. For instance, I always visit Santa with my kids. However I won't know what day I will actually do this so don't know what day to use the Santa paper on. Does this matter to you? I don't want to do 12×12 or 8 1/2×11 because that is too big but I think 6×6 is too small. I tend to journal a lot and I love bigger photos. Do you leave the left side and right side of the pages open for one day or one day per actual page? I can't tell from some of the pages. Sorry to make this so long. I am so excited to do this but want to organize it in my mind before I start. Also what trimmer do you use that cuts through chipboard and the acrylic pages? thanks for your inspiration and encouragement! I can't wait to feel the accomplishment of having an actual "December Daily" album done! :)

The first thing I want to say is that THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO APPROACH THIS ALBUM. It can be anything you want it to be. I have been reading in the comments that some people are holding off adding the numbers until the actual day comes together to give themselves more freedom to move the pages around – I think that is a great idea

I am one of those people that likes having a certain structure to work within and around – it's one of my favorite puzzles to solve (a design puzzle). I go with what works for me – go with what works for you (but don't be afraid to try something new too).

There's really nothing inherently special about what I have put together as the foundation.

Back to Jennifer's questions: 

1. How do you determine the size of the pages when you are making them? 
There is really no rhyme or reason. I go for a balance of full page size and smaller sizes (and when I say "balance" I don't mean that I count them out – I go more by how it looks to my eye). 

2. Do you have a general idea of what you want it to look like before you start? 
I do have a general idea: I want it to be a mixture of textures and sizes. I want some pages to have photos adhered on the outside and some to be slipped into a pocket. I want to use white and red and green and beige/kraft as my color scheme. I wanted to include more vintage Santa elements this year. I also know that I want to include more full-page photos this time around. Is it mapped out? No. 

3. I LOVE yours and like the style but don't know how to determine which pages to put where. For instance, I always visit Santa with my kids. However I won't know what day I will actually do this so don't know what day to use the Santa paper on. Does this matter to you?
The quick and easy answer is no. Here's the longer answer: I included Santa paper (and Santas) because they are a part of the season of celebration. It's likely that whatever day we do go visit Santa may not be a day that has a Santa already included on the page and I am totally ok with that. I am also ok with moving things around and making adjustments as I am working on the actual daily documentation. Maybe the Santa tag I used on Day 14 just doesn't end up making sense  with what I chose to write about that day – I have no problem taking it out and substituting a different number and using the Santa tag somewhere else (and covering up the 14 with a word sticker). I try to be flexible and go with the flow

4. Do you leave the left side and right side of the pages open for one day or one day per actual page?
Usually it just depends on my content for the day. If you go back and look at my daily posts of my 2008 pages (I included the original with the decorated page in each of my posts) you can see how I dealt with that in certain situations. Some days are one page, some are two, and some are more. Some days the page with the number is just an intro to multi-page content that follows (see Day 10, 2008). Again, a lot of it is working with what I have left myself from the basic foundation or the day before. 

5. Also what trimmer do you use that cuts through chipboard and the acrylic pages?
I use a Fiskars Rotary Desktop Trimmer. I have used it on chipboard and acrylic – with both I slide back and forth like a saw (there have been times when it has not been able to make it through so I finish the cut with a blade/large craft knife). 

This album, and this process, is definitely one that is best tackled with a go with the flow/embrace imperfection attitude. I vote for less stress, more quality family time, quiet evenings, Christmas books, and lots & lots of twinkle lights. Do whatever possible to keep this simple for yourself and keep the focus on what is the most important part for you. 


Jessica Sprague has announced a special free class called Holidays In Hand. Jessica is well known for providing fabulous instruction and inspiration. Click the image above to view the larger version of the basic information. 



If you are thinking about or planning to do your December Daily digitally check out Katie Pertiet's new Days of December template pack here


Look for a special giveaway to be posted today at noon Pacific.  


  • 1.
    Fatima said…

    happy b-day Ali!!!!

  • 2.
    Shelly Kettell said…

    Just want to say you are so great! You rock everything you do!
    And…I see by a previous post….HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    (Has it already been a year?) Wow!
    Enjoy today!

  • 3.
    Shelly Kettell said…

    Also, did you ever get my email regarding searches on your site? Looking back for road trip stuff…Thanks!

  • 4.
    Pam said…

    Happy Birthday!!
    Thanks for the reminders. I’m a person who needs patterns to follow but tips like “leave the dates off for now” are lifesavers! Working on mine in bits and pieces but one will be flying to Australia so I can’t take too much time.
    Hope you have a great birthday -

  • 5.
    elisa said…

    Happy Birthday, Ali!
    Wishing you love, health, and much happiness for the next year!
    Regarding the “leave the date off for now” suggestion, I did that exact thing last year. And although I had completed most of my foundation pages, I never got around to actually documenting my holidays in my December daily. The great news is, since I did not indicate the year on my album, I’m good to go for 2009!
    And by the way, finishing up my Y&T Random Childhood Memories layout, and I think it might be one of my favorites to date. Putting several little stories together takes away the pressure of making a full layout for small stories, and makes for a much more complete picture of my life. Thanks!
    Hope you have an amazing day, Birthday Girl.

  • 6.
    Robyn Meierotto said…

    Happy Birthday Ali… have a great day… you deserve it!

  • 7.
    Teri Lynn said…

    Happy Birthday!
    I wanted to thank you for all the great advice! I’ve gotten my December album to the point of having all the pages and numbers put together! YAY!
    Last year was when I first started going to your blog and I made a December book last year, but the hard part for me wasn’t the getting started but the finishing it. I actually never put stuff in it! It’s a beautiful shell now! There was so often that I’d be doing something holiday related and I’d forgotten my camera.
    So… how do you organize yourself when it gets to the daily documentation of December? Do you take pictures of everything? If there’s a day that’s low key, is that a day you choose to take pictures of decorations? Or would you just write what you did that day? I’m a senior at UCLA and the first half of December includes lots of fun traditions… FINALS! I can’t take a picture of me in my final, so what do you suggest? Taking pictures of campus? If you were to do Christmas shopping would you take a picture of everything you bought? Or the front of the store? … I’m starting to ramble and ask everything little thing I’m thinking, sorry about that! My main question is: HOW DO YOU PREPARE PICTURES AND SUCH TO DOCUMENT IN THE DECEMBER ALBUM? I’ve never done a daily album so I don’t know where to get started!

  • 8.
    Tracy S said…

    Feliz Cumpleaños Ali!
    Love the Christmas album, it is a great inspiration to get started on my very own.
    Have a great day!

  • 9.
    Jan said…

    First of all, I hope you enjoy your special day, today – and take photos of YOU! :) Happy birthday!
    I love your responses to Jennifer’s questions. I can so relate because I, too, have a tendency to want all my ducks in a row before I do a project. At the same time, however, I adore the spontanaity and eclectic-ness (excuse my spelling and making up of words…) that your books have embraced and I want that, too. I made my first December Daily book last year and I love it and look forward to putting it on display shortly.
    I wanted to suggest to Jennifer that she could perhaps prepare all her pages ahead of time, but use a three-ring binder approach. That way, it would be super easy to move her pages around if she wanted to use a particular paper on a particular day (but didn’t know ahead of time what day that would be).
    Hope that helps. Blessings…

  • 10.
    Stacy said…

    Hi Ali,
    I stayed up late last night perusing your blog and your past December Daily posts. (So inspirational!) I also have some Q for you. We begin our Christmas traditions the day after Thanksgiving with gingerbread house decorating and we usually buy our tree in Nov too. How would you recommend incorporating these end of Nov traditions into the Dec Daily album? Next, and this is off topic, but did you knit that adorable sweater you’re wearing in today’s post? Very cute!! Oh, and Happy B-day to you!! Again, thanks for the inspiration.

  • 11.
    Camille said…

    The last two years I’ve done a December Daily and I treasure them! This year, for my album, I got a few chipboard “books” shaped like a Christmas ornament with a binder ring at the top, binding it all together for a little book. (Got it at Michael’s). Only 8 pgs. per book, so got several to make a whole December Daily and will just use a larger binder ring.
    Question: I’m now wondering if this would be too hard for the shape of the book rather than having a square or rectangle book like I did in years past. I love how the big Christmas ornament looks, but the shape could make more work for me than necessary. What would you do (I could still get a different journal)?
    p.s. Did you get my camera question via email? :)

  • 12.
    Amy said…

    Happy Happy Happy birthday!

  • 13.
    Shelley said…

    Hi Ali, happy birthday!
    I have just started putting my first December Daily album together. At first I was getting frustrated and overwhelmed, thinking its “not right, doesn’t look ANYTHING like Ali Edwards” and then I had a scrapbook epiphany….I’m not Ali Edwards, anyone in my family that will look it doesn’t even know who Ali Edwards (sorry Ali!) and this album is for me! I am very excited about it, am going to alter a CD to use as a page to list my favorite Xmas music…am just really excited about this project!

  • 14.
    Sarah said…

    Thank you for answering Jennifer’s questions. I too, had basically the same questions and was struggling with trying to even begin my album. I tend to try to plan things too much and I find your approach to your December Daily album refresing. I hope to start my own December Daily album tonight using your go-with-the-flow, no stress strategy.
    And last but not least Happy Birthday Ali!! My birthday is today too–hope yours is special!! :)

  • 15.
    Donna VW said…

    Thanks for more inspiration, and hope you have a fabulous birthday!

  • 16.
    Sam F. said…

    It must be your Birthday, so Happy Day to you!
    Thank you for addressing some of these questions. It really helps get me excited about creating this album. I will start collecting my supplies this week & weekend. Like Jennifer, I have a tendency to get a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start. So, it’s great to have a little inspriation and direction form you!

  • 17.
    Ruth Allmart said…

    Hi Ali. Happy birthday :) I think I am going to give this a shot this year but with a twist. On Dec. 1st we are visited by a couple of Santa’s elves that stay with us until Christmas and I think this might be a great way to document all the fun stuff we do with them and all the mischief they get up to when we’re not around as well as a great place to put all the notes they leave for my girls each night. Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration Ali.

  • 18.
    Diane Marra said…

    Ali, love your album this year. I have done this with you in the past, and wouldn’t you know I already had a Prima album sitting on my shelf! I just did Donna Downeys fabric album last Dunday in VA with her, so wanted to do another one. It will be my version of your December Daily. I make it an advent book, and because it will be all ready for my advent journaling, I can focus on the daily experience of Advent! I will post pictures soon. Almost have my basic book done.
    If anyone wants to add the same size grommets to the extra pages I found them at Michaels last night, in the sewing aisle, not the scrapbooking one. Same size and you get 8 sets for $2.79. my blog and website for pictures are and

  • 19.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Cool Elisa – I love that layout too :) .

  • 20.
    Ali Edwards said…

    AWESOME :) . And I always tell people in my classes “I am not going home with you so do whatever you want!” This is for YOU :) .

  • 21.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Happy Birthday to you too Sarah :) .

  • 22.
    lrenee said…

    Ali, thank you for being such an inspiration. I love that you continually encourage us to embrace imperfection and to be flexible. This has been very freeing for me.

  • 23.
    Francisca said…

    Last night I just made a list of all the things that I want to take a photo of that I want to use for my December Daily album. For example: I am planning on taking some photos of some of our Christmas decorations that we hang in the tree. I could take these photos all ready. There are also some special things that we eat here in the Netherlands around the hollidays, and some of them are already available in the stories too. So I am planning on buying that food already and just to take photos now, and use these photos in December. Not every photo in the album has to be taken on the actual day, right? :)
    And making a list of the things that I want to have a photo of will hopefully really help me as a reminder on days that I don’t have time/or forget to take a photo

  • 24.
    Francisca said…

    Hi Ali,
    van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! (Happy Birthday, in Dutch).
    Thanks for being such an inspiration and for sharing all your wonderful ideas. You have really inspired me!

  • 25.
    Jane said…

    I am going to try and go with the flow. I have a lot of hangups related to “wanting to make it perfect.” This year, I think I’m going to go with your approach of not following any certain journaling prompts but just documenting whatever comes each day. I probably will look at the journaling prompts from some other classes (Shimelle’s and Jessica’s) to give me some ideas of things I’d like to document. Thanks for all the helpful hints and tips related to enjoying the season.
    And on a totally unrelated note: Happy Birthday!!

  • 26.
    Brooke M said…

    Happy Birthday!!!

  • 27.
    lori upham said…

    Happy Birthday Ali!! You are SUCH a blessing to so many!!!! xoxo

  • 28.
    Diana said…

    THANK YOU Ali! I got started (somewhat) last year and didn’t get it done before December and got TOTALLY stressed out. I’m ahead of the game and want to play with it this year, I even think I’m gonna have my kiddos help me! Hope “your day” is FANTASTIC!!

  • 29.
    Tinka said…

    Happy Birthday!

  • 30.

    Didn’t know about it… ¡¡Feliz Cumpleaños!!
    Have a great day and thanks for the inspiration :)

  • 31.
    Gina said…

    A. Happy birthday
    B. I just found a red 8×8 album this week in my scrapbook stash. Apparently, I have been holding on to it for “someday”. I think my “someday” has arrived!!! Totally doing a December Daily album!!! Thanks for the inspiration, the freedom to JUST DO IT…the encouragement!

  • 32.
    Jayne T said…

    Happy Birthday. Hope you have a wonderful day!

  • 33.
    christina said…

    Thank you, thank you for all the time you’ve spent showing us pictures, giving us product lists, giving tips and tricks, and answering our questions. You are one in a million! (And I understand it’s you’re birthday, so have a good one!!)
    Also, thank so much for that info about the Jessica Sprague class. I’ve heard so much about her classes, but spending the money is sometimes hard to do. I’m so glad to have caught one of her freebies thanks to you!

  • 34.
    Kimberlee said…

    Love the templates. :D

  • 35.
    Barbi said…

    I just ran out and got a BoBunny 9×9 bare naked binder for my first December Daily. I am going to use a lot from my stash but while as was at my local scrapbook store there was a couple of products and a couple sheets of paper I couldn’t resist. ; ) Tonight I am going to re-read all the posts and gather my supplies and thoughts. I have been wanting to scrapbook our Christmas season in a unique way and this fits so well. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  • 36.
    marsha said…

    happy b-day! do you use gromments on each of your pages?

  • 37.
    Brooke said…

    Thank you for this post! It seems I’m not alone in delaying starting this project due to wanting it to be perfect. I know that’s not what it’s about, and certainly not why I want to document my December. I’m sure that the more December Daily albums I complete the more I will get to know my own style and what does and doesn’t work for me, so just do it, right?!!?

  • 38.
    Stacy said…

    Hey! I might steal your CD idea…very cool!!

  • 39.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Yes :)

  • 40.
    Ali Edwards said…

    This is the first year adding grommets – and yes, I did it to each page (or will have by the time it is done). If the pages of the album had not already had them I may have skipped it.

  • 41.
    Jen said…

    So happy to see the posts this week about the Daily. I have been hoping for weeks you would preview your book. I jumped into the project last year, having no previous scrapbooking experience, followed you along for the month, and loved the results.
    Question about the eyelets you used in this year’s book – what size is the best? With the rings I wanted to make sure they had freedom of movement. Thanks.

  • 42.
    Lori said…

    Happy belated b’day!
    I submitted my twopeas order today to incooperate new products and I am all geared up to do the december daily album! this looked great last year and what you have all ready for yours, so i have decided I am doing it this year! I am pumped – now I just need to get the album all prepped before December 1st. I also need to decide on an album. I looked at the one you picked (the cover material that you added is awesome!), but twoeas and scrapbook is currently out of stock. I continue to love your Yesterday Today class and look forward to getting tomorrow’s new assignment – I luv thursdays!! Thank you for all your creativity inspiration!!!!

  • 43.
    Lori said…

    Hi again Ali,
    I just thought I would share I found a great red/white album at Target that has the rings I wanted that I think its going to work great for the December album! So, now I’m anxious to get my twopeas order in the mail so I can get my album all prepped. Once again thanks for all inspiring us creatively!

  • 44.
    Christine Uchida said…

    I plan to not do any work during my two weeks off…not a single piece of paper or email…

  • 45.
    Deb J said…

    I really like your December Daily album. I have such high hopes that I will get time to do one again this year but things have been so crazy this last couple of months. I think I am going to have to do one that is more basic. I would love to do one more elaborate like yours. Sigh!

  • 46.
    Nicole said…

    Thank you again for the “Giving Thanks” freebie template. Here’s my layout using it :-)

  • 47.
    Melissa said…

    Ditto on Jen’s Question : “Question about the eyelets you used in this year’s book – what size is the best? With the rings I wanted to make sure they had freedom of movement. Thanks.”
    I tried using the LARGE eyelets (1/4″), which look like yours, but now my album can’t close (far from). The medium ones (5/8″) fit on my binder, but just barely.
    Is there a brand & size that you use for eyelets you could recommend?
    P.S. You Rock :)

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