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.
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.