Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 2, 2009

December Daily : Foundation Pages : Cover & Days 1-12


Today I am going to introduce you to the first half of my album and talk about what I did for the cover. Tomorrow I will post the second half of the images and a bit more explanation.

Something I stated last year should definitely be repeated again:

For me, this book is less about decoration and more about documentation. What that means is that when the time comes in December to add my words and photos I will not spend a lot of time trying to figure out what I want to add product-wise. I don't have any plans to spend more time each day than it takes to upload and print a photo (here at home), write up some journaling, and adhere it into my book (and maybe add one embellishment or a couple word stickers). I don't want this album to take up more time than necessary during the holiday season. Again, I want to be present and experience the season and do a bit of documentation as we go along.

I like to do documentation as we go along, rather than after the holidays, because I find that I have a tough time remembering what were the specific important or poignant or endearing or special parts of the day months after the fact (sometimes they are comments in passing or very simple things that end up meaning the most). Instead of "we went to see Santa today" I want the journaling to be more personal and real: how did Simon react, what was special about the moment, did he say anything silly or wonderful, what made it unique from last year, etc.

Those are the things I want to capture in this album.

As you will see below this is all about keeping it simple. Don't spend too much time deciding where to put the numbers or journaling blocks. Get it done. When December rolls around you will be working with what you have in front of you rather than starting from scratch. Making it work is a creative task in and of itself.

One of the questions I receive each year is how can you set this up in advance when you don't know what you will be doing on each day? This, for me, is part of the creative adventure. I create the album first and then format my content around the pages during December. If you look back through my pages from 2008 (see the full list here) you can see the before and the after to get an idea of some of the things I did with my foundation. 


Let's begin with the Prima canvas album

WHY THIS ALBUM? One of the main reasons I went with this album was that I wanted to do something different from the last two years. I still wanted the flexibility of having a variety of different pages (textures, sizes, etc – and this includes some page protectors and canvas pages) and I was looking forward to the creative challenge of seeing what I would do with it. 

After lots of thinking about what I was going to do, I decided to cover the album with fabric. 

In my stash I had this cool linen/cotton blend piece with red berries that I ordered last year from Purl Soho. In looking at their site it looks like these are embroidered fabrics come from India and this color is available here (it's called Natural/Rust Branches).

To cover the album I used a product called Wonder Under which allowed me to iron the fabric directly onto the canvas album. Easy.


Before covering the album I removed the grommets (the little metal circle pieces that held the ribbon) with small pliers. 

Before covering the interior with fabric I made sure to punch holes where the new grommets would be placed (in the same original location). If you don't punch the holes when you can still see them it is a bit challenging to get them in the right spot. 

For the inside of the cover I stitched two pieces of fabric together (just one was too thin and you could see through) and used the Wonder Under again to adhere it to the inside of the album. 

New grommets were set after the album was covered inside and out. 

If you are interested in working with the canvas album but not interested in covering it with fabric I saw a cool version that Amanda created using stars and Scarlet Glimmer Mist

Once I had the cover done I was ready to tackle the inside. 


One big difference from year's past is the inclusion of more page protectors. Last year I did a couple pages with divided page protectors – this year there are more. In addition to the pages that come with the album I also found that some old KI Memories 8×8 post bound page protectors fit just right. 

THE RINGS : One thing I really wanted to try with this Prima album was to see if I could use rings instead of the ribbon that comes with the album. I was able to use 2.5 inch metal rings (in some of the photos below you will see where one of them is open – need to replace that with a new one) through the grommets. 

After figuring out that the rings were going to work I decided to put eyelets in the holes of the pages I was creating (the ones that come with the album already have them in place). The Crop-A-Dile worked like a charm for setting all those eyelets. 


DAY ONE : Merry Christmas foil from Papier Valise (you can find it on page 3 of her paper section – you get a bunch of them that you can share with friends or use on other projects) is placed inside a page protector. To keep it in place I ran it through the sewing machine with red stitching (I did red stitching for the entire project to keep it simple). The content for the day will go above, leaving the part with the Merry Christmas foil see-through into the rest of the album. 

I will add a number one to the photo when I document the day. 

DAY TWO : Metal 2 from Tim Holtz. This page is an 8×8 page protector that came with the album with part of an 8.5×11 baseball card page protector trimmed down and slipped inside (when trimmed there are 6 pockets). Basically I cut off the top row of pockets and the part along the side where the holes are located. There is an example of a page like this in the December Creating Keepsakes magazine. 

DAY THREE : Red envelope from Paper Source. Red Circle Number from Every Jot & Tittle. Scalloped edge along the top of the envelope created with the Fiskars Apron Lace border punch

I like that there are some things I have used every year like these red circle numbers. 

DAY FOUR : Red Galaxy Stars from Prima. I stapled four on the front and four more in the same location on the back side of the page protector. The photo or journaling will slip into the pocket alongside the stars. I may end up stitching a vertical line alongside the stars once I have the rest of the content in place. 

DAY FIVE : 25 Days of December Overlay from Designer Digitals printed on cream cardstock with corners rounded on the top. Gold embossed patterned paper from K&Company.  

DAY SIX : I cut down a file folder and wrote the words "cover with a photo." I tried to leave myself a few pages that will be entirely photos with journaling on top since I ended up wanting more of those sorts of pages last year. Gold with white dots paper is American Crafts

Day6 Day7-2

DAY SEVEN : For the canvas pages that come with the album I decided to create pocket pages by sewing pieces of Hambly overlays on top. Small Enjoy card is from Banana Fish Studio. Circle 7 is a rub on from October Afternoon. I stitched transparency overlays to both sides at the same time with my machine (creating a pocket on the front and the back). 

DAY EIGHT : A small "merry" card from Elles Studio was stitched to the outside of a page protector. The number "008" was already on the card. 


DAY NINE : Pages from other minibooks make great pages for your December Daily. In looking though my stash of minibooks I grabbed one of the clear acrylic ones from Clear Scraps (8×8). I used my trimmer to cut a bit off the edge (removing the holes) and then used the Crop-A-Dile to punch the holes. 

DAY TEN : Green glitter music pattern paper from Making Memories. Fa La La letterpress card from Paper Source. Small blue rub-ons from Jenni Bowlin. This is one of the easiest ways to create pages – adhere pattern papers back to back and punch holes for the binding.

DAY ELEVEN : Pink Paislee canvas tag machine stitched on top of a page protector. "11" stamped with Studio Calico Noah alphabet stamps and black Staz-On ink. The content for this page will likely be a new page behind the page protector (like a full page photo). 

DAY TWELVE : Another canvas page where I created a pocket by machine stitching a Hambly overlay right onto the canvas. Red calendar is from Jenni Bowlin. 

TOMORROW : Days 13 through 25.

This is part of a series of posts on creating a December Daily album. All posts for 2009 can be found here


  • 1.
    Molly Irwin said…

    very. very. cool and exciting.
    I love the stitched elements, and the fabric cover. I’m going to incorporate more stitching this year as well. Thank you for always inspiring me, Ali.

  • 2.
    Holly S said…

    Very inspiring! I am working on mine now. I know you said you were keeping it simple but I am surprised just how simple you kept it-that’s a great thing! I am wondering how you used your sewing machine to stitch through the top sheet of a page protector and not go through the bottom of it? I love this but only have a basic sewing machine so hopefully with your tips, I can do it too!
    Last year my Daily December was a wonderful thing and this year will be just as special! Thank you!!!!

  • 3.
    Anya L said…

    I was waiting for this! Thank you for taking time to share with us in details. I have mine almost completed… trying to keep it simple. Very exiting!!!

  • 4.
    Melissa L said…

    Thanks for sharing. I am going to work on mine today

  • 5.
    julie said…

    wow Ali i love it! lots of cool new ideas for this year, i can’t wait to start mine! love how you make your own page protectors, i really want to try doing that. beautiful book, thanks so much for sharing with us!!!!

  • 6.
    Nicky from Canada said…

    Love it Ali – looks awesome – I am so glad that mine is ready and I actually have a photo printer this year so am anxious to do it daily rather than on the weekend when I have a chance to pick up my photo order for the week.
    I can’t wait – think it will make the process so much easier.
    Can’t wait to see the second half!!

  • 7.
    Jo W said…

    Gorgeous Ali! My December Daily is still in the ‘thinking about’ stage. I am away for a whole week in December and have made a separate album to cover that trip. Looking forward to seeing the next post tomorrow.

  • 8.
    Roberta said…

    Awesome (as usual)! Really inspiring! Thanks for sharing this amazing project!

  • 9.
    Katie Johnson said…

    Thank you for the idea of using the rings instead of the ribbon that came with the album. From the minute I opened it I hated those ribbons and was trying to think of an alternative.
    You’re always full of creative ideas…thanks Ali!

  • 10.
    Jessica said…

    Wow! I love how simple it is! I watched you do yours last year, but this year I am joining in the fun. I already have all of the pages made; now I just have to make a cover and get rings for it. I can’t wait to see the rest of your pages!

  • 11.
    Ladybird said…

    Hi Ali, I am so inspired by your album. This is the first Christmas of my son, so I think, I’ll try the adventure if I find some time.
    I have a question… where did you find your D-ring, I’d like to make my own album but I’ve never seen we could buy some D-ring separately, can you help me?
    I live in Canada (Montreal) but maybe I could order them somewhere in USA… Thanks for your help!

  • 12.
    Sharon said…

    Thanks for the inspiration Ali, my personal goal is to get mine going by the end of the week:-)

  • 13.
    Sonja Chandler said…

    Love it! Can’t wait to start mine.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • 14.
    Amanda said…

    I plan on doing one again this year as well. I loved my album from last year (although I didn’t finish the last few pages of december). Can’t wait to do this years! I love the fabric, and the stitching.

  • 15.
    jamie said…

    so gorgeous. it exudes you. loving the inspiration. especially the prompt to make the album ready and waiting for daily photos and documentation in december. love that!

  • 16.
    Sarah Mullanix said…

    I am really enjoying this album! I love how you covered it and your choices for the cover are beautiful. I haven’t yet joined in and made this project for myself but I would love to do it this year. I just need to go get myself organized and pull all of my supplies like you did and make it as simple as possible. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas and inspiration!

  • 17.
    jennifer said…

    It’s looking really good so far…as always! Love the foil Merry Christmas…can’t wait to see the rest :)

  • 18.
    Tanya Gilmartin said…

    Hi there, I am in Canada too. Just go to an office supply store (like Staples) they have lots of different sized rings. good luck!

  • 19.
    Gale said…

    Beautiful album. I need to do more stitching on my albums & pages. I liked that you used red thread through out.

  • 20.
    Jenny Alfonso said…

    Thanks Ali! This is so great! I can’t wait to get started on mine. I look forward to this every year. December Daily is now one of my favorite holiday traditions :)

  • 21.
    liz said…

    hi ali, i’ve noticed a few times that you’re able to trim your acrylic pages. the one time i tried doing that, i shattered the darn thing. what are you using to trim and does acrylic come in different strengths? love your pages aleady!

  • 22.
    Flor said…

    You are a master and this album is another masterpiece!

  • 23.
    Linn said…

    It looks great, Ali! You’ve inspired me and I’m already done with my December daily, too. I went REALLY simple this year and just used a 5×7 chipboard album and scrapping kit from Stampin’ Up! (all the paper and cardstock stickers included) and cut 5×7 pages to post 4×6 photos onto, as well as adding some 5×7 favorite pictures that will be their own pages. I’ll just add the kit’s embellishments overtop of the photos as I go and it will be done. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  • 24.
    Beatriz said…

    Hola Ali, me encataría tener más tiempo para empezar mi propio albúm, mientras tanto disfrutaré de tu trabajo como hice con el de 2008, eres toda una artista. ¡¡Muchas gracias!!!!
    Saludos desde España.

  • 25.
    Mandy said…

    beautiful :)

  • 26.
    Jane said…

    Very inspiring! I’m going to be starting mine soon. Thanks for the preview.

  • 27.
    HannahK said…

    Inspired – the colours and fabrics linking together to provide a great foundation are beautiful. Looking forward to seeing the next installment.

  • 28.
    michelle said…

    beautiful… just beautiful!!!

  • 29.
    Amy Coon said…

    Wow Ali inspiring as always we will all be playing along with you on this holiday journey at The Paperlife

  • 30.
    Linda said…

    Can’t wait to play along this year. I’ve started working on mine with supplies from my stash (which is always fun to shop from). Can’t wait to shop throughout the year for next years album too (I’ll definately be looking at page protectors in a whole new way).

  • 31.
    chemgirl said…

    Hi Ali,
    I have a couple of questions. I have tried to create additional pages for my fabric album using the larger grommets and setter that I purchased from Joann’s, and it just did not work. The back looked all scrunched up and ugly. What tool did you use for the album cover? And what size eyelets are you using with the crop-a-dile?
    Also, I would really like to see the spine of the album, with the rings in it!
    Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us all. You are truly an artist.

  • 32.
    christina said…

    So awesome! I want to do one, but without family home all month it’ll get a bit boring, so I’m thinking of altering this idea. I love what you’ve done. Now if only I could find the one supply I need to get started on my project, I’d be oh-so-happy.

  • 33.
    Christine said…

    Do you leave a space for all the Christmas cards you get too? I need to do something about the cards and news letters I get, I can’t bear to throw them out, but they wind up all over the house, which isn’t really respectful either.

  • 34.
    Angie in Japan said…

    Ali, I am seriously itching to get this album started!!!
    I have Wednesday off of work and I plan on staying in the whole day and making a mess! I’m gonna put my favorite movie on a loop, wear my favorite pj’s and scatter my scrapbook stuff from one end of my studio apartment to the other. And I’m gonna be smiling the whole time! :)

  • 35.
    Shannon said…

    I love your Daily December albums! Each page turned reveals another treasure. Thanks for sharing!

  • 36.
    Angie said…

    wonderful Ali, I just put my covers on my blog today, I have been waiting for this all weekend like so many others. I also made some tags this morning for my dates. hope you have the time to check them out. Your first 12 pages are great, I can’t wait to see more tomorrow. thanks for always inspiring me.

  • 37.
    Jen D said…

    Thanks for sharing- this is just beautiful. I’ve been working on mine and always love to see what you are up to. Your series on Dec Daily is my favorite thing you do! I really need to break out my sewing machine and bring it into my craft space- I love the stitching.

  • 38.
    Michelle said…

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I love what you did with all the stitching! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration. I can’t wait for tomorrow to see more!

  • 39.
    Lizzi said…

    Wow! This looks awesome! I’m so excited to get this going!

  • 40.
    amy said…

    very exciting, your album looks lovely, i like the fabric and stitching.

  • 41.

    I’m starting to work on mine. One thing that I do that is very different is that I don’t number my pages ahead of time. There are a couple of reasons why I don’t. First off, I create the big and small pages, with miscellaneous bits and pieces. If we have a BIG day with lots of activities, I want to be able to grab a big page. So, I rearrange while I go along. This doesn’t cause any problems, because the page is done ahead of time, it’s just me putting it where it needs to be. When I’ve added photos, journaling, maybe a small embellishment of sticker, I then slap on the number. Works for me. I don’t have to worry then about having a small page for a day with lots of activities!

  • 42.
    Bluebelle said…

    Very nice book! I had a look a few weeks ago at your other December Dailies and was inspired to start my own. I’m just waiting on some supplies I ordered to finish it off. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 43.
    Huyen said…

    Beautiful! I’m so inspired!! Getting started on my book! Pronto!

  • 44.
    Annie said…

    Very inspiring, Ali! Thanks for sharing this with us. I really want to get started on this soon, but have a few other things I have to complete first.
    Love all the stitching you’ve incorporated. I now have sewing machine envy! I don’t have one, but if I run across a cheap easy to use one, I’ll have to snag it!

  • 45.
    Wilna said…

    LOVE this!!!! you are such an inspiration!

  • 46.
    Alana said…

    Bureau en Gros has them for sure. That is where I get mine from. (I’m also in Montreal!)

  • 47.
    Stephanie said…

    TFL: I’m so grateful. You aare amazing and my bad English is not so “suffisant” to say these words: TNAK YOU SO VERY MUCH TO SHARE WITH US TOUT TALENT! Waouh

  • 48.
    ady abreu said…

    I’m so excited about my December Daily. I’ve been hoarding my canvas album forever because I wanted the perfect project for it and here it is… I can’t wait to start playing with it. I’m definitely gonna glimmer mist the cover. What a great idea. Thanks again Ali for all your inspiration.

  • 49.
    Ali Edwards said…

    See if you can find a used one Annie – they are great! Check out any local sewing shops – they may have some that have been refurbished – great for working with paper & fabric.

  • 50.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Perfect idea Carol!

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