Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 5, 2010

December Daily 2009 : Day 23, Day 24, Day 25 & Reflections On The Process


This is another one of those projects that I love to finish. I love to start it and I love to be done with it (another reason I just do the 25 days). There is no doubt that I will do it all over again next year. 

One of the big things you will notice is that I ended up going with a thick ribbon/twine (from my stash) rather than the metal rings to hold it all together. It just wasn't working. I don't love what I ended up using but it will be fine (not ideal because it's hard to turn & would not be easy for little hands to look through). Read below for more observations from the process.


A shopping list paired with a circle glitter paper from Making Memories. Two circle epoxy and one button accent were added on top of three circles (one from Love, Elsie, one from K&Company, and the button from American Crafts).

Here's the original:



I ended up moving the pocket page to the back (see original below) because I wanted to the photos and the words to be front and center (vs. inside the pocket).


The journaling talks about our day: where we went, what we ate, and how over-the-top excited Simon was about Santa visiting and it finally being Christmas. Word art is from my Hand Drawn Holiday collection at Designer Digitals.

And probably my favorite photo of the season:

Nothing better than matching PJ's on Christmas Eve. Scallop punch along the edge is the Threading Water Punch Fiskars. Attached the little card that came with the PJ's to the top of the page.

Here's the original:



I backed that enlarged photo from Christmas Eve with another from Christmas morning (before doing the border punch). I traditionally don't take too many photos on Christmas morning just because there are so many other things to be paying attention to and celebrating, but I did get a couple this year.

Word stickers along the edge are a few seasons back from Making Memories. The little Santa ticket is from Jenni Bowlin. 

I typed up (literally with my old typewriter) two little notes: one for Simon and one for Anna talking a bit about their experience Christmas morning. The handwritten "Dinner Info" card talks about what we cooked this year (prime rib and pommes Anna). The punch along the top of the notes is the Apron Lace punch from Fiskars.


For the final page I moved the canvas pocket (originally Day 24) and added a little strip and used rub-ons to add the word "bits." I collected a few things and tucked them inside.

On the spine I added key, a metal circle with the word "believe," and a small manila tag (I added the E09 with Jenni Bowlin rub ons).


I am reminded once again that if I don't jot down notes to myself or document something specific for a particular day I will not remember it. The details or even something that would have been a great little note is gone if not written down. I do use the photos as jumping off points, but without the written words it's a lot harder to remember details even just a couple weeks later.

In looking back through my previous year's albums I think I will go back to the simple 2 or 3-ring approach with a front and back cover next year (vs. an album). I liked the adventure of doing something new and trying something different this year, but I think my preference is for the other format. I also think I like the smaller sizes better.

I liked creating those stitched-pocket pages but didn't really like having more than one of them in the album. I did end up with one on the last page (after the 25th) that worked well as a place to store extra bits from this holiday season. I ended up wanting to just see a photo or paper instead.

I really liked using the eyelets to secure the holes on each page.

I wish I would have kept more of the packaging from some of the gifts to include in the album (fun way to remember some of those gifts).

I am planning to create another layout about the holidays for our family album that will include more photos from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I like that my December Daily becomes more of a highlight (or a favorite photo selection) rather than holding everything.

In the end, as I gave this album a little hug and packed it away until next December, I said a prayer of thanksgiving. Thanks for the opportunity, thanks for the awareness of the blessing of our everyday lives, thanks for another season of magic and joy. 

post is the last of a series documenting the month of December 2009. You
find out more information and view all the completed pages of my album 
here. Share your work in the Flickr gallery here


  • 1.
    Grace Hester said…

    Beautiful work Ali! I am going to join you on the Dec Daily journey next year!

  • 2.
    Nicole Beltane said…

    just beautiful.

  • 3.
    D said…

    I am jealous of your sense of accomplishment! Thanks for the what i have learned commentary. It’s the best part. I think I have tags in the recycling bin!

  • 4.

    you are awesomely creative. and ridiculously talented. hoping one year i’ll go for it, never done one of these before…they intimidate me!! xoxo

  • 5.
    Amy said…

    It’s a beautiful album, Ali, with beautiful memories.
    I was wondering if you use glossy or matte photos in your albums.
    Happy New Year!

  • 6.
    Steph said…

    Love the book! I “attempted” to put one together – I’m still working on the second half of it :o ) I was insanely inspired whenever I would see one of your posts. I need to let go of the “perfectionism” problem.
    What brand/make of printer do you use for printing everything?

  • 7.
    Loretta Artful Yogi said…

    Great. Love the PJs picture.
    I used the front and back cover format and the largest binder clips i could find and may still go to twine like you did! I guess I like bulky items. haha. I completed through Dec 26, although my extended family gathered on Dec 27 and 28. I’ll add two more highlight pages today and, like you, will be happy to say goodbye for the year. Thank you so much for keeping us all motivated. Ten years from now, we’ll be very happy we have these.

  • 8.
    Allison M. said…

    Beautiful shots Ali – love the album. I am just over 1/2 way through mine. Not being able to print photos at home has put me behind. My next purchase will be a good photo printer. Love the idea of matching jammies for Xmas day. I have been browsing online to purchase some on clearance for next year!
    Can’t wait to see your holiday layouts for your family album.

  • 9.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Hi Steph – I am using a HP Photosmart B8550.

  • 10.
    sue said…

    i have loved loved loved every entry that you’ve made in your december daily.. thanks so much ali..

  • 11.
    ellie and abbie said…

    Ali, this is my third year of enjoying your December Daily posts. I just love how they turn out. Thank you for sharing. One of these days I’m going to do one for our family.
    I smiled at those cute pjs. Our children (ages 5&7) had the exact same jammies this year. They are so comfy–they usually don’t resist when I say it’s time to get dressed. But when they’re wearing hannas, they say, “ohhh, can I just stay in my pajamas a little bit longer??”…Of course, at Christmas time, the only answer to that question is YES! :-)
    Bravo to you on a beautiful album that holds treasured memories!

  • 12.
    Ali Edwards said…

    The paper I am using is called Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl. I just started using it recently and am really happy with the quality. It feels like matte.

  • 13.
    Allie said…

    Ali -
    Thank you so much for sharing your process, project and, of course, the details of your everyday life. Your album is amazing, as usual! I’ve just completed my second December Daily and have come away with some key learnings myself. One of which is that November is always so busy and I find it takes me forever to get inspired and put together my album in advance. I was thinking that I might try to put my 2010 skeleton album together now while I’m still jazzed about the project and remember the details of things I want to repeat and things that I don’t. Do you have any thoughts – good or bad – about approaching it this way?

  • 14.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I think if you are feeling jazzed up and motivated now is as good a time as any! The other thing you could do is write up a list of the lessons you learned and store it with your holiday supplies – when you open them up next year your list will be a nice reminder of what you liked/didn’t like and want to do different next time! I vote for doing it when you feel most motivated – if that is right now then go for it!

  • 15.
    Jen said…

    Thanks again for the inspiration Ali! Amazing album! I have one question: where oh where did you get those jammies – they are too cute for words! (and I love that they come in sizes to fit both your kids!)

  • 16.
    Katie Johnson said…

    I feel the same way as you Ali…I need to write it all down because even just 4 or 5 days later I forget the little details. I used the same album you did, and I felt the same way about the pocket pages. Initially I thought they’d be GREAT for mememtos, but in the end I wasn’t excited to use them and I only kept one.
    Also, I think what I leared this year is that I ended up wanting to make so many changes that I won’t fully assemble my album ahead of time next year. I realize the point is to have it all together and ready to just insert your pictures and journaling, but I decided I need the flexibility. I do like your idea of having one container for all the supplies, so I will just get everything together and that alone will be a big time-saver.
    Again, thanks for the inspiration…you are truly amazing. :D

  • 17.
    ScrapMomOf2 said…

    I too felt a huge sense of accomplishment finishing up my album! For the 2nd year in a row, I made one, kept up with it, and the finished product makes me smile! The best thing I did this year was to start a Word document, and then every night, I typed up a paragraph about our day. This was supposed to be for me to remember what we did, help me journal, etc., but instead, I actually ended up printing it all, and putting the little paragraphs on the backs of my pages! Genius for me! Worked for me! Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!!

  • 18.
    Linda Barutha said…

    I think your project turned out great! One of the reasons I like it is that it isn’t like any other:D

  • 19.
    Heather said…

    Love those Hanna jammies! We had the same ones for my daughter and the green with red trim for my son. They are too cute.
    I did the December Daily album in 2008, but since I was doing a 365 project this (last?) year, no December daily. Sorta missed it, will do again in 2010. I am taking a week off from taking photos (after 400 days of daily photos), need to catch up on the journaling…sigh. Fresh is best, I’m learning that one the hard way.
    For 2010, I plan to document using a variation of your Day in the Life concept. I’m going to document the details on every 10th of the month. Some will probably be similar, while others will change with the day of the week, the season, and what that particular day brings. I’m looking forward to having a dozen layouts celebrating our story of daily life in 2010. :) Heather

  • 20.
    Sharon in TX said…

    Another wonderful December album, Ali. Can you picture your grandchildren sitting with you to look through it in years to come?

  • 21.
    Monika Wright said…

    I just need to finish up December 24th and 25th, post on flickr and I’ll be finished with my DD. Next year I will gather my supplies and have pages cut and maybe some sketches, but will wait for embellishments and final plans until the photos are ready for me to print (thank goodness I can do this at home). I found this year that I had to try to move some things around to make my photos fit on the pages. I don’t think I will go from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day either. Just too much for one book. I will use activities that occur before and after Dec 1-25 for a “reflections” sort of page, or even to use on a day that I forgot to take pictures/notes. And since I am trying to be more digitally savvy and have begun a blog for our family, I will probably try to post on there since my oldest will be at college next year. He has certainly enjoyed looking at what the Mom has put in the album, which kind of surprised me (since he’s a boy, especially). And top of the list is to do what so many have recommended, but I always neglect to do. Write down notes every day, right then, don’t wait. I can remember the overall feelings, but those specific, take your breath away words, and moments, and stories are forgotten very quickly…especially now that I’m 45 (where did my mind go?). I did a Daily album in March last year and it turned out so nicely, because it wasn’t a hectic time of year, and got to include real, everyday type of things, not just holiday memories. I am going to choose May this year, since my son will be graduating from High School (can you hand me Puffs tissue, please?).

  • 22.
    Ali Edwards said…

    They are from Hannah Anderson:

  • 23.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I know what you mean about making the pages in advance. I think it makes it easier for some people are more challenging for others. I like that it gives me a basic foundation to work from, and that I can move things around. Having everything together is one of the best parts for me!!!

  • 24.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I love that – thank you Sharon.

  • 25.
    Monika Wright said…

    Love your Day in the Life idea. I had thought about doing a Daily album in May when my son graduates from High School, but think I will try this idea, too. I would love to have something like this from my family life, so I think my kids would love this, too. Are you using a digital template or going all paper? Any reason you chose the 10th, is it a special day or just an ordinary day?

  • 26.
    Shelly said…

    So inspiring, Ali. Thank you for sharing this project with us again this year. Seeing your completed album gives me the push to put one together myself. I kept notes every day in December, but was just too busy to take the time to scrapbook. Now that life has calmed down, maybe it’ll come together for me.

  • 27.
    Susan Smith said…

    Ali, your post today sounded much like my own thoughts after completing my Daily. I was really motivated and excited in the early stages but I was honestly glad to have the entire album finished, too. I love the way it turned out. One of these days I will get photos on Flickr – that will really feel like an accomplishment! Thank you so much for all of your inspiration and motivation. I would not have my beautiful album without your creative prompts! Happy 2010 to you and your beautiful family.

  • 28.
    chris said…

    your album turned out beautiful!! mine is done, just not posted to my blog. thanks for the inspiration!!

  • 29.
    Vanessa said…

    Ali, I love your album. It’s beautiful. I also used the fabric Prima album this year and I loved experimenting with something different and new. I loved painting and sewing a bit, which is not something I would normally do. I agree that the size of the album is a bit too large, but I really liked that I could also use the sewn pocket pages for holiday cards because it was larger so that was cool. I inserted some of my most special cards in there :) Thanks again for your inspiration and awesome ideas!

  • 30.
    maile said…

    this is so inspiring. love it!

  • 31.
    Deb J said…

    I love the picture of the kids in their matching pajamas. I really enjoyed your album. I’m still working on mine. I have found like you that there are some things that I don’t want so many of. I too want to make it more of a highlight album rather than showing everything. Next year I will do it a little differently. I think that I will start collecting pages and things to use in it. It’s been fun.

  • 32.
    amy said…

    thanks ali, this project is so dear to me. your last pages are very sweet.

  • 33.
    Lynne said…

    This is beautiful, Ali! I really enjoyed looking at your album.
    I enjoyed completing my 2nd December Daily album this year. It’s really a highlight of the Christmas season for me. I actually put it together in mid-October, and then my mother became very ill in late October. After two hospitalizations, she passed away in mid-December. Doing the December Daily album was therapeutic for me during this tumultuous time. I included more Bible verses than last year, notes about visiting her at the hospital and stories about the blessings God showed us during this time. I also included the Christmas activities we did with our daughters. I am sure that I would not have documented much of this if I had not premade the album. I am glad to have had a place to put my thoughts and feelings during this sad season of life.
    Thanks for the inspiration and happy new year to you!

  • 34.
    Cara S said…

    Ali, Thank you so much for sharing your ideas + projects with us. This is my second year doing a December Daily album, and I think I enjoyed it even more this year! Some things that worked out well for me were sticking to very basic papers, in a red + black + white + kraft color scheme, rather than multiple patterned papers like I did last year. This year, I did not pre-number any of my pages, which I think enabled me to be more free as I put my album together. It was easy to switch pages around to fit what I wanted to show + say for that day. I just finished my album as well, and have it packed away to be looked at next year (Here – Please keep sharing with us! I love your approach to storytelling + feel it has really given my pages new life.

  • 35.
    Kristin said…

    What a beautiful project. Thank you for sharing it with us. FYI – your link to the pommes Anna dish isn’t working.

  • 36.
    Patricia said…

    Congrats on finishing up your album ~ always a great feeling to complete a project! I enjoyed following along on yours and am looking forward to finishing mine up. Thanks for all your ideas and inspiration. Happy New Year to all of you!

  • 37.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I am so sorry for your loss Lynne -

  • 38.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Thanks Kristin – I will check that out.

  • 39.
    Melanie K. said…

    I finished mine this year and am THRILLED! I packed mine away with my decorations … to have a nice surprise next year. To keep myself motivated, I did Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas to give myself something to write about. But 90% of the time I had other things to write about too.
    This year I made my book from paper grocery bags (inside; 6 x 6) and cardboard for the covers. At the end bound it with my bind it all. It was so nice and thick and chunky!!!
    However, I feel I need bigger pages (so going with 8×8) and I am going to use my acrylic album that I started the year before and didn’t finish. I also may not finish off the pages as much … I seemed to move things a lot – so I might do a background paper … and just keep all bits and baubles in a drawer that I can carry around with me easily.
    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea! I think I might do your Week in the Life in July this year too … I am sooo enjoying this way of documenting my life!

  • 40.
    Melanie K. said…

    Lynne, I am sorry too … my mom passed away in Feb. I documented a lot of my feelings and thoughts on how different this holiday was.

  • 41.
    maureen wildauer said…

    Ali I love your Daily December albums. Can you share what the font is used on the number “24″? I love that big open look. I have a few of them but they aren’t as nice as that one. Thanks.

  • 42.
    Lisa C in CO said…

    Hey Ali, Love the book! You are such an inspiration. About the rings in this book, I actually made one a book, too and did not like the rings. Then I found these cable rings from 7Gypsies which are a little flexible and they work great!

  • 43.
    liz said…

    thank you so much ali! this was my 2nd year going along with you on this journey. i felt my creativity soar this year compared to last, my colors were non-traditional with some experiemental additions. i haven’t yet found the right binder rings, the 2 in ones are just too small, my book is very bulky. i have enjoyed the use of page protectors and sorely missed my new sewing machine, having sold it, now using my aunt’s dated 1960s model. very odd bobbins. around mid-month my friend passed away from cancer, and although it was an emotional time, i documented and celebrated her life, with my thoughts and feelings. she was a scrapbooker, too. you inspired me so much, i love coming to your site and checking out the new stuff you’re doing. keep up the good work! this year i plan on my colors being similar to the ones you choose. there’s just something about mixing it up every year to test the waters..all a part of the journey and process. i’m developing my style gradually…thank you for inspiring me!

  • 44.
    Heather H. said…

    LOVE those matching jammies. Such a darling picture of the two of them.

  • 45.
    Yolanda said…

    So much inspiration in your designs and in watching you complete a project (of which there are still three pages left on my To Do list). But I am equally inspired by your self acceptance in this post. That embracing of the imperfection and the letting go of the “should-haves” and “if-onlies”. December Daily has been such a gift for my life, it’s fitting that this message from you should be my final take away lesson.
    My December was filled with so many unexpected and unfortunate events, I could easily have found myself wallowing in self-pity, saddened by all the ways cut fingers and car repairs were ruining my vision of a perfect holiday season. But the act of capturing our daily lives in images and words kept me present and focused, resulting in the most joyous holiday season I’ve had since childhood.
    And along the way I have found a new creative outlet. For all of that, I am so very grateful to you, for living creatively and sharing it with us.

  • 46.
    Savitri said…

    I’d like to start this kind of album. How fun! I love Hanna Andersson too. No matching jammies this year but will for next :)

  • 47.
    Maica said…

    Dear Ali,
    Many thanks for sharing the project, for teaching everyday, and also thanks for the lovely yesterday’s layout.
    Best Regards

  • 48.
    Allie said…

    Thanks Ali!

  • 49.
    kim said…

    beautiful Ali!!
    this was my 2nd year playing along & I am almost finished w/mine also!
    thanks for this project as well as the many others you inspire us w/!!!

  • 50.
    emilie said…

    ALI, as always, i LOVE LOVE LOVE your 25 days album.. so beautiful and inspiring. thank you.

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