Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 29, 2010

December Daily 2010 | Finding Time, Making Time, Trading Time

AE December Daily 2009

QUESTION FROM DEBORAH | I have been following along each day with your preparations for this year’s December Daily. I am so excited to begin even though I haven’t had a spare moment to throw my album together yet. And that, is what concerns me. I know that you are super busy, that all your fellow December Daily doers are super busy. But, this project is important, and it really isn’t a matter of finding time — because that extra 25th hour just doesn’t exist. I think it really is about trading time — doing December Daily pages instead of doing…? And so, I was wondering if you’d consider asking your readers what they find themselves giving up/letting go of/setting aside in order to have the time to take part in this project. It would be so helpful to get some perspective about how other maxed-out moms reorganize their priorities during this time of year. I’ve already cut down on the workouts, set up the Tivo, closed-off all non-essential bathrooms, dug out the slow cooker…I am in need of some ideas to gain some scrapping time.

AE | I’m looking forward to reading the suggestions and thoughts in the comments today. In the past I’ve done a variety of different things – worked on my pages in the evening, in the morning and in the afternoon – whenever I could find/make/trade time. Sometimes I put my page together as soon as I come across the story I want to tell – such as something that happens at breakfast. I snap a couple photos, upload, print, add journaling, and get it in my book as soon as I have a chance. Some years I’ve been more artsy so it’s taken longer. This year, I’m really going for simple. In all the years I’ve done this project I almost always focus on telling just one story per day – I don’t attempt to document everything minute by minute for this project. I pick one, tell it with words + photo(s) and stick it down. Then I go about life until I choose a story on the following day.

I’d love to read your thoughts on this today. What do you find yourself giving up/letting go of/setting aside in order to take part in this project?


  • 1.
    Louise P said…

    OOh, good question! I look forward to seeing the answers as I’m one maxed-out-working-mum-of-two.

    I guess it helps me that my husband is really good at trying to give me some ‘me time’ so I’ll be playing that card lots this month! I shall have a think about other possible solutions.

  • 2.
    Kim said…

    What do I give up? To me, finding time to do something is all about making it a priority. It might mean I don’t check into Facebook, or perhaps I don’t get to finish that chapter in the book I’m reading. Then again, I don’t spend more than a half hour each day working on my album. It’s ready to go, so I just need to journal. I take the pictures daily, but I don’t edit them and print them until Friday or Saturday. I’m a teacher, and I find it’s easier for me to take the pictures daily, but edit and print them each weekend. My journaling is hand written, so there’s no effort to that. Last year, we ended up traveling unexpectedly over the actual holiday and I left my journal at home. I simply typed up my journaling each day, and when I got home, I rewrote it into my album. P.S. It’s OK to buy a premade album (Etsy has tons). It’s all about making it easy for you.

  • 3.
    Marie said…

    I am by no means an expert — but I do the journaling each night before bed (if possible) and print the pictures every couple days (I don’t have an awesome printer @ home) So I batch it a little — which helps. I use post-it notes & put those in my wallet if there are little things I don’t want to forget during the day. I don’t worry so much about the layout — figuring simple/straight forward & DONE is better than fancy and embellished. I am a single-mom who works full-time & the last 2 years I was grad school too — so it can be done. I was helpful for me to remember the book is for me and my son most of all — it might not be something anyone else will oooo or ahhhh over — and that’s ok. :)

    • ….
      Raylene said…

      This would also work for December Daily: I find that my busy time is during summer holidays. We travel by motorcycle so I can’t write while on the road! But I make it a priority to journal and upload my pictures into my laptop every day. No exceptions! We travel for over 2 weeks and if I didn’t make this my No. 1 task each day, I’d never remember where we went & what we did. When I get home, I put together my album and it is always easier when the “legwork” is already done!

    • ….
      Jude said…

      Love the post it note idea and uploading photos daily.

    • ….
      Macy said…

      I use a small notebook that fits in my purse for jotting down little things throughout each day of December. I labeled each page with the date at the top. This way all of my notes are together in one spot, which makes it alot easier when i go to journal on my page. hope this helps!

  • 4.
    Jenny said…

    TV is definitely on my list of things that gets dropped. I used to find myself cleaning up from dinner, then parking myself in front of the television for the rest of the evening, almost every night of the week. Now I think I watch *maybe* two or three hours worth of TV all week long, total. I still use the DVR to record my favorite show, but I watch it without commercials and that saves time too!

    • ….
      Tinabobina99 said…

      The DVR has been a great time-saver for me, too. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to watch a program with all the commercials!

  • 5.
    c@rol w said…

    My plan is to make this album as simple as possible in 2 ways. 1). Keep the same formatting for each page and only change up the number of photos. 2). Mandatory: use a handy calendar to write quick notes of the day’s events. If I’m short on time for the day, at least I can go back and get the photo or write the journaling that I missed the next day (or two).

  • 6.
    madeline St onge said…

    Well I am retired so I can shift time easier than someone who works and has little ones BUT I give up face book and computer time to do my albums because I spend waaay too much time on FB

  • 7.
    dawn said…

    The first thing I’d say not to cut back on are your workouts, this is the month that workouts matter. It will relieve your stress, keep you healthy during these yummy tons of homemade goodies kinda days, keep you sane and clear out your thoughts. It sounds like your off to a good start already especially the crock pot idea. I agree with the above comments and especially Kim saying a premade album is perfect. I plan on doing my journaling right into my album that very day and printing pictures on the weekend. I also give up all my other scrapbooking projects for this month it just makes it easier for me to make time for the decorating and the family time stuff. I also have project life album so that helps me take one photo a day and journal in it every few days. Maybe if your kids are old enough to help you can include them in this and help pick the photo of the day and let them do the journaling that way it’s a family project and you won’t feel guily not spending time with them. Years later it would be so cool for you to see your child’s handwriting and see their stories. What else above all is what Ali says make this very simple photos and words, which is what I’m sticking to this year since it’s my first year. Next year I plan on doing some fun stuff with mine. Keep it simple and sweet.

    Another idea Ali has said is to make it just the twelve days or whatever amount of days works for you. So please don’t let this chance go by. I even talked my sisters into joining me and can’t wait for us to share our albums togehter after the new year. We are each doing a different version and I’m so excited. Another reason is I just lost my grandpa two months ago and I so wish I had done this last year but I passed it because I thought it would be to hard. Not this year I’m making the time because now I know there never really is a good time you just have to do it. Hope this helps and I’m looking forward to the comments today too, thanks for this Ali.

    Good luck to all of you DD doers!!

  • 8.

    I love the concept of “trading time”. I always tell people who look at my scrapbooks and to-do lists that we all have the same 24 hrs in a day, LOL. You just pick and choose what you want to do.

    I work full time out of the house and have three kids, a husband, and a dog. There is never a lack of something to do! But my goal for this year and December Daily is to let a few more things go (like putting laundry away each and every night – it can sit there for a day without any harm!), enlist the help of the kids more (who says kids can’t help load the dishwasher or vacuum, right?), and most of all just keep it simple. My focus will be on the stories you wouldn’t thinkg to tell…instead of decorating the tree pictures, how about a December Daily about the five most cherished ornaments?

    We’ll see how it goes, I’ll be anxiously reading everyone else’s replies!!



    • ….
      Melanie K said…

      Hey, I am a working out of home to three boys too! And I don’t watch TV at all (no time anyway) … but this month, I won’t read my book of the month for my club. I also make use of my camera phone – I take pictures any and everywhere. And no they are FAR from perfect and I just deal with it. I craft at night when my kids are in bed (well, they are SUPPOSED to be … they usually sneak in and ask what I am doing) so that is when I work on my book. Having done this for the first time last year, I have to say I was sooo excited to uncover last years from our last box of ornaments. I sat for an hour looking back at it and remembering all I had forgotten! Amazing.
      I also go by Shimelle Laine’s Journal Your Christmas workshop (which you remain a member of forever) … follow her prompts and you have your subject for the day. I also signed up for another class by Sherrie JD at Deviant Scrap … she is going to provide prompts also. That way I will have something to write about that day.
      To make my book, I decide on the size and cut all the papers I need (plus some) in one sitting and hole punch them. If I have time to sit and decorate my pages I do beforehand (I just got to it this weekend!) If I don’t, so what? My book from last was not awesome because of the embellies. It was awesome because of the stories I wrote about.

    • ….
      Maria L said…

      Another mom of 3 who works FT out of the home too! This is my first year trying a december daily, and while there is a little part of me that is nervous about being able to follow through, i’m just going to do it. and if it’s not “perfect,” that’s ok and i’m going to try my hardest not to let that stress me out. As everyone else has been saying, it’s about the memories and the feeling my family and i will have when we can look through this keepsake in the years to come!

      We can do it! :)

  • 9.
    Anya said…

    Putting an album together shouldn’t take much time. I lOVED this project last year, so this year I decided to get my sisters and sister in law involved. I premade 5 December Daily albums. Very simple – just cut a variety of papers 8×6, add a few 8×4, added envelopes… hole punched them. DONE. They can work on a cover later. I even printed some DD information for them to read. Should say some of them got really excited.

    Finding time… First of all, I think of what I’ll write about before actually sitting down to do so, for example – while doing dishes, or cleaning. And when my kids are watching TV or already in bed, I download pictures, pic my favorite photo or two, and type my journaling. I guess I don’t mind going to bed later…

    • ….
      Kim N said…

      I love how you did this for others! This is my first time trying DD but if it goes well, I will be copying your idea to make extras to give to my mom, sister, mother in law and 2 sister in laws … who knows if they will do them or not but I think it’s a beautiful idea.

  • 10.
    ckoesters said…

    re: steph I like your idea of escalating the emotional content of the usual stories- of course I’m going to take the “icing the cookies” photo, and the “tree with the lights on” photo- but instead of the rather mundane journaling I might depend on “we had so much FUN decorating our tree this year, blah blah…” I might think about the emotions the moment brings up for me… most often gratitude, but what about pride, sadness, or even sillyness? I’m all about getting down the stories- my 6 year old goes through the 2008 and 2009 versions so much- and I listen to the questions she asks… maybe I can start with those in my 2010.

    As for what I’m trading this year? probably sleep:-) definitely tv, and I have more time on the weekends,so I will probably do a few marathon scrapping session 3 or 4 times in the month to get caught up.

  • 11.
    Ruth said…

    I block off 8-9pm in the evening for scrapping time. DS is in bed and DH & I will have eaten, chores will be done. I then join DH for anything we want to watch on the TV at 9pm … with a hot cup ot tea! (We parents of toddlers know how to live!)
    This last week I’ve found myself pre-planning pages: 1st is the visit to Santa (nice and early, so there is time to produce the Christmas cards using the Santa photo) and the 9th will be DS’s Nursery School Christmas production.
    Easy in theory!

    • ….
      Beth Perry said…

      I think Ruth has a good point here. If you want this to be one of your priorities this month, then block off time. Actually schedule your time that you can enjoy putting this memory album together, just like you would schedule anything else that needs to be done.

  • 12.
    Tracey Holdyk said…

    For me its at the end of the day, usually about 8pm when kids are in bed and my hubby is watching tv, thats when I go into my craft room and create. I like it then its quiet and I figure what is not done by 8pn can just wait to the next day. I need to do this to keep me sane and to make sure I give a little bit back to me.

    • ….
      Ruth said…


  • 13.
    Regina said…

    Time is precious for me this time of year because I work full-time plus we have a family trip to Disney planned in mid-December. I plan on giving up some of my computer time in the evening to work on my page. If I get super busy and don’t have the time, I have a little notebook that I will journal and clip the photo to along with the date. Then when I have free time I will add to my album. Love the DD.

  • 14.
    Sarah said…

    I’m not doing the DD this year. Just knew it wouldn’t happen, but last year, I used post-it notes for each day with ideas for journal or actual journalling (to be handwritten in the album) and then on Friday night uploaded photos and then picked them up on Saturday. I only worked on my album on Saturdays/Sundays when my husband was home. – sometimes I had to set the timer for 15 here and 15 minutes there, just to get something done. I’ll admit is was after new years before I completed it and a few days were left out along the way, but it is one of my most treasured albums. My husband and kids love it.

  • 15.
    Lisa said…

    I’m a morning person, and when I get up the house is still and quiet. I can get more done in an hour than I can attempt in half a day when my family is up and about. So, maybe get up half an hour earlier and see how that works out for you. I think the suggestion on batching and editing/printing photos on the weekend is a great idea. I do that, too, though I don’t put a lot of effort in editing. I print and call it good. I allow myself freedom in journaling: some days it a word list, others a few sentences, and others still a page full.
    As far as meal planning, I double the crock pot ingredients for soup and chili, and freeze half for a future meal. I have an extra-large crockpot ( and I can easily prepare two portions at once. At doctor appts and such, I will journal or jot down page ideas on my smart phone. I also practice what I call “container scrapbooking”. I DD my project stuff in a basket, and keep it handy on a counter. This saves me time by keeping me limited to what’s in the basket, and focused on my project, not distracted by all the possibilities in my stash. Also, it’s just pretty doggone convenient. If I travel during December, I just pick up my basket and go. I hope this helps. Congrats on tackling this project…you will be so glad you did. Merry Christmas!

  • 16.
    Renee said…

    I don’t watch TV. I use the time that I might spend doing other things on the project. Not that I always finish them immediately, but usually by January 1 they are complete. We love to review the albums from years past during the Christmas season. It is a great way to see how the kids have grown.

  • 17.
    Yolanda said…

    Most of the time, working on my album is a night time activity for me. I work from home, so my time is flexible, but it’s still occupied. I approach the project by looking for the story of each day. I’m seeking out a moment, an object to photograph, an emotion of the day. Last year I was often surprised by what that story wound up being, such as surprise car failure and tow truck incident. But cars break down, dishwashers go out, someone stays home sick unexpectedly, every year. It’s part of the story. I think that if you are open to simply telling the story of your holiday season, you’ll find the time, even if it comes in three-hour blocks once a week.

  • 18.
    Ellen Coker said…

    This is an important question for anything we set out to accomplish! I have decided to not think about perfect pages–just simple completed stories. I could always add decorative details later but photos and story opportunities could be lost if I don’t give myself permission to focus on this project each day. The end and the beginning of the day are my favorite times to write so I plan to use those–10 to 15 minutes can be an amazing amount of time. I also plan to just write a story that comes to my mind–even if it is from the past or just a moment from the day–there may not be a photo.

    ***Ali your triathlon experience inspired me. Yesterday I ran my first race ever–the Seattle Marathon. I made a conscious choice to end while I was feeling positive and perky after 21 miles–as I have a more than busy week of training and teaching this week. Best of all I am not stiff and sore today and I am planning for my next marathon. I had a great time and met some wonderful people–and learned about being in a race. I won’t need to be so nervous the morning of the race next time!

    • ….
      noell said…

      That’s awesome! Congratulations@

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Ellen that is so awesome!

    • ….
      Tinka said…

      Congratulations…that is such an awesome achievement. I walked a 1/2 marathon at the beginning of November and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Mainly because I am a card-carrying sloth and only “trained” once a week…and even then not every week! The crazy thing is that I am actually planning to walk in another 1/2 marathon in March. But this time I will really train for it!

  • 19.
    LouAnn said…

    My sister-in-law and I are both doing our first DD this year. We got together the day after Thanksgiving late at night and put together our albums. It was a lot of fun and gave us some mommy “down time”, and just was an excellent way to fellowship with each other. I can already tell that this will become a new part of our holidays, and I’m very excited.
    I have two teenagers and a 3 and a 1 year old, so I do most of my work at night when my family are ALL sleeping. Finding time during the day is pretty much impossible, but I like the “night time” catch up routine. It works well for me. Kind of lets me decompress too with a cup of iced coffee and the fireplace turned on, you know?

  • 20.
    noell said…

    I love how she said it’s about “trading time!” It’s so true and I’m using that phrase from now on when I talk about “finding” time to do something!

    I front-loaded a lot of my work responsibilities that I normally do in December, and did some of them in November. Also, I already traded time a year ago to allow me to have some personal free time every single day. I only watch about 3 hours of tv a week, max. In my personal time I write, read, scrapbook, learn things I’m interested in, etc. So I’ll be trading some of that for my December Daily project this coming month.

    I’m also trading embellishments for simplicity with this project this year, for sure!

    • ….
      noell said…

      Oh, also, another thing I traded a long time ago that I rarely do anymore — shopping and thinking about collecting stuff. I go food shopping, but that’s about it. I rarely go shopping for non-food items. That has probably saved me hours upon hours! :)

      I think I’ve been to Target only twice (maybe three times?) in about a year!

    • ….
      Kim N said…

      Noell, that is SOOOO true. I gave up shopping after I found how difficult it was to cart my 1 1/2 year old and baby around several years ago… I don’t regret it and I don’t miss it. I only go grocery shopping and the occasional necessity (this summer it was bra shopping- what a pain!) Not only do you save time but you save a ton of money. My Target bill used to be ridiculous and now it’s a fraction of what it had been in the past. It’s amazing. And no, nothing took Target’s place instead. I just don’t go and just don’t buy!

  • 21.
    Laura D. said…

    Last year I journaled every day (in Google Docs, so I could do it on my lunch break at work, if need be) and took pictures every day, but honestly didn’t finish putting the album together until the summer. This year I’m going with a much simpler design, which I think will help immensely. Fewer embellishments, doing the journaling and pictures all digitally, but still incorporating gorgeous patterned papers (which is one of my favorite things). I think the simpler you can keep the project, while still having it be fun, will help because it will take less time.

  • 22.
    Louise Dubord said…

    Last year, I did the December Daily for the first time… and finished in April!
    Things I will do again : NO RULES, except take pictures everyday and jot notes for the journaling. I do the rest when I CAN, no pressure. If there is pressure, it’s not fun. This is supposed to be fun.TAKE IT TO A CROP : I find I can get a lot accomplished and creating with fellow scrapbookers is a huge high. I FINISH WHEN I FINISH, again, there is NO RULE.

    Things I will not do again : Document EVERYTHING!!! Last year, my book was 6 INCHES HIGH! That’s silly, it took me forever to finish it. This year, I will try to be more selective. Some days are busy with lots of stuff others are quiet, I will TRY to LIMIT myself to the most important (and keep stuff in reserve for quiet days – Christmas lights, Christmas decorations, etc.).

    Mind you my big album from last year is really a lot of fun to look at and brings back so many good memories… Let the fun begin.

  • 23.
    Christy Miller said…

    I need to give up Facebook…seriously! The TV thing isn’t a big deal because I can scrap in the dining room and watch TV at the same time. I think I will be journaling everyday in a notebook and then just printing my pics once or twice a week. That way, if a day is a little short on content I can steal journaling or pics from another day.
    Can’t wait to get started!

  • 24.
    Emily Kinsaul said…

    I loved reading what everyone trades to make time for scrapping. I usually work on my pages after the kids go to bed @8:00pm. To make this work though, I give up watching TV and don’t do things that can wait till morning. It’s important to me to get that “me time”. A little time out makes for a better mommy!

  • 25.
    Amy B said…

    Last year was my first year and I am so excited to begin this years! I have 5 kids, and a very busy life! That being said, I give myself a lot of freedom with this project. No pressure. I make sure to journal and take photos every day, but I don’t pressure myself to get my album done by the end of December. Last years album took me until Oct to finish! But I am OK with that! As long as I have the stories recorded and the photos taken, I find that I enjoy spreading out the process and picking away at the layouts as I get time. I definatly want to keep it fun and non-stressful! Can’t wait to start!!

  • 26.
    J Allen said…

    You are on the right track with Tivo, that’s a must. But Ali can I say, don’t give up your workout. Don’t even shorten it, when I slow down on my workout the two d’s come creeping in…depression and despair. Don’t want to sound like a know-it-all, but your body should only be second to your soul.
    I have decided I can put the album together after Christmas day. I have the book ready, I have all my elements in a box ready to be used. I will be adding my Christmas bits to the box. I will take my pictures, and each night I will journal about the day.
    After Christmas I will print my pictures and journaling. I will then put everything into the waiting book. Even if this goes into Jauary that wil be okay. I did the same thing with my Halloween book. I still don’t have a full size Halloween lo, but everyone has enjoyed the book. With a seven month old to take care of I do what I can. After all, I’m the one that puts all the pressure on me. Oh, and only clean the parts of the house that everyone will see!!!!!lol

  • 27.
    linda said…

    I agree that it’s all about tradeoffs and priorities. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so it’s just a matter of choosing how you want to spend your time. I definitely don’t watch TV much or hang around when it comes to errands. I get certain things done quickly, so I can move on to the fun stuff…

  • 28.
    Carla said…

    I plan to, plan. I am going to try to stay organized. Our December calendar is already full, just with school activities and sports. No parties, no down time by the looks of things. So I am going to try to stay on top of it and not sweat the small stuff. “My” time usually kicks in around 8pm, when the kids are in bed and hubby is comfy on the couch. I will record my favorite “can’t live without” shows, other than that I will give up TV.

    I also just read a great article over at Essentially, cooking for a week and eating for a month. By doubling up on what you cook and having a meal ready for later in the month of December. I will be doing that for sure!

    Here’s the link:

    I think its brilliant and will sure help out!

    I must confess, I am getting a little nervous, or maybe it’s excitement!

  • 29.
    anne said…

    Last year, if I had days that were super-busy or a few days stretch of time that we were out of town, here is what I did. I wrote a little bit each day on index cards about what we did or what I wanted to remember, and then I slid the index cards in between the pages of my album. Once I printed my photos, I added them in as well. Then once or twice a week, I would sit down and work on “making” the pages. Having the photos and journaling ideas ready really took the pressure off. If I managed to get up earlier than everyone or have a little time before bed, I would use that time to work on the album. I have learned that I can’t force creativity, and I have to be in the mood as well as having the time to really enjoy the process.

  • 30.
    Kelley said…

    Like so many others, I gave up alot of TV last year (my first year to make a Dec. Daily). I’m lucky enough to have a small 4×6 photo printer, so I printed my pictures daily, and completed each day’s page that same day. I’m also lucky enough to have a small craft desk in our home office, to start a page, and come & go with it through the night- so some days I would start on it as soon as I got home from work (in that 30 minutes that everyone in the family goes about their own way before it is time to start homework & dinner), sometimes continuing if my husband was making dinner that night. But most of the time I worked on the page after the kids went to bed. The pages in the beginning took longer for me as I found my groove, and the weekend pages were usually longer spreads, since we accomplished more & I had more to document. Like others, I haven’t put my album together yet- hope to work on it tonight/tomorrow, my goal is to have it done when December starts on Wednesday…but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll just go with the flow and put it together as I start to document. Since last year was my first time, I’ve also learned what I’ll try to do differently- simple versus loads of embellishments/decorating…this is about documenting my family and our life for one month- I’m so looking forward to the process & end result.

  • 31.
    hlp said…

    My mother had many holiday traditions, and as a young mom, I continued them without much thought. Although I love cookies, I hate working with flour and really dreaded baking cookies. When I let go of the expectation that baking was essential to the holiday, it freed up time and energy! What holiday tradition is high effort for you? Maybe you can replace that one with DD.

  • 32.
    Susan Anderson said…

    I keep a small notebook in my purse which I use to jot down the stories, our a thought so I can journal it later. I am also doing my digitally. My pages are all ready to go, minus the photos and writing. I’m having them printed by Persnickety (they added the 6×8 size!) and will send them off each Saturday. I’ll have them on Monday ready to go into my DD. The most important thing I do is to not stress over it. Even with the best laid plans, life happens. I don’t want to get so caught up in the doing that I forget to enjoy the moments I’m capturing.

  • 33.
    TracyBzz said…

    I haven’t done December Daily but I have done LayOut A Day 5 times and a daily September album! Some days are a real challenge or you’re just tired but keeping up is so important. If you can’t manage one page a day how are you going to catch up and do 2 or 3 pages in a day?

    There are always time waster – tv (good timing as now all the shows I watch are re-running until Feb sweeps), talking on phone are the 2 big wasters. Ask your family to help out either with collecting things or stories for you album or by getting them to help with the housework so you have a bit more free time to create.

    All I can say is once you emerge triumphant it’s awesome to complete such an album.

  • 34.
    Michelle M said…

    The old adage is we always find time for the things we make a priority. I’ve found it to be true in my life, and that it is an ever-changing balance as I shift into different stages and demands. However, I consistently see that which is important to my family or myself, I find, or in many cases–make, the time to do.

    I have a ten year old son who loves to play with Legos. I have two tables pushed together at the ends and on some evenings when homework is done and dinner is over, we’ll go together to “play”. He builds his Legos and I work on my DD. Often, we talk about different things that are on his mind, listen to music and just hang out. He takes great joy in showing me what he is creating, and I hope, by my example, that he’ll remember that even as an adult, it is important to create and build.

    The biggest deterrent I have found is in myself…in that I let other things creep in and take away the time I can or have set apart. There is always laundry, cleaning, errands, work and the demands of everyday life. It nevers stop for anyone. I decided up front this year that I would make doing a DD a priority and guard any pre-selected time preciously (I scheduled time in advance–not a lot but some), knowing that the commitment is short-term and reward will be high for my family and I. I’ve been weeding out the non-necessities, and trying to make the best use of any down time…I love the book that Ali recommended: the Gift of Imperfection. The author has some great advice of truly doing what you find relaxing and inspiring purposefully instead of just surfing the web when you have a spare moment…as I’ve been known to do. Sometimes all I can give my DD is 5 minutes, and that is okay!

    Lots of great tips and I love the idea of doing this with my sisters. I think I may make them up a basic template and give them for birthday gifts in the coming year…thanks for the inspiration!

  • 35.
    Sue TR said…

    *sigh* boy did this post come at a great time! This is my first DD and I’m totally psyched…I’ve got everything gathered and some things cut out but the “bones” are not done am having a CRISIS over the numbers for each page….at 12:20am this morning I contemplated working on it but went to bed instead….

    I am going to set aside time in the afternoon before I pick the kids up from school (we’ll see how that goes) and after 10pm (when everyone is in bed) to work on this and other projects. I am menu planning / cooking large batches and going to stay off the computer as much as possible to clear time for working on this and some other projects! Am going to have everyone choose one thing that they want to do this season and make sure that gets done…everything else will slide…we have a new puppy so the kitchen floor is dirty as soon as I wash it anyway :-)

    Love seeing everyone’s comments!!!

    • ….
      Susan Usry said…

      one thing I did differently this year (3rd time doing DD) was NOT numbering the pages ahead of time – I felt like this might give me more flexibility – I dropped a scrap of paper in each protector that reminded me what I was thinking and if I had any embel that were intended for a page, I included them, but when I built the album, I kept it strictly bone-simple so I could move pages around if needed to fit what actually happened each day!( my pages are not all the same size, shape, etc.) Just an idea…

    • ….
      Sue TR said…

      Hey Susan
      Thanks for the tip! Am working on the “title” pages now and might do just that!!

  • 36.
    Debbie C said…

    For me this is all about my frame of mind. Some words and a couple of photos each day. Not a holiday season layout and documenting everything that happens for 25 days in a row – it stresses me out just typing that:)

  • 37.
    Jennifer said…

    This is my first time doing a December album – and I’ve been focused from the beginning on making it doable for my lifestyle.

    1. I’m not being a mamarazzi/hoverbot w/ my big camera – iPhone pics are just fine too!

    2. I’m not focused on the “daily” aspect at all – but instead dividing my album into themed sections and filling it as the inspiration strikes.

    I’ve also taken this an opportunity to play with my supplies – to see what I can come up with if I indulge myself with patterned paper, pens and ink. With that playful spirit in my heart and mind, I am looking forward to working inside the book, to mess it up and make it real.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      mamarazzi totally cracked me up

  • 38.
    jill e. said…

    we had a house fire a few weeks ago and i lost every christmas decoration i had. at first i really was stuck on that, but then i realized that i need to be thankful for what we have left and that we are all safe. i considered not doing december daily, since i won’t be decorating my home and things will not be traditional for us this year, but then i realized that’s exactly why i need to do it this year! i will be squeezing it in using a handful of the supplies that i have left and spoiling myself with fun new supplies too!

    • ….
      Becky H said…

      Jill- I think you are correct in the fact that you need to do you DD this year. Due to the fire (which I am so sorry to hear about) you are going to be forced to possible make new traditions given the circustances and I think it will end up being a great book to reflect back on. Good Luck!

    • ….
      Kim Brown said…

      Yep. THis is the year to do one if there ever was one. It will be very nontraditional and your emotions will be more raw. Gratitude will be more prevalent and you will look back on this book more than others…..I’m guessing. Remember that year we had a fire and we lost all our decorations……

    • ….
      Sarah said…

      I’m so sorry! I agree that you need to do it this year. It is a different year and one that no one will soon forget. Capture that in a truly unique album and you will be grateful for it later.

      Thank God you are all safe. Praying for you and your family as you adjust!


    • ….
      jill e. said…

      thanks ladies! our daughter arrived the week of the fire too, so we have extra to be grateful for and i know that she will love to see that documentation someday too.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Just wanted to jump in and tell you how sorry I was to read this Jill – happy that everyone is ok and that you have a beautiful new daughter.

    • ….
      jill e. said…

      thanks ali! really puts everything in perspective for us, we are truly blessed!

  • 39.
    Stephani G said…

    As a mother of four (6 & 2 year old girls and 9 month old twin boys) to say life is busy is an understatement. I work full time, but am thankfully off on maternity leave until March.

    I recently stopped breastfeeding and in doing so made a decision to not sit in front of the TV unless doing something. Thus, my “found time”…not really traded time which will allow me to hopefully complete my December Daily.

    Those out there with 4 (and more!) kids can attest…there is never me time, unless you make it. There is always something or someone to pick up, clean, cook, tend to, love, kiss, and hug. Never mind the laundry! In my life, I never have the opportunity to say, “ah, the house is clean, my chores are done…”. Doesn’t exist with 4 kids under the age of 6. It is all about damage control for me. Long as the kids are loved first, everything else will fall into place.

    My days will find me jumping around throwing a load of laundry in, picking some stuff up, tidying this and that and I have only recently been able to be ok with that. After all, as long as everyone has been fed, I’ve bathed recently and have clean underwear, the rest will just “be”.

    I used to be an obsessive scrapbooker, recording everything in my first daughter’s life…second one still obsessive, just not quite as much. These babies? I had not done anything creative, never mind for myself until very recently. Thanks to your inspiration to preserve stories and suggesting its ok to just record the stories, and not worry about catching up or creating in chronological order, I have gotten my inspiration back.

    Recently, I heard a suggestion to not make time for TV. It can be easy to get lost in a show at any time of the day. For the past month now, I will not sit down and watch TV. I make a point, in the evening, when my hubby and I are finally sitting down, to grab what I can on the coffee table and plug away. Hubby can still unwind and watch some TV himself, but I am doing something for me. It`s even made us actually find more time to talk instead of just be in the same room with one another.

    Loving seeing everyone`s ideas…lots of inspiration – good luck everyone!

  • 40.
    imafarmgirl said…

    This being my first year I appreciate all the comments and Ali’s words- one story a day. I will focus on that. Thanks everyone!

  • 41.

    2 years ago I started the album. Never completed the album itself (so no journaling/pics, etc). Last year I made two albums, one for me and one for my sister. About half the album has journaling. Just need to print and put photos in it. This year, my album is complete and I made it SUPER simple! (Minimized the embellishments to begin with helped a TON!). With my 3 children being a little older, I’m thinking that I will have one of them write a little about they day in THEIR perspective. I think it might add another element to the album so it’s not all in my point of view. I think I will even ask my husband to write a few notes down during a weekend day.

    I also purchased a HP Photosmart printer (I think it’s the same as Ali’s actually) and I LOVE the quality of prints it prints out (and I’m a photographer!) So it will be a little easier to print at home. Also I’ll being using my Fuji Instax cameras (I have both sizes) and think that will be a fun element in our December Daily album too.

    My motto this year is: simple & stress-free.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I want to “like” your comment Jessica :) .

  • 42.
    K'Lynne said…

    My favorite way to ‘steal’ scrapping time is to use the timer, like an above poster said. I usually spend 50 minutes doing chores and when the timer goes off – I spend 10 minutes scrapping. When the timer goes off after ten, I go back to my chores. It is during this time that I steal. I am still thinking and creating in my head while I tackle the mundane. After my chore time is done, I am ready to scrap and know what I want to do. No lost time waffling or ‘should I do this or that’ – I did that while I was cleaning. After a few hours, the house is caught up and scrapping is accomplished. I can even adapt this during meal prep – once food enters the oven, I might even have 30-40 minutes!

  • 43.
    Rebekah Pontow said…

    First things first – I’m not going to read all the comments and waist all that time sitting at my computer! Some great ideas though and all have a common theme – make it a priority. DVR the tv shows, catch up after Christmas, use the slow cooker, have help with the house work, let some of the housework go once and awhile, play catch up on the weekends, and block out a set time each night. These are all great ways to make this album fun and make sure it gets done.

    I plan on doing most of those things, and I also agree that it’s imporant to NOT check out on your workouts. I am in my 12 months now of weight lose and it’s so much a part of my life, so don’t let that go. Workout at home instead of driving to the gym one night or do a morning workout instead of an evening – whatever is going to give you some extra minutes. I also write all my jounraling in the evening before bed and blocked out the events I knew were going to be occuring ahead of time. Now I’m using post-its to schedule in more events, so that I don’t forget to take pictures and write notes.

    I also really like the idea of getting a premade album to get you started! Good luck!

  • 44.
    abbeyviolet said…

    There are some great ideas here. Mine was not as much completed daily. I did commit to daily blog entries so the journaling was there and uploaded the associated pictures. I did not do all the assembly each day as I can’t really print at home. Instead, I would batch print one day a week (weekend usually) and then do the assembly I had time for that day. If I didn’t get to it, it was OK as I had everything on my blog ready to roll when I had the time. I, admittedly, didn’t finish my 2009 version until the end of January in a marathon session with my mom, but you know what? It worked fine for me. If you don’t blog then maybe committing to the journaling somewhere each day and to figuring out which story you’re assigning to that day. If you have two more minutes. Tag the photos you want to use so you’re ready to print. You can make it work for you and make it work for the way you work. I am, as you can tell, a believer in this project. Hugs!

  • 45.
    Tracey Caudle said…

    I make a schedule and do my best to stick to it. I always pencil in some “me time”. I can spend that doing a number of things, but it usually involves being in my craft/scrap room. I figure if I already have my album prepped, which I am almost there, just need to add a few more transparent pages, it would only take me about 30 minutes or so to print off my pictures and write my journaling for a particular day. I can always go back later to add any “extras” to my pages, like embellishments and such. This is my first time actually doing the December Daily, so we will see how it goes once the 1st gets here!

  • 46.
    cinback said…

    This is the third year I am participating in the DD project. There are 3 things that I do to keep it manageable. First, I do not watch TV. I find that TV sucks up a lot of time in the evening if you let it, and I would rather be creating! Secondly, I did not get down on myself if I could not scrap each day on the day. For example, if we were out for a Christmas party and I did not get to work on my album that evening, I would not let myself stress over it, but continue on with the current day and catch up on the ‘missed day’ when I had a chance. There were always moments later in the week when I could catch up. Having said that, my third tip is to keep a balance (this one is hard for me) between scrapping and living the moments! I love scrapping so much that I tend to hide away in my craft room instead of spending that precious time with my family playing games or baking or skating! Don’t get me wrong, I do participate in these events, but I have also recognized that if I don’t make the effort to do something memorable, I will just hide out in my craft room! This year I am going to be intentional and happy with what does get accomplished.

  • 47.
    Becky H said…

    I am a SAHM and I would think I have all the time in the world but I get trapped in the “Well I do that tomorrow” frame of mind. With my DD I take the pictures and have a lined post-it note on the day in my album. I jot doen as I go and print pictures when I can. I am like alot of the commenters that I don’t stress to be finished by the first of the year. I still have pictures to add to last years DD because I just go them from my mom at Thanksgiving. I also find it enjoyable to scrap Christmas anytime of the year. It just makes me smile to look at my DD.

  • 48.
    Krista said…

    I let go of scrapbooking anything else. As a young woman without children my scrapbooking time stays the same but other scrapbooking projects take the back burner. I tend to develop my photos in a bunch and then sit down on a Friday or Saturyay evening and put together a number of days all at once. If I need to I journal during the day in my notebook I keep in my purse.

  • 49.
    Maureen said…

    I’m retired so you think I’d have all the time in the world, which I really do, but blog reading and project dreaming have to get cut back. TV is not part of my life though Netflix is! This year is going to be quite simple with the colored pages cut and the overlays being printed after I use them as a base for a digital photo and story. One photo, one story. Ok maybe some days a couple of small photos and printed at home. I often find I have to make the decision to do rather than think about a project like this. Just do it. Simply and easily.

    • ….
      Johanna said…

      This really resonates with me. I am 28, working as a designer from home and a total thinker, too, and can get really lost in thoughts and plans and ideas for personal projects without committing to actually making them happen. Last year, I took photos, collected stories in a journal and bits and pieces in an envelope, but never sat down to make the album. This year, instead of thinking (hah!) I should finish 2009 first (it’s still haunting me), I hope to assemble a simple album with mixed materials I have collected in a big bag and just journal in there & make adding photos an effort. I hope I can pull it off!

  • 50.
    Alexandra said…

    Oh boy, good question.

    I attempted this project a couple years ago and it is still incomplete – something I am not happy about – thinking I will try to finish it at some point but wondering how challenging that will be. We’ll see.

    This year I was dazzled by Ali’s December Daily once again and decided to give it another try. Slowly I gathered supplies and got motivated. Then my twins came down with the flu and strep throat – things were looking grim for my project. However, I decided to just do it – to find the time to get the foundation done – determined to do it before December started. I think that was the downfall of my prior attempt – the season is so busy that I need the foundation done or I won’t stand a chance. Happily, this morning, I completed the foundation – it’s done and ready to go!! This is HUGE for me.

    Here are some of the things I gave up in the process…

    1. Sleep – yes, I stayed up late, on more than one occasion, happily cutting, stapling, stitching and compiling.

    2. the expectation of perfection… that’s a tough one for me – so often I don’t ever start something because I get overwhelmed with the details and the quest for perfection. I found myself trying to channel my inner ‘Ali’ this time around – thinking about how important the story and photos are and how happy I’ll be to have a momento of the season. Perfection is over-rated. My pages aren’t ‘perfect’ but I actually like them – a lot!! That’s new for me :)

    3. Originality… this was another tough one to give up – in the past I have wanted to think outside the box, do something different and amazing – this time I decided to cut myself some slack and follow Ali’s cool example. I used the same size, the daily print-outs and transparencies all in a similar fashion. The base is the same but the products are different and kinda cool in their own way. It’s my take on Ali’s project and it’s done – done is big for me right now.

    4. TV watching and magazine reading… I actually have a little tv in my studio so instead of kicking my feet up in front of the tv after the kids went to bed I went into the studio and had the tv on in the background. It’s amazing that you can work and just listen to the tv and still not really miss the show – just a glance here or there and I still felt connected to a couple of my favourite shows.

    5. Fancy meals… this was kind of a no-brainer since we were under-the-weather – I made a few big pots of yummy chicken and wild rice soup, and had lots of simple egg based dinners. Also got my husband involved in some of the prep.

    6. Scheduled housework etc… just decided to let go here and get things done as they needed to be done and catch up when I can on the stuff that is pending.

    I think that the things I’ve given up or shifted around priority-wise will likely be the same throughout December. I’m just really wanted to get the stories down this time – really want something that we can cherish and enjoy looking back on. I’ve missed documenting so many things – I’m gonna change that this year :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Just wanted to tell you that I’m really proud of you Alexandra – you are making it happen.

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