Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

December 14, 2011

December Daily™ 2011 | Day Thirteen

Welcome to December Daily™ 2011 | Day Thirteen.

Yesterday as I was working and clicking (you know how that goes right?) I came across Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata on Tara Whitney’s blog. It’s not the first time I’ve read it – I think the first time was when I was a sophomore in high school. It speaks to me each time I find it again so I decided it would be a nice thing to include in my December Daily™ for today.

I can imagine myself opening up my 2012 December Daily™ in the coming years and seeing this again and having it be just what I need to read.

It’s also seemed a nice companion to a photo I took of Anna this morning. I set the camera on the ground, set it to 100 ISO and took a couple shots as she played with her Playmobil between the tree and a couch.

“Be at peace” was added directly onto the photo using American Crafts Hollyday Silver Elf Chipboard and a single line was stitched across the top.

I’ve seen a couple people in the comments mention the challenge of photographing in low-light. I find, at this time of year specifically with all the twinkle lights, that I actually welcome the low-light. That said, there are times when it works and times when it doesn’t. I’m sure I could of adjusted this photo in Photoshop – but this is a pretty good representation of what I saw. Glowing yellow light inside, the blue of the early morning light out the window.

In this case I purposely chose a really low ISO – 100 – and set the camera on the floor so there would be no shake (I actually wanted to see how long the shutter would stay open – it wasn’t as long as I thought it would be).

That said, sometimes low light is just really annoying. I googled “tips for shooting in low light” and there are 16,300,000 results. This one was pretty decent.

Along the edge I added a strip of Jillibean paper (stars), a small piece from the Jenni Bowlin paper, and a small kraft star that was cut from a Trader Joes shopping bag.

I repeated another little piece of the Trader Joe’s paper on the top. Along the right edge of the first page I added some stars cut with the Silhouette. All those accents include machine stitching.

Here’s a look at the pages in my album:

I saved the words as a PDF for you guys in case it means something to you right now. You can download it by clicking here. (2.3 MB)


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You’re invited to include a link to your DAY THIRTEEN page here. Please link directly to your post vs. your general blog link.


  • 1.
    becky v said…

    Ali, I have never read this, I absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing about the photography tip too.

  • 2.
    Anne T. said…

    This is my favorite poem and for years I have had a framed poster of it with handwriting and illustrations by Susan Branch. Currently it lives in my craft room so I can read it all the time and take the words to heart. Thanks for sharing the PDF. Loving your pages everyday. They are really inspiring. For four years now I’ve assembled the shell of the book and then managed not to fill the insides. Sadly, this year has been no different. I love all my books, but it’s depressing that they are empty. Thanks for the words of encouragement in your previous post. Really hoping I can catch up on this one, even if it’s after the holidays.

  • 3.
    missscrap said…

    I don’t know this poem, but I love it. Thanks for discover it !

  • 4.
    HeatherC said…

    Beautiful page. I made a morning light page last week too — loved the yellow glow and slight blur of the kids under the tree — captures the mood and movement of the moment. I got a new camera last year for Christmas and am still learning how to use it — I have found the use of a little tripod (I think it is a gorilla) is useful and less bulky that our large one.

    Thanks for the daily inspiration — this is my favorite memory project of the year!

    • ….
      HeatherC said…

      Forgot to mention that I guess I am going to have to make a trip to Trader Joe’s — I think I need one of those bags! :) Love your use of everyday finds with scrapping materials.

      Thanks for the PDF — looking forward to reading it.

  • 5.
    Estelle said…

    Hi there !
    It’s four days i can’t write a message. Hope this time it ll be OK.
    Love this project, thanks for sharing.
    i love the light in your DD, it seems wonderfull …
    Kisses from France !

  • 6.
    Estelle said…

    It s posted !!! Youpi !!!

  • 7.
    laura g. said…

    beautiful poem! read it years ago and enjoyed reading it again! i would like to incorporate some religious themes into my book (after all, isn’t this the real reason we celebrate Christmas?) have had trouble locating nativity themed paper etc i found a nativity stamp and think i will use it to make my own paper and use ali’s ‘silent night, holy night’stamp from her ‘good cheer’ stamp set any one have more ideas? thanks!

    • ….
      caro said…

      Last year was the first time there was NO nativity themed wrapping paper to be found around here. Would love to see what you found to make your own design? Tx

    • ….
      laura g. said…

      the best stamp i found was from Close to My Heart am thinking about cutting or punching out images from Christmas cards and making a copy of them onto a page so they don’t look pasted on still kicking around some ideas i have some fabric i bought years ago with ‘joy to the world’ and the images are small so it would be perfect to add to my scrapbook have you come up with some ideas?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      You could also do a quick google search and print out images online. I do have a set of hand-written Christmas Bible verses available as well:

    • ….
      laura g. said…

      thanks ali! just looked at the Bible verses and loved them! i bought some Christmas cards at work with Nativity scenes on them..and found an angel stamp i like and some silver ink at Joann’s (luckily there is a Joann’s right next to my work!) so i think i am set!

  • 8.
    Molly said…

    perfect! I love this photo too.

  • 9.
    scrappysue said…

    Ali, your pages are just so beautiful and so is the poem, thank you so much for putting it into a pdf. Love that you have a cushion with “light” on it!

  • 10.
    Fanny said…

    It does mean A LOT to me right now. Thanks, Ali! I heard Max Ehrmann’s poem while I was in high school too. It spoke to me back then and it does now. Thanks for bringing it back! It will sure be part of my 2011 december daily as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • 11.
    caro said…

    That shot is incredible for ISO 100 Ali! You must have a great wide angle lens too to fit all that in. Wish Simon could have taken a shot of you setting the camera up …. :-)
    I’m finding the low light photography class I just did with Karen Russell invaluable this season. Thanks for sharing SO much detail.

  • 12.
    theresa said…

    Hi Ali….Thanks for “Desiderata”…when I printed it from the PDF, it came out as 8 1/2 by 11….Just curious how you printed it to fit your DD? thanks ….Theresa

    • ….
      Ali said…

      It’s sized to fit on a 6×8.5 (you need to set “page scaling” to “none” in Adobe Reader – the program to open PDF files) – I printed it on 8.5×11 and then trimmed it down.

  • 13.
    Ann said…

    Beautiful poem. I’d never heard of it before. I’m definitely going to try to find it in poster form and hang it in the house.
    Ali, where did you get those page separators – the ones that are clear with the sort of quatrefoil pattern on it?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That’s a Hambly overlay – called White Lattice:

    • ….
      Ann said…

      Thank you! =)

  • 14.
    Anne said…

    wow, thanks Ali for the Desiderata, the low light photography tips, and the Trader Joe’s star idea. Have I forgotten anything? :-p You are so inspiring.

  • 15.
    Cecilia Madden said…

    I just love this project. I’m quietly following along but didn’t have the guts to make my own book this year. Maybe I’ll pull something together after the holidays.

    And I love that poem. So appropriate for this season.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      You can do it :) .

  • 16.
    Deb J said…

    I always enjoy your pages. You just have a way of making pages that speak to me.

  • 17.
    Elaine Bieman said…

    really pretty day 13.

  • 18.

    Thanks for the poem…just what I’ve been needing this season as I’m drowning in errands and chores!

  • 19.
    Cynthia said…

    Desiderata has been part of my life since I first read it in University many years ago – it is so beautiful and meaningful and I found it so calming in times of stress. I love your Day 13. I think what I always find so wonderful/inspiring/breath catching in your work is your ability to convey ambiance and emotion in a such a range of environments.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thank you Cynthia – that was really nice.

  • 20.
    Jen L said…

    I wanted to share a link with you that my friend Heidi posted
    It’s pretty awesome, and exactly what we mama’s need to hear right about about now.

    • ….
      Stacy Milford said…

      Thanks for sharing the blog post! Just what I needed to read…

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That was lovely.

  • 21.
    Cathy said…

    Thank you for sharing the poem. It really speaks to me today. A great reminder of what’s important.

  • 22.
    Lorette C said…

    LOVE this poem! Thank you for sharing! And that photo is sooo lovely! Will have to try this technique! And I saved a Trader Joe bag last weekend and a treat bag from JoAnns!

    BTW ALI: what are your floors made of? there’s not a seam or grout line to be seen on the photo…LOVE that!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Lorette – I have no idea :) . They were here when we moved in – I like them!

  • 23.
    jen in pa said…

    wonderful poem, and i love anna’s “a” shirt. any idea where you got it? it would be perfect for my small people :)

  • 24.
    Debbi G. said…

    Thanks again, Ali, for sharing these pages. They are beautiful :)

    I have a question on the photo…I was a bit surprised your ISO was at used to being told to “bump it up”. What made you try it at 100? The clarity? I guess if your subject isn’t moving too much, they won’t turn into a ghost..haha

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I really just wanted to see what would happen – specifically with the Christmas tree and with Anna. I was actually hoping she would be moving a bit more (but the shutter was too quick). What I wanted was a crisp tree and a blurred Anna :) .

  • 25.
    Vera said…

    Beautiful. I also first read Desiderata when I was a highschool sophomore. Loved it since.

  • 26.
    Missus Wookie said…

    Love Desiderata – was just thinking of what used to be on our first student house walls and this was one I was going to replace.

    So many bits of great advice in there. Thanks for sharing.

  • 27.
    Sally said…

    Wait a minute- day 13? Already? How did this happen? I haven’t even managed to get day 1 done! :) Hopefully I’ll have time soon to work on my album. I love seeing everyone else’s though!

  • 28.
    k8 said…

    Thanks for the Desiderata……I probably discovered that around sophomore year in HS, too – many, many years before you! I used to have a printed version on my bulletin board. I will find a way to include Desiderata in my JYC….

    Now I am thinking nostalgically about my bulletin board…I specifically remember some of the stuff I had on there forever. A picture of e.e. cummings, a page from Skiing magazine with a great picture of Franz Klammer, a cartoon a friend send of a guy stuck in a real rut…..wish I had a photo of it. What a glimpse into the girl I once was…..


    • ….
      Ali said…

      I like to take photos of my bulletin boards now too (and I also wish I had a shot of mine growing up). You could even just make a page of the memories – what you can remember on there even without having a photo.

  • 29.
    Abbey said…

    Had a great crafting night with friends and now almost back to the “present” with my DD. Loving this project more each year. I like that some topics repeat and I can look back, but also am trying consciously to make sure some new ones are added. For the 13th, I added a day about our charitable giving as it isn’t something I’ve ever documented, but is something we care about and is part of our holiday and year long experience. Thanks again for the inspiration

  • 30.
    Louise said…

    Dear Ali, I’m not sure if I can hand-on-heart say this is my most favourite of every single layout of yours I’ve ever seen . . . but it must be in the top three. It is absolutely beautiful – just gorgeous. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you peace. Louise

  • 31.
    Nicole said…

    Beautiful layout Ali! I love this poem too. I can’t say I’ve ever read it before. Thanks for taking the time to share it as a PDF for us.

  • 32.
    Noell said…

    Ali, you first introduced me to the concept of purposefully low-lit photos some time after you moved into your home and you had a picture of Simon in his room between two lamps. I saw that and the feeling it evoked, and it occurred to me that I’d been trying to manufacture light in some of my photos that should not have been there.

    I went back and fixed some evening Christmas photos I’d made boring by bumping up the exposure and returned them to their low-light selves and was so happy to see that the magic had returned and it was good that way!

    Glad to see you pointing it out here for others to learn from. Thank you for helping me see it myself!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Noell – always appreciate comments from you :) .

  • 33.
    Lori Kae said…

    A tight HUG, a giant Smile and a sincere God Bless You for all of the “Gifts” and Light you share with the world each day. Thank you!!!

  • 34.
    Deirdre said…

    Thank you for sharing the PDF. I grew up with this framed in our basement and it is intrinsically tied to my dad in my mind. I saw it on Tara’s blog and wanted to print a copy to include in my Christmas gift to him (my parents have downsized and I hadn’t seen it in years). I don’t know that I would have found the time or remembered to, but now you’ve made it so easy. So thank you from me and my dad!

  • 35.
    Elizabeth A said…

    Love the poem. I decided to do a different type of Dec Daily this year. Everyone day this month I tell my loved ones about one thing I love about them. It has brought much joy and closeness, and for that I am grateful. Thanks as always for inspiration.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That is a wonderful idea.

  • 36.
    rhonda said…

    Ali I have never heard of this poem before. I must tell you it was perfect timing, I have been feeling down this year not so cheery and today I was moved by this, just what I needed! THANK YOU ALI!

  • 37.
    amy tangerine said…

    love seeing anna in her tee, even if it is backwards. maybe the next one should have the heart in the front. smiles

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Totally. She did choose to wear it with the a on the front yesterday. Seriously – it’s been an everyday shirt (when she can make it happen) lately. Hence the need for a new one :) .

  • 38.
    Lucy said…

    What a sweet picture and tribute to Anna. I’d venture to say that anyone who hasn’t seen Desiderata wasn’t able to read in the ’60s. ;-) It was THE thing hanging on all our walls back then. It’s always meaningful to read — and I enjoyed it once again.

  • 39.
    DaniW in Oz said…

    Hi Ali – after reading your post yesterday I decided to put the Desiderata as the last page for my Project Life album, I thought it ended off the year perfectly – thanks for sharing it!

    Are you finding that some of the very small pieces of the Playmobil Advent calender aren’t suitable for Anna? We gave it to our 2.3 year old boy and some of the pieces are a bit scary with him – the ink pot, tiny mail etc! He is cutting his molars and will still sometimes put things in his mouth to chew on …so they go away into a special box for playing with only under supervision.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Sounds like a good, watchful parent to me :) . Anna doesn’t really put things in her mouth so that hasn’t been an issue here but I think you are smart to be paying attention as some of those pieces are really small :) .

  • 40.
    Kirsten said…

    Thank you for sharing the file with us. I saw it on Tara’s blog and loved it, but didn’t have time to copy it out. It speaks to me too.

  • 41.
    Emma said…

    Hi Ali. I’m sure you get so many comments that you are too busy to read them all, but I just had to write a comment to say thank you for posting this poem, today. My December so far has been a hard one, and things have all come together to make it a very bad day. Discovering the words of this poem were exactly what I NEEDED today. Thank you.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      You are more than welcome.

  • 42.
    Ruth said…

    just one more thank you here for, as Deirdre said earlier, making it easy when I had the same thought from Tara’s blog and put it onto my mental “do it later” list. You really look after us as we follow along with the december daily parade throughout the month..

  • 43.
    Tammy B said…

    Thank you Ali. I’m going to share this poem with my friends. I’m sure it will be a calming influence in some of their lives right now.

  • 44.
    Nicole Foster said…

    Thanks for sharing the poem. I’ve never seen it before but it is exactly what I need for one of my DD days. I’m a teacher, and with all of the hectic-ness of report cards, parent conferences, testing and trying to have some fun with the students before our Christmas break, I’ve found myself not really enjoying the season yet. I haven’t yet put my DD together yet, but have been keeping notes and taking pictures to add later. This will fit in perfectly with one of my days. Thanks again for all of your inspiration. :)

  • 45.
    Marie-Pierre said…

    I love this layout Ali! I love the little red strip and the stars on the side. Do you use a special needle to sew through the chipboard letters? I have this same machine and I’m always struggling with it if I only try to sew through something sticky, so I couldn’t imagine sewing through chipboard letters. I love the look though. Really love it!

  • 46.
    Krystyn said…

    I have never read Desiderata before (or seen it for that matter) but I think now I will have to include it in my DD album as well as I feel that it speaks to me…lots of things in there that I need to remember. :) Thanks for sharing!!!

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