COHESIVE JOURNAL CARDS
When I first made the digital mockup of my album (see my last post!) I realised I wanted to simplify my design choices. The easiest way for me to do that was to come up with a black and white journal card design that I could repeat throughout the album, but still add variations to. I was inspired by a digital stamp set I had, Quarantine by In A Creative Bubble for Studio Calico, but I needed something similar that I could use for 4x4 and 4x8 cards. So, inspired by that design, I created my own journal card design by drawing a few black lines in Photoshop.
My card has ... + a number in the top left corner (the font is Bebas) + two spaces for digital stamps (one illustration + one wordart). I have many, many new and old sets of digital stamps designed by Geralyn Sy, so I could switch out the digital stamps to add variation, while keeping the design cohesive (also - not all the illustrations I used are from Christmas sets!). If you want to keep your design cohesive without having to think much about it, I’d recommend sticking to one designer, but you could of course mix and match as well. + rows to add "place" and "feeling"
As you can see in the examples, some of the wordart files I used were a bit taller than others, so then I "cut into" the "place" and "feeling" rows to fit it in nicely. This was a personal preference but is totally not necessary if you're not a nerd about shapes and spaces in design. :)
Most of the cards are 4x4, but I made some other sizes too to fit specific stories I wanted to tell - one 4x8 with space for a tall photo, one 4x8 with space for lots of words and one 4x8 with space for physical embellishments as well (since I knew I didn’t have any other photos or words to go in that space for that day).
All in all, I love how this turned out - simple but versatile! I found this concept so easy and fun to use. I'm definitely doing a similar journal card design this year (or maybe I’ll use the same), even though I'm hoping to make a "craftier" album with more interactive pages this year.
FULL PAGE PHOTOS WITH MINIMAL EMBELLISHMENTS
Another simple concept I decided to stick to to make this process easier was choosing full page photos, and then embellishing each page very sparingly. A trio of matching embellishments here ... a small pocket with a number on it and journaling tucked inside there ... and often just one single embellishment on a page - that was both doable and fun for me, so that's what I did! It's not rocket science, I know - but I think I needed to remind myself that I'm "allowed" to keep decorations minimal. (Give yourself time to think about what you could simplify to make this process doable for you.)
To choose embellishments, I looked through what I had left from previous collections, and chose the ones I was the most drawn to. This sounds like it should be obvious, but like many crafters I have a tendency to want to save my favourite pieces. But I knew I would buy more supplies this year, so I told myself (with my stern voice!) that it was time to put my favourite embellishments to good use! From there, it was easy to pair them with full page photos I'd already printed (when I pair embellishments with photos, I go first by colour scheme, and when I find something that matches, I check that the sentiment matches the story, too), adhering them down and calling the pages done.
I found after a while that I really love this look, because it lets both the photo AND the embellishment shine. And just like the journal cards I talked about above, I realised how much I loved working this way, and that I'll probably make many pages like this in this year's December Daily album too - full page photos with minimal embellishments. It turns out batch processing has been really good to help me figure out what design elements - and what parts of the process - I enjoy the most!
DAILY JOURNALING/ NOTE-TAKING
I also have to add a note on the concept of journaling every day. For me, it is the only way I’d ever be able to make a project like this several months (or years) later. I want to emphasise that you don’t need to write THE journaling every day, as in, the literal journaling that will necessarily go into the album. Just write SOME journaling. My personal journal is very chatty, spontaneous and personal, and while I might not want to put all of that word for word in my scrapbook albums, it is a very valuable resource when I go back months later. In this project, when I wrote all the journaling at the same time, I used journaling I’d written during December but rewrote it to flow nicely and convey what was most important about the story, editing out some details that didn’t really matter.
And if I can give one more word of advice on this subject - please remember to write down how you feel about what’s going on in your life! That is what I most care about reading when I look through my older scrapbook albums.
DON’T SKIP THE THING YOU LOVE THE MOST
My last tip is my most important one: When batch processing, don’t skip the part of the process that you love the most!
Don't make a project a chore by simplifying, or excluding entirely, what you most love about scrapbooking. Even if your favourite part of this hobby is the most time-consuming, don't skip it just to save time. Because in the end, what's the point of having a hobby if all you want to do with it is save time?
No, I say: Keep the parts you love the most. Simplify, streamline or cut out entirely the parts of the process that don't bring you as much joy!
For me, choosing and mixing patterns is the most fun, so I made sure to use lots of patterned papers throughout the album. I specifically chose the page protectors with a 2x8 pocket (by Simple Stories) so I could fit more patterned papers in, and folded a couple of pockets and envelopes (for journaling or extra photos) out of favourite patterns.
I also added a couple of full page patterns with a journal card in the middle and a few embellishments around it, to really let the patterns shine. (That is something I'm definitely keeping for this year, because I love the look of it - and I have a bunch of 3x4 journal cards that would look great on a patterned background like this.) I let this part of the process take time, because I enjoy it so much.
It's when people try to simplify so much that it's not a hobby anymore, just work, that they lose the creative spark. So what you need to do is figure out what part brings you the MOST joy - and keep it, or even amplify it! I feel like that is the most potent cure for crafty burnout I know. <3
I hope my two posts have been inspiring for any of you who may be considering batch processing an album this year (or for a previous year)! Find me over on instagram @paperandphotographs, where I will share more of my completed album over the next few weeks, including a flip through as soon as I can get to it.
I wish you a marvellous, colourful December!