Planning and preparing and organizing a big project like this is my favorite. When you've done something like this over + over, you learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn't work for you. I've created December albums in a variety of formats over the years - using beautifully curated kits + trying to create my own. Finishing just days after December ended, or several months later. Printing at home, or sending it to a printer. I love each and every album I've created, but more importantly, I cherish the memories I documented in those pages. I'm so ready to do that again this year. Today I'm sharing how I'm getting ready to fill my fifth December album.
Making the Album Covers : Back in 2011, I experimented with aircraft plywood. These thin sheets of plywood are available at most hobby shops as they are typically used for building model airplanes. I had some scrap wood left over from that year and decided to use it this year. After doing this layout back in September, I fell in love with stitching and chose to stitch a simple holiday graphic onto my cover - a stick Christmas tree.
I sketched out my tree and then laid it on the plywood near the center. Using a paper piercer, I pressed a hole into the ends of each branch and at the top and bottom of the tree trunk. After hand drilling the holes just larger than the eye of my needle, I stitched with kelly green embroidery floss, doubling up on each "line" to make them thicker and making sure to be aware of what the back, or inside, would look like since I wasn't planning on covering it up. Other than a couple of knots, it looks the same as the front. Add some binder rings (note to self : buy 2" rings) and the cover was complete.
Interior Page Options : The majority of my inside pages are just patterned paper. Some from my small holiday stash and past December Daily albums. Some from the Pine Hill add-on. Some from the Gossamer Blue Get Happy collection. I also added some kraft cardstock, chipboard, printables, envelopes + pockets, large tags, lots of vellum + transparencies (purchased and handmade). I also plan on making a few letterpress pages when I get those supplies out to make Christmas cards. Overall I have 35-40 page options to choose from. I only plan on making one 2-page spread each day so, combined with my daily photo, this selection should be plenty over the 31 days of December.
Embellishments : In an effort to stay simple this year, I've kept the embellishment collection to a minimum. Most of them are flat (except the badges. I can't fight my addiction to badges) or will be paper based, like punched shapes, printables or Silhouette cuts. When I cut down the paper for my interior pages, I added a second piece to "cut up" with punches, dies and scissors. Other embellishments I've collected include a small stash of washi, a fair amount of veneer and likely way too many alpha stickers. I also plan on pulling out my red and gold thread for my sewing machine to add a festive touch.
Digital Supplies : I love that you can never "run out" of digital items. The files I've purchased + collected over the years are ones I'll use again + again. The printables, the labels, the Silhouette cuts, and especially the digital brushes and stamps. I've scoured my computer for files from the past 25 Days classes, past Studio Calico December digital items and holiday stuff I've purchased from Designer Digitals when Ali Edwards was designing for them. Having it all in one folder is so helpful during this time of year when you're getting ready to dive into this project.
Getting Organized : Last weekend after I finished my Studio Calico Park Avenue layouts, I cleared off my desk and started containing all of my December album supplies. With my desk all set up, I filmed a little video of how I organized it all. Everything has a home which should make it fairly easy to work and clean up as I go.
My "Daily" Plan : While I plan to document one topic or story each day during the entire month of December, I am not necessarily going to work on my physical album every day. If history repeats itself, I intend on working on 2-3 spreads every 2-3 days. In between, I may binge on editing my photo(s) from that day while adding typed journaling prior to printing. I may sit and print a week's worth of photos while watching a movie. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my big "creative" days, as both kids are in school, so I will probably use those as my catch-up days if I need them. I'm feeling pretty realistic about my plans to work on my album, especially since I'm going the small + simple route this year.
Sharing : I will sharing my daily pages here on the blog and in the Studio Calico gallery as I complete them, however I will only be sharing Days 1-5 in the 25 Days classroom. I'll probably be over-sharing on Instagram too.
What about Project Life? Unlike past years, I've decided not to do Project Life along with my December album. For the past two seasons of 2014, I've been working with Studio Calico Handbooks for my Project Life (you can see my summer pages here + fall pages here) and after 3 months, they were packed. Rather than start a new album just for one month, I'm going to start fresh in 2015 with a 12x12 album. Consider this a one month break from Project Life to regroup + figure out how I want to approach it for my fourth year (wow).
Looking for some inspiration + motivation to get your December album done? The 25 Days class has already begun and Stephanie has shared a ton of content so far, including her album cover + foundation pages, plus eight videos! In December, Stephanie + the contributors will be sharing their pages throughout the month. You can see more details about the class here. Registration ends soon!