Thursday, November 22, 2012

getting real about my christmas journal {journal your christmas :: december daily}

Last year I had such big plans for my Christmas journal (I follow Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas track each year and love it). I had a huge plan for doing a digital album, thinking that it would solve the issue that I seemed to have every Christmas with themed product taking over my space for 37 days (the length of the Journal Your Christmas class), allowing space for some non-seasonal scrapping to take place. I was so excited. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be epic.

And, oh, it was epic, all right...an epic fail. I managed to complete two whole pages of that album- in January- and that was it. I took all the photos and did most of the journaling, but the actual album just never got put together.

Sometime over the summer I finally admitted to myself that the digital album wasn't going to work (and, really, what was I thinking? That I was actually going to complete an entire 12x12 digi layout for every day during the busiest season of the year? Seriously? I must have been on some serious happy juice when I came up with that plan!) and decided to change formats completely. I fell back on the only long-term project that I've ever been able to keep up with for any length of time- Project Life- and decided that instead of a huge digital album I'd turn to good old "Design A" page protectors to get me through. I sat down one day and went through all of those photos I'd planned on using in my digital album and instead formatted them to take up just one 4x6 slot for each day (using smaller sizes for days that had more than one photo), sent them off to Snapfish to be printed, and then let them sit again for months without touching them. Because who wants to scrapbook Christmas photos when it's 98 degrees outside and you could be running instead, right?

The little cold snap we had here a couple of weeks ago must have put me back in a Christmas mood, though, because last weekend this happened...

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Yes, that's my 2011 album (or at least the first 8 entries of it) in progress! To be perfectly honest this is still as far as it's gotten, but it's so much better than it was before. All the photos are sorted into the proper day's slot, all the journaling cards are ready to be filled (more on those in a minute), and all the supplies are neatly organized in an area away from my main scrapping desk where I can work on the album a few minutes here and there as I have time and still be able to do some regular scrapbooking, as well.

I'd originally planned on using a plain folding table off to one side of my scrap room to hold this stuff, but I loaned my only folding table to a family member about a year ago and ::ahem:: haven't seen it since, so I hit Craigslist in my area in search of a cheap used one and lo and behold found this.

Does anyone remember several years ago when the (then) new Scrap 'n Stow table, complete with wheels, a handle, and little compartments that sealed up so you could leave all your stuff inside when you moved it, hit the market? I do, and I remember being slightly intrigued, but also more than slightly put off by the hefty price tag. When I found one in my area last week, though, for well under half of the original retail, I jumped on it! It's now all set up in my scrap room with the supplies I choose during the summer when I replanned my 2011 JYC album (and maybe just a few things that I've added since then from newer purchases...), and I couldn't be happier!

The little compartments are filled with bits and pieces...

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...and the larger section holds papers. I've also stacked up some of the larger sticker and embellishment sheets on one of the trays that I bought to help when working with scrapbooking kits and thrown it on top, too. Love that it's easy to pick that whole pile up and move it to the side to get at what's underneath.

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So, with the storage for my Journal Your Christmas album worked out, what about the format? As I said earlier, I'm allocating one 4x6 slot in the Design A page protector to photos for each day, and in addition I'm using one of the 3x4 slots to include the related journaling. Simple, simple, simple- one 4x6 and one 3x4 per day. I'm thinking that during the week I'll at least make sure to take photos and write on my journaling cards, and then each weekend I'll sit down and put it together and do the creative bits, just as if I were working on a regular Project Life spread.

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I'm doing something just a bit different with the journaling cards to help simplify things and also to leave me a little more room for creative play. The journaling for Journal Your Christmas can get long (and a little personal at times), so I put together a set of 36 (because one of the 37 JYC days is always set aside to make the title page) homemade bi-fold journaling cards. They're just two of the standard Project Life 3x4 grid journaling cards held together with some silver washi tape (I tried mixing up lots of pretty Christmas tape colors in a single spread, but it came out looking way too busy for my taste).

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I can scribble in my horrible handwriting to my heart's content on the insides of these cards (and even on the back if I need extra space), and then decorate the fronts with stamps, stickers, die cuts, more washi, chipboard- anything I want to use to get creative and play just a little bit.

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I'm loving this format so much that my revised 2011 plan is also now going to be my 2012 plan, as well, just with different supplies. I've also set aside a special album (a lovely black damask that I've linked up below) to hold all of my Journal Your Christmas "albums" from several years (since I anticipate using this format from here forward) in a single volume.

And, since this post is all about keeping things real, I wanted to show you the "not-so-pretty" shot of my JYC workspace. The close-up shot of the table at the top of this post does a pretty good job of hiding the still-ugly-and-in-plain-sight back of the Murphy bed that the table is backed up against (I'm thinking that a track curtain hung from the ceiling might be the right solution here to hide the bed, I just haven't done it yet), but if I zoom out a bit you can definitely see it.

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And if I zoom out even further? AHHHH! The Mess!! Actually, that "mess" is all my Christmas wrapping supplies plus a few new decorations (string lights from IKEA and a pretty box or two from HomeGoods). I'm doing fairly well on getting all of my Christmas shopping done early this year and expect to be wrapping packages this weekend and next week. With any luck it'll all be done before December 1st hits, and I can sit back and relax and enjoy Christmas...and working on my album, of course!

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Speaking of when December 1st hits, that's the day that I'll move the 2011 supplies to the side (probably into kit trays instead of completely put away), and I'll get this bad boy (show below) out! This bag holds all of the items I've been putting aside for my 2012 Journal Your Christmas album. There's definitely more here than I'll use on 36 little sets of cards, but I loved several Christmas collections this year (Echo Park's This & That Christmas, Crate Paper's Sleigh Ride, Pink Paislee's City Sidewalks, Basic Grey's Aspen Frost, October Afternoon's Make It Merry, bits of Studio Calico's Wonderland, Kelly Purkey's Christmas and Winter stamps, and of course the new Elle's Studio Christmas journaling cards) and wanted it all available to play with.

Once December 1st hits the focus will be on keeping the 2012 album up to date, but I'll also go back and work on the 2011 album as I have time (just as I've been doing with my 2011 Project Life to catch up all year long) and will be sharing spreads from both here as they are completed.

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Here's just a peek of the 2012 journaling cards- I went with gold washi in a few different patterns, keeping the same color again to keep things from getting too busy. This shot was taken while the cards were in progress- I later went back and trimmed off the excess washi

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And as for the supplies that I'm keeping out to use this year? They're pretty much all linked here. It's a lot, I know (though many of these links are to a single journaling card or sheet of labels or something small), but I wanted to have lots of choices, and there was so much fun stuff this year! Next year will most likely be from stash, I'm thinking...unless something really scrumptious comes out. :)



If you made it to the end of my exceptionally wordy post, I commend you. And good luck to everyone embarking on December Daily and Journal Your Christmas this year- I wish you the best of luck and a wonderful Christmas season, and I look forward to seeing your albums!