Archive for the ‘V’s December album’ Category

I couldn’t help but write a little “victory-dance” blog post: my daughter’s December album is FINISHED, as of about 6:00pm on Saturday, June 14, 2014.  This is epic, people!




The album is HUGE.  I still have to figure out how on earth I’m going to share it on the blog without it being overwhelming.

But for now, just celebrate with me that this project is officially complete! 🙂

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I am making good progress on the December album!  (You can read about the overall plan for the album HERE. You can see all posts related to this album project HERE.)

As my “mother’s day gift,” I was able to spend a whole Saturday at a church crafting day (the same type of event where I made a ton of progress in March!)  And this time, I brought out the “big guns”– haha!  After using double-sided-tape (acid free, and all that, of course) for years, I finally made the switch to a Scotch Advanced Tape Glider. This switch was precipitated by the fact that I ran completely out of “dry” adhesive and needed to get some as soon as possible so I could work on this album. [warning: the first three photos in this post are super-crummy iPhone 3 photos! haha ;-)]

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So excited to use this bad boy!

By the end of the day, I’d decided that I really like my new tool!

I was on a mission again this time.   I finished cutting the paper layers so that I had a total of 26 layout bases prepared (I will have more layouts than this, but this was a mighty good start, I thought).  I spread them all out on one of the big tables in the room we were using so that I could see all the paper combinations.

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I got out my stack of “main” photos and began matching them with the paper layer combinations.  You should be proud of me– at this point, I did NOT consider whether the final layout would be the same sketch side-by-side, or if the papers were too similar side-by-side.

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After all the photos were matched with a set of paper layers, I rearranged them so that they were in chronological order (the order they will appear in the album) and lo and behold!  I don’t think I had to switch any of the photos!  It had worked out that the layouts were mixed, and the papers were also mixed up enough for my taste.

I spent the rest of the day adhering the paper layers + doily + photo in a cluster for each page.  At this point, I didn’t adhere the cluster to the white cardstock base because I didn’t have a journaling pen and wanted to think a bit more about how the journaling would fit on the pages.

I used 2.5% of my doilies!  Woooooo hooooo!! 😉


In the following week, I went to the craft store and got myself a pen and challenged myself each day to write the journaling for at least 5 layouts.  Remember, the journaling was pretty much pre-written in my planner from that time (I wrote a few sentences each day).  It was just a matter of transcribing it (and making the point-of-view/person (what is the grammatical name for that??) was consistent–I’m using 2nd person, addressing my daughter).  There were a few days that didn’t have a set of paper layers yet (mostly because it was a combination of more than one photo that didn’t quite fit my pre-made sketches), so I also put them together.

So this is where I am at the time of writing of this post:  I have the journaling written and paper/photos adhered onto all of the “main photo” layouts from December 2 through December 31.  I slipped them into page protectors and have them in a (temporary) 3-ring binder to keep them organized. I added the baseball card page protectors between each spread and inserted the 2.5″x3.5″ photos from each day into the appropriate slots to start getting them organized.


since the craft room is dismantled, I’ve taken over the dining room table. I’m watching a CreativeLive scrapbooking class while I work!


So what still needs to be done?

  • There are multiple big (“main”/4″x6”) photos for the first few days: November 29 through December 2.  These photos need to have layouts made for them.  (I am kind of intimidated by these, because they are, in some ways, the “most important” to me– the first photos of my little girl and us as a family of three).
  • The empty slots of the baseball card protector pages need to be filled.  I plan to use the scraps of the patterned papers that are left, plus some of the doilies and embellishments.  There are also some “extra” pieces of journaling to include with those smaller photos.
  • I’d like to add a few embellishments to the main pages, plus numbers to show the date for each day.
  • I have some ephemera that I’d like to keep in this album, so I need to figure out how to best include it.

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I bought 1000 (one thousand; that is not a typo!) paper doilies.

I am committed.  Haha!

Want to know what they look like?

oh yes, I bought a case of 1,000 doilies.  And I am so excited!


I somehow expected a bigger box, but really, they are quite compact.

oh yes, I bought a case of 1,000 doilies.  And I am so excited!

So here’s the story about these doilies:

As I started planning the “sketches” for the daily highlight pages in V’s December album (You can read about the overall plan for the album HERE. You can see all posts related to this album project HERE.), I realized I wanted an element to soften the crisp, hard edges of the patterned paper blocks I would be using.  I had a couple doilies in this style that I’d saved from a restaurant in my embellishments box, and so I pulled them out.  Yes, I’m one of those people who sees a pretty doily under my side dish bowl and whisks it into my purse before food spills on it!  Haha.  As I developed my sketch ideas, I decided that these doilies were a must–these exact ones– and there should be one on every page.  Since there are going to be over 30 daily highlight pages in the album (one for each day, plus a few bonus ones for V’s first days), that would have meant a lot of trips to the restaurant for more doilies, haha!

I did try and contact the restaurant to find out more information about their doily supplier, and they did reply, but not with specific enough information.  I looked in my local craft stores (in the baking sections) to see if there were any comparable styles of doilies, but nothing was quite as perfectly lacy as these.  I got online myself and searched around until I found 5″ Cambridge Lace paper doilies.  As I looked, I decided that it wasn’t going to be too ridiculous of an investment to actually just buy a case– it was more cost-effective this way, and of course, I’ll be able to use approximate 970 doilies on other projects!

The funniest part to me is that I keep finding myself trying to justify this purchase.  Husband doesn’t care about how I spend my craft/hobby money, as long as I’m happy!  But I’d find myself saying “…and I can use them on cards!”  and then a little later, “…I use them on layouts!”  Every time I pop up with one of these remarks, Husband just shakes his head and says, “That’s fine!  Enjoy your doilies!” and yet, I still feel the need to justify.  Haha!

~ ~ ~

Okay, so enough about the doilies for now.  What about the layouts for V’s December album?

I mentioned in my March goals recap that I was able to cut paper pieces for about 16 of my pages at a craft afternoon at church.  That was awesome!  I told myself that within the first hour of being there, I had to have chopped into my paper to start prepping the layouts.  No dilly-dallying, no waffling or being afraid to use the paper I’d purchased expressly for this project!

Originally, I thought that the layouts would be based on one sketch, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I would be bored silly with 30+ layouts of essentially the same design, even if the papers were different.  Before the craft afternoon, I sat down and designed four main sketches (which then have four variations, based on photo orientation and vertical mirroring).


Once I got to church and began working, I chose measurements to approximate the sketches and started chopping.  I prepped four layouts at a time.  I took some (really crummy!!) photos with my (very old) iPhone to help me to remember what papers went where, in case they ended up getting mixed in my project box.  In the photos below, you can see that I varied the photo orientations and even had some of my pilfered doilies (this was before my thousand were even ordered!) and my 4×6 prints to help me visualize.

2014_03_08_layoutprogress-EditThis “batch-processing” is working so well!  I haven’t done anything (except order doilies!) since the church  craft day, because I’ve been prioritizing bridal shower preparations (see my April goals!), but I am so excited to continue with this project.  It’s another of my goals for April to finish these layouts– or at least take them a lot further along.

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I have to admit, I have been dragging my feet to get these photos prepared for V’s December album.  But I’m glad to say, the photos are ready!

You can read about the overall plan for the album HERE

You can see all posts related to this album project HERE.

In January, I accomplished my goal of going through the photos I took in V’s first month of life and choosing up to 10 per day (in general, one large and up to 9 small).  I was surprised to find that there were a couple days in that first month that I didn’t have any photos photos– even though I knew at the time that I would be making this album someday.  For the majority of days, I chose between 2 and 5 photos.

Initial plan for photos for Vivian's December album

To simplify the choosing process I did a few things:

  • I used the metadata filter feature in LR to look at only one date at a time.  (Less overwhelming!)
  • I mostly used the “favorites” collections I’d created in December 2011/January 2012 (that is, shortly after the photos were taken).  In a couple of cases, when there were only a few photos, I did go back to my whole set of photos, but still looking at only one day at a time.
  • I printed a December 2011 calendar, and in each day’s square, I wrote the photo numbers for future reference.  As I was choosing photos for each day, I tried to decide right away which would be the large photo.
  • I worked through the month in reverse.  I knew that the first few days after V’s birth would be seriously heavy on “important” photos, so I worked my way backwards to get a feel for the process before I got to the “hard” choices.
  • To make it more manageable in my mind, I set a goal to choose photos for one date for the album for each day in January 2014.  It made me feel pretty good when I discovered that (at least for the end of the month), I could do a week’s worth of choosing (or more!) in a single day.  This “working ahead” came in handy when I had some computer trouble and couldn’t use LR for about a week.
  • I let myself break my rules.  There are a few days where I will use a couple “medium” sized photos on the highlight layout.  There are a few days with just one photo total.  And at the beginning of the month, most of the pictures will be large– and I’ll just have some extra highlight layouts.  After all, there were a lot of important “firsts” in those days!

This month, I’ve been prepping for printing the photos that I chose.

First, I went through and did some editing.  The photos were mostly from my camera, but I also had some from parents’ and siblings’ cameras.  I decided to leave everything in color: I toyed with the idea of all or part black-and-white, since I love the look, but in the end, I decided that I’d miss the detail of the colors.  Sometimes those colors can spark “extra feature” memories.  You know what I mean?  The feelings, the emotions, etc.

In order to prepare them for printing, I ended up breaking them up into four sub-albums in LR:

  • large photos (print at 4″x6″ with white borders, both landscape and portrait orientations)– for highlight layouts
  • medium photos (print at 4″x3″ with white borders, both landscape and portrait orientations) — for highlight layouts
  • small photos (print at 2.5″x3.5″ portrait, without white borders) — for baseball card protector pages
  • small photos that need to be split (landscape photos that I’ve cropped to 5″x3.5″, and then will split into two portrait-orientation, baseball-card-sized photos) — for baseball card protector pages

For each of the categories I created print templates in LR, which especially made it so easy to put multiple photos on a canvas.  For the final category, I did the initial 5″x3.5″ crop in LR, and I’ll chop them in half when I get the prints.

It’s amazing what a 101-free-prints sale will do for motivation!  I now have 154 photos on 101** 4″x6″ canvases uploaded and ordered, and I’m excited to get the prints!

**Isn’t it amazing that it worked out so perfectly?!  I didn’t even try to manipulate it 🙂

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You can see all posts related to this album project HERE.

First, a little back-story.

I’ve never made a December Daily album, and most of the time, while I think it’s a very cool idea, I don’t have a huge incentive to make one.  But my daughter was due in very early December 2011, and I thought it would be the perfect way to document her first month.  I was planning to do a photo-a-day project for 2012 as her baby book, but I wanted to start that album January 1.  Also, I knew there would be a LOT of photos from those first days, and I didn’t think that one photo per day wouldn’t be quite enough for me.  Therefore, a December album would be a perfect way to capture that first month.

Way back in November of 2011, I was some kind of super-woman!  I don’t know how I did it all…except maybe I do: I didn’t have any children and I wasn’t working at the time.  Therefore, I was making a scrapbook layout almost every day, and I was accomplishing a bunch of other projects to ready my little girl’s nursery.  I had wanted to make the “base pages” for the December album ahead of time, but I prioritized all of those other projects above the album, and it never got done.  Another reason I didn’t get started was that I had my eye on BasicGrey’s Nordic Holiday collection, but I hadn’t purchased any of the products.  However, I designated a red 8.5″x11″ postbound album from American Crafts as the album I’d use for the project and purchased quite a supply of page protectors (which I don’t normally use, but they are necessary with this kind of album) and 8.5″x11″ white cardstock to use as the bases for my pages.

Shortly after my daughter was born, I purchased the Nordic Holiday collection kit and a few extras from the collection, thinking (ha!  how naive I was!) that I would get started on the album soon.  Fast forward two+ years, and I’m finally at the point of starting the album.

Even though I wasn’t actively working on the December album these past two years, I still have been thinking about it the whole time.  In fact, with each December that rolled around, I thought, “I’m going to follow along with December Daily this month and do my December 2011 album!”  But of course, that never happened, and each December has gotten busier as my PhD ornament business grows.  I’ve given up the idea of doing this album in December, and I want to finish it now!  So here’s the plan.

The “structure” of the album. 

  • There will be one 8.5″x11″ layout with one main photo for each day of December.  These layouts will have the same basic “sketch” but the papers, embellishments, and photo orientation will vary.  Each day after my daughter was born, I made sure to write down some little thing about the day– a special moment, a thought, an “important” event.  This will be the journaling on the layout.
  • I will interleave baseball-card style page protectors between the layouts so that as many as 9 additional photos can be included for each day– on the side of the page protector that faces the layout.

The supplies for the album.

  • The layouts will all be made on a plain white cardstock base.
  • I will use supplies from the BasicGrey’s Nordic Holiday collection, with additional supplies from Crate Paper’s Peppermint collection, which I purchased at the same time. It has similar colors and might coordinate enough!
  • For the layout pages, I will use 8.5″x11″ page protectors, and for the extra-photo pages, I will use 8.5″x11″ card protector pages.
  • The album will be housed in (and hopefully fit!  there will be a lot of pages…) a red cloth 8.5″x11″ postbound album by American Crafts.

My plan of attack.

  • Go through my photos from December 2011.  During that time, I did choose “favorite photos” from the gazillions that we took.  I’ll mainly stick with those favorites (just to make my life easier) and select one main photo and up to 9 supporting photos for each day.
    • In order to accomplish this sub-task in January 2014 and make it a manageable task, I hope to choose photos for one day of December 2011 for each day in January 2014.
  • I’ll print the main photos at 4″x6″ (this is subject to change, since I’ve never actually made an 8.5″x11″ layout!!) and the supporting photos will be 2.5″x3.5″ (baseball card size).
  • I’ll make the 31 (possibly one or two more, for a title page+Vivian’s birth-day page, since it was Nov. 30) base layouts in batch-process.
    • As I add the photos, I will add the text from my journal entries.
  • I’ll use leftover supplies to embellish empty (non-photo) pockets in the card page protectors.

Next post about this album project: photos!

Wish me luck!

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