My gift to myself this year was my completed Christmas Journal. I finished it today! I combined Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas with lists (I saw lots of ideas from people I follow on Instagram who were doing 30 Days of Lists), daily diary photos, and whatever struck me each day. I wasn't as true to Shimelle's process as I was last year, but I still enjoyed reading her prompts and getting the emails (even when I didn't open them)!
Last year, I learned a lot from the first one I made! (Click here to see it.) Primarily, I learned to watch the thickness! I took that lesson to heart this year and was able to use my Bind-It-All with 1-1/4" o-wires to bind my book.
I accomplished that by using PicMonkey (free collage maker) to combine photos on one 4x6 paper (so I would need fewer photos), using thinner cover boards, and using fewer layers and fewer layered images.
|I used these as full pages but also love that collages allowed me to have tiny pics for journaling tags!|
|I used this crazy one as a hidden tag, allowing for journaling on one side.|
I started by thinking I would send my photos to Walgreen's using my Printicular app (which I love) but remembered how easy and convenient it was to print at home. I typically took all the photos on my phone, transferred them to my computer (where I store them on a USB drive and online), then edit or collage them before printing. I had a few where I used phone apps like PicFrame and Fuzel to collage them before saving on my computer then printing. It just depended on when I thought about it!
The cover was made using artist board I get at Hobby Lobby and cut with an Xacto Knife to 6-1/4" x 6-1/4". I covered it with velvet paper and glitter paper that I adhered to the artist board using Provo Craft's orange double-sided tape. I made sure to get it on the very edges and I like it better than any adhesive or tape I have used so far on covers. The ribbon is one that was on an early gift I got. I made the tag for the title. I used my Zutter Bind-It-All and Antique brass o-wires to put it all together. I special-ordered those late in the month once I realized the silver o-wires wouldn't work and got them in less than a week from Zutter! (How I wish they had the 1-1/4" in red!!!) My papers were cut from the same 6" paper pad (I bought two of the same to make sure I had enough papers)-- how easy to make sure they coordinated-- except for one that I cut using Cricut Cartridge Elegant Edges.
This year, I have started including photo CDs, not just of the images used in the albums I have made, but also all the hundreds of photos I didn't use, in my albums! I included a photo CD in my Christmas journal too. I think it will make it much easier to find a photo if someone wants a copy than searching through my laptop, USB drives, and CDs, and I think it's fun to see all the added photos. In ten years, photos that might seem like nothing now, could be priceless to us. At least, that is my thinking. I placed the CD into a CD envelope and attached the envelope using adhesive Velcro dots. It adds thickness, but makes it easy to remove without hurting the book. Next year, I will work to incorporate that into the design better! I couldn't decide if I should make a decorative label, but decided against it since it wasn't a photo slide show or DVD. It really is just a copy of all the 'raw' images from the whole season-- even the crummy shots.
I used tags to journal briefly on each day and an envelope for one day's entry that I had hoped would not be read immediately, but rather discovered later at a future Christmas. This is a glimpse of the inside pages:
I love the finished book and I love how much less time it took to put into this each day!! My daughter and I both like it better than last year's book so it really seems like a success.
We did have a great Christmas, aside from a day of sickness experienced by my little girl on Christmas Eve. It broke her heart but she was better by Christmas Day! I will say that this was the least stressful holiday season I have had in years. I didn't do a lot of crafting and baking projects for Christmas so I had so much more time. I shopped earlier, I decorated with less 'stuff' than usual, and I spent more time being with my little family! I learned a lot this year that I plan on using for future Christmases!
I hope that you had a very Merry Christmas, that you find yourself in a better place at the end of 2013 than you found yourself at the beginning of the year, and that you are filled with hope for 2014!