December Daily - Days 6 & 7

So after some great advice from my friends on Facebook, I figured out how to deal with the 2x2" pockets.

The Story: On Sunday, my hubby dragged all of the Christmas boxes out of the shed and I set to work Christmas-ifying the house. This was extremely important to me. First, given all that's been going on, I desperately needed some cheer and twinkle in the house. Second, living in Montana, it gets dark here really early so having the extra light inside makes things a bit brighter.

I love our Christmas tree!

The Design: Given the constraints of the page protectors I had allotted for this day,  I placed the journal card and picture of the tree outside of the protectors. I cut one side off the 2x2" pocket page and used my Fuse tool to seal the pockets with the sequins.

That washi tape on the right side of the card? That was used to cover up the fact that I punched the holes in the card on the wrong side. Ooops!

Here's the back of the two inserts:

And here's my Day 7 Spread:

The Story:  I'm a substitute teacher, which can be incredibly boring. Today, I spent the entire day watching students do bookwork. It got so bad that I decided to clean out my purse.

The Design: I kept it simple for today. Just some stamping on the photo, glitter tape on the journal card, and that's about it. Easy Peasy!

Thanks again to everyone that helped me through my mind block yesterday!

December Daily - Getting Stuck

One of the goals I had for December Daily this year was to complete pages daily. That way, I wouldn't get behind, get frustrated, and give up. I did what I could ahead of time to make the process easier: make foundation pages, limit and organize my supplies, etc.

One thing I did not account for: what to do when I get stuck with a design.

Included in Ali Edwards' main kit this year are several page protectors that consist of 2x2" pockets. In her plan, she dispersed these pages throughout her album. I followed her lead, assuming that I would suddenly be inspired as to know how to use them when the time came.

Guess what - that didn't happen.

I sat at my desk last night, with those stupid 2x2" squares staring at me. I didn't have any pictures that would really work cropped down to that size. I didn't want to do a page of just "fluff" (not adding to the story in any way). Not to mention, I was really tired, had a headache, and just wasn't thinking clearly.

So, I set it aside. But, I was determined not to let it deter me.

I asked for help.

The Facebook community for December Daily is a tremendous resource. I put up an SOS post last night, asking for inspiration. This morning, I had lots of replies, all with pictures, to help me get un-stuck.

And now I know how to finish that spread!

I'll post Day 6 along with Day 7 tomorrow.

December Daily - Day 5

Today mostly revolved around visiting my father-in-law in the hospital, so I decided to tell a story that happened in the end of November, but is still holiday related.

The Story:  The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my husband and I went to see The Nutcracker. I have loved The Nutcracker ever since I was a kid. I used to take ballet lessons and was a dancer in the iconic ballet when I was 8. I was one of the little kids who comes out of Mother Ginger - the lady with the huge skirt. As an early Christmas present, my mom got me 2 tickets to see this year's production. Rob was very patient with me, but I could tell that the ballet just wasn't his "thing." For me, however, it was a magical thing. Seeing the dancing and listening to the music brought me back to my childhood, when I would play the music in my bedroom and make up my own rudimentary choreography. And of course seeing all the little girls in the audience in their fancy dresses totally won my heart.

The Design:  This became a multi-page spread. I had quite a bit of journaling, so I wrote it out on a 3x8 sheet of lined paper and included it in its own page protector.

Here is what it looks like outside of the album.  The front:

and the back:

Here's how it looks inside the album (please forgive the glare on my photos):

As Gretchen Rubin (my favorite author) says, "onward and upward!"

December Daily - Day 4

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and well-wishes regarding my father-in-law. He continues to be stable, but he's still in the ICU for the time being.

For Day 4, I decided to celebrate the little joys life offers in the face of hard times.

The Story: My kids are both adults now. One lives on his own and the other lives at home part time and in Bozeman part time, depending on her job situation. Between their crazy work schedules, it is a rare treat to have them both together, so I celebrate those moments when this mama bird has all her birdies back in the nest.

The Design: I had the "ho ho ho" paper and the "4" card already in place from my foundation pages. I decided to print the photo in black and white, partly because the photo was poorly lit (taken inside Buffalo Wild Wings with my daughter's Samsung Galaxy 6 phone) and partly to coordinate with the black-white-gold theme I had going with the foundation pages. I used the "filled with joy" card for my journaling, thinking it went well with both the theme of the page and the color scheme. I kept the embellishments simple, mostly just to spread the gold across the pages to create a sense of unity.

I also added in a transparency page from Ali's main kit. I figured it would be a good fit here, mostly because the "ho ho ho" page isn't essential to the story, so it wouldn't be like I was cutting the spread in two. I ran a strip of gold stripe washi across the center of the page and adhered one of the rubber banners from the main kit.

Here's what all three pages look like outside of the album:

And here is what they look like in the album with the transparency page added:

Thanks for taking a peek today. On to Day 5!

December Daily - Day 3

During December, lots of people wonder how to include those not-so-merry moments into a December Daily album. My Day 3 provides a great example of how to accomplish this.

The Story: At 11:30 on Wednesday night, we got a call from my mother-in-law. My father-in-law was in the hospital. He has been in and out of the hospital for the past few months for bowel obstructions due to excessive scar tissue. Well, this time, they found a 1-inch hole in his bowel and a LOT of stool leakage. The doctors were able to clean up most of the leakage and repair the hole, but due to his weakened body, the likelihood of infection is great.

In other words - we're a bit freaked out!

So, how to document this.....

The Design: I didn't want to take photos of my husband's family - that seemed too intrusive (but you know the scrapbooker in me considered it for a split second). I decided to take a photo of the outside of the hospital. That way, there is a visual representation of the story, but it's respectful for all those involved.

I wanted the papers and embellishments to keep with the holiday theme, but still be subdued to honor the story. The "real life" stamp on the photo is from Ali's "Black & White" Story Kit.

Here's to hoping Day 4 is a little more merry!

December Daily - Day 2

I've made it to Day 2! Still keeping up! Only 23 days left!

Today's story revolved around our family's Elf on the Shelf.

The Story: Please realize that both of my children are grown. My son Zack is 25 and my daughter Alyssa is 24. Both of them have a wicked sense of humor, so I thought they'd have fun being mischievous with the toy normally marketed to families with young children.

I texted both of them to ask what we should name the Elf:

Yes, our Elf is now named "Will 'Fart' Ferrell."

The Design: The title card was made using one of the papers from Ali Edwards' main kit and the paint from the Ashley Goldberg mini kit. I used a silkscreen stencil from one of Ali's previous Story Kits (I think it was the "Build" one) to apply the little gold plus signs. I figured from a distance, it would look like gold twinkles.

The journal card on the right side is one from Ali's digital files from December Daily 2014.

Aside from some random stickers and glitter tape, that's about it for today. Most of the time I spent on this spread was taken up with figuring out the placement of the photos and doing the silkscreening.

See you tomorrow!

December Daily - Day 1

Happy December, everyone!

This is the third year I've attempted December Daily. Note the word "attempted." I've actually only completed one year. This year, I am GOING to finish this project! I am GOING to keep up with it on a daily basis!  My blog will help keep me accountable.

I've done a few things differently this year to help set me up for success. First, I limited my supplies. I am working from Ali Edwards' main December Daily kit as well as mini-kits from Jasmine Jones and Ashley Goldberg (all kits are available here if you are interested). When I received the kits, I went through them and set aside only those items that I knew I would use. None of this "well maybe I can fit this in somewhere...." Limiting my supplies will help avoid feeling overwhelmed by choices.

Second, I actually set up foundation pages - meaning I totally plagiarized Ali's foundation pages. I have never done foundation pages before, so yeah...I copied.

Finally, I have a running list of stories to tell. On those days when I'm feeling totally brain dead, or when no other story inspires me, I'll use this list to keep me going.

So, with that in mind - here are my pages for December 1:

The left-side page is one I set up ahead of time, following Ali's lead. It includes all sorts of baubles, sealed into 2x2 pockets using my Fuse tool. 

The right side is the one I worked on today. 

The Story: My mom sent me this beautiful centerpiece for my dining room table. It is made from live balsam fir branches. She knows I've been trying to be less "bah humbug-ish" about the holiday season, so she tries to find things to help me reach this goal. Candlelight is so peaceful and the smell of the pine is amazing! It definitely puts me in a Christmas-y mood!

The Design: Since the photo is so dramatic and the journal card below is fairly detailed, I wanted to use a minimal amount of embellishments. The numeral "1" is from a Thickers set called "Countdown to Christmas." I picked it up at Hobby Lobby. The "joy and light" was stamped using Ali's December Circles stamp set. I printed the journaling on the card by creating a text box in Photoshop and then printing directly on the card. The gold ribbon on the bottom is from my stash.

So there's Day 1. I WILL keep this up!!!!

Good Deeds Can Lead to Happiness

This summer, my daughter worked for the Montana Conservation Corps, a branch of Americorp. Throughout the summer, her group did service projects for all sorts of "outdoorsy" organizations (I'm sure there's a better term for that), including state and federal park services, national and state parks, and other public areas. Most of their meals are eaten on site and are usually some type of camp food.

This weekend, her crew was actually in town, doing housing weatherization projects for people in need. I figured it had been a while since they've had a home-cooked meal, so I asked my daughter if she would like to invite them over for dinner. She said sure and so we set up the dinner for this evening.

It was one of the most pleasurable experiences I've had in a long time. It was so satisfying to see these young men and women surrounding my dining room table, where we had set up a taco bar for them. They all dug in hungrily while expressing gratitude for our efforts. Dinner was eaten around our living room TV while watching the first game of the Royals-Blue Jays playoff series. We talked about baseball, football, and the crew's experiences in the backcountry this summer.

I got such a high from the energy in the room. The people in my daughter's crew were friendly, outgoing, and very personable. I am so glad that my husband and I could do this small gesture for them. Seeing their happiness made me very happy. Good deeds can (and do) lead to personal happiness!

What Advice Would Give Your Teenage Self?

I am a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and Better Than Before. She recently has started recording a podcast with her sister, Elizabeth Craft, titled (what else) Happier. If you're a podcast junkie like I am, this is a great one to check out.

On the most recent episode, Gretchen had her 16-year-old daughter, Eliza, as her guest to discuss what life is like as a teenager in today's world. Eliza solicited advice from Gretchen's listeners: "what advice do you have for teenagers that you wish you could tell your teenage self?".

So what would I say to my teenage self?

First, it gets better. As a teenager, I felt so unsure of myself and of my place in the world. I felt like I didn't know who I was, what my strengths were, what I was supposed to do with my life, and if I would be successful. In fact, I seriously doubted that I would be successful. Things really didn't start to click for me until I turned 30, when I began to see things in a more positive light. And what I discovered was interesting - that person I questioned as a teenager was still the person I was in my thirties, but it was okay to be that person. In fact, that person was actually kinda cool!

Second, just because an adult can do a certain thing, or like a certain thing, and you don't, that's okay. It doesn't mean you're less mature. My mother has amazing fine-motor coordination. She can do the most detailed, intricate work with a needle and thread. I always thought that was a sign of maturity, that I would be able to do that kind of work when I matured. Well, I'm in my mid-40's and I still can't do that kind of stuff. It doesn't mean I'm not an adult. It just means my mother has an extraordinary talent.

Finally, when trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, figure out what you love to do and then find a way to get paid for it. That is my definition of a career. Eliza, your mom's advice is spot-on: look at what you loved to do as a ten-year-old. For me, at 10 years old, I loved politics and world events. I loved travel. I loved maps. I loved plotting routes to destinations on maps. I also loved dance and performing. And what do I do today? I am a social studies teacher and a Zumba instructor.

So I am asking you guys:  what advice would you give to yourself as a teenager? Post in the comments below - I'd love to hear what you think!

Week In The Life - Day 1

Welcome to Week In The Life 2015! This is a week-long daily life documentation project conceived by the fabulous Ali Edwards. You can find out all sorts of information about WITL on her website:

Notice the picture above. Notice how there is nothing in there that is "perfect." Yes, my kitchen is a mess. Yes, there are dirty dishes in the sink. You know what? This is real life for me right now. This is what I am documenting. I encourage you to move past your idea of "perfection" and document your life as it is now. I think that makes the most meaningful project.

Here's my Monday:

I take daily medications. It's part of who I am. I document it.

The day started out just like most weekdays in the summer. I picked Mom up and we went to breakfast at McDonald's.

Mom likes a little bit of iced tea with her lemon.

We usually eat breakfast in the restaurant, but today, we took it back to my house. I was waiting for FedEx to deliver the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens that I rented from specifically for this week.

After breakfast, my neighborly feline visitor came by for some petting.

I have no idea where this cat belongs, but he's super sweet and loves to be rubbed under his chin. I am so happy to oblige!

Mom and I have been working on projects for my yard all summer long. Today's task was to glue and nail the trim on this wonderful deck box she built for us. It's made out of redwood and will hold all the stuff that gets dumped on my front porch on a daily basis. It will also provide extra seating. We worked methodically and with few problems.

The only setback we had was the bees!!!! I am deathly allergic to bees and had one land on my arm. I freaked out, probably shouted out a few f-bombs, and went into full panic mode. I have a bottle of castile soap mixed with peppermint essential oil, which keeps the bees at bay for a while (they hate the scent of peppermint). I went nuts with the spray, totally covering the porch! It still smells like a candy cane!

The afternoon was spent relaxing. I love watching HGTV in the afternoons. Today was a "Love It Or List It" marathon. Nice, mind-numbing entertainment.

After FedEx delivered my lens, Mom and I went to lunch at Perkins. You can see how thrilled she is to have her picture taken. And that cheeseburger was so yummy!

Mondays in the summer are grocery shopping day for Mom. We hit Albertsons.

When I got home, Rob was already home from work, working on programming our new Siriux XM receiver he ordered from Amazon. This one has a color display and twice as many presets as our old one. I'm sure there are other things it does, but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet.

In the evening, I had to complete first aid/CPR training for my job at the YMCA. I've been through this class so many times, most of the info is engraved in my mind. But, there's always new stuff to learn. For example, did you know that when doing the Heimlich, you thrust from the belly button, not from under the ribs? News to me!

Because I got home so late from my class, we ordered pizza for dinner.

Works for me!

Popular Posts

Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images