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December Daily : Q & A


[ 2007 + 2008 December Daily Albums ]

Below are some Q & A's from the comments on Tuesday's post related to the December Daily Album. If you don't see your specific question listed it is likely that it was already asked before and is answered below.

Also, check to see if your name was drawn in yesterday's December Daily giveaway here.


Q from Christen : What do you do if you have a day that you really don't do anything special or holiday related?

A : This is simply a daily documentation album for December. It does not have to have anything to do with the holiday or be something special. Some of my days last year included Simon at soccer practice, or a photo of him sitting by the tree, or playing a game of Memory. Maybe you just journal on a certain day on how you are feeling (maybe stressed, overwhelmed, or peaceful) or you include a photo of your tree. There is no right or wrong.

Q from Margarita : Ali, do you glue the pretty paper to a thicker page? I don't understand how a page, lets say Vellum, can hold a picture and a journal since is so thin...

A : The vellum actually holds up really well with a say a photo adhered to one side (I use the Kokuyo Dot n Roller) and a journal block the same size as the photo on the back. You can also just use the vellum as the "intro" to the photo or journaling for the day and create a new page (like this one from last year where the photo was printed out large and became a page with pattererned paper glued on the back).


Q from Heather C : About last year's album.  Did you make up Periwinkle Penguin?  What a great idea.

My sister-in-law Liz put that great letter together. The idea came from an awesome holiday book by JRR Tolkein called Letters From Father Christmas. I picked this one up last year on recommendation from Soule Mama and it is such an inspiring, wonderful book.

Q from Danielle : I am a little concerned about starting though because we are going away for a week in December over Christmas any ideas how to make it easy even when traveling?

A : This is actually a great project to put together and take along with you on your travels. Keep that in mind when you are putting it together and potentially create a smaller (overall size) album that will be easier to travel with (plane, car, etc). You can always leave room for photos later on and add in your journaling while you are experiencing it (my favorite sort of travel documentation). Consider taking along a small package that includes some adhesive, a pen, maybe a stamp + ink, and a couple accents. Keep it simple.

Q from Crystal : Last year you gave us a recipe for muffins that you made on the 4th of December. I think they were Angel food muffins, I can't remember and would like to make them could you please email me and let me know where to find the recipe.

A : Coffee cake muffin recipe can be found here. Also, my complete archives (going back to November 2004) are always available here.

Q from Noell : This may be too time consuming, but when you start doing and posting your pages in December, I would love it if you could post the uncompleted page with the completed page. It seems like last year I was sometimes curious as to how your page ended up the way it did--it would be interesting to know your process as you figure out how to make the stuff from each day work with the page you had available.

A : Planning on doing this for sure! Last year I didn't have enough forethought to take all the before shots.

Q from Kimberly : I'm curious, did you buy anything new for this album or did you just use supplies you had on hand?

A : I didn't go out and buy anything new specifically for this album - it is a combination of things I had on hand (the album, letter stickers, some papers and transparencies) and things I have been collecting/receiving since the new holiday products became available.

Q from KreativeKate : I love the Clear Scraps acrylic, but how do you cut it?

A : Super simple. Lay it on your trimmer and slice it back and forth a few times. I used my Fiskars portable trimmer and it worked great.

Q from Donna : Have you (or are you) going to have a book with a similar step-by-steps?

A : I don't have plans for this right now with the baby coming in the beginning of the new year. Maybe someday...

Q from Michelle : So...WHO inspires you these days????

A : Good question. Right now I am really into reading about simple living principles. Books on my nightstand include: Living Simply with ChildrenYour Money or Your Life, and The Simple Living Guide. They are inspiring me creatively, financially, and mentally. I am also inspired by Soulemama for her wonderful focus on family life and being present. I've been lucky to get to know her a bit through email. She's also getting ready to have a new little one join the family really soon.

Q from Jessica : Love this album. I nodded my head about being in the present. I need to keep it simple. So I can document and complete it. What other albums would work?

A : Really any album would work just find. The main thing I would keep in mind is that these sorts of albums/journals really have the potential to get FULL - mine last year ended up needing larger binder rings which I found at an office supply store.


Q from Terri : Help! If you set up your book ahead of time, how do you know that you'll have a horizontal photo that will fit on say December 2nd and a vertical on December 3rd?

A : One of the concepts I keep in mind when creating this album is working with what I have - meaning working with the space available that I created for myself in the beginning. This means that I will enlarge or crop depending on my photo(s). Check out a couple of examples from last year: one day I did a photo gathering that became a page (and is "behind" a transparent page), on some days I oriented my photos horizontally and printed them 4x6, or cropped four photos and printed them as squares. There is a ton of variety of photo treatments in these pages and no specific way it has to come together.

Also, I remember that on some days I went looking for a photo to take to tell my story for that day. In those cases I was able to look at my page and keep that in mind when I took the photo (I happen to take almost all my photos horizontally).

Printing photos at home each day is a big part of the process for me but it does not have to come together like that. You can take photos and add them in later on if you prefer to upload photos or send to a developer. And in case you are wondering, I use a HP Photosmart D7360 Printer printer and print on HP paper.

Q from Jean : So it looks as though you start out with one page per day... but end up with multiple pages per day. Do you make extra, non-numbered pages ahead of time, or do you do some extra pages each day of December, so that you know they are the correct format?

A : I do begin with one page per day. I do not make extra non-numbered pages in advance. During December, taking it one day at a time, I will add more depending on the story I am trying to tell.

You may want to take a look my daily posts from last December for some more insights into the process. Scroll to the bottom for the beginning of the month.


Q from Susan : I was wondering what kind of adhesive you use for vellum and the Creative Cafe Dark Red Polka Dot Felt.

A : For the vellum I will most likely just use my Dot n Roller or a stapler. On the Polka Dot Felt I use the red Therm-O-Web Super Tape (which is my other favorite adhesive). I used it to adhere the ribbon onto the felt in the photo above.

Q from Kim : Do you put photos on the back of tranparency pages or just back photo with pattern paper?

A : Most of the time I either put the photo on top of the transparency page OR I add in the photo as it's own page and back it with patterned paper.

Q from Lisa : For your pages, are you making them front/back for each day, or just putting stuff on the front of the page? I noticed that you have a new number for each separate page instead of putting the next day on the back of the previous page.

A : I am giving myself the front and back of each page for each day. Some days the content will go on the back and some days on the front and other days I will have more than enough to fill both sides + some.

Q from Nancy : What type of adhesive do you use to attach your papers back-to-back? Also, how do you utilize this adhesive? By that I mean, do you use the adhesive all the way around the edges, or just every so often?

A : I use the Dot N Roller for pretty much everything. It is the best one I have come across so far. I do exactly what you said and go around the outside edges - I rarely even go in the middle, just around the edges and find that to work just fine.

Q from Latrice : Did you order the Clear Scraps acrylic online? Also are the journal overlays available somewhere to download? The Ali Edwards ones.

A : The 25 Days of December journal overlays can be found here. The clear scraps shaped overlays can be found here or here.


Q from Lara : Where do you get all of the different sizes of page protectors that you use?

A : The baseball card protectors (like the one shown above) or slide page protectors (small squares) can be found at an office supply store such as Staples or Office Max. The others I have come from a variety of sources - whenever I come across them I tend to bring a few home. You can read more about divided page protectors (with source links) here.

Q from Anne :  I am ready to start on it, but wondered what adhesive is best to use on the acrylic pages and on transparency pages?

A : Whatever you use as your regular adhesive should be just fine. When I am working with transparent pages - such as the ones in this album - I usually add something onto the back side that is the same size so that it will cover the adhesive that shows through.

Here's an example of a front side (black lined transparency with square journal block):


And on the back I just added a felt "merry" and the photo for the day (the tree on the right) is an enlarged photo that is it's own page:


And here is the back of that enlarged photo (on the left):


Q from Jen : I was wondering what size metal rings you are using. I am doing a different size chipboard album, but was considering using 3" rings.

A : I measured mine and they are 2 inches across. That is the same size I used last year.

Q from Jennifer : I'm wondering if/how you use the left side of the clock overlays?

A : Here's a look at what I did last year:


Basically I just left it alone (which is likely the same thing I will do this year) and ended up cutting my photo page to match the curve of the Heidi Swapp clock overlay.


Q from D'Nese : I also meant to ask you-how do you go about your supplies when you purchase them. You seem to always have just the right items on hand. Do you do one massive shopping and stock pile away or do you purchase what you have in mind for your album and then create once the items are received?

A : In the case of this album, I have been collecting and stashing away. I loved doing this last year and knew that I would do it again this year so I have a nice selection of holiday papers and embellishments all gathered together in clear storage box that has a lid and a handle. It's about three inches tall (when laid flat) and probably 13x13.

FOUND: It's from Art Bin and you can get them here (thanks for letting me know guys).

I order some things online usually from either or Two Peas in a Bucket. I pick things up when visiting stores. My semi-local favorite is Scrapbook Fever in Salem. I am also sent supplies from some manufacturers as this is part of my business.

In general, over the last few years, I have gotten pickier about my supplies. I know what I like and tend to stick with many of those same themes over and over again.

I am a big believer that "just the right item on hand" is exactly that - what I have here on hand. It is rare that I would go looking for something specific. Most of the time I will make-do with what I have here...and I know MANY of you out there have your own stash of supplies as well.

Q from Stephanie : I was wondering what you use to make sure all the holes line up? Is it a single hole punch or 3 hole punch?

A :  I use a Crop-A-Dile to punch the holes and use the holes from the cover as the guide for each page.

Q from Sue : How long did it take you to put this album together? Did you create all of the pages first and then figure out the numbering or did you complete a page and number it before moving on to the next?

A : Not long at all. I did it over the course of a couple days - probably an hour or so each day. The first day I gathered up and cut to size all the things I wanted to use as pages: papers, acrylic pieces, transparencies, etc. I also punched all the holes. On the second day I added the numbers by pulling from my stash of stuff. I don't spend a lot of time going back and forth on if "this" is the right paper or "this" is the right way to number the page - I just go for it.

Q from Jamia : did you create your album first and add pictures at the end of the month?

A : I did create the album first (just like I now have this album ready to go) but then I add photos DAILY during December by printing them here at home.

Q from Cheyne : I am after a copy of your 'everyday life' book. I am in Australia but don't know how/where to get a copy - do you post o/s?

A : Hi Cheyne. My Everday Life photo book is one that you add your own photos to through Shutterfly. Is that the one you are talking about? My other books can be ordered through my amazon book shop or from your local scrapbook store.

Q from Lanette : Do you think a Narratives easel frame album would hold the weight up of all pages?

A : I love those albums. It really all depends on how much you are going to add. My initial thought is that it is probably too small (especially for 31 days) unless you were just going to journal but it may work if you change out the binder rings for a bigger size.

Q from Kerry : I'm wondering if you create a separate Christmas book for Simon or if you just create this one December Daily album.

A : This is it :). I also usually end up with a couple Christmas-related pages in our larger albums but this is my main focus for December.

Q from Amy : Do you keep with your 5 colors (white, black, red, tan, kraft, etc) as being one of the predominant colors or what guides your process?

A : Not necessarily for this project. I do use those 5 colors of cardstock - which has simplified my process a bunch - but for a project like this I just look for patterns that I like. Right now those patterns tend to include polka dots, lines, and other simple patterns. I love red any time of year and this tends to be a good excuse to really use up some of my favorite red patterns (holiday or not).


Q from Shannon : Do you have a "November Daily  photo+journal overlay"?

A : I don't have specific ones for November, but these may work (celebrate family), or these (family gratitude title + journal), or these, or these, or a combination of all of them. You could easily add a small date onto each of those to create a complete album.

Q from Casey : After looking at all of the different prints and styles I have, I'm wondering if I need something to pull them all together. With all of the different items in your album, are you considering using a consistent element or is it anything goes?

A : I think the consistency will come from the photos of our family, my handwriting, etc. Part of the fun of this album is it's eclectic nature.

Q from Carolyn : Can you buy the transparencies in Eugene?

A : I would try Ben Franklin Crafts (Gateway) or Scrappy Land in Springfield.

Q from Johanna : How do you actually keep track of the products you buy and post about? Do you go digging for every single link when you post about the products you use? Or do you have some spiffy way to keep track of all of your sources so it's easy to find the specific product and link? Just curious how you keep yourself organized not regarding your actual scrapping but regarding the business of talking about your layouts (as I presume you have to keep organized in some way, with all the writing about your work you're doing).

A : This is something that I have gotten really good at over time. I know many product manufacturers by sight, but definitely not all of them. When I was putting this project together I keep the bottom strips of the patterned papers to make sure I was referencing and linking the correct ones. Sometimes I keep a handwritten list as I go to reference when I need to enter the supply list. I do go searching for every link when I post projects such as this - haven't found a shortcut yet :).

Q from Angi :  I'm wanting to run the album for the entire month of December, and to include New Year's Eve/Day and the weekend after. Any ideas/suggestions on a cover to include this whole thing? I was thinking something like "Christmas Season & Beyond" for a title or something, but to decorate the cover (i'm using a naked 8.5x11" binder) is leaving me a bit confuzzled, especially since almost everything i'm using leading up to Christmas is traditional red & green, and i'm thinking to use black, blue, silvers and such for new year's eve/day pages. Suggestions? Ideas?

A : For decorating the cover, I am a fan of simple, neutral colors. Silver would be a great one in that it really can stretch throughout the holiday (really any color or combo would be just fine). There are some lovely silver patterns available right now from Art Warehouse such as this Radiance Damask Glitter Paper.

Q from Cindy : I am making mini-books for all the small children on my Christmas gift list - they are being filled with pictures of all their favorite people and pets - momma, daddy, grandpa, Aunt Cindy, etc...I've figured out everything EXCEPT how to add page protectors so that little fingers don't tear or ruin the pages - I'd like them to be something they have for a while....very kid friendly.....any thoughts?

A : My feelings on this have always been that wear and tear equals love. Especially with small children I would have the expectation that if you want them to be looking through them and loving them that most likely they are not going to last a long time. You may want to consider small board books (even recycled children's books) that would be a bit sturdier and may have the potential to last longer. Are you planning on using binder rings?

Q from Gina : This is more of a general question that I have been struggling with for some time: as someone who is environmentally savvy, how do you deal with the consumption involved with creating projects? I am in my 40's, have been crafting all my life, yet sometimes feel that making (lots of) stuff isn't the best use of the world's resources. Do you ever feel that way?

A : Most often I feel that having lots of stuff (vs. making lots of stuff) is more of my issue. This is something I think about and wrestle with from time to time. One of the things I have really tried to do is cut back on the amount of stuff I have in general and I have become more particular and feel like I have "enough" more often than not (the reality is that I have more than enough). I used to be more into the latest and greatest and wanting to have everything in a new line of products but these days I focus more on the specific things I know I will use.

Q from Sabrina : I just love how you layer everything. It always turns out so beautifully. Do you plan the order in which the pages go before you cut? Every time I attempt to layer transparencies, die cut pages, etc. I feel like I am trying too hard to make it all look good. I guess I am trying to make it all look cohesive when the pages are closed and not just a jumbled mess. Any suggestions or hints on how to make them flow?

A : I did a general plan of the pages after I cut them. I wanted there to be a nice variety between torn pages, cropped pages, and die cut pages. I think it is a fine line (and a matter of perspective) between a jumbled mess and a cool, eclectic combination of goods. Even if you may think to yourself that it is a jumbled mess your friend may LOVE it and think it is the coolest thing. Stop trying too hard. Stop worrying about it and just get them in there.

Another thing to consider is to create a formula for yourself. I often do this when setting up the founation of a project (but did not in this case). Maybe your formula will be: transparency + die cut paper + patterned paper + cropped piece and then you repeat that again for the next four pages and so on throughout the album. That may be a good starting point in getting used to mixed up pages.

Q from Sabrina : On last year's album I know you mentioned that you added pages in between; did you ever run into a page that you had to move the numbers or embellishments around to fit the photos that you wanted?

A : I don't think so (but can't remember exactly). It wouldn't be too big of a deal to switch things up if you really needed to. For the most part I just tried to make it work as I went along.

Q from Michelle : Do you know if most etsy shops that offer paper products use acid free / lignin free papers? Especially those places listed on your giveaways.

A : Most likely it is going to depend on the shop. Elle's Studio prints everything on acid free papers. Evalicious uses many vintage pieces (such as old dictionary paper) in her creations that are not acid free but have held up for 40 or more years already. Whether something is acid free is not one of my main issues - I figure some things will last and some things won't. I would definitely recommend emailing with the etsy sellers in advance if this is something that is important to you.

Q from Candy : I would love to know how you would suggest translating this project to digital. I am a fully digital scrapper now, so I don't have anything in the way of paper supplies. I still have a few favorite tools. Should I make 25 days of quickpages to just drop pics and journaling into? Or templates?

A : I am actually working on a set of templates that will work for this album right now. Hoping to have them available next weekend. Most likely it will be a set of templates (5 or so) that can be mixed-up throughout the month (some with a single photo and others with multiple photos). These Bread + Butter templates would also work really well.

Q from Crystal : Would love to do this project, is there a more budget friendly album I could use that you know of?

A : Hey Crystal - really anything would work. Consider using an old book (check out this link from Janet Hopkins for more information on that), or a couple hardy sheets of chipboard, or a chipboard album from Clear Scraps (add larger binder rings), or something from 7gypsies. There are so many album options out there these days that are available for a reasonable cost.

Q from Karen : Where did you find the vintage circle card?

A : I wish I could remember Karen - I think it was in a vintage pack of goodies I picked up on one of my adventures.

Q from Kylie : For those of us who want to do the December Daily Album but don't have a colour printer at home, do you suggest getting the photos printed (at the store) daily, once a week, or compiling into a folder on the computer and printing them all at the end of December, which in my case will end up mid-January hehe.

A : This is really going to be up to you. A good question to pose to those of you who did this project last year - any suggestions? I think printing them out weekly or at the end of the month would work just fine...a suggestion would be to leave notes in your album with post-it notes or something along those lines to help you remember the photos you are wanting to use or the story you are wanting to tell. Actually, I think journaling as you go would be the BEST way to capture the moment and then add the photos when you have them.


Q from Becky : I love the D Reeves album - that frosted white acrylic look is just so Christmasy - do you know where to find ANY?? did it come with pages inside - or just covers? It's hard to see the paper source pocket envelope - do you have a closer up shot?

A : Here's a google search for the D Reeves Mini Style File. You may be able to find one by going through that list. And for those of you that missed the note on my first post here's the update on the album: I received an email from Diane at D Reeves and she is making some changes in her life to focus on family and is stopping production of the albums. I completely understand and respect this decision and wish you all the best Diane.

Q from Kylie : Will you be making a Flickr Group so we can all share our pages from the album?

A : Sure! Here you go : December Daily 2008 Flickr Group

Q from Sue : Would like to know if you reinforce the pages that are just cardstock?

A : I am not planning to back them with anything special. Last year many of those pages ended up with enlarged photos or another print on the back. Those pages have held up just fine over the last year with lots of handling at events.


Also, there were a couple comments I wanted to address that weren't really questions.

Wendy wrote : Sometimes, I get afraid if the pages and elements i added in are not the same... does not have this 'uniform' look. Maybe i am trying too hard for it to be perfect.

A: That is really one of the best parts of an album like this...that it is not perfect. This sort of project can be a jump for people who are used to having all the pages the same size or using all the same product line throughout. Both are great ways to tell your story - it all depends on how you want to approach the project and your personal preferences. You could absolutely still do this project using all the same product line and all the same size pages. I am one of those people that thinks that it is "uniform" because I put it together, because it tells the stories of our family, because my handwriting is sprinkled throughout, etc.

Krystyn wrote : I am loving this project-since we are on a uber tight budget, I made my cover with chipboard from the back of notepads. I covered them with Bazzill Parakeet (my fave) and am using up some OLD chipboard numbers I had..finally got around to painting them. I hope to do this entire album w/o buying any new product.

A : I loved reading this Krystyn! Using up older stuff is an awesome approach!

Marilyn wrote : Thinking about those with no kids at home, this a a great album because there is so much during the holiday season- family and friends you don't normally see, grown kids visiting, college kids at home, office/workplace decorations & parties, cooking, baking, making & wrapping gifts, writing/recieved Christmas cards,making decorations & decorating, tree buying, shopping, decorations around town, snow and outdoor seasonal photos. It really works for everybody.

A : I felt like this sentiment bears repeating for everyone. Most projects I embark on can be done by anyone - they emphasize your story, are able to be adapted to your life experiences, etc. Also, if you don't celebrate Christmas you can do an album such as this that doucments your own personal traditions: Hanukkah, Kwansa, Winter Solstice, or nothing in particular, etc.

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61 thoughts

  1. Danielle C. says…

    Ali, PLEASE HELP! I purchased the Story of Today 12x12 overlay and used the directions in your Oct. 7th post to adjust to fit my journaling. But, when doing that, you lose part of the days of the week title that extends past the border. Hopefully that makes sense. What am I doing wrong? How can I make it work? Thank you!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Stacy says…

    Thanks for the answers. I'm so impressed and inspired by all the projects you share, so thank you. I know you just answered a bunch of questions but I was wondering which printer you have at home to print your photos. Thanks again!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Stacy says…

    ok, nevermind on the printer question, I just found the answer. : )

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Helen says…

    Ali, as I went trhu the A&Q, I was so happy,
    my album is all hand-made (covers and pages) with old stuff I'll try to post on FLICKR group.For Cindy, I also did projects for small children, and found it easier to transfer pics on fabric, and sew the album, tearing wearing would be going slower, and no rings or so, which is safer too.have a great weekend !!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. sam says…

    wow, love the projects you make! Will be a regular visito from now on :) love the 25 days of christmas album!
    best wishes Sam

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. sofy says…

    your albums are always magnifique !!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Sheila Higdon says…

    Ali, I absolutely love this album. Christmas is my all-time favorite time of the year and we do so much fun stuff however, it seems like I never get around to documenting all of it. This is a great way to do so.
    My friend, Liz, and I spent yesterday putting together our December Daily albums and I just love the way they turned out!!
    Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Sheri Morgan says…

    Thanks SO much for this great idea! I built my album over the weekend and now I'm ready to go on December 1st. On Saturday I went through all my papers and pulled some coordinating winter and christmas themed patterns. On Sunday I built the album using a Rusty Pickle tag album with a chipboard cover. It had just enough pages to give me one page for each day (and two for the 25th). After cutting, matching and gluing the papers to the pages I went through my sticker alphabet stash and numbered all the pages. I'm proud to say that this project has been 100% existing stash, no purchases required. I'm feeling good that I have enough supplies on hand to finish it too! I'll share pictures when it's done. Thanks again!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. glee stormont says…

    HI Ali!
    I made a celebrate the everyday life book for my family christmas gifts. loved your layouts. but have one suggestion, the center gutter needs to be bigger. I lost some faces into it cause i didn't really think about that and it doesn't appear obvious when you proof your pages. much love and good luck w/ your birthing experience and new bambino.
    ;) glee

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. smiling daisy says…

    Ali you are truely my inspiration!
    How thick are the chipboard pages that you are using? What do you used to cut them and punch the holes?

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