Hi everyone! It's Kelly Ishmael and I am delighted to be here to share my completed 2021 December Daily® album with you. This year I decided to try the new 10x8 size for a change of pace and I enjoyed the creative challenge of working in this new format. I also used mostly products from the 2021 Main Kit along with some other embellishments from this year's collection.
Although I don't typically do foundation pages per se, I did spend some time before December playing around with the products to see what kinds of stories they might inspire. I also loved trying out some of the amazing techniques and creative ideas in the December Daily® Product play class. Then once December rolled around, I worked on my album in spurts throughout the month because I find that system works best for me and the time I have available (versus working on one page each day). My goal was to have my album finished by the end of January so that I could clean up and move on to other kinds of memory keeping projects.
This leads me to my first piece of advice for completing a December Daily® album, and that is to be realistic about the time and energy you have to devote to a project of this magnitude. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves before taking on a big memory keeping project in a month that is already very full for many of us. I am an empty-nester so in this season of life, I have a little more time for my creative pursuits in the evenings or on the weekends which made my goal to finish by January felt very doable. It's also very much my nature to need to finish one thing before I can start something else. Don't set yourself up for frustration with an impossible goal or unrealistic expectations.
My next piece of advice is to set an intention or know your reason why. For me, I love how this project provides me with a tactile connection to my memories and stories. I also love the daily reminder to slow down and pay attention to the delights and wonders of the season. Having an intention is also something to come back to when I get busy in my head or to-do list starts getting the best of me.
One of my main goals this year (besides the obvious one of documenting the month) was to USE MY STUFF. All too often I tend to hoard or save things I think are "pretty" or "special" for the perfect story/photo/layout and then end up not using them, so kept those times out and I challenged myself to incorporate into my layouts.
My album is mix of pages sizes, simple pages and more "crafty" type pages, and longer stories and simple lists (aka "brain dumps"). And I think that mix is what makes it 1) fun to work on and 2) fun to look back on.
One of my favorite things about December Daily® is playing with new-to-me craft techniques and this year I had fun using my new Foil Quill.
Three of my favorite layouts are directly inspired by products from this year's collection - the wood houses and vellum circles from the main kit and the plastic heart embellishments. I also found that this larger format gave me more real estate to play with (so to speak) and so I found myself particularly inspired by traditional layouts on Pinterest.
Many of my pages though, were inspired by the Back to Basics Product Play class and our amazing community of talented and creative memory keepers.
If, like me, you often find yourself overthinking things (making things harder than they need to be is my special talent in life lol), I would encourage you to remember that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. If you feel inspired to get out your Silhouette or embossing tools, great! Go for it! But if you find yourself stuck riding the struggle bus (as I did several times during this project), then my encouragement is take a step back, breathe, and go back to your intention. And remember that words and photos are the heart of this project.
I have been memory-keeping for more than 25 years and I know from personal experience that ten years from now I won't care one bit about the products I used or any of the fancy techniques I tried. That's not to say there's no merit in the creative process because I find this project to be extremely gratifying. I guess what I mean is that all those times I agonized over choosing just the right layout or the perfect placement of an embellishment, none of that will matter. What I will remember is the love and gratitude I feel for my loved ones and the special memories I have documented.
I hope I have given you some inspiration and encouragement for completing your December Daily® album. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the products or techniques I used in my album. And whether you plan to keep at your project it until it's finished or pack up it for another time, just remember that there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
Thank you again for allowing me to share my stories and memories with you. Love, Kelly
PS. You can click here to see a full gallery of my completed album.