Hello December Daily™ album project!
The first few days of the month have flown by. I have a feeling December is going to follow accordingly. I have my theories this year, leading among them is the fact that this is Aidan's last holiday season as a full-time resident. Time, people. It's a bullet train.
Last year was the first year of doing this project and one thing I adored was the 6 x 4 album format. I would have done the same size if I could have found a 6 x 4 D-ring album (Hello scrapbook companies? Please make that size and style!), but instead I fell in love with the SN@P! albums from Simple Stories. You can read my set up post here.
This year I wanted to stay true to my style and aesthetic. This means as little glitter as possible. Holla.
Let's see what's shaking out thus far:
Family photo courtesy of my iPhone, a tripod and a mount. Rule No. 1 of Holiday Photos: Never trust the tree dude to take a decent shot. (I know that's not a fair thing to say. He might have done a fine job. When he offered, I said, "Nope. We got it. Thanks." And then as he backed away so I could set up the shot he hit his head on a beam that a bunch of trees were leaning against. Sorry tree dude!) Note: I used the Key Cam app for self-timing glory.
I am using Day Document cards to journal about the days. They give me just enough space on a 6 x 4 canvas to write about the daily happenings. I print them onto Bazill OP White cardstock. I plan to layer a few brushes from my Cool Yule Decor collection behind the text to add a bit more visual interest without any muck.
Oh yeah, it's time to explain a new holiday game at our house: Deer in the Clear.
Last year I caved and bought an Elf on the Shelf. We named him Malachi and he did some very naughty things. It was kind of fun, I have to admit. This year Malachi has yet to make his first mischief but Dan decided that while we are all waiting he would do his own thing.
The other night, I was upstairs and noticed that my big red balsa-wood deer had been moved and placed squarely in the doorway of my bedroom. I picked him up, brought him back down to where he belonged and asked my family, "So, who moved the deer?" To which Dan eagerly replied, "You found him?" And then he threw his hands up over his head and shouted, "DEER IN THE CLEAR!"
The objective of the game is simple: place the deer in a spot where no one with even the most rudimentary of observational skills could miss it. That's it.
I love this man.
Moving right along.
I also got a little crafty on the right facing page. I opened the photo in Photoshop, added a new layer on top of the photo layer, filled it with white and then dialed the Opacity way down (about 25%). Then I highlighted a section of it with the Rectangular Marquee Tool and hit Delete. Fancy!
Then I added glitter tape. I know. I'm awesome.
On this spread, I used one of Ali Edwards' 6 x 8 Layered Template Sets to display an assortment of shots.
Again, my goal with this project is simplicity and staying true to my style.
I'm not getting too jiggy with it so far in terms of super crafty stuff. So far it's been really fun. I am just keeping everything out on my dining room table so I can add stuff as I go.
That's it so far. I will share a little here and there throughout the month.
Maybe even more Deer in the Clear shots. If you like.
Note: a few of the products used here will be on sale this weekend at Designer Digitals, namely new 6 x 4 Cool Yule series layered journal cards and the "Merry & Bright" brush by Katie Pertiet used on one of the cards seen above.
December Daily™ is a holiday project concept created and championed by the amazing Ali Edwards. To learn more, click here.
Thiry Days of Thankful is now over. Now, let the UNGRATEFUL era commence!
Of course, I jest. The album project is over and the final step of this process was using Artifact Uprising's online software to build a 5.5 x 5.5 softcover book.
I'm eagerly awaiting the deliver of the book and will share photos when it arrives, but until then I wanted to share a short video tutorial walking you through how I used Artifact Uprising's simple, intuitive software to build the book.
But first, a quick look at my closing page for the album.
Thanks to all of you who shared your albums here as well.
Here's the video, for anyone who'd like to see the process in action.
Note: I have no finanical gain by promoting Artifact Uprising. I just happen to be in love with their products.
There is still time to enter my One Days of Giveaways for your chance to win one of three copies of Photoshop Elements 12 plus your choice of any 10 products from my CZ Design Digitals collection. Click here to enter.
Today I'm thrilled to introduce you to my guest writer Mark Spearman. Some of you may know Mark from his fine work on The Pioneer Woman. I know Mark because he's married to one of my friends who also happens to be my former boss from the early 1990s. Kira (Mark's wife and said former boss) is the person I most often credit with launching my career as a designer when she said to me, then a lowly assistant editor for a corporate trade magazine: "You wanna take over the design stuff?" Where was I? Oh yeah, MARK. Although I have spent very little time with him in person (cumulatively, I'd guess about 3 hours), the time I have spent getting to know him online has been pretty awesome. In short, he is the funniest person I know. And one of the smartest. He knows every line of dialogue to Silence of the Lambs, and honestly? That alone makes him completely awesome. He also recently met William Shatner and was photographed pointing at Shatner's head. He has a storied tradition of writing about Those Who Ruin Christmas. I asked him to share his best tips with my blog readers, in the spirit of the holiday season. Take it away, Mark.
I've been asked to speak with you about The Holidays.
Now I realize you normally come here for tips on successfully pairing patterned paper stock or to document your gratitude and whatnot or maybe to get the skinny on those Fitbit wristbands. We're not here to talk about those things.
But perhaps you knew that. YES. I'm talking to YOU. The person who Ruins Christmas For Everyone.
You know who you are.
You're the one who pouts until Lincoln's Birthday because the lululemon yoga pants your sister gave you in the family gift exchange are “Flair” instead of “Skinny.” So to get even you put way, WAY too much Worcestershire in the crappy cheese ball you take to her house. Then out of sheer animus you steal chocolate. From your own child's Advent calendar.
You think no one's watching? To paraphrase Fox Mulder, Someone's Always Watching.
I see. You've never been accused of Ruining Christmas for Anyone. They all say that. That fact alone establishes an 87% likelihood that you are, in fact, the person who Ruins Christmas For Everyone.
Wake up and smell the coffee. Not the pricey Jamaican Blue Mountain you buy for yourself. The cheap supermarket house brand you gift your in-laws.
At this point you're thinking I'm Marley to your Scrooge and we're going to meet three ghosts who'll make you sit through a boatload of tedious flashbacks and premonitions. Relax. I'm here to help you.
If you're going to Ruin Christmas for Everyone, at least do it well. Show a little pride in your work. This is America, and like it or not, we are a Beacon of Christmas Ruiners for the World. Represent!
So I've taken it upon myself to bring some much-needed discipline to this process. Hence, the following five tips may serve as an aid in your tireless efforts to Ruin Christmas for Everyone.
1. When dropping hints about gifts you'd like, provide very specific but completely bogus inventory SKU numbers. (e.g. “Honey, I'd like the Target Women's Footie Pajama in Monkey Stripe Tartan Plaid, SKU # 147599313.”) Not only will this confound the gift-giver, but on Christmas morning, you can exclaim “For God's Sake I even gave you the inventory SKU numbers!”
2. At holiday dinners, make loud accusations regarding known allergens intentionally added to your food (e.g. "You KNOW that I am severely allergic to ALL domestically manufactured marshmallow-based products!”)
3. Let it be known that you are furious that you are forced to host the big family holiday gathering/were not asked to host the big family holiday gathering.
4. Fill your family's entire DVR hard-drive with hackneyed and painful holiday-themed TV movies. I recommend The Christmas Consultant starring David Hasselhoff. (Fun Fact: This excruciating Hallmark movie was a runaway hit in Hasselhoff-obsessed Germany as Christmas Planner: Was für eine Bescherung!) Fans of stop-action animation should watch for Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. Or, you can just play the odds and tell Tivo to alert you <all programs> + “Christmas” + “Denise Richards” + “Yasmine Bleeth” + “Alan Thicke” + “Talking Donkey” + “David Hasselhoff” + “Germany.”
5. Enlist accomplices. Christmas Ruiners can easily detect others of their ilk. Deploy yourselves at the big neighborhood holiday do and stalk the hostess like velociraptors in a coordinated assault. You make a cutting remark about her cowl-neck caribou-pattern sweater. She stares right back at you. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two Christmas Ruiners she didn't even know were there.
So chop chop, people. Only a few precious days remain.
What, you think Christmas is going to Ruin Itself?
I always wished I had a ginormous operating budget for my blog to do an awesomely huge holiday giveaway as a way to say thank you for reading my blog.
You know, think Oprah's Favorite Things, but CZ Design-style. On Day One, you'd win an orange sweatshirt. On Day Two, you'd win three sessions with Joe, my physical therapist. On Day Three, a blue raspberry ICEE. And on Day Four, a new car!
But right now I only have the means for a One Days of Giveaways™ (just kidding, it's not trademarked), and I think it's pretty awesome.
Today, I have three copies of the brand spankin' new Photoshop Elements 12 for three of you. It's so new that I don't even have a copy yet. But of course, no copy of Photoshop Elements would be as much fun without digital goodies to play with, so each of the three winners will get their choice of any 10 of my products (no limits on what you choose).
TO ENTER: Just tell me what you are most looking forward to this month. That's the first way to enter.
A second way to enter? If you haven't already, please Like my Facebook page, come back here, post a comment and tell me that it is so.
A third way to enter? Follow me on Twitter, come back here and again, leave me a comment and tell me that it is so.
A fourth way to enter? If you already follow me on Twitter and Facebook, leave me a comment and tell me, "Um, Hello? Been doing that for, like, ever!"
This gives people a chance to enter multiple times.
This giveaway will stay open until Thursday night, and I'll post the winners on Friday.
Thank you for reading my blog. I genuinely appreciate your comments and your visits. I'm really going to work to make 2014 more fun, more real and more informative. And always, as crap free as possible.
This giveaway is now closed. Check back on Friday morning to see if you're a winner.
The winner of the spot in a seat in Your Holidays Captured Through the Lens, an online class with photographer Katrina Kennedy is:
The winner of the camera strap cover from Blue Bird Chic is:
Ladies, email me at email@example.com to claim our winnings. Thanks, and I'll see you back here on Monday morning for a special December giveaway.
The month is winding down and I've got seven more days of entries for my album. Just a few more days and I'll be ready to gather my files to make my printed book.
I plan to upload by files on Sunday to Artifact Uprising. I'm going to add in a few extra photo pages to fill out the book to make it 40 pages in length. And then I'll stalk my hot mail man waiting for the results. I'll record a video tutorial covering the process. I will try to make it both information and entertaining.
Here are my last seven days.
If you want to learn more about this album project, read this post.
Please share links to your pages and approaches for the past week. And have a great weekend.
THE GIVEAWAY: One blog reader will win a seat in Your Holidays Captured Through the Lens, an online class with photographer Katrina Kennedy
You can find Blue Bird Chic's Etsy store by clicking here.
TO ENTER: Leave me a comment today and tell me one thing on your holiday wish list. I'll choose the winners on Sunday night.
Comments are now closed. Check back to see if you're a winner.
To all who celebrate today, I wish you a happy, peaceful Thanksgiving. I hope you are spending it with people you love. We are spending the day at my sister-in-law's, and I will be bringing the mashed potatoes a la The Pioneer Woman. Decadent, but necessary.
COMING THIS WEEKEND: I'm sending out my next issue of Picas+Points on Sunday, December 1 to kick off another holiday month and yes, I've got subscriber-only freebies ready to go for both Christmas and Hanukkah. To subscribe, click here.
Plus, next week I've got a seriously awesome holiday giveaway, plus a guest blogger who is, in my opinion, one of the funniest people on the internet. Note: he does not scrapbook but he more than makes up for it with his witty, snarky reparté. Trust me.
OBSERVATIONS: I fell a bit off the weekly pace of late, but no worries! It took very little time to assemble three week's worth of pages.
The best choice I made in this process? Just do a single page for each week.
Another choice I made? Well, this isn't really a choice, but it's a plan for 2014. Do you want to know what the plan is? Yes? I mean, it's kind of secret but I'm going to let you in on it today. And here it is:
S i m p l i f y .
Ahhhh. It feels good just to type it out.
But what does that word mean to me? It means that I am going follow a few guidelines for Project Life in 2014.
1. Do it digitally. I plan to put together a post about getting everything set up for optimal ease and success in the process.
2. Make a digital book at the end of the year. I know many of you do this and I'm ready to do it, too. I'm also very excited because there is a possibility of doing my final book with Artifact Uprising if they start offering larger square sizes. Even if they don't, I may just make an 8.5 x 8.5 softcover book, even though the type will be a bit small to read. (I've tested it out already!)
3. Give myself permission to do single page entries. The facing page mentality will not rule my crafting choices in 2014. Sometimes I just don't have enough images to fill two pages. Single pages = aw yeah!
4. Use the Day One app with regularity. This app, I tell you… if I just jot down a little every day, then I can quickly recap my week with ease. (I found a very similar app for Android, called Day Journal.)
5. Set up Smart Folders in iPhoto for every week before December 31 rolls around. In this way, if I fall behind in the coming year, the photos will be sorted and waiting for me.
6. Enjoy the process! If I sense even a note of stress about any of it, I will re-evaulate my memory-keeping strategy.
I'm also going to be using a new design for my album that features way more white space, squared edges and narrower "touching" margins.
More on all that in a future post. For now, the past three weeks.
Note: to see any of these larger, just click on one and it will give you a bigger view.
I loved pulling out the Seafoam digital kit on the last page you see. Love that blue card so much.
So that's my last three weeks, all single pages, all making me very happy right now.
I look to the future with a much more simplified eye. For sure.