A close runner-up to decorating, sending and receiving Christmas cards is my second favorite thing about this time of year. Here’s a look at what ours looked like this year.

2014 Christmas Card | Donya Luana

This year, like most, we took our Christmas card photos using a tripod and self-timer. If pulled this card out of the envelope and thought, man, how did she get pictures of everyone looking so happy? …well here’s the truth.

Photoshop.

2014 Christmas Card | Donya Luana

The boys actually cooperated more than I had expected, but not at the same time. Alwyn was either pointing at the camera, looking for a plane in the sky, or squirming to get down and run. Ephram wanted to tickle Beau or pout. I was yelling out commands to look at the camera, stop tickling dad, and pulling Alwyn’s arm down. And Beau, well he was the most cooperative, but I needed him to put his hand in the right spot!

After a little head-swapping in Photoshop, using a total of 6 different images, I had 2 satisfactory ones.

2014 Christmas Card | Donya Luana

I went with a simple design this year, keeping one side a full-sized 5×7 photo, so that family & friends can frame it or leave it on the fridge long after Christmas if they’d like to. I guess you could say it gives sending Christmas cards a little more purpose that way.

Did you send out holiday cards out this year?

Yay, it’s December!  Seriously, I’m not sure why an album is making December more fun, but it is.  Just something a little different from Project Life to finish up the year.  I’ll still likely have one spread covering all of December’s every day moments + stories, but most of the month I’ll be focusing on this album.

I shared my cover page back in November, along with my plan, and so far it’s working out well.  Right behind my cover page I included a “reason why” page, which you can download free from Ali Edwards’ site.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

PAGE 1 | The next spread tells a brief story about our Christmas card photo shoot and shows some of the outtakes that didn’t make our card.  I love having a family shot to start out the album.  

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

I added the “born to be JOLLY” typographic stamp (from this One Little Bird set), along with a label, on the top to embellish it a bit.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

My two boys weren’t all that cooperative, and there might have been a bit of pouting along the way, so the Santa, “You Better” card from the One Little Bird Merry Making Journaling Card set worked so perfectly.  I printed this onto another journaling card I had on hand and added a check mark stamp to “all of the above” and sewed on a few circles to add more color.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

PAGE 2 | On the second page I featured the story of my youngest son discovering the christmas lights and tree at Costco.  

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

Since many of the cards I pulled for this album weren’t specifically for Christmas, I’m finding myself adding digital and physical stamps to spruce them up a bit.  This green card is a prime example.  I printed the Christmas lights (using the PNG in this set) onto the card, then colored them in with a white gel pen.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

For the right side image, I added another element from The Two Five cutting elements over the photo in Photoshop before I had it printed.  

On many of the full 6×8 pages I added a small strip of paper.  This is because the page protectors I am using (Simple Stories brand) are slightly larger than 6×8, and as a result my photos were swimming around a little in the pockets.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

PAGE 3 | This next page is about buying and decorating our tree.  It was a bit hectic setting it up and decorating with two little boys, but I’m glad I caught a few photos of the action.  I added a small journaling spot on the large photo using a stamp, and placed the receipt from our tree purchase in a pocket I’ve been hanging onto from an old Studio Calico kit.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

PAGE 4 | I’m one of those people who never tire of Christmas music.  I could listened to it throughout the year.  Beau on the other hand, isn’t a huge fan.  He likes the classics.  Luckily, he lets me get my fill of it throughout December.  Obviously it only made sense to dedicate a full page to my favorite songs.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

And it was a great excuse to use up a lot of the gold I’ve been saving in my stash. At the bottom, I sewed in some gold star sequins after deciding the photo on the following page would look better as a 6×6 rather than 6×8.

December Daily | Donya Gjerdingen

& that wraps up part one!  Are you completing an album this year for December?

My biggest concern with completing a December album was that I wouldn’t be able to keep up because I don’t print at home, but I’m quickly realizing that the same method I use for Project Life can be applied here.  Here’s a short run down of my process:

  • - take tons of photos
  • - import photos to my computer and edit the ones I like
  • - plan out what cards/papers/etc I want to use with the corresponding photos I edited for my album
  • - make notes on post-its and place them where the photos will go in the album, along with any journaling ideas/cards/papers/etc
  • - prepare the photos for printing by sizing them to 4×6/6×8/etc
  • - then save them to a folder so they’re ready to upload and order when I get to it
  •  

    By doing it this way, I have the page “done” and just waiting for photos.  Once I have the photos in hand, I slip them in, finish up the journaling, and embellish!

    Here’s an example of what the next page in my album looks like, ready and waiting for the photo to finish it off.

    december-daily-part1-donyaluana-10

    Supplies Used:
    Simple Stories Kraft 6x8 Album One Little Bird Merry Making One Little Bird Photojournalist Vol 1 One Little Bird The Two Five Ali Edwards Noel StazOn Black Ink     Versamark Ink Pad Zing Gold Embossing Powder Pebbles Uppercase Roller Stamp Uniball White Broad Pen Brother Sewing Machine

    I guess you could say ‘the decorating’ is my favorite part of Christmas.  So much so that I wish we celebrated Thanksgiving in the US around the same time the Canadians did so that bringing out Christmas decor in November would be more acceptable.

    Easy Holiday Wall Gallery

    At Christmastime last year we were in the middle of a move and since this is our first Christmas in this house, I was more excited than usual to decorate this year. The wall in our living room has been empty since we moved in, 10.5 months ago, so it was about time I filled it up.  While browsing Michaels for popsicle sticks (for this project), I came across an fantastic deal on canvas – 5 for $15.  You can never have too much canvas on hand, but immediately I had an idea for these and decided to grab a few rolls of ribbon as well.

    Easy Holiday Wall Gallery

    I laid the canvas on the floor first to figure out their placement, keeping in mind the imaginary grid system I talked about here.  I added two framed photos, left over from the walls of our old living room, along with a smaller frame filled with scrapbook paper.

    Easy Holiday Wall GalleryEasy Holiday Wall Gallery

    I wrapped the ribbon around the canvases, crossing in the back, then around again before tying in a bow.  On a few I stuck small branches from our Christmas tree.

    Easy Holiday Wall Gallery

    I love how simple and easy this gallery was. And for a total of $22? Affordable as well.  It fills up the empty space, showcases a few family photos, and adds to the Christmas decor.

    Now to figure out what to put up when it all comes down in January.

    Easy Holiday Wall Gallery

    Doing my best to keep up with my Project Life album as we close out the year. My motivation always starts to dwindle a bit during this time of the year. Luckily, it has shifted right over to my December album. I’ll be sharing my progress on that next Tuesday.

    projectlife-2014-nov-03-donyaluana

    This spread contains two weeks worth of photos.  Part of the reason I did this is so I could finish up November quickly, but I’ll admit, I also did it because the colors flowed together better when I smushed the weeks into one.

    projectlife-2014-nov-02-donyaluana

    I used Ali’s layered date sentiments over one of the images I’d taken of the fall color during this time period and added a bit of text below it in Photoshop.  The scientist in me likes to include those sort of seasonal details/observations in my album.

    projectlife-2014-nov-01-donyaluana

    I save so many of my Studio Calico PL cards for just the right time.  The ‘movie night’ and star cards are two examples of that.  Total bonus when the colors match the spread as well.

    Supplies Used:
    Becky Higgins - Heidi Swapp Color Magic Value Kit Ali's Digital Sentiments StazOn Black Ink  
        

    What I'm Loving | December Wishlist

    1. Minted Foil Stamped Wall Art  2. Pinhole Press Christmas Tree Memory Game 3. Crocheted Calm Cowl Instructions 4. Minted Foil Stamped Photo Art 5. Target Deer String Art 6. Little Passports Kit for Kids 7. Snowflake Rolling Pin

    Beau and I finished up a majority of our gift shopping earlier this week.  So glad to have it out of the way.  Though I can’t help but have my eye on a few personalized gifts that would be fun to make, like that Memory Card Game.  Our recent discovery of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown has me even more interested in the Little Passports kit for kids.  I think Ephram would love it in the next few years.

    My love for gold foiling has only grown as the Christmas season has arrived.  I passed on gold-foiling for our Christmas cards, but I’d love to make a wall portrait using our Christmas card photo, stamped with gold foil through Minted.  So beautiful.  And speaking of beautiful, how cute would snowflake stamped cookies be?  That rolling pin is even gorgeous on it’s own even.

    & doesn’t that cowl look comfy!? I’m thinking it would be a fun January project.  Right along with finally finishing a wall gallery in Ephram’s room now that I scored that deer string art on clearance!

    What are you loving lately?