Theresa Moxley

December Daily 2015 Day 1!

Oh my goodness, I could probably burst with excitement for this month and all the creative goodness that comes with it. There is no doubt that December Daily is my favorite project of the year, something I prepare for almost all year long, something I talk about all year long, and something I look to be inspired for every day. You’ve chosen to look here today for your own inspiration, and for that my heart could burst three times. Thank you for being here and for following along.

I have my Day 01 ready to show you! This post will be short and simple, there is no video, and most days this month will probably look like this. I plan, however, to create process videos in batches – my plan is to try to post a process video every three days or so, and group the days together. But let’s get on with the good stuff. Here is Day 1 as I created it for the foundation pages.

December Daily 2015 Day 01

I left myself some options here: I could use one photo layered on top of the vellum stars where the December 1 tag is, or I could add a page in there if it turned out to be a photo heavy day. It turned out to be a photo heavy day because we attended the Wilmington, NC Flotilla!

December Daily 2015 Day 01

So I decided to layer a photo over the vellum like my original plan, and then I moved the transparency from the opening of the album to this day so it could accommodate more photos and the story of the day.

 Photos of the Flotilla boats courtesy of Chandler Edwards, my awesome nephew!
Photos of the Flotilla boats courtesy of Chandler Edwards, my awesome nephew!

I created a flip-out page using Ali Edwards  Digital Template No. 2 and dropped three photos into their spaces. I left one space open so I could add the journal card from One Little Bird. To separate each element I added silver glitter tape that is from Ali Edwards Spark Story Kit. My journaling reads as follows:

Well, I had just mentioned in passing to Angie how much fun it might be to go see the boats at the Flotilla this year, and the weather looked good, so we packed up and drove out there. I have to admit that ever since Mom died it’s been hard to make that drive out to Wilmington. The miles are hard, and the hard memories are difficult. I know that I’m in a better place this year, though, because when she said we should come, I started planning!
I am so glad we went! It was the best way to start off the month ever! We had the perfect parking spot and we found a place right on the waterfront. All the boats were fantastic! And seeing that part of the island was absolutely dreamy. The houses were so pretty with their decorations, and out favorite was definitely seeing Santa’s clothes hanging on the line!
But honestly, the best part was hanging with Angie and getting to chat with her a bit. I always hear part of myself in her stories. I was glad to hear she is in a better place this year, too. I was glad to hear that healing is happening for her, too. I was glad to see her pretty home and her pretty things, and I was so so very happy to sit with her and feel joy.

December Daily 2015 Day 01

Above the journaling I used the star screenprint that came in the Main Kit.

December Daily 2015 Day 01

On the fold-out photo on the top I added a simple star clip and stamped Joy is December.

December Daily 2015 Day 01

On the other side I added some stamping to the diagonal stripe card and a banner from One Little Bird.

December Daily 2015 Day 01

And for the photo of the sky I added a gold title, the tag, and an wooden anchor that I had in my stash.

December Daily 2015 Day 01

Nothing very complicated, although this is a photo heavy layout (5 photos in all) and I did include a lengthy journaling piece. Today just happened to turn out that way, but tomorrow may be very simple and short. I hope you enjoyed today’s layout, and please hit Subscribe so you can see the rest of the album right in your inbox!

See you soon!

~Theresa

**December Daily is the brainchild of creative genius Ali Edwards, and is a process of preserving the memories of December within a daily album by creating one layout per day. More of this project, and links to purchase the kits used in this layout, plus the digital templates, can be found here.

Some of the products I have used in this layout are, sadly, no longer available, but should still be attributed. They are: the star shaped paper clip (Two Peas in a Bucket), Ho Ho Ho file tab (Jillibean Soup), and the wood anchor I believe is Teresa Collins.

This blog is associated with Amazon as an affiliate. Within each post I include links to current products that have been used in today’s project, that you may click on and shop from. Any purchases that you make by clicking on those links help to support this blog (and my family)! I thank you kindly!

December Daily 2015 Preparations and Studio Walk-Thru

Hi there! Hooray, it’s finally December! I have lots to show you today, so stay tuned. First up is my video I took of my studio space and how I’ve prepped my work area for December Daily. Take a peek!

 

Was that fun? I wish you could come play with me in my space, I love it so much. Here are a few still photos of my space. I know parts of the video were kind of blurry as I was fighting with the lighting. My studio space is located in the first room of the house when you walk in the front door. It was designed to be a flex or office space, but I claimed it as my own.

 

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

This is my primary workspace. I have three workspaces, but this one gets the most use because it is under the window and gives me the best light. I work on a table from IKEA and it is adjusted to the widest it will go. I love that it gives me space to film, and additional space on both sides for laptop, video equipment, and scrapbooking products.

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

These are all my December scrapbooking goodies that I have pulled and organized from kits I bought, and product I (hoarded) didn’t get to use in previous years.

DD 2015 Prep and Studio
DD 2015 Prep and Studio

 Part of my strategy for accomplishing all that I have set out for December is actually arranging my workspace and my calendar for success. A few days ago I cleared off my desk and every other project I am working on is now officially on hold. One of my most important tools is my planner. Now, I know that planners are a really fun and exciting trend and I would love to show you how adorned and embellished mine is. Well, it just looks like this:

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

One thing I decided to do was to use Ali Edwards’ log book that came as a freebie with her Main Kit, in my planner. Is anyone else doing this? This way I can write down stories as I think of them and since I use removeable adhesive they can even be moved around if I decide to use a story on a different date (it really is ok to admit that some of our layouts happen on a different day than where they happen to land in our albums!) I love that I have space to write about the story, and then space below to remind myself what photos to use to go with. I have several written out already, they just aren’t placed in the planner yet.

 

Alright, so I also wanted to show quickly my introduction/intentions page. In the past I have not created an intention page – I admit in past years I just went into these albums and seasons to have a great time with my family and make a great album. But this year I’ve been participating and working through Ali Edwards’ December Storytelling class (link will be below) and she has made a point to include an intentions page in her albums. I love this idea. The first few pages of my album included a transparency sheet (that got moved and will be seen in my December Day 01 video tomorrow!) and then a few introductory pages, like this:

DD 2015 Prep and Studio
DD 2015 Prep and Studio

 The Introductory page is still the same, no changes were made there. It simply includes the calendar and the year. One of the things I noticed in my previous years is that I am notoriously bad about noting which year the album is from, both on the outside cover and on the inside, so I hope to change that this year!

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

And this is my Intentions page.

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

Not very complicated, just my text here:

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

 

And on this side I added a little stamping and some additional wood pieces about our story.

DD 2015 Prep and Studio

 

I hope you are ready for a really fun month and please subscribe to get all the yummy December goodness that is coming! I’m so excited and happy you visited today and hope you will go, do, and create! See you soon!

~Theresa

**December Daily is the creative brainchild of Ali Edwards and is a process of documenting December memories within an album, one story per day, throughout the month of December. More about this project can be found, along with links to her products which have been used in this post,

Some of the products used in this post were purchased through Ali Edwards and were designed by Peppermint Granberg Jones with One Little Bird. Her kit can be found

Some products shown in this post are, sadly, no longer available, and are as follows: Dear Lizzy Fine&Dandy vellum, Allison Kreft for Webster’s Pages shaped clip, and Gossamer Blue wood veneer pieces.

This blog is supported by way of affiliate links through Amazon.com. Some of the products that are used in this post are available by clicking these links, and in doing so you can help support this blog. Thank you!

Halloween 2015 Hybrid Layout Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer Story Kit

Hi friends, and welcome back! I’m showing you a layout today from our Halloween night. Here’s the video, and then stay tuned for the rest of the story!

So for this layout I am starting to wind down my Project Life, and typically that means I stop taking photos every day in the months of October and November, and I create a Halloween layout and a gratitude or Thanksgiving layout and then I call my Project Life done.

Halloween 2015 Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

Because we have four kids, this actually worked out great to allow me to highlight each child in their own layout, but it didn’t take an inordinate amount of time to create.

Halloween 2015 Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

Because there were four, I decided to use one of the layouts Ali Edwards created in the class as my springboard. My layouts are very much like hers – it’s important to know that not every layout has to be a unique creative statement on how well you can design with photos. What I did, however, was change up the elements a bit in each layout, and I used different embellishments and patterned papers so that each layout has its own unique presence.

Halloween 2015 Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

The truly important part about each of these layouts is the journaling. Well, the photos are pretty important (and cute!) too, but I really took some time to think about each of my children before I sat down with my papers and embellishments. I took some time to process and think about how I support them and how I cheer them on.

Halloween 2015 Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

You see, our kiddos each have unique stories and individual circumstances in their lives that have presented some challenges for them. Two of our children lost their dear mother when they were just toddlers. Two of our children live part of the time with us and the other part of the time in another home with their dad. None of these circumstances are insurmountable, but it does mean that our children deal with things other children might not. I realized through this process that my job is extra important for them to know that they are loved and supported.

Halloween 2015 Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

While I was working on these layouts, at one point I had them all four laid out on the floor so I could print out photos and select the patterned papers. The journaling was already printed on the pages, and when the children came home from school that day, they each saw the layouts and stopped to read what I had written.

Halloween 2015 Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

I think it meant something to each of them, to read the words I had written. My hope, in all of the layouts I create, is that they will see themselves as special and important, but also that they will know that I see them each as special and important.

Halloween 2015 Layout Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

But something very unexpected happened, while the kids were reading the journaling and checking out their layouts. One of the children actually broke out in tears. Oh, they were happy tears, the sort of tears that let me know that something I wrote had hit on something for that child that they desperately needed. They all needed to know they are being cheered on, but this one especially needed that.

Halloween 2015 Layout Featuring Ali Edwards Cheer

And that is why I do this. That is why I take the photos, create the layouts, select the papers, agonize over design decisions and obsess over the embellishments. Because they need to know. 

To learn more about Ali Edwards’ Story subscription kits and to get to know Ali herself better, please visit her website here.

I am not affiliated with Ali Edwards, but I am a very happy customer who loves to use her products and has long been inspired by her creative endeavors. I am however, affiliated with Amazon.com, and here are links to other products I have used in this layout. Any purchases you make by clicking on these links will help support this site, so I thank you!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peak at my process for creating this hybrid layout! This will probably be my last non-holiday related post for the rest of the year. In the month of December I plan to post my daily layouts in my December Daily album, and also plan to post my process videos about every three days. I am so excited and I hope you will follow along with me!

Happy creating! See you soon!

~Theresa

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Layout Using Gossamer Blue November Main and Life Pages Kits

Hi there and welcome back! I have a Project Life spread to show you today and I have chosen to work with my kits from Gossamer Blue this week! I receive the Main Kit and the Life Pages Kit, so all the products shown in my video today are from those kits. Enjoy the process video!

As always, here is the overall photo of this layout:

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

This is the left hand side:

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

And the right hand side:

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

I know the images are shadow-y today as it has been raining seems like non-stop and there is literally no sunlight outside! This has been the story of our life for the last few weeks, but I am certainly happy we are having rain.

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

Last week I had used journaling cards in the 4×6 pocket and transparencies in the smaller pockets, so I continued that on this week’s spread as well. The two journal cards are simply a date card and a title card, using the doilies in the kit.

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

The cork numbers were in both the Main and the Life Pages kits, but there was no zero included, so I took the nine and chopped off its tail to create the zero here. The trimmed edge is concealed underneath the doily, and it looks like it is done on purpose!

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

I also trimmed the wooden circle in two and used both halves in different places on the 3×4 card. That is always a fun way to stretch embellishments – it could totally have been used on another 3×4 card on the layout for a little repetition.

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

You can see here how I dealt with the diagonal striped transparency from the previous side. I love that white on transparency stripe. These embellishments are attached to the outside of the page protectors using glue dots and they look like they are layered on top of the tags from last week. I think some crafters are afraid to use transparencies because of well, what do you do with the back? I don’t worry about it too much. Every element adds a unique layer and every layer adds visual interest!

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

The Main Kit had the ephemera pack from Pebbles DIY Home collection, and they are some truly beautiful pieces! But I was a bit bummed that the frames were just a bit too big to use in the 3×4 pockets. Determined to use them anyway, I grabbed one of my plain transparencies and trimmed the frames to create chevrons and attached them to the transparencies. Love love love how that turned out.

Project Life 2015 Week 40 Using Gossamer Blue Kits

That is how this week’s layout came out! Here are the links to Gossamer Blue:

Gossamer Blue November 2015 Main Kit

Gossamer Blue November 2015 Life Pages Kit

See you again soon!

~Theresa

 

I am not affiliated with Gossamer Blue but I am a very happy customer who enjoys using their products.  I am, however, affiliated with Amazon.com and here are links to buy some of the products featured in this post apart from the Gossamer Blue kits. Any purchases from these links will help support this site! 

Documenting December Daily In The Midst Of Grief and Loss

December Daily in Grief and Loss

While preparing for December and for the rush and the added  joy of creating December Daily, I have been going through my old albums. I have participated in December Daily for eight years, and have seven completed albums. Those albums are a journey through some of the most difficult years of my life, and when people ask me why I do this project, I am sure to tell them that I do this project because every album reminds me of the joy I have found in some very, very dark days. Sometimes our grief, and trying to just make it through the holidays, completely stops us in our scrapbooking tracks.

If you came to my blog today, it is highly likely that you too, are grieving the loss of someone special in your life, or are curious how to document the more somber moments of life that inevitably happen. Please accept my deepest sorrow for your loss, and my prayer is that this post will comfort you and help you move forward in your grief process. Today I wanted to show some of the ways I have dealt with my own grief and hardships in and through my December Dailies.

I have two small disclaimers in the writing of this post. The first is that I am going to show a few photos of my older December Daily albums that may not be of the best quality and most certainly are not Pinterest worthy! I think all of us who scrapbook know that we have evolved in our tastes and our product use. I do hope, however, that the pages I am going to show you are of value simply because of the stories they tell, and will inspire you as well, to find stories to tell that reflect the reality of your life.

My second disclaimer is this: please know that every grief journey is incredibly unique, sensitive, and sacred. The way I have chosen to write about and share my grief in my December Dailies might be completely different than how other people might do so, and I think that is wonderful. The pages I have to show are in no way an end-all, be-all to doing this, but perhaps they will spark a story for you. If nothing else, I pray this will help us all not feel so alone in our journeys of grief and sadness.

First allow me to share a bit about my personal journey, so you can understand how and why it is that I came to write about documenting grief while creating December Daily. Eight years ago my mom died a really tragic, early, difficult death to cervical cancer. All my grandparents and my dad had already passed on. At the time she died, I was a nursing mother of two. Not long after my mom died, my (already abusive) marriage of 13 years fell apart and I had to get myself out and to safety.

Around that same time that all that was going on, Ali Edwards created her first December Daily. I did not participate the first year, but the second year I did. It is important to know that when I created that first album, my mom had been gone for a little over a year, and while my ex-husband is in that album, he was not living with us at that time. 

I mentioned that when my mom died I was a nursing mother; I had an older son and my baby daughter. My little girl was a miracle who came to me in the midst of death and dying – they say with every life lost a new life is gained. I didn’t find many words in my December Daily that year to say about my grief, per se, but I did create this layout in the album:

December Daily Documenting Grief

All I included was a photo of me and my daughter, and I will admit it is not the best photo of me but it was probably about the only photo that was taken of me at all that Christmas. There is no journaling, only a simple title, The Greatest Gift. If I could have put into words, I might have written how much I was grieving that Christmas because mom wasn’t there. I might have written how much I adored my daughter because she was so special to me. And I might have written how she (and her brother) were keeping me alive during that time.

I couldn’t find those words. And really, it is so much ok. This layout is just fine the way it is. I know the significance, and that is all that matters. Perhaps one day she will ask me, Mama what does that mean? and we will have the loveliest conversation about how special she is to me. But what is most important to me is that I included that tiny bit that acknowledged for me, what I was feeling at that time. And it did so in a most simple, uncomplicated way.

I have another example, and it comes from the following year, 2009. In that year, I had literally just moved out from my ex-husband’s home and our separation was finally done. I know that Ali Edwards has written and documented a bit of her own journey through joint custody, and every story she has shared has been something that I personally can relate to. In my December Daily that year I included a story about having to be without the kids:

More Than I Can Bear

I know it might not be so easy to see, but the title of this layout is More Than I Can Bear. The photo is of all our jackets on the kitchen door that day, and I journaled about how the next day those jackets wouldn’t be there:

As I got the kids ready for their Dad’s house I stopped to notice our three jackets on the door. It’s so hard to let them go, knowing how quiet the house will be for the next week. Lots of changes but one thing remains: I love you both.

While this might not particularly be about grief of losing someone, it is one way to document the melancholy that we sometimes experience during the holidays. One of the most difficult parts of grieving: the fewer place settings at the table, the empty chair, the phone that won’t ring…..the literal, visual changes around us that occur because that special person in our life is simply not there. That loss shows itself in some of the most uncanny ways, but those ways provide a means of telling part of your story. I encourage you to seek out the ways that highlight your grief, and document those.

Sometimes naming the specific ways our grief shows itself in the every day moments can help us heal the most. Simply the act of stating the day to day ordinary voids acknowledges the true reality of our loss.

I know that grief often freezes us in mid-sentence. It stops us in the middle of our every day life, the rhythm is broken and the rhythm restarts but we are not ready for it to restart. I know that sometimes those photos are too difficult to even look at. If that is where you are at, please know that is ok. Then put those photos away and work with photos that bring you joy. Can I honestly say that writing about those jackets brought me joy that day? No. I was clearly feeling very melancholy the day I journaled about those jackets. 

Sometimes I do work with photos that don’t necessarily bring me joy, but that I feel as though I must write about this and deal with this today or else I might burst. Only I can know what my level of tolerance is, and there have been times that I pulled out photos to work with, only to turn the lights off and crawl into bed in a teary mess. Sometimes that will happen, and I will put those photos away for a while. Other times that will happen, and I will get up the next morning and find a fresh outlook, and can finish that layout.

I think it is important to try.

I think it is important, when the photos bring tears, to step away, cry those tears, and treat ourselves with special grace. Talk to a trusted friend about the emotions that photo brought to you. When you feel calmer, look at the photo again. If it still brings tears, put it away until later. Allow yourself to feel those sad feelings. Allow yourself to talk about those feelings, work through those feelings, and then try again. Allow yourself to put them away forever, if you feel that need.

In the same year, 2009, on Day 12 I had to attend a funeral for the father of one of my childhood friends. My friend and I have been good friends literally for our whole lives.  I can’t ever remember not knowing her and her family, in part because our parents were life-long friends. This same friend had held my baby girl at my mom’s funeral, so when her father passed unexpectedly I knew I had to go be there for her. I didn’t necessarily need to include the funeral in my December Daily, but I did use the opportunity to honor my parents:

Tribute to my Parents

Again, this is not the best quality photo (it’s a scan from the family photo album of a photo taken around 1983!), but the purpose of this layout is to tell a story:

Today I learned of the passing of Tim *****, father to one of my lifelong friends, M*****. In this time of her loss, I am remembering my own losses. Her dad, like mine, gave so much of himself to the church, school, community, and us. Thank you for all you did.

That was all I wrote, and all I presented publicly about this event, and it is just right. 

Write your own reflection of an event and use photos that show what you were reminded of through that event. This is great to do if the event made it difficult or impossible to get a photograph. Let’s say, for example, that you attended an opera performance. It was an opera that many years ago your father had sang to you. Absolutely reflect on his singing to you and use a photo of yourself and your dad. This takes the story of going to the opera to a completely deeper level, while allowing you to express your own feelings that event brought out for you.

Sometimes grief can bring about some wonderful things. The following year, in 2010, I went through some dramatic changes in my life. At the time of this December Daily, I was a single mom and was laid off from my job. I was struggling in a way I can’t even explain. The entire month of December I poured myself into making magic for the kids, and into making December Daily. I am pretty sure I used all product I had stashed in my closet, and this was one of my favorite layouts:

Left Side%2C Hair Cut
Right Side Hair Cut

One thing about grief and struggles, and often the most difficult to believe while experiencing the worst of it, is that sometimes there is a dramatic shift. Now I am not going to tell you that grief will ever go away, because a part of that grief will remain with you for always. But sometimes you experience a shift in your grief and that shift can show in very positive ways. For me personally, I had lost my sense of self. Even my self esteem, and anyone who has struggled in an abusive relationship is probably very familiar with this, had all but disappeared. Between that and my grief, I could barely hold my head up.

My journaling for the above page reads like this:

I seriously haven’t had a haircut in two years! There was never time, or money, or whatever. So I was wearing my hair in a ponytail every day and feeling like I just blended into the wallpaper.

C***** asked me to e-mail her with 5 things that would help me in some way, and I included this one wish. Sire enough, she booked me an appointment at S*****.

The stylist (A***) did a fantastic job, and I love it! But wow, what a difference it has made to me, just to feel like “somebody” again.

The reason I wanted to include this layout in a post about grief is because there is light at the end of the very long, dark tunnel. Documenting that journey brings us an unexpected view into the direct changes that happen to us – one day those changes become beautiful and amazing. And sometimes, we even are able to document finding joy again.

No, it won’t be joy like you knew before. It will be bittersweet, sometimes angry joy because you can’t believe you can’t pick up the phone and call that person. It will be unbelievable, because you aren’t supposed to continue living or perhaps you feel like you shouldn’t be happy again. Sometimes you have just a moment of joy and then days of unbearable pain again. I am not going to tell you that a simple hair cut changed my life, and that one layout was not in any way the end of my sadness or grief or struggle. But it was the beginning of finding my way right where I am right now. Still healing, still processing, but definitely embracing this holiday and this December Daily. I pray you will find that joy, too.

See you again soon,

~Theresa

**December Daily is the creative brain child of Ali Edwards, whose amazing website can be found right here.  It is a process of documenting December memories one day at a time. I am not affiliated with Ali, but I am a long-time customer and love using her products. I know you will find inspiration through her products and blog and classes as well.

Would you like to share the ways you have documented your grief within your December Daily albums? Please feel free to link up or comment below! Also feel free to subscribe so you can get more great content in your inbox.