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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
This is the left hand side:
And the right hand side:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
That is how this week’s layout came out! Here are the links to Gossamer Blue:
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!
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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,
**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.
Hi again and welcome back for another Project Life layout, this week is Week 39 in this year’s album. I’m very excited this week because I had the chance to work with Ali Edwards’ Spark story subscription kit and let me tell you how lovely it is! I also brought in some Crate Paper Craft Market, which blended beautifully together. Enjoy the video and then stay tuned for all the close-ups!
Here is the full spread this week:
And here are both sides, closer in:
I cannot say enough positive things about working with the Spark Story Kit. If you don’t know what that is, then let me tell you a little about it, and the link will be at the bottom of this post. Ali Edwards has a subscription kit available and each month you receive products and a stamp set based on different options, and the purpose of these kits/stamps is to help you tell more of your stories as you are scrapbooking and Project Life-ing (there, new word).
I knew when I started this layout that I wanted to include more journaling but I did not know how or where that was going to happen. One of the things I have found using the Collect app and the Design F page protectors is that I was relying on the one or two sentences I wrote on the photo cards to be the journaling and that was it. Which is absolutely great and ok, don’t get me wrong! And I still love that method and will still probably create some weeks and some layouts just like that.
But I also wanted to challenge myself to tell more of these stories every week. My scrap time is limited – these are the layouts I am creating right now – and if I am not telling these stories then what happens to those stories?
As I worked my way around the layout, I realized I had more than just Collect photos I wanted to add. We spent a little time this week redecorating the house and putting up our fall things, and I had some quick photos I took on my phone that I decided to add. And there I realized I had my story: part of our fall decor included rearranging the plate rack that my mother had given me so many years ago, and that needed to be written about.
I placed the smaller decorating photos across the bottom of the left side, where I had used that patterned paper the week before. I thought about using that Crate Paper floral paper across the entire lower section like I had done last week, but decided against it. One reason was because I love the B-side of that paper, and both sides of that paper go beautifully with the Spark kit!
Typically I like to use transparency in these 4×6 pockets but since I wanted this photo to be the feature of this layout, I decided to place it in this pocket and use transparencies in the other pockets of the layout. This worked out great and I actually really like the transparencies in the other pockets.
That stripe transparency is actually a 8 1/2×11 acetate from We R Memory Keepers that I cut on the diagonal. Ali’s kit came packaged in a sweet little plastic package that had diagonal white stripes on the edges, and so that is why I decided to use the stripe acetate on this layout.
The kit came with some really cute chunky silver glitter, so I Fused that into a pocket, and I also used the glitter tape that came in the kit in several places. I love that narrow size and it added a great little accent around the page!
When I was all done with the layout, I pulled up the digital files in Photoshop and added my journaling to create a hidden journal card like this:
The front of the card reads:
A really good story never quite fits on one side, so I continued on side 2:
Hi there and welcome back! I mentioned before that I had actually created two December Dailies this year – and when I went to put everything in the first one, it didn’t fit so I started all over again for that album. Well, today I wanted to show what I have done with that first album. Enjoy this little video and then I will share the still photos and my sources!
I cannot tell you how much I love how this album turned out, and it is a great example of how something that didn’t work out for its original purpose can be re-imagined to become something really cool. My Mom, who was my creative muse and my teacher of all things artistic, had a favorite motto, and it went something like, “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents that we turn into something amazing.”
So I wanted to share a little of my process how I approached this project. I have to admit that I probably took 200 photos that afternoon, and so selecting which photos to include is always a challenge. I prioritized by asking myself the W questions: who (my husband, my children, and my self), what (afternoon at the farm in the fall), where (local farm), when (this fall), and why (spending time together having fun). So I decided to include a layout highlighting each of our children (four layouts already right there), me and my husband (another layout there), a couple showing the farm itself, and a few fall-themed photos (that became the acorn layout at the very end and also the pumpkin photo. I decided to limit the album to 10 or so layouts, and with that I went through and chose my photos.
This is an image of all my photos plus the papers I chose to use with each of them. Some of them got moved around a bit as I went along, but it helped me put the album together in an organized way. Notice that I also had cropped and printed the photos in a variety of sizes. I did not want to use page protectors in this album so I wanted to use smaller photos. The sizes ended up being 4×4, 4×3, 5×3 1/2, and also one full spread photo which ended up being printed at 11×5 and cut in half.
Once I had my photos printed, papers chosen, it was time to place them in the album and add embellishments. Pink Paislee had just released Cedar Lane and Maggie Holmes released Shine as I was working on this album, so they were the natural choice. They both work so very well together and I love how it turned out.
Notice how I used the inside cover as a place for my journaling and the date. I wanted the photos to be the highlight so I limited the journaling inside the pages. But the inside covers provided the perfect spot to share where we were and when this went down.
I used Pink Paislee’s transparency over the front page and the leaf you see there is just a silk leaf I took from a floral pick and spray painted it gold. Then I sewed it onto the transparency so it would stay in place.
Some of the photos stood by themselves so I did not pair it on the layout; this photo is great all by itself and it allowed me to do some fun embellishing on the opposite side of the layout. The background paper behind the owl is a watercolor paper by Cosmo Cricket (link at the end) that I watercolored and then layered embellishments on top of.
I knew as soon as I took this photo that I would create a layout across the entire page with it, and I love how it turned out. Using one photo across the spread is a technique often used by Stephanie Bryan, so I credit her with inspiring me to do this here. This was a beautiful scene.
This photo and spread are the parochial fall layout tradition – nothing says Fall more than a group of pumpkins. My husband is deathly allergic to pumpkins, so we do not keep them at our house, and sometimes I “borrow” opportunities to photograph them when he is not close by. Ha.
This is our oldest son, and while I limited my journaling on the actual layouts, I did want to notate what age they each were at this time. If it looks like something is on his face, it is – there was a tremendous sun flare right there and I worked a little bit to tone that down. I loved being able to use that gold horse shoe on this layout. Those ponies were so cute, but not exactly friendly. They nibbled one of the children, and then immediately after that happened one of the staff members came posting a sign not to pet them any more because they had had enough. Nice timing!
This was just fun to create. The page with the circles came with the album, and so I decided to back it with the Maggie Holmes patterned paper and then layer some tiny embellishments on top. Happy and fun! The photo of the kids shows them standing in front of a food truck that served French crepes, and the owner’s name was Natalie (our youngest daughter’s name). So that photo had to be included. I also have a long tradition that goes back to her baby album – layouts about her frequently include a bird of some sort, and Maggie’s chipboard bird fit perfectly.
This is my husband and me, and I love this photo. I try really hard to document us and our relationship in my albums and layouts. We have an amazing story and a dear relationship, he truly is my best friend. I believe the best gift we give our children is to show them our love and our connection, and I know they will look back on these photos with fondness too. I am lucky too, that Alan doesn’t mind taking photos or holding the shutter while I hold the camera!
The girls were so excited to see and ride the “cow train” at this farm. Each “cow car” was given names like Bessie and Moo Moo. Off they went around the farm.
Now, just because I included a layout about each of the kids doesn’t mean the kids are in any sort of order. This is our youngest daughter. She doesn’t always pose for the photo, but this day she did and I love how it turned out. I also love that Maggie Holmes word layered over her photo. Perfect.
Our oldest daughter was the one who wanted to pose for photos on this day. She came up with her own ideas of places to pose and quite a few of her photos turned out great. It was hard to narrow down to two. She surprises me when she wishes to cooperate with the camera, because frequently she does not cooperate easily with other requests! Ha! But she does love the camera and posing, and she is very photogenic.
Nick was entirely our uncooperative one this day. He did not want to go into the farm at first, so I had him sit on a grumpy bench. Later on he decided that he would come play, but I still had to sneak some photos of him. One day I will tell them, because I typically do try to get individual pictures of them wherever I am taking photos, that on this day or that day they were uncooperative and that is why they do not have photos of them that are like the others. Even in this layout above, in the photo with all four of them, he is saying to me, “Moooom, you can stop forcing me to pose now.” I killed him with the shutter, I’m sure of it. Ha.
Alright, this is the last spread and I just love the journaling on the inside cover and that gold sprinkled ampersand from Maggie Holmes. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through our afternoon at the farm! It has been a fun project and I hope you’ve been inspired.
Here are the great sources of product for this album: