Happy New Year! 2016 was crazy and super busy but I have to admit it would not have been Christmas for me without doing my Christmas Journal, which I just finished. I have been on a bit of a journey to make things easier and faster. Last year, after Christmas, I went through all of our boxes of decorations and tossed the things we never use, labeled everything left, and made sure that all the boxes were properly filled and sealed. That really helped this time around when I didn't feel like making the effort to decorate. I will say that I probably would not have decorated except that I have a kid and she was adamant that the house would be in shape, decorated, and ready to go before her annual Christmas party she hostesses for her friends. To make it seem doable, I bought a new tree-- prelit and only three pieces. What a nice change from the old tree that required every branch to be hung in place on a 6-part base before several strings of lights had to be painstakingly added. Even my inner cheapness felt that the purchase was worth it. The 7' tree that I put in my daughter's room had been replaced the year before with a similar style so I knew with the ease of that one, that our big family tree would have to be replaced.
My need to make Christmas easier and less time consuming got filtered into my Christmas Journal as well. I have been doing these since 2012. I love Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas for this, not because I do all of her prompts every year, but because she reminds me daily to think of the Christmas season and what makes it special. Her JYC is a program where you pay once and then get the daily prompts and tips (and even a forum to connect with other JRC-ers) every year after that too! They just start December 1 of each year unless you tell her to stop (which I can't imagine doing!) They continue until January 6 but I typically end my journal on the 25th to keep it from getting too fat. The journals became instantly important to me the first year I did one because it helped me to focus on the meaning of the season, what was important to me, what we were doing right then, my memories of Christmases past and wishes for Christmases in the future, and ways in which we change each year. My daughter who is 12 loves looking at past years' journals. I love that they are important to her too.
These are my previous journals that are here on my blog:
This year, to make my Christmas Journal fast to do, I didn't worry about doing an entry for every day. I just focused on what I wanted to include. I take photos of everything all the time with my phone so there's always something to use. I bought a small binder and protective pages from Staples instead of making my own pages and binding it myself. I bought numbers, dimensional stickers, and envelopes from Michael's instead of making my own. I bought one coordinated Christmas paper pack so I wouldn't have to worry about making sure it went together.
I used my embroidery machine to create a one-color (mostly) merged design using my embroidery software, Embrilliance. I was able to set it up and go do other things with only one small and fast color change near the end. In this way, my cover sort of made itself.
The embroidery files I used for my cover were: tree - Urban Threads, 2016 - Stitchtopia, tiny font used for the text Christmas Journal - Lisa Shaw's free Tiny font.
I printed out my embroidery design and used it with my lightbox to cut a paper border from the cover.
I pre-made a bunch of identical tags for journaling. I used my Cricut Expression without software. For you dinosaurs like me that occasionally enjoy using your Cricut like a punch (cartridges and no software), my tags were from the discontinued Holiday Frames and Tags (a Creative Memories cart that you collectors like me will have) on page 42.
These are the inside pages of my 2016 Christmas Journal.
|This year's calendar went right in the front. I picked one from the free Stitch In Time printables that matched my paper pad.|
|On days that were true to the date, I added numbers. I only did this for a few of my pages this year. I made journaling pockets for my tags using the photos. Using ribbon on the tags makes them easy to remove from the sheet protectors.|
|We did all our Angel Tree buying and stitching before December on Black Friday but it is an important thing to us that really makes it feel like Christmas so I include it.|
|Our date night for our anniversary was cut short due to a sick kiddo we had to pick up so I put our wedding photo in a phone app to make it different from the original. I wanted to commemorate it even though I hadn't taken any photos of the evening.|
|My daughter got braces on this day. I didn't journal it. The picture said it all to me.|
|I always like to add a page about Santa-- what my daughter wanted, what she got, what it looked like. She "knows" now but I still have fun with this.|
|I didn't add recipes this year but did still find ways to "hide" thoughts that I wanted to keep a little out of the way.|
|Christmas cards received this year (like this one from my mom) are in the back.|
|I embroidered my cover using fabric and thread to match the papers inside. To the embroidery, I added a paper frame and added the same paper on the spine.|
Quick List of Links from This Blog Post (none of these are affilitate links):
- Shimelle's JYC: http://www.shimelle.com/Journal_your_Christmas.html
- My 2015 Christmas Journal: click here.
- My 2014 Christmas Journal: click here.
- My 2013 Christmas Journal: click here.
- My 2012 Christmas Journal: click here.
- My 2016 Calendar page was from A Stitch In Time: click here. She has been doing them at least as long as I have been doing JYC so I always have gotten them from her.
- Embrilliance Essentials embroidery software for merging designs and adding text: click here.
- Folksy Tree by Urban Threads (embroidery file): click here.
- Grace font (includes numbers) from Stitchtopia: click here.
- Free Tiny Font by Lisa Shaw: click here.
I hope you will try your hand at a Christmas Journal or, even better, that you are preparing to thumb through your completed (or soon to be completed) journal! Best wishes for a creative, happy, and peace-filled 2017.