Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Christmas Journal Completed (with tips for doing them fast!)

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:

Since starting them, I have found that I don't have to journal every single day, although I like them best when I have time to do that.  I always try to include one photo of myself, a suggestion that I learned from another on-line scrapping class that reminded me that I was never in any of my albums! Now, I make sure that there is at least a selfie of me and it has been fun to see how I change too and to know that I am in these memories as well as my fabulous family.  This is the kind of thing that I think will be important for the future.  I include a one page calendar so that the month is easy to see at a glance and to help with organizing when I get behind on doing pages for the book.  (I get them every year from a blog called A Stitch In Time.)  I include a CD of all the photos I took the whole season, not just the ones that made the journal.  (That is my expectation that someone will want to see the photos I decided not to include!)  I stick our ever-dwindling stack of received Christmas cards in the journal so that I can remember those and keep them.

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.

For the first time ever, a cultural icon was included.  My daughter and I listen to the OCR of Hamilton or the Mixtape almost daily so it seemed appropriate to include. I used fan art that I found on line and saved as a screenshot on my phone.

I always make sure that I include one picture of myself so that I am part of the narrative (you Hamilton fans will get appreciate the choice of words there.)

I didn't do my own manifesto this year, and I didn't put it up front.  I found something to take its place though that I thought was fitting.  Another time saver for me and probably more meaningful.

This season was also overshadowed with political stuff for me.  I allowed it in my journal this year.  Another first.  I think ignoring what is most on your mind and in your heart is a mistake.  Including it will make it more poignant when looking back once this becomes a "past journal."  Some of the journaling is a bit hidden, as it is on other pages as well.      

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 used photo collages using phone apps to allow me to get lots of photos on single pages.  In past years, I have cut them apart just to have tiny photos in my journal, especially when my pages were tiny.  I had all my photos printed at Walgreen's every few days this year.  I just worked picking them up into my errand-running.  

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.  

Instead of a letter to my future self, I answered these questions posted by someone I follow on Facebook:
What did you create this year that you’re most proud of?
What did you invest in that’s most aligned with your destiny?
How can you respond to your setbacks & losses from this year so as to use them to fuel your vision for 2017?
What is no longer serving you? What are the patterns, relationships, structures, old beliefs or anything else in the way of your destiny?
Who do you need to forgive and what do you need to let go of to be free to shine your light in even greater ways?
What can you commit to in 2017 that will most support you to becoming the [person] you came here to be?
What is the most powerful intention you can set for 2017 that’s most aligned with the greatness of your soul and the needs of the world?

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.
And now,  I did attempt a little video to show all my journals along with tips to make them fast. This is why I don't do videos very often.  Ha! You will notice my cover for this year's journal had an upgrade after I made the video.

Quick List of Links from This Blog Post (none of these are affilitate links):

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.  

1 comment:

Kate said...

Thank you Nadia! I watched your video, what an inspiration! I really want to do this for next year, and loved all your ideas! I did not realize you could print photos at Walgreens! I think I'll get started early this year and start collecting stickers, ephemera etc. wherever they pop up and start building my pages before December begins. I started doing "seasonal" books for the 4 seasons using the Chatbooks app, which is super easy, you just use their app on your phone, add text, choose your cover and title and it arrives as a 5x5" softcover book with 30 photos for $12.00, but for Christmas it seems extra special to go all out, the way you made yours, and still keeping it easy enough to get it done! I loved that you put the photo of the Obama family in your binder, so cute! Your daughter is growing up!Happy New Year. X0 Kathy

But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!