Hey Little Magpie Blog

Document December – Part 1


Is it too early to talk about Christmas? Well, I must admit that I absolutely love the build up to Christmas, but December itself is always busy. I like to document our December and have been doing so since 2009, joining in with Ali Edwards’ project ‘December Daily’. This year I am getting organised and have made the foundation pages for my album ahead of time. I’m sharing them here in my November Creative Team blog post, I’ll then show you the first week completed in my December 8th blog post and finally share my completed album in my January 8th blog post.

The first decision to be made was which Christmas collections to use and which size album. I am using a lot of product from the Simple Stories ‘Claus & Co’ Christmas collection including the 6 x 8 Sn@p album from the range. This album is currently out of stock, but there are lots of other 6 x 8 albums which would be perfect for this project.


I really wanted to include some light blue into my album and I found the perfect shades of blue in the new Shimelle ‘Christmas Magic’ collection. I ended up ordering quite a bit from that collection, plus some papers from the Basic Grey ‘Juniper Berry’ collection and one from the Bella Boulevard ‘Make it Merry’ collection. You can see the papers I ended up using a bit further down the post. There are other Christmas collections in store, these are just the ones I’ve chosen to work with.


First I designed my opening pages and decided to use a non-Christmas transparency from Maggie Holmes’ new collection ‘Shine’. It has the most beautiful glittery hearts over it and they look glittery from both sides. I added chipboard numbers ‘Starlight’ by Shimelle directly on top of the transparency and added a word strip sticker from the Simple Stories sticker pack which I backed with chipboard to raise it up.


Behind the opening transparency I used my favourite 2015 Christmas paper, it’s the B-side of ‘Wrap Paper’ from Shimelle’s collection.


I’ve used it a lot throughout the album and fully intend to use it on my handmade Christmas cards this year too. On top of this I’ve added a gold glitter letter B (for Boland, our surname) from this pack by American Crafts from the ‘Deck the Halls’ collection. I added ’25 days’ (because I will document from 1st to 25th December) with red shiny foil numbers and letters from the Simple Stories sticker pack and a chipboard star from the Simple Stories Chipboard Sticker pack. The blue rubber tab at the top is from the Pinkfresh Studios ‘Christmas Wishes’ collection in the Rubber Charms pack. The blue enamel dots are from my stash.


Next I had to come up with a page design that I would repeat throughout the album using square photos. I may find that I need to adapt this as I go if I have a portrait or a landscape orientated photo which I want to use as a main photo, but it’s a great base to start from. I cut white cardstock to measure 6 x 8 1/4″ (the page protectors in the album are slightly taller than 8″), one for each day and an extra one for Christmas day. Each day will have a 5 1/2 x 5 1/2″ photo on the top portion and a strip of patterned paper on the bottom measuring 5 1/2 x 2″. I decided that each spread of two days would have the same patterned paper and use the 6 x 8″ Simple Stories page protectors.


Here’s the links to the papers I used, just click on the images…


I used the chipboard numbers from Shimelle’s Christmas Magic collection for each day with the exception of day 25, on which I used a chipboard number from the Simple Stories Chipboard Stickers pack. This meant I had enough numbers for the year on the opening page. I added some journaling spots to the patterned paper strips, these are trimmed down Project Life lined journaling cards. I’ve used repositional adhesive so that I can easily change things if I need to in December.

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I wanted a divided page protector in between each two day spread. I will use a mixture of four types from Simple Stories (shown below), which will depend primarily on the number of photos or stories I want to share for those days.


I knew I wanted to have a number to represent the day on each divided protector too and used the Wood Chip Number Circles by Freckled Fawn. I adhered them to a 2 x 2″ square of Shimelle’s ‘Wrap Paper’ and stuck two back to back.


I cut some more 2 x 2″ squares of the patterned paper I’d used on the main daily pages and assembled my album. (Apologies for the quality of the photos, the light was not my friend!)


I didn’t have all the divided page protectors I needed when I put this together (I’d forgotten to order them!), so I got out my WRMK Fuse and made some up to see how it would look.


Here’s a close up of the divided insert with the wood chip number (this isn’t one of the divided protectors I made).


I will add embellishments as I put the album together as I like to be able to use ones that go with the photos and stories where I can. I also plan to add in sequin/glitter pockets and trimmed down transparencies to the divided page protectors, again I’ll base this on how many photos I want to use per day and therefore how many pockets are spare. This is my haul of embellishments, but I’ll probably add bits and pieces from old Christmas collections and from my general scrap stash.


I’m debating whether to cover or paint the chipboard cover of the album. I might leave it as it is or I might add some embellishment to the front. I placed some patterned papers on the cover to help me decide…I still don’t know!


So that’s pretty much where I’m up to. However, I’ll leave you with some inserts from my 2014 December album to give you an idea of how it will come together.


Well, I hope I’ve given you some inspiration and ideas. Thanks for making it all the way through to the end of the post! See you on 8th December with my first completed week.



  1. Natalia

    Oooh I am really looking forward to seeing how you fill up your journal. I am always impressed by those who can so perfectly plan their journal in advance so it is ready to fill without involving major effort and time come December. This is going to be one gorgeous album!
    I do really like the red paper for the spine of the journal, and if it was me I would probably pick the aqua snowflakes of the last photo (my two favourite design elements together – aqua and snowflakes!!!) to contrast against the red, oh and then I would use mini pompom to cover the join, but that’s mainly because I am a sucker for mini pompom trim on Christmas things!

    • Jo

      Thanks Nat! The spine of the album is already covered in that fab red fabric. I love red and aqua together too.

  2. Ruth

    I love this (and have Claus & Co on order from you)! I’m going to try those pages with the 2″ squares, because you’ve made them look fantastic. I’m keep to make a start on my foundation pages now. Thanks for sharing!
    PS: For the album, I like the bottom right image best.

    • Jo

      Thanks very much Ruth, I’m so pleased I’ve inspired you! PS. You will love the Claus & Co collection!

  3. Claire

    I’m in awe of your forward planning – Jo . I only ever managed one December Daily back in 2010 … Still haven’t filled it in !
    Lovely colour combos.

  4. Michelle

    Love Love Love your December Daily plan already, and I’d go for the Aqua paper… Red and Aqua was my Wedding Colour theme x

  5. Sheena x

    Wow Jo x
    I can’t wait to see more of this album in December.
    I like aqua for the cover paper.

  6. Jackie

    Love how this as come together, looking forward to your next post to see some of the finishes pages.

  7. Cath

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your setup. I did something similar last year using Ali’s templates, but your layout designs really appeal to me. Thanks! x