designing a really simple December mini album

A miraculous thing happened while I was working on my 2014 December mini-album pages (you can see a sneak peek of those HERE). I actually ended up designing a second album... for December 2013. I couldn't believe how simple it was, how much fun I had reliving those memories, and how great it is to have them all contained in a mini-album! I'm kicking myself that it's taken me over a year to do this. I would love to spend tons of time on these albums, but with a baby and a preschooler, that's just not happening right now. Lesson learned: when in doubt, keep it simple! I put the whole thing together in a few hours over a couple of evenings, which felt great and was a lot of fun. I'll share all the layouts next week, but in the meantime, here's how I put it together.

Gather your supplies / I went through my "December 2013" album in iPhoto, picked about 30 pictures, and converted most of them to black and white. I thought the black and white would help give the album a more cohesive look. I knew I wanted to use some 6x8 pocket page sheets I had on hand (similar to these). They're divided into four 3x4 inch pockets, so I had to convert the photos to 3x4 inches. I did that in Photoshop using this template from Paislee Press.

If you don't use Photoshop, you can print 3x4 photos here.

Rachel over at Big City Quiet was sweet enough to send me these journaling cards back in December, which I definitely wanted to use in the album. I also decided to include some simple embellishments here and there using things I had around the house. More on that later.

Lay out your photos / I took all my 3x4 pictures and laid them out on my desk in roughly the order I wanted them in the album, leaving spaces for journaling or embellishment or a patterned card. I didn't worry about when, exactly, these had been taken. I just grouped them by theme and roughly by chronology. For example, I kept my tree-trimming and hall-decking photos together. I also grouped my Christmas Day photos at the end of the album. I certainly don't have one photo per day, but that wasn't really how I documented that season, anyway. I just focused on choosing photos I loved that captured the month and I tried to put them in an order that made sense.

Fill in the gaps with journaling cards / I then went through and added journaling cards. I used these cards from Big City Quiet, some patterned cards from the Project Life Midnight core kit and some blank cards, which I knew would give me space to add text.

Begin assembling the album / At this point, I took an initial crack at placing photos and journaling cards in the album. As I did this, I moved things around, discovered new cards, added a white card here or there and even left some pockets empty.

Add journaling / After I'd roughly assembled the album, I started to add text to my blank white cards and change out some of the patterned and printed cards. On some of the cards, I added designs and text from this year's digital kit for December from Paislee Press.

Include details and captions / I used most of the blank cards to explain a photo or a set of photos. I tend to type on my journaling cards, but you could certainly just handwrite your captions. I really kept this simple, adding dates or brief captions when I saw something I remembered and wanted to make sure I remembered years from now. I actually couldn't believe how much came back to me as I looked at the photos! It's hard to believe this was over a year ago, but that's what's so great about documenting these seasons in our lives. Ten years ago, I'll be able to flip through this album and see the last Christmas we spent as a family of three.

Optional: Add (a little) embellishment / With the exception of the occasional piece of washi tape, I never add embellishments to my Project Life pages, but I had some fun holiday-type things in a bin in my office, so I pulled them out and played around. Something about the mini-album format really encourages creative experimentation. I LOVE the outcome. Here's a sneak of one of the pages, completed. 

I first learned about the concept of documenting December via Ali Edwards and her December Daily project. This project takes so many forms (you can check out some of them HERE) and is really only limited by your imagination! Be sure to check back next week for the full album or follow my feed on Bloglovin or Feedly to get the latest posts.

Did you document the month of December? I'd love to hear your take on this project.