Finishing Twelve Years of December Daily Projects

by | Projects & Processes | 14 comments

At the beginning of 2022 I knew that finishing my past December Daily projects was the top priority. I had a found a nice creative groove at the end of 2021 and this goal finally felt possible!

In this post I’m sharing a comprehensive look at my history with this annual project, my approach to finishing, and a peek inside each album. I’ve organized the albums into two main sections: the projects I had previously completed and the projects I completed this year.

This is the first time I’ve really examined my past projects in depth and I was surprised to see how much my style has stayed consistent over the years. You can see elements of my 2010 project (ribbons, tabs, layers, overlays etc.) in my 2021 project!

Above all, this year’s journey offered a clear reminder that I do love December Daily. I had felt discouraged with my long list of unfinished projects, but have now recognized the personal and creative prerequisites to a successful project attempt.

My History with December Daily Projects

I believe I discovered December Daily in 2009, but didn’t have the courage to jump in until the following year. I was 100% digital at the time and had no supplies nor any idea how to create a mini album. I was definitely intrigued and curious.

My first three projects were the easiest to finish and I attribute my subsequent experience to having a busy little girl. I had some sort of start every year, but in that season of life (2014-2016) I didn’t have the energy to show up regularly. I also had gone back to work in the office and the business of Simple Scrapper was my evening focus.

In 2017 I found a bit more space in my days, but my increasing struggles with anxiety definitely impacted my ability to finish in 2018-2020. It wasn’t until I finally reached out for help in late 2021 (i.e. therapy and medication) that I felt ease in the process. For the first time in as long as I could remember I was able to create because it was fun and without feeling overwhelmed by everything.

Previously Completed December Daily Projects

As I’ve looked back at my previous projects, especially those I finished with relative ease, most had something in common: foundation pages.

I’ve never been one who could do anything daily and all of these were completed in batches, but having starting points made the decision-making so much easier.

6″x6″ Mini Book for 2010

This is my only album to use a chipboard foundation and I’ve noticed how well it has help up, especially compared with my 2011 and 2012 albums. I’m curious to try this approach again in the future now that I have a more advanced set of skills!

How many Starbucks sleeves can you spot across all of my albums?

6″x6″ Mini Book for 2011

This was the first year I used foundation pages, focusing on a repetitive grid design and playing with numbers for the first time. I remember feeling like a “real scrapbooker” working on this one!

6″x6″ Mini Book for 2012

In 2012 I actually sold a mini book kit for the project. It was a fun experience, but products and shipping are not the right business for me. I am proud of my kit selections though and how easy this one came together. It was also the year I felt in love with white paint markers on photos!

6″x4″ Mini Album for 2014-2016

My original plans for 2014-2016 were Project Life pages, a 6×8 album, and this 4×6 album, respectively. None of the projects progressed past the supply acquisition stage.

In 2021 I built this compilation album from scratch, relying on repetition of three different page styles and an assortment of supplies from my stash. For each of the 25 story spreads, I selected images from one or more of the featured years.

To uncomplicate photo selection I only chose from the images that corresponded to the “day” of the story. For example, on December 1 the images used were selected from December 1 in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

6″x8″ Album for 2017

This is one of my favorite albums for its mix of creativity and simplicity, with pocket pages as the focus. Most of the project was completed in December, with the balance finished in summer 2018.

These days there is a lot of emphasis on ultra-creative and hybrid “out of the pocket” pages, so browsing my 2017 album offered a lovely reminder of where to find more ease.

How I Approach Finishing December Daily Projects

For me finishing is never about just pushing through. There’s always a reason a project is incomplete and it often doesn’t make sense to follow the original plan verbatim. My process began with observation:

  • How much of each project was done? Do I still have the supplies?
  • When and where did I get derailed? Why do you think that was?
  • What’s different about this unfinished project compared with others that I did complete?

The goal of these observations was to determine the right course of action for each project. There’s no “one size fits all” approach to finishing and I used four different strategies to complete projects 2013, 2018, 2019-2020, and 2021.

The December Daily Projects I Completed in 2022

This year my shelf was completed with four albums representing five years of December memories.

2013 December Daily: Redoing a Completed Project (6″x4″)

This project was technically already finished, but it had always bothered me. It was a Project Life mini book with some of my best December photos and decorative “filler” cards.

I decided to use an album foundation I made in a class to add retrospective journaling to the project. This format also addressed that the original album looked awkward on the shelf.

Since I used my existing photos on this finish, the journaling took about 45 minutes to complete.

2018 December Daily: Finishing a Half-Completed Project (6″x8″)

I struggled with this project from the beginning. While I love to look at others using Felicity Jane products, they never quite suited me. Too much black and white, I think. I tried to take a similar approach to 2017, but stumbled after being out of town two weekends in a row. The rest of the month was a blur.

When I sat down to decide on my approach, I recognized that the format was simple enough to mostly carry on. I didn’t do really do anything special instead focusing on pocket pages and 6×8 mini layouts. Adding some straightforward pockets (as seen in the last photo in this grouping) was as “wild and crazy” as I got.

Selecting, editing, and printing the photos took about an hour and then assembling another hour.

2019-2020 December Daily: Starting Over with a New Project (4.25″x8.25″)

These two years caused the most decision-making agony. They were initially started in different sizes (3×8 vs. Life Crafted) and different formats (100% hybrid vs. TN memory journaling). Neither had more than a few pages added, so following the original plan felt like no fun at all. Just combining them into one album and calling it done felt awkward.

And so I decided to reimagine the project as a comparison between 2019 and 2020, two very different years in our life. I cut papers (mostly from my 2020 purchases) to an out of the pocket size and left those with smaller dimensions be smaller. There are a few “in the pocket” pages that were already cut to size, but most are mini layouts with no page protectors.

For the photos, I made a list of 25 typical December Daily story topics. I then selected a pair of images, one from 2019 and one from 2020, to represent each. I also stamped and die cut two styles of tags for my journaling. Assembly and journaling took maybe an hour, but I had worked on the photos a little bit at a time over several days. Having everything ready to go made the process super fast!

I can 100% say that my approach to finishing this project was inspired by my 2011 album. Foundation pages with repeating elements is so handy!

2021 December Daily: Finishing the Project with Ease (6″x8″)

I gained renewed familiarity and fresh perspective on my stash and my process after finishing my 2014-2016 album (earlier in 2021). I started to recognize the types of pages I was having fun creating and which ones felt easy. I paid more attention to inspiration, primarily on Instagram, and started saving ideas to try.

When it came time to put together foundation pages in November 2021, I was all in! My album was about 70% complete by December 7, when we left for a family vacation. Another 20% was completed prior to Christmas and then the final sprint took place quite recently. I still needed to include photos from that vacation, from Christmas Day, and a bit of journaling on stories that didn’t have photos.

While this project helped me embrace imperfect and experience with new techniques, my favorite part is a new-found love of ribbons and fibers. I can’t get enough!

What I’ve Learned about December Daily Projects

There was a point when I thought I might be done with this project. I was so discouraged by all the unfinished albums and my inability to do a “daily” thing daily. But through this process of finishing I’ve learned what works best for me:

  • Recognizing the season of life I’m in right now and how that will impact my time, energy, and motivation for scrapbooking. I then plan my project scope and format accordingly, so the album is more finishable.
  • Building foundation pages and working ahead of the holiday chaos. Having a clear vision for the project in November helps December feel more like filling in the blanks and fitting together pieces of the puzzle.

The Vision for My 2022 Album

I will share all the photos and more details when 2022 is finished, but this video shares a sneak peek at where I’m headed with the 10×8 album.

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Jenny Adams

    Fabulous AND inspiring!!!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thank you Jenny!

  2. Annette Monary

    Congratulations on finishing!!! Thank you for the reminder to stop over complicating the December Daily process and embracing the pivot when needed.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Yes, we all need to pivot some of the times!

  3. Lisa Joekema

    I love this! I have a couple years I finished and a couple not. One was barely started. I also did a totally different kind of project a few years in between. Like those in between projects this year I am making an Advent book. This year I have a daily devotional I am using as inspiration. Using stencils from my two fave companies, paper scraps which I have tons of(saved for paper piecing projects)and stash supplies on hand I am actually caught up. It’s such a nice feeling. You have reminded me I have a goal to finish those older projects.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Sounds like you have a lot of ways to make it fun too.

  4. Maureen Reynolds

    Wonderful finishing up all those years Jennifer! That’s really impressive and definitely let you know what works best for you!

  5. Honore Francois

    Congratulations ! What fun to see all your albums! Each/All: Totally Inspiring! Looking forward to seeing 2022’s… You rock!

  6. Chandra

    Wow, what a great blog post; thanks for sharing all your albums with us. It’s so neat to see the ebb and flow of yearly projects but also some of the similarities that carry through despite how different they are. Your pages are inspiring!

  7. Kaethe Pittman

    This was how I chose to start Finishing Day: gorgeous inspiration as I hope to “catch” up on my own DD 2022. I am inspired to try some foundation pages for moving forward!

  8. Kim Robinson

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing

  9. CarrieH

    What a nice accomplishment! Thanks for this, very inspiring.

  10. Julie Cannon

    What a great post! I too have 7 years of unfinished December Daily projects. I love the part in your post that talks about reflecting on why they weren’t completed. I definitely plan on spending a little time sorting through those thoughts. I also love how you talk about missing the blog. I love being able to spend a little more time reading and thinking rather than just scrolling. It also makes me feel more connected to the blogger. I know how much time putting together a blog post like this takes so thank you, thank you! for taking the time to do that.

  11. Dawn LeGrow

    I am completely enjoying and LEARNING so much from your blog posts. They have really helped with my goal of using what I have including the membership and the blog posts, so rich in resources, ideas and help!


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