Can anyone else believe that we are now in the second month of 2014?! Where did January disappear to? It seems that one minute we were in the midst of the Christmas rush, I blinked, and now here we are in February, with Easter eggs lining the supermarket shelves! Which of course means I'm more than a little late with this post. After Christmas, more than a few stress-inducing storms, a glorious week in Berlin, catching up with friends, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a mammoth photo-order and finishing my Christmas journal, my time was completely swallowed up. It seems that I'm finding it a bit of a challenge to manage my time efficiently! This post has actually been started a million times but I never quite got around to finishing it.
I suppose it's because the majority of my time has been dedicated to a work project that I'm actually very excited about. I'm currently finding myself elbow-deep in medieval texts and falling in love with research all over again. I know it must seem like a trial to some, but I love spending an entire day trawling through dusty bookshelves, turning fragile, aged pages. I love pouring over maps to discover lost and forgotten worlds. I love getting lost in ancient stories and staring at crumbling ruins for hours with endless questions trying to coax the answers out. But if you persevere, they will reveal their secrets to you. Secrets to be carefully put into words. All you need is an open mind, a good laptop and a pot of tea. Then the words just flow.
So what else is happening? While so much of the world is covered with a thick blanket of snow we are battling weekly storms and rain. Lots and lots of rain. But it has barely dipped below 5 degrees Celsius and almost feels like an extension of autumn rather than "proper" winter. And then, amongst all the low pressure and depressions and cold fronts, a perfect blue-sky day will appear out of nowhere like a gift, and the world is suddenly beautiful again, the rain forgotten. The sun warms your face and you know that Spring is only around the corner.
|A surprise, perfect day in January close to my house|
As I write this I'm singing along to the music from Nashville - a TV series that had me hooked from episode 1. But I'm no country music fan and I feel I have to make this clear. While the whole nation recently scrambled to get their hands on much-coveted tickets for the big Garth Brooks summer gig, I have to admit, I thought the whole thing was hilarious and found myself making very sarcastic remarks at this strange, country music-loving population of an island that has produced the likes of U2, The Script and The Coronas to name but a few...! I'm a huge indie fan. I love real, sweaty, guitar-toting musicians who can sing and write music and don't look like One Direction. Yet here I am belting out country songs with fervour and LOVING them.
Which brings me to the subject of this post - my Christmas journal. I loved this project! I finally got around to finishing my very first attempt at a Christmas journal in mid-January and as much as I'm glad it's completed, I really enjoyed creating it and I feel it's definitely going to become an annual tradition. I have to say, it was much more time consuming than I anticipated and I think the 8x8 size contributed to this. I felt that I had to make a very full layout for each day with lots of "stuff" filling up each page as there was so much room to work with. It was just a little to much for the type of scrapbooker who takes three hours on one layout! I think I will switch to a 6x8 album next year with divided page protectors to give myself more flexibility.
I more or less stuck to Shimelle's JYC format but not completely, and left out some entries or added some of my own. I think I got every day in apart from December 5th for some reason, so overall I'm very happy with how it turned out. I tried as much as possible to stick to a fairly traditional palette of red, green, cream, kraft and blue and used a combination of new and old supplies with a lot of Studio Calico, Echo Park, Elle's Studio, My Mind's Eye, American Crafts, Jillibean Soup and Pink Paislee. I think it has pretty much captured my Christmas and if it weren't for the journal, I'm certain I wouldn't remember lots of little details that have been added into it.
While creating the journal was fun and satisfying, photographing it was not! Photographing anything indoors in January in Ireland with our perpetual overcast days always proves to be quite a challenge, so one afternoon when the sun appeared from behind it's usual hiding place in the murky winter clouds, I grabbed my camera and started shooting. By some miracle I managed to get get the whole album photographed in about fifteen minutes while the sun dipped in and out of the clouds, much to my annoyance, as some pages are darker than others. Also, I didn't remove the layouts from their sleeves to photograph them simply because it takes too damn long to get them back in again! So if there's a shine on some of the photos, I apologise!
(Note: Lots of photos ahead so prepare for much scrolling! I tried to create photo collages instead of posting individual photos, but those cool, collage-creating apps aren't compatible with my 2006 iBook G4's operating system...grrr! Time to upgrade I think!)
So that's my Christmas journal for 2013 done and dusted. I'm already excited about the prospect of this year's journal. Is it strange that I have already bought my entire Christmas kit for next year?! Two Peas had a fantastic sale just before Christmas and I'll admit...I went a little crazy. I had a theme in mind with three core colours to base my project around and I thought that would limit my spending, but who was I kidding?! It's just far too easy to pop a few little things into your bucket and before you know it, those few little things have turned into lots and lots and lots of little things. But it's a sale. (You're actually saving money, right?!) So I have far more than I'll actually need but I LOVE what I got and am already excited about next year's project. I have it stored away in it's own file in my craft room and hopefully by this time next year I'll have a second, fully completed journal filled with brand new memories and stories to share. But lets concentrate on Spring first. It's almost here and I'm looking forward to daffodils, new lambs, long days and a new wardrobe. Bring it on!
PS: For some unknown reason, some of my photos are misbehaving and want to remain out of line with the others. If I try to correct this, they jump all over the page. For the sake of not pulling my hair out, I'm going to leave them be!