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Join in with Journal your Christmas 2014!

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class @ shimelle.com
With just a few hours of November remaining, it’s high time I share a bit more about detail about Journal your Christmas 2014. While there has never been any doubt to me that I would be running Journal your Christmas this year, as always, I just wanted to make sure all the updates and extras for this year were ready before I announced them! And I am happy to say this year, there is one very big update indeed.


(Now you see why I usually just show you my hands. Yes, I know it’s out of focus, but it’s also the last day of November. Something had to give, I guess!)

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class by Shimelle Laine @ shimelle.com

The major update for 2014 is a video element: every day there is a very short video with a 3×4 card. These are really quick! That way you don’t have to carve out more time from a busy time of the year. These are around two minutes, perfect for giving you a creative short cut if you need some inspiration or would benefit from a bit of a process to follow. I’m using my Christmas in a Box kit for these cards, but the ideas are easy to adapt to any supplies you might have on hand, and likewise you can adjust for different sizes of pockets or pages to work with whatever album you’ve chosen this year.

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class @ shimelle.com
If you’re new to all this, things may be a little muddy still! Journal your Christmas is a project that has been part of my life since 2003, and an online scrapbooking class every Christmas since 2004. It is very near and dear to my heart, and it’s always my very favourite scrapbooking project of the year. I’d suggest reading the basics here, which includes my firm belief that you do not need much time each day to work on this project nor do you technically need to prepare anything in advance. But here are the biggest questions to make it easy:

What’s included in Journal your Christmas?
Thirty-seven days of inspiration delivered right to your inbox. We start on the first of December and run to the sixth of January, which is the twelfth day of Christmas.
Each daily email includes a full-colour, printable PDF that covers a particular topic in depth with ideas for journaling, photographing, and crafting. This year, it also includes a short video sharing the process for creating a 3×4 card for your album.
There is also a private forum to chat and share your work with other JYC participants.

What makes your classes different to others?
All of my classes include permanent access, something I have always taken very seriously. That means when you join the project, you can participate for as many years as you would like at no extra cost.

I donate £1 for every class purchase to The Girls’ Fund at Plan, a charity that helps millions of girls who otherwise wouldn’t have access to education or basic survival needs.

The PDF prompts come right to your inbox – you don’t have to sign into the website daily to view them – though they are archived for you online so if you need to go back or want to download several to work on while you’re offline for a while, that is always an option. (You may or may not be able to see the videos straight from your inbox – it depends on the device you’re using and your mail software settings, but likewise, the streaming videos are embedded in both the emails and the class forum so you can view them at the time that works best for you.)

We really embrace variety and doing what works best for you. You can just take pictures or just write words or you can create a beautiful canvas every day – it’s completely up to you and I love every way the project may be approached. That includes how many entries you will make. You can certainly add something to your album every day if you would like, but it’s not a requirement. When I started this project, I designed it with the idea that you would cover a few of the topics in the first year, then in your second year pick a few more, and so on until you had a very full album you loved that documented many years of Christmas celebration. So whether you want to create every day, just now and then, or just take notes in December then put it all together at a quieter time of year, you are welcome to take the avenue that makes you happiest!

How do I join Journal your Christmas?
Easy! Just choose your currency and click the button below for your choice of UK pounds or US dollars. If neither of those is your currency, you can still join us! Choose either and the payment will convert automatically when you make your payment.

You can pay by credit/debit card or Paypal account. If you would like your prompts to come to a different email address than the one on your Paypal account, please be sure to leave a note in the message to seller section with the email address you would like to use. (If you miss that, send me an email to let me know, with both email addresses. Orders can take up to 24 hours to process. If you haven’t received your class registration after 24 hours, just email me and I’ll make sure your registration is completed and ready for you to get started!

Can I give Journal your Christmas as a gift?
Yes! Just click to pay above as normal, then leave the email address for the gift recipient in the notes section. If you miss the notes, email me. If you’d like me to send an email explaining that the class is a gift, I’m happy to do so – just let me know your preference of being named or anonymous!

Is there a deadline for signing up?
No. You can sign up any day of the year. The class starts on the first of December, so if you want to be in on day one, that can be part of the fun, but if you sign up later, you’ll still have access to all the materials, and you can do them in order or skip around – there is thought to the order but it’s not so regimented that you can’t change it up!

As a previous participant, what do I need to do?
If you participated last year and your email address has not changed, you don’t need to do anything to join us again. (The first message sent also has instructions on how to unsubscribe if you don’t want to receive the emails this year.) If your email address has changed since last year, please send a message to this special address and include both the old and new email address so your account can be updated.

Previous participants can access the class forum any time. If you do not remember your login details at the forum, click at the top right of the forum screen to log in. When that page loads, there is a forgotten password link below the boxes. Follow the instructions from there and your username and a new password will be sent automatically. (If you don’t see it straight away, check your spam folder.)

Any other questions, please let me know. I’m looking forward to creating a very special Christmas journal this year, and I’d love for you to join me and so many dedicated Christmas journalers for JYC2014.

Inspired By... a new online scrapbooking workshop

Inspired By... a new online scrapbooking workshop @ shimelle.com

Today I’m delighted to introduce a new online scrapbooking workshop: Inspired By.

I’ve worked with some of my favourite scrapbookers to break down how we translate different sources of inspiration into unique scrapbook pages, and we’re sharing that process with you through ten videos and an accompanying PDF for reference. This workshop is self-paced, so you can view all the videos now or any time!

Across the ten videos, we take inspiration from the photos we will scrapbook, a patterned paper collection, geometric graphics, party decor, mixed media art, watercolours, commercial illustration, interior design, text art, and an existing scrapbook page. Then we walk through our individual scrapping process from taking that inspiration and turning it into something we love for our albums. It’s inspiration without sacrificing personal style, and we’d love for you to join in the fun.

Inspired By... a new online scrapbooking workshop @ shimelle.com

I’m thrilled that Nancy Damiano, Paige Evans, Stephanie Bryan, Marcy Penner, Jen Kinkade, Wilna Furstenberg, Laura Craigie, and Jill Sprott were able to join with me and each share a brand new video. That makes eight videos, and there are two from me to add up to ten. And if you like getting a bit computery with your crafting, there are also some gorgeous bonus downloads: printables and cut files designed by Wilna and Jen.

Your registration includes the ten videos, accompanying reference PDF, bonus printable and cut file downloads, and a private message board to discuss things with the contributors, chat with other participants, and share your own work. I have always offered permanent access to class materials and that is included here as well. I know it’s a tangent from this actual workshop but in light of recent things in our industry, I want to address what I mean by permanent access to materials. I have been teaching online for more than ten years and all the materials from even that very first class are still available to those participants. Yes, passwords may be forgotten or email addresses may change, but I can help with those instances and though it may occasionally take a bit of time to track things down from all those years ago, we can and do get that remedied for past class participants. (One big change last year was automating the password reset on our class forum, so if you forget your login name or password, you can get that in moments and don’t have to wait for me to read your email.) Yes, I changed formats many years ago from a set up that was more like an email group where we all chatted back and forth to using message board as a classroom set up, but all the previous materials have continued to be maintained. If I were to upgrade again in the future, that would be my plan. And in addition I have what I call my ‘hit by a bus policy’, which is a dreadfully terrible name for how I have tried to do all in my power to make sure that if something horrible happened and I went out of business or disappeared from the face of the earth next week, all my customers would continue to have access to everything for many more years than they would probably want to reference those materials. I can’t guarantee that policy will work in every way because I am most definitely not volunteering to be hit by a bus just to test it out. But this is something I have meant since the very first day I said I was offering permanent access. It makes sense for me and I’m happy to offer it, and I’m sorry for the tangent, but the notion of losing trust due to decisions made by other companies is one that plays on my mind.

Also related: yes, students from my Two Peas workshops will soon be able to access them via my own site. You will be sent an email when that is ready and I will also post here (so if your email has changed since your Two Peas days, we will be able to sort that out for you). I know it’s taking a long time and all I can say is that everything is taking me a long time right now, and Wonder Boy is worth it for me. But I can see the end of that project in sight and I’m so happy to be able to extend those workshops under my own little umbrella.

Right: back to Inspired By! It’s £10 British Pounds or $15 US Dollars. If neither of those is your currency, that’s okay – you can choose either and it will automatically convert. Check XE for exchange rates to get an idea of the price in numbers that make sense for you!

If you’re ready, click to sign up!

After you sign up, you’ll be given access to the materials, generally within 24 hours. (I try not to work on Sundays but also try to make sure process registrations last thing on Saturday night and first thing on Monday morning!) If you have made your payment and do not receive a welcome email within that time frame, please double check your message hasn’t gone to your spam folder, then email me to let me know. If you are paying from a different email address than you would like to use for the workshop access (including giving the class as a gift), leave a note in the comments of your purchase – or send me an email if you miss that step. Any questions, please do not hesitate to email me and I will get you an answer as soon as possible.

Return to the Collection :: Sign up now!

Return to the Collection :: an online scrapbooking class @ shimelle.com
In 2012, I taught one of the sessions for True Scrap 3, and my contribution was a forty minute video workshop entitled The Perfect Collection. The idea was to take a collection pack of patterned papers and use it until it was all gone, creating a stack of layouts that stretched that paper investment to lots of scrapbooking! That workshop remains available, but it is time to return to that idea with something new.

Return to the Collection is a new workshop here at shimelle.com. Earlier this year, it was open for Early Bird Registration, but it is now open to all and will remain available. Unlike many of my workshops which are PDF based but with some accompanying videos, this one is video accompanied by notes. Those of you who prefer to watch will find plenty of new material here – none of the video in this workshop has been shared in any other class nor on the blog – it is all exclusive to the workshop. There are also some printable notes to help (and so you can have still shots of the completed layouts) but these notes support the videos rather than the other way around.

Return to the Collection showcases six layouts from start to finish, using one collection pack – the Wild & Free collection from Glitz Design – but instead of the limited embellishment focus of The Perfect Collection, this time the pages feature a more embellished style and a range of techniques.

…Examples include both single and double page layouts and a variety of numbers and sizes of the photographs. My pages are all 12×12 (making a 24×12 double page) but you could adapt the ideas to other page sizes if you prefer.
…Techniques and design ideas are easily adapted to the collection of your choice. You’re welcome to follow along with Wild & Free, but my aim is to give you the confidence to use these tips with the papers you love. In fact, many of the early bird participants reported that Wild & Free was really not their style, but they were still able to apply the strategies to papers they loved. That’s exactly what I hoped for, since my goal is always to help you find things that will work in your own way so you find some creative independence rather than just duplicating any particular project.
…The design process for each layout includes building and embellishing, with all of that explained on video, including my reasons behind each choice. I do not teach in a ‘glue this here and stamp that there’ fashion, and always value the ‘why’ more than the ‘do’ in sharing my scrapbooking process.
…The page designs can be used together for a cohesive series of pages or separately across a variety of photos and albums – whatever suits your needs best!

Once you purchase the class, you’ll receive access within 24 hours, with details sent to you by email. (If you don’t receive a message within 24 hours, check your spam folder just in case, then get in touch so I can help!) Shimelle.com classes are accessed via a forum, so if you’ve taken a class before, this will be added to your account. If it’s your first class, you’ll also receive login details for your new account. When the class is live, you will have access to everything all at once – it’s not a daily email class. Like all shimelle.com classes, you’ll have permanent access to all the materials so there is no rush to work through the videos. You can view them any time you like.

Choose your currency and click to sign up for the class. You can pay by credit/debit card or by logging into your PayPal account. The email address on the payment is where your registration will be sent. If that email address is not correct (or if you want to give the class to a friend as a gift), then leave a note in the ‘notes to seller’ section with the correct email address. If you accidentally forget that step or have any other problems, email me. You’ll receive a PayPal email receipt when your payment has been made, then class access within 24 hours.

Questions and Answers
Do I need to take The Perfect Collection first?
No, it’s not a requirement. There are a few references in the dialogue of the class, but they are simple enough to understand without having taken the class. If you prefer more embellished styles, The Perfect Collection may not be the best class for you – it is more aimed at stretching a collection page to many layouts without having to sacrifice colour and pattern. But of course you are welcome to take both! The Perfect Collection is still available here.

Do I have to have the same collection pack for the workshop to make sense?
No, not at all. The papers are all referenced with explanations and descriptions that make it easy to apply the same tips to any paper collection of your choice.

What other supplies are you using in this workshop?
For the embellishment, you’ll see many little things from different manufacturers and collections. The idea is to start with a collection pack of papers, but not to feel you have to then buy every pack of embellishments in the line. Instead, pick from your existing stash to find frames, die-cuts, stickers, brads, and stamps to create unique combinations. You don’t need to use the same exact products as in the video. For example, there is a fabric-covered brad by Cosmo Cricket on one page. You wouldn’t need that pack of brads specifically. You might have fabric-covered brads in your stash, and if so it’s easy to select one that will work. If not, that’s still fine – use a plain or epoxy brad. No brads? No problem – substitute an item that is of a similar shape and size – like a button or a maybe a flair badge. This way you are free to use what you love and what you have on hand, while at the same time learning to embellish on your own so you can add as much or as little as you like without needing to keep looking back at a reference point once you have the hang of it. That’s the goal!

Any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks so much!

Return to the Collection :: A New Online Scrapbooking Class

Return to the Collection :: an online scrapbooking class @ shimelle.com
In 2012, I taught one of the sessions for True Scrap 3, and my contribution was a forty minute video workshop entitled The Perfect Collection. The idea was to take a collection pack of patterned papers and use it until it was all gone, creating a stack of layouts that stretched that paper investment to lots of scrapbooking! That workshop remains available, but it is time to return to that idea with something new.

Return to the Collection is a new workshop here at shimelle.com. Unlike many of my workshops which are PDF based but with some accompanying videos, this one is video accompanied by notes. Those of you who prefer to watch will find plenty of new material here – none of the video in this workshop has been shared in any other class nor on the blog – it is all exclusive to the workshop. There are also some printable notes to help (and so you can have still shots of the completed layouts) but these notes support the PDFs rather than the other way around.

Return to the Collection showcases six layouts from start to finish, using one collection pack – Wild & Free from Glitz Design – but instead of the limited embellishment focus of The Perfect Collection, this time the pages feature a more embellished style and a range of techniques.

…Examples include both single and double page layouts and a variety of numbers and sizes of the photographs. My pages are all 12×12 (making a 24×12 double page) but you could adapt the ideas to other page sizes if you prefer.
…Techniques and design ideas are easily adapted to the collection of your choice. You’re welcome to follow along with Wild & Free, but my aim is to give you the confidence to use these tips with the papers you love.
…The design process for each layout includes building and embellishing, with all of that explained on video, including my reasons behind each choice. I do not teach in a ‘glue this here and stamp that there’ fashion, and always value the ‘why’ more than the ‘do’ in sharing my scrapbooking process.
…The page designs can be used together for a cohesive series of pages or separately across a variety of photos and albums – whatever suits your needs best!

Return to the Collection will go live after CHA (and indeed a few days after CHA so I am not trying to attempt something complicated while still jet lagged!) but you can sign up now with an early bird discount. When the class is live, you will have access to everything all at once – it’s not a daily email class. Like all shimelle.com classes, you’ll have permanent access to all the materials so there is no rush to work through the videos. You can view them any time you like.

Return to the Collection will be live on Monday the 20th of January 2014. From then, it will be the full price of £12 Sterling or $18 US Dollars. Before then, you can sign up with an early bird discount making the price £10 Sterling or $15 US Dollars. Just keep in mind, you are paying for the class to go live on that date – signing up early doesn’t mean you’ll sign into the class materials today, just to be clear. (But I know a few of you have been holding on to discount codes that expire at the end of 2013. I will extend them until the end of Sunday 5th of January 2014, but that is a firm deadline. Thanks!)

ADDED 20th January 2014: Class registration is closed from today until Sunday. It will reopen on Sunday 26th January and remain open after that. This week is early birds only. Thank you!

Choose your currency and click to sign up for the class. You can pay by credit/debit card or by logging into your PayPal account. The email address on the payment is where your registration will be sent. If that email address is not correct (or if you want to give the class to a friend as a gift), then leave a note in the ‘notes to seller’ section with the correct email address. If you accidentally forget that step or have any other problems, email me. You’ll receive a PayPal email receipt when your payment has been made, then class materials on the 20th!

Questions and Answers
Do I need to take The Perfect Collection first?
No, it’s not a requirement. There are a few references in the dialogue of the class, but they are simple enough to understand without having taken the class. If you prefer more embellished styles, The Perfect Collection may not be the best class for you – it is more aimed at stretching a collection page to many layouts without having to sacrifice colour and pattern. But of course you are welcome to take both! The Perfect Collection is still available here.

Do I have to have the same collection pack for the workshop to make sense?
No, not at all. The papers are all referenced with explanations and descriptions that make it easy to apply the same tips to any paper collection of your choice.

What other supplies are you using in this workshop?
For the embellishment, you’ll see many little things from different manufacturers and collections. The idea is to start with a collection pack of papers, but not to feel you have to then buy every pack of embellishments in the line. Instead, pick from your existing stash to find frames, die-cuts, stickers, brads, and stamps to create unique combinations. You don’t need to use the same exact products as in the video. For example, there is a fabric-covered brad by Cosmo Cricket in the sneak peek image above. You wouldn’t need that pack of brads specifically. You might have fabric-covered brads in your stash, and if so it’s easy to select one that will work. If not, that’s still fine – use a plain or epoxy brad. No brads? No problem – substitute an item that is of a similar shape and size – like a button or a maybe a flair badge. And all that sort of substitution is covered in the class materials too. This way you are free to use what you love and what you have on hand, while at the same time learning to embellish on your own so you can add as much or as little as you like without needing to keep looking back at a reference point once you have the hang of it. That’s the goal!

Any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks so much!

A Christmas Manifesto and Some Holiday Honesty

christmas journal scrapbook page by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
I always start my Christmas journal with a manifesto of sorts. It’s a declaration that tends to lead me in two directions – both in how I go through life through the holiday season and to remind me to finish what I start when it comes to keeping my journal. When I first started writing these, they were more about the book itself. Now they tend to be more about the life side of things, and I’m happy with that natural evolution. Part of my personal process with Journal your Christmas over the years has been to realise the book is secondary for me. In a way I suppose that could be seen as a teensy bit too radical, but I don’t want to make plans and do things just so I have something to scrapbook. I want to do the things I’m inspired to do… and then feel they were worth the time of taking photographs and writing words and gluing bits of paper to other bits of paper in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Live first, scrapbook second.

So yesterday December arrived on the doorstep and since that is the first day of class, it’s always a work day for me even if it falls on a Sunday this year. I don’t mind that. The less fun part of starting the class like spreadsheets and data entry and jumping through hoops of spam filters is always far, far outweighed by all the good parts, like seeing familiar faces pop up who have done this project several times or seeing all sorts of happy photos turn up on online, thanks to the ease of tags like #JYC2013 and #ChristmasJournal and modern day fanciness like Instagram. (We use two different tags – the former for all sorts of Christmas activities and the latter specifically for the pages in our books.) But the truth is that even though I write my manifesto for the year before the first of December, I don’t like making the actual page before December hits. I tried making all my entries early one year and it just didn’t work – it’s far more fun to be in the actual moment than guessing the moment days ahead! All that stuff added together means I very, very rarely actually finish a manifesto page on the first of December.

What you see above is what I’ve done so far. For me, the important thing is there: I’ve written the words I want to live by this year and they are there in ink for me to remember. The rest is all icing. There’s a bit of icing, but not enough to call this done. I guess I am very pro-icing once I know the cake is good cake. My December first reality check looks something like
Missions Accomplished
Class started.
Supplies collected.
Manifesto written in ink.
Tree retrieved from hallway cupboard of mystery.
Missions Nowhere Near Completion
Papers cut to size for album.
Balanced embellishment and title for first entry.
Fabric photo backdrop ironed.
Tree removed from duct-taped cardboard box, assembled, and decorated.

Maybe in some years I would have powered through and done all those things in one day. I think I have. This time I took it all a bit slower – just a bit. But I am okay with all that. Yesterday was only the first. Today is the second. There is still time for everything that is truly important. We’ll see if that includes the ironing or not. With a bit of luck, eh?

With that in mind, my Christmas Manifesto for 2013…
a year of more joy, more gratitude, more careful thought.
a celebration of gladness, not a glorification of busy.
a time of giving, not comparing. of enjoying, not worrying.
This Christmas, I will take each moment as it comes and wrap it in my own holiday spirit.
I will seek out beauty in simple things and choose time with loved ones over most anything else.
All this will lead me to a holiday season of nothing short of true sparkle.

You can find previous Christmas manifestos here and here. Those were probably a bit more poetic, but every year leads to its own natural focus so sometimes poetic just isn’t what wins out for me. But we all create our own manifesto for the year, so perhaps some of the JYC participants will also share their words and pages for 2013?


Preparing for a December scrapbooking project like Journal your Christmas

2012 Christmas Journal by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
Tomorrow marks the start of Journal your Christmas 2013, and I’ll be starting a new album just for this year. But I’ve made more than one by now, so I’ve found over the years that different processes work well for different types of creative people and all the individual factors that go into their unique December for that year. Some crafters love to prepare in advance and have their book read to go as soon as the Christmas products hit the stores! I am not one of those people, and I’ve found that the albums I prepared the most in advance were the ones that were most difficult for me to complete as the month went on, so my preparation is more limited yet there’s still a tiny bit of a system that works for me. The good bit is that system doesn’t require much time at all, and it’s absolutely fine to do even in the first few days of December, if not later.


This video is from Journal your Christmas 2012, and this is the preparation I did for the start of December – meaning I painted my album cover on either the 30th of November or the first of December, and then the video also shows my very first entry which I made on the first. And you can see an idea of the type of preparation I do: choosing an album to work with and the page size, gathering supplies, and having some design ideas in mind. That type of preparation works really well for me! Sometimes I work on the album cover at the beginning of the project, sometimes at the end, and once or twice I’ve actually made changes to my cover in the middle of the project itself. I will warn you I started December with a pretty gravelly voice last year and I can hear that in this video! So far this winter, my voice is intact. Long may it last!

The album I used last year is a Studio Calico Handbook (I used the chevron cover, which is currently 30% off, but there are several different designs and currently all on sale). The page size is 6×8 inches, and I used a mix of page protectors to have pockets in 3×4, 4×6, and 6×8. I really liked this size for the project and this year I’m using the Dear Lizzy Canvas Album with the same page size but a variety of different types of page inserts as well as the pocketed page protectors. I haven’t done anything to my album at all yet, but will be doing that in the next few days and will share with all the class participants!

Another thing I sometimes prepare in advance are date tags or page numbers to be added as I go. I’m not doing matching numbers this year so haven’t done them in advance, but this video shows the process I have used for making matching (or coordinating) layered embellishments with numbers to count the days of December and early January.


For further ideas on album covers and design styles, the Garden Girls have so much beautiful stuff to share! They’ve each made a holiday album this year – some albums ready to be filled with this year’s memories and some scrapped with stories of Christmas past. Have a look through and see what speaks to your creative style. Click any of the images to see more of that album, plus all the supplies used to make it – pretty much all of which are at least 30% off at the moment. They are gorgeous projects from start to finish.

I’d also love to point you in the direction of two blog posts from two JYC participants who have been part of this adventure for several years: Dolly shares her unique 2013 project and Rachel shares her full 2012-2013 album.

Every year I see at least a few people lament that they haven’t made an album and a stack of pages by the first of December, so they might as well not start with any sort of project like this for the year. While some crafters work really well with pages prepped in advance, it is not the only way and I really hope it won’t put you off jumping right in. If you can type on your screen or jot notes on a piece of paper, you can create a memorable journal this Christmas – even a very beautiful, crafty one – without a single thing prepared in advance.

The other big worry I hear from Christmas journalers is the idea that they can’t ‘keep up’ or making an entry every day is too much. With Journal your Christmas, there is no such thing as falling behind. I believe you really must live first and scrapbook later and that means not every single day in December will be the same. Some will be filled with holiday activities from start to finish. Some will be quieter and could be any day of the year really. The writing prompts for Journal your Christmas are not just about your activities this year, so you can mix memories of Christmas past, documentation of Christmas present, and hopes for Christmas future all in the same book. You can do ‘daily’ entries that are not truly made every day, like keeping notes and then filling things in here and there when time allows, be that in December or July. And most importantly, you don’t have to do daily entries. It’s not a requirement in any way – it’s merely one way you can work on this project and definitely not the only way or the right way! In fact, if you’re not feeling up to writing much this year but really wish you could finish the season with a great library of holiday photos, you could ignore the daily writing themes entirely and focus on the daily photo prompts that come to your inbox too! This is truly a project where everyone is welcome and you’re encouraged to make the project work for you in absolutely any style.

Christmas journal supplies @ shimelle.com
You truly can use any supplies you would like for this project, and if you have a stack of stuff that needs to be used, I really encourage you to use what you have on hand. I’ve assembled a kit of supplies that I’ll be using, though I inevitably throw in a few things sitting on my table just as they happen to seem useful, and I have a very small number of those kits left here for UK addresses only. I’ll be listing those here on the blog tomorrow, the first of December, once the first prompt has been sent. No matter where you are in the world, you can order your choice of supplies from Two Peas, and if you’re thinking of shopping now, I would do it this weekend while the prices are greatly reduced for their Black Friday sale. You can find my individual product picks here and options for collection packs and paper pads here, if that helps! (Neither of those lists are meant to be one where you need everything! Just pick what you like to suit your budget.)

And one last note – you can join Journal your Christmas absolutely any day of the year! It’s never too late to jump right in, so no matter when you see this post, you are very welcome to join us.

It’s so close to December!

Sign up now for Journal your Christmas 2013!

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class by Shimelle Laine @ shimelle.com
This year, the first of December marks a very special occasion in my life. In 2003, on the first of December, I started writing in a notebook, determined to take back my Christmas and make it just as magical and rich as my childhood memories, when it had become tarnished by rules and expectations and the work of grown-up life. I spent a short part of every day with that notebook, sorting through my Christmas memories from long ago and making sure I took the time to live that Christmas season and write all that down too. That December went from a holiday season I had dreaded to something that gave me an entirely new perspective on Christmas, on life, on celebration.

I’ve told this story in detail many times before (if it’s new to you, this covers most everything), and the basics are that one year after keeping that life-changing journal for myself, I offered an online class called Journal your Christmas right here at shimelle.com. It starts every year on the first of December, and changes a bit every year just to keep up with the times, but the ethos at the heart of JYC is always the same: to take back your Christmas and help you celebrate all the good, no matter what your circumstance may be this year.

2013 marks the tenth year of Journal your Christmas, and whether it’s your first or tenth year of this adventure, I hope you will join us!

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class by Shimelle Laine @ shimelle.com

What is Journal your Christmas?
Journal your Christmas is an online scrapbooking class to celebrate the holiday season. It starts on the first of December and finishes on the sixth of January, with thirty-seven daily prompts sent by email.

Each prompt is a full-colour PDF file you can view on your screen (on your computer, iPad, smart phone or anything else that lets you view such files) or print onto paper. Each daily prompt follows a specific theme of the day, with the thirty-seven days covering all sorts of holiday aspects, from food and decorations to music and gifts. Every day there is something for you to consider and ideas to make the writing come easily. It is not merely a list of different topics in the style of today, write about a Christmas song, but a more detailed composition aiming to take you through a variety of thoughts before you settle on something you might write for the day. The topics can be applied to this year for documenting the current Christmas or you can get nostalgic with your Christmas memories – and most crafters write a bit about both.

The daily prompts are delivered to you at the same time each day by email, so you don’t have to spend any time logging into a website to download each day’s content. Should you have the time to chat with other participants or share your work, there is a private message board for class participants, and you can spend as much or as little time there chatting to other crafters enjoying the holiday season. Each prompt includes several examples of pages created by Journal your Christmas class participants, so you can see a range of crafting styles (including paper and digital pages) on the same theme. You can gather ideas from any of them or go in your own unique way entirely. There is zero pressure to make anything in the same style as any of the examples, including mine. Everyone and every style welcome!

How much time do I have to devote to this project? Is this a page every day at the busiest time of year?
You can devote as much or as little time as you like. Some participants create a entry or a page every day, and that’s a fab way to follow the class prompts. However it’s certainly not required, and it really wasn’t what I envisioned on day one. My original notebook was writing a little every day but not completing a full scrapbook page. That part came later. Since the class has permanent membership, I encourage scrappers who don’t have the time or the desire to create something every day to just choose the prompts that speak to you (or your schedule) most. You can make a few pages this year, a few pages next year and so on to fill a whole album. Or you can make a mini album every year. Or something that falls in between. You can blog your writing (either to the world or just to yourself) and choose later to add something crafty or not. You can take pictures and put together a photobook at the end of the project. We’ll cover many ways to make this work, and you can choose the options that work best for you.

What if I don’t scrapbook?
You are still very welcome to join us. Reading each day’s prompt, you might choose to respond in the form of a blog post or a plain written journal. My original book was nothing more than penned words and a tiny bit of colour here and there, so this can certainly be useful! Some participants follow the class from a photography angle, and use it as their inspiration to take a series of meaningful photos throughout the holidays. And still others read each day’s prompts just to be more mindful and aware of Christmas and use the class purely to keep them in the right mindset for enjoying the season for its real merits rather than letting commercial pressures and the stress of a busy calendar overtake their Christmas magic.
Truly, anyone is welcome.

Do I have to prepare things in advance?
No. In the archives, you’ll find some notes on preparation if that’s useful. Later this week, you’ll also find a round-up of notes on this topic right here on the blog. But I’ve done this project many times now and I actually find the more I prepare in advance, the less useful this project is to that key goal that motivated me from the beginning: to relish the magic of Christmas. That means some days I take more pictures, some days I write more words, and pretty much every day I am more aware and reflective about all the holiday goodness. When I prepared all my pages in advance, it was so much work for me to try to take the real life of it all and commit it to a page I had made on a completely other day in a completely other mood. So I experimented with just gathering some supplies and not preparing all that much ahead of time. This is what works so very well for me. However, I realise there are different personality types in this world and what I just described sounds like chaos to those who like to prepare in advance. So that’s why I’ll share some tips for preparing pages here later this week, but just know if you are reading this at any time, ‘but I didn’t make a book already’ is definitely not a reason to hold back. Grab a pen and jump in.

What is included in Journal your Christmas?
Journal your Christmas includes permanent membership – so you sign up once and can join in as many years as you would like at no additional cost. That also means once you sign up, you can access the prompts and extras from earlier years at any time, via the class forum. Those extras include printable accents, digital kits and photography challenges. New participants can also watch the videos from last year at any time, for example.

In 2012, all the daily writing prompts were completely refreshed. Everyone who signs up has access to all the original prompts as well as these topics, so if there is something that just doesn’t work for the way you celebrate the holidays, there are additional topics you can find in the archives and apply whenever you like.

For 2013, Journal your Christmas includes:
…thirty-seven daily PDF prompts for writing and crafting
…thirty-seven daily PDF prompts for holiday photography (like getting an online photography workshop as a bonus)
…new videos to support the PDFs (there is not a video every single day but there are several, and they cover a variety of things, including writing, crafting and taking pictures)
…exclusive digital and printable designs for your pages
…private forum to chat and share your work
…online chat to start the project (of course your attendance is optional)
…bonus offers from some of my favourite websites
…£1 donation to The Girls’ Fund via Plan, helping provide education and well-being to girls in difficult circumstances around the world. If you’ve joined us in the past, there is no charge to join us again. If you feel it’s possible for you to give a little to someone you don’t know this Christmas, I encourage you to make a donation to a local charity you love or to consider the work Plan is currently helping with in the Phillippines to spread a little extra love this Christmas.

And I’m happy to say the class is the same price as the last three years.

How do I join Journal your Christmas?
Easy! Just choose your currency and click the button below for your choice of UK pounds or US dollars. If neither of those is your currency, you can still join us! Choose either and the payment will convert automatically when you make your payment.

You can pay by credit/debit card or Paypal account. If you would like your prompts to come to a different email address than the one on your Paypal account, please be sure to leave a note in the message to seller section with the email address you would like to use. Orders can take up to 24 hours to process, though we are usually quicker. If you haven’t received your class registration after 24 hours, just email me and we’ll make sure your registration is completed and ready for you to get started!

Can I give Journal your Christmas as a gift?
Yes! Just click to pay above as normal, then leave the email address for the gift recipient in the notes section. If you miss the notes, email me. If you’d like me to send an email explaining that the class is a gift, I’m happy to do so – just let me know your preference of being named or anonymous!

Is there a deadline for signing up?
No. You can sign up any day of the year. The class starts on the first of December, so if you want to be in on day one, that can be part of the fun, but if you sign up later, you’ll still have access to all the materials, and you can do them in order or skip around – there is thought to the order but it’s not so regimented that you can’t change it up!

If you participated last year, you don’t need to do anything to join us again. This week you will receive an email with some updated info and reminders for you. The only thing you might need to do is update your email address if it has changed over the past year. You can do that by signing into the forum and going to the User Control Panel at the top left of the screen. It’s under Profile – Account Settings. If you don’t remember your username, it is most likely the first half of your email address!

Any more Christmas stuff I should know?
This week you’ll find daily Christmas posts as well as the usual guests here at shimelle.com. There is a mix of reading material and video on a variety of different things that all relate to Journal your Christmas in some way. So whether you’re an alum with a stack of completed books or someone new to my work this year, I hope you’ll stop by throughout the week for some festive scrapbooking fun!

Journal your Christmas 2012 - Sign up for my favourite online scrapbooking class!

Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class
Journal your Christmas online scrapbooking class
Journal your Christmas is my favourite project of every year… and next Saturday it will start again, for my ninth year! Whether you’ve joined in this project before, seen it from afar or it’s brand new to you, you can join in!

Journal your Christmas was a journey I started nine years ago now, with the first year being just a project for myself, not thinking of taking it online at all. I’d had a rough year. I was worried about the holidays becoming more drama on top of some big events that just had me feeling lost in a very big world. I could remember being head over heels in love with Christmas growing up. It was magical as a child and still amazing when I was a teenager and moved away to college and so forth… and yet I suddenly felt like I had lost every speck of sparkle from my Christmas spirit. And I wanted it back. So I kept a little book and wrote about things every day, sometimes about my Christmas present, sometimes my memories of Christmases past and sometimes my hopes for Christmases future.

That notebook changed my life.

When that new year rolled around and we got back into the normal work schedule, friends and colleagues all commented that I seemed so different – like an improved and rejuvenated version of me. They asked what I had done over Christmas to change my attitude, and the only thing I could point to was my notebook. By thinking things through, I made a more conscious effort to enjoy the good stuff in life and minimise the drama. Sometimes they laughed at the idea, but more than one nodded and said it sounded sensible. So throughout that year, the idea of how this could continue bubbled away in my head.

Journal your Christmas became an online class in 2004, and has continued every December since. That means this is our ninth year of reclaiming Christmas on our own terms, celebrating the very best of the season and taking the time to enjoy both Christmas present and our favourite memories from many Christmases past. I am so very happy to welcome those who have been writing their Christmas memories for those past eight years right along with brand new faces and everyone who has joined us between then and now. I truly look forward to this project all year long.

Journal your Christmas scrapbook page ideas
What is Journal your Christmas?
Journal your Christmas is an online scrapbooking class to celebrate the holiday season. It starts on the first of December and finishes on the sixth of January, with thirty-seven daily prompts sent by email.

Each prompt is a full-colour PDF file you can view on your screen (on your computer, iPad, smart phone or anything else that lets you view such files) or print onto paper. Each daily prompt follows a specific theme of the day, with the thirty-seven days covering all sorts of holiday aspects, from food and decorations to music and gifts. Every day there is something for you to consider and ideas to make the writing come easily. The topics can be applied to this year for documenting the current Christmas or you can get nostalgic with your Christmas memories – and most crafters write a bit about both.

The daily prompts are delivered to you at the same time each day by email, so you don’t have to spend any time logging into a website to download each day’s content. Should you have the time to chat with other participants or share your work, there is a private message board for class participants, and you can spend as much or as little time there chatting to other crafters enjoying the holiday season. Each prompt includes several examples of pages created by Journal your Christmas class participants, so you can see a range of crafting styles (including paper and digital pages) on the same theme. You can gather ideas from any of them or go in your own unique way entirely. There is zero pressure to make anything in the same style as any of the examples, including mine. Everyone and every style welcome!

christmas journals
How much time do I have to devote to this project?
You can devote as much or as little time as you like. Some participants create a entry or a page every day, and that’s a fab way to follow the class prompts. However it’s certainly not required, and it really wasn’t what I envisioned on day one. My original notebook was writing every day but not completing a full scrapbook page. That part came later. Since the class has permanent membership, I encourage scrappers who don’t have the time or the desire to create something every day to just choose the prompts that speak to you (or your schedule) most. You can make a few pages this year, a few pages next year and so on to fill a whole album. Or you can make a mini album every year. Or something that falls in between. You can blog your writing (either to the world or just to yourself) and choose later to add something crafty or not. You can take pictures and put together a photobook at the end of the project. We’ll cover many ways to make this work, and you can choose the options that work best for you.

What if I don’t scrapbook?
You are still very welcome to join us. Reading each day’s prompt, you might choose to respond in the form of a blog post or a plain written journal. My original book was nothing more than penned words and a tiny bit of colour here and there, so this can certainly be useful! Some participants follow the class from a photography angle, and use it as their inspiration to take a series of meaningful photos throughout the holidays. And still others read each day’s prompts just to be more mindful and aware of Christmas and use the class purely to keep them in the right mindset for enjoying the season for its real merits rather than letting commercial pressures and the stress of a busy calendar overtake their Christmas magic.
Truly, anyone is welcome.

What is included in Journal your Christmas?
Journal your Christmas includes permanent membership – so you sign up once and can join in as many years as you would like at no additional cost. That also means once you sign up, you can access the prompts and extras from earlier years at any time, via the class forum. Those extras include printable accents, digital kits and photography challenges.

For 2012, all the class materials have been completely refreshed. If you think you already have the 37 topics in order, there will be an entire holiday season of surprises for you! Plus there is some significant video content this year, when we’ve only had a bit of video here and there in the past.

For 2012, Journal your Christmas includes:
…thirty-seven daily PDF prompts for writing and crafting
…thirty-seven daily PDF prompts for holiday photography (like getting an online photography workshop as a bonus)
…videos to support the PDFs (there is not a video every single day but there are many, and they cover a variety of things, including writing, crafting and taking pictures)
…exclusive digital and printable designs for your pages
…private forum to chat and share your work
…online chat to start the project (of course your attendance is optional)
…bonus offers from some of my favourite websites
…£1 donation to The Girls’ Fund via Plan, helping provide education and well-being to girls in difficult circumstances around the world.

And I’m happy to say the class is the same price as last year and the year before that.

How do I join Journal your Christmas?
Easy! Just choose your currency and click the button below for your choice of UK pounds or US dollars. If neither of those is your currency, you can still join us! Choose either and the payment will convert automatically when you make your payment.

You can pay by credit/debit card or Paypal account. If you would like your prompts to come to a different email address than the one on your Paypal account, please be sure to leave a note in the message to seller section with the email address you would like to use. Orders can take up to 24 hours to process, though we are usually quicker. If you haven’t received your class registration after 24 hours, just email me and we’ll make sure your registration is completed and ready for you to get started!

If you participated last year, you don’t need to do anything to join us again. This week you will receive an email with some updated info and reminders for you. The only thing you might need to do is update your email address if it has changed over the past year. By the way, if you don’t remember your username or password for the class forum, send an email here for help with that!

Can I gift Journal your Christmas to a friend?
Yes, of course! Just use the same button to join, and leave the email address of the friend in the notes field of the payment. Or if you miss that step, send me an email. If you would like me to send a personal email to the gift recipient to reveal your gift (or keep your Secret Santa identity a secret), I am happy to do either. Just let me know.

Do I need to prepare in advance?
You don’t need to, no. Some crafters really like to prepare a book in advance. Some don’t. There are many participants already discussing this sort of thing on the forum and once you sign up you can see all sorts of completed Christmas Journals to get an idea of what style you would like best.

There are also a few archive posts here you might find useful: Preparing Christmas page numbers with a video, and a second look at JYC page numbers from a different book, and preparing pocket pages ready to keep all sorts of Christmas ephemera.

Any other questions?
If you have a question I haven’t answered, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email.



I very much hope you’ll join me and journal your most magical Christmas yet!

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