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Choosing a size for a Christmas Journal

choosing a size for your christmas journal
christmas journal and pages
Let me say to start, there are those who love to prepare most of their Christmas album early and there are those who prefer to make something each day with little to no planning in advance. If this is your first year considering such a project, know right from the very beginning: either option can work. Over the years, I’ve tried various amounts of preparation, from making my pages completely in advance and just filling in the words each day to making each page from scratch at the end of each evening. Personally, I found my happiest method is right in between, and that means I prepare some embellishments – but not complete pages – in advance. I’ll share more about that specific process throughout this weekend. But the big decision comes in the size of your album.

My first Christmas journal was my smallest – a 5×5 inch spiral book with watercolour pages. In other years, I’ve created full 12×12 pages, 8.5×11 pages, pages in a mix of sizes, 5×7 pages and 8×8 pages. In fact, I’ve made three 8×8 albums and two of them are my favourites, and I have happily declared this as my favourite size. This year, I’m returning to 8×8 and I’ll be using a fabric-covered ring-binder in leaf green with plenty of 8×8 page protectors.

When choosing the size of your album, think about a few key factors:
…how many photos you will want to include,
…your preferred size for printing those photos,
…if you want to write a great deal or just a bit, and
…how much time you want to spend on your entry each day.

The more photos or the larger you want your photos, the bigger your pages will need to be. The more you writing you want on display, the bigger your pages will need to be. But in general, smaller pages can take far less time! So there’s a balance for you to choose. If you’re working in a digital format, you can narrow your options slightly by choosing if you will go for square or rectangle! If you opt for square pages, you can choose the size later when you print the book. (Just be sure to create the pages at the bigger size as you can print something smaller but if you try to blow up the image larger, it will loose a great deal of the quality.)

But really, you can go in absolutely any direction with this project. You can grab a notebook and doodle and write and paste things on the pages. You can get an album with page protectors – regular page protectors or fancy pages with pockets and different sizes. You can go extra-special and create a drawer full of library cards or fill a recipe box or a photo spinner! A journal doesn’t necessarily have to be in book form. And using what you have is fabulous. All different sizes and shapes will work!


Once you have chosen your album, there is one thing I do suggest doing no matter how much preparation you choose to do before December begins, and that is cut at least some paper to size so you have pages ready and waiting. You know how you prefer to create: with solid cardstock or patterned backgrounds; brights, neutrals or muted tones. Go with what you like in your general crafting! If you cut at least a small stack of pages to start, that’s one less thing you will need to think about on a daily basis – if you decide to create an entry every day. Remember, that is just one way to follow the project, and there’s no need to feel you’re not creating something worthwhile if you only create a page when your schedule allows. Cutting your page backgrounds in advance also lets you see exactly which off-cuts you have to work with as embellishment on other pages. If you know your largest page size is smaller than 12×12, you can also cut any other papers you’ve selected to that size, as you won’t need a full 12×12 sheet in an 8×8 album, of course! This is particularly helpful if you need to take your project with you throughout the month or pack it into a small space (or if you need a little extra encouragement to use your paper rather than keep putting it back on the shelf).

I’m creating 8×8 pages this year, and I’ve cut forty background sheets. I’m using just three colours of cardstock this year – olive green, berry pink and vanilla, to go with all the patterned paper I’m using from this selection of supplies and have since popped the background pages into the page protectors. All ready to go! And now it’s your turn…

Your challenge: choose your album and cut at least some of your background papers (if your album doesn’t come with pages already, of course). Take a picture and post about this part of your process on your blog or in a scrapbook gallery. Link it up with the little gadget below, and one randomly selected entry will win a $10 gift certificate to Two Peas! Entries close at the end of next Sunday, the 20th of November.



PS: UK friends, if you don’t have your album yet, there is a post for you tomorrow that might involve a bargain. You know… if you are still searching.

11 November 2011



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17 Comments for Choosing a size for a Christmas Journal

  1. Bernice Says:

    I’m still at the decision making stage. Shall I do JYC this year? And if so, shall I scrapbook or art journal? Have blogged about it.

  2. Selena Says:

    WAHHHHH Bernice, I’m feeling exactly the same…..am I too busy this year or do I really want to try an art journal? And if I try an art journal, will I keep up, paper or digi….questions, questions!

  3. Mary M. Says:

    Shimelle, as always you have saved the day. I was trying to figure out which album to buy for JYC and was agonizing about which size to get. Thanks for the help! =)

  4. Jennie Says:

    I love my 8×8 from my first year last year, I also used it for LSNED and shall use it again. I love to have the pages and covers made and it loosely bound with a box of scraps and embellies. It still doesn’t mean I will do it every day, but makes it more likely that I will catch up quickly. I have finished both, so it works and if it ain’t broke……

  5. mariangeles_spain Says:

    I’ve decided to go 12×12 using all different sizes of page protectors this year because it’s going to be easier for me since I have some beautiful 12×12 Xmas papers and stacks of 6×6 and 8×8 papers and cardstock :)

  6. kirsty.a Says:

    I’m using a red Smash book for the day to day stuff and aiming to create 12×12 pages for my regular 2011 album of special days. I love the small format, but i miss having more Christmas layouts in my main album.

  7. Becky Says:

    I decided to go for 8×8 – had one lying around and as you said you enjoyed that one so much Shimelle it helped me make up my mind!

  8. Josie Says:

    I am using an 8×8 album like Shimelle and today cut the base page with some layering for 36 pages when I was out at a crop. The nice thing now is knowing that the basics for each page is done so when I get the prompts I can just journal add a photo and embellish as much or as little as I want. Plus the album is looking nice already! Thanks Shimelle

  9. Colleen Says:

    Thanks sooooo much for this challenge as I feel like getting more put together this year will really help!

  10. Chipper Says:

    8×8 is my all time favourite size, but this year I am using up an old album kit I found when unpacking all of my stash earlier this year. It is an old K&Co Tim Coffey Christmas album in the unusual size of 8.5×8.5. Close enough to my fav size for me :-)

  11. Cindy Says:

    I just decided I’m going to do it again this year. I did my first one in 09, skipped 10. I was thinking just a small 4×6 or tag book. Then I got the idea to just do a photo a day. My first plan was to just journal about the photo and how it applies to my day or the daily prompt. Then it hit me to take pictures with my instax I’ve barely used. Now what size??? I will figure it out. I totally look forward to this now!

  12. Susiescrapper Says:

    Thanks Shimelle for the push. I wasn’t going to do JYC this year as we live on a Hindu Island that doesn’t celebrate Christmas although we (big kids we are) do. I’m going to make (or buy online) an 8×8 album and take Cindy’s idea to take a photo a day and scrap that.
    Looking forward to it now :)

  13. Marcela Says:

    This year I will make my first JYC. The cover I made from an Amazon package and the pages are 15X28cm.
    I’m not a blog, my works, I will post it at Shimelle:JYC 2011: Share your Entries

  14. Rachel H Says:

    Wow – I actually decided to do it! I chose 5×7 to keep the focus on my thoughts… I’m excited!

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