It’s time to begin my Christmas Journal once more and at some point during the day, the first email from Shimelle will arrive, filled with prompts and inspiration for December 1st. For the last few weeks I’ve been reading messages from various crafty groups I participate in, resisting all temptation to start putting it all together, to prepare pages well in advance of the start of December and, most of all, sticking to my determination to not buy any more supplies - of which I have ample already. However, the day has come to get started - or rather, to enjoy the first day of the month and get ready to capture the fun tomorrow, because of course, the day has to be lived before it can be recorded.
As usual when starting a new project, I can’t resist looking through the previous versions including, above, the very first Christmas journal I completed. 1989, with Christmas in Germany and Edward just started in the pre-prep at Wycliffe, given the role of Roman Soldier #2 in the school nativity play.
I enjoyed recording the fun we had that year so much that I created something similar the following year, in a plain notebook this time. We were back in Germany the following year and our small boy was crazy about trains…
My journal records our visit to the Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt - by train - and the lovely days spent with our sweet family and friends.
The basket of journals records sad times too. Christmases without significant people at our table - toasts to absent friends are sweet until he who always proposed the toast is himself no longer with us. But life goes on and the love and traditions we shared are all part of the memory.
I have some traditions which I maintain in each Christmas journal I make, one of which is a page of Christmas stamps. I smiled when I looked more closely at this page…
Every journal is different - they vary in size, shape, format, colour; whatever happens to take my fancy that particular year. Since 2007 I’ve been receiving the daily email prompts from Shimelle, though usually, I have something of my own to include and I go my own way.
This year, I spotted an idea for fabric stars and with a morning at home to spare, I cranked up my clever sewing machine and created a pile of my own design, ready to include here and there.
One thing I’ve discovered is that December days are busy. If I am to create a page every day and keep up, I need to have everything to hand. If I have to go searching in my studio for this and that, I soon sink under a pile of paint, paper or glitter! So, I try to put together the basic supplies I need and work from that. This year, I chose a bright, contemporary range of paper and have gathered a few bits and pieces in those colours to go with it.
Anyway, this morning - Saturday - at home, I was looking at one of the paper designs as I was cutting the pages, thinking that I could cut out a few of those houses. Not only that, I could use my Silhouette to cut them out - now, there’s a challenge! I took the photograph above and uploaded it into the software.
It’s ages since I did this, so had to read a few helpfiles and recalibrate the machine too. But eventually, the clever old thing recognised all those dots and registration marks around the edge and I was able to trace the houses I wanted to cut. I decided to offset the cuts too, so set a .06 border around each.
So far so good. It all looked ok - I’d set it all up, fed the sheet into the Silhouette and held my breath as I hit “cut”.
In no time at all, it had whizzed around each of those shapes, the blade returned to the top and it announced “done”.
Except…I hadn’t set the blade deep enough for the thicker-than-usual card. I held my breath again as I fed the sheet back into the machine and hoped that it would cut in the same place again. I increased the blade pressure and set it to double cut, just in case.
WooHoo! The little beauty tracked it all so accurately, cutting perfect edges and doing a grand job - certainly better than I could have done with scissors.
No excuses then, I am ready to begin the first page of my Christmas Journal #15. Of course, I won’t be recording all of the above…I mean, that would be a bit “meta”, wouldn’t it?
The first page will be about choosing our tree, which we did early this afternoon. I suppose I’d better get started!