{December Album 2011} Video No. 05

Hi everyone! Today I am sharing a little more of my 2011 December album with you! This is an album that I documented for back in 2011 as it was happening, but never was able to complete. I am so happy to share this process with you now, and I hope if you have albums you always wanted to go back and finish you will be inspired to go do it!

This video captured my process for two layouts, so let's take a closer look! The first layout began with a photo of the boys playing Jedi light saber battles on the front porch of my apartment. I have used product mostly from the Felicity Jane Hello Christmas kit from 2016.

Larkindesign {December Album 2011} Video No. 05

My structure for this album is alternating pocket pages with patterned papers outside of the page protector. My photo is printed a tiny bit smaller than the pocket so I could back it with patterned paper and embellish around it.

Larkindesign {December Album 2011} Video No. 05

I absolutely love this star patterned paper so it became the backdrop for the full page spread. I added my journaling to a 3x4 card from the kit and then added a bit more embellishing and stitching.

Larkindesign {December Album 2011} Video No. 05

Turning the page, I began the next layout with photos from a PJ Skate Night for one of the kids' schools. For this layout I used a combination of older products from my stash. Some I have no idea where they came from, but I do know the labels are Jillibean Soup, the patterned paper is My Mind's Eye, the green card is One Little Bird, and the vellum and roller skate are Crate Paper.

Larkindesign {December Album 2011} Video No. 05

This layout was so much fun to make! The large photo went onto the polka dot paper along with the title on the label and simple journaling. 

Larkindesign {December Album 2011} Video No. 05

For the pocket page, I created a sequin pocket using silver stars and red stitching to seal it all in. I also repeated the stitching on the green card to add a little contrast!

Larkindesign {December Album 2011} Video No. 05

I hope these layouts have been fun and inspiring for you! Are you starting to feel the holiday excitement yet? We sure are here!





December Daily 2017 | Christmas Morning Photos: How Do You Do It?

Hi guys!! Welcome to my 2017 December Series, where I share everything that I am doing related to the December Daily project. December Daily is an album concept designed and marketed by Ali Edwards, where we create an album throughout the month of December using one story per day. You can learn more about the project and connect with Ali + a community of like-minded scrapbookers via the link here: Ali Edwards Blog.

Did you ever look at other people's photos and wonder just how they did that? Did you ever wonder what your own photography style is, and if you have your own style how do you "discover" it? Yeah, me too! I remember getting my first DSLR and absolutely obsessing over what every setting did, trying to figure it all out at once!

I found a whole ton of information online about all the technical settings, what ISO stands for, how to set your aperture, all sorts of things that didn't really make sense to me. I finally put all that aside and just started playing. Digital is awesome that way - you can take 1,000 photos of the same thing and then delete them all! 

So today I want you to grab your DSLR and play. Play with your ISO today. Get to know what your camera and your lens does with ISO. Next week, play with Aperture. Get to know what your camera and your lens does with Aperture. As you are playing with those settings, make mental notes about which settings you gravitate towards! 

Larkindesign | Christmas Morning Photos! A new photography mini-class for you!!!

Last year after I had finished my 2016 December Daily, I got a lot of questions about how I had gotten my photos to look the way they looked. I know that people think achieving beautiful photos that reflect your personality is as easy as clicking a button, or putting the camera on a certain setting, but it really is more nuanced than that! 

I tell people in my videos and my blog all the time to create using the products that make them happy and excited, and I find that camera settings are a lot the same way. You might go into the same environment as me, with the exact same equipment as me, and use totally different settings and get an entirely different photos than me! That is the beautiful thing about art and creativity - you get to decide what you like and go with that.

I sat down a few weeks ago to write this blog post, and realized I had a whole lot more to say about it than just one simple post! I am so excited to offer you a self-paced Mini Course called Christmas Morning Photography: How to develop your own photographic style and nail those Christmas morning photographs!


In this class we are going to chat about three major steps in achieving the photographs you want on Christmas morning (or any event that the photos are really important to you!):

Step One: Create an environment that you feel proud to photograph!

For me, creating great photographs happens before the event ever begins. It begins with a great environment! We often think that we should leave our homes and find beautiful backdrops, or go to a design studio, or take dramatic hikes to get the best shot. But I think our best photos happen in our own living room! So that takes a little planning, a little effort, some cleaning (yep, a little vacuum and dusting!), and a whole lot of editing. 

On Christmas morning we want the focus of our photos to be on people, the tree, and the gifts. Everything else that is in the room is just noise. So edit your room carefully before the big day. Take out unnecessary things so that your backdrop is just that - a backdrop instead of noise.

Step Two: Do a practice run (or two or three) prior to Christmas morning!

This is where you get to practice and play with all those settings on your camera. In this lesson in the class, I will walk you through my process in my own living room to get the lighting on my camera just right! This is something you can do today, even, just set up your camera at about the same time as you plan to open gifts and experiment. Take 100 photos of your living room, take 500 if you wish. Make notes about what settings you like. How bright do you like your photos? How dark or intimate do you like them? You get to decide what look you are going for.

Step Three: Learn how to edit your photos in post-processing to get the best prints possible!

I cannot lie, I am a fan of Photoshop and its capabilities! I love opening up a less than perfect photo, working just a few tiny adjustments, and then making it beautiful. Photoshop again is a creative tool that allows you to decide what your favorite corrections are and how much you want to use those corrections. I have just a few quick go-to tools that I use on almost every photo: brighten in the Curves and Crop. 

Learning tools in Photoshop can be overwhelming, and I have lots of tutorials that you can access on my Sidebar to the right of your screen. In this class you will be able to follow me on my desktop as I take photos from my living room today and edit them for print, and I also take photos from Christmas last year and edit them so you can see my process. 

Again, the post-processing is another step in creating your own style - and the best way to develop that is to practice and make notes of your favorite tools and settings. I love sharing my process with you and you are welcome to copy any of my methods! Experiment and play. See what all Photoshop can do. Decide what you love and use that to develop your own style.

Larkindesign | Christmas Morning Photographs: A New Mini Class!!!!

Style is this crazy-awesome thing - we all have it and we all have it in very unique ways! Your photographs have the power to reflect your personality and your family's personality, whatever that is. In the meantime, try out my photo personality in this class. See the techniques and philosophy behind my own photography and be inspired. See you in the classroom!


Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

Hi everyone! I am already headlong fully involved in putting together my foundation pages for this year's December album. Today I wanted to share with you a bit of my process for creating my foundation pages using my Ali Edwards products. Ali is the original creator of this project and I am deeply grateful for all the inspiration and products she has offered to our community. You can learn more about her and this project at her site here: Ali Edwards Blog. One of my commitments to myself as part of this hobby (read: every project I am involved in) is to use my supplies. That means use them as they come in the door. One of my commitments to the December Daily project is to complete the album, hopefully before January 1, and creating foundation pages are an important part of that for me. Follow along with me in this video!


I know that there are mixed thoughts on creating foundation pages, but for me this has been the biggest reason I have been able to complete my albums on or around January 1. And, I might conjecture, that I have been able to complete the album at all. Some worry that they won't like that page once the day arrives, and maybe that happens sometimes so I just move that page and move on.

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

The biggest thing to remember is that foundation pages are great for making decisions already, so that throughout the month all I have to do is add photo + story. That keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by this project. But even though I have created these fun pages, I am not in any way married to any of them so I am free to move things around, change out cards, and do whatever it takes on any particular day in December.

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

What I absolutely love about creating these pages is that it makes me incredibly happy to work with these products, play with them, layer them, see how these products go together without having the pressure of photo + story. These pages are just opportunities to me to get familiar with the beautiful products I have purchased and figure out which of the products I am particularly drawn to.

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

I have a thing, whenever I begin a project, that carries over from my days as an interior designer, and that is to establish a design concept for that project. In interior design that might be something like this:

This project serves to accommodate space for (insert client here) hair salon. This space needs to be bright, sophisticated, trendy, and reflect the owner’s quirky personality. The space needs to accommodate 4 stylists, plus guest area, reception area, and private massage room.

So in December Daily, my design concept is more like this:

My December Daily this year will be 6x8 in a Simple Stories binder, using a combination of divided and 6x8 pocket pages. This year I want to emphasize full page layouts and photos. The colors for this year’s albums begin with black & white and pops of color, particularly red, navy, and other pastels as I feel inspired.
Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

Many times, my design concept is still coming together while creating these foundation pages, particularly as I work with the product. I don't know about you, but once I receive product in, I am inspired to play with it and just see which products I am drawn to. This solidifies more for me, how I want to pull this album together!

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

What my design concept does for me is lay out exactly my parameters and define some sort of consistency throughout the album. It doesn't have to be complicated or detailed, but again at this stage I am all about making as many decisions as I can so that in December all I am adding is photos + stories.

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

My design concept is a bit different than last year! Last year I did very detailed foundation pages, and some even commented that they felt like my pages didn't even have room for photos or stories. Inside I laughed a tiny bit, because there is always room for photos and stories, and I would rather take cards out but still finish the album, rather than not make it through the month of December. 

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

This year I have left myself a lot more flexibility and a little more room for creative expression in the month of December. I think this is probably more reflective of my comfort level with sharing this project online so I am not as nervous about having as much completed as possible. It is entirely up to you how much you want to complete your own album, or if you want to do none at all. In the end what matters most is what works for you!

Larkindecember | Foundation Pages Using Ali Edwards December Daily Products!!!

I sincerely hope that this has been helpful to you and has given an insight into how I create this amazing project. I would love to hear from you and see your projects, so be sure to comment and tag me!