Thursday, February 10, 2011

Best of My Days

I try to maintain a Gratitude Practice. I have a beautiful red leather journal - my intention when I started it (in July 2009) was to journal daily - 3 things that I was grateful for - at the end of each day.  Well over 500 days later, my journal has just 25 entries. 

I can't seem to make writing in it into a habit.  In fact, I did better when I was doing the Weekly Gratitude layouts!  But I still love the concept of a regular Gratitude Practice.

Then I saw a post on Kolette Hall's blog that spoke to me in a big way!  Kolette linked to this post where the blog author originally posted the idea  of the "Best of My Days" notepad.
The concept is beautiful.  A small and portable little journal where you write just ONE thing each day that is the "best" of your day.  It can be the thing for which you are most grateful, the thing that made you happiest, the thing that brought you the largest measure of joy (for me, all of these would usually be the same thing!).  But no matter what you call it, just one shining moment for each day. 

Ashley Ann offered a free download of the pages she had created. (you can get it from the link above). I was sold! I promptly downloaded the pdf and printed it out on kraft cardstock. They print 3 months to a page.  But my first attempt at making an entry stopped me dead in my tracks:
I knew immediately that the very limited space to write (particularly given my natural verbosity) was going to frustrate me and that I wouldn't actually use this.  But I wasn't ready to give up either, because I really really loved the idea! 

So I pulled up a blank document in Photoshop Elements and went to work.  A few hours later (hey, I'm a slow worker when I'm starting from scratch), I had this:
It is a total scraplift of Ashley Ann's idea and I thank her for that! My take on it is a full 8.5x11 sheet per month, instead of 1/3 of a sheet per month, and lines for writing. Much more in my comfort zone. And I've created pages for each month.  They look great printed on kraft or white cardstock - unfortunately, I've run out of kraft cardstock!

You can't see because the background is white, but there is a 1/2" margin to the left of each "page" and if I cut them apart at exactly 5.5" I have two pages, each with enough margin on the left to be hole-punched and put in a binder or bound using a bind-it-all, assuming you don't mind the back side of each page being blank (or you could adhere photos or create layouts on the backs).

I've also thought of numerous other options on how to put these together.  If you trim off the margin from the second page of the month, you can glue the two pages back to back and have the month front and back on "one" page.  On the other hand, if you trim off the margin from the first page of the month (say February), you can adhere that to the back of the second page of the prior month (January). Then as you page through a bound volume you can see a full month at a glance.  You could leave all the margins intact (use them for doodles, ribbon, or embellies) and put each page in a 5.5 x 8.5 page protector.  Or trim off all the margins and a bit of the bottom edge and put them in a 5x7 page protector. Now I just need to decide which of these methods I'm going to use!

My plan is to include these pages in my One Little Word album and record the happiest moment of each day.  But I could so see these making the most wonderful little Gratitude Journal!

Now for the fun part!  I've saved each month as a fully layered PSD file, a JPG, and a PDF.  And I'm happy to share!  If you'd like the files, send me an email to scrapdreams AT verizon DOT net and let me know which version you want.


Unknown said...

Cheri, those a great and that's a great idea in general... thanks for passing it along. I'd love a copy of what you've already done (why recreate the wheel?) in all three formats, if you don't mind sending them. I believe you already have my email addys. :) Thanks Friend! :)

Kelly Miller said...

I love this idea. Definitely send it my way. I may take out the numbers and the lines and just use it to write beautiful memories, lines of poetry, story ideas, etc... which now go into my phone. Same concept though!

Also, I had to laugh at the 3rd entry in your journal for the 18th. No one complaining about dinner would be huge in my world!

Melissa said...

What a great idea Cheri. I'm blogging about gratitude journaling today, but not until after I get my exercise session in!!! :>)

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Cheri! This is awesome. I love that you keep a journal with bits of gratitude and I REALLY love that you created those adorable pages in PhotoShop. I'm impressed! I would love to have a copy so I'll email you with my official request. :o) Thanks!

Sian said...

Yes, I love this! Your version is just perfect and I would be delighted to partake of its excellence!

Kimberly said...

Love love love this idea! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Jen @ By Jen ❤️ said...

This is a great idea. I am wanting to put together a family gratitude journal so that I can also include my husband and two little girls in the practice of being grateful for what we have. I hope we can write in it daily at the dinner table. Wish us luck.