Project: A Gratitude Album for the Holidays

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking53 Comments


Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and this year I'm bringing back a project I did last year and plan to continue as part of my family's holiday tradition.

Meet the Thankful 4 x 6 Album Project.


This project is designed to let you create journaling cards to hand out at your Thanksgiving gathering (or any holiday get-together) so your friends and family can fill them in with what they are grateful for.

When the album is complete, you can give it as a gift to whoever has hosted the gathering. (Lucky you if it's at your house this year!) Last year, I gave the completed album to my sister-in-law. This year, it will go to my mother-in-law.

The thing I love most about Thanksgiving is that it truly is a day set aside for gratitude. It's not about gifts. It's not about blinking green trees. It's just about taking stock of what your blessings are in life. That's my kind of holiday.

The cool thing about this project is that you don't need Photoshop skills to create the cards. Then entire set comes with printable PDF files in assorted colors (brown, orange, red rust and gray) that are easily printed out  using Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free program).

All you do is supply the cardstock and a simple 4 x 6 photo album and you're good to go!

First the album. Target has these great little 4 x 6 photo albums right now for $3.99.


I loved the rust and orange on this one, but they also have a handful of other colors to choose from.

To get started, you choose the color you want to work with, open that PDF file and print out your journaling cards onto your choice of cardstock. Each printable PDF contains two cards with crop marks:


You simply print, line up your trimmer using the marks, and trim your cards. Then repeat until you have enough cards to cover your approximate number of family and friends who will be at your gathering.

I put my cards into a little metal tin (also from Target) to set out on the table at the gathering.


The set includes 3-sizes of printable "thankful" tag circles to choose from.


Simply print onto cardstock or photo paper, and using a circle punch, pop one out to use as an embellishment.


I also like to have a circle tag to adhere to the stretchy album band as well. I mounted the 'thankful' circle onto a simple metal-rimmed office tag.


Also included are two title page options for the first page of the album.


You can leave it plain, or embellish it to dress it up a bit.

At your gathering, make sure you take a photo of everyone in attendance to use for completing the pages. Each card has room for a 3.25 x 2 inch photo.

For Photoshop users, this year's set has a layered 4 x 6 photo template to let you get three photos onto one 4 x 6 print. Very handy to save space and have control over the crop of each shot you want to use.



Here is a quick video showing how to use the template:

Thankful 4 x 6 Album Project Photo Template Tutorial from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

The final step is to adhere the photos to the completed journaling cards.


Of course, my kids' cards aren't completed yet because I have not yet mastered the art of time travel. But rest assured, they will be filled in with wise and grateful words come this November 25th.

Then, the cards go into the album.


And that, dear blog readers, is a peek at my Thankful 4 x 6 Album Project for 2010. The set also includes fully layered PSD files for digital scrapbookers who want a bit more customization.

If you have any questions, leave them in comments and I'll do my best to answer.

This set is on sale for 30% off as part of the Designer Digitals 4th Quarter Sale which ends at 3 a.m.. E.S.T. Wednesday.




Cathy ZielskeProject: A Gratitude Album for the Holidays

53 Comments on “Project: A Gratitude Album for the Holidays”

  1. #5

    I have totally embraced your clean and simple style. It is so elegant. Since the Canadian Thanksgiving has already passed I think I will adapt this for Christmas.

  2. #7

    Love it! Almost ordered it last night but wasn’t sure I could get people to cooperate BUT I already have the pictures of my kids,my mom, my most uncooperative siblings so voila they will HAVE to do it.
    Ordering before I leave for work.

    Back to the flourish thingy (that was me yesterday) please make video once you try one, step by step please…I get the way you do things and love the clusters and want to try…please would pay for it….

    Have I begged enough! Still working on my Me:TAV bad student!
    Have fabulous day! Thanks for the great beginning of the day!

  3. #9
    Lynn L

    Love this! I think this would be great to pull out every year and keep adding to it! Please keep your clean, simple, and oh so cool ideas coming! Thanks!

  4. #11
    c@rol w

    I think this album is a terrific idea but I’d like to use the album for another purpose. Can you tell me how many individual pages are inside the album? Meaning: “page protectors”. I’m wanting to use it for Christmas and hope to fit 26 pages. Thanks Cathy!

  5. #13

    This is a really great idea and lovely, but this Thanksgiving will be spent at my hubby’s family gathering and they aren’t exactly the type that would even do this. MY family would do it in heartbeat though. Heck, his family say it’s weird that I have my camera at family functions and take so many photos. It annoys me to no end that even my other half scoffs at my photo taking. Maybe I’ll try this at Christmas at my family’s huge get together.

  6. #14
    Andi Sexton

    I put this baby in my shopping cart yesterday! So glad to see today’s tutorial with the photos!

    I’m cracking up about the previous poster’s comment (Denise) about her husband’s family… They sound like my in-laws! Or, outlaws, as I affectionately call them:) Mine are now used to my camera and projects – and once I made them a beautiful photo book of one of their family functions..50 year anniversary, I am their go-to girl for all things to be captured for their family history!

  7. #15

    I have been looking for something like this as most of my dad’s family will be together for Thanksgiving this year. This rarely happens and I want my 86-year-old grandmother to have a remembrance of it. Thank you!

  8. #16

    Oh, the album has tons. It would totally fit 26. Its probably got room for 50 photos i believe. I can double check it later, but its a traditional pocket photo album!

  9. #17
    Abby P

    Love it, bought it, can’t wait to use it. Thanks for the tips on how to bring it all together! Also, you are SO rockin’ the Make a Page Monday!

  10. #21

    Thanks for doing this again this year! I started one last year–however, My computer crashed and I lost the photos from Turkey-Day before I had a chance to back up or print them! (While writing this, I just thought that I would take photos that I have of the people that were there and add them to the album-duh!) Anyway, thanks again—love this years format!

  11. #22

    Even though, being British, I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I am loving the look of this project and am sure will be able to turn it in to another celebratory occasion. Thanks very much for the inspiration!

  12. #23

    Such a gorgeous setup Cathy, I think we’ll have to do this! Usually we go around the table saying what we’re thankful for that year, but I might make this the requirement before dessert is put out. πŸ˜‰

  13. #25

    Marilyn, I would do a Google search for simple 4 x 6 photo album. Im betting youll get tons of options. Maybe not this one exactly, but its just a little cheapy! There are nicer ones to be had on the world wide web! : )

  14. #26

    You could celebrate how charming everyones accents are! : ) (sorry, Im one American that is utterly charmed by Brit accents!)

  15. #27

    I, too am wondering if I can get my in-laws to co-operate with this project. Might have to threaten that if they want dinner (I’m hosting) they have to do this.

    If I do that, maybe I’ll never have to host Thanksgiving ever again. Hmm……

  16. #28
    Dana N

    Perfect timing for your post – I was going to Target today. I picked up the orange album with the red elastic. What a great idea! I’ll be printing my photos tonight.

    I picked up some of your goodies at DD today. Don’t tell my husband, I’m pretty sure I went over my budget πŸ™‚

  17. #29

    That’s so funny! Sitting here in London and I’m laughing at what you’ve written from the thousands of miles away! So cool!

  18. #30

    I love the idea of doing this as a hostess gift, but I’m thinking I might just make one that we can keep and add to every year as our family grows and changes; but that we can look back on as a documentation of where we were and what we grateful for each year.

  19. #32
    Brenda in Sunny SoCal

    Hi Cathy I always love to see the Thanksgiving projects, not being raised in the US it is alwaays interesting to see family traditions to include for my children…
    On another note, I was going through the stories in hand site your LO are stunning, I always admire the way this publisher presents the photos!

  20. #33

    YES, let’s do this so we do not have to do it again. I just have to figure do I do a page for each and every person which would be 25 – shoot me or for each family – which is only 5. Gotta find a medium. Each couple and then their kids as a group on a separate page. Couple this with my mother’s mandatory photo shoot of the grandchildren and I think I might just never have to do this again. THANK YOU!

  21. #36
    Sally Paxton

    Fabulous project. I love your style and your brilliant ideas. (I finished my MTAV album a couple weeks ago and am thrilled with it.) I have a stash of these Target albums — bought them last year in two sizes, because I figured they’d only carry them for a short time. Naturally, I have every color except the orange/rust, and somehow hot pink, lime and black don’t look quite as fall-ish! I immediately ordered the download and will be making my second trip to Target in two days. I have a small family, so I plan to add new pages each Thanksgiving.

  22. #37

    I just purchased the album today. It has 26 page protectors so room for 52 photos! Thanks for sharing this Cathy!

  23. #40
    Tracie Claiborne

    I love this!!! You have the best ideas. Enjoyed the video too. I want to get Photoshop so bad! I have to say, when you pulled your photo open, I laughed because you are so cute. You have made me laugh for so long that I just see your picture and laugh. LOL!

  24. #42

    Cathy I was at Target today and bought 2 of the albums but looked all over for the tin you used. Did you get it this year or in the past? If it was this year, where did you find it?

    Thanks for being you-as my son who’s 12 would say “You are Awesoooome!”

  25. #43

    Laura, last year, they had em in the $1 section. Thats when I got it, last year! I should have been clearer. Keep an eye out though!
    But, any little basket would do!

  26. #44
    Stacy Simpson

    OMG! I bought your thankful kit from designer digi last weekend (during their sale). I then went to Target on Sunday and found the EXACT same little album and thought… oh, that would be the perfect album for my thankful project!

    I feel so in tune with you right now… if only your exercise enthusiasm would rub off on me!

  27. #46

    Anyone got any ideas on where you could get a cute album like that in the UK? I’ve done a bit of a search via the usual stationery outlets. Your help would be much appreciated as I’m keen to do this for Christmas. Thanks.

  28. #47


    Just a few days late checking your blog. By the way I love it!! Anyway, about the one entry about the Halloween Sweets and weight thing. Don’t beat yourself up, everyone makes a wrong turn. And I know you can turn it around. I wish I could make the first step. You have done great.

    Since I have not made the first step to get in shape, I continue to sit on my booty and scrapbook. Anyway, I was thinking about the Thankful Album. It is so cute, and I love it and will have to strong arm my family to participate, but I will prevail. Anyway, is there away to make this 8 1/2 x 11 or can you sell it in that format, so that my Thankful Album, can be read by some of the older family members. And one day I too will be that older family member and would love to remember these thankful holidays.

    You are inspirational!! Keep up the great work. (I have taken 2 of your classes and feel like I have learned so much)

  29. #52
    Alice Golden

    You are a genius! These are wonderful… decided this morning to put this together as it looked so easy (still have lots of cooking and cleaning to do for tomorrow with 30 people coming for Thanksgiving… nothing like waiting till the last minute!). Anyway, I’ve spent maybe 40 minutes so far (including purchasing and downloading) and almost have all the cards printed and cut – thanks for a beautiful and easy project that is sure to become a treasured family keepsake! Happy Thanksgiving!

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