30 Days of Thankful: A gratitude album project + free downloads

Cathy ZielskeFree Downloads, Scrapbooking76 Comments


For the past few years, I’ve made gratitude-themed mini albums on Thanksgiving. The idea was simple: hand out pre-printed cards to everyone in attendance at our Thanksgiving Day celebration, have them write what they are thankful for, snap a photo of them, and then compile everything into a 4 x 6 photo album. I created albums in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

This year, I wanted to change up my project a bit and have designed a new album set that focuses on 30 days of thankfulness. This new set features a 32-page, pre-designed album project. No Photoshop skills are required. You simply open the PDF print onto white cardstock, trim, and then add your words and photos as you go through the month of November. (There are 32 layered PSD templates included in the set for full customization.)


Each 6 x 6 page features a day number, a simple phrase (today I am thankful for…) and lines for journaling. You add a 5 x 4 inch photo and the page is complete.

It took me a few hours to prepare all of the pages, printing and trimming. After printing, it looked like this:


I couldn’t help but smile as it reminded me of my days of press checking at print shops, with big old sheets of papers layed out before me. Of course, what you see here are 32 pieces of Bazzill Orange Peel cardstock all neatly placed together. If there is a finer sheet of white cardstock on the face of the Earth, I have not seen it. I order this stuff in bulk.

Each spread features alternating patterns and colors. I designed a very simple polka dot pattern and chevron pattern to use for this project in brown, orange and green.


Each page also features crop marks, guides to help you quickly trim the pages to their 6 x 6 size.

It’s easy to use crop marks with a paper trimmer. You simply line up one set of marks with the cutting guide first.


Then you pop the blade into the paper right over the mark.


Then you drag to the end mark and release, being careful not to cut all the way to the edge of the paper.


When you reach the end of the cut, you lift the blade up, turn the paper and repeat. And voila, you have a 6 x 6 page ready to go.


After trimming all the pages, I placed them into a 6 x 6 album so they are ready to go come November 1st.



The goal, of course, is to document the things you are thankful for for 30 days. From the heartfelt to the frivolous to everything in between, this album gives you (and anyone else who’d like to join in) a chance to focus on gratitude for a full month.

In the end, you’ll have a collection of pages like this one:


You’ll have plenty of room to jot down whatever you are thankful for in your own, unique handwriting.

IMPORTANT PRINTING TIP:If you are using the PDF file to print in Acrobat, you need to select ACTUAL SIZE under Page Sizing and Handling in the print dialogue box. Do not choose FIT or it will fill the entire page and your file will print larger than 6 x 6.

I have a few free downloads for anyone who’d like to join in. First, if you use a We R Memory Keepers binder, I have a label designed for the spine.


It’s so tiny and adorable! Click on the link below to download a printable PDF.

Download 30DaysBinderLabel

I also created a 3-page planning sheet for this project. It let’s you jot notes as you go through the week, in case you don’t have time to create the pages every day. I know how sometimes the week can get away from you, and it’s easier to sit down and scrapbook on the weekends.


To download the Daily Log, click on the link below:

Download CZ_30DaysDailyLog

And finally, if you’d like to create this album, I’ve got a simple blog button you can download to share with your readers as well. Click on the link to download this 120 x 120 pixel jpeg file. (Mac users, Control + Click to Save Image As…, PC users, right click, I believe.)


So here’s the rest of my plan: every Friday in November, I’m going to share my pages on my blog and encourage you to share yours as well by adding your link to my Friday posts.

I’m really excited about this little album project and I’m always looking for ways to refocus my energy on what I am grateful for. I think it grounds me like nothing else and especially during this time of year. It helps me to focus to on what I have instead of what I wish I had.

Here’s to 30 Days of Thankful. I hope you’ll join in!


Note: you will need a total of 33 sheets of cardstock and one extra set (10) of 6 x 6 page protectors to complete the album.


Cathy Zielske30 Days of Thankful: A gratitude album project + free downloads

76 Comments on “30 Days of Thankful: A gratitude album project + free downloads”

  1. #1
    Lynne Gillis

    This is awesome! Is the main kit available at Designer Digitals? I didn’t see a link for that… You ROCK!

  2. #3
    Janet White

    Absolutely! I was planning on doing something throughout the month of November for Gratitude (to set up the bringing of Joy in 2013 as my word), and this is perfect. It’ll need a bit of tweaking to fit into the album I’m using, but count me in!

  3. #6
    Jane Bell Lassiter

    I sooooo love this idea! I’m definitely going to make an album this year… cant wait to get home to download and get started. I also think I’m going to post something every day on Facebook while encouraging others to do the same! Thanks for the inspiration! 😉

  4. #8
    Sharon in TX

    Beautiful in design and spirit. Thanks for explaining the cutting with crop marks … I was just running into that problem last night when I would cut off the entire side and lose the other crop mark. Duh!

  5. #9
    Melinda T

    Thank you! I was thinking of doing a thankful/gratitude journal in November…this is totally beyond anything I’d come up with! Very thankful for talented and creative artists like you who love to share and inspire!

  6. #10
    laura b

    I love this idea. I do a December Daily, and I have done October mini-books in the past (Oct is a super fun month in my family), but I really like shifting the focus to gratitude! Count me in.

  7. #13
    Kris D.

    Thanks Cathy I am in love with this project and am all in. Love the clean design and the color combo you chose. Can’t wait until 11/1!

    A tip on cutting….if you have a print shop nearby such as PIP or Kinko’s, they can cut the whole stack of pages at once. I work at one and we only charge $1 per cut. So basically we’d cut the whole pile in 4 cuts, so $4 — a bargain!! Not trying to plug my work here…just offering it up as an option…

  8. #14

    oh my stinkin gosh, I just learned how to use trimming guides. Ha! 10+ years at this hobby and I had always wondered what those little things were for. Thank you CZ for once more rocking my world. I think I want to join you… less digi, more paper. If I don’t use your pages can I still play along?

  9. #16

    This is a wonderful idea! After a year or two of reading scrapbooking blogs, I’m still trying to figure out what the best way is for me to record my memories. I’ve played with Project Life and Project 365 and blogs and journals. I think this might be the way to go!

  10. #18

    Cathy- love this mini album!

    Could you share your thoughts on paper cutters? I am looking to graduate from a smallish trimmer to something a little heavier duty, what do you use and like? Any features you recommend in general?

    Heading over to pick up this template from DD!

  11. #19
    Marjorie Nienhius

    I just purchased this album on Design Digitals and am using the PDF to create my album!!! I am SO thrilled with the whole project!! Thanks for the worksheets and the spine label!! Today I am Thankful for CZ!!!!!

  12. #20

    Cathy, I have never done a hybrid but I am sooooo digging and going to try these. I just need some tools and supplies and I am slowly collecting them.

    Just one thing? Can i share this post in my blog?

  13. #21
    Jen W.*

    Cathy, I saw this today in the DD store when I was buying the simple recipe album and had to have it. I didn’t even know you had published this post. Imagine how excited I was tonight when I read your blog to see it was about this!!! Yay!! My birthday is in November (41 this year, ugh!) so I’m so excited to have this special daily for November. Can’t wait to buy my new mini album to go with it!!! But first I get to make the recipe album this week!!
    Thanks for all your hard work, your great hilarious candid posts and sharing your life with us. You don’t know what a blessing you’ve been to me. Especially sharing the therapy, marriage stuff. God has truly blessed you with great talent and wonderful family. Thanks for being you!! Hugs!! Jen

  14. #22

    Cathy, I was thinking about your cutting guides. You mention to be careful not to cut all the way to the edge, why is that? Whenever I use the cutting guides I just zing right off the edge of the page :O) Also, is that a fiskars paper trimmer? Thanks!

  15. #23
    Amanda Villagomez

    I am so excited. I just purchased the book (along with your tiny dots paper pack No. 2) from Designer Digitals. I am going to do my book as a Shutterfly Photo Book, so I will either resize to 8×8 or put a common background behind each to have a consistent border to make up for the extra two inches around the edges. My One Little Word this year is gratitude, so this will be a perfect way to have it very present in the month of November.

  16. #25

    Carol, I have been a fan of the Fiskars 12-inch rotary trimmer. In fact, of all the ones I have tried, its the one I keep and use. I like that it can interchange blades, of course, for a cute scallop edge for example, but I also like the size of it. : ) Hope this helps!

  17. #29

    Because if you go straight off, you lose the next sides guide. Make sense? and yes, it is a Fiskars 12-inch rotary trimmer.

  18. #30

    Amanda, please share the final result with me! Or post a link on the Fridays I share my pages. I think this would be really easy to make into 8 x 8!

  19. #31

    I bought it as soon as I saw it! I’m going to print it out today and start cutting. Can’t wait!! I have so much to be thankful for and it’s time to put it on paper!! Thanks Cathy!!

  20. #32
    Janet K

    This is so great! Thankyou…and let me start by saying I am grateful for you and your work, and your wonderful ideas that you share with all of us!!

  21. #33

    The same layout in a 4×6″ template would be great and would fit directly into a project life albums. Any plans to for a 4×6 template?

  22. #36

    Debbie, not with this particular design, however, the past three Thankful albums have all been 4 x 6. : ) I posted three links in the first paragraph of the post that will explain each one of those projects. They could be perfect for PL!

  23. #37

    Thanks Cathy! This is amazing!
    I bought it and can’t wait to get started. I absolutely need to focus on the positive things in my life.

  24. #38

    Cathy, this is fantastic! I try to take time during the month of November to be mindful of the things I’m thankful for as well and this is a perfect project to help me along. Would I be able to use these templates to create digital pages? Would it be difficult? Thanks!

  25. #39

    Shawn, yes. In the template set are fully layered digital templates along with the printable PDF. I have some basic instructions on working with templates in the accompanying HOW To PDF that comes in the package. I also have a set of video tutorials on digital scrapbooking at Vimeo.com that might be helpful for general tips on digital scrapbooking.

  26. #40
    Beth H

    What great timing you have, Cathy! I had decided I wanted to keep some kind of gratitude journal this year during November, and then this morning I read your blog and voila! Now I have no excuses! Today I am thankful for you and the inspiration you provide through your blog and projects!

  27. #42

    Love, love, love this! I did an album last Thanksgiving (yours?) and we all had such a great time with it. I bring it out every Thanksgiving so we can see what we were thankful for every year. Just purchased this at DD and am going to print it now before we lose power (storm Sandy headed our way in a few hours – CT). Can’t wait to get started! Thanks Cathy!

  28. #45

    Thank you x 30! Have always loved your Thanksgiving mini albums, and you have done it again. I so appreciate your sharing and your talent.

  29. #46
    Kelli W

    I just read the newest Junie B Jones book with my girls and the character’s class had to come up with a thankful list. It was mostly about the fact that they were realistic about what first graders are thankful for (toilet paper, chips, etc). Since we finished, MY first grader has been asking us what we are thankful for that day (also something her teacher at school does) so this mini album is going to make her so happy. We are going to be doing this as a family project – thank you for sharing this!

  30. #47

    Kelli, that is so cool to do it as a family! Be sure to check back here on Fridays where you can share the links to anything you post, if you have a blog! : )

  31. #48
    Heather Hockman

    This is such a great idea and perfect timing. I really need this in my life right now; a reminder of everything I have thankful for. I am going to make three copies and have my 7 and 10 year old boys do it too. We are all going through some rough stuff (divorce among other things) and I think it will be good for us to be reminded of all the things in our life we have to be thankful for. Thank you for this.

  32. #50

    Oh CUTE! And the set is on sale now at DD. YAY!
    It’s a great idea. I would love to have a completed gratitude album at the end of November, even though our Thanksgiving has already come and gone. I’ll have to buy it and play along. I may not be organized enough to blog it all though. 😉

  33. #51

    I too am making extra copies for other members of the family. We will be cutting away for famly night tonight! But HELP when I copied off the first set it measures 7 1/4 x 7 1/4! what am I doing wrong?

  34. #52

    Annette, its just a setting in your Acrobat that you need to change.1. After you hit Print, make sure under Page Size Handling, that you chooseACTUALsize. That could be the issue. If you choose FIT, will increase the size!

  35. #55
    MaryAnn Perry

    I am so excited for this!! I do this each year and find it helps me reflect on the really good stuff in my life! I love the switch up this year!!! Can wait to start participating!

  36. #56

    Absolutely love this idea and going to do it. We don’t do Thanksgiving in South Africa as a celebration but I so wish we do. So often we get bogged down with life and forget to be grateful.

  37. #61

    Hi Cathy, how cute this thankful album is!!! I love the format and the colors your picked. Thanks for the freebies and link ups on Friday. I can’t wait to see more of yours.

    This year I’m thinking of taking a photo everyday too but putting them in my Project Life. I’m not a digital or computer savvy girl so this will be easy for me.

    In my family we also fill our THANKFUL leaves every night at dinner for the month. They get hung on our kitchen door, it’s fun to read them and see the door fill up with fall color. At the end of the month I put them in a baggie that goes into my Project Life.

    Thanks again for this fun idea.I’m thankful for you Cathy and all you inspire and share with us!!!

  38. #63
    Jeanne M

    I love this! You did something similar a few years back, and I remember following along. I was just looking at that book last night and thinking how much I’d like to do it again. Thanks!

  39. #64

    I absolutely love this project and have been keeping a gratitude journal though not as consistently as I’d like. This is a fun spin–I’ll definitely join in. I’m also in your Two Views BPC class coming up; hoping there will be opportunities for synergy between the two! I’m excited–November will rock!

  40. #65

    This is perfect for the month of November. Just wondering…the 6×6 book you linked up to is a 3 ring binder and the page protectors you linked up to and in your pictures are 2 ring. The tag for the binder also says 3 ring binder. Help???

  41. #67
    Jenni Booth

    Hmm. So I purchased the set from DD and printed it all out. The trim lines make each page 7.5 inches. Didn’t you say this was a 6×6 album? What’s wrong? I’m OK making it an 8×8 but…

  42. #68
    Jenni Booth

    Well that’s embarrassing. Went back and looked at my printer settings and for some reason they’re set at 122%. Sorry to have complained, Cathy! I’ve never changed my settings. I’ll have to interview my children and see who did it….

  43. #72

    Wow! One of these days, I’d love a tutorial in person on creating the pages. Are you willing to trade for expertise in marshmallows, caramels, etc…?

  44. #73

    never mind… didn’t realize I had clicked over to another blog. Never the less, still completely impressed.

  45. #74

    Thank you for doing a PDF file. I’m not good at other formats. Can’t wait to buy, download and print.

  46. #75

    Sue, just to be clear: the new template sets do NOT have PDFs. It is the set from last Fall that contains all printables! Just dont want you buying something that isnt what you were looking for! : )

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