Project Life – A New, Weekly Approach

It’s here! It’s here! I am soooooooooooo excited. My Project Life stuff came in the last couple of days and I couldn’t wait to get started. If you haven’t heard of this…and I’m certain many of my friends and family have not…it’s a way to document/scrapbook your life in a quick and easy way. Yes, I said QUICK and EASY. And it’s the only way I’m going to get back to scrapbooking. Time has become quite the obstacle and I believe this approach is about to fix that.

Lately, (OK, maybe not just lately…more like the past many years, right around the time the girls started preschool) I’ve been feeling sooooooo guilty. I have not had the time or desire to scrapbook over the past few years. Yea, we have mountains, or I should say, terabytes of photos piling up. The photographing has not slowed down but my ability to do something with those photos came to a screeching halt.   heavy sigh…Side remark: I think it’s funny how during my busy scrapbooking days, there would be so many people that asked…if you don’t have kids, what do you scrapbook? hahaha If they only knew…and if they only took a quick look at my shelves and shelves of 12″ x 15″ scrapbooks! Most are from our pre-children days!

Anyway, now (or I mean, the past 6 years) should have been the time that my scrapbooks should have been bursting with pages and photos and stories…you would think. But in reality, they’re not. It’s not a complete loss, I suppose. After all, I did start blogging. So, the stories are not lost. And some of those photos are shared. But still…

Enter Project Life. Just when I thought there was no humanly possible way I could start scrapbooking again, I read Ali Edwards blog. She is/was a celebrity scrapbooker with a design eye I always admired. Her One Little Word inspired me last year and I’m doing that again this year. And then she mentioned her other project, Project Life, a la Becky Higgins (another celebrity scrapbooker). I was intrigued…inspired…sold!

Why is this Project Life so different from just scrapbooking? I mean, if you know me or have seen my scrapbook pages, well, let’s just say that I’d developed a reputation that if the page didn’t weigh 5 pounds, it probably wasn’t done. hahaha The problem was that I enjoyed the creative process so much in scrapbooking (and I still would if I had the time) that some pages could take days before I deemed them done. I tried several things to speed up the process but minimalism is not my forte (though I do admire those that can do that style with elegance and panache like my friend, Liz of Paislee Press). Essentially, I just had to learn to let go…let go of my need to heavily embellish things, let go of my guilt for not scrapbooking, let go of my mentality that said I had to spend hours on my scrapbooks.

After reading several blog posts and stories from other Project Life’ers (oh yeaaaa, this new obsession would not be complete without a new moniker!), I realized this approach just might make scrapbooking doable…and fun again.

Becky Higgins offers a pre-made kit for Project Life. Buy the kit, do a little organization, and go. It truly could have been that simple. Unfortunately, at the moment that my inspiration peaked, the kit was sold out! And since I couldn’t simply wait for everything to come in, I decided to create my own kit. So yea, for this year, it took some time to prep everything but that was truly fun to do. I got to dive into my piles of scrapbooking supplies and select pieces from my large collections of patterned and cardstock papers and go to town. I watched Becky’s video rather closely to see what components were provided in the kit. In the end, I did purchase the Amber binder, pocket pages and journaling cards a la carte from Amazon. I figured the binder and the pocket pages were key to embarking on this system (well, the entire kit would have been preferable but I took what I could get). I then selected a line of patterned papers and cardstock I had and began cutting to the sizes of the pocket pages. I went to OfficeMax and purchased colored labels (circle and rectangle shapes as well), a date stamp and ink pad. Once I cut my journaling cards, title cards and filler cards, I played embellished many of the pieces. I put everything in a long basket and set it all by my printer.

Add-ons. Now, since I’m a photographer, I take LOTS of photos. I knew that the 7 spaces in each double-page spread would not be enough for some weeks, so I bought more. I went to Michael’s and purchased pocket pages with enough for six 4×6 photos on each side. Additionally, I had some 12×12 pocket pages and 12×12 pocket pages with 6×12 openings in them in my closet (don’t ask). I plan to use these for memorabilia and any printouts of blog posts I’ve done in that week. The key here is that I placed them all at the back of the binder so they are ready and accessible when needed.

So, here is why I think that Project Life will work for me:

  • Accessible – all of the supplies and binder are sitting next to the printer on our kitchen counter;
  • Pre-made components – everything is already cut out, embellished, and ready to put in the pockets;
  • Filler cards are genius – no need to force myself to write something down when I’m not inspired or if I don’t have enough photos to fill out each 4×6 pocket. If I don’t have much to say or if I don’t have many photos for a week, I don’t journal or print photos and I just stick a filler card into that pocket(s);
  • Minimal supplies – photo-safe pens, scissors, corner rounder, date stamp & ink pad, labels;
  • Binder is prepped – title cards are date stamped for the year and all pages are loaded into the binder and;
  • Limits – standard double-page spread covers one week and that’s it. However, if I have lots of photos, I can just pull out one of the 4×6 photo pocket pages from the back and insert it between that spread.

And the other nice thing about having everything accessible, as one PL’er said, is that she can hand journaling cards to her kids to write something…anything (e.g., favorite color, story, what they did that day, etc.) and now she has her kids’ perspectives on the week written in their handwriting. This was something extra special that basically sealed the deal on this approach for me.

So, here I go. I’ve already caught up for this year. 3 weeks down in January and working on the fourth week…which we’re currently in. So, no pressure there. Wish me luck!

BTW, if you’re curious, see below on how my Project Life book is shaping up so far:

I chose the Amber Edition: 

I designed my own first page – soooo fun to dive into my chipboard letters & circles, distress inkpads, paper flowers and stickers:I still do things like photograph memorabilia (like the Stanford women’s basketball tickets here) or keep the actual memorabilia itself:The design of the Project Life book is a 3-ring binder, making it easy to get extra pocket pages in different formats in scrapbooking or crafts stores:I’m determined to keep the making of this scrapbook easy, so I may go with simple white journaling cards for my stories:or use my colored patterned paper and/or cardstock for journaling. And again, those filler cards will not only minimize or eliminate the stress to take photos or write journaling for any given week, they’ll add a little design to the overall spread:And sometimes, I may have several photos but not significant enough to take a full 4×6 photo pocket like some of my project 365 or project 52 photos. So, i’ll make a mini 4×6 collage in Photoshop:And here is an extra 12×12 pocket page I picked up at Michael’s (mfr is American Crafts) with 4×6 photo pockets, six on each side. The cool thing is that I used a filler card to fill in one of the pockets since I only had 11 photos. Yup, those filler cards are genius!And here it is thus far through week 3:An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.

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