I love Project Life. Love. It. And it's funny, because prior to New Year's Day, I was certain I wanted no part of it. I just didn't get it. I was fine with my regular scrapbook pages and didn't need to add another project to my ever growing to-scrapbook list. But then I read the first paragraph in this post by Lisa Truesdell and it just clicked. It all made sense. I was in love with Project Life and I wanted to get started right away.
Except that I couldn't. While I got the core kit I wanted, Amazon was sold out of the page protectors and I just couldn't do anything without them. I needed to have everything in front of me to work on it. So I waited, collected receipts and photos and random bits of life, jotted down some notes and waited some more. Finally the end of February came, PL product was restocked and I got started.
Of course, this meant I was behind. Two months behind, but I didn't let that get me down. I completed the first two weeks and then I realized I needed to work on the current weeks before I forgot too much. Even though I'd been trying to keep notes of our activities, funny sayings and memorable events, I couldn't remember them all. So I started on the current week and have gone from there. At some point I will go back and complete those pages, but they're not a priority right now. At this point, I've completed Weeks 1, 2, and 8 - 12, with 13 and 14 partially done. So yeah, I'm a couple weeks behind again, but that's okay. I'm not going to stress about it.
It starts with the pictures.
I keep my pictures for Project Life organized by week on my laptop. To do this, I go through each days photos choosing the ones I like best and copying them in to the proper PL week. Ideally I would do this weekly, but it usually ends up being every couple of weeks right now. I don't always use every photo I first consider, I will pare them down once I'm working on that week. I crop and print them in PSE, but I don't really do any editing other than the occasional lightening of a dark photo.
When I start working on a week, I begin with the photos. I pull up that week's photos and have my album and notebook open to the corresponding spread. Having it all open together helps me plan out my week by identifing where I might have journaling without a photo, deciding what size to print, figuring out if I need a "quoted" or other specific journaling card, and to remember any milestones or events to include. I use sticky notes to decide where each photo or journaling card will go.
It looks like this:
Once my pictures are printed, I cut and place them in their correct pocket. Then I go through all my cards and figure out what ones I'll need, putting them in the pocket with the photo. I like to get all that done before I start on the fun stuff: adding photos to cards, embellishing, writing my journaling.
These are my two weeks that are partially done. (I normally print my photos at home but I ran out of photo paper and had to order prints. Once I get them in their proper places, these two weeks will be complete.)
Once all my photos are in place, stories written and embellishments added, I get this:
But wait, there's more!
Here are a few more weeks I've finished.
What works for me.
I've been figuring out what works and what doesn't work for me over the last two months.It's an ever-evolving process, that's for sure.
- I like my weeks to have some sort of color scheme. It's just what works for me. I find it more visually appealing when things go together.
- My PL week runs Monday - Sunday. This is how I think, and makes the most sense for our family.
- When laying out my week, I try to place the beginning of the week on the left side, end of the week on the right side. But only if it works. It's not a rule, and if the pictures I've chosen and stories I want to tell don't fit that way, then I don't worry about it.
- I love the day stickers that came with the kit. I use a couple per week on the photos and cards, but don't worry about each day being identified.
- I'm not using as much ephemera as I thought I would. I'm keeping things, because I know at some point I'll have a week where I'm short on photos/stories and it'll come in handy. But so far, I've had a ton of photos and easily filled the weeks. But I don't anticipate that always being the case. So far, I've only included some tickets, a party invitation, a drawing by my younger daughter, and a story written by my older daughter.
- One thing I dreaded in the beginning was using my own handwriting. I hate mine. It's messy, really hard-to-read messy. But using my own handwriting saves me some time and it ensure my handwriting is in at least some of my scrapbooks. So I'm sucking it up.
- I'm keeping my pages pretty simple. I tend to use simpler journaling cards, only embellishing them with an arrow, strip of paper, label or the like. I might do more as I go on, but for now that's working for me.
- I'm not really doing many 4x6 photos. I've often split those pockets up in to two 3x4 pockets with the journaling cards.
About those two 3x4 cards in the 4x6 pocket. Turns out the cards kept moving around. And it was annoying. So I had to solve the problem of shifting journaling cards and this is what i came up with. When the stories on the 3x4 cards are unrelated, I take that week's 3x4 cards and place them upside down. Then I adhere a scrap piece of paper (here a used sticky note) to it, holding the cards together. Next I adhere the next week's photos back-to-back, creating a 4x6 spread that won't move around.
When the two cards I'm putting in the 4x6 pocket are a related story, I use my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to staple the cards together.
Of course, it took me weeks to figure this out, I just kept putting the cards back in. But in case someone else is having this happen to them - problem solved!
And now the fun stuff.
Product wise, I'm using the Clementine kit, along with various label stickers, accent stickers, tags, paper scraps, punches, small letter stickers and stamps. A lot is from my stash, but I have purchased new label stickers. I'm using product from October Afternoon, Jillibean Soup, Studio Calico, 7 Gypsies, Heidi Swapp, Ormolu, Making Memories and others.
While I love the kit (especially the grey cards, days of the week and arrows), I found myself wanting more variety in journaling cards. I've found a ton of great ones online. Some I've purchased, but plenty are free.
These Dotted Frames cards are simple which I love, and their variety of colors will go with any spread. They give a fun pop of color while leaving plenty of room for journaling and pictures.
The Cardcreator Digital Set by Bananafishstudio is really great. You control the design, colors and sayings. I'm still playing around with it as doing anything other than basic editing is new to me.
Looking for more printables and inspiration? I have a Project Life board on Pinterest and you can find it here.
But first, here are two more printables from the WCS team today.
You can download these cute Quoted cards from Marie (and seen on the right side of my week 14 spread) right here.
And these fun cards by Monika here.
One more thing...
I'm going to be honest here. This takes me a long time. Like, way more than just 2 hours a week which seems to be the magic number. When I read some blog posts about how that person only spends a couple hours per week putting their week together, I think huh? Because that's not me. Maybe it's because I'm indecisive, or it could be I'm also playing Words with Friends on Facebook, but regardless, I spend a lot of time on each week. Because of that, I haven't been scrapbooking any regular pages lately. So if you're like me, you're not alone. Everyone does this differently, scraps at their own pace and that's okay. Maybe my process will get quicker, maybe it won't, regardless, I love the end product and it's totally worth my time, all way-more-than-two-hours of it.
We hope you've enjoyed our Project Life week. If you're posting your PL pages on a blog or in a gallery, please share! We'd love to check out your pages.
PS, While I've pretty much neglected my blog for many months (as in the header photo is of me pregnant with my youngest...who is now 19-months-old), I will be posting my Project Life pages starting next week.