If you are a regular blog reader, you know that I LOVE Project Life. I love everything about it – the ease of it, the concept, the process and the end result. I get a lot of questions and comments about Project Life and thought I’d share how I started, what I’ve learned and why I do it. This ended up being a longer post than usual, you may want to grab a coffee:)
I love memory keeping and that is really where my passion lies. I was a scrapbooker before a card maker and lucky enough to be introduced to Stampin’ Up! really early on in my scrapbooking journey and have been using their products, almost exclusively, along the way. I’ve always loved Becky Higgins – especially for her sketches. So when I heard that she had developed a new way of memory keeping, Project Life, I was curious. I followed along but didn’t jump into it right away. I really didn’t feel like it was right for me. I liked the look of traditional layouts, Project Life seemed too simple and plain. But I still followed along and eventually became more interested because I was hearing about how it was helping people keep up on their memory keeping. I was so far behind and knew that I would never catch up doing what I was doing at the time.
So in January of 2012 I took the leap and decided to give it a try – the way the system was intended to be used – weekly. So I started with week 1 and documented my photos from that week and then continued on. Some weeks, it was easy, some not so much. It was a completely different way of thinking for me. I found that as a scrapbooker, I took photos of events, vacations, occasions – bigger things. I didn’t really take a whole lot of everyday photos. So I needed to change my mindset. I needed to look at things differently and what I wanted to document. I struggled with that, and eventually, I think it was at week 11, gave it up. Project Life, the way it was intended to be used, was not for me. I went back to documenting the traditional way.
Here are a few of those layouts from my first attempt:
Then in 2014, Stampin’ Up! started carrying their Project Life product line and I decided that I needed to give it another try. I knew it was a great system and that it was working for many people, I just needed to find a way to make it work for me. I started by using it to document a family holiday – and LOVED it! It was easy to just slide the photos into the pockets, pick a few cards to go in, journal and embellish as much, or as little as I wanted. The trip was documented and in an album for our family to enjoy in just a few hours. Sweet!
That got me thinking about how I could use the pocket page idea for some things but not necessarily everything. So I started combining pocket pages and traditionally layouts. This allowed me to get more pictures into albums than if I was just scrapbooking them traditionally.
To this day, this is my favorite way to document. I love the look of a traditional layout on one side and a pocket page on the other and if they coordinate – it makes my heart smile:)
After doing this for a little while and realizing how much I was getting done, I thought maybe I could try doing my own version of Project Life. I decided to document monthly, not weekly. I didn’t want the pressure of having to find something to take a photo of every day and to document on a weekly basis. In order to keep things organized, I included a 12×12 calendar of our monthly happenings as the first page each month and then have the month documented in the following pages. Most of it is done in pocket pages but if I want to throw in a traditional layout I can do that too! Some months I have lots of photos, others only a few. I realized that there are no rules, no right or wrong way to do this! It’s all about getting things documented and into albums for everyone to enjoy!
This brings us to April 2016 and I’m happy to say that our 2015 album is almost complete – just a few pages in May left to finish up. AND I’m caught up to the middle of March 2016. The Project Life system really does work but here are a few things that I’ve learned along the way.
- There are no rules – make it work for YOU. Just because it’s working one way for someone else, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Play around with different ways to use it until it feels right.
- Print your photos! I make a point of printing my photos twice a month, it’s scheduled in my planner. For me, this is one of the keys to staying on top of things. Project Life is a great system that will allow for you to do it in small chunks of time. If your photos are printed, you can quickly slip them into pages. Then when you have another chunk of time, pick out some cards to slide into the pockets, then add the journaling and any embellishments you may want. You don’t need a few hours in order to sit down and do this, even if you have 15 minutes, it will work!
- Project Life can be as simple or involved as you want it to be. If you love lots of embellishments and dimension on your layouts – you can do that, it’s just on a smaller scale! Instead of a 12×12 base, you’d have a 4×6 base.
- If you are a scrapbooker and converting or incorporating PL into your albums – it is a different style of memory keeping, one you will likely have to get used to. It can be a bit of an adjustment in the beginning. But push through and give it a chance – I am confident you will be happy about the switch in the end!
- The more you do it, the easier it gets.
- Lastly, if this is something you want to do – you need to make it a priority! Schedule it into your planner. Whether it’s weekly or monthly – MAKE the time to document those memories. It’s important!
- My only regret is not having started it earlier.
Looking back at my albums, I have noticed that I do a lot more journaling, I tell a lot more stories of our every day life since I started using Project Life. This is what’s important – the little things. We think that we won’t forget, but unfortunately we do. I do this so my kids remember their childhood and all the good, and bad things that went along with it!
I love seeing my family look through the albums and laugh about the stories that are being told. While looking through one of the albums, my husband commented that the traditional layouts are more like pieces of art and the pocket page style is more like a story being told.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end – Yeah! I’ve filmed a quick flip through video of the second half of our 2015 album.
Have a creative day!