I wanted to write up a quick post giving you some of my insights on Project Life after working on this project for 10 weeks.
First off, I truly appreciate all the sweet comments and motivation you all have posted on my Project Life spreads. It's wonderful knowing I have a cheering section rooting me on!
Now for my thoughts, advice and general ramblings about this project. These points are taken from questions and comments you have all posted on my spreads...and then some of my general insights too.
AMBITION. Comment - "Too cool..I wish I had the ambition to do this! This will be so fun to look back at with Liam in years to come."
I will admit it. Project Life does take some initiative, planning and ambition. But, this project can be anything you want it to be - simple, elaborate or somewhere in between. You can simply purchase a Core Kit for $30 and some page protectors and just use those along with your photos and a pen to record your story. Or, you can make each little card a "mini-layout" in and of itself. I choose to go with the in between method. I do plan everything out as the week progresses by jotting daily notes down on this planning template from All Things Alisha. I don't write down a lot. Just some bullet points about each day and some notes about photos to include or supplies to use. Then, at the end of the week, I compile all of Andrew's and my photos into a folder on the computer and start choosing the ones I think will best tell that week's story. 99% of the photos on my Project Life spreads come off our iPhones. I then type up our weekly recap to include on a journaling card. Actually, the recap is posted on my family blog along with a weekly photo slideshow and video pick of the week. This is how our family and friends who aren't on FaceBook keep up with our lives out here in Oregon. Then all I do is cut and paste this recap onto my Project Life journaling card and print it out. No need to duplicate my efforts. Next, I use these awesome page protector templates from Marcy Penner to sketch out my spread. After that, I resize, crop and edit my photos as I'd like and add any digital elements I want. Honestly, I have used more digital scrapbooking elements on this project than I ever have before. Why? Because there are so many freebies out on the internet and I want to keep this as "flat" as possible because the small pockets really don't allow for much bulk. Next, I print my photos and pull out my supplies - my Core Kit, page protectors, journaling pens and some basics like twine, stickers, wood veneers, labels and bling. Then, using my planning templates, I create my spread. From start to finish - jotting down daily notes, to planning, to photo editing and printing, to creating the actual spread - I probably spend 3-4 hours per spread.
LACK OF CONTENT. Comment - "I wish I took enough photos and/or had a more exciting life to do this!" And another in the same vein - "Wish I had little kids so I could do this!"
To quote Becky Higgins, creator of Project Life, "It's called Project LIFE because it's about YOUR LIFE. Whatever your life is. Whatever your stage of life. Whatever your family circumstances. Whatever your lifestyle. Project Life is designed to help anyone + everyone get their pictures into a book." If you'd like to read more about her philosophy on Project Life, click here. You can make this project YOURS. I actually foresee saving traditional scrap pages for more of the special events while documenting my every day primarily with Project Life from this point forward. I look at this project as a sort of photo diary. Snippets from daily life. Yes, I include the big stuff on my pages, but most of it is the everyday - what we ate for dinner, my view on a daily walk, my groceries on the belt at checkout and Liam of course. But, you don't have to have a crazy exciting life or kids to do this project. I'm planning to document "a week in dinners" on a spread here soon. And I plan to include my weekly chore schedule. Pretty mundane but essential parts of my daily life. Here's some excellent resources for every day documentation...
- Every day photo ideas from Becky Higgins.
- "Theme for each week" photos as found here on Scrapbooker's Inner Circle.
- Monthly photo lists from Capture Your 365.
- Photography lists for the every day from Creating Keepsakes.
IS IT "SCRAPBOOKING? Comment - "It's like doing a bunch of little pages, isn't it?"
To me, scrapbooking is photos, mementos and journaling placed on a page with pretty paper to preserve memories. I think Project Life fits this bill. It's just a different form of scrapping and documenting than what you find on a traditional 12x12 or 8.5x11 page. And it can be like doing a bunch of little pages - it all depends on how intricate you get. Some of my pockets are detailed and hold lots of product. Some are nothing more than a photo with rounded corners or a journaling card.
ADAPT THE PROJECT LIFE CONCEPT TO FIT PROJECT 12. Comment - Maybe I could make it a 'project MONTH' just to start out with, right?
You could absolutely do this monthly rather than weekly. In fact, Davinie Fiero, who I consider to be the brainchild behind Project 12, has adopted the divided page protector philosophy for her own Project 12 in 2013. Actually, if you are considering taking up Project Life, I'd suggest starting with doing a monthly spread for 2013 and seeing how you like it. It's $7 for a 12-pack of page protectors - not too steep of an investment. As we are only three months into the year, you should be able to catch up easily. Another alternative is doing a single-page per week as Jennie McGarvey is doing. Again, it is whatever works best for you.
KEEP CALM AND CONTINUE PROJECT LIFE. Comment - You are really doing a great job with this - are you still enjoying it?
I answer this with a big YES! This is one of the most enjoyable parts of my week - working on Project Life. Although, I will admit, if I fall more than a couple weeks behind, I could see it becoming stressful so I am vowing to keep up. Yes, we have started week 13 and I have only finished up to week 10, but with life comes bumps in the road. And I hit a couple with the scraproom makeover and this cold. But, I am happy to report Week 11 is at the photo printing stage and I'll be planning out Week 12 soon!
And finally, I wanted to share one more helpful link that you may want to check out if considering Project Life...my Project Life Pinterest board. I have a ton of freebie links on here. By the way, you can easily do Project Life without purchasing any special supplies other than the divided page protectors. Use your stash, hit the Memorable Seasons store and/or grab some printable freebies online. Besides freebies, I have links to other Project Lifers' spreads I find inspiring like Lisa Truesdell, Ali Edwards and Susan Weinroth.
I hope you've found this information helpful! And again, I appreciate all the positive feedback I've received on my Project Life spreads so far! You all have truly inspired me each week to make this project the best it can be!