I’ve been sharing my Project Life layouts for 33 weeks. That’s more than halfway through the year. I can’t believe I’ve stuck with this project. I’m one of those people who starts a million things but doesn’t always follow through.
I get bored or run out of steam or fall out of love with a project and abandon it. I thought about abandoning Project Life the other day, but then Kate found my binder and started flipping through the pages.
“It’s a book about Kate!” she said.
Awe. Yes, it is.
And it warmed my heart when she wanted to flip through the pages with me and squeeled when she saw herself at the park and eating popsicles and just being silly.
But it’s also for me. When I make these pages (or when I make a book like my Sedona minibook), I don’t make them for other people. I never expect Kate or Dan or any other family member to treasure them. If they do, that’s great. But I don’t make them for other people because they’re personal to me.
I want to address a few reader questions on Project Life:
Why Project Life?
Just like most things I do, I decided to give it a try because most everyone on the Internet was doing it. But I also liked the idea of regularly putting something together with actual printed photos and the like (such as meaningful-to-me objects like my BlogHer badge). This album gives me a place to collect things that mean something to me and to reflect back on my week. It reminds me that even when I think I’m going backwards, I’m not.
And Project Life is such an easy way to capture daily life. Sure, I could have bought a different album, my own set of page protectors, and bunches of paper to make my own. But I wanted it to feel cohesive, so I went with a core kit and used my current stash of paper to embellish as needed.
What camera(s) do you use?
I use my iPhone and my Nikon D7000 DSLR camera.
How do you plan about your pages?
I start off the week with a charged camera and a reminder to myself to capture whatever comes up. Sometimes I only get pictures with my iPhone. Sometimes I get both iPhone and DSLR pictures. Sometimes only DSLR photos. Sometimes I only get two pictures and have to make do.
I never freak out about what I’ve got. I just make do. And use journaling to fill in. I don’t want it to feel forced or weird, so I don’t frantically take pictures Saturday of random junk just to have something.
On Friday afternoons while Kate naps, I offload any pictures remaining on my camera and iPhone (I try to offload them each day, but I don’t always). Then I go through and see what I’ve got. If I’ve got a bunch of good stuff, I cheer. If not, then I don’t worry about it and print what I’ve got.
I select the pictures I want and print them at home. I have a HP Photosmart printer I’ve had for about two years, and I’m happy with it.
After I have all my pictures, I decide what page protectors I want for the right side of the album. The left side of the album is always determind by the previous week’s layout, so I am constricted in that sense, but it doesn’t bother me. I select the right side page protector based on the types of pictures I have – horizontal, vertical, mostly iPhone, mostly DSLR.
Then I start to play with it, filling in photos, cardstock, and ephemera whereever it fits. I try to think in terms of vingettes and what story I want to tell. For example, I will put two pictures next to each other that show a story, like Kate making an art project. Sort of a beginning, middle, and end things. But if I only have random pictures that don’t relate, I pop them in where they fit/in the order they were taken.
What other extras (besides Project Life papers) do you stick in?
I also like to stick in notecards. I find a lot of cheap packs of notecards in the dollar bin at Michaels. I cut the back off and stick them into my Project Life all the time. I either like the colors, pattern, text, or both, so I stick them in where they go with the layout’s look.
How do you decide what color paper to add to each week?
After I print off the pictures, I take a look at what colors are going on. Sometimes my pictures all contain similar shades of blue or yellow or green, so I’ll pick cardstock that compliments those colors. But other times, the colors don’t relate at all. In that case, I go with neutrals – white, beige, light yellow, black. That way, the pictures pop and don’t compete with the cardstock.
How do you print your photos?
I use Picasa to print my photos. It’s a rare day I edit them in Photoshop. I’m not huge into editing my pictures. If the picture is from my DSLR, I print it as a 4 x 6. If the picture is from my iPhone, I print it wallet size.
What other tools do you use?
+Stazs-on ink pad in jet black
+G2 Pilot bold point pens in black
What Project Life kit do you use and where can I get it?
Amazon! I have the following products:
+Clementine core kit (Sadly, these are out of stock right now, but check for updates on Becky’s website.)
+Clementine paper (I can’t find the Clementine paper, but the Colbalt paper is in stock.)
What if I want to get started with Project Life but I don’t have a kid/don’t want to wait until January/am new to scrapbooking?
Here’s the thing: this is your project. It is not about babies or kids or pregnancies or January. It can document anything you want. Maybe you could start a challenge for yourself and document your progress weekly. Maybe you could use it to document your summer. Or your home renovation project. Or your date nights. Or your quest for the best cake in town (if you choose this, please call me so I can come, too).
I know it seems like everyone with a Project Life is taking millions of pictures of their kids, so it makes it seem like this project is only for families. But that’s not true. It can document anything you want. And it doesn’t have to be weekly. Maybe just monthly works better for you. Remember, there aren’t any rules. The point of this project is to capture what you want to capture in the most simplist way possible. So, don’t overthink it and scrap away.