Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project Life

I'm always taking tons of photos on my phone and digital camera, and I fill up shoe boxes with ephemera and keepsakes from trips, restaurants, movies, and dates. As I was sorting through boxes one day and going through all of the stuff I kept, and as I started to archive years of photos from the computer, I realized that there was nothing really tangible (in terms of documenting) to show for all those years. 

Before, when I shot only on film, I'd develop the film and keep photo albums. It's always been so easy and fun to look through them years later and laugh (or cringe) and think about those times. I hadn't stopped taking photos, they were just never printed. I definitely needed to find a way to better document my life in an organized and tangible way.  I had tried scrapbooking before, but was not very good at it. I just felt too overwhelmed by a huge blank page and didn't find much inspiration on creating collages. It just wasn't for me. 

I began to hear about something called Project Life and saw it on a couple of blogs I read, and at the end of 2012, I caught the Project Life bug. For me it seemed like a simple, less intimidating way to get all of those photos off my computer and into an album, along with all of the ephemera I keep.

I really liked the idea of starting an album, but I wasn't quite ready to invest in the 12" x 12" album and pages and sets of cards because I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to keep up or if I would like it, since I had lost steam in the past when I tried to scrapbook. I just wanted to give it a try, so I used some trading card sleeve protectors as I had seen some people use on Pinterest and cut my own cards from some lovely paper and just began. 

I'll admit, I started out strong and then slowed down a bit in summer. A lot of people do weekly Project Life spreads, but I knew I couldn't keep up that pace. Instead I planned to do monthly spreads. But as we know, life gets busy and then not so interesting. Also, it was a bit more work to actually cut everything down to size each time since the trading card sleeves are not the same size of any precut Project Life cards. I fell behind by the end of Summer, but really loved what I had put together so far and was determined to finish off the year.

I printed all of my photos at home on both my HP color printer and a Polaroid PoGo printer, which was helpful. I bought a few stamps and stickers and didn't use too many embellishments. I wanted it to have some journaling, and tried to hand write as much as I could to keep it personal. 

At the end of December, I finished up a couple of months, and I just finished off the year this weekend. I'm really happy I did. I also have started getting ready to continue this project in 2014, only with a few differences. 

I am going to move to a smaller, 6" x 8" album and use the photo sleeves that fit the precut pocket scrap booking cards. I know this will make it a lot easier for me to keep up and will surely save me time on having to cut everything to size. I absolutely love the Project Life spreads in this smaller size by Jamaica Makes, Kelly Purkey and LifeLovePaper.  I think it will be the perfect (and cutest) size to document my 2014. 

I also bought a Project Life Core kit with enough cards to probably last me for the rest of my life. I loved the subtle colors and vintage feel of the Jade kit. I didn't spend a lot of money on Project Life last year, and I found my album and sleeves for about $10 at Hobby Lobby, so I splurged a bit this year by buying the core kit, and by signing up for a Studio Calico Monthly Kit subscription.  I don't want to get too bored with the cards I have, and thought I might want to add a little bit of flair to some of the pages. Plus, who doesn't love getting something pretty and fun in the mail each month? :-)

At the start of 2013, I was skeptical and wasn't sure I'd get into it, but after looking through the album I made and loving how it helped me bring a little more creativity into my documenting and photo-taking, I'm really glad I stuck with it for last year and am excited to keep up with it again this year.

How about you? Are you documenting your year in some way? Any tips or inspiration? 


  1. Your 2013 album looks great! I love the colors and florals! It's a good idea to use trading card sleeves to test out PL and see if it works for you. I hear you on it being annoying to have to trim cards down all the time; when I attempted (and failed) at PL last year, I had been designing, printing, and trimming all of the cards myself. No wonder I quit so quickly! :) Now it's much easier since I have the Midnight Kit.

    I love the smaller size you chose for this year. I probably would have done that myself if I'd known about it before ordering my PL supplies and 12x12" album. It's working for me for now, though!

    1. Thanks, Caiti! I'm really glad I won't be cutting everything down this time around. I was so close to getting the Midnight edition since I had gone so colorful and floral last year, but I couldn't resist the cute colors in the Jade kit. I'm hoping the small size works well, I do monthly spreads, so if I was doing weekly, I'm sure I would have gone with the bigger size.

  2. And I LOVE your suitcase that you use for supply storage, so cute!