So I started Project Life on May 9, 2011 after MaryAnn told me that it was the perfect way for me to capture my busy life as a full time nurse and mom of 4. After week 1, I was hooked.
I love the simplicity of it.
I love that my kids look through it more than any other scrapbook I have ever made.
And I love that each project life gives a snapshot of our family’s story. Not just my kid’s story.
My lessons learned for Project Life include:
Keep up. I use a week at a glance approach. As a emergency/trauma nurse, I work 12 hour shifts so those days it is very difficult for me to get pictures. Jeff helps, but let’s face it – It is not on top of the list for him to get a picture when he’s shuttling 4 kids around from school, taking to swim practice, making dinner, etc. But on days that Jeff doesn’t get a picture, he keeps something from the day. A tag from a new piece of clothing, a receipt, a dinner menu, etc. Good man.
I find that I spend about 2 hours every week putting the layout together. If I do somethings extra during the week, I usually work on inserts in which I love to enlarge photos. I got behind 2 weeks in October and I found how easy it was to forget those little treasures that I so enjoy seeing in my album. Life gets busy and we forget those small things. Problem- those are often the big things to me in telling our story. I refuse to spend an entire day working on a layout. That is exactly why I use Project Life- so I don’t have to.
I’m a more grateful person when I do Project Life. It is very difficult for me to feel anything but blessed when I look through my album. We went through a difficult month in October with losing our dream home that we were building. But when I look back on the month of pictures in October, I almost feel embarrassed that I felt sorry for myself.
Make the project your own. I love using my own handwriting. I love incorporating some of my blog entries into Ali’s long journalers. I love office supplies and word stickers. I love Marta’s journals and incorporate them into my book. I love to stitch with my sewing machine. And I love, love initials and numbers. If those things weren’t in my album because I was so caught up in the latest and greatest accessories, then my album would not truly reflect me. My goal is to tell my family’s story while enjoying being creative and learning. Simple as that.
***Insert getting off track momentarily***- Since I started Project Life only 7 months ago, it has gone from being big to being enormously popular. Every scrapbook designer is jumping on the bandwagon and that is great. I love the inspiration. But I have now had a 3rd email sent to me within a week from people saying they are so overwhelmed that they are reconsidering Project Life. I understand and the amount of inspiration can be creatively stimulating or can strangle you with envy, if you allow it. Keep in mind your reason for wanting to do Project Life in the first place. If it is to tell your story in a simple way then Project Life is for you. If you like to add pretty stickers, stitch, play with polaroids, then Project Life is for you too. In other words, make it your own and don’t give a rats patootie what anyone else is doing. Enjoy their work and then get back to your own business at hand, which is to live life to the fullest and tell your story. Adopt my new mantra: I do not have to be perfect to have something to offer. ***
I love page protectors but I’m keeping it simple. I used a pocket page protector A and B for each 2 page spread. I take a lot of vertical pictures, so this option allows me 3 large horizontal and 3 large vertical pictures each week. I also will use many of the 6 x 12 page protectors to fit my long journalers and then stitch them. This is perfect for me. I will continue to use this same setup and if I use extra page protectors, then they will be most likely used as inserts. I often just enlarge pictures and put them right into 8.5 x 11 page protectors as well. I have a printer at home which I find essential for my process. Currently, the page protectors design A are unavailable for another month, but you can purchase option B (vertical page protectors) here.
I love, love the pocket envelopes and will add one at the end of each month. I went back and incorporated pocket envelopes for the months of October, November, and December. Perfect for those special art projects from Samantha that pull on my heartstrings or for the National Junior Honor Society certificate that Rebecca received.
Keep your journal out so that it is visible and at the front of your mind. Be intentional. I have my journal on a desk with some metal baskets below that contain my favorite supplies. I have my date stamp, ink pad, scissors, trimmer, letter/number stickers, office supplies, page protectors, grid journaling cards, fine point sharpie pens, and my treasured Advantus Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Tiny Attacher. I also have a basket for the kids to put their artwork, graded papers, movie ticket stubs, etc inside. My husband and kids pretty much know not to throw anything away. The chocolate chip bag, peanut butter wrapper, fruit crisp box, and playdough box inserts were actually placed by my kids into the basket. Love that.
I also keep my cameras accessible, a spare battery, and my 2 instax cameras available (one in my purse and one on my kitchen counter).
My plan for 2012:
Keep it up. I’m up to date and already taking pictures and saving memorabilia for week #1 of 2012.
Incorporate more of my videos on CD. The above video was my favorite thing I’ve done off my life list so far. 2012 will be epic.
Try to add more digital elements as I’m learning (slowly) about PSE. But stay true to my style.
Continue writing a letter to my children each week. They are really enjoying them and reread them often since they are included in the album.
Will post my weekly layout each Tuesday. I started that this year and then stopped. I have had several emails from readers asking me to post them. My family is ok with it, so I will post as long as I have their permission.
My plan is to use the Project Life Core Kit – Clementine Edition. I have listed the items that I have purchased under the stuff I love tab. I will be adding more shortly.
Have fun. Be creative. Keep it simple. Tell your story.
And as a kick in the pants to get you started, I will be giving away a $50 amazon gift card towards Project Life supplies. This way you can order exactly what you want. Or if you are like me, when the pocket envelopes come back into inventory, you can jump on them while they are hot.
This is only my second giveaway. I’m a pro. So since I like games and am a gigantic nerd, you have 4 chances to win. Follow me on twitter, facebook, subscribe to my blog at the top of this page, and leave a comment stating why you want to start or continue Project Life. Giveaway will end Sunday at midnight (Arizona time) and I will post the winner Monday morning.
Blessings sweet friends,