project life: looking forward

Cover Page


I started Project Life last year, full of good intentions…that lasted until about May.

I’ve been doing monthly pages since, and it’s worked out better for me. It’s more sustainable for me when it comes to the time I can give the project, and I honestly just don’t feel the need to document every little thing and scrap of paper that comes into our home. I also don’t have a dedicated scrap space anymore – I’m pushed into a corner of the library at the moment – and that makes a huge difference in what I can get done.

Week 4 Page 2

I love having this album to look back on, even though it’s still a month or two behind. I was peeking through it the other night and it’s even more special considering some of the losses we’ve had this past year (that I still need to document). That peek back also helped me realize I want to really focus more on people and less on stuff.

Week 9 Left Page

For 2013, I’m seriously considering going all digital and having photo books printed for each of the kids and one for us. I was considering a collage photo layout with a journaling layout per month, but I really love ease and framework the templates that are available and the childhood editions too. My tentative plan is to continue with a monthly layout, and possibly add in an extra two page layout for any special events, trips or holidays and maybe an extra one for family members in general.

Have you tackled Project Life this year? What are your plans for next year?


sustainable scrapbooking: Project Life

I started Project Life in January, fully intending to keep it up on a weekly basis.

Around the end of February, I decided it might be better to just print photos monthly, keep good notes and still create weekly layouts.

Around the end of April, that all fell apart.

Last week, I decided I needed to figure out a way to make it a better match for me. Weekly is just too much to work into my schedule. And, honestly, we just don’t do that much. I felt like I was forcing filler that really wasn’t meaningful just to have full layouts. It didn’t feel right.

I’m a little bit obsessed with sustainability right now – figuring out ways to make things work for me in the long run. Whether it’s what I eat, how I exercise, kitchen chores, the budget or scrapbooking, I’m focusing on ways to simplify.

I have weeks one through 17 fully scrapped for 2012, bringing me up to the first week of May. To catch up on the…ummm…20+ weeks I’m behind, I’m going monthly.

Except for September. I’ve shared about how rough September was. I have one picture from September. That’s it. I think I’m going to just print out that blog post, put it with that picture and make it a little insert. Those memories are too important not to record, but I’m also not going to stress about coming up with enough for two full pages.


For the rest of this year, I’m planning to continue with the monthly plan, using inserts when necessary for busier months.

It’s far more sustainable for the time I have to give right now.

I’m still deciding what I want to do for 2013. I love the concept of Project Life – it just makes sense. I no longer have a dedicated scrapbook room or even a desk. And I don’t have the hours to focus on it like I used to. Quick and easy are necessities.

I’m debating doing an annual album for each of the kids next year along with a family based one, but I’m not sure. I’ve considered going digital for 2013, and printing 3 albums – one for each kid and one for me…but there’s just something about the feel of photos and paper that I love. I’ve got a little time to think about it still.

Ultimately, I know that memory keeping is an important part of who I am. After 15 years, it’s not something I can see myself ever fully giving up and I’m thankful for things like Project Life that make it easier. I just need to keep working to figure out the best way to personalize it and make it mine.

How do you make Project Life sustainable for you?

View all of my previous Project Life posts here.

Project Life: Week 10

Oh, Project Life, I certainly hadn’t intended to get this far behind!

Life has been crazy. Absolutely crazy. And I think perhaps the method I was using to keep me on track – taking notes on my iPhone in Evernote – just wasn’t the right one for me. I’m a paper and pencil person, and I’m making some adjustments that will hopefully help with the notetaking part of things.

But week 10…which already seems so long ago.

I’ve been obsessed with turquoise and red forever – at least since middle school. It just seemed to work for this week, and I love the way it looks against kraft.

The week’s Week in Review card – This is my favorite slot to fill each week, and it’s the one I do last. It tends to be the leftovers that make up our week full of those little things that maybe don’t have pictures but are important for one reason or another.

The whole right side is about Sunday School. It was a big deal in the life of our little church that we have Sunday School for the kids again after many years. There’s also a card about a prayer vigil we had this week – not something I felt it would be appropriate to photograph, but wanted to include. There’s also some more personal journaling on the inside of the folded Memories card at the bottom.

I also included a Dagoba chocolate wrapper – I’m a bit of a dark chocolate snob and don’t consider much of anything below 80% to be worthy of the name. This Dagoba is my new, unfortunately ridiculously expensive favorite.

From a visual standpoint, this week is one of my favorites. It’s also when things started to fall apart a bit and I started getting really behind. This week, I’m working on getting caught back up, in bite sized pieces.

First up?

I came up with a daily log space for each day and notes about memorabilia on the front and a sketch of the Plan A page protectors on the back. Today, I jotted notes for all of the weeks I missed, and I’ll start sorting, planning and editing photos this afternoon. I’m also going to use this log from here on out for taking notes each week – I’ll just leave it out on my desk and jot things down as I feel the need. I’m crossing my fingers that this keeps me more up to date.

What’s Project Life? It’s a scrapbooking system created by Becky Higgins to simplify memory keeping. Quite simply, it’s awesome. All of my Project Life posts can be viewed here.

Project Life: Weeks 7 & 9

Somewhere, I got a little bit behind.

And then somehow…I skipped a week.

I did take notes and pictures, but I never got them developed or the layouts planned.

Week 7.

Lots going on – Valentine’s Day, sick kids and wedding dress shopping with my brother’s fiancee (hence the white blocks).

Lots of lovey dovey stuff, so I went with lots of pink in the color scheme.

Added in a favorite text from the week using one of Cathy Zielske’s free templates.  And a shopping list. Both part of the story of us this year.

And the second page. Lots of dress shopping pictures. I wanted to include lots of pictures, so I cropped them to 2.75×4″ and stuck them in the 4×6″ pockets. Once I get week 8 done, I’ll very lightly tack them to the back of whatever photos go in the other side.

I’m noticing it’s just too hard for me to triage out so many photos of big things, and I’ve decided to stop fighting it.  I’ve got a whole year to capture the mundane stuff. If I want to give more space to birthdays and special occassions, I’m going to do it….

which is why most of week 9 focuses on 3 days.

And I’m okay with it.

Mini vacation to San Francisco so hubby could have a procedure at UCSF. A lot happened and it was all worth recording.

I made a point to snag as many business cards and flyers as I could – this one from Boccalone was a perfect addition. It’s actually a folded one, so I just flopped it over the photo, tacked a little adhesive on the back and jotted where and when on the front.

I used other business cards to show off places.

That’s my brother-in-law with a crab shell on his head. And, oddly enough, that isn’t anywhere near the craziest thing he did on the trip.

I did end up needing an insert, since my nephew’s birthday also fell during this week.

I threw together the photos in a 6×12″ collage in Photoshop and then added a bit of embellishments – the S’more for Later topper was designed by my brother-in-law and was part of the favors.

I also wanted somewhere to stash all of the extra flyers and cards I’d picked up on our trip, and the back of the insert worked perfectly. I just trimmed a piece of white cardstock to 6×12 and collaged it together.

What’s Project Life? It’s a scrapbooking system created by Becky Higgins to simplify memory keeping. Quite simply, it’s awesome. All of my Project Life posts can be viewed here.

Project Life: Week 6

I felt a little bit behind going into this week – I’d meant to get it all put together at the end of last week, came down with a cold and did nothing for a few days…which meant that when I put this one together earlier this week, I was taking pictures and notes for the current week, editing photos and planning layout for last week and physically working with this one.

I didn’t like it.

At all.

I’ll definitely try to avoid having 3 weeks in the works at once again.

I forgot to snap a photo of each layout, but here are a few favorite cards or pockets from the week:

You have no idea how happy this made me. Hubby didn’t even blink when I asked him to grab me a menu or business card from the restaurant he ate at in San Francisco. He even took a picture of his lunch =)

And Caleb’s little daily to-do list. He even asked me if I wanted to keep one. I love that I’m finding little treasures on my desk to add to our Project Life.

A little collage in Photoshop and a business card.

And that’s a cinnamon roll Caleb is eating. It was a special treat and ridiculously HUGE!

I couldn’t pick when it came to Hanna’s first Winter Formal photos, so I ended up using the Style G page protector as an insert. There are a few more photos on the back and I’m going to have her do the journaling back there when I can get her to sit down for a few minutes.

And Style G? It makes an awesome insert. I’ll definitely be filing that idea away for our Spring Break trip and summer vacation.

And, of course, our week in review. I’m trying to add in a few happenings in the world – last week, the Super Bowl and the death of Whitney Houston this week. I realized recently that my favorite part of the baby book my mom kept for me is when little bits of the world at large peek through.

How are you coming with your Project Life?

What’s Project Life? It’s a scrapbooking system created by Becky Higgins to simplify memory keeping. Quite simply, it’s awesome. All of my Project Life posts can be viewed here.

Project Life: Week 5

Trying to get caught up with posting…

This was a busy week – one of those weeks I dread where there’s just something every single day. I will admit it makes for a fun Project Life, though. I ended up using a lot of coral and some orange this week – it just seemed to work and I love that.

Pretty sure this is my favorite card for the whole year so far – no picture, a little bit of journaling, part of our Whole Food’s receipt and a coffee cup sleep I cut in half to take some of the bulk out. Love the story that little bit tells.

And another favorite, overall. Everything came together so easily and tells so many stories from our week.

Something I find I’m doing a lot – 4×6 collages in Photoshop. Just a little bit of white gutters to give some definition. And those Martha Stewart labels fit perfect in what tends to be the dead spots in most of my photos.

And the week in review – still able to get it in for every week, and it adds that extra little bits of life that just didn’t fit anywhere else but fill out our week.

What’s Project Life? It’s a scrapbooking system created by Becky Higgins to simplify memory keeping. Quite simply, it’s awesome.

Project Life: Week 4

A whole month documented, more or less.

This week? It was all about just getting it done. We’ve had a couple of crazy weeks, full of sick kids and meetings and drama and it’s just been exhausting. This week, I didn’t care about coordinating or themes or anything other than just getting it done.

And I still love it.

Lots of journaling directly on the photos – something I did as I pulled photos off the camera during the week. The pictures in the top left and bottom right were collaged in my ancient version of Photoshop…

and on this one, I used a little digital paper file. Not quite sure I like that exact color – I should pick up one of the Project Life digital sets to pull things together a bit more.

This is what I love most about Project Life – my haircut, a Tweet of a Caleb quote and a reminder about an asthma attack. It’s minutia, really, but it’s the sort of stuff I find so interesting.

I love this second page – the reminders that we live in an agricultural area with the kids picking oranges with their Great-Grandpa and chicken eggs from my parent’s house…a spelling test…a really, really big omelette…the firepit at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

This is the stuff of memories.

Still able to get that Week In Review card in – I love that I can jot down a bit more that I want to remember. Also, had to capture our new vaccuum. I don’t think you ever truly realize how bad the old one is until your first run of the new one.


A couple of thoughts:

  • I’m finally working in some quotes, Tweets and Facebook status updates.
  • Also, I’m making a point to work in more memorabilia. Love that Caleb’s spelling test just happened to fit in perfectly. For next week’s, I’ve got my notes from Wednesday night Bible study and one of those cup holders from Whole Foods.
  • This week, I’m starting to work on picking a month’s worth of photos for a single layout to catch up these past few years that I haven’t scrapped. Not sure if I’m going to use Project Life protectors or maybe a combination of the Doodlebug ones. I’m thinking easiest would be the 6 4×6 layout.
  • I told my Mom recently that I don’t see myself going back to “regular” scrapbooking. This feels so much more natural and organic, and maybe even authentic.

What’s Project Life? It’s a scrapbooking system created by Becky Higgins to simplify memory keeping. Quite simply, it’s awesome.

All of my Project Life posts can be viewed here.

getting in the picture

I’ve got a full month of Project Life done now.

It’s so much fun – already – to look through and see what we did even just a few short weeks ago. As I finished up week 4’s layout, I had to sit for a few minutes and flip through the pages. You can see week 4 tomorrow, but here are one, two and three.

And you know what I noticed?

I’m in two pictures in week one.

And not a single one in the other three.

I know, there are weeks that will naturally be more focused on different family members…but I’d still like to try to get at least one picture of each of us every week.

I tend to be a little non-existent in our scrapbooks. I don’t hand over the camera, I usually don’t like my hair or the way I look, and in those rare times I do say cheese…it’s awkward. In the 10 plus  years I’ve been scrapbooking, there are maybe a handful of pages with photos of me on them.

That needs to change.

I’m making the effort – I’m working on a more natural smile (or at least hoping someone catches me in a not-so-ridiculous pose). I’m trying to take the occasional self portrait. I’m realizing that my grandkids won’t care that Grammy Sam was having a bad hair day – they’ll just want to see what I looked like and the things I did.

It’s an effort that’s worth making, even when it means I’m handing over my new D5100 to the 9 year old.

Are you present in your families albums, beyond your journaling voice? Do you struggle with photos of yourself?


Project Life: Week 3

On to week 3 – and it’s a very boy heavy one. We finally went back to school after nearly 4 weeks of Christmas break, which means my 5 day a week buddy came back and so did my bigger nephews that I take to school and pick up each day (need to get a picture of that!). We also had another cousin come over to play and a birthday party…so it was a boy week for us.

The first page – now that I look at it, it’s all about obsessions. Caleb’s Halo obsession, our current tv faves, a new running obsession and my nephew’s corndog phase. Who knew?

A couple snaps of the tv screen this week. Easy peasy.

 The second page – a bit about a much needed weather change, a little block about my nephew’s birthday party and pictures of the kid’s school bags (held together in a 4×6 pocket with a few labels).

And smudged. Boo.

This week’s Week in Review card – it ended up on the first page this week and as a 4×6. I’m working hard to make sure they get in each week, but am not going to be too particular about where it ends up.

A couple of thoughts:

  • no memorabilia this week – need to work on that, but I’m having trouble choosing to edit photos to make room.
  • trying to select one or two colors that work well with the photos to tie things together. I think it worked well this week.
  • I’m spending about an hour and a half total on this project – and it seems to be split pretty evenly between choosing and editing photos and putting it together. I’m taking notes each day in Evernote on my iPhone, which is making it so much easier.

And a quick snap of week 4…

Project Life: Week 2

Two weeks done and in the book, and I’m still loving it.

With 30 minutes to pick and order photos and plan, and another 45 minutes to put it together, this is the perfect form of scrapbooking for our lives right now. I love that I can be as simple or as elaborate as I want. This week, I really chose to strive for simple – it was our first week back at school after Christmas break and I felt like I was running all week long. Even with all that general craziness, I was able to carve out all the time I needed to come up with a spread I love.

The first page – I didn’t want to add a whole insert for Hanna’s birthday, and putting it all in the same column worked out well. I can see myself doing that again, as space permits and the need is there.

I love the way those bits of memorabilia look, but I really need to work on remembering to keep them.

The second page – more stories. I’m not positive I love typing the journaling or notes directly onto photos, but it saves a bit of space since my handwriting can be big.

Caleb and Tom went for a train ride with Grandpa to the California Railroad Museum in Old Town Sacramento – something definitely worthy of including. I didn’t have any pictures, but Tom did bring home a brochure and their tickets, which  made it easy to put together a little insert.

And that’s why I need to get better at keeping memorabilia!

This week’s Week in Review card – I was hoping last week to be able to include these every week. Not sure that I can, but I love that I can jot down other little bits and pieces of our week.

I still haven’t gotten around to having the kids journal…I still don’t know if I like rounded corners or squared…I’m still fighting with myself over which stories get told…I still haven’t added in any Facebook status updates or tweets or texts…and I still want more journaling.


this week is done.

I did learn more about what I like and what I don’t.

I learned that super simple is okay.

I learned that each and every week has a different story to tell, and it’s okay to let some stories wait.

And I’m loving the process.