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?


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: 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.


Project Life: Week 1

Week 1 of Project Life is done and in the book.

I think that means I’ve officially scrapped more of 2012 than I did all of 2011.

And you know what?

I absolutely loved all of it: the process of taking notes and photos during the week, putting it together in the album and especially the finished product. I love that I have a solid overview of what we did that week, and I love that it encouraged me to take a lot more pictures and be more present than I have been lately.

A quick share of the layouts…

the cover page…still hoping to use lyrics from Seasons of Love throughout the album when I have an empty space.

page 1 – it’s a total mish mash style-wise and I kind of love that.

page 2 – my plan for Project Life has been to just get it done – no over thinking – and sometimes that is just plain hard. I wasn’t happy with the pictures I had to work with (solved by ordering a new camera – the difference this week in incredible) and I feel like I’m still learning how to get the best use out of the spaces. But it’s done and I’m moving on to week 2.

6×12 insert – I knew with our visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I’d end up with an insert this week. I have a serious issue when it comes to taking pictures of jellyfish. I put together 2 6×12 canvases, left a little space on the one for journaling, put them together as a 12×12 and had them printed. I can see myself using this quite a bit – for trips, special days, holidays that sort of stuff.

I’ll definitely be including a little day-by-day card each week. It worked out really well to include the other stuff – the things that didn’t have pictures or weren’t necessarily all that exciting, but that make up part of our every day lives.

I  want to work on more ways to incorporate other stuff – photos, packaging, the kid’s school work. I was happy to get in our beginning of the month Costco receipt, and was proud I thought to grab a chopsticks wrapper from our New Year’s Day sushi.

A couple of random thoughts:

  • I’ve decided this album is a process, and I’m totally okay with it if the last week looks nothing like the first week. I’m not sure I love the rounded corners…I’m going to start doing a little journaling on some of the photos before printing…and I’m sure there will be other changes as it evolves. It’s good.
  • I’m struggling between my need to journal everything and the size constraints. I don’t want to go any bigger than a 2 page spread per week (with an insert for special things), and I don’t want to feel like I’m skimping on photos. I’ll figure it out eventually.
  • Picking pictures is hard.
    I’m jotting notes on Evernote each day and trying to pull photos off the camera at least twice a week, but deciding which stories are the most important…I think about it a lot. I’m trying to learn to say no to some things, knowing that it’s something we do all the time and I can use it later on when our weeks are quieter.
  • I’m using Marcy Penner’s page planner Week 2 to see if it helps when it comes time to sit down and put the week together. So far, I’m liking it – just having a general framework seems like a good thing.
  • How much do I love the divided page protectors? So much that I’m planning to reevaluate a few big trip albums I have in progress so I can finish them off this way. And enough that I’ve already decided our possible trip to Yellowstone this summer will be scrapped using these page protectors. I’m also considering ordering either a whole bunch more of the Design A page protectors (or maybe some of the Doodlebug ones) and doing a one month spread for 2010 and 2011. Those two years are seriously un-scrapped.

On to week 2!

PL: on your mark, get set, go!

I shared a bit about deciding to tackle Project Life this year – and wanted to share a few things I’ve been working on until my first photo order arrives.

And, please…forgive the pics. I’ll get around to taking real ones soon, once I’ve got a bit more to share. For now, Instagrams will do.

The cover page – I’m still not 100% positive I love this. Pretty sure it’s the stickers for the title – I’m fighting the urge to pick up one of the digital kits and print something. I had really hoped to work in the lyrics to Seasons of Love from Rent, but I’m calling it done. I think I’ll add them in throughout the album when I have an extra space or two. The empty space will be filled with another family photo at the end of the year.

Journaling cards – sooo…I could pretty much make these I wanted to have a little stash of already decorated ones on hand, for when weeks get crazy. I learned with my December Daily album how much I really enjoyed working on a more mini level (as opposed to a larger 12×12 layout), and this is really cementing it for me. I see myself going forward with this format for my non-Project Life albums also – I’ve got 2 in-progress vacation albums and one other that needs to be started.

Photo and journaling organization – I’m trying to offload photos from my camera every day or two, picking out the ones I’ll use, then labeling the file and adding it to my To Print folder. I’m still planning to print every two weeks, but I’m getting sort of anxious and will probably place my first order this weekend.

I’m tracking days with Evernote. At the moment, I’m starting a new note for each week and jotting things down each day. If I keep each week in its own note, I think that should keep me on track.

In progress – I probably need to find a better way to organize memorabilia than shoving it in my wallet. I’m also trying to figure out the best way to add in a few tweets or facebook status updates every so often. It seems like I saw a digital set that would work well, but I can’t remember where and didn’t pin it. I’m also debating whether I want to print out a weekly page to give me a good over-view – but I’m wondering if it would help keep everything else on track or just muddle what already seems to be working.

Before I started Project Life, I really questioned the scrappers who claimed it revolutionized their scrapbooking.

I don’t anymore.

In just one week, it’s changed the way I think about the day I’ve lived, the things I’ve done, the minutia that makes up our family life.

 I love it.