I Tried Project Life

I Tried Project Life Scrapbooking

When I re-entered the scrapbooking world a couple of years ago, there was a newfangled thing called Project Life. It seems all you had to do was put little journaling cards and photos into divided pocket page protectors. Fast, simple, and ideal for daily or weekly scrapbooking. Plus it was created by Becky Higgins. Becky Higgins! Sketch column goddess of Creating Keepsakes magazine. It must be good stuff.

I decided to try Project Life this summer. I’m a seasoned scrapbooker, and I’d already made a couple of themed albums with pocket pages (Christmas and school) and a 4×6 summer album, so this should be easy, right?

Ha.

I’m used to scrapbooking events long after they’ve occurred. Like, years later. Scrap-as-you-go did not come easily for me…

 

I Tried Project Life

A daily diary.

Getting Prepared:

I am excited! First, I need an album and journaling cards. Becky Higgins has her own line of 12×12 Project Life products, but I want to use a smaller album. Plus, I’m not ready to invest in a big box of journaling cards. I choose a Simple Stories SN@P! Binder and divided page protectors, and find some digital journaling cards online. I also make a title page.

I am ready.

Day 1:

I stare at my album. Now what? The idea of recording everyday moments sounded much easier before I actually started.

Maybe it’s just first page jitters. Once I get past the first page, the rest will be easier.

I don’t really have much to say about today, so I decide to start with photos. I take photos of the kids, download the photos from my camera onto my computer, open Photoshop,  edit and print. Then I put the photos aside to dry for a while.

This was very time consuming.

Days 2, 3 and 4:

I’m out of town and don’t do any scrapbooking.

Day 5:

I am already 4 days behind. The fact that the “I’m behind” mentality enters my thoughts is quite bothersome. But I have a mountain of laundry to do, so I’ll think about Project Life tomorrow. [It doesn't occur to me to take a photo of the laundry.]

Day 6:

Do I make one page every day? Do I print a photo at the end of each day? Do I write about what I did that day, like a diary? And this daily journaling thing… isn’t that what I’m already doing on Facebook? How do people manage to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., AND do Project Life? I should just print my Facebook posts and call it a scrapbook.

Maybe I need to find some Project Life tips.

I visit the Project Life website. Becky assures me that Project Life is anything I want it to be. She says it’s a revolutionary, back-to-basics approach that will allow me to let go of my memory keeping guilt and get in touch with my blessings and priorities.

I fear this is some kind of cult.

Am I supposed to be feeling guilty for not scrapbooking more photos? Now I’m feeling guilty for not feeling guilty. Save time and stress? Um, not so far. Therapeutic? Nope. And what’s with “filler cards?” Why would I want filler instead of substance?

Ugh.

Maybe I need to see some Project Life page examples.

I visit the Project Life gallery on Two Peas in a Bucket and I am feeling inspired. I find some digital journaling cards that coordinate with my photos. I type, print and trim (which, like the photos, is also very time consuming). I stick the cards and photos into the page protector pockets and stand back to admire my masterpiece.

I am not happy with it AT ALL. Everything looks so… random. *sigh*

Day 7:

At this point, my album is just sad. I’m ready to call it quits and go back to making a summer scrapbook at the end of the summer.

And then I realize that I’m doing exactly the same thing I used to do with traditional scrapbooking: getting overwhelmed with product choices and how everything is “supposed” to be done. I need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and do my own thing.

I enjoy a cup of coffee and gather my thoughts. (Good ideas come while drinking coffee).

I want dates and captions on my photos. I create a 3×4 template in Photoshop – a simple frame overlay with a date and caption. All I have to do is drag a new photo behind the frame/date/caption, change the date and caption, and print. This really goes quickly! I wonder how long my printer ink will last.

3x4 template  3x4 example

I make a page filled with photos and captions. This eliminates the self-imposed pressure of creating a journaling card when I really don’t have much to say.

Days 9, 10 and 11:

I’m worn out from printing photos and don’t do any scrapbooking.

Day 12:

I wander into Michael’s craft store for no reason in particular. They have Project Life! It looks better in person and I rethink my position on not buying PL. I want all of them. I settle on the Kraft Core Kit because it looks like it will coordinate with my Simple Stories album colors.

I go home and place a few cards in the blank spaces of my album. It looks fantastic! The filler cards are like using patterned paper on a traditional layout – it breaks up some of the monotony of an otherwise all-photo layout. The cards make my album color coordinated and consistent.

I consider rounding the corners of my photos to match the cards, but decide against it.

As a Project Life rookie, these ready-made cards are better for me than digital cards – I have been spending too much time selecting and printing and trimming. I like being able to grab and go.

Dear Becky: I am sorry I doubted the awesomeness of Project Life cards. I am sorry I snubbed my nose at filler cards. The cards are beautiful. I am ready to join the Project Life cult.

 

My First Project Life Pages

The album’s title page is posted here.

Project Summer - Day 1

Project Summer: Day 1

Project Summer - tropical storm

map image from internet

Project Summer - Camping

Project Summer: Camping Weekend – I started with simple photos & captions

Project Summer - Week 1

Project Summer: Week 1 – getting a little more comfortable going beyond just photos

Project Summer - tooth card

tooth clip art

Project Summer - Pool

Project Summer: Pool Weekend – I added a little Father’s Day card

Project Summer - Father's Day Card

foldable 4×6 card

Project Summer - Week 2

Project Summer: Week 2 – added sewing and a fun game card, just like my traditional scrapbooking

Project Summer - connect 4

stickers and a circle punch

 

What I Learned about Project Life

  • It is different than traditional scrapbooking. Even though I’ve been scrapbooking for over a decade, Project Life took some getting used to. It’s almost as if I had to “un-learn” traditional scrapbooking.
  • It was easier to start after I had about a week’s worth of photos. Now I can scrap as I go, but I couldn’t at first.
  • When struggling with how to begin, start with a collection of photos. As I’m getting the hang of Project Life, I’m finding it easier to incorporate more journaling.
  • Adding dates and captions to photos was very helpful. It eliminated the pressure of having to write a journaling card to explain each photo.
  • Having a template for photos was also very helpful. It made editing and printing photos faster for me.
  • It is not necessary to print the photos every day. Just find a routine that works.
  • The more “everyday” photos I take, the better I’m getting about remembering to do it. And I’m getting more creative.
  • Go ahead and get a Project Life core kit. I thought it was just another box of cards, and that I could save money by printing my own, but they are quite nice.
  • Don’t stress about perfection (otherwise, it will never get done).
  • Using Project Life doesn’t mean you have to change your scrapbooking style. Make journaling cards similar to the way you would make regular scrapbook pages. Add sewing if you normally sew, add paint if you normally paint, etc.
  • You have to keep up with it. It’s hard to go back and “catch up.”
  • It really IS an easy way to scrapbook once you get the hang of it. 

My children, on the other hand, had NO trouble AT ALL with Project Life. They were journaling and coloring and creating right away. I’ll share some of their pages and tips in an upcoming post.

 

(Background grid pattern in “I Tried Project Life” is courtesy of melstampz.)

  • Debbie Stember

    “I fear this is some kind of cult.”

    I laughed out loud at that, because that’s what I think, too.

  • Debbie

    So glad you got a taste of the ease of project life. I have been doing it for 4 years. It has made it easy for me to document quickly what I want to. I’ve changed the way I use it each year but it remains a great way for me to effectively and creatively document my life.

  • Vicky

    Love that you’re doing PL ‘freestyle’, there’s definitely no need to do spreads weekly or on any imposed timescale :)

  • Lisa Moorefield

    Thanks everyone! :)

  • Vi Shekinah

    This is great inspiration!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks!

  • Debra

    Lisa!
    Firstly, I loove your blog. It’s just good, good, good. That means you’re good, good, good.
    Secondly, I love all the graphics and what are they called? Title page thingys you do for your posts. They’re always fun and interesting and spark my interest. I wish I could do that.
    Thirdly, I love your stories (blog posts) – you always have something to say. And something meaty and worthwhile.
    Fourthly, you’re a bullet-pointer and I like bullet-pointers.
    Fifthly, you’re funny. Like….I-read-your-post-to-my-husband funny. The daily diary bits and thoughts – we laughed together.
    Sixthly, I’m getting the Kraft edition too – CAN’T wait. Was supposed to get it today, but it wasn’t in yet at the shop I go to.
    Seventhly (and heaventhly) – I’m done!
    Thanks for sharing – had to smile when you said the kids just jumped in and went for it. Typical :o)
    Bye now!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Wow! You certainly made my day! Thank you!!! :)

  • Anandi Raman Creath

    Just found your blog via 2Peas and I’m digging it. Interesting that you say you had to “unlearn” traditional scrapbooking. I started with PL and it’s great for me since I don’t make regular layouts, but I noticed my experienced scrapbooker friend has trouble with it, similar to what you’re talking about. She did say it gets easier with practice, though.

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks! :)

  • Heather Hare

    …and that’s why I do Project Life monthly. It’s an overview for me, rather than a chronicle. Otherwise I would never do it! Love your pages and the smaller format – so cute!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks! A monthly overview sounds like a good idea. I am having a hard time doing PL daily or even weekly – not enough exciting things to scrapbook! :)

  • edillow

    I am very occasionally inspired to try this PL cult, especially by people who really do make it their own and do it however suits them. (There are about 5 people in particular who really tempt me to try it). But I read so much “I’ll never get caught up” and my Simple Scrapbooks alarms go off, because that sounds like chronology-induced guilt, and then I go back to scrapbooking whatever I want all out of order. I don’t know. I’m interested in your 6 months in the future take!!

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Yes! I totally agree with everything you said. I can already tell that daily or weekly PL is not something I will pursue beyond a summer album. But I’m glad I tried it.

  • Jenny B

    Hi! I found this post when searching for “how to make project life go faster.” Ha! :) I’ve been doing PL (all digital) for the past two years, and I love it, but I’m just getting further and further behind. I’ve been doing weekly spreads, and I’m trying to figure out what to do differently to make it go faster. I feel like I’m CONSTANTLY working on my pages. My 8-year-old son asked me this evening to “take a day off from scrapbooking.” :( How sad is that?? Anyway… I really love your summer album. :)

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thanks, Jenny! :)

  • Morag

    Hi Lisa – I have been having so much fun checking out your blog and philosophy… I have a SNAP album sitting here and some PL cards on the way and your site has been a blessing. I was just wondering about the 3×4 template you created in Photoshop. Is this something that would work in Photoshop Elements and is it something you could share?

    Many thanks,
    Morag

    • Lisa Moorefield

      Thank you so much! I am not familiar with Photoshop Elements, so I don’t know if it will work. I’m sending you an email. :)

  • Heidi

    This post made me laugh! You are so funny! I love you’re writing style. Good luck with your PL album. I’m doing mine monthly. So much easier.

  • Sugary Brown

    I laughed too when I read this post – “feeling guilty for not feeling guilty” (that’s the good one!). I haven’t started my PL yet but I have been reading some articles about PL on the net, trying to get some inspirations and ideas whether it is worth trying. I am more a journal girl than scrapbooker, so I thought PL would be good idea for me. But I journal of moments and event and not structured by weekly or monthly updates. So I could imagine I would have your kind of feeling if I had to face the certain frame of timeline in PL. Thank you for sharing. Your post gives me an idea of how I would do my PL.

  • Krystal

    I seriously love your layouts. So simple, yet so awesome. Inspiring to take it easy on myself for my entrance in the PL world…