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Project Life has been a main staple in my creative process for the past four and a half years. Many things have changed in the way that I’ve completed it between then and now, but one thing remains the same – this project helps me get photos out of my camera and into physical albums. This is the primary way that I document our lives – all of the travelers notebooks and journals are gravy. Documenting my life in this way has followed me through some of the most exciting times of my life – graduating college, getting engaged, our wedding, the honeymoon, adopting our dog, buying a home and lots of daily life in between. We love cracking those albums open to take a peek at our memories and how much has changed in just a couple years.
I was originally introduced to Project Life by my Aunt who encouraged me to try out some of her supplies for an album of a trip to California. As soon as I started, I was hooked. For Christmas, I asked for all of the supplies – an album, pocket pages, and even Elise’s Seafoam Edition of the cards – so that I could get started on January 1st of 2013.
The way that Becky Higgins intended it and the way that many of her creative team members use the system, is on a weekly basis. While there are a lot of options when it comes to the sizes of pocket pages, the main pages are 12 x 12 and have spaces for 8 – 4×6 inch photos or journaling cards and 8 – 2×3 inch photos or journaling cards. Many people use a card a day in the middle row and then a coordinating 4×6 photo but I was just finding that it wasn’t working for me. There were three major things that were holding me back: 1) my life isn’t that exciting, 2) printing photos is expensive, and 3) space is limited.
The other two points aside, space and clutter are issues for me as I tend to be more of a minimalist than most scrapbookers. The idea of having multiple albums for a year terrifies me, so I had to find a way that worked for me that still documented my life in a way that was meaningful yet, more realistic for me. As you will notice in the pages below, instead of doing it on a weekly basis, I just do one spread for each month and then if we go on vacation or there are extra photos, I’ll simply add another page. This has allowed me to fit about two years in each album which is a significant win in my option.
Since I use a month format, I have a lot more photos to choose from than I would if I were just working with a week at a time. I try to include photos that go well together, but also ones that tell full stories. I use a piece of scrap paper to plan my layouts so that I’m only printing the photos that I need. From there I grab a bunch of supplies in similar color families and then use each pocket opening as if it were it’s very own scrapbook layout. As a more visual person, I tend to hide a lot of my writing. I generally use a card to write “highlights” for the month and then include specifics, such as names of friends, places, and events, on the back of the photos.
At the beginning of this year (my 5th doing Project Life), I started considering alternate ways to document our lives – possibly something online. Obviously, I decided to keep going but my thought process changed a couple months ago when I plugged in my external hard drive to back up my iPhone photos, only to discover a blank folder where all of my files once were. All of a sudden, well over 50,000 photos were gone. I couldn’t help but feel SO thankful that I had a few Project Life albums full of our memories.
I’m not sure how long it was later (it felt like hours), but we finally were able to get the files to show up. I virtually thumbed through my photos feeling reassured that, indeed, the best ones were printed. It was a good reminder, that photos are a priority to me and that I cherish documenting my stories and my life. I care about it so much that even now when I’m at my parent’s or grandparent’s homes, I’ll look through family photo albums that include everything from travel to family history and everything in between. I can’t imagine not having my own stories to share with… well, basically anyone who’s interested.
Needless to say, I’m not giving up on Project Life anytime soon and I might even share it here more frequently.