My Project Life Journey

I feel like this post has been a long time coming. I was all about Project Life back in August and September but then we started tearing up the floor upstairs and Project Life fell behind. I just shared on the blog my first album and am about to share my second album here in a week or so but I thought I would share with you how I decided on my current Project Life plan and how I plan on going forward. Here's the scoop...
Why Project Life
Before looking at pocket scrapbooking, or Project Life, I looked at the Smashbook way of scrapbooking. I wanted a creative way to scrapbook but a way that also had some structure. I wanted to be guided in my scrapbooking journey, if that makes sense. I was never too good and traditional scrapbooking and it always felt too permanent. I always hoarded my scrapbooking supplies for fear of using them in the wrong layout and making another layout where the elements would have been better used. After standing in the scrapbooking aisles of severals stores for several visits I deceided that Smashbook was too loose - I'd have to glue things down and make a more creative layout. And with Smashbooks you just smash any stuff that you have collected. Project Life appealed to me with it's structure of weekly documenting. It seemed more feasible of a break down for me. It was something I could follow.
The 6x8 Album
With my first album I decided just to get pictures into pages. Not rhyme or reason really. I chose to do an album on our first few years together, just to get everything off the computer and into an album. The 'standard' album I saw was 12x12 and for me I thought that was too big. Not only did I want to conserve space but I didn't want to start too big for fear that I would be too overwhelmed. If I was too overwhelmed I might quit and that isn't what I wanted to do! I wanted something achievable and the smaller album was perfect for that. Soon though, I realized that 6x8 would take up a lot of space with the way I decided to break down our lives - breaking it down into months really put me at 3 albums for each year.  So while it takes up space physically it's an easier breakdown for me visually. 6x8 has become an easier chunk to tackle than an entire 12x12 album.

Design Inspiration
When I first discovered Project Life I realize there was a lot that people did with it. There were ornately decorated pages on one end and incredibly designed pages on the other end. You could got totally creative or totally structured (not to say the structured layouts weren't creative...). But there was serously a whole creative spectrum and I didn't know where I fell in that spectrum. So I just started. I just put photos in an album. I bought the Midnight Kit because it was on sale and had at it. I liked the simplicity of the Black and White through the kit. I then bought the Sunshine Edition and felt like those colors and designs fit better with how I see things - colorful and full of pattern.
In my first album I played with different elements. I tried to add in ephemeria and clip things in, I found I didn't like it. The pages became bulky and the extra doo dads added nothing to my pages. In moderation it could fit into my layout but it wasn't something I wanted to do every page. I also tried mixing journal cards with no real end game in mind. I found that that looked haphazard and I liked the structure of a semi-planned layout. I also tried digital journalling but found I liked my handwritting better even if it was semi-messy. Digital just didn't work for me.
When thinking about my next album I wanted some structure through each section. At first I thought I wanted to do a single font pairing through the entire book for some consistency. But that got pushed aside as I realized that I wasn't going to be doing digital journaling. I did however like the idea of a consistent opening page for each section. So I decided on a SNAP insert with two 3x4 pockets and six 2x2 pockets to open up my months. Once I found these month cards I found on the blog Caylee Grey, I went back to my idea of a consistent font pairing. Each month opens with this page, a collage of the month's photos, and a list of things that I liked that month. I also use this calendar within the month to mark out special dates.
Monthly Break Down Over Weekly Break Down
As I got through my first album, I realized I was grouping by events rather than weeks and I liked that. I tried to do my next album, the 2013 album, in weeks but found that not a lot happened in a week, not even enough to fill a single 6x8 spread. I quickly gave upon my 2013 album and it sits unfinished on my shelf because of that! Grouping by month allows me to group photos by event or by similiarity. I always have a dog spread (or two) in each month, I always have a make up spread, etc. Dividing it up into months meant that I wasn't struggling with filling a page with stuff from one week. I also liked that it was more consistent....with weeks I'd have to skip a week or combine two weeks. I didn't like that. I wanted a structured break down.

The Kits
At first I bought the Midnight Edition because it was on sale and I figured I might as well get it before it was gone! Next I just bought whatever little card kits that were on sale. I used We Are Memory Keepers cards, Project Life Cards, and printable kits. I also decided to design my own. My two favorite kits are the Midnight Edition and the Sunshine Edition. I have some other kits - a Heidi Swapp kit and the Dear Lizzy Edition kit - but I find that parts of them don't really fit my style. I like the simplicity of Midnight and the color and pattern of Sunshine. And I wouldn't have known with out just playing around.
I also tried my hand at creating my own cards and found this was a successful way to feel even more creative when it came to Project Life.  And I don't have to worry about using a card in the wrong spot because I could just print another one.  (Here are some of my free Project Life cards.)

Other Thoughts
I don't like stickers.  And I am not fond of 4x6 cards.  There wasn't really a place to put that so I put it here.  I now have a basket full of stickers that I'm not going to use.  I have some stamps I want to try but I'm not sure where they will go.

I do know that I want to incorporate more traditional scrapbook paper in my albums.  I like the patterns that I can find and I like the smaller packs that have themes to them.

I might go to only using one or two colors of the small SNAP albums.  I like the black and I like the teal.  Right now, 3rd 2014 album is in an album with a pink spine and I just don't quite like it.  Going to one color might give me more uniformity and look better in the long run.

Glossy photo paper is the paper I like to use. The matte and satin finishes start to look dull after a while.  Glossy is more traditional and I like the way it looks in my albums.

Cutting images down and pasting them back to cards hasn't been all I'd hoped it would be.  I still want to see if I can find a way to do this that I like since I like it in so many others albums.

So those are my thoughts on Project Life.  I think I've settled into something I want to keep on with as I keep making albums.  I'm going to try to show my albums monthly and hopefully I can do that!!

What was your Project Life journey like?  What did you discover about your process?

xoxo, Moe

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