On Loving the Project Life® Scrapbooking Approach

Becky Higgins added new ease and excitement to scrapbooking with her Project Life® approach and products for scrapbooking daily, weekly or monthly photos with a pocketed system. Paper and digital scrapbookers on the Get It Scrapped Creative Team who love Project Life scrapbooking tell you why and share their own approaches and pages.

Marie-Pierre Capistran loves the richness of life that she records with Project Life.

This is Week 26 of my Project Life album (June 24th to 30th). I’ve been doing Project Life since January 2011 and I love it!

The approach I’m taking is a weekly spread but I never limit myself to a double page layout. I often use several inserts to accommodate more pictures, longer stories, trips or special occasions that might have occurred that week, or bigger pieces of memorabilia. This week shows how I used 2 inserts. One is 5×7 and it’s holding my VIP pass for a show. The other is a 6×12 divided page protector that holds more photos since it was a busy week.

Project Life Week 26 by Marie-Pierre Capistran | Supplies: Project Life core kit from Becky Higgins Sea Foam edition; Project Life Kit from Studio Calico, ; Letter stickers: Basic Grey; Small Tags: Studio Calico, Elle’s Studio, Snap Simple Stories; Washi tape: from my stash.

My approach to Project Life is photo-oriented. I rarely have a spot without photos. When I do, it’s to hold a journaling card for longer stories or to explain the main things that happened during the week. Here I have one of these journaling cards explaining my week. I also have a hand written note from my friend. Since my pockets are so full of photos and I have little room for journaling cards, I use tiny tags to journal directly on my photos. 

Things I love about Project Life:

  • You can decorate as much or as little as you want. On this page, I went a little over top by stitching letters on some pictures.
  • I can incorporate pictures that are not of great quality. The important thing for me is the story.  This album is more about stories and less about beauty, so a photo that wouldn’t make it on a regular scrapbook layout will find a place in my Project Life album. I often use iPhone pictures which let me capture a lot of cute anecdotes–things that happen when I don’t have my regular camera handy. 
  • Another thing I love about my Project Life album is that small stories that would never make it on a scrapbook layout but that I still want to record will easily find a place here. And even some times, when I know I want to create a layout (or 2!) about a story, I still include it here. That way if I run out of time, or suddenly don’t feel inspired about the story anymore, it’s already recorded.

The products I use come from two primary sources: my Becky Higgins core kit (I chose the sea foam edition from Elise Blaha Cripe) and my Studio Calico Project Life kit. I love both! And I love mixing them together. The Studio Calico kit gives me the opportunity of being a little bit more artsy and the Becky Higgins kit is very practical if I have something to jot down quickly. 

One thing I don’t like about Project Life is getting behind. This year I was once behind about 12 weeks. But the minute I got caught up I was so happy again that I didn’t give up. When I look at my current Project Life album and my past albums, the Project Life project is really something other than a collection of pretty layouts, it’s a collection of almost every story of our daily lives. It holds my story, together with the stories of my kids and my husband and our story as a family, unlike our separate albums who each hold our individual stories. The Project Life is the perfect way of scrapbooking if you have little time or if you want to record tons of stories in no time. I LOVE it! 

Tara McKernin adapted Project Life for baby books.

Adapting Project Life for a Year 1 Baby  Book. This is a page I created to work on Jake’s first year.  This baby book holds photos from back in 2009. I’m taking the pocket scrapbooking style of Project Life and adapting it to tell his story.  I didn’t take daily photos; I have a random mix of snapshots of his first year.  I love that this scrapbooking approach is flexible enough that I can roll with a consistent layout or I can mix it up with sizes and different layout options as I need to.

I’ve been working with the Project Life concept since 2010.  I’ve changed my methods many times over trying to keep up, get it done.  For our family album I create weekly spreads, but for the boys I use this approach for event-based layouts, and photobooks with mix of snapshots that I just want included.  I’m always working on it when I have time.  I will never be up-to-date, but my boys love it, and I love that I’m getting the photos off my computer and into a tangible album.  I do a mix of digital, hybrid and paper Project Life layouts. 

Jake at 6 Months by Tara McKernin | Supplies: Life basics Cathy Zielske, Baby for Him kit Project Life Kit Becky Higgins, font BEBAS

Stefanie Semple appreciates daily live more as a result of Project Life.

I love taking a photo every day of the ordinary things that fill our lives. So often something small happens that I want to remember but that doesn’t merit a complete scrapbook layout and Project Life is a way to scrapbook these happenings. I have been taking a photo per day for three years now, but this year is the first that I am creating layouts with them.

I love the simplicity of the photos and captions and the speed with which this scrapbooking can be done. I know that as the years pass, I will look back on these days with fondness, my daily frustrations and the quirks and foibles of the family a thing of the past. 

This page showcases photos taken from the 3rd to the 7th of June. The rest of the week would be on the right hand side. Here are photos of the municipality trimming the tree in our neighbor’s garden so that I have a view of the neighborhood restored, our cats seeking company and huddling together as winter arrives, my son hiding from the camera in his winter school uniform, and veggies steaming for supper, and the scrabble board since my daughter has recently discovered this game.  

I may not create my layouts each week, but since I blog almost daily about our lives (privately) I have the stories and snippets recorded and just need to pair them with photos. I make sure that the layouts are up-to-date by early the following month.

My oldest son has recently gone for a job interview, and the second one has 40 school days left before he finishes with only exams ahead. What will the ordinary be  like next year? How many children will I still have living at home? Life changes at such a pace and I want a daily record of what life is like, and cell phones, digital cameras and taking photos has become affordable and easy and accessible to us all. 

Week of June 3rd by Stefanie Semple | Supplies: Studio Dawn Inskip:(plastic pockets) pocket journal basics; Traci Reed’s Hawt Mama’s: (journaling cards) Journaling cards; Stolen Moments Designs and Erica Zane collab; Tell me about it (kit)

Susanne Brauer loves Project Life’s flexibility.

What I love most about Project Life is its flexibility.  You can use this approach to cover any time period you like: daily, weekly, monthly – or completely at random – depending on how it fits your life and your photos.  These pages are a great example.  They cover a trip I took with my sister-in-law to the Creating Keepsakes Convention in July.  It was only two and a half days out of the month of July, but it was my favorite time.  With lots of pictures reflecting the good times, I knew I could use two pages for the trip in addition to another page or two for the rest of July.

Another fine thing about Project Life is the flexibility to mix and match products.  There are many companies offering products geared to this type of scrapbooking.  My Project Life album for 2012 was compiled using a Becky Higgins kit, but this year I am dabbling in other brands too.  I treated myself to Studio Calico’s Project Life kit for July, and their colors worked perfectly with my trip photos. 

The beauty of having coordinated supplies is that it takes a lot of the “design” work out of the process, making the assembling of pages quick.  I am flexible to using a little or a lot of embellishments depending on what I have at hand.  To keep this design cohesive, I simply stuck to coordinated Studio Calico supplies. 

I do not keep up with Project Life as regularly as I should.  I was much better when I started in 2012.  I try to do a two-page spread monthly, and right now I am catching up on 2013.  Even when I am not “keeping up,” I take more daily photos than before I started Project Life. 

Project Life lends itself to using up leftovers. For extra embellishing, I rummaged for leftover bits from some monthly kits from last year. Another element of flexibility is that these page protectors are leftovers from a set of We R Memory Keepers I purchased for a vacation album two years ago.  Not specifically designed for Project Life and having only 4 x 6 pockets, I adapted them by mounting my 3 x 4 cards side by side on older Studio Calico cardstock so they would be stable inside the larger pockets.  

Project Life is meant to be a potpourri approach – embrace that! 

Week of July 20 by Susanne Crauer | Supplies: Studio Calico Valley High July 2013 Project Life Kit and various leftover embellies from their previous kits

Audrey Tan‘s Chronicles 52 is a digital artsy approach to Project Life

I enjoy Project Life scrapbooking and how it pushes me to look at daily life with a greater appreciation. I consider each day’s occurrences and look for a way to record these as  precious memories. Since doing Project Life, I see my  daily routines in a different (and better) light. I look out for little stuff that can be turned into an interesting account of daily life. Not surprisingly, my camera (usually my iPhone) is out whenever I spot something that is photo-worthy. It probably drives my boys nuts.

Landscape A4 digital is the best format for me. I started project life this year in January. I decided to create my pages digitally and then print them in a Photobook at the end of the year. I decided on a 2-page format, and I checked out the prices for printing. I discovered that printing in A4 size was feasible as there were lots of discounts available. Doing it in a 12×12 format would cost a bomb to print out as that particular size isn’t very common in UK. Thus, I created my own templates for landscape A4 size.

My Project Life week runs from Monday to Sunday. I created a folder on my laptop and with weekly folders for photos and notes. This way, if I want to do scrapbook a particular week, I can go directly to the corresponding folder. As much as I would like to keep up, I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind a few weeks but as the photos are already in the folders, I can easily do them when I’m free. On days when I couldn’t take a photo (either I had forgotten or I wasn’t allowed) I added a note to the folder to remind me of what happened. When I see a note in the folder, I know straightaway something had happened that there was no photo for.

This page focus on Week 31, when I was in Singapore during the summer holidays with my family. In that week, I was busy visiting friends and bringing my boys out. It was also the week where we celebrated my parents’ 49th anniversary. It was an extremely busy week but I loved every moment of it. Project Life enables me to look back on the week. See the photos reminds me how each moment spent with loved ones and friends is precious. I don’t get to see these people often and I cherish my time spent with them. 

I went for an artsy approach to design as  I tend to scrap quickly in that format. I employed the use of brushes and masks a lot as they do come in useful to hide strangers’ faces in photos! Besides, they help to add journaling within a photo too. 
Lastly, I chose to call this project Chronicles 52 as that would be the album name.  

Chronicle 52: Week 31 by Audrey Tan | Supplies: Anna Aspnes: ArtPlay Palette Tangier, Distressed Dates No1, Script Tease Adventure Frames No1, Journal Transfers No2, Project 366 WordArt No1, 52 Weeks No1; Mye de Leon: The Good Stuff Today; Celeste Knight: Noted; Font: Pea Chris In A Hurry

Doris Sander was surprised to fall in love with Project Life.

I had no intention of ever attempting Project Life, but was led to it unwillingly by a friend who sent me an entire kit along with two packages of divided page protectors.  I grudgingly began this past January and found that I actually love the whole process.  Even more importantly, my son loves the finished product. 

I think the Project Life pages read like a fast paced action comic, and this is very appealing for children.  This particular spread from a week or so in June holds ten different events.  Wow!  My project life albums (I’ve moved into my second one!) are always open on a table in our craft room, and my son will often flip through them when he passes by.  He’ll even bring his friends in to look and reminisce.  As you can imagine, this is very rewarding for me.

I mark the start of a new month but don’t scrapbook discrete weeks. As I said earlier, I began project life in January of this year, so I’m in my eighth month of documenting life in this format.  When I first started, I knew that attempting weekly spreads would be very stressful for me.  Instead, I opted to just scrapbook life as it happens.  I put a journaling card heralding the start of a new month wherever that new month begins on the page (you can see the June header in my spread here).  Other than that, I simply slot the pictures, ephemera, and journaling cards as events happen and enjoy the process.

Project Life – Week 23 by Doris Sander

Celeste Smith takes and scrapbooks more photos because of Project Life.

I love Project Life because my family enjoys it. Both sets of grandparents check the blog and can see up-to-date photos of the boys regularly. The boys enjoy telling me what to include and will often let me take a photo just because they know it will go into the project.

I feel like I’m taking more photos and documenting more of our weekly lives. I also feel like I don’t have to scrap as many pages as I capture at least the highlights from our lives every week.

This page from April 2013 exemplifies why I love project life in many ways:

1.) It allows me to record what we’ve been up to without creating an individual page for each story.

2.) Each week I take photos of my kitties and was able to watch them grow and change over the past year.

3.) I can keep it really simple and it still looks fun!

4.) The design is already chosen for you. You don’t need to fuss and figure out where to put things.

5.) Photo centric. Which makes it super fast to complete.

6.) If I don’t scrap any Easter pages, I still have a couple photos here from the event and I don’t feel guilty about it later!

7.) It really forces me to get the camera out more often. My family will often say run and get the camera! 

8.) My Project life uses a Kraft background. I love Kraft!  This is actually a more embellished page for me. I tend to put photos in all of the spaces and make a title card and journaling card and call it done. 

I have taken a weekly approach to the Project. Sunday to Saturday. I tend to scrap my spread the Friday after the week is complete. On the second Saturday, I take 12 random photos that tell about our day (instead of 12 on the 12th) – working mom and getting photos on the 12th just doesn’t mix well.

Next year I’m going to approach Project Life differently. I’m just going to fill spaces until I’m done. So there will be a monthly card in the top left corner then I’ll fill in with a photo and random journaling and filler cards as I go. I think it will make it more interesting. I sometimes have too many photos for one week (and digitally it’s hard to plan and  insert) and other weeks I have not enough . This will allow me to get everything in and journal more!

And FYI – I have not printed one page of my Project Life. The boys look at it on my Flickr account. 

Week 14 by Celeste Smith

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