I love that there are so many approaches to using Project Life – and documenting life in general. I know many of you have really settled into a rhythm with how you use the product and we are so pleased to see and hear about little bits and pieces from you every day. Emails, testimonials, comments on facebook, pictures we see on instagram, a smorgasboard of ideas floating around on pinterest.
I am keenly aware that there are always newbies who want to start Project Life and they’re not exactly sure how to get started. For those of you who are thinking, yep – that’s me, you might be seeing a lot of fun examples online. There is a LOT, and it’s super inspiring – but I totally know it can feel overwhelming seeing all the different ways people are using Project Life.
1. Please be sure to check out our Getting Started slideshow that I made just for YOU. It’s like I’m holding your hand, step-by-step, in getting your album set up. AND … it really shows how I designed the product to work. Which is, no nonsense. No techniques or scissors or adhesive or tools. Simple. Simple, simple, simple.
2. Just in case you’re not already aware, ALL of the items have arrived to Amazon for the Olive Edition and Seafoam Edition. Core Kits, Binders, Month Dividers, 12×12 Designer Paper. It’s all there (after being separated in transit, unfortunately)! As usual, you can get direct links to Amazon from our Products page.
3. Yesterday I was on the Paperclipping Roundtable and the entire show is about Project Life. Elise Blaha Cripe and Catherine Davis, both brand-new to our Creative Team this year, also joined the discussion and we had a lot of great discussion about different approaches to using Project Life, as well as the benefits of keeping it really simple. If you’re interested in listening, it’s right HERE. I even talk about how I documented life on a weekly basis last year … until June. And then life took on some unexpected twists, and the whole last half of my 2012 book is still unfinished. However, as you listen you’ll gain insight as to WHY I’m not stressed, and HOW I am planning to easily and quickly wrap up the remaining 6 months of my 2012 book.
4. We asked a handful of our Creative Team alumni (2012) to share their advice as many of you are getting started with Project Life. Here are their thoughts, in their own words.
advice from seasoned project lifers
I am happy to be starting my fourth year of documenting the everyday with Project Life. I started this project in 2010 using the photo a day approach. I have gradually changed to a weekly summary which is less pressure and so much easier for me. I use my iPhone for my photos a lot! It’s so convenient because it’s always with me. There were weeks in 2012 when I was so busy I didn’t take a lot of photos. When that happened I would just combine two weeks into one two-page spread. Even if you have an off week and take no photos, just keep going! If your album is missing a few weeks here and there, that’s okay! You will still be thrilled with your big album of memories at the end of the year! In 2013, I’m sticking with the same plan – weekly summaries, lots of iPhone photos, and combined weeks when necessary. I truly love doing this project and what I love even more is looking back through all the memories that I surely would have forgotten, had I not documented them with Project Life!
Including as many or as little photos as I wanted! In the past, I would only include one photo per day, but always felt like I had so many more photos I wanted to include to tell the story of that week. This year, I let go and incorporated as many or as little as I wanted! It felt great!
Trying to stay current! I was doing pretty good, but eventually got behind. We use the word “behind” like it’s a bad thing. It really isn’t! As long as you’re still documenting life, it’s all good. Just because you don’t have a weekly layout completed doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! If you stay caught up, that’s great, but if you don’t, just remember to continue to take pictures and write down the stories you want to share. Then when you have time, you have everything you need!
Right now, I don’t see me doing a whole lot differently this year than I have done in the past. I will be using a few new Project Life kits to document with. For instance, right now I am really enjoying using the Childhood Mini Kit – Mayfield Edition in my weekly layouts. I have two girls in school, so it’s perfect! I don’t stick to just one kit, I use almost all of them! The joy of doing it digitally! As far as my process goes, I am going to do a better job of putting things in place now that will make things easier later on. For instance, I am going to set up all my monthly folders on my computer to save my layouts to.
What do you wish you had done in 2012?
I honestly don’t think I would change a thing! This wasn’t my first time, so I think that helped me, as I learned a few things the first two times. I did get a lot of inspiration from others, so there were things I wasn’t doing at the beginning of the project that I am now incorporating into my layouts. One that comes to mind is including those amazing QR codes to be able to scan and watch videos I’ve posted on YouTube. Love this idea, especially for those short in-the-moment videos that I often take of my girls.
Pick a few items that you want to be consistent with from week-to-week. Because I do Project Life digitally, things like the font I use for my journaling and how I date my photos I kept the same each week. That way I didn’t have to think about it. The number one advice I have is to stay true to yourself and remember this is all about documenting everyday life through photos and words! Everything else is just extra … fun and creative extra, but not necessary to make this project work! You’ll see so many different ways that others are doing Project Life. View these are inspiration for yourself, but don’t compare or think you have to do it like someone else. Enjoy the journey, because it truly is life-changing.
I am so glad that I decided to start Project Life in 2012. It was my first venture into digital scrapbooking and I’m getting ready to sell ALL of my paper supplies, if that tells you how well it went! I love the lack of products around the house! This year, I’m going to print a 12 x 12 book of my layouts (including the week in the life series and the 31 things series I did). I’m then going to print additional 8×8 copies for my 3 girls to keep. I’ll be able to send these yearly books with them when they leave the house and start their own adventures. How cool is that? No extra products to buy, just a few clicks. Last year, because my children were so small and we really didn’t venture out much, I only captured the events that we took part in. This year, however I’m going to do the weekly layouts. I’m nervous and excited about doing it this way. I wish I had stayed up to date with my 2012 pages toward the end of the year, but we went through some HUGE life changes (new career for my husband and a move to a new state) and I’m happy that I can go back and do them now without feeling like I forgot what happened. Whew! My best advice for anyone that wants to start Project Life is a) go digital, I love it; and b) start simple — just the cards, photos and journaling. You can add your flare once you get a hang of the routine of putting the pages together.
What really worked for me in 2012 was staying organized and having a set routine that I followed: 1) editing weekly photos; 2) posting photos on my blog with journaling; 3) sketching out my PL layout for the week; and 4) printing photos + journaling cards and putting my pages together. Sometimes I got a little behind, but sticking to these steps and knowing exactly what I needed to accomplish helped me not to feel too overwhelmed. My biggest downfall when it came to Project Life this past year was staying caught up during busy times (vacations and holidays). Those were the times I tended to fall behind and I found it difficult to find the time to catch up. I still haven’t figured out exactly how to avoid this. My biggest advice to anyone starting Project Life is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Try not to get too distracted by what everyone else is doing or all the “extras” out there. Stick with the basics and remember that documenting memories is what matters most.
My biggest piece of advice for someone starting to use Project Life would be to be kind to yourself if you fall behind. I remind myself to not lose sight of the longevity of this project. I began using Project Life because I was overwhelmed with fitting in traditional scrapbooking in my limited free time. So, even if I only complete 50%, 60%, 75% of my weeks I am still telling more of family’s stories that I was before and that is a win! So even if you never go back and complete all the missing weeks the project as a whole is complete.
The biggest thing I’m doing differently in 2013 is that I purchased a Moleskin weekly journal to keep notes on my weeks. I loved this journal because on the left I can keep notes daily and on the right there is a note page for me to jot down funny things the kids say. The last two years my Project Life has been picture-driven. This year I want to capture more of the stories of our life that don’t necessarily have a picture to go with them. This will also be a great memory trigger when I work on weeks that aren’t fresh in my mind.