Digital Project Life : Thoughts Mid-Year

Every week I post another layout for my Project Life album and every week I say the words–I can’t believe I have stuck with it. (If you don’t believe me watch….tomorrow’s post will say the same thing.) Why? Because I really and truly am shocked each and every week that the pages of my family’s yearbook just grow and grow and grow. I am also shocked that for the first time in my life I am actually making consistent time for myself to have a creative outlet, which let’s face it is a challenge for every mom out there.

I am here to tell you it is so worth it.

This past weekend while out with a friend she asked for details when I casually mentioned my weekly memory-keeping project. (This is what I call began to call Project Life after the term Project Life was taken by others to be some sort of new Gunthy Renker product I had been suckered into buying late at night. Not that that ever happens. Right?)

Anyhow, I enthusiastically started explaining Project Life–It’s my photo album! It’s where I write down all of Holly’s quotes! It’s where all of the art projects on the fridge end up after I scan them! It’s a journal of our weekly lives! It’s….and this is when I see it. The look on her face that I get sometimes….the how on earth can you keep up with something like that?!!?

So here is how I do it. Perhaps it will encourage you to take on this project as well, or perhaps you will learn some new tips.

I am here to tell you it is so worth it.

This is what works for me. I thought it was going to be some huge list, but it really came down to just five things:

  1. I am 100% digital. I love going into craft/scrapbooking stores and looking and touching all of the beautiful products. Every time I fill up my cart with goodies so I can start making stuff because it’s all so cute and pretty, and every time I catch myself and put it back. I have come to accept that it’s just not the time of my life right now for that kind of detail. As much as I would love to play with scissors and glue (as I often heard paper-scrapping called) I just don’t have the time, or the energy to clean up, that kind of mess. I told myself if I wanted to play with scissors and glue I could make cards with Holly and surprise surprise I haven’t even done that yet this year. Doing Project Life digitally enables me to take it on the road and not get behind, and it’s not messy. (That is, of course, unless you try to find things in my scrapbooking folder on on my desktop…but that’s a whole other story!) This item boils down to know yourself, and know what will and won’t work for you right now in your life.
  2. I keep it fresh and use different kits every week. I have touched on it above, but it bears repeating. I get bored with things very easily. (Truthfully that was probably my biggest fear when I decided to take this commitment on.) At around week eight or so I ventured away from just using the core kit and started using different paper packs and kits that had been sitting unused in my hard drive for years. I feel good about finally using them, AND it really is fun to challenge myself to try something new. Recently, including this past week, I have blindly picked a kit in my stash and created my layouts with it. Will this work for everyone? No. But it certainly works for me. If you find yourself starting to get bored, or if you are in a rut, give this technique a whirl! (If I am short on time, or just tired from a crazy week, I revert right back to the Clementine Kit. Love that the original Project Life products make it that easy.) Again, this item boils down to know yourself, and what will keep you motivated and excited to keep coming back for more.
  3. I use my iphone for photos 80% of the time. Even though I have a really, really nice DSLR camera, it just can’t beat the convenience of my iphone. (Or quite honestly the angles–love the perspective I can get with that thing!) My phone always with me and it takes away the pressure I put on myself when I use my “real” camera. (Since I process the heck out of my instagram photos, I don’t become obsessed with sharpness or color casting like I do with my images from my DSLR.) To keep up with the pace of a weekly project I knew I couldn’t get mired down with too much perfectionism. That’s a big one for me.
  4. I work on my layouts all week, whenever I can. Sometimes it’s ten minutes a day. Sometimes it’s during naps. Sometimes while I am watching a movie. Or sometimes it’s times like now–2am in the morning when I can’t sleep again. I knew that if I set aside specific time, like on a Sunday evening or something, it just wouldn’t work. Things always come up and disrupt a schedule, plus when I started in January I had a six week old baby that didn’t have any idea what a schedule was. I knew for me to succeed I would have to adopt the “do it when you can” approach, definitely not the way I usually like to do projects, but ya know what?  I have grown to love this method. I get stories down as they happen, record quotes before I forget. But most of all? I love how this approach gives me some “me time,” even if only for a few minutes here and there in the day.
  5. I got the family on board very quickly. Any project is going to be easier if you have people excited about it. (Ever try to get help washing a kitchen floor?) I swear I had my husband saying things like “you have to write this down for your book” by week 3. By week 6 he was very conscious of getting himself in the book too and happily stopped for photos whenever I asked. My four year old, FOUR YEAR OLD, now has her own set of Design A page protectors and is making her own album she thinks it’s so fun. (And if you can’t find her–look for the flashes in the house. I gave her my old canon point and shoot and the girl has gone photo crazy. Just don’t give her any grief about posing, she will snap at you, “It’s for my scrapbook Mom!”) Project Life isn’t just about me getting some fun craft time, it really is about getting your family excited to be memory-keepers as well. I can only imagine how much they are going to love it come next January when the book is actually printed, and we can look back and relive our year.

I didn’t mention anything about being behind, and being okay with it, because for me–that wouldn’t work. I personally can’t get behind with a project because it just doesn’t get done. (Anyone notice how my Week in The Life album has only one page complete and the week itself wrapped up months ago?)

I do, however, think that this method of scrapbooking is forgiving of getting behind and catching up so if you are not like me, I wouldn’t let that be an issue. I have seen many, many others get months at a time done over a weekend. I just know that I am not one of them! Early on I gave myself a deadline of posting on Tuesday every week, and save a week or two I have met it. Some weeks are a bit more scrappy and detailed, others are not. All depends on how quickly Tuesday is approaching! I am completely okay with it, and if I get a bit bummed things don’t look as “cute” as I want them to I try to remember that what the quotes, the stories, and the photos are what are important–NOT the washi tape. Right? Maybe? I don’t know….there is some cute washi tape out there…. 🙂

I hope this gives you some insight into Project Life if you are thinking about jumping in. I encourage everyone to jump in, and am happy to point you in the right direction if you need help getting started.

I am here to tell you it is so worth it.

See you tomorrow for Week 26!

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  • libbywilko - Great Post ! Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • Cherry - I’m a huge fan of your site! I love your photography and your project life. It’s really inspiring. I wish that I would be able to start and finish mine for next year 🙂ReplyCancel

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