Project Life – Begin Where You Are

With the beginning of the new year, Project Life inspiration is everywhere. If you start visiting around the various blogs who talk about Project Life, it won’t be long until you feel like you need a whole room dedicated to your Project Life book, along with a series of extra products that are too cute to pass up and you are right back to traditional scrapbooking.


A lot of these women bloggers are either professional bloggers and/or affiliated with the scrapbook industry some how. And that is great. I have no beef with them or what they are doing with their albums. My beef is how it is affecting you.

If you have never done Project Life before, I have one piece of major advice for you. Just get the kit and start. You don’t need anything but the core kit and the basic pages. $50 total. Buy a 3 ring album that you like – either from Amazon or your local retailer. And at the end of the year, you will have a lovely album.

The only other thing you need is a photosafe pen and that is it. Nothing else. If you want to start really fancy, get Becky’s package of variety pages for those times you take pictures in various orientations.

I have had a scrapbook room for years. Yes, a room. I have loads of supplies. And they can overwhelm me on any given day.

The whole reason I have a completed album from 2011 is because I kept it simple. I kept it in my kitchen where I could access it daily. It didn’t take up an entire counter.

As your year goes on, you will find other things that you think are cool and you will add them to your book too. But don’t wait until you have all those things to start. Just begin with the basics. Who knows? Perhaps we will morph into one of these scrapbooker extraordinaires. But if we don’t, we have a beautiful album that our family can remember the year with.

Here is what I kept in my kitchen last year.

One 12×12 plastic envelope (available at any craft store chain) and a leather-ette looking two drawer desk top organizer.  (Found at Kohl’s on clearance)

The envelope had 8.5 x 11 cardstock and a *small* smattering of decorative paper that I thought coordinated with my kit well enough.  This was used when I had a large picture to insert (via regular old page protectors that I already had on hand) or several smaller pictures that didn’t fit in the book.

The top drawer contained my cards from the kit, the date stamp that came with the kit last year and my 3 pens.  The scissors don’t actually belong in there but got shoved in there this week for some reason.

The bottom drawer included the stuff (mostly from the kit) that I didn’t use daily.  Plain white journaling cards (now included in the kit), the arrow and number stickers, a package of photo splits (adhesive for when I inserted a picture or pictures onto one of those 8.5×11 pages I mentioned above) and a package of flip-flaps (from Close to my Heart – adheres to the page to add two more pictures to an event when I needed them).

That’s it.  And even that is too much for some of you.  But being streamlined, sticking to the kit and keeping it neat in my living area is how I completed the album last year.  As much as I love some of these fancy albums I see people post on line, I love my simple album even more.  Because it’s mine.

Keep It Simple Sweetheart.  You can rock this too.


*edit to add – This year you don’t even need the leatherette drawer thing.  Last year the kit came in a huge 12×12 box.  Now that the core kit comes in such a cute little box, you can just set that on your counter.  One less thing to buy.  Or reason to postpone starting.  No more excuses.

Project Life 2012 – Hello!

For 2011, I did Project Life for our family album and it was great.  I am ordering pictures for the last of December and I hope to have the album completed by the end of January.  I can’t say that I’ve ever had a year of our family album done by the end of January of the following year!

A couple of my girl friends have asked to see my album from 2011 so I will make an effort to share that with you when I have it completed.  In the meantime, here is a video I did earlier this year of my Project Life album.

*note – Turquoise album is now available again on Amazon.

Last year I started out trying to do a picture a day but I quickly moved to using a week to highlight the best of that week. Some days just don’t have anything special.

I plan to show you how I set up my PL station in my kitchen last year – which is a major factor in staying up to date for me. That will come, but in the meantime, here are some fantastic posts from around the net of how some other ladies set up their PL stations. Keep in mind, some of these are pretty intense and remove the whole point of keeping the album simple. But the beauty of PL is that you can use it straight out of the package and make it work for you from there. Just start. Play with it and figure out how it works best for you.

This year I ordered both the Clementine and Cobalt collections. I ended up selling the Cobalt to a friend since I didn’t care for it as much as I do the Clementine. Additionally, I bought the digital version of the Original kit (via Jessica Sprague). Now I’m sorting out how to use them. Whether I will use the digital version on old pictures and the Clementine for this coming year. I’ll let you know when I get going on that.

Here are a few resources for you as you decide if this project is for you and if so, how to get set up for your own personal success.

The Mom Creative

Mish Mash

The Moments in Between

Marcy Penner

I love that Marcy pulls in various pictures into Photoshop and resizes them to her desired size and prints it all on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of photo paper.  I will be implementing this in the coming year!

I’m excited for another year or preserving our family history in a touchable way that is current.  I wish the same for you.



Project Life – Journaling cards

When working in my Project Life album, sometimes I have an event that requires more than one picture but not more than one journaling card.  And, as much as I love the pretty cards that came with my kit, sometimes they don’t go with what I’m working on.  Last night I got tired of of cutting my paper to 2.75 by 3.75 and it not always matching quite right.  I began wishing there was some setting on my Cricut or some Sizzix die that was just the right shape so that they would all be the same – every single time.

And I made a discovery!  The Sizzix Frame #2 die creates a perfect journaling spot card!  Use the interior of the frame (that you would normally toss as scrap/leftover) and it fits perfectly!

I hope this discovery makes your life easier too!



It’s been almost a week since I spent any time with you.  I went to a scrapbook retreat last weekend with some of my besties so that’s what has had me all distracted.  You know how it is, you get a little crazy in the lead up to time away from home and then you come home to all manner of things that need your attention that had to wait until you got there.  So, that puts me here with you on this fine Wednesday.

I want to talk to you today about Project Life.  It’s like a hybrid that is just right for those of us who like to “scrapbook” but also are just too dang busy to make every page some elaborate masterpiece.

It really isn’t rocket science, but it is a huge step forward and a total relief to me.  The meat of the system is a series of pages that you drop your 4×6 horizontal photos into along with 2×3 slots for journaling cards.  Sounds pretty mundane, actually.  But there is beauty in the mundane!  (That, too, is a theme for Project Life but you’ll have to discover that part on your own.)

I began scrapbooking somewhere around 1997.  I have scads of traditional scrapbook albums with many beautiful layouts in them.  I was super pleased that when I became a mother, I was able to remain pretty up-to-date in my chronological scrapbooking method.  I was routinely scrapbooking and my current page was pictures taken within the last three months.  Until… 2004 when we moved.  With the move, all the supplies went into boxes and they just were not the priority when it came to settling my little family of four into our new home.  Eventually they did get unpacked but I also got pregnant and had a third child.  With the move, the pregnancy, some knock-me-down illness and a new baby I just couldn’t keep it up.

As of this writing, my “traditional” scrapbooks are up to December 2005.  My youngest child is about six months old in those albums.  He needs to be able to see the pictures of his role in our family too, don’t you think?  This was reinforced to me recently when a friend who has 7 children told me about her youngest child.  She too is up to 2005 in her chronological family albums.  Problem is, her youngest child hadn’t been born yet.  That sweet little girl recently asked her why there are no pictures of her!

Enter Project Life.  I heard about this method in December and I ordered it up for our family.  The premise is that you would take a picture every day and journal the highlight of the day.  The problem for me is that I simply don’t want to commit to a 365 picture-a-day project.  I have enough commitments, thankyouverymuch.  For me, I use the album to highlight the 7 most important images of my family that week.  At some point, I’ll show you my actual album week-by-week.  But not today.  It’s the end of March at this writing and the album for 2011 is virtually up-to-date.  Each week consists of some pictures of what we did that week along with the journaling about what happened.

There are 8 slots for each two-page spread for both pictures and journaling cards.  One of the 4×6 slots is used to note the week’s date.  The other seven 4×6 slots are for your pictures.  The kit comes with the 4×6 date cards for you that coordinate with the journaling cards and some decorative 2×3 cards. (7 cards to journal the 7 days of the week and one extra just to look pretty.)

I love that I can use the kit and add to or subtract from it to make it fit perfectly for our family.  Recently, we had two rather dull weeks.  I don’t think I took 7 pictures total in either week!  For that situation, I simply had the two page spread represent two weeks.  It is totally adaptable.  For someone like me who can sometimes fail to start something simply because I don’t know that it’s going to work out perfectly, that makes Project Life very attractive.

Another key reason – and probably one of my absolute favorite reasons – I love Project Life is that when one of my children says or does something that I want to remember, I run right over to my little desk in the kitchen and jot it down directly on one of the journaling cards.  I date it and slip it into one of the slots for the week we are currently in.  No longer do I have a journal where I record the funny things they say and do and hope that I can find it when it comes time to “scrapbook” that time in their lives.  It is right there where is should be – in the album.

If you are still reading this, I commend you.  As you can see, I can go on and on about Project Life.  I will likely do just that in the weeks ahead.  But if you are thinking you might want to try it – don’t think for a second that you have to wait until January to begin.  You can start at any month.  Just do it.  I highly recommend it.

All of this chatter about documenting our lives via scrapbooks is the prompt for my picture of the post. Last week we had a lovely sunny day. I decided it was time to document some of the changes that are happening in our town. Someday, it won’t look anything like it does right now. I always love seeing those old pictures of what a town looked like before progress came and made it what it looks like today. So, I thought I’d do my part for my little piece of history.