Friday, January 27, 2012

PROJECT LIFE: Intro and Week 1

Hi! Sorry I haven't been back sooner, but I've been busy! Of course, that's always the excuse isn't it? At least I can say it was partly due to some craftiness :)

You see, like I mentioned in my last post, I decided to give Project Life a try. For those who aren't part (or on the sidelines) of the online scrap/crafty community, Project Life is basically a simplified system for documenting/scrapbooking your life. It's really nothing more than specially sized page protectors, journaling cards, accent papers and an album that you buy as a kit. You print off your pictures, slip them inside the page protectors, write on the journaling cards, put them in the smaller pockets, add whatever you want as decoration, and voila, instant scrapbook. It's been around for a few years now but this year it just seems to have exploded in popularity, and I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

I was actually really lucky because my online friend Stephanie actually gave me her 2011 kit that she didn't end up using in exchange for some Canadian food goodies (poutine sauce anyone?), so I didn't have to pay for any of it (she just sent me the page protectors and the cards, not the album or papers). I was waiting anxiously for it to arrive and it did a couple of weeks ago, so I've been working on 'catching' up ever since.

And so far? 


Here are my random thoughts/philosophies on the process so far:

-I'm approaching the album in the same way that Ali Edwards does hers (yes I copy Ali a lot, so sue me). Basically one two page spread covers a week (Sunday to Saturday in my case). Which  means at the end of the year I'll have 52 spreads (unless I combine a few weeks, which very well may happen one life starts to get busier). I'll add extra inserts when I can't fit everything on a spread, but for the most part it'll just be the 2 pages.

-I'm not focusing on taking a picture a day (which the spreads allow for), but instead am looking at it as a weekly overview. So if one day I didn't take a picture, I use more shots from an event where I did take more than one, or whatever.

-Ideally I will journal as the weeks happen, and have been trying to do that this past week, but since I'm 'catching' up from the first 3 weeks (we're ending Week 4 tomorrow), I'm more or less journaling from memory/using the pics as jump off points. But like I said, I'm going to try and journal more 'in the moment' when I can. I'm thinking about using an App on my phone to prompt me to journal in that way too.

-I'm also trying to include as much 'stuff' as possible, since I find it's a nice change from just photos and journaling. Receipts, cards, tags, whatever, it's fun to collect little bits of life.

-The key for me in this project is keeping it out and visible for me to see and work on. I have everything set up on my dining room sideboard. The album is open there, along with a basket full of random bits to use on the pages (will get into that in a second), along with my cutter, glue, journaling cards, anything I think I'll use. By having it all (neatly) out in the open, I'm always reminded to work on it and can pick at it during the week in my few free moments as opposed to putting it away, lugging it out and working on it once a week for a few hours and putting it back away...that would never work for me. The sideboard is also a perfect height to work standing up, which I really like.

-I borrowed my mom's photo printer which is also a HUGE help. I print off a few pics whenever I'm at the computer, then put them in the protectors right away to decorate at a later time. Again, doing one big batch once a week at Wal Mart or something would never work for me, I'd fall so behind that I would just quit, I  knew it.

-My main philosophy for this project falls into line with my Goals for 2012: Keep my expectations of it realistic, finish what I start, and KEEP IT SIMPLE. So if the photos aren't perfectly edited (I just quickly edit them in iPhoto, nothing beyond that), or the journaling is messy, or something is crooked, just leave it be. This is a marathon project, not a sprint, so it's important to pace myself, not make it more complicated/elaborate than it has to be, and to just have fun with it. Make it mine, something for my family only, not something to impress the online world or anyone else. Making and keeping memories, that's it.

-I love how this project has already prompted me to pick up my camera more and to observe things more closely. Sure, it might be in an artificial way ('ooh, that'll be cool to put in the album!' type thoughts), but still, I'm happy to have the incentive always there reminding me to document more (something I've been really slacking on lately).

Ok, enough rambling, here we go, Week 1!!

(I haven't worked on the cover page yet, not sure when that'll get done, I have an idea of what I want to do though. The album itself is a simple AC cloth d-Ring album in chocolate brown, goes great with the colour combo of the kit. The kit also includes clear dividers for each month, that's the teal thing you see on my first spread.)



There are a few things I've decided to include in every week to make the album a bit more cohesive (but I'm not going to be inflexible about it either, this is as long as it works for me):

-The Week Title Card in the top left corner (with a letter sticker/large 'W' at the beginning)
-A "Weekly Overview" Card somewhere on the layout (basically just a bit of journaling reporting what we did that week, this time it's in the bottom right corner)
-Our grocery receipt when we do groceries (always in the same small pocket on the second page)
-An iPhone screenshot of the weather for the week (didn't include in the first week but have been doing it ever since...and idea I saw on Cathy's blog)

That's it for now, I may start including other 'constants' later on, but I'm finding that it's hard to fit everything in as it is now, so I'll probably leave it at that.

My idea on the whole 'scrapbooking' part of it is to keep it quite simple, but I still want to add a bit of flourish here and there, which to me is coming in the form of 'sticking sh*t on the photos', haha. Lots of labels and journaling spots (great way to include more journaling), stickers, letters, rub-ons, date stickers, anything that can fill in the negative space of a photo. (It's old school scrap style, but whatev.) I don't do it to every pic but I try to add something to most of them. I have a lot of scrapbooking stuff leftover that I will never use for actual pages, so using it up here is perfect for me. I'm also using digi elements when I can (which you'll see in Week 2 and 3 once I post them). I just tweak my photos in PS before printing, usually it's super easy and quick (again, keeping it simple).

I'm also really enjoying including 'collages' of various shots, either from my phone or my camera, whatever I can fit into a 4X6 slot. This week I did a collage of 6 Instagram shots from the week.

There is SO MUCH inspiration online right now for this project that there isn't a shortage of ideas for things to do to keep it fresh if I have a slow week, so I'm excited to try a few ideas I've seen online from time to time, but again, it's more about just documenting life and creating this for my family to look back on one day.

Finally, why am I doing this? It's our first full year as a family of four. I want to do it justice :)

Ok, back soon with Week 2, if you have any questions about it just let me know!

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