Monday, January 09, 2012

Project Life

My friend Lindsay has been posting on her blog, Twitter and Facebook about Project Life lately.  I knew what it was - heck, anyone who has ever been a serious scrapbooker knows what it is.  Basically, it's a simplified way of documenting your every day life, as a way of leaving a record.  Rather than your kids and grandkids being left photo albums full of pictures of people that barely have names, let alone stories about who they were, they'll be able to really get a feel for who you are and how things are now.  I mean, I know I'm not the only one who has looked at old black and white photos of long gone relatives and wondered about them as people, am I right?

Sure, there's traditional scrapbooking.  That will always be my first love.  The thing is, since Bubba's been born, I haven't really done a whole lot of it.  I have photos that I can go back and add to his album, but the truth is that with time, a lot of the details in my memory has been lost.  That makes me sad.  

With Project Life, every thing is simplified.  There's no pressure to come up with unique layouts and titles.  You can put multiple random photos on one page.  There is no matching papers or searching for the perfect embellishments.  You're simply documenting your life.

Of course, they sell kits for this.  You can get them on Becky Higgin's website.  They have fancy page protectors and pre-printed cards on which you can write your journal entries that are all nice and color coordinated.  All you have to do is print your photos, write out your journaling, and slide everything into it's own little pocket in the fancy divided page protector.  Wham, bam, DONE.  

The thing is, it's not cheap.  You start adding up the cost of those cute little cards and all those nifty divided page protectors,  and you're going to be spending QUITE a bit of money by the time the year is through.  Some people have that sort of disposable income, but unfortunately with a baby on the way, I'm not one of them.  They do offer a digital version of the kits as well, with downloadable templates that you can use over and over again, as well as files for the different journal cards.  This is considerably cheaper - until you factor in printing out those layouts.  My printer at home cannot print 12" x 12", so I'd have to send them out.  Again, by the end of the year, this will get really expensive.  

So what's a girl to do?

Well, if she's like me, she already has a crapload of paper in her house.  She has adhesive.  She has a corner rounder, a color printer, a date stamp, and a pen.  She has a Walgreens a few blocks up the road that offers 19 cent prints that will be ready in about an hour.  AND - she has Photoshop.  She is creative and cheap, and will find a way to do Project Life for a fraction of the cost.  After all, it's about documenting the memories, not about buying stuff!

The first thing I did was to make my own cute little journaling cards.  I printed some out on white cardstock, and some out on kraft colored cardstock.


Then I cut them apart.  I stuck them in a little tin on top of my desk so that when I'm doing this, all I have to do is reach in there and grab one.  I also cut rectangles of the same size from plain white cardstock to use for the same purpose.  I figure I can embellish those with bits of patterned papers from my scrap pile to jazz them up a bit.


You like?  Visit my Facebook page and click LIKE if you haven't already to access the links for the free download so you can print your own.  I'll post more in the next few days.
Last week, when I decided to do this, I sent some photos to be printed at Walgreens.  Some I left 4" x 6", and some I made 3" x 4".  The beauty of a 3" x 4" is that you can put two on a standard 4" x 6" canvas using photo editing software, and get two prints for the price of one!  While I was working in Photo Shop I also went ahead and typed up some little titles to go with some of the photos and sent those to be printed too.

Why those two sizes that I mentioned?  Well, that's part of what makes Project Life so simple:





It's like a formula.  Each page follows the same basic design, with tweaks here and there to make things fit.  There's no trying to figure out how things will be placed on each page - that part is pretty much done for you.  As you can see, I took some liberties with that basic formula in a few places, such as filling in those blank spots on the race car layout with patterned paper because I didn't have enough photos.  I also used a combination of my pre-printed journal cards along with plain cardstock cards that I embellished with patterned papers.  I did add a couple of simple embellishments to some of the pages just for fun, but it wasn't anything special or that took a lot of time.

I did all four of these layouts in under an hour.  I just trimmed a 1/8 of an inch from the top and side of each photo (so there would be a little border showing around each), rounded the corners, wrote out my journaling, and glued everything down on sheets of cardstock.  DONE.  No need for fancy page protectors or kits here!

I'm hoping I can really stick with this since it does take a lot less time, and finally get back to the business of preserving some of our family memories.  Knowing that there are so many spaces for smaller photos means I can use iPhone and Instagram pictures on these too! Thank you Lindsay for the little push in the right direction and the encouragement to do this!  I'm scrapbooking again!

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18 Comments:

Blogger Becky M said...

This is a fantastic idea! thank you for sharing your inspiration and your template. I need to do this too. I also have not been scrapbooking and I don't want baby #2 to feel forgotten!

7:33 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Taylor said...

Super CUTE! You never cease to amaze me with your frugal-ness :) I LOVE following your blog, which I found via Lyndsay's. Amazing!!

8:40 AM  
Blogger Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista said...

I love this concept! On my to do list is a "Ashley Johnson life book" A book of life before marriage, hence my maiden name. I made tons of scrapbooks full of every and all photos I had and it is just too much. So I want to condense favorite memories and events into one life book. I think I would like to take some of these concepts and add some journaling and personality aspects. It is a huge project so I have hopes of actually starting this year!

4:51 PM  
Blogger Sgarbossa Family said...

Target currently has a $2 off 20 4X6 pics coupon on their website. I think their prints are usually $.15 & sometimes go on sale for $.10, so that makes it somewhere between free-$1 total for 20 pics. :)

10:22 PM  
Blogger NEmicki said...

This is awesome!! I too am loving on the project life concept but can't bring myself to spend the money with my current scrapbooking stash/horde. I am excited to try your DIY version. I hope you will post more related ideas and updates. Because of you - I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!!

8:47 PM  
Blogger NEmicki said...

I love your DIY project life idea. I too am really excited about the idea of project life but can't bring myself to spend the money. Also, I can't turn my back on my scrapbooking stash/hoard in good conscience. I hope you will post more ideas about this and updates on you DIY project life. Because of you --- I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!!! Thank you.

8:55 PM  
Blogger N. said...

though i don't do project life I find your cards very useful. thanks for sharing!

3:48 AM  
Blogger mom2triplets04 said...

thank you for sharing your journaling cards. I just started doing project life and these will really help.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

The cards are awesome, than you!

9:08 AM  
Blogger lish¬© said...

hello dear, for all your work, I'd like to share the Liebster award with you!

http://junkstarbuddy.blogspot.com/2012/02/thanks-to-joey-joey-and-jie-ying-for.html

7:20 AM  
Blogger Donna Patrice said...

What a fantastic idea! I'm using the kit this year, but I will definitely be using this idea for my next year's Project Life. Thank you so much for sharing this!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Lucy said...

Love this post ! Thank you.
libbywilko

7:03 AM  
Blogger S said...

Great post. Alas I don't do Facebook, so no download for me.

4:49 PM  
OpenID Ktr said...

I just received my first project life today without the journal cards because they weren't available yet so I think you may have saved me money.
KarenR

3:08 PM  
Blogger Tiny Teague said...

WOW!!! I've been waiting and waiting for the Project Life core kits to be available and I think you may have just changed my mind - for the better! I can't believe I hadn't thought of doing it this way. Thank you for opening my eyes. I have tons of paper to use up. I have to ask did ou just buy a regular 12x12 binder and then 12x12 page protectors? Thanks again - I'm trying to be more frugal as well. Oh I am so excited to get started!!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I have just recently decided that I wanted to do Project Life! I found your site from a post on the Project Life Community message boards. (Big Picture Classes website) Thank you so much for sharing your journal cards with us! I really appreciate it! :)

2:22 PM  
Blogger Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

Oh thank you so much! I love this style of documenting but definitely don't have the money to spend on all the kits. Man it's expensive. I have a silhouette cutter and figure I can design my own cards. Thanks for the trick in skipping the fancy sheet protectors. I am definitely not a scrapbooker, so I didn't want invest a whole bunch and then decide it wasn't for me. :)

8:54 AM  
Blogger Patty Castillo said...

Awesome, I was thinking the same. I am just now starting mine and this is a lot help. Thanks

10:15 AM  

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