I’ve had a few emails and comments and questions from people wanting to jump into Project Life but feeling totally overwhelmed and unable to work out where to start and asking if I had any tips…
And I know the overwhelm feeling so well!
I do think the first few weeks of Project Life can be overwhelming and dare I say it, a tad stressful. I know I felt totally confused and wasted a lot of time planning and printing photos and downloading journaling cards from the internet. It became all rather consuming. I’m a member of a lovely little Project Life facebook group and most of us were in the same boat.
I think the key thing is this – Project Life is a totally different concept to making a scrapbooking layout.
- photos will clash
- pages will look busy
- you are teaming up photos from different events, days, scenes – all together in the one space and you don’t generally do that with a scrapbook layout.
- you tend to use less products and more photos and journaling and suddenly the spread becomes about the photos more so than the product.
BUT that is the appeal (for me) of Project Life – it’s documenting real life. Real, colourful, not matchy matchy life. And the focus truly does become about the photos and stories.
I had a hard time getting my head around creating not one but a DOUBLE 12×12 spread. I moved onto 8.5x11inch layouts pretty quickly when I first started scrapbooking because I felt the size was more manageable. So once I started Project Life, the 12×12 inch space initmidated me no end!
The space seemed so ENORMOUS!
- I keep a little notebook on my desk and jot the date and a sentence or two about each day or write down quotes I don’t want to forget from family members etc. because when I sit down to make a spread I don’t want to have to think about dates and what we did when and where..I started to use the Day One iphone app but I am not as diligent using that as using my little notebook.
- I use iPhoto to sort my photos. I haven’t streamlined the perfect Project Lie photo organisation yet but I am working on getting my photos all in one place for easy access. I do sync my phone via iCloud which means each time I take an iphone photo it automatically appears in my photo stream within iPhoto.
- While I do take a lot of iPhone photos I also use my big Canon as well so I have a mix of photos to choose from.
- I still print at BigW – for now. I have been unhappy with the quality of the last batch which put me off their service. I would love a PictureMate 4x6inch printer but I’ll have to save for that one! I try and get the week’s batch of photos printed in one go. I reprinted some photos from BigW for week 4 as I was so unhappy with them and my printer printed them much better but I struggle a bit to get the right sized 4×6 or 3×4 photo when I print them myself..And I do love the sound of the convenience of the PictureMate – and its getting rave reviews out there in the Australian Project Life community! So maybe I will invest in one soon.
- I only use Design A and Design D page protectors..but mostly design A. I couldn’t cope with having different style page protectors and having to have different photo placement each week. Keeping that consistent style works much better for me and I think over time I will get into the habit of setting up each page automatically without thinking too much as I will be so used to that layout.
- If I have too many photos for that week I do like to add in an insert. I use a 6x12inch page protector or I will cut down a Design A protector so i can then fit in another lot of 4×6 and 3x4inch photos + journaling cards. I don’t want to do inserts EVERY week but for those busy weeks where we have an event or a birthday or something then I’ll add in the insert.
- I use a combo of downloaded journaling cards and ones I have picked up along my travels. I don’t have a project life kit yet but have my eye on the one designed by Liz at Paislee Press called Midnight. For the digital downloads – I use a mix of free ones and ones I have bought. I bought a pack of plain white A4 cardstock from office works. It was about $10 for 200 sheets. Its smooth – no texture. And I print my journaling cards onto that.. Sometimes I type my journaling onto it if its just a short journaling strip – using my manual typewriter.
- I mocked up pages in Photoshop using Becky Higgins Project Life templates. I’ve only done this once – for my Week 3 spread..and it was helpful in placing everything as I had a lot of photos that week. However, I don’t know if I will use the template each time. I tend to choose and print all my photos first .. working out which photos I want to do as enlargements (4x6in) and which will be smaller stories and therefore can be smaller photos. Once my photos are decided on, I then decide what “filler” cards I will use. I might print out a little journaling card highlighting a little story from the week or just add some pretty paper and a quote or something. The filler/journaling cards help to balance the page so theres not an overload of photos.
Here’s a screen shot of my work space in Photoshop in the middle of planning a weekly spread.
- I keep embellishments to the minimum. I probably only use those little flair badges, some machine or hand stitching, some tiny tags and thats about all.
- I aim to only use TWO albums for this year. From what I’ve read most Project Lifers use two albums for their year’s worth of spreads.
- And finally, for now, Cathy Zielske and Ali Edwards are good sources of information – along with Becky Higgins. Oh and Pinterest. Type in Project Life and watch the inspiration pop up on Pinterest!!