Tuesday, March 20, 2012

project life: my approach and a printable planner

So many of you have been waiting for this post and I'm worried you're going to be very underwhelmed haha. No elaborate or unique and wonderful Project Life ideas here - just back to basics easy, simple and straightforward.

Today I'm going to share with you how I approach Project Life. I have taken a much more relaxed approach to it this year as I found I was over-stressing about it all and although I loved the result of a finished Project Life - I didn't love the whole process as I was always stressy about it. This was heightened because 2011's Project Life is still not finished. I did the digital version last year and half way through the year decided I didn't like it, and gave it up and said I'd do it all with a kit this year. Crazy? Yes! I've since grown a brain and decided to just finish the digital version since there is already so much there.

So for this year, I am focusing more on photos than on journalling. The journalling is what got me behind most last year and the year before. And I found I was writing a lot of fluff to fill up the journaling card because sometimes there's just not that much to say. Sometimes a simple sentence is all that is needed for a photo. I am also doing an overview of the week per spread and not a strict photo for each day.

On Sunday night I copy all photos from my camera and iPhone to my computer. 
Then I work out which photos from the week will feature in the album. I try to do a decent mix of the kids and home / family stuff, keeping in mind that the kids each have their own album as well that focuses more on them.

I do find though that I need to plan my spreads a bit more than when I was just choosing a 4x6 photo per day to add to the album. Now I'm also adding in a lot of 3x4 photos as well in place of journalling cards and when going to print the smaller photos I often forget which ones I had wanted. So I plan my spreads using my project life planner where I write down the photos I choose and then I know what I need to print in what size.

Although I choose photos for the album weekly, I am only printing every 2 weeks so the printable also serves as a reminder of where the photos go. There is space to jot down a little note to add to the journalling too. This helps me not forget something funny that was said or anything else I might not remember when it comes to sitting down and doing up the last 2 weeks. Nice and easy.

I am finding that even though I am doing more planning before I print the photos, the putting together and finishing a spread does not take as long as it used to. Including rounding all the corners, which I haven't done prior to this year as I always felt behind and didn't have time to.

You can download a copy of my Project Life planner here - it is nothing special, but it has been helping me big time. Also, I am not printing a heap of extra photos I don't end up using or printing the wrong size. The planner prints 2 per A4 page.

Overall, this year has been the most enjoyable yet for Project Life. I have found what 'works for me' and have loved putting together my pages. I often have a helper or two along side me which I love so much. I feel that they are learning about how important it is to document our memories in a way that is meaningful to us :o}

Here are just a couple photos of what my spreads end up looking like. They are really nothing overly fancy or complicated. But I need project life to be simple and straightforward for me. I am not a scrapbooker by nature. I don't do the elaborate and beautifully decorated pages. I just need simplicity in documenting the big and little things in our everyday and this is what is working and I LOVE IT. 

So you can see my pages are pretty simple. I don't do a lot of intricate stuff here. I don't think it has to be like that if you're not that way inclined. Don't get me wrong, there are some absolutely fantastic ideas out there where people are really thinking outside the box and it looks amazing. But it's not for me when I am being realistic about what I can manage. I also do a few other things for memory keeping and also keep an album per child, so it gets pretty busy enough here with that on top of everyday life.
I will do up special pages like collages of crafts we did  for a certain celebration like Christmas or Easter or A4 pages of the kids' birthdays etc and print those to add but they are also fairly simple {just done with photoshop} and then added to the album in an A4 sleeve.

I also think it's important to remember that if you're feeling overwhelmed by having to do huge intricate albums for your kids - that is just not so. I have ONE album from my childhood. ONE. Probably about 30 pages from when I newborn to when I was about 6 or so. I cherish it and it means the world to me that I have that at all. Our kids will appreciate any effort what so ever that we put into documenting their childhood. In whatever form that may be.  :o}

Our project life album is pretty family based - and of course kids artwork and some of our activities make it in here too. Above is the wrapping paper Noah coloured for my birthday present earlier in the month. I like keeping things like that.
But the majority of the kids art and activities make it into the kids own albums so I don't anticipate needing more than one album for Project Life 2012 - which suits me perfectly since I don't have a lot of storage room for 100's of albums :o} My 2010 Project Life is also one album, and my 2011 Project Life will be completed sometime soon and as it is the old digital version it will be a bound book.

So Project Life for me is fairly basic and makes documenting our life very easy. I need to keep it simple so that I stay on top of it as my goal is to get to the end of the year with a completed album.

Soon I will share a tutorial on how to do those collages I love so much.
Tomorrow is more Easter fun.... Super simple :o}
x

Photobucket

38 comments:

  1. Hi Bianca,
    Thanks for sharing & loved the post. I have just purchased project life but am yet to begin as it already seems so overwhelming !
    Do you use project life for the kids albums also?
    I have three kids so that would be one per child and then a family album - just so much !
    Thanks again and ill def use your printout.
    Kristie

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    1. Hi Kristie!
      This year I am using Project Life for the kids albums also but their albums are a lot more of a mix of different pages etc rather than just the project life protectors.
      That is a lot to keep up with - 4 albums - but I think it depends on how easy you want to make it for yourself. My project life is super simple because I need it to be. And the kids albums are also fairly simple - I do a spread or two per month, and I think this is ok as it includes a lot of photos and some journalling to make thsoe photos meaningful. Traditional scrapbooking is too much for me! :o}
      x

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  2. Oh I did that too last year, addded extra photos. The journal size ones are great for thoses portrait shots that you don't want to miss and also when you've got more than one photo for the day that you want to include.

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    1. It's great isn't it Mandy! I love it, and am bad at choosing just one photo for the day most of the time. So this approach works really well for me!

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  3. Hi Bianca,

    I love the simplicity of your album, the fact that photos are being printed and shared. I love much of the PL inspiration out there but it would also mean some serious time committment from me to accomplish something like that. I'm doing it for the first year and have found that planning goes a long way and I think all the PL albums I see all look greatr and individual.
    I just purchased Photoshop Elements and have never used anything like it so would welcome any sort of tutorial, I'm just trying to figure out how to add text to pics, a new and long learning curve for me but looking forward to it.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful talents. x

    Betty

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    1. Hi Betty!

      Have you googled for some tutorials to help you with the Photoshop Elements and adding text etc? There should be some great ones that are easy to follow out there. Let me know if you would like more help. I'll try and do a tutorial at some point but as I use photoshop cs5 I am not sure how different that is to elements :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing this Bianca. Your pages are lovely, and it's always interesting to hear how other people are approaching Project Life. This is my third year with it too, so I need all the ideas I can get :)
    Could you please show us your kids' albums? I'd love to see how you set these out and exactly what you put in them - again, I'm in desperate need of ideas!

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    1. Hi Kylie!
      I love seeing how other people do their Project Life too - there are some absolutely gorgeous ideas out there that I would love to do, I just find that I don't often get around to it.
      I will show the kids albums soon! Perhaps after all the craziness of getting Easter things out onto the blog
      xxx

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  5. Hi Bianca

    I have done PL for the past 3 years and are the same as you. I only include photos with some very brief descriptions about places and people etc. Find it very easy to manage, even when I am 2 months behind (like right now!!)Sooooo much easier. I could never write lengthy notes on my journalling cards - its just not me :)

    Kylie

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    1. Yes I am the same Kylie! Short and sweet is what I prefer. I love doing more lengthy notes when I feel something warrants that but a lot of times for us, a short sentence is all that I need. x

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  6. Awesome post Bianca!! Have been hanging out for it! :) As you know, I recently started myself, so because I had to go back to the beginning of the year, I am still behind. Up to beginning of March though, but I still have to go back and do all the journalling. Thanks for the reminder to keep it simple so it gets done!! I guess I have been stressing about the 'perfect' way to journal, whether to use the numbers stickers or the arrows etc lol. The inspiration that is out there is great, but can be overwhelming at the same time. I will be starting an album each for my girls soon, plus I am going back and doing all of last years too (as I had already printed the photos) so I have my work cut out for me!! Do you edit all your photos that go into your albums? Thanks so much for the printable, it will be wonderful! I'm another one who would love to hear more about your kiddies albums, please, and can't wait for the collage tutorial, just what I need!!! YOU ROCK!! xoxo

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    1. That is great Jennine! It's it fantastic how easily you can catch up!?
      Yes I found I just spent all of last year stressing about it, and about how my project life wasn't good enough. It's important not to compare! You're doing it for YOU and your FAMILY, so you just need to find what you are happy with, what means the most to you, and then do that :)
      I do edit most photos that go in my album. I didn't used to, but I wanted a slightly whimsy feel to this one, so I edit the photos a little most of the time.
      Collage tutorial coming this week! :o} Kiddo albums I will try and do up a post of them soon :)

      xxx

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    2. Thanks Bianca, yes, I love how fast you can catch up with PL! Love the collage tutorial, thanks, will get it! Can't wait to see your kids albums when you get the chance. Don't know if it's in the woodowork, but I'd love to see how you edit photos! Hope your uni study is going well.

      xxx

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  7. I had drawn a bit of a layout on word the other day like the layout you have and now I can easily print and plan with yours! Thanks so much for sharing! You are very clever!

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    1. I was hand drawing it out every week too until I thought "why dont I make a printable and save time" lol! Hope you find it helpful Annaleis x

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  8. A great post Bianca and great to see how you have made this work for you. I used to try and scrapbook every photo I took and then felt overwhelmed when I wasn't keeping up with it! I haven't attempted Project Life yet but am thinking about trying it out one day - I like your simpler take on it.

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    1. I know what you mean Amanda, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and especially so if you take A LOT of photos. I really am not a scrapbooker, I tried to be and still have A LOT of embellishments and other things I bought to use, it just doesn't work for me haha. This is so much easier for me to keep up with and in the end that is all I want - something to look through :)

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  9. I love to hear about the process that people use to get things done as much as what they do for their Project Life albums. I have everything ready to go (and lots of extras too) but haven't sat down and printed or journaled a thing for the whole year yet. I have printed all of the pics for last year but am way behind on my journalling. I will catch up...hopefully very soon. Thanks for sharing and for the printable. Love those printables!!

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    1. It can certainly feel overwhelming can't it Kimberly! Good luck, I'm sure you'll get it done :) x

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  10. Thanks for sharing Bianca. I've been wanting to do something like Project Life for a while but have been put off (intimidated I guess!) as I am sooooo not a scrapbooker. But I desperately want to document my little boys days, adventures and creations. I think you may have just convinced me to start PL! A couple of questions though - do you think it's too late to start for 2012?? Also can you buy a complete kit for a beginner or do I need to get bits and pieces??

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    1. Hi Kerri
      I am not a scrapbooker either. I just wanted a little more than a plain photo album and find this work well for us.

      I don't think it's too late to start for 2012 at all - especially if you take a relaxed approach. Maybe a spread per month for the first few months etc?
      You have to buy all the bits and pieces separately - are you in Australia? If so, Crafthouse.co.nz has an online store to buy all the Becky Higgins bits and pieces. I would suggest a binder unless you already have one or can find one elsewhere for less {i have used some that are around the $35 mark} and you would need a core kit {this has the filler cards you see in the top left hand corner of my spreads and the journalling cards you use} and a big pack of the Photo Pocket Pages Design A as a start. That would give you everything you need to get going with just the basics and depending on how you use it, will last the whole year if done simply like I have done above.

      Hope that hasn't totally confused you Kerri!

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    2. Thanks so much Bianca you haven't confused me at all!! I'll look into the bits and pieces to get started but I definitely like your idea of a month per page. I am in aus so will look at that link thanks :)

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  11. I have exactly the same approach this year! A week to a spread, emphasis on photos and journalling just when required! I was just jotting down notes here and there on which photos and what to journal, so the planner is going to make life so much easier and help to "see" the spread before it's actually done!
    Last year I did a photo a day, but some days there just wasn't a photo or much to say - so I am much more excited about the week to a spread approach this year.
    Your pages look great! Love your style :) thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes I was hand drawing my plan or scratching notes onto paper all over the place so it is fantastic to have it all in one place! I hope the printable helps!

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing your pages Bianca, it's great to see someone doing "simpler" layouts, that are still gorgeous to look at. I love your collage prints, you can get so many photos on one 4x6 print, I'm going to totally copy that idea for my album! I'm a little concerned at how thick my album is getting, 3 months into the year, but by putting multiple photos on the 1 print from now on, I should be able to keep my year down to 2 albums (hopefully...).

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  13. And I would love it if you could do a post one day when you have time about your kids' albums, and Noah's school album? I've been using Becky Higgins' old school kist for my kids' school albums, and I was inspired by her recent video to start childhood albums for them as well (to include all the other "stuff" that isn't school related). I would love to see what you're doing with your own kids' albums for inspiration :)

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    1. Thank you Lise! I will definitely blog about their albums soon!

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  14. Hi Bianca! Love your honesty and simple approach to things! I can definitely relate to this post as I am still catching up on 2011 and have decided to do a week approach for 2012 too rather than the photo a day. I just thought I would mention the collage programs I use on my iPhone as I LOVE them. One is just called "photo collage" and the other is "turbo collage". Both are user friendly. P.s. just read your laundry post too and this is very timely as I've just been to ikea and in the process of planning. Thank you :))

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    1. oh thanks for those Amanda! I love the one I use right now but always love finding new great apps. Thanks!
      Yes the week approach takes a little bit of pressure off doesn't it! x

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  15. Hi Bianca! I am just in love with your blog. Where do you order your albums from? And the pages?

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    1. Hi Laura!
      Thank you! do you mean the plastic pages? If so, they are BEcky Higgins project life plastic photo pocket pages and I bought them from Crafthouse.co.nz and the albums are We R Memory Keepers 12x12 3 ring albums and I bought them from two sisters scrapboutique (they are aussie) x

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  16. Hi Bianca! I just found your blog and love it! I started project life in 2010 and I am also behind for 2011 (I have Nov & Dec left to do) but I love it! I loved your post and I agree with being simple. Thanks for the printable...I am defiantly going to use it! I look forward to following you! Take care!

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  17. I recently received my first Project Life kit in the mail and have been too nervous to start! (it's been years since I tacked anything remotely resembling scrapbooking). Thank you for your tips, they make the process sound much more manageable then I have been envisioning.

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  18. Hi Bianca, Some how i stubbed upon your blog and saw you beautiful project life stuff! Its amazing :) I have never heard of it before and now im really keen on starting one for my family. Do you mind if i ask a question? What program do you use on your mac to create the photos? Thanks so much Amy

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    1. Hi Amy!
      It is a gorgeous idea isn't it! Sadly I'm a little behind at the moment. I do the collages with my iphone would you believe! I shared how here :)
      http://alittledelightful.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/photo-collages-with-your-iphone.html

      I hope that helps? xx

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  19. Wow, thats awesome, i was thinking i would need to use photoshop which is a maze for me. I cant wait to order my first kit. I used to scrapbook before i had my daughter and then had no time, but this looks much simpler and less time consuming. I love you blog such beautiful ideas, fingers crossed you get time to catch up on your project, thanks for your advice :)

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i would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a message :o}

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