Catching Up with Project Life

Confession time: it’s the start of August and I am completely and hopelessly behind on my 2017 Project Life album.

This is the second year I’ve done Project Life and if I’m honest 2016 was a breeze. At the end of each month I would pick the 4 or 5 photos that I liked best, print them out on my Instax mini share printer, slip them into some page protestors and spend a few hours picking journal cards and embellishing. It worked because it was simple and in the wise words of Becky Higgins: Simple = Done.

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July 2016

Because 2016 went so well and I was just a wee bit smug, I decided to be a little more ambitious for 2017. I’m using a 6×8 gold Becky Higgins album, which I love, and a combination of different layouts of page protectors. I’m still sticking mostly to Instax photos but, because I’m not using Instax sized page protectors anymore, I’m backing the prints on patterned cards. I’m also trying to include more in my album; more stories, more photos and more ephemera.

Fast forward seven months: graduation, a new apartment, a full time time job and a more time-consuming Project Life process β€” here we are. I’ve finished January and I do really like how it’s turned out. But that’s seriously all I’ve done.

I’m definitely feeling a bit overwhelmed but I’m also confident that with a really good plan, playing catch up will not be an insurmountable task. It’s really important for me to not just “get it done”. I want to enjoy the process, I want it to be creative and I want to be proud of the finished pages.

Step 1: List the stories I want to tell.

I think this is the step that makes the most difference. While the photos make a greater visual impact, the journalling holds the album together and is super helpful when trying to plan how I want to approach a month’s worth of memories. I keep a small journal where I write tidbits and stories each week (admittedly, sometimes on a delayed basis). I find this makes it much easier when deciding which stories I want to tell.

Step 2: Print all the photos; gather all the things.

I had somewhat organised the photos on my phone into folders based on month. I edited the photos I wanted to print using the PicTapGo app and then sent them to my Instax printer. I also mixed in a few photos printed in my Canon Selphy printer. I sorted the photos into piles for each month and added any little bits of memrobilia I had.

Step 2: make a monthly kit

I don’t subscribe to any scrapbooking kits. This comes down largely to the fact that I can’t justify the international shipping costs all the way over to New Zealand. The small size of my album also means that I don’t actually need that many supplies through the year. So instead I try and get past Studio Calico kits when they go on sale and build my own little kit using a mixture of kits and different scrapbook collections that I pick up.

February’s monthly kit

Step 3: schedule some time

This one’s a no-brainer: if I don’t schedule time I’m not going to get it done. I try to schedule at least an hour (though two is better), with a 15 minute cleaning up buffer. I would love to be able to dedicate a whole day to scrapbooking; it’s the dream! For the foreseeable future, however, my weekend schedule doesn’t really allow it, so I’ll take an hour or two where I can.

Step 4: lay out the spreads

Because I don’t use the same layout for every page I have to decide for each week what configuration of photos and journalling cards I think will work best. This also means I need to scrapbook things in order so the backs of my pages will line up with the front. I could make this easier on myself by choosing only vertical pictures but for now I like the flexibility (even if it is more time consuming).

Step 5: scrap and embellish to my heart’s content

This step is my favourite. I love making things pretty, choosing backgrounds, diecuts, etc. It just makes my heart happy.

That’s the plan. My goal is to be caught up though July by the end of August and I’ll be sure to update you on how it goes. If you’re playing catch up or even just staying on top of Project Life what are some strategies you use?

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