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PROJECT LIFE | On the Road to Recovery

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So, I've taken the plunge and decide to give Project Life another go. I say "another go" because I fell in love with the idea of it all back in 2010- and began an album which pretty much ended in February of that year.  I came across the sad skeleton of that album a few weeks ago- and it kind of haunted me.  Not because I felt I had wasted supplies and money- (well, a little bit of that) - but really because I knew this was a great idea- and that maybe I had given up too easily on it. Recently, I have fallen in love with the beautiful pages made by Christine aka Listgirl and wanted to have this type of pretty in my albums- but was it possible?  I took a good look at what I had accomplished in the 2010 album, and worked to figure out why I dropped out- and if it there was anyway I could get back on track. Here's some truths I learned about me and Project Life:


Why I stopped:  First, let me open this closet and show you a scary skeleton of mine: When I was in school, I was the type that would rip out a page in my notebook if it was "ugly".  Especially if it was a new notebook.  Control-Alt-Z did not exist in those days. Mistakes drove me bonkers.  Now, fast forward to 2010 and not-so school-aged me.  I started Project Life by defining it as Project 365.  I was going to take a photo a day! I had seen so many people do this- how hard could it be?  Well, I was a little lax in uploading and developing- and each day, I'd get analysis paralysis wondering which moments I should be taking my photo of. It was kind of stressful.  I kept up with it until February- but then missed a few days. The gap in dates bothered me.  Like, alot. But I couldn't rip out these pages and start over.  This wasn't fun for me. So I put the album away- and went happily back to my world of 12x12s and mini albums. 

What I've learned: I am just not a 365 type.  I love the idea- but not the practice. I'm not even a weekly type.  I'm a free love hippie type of scrapper- and a rebel at heart. Blame 12 years of Catholic school for that. Don't fence me in with dates - because that's just not how I can work happily.  So, to make this Project Life work for me- I needed to change how I define it for myself.  I decided to approach it as a collection of everyday moments. A stream of everyday consciousness.

Doing this is very different than making a 12x12 layout. At least for me.  When I decide to work on my PL pages, there needs to be a work flow- otherwise its very stop and go.  So, two weeks into this, here's a look at my process, which seems to work for now:

I live in the past.  It's really overwhelming for me to try and stay current.  So, I don't. Right now, I'm working on my 2010 album and starting a 2014 album. I will put photos from one period on a page- front and back. This way, I can add to the book without being out of order. The two pages that face each other may be a few weeks apart- but that's OK for me. Working backwards lets me have a little perspective too, I can plan which products I'd like to use for my pages with a little more ease.


I hunt: I collect my photos.  Right now, most come from my Ipad and phone- because that's what I usually have on hand everyday. I edit my photos on my Ipad with Pic-Tap-Go and Fotor.  I use Fotor if I want to make a collage or add type. I use Dropbox to automatically upload all photos I take.  I either print them right from my Ipad wirelessly out on my awesome Selphy  or, if there's a sale- I'll order them online. I have to say though, I'm getting spoiled printing stuff out myself. 

And gather: Now, I see which photos I am going to use and how they relate. Most often, they are chronological. If I have 5 photos from a week- I will put them on a page.  But, I may focus a page on one event- or one theme or story.  It's OK for me to treat my pockets as a compartmentalized traditional layout. One I have my photos and the story I'd like to tell,  I choose which journal cards I'd like to use. 

Most of my supplies were from 2010 Project Life, and really didn't match my tastes today. So, I splurged a little a bought 2 PL kits from the craft store- and this Hello, Hello PL kit from Studio Calico. I am new to kit clubs, but the forums and examples of what can be done with the products are really helpful to me- especially as I am working to find my style in pocket scrapping. Getting pretty new supplies was a great way for me to jump start this new project. Kind of like getting a cute new workout outfit before joining the gym! 

I stalk people. Kind of.  When I first sat down with my pile of photos and pocket pages and supplies- I looked at the little grids and thought- um, now what? A 12x12 or mini book? No prob at all- but wrapping my mind around this format was hard.  I don't know why- but for me- it was a real shift in thinking about the story I wanted to tell.  So, I spent some time on Pinterest just looking at PL pages and seeing what I liked, and what I didn't. And slowly, my mind began to see how these pockets worked- and how important the journal cards were for transitioning, journaling and titling a page. 


I give in to my Type A.  I know its been written time and again that it's very important to journal in your own hand- but truth be told- I have terrible handwriting. So, after I gather my photos, I open up a 3x4 or 4x6 template I've made on my computer and type away. It's neat and tidy and there's spell check. Gotta love spell check. I still incorporate some handwriting, but typing out journal blocks has really made things easier for me. 

I do the Two-Step.  After I've typed out my journal blocks, I go up to my scrap room and start putting the photos and journal cards in pockets. I usually work on 2-4 pages at a time. Getting the photos and journaling into the pocket pages is Step One.  After that's done, I go back and pretty things up- with elements, stickers, pretties and cut files. I find doing it this way makes more sense for me because having the story drafted out on the page lets me get a clear picture of what I'd like to highlight, and what colors are trending on the pages.

It's a process, but it's fun!  I really needed to embrace that pocket scrapping is different for me that traditional scrapping. The pages are going to be done in steps. There's just no getting around that. It can all be done in one night- though, I usually make my pages in two little sessions. It's not like doing a traditional page for me- which is very devil may care. This has to be planned a bit. But, once you do it 2-3 times, it gets a lot easier- and  the results of your efforts are like scrappers endorphins because it all looks so cool put together! Take a look at how different my pages look once I changed my way of approaching Project Life:


BEFORE: Here's the last page of my abandoned project. I was so focused on "doing it right" and getting a photo everyday, then when I missed a few days, the whole thing fell apart.  Putting the pictures in date order took all the joy out of the process- and left me with no desire to pretty things up. 
AFTER: Here's the same page reworked. Once I freed myself from thinking 365, I weeded out the photos that really didn't have a story but were put in just because they were taken on a certain date. My pages had a better flow.  These photos were all from February 2010, but are not in date order. I mixed a little handwriting with a lotta typed journaling- and- I learned from my Pinboard stalking that I like to mat smaller photos on the 3x4 journal cards- not all photos need to be 3x4 or 4x6.  And,  putting titles on the photos before printing them is a great way to date and title them. 
I hope to spend a little time working on some pages with my new supplies- and new enthusiasm! I'll be back to let you know how it goes! Until then, have a wonderful weekend- and be sure to take time for yourself to make something pretty, no matter how you choose to do it!


12 comments:

  1. love your sharing, your honesty- I feel less guilty now- really a photo a day- not happening for me either!!

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    1. YES! After all, we are making these books for US right? So, making them should be a happy process ;)

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  2. I can so relate with this on so many levels Renne! I've started and stopped a few times and decided to go fully digital PL and even that became overwhelming! Thanks for sharing your tricks and tips and giving me the courage to start again! PS - your current album looks beautiful!

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    1. I really think its important to understand and welcome the fact that PL is different that traditional scrapping. Knowing that things need to be done in steps- makes it a little less overwhelming for me. And its a fine line at looking at galleries for inspiration as opposed to comparison- the later will paralyze you ;)

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  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences with PL/pocket scrapping as there are so many out there who find it overwhelming, mainly because they think it needs to be a page a day, week, month, etc. From when I discovered PL last August (I'd been offline 4yrs due to offline life issues) I looked at what a lot of people were doing and said 'that's not for me'. Not the way they were doing it. Add to that the fact that I never paper or digi scrapped like everyone else either. Yup, free thinker/rebel over here :).

    So while I look at what the layout artists are doing for ideas, color combinations, what techniques they used, I still do my own thing. It's very liberating and stress free for me and I'm very happy that you have found what works for you too!

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    1. I'm glad you found your groove Vanessa- I think, at the very least PL is a great tool for gathering your photos and adding a little bit of a voice to them- even if i
      ts a happy face journal card- and finding your own pace is really the only way to make it fun- and making it fun is what will make it work ;)

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  4. Waw, Renée, your blogposts are always so open and each and every time they touch me! I like you, you know that and I love your type of writing. Thanks for taking the time to share your life with us!

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    1. You know I'm giving you a BIG hug right now!!! Thank you for the smile ;)

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  5. I agree! Scrap what YOU want... whatever makes you happy. Otherwise it is just another "chore" on the endless "to-do" list!

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    1. yah! and we don't need anymore of those lol!

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  6. Reading the "Why I stopped" paragraph was like reading the words I was thinking in my head. I am much too Type A to deal with a project life style scrapbooking project. Instead, I have been using Katie the Scrapbook Lady's Roundup approach, which I like much better. I use the Evernote app on my phone to add things as they happen throughout the month and then at the end of the month, I finish it up. It's working much better for me and causing less stress. Not even sure what I'm going to do with these yet, but I am considering just adding the printed pages to our family album. I think that will be enough and I'm working everyday on learning what is enough before my Type A brain takes over.

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    1. Yes! You cant fight the type A- it just makes you cranky- and cranky can never be creative;) I LOVE Katie's roundup! Did you ever think about printing out the roundup pages as a 12x12 and just slipping them in the back of the album? Like a round-up of the whole album ;)

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