So, Project Life®...what is it? I found this definition:
For me, it's the first ever scrapbooking, memory keeping, documenting, (whatever word you want to use) of our daily lives I've done ever. It was easy (of course, you can complicate it if you want, and for awhile there I did), and creatively fun, and totally rewarding now that the year is almost over and I have 2 albums full of weekly spreads to look through and relive our past year. The kids especially love it, and that makes my mama's heart burst a little. There are so many things I beat myself up for doing or not doing, it's nice to have something to pat myself on the back for. I'm totally doing it again this year. I've learned a ton and will definitely be changing it up for myself, but wanted to share the prep I'm starting for 2014 and thoughts from a "newbie" in case any of you out there are at all interested in joining in. Of course, it's not for everybody, but it's one of those things that is so malleable that it could be, if you're interested.
I'm in for 2014 and have started prepping my album. Here's my first go at a title page:
I just used ink on cardstock that I cut to size. I had lots of fun the other day making monthly dividers too, using these dividers and this ink and brush. Bringing a little of my own creativity to my album:
Here's what I think are the basic needs:
•an album. (not shown) last year i used 2 12x12 d-ring albums, and plan on doing the same for this year. this year i ordered two of these albums becuase I wanted only white. I love white, but also, I didn't want to be influenced by any other color peeking through on the borders every week. (for a visual example of what I mean, you can see my December Daily album here, the red of the binding definitely impacted my choices or sometimes interferred with my choices when all was said and done with a spread and it was placed in the album- you can't see the spread without seeing the red binding). some people choose to do one 12x12 album with monthly spreads, some choose a smaller size like this album.
•page protectors. this system is built around the simplicity of sticking photos, notes, and the stuff of life into pockets, or "page protectors". they come in all sizes with all different size and layout of pockets. this year i ordered these three for the year: a set of format A for most of the 52 weeks, a variety box for the random need that pops up, an envelpe set for cards and notes that we give each other/receive throughout the year.
•a camera. i believe it's totally possible to do this project without a great camera. i'd say about 90% of my last years' album was done with my iphone (which is a 4S)- or maybe an iphone 4S is a great camera (i happen to think it's quite good, and imagine that the 5 is super, my thought is that the 4S is comperable to a good point and shoot, but of course, i don't really have any expertise here, just giving you my opinion.) now, all that said, i think (still mulling it over) that i want to focus on loving my photos more this year which means taking more with my "big camera" as i call it. (i'm mulling because maybe i don't, maybe i want this project to still be quick and dirty and free and fun and iphone snaps are more in alignment with that)
•a method for printing photos. this was huge for me this past year. up until starting PL in 2013, i had hardly printed any of the thousands of images since going digital. the project forced me to just get over it and find a way to get comfortable with printing. after the photoprinter that came free with my macbook years ago died, i bought this printer and LOVE it. I think the photos it prints are beautiful. now, here are some other options i know other people find successful in the PL world: outsourcing your photo printing at places like costco or persnickityprints, or others rave about this printer or this one, dedicated 4x6 printers. if you do choose to print at home, i recommend stocking up on ink replacement cartridges and photo paper (i like semigloss).
after you have the above handled, you're really set to begin, some other optional items that I use regularly are:
•a tiny stapler. •a corner rounder (sometimes i use, sometimes i don't, i don't know why) •a tape runner. • a core kit for this year i bought this one (as seen in the photo above, however, last year i went without an official "core kit", using hand-me-down cards and the cards from the studiocalico PL kit (love that kit every month, cute stuff!), so you totally don't need one to do it. •sharp scissors- i happen to love these, and not just because they are white, but it helps ;)- they're big and super sharp. •a paper cutter- i tried using an inexpensive one, cutting by hand, and a vintage one at first, then mid year broke down and bought this pricey one. it has been worth every penny. cuts like butter! •pen that writes on photos- i like these for the variety and the way they perform on glossy to semi to matte paper surfaces.
Of course, there are tons of other things you could get if you wanted to, but those are the basics as I see them. Just for fun, you could download these super cute quote cards that Elise kindly made into a free downloadable after using them in her 2012 PL.
Love them. I didn't use them last year, but think I might this year. I love quotes and the message could potentially really tie a spread together. Go here to download them. While you are over there, you might want to see her super cute and clever title page for PL 2014 and her plan of attacking it here.
Other than getting my monthly dividers and title page started, I've been putting post-its in the page protectors to mark the dates.
I found it helpful to do that last year. You can see, I'm still using them, even as the week fills in:
So, here's the thing, I think that the photos in the pockets (and the occasional drawing, note, school project etc.) are what my kids and I will treasure for years to come. (of course, it doesn't matter that it's in a pocket. Any album, any printed book, any way I got the pictures from the computer onto something tangible is what matters, the pocket system just made it easy enough that I actually did it, and kept with it on a regular basis.) If I didn't have children, I'd totally be doing it as well, as my own personally diary of my own life and adventures, like a personal, paper version of the blog I suppose. As a matter of fact, I'm going to do that in some format for my creative pursuits this year. Still working out the details in my head on that one. Getting the story told, whether it's mine, or ours, that's the deepest motivator for me. The pretty papers, embellishments, design aspects are things that make the project fun for me to do, and pleasing esthetically to me, so they really aren't needed, but if they inspire me to do it, who cares?!? No one, so I allow myself the freedom to play as I choose. And, it's been a gift to me and here's why: I see our everday life a little differently. I notice more. I try to seek out some good, I'm seeing the magic in the mundane, and it's motivating me to capture and even at times create moments with meaning. So, there you have it, my thoughts on Project Life, for what they're worth, being a first timer and all ;).