INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT LIFE
If you’re not familiar with Project Life, it was created by Becky Higgins to simplify how you preserve and document life and preserve your memories. Now I was already scrapbooking and didn’t plan on changing that. So why did I decide to tackle this in addition to my layouts? I was intrigued by the idea of preserving the little bits that don’t make it onto my pages. The little things my kids say, little stories that maybe aren’t large enough to scrapbook on their own. Little bits of the everyday. Notes and other evidence of our life all in one place. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t keep it up. I always seem to make myself busier than I need to be. Where in the world would I find the time for this? But I dove in anyway.
I’m so grateful I did. It has become the go-to album for my family. They’re always flipping through it and contributing to it. And they’re not shy to say they love it even more than the layouts I’ve created. I love that it’s a group effort. Something that we do together.
Documenting all those little moments, the things that don’t make it onto pages is important to me. I want to look back and remember all those little things… even more than the big things. It’s a visual journal. A time capsule. I want to stop and see those moments. Being IN them, nurturing them and contributing to them. Enjoying the now and letting the future take care of itself.
I’m a little surprised with how much I’m loving this project. It’s a good thing! And I get all giddy when I hear of more people joining in and listen to the different twists they’re going to put on it! It’s going to be a very inspiring year!
So, I started typing up all the things I wanted to say and quickly realized that it would be LONG. I’ve chosen to break it up into sections and present it as a series. It should take us to Monday (with scheduled posts on the weekend).
I’ve broken it down into the following components:
2. Ephemera and Notes
4. Putting it Together
5. Everything Else
There’s a 6th post planned as well.
I plan on sharing my thoughts on the project, my process, things that worked for me and things that didn’t.
So, here we go. What I do and how I do it! Starting with… the photos.
I shoot photos with both my camera on my phone and my SLR.
At home it’s normally my SLR. While I’m out and about I have my iphone and I use that. I’m particularly fond of the Instagram app. At the end of the weekend (Sunday in my case since I run my week Monday to Sunday) I dump all my photos from my SLR and phone into Photoshop CS5. They all go into folders labelled by date so I can pulled from my week very easily! I open up my folders one at a time and select photos that represent my week. If I have none for one day that’s okay. Maybe I’ll have 2 from another day. I don’t worry about having a photo for everyday. The less stressful I can make this project the better.
At this point I have all my possible photos open on my screen and I take out a planner sheet I created. Right now this works because I’m using only one style of page protectors. When I have access to more styles I’ll have to rethink this method. I go through my photos, edit them in Bridge (I shoot RAW) and Photoshop, and decide where they’d best be placed. I jot these places down on my sheet along with labelling any memorabilia that I’ll be including. These aren’t permanent placements, but it gives me an idea of the sizes I want to print.
I print at home on an Epson Photo Stylus 1400. I’ve had this printer for about a year and a half and I love it! I resize my photos and drag them onto a 8.5×11 canvas. Generally I put small photos on one canvas and 4×6′s on another (I can fit 3 – 4×6′s at a time). I’m all for fitting on as many photos as I can so I like to utilize my space to it’s best advantage.
I like to include a border around all my photos, so I need to take that into consideration when I print so that they’ll still fit into the pockets. I keep a little list of the sizes by my computer and crop my photos accordingly.
- for the 4×6 pockets – 3.75×5.75
- for the 3×4 pockets (if I want it to fill the whole pocket) – 3.5×2.5 (smaller height if I want to trim it like an instax photo)
- Instagram prints – 2×2 for the small pockets and 3×3 or 4×4 for the large pockets
Currently I’m using one style of page protectors – Design A. I’m excited to try out the different styles but I know that I’ll be going to this size most. It’s just really practical for me. I know how to make that pocket arrangement work for me and I’m curious to see if changing that and adding different page protectors in will add more time to my process. I’ve got a rhythm going! ;)
I’ve made my own page protectors for odd shaped memorabilia simply by stitching down the side of a page protector. This works well for concert programs and so on. Standard 8.5×11 page protectors work great for my kids art and I also have plans of integrating 8.5×11 baseball card page protectors for memorabilia when needed. I plan on using a few of these to hold our little advent cards this December.
It doesn’t bother me that I may use the same photo in both my Project Life and on a scrapbook page. In fact, I think it’s a great reference for journaling when and if I do get around to scrapbooking it!
Tip: Often I don’t have anything super exciting to photograph. Don’t underestimate the value of recording and photographing inanimate objects! They often tell just as much of a story, if not more, than portraits.
This is it for photos. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section and I’ll be sure to answer them!
Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk ephemera and notetaking!
* And on a side note…. Canadians…. If this is something you’re thinking of tackling… the Canadian and international supplier for Project Life is having free shipping until Friday.
You can view my Project Life posts here.