Most of you know that Project Life is a system of preserving photos and memories created by Becky Higgins, right? The idea behind it is to make it as easy and simple as possible to document and record those memories.
The original concept was designed for a photo a day project, using that everyday concept to document life. But it has evolved beyond that. It is much more flexible. It can be used to pair any photos with any story or word. The idea is to make it easy so that there is NO guilt and NO "caught up".
But, let's face it, some of us have an idea in our head about the way we want to do this project and gosh darn, that is the way we are going to do it! Even if that means putting off working on it until we have the time. We start the year off enthusiastic. We collect everything. We make our layouts extra cute.
But then life starts getting in the way. We go a few days without taking a photo. We forget to write down things the kids say. We stop collecting things. We get behind. And we never seem to get back to the project because
the longer we wait, the further behind we get. And then the task of "catching up" seems overwhelming and unattainable. And some where along the way, we give up and it becomes another unfinished album.
This time of year seems to be the crucial time of year when projects like these start getting lost. Then summer will seal its fate with kids home from school and especially with summer travel and other activities.
Don't let this happen to you! Make a little time to "catch up" and get at least get the skeleton of your album done. You won't regret it. If you find some time in the future, you can go back and "cuten" things up. But if you never end up having the time, at least the "meat" has been documented.
I've learned that I like to work on my projects slowly. It works best for me to get the "skeleton" finished. By skeleton, in this case, I mean the photos and the journaling cards and in my case, the ephemera slipped into pockets.
I typically like to have my journaling written, but as you can see in these last few pages, I have blank journaling cards. Let go of hte pressure that every Project Life spread has to be super adorable or even coordinating.
If you are too embarrased to show it on your blog, do it just for yourself. Something imperfectly documented is better than nothing perfectly documented. Don't you think?
I decided I needed to to that this month. I only did two spreads last month so I had to catch up this month. I ended up being a couple of days late, but it was worth it.
One thing I still need to do is finish dating all of my weekly title cards. I can't tell you how having these prepared ahead of time helps me, especially when I like to throw in ephemera along the way.
I was hoping to do weekly summaries, but that hasn't happened. I did it once and never printed it out. I find doing things by hand, is the most efficient way for me. I've also wanted to print out lots of emails, electronic fliers from the kids' school, Ali Edwards' logo for Week in the Life, but so far, they haven't happened.
But what I do have, is lots of memories saved. And that is priceless.
Do you see that sushi grass stuck in the journaling pocket? My son saved that for our book. It is from his new favorite restaurant, Sushi Express (it's a conveyor belt sushi place). He is borderline obsessed with this place. It is on our same block and is cheaper than eating at home, so in the last week, I have taken him three times! Oh, and since it is sushi, it is healthy too. Anyway, I told him if we put that grass along with the menu he grabbed in the PL book, he had to write a journaling card about the restaurant. He agreed. Now that is worth finding just enough time to fill in a few journaling cards and setting up some date cards, don't you think?
[EDITED: May 9, 2012]
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TIPS FOR KEEPING UP WITH PROJECT LIFE
I'll reprint my tips for making Project Life easier to keep up with, originally published in this post.
Participating in this project for the past two & a half years has taught me a lot and this is what I have been doing to stay caught up most of the time:
1) Create a space where my Project Life album can lay open at all times so I can slide in bits and pieces from the week. This took me several attempts and some rearranging to find a place where it wasn't in the way.
2) Keep all my Project Life supplies together. I keep mine on a wooden tray with two inch sides. It contains several baskets that hold the cards and one that holds pens and stamps. Currently I am looking for a place in my home where I can keep the tray so it isn't taking up so much of my desk space. I would like to put my sewing machine on top of my desk.
3) Label each week well ahead of time so that it is clear where items from the week go. This way if I do fall behind, and a week doesn't get completed, I can still slide in things from the current week. (I lost my place this year and didn't have new cards labeled to mark the weeks and the weeks started getting away from me so I have a bunch of ephemera and it is not organized, so that will take some work to get that sorted.)
4) Get photos printed regularly. I am not sure yet how often I will get my photos printed. Ideally, I will do this once a week, but at the least, it will be monthly. At first I was printing at home using my own photo printer, but printing ink here in China is outrageously expensive, not to mention, I cannot get any photo paper so it must come from home (Calif). That means if I run out between visits, I'm out of luck. [EDITED 4/7/2012: I print my photos as soon as I have 100+ to print as delivery is free.]
5) I've purchased the Snapfish add on for Lightroom, that way I can set up a smart folder for my weekly Project Life uploads [upload them directly through LIghtroom to Snap fish] and it will make printing photos that much easier, more automatic and less time consuming.
6) This year I am going to WRITE THE DATE (or stamp it) on my memorabilia before I save it. This way if something happens to Plan #3, it will be easy to figure out which week the memorabilia belongs to. (This is a good back up plan for those unforeseen busy times when all the best laid plans go awry, i.e., kids are home for summer, winter holidays when we are busy, busy, busy, family vacation, extended trip home to the States for my family, beginning of the school year, etc.)
7) Saving stories on 100 Journaling Cards - 3" x 4" with Grid Design - I started doing this a few months ago when I started getting behind on my album. The kids would say funny things or I would notice something and I would grab a Journaling Card - 3" x 4" with Grid Design from my Project Life tray and a pen from the journaling basket that sits inside and jot down the antecdote, stamp the date and put it in my tray for the next time I work on my album.
Do you have any great tried & true Project Life tips to share? Post them in the comments. I'd love to hear.
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