Saturday, January 28, 2012

Project Life--My take on it...

By now, you have all seen dozens of versions of Project Life.  They're all over blogs, websites, and of course, Pinterest.  This is my fourth year (yikes!) on PL, so I hope that I can provide some insight on the topic from someone who has done it a while.  Let's hear it for the veterans out there!  Whoop!

Let me state up front--I wasn't going to do it this year.  Back in October, I started to notice that my pages were looking similar, that I was looking for things to photograph, and that I was basically lacking inspiration on any level.  I tend to operate in that manner.  I will be hot and heavy into one project, and the next week, I'm full throttle on to something else.  I will go back and visit projects, reinvent things and such--but with PL, I was getting flat out bored.  I wanted to funnel all the energy that I put into those books into something new and challenging.  So I made the decision to take a break for 2012 and maybe revisit the topic again in a year or so.

What changed my mind?  Two things.  The first was my friend, Jen.  The woman had me worked over before I even knew what hit me.  Gotta love a girlfriend.  How did she do it?  One simple phone call.  "Okay, don't be mad at me, and just listen.  I couldn't decide which Project Life kit to get this year, so I bought three different versions and divided each one of them into three monster kits, so I hope you didn't already get yours."  Hello--no guesswork with what kit to get, no ordering or hassle--I'm feeling the draw.  Add to that another close friend who was going to try it for the first time--and so the three of us would support one another.  Did it hurt that those two said friends own Cameos and are total techies who were willing to help me have fun and create cool new things?  Do you see where this is headed?  Second thing--and this is a biggie here folks--looking back at my other finished versions.  Honest and truly.  I can't fully describe how thankful I am that I have these books that document the littlest details that are so often overlooked and forgotten.  When I went back and looked at the first year I did this, I had forgotten so much already.  Our kids look so much different now.  Family members have passed.  Neighbors have come and gone.  Interests have changed and evolved.  And it's all right there, in those pages.  That gratitude made me consider moving into another year...

Once I made the decision to invest my time, money and energy into this again, I knew that I would have to do things differently this year for me to be interested and to not fall into a rut.  I had remembered Jamie Pate's version from last year, and how she so beautifully did a weekly theme, and I thought that would be enough to catapult me into starting something fresh and different.  Sure enough, it was.  So with pen in hand, I began to make a list of 52 weekly topics for me to cover in this year's Project Life...

Today, I wanted to share my take on the title page and my first three weeks.  Here is my title page:
I played around with this idea a bit before I got to a place where I was happy with it.  The one thing I wanted to do for sure was to use elements on the title page that would be carried throughout the book this year.  What are those?  Photos of my family.  Bright colors, with no rhyme or reason necessarily.  Punches and die cuts.  Chipboard, labels, and vintage elements.  Twine.  Tiny alphas.  And handwritten elements from each person in our clan.  (Note:  the above white card contains each of our signatures and ages, as a quick reference in years to come.)

Where did I get the "2012" numbers?  I bought wooden letters and covered them in yarn (similar to this project) as a New Year's decoration.  I also thought ahead for next year and bought a "3", so I have the option to recycle the idea for next year.

Week 1--Using Design A & E Page Protectors
I didn't figure out I was doing PL until I was actually into the first week of the new year, so I had to go with just random life stuff the first week.  I am not one of those people who get hung up on chronological stuff--and doing PL for the past few years has really helped me let go of those notions and stressful thoughts.  So I used the photos I had, and went with it.  The left side is the B side to the title page, so I had to go with it.  I mixed black and white with colored pictures, and varied the size of the photos.  The right page is a Design E page--a set of 4 6x6 square pockets.  I simply created 4 6x6 square layouts (using my iPhone Instagram and Camera + apps, paired with the PicFrame app) on my phone, and uploaded them to my computer and then to Costco.  I had all four printed out in one 12x12 layout ($2.99), and simply cut them when I got home.  You'll notice, I only used 3 6x6 layouts on this page.  The other 6x6 will be used on another scrapbook layout.  What did I document?  Sunday breakfasts with my folks.  Crafting project.  A sunset.  The opening of a new McDonald's in our little town.  Snapshots.  Simply, everyday stuff.
Week 2--Design E and Design A Page Protectors
Around Here--Week 2.  This week, my intention was to do more photos of things around our house (as in the bottom left collage.)  Looking back on it, I didn't really accomplish what I set out to do.  But you know what?  I'm good with that.  This is the kind of flexibility that is frankly required for me to make it work for me.  What did I document?  Our son shoveling snow, the forecast, our son coming home from school, a basketball game, our pooch, playing outside, a sweet text from our niece, my husband losing at Nerf Darts, planning upcoming Cavs games, and dinner with friends.  I used one of my favorite October Afternoon papers just because I like it, and made it work.
Week 3--Design A and Design F Page Protectors
Jamison. Week 3.  I knew our daughter was preparing for a big week, so I knew documenting just her for a week would be fun.  It was so much more than I ever expected!!  At twelve, she's got a lot going on.  So I snapped away and tried to give a glimpse of her and where she is right now in this place.  I love how it turned out.  What did I document?  The girl loves clothes--and so I photographed her every morning before school, showing her style and interest in the topic.  A photo of her practicing her clarinet, and a photo of dance practice.  A photo of her texting.  Her holding our dog.  Her first dance performance of the year.  A photo with her bestie.  Her bedroom.  And a new set of braces on her pearly whites.  On one of the fold out 3x4 journaling cards, I wrote all about my feelings for her right now.  On the front of that card, she filled it with tons of her favorite things, in her own handwriting.

Now, there will be weeks where not a lot is going on, for sure.  But one of the reasons I like changing it up with the weekly version for me is that I get to touch on a person or topic a bit more in depth.  That crazy concept has me giddy like a school girl, and I can't wait to document our lives a little differently, using the exact same framework.  How cool is that???
My style.  I take lots and lots of pictures.  I love my iPhone, and like to play with apps and features, and so do my kids.  That almost always results in pairing down photos (I know--crazy, huh?).  I must say, having the iPhone has made me feel more creative in a whole different sense, and hopefully that will help when the boredom sets in.  Because it will. 

Elements used.  Free Printables.  For the love of God and all things holy, I've been a printing fool, using all the freebies out there for Project Life.  Look here if you need any assistance in that department.  And this blog post is an excellent resource for printable cards.  So stinkin' FUN. I'm also ga-ga over die cuts & punches.  Labels.  Vintage elements here and there.  Chipboard.  Small alphas.  Not complicated.  And nothing too bulky so things fit into the protectors nicely.

My outlook?  Excited.  Motivated.  Interested all over again.  Aware of pitfalls and also how to deal with them and move on.  Flexible.  Experienced.  I got this.

I look forward to sharing regular updates with you here on the blog.  I will also be posting a bit more detail in the next coming week.  Feel free to ask any questions you may have--I'll do my best to answer you!

Enjoy your day!


Gina said...

You rock! I love your inspiration. And I love the idea of themed weeks.

Heather said... did it AGAIN!!! After reading your post I caved and just order the clememtine core kit and a set of protectors. I have been on the fence on this for the last few weeks but reading your post sealed the deal. I will make this work!! Now to find a set up where I can leave it out so I will work on it without my normal craft mess :D

Amy said...

you're going to be all over Pinterest, girlfriend!

em said...

this is amazing trish. :)

Laura T. said...

I was going to go digital, but ended up getting the Clementine kit last week. I couldn't resist with all the inspiration I've been seeing. BTW - thanks for the printable info.

jamie said...

my good grief...
you are all over this...
love so much of what you wrote.
love, indeed, the new outlook and scene you created for yourself. it is amazing.
love the theme approach. i am going to have to do that on occasion. fabulous idea.
love how excited you are.
love all the details. i know i am already adding to the details with my book this year. adding more detail to the story. going the next step.
love how i know when i get a bit lazy about doing my PL, i can come to this here post and find fresh mojo!
love how i could be a little part of some inspiration for you. THAT makes my day.
thanks so much!

Cammy said...

I started PL this year for the 1st time and really want to keep it simple and doable for me. Love all your stuff! You're amazingg!!

My question, how do you balance scrapping layouts and doing PL?

Lisa said...

Thanks Trish, this was very helpful to understand your approach, and I love your idea for the themed weeks. I have a feeling I'll be jumping on the Project Life bandwagon this week. I was already mulling it over and your post may have fully convinced me. Thanks for sharing.