How I’m Planning for Project Life in 2013

I’ve used Becky Higgins’ Project Life albums for two years now, and honestly can’t imagine doing our family yearbook with any other memory-keeping system.  I’ve learned a lot in these past two years that will guide me into 2013, and I’d love to share my tips and insights with you!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you think of Project Life in terms of traditional scrapbooking, so don’t.  It’s very appealing to check out all of the fabulous pages of other people using the Project Life system, with all of their gorgeous embellishments, fancy papers, etc.  But don’t get sucked in and think you have to do the same thing.

This is a basic layout from my 2011 album.  It’s about as basic as you can get – a picture each day with a journal card for each picture, all laid out in Design A page protectors.

Here’s a layout from 2012.  You’ll notice there’s quite a bit of embellishment to these pages.  I love the look, but it definitely took a lot more time to complete these pages.

Decide beforehand if this album will be all-inclusive (incorporating everything you do all year long) or just a snapshot of your year.  What I mean by this is:
In 2011, I attempted the Photo-A-Day Approach.  About halfway through the year, I realized I wanted my album to be all-inclusive.  I wanted birthdays, vacations, and everything else we did that was memorialized in more than one photo to be in our album.  As of today, I am still adding pages to my 2011 album to cover the full year.

In 2012, I decided to incorporate everything into one album right from the start.  It makes for a little more time consuming process (did I mention I’m 4 months behind??) but it makes for a more complete family yearbook once it’s done.  And in all honesty, I’m 4 months behind not because of the time it takes to put the album together, but because we moved in June and I have yet to catch up from all that goes with packing and moving and unpacking.

  • Side note:  I use 3 Project Life binders for one full year.  January – April in the first album, May – August in the second, and September – December in the third.
  • Another side note:  I’m torn this year, though.  You see, Becky Higgins is introducing a new Mini Album that coordinates beautifully with the Project Life binders.  Part of me wants to continue the all-inclusive albums.  But the other part of me wants to use these lovely Mini Albums for the bigger events in our year such as vacations.  I may just have to cave and use the Mini’s.  They are so stinkin’ cute!

When I did Project Life in 2011, I hand-wrote each journal card using a different color marker. Ok, 2 notes on this:  A. I like hand writing the journal cards because it’s quicker (and cheaper) than printing labels for each one but B. I don’t like using big fat markers in different colors.  I realized this about halfway through 2011 but had already done half the album that way, and since I’m OCD, I couldn’t switch in the middle so I just finished it out that way.  (And yes, the pages I’m adding all have hand written journal cards in different color fat markers.  I can’t help myself.)

Here’s a sample from my 2011 album:

I tried to make things all pretty and nice in 2012 so I bought transparent labels and typed each journal entry on the labels, then adhered them to the journal cards.  Again, I used various colors.  While I like the look of the journal cards, I don’t like the difficulty and cost.  The labels themselves are not very cheap when you buy enough for a whole year, not to mention the cost of ink in your printer, plus the time it takes to type all of that up each week and stick them on the labels.

Here’s a sample from 2012:
  • Side note on journaling: I’ve realized that I don’t need one card per day necessarily. Sometimes I have those random photos that either don’t need an entire journal entry to go along with them, or there may only be a couple of words to describe the photo.  In either case, I can just add text directly to the picture itself before I print it.  In other cases, I can use one or two journal cards per week, rather than one per day.
  • Once a month, I’ll sit down and plan my layout from the previous weeks.  This will include the following tasks:
    • Draw template for the layout using Marcy Penner’s awesome planning pages
    • Edit pictures accordingly
    • Upload to Persnickety Prints and order the appropriate sizes
    • Hand-write the journal cards needed for those images and insert them into my album.  This could be one journal card for the entire week, or one each day – whatever I feel is necessary to tell our story.
    • I am going to try to stick to Design A page protectors for the most part.  I like them, most of my photos are horizontal 4×6’s, and it just makes my life so much easier to keep things the same.

Notice I said I’ll do this once a month, not once a week, as I’ve tried to do in the past.  That’s it – 12 days out of the entire year where I’ll be working on my PL layouts.  Twelve!  How glorious!!

One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past two years of using Project Life is that I just don’t have time to sit down each week and work on my album.  I work full-time during the week, I blog (duh), I have a family with whom I greatly enjoy spending my time, and I have other commitments that take precedence over scrapbooking.  While I do enjoy it, and absolutely see the value in it, I don’t want it to consume me – which is why I use Project Life in the first place.  It’s my album to use as I see fit, and I can fill the pages however I like and whenever I like.  So there.  😉

By the way, if you’d like to check out my past Project Life posts, go HERE.

I hope some of my tips may help you with your own Project Life memory-keeping.  In the end, though, it’s your journey, your family and your memories, so document them in whatever way works best for you.

How do you document your family memories?

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post! I have been interested in PL for 2 years and just haven’t dove in. Now I am ready to take the plunge but have been overwhelmed by the ideas I have seen on blogs. This post reminded me it can be whatever I want it to be. I don’t have to do it the way everyone else does it.

  2. YAY! So happy to help Rachelle! I’m telling you, simple is best. You can always embellish pages if you have the time or want to add something extra to a birthday or something, but I do love simple! 🙂 So glad I was able to help – I truly love Project Life and can’t imagine not doing it. I just ordered my Seafoam Core Kit yesterday! WOO HOO!


I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!