Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Thoughts on Project Life from a Newbie

A few years ago I wrote a post called "Project Life (or lack thereof.)"  In this post, I pretty much outlined every reason why I would never participate in Project Life.  At the time, I found it overwhelming and time-consuming.  I just couldn't understand how someone would have enough time in their lives to document everything in their lives while also making time to do the things they were documenting.  (In my head that sentence makes sense - I'm hoping it does when you're reading it...)  Since that time, that has been my stance on all things Project Life. 

Until this year...

I've come around on the whole process.  I understand now that it's more about celebrating the little things in life than actually seeking out "scrap-worthy" activities.  It's a chance to let your creativity enhance and grow.  It's a totally different mindset, that I've only recently started to "get."  I've read tons of articles and blog-posts on the subject and I'm just now starting to see how wonderful and different everyday life can be and why someone would want to document it.

So here's the thing - In 2015, I'm participating in Project Life.  

There I've said it.  It's taken me a bit to get to this point.  I've been keeping it so close to the vest that close friends and family don't even know about it.  There's a reason for this.  I'm afraid I'm going to blow it.  I'm afraid that I'll let the whole process overwhelm me and take over my life.  I'm afraid I'll be so stressed that I'll let it fall to the wayside.  It's been known to happen before. There's precedent...

But this time, I've set a plan.  An organized way of going about it that I think will help.  I'm not sure if you've ever tried it before, but there's seemingly a lot that goes into creating these beautiful creations.  It's a HUGE commitment.  That's the scariest part. But when I tried it before, I didn't have a plan.  I wasn't organized and I wasn't prepared.  And that was just for a trip album - nowhere near the work an album on 365 days takes.   Now I'm ready and for the record, I understand perfectly that this might be too complex for some people or not nearly as organized for others.  This is only what's currently what's working for me.  Other, more free-form thinkers may have an entirely different way of going about it.  As I've learned, that's ok too.

My plan in no particular order:

~ Keep it small format.  I'm using a 6"x 8" inch album as opposed to 12"x 12".  I found that the 12" x 12" album inserts had way too many holes to fill and I really don't live that exciting of a life to fill them all.

~ Be organized.  I found a small wooden box at Michael's and some dividers that I'm keeping all Project Life accessories in.  Stickers, journal cards, inserts, bling, pens, scissors, adhesive and stamps.  I have an entire craft room full of supplies but if I'm forced to choose between them all, I'll be stuck in a never ending craft loop of choosing then rejecting.
~ Don't rely on one set of inserts.  The Project Life people push choosing one set of cards (journal and inserts) so that the album stays consistent.  I can't work like that. Mostly because, after a while, I'll tire of seeing the same thing every day. I bought a pack or 2 that I like and I've found a few freebies online (Pinterest is awesome for this!).  I switch it up as I go.  In truth, after 4 days, I haven't used a single card I bought yet; I've made a few then used a few I found online.
~ Design the pages based on the pictures I've taken, not the other way around.  It seems a no-brainer but I have an over-active mind.  It's hard to do but I try not to plan what I'm doing until after I've succeeded in taking the photos.  
~ Follow a process. To do this, I made a tracker.  Each day I write the date, what I did, and any memorabilia (ticket stubs, menus, etc.) then I draw a small pic of what I want the page to look like.  I then format the pics in PicMonkey (not nearly as cool as Photoshop but free!) and upload them to Costco. (Life would be simpler if my printer actually printed nice pics like the reviews claim it does...) At the end of the week, I pick up the photo order at Costco and drop them into the album.  Until I have the photos, I use sticky notes to keep track of what I plan to place where.

~ Lastly, and this is a huge part of keeping my sanity - Keep it Simple!  I've seen gorgeous layouts on Pinterest.  I've seen layouts that have probably taken days to complete with all sorts of embellishments.  Eventually, I want to get there.  For now I'm focusing on keeping it simple and finding my own style.  I have no real vision in mind.  I want it to be pretty. And I want it to be fun.  But I don't want it to be over the top.  I'm also choosing not to over-think the completed pages.  Im the type of person that would re-work a completed page if I didn't like it.  That's not going to happen this time around...
So that's it, then.  And you know what? Four days into Project Life and I'm loving it so far. It's honestly a lot of what I think about throughout the day - design, photographing, and journaling.  For now, I think it's a good thing.  In 2015 I said I wanted more creativity in my life. What's better to achieve that than having a reason to think about that topic daily?