two-page thursday: project life

I had mentioned a couple of weeks back that I was giving Project Life a try this year...and I'd intended to talk more about that right away. Then I realized that I wanted to try it for a few weeks before I offered my thoughts. So here I am, in the fourth week, and since that's what I spent a lot of time working on tonight, this seemed like a good night to share how it's going. My apologies for what turned out to be a rather long post...

My first round of supplies came mostly from the Project Life brand (and there are certainly plenty to choose from!). The only thing I bought separately was the 3-ring album, during a big sale at Michael's - mainly because I liked the clean look of the plain fabric album more than the patterned covers available through Project Life.

Since I wasn't entirely sure what I did and didn't want to use as I started, I stuck to a few basics - a core kit, a small pack of the "standard" page protectors, a box of coordinated pre-cut cardstock - and a couple of extras that I thought might be worth trying - the package of 12x12 coordinating paper, and a variety pack of smaller page protectors.

Oh, and I opted for the Cobalt collection...which was not what I had originally intended to use. Part of what sparked my interest and drew me into trying Project Life this year was the beautiful collection designed by a blogger I started following last year. The colors and patterns in the Seafoam collection are so darling and lovely. Then, when I was talking with Wildcat Guy about this project, showing him the various product lines, and explaining how I hoped he'd participate (even a little!), I realized that the Cobalt collection - with its deeper, slightly more masculine colors - would be a better option. I'm about 90% happy with that decision (and yes, I've thought about buying the 12x12 paper pack from the Seafoam collection just to have).

On the first night that I played with the supplies (back at the beginning of the month), I thought it was really interesting that, for the first and last pages of your album, there are specialty cards in the core kit that were designed specifically for that purpose. I was also a bit amused by the "Suggested Placement" diagram on the back of those specialty cards.

I ended up not using all of the specialty cards for the front page - mainly because I knew I wanted to put a few pictures there, too, but also because there were a few cards that didn't fit me.

Once I had the front page started, I started looking through the rest of the core which point my brain got a little overloaded. There were so. many. of these little 3x4 cards! So I did the only thing I know to do when my brain is overloaded - I got them organized into neat little stacks.

Which helped a lot. I realized that there are only 10 different graphic designs, and each graphic design has two different journal designs on the back. So if I want a graphic (i.e. a saying or artistic drawing), I have one set of options; but if I want a lined card to write on, I have a separate set of options. Okay. That, I can work with. (And to make them easier to sort, I stacked them by graphic design, standing in the box the cards came in to make it easy to flip through them each week.)

The one step I wasn't sure about was adding the pictures. I do all of my photo printing online or at Walgreen's...but I didn't want to make a weekly order for just a small handful of photos.  So I decided to try printing a few weeks at a time, using mini post-it's to mark where each picture will go.

That first week, this approach definitely made picking the accent cards an interesting selection process - but I found that, if I had the pictures picked out and displayed on my computer screen while I was assembling the pages, I could get a sufficient sense of the colors that would work best.


So after three weeks of assembling the pages sans physical photos, I stopped by Walgreens this morning to get those weeks' pictures printed; and that became my main project for tonight's scrapbooking time.

I was curious to see how complicated it would be to fit the pictures into the spaces I had designated, but it actually was pretty simple.

In fact, the most challenging part was deciding how much to write (or not write) in the captions. And yes - I am writing directly on the photos with a Zig pen. As much as I admire and enjoy the artistic and decorated pages that others (such as this amazing artist) do in their Project Life albums, I decided before I even started that I needed to keep this simple - which means I won't be adding a lot of special journaling boxes, stickers or other accents on my pages.

Which is not to say there won't be the occasional sticker or accent that I've dug out of my scrapbook supplies (especially from the binder of "all the extra random stuff I don't know what to do with")...but I have known from the beginning that I will be using Project Life as a complement to my traditional scrapbooking - as a way to capture all the "little stuff" that I want to remember, but that doesn't make sense to incorporate into my regular scrapbook albums - so I don't want it to become something that is time- and energy-intensive.

This means that I've set aside some time each Sunday evening to put that week's pages together (with my weeks running from Monday - Sunday); and I'll print the photos every few weeks to insert into the album. Beyond that, I will spend my creative time continuing to scrapbook as I have before.

Which meant that, tonight, after getting the first three weeks of photos put into the Project Life album, I spent some time preparing for a crop that I'm attending on Saturday.  It's just for the afternoon, so I won't need too much to work on, but I figured it made sense to start putting stuff together tonight, while I was in my creative mode and in my scrapbook room.

I am looking forward to how this page will turn out. I bought the paper soon after the pictures had been taken (back in December 2010!), because I knew the cute animals and the Spanish phrases about sleeping babies that are drawn in would be the perfect match for this moment that I got to share with Baker Blonde one morning. Now that I finally printed the photos, I was pleased to find some complementary patterned papers in my stash that will make for a fun layout.

Then there's this layout to work on - one of the only pictures I have from my second date with Wildcat Guy, but one that I am so happy to be including in my scrapbook. From the first time I saw this picture, I have loved it - and as time went by, the moment it represents only became more dear. So I had it printed as an 8x10, and it will be fun to create something special.

And yes, that "something special" will include a zipper. I have had that zipper stashed away in the aforementioned "binder of extra stuff" for years, never sure exactly how I wanted to use it - until tonight, when I realized that it would provide a neat way to do some hidden journaling that will allow me to include the story that goes with the picture, but without having to squeeze journaling onto the main page around the photo itself.

Ahhh. All this scrapbooking - even if some of it was just planning - felt really good. My soul needed this tonight, and I'm thankful I had the evening to myself to indulge.

Where I am: home
What I'm reading: Foolproof by Ina Garten


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