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Project Reboot | Project Life 2012 – First Steps

Welcome to Project Reboot on Scrapbook Update! This article is the first in a new ongoing series I’m going to be bringing you about how to rescue – or reboot – projects that you’ve abandoned half-completed or even just in the planning stages, so that you can make them into something that is completed that works for you!

The first few articles in this series will focus on Project Life. I hope you find them useful!

As I discussed on last week’s Paperclipping Roundtable episode about Project Life, I have been basically stalled on my 2012 Project Life. I love the concept of Project Life but was having trouble executing it in 2011 and 2012.

I got off to a good start for 2012, or so I thought. I really love the new Clementine kit this year, and I had decided to try Project Life digitally in 2012 to see if it would go better for me than the paper version that I tried to work with in 2011 but couldn’t stay with.

My digital cover page went quickly and I was really happy with the results. I didn’t follow the template of elements that the kit suggests using for the title page. Instead, I used a mix of title page and inside elements to create a collage of elements that were customized to send a specific message and set a theme.

Supplies: Becky Higgins Project Life – Clementine Full Kit (digital); Katie Pertiet From My Bookshelf SolidsAli Edwards “Twenty-Twelve” Brushes & Stamps; Ali Edwards “You” Sentiment Quotes; Ali Edwards “Moving Forward” Brushes & Stamps; Ali Edwards 3×4 Number Cards; Lynn Grieveson French Summer kit (stamp).

But then as I started to try to begin my first page…I balked. Digital Project Life wasn’t working for me so well after all. So, I converted my digital Project Life title page into a paper one, through a combination of printing out the digital kit elements and layering computer printed things (like the photo) on top of the matching Clementine paper kit elements.

But after making that conversion, I found myself still “stuck” on trying to construct pages for 2012. Digital vs paper wasn’t my only problem. The big challenge I quickly found myself facing is that due to the nature of our situation with my husband’s incarceration and my daughter’s illness, our daily life at home is very repetitive and we don’t really go anywhere or do anything except work and school. I take very few pictures as a result, except of our daily life at home. And 52 double-page spreads of that would be either boring, or filled with an obsessive level of detail that I wasn’t interested in recording.

This drought of pictures is broken periodically by a sudden flood of pictures of a rare special event – one of my CHA trips, or a day at DisneyWorld, for instance. So how to manage this imbalanced stream in a Project Life album became a big challenge that I was wrestling with.

After the discussion on the Roundtable show, I felt inspired to revisit the challenge of implementing Project Life in my life, and I was equipped with some new ideas of how to do it. Here’s what I came up with on my second attempt at 2012, and how I’m getting caught up.

The first thing I did is decide to break my Project Life into multiple albums. Wait, didn’t I just get done saying that one of my problems was that I didn’t have enough pictures for one Project Life, let alone two? Yes, but I also realize I have been facing another roadblock to completing my Project Life album. Some of my content is related to my husband being away, and the travel that I was doing (until his recent move closer to home) to see him. The presence of that content was casting a serious tone over my whole Project Life. So what I’ve decided to do is create a separate Project Life album for the content related to my husband’s DOC life (and my interaction with that), and then record life at home in its own album. Basically, I’m creating a walled garden for the DOC content so that I don’t have to deal with those emotional issues to enjoy the pictures of my daughter and life at home. This will also allow me to be more raw in the private album about my husband’s life – it can become more of a journal – while the album about home can be more fun and more for public consumption.

(The rest of this article series will focus on the creation of the “home” album.)

Next, I settled on a way to tackle my alternating trickle and flood of pictures. I’ve set up my Project Life album with a two-page layout for each month, and then I can expand on that by adding in additional layouts for special events or adding in extra small sheet protectors for extra space. Since it’s May and I’m trying to get caught up for 2012, I added sticky notes to the upper left corner of each layout with the name of the month to help me track which month is which while I work.

A quick survey of my photo library in Adobe Lightroom told me that I needed extra protectors for layouts for CHA Winter 2012, my day at Disneyland, a trip to Cleveland to tape Scrapbook Soup, and my daughter’s birthday at DisneyWorld. So I added in the four extra protectors for those events, after the pages for the months that they took place in, and labeled them with sticky notes as well.

I know that for some of my layouts as I construct them I may decide that I want to use “add-on” sheets – additional smaller sheet protectors that house journaling or photos or memorabilia. That’s why I have purchased the American Crafts 6×12 page protectors, and Becky Higgins Project Life Design G page protectors. I will also be ordering the American Crafts 10×12 page protectors and the American Crafts 6×12 page protectors for 4×6 horizontal photos as soon as I finish filling my shopping cart. In July, Becky Higgins will be releasing additional small page protectors for Project Life, and I plan on purchasing some of those to add to my album as well. I love having options of how to arrange my photos!

Now that I have my framework, I need to start adding content. I could have done one layout at a time, but I’m a big fan of the concept of batch processing – doing all similar aspects of a task all at once – and I find that it enhances my efficiency. So I’ve decided to batch process my Project Life layouts that I’m trying to catch up on.

So the first element that I’m starting with is my photos. I’m printing out all the photos that I need for the layouts and putting them in pockets. They may get moved around later but at least I’ll have an idea if I have the right number of each size and they will be stored in the right place. I’m also at the same time inserting into pockets any paper memorabilia that I had stashed for these layouts (which isn’t much) to make sure that space is saved for those items as well.

This is what I ended up with for January. Next to the sticky note at the top there is another thing that I added – a printout of a screen capture that I made of my calendar for the month. It captures my activities for the month and makes good filler as well. I plan to do those for all of the months if I can fit them.

I rounded the corners of my photos as I put them in the pockets using the small EK Success Paper Shaper corner rounder (the yellow one). I find this punch matches the corners on the Project Life core kit elements very well. The only exception to this is if the photo was definitely or possibly going to be mounted on a patterned paper mat. Then I left the corners square to be dealt with later.

I got through a few more pages of printing before being brought to a grinding halt by a shortage of printer ink. I’ll be able to continue printing after my UPS man brings my Amazon box tomorrow. (Guess we know what my weekend project is!)

Here’s a closer look at one of the pieces of memorabilia that I tucked into a pocket while I was doing the photo printing – a fan letter that my daughter typed out to Roshon Fegan on my computer when I walked away from my laptop with Pages open. (He’s on her favorite Disney Channel show, Shake It Up, and she was absolutely glued to Dancing With The Stars watching him ballroom dance. She loves anything musical!) It will eventually be mounted on a cardstock holder of some sort, but at least now the space is set aside for it as I take the next step in my album’s development.

The process of doing all this bulk photo printing has been somewhat tedious but doing it all at once gets it done much faster than if I did it in small batches. So in the end, it’s more productive to do it this way and then it is just done.

Next I will start to move on to giving each section a bit more form through the addition of secondary content and decorative elements! I can’t wait to get started on that…and to share the results and what I’ve learned when it is done.

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14 Responses to Project Reboot | Project Life 2012 – First Steps

  1. Katie Scott May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Awesome article Nancy & I’m so happy that you found your Project Life groove :)

  2. April Peebles May 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    So glad to see you trying to do a reboot of the project, Nancy! I hope the changes you’ve implemented will help. I truly adore this project and it’s allowed me to capture everyday while I may not be inspired to scrapbook “right now” in traditional layouts . . . along with the ephemera and quotable’s and random thoughts solutions that now have a home in my album. PS – we need to do lunch again :-)

    • Nancy Nally June 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

      We definitely should April! Of course that would require me to climb out from under my rock in my office. I think I’ve hit the point where seeing the sun might kill me LOL

  3. Amy W. May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Love it! Thank you so much for the inspiration. Maybe I’ll finally do my wedding album this way, you’ve made it so do-able looking!

  4. Laura May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Nice job providing a framework for other folks to potentially model if they need to reboot a project. Identify barriers, create a structure that works around those barriers, identify time-saving processes . . .

  5. DorothyCC May 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    I am in exactly the same spot as you! After getting off to a flying start for the first half of 2011, I’ve run out of steam. I’m still taking photos, but they’re sitting in my camera or computer. You have provided inspiration for me to get those photos printed out and into albums. Thanks!

    • Nancy Nally June 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

      Glad that sharing my fix for my process can help someone else!

  6. Lauren May 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    I found myself nodding my head in agreement with you as I was listening to that episode of PRT. I too have a rather redundant, and boring day to day life and I found it hard to find anything to fill my pages. I’m going to give it another go, and try to see things differently, with new perspective and see what happens. Not going to try to go back and recreate, I’ve decided to just start with a fresh week next week and go from there! We’ll see how it goes.

  7. Dora May 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    I admire your bravery and courage! I’ve never tried PL because I know there are tough times ahead and I don’t know how to deal with it. Thank you for giving me a way to think about it that
    is outside my own head. Dora :)

  8. Tricia Stewart June 1, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    This was really helpful to me! I, too, struggle with project life and some of the “realities” of life. I like your two album approach! Best to you!

  9. MichelleGB June 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    Great article! Love your cover page. Thanks for sharing how you’ve figured out how to make this work for you. Wishing you good luck in keeping it up and finding your groove!

  10. Natalie (QSOgirl) June 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    This is such a cool way to “resurrect” your project. (Now I’m looking forward to listening to the Paperclipping episode even more!) I’ll be interested to hear about your progress with your new framework.

  11. Gab June 2, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    I love how you’ve adapted the project Nancy!

  12. WhamBamPam June 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Hi Nancy,
    I also batch process my photos & find that once I’ve put them into my album, it helps me decide what the page still needs. I don’t glue myself down to a week per layout. Sometimes it’s a week, sometimes it’s an event & sometimes the layout covers a month. I also stalled out at one point, but my stalling out was due to me trying to start my album January 2012. My big event was Aug 28th last year when we rescued our first dog, then in March we got our second dog and in April we got our third dog. So by going back and starting my album from August 2011 my PL is rejuvenated into the Year of the Dog, which will actually cover a year and half to account for the first year of life of all my doggies. Like a baby album only with more Woof…lol

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