Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making Project Life Work For Me - What I Do

~Disclaimer : I am not affiliated with, or compensated by, any of the brands mentioned, or links provided. I am just providing my 'review' of the products, and links to help you find them. ~

{One of the traditional 12" scrapbook page layouts I've done}
I was a traditional scrapbooker. {Scrapbook page maker? Layer-outer?}
Anyway, I would spend hours laying out a page of a few photos, shop for stickers and embellishments for my pages, and design a really great page or two. Then my brain would be tired, and I wouldn't know what else to do with the rest of the pictures. So then I would have a stack of photos, some random embellishments, and no patience to keep going. Or I would just feel overwhelmed in the planning stage, and give up there.
I do have a life, scrapbooking should be fun and enjoyable, and not feel like a chore, ya know?  
So, I started looking for ways to make it easier for me.
I actually just started looking for photo sleeves to hold additional 4x6 pictures that I wanted in my album, but didn't really need to do another full page layout for, I could just put them in a sleeve to accompany a nice layout . In my search I discovered Project Life, and other companies with very similar products, and thought that would work really nicely for me, my albums, and my busy life. I could scrapbook as I got the time (and ink or free print offers), and make it as simple or detailed as I wanted. Plus, I could easily use it to enhance my albums, instead of following the actual 'Project Life weekly/monthly plan'.

{If you missed my first post, What Is Project Life, click here.}

All you need is an album (12"), photo sleeves, photos & mommentos, and journal cards/core kit.
If you do digital scrapbooking, you'll need an album & 12" sleeves, photos and digital cards/embellishments, and Photoshop.

{I mainly do the 'traditional' route, but have just started playing around with some of the digital stuff...}

I decided to go with We R Memory Keepers photo sleeves & pages.
Nothing against the Project Life brand, the others were just cheaper and I liked some of the layouts better.
I do like the cards from We R Memory Keepers' 'Albums Made Easy' line, as well as Simple Stories' Sn@p cards. The packs of cards are smaller (and, therefore cheaper) - but they don't have any repeats. The Project Life core kits are large, with plenty of cards for a whole album, but the designs repeat, which means you will have several of the same card in your album. We R Memory Keepers' journal kits are a bit smaller, but do have repeating images as well. I just buy the small stacks of 3x4" & 4x6" themed/designed cards. These are perfect for what I'm wanting in my albums - 18 cards to a pack, coordinating, but no repeat designs - great for general journaling and notes. I also look on pinterest for printable cards, and create my own cards with scrapbook paper, stickers & embellishments.
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My Albums:

I used 12" binders for my albums. I like the large page size, it can hold up to 6 4x6" photos, and works great for me. There are all sizes of albums available, and different pages/layouts for each size, though the 12" pages do have the largest variety of page layouts. I went with a binder for the ease of use it offers. I've used post-bound books in the past, and they are nice for a small book (10-20 pages), or for a special event or project. For a book you might want to rearrange the pages in, or have a lot of pages (such as a yearly family album) you will probably want a binder style, since they are much thicker. (A binder can hold around 60 page sleeves, a post bound can hold that, if you use multiple extensions, but gets to be a bit awkward to turn the pages, since they are "clamped" together vs. free to turn in a binder)
I bought both of my binders from Hobby Lobby for about $12 each, with a coupon.
The other craft stores also sell 12" binders, and they often go on sale - JoAnn's has some on sale right now, actually. It is a personal preference, though. If you're doing a smaller album, the post bounds will work just fine, and aren't too hard to rearrange, if your page count is manageable. 

Photo Sleeves & Page Layouts:
{Image of We R Memory Keepers Sleeves}
{We R Memory Keepers} {Project Life} {Simple Stories}

There are lots (and lots and lots....) of page layouts available.
12" full page, 4x6" pictures, 3x4" pictures, 6" pictures, 3" pictures ....

Which you use is completely up to you.
A lot of people start Project Life using styles A or D, or the combo pack with both.
These are pretty versatile layouts, and you will probably find a lot of uses for both.
I find that I use the 2 styles equally, since I tend to take more everyday pictures in portrait, vs. landscape. But a lot of people are the opposite. Just think about what type of pictures you take/use the most and go from there. I like to use the layouts of 6 4x6" photos with the layout pages, to hold the extra photos.

Top : Photo layout (for John's album)
Bottom : Sleeves w/ extra photos (my album)

There are sleeves & layouts designed to hold Instagram prints, there are layouts for 6" paper/prints, and sleeves with all kinds of layouts for 4x6" photos.
I recently ordered some of the photo layouts for 6" prints that I am really excited to use with collages & digital scrapbooking.
I also like to incorporate the smaller sized sleeves into my album to hold little 'extras' that accompany a layout - ticket stubs, extra pictures, map clipping, etc...
You could also do a smaller book, Simple Stories has a line of 6x8" products:
These would be perfect for a small theme book - birthday, holiday, wedding, vacation, etc...

Journal Cards & Embellishments:

There are so many types & brands of cards and embellishments it's crazy.
And you can go as simple or detailed as you want.
I like a happy mix. One of the things I love about traditional scrapbooking is doing a layout and using fun embellishments on the page. So I like to incorporate them into my album now.
I've been really happy with the small stacks from We R Memory Keepers & Simple Stories - Sn@p. They seem to be everything I'm needing. I would like to try out a mini kit or 2 from Project Life, though. The seasonal and childhood kits look very nice for what I'm doing, and the core kits would be great if you're wanting to do a full weekly spread album.
{Simple Stories Sn@p Cards - Vintage Bliss}
Something I like about the Simple Stories cards - the small stack contains coordinating cards in both sizes : 4x6" & 3x4", and they are double sided. This gives you a nice little variety to try out.

As for making my own cards, I just cut down decorative cardstock to the size I need, then add any journaling, notes, or stickers & embellishments I like. I also search online for printable cards I can use in my albums, there are tons online, both free and to purchase {You can check out my Pinterest board for ideas}. And of course, if you're tech-savy, you can create your own in photoshop or online.

Other Supplies:

These are pretty much optional, but would probably make things a bit easier.
Scissors and pens should be obvious, but a paper trimmer is nice for cutting down cards and pictures quickly, and keeping them straight, too (I'm not the only person who can't cut straight, right?).  The corner rounders are just neat. Some of the brands have the corners pre-punched, some don't. I just like the look of the corners being rounded.
{You can find the set at Target, Amazon, JoAnn}

How Do I Keep it Organized? 

Right now I have a little set up on my dinning room table, since I have been working on the albums lately. Usually my scrapbooking supplies stay in my craft zone downstairs.
All of my 12" papers are stored in drawers.
I keep my 4x6" mat stacks in a photo storage box,
and my stickers and embellishments organized in small drawers.
(Same with my glitter pens, sparkle gels, adhesives, etc...)
I organize the journal & theme cards in a clear plastic box with dividers, so I can easily see what I have.
As for the photo sleeves, I use a divided scrapbook paper folder.
{I can't find one exactly like mine, so here are a few alternatives: 1, 2, 3, 4}
I just have my sleeves organized by type in the sections, with the front part of the package slid in as well, to help divide them, and to remind me which divider is in the section (this also makes it nice for reordering, since I know the brand & style of page).

What about Digital Scrapbooking?
{2 different digital designs I created}

I have just started playing around with digital scrapbooking.
I ordered some photo layouts with 6" spaces, so I could design and print at home - but you could easily do a layout for 12" paper, and order the prints to place into your album.
Since I don't have photoshop, I take a creative, online, approach to digital scrapbooking.

I have a post in the works on how I create my digital pages, so you will have to check back soon ...

Still unsure if Project Life is for you? 
* View this Craftaholics Anonymous post for 16 Tips to Make Project Life Work For You. *
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  1. I really love this idea. I used to make scrapbooks all the time, but I got tired of planning the pages out and would stop 1 to 2 pages in. This seems like a much better alternative. Thanks for these posts!!! :-)

    1. Thanks, and you're welcome!
      I am loving this so much more than the 'regular' way of scrapbooking. I would do the same thing, get 2 pages done, and then stop. And a lot of the time my pages would end up having the same layout, just different pictures and embellishments. Of course, it probably takes me just as long, since I look through a billion pictures deciding what to print, and what layout I want, what cards to use, any stickers .... and just my general indecisiveness. :-)
      In theory it is so much faster though, I can get a monthly layout for John done in 10 minutes, if I want.


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