I cannot believe that it is nearly a new year already. I am so so grateful. Not to be super whiney or negative…but 2013 was a sucky year! I hope it was better for you all than it was for us around here!
With a new year comes a new Project Life (for me anyways!). I say this every year…but in 2014 I am totally finishing my album, and hopefully finishing up 2013 as well. I have decided that the best way for me to finish 2014 is by staying up to date on it. It really is important to me so I have scaled way back on my commitments so I can devote time and energy to this. It feels great…and also sad…to cut back in some areas and with things that are very dear to me. It has taken me too long to realize that I only have so much in me and that I only have so many hours in a day.
Anyways…I am getting rambly…like usual! I decided to share the first bit of my getting ready for 2014 process. Then I will share my process for each of these steps myself, include the items I have actually purchased and/or used.
1. Get the supplies you need/want. For me this mostly means hoarding cores. We have touched on this already…but you totally know what I mean. (I just need two more to feel more complete…though there are four more that I would like…but I would settle for two of the four!) This also means getting some of the other bits you might want as well, like stamps or ink pads, paper trimmer…etc. There are lots of different monthly kit clubs you could do instead of cores as well. (I will do a separate post on all of these for you. I didn’t realize there were so many!). Going that route gives you the option to mix things up in your spreads! If you have done Project Life before, you have an idea of what you might want or need for the coming year.
If you are new to Project Life, you don’t need much!! Grab a core, a binder, pocket pages, pens and your own personal photos, and you are good to go!
2. Organize the supplies. I decided that this is something that needed to be done for my own personal sanity, and also to help me be more consistent in my Project Life process. I am not an organized person, so it doesn’t come naturally to me, but I have found that if I just do the organizing to start with everything in every area of my life (the parts that are organized) go sooo much smoother and less stressful! I decided that that is my goal for 2014 (and my OLW…more on that to come as well)…to be more organized so that I can be more at peace. So, start organizing all those supplies you have been stocking up on. Put all the journal cards in one spot. Put your pens all together. Keep the stamps and inks together so you can find them easily. If, like me, you don’t have a ton of space (or any for that matter!), just put everything as close together as you can even if every item set can’t be completely all together. For instance…I have all my journal cards on my desk or the shelf/shelves above it. The stamps are on the bookshelf behind me. My 2014 binder is next to my desk leaning up against it. You get the idea. Keep every item together and as organized as you can in your own personal space! You absolutely do not need to have an amazing magazine worthy craft studio to make crafting, particularly Project Life, doable. That is part of why it is awesome.
3. Get your camera, editing software and photo inspiration ready to go. It dawned on me one day that I was definitely not utilizing my software to it’s full capabilities, so I found some AMAZING Lightroom tutorials thanks to my friend Christine aka listgirl. Once she showed me these tutorials, I knew that my life and photo editing (specifically Project Life photo preparation) was going to be so so so much easier!!! Even if you are not a Lightroom user, and you will mostly use your cell phone, try to think about how you want to print and process your photos. Get your apps ready and accounts ready so you can upload and print easy peasy! Do you need help thinking of photo inspiration??? Find blogs with monthly challenges and idea lists like Katrina Kennedy, FatMumSlim, Project Life 365 and sign up for the emails so you don’t miss the monthly lists. This is especially helpful if you are doing Project Life weekly. I am gonna shoot for monthly spreads to be easier on myself, but that might mean a spread every week one month..or just one spread for the entire month…don’t know and I am not gonna pressure myself! Figure out what you would like to do and get your software and what not ready to go so you aren’t cramming the day before you want to start your spreads.
Here are the super amazing and fantastic LR tutorials that will change your life. You are welcome.
The Scrappy Jedi: using lightroom to print multiple photos on a single 4×6 canvas
The Fabulous Adventures of Listgirl: Project Life | Page Planning Using Lightroom
4. Have notebooks or apps for journaling and for the kids. Sometimes, something will happen or someone will say something and you will want to remember it. A photo won’t do because, though it is worth a thousand words in some instances, it won’t actually record the exact conversation or words spoken that you want to remember. Have notebooks or post-its in your purse, on your desk, in your car…etc. Keep something with you to record some things so you don’t forget. Also, I keep the 3×4 grid cards in my travel pouch with my planner goodies for the kids to doodle and write on when we are out and they are bored. I also have them out on the bookshelf with their art supplies so if they are feeling creative they can use them as inspired and I can slip them into my pocket pages. There are lots of apps for recording your daily moments too. Even just the notepad that comes on smartphones would be perfect! Let the other members of your family/house be a part of the memory keeping. This probably could have been put with supplies, but I had a lot to say about it apparently and didn’t want to put all of that with my already incessant ramblings about supplies!
5. Work on your title page. This can be as hard or as easy as you would like. If you have a Core there are labeled title cards that even tell you where to put them! So awesome!! I like to include photos of my kiddos on the title page, because they are so darned cute. If you are going to do that, start searching for the best photo of them from the past year…I like for it to be pretty recent…and edit it and size it however you need or want and then add in filler/journal and title cards for the empty spaces. Jot down the year or any little snippet you might like to include. Voila! You could totally stop there. Or you could take it a smidge farther and add little embellishments to it as well. Completely up to you!
6. Look for inspiration, but please please please do not compare!! I am not a paper scrapper. I am a digital scrapper at heart as that is where I started…and I am clustery. That is like the total opposite of Project Life. In 2012 when I first started trying to do Project Life I ended up feeling really down. My photos weren’t professional. I wasn’t good at all the extra beautiful embellishing. My handwriting isn’t even good!! It ended up making me want to quit. I just got caught up in the craze and browsing for inspo so much that I was missing the whole point!! The point isn’t to become the next Ali Edwards (who is just plain amazing at everything!!). The point is to record your own memories. Remember the moments in your life that pass all too quickly. They are special and worth documenting! When you look at past photos from your own childhood, do you critique your parents (or whoever was taking the photo) camera angle and lighting? Or do you smile and reminisce and remember those moments? I am betting for most of you it is the latter. We are just excited to be seeing our cute little baby self! We don’t care that there is a glare here or a shadow there. Maybe some of you don’t have albums and journals and diaries from your parents or grandparents. Wouldn’t it be soooo nice if you did?! That’s how your family will feel when you are old or gone. They will just be so grateful for the glimpse into your life or their life! It will be a true treasure for them no matter how amazing and perfect (in your eyes) that it is.
With all that being said…getting inspired is one of my most favorite things about our digital age!!! There is such a wealth of inspiration everywhere!! Becky Higgins has an amazing creative team and they almost all have blogs or websites with their beautiful spreads. Pinterest has a kabillion different boards with Project Life Inspiration..just type in Project Life and watch what happens! Most of the stores and shops have galleries. You can search Project Life in those to see beautiful pages. People are so creative and in our digital age we are blessed because they love to share it with the world! It is so fabulous!
Whew! I might have gone a wee bit overboard…but I really did have a lot of thoughts and wanted to share while it was on my mind. Stay tuned to see my own photos and more links from each of these steps!