my project life…

I make scrapbooks. It’s one of my hobbies but it feels more important to me than just a “hobby”. I feel like I’m really trying to preserve some of my family’s history through photos and words…lots of words, and that means more to me than say, my knitting or my handwork. I love the journaling as much as I love taking the pictures. I’m not sure how many of you (who read my blog regularly) enjoy taking photos or even take it a step further and actually print out your photos (or have them printed) and then put them in albums—maybe some of you even make scrapbooks (awesome!)… Those of my readers who know me personally know that I have been making scrapbooks for many years, probably about 16 years now, when I think about it. Over the years my scrapbooking style has evolved and I love to look back at how I used to scrapbook and compare it to how I scrapbook now. I wouldn’t go back and change anything… I like to see the evolution of my style and I LOVE to relive the memories I have managed to capture and record.

If you DO scrapbook, then you’ve probably heard of Becky Higgins and if you’ve heard of Becky Higgins then you are probably very familiar with PROJECT LIFE (I encourage you to click on the links to learn a whole lot more about Becky and her FABULOUS memory-keeping system called Project Life if you are not familiar with either…).

I have been intrigued with the concept of Project Life ever since Becky came up with this amazing system for scrapbooking. I even gave it a try that very first year. I have to admit, my first attempt at this project was kind of a flop. My photos weren’t that great and I became very overwhelmed with the whole “photo-a-day” concept, which in hindsight I realize I took too literally. So after about a week, I stopped working on Project Life and continued with my regular scrapbooking of holidays, birthdays, important events, etc. but I kept Project Life in the back of my mind because I felt there was something missing in my scrapbooks, mostly the every day stuff, and I knew I’d want to give Project Life another try…someday.

What I didn’t realize in that first attempt was that the individual “days” and photos do matter, but what REALLY matters is the big picture, the sum of all parts, the end result. What I now realize is that what you get when you start creating a “Project Life” scrapbook, is a tiny snippet of every day that translates into a picture of what your life is like right NOW, in this moment. I started thinking about the things about my family that I could capture and I realized what a treasure this whole album would be to me, not just in the moment of creating it, but in 10, 20, 30 years and beyond. I thought—what if I had an album like this from when my mother or grandmother was my age and raising an 11-year old and married and working and living her life?  What a treasure that would be!  (Many things back in 1980, when I was 11, were a lot different than they are today…and it got me thinking and it inspired me to get started ).

After thinking through how I wanted to approach it, then pulling together a few tools and dusting off my camera I chose the Project Life CLEMENTINE kit to work with (though currently I am using the digital journaling cards and printing them off myself, awaiting the reprint of the ACTUAL kit so I can order it off of as soon as it’s back in stock later this month) and got started snapping photos. I am finding (at 6 weeks into the project) that I am usually able to take a photo or two every day related to our life, either something important or special from each day or something random about our life right now, but if I don’t take a photo each day, I don’t sweat it–I just take a random photo, like what I made for dinner or something around the house that makes me happy or something I feel grateful for… and I take that photo and journal about it and call it a day. Sometimes, I take a bunch of photos but they only cover 3 or 4 days of a particular week. That’s OK too…there are no rules, you just create this memory book as you go along and somehow it all works!

I’ve gained some wonderful inspiration from a few of Becky’s regular Creative Team members, namely Jennifer Woodbury and also Ali Edwards. (There is TONS of inspiration on Becky’s blog, I just happen to love the style that each of these ladies brings to her Project Life scrapbook.) Here is a shot of one of my weeks with some close-ups to follow so you get the idea of what my own personal project looks like…

click on image to enlarge

This was my very first week.  I decided to start on a week schedule from Sunday to Saturday, just like a calendar. This works out well for me since I usually put each week together on Saturday mornings. Other than it being Mother’s Day this particular week, this is a pretty typical week for us.

You may notice that the upper left pocket is empty. This pocket is saved for the “date card” — when I am able to order the Clementine Core Kit from, there are 4×6 cards that fit into this pocket and they will have a place for the dates for each of my weeks. I just left it empty for now and when I get my core kit in the mail I’ll fill in the dates and slip them into the pockets!

click on image to enlarge

This is a close up of the left page. Instead of putting in a patterned card stock filler card in the 3rd slot middle row, I opted to put a smaller photo in this spot. This is a great way to add extra photos to your story!  I don’t do this every week, but sometimes having this extra slot really comes in handy.

click on image to enlarge

This is the right-hand page of the layout. As you can see, I added a small chipboard heart to the journaling card before slipping it into the pocket of the page protector. It’s fun to add small details to personalize it a bit. I try to do this somehow on each of my layouts. Sometimes I add handwriting or a stamped image to the journaling card, sometimes I use digital elements in PhotoShop Elements to add a photo border or an arrow… it’s fun and it adds interest.

click on image to enlarge

This is close-up of that photo I put in the journal card pocket instead of the filler card stock, as well as an example of where I added a stamped image “real life” to the journaling card before slipping it into the pocket (incidentally, this is a stamp set by Ali Edwards for Technique Tuesday). There are lots of ways to put your creativity into the project. It can be as simple or complex as you make it!

What I love about this project…

  • my photography and photo-editing skills continue to improve…
  • I’m capturing all these bits of my life that might otherwise be forgotten or overlooked…
  • It’s not time consuming at all… the part that takes the longest for me is printing out the photos at home and typing the journaling cards out–I’m sure I could save time by sending my photos to Walgreens for processing and handwriting the cards, I just love the control I have by self-printing and I really like the look of the type! I usually work on my project on Saturdays, either morning or evening as I have the time–and I do one week at a time. So far, this is working for me, I’m able to keep up, and it’s really fun!
  • not only do I love the individual photos I’m taking and the stories I’m documenting, but I love the project as a whole, flipping through it and seeing all of the moments, thoughts and feelings that I’ve preserved and enjoying them or learning from them all over again.
And… probably the most important thing that I love…
  • by doing this, I am looking at my life more closely—learning more, appreciating more, and enjoying it more than ever!

All of you bring something special and beautiful to the world and all of you have lives that are worth recording. I am in no way affiliated with Becky Higgins but I love this concept and I wanted to share this with you, hoping you might be inspired to try some form of this and hopefully get as much satisfaction from it as I have.  I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about my project so please feel free to ask in the comments. I would also be happy to share my Project Life on a regular basis, like once a month, if you’re interested in seeing more as it comes together… just let me know!

Happy Monday… I hope your week is off to a GREAT start. 🙂


  1. This scrapbook is wonderful. You have such a gift honey!!