Monthly Archives: September 2013

Getting Started on Project Life After the Fact

Getting Started on Project Life After the Fact

You know how some things take longer than you expect? Well Project Life isn’t like that, it’s all my other chores that seem to expand like balloons to fill all the available space/time around me.

Let’s start with a few basic steps, and then add a video later that will have more helpful details for you.

One: Gather the photos you want to use. Keep in mind that you’re looking for highlights and photos that expand on the details of daily life. You don’t need 15 photos from one particular birthday party, but rather photos that capture the essence of what happened. If you’re dealing with previously printed photos, this is a great step to do while multitasking. You can catch up with your favorite shows or listen to podcasts or even supervise kids cleaning while doing this!

Two: Organize your photos. If you are making a chronological book, put them in general date and event order. If you’re telling another kind of story, sort your photos so you can use them in a way that helps tell your story.

Three: If you haven’t already, set up a binder with divided page protectors. I had already done this, but if you haven’t, you’ll need to do this before you can go any further. The old Project Life supplies only had one orientation for page protectors. There are a lot more choices now. If you go for all one orientation, just slap them in your binder, and you’re done. If you have a variety, you can either alternate them, or group them by type in your binder. If you group them by type, you can decide as you go regarding which orientation type will work best with each particular set of photos.

divided page protectors


Case in point: I don’t have very many photos for this particular date range, and two of them are vertical, so it made sense to use a page protector with fewer photo slots that include room for vertical photos.

Four: Slip photos in pockets. Yep it really is that simple. Typical Project Life format is title/date card in upper left, journaling cards across the middle, and 4×6 photos in the rest of the pockets. You can change that up to suit the photos you have. Some need to be cropped smaller? Go right ahead, and put them in the middle pockets. Want to use a larger photo? Use multiple pockets for it. (How to do that will be in the video later.) Have a lot to say? Use a 4×6 pocket for a journaling card, or one of the foldable pull out tab cards that come with the Project Life sets, or both. If you like the look of rounded corners, you may want to do that now too.

Five: Write. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Who, what, where, when, why, and how are good places to start. Just think to yourself, “If I was showing this to someone, what would I be telling them?” That’s what you write down.

Six: Embellish. This is where you get out the date stamp, and stamp dates on journaling cards or photos. Or use arrows and number stickers. Or labels and twine. This is where you get as creative as you want to be. If that thought scares you, don’t do anything. If the thought of not having inky fingers when you’re done makes you sad, play! This is where you make your Project Life album fit your style.

Seven: Share. Show it to your family and friends so they can be impressed. Then tell them how easy it was to put together. You’ll have scrapping company in no time. 😉

If you want to use Project Life to document your story, either today’s or ten year ago’s, you can find Project Life supplies on Amazon.

Blast From the Past: Background Stamping

Blast From the Past: Background Stamping

Way back in the dawn of time (or 2007 as the case may be) I had a little blog on blogger called The Dragon’s Den. On it I talked about whatever struck my fancy, whether it was stamping, or family life, or how much I loved LOAD. It now has its very own domain name, but it’s purely for personal thoughts now. Some of the old posts have some fun information though, and I thought I’d share one of the oldies with you now:

Today I’ve got a simple project you can do with stamps. This will work with any stamp. I’m using a very architectural stamp, but you could use an animal stamp if you’ve gone zoo crazy, or a Christmas stamp if you’re putting together holiday cards, or a ball stamp if you’ve got a kid whose second word was ball. You’ve got the idea.

A word about stamp pads

There are a lot of different inks. But when it comes to putting ink on your stamp there’s only one thing you need to know: is it a felt/cloth pad or a foam pad?100_1861

If it’s a felt pad like the one on the left, you bring the stamp to the pad and tap it gently on the pad, then give it a little twist before lifting it off the pad. If it’s a foam pad like the one on the right, you turn your stamp upside down, and gently tap your pad on the stamp. No twisting! You can rip or separate the pad from it’s case if you aren’t gentle. If you follow these instructions, you can have stamp pads for years! They will need re-inking eventually, but that’s another easy thing to do. How to tell if a stamp pad is felt or foam? Get your fingers dirty! A felt pad feels like a piece of canvas, and a foam pad feels like, well, foam.


The Technique

We are going to make a background. I used this technique to make a card and a scrapbook page, but there are lots of other things you can do with this idea–even use paint and you have a home decor treatment that looks like wallpaper, without the need to scrape and peel in ten years when you decide you must have been crazy to do that. First you need to choose a stamp. Base this on what your end project is going to be. I knew I was going to be doing something with my husband in it, so I chose a stamp that could be considered masculine. (Maybe.) This one is from a The Angel Company set. (I miss TAC! They are now out of business.) Then I chose three colors–2 colors close in hue, and then an accent color. I used Versamagic chalk inks in Niagara Mist, Hint of Pesto, and Night Sky.

Start with the lighter of the two colors close in hue, and stamp in a staggered pattern, leaving room between images for the image in the darker color. If you aren’t comfortable with eyeballing it, stamp the image on a post it note, with as much of the image on the side with the sticky strip as possible. Cut close to the image, and you’ve got a repositionable place holder that you can use to help space your images. In StamperSpeak, it’s called a mask, and it’s a very useful trick for layering images, and creating scenes.

After you’ve filled the page with the lighter color, choose where you want your accent spot to be, and stamp the image once with the accent color. Then fill in all the empty spots with the darker background color. Don’t forget to go off the edge of your page. This will ground your background, and it won’t look like it’s just floating there, waiting for you to finish it.

I used it for a page about my husband on his birthday two years ago. (Now seven years ago! Wait, seven? Wow!)


And a little detail for you:


So are you ready to make your own background? Show me what you’ve got!