Category Archives: journaling

Embracing Project Life (It’s all about the story.)

Embracing Project Life (It’s all about the story.)

There’s a secret I’ve learned about Project Life that hopefully will help me keep current: it’s all about the story. Project Life, while initially about getting photos onto pages, has become, for me, a way to capture little bits of daily life. Sometimes that is a photo, but mostly it’s a story.

Some days are so long, I’ll have multiple stories to tell. Some days fly by so fast, it seems like the only story to tell is we ate, we drank, we slept. But there are moments in between that disappear if you don’t have some way of catching them. The way a child looks both like an adult and an infant in the same moment in time. The smile your spouse gives you when you’re sharing an idea wordlessly. The sounds that comfort you and make you think of home. Everything is a story, you just have to catch it as you notice it.

MY PL stash ||

Since I’m concentrating on story catching, I will be putting little caches of journaling cards and pens throughout the house for myself and my family to use. Yes, I will be encouraging my family to add their own words to our story. Hopefully I can talk them into photographing our lives as well.

I will also make sure I carry journaling cards in my purse as well, so I can document the world around me when I’m out and about.

I’ll make sure my camera is handy, and the battery fully charged. If I take any phone photos, I’ll email them to myself immediately, so they don’t wander aimlessly in cyberspace forever. And I’ll print at home once a week, with the templates I shared with you last week.

Any memorabilia I collect will go into a small lunch box, and will be curated and added to pockets once a week as well.

Of course, this is the plan at the moment. I’ll re-evaluate and adapt as needed.

That will be the key to success I think: adapting on the fly. That, and not feeling like I have to create a two page spread for each and every week. Some weeks will be two pages, some one, and some three and a half.

I’m committing to story telling, not pocket filling.


Looking Back to Find Your Voice

Looking Back to Find Your Voice

One of the things people say when they claim to have trouble journaling, is “I don’t know what to write about,” or “My life is boring.”

Facebook and Twitter heartily disagree with you.

What do you post to Facebook and Twitter? If you post anything, you can use it as journaling on a scrapbook page.

A quote you love? A recipe you want to try? A ridiculous news story? Those are all things you can use to illustrate your interests on your scrapbook pages.

And your tweets and status updates? Those are journaling goldmines!

They’re pretty easy to find after the fact, too.

For Facebook, go to your wall, and then click Activity Log. That will bring up a much easier to read list of your activity on Facebook, without all the clutter you normally see on your wall. You can even narrow the search down to a particular year or month by clicking the one you want in the list on the upper right hand side of the page.

FB screen grab

On Twitter, just click your name so your personal twitter feed comes up. To narrow down what you see in the future, star/favorite the posts that you really like. Then you’ll be able to pull up just those particular tweets at a later date, when you go looking for journaling material again. You can even request an archive of all your old tweets that you can download and search. (To do that, just click on the gear on the Twitter menu bar and choose settings. The last option on the settings screen is to request your Twitter archive.)

Here’s a challenge for you:

Go through some of your old social media posts, and find something that makes you laugh or smile, and document it. You may think that you’ll always be able to find old info on the internet, but you and I have been through enough technological changes to realize that EVERYTHING changes. What’s new and amazing quickly becomes old and obsolete. Document your stories in multiple ways, so that the things that matter to you have a greater chance of surviving, and being remembered.

If you make a page based on this challenge, feel free to share a link to it in the comments below, or over on Flickr in the No Excuse Scrapbooking group. I’d love to see what inspires you!

Solutions for the Chronological Scrapbooker

Solutions for the Chronological Scrapbooker

Let’s switch gears a little bit, and talk to those scrapbookers who are stuck because they’ve wandered into the land of chronological guilt.

There are a lot of scrapbookers who feel they MUST scrapbook in order. Baby years must be done before school age years, and graduation after that. Never mind that the stories that keep popping up in their head have nothing to do with chronological events, but rather something like how much their child reminds them of another loved one, or of memories of their own childhood.

They’ve decided they must scrapbook chronologically, and forget about the stories that occur to them during their daily life. And then it happens. They see how much they have to do to get “caught up” to today’s stories that they loose their joy and enthusiasm for the hobby. They stop scrapbooking. And then the guilt really sets in.

We can solve this problem. And we don’t have to stop scrapbooking chronologically to do that.

I bet, by now, if you’ve been wandering around the world of scrapbooking for any length of time, you’ve heard of Project Life, by Becky Higgins. This, believe it or not, is how you can get “caught up.”

Project Life was originally designed so that people could take a photo a day, write a little something each day, and then just slip the photos and journaling cards into pockets. Quick, easy and done. It has since evolved and spread, and most people are using it weekly, and documenting the details of their lives.

I started a Project Life album in 2011, but never finished it. Here, take a look:

All very nice you say, but how does that apply to the pile of photos you have from 10, 15,  or even 20 years ago that you have to scrapbook before you can even think about today’s stories?

Well, as you saw, the Project Life I started two years ago is still incomplete. I’ll break down the process for you in easily digestible chunks, and show you how to pull an album together.

You should be able to apply that process to any time frame you want to document, whether it’s last week, or ten years ago.

I’ll have that ready for you next week. While I’m working on that, why don’t you pull together the photos you want to use, and pick out some Project Life pocket pages and cards you like? You’ll need them to make your own album!

Check out the Project Life supplies at Amazon. (affiliate link) There are a LOT of choices!

Scrapbook Product Challenge: Alphabet Stickers!

Scrapbook Product Challenge: Alphabet Stickers!

Here’s a fun little challenge for all you scrapbookers out there.

You know how you never use up all the letters on a sheet of letter stickers? How you run out of E’s long before you even look at a Z or Q? Well let’s play a fun game of Scrapbook letter scrabble.

I’ve got this ancient sheet of SEI letter stickers.


Can you see how each letter has both a positive and the negative version? That was such a cool idea, I had to have this. I liked it so much, I bought two sheets! Looking at it now, all I can say is “yikes.”

So here’s what we are going to do. We’re going to approach these stickers as a puzzle, and challenge ourselves to make words that use every single one of these letters and numbers. We’re not going to bring in any extra letters, although we can use the ones we have in any creative way we see fit. (Coloring them and using them as outlines comes to mind right off the bat.) Feel free to play along with any full letter set you have at home, or throw out word suggestions for me in the comments below.

You know what, let’s even turn this into a giveaway. If you comment below, you’ll have a chance to get that second set of alpha stickers to use as you see fit! How about one week to comment, and then I’ll pull a random winner and notify them when I post the titles I manage to cobble together from these letters. *ETA: the contest is now closed! Thanks for playing!*

If you want to play along at home, the letters I have here are as follows: (6) A’s (3 positive and 3 negative); (4) B’s; (4) C’s; (4) D’s; (6) E’s; (4) F’s; (4) G’s; (4) H’s; (6) I’s; (4) J’s; (4) K’s; (4) L’s; (4) M’s, (4) N’s; (6) O’s; (4) P’s; (2) Q’s; (4) R’s; (4) S’s; (4) T’s; (6) U’s; (4) V’s; (4) W’s; (2) X’s; (4) Y’s; (2) Z’s; (2) of numbers 1-9; (4) zeroes; (2) ampersands; (4) periods; (2) exclamation points; (2) apostrophes.


Let’s show these letter stickers who’s boss!


Learn to Love Your Handwriting

Learn to Love Your Handwriting

We’ve established that your handwriting has value. But how do you learn to love it? How do you improve it?


Check out all the imperfect handwriting!

First, let’s think about why you hate it. Do you hate the way it looks? Do you hate the actual physical process of writing? Does it take too long? Are you afraid of making grammatical errors or spelling mistakes?

I’ve got a few ideas for you that should help with all those problems.

First up: the appearance of your handwriting. Do a little handwriting, and take a close and detailed look at it. Is there anything you like about it? What, in particular don’t you like about it? Next, think about the people who have handwriting you like. Focus on the details again, and note what exactly it is that you like. The shape of the letters, how they connect and relate to each other, the general flow. Once you’ve got all these details in mind, start practice writing using the letter shapes that you found you liked, and try to avoid the things you didn’t. This is going to take some time, because you’ve been writing the way that you write for a lifetime. It takes time to change those habits.


This is more like it. The letters are nice and round, and there aren’t any cross outs or rewrites!

Kristina Werner made a great little video about handwriting last month. You can watch it on Youtube here. She also recommends finding writing you like and mimicking it, as well as practice, practice, and more practice.

Next issue: Hating the actual physical process. Maybe it’s painful. Maybe you’re left-handed and always end up with ink blurred all over your hand. I can’t force you to like it. But maybe the reason you aren’t liking it has more to do with the tools you are using, rather than the process itself. Experiment with different pens and pencils and papers. See if there’s something that’s more comfortable and less messy before you give up on handwriting.

Third: Time. It takes too long to write neatly. Personally, I’ve found it takes longer to type and print and cut journaling to fit on a page than it does to write it. But I may not be the best example, since my handwriting isn’t exactly neat. If I slowed down, and concentrated on writing neatly, it would take more time, but still not as much time as using the computer. But that may just be me.

Fourth: Grammar and spelling. This is a case where the computer is very handy for those who are worried about misspelling something, or using the wrong their/there/they’re. It’s not so good at helping you write better composed journaling, however. That requires practice. Once again, writing how you speak is another way to capture who you are. You may have a particular turn of phrase that the computer will flag as grammatically incorrect, but that you say all the time. Why can’t you document that? It’s okay to be imperfect. We’re all much more likable that way.

Finally, I’ve got one more way for you to get your handwriting on a page. It’s a bit of a cheat actually, but a fun one! How about using your beloved computer to journal with a font based on your own handwriting? Try out this inexpensive handwriting to font generator from Your Fonts. (And yes, that is an affiliate link.) When you fill out the form with your letters, pay attention to how you write each letter in the box. By being consistent, you’ll get a better font flow, and it will look better on your page.

Are you ready to use your handwriting on your page now? If you still don’t want to do it EVER, please tell me why in the comments!