Category Archives: project life/pocket scrapping

Solutions for the Chronological Scrapbooker: Project Life Baby Edition

Solutions for the Chronological Scrapbooker: Project Life Baby Edition

We’re going to switch gears for the moment, and talk about how you can use Project Life style scrapbooking to document a big event or a baby’s first year, even when the baby’s now 30 and expecting their first child, and the big event was so long ago you’ve forgotten all the details.

If your baby really is 30, please, don’t ever feel guilty about NOT scrapbooking. There is no behind. There are no stories you must tell. This is a hobby you can choose to do or not. It is not, and never will be, something you HAVE to do. “But!” you say. “I have all these photos from my wedding/baby’s first year/Christmas that I have to use! If I don’t, my mother-in-law/best friend/random stranger will hold it over my head for decades!” Or even better, there’s the self-induced guilt of “I have to do these photos in chronological order! If I don’t we’ll never remember what we did in May of 1995!”

Please, stop right there. You don’t have to scrapbook to please anyone else but yourself, and you don’t have to do it in order. Did that work? Are you listening? Probably not, right?

I bet you are still running around in your head, thinking that you do need to do these things. I know nothing I say is going to stop you feeling like you have to scrapbook that way. So, rather than try to talk you down off the scrapbook ledge of guilt, let’s approach chronological and big event scrapbooks from a different perspective. Let’s make them fast and approachable, instead of overwhelming.

If you’ve been aware of the scrapbook business for any length of time, you probably know all about Becky Higgins, and her Project Life products (affiliate link). You’ve probably also heard that people who do Project Life try to take a photo every day, write a little every day, and then just slip the daily photo and journaling into a divided page protector that looks a bit like this:


(You can buy those here through my Amazon affiliate link.)

Does that idea scare you? Me too. The first time I tried to do Project Life I got about a month and a half into it before I quit. I don’t want to take a photo or write THAT often, or buy into the resulting guilt when I don’t manage to do either for weeks at a time. (It is working much better the second time around. You can see my posts about Project LIfe here.)

But! These page protectors and Becky’s other product can help you get your stories told quickly and easily. How? Easy.

Let’s work with a concrete example, say a baby book?

If you use the standard page protector, you will need eight horizontally oriented photos for each month of the baby’s first year, plus three of the baby at birth, and another three of the first birthday. Choose only your favorites, and do not print every photo you have taken since your baby was born. If you have vertically oriented photos you’re dying to use you have a few options: buy a different style page protector; print it smaller to fit in the smaller pockets; or (gasp!) cut it.

Sort your photos in chronological order. Slide your three birth photos in the pockets of the first page, along with a title card, and small cards with name and birth statistics. For each following double page spread, add eight photos from each month, and eight small cards with any journaling you want, or even just some pretty patterned paper. For the last page, make sure you’ve got a photo of the kid at one, along with either photos that show how the baby has grown in comparison to the one-year-old, or how you celebrated the first birthday. A little bit of journaling to document changes over the course of the year, and some reflection about it, and your baby book is done.

This is a process that can work for any big event.

Want to document a trip?

Create a title page with an overview of where you went, who you went with, and what you saw, then fill in pocket pages with your favorite photos and memorabilia and anything you can remember from your trip. You can keep it chronological, and do a pocket, a page, or a double page spread per day. You could build your album based on places or people you’ve seen as well. The options are just about endless, and you can make this set-up work for how you think about your photos and memories.

A few things to remember that will help you succeed:

1. Limit your photo selections. While you could use every photo you took during the baby’s first year, or on your once in a lifetime trip, it is so much easier and faster and more attractive to choose your best or most memorable photos. And yes, sometimes the most memorable photos are the worst from an artistic standpoint, but they show an important part of your story, so use them! However, don’t use all 37 photos of the baby learning to walk. Choose a handful, or only one. Curate your photos. You’ll be happier with the end result, and finish your project sooner.

2. Either choose your photos based on the orientation of your photo sleeves, or be willing to trim and adjust photos to fit. Another option is to be willing to turn the album when you look at it. Don’t get hung up on having a mix of photo orientations. This is what takes the longest when putting together a project life page, and by choosing photos appropriately, you can avoid the issue entirely.

3. Don’t feel you have to have tons of heartfelt journaling. A few bits of the details you can remember is more than enough. If you have more journaling spots than you need, fill the space up with pretty paper or another photo.

4. Embellish if you want to, but try to stick to flatter, less three-dimensional elements. Intricate roses and huge beads take up a lot of space in your pocket, and might force you to trim your card or photo in order to fit.

5. Enjoy the process. Take time while you’re putting your project together to reminisce and recall the details. You’ll be able to include more information if you savor your memories, rather than rush to complete the project.

Think you’re ready to take on a baby book, or a big event book?

Show me what you make!



Almost a Year of Project Life. Where to go from here?

Almost a Year of Project Life. Where to go from here?

It’s been a while since the last PL update. How about a quick glance at the latest pages? (Or maybe not so quick. There’re a lot of photos here!)

PL March ||

Wow! That’s from the end of March. Did you realize it’s been that long since I posted a PL update? Neither did I!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a few of these pictures before. My favorite has got to be the picture of viola written on the door with washi tape.


The oldest PL supplies I have are cards and stickers from the Turquoise core kit. Man that is an old kit! I used a bunch of it while finishing up the last PL album I did, but I still have quite a bit left. It’s getting thrown in as I remember to use it.


As April moved in, I also started punching hearts, stars and butterflies from scrap pieces of cardstock too small to use for anything else, and adding them to my little embellishment jar. That’s been a fun adjustment to my process.


Sometimes I feel like I’m taking the same pictures over and over again. Kids in front of the computer. Kids at the bus stop. But that’s where our lives are right now.


And then again, there’s always something unexpected to get thrown into the mix, like my nephew arriving two weeks early. That’s a good kind of surprise, don’t you think?


My sister wanted me to come down immediately and take pictures of the little peanut while in the hospital, because I had managed to get a few good ones of my niece the last time. Some of these came out pretty well. But I don’t think I got any quite as good as last time.


And then it was hurry home to celebrate my two May boys. We apparently like to cluster birthdays in this family.


We’ve got a range of subjects, from my oldest’s last concert, to me working in the yard. That weirdly lumpy looking picture on the bottom left is my black dog and my grey cat sleeping together on a dark brown bean bag under my desk. They were too adorable not to photograph, but there was no way I was going to get  a decent picture of them. Not enough light, and no contrast to speak of!


May has ended with some simply beautiful 80 degree weather, so we took the inaugural swim in my mother’s pool for Memorial Day.


With that, I’m just four weeks from finishing a full year of Project Life.

This time around, it has been working fairly well.

Things that have been working:

Printing locally at a nearby Walgreens. I can order prints and pick them up while out running chores.

Having a variety of pocket pages in different orientations so I can choose a page layout based on the photos I have, rather than making the photos I have work with a single page design.

Having an iPhone means taking more daily life kinds of photos. I’m not having to stop and go get my camera to take a picture of the moment, and missing the moment as a result. I’m loving having a camera easily accessible all the time.

Having a small bowl filled with punched shapes and other small things that can be used to embellish pockets. I don’t use them all the time, but they sure are handy!

Things that have been hit or miss:

Writing cards as life happens. I’m usually writing cards in the standard portrait orientation, but I frequently have to insert them horizontally based on the photos for the week. That’s bugging me a little. Since I’m only slightly OCD, I’ll learn to live with it. I’m also not writing each and every day. Sometimes I remember to write something every day. Other times, weeks go by without me remembering to write anything down.

Printing at home. I guess I’m just not a print at home kind of girl. I don’t do a lot of editing, I don’t do a lot of pre-planning of my pocket pages, and I’m not going to any time soon. I use it when I’ve got a few photos to print, or when I’m inspired to do some goofy editing. Other than that, it’s 4×6 or 4×4 photos printed at Walgreen’s. It’s just simpler for me. I’m not really sure why.

Things that haven’t been working:

Getting the rest of the family involved in the story telling. There’s only so much nagging I can do in a day. As a result this is more MY story than OUR story. However, I have fond hopes for next year.

My memorabilia storage sounded like such a great idea at the beginning of this project- a lunch box to hold things, and then each month I’d add what I wanted to a PL page and ditch the rest. Except. I hardly ever remembered to put anything in the lunch box, or take anything out of it. Now it’s just one more place for random junk to live. That’s getting cleaned out soon! Instead of a separate place for memorabilia, moving forward I’ll keep a carefully selected few items in the same place I store the PL cards I write during the month. That way I’ll be able to add that to the chrono-sort I do each time I sit down to put some pages together.

Anyone else keep up with Project Life this year? What’s working for you? What isn’t? Anyone thinking of starting a project? What’s holding you back?

A Little Splat

A Little Splat

I don’t know about you, but I love a simple technique.


It’s so much fun to play and find something fun and interesting, if a little violent and messy. Even better is when you can adapt an inspiration piece to different supplies.

I’ve loved the crayon art paintings I’ve seen on Pinterest for ages. (There are even tutorials, check out this one!)


Rather than melting my son’s crayons, I played with distress stains.


A few vigorous pounces of each color later, and voila! A card that calls to mind the crayon art, without the heat gun or time commitment.

Would you like to see how to do this? How about a quick video?

And a close up of the card for you:


What’s your favorite technique? Link up a picture or video, and share!

A Huge Pile of PL Pages

A Huge Pile of PL Pages

When preparing for a crop, I prefer to bring projects that don’t require a lot of thinking. I can NOT journal in company. Just having people around thinking is too loud for me.

For the crop two weekends ago, I brought Project Life pages with me to assemble, thinking that they would be easy to do while chatting. So not true.

Project Life was intended to make scrapbooking simple. It really doesn’t work that way for me. The simple arranging of photographs and choosing of journaling cards takes much longer than creating a page. Although, PL does allow me to cover more volume quickly than if I were to make a page for every story covered in my PL album.

But then again, I will probably use these photos again to tell variations on these stories, because I’m crazy like that. Who said you can’t repeat yourself? I apparently plan on doing that!


Anyhoo… How about a few photos of PL pages for you? Or should I say, 20 zillion?

Welcome to January. And lots of iPhone photos! (In fact all these photos are from the iPhone I got for Christmas. Very cool birthday and Christmas  present from my family.)


You know how you plan on doing something, and then midway thru it, you forgot what you were doing? Yep, that’s what happened with the journaling labels on the star card. There was going to be a rainbow of labels, but I forgot I was doing that while writing. Literally decision made and forgotten within 10 seconds.


I brought an old Studio Calico kit with me to the crop, just in case I wanted to switch gears and make a regular page. I found all sorts of things I could use on my PL pages. Including these stickers. Also, the love is a punch from mirror cardstock. My cheap, use what I have, version of gold foil for the day.


Before I put myself on a spending freeze, I treated myself to the mini superheroes stamp set from Mama Elephant. I love their stamps!


I have a little jar, filled with tiny flat or almost flat things to use on PL pages. I think it’s time to replenish the jar. I used a lot of bits and bobs.


I am loving playing with the filters on Instagram. Also, we’ve made it to February!


I tried a watercolor technique on a Heidi Swapp card, but it came out very subtle. Not a bad thing, but hard to see here. Also, a bit of stamping, and the ink wasn’t completely dry when I slid the card in the pocket, so there’s ink transfer to the pocket itself.


I found the Creeper Valentine’s card on Rebecca Cooper’s blog. I love being able to use something from an awesome scrapper.


Using up some more stickers and chipboard and overlays. And, the super cure kitty from the Mama Elephant stamp set.


The month at a glance cards are from the old Turquoise PL set that I am still working on using up. Fit perfectly to point out when winter vacation was.


A few shots of the paint I put on the walls at my sister’s house. and on my hands as well. The splats of distress ink on the Heidi Swapp card really seemed to emphasize the theme.


A last day at my sister’s and then back home to try to get some work (at least planning) done.


I don’t know about you, but I am very tired of the cold at this point. And getting sick didn’t make it any more fun.


Shhh… Don’t tell my husband there’s a picture of him sleeping on the interwebs! Also, hello March!


My mother and I have been walking more. Laps at the mall when it’s yucky outside, neighborhood walks when it’s nice out. You’ll be seeing that window display again.


Big fluffy snowflakes at the beginning of March and my son dressing up for school. He actually was looking forward to school that day. I wish that was the case all the time.


How about some funky food holidays? Pumpkin pie for Pi day, and very green deviled eggs for St. Patricks. Maybe I should do something funky for Easter and Passover too. (The only traditions we carryover from my Jewish Grandfather, Jewish food on Jewish holidays. Which means latkes and matzos and occasionally matzo ball soup.)


Which brings us to the middle of March, when I went to the crop. The bottom card has space for a photo, and then I’ll finish out the month on the next few pages.

One of the big reasons Project Life takes me a bit longer to do than average, is because I do not consistently take horizontal or vertical photos. I’ve been taking photos for a loooong time. I’m used to turning the camera to suit the composition and topic of the photo. I don’t think I could stick to one orientation to save my life.

How about you? How do you usually take photos?

PL December!!

PL December!!

You know what I just realized? I haven’t shared my December Project Life pages with you yet? Where has my head been?

Oh I know. Layout a Day. All of February. That’s what I was doing!


Anyhoo… Let’s take a look at December, shall we?IMG_0299

Since I have so much in the way of Christmas themed supplies, I switched the journaling cards and papers for the month.


Some of the supplies I have are pretty old. Some are ancient rub-ons that I had left over from decorating ornaments.


Some are new-to-me gifts from friends de-stashing. Some are not-Christmas related at all.


My oldest had an eventful month, with job-shadowing and the National Geographic National Geography Bee. (He won his school’s Bee!)


The elf on the shelf kept my youngest entertained. Also, using PL cards to keep track of to-do lists has been awesome.


Christmas day came bright and early. At least my kids are old enough to wait till it starts getting light out before clamoring to open presents. Heck, there isn’t even much clamoring anymore.


This month was super simple, with labels making up most of the embellishments.


My favorite part? I was given this “Peace on Earth” vinyl sticker years ago, and now it’s out of my stash! Don’t you just love getting things out of your stash?

Well, that was December. I think I printed out photos for January, but I may have used some of them for Layout a Day last month. I’ll have to double check. And February is going to have to wait till I get some computer issues settled.

It’s always something, isn’t it?