wo years ago, I started documenting our weeks via Project Life. It’s a GENIUS memory-keeping system developed by Becky Higgins that consists of clever photo pocket layouts along with journaling card kits. The basic premise is that it marries these two things: old-school photo albums (consisting solely of slipping pictures into plastic pockets) and hands-on scrapbooking; so you get the ease and convenience of the old version while adding in the component of journaling and some artistic flare.
The huge bonus in my mind is that, unlike traditional scrapbooking, I don’t have to come up with a new layout every single time and embellish and fill up a white page. I rode that train for awhile but it became so daunting. Plus it was slow and, looking back on some of those albums, it doesn’t look as clean and sleek as I’d like. Thus, Project Life has become my thing (along with basically every other crafty blogger out there – it’s a phenomenon right now and for good reason).
When I first started, I was SO GOOD about staying on top of it. I did a two-page layout for each week and found intense satisfaction in being able to document both the highlights and the more day-to-day details of life.
But then LIFE started to get in the way of Project Life. Can you believe it? I truly think there would be a fairly quick way to undertake this system if you just stuck to slipping in photos and cards – to be fair, this is how the system was designed. My guess is that it would take about an hour per week if it were done in this manner.
You can probably see where this is going, though. Did Grace choose the simple route? Nope. I started adding in little do-dads and letter stickers and mini pages etc etc. This made our albums fun and beautiful to look through but also took up at least 3 or 4 hours every weekend. And sometimes, I had to buckle down and lesson plan or devise a new behavior system instead of doing Project Life (you’re welcome, first graders. Just FYI, you were totally worth it.).
All this to say, I ended up getting really behind. But I still believe in this system! Bobby and I love looking through the album from our first year of marriage and remembering what we were doing on a weekly basis. I know the albums will only become more and more treasured as time progresses. (What I wouldn’t give to have a Project Life album from my parent’s first year of marriage. It would be the COOLEST THING EVER.)
I know, I know, I could just start with a fresh slate and say “today is the first day of the rest of my life!” and not worry about these last 11 (yes ELEVEN) months that slipped by, un-Project-Life-d. Who knows, maybe I’ll do that if this becomes too crippling. Before I call a truce, however, I want to see if I can spend a couple weeks of laser focus on documenting those months as best I can. I think it will be worth it.
Here are some of my tools…journal cards, date stamps, pens, photos (obviously a crucial element), washi tape…the works.
(This photo proves how much I have to catch up on…because it is Mardi Gras next week…but we are in Miami…so yes, those photos are from an entire year ago. They WILL go into an album, mark my words!)
Here are two entire boxes stuffed with memorabilia and birthday cards and love notes that I will try my best to include, too.
If you’re feeling up to it, I hope you’ll join me in spending a few free hours in February to document some of your precious life, whether that’s via Project Life or some other system.
It’s going to be a wild, intense ride but I’m ready to kick things into gear. Thanks, 12 Months of Making!
Dear Grace, A beautiful thought, and a beautiful bounty of Valentine’s Day cards and envelopes. Even the photos are works of (h)art… hey, did I just do that? Your blog fills me with joy. Love and blessings from your alma mater! Fr. Jack
Thank you for being a faithful reader AND such an encouraging one, Fr. Jack! Love the pun – we are on the same wave length. :) Hopefully your Valentine will make its way to you soon if it hasn’t already!
I hadn’t heard about Project Life products, but I had definitely been admiring your scrapbook layouts on Instagram earlier this year. It’s neat to see a beautiful and efficient system in place for what can normally be such a daunting task. It also still allows your unique voice and creativity to come through. Those are the best kind of systems!
I’m going to have to try this out one day! Somewhat fortunately, those products aren’t available in Japan (yes, I already checked). Probably lugging home a big scrapbook would be difficult though, so keeping things at a smaller scale might be a good idea right now. I’ve been using Office Depot presentation books for several years now to slip in letters, memorabilia, and paper ephemera. It’s not quite as organized or good-looking as this, but it’s the same idea of needing an easy way to store the things I love and want to remember.
Best of luck as you try to catch up in the month of February! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress. The spreads in this entry are absolutely radiant!
Celeste, you might be intrigued by the Project Life app they have – which could work even while you’re abroad. I love the tangible journal cards, seeing my own handwriting etc…so the physical products are definitely my favorite. With that said, though, I think their new app is a game changer. You can literally scrapbook while waiting in line at the bank or the grocery store and then get it printed out in book form through one of the many companies out there. It’s certainly faster and more manageable than this form – I’m trying to get my mom into it! Just a thought and something for you to investigate – though they don’t allow you to sock away letters and memorabilia. I think your Office Depot presentation books sound great and like they’re doing the job!
Hi Grace, I must admit that this post tires me out just reading it, ha ha. But I love that you are driven to document and you have the discipline to carry it off. (Just wait till you have kids, ha!) Your enthusiasm gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can dig into some of my realms of saved papers, photos, mementos, and perhaps get at least some of them in better order. Hope springs eternal, right? I love you! xoxo
You can do it, Mom, I have faith! Ha, yes, once kids come into the picture this will become a whole different ball game…that’s why I need to get caught up NOW and not fall behind again so I have a fighting chance! Love you and am grateful for your documenting gene that was passed on to me. :)
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