Does Project Life Fit In With My Life?

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If you have been a Daily Digi reader or a
Digi Show listener for very long, chances are you have heard me express my dislike for scrapping events. There are certain events, like vacations, that I LOVE scrapping, but most events go unnoticed in my albums. I told Katie awhile ago that I am not sure I’ve ever actually scrapped a Christmas since going digital (that doesn’t stop me from collecting Christmas kits though). Katie’s response was, “Well, you don’t like scrapping events, so that makes sense to me!”

When I started digital scrapbooking, I let go of the idea that I had to scrap everything. I also let go of the desire to scrap chronologically. Along with those two things went the guilt I had previously experienced as part of my hobby. Even though I scrap what I want, when I want; there are some things that my FAMILY wants me to scrap that I would prefer not to.

I have always longed for a way to scrap those events that I find uninspiring. A method that is simple, fast, doesn’t require me to make too many choices, but also allows for customization where I want it. Until recently, this method didn’t really exist; everything I tried fell short.

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What Project Life Is (and is not)

I didn’t really ‘get’ Project Life until I watched the following video on Becky Higgin’s site:

I had the misperception that Project Life was about creating a layout for every single day of a year. I also thought that I needed to take photos everyday in order to ‘do’ Project Life. After watching the video, it clicked for me and I was excited.

What Project Life is:

  • a way to spend less time designing layouts
  • you deciding your own pace (however many layouts per week, month, or year that works for YOU)
  • being able to feel good about what you’ve done, no matter how much or how little that is
  • bringing together your photos, your memories, and the people you love to tell your story
  • not elaborate
  • simple
  • no guilt
  • satisfaction

Getting Project Life to Go Digital

Instantly, I wanted a completely digital version that I could manipulate however I wanted. I thought about the different ways I would use the products (I LOVE divided page protectors and have had an affinity for them for years) and how I could incorporate them into my memory keeping. On January 3, 2010, I sent my first email to Becky Higgins, owner of the Project Life products, asking about a digital Project Life. This past summer I sent another email sharing my vision and asking (begging) for a digital version of Project Life.

I love that Becky doesn’t limit herself, her scrapping, or her products based on what she is most familiar with or what scrappers perceive she should do. I knew if anyone could quickly bring a ‘paper’ product to the digital market, it would be Becky. After a few more emails that included some gentle arm twisting and phone call with Becky, she was convinced. I encouraged Becky to contact Jessica and was thrilled to hear that she had signed on with
JessicaSprague.com to distribute the digital version of Project Life.

How Project Life Would Work For Me

I got busy ordering my Project Life page protectors and other supplies that I wanted to try and waited for the digital launch of Project Life. I spent the following weeks thinking through all of the ways that I could use the Project Life products and how it would work. This is what I knew early on:

  • Project Life for ME, would become a way to document events and bits of my life that I don’t get excited about scrapbooking, but still want to record.
  • Project Life for me, would minimize my choices for these events (both in layout design and product) making it quick and simple.
  • Project Life for me, would be digital except the memorabilia I wanted to include and anything else the rest of my family might include (they don’t get as excited about Photoshop as I do).

I also knew that I wanted it to be FAST. I knew that templates would not be enough for what I was looking for. I thought about layered quick pages, but even those wouldn’t work that well for me. I wanted to have the flexibility to select which products from which Project Life collection I was using, but I wanted it to be quick and simple. I decided to contact
Wendyzine about creating some actions for me. Wendy did just that and more!

I told Wendy what I wanted and how I wanted things to look and she worked her magic! She is amazing!

All I do is click PLAY and the action scraps the layout for me, letting me choose the photos, journaling cards, papers, and embellishments. I was able to scrap 7 (SEVEN) layouts in just 1.5 hours!

These seven layouts are also layouts that I would not have enjoyed making without the Pocket Actions and Project Life digital products. These are layouts that never would have been created before these products entered my life! These are layouts that my kids looked at and sighed and smiled and reminisced about as they went through them.

My Workflow

These actions allow you to bounce around your harddrive opening different files to include on the layout, but it’s faster if everything for one layout, is in one folder. I used a method similar to
Katie’s “Power Scrapping” method and created folders for a bunch of photos I wanted to scrap.

In Lightroom, I selected a few photos that I knew I wanted on one layout and exported them (you can see in the settings below, I’m sending them to my “In Progress” folder:

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I did this for eight different layouts (the eighth layout was inspiring to me and I decided I wanted to spend more time on it, so I didn’t scrap it using this method):

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Then, I went through Wendy’s page designs and selected which layout design I would use for each layout. I copied the preview of that design into the folder so I would remember when it came time to run the action. I also selected the digital Project Life products I wanted to use on the layouts and copied/pasted them into the folders:

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Scrap It Actions: Pocket Pages

Then, it was time to push Play and let the actions work their magic! Actions can be intimidating to use, but they are super easy. If you want to learn more about installing them and running them, see our
action category in our tutorials section of the site. You can see how these Pocket Pages actions work below:

These actions have been uploaded to The Digi Game Monthly and Annual members download area as a free bonus. There are seven different layouts styles in the action set and a video tutorial:

ACTION: Scrap It Pocket Pages {1}

The actions are super fast, super easy, and give me the options of using whatever supplies I want (you can use Project Life, like I did or other supplies).

Putting It In An Album

One of the big things I wanted to be able to do with Project Life was to add the papers, programs, and other bits of life that I don’t usually keep. I hate scanning more than I hate cleaning toilets, so real ephemera from our lives rarely goes digital.

You can see below, I have a 12×12 completely digital layout that I created using the Pocket Pages actions and Project Life Clementine (digital version). I slipped that in a 12×12 page protector. On the opposite page, I used a Design A divided page protector and put some of my daughters cards from cast members, a program, etc in them.

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Here’s the opposite side of that divided page protector and accompanying 12×12:

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Summing It Up

I have only been working with Project Life this month so far (December), so I still have some things that I am undecided on that I will work out as I spend more time on it. Right now all of these layouts are in their own binder, but I think I might incorporate them into
my regular albums. There are a few other questions I’ve been asked about how I will do things and I can’t answer all of them yet. I am the type of person that plans things as much as I can then jumps in and figures the rest out as I go. I had originally thought I would wait and post about my system when I got everything worked out and knew what exactly would or would not work for me. After talking about it on The Digi Show though, we had several listeners comment that they wanted to know before the new year started. I will be doing a follow-up post in a month or two to share more details of what worked and what didn’t.

So far, I really like that have I a way to scrap these layouts that is simple, quick, and doesn’t require too much thinking or decision making on my part. I also am really enjoying saving the bits of our lives that I can add to the divided page protectors. My kids have had fun looking at the album as well.

Will This Work For YOU?

I am passionate about memory keeping! It is my belief that everyone should have a way that they enjoy documenting their lives. Am I saying that you need to jump in on Project Life, no. If this is something that you think you will enjoy and will help you accomplish some of your memory keeping goals, then, go for it! If the thought of it stresses you out, then don’t feel like you need to do it! If your heart doesn’t sing when you are scrapping then maybe it’s time to find a different melody. If Project Life is a song that sounds like something your heart would enjoy, then give it a go! It has solved some issues for me and made it so my heart sings when I am scrapping events!

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