Project Life | 2012 Edition

Can you stand another long Project Life post? (Project Life = a product line and system of documenting every day life created and pioneered by Becky Higgins.)

As I’ve been cruising around blogland this week, I’ve seen quite a few posts out there discussing the topic. I’ve talked about Project life a few times. This post discusses what my approach was originally in January of last year and this post gives some tips about taking photos for Project Life.

I’m continuing with Project Life this year, but my perspective has shifted a bit and I thought I would share how Project Life is working for me and how I plan to use it now.

Project Life is easy

Yes, it really is. The only way it’s hard is if a person makes it hard. Attitude goes a long way. If you go into the project with anxiousness and anxiety, it’s probably not going to end well. But if you stay flexible and adjust your expectations to what you can actually produce, you’ll have more success. You don’t have to know exactly what you are going to do from the beginning. You just have to start.

If you break it down, Project Life takes a photo and pairs it with a snippet of journaling. Then you repeat. Your spread can be a week or it can be one day. It can be two weeks or a month. There are no rules. And you can change it up. No one is going to look at your album and say, “How come you don’t have a photo for every single day of the year?”

Trust me, your family, friends and loved ones will just be happy that you took the time to document anything.

What Project Life will not do for me

Project life is not a scrapbooking replacement. For many, Project Life will be the only scrapbooking they do and that is awesome! But for me, I am still scrapbooking layouts like I always have.

I have noticed however, that my scrapbooking is starting to focus more on the stories I want to tell, rather than just putting photos on the page. I’m not there yet. I have a few things to share in the coming weeks that are contradictory to this idea, but going forward, I’m starting to think that Project Life will capture the daily and my scrapbooks will capture the stories.

I don’t really know how that looks yet or how to make the distinction. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.

How Project Life Works for me

I really enjoy documenting everyday life.  Not everyone saves movie tickets and product packaging and handwritten notes. But I do. I like incorporating that stuff into my layouts but sometimes I forget. I’m not going back to re-do a page and I’m not creating another one just to work in the ephemera. Project Life is a solution.

I haven’t scrapbooked chronologically in 10 years. That works for me. I don’t keep my albums in chronological order. It’s just not important to me. But the older I get, the faster time flies. I’ve started wanting a place to be able to see the progression of things. Life does unfold by the days on calendar even if my scrapbooks aren’t set up to show it. Project Life is a solution.

I’m still single and unattached, I don’t have kids, most of my close friends have their own families and it’s not always appropriate for me to be included. Many of my holidays are low key events and I don’t create layouts for them. I may have a photo from Valentine’s lunch with a friend, but I’m not going to create a 12×12 page about it. Project Life is a solution.

Project Life is not perfect

Still, you can’t control everything. The last time I updated my 2011 Project Life album was in June (the last blog update was in May).  Several things happened that messed me up. I had to pack up my scrapbook room in July and that caused a major slump to my creativity. Secondly, there were 23 showings on my house in the 31 days of August. I was cleaning like a mad woman to keep the house spotless and I didn’t pick up the camera once.

Life happens. Does it bother me that I will have an entire month missing from this album? My answer is that I choose not to get hung up on it. Should I abandon the entire thing because of the few weeks I missed? I could, but that would be sad.

I have photos from September through December and a big pile of memorabilia too, so the remainder of the year is not lost. I just uploaded seven months of photos to Shutterfly and I can work on the journaling while I’m waiting for the prints.  The album will be up to date soon and then I can turn my attention to 2012.

Making Project Life Work for you

I’m going to be changing some things this year to make it easier on myself. First, I had an gift card so I splurged and picked up the Amber Edition and Clementine Edition core kits. I’ll be mixing and matching and adding in my own stuff too. I won’t be documenting every week here on the blog because I don’t print all my photos at home, but I hope to show my progress here more often.

Many scrappers using Project Life are setting up their scrap space to help them update their albums on a weekly basis. Ali keeps her album in her kitchen and works on it here and there through the week. I won’t be able to keep mine out until after I move, but I am thinking about some storage solutions that might help me keep the products accessible and easy to get to.

I have found that the more frequently you work on it, the more success you will have. I’m really excited to see how this evolves for me this year, because it is an evolving process. And that’s OK. As long as my photos and stories are documented, that’s what is important.

Are you making plans to start Project Life in 2012 or are you still on the fence?

Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. love your thoughts on project life. I am giving it a try! i got on board late and i don’t have any products–my core kit is on its way and the page protectors are coming back in stock next month–BUT i bought a little calendar journal and i am writing down my journaling for that day. I am totally with you that at least for me this is NOT a replacement for my scrapbooking. I am using this as an extension to more of a look at our family ( and more me) in a year. I am still going to tell the stories of their birthdays- holidays etc, but i want the little details of ourlives.–plus in scrappin i am left out a lot and i want a look at what I am doing–does that make sense?

    thanks for the great post!!

    • Hurray! I really like PL because it’s another option. It’s another way to showcase photos and memories. So many people are scared off because it seems like such an overwhelming thing to keep up with. Speaking from experience, it is and it isn’t. But if you do get behind, it’s not too hard to catch up — you just have to put in the effort. I love that part of why you want to do this is to get YOU in the album more! Good luck with it. I wish you much success this year! 🙂

  2. Fun post! I have definitely felt an uptik in the number of people participating in this project this year. It will be fun to see what everyone does. It’s not the right project for me though. I enjoy making monthly recap pages that include the everyday stuff.

    • I know, I’ve been shocked at the number of well known scrappers giving it a shot. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do too – I can always use ideas to spruce it up! 🙂

  3. I have been tossing back and fourth what to do this year. Yes 1 week in and I still do not know. I love the idea of the PL as I get to complete an album within the year and without much thought with my busy schedule. I think I just need to put more into it and have the album already set up and ready to go.

    I still have stuff from the first kit. I feel I want to use what I have before starting over. I am debating between the black book or the Clementine book.

    • I did not purchase an album as it’s one more thing I’d have to move (plus I have a number of empty 12×12 waiting for me in FL) but I do love the quality of them. Don’t even worry if you haven’t figured it out. Maybe you’ll do a hybrid album this year since you’ll be scrapping more along with 12. 🙂 Part daily PL, part layouts. With 3 ring albums that’s totally doable! I thought that I didn’t need the kit so I used my own stuff in 2011. I’ve used up a lot of odds and ends but like you point out, it’s not set up. It’s not ready to go. I have to put that much more time into it. Which is OK to a point, but so much harder if life gets in the way. That’s why I caved and got the kit. Can’t wait to hear what you end up doing.

  4. Great thoughts Tammy! I was hoping to get my title page done today, but as you said, life happened this weekend and I wasn’t able to work on it. Maybe one night this week. I did keep up with my calendar and taking photos this week. I also have Abie’s grade card t slip in an 8 1/2 x 11 page too!

    Off topic, we’re planning a trip to Orlando this summer and the halfway mark from KC is about Chattanooga, TN. Do you know anything about that town? I was just wondering if it would be an okay place to spend one night on the road 🙂

    • The calendar will be invaluable! I haven’t used a paper planner in years, but this year I’m keeping track of PL and ideas in a notebook. I won’t be able to start 2012 for a few weeks yet – need to get six months of 2011 wrapped up – but I know if I just keep track, it’ll be a piece of cake to catch up. Hope you find the time this week.

      And yes! I’ll email you about Chattanooga! 🙂

  5. This is a GREAT post, Tammy!
    I decided against doing PL this year.
    So many other things going on.
    But I know I am going to do it next year .
    I’m always a little late to the party 🙂
    But I am developing so many great ideas from all the posts I have been seeing, that I know I can make it work for me 🙂

    • I love that – make it work for you. That’s what it’s all about. So many just see it as a photo-a-day drudge. It can be that but really, it’s so much more. You just have to make it fit your life. Everyone will bring something different to it. But this time next year, you’ll be FULL of ideas! 🙂


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