Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Reflections on Project Life

I just finished up my 2011 Project Life album. I love how it turned out. If you haven't seen the Project Life albums from Becky Higgins, you should definitely check them out. They really do make scrapbooking accessible for anyone.

I've done a Project Life album for 2010 and for 2011. And even though I love both of these albums, I'm not doing another Project Life album for 2012. I love the designs for this year - but I want to do other things with our photos.

So for now, I wanted to reflect on my experience with Project Life. I really love how the two albums I created capture the everyday of our family - the food, the places, the things we love. I was also able to capture the big events - the vacations, the birthday parties, the holidays. I love how I can see all of those things in a single album.

With my usual scrapbooking albums, the view of our year is broken up into whatever I can get done or printed. In the Project Life album, it's all there - and it's finished. My boys love to look through these two albums even more than the others I've made. They get excited to see all the people and events they remember. It makes me really good that I was able to accomplish and complete these two albums.

As I said, 2011 was the second year I did Project Life - and I cut myself a lot more slack than I did in the 2010 album. I think originally I was so excited about the album and the project of documenting our daily lives that I made it too hard. It looks very pretty...

2010 page

...but there were a few things I did that made it more of a chore than it should have been.

You can see first of all that I rounded all the corners on the photos. I originally wanted to do this so that they matched the paper inserts. It looks really nice - but it got extremely tedious by the 30th week or so. It seems like a tiny detail, but it was just one more thing that made me procrastinate about working on the album. And when I compare it to the 2011 album without any rounded photo corners, there's no noticeable difference for me.

2011 page

In the 2010 album, I labeled every photo with a day of the week. I didn't necessarily have a photo for every day of the week - but I thought it was important that I label them so that we knew which day of the week it was. I then labeled each journaling card for each corresponding photo. And that means, yes, I had a journaling card for every photo.

This was a really time-consuming idea. Now that it's two years later, I can tell you that I could care less on what day of the week the photo was taken. In my mind, the 2011 page without daily labels or journaling cards for each and every photo is just as wonderful as the 2010 page. Doing my pages in the 2010 way made so much more work of what should have been an easy project.

In the 2011 album, I didn't worry about having photos for each week. In fact, I did a single spread for some months. And I'm perfectly happy with that.

August 2011 page - 1 month on a single spread

Something else I didn't quite like in my 2010 album was that because I was doing only a single 2-page spread for each week, that meant I only allowed myself one or two photos for the big events like birthdays and vacations that fell in that week. But in my 2011 album, I let myself use a single spread for an event - and I was so much happier with that. It allowed me to use more photos from an event while still narrowing it down to just the photos that really captured the event.

Finally, I spent a bit of time putting the finishing touches on both albums by embellishing the title pages. I love how they turned out. I've seen so many great title pages for Project Life on Becky's site and on Pinterest, and I wanted to make something beautiful for our albums too. When I saw that other people were putting the embellishments on top of the divided page protector, it was a lightbulb moment for me. I love how it looks.

2010 Intro Page

2011 Intro Page

Overall, I'm really, really happy to have both of these albums in our family scrapbook collection. They were immensely satisfying projects. Each taught me about looking at the little things in our daily lives, to capture them. Each album also taught me a lot about editing - about selecting the photos that best represent a person or event or time in our lives. I've been able to apply these lessons to my other photo projects.

And that makes me happy.

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