Sunday, September 15, 2013

a little project life

Warning: this is a very long, wordy, and detailed post.  And if you have no interest in Project Life, you will be bored to tears.  Feel free to skip right on through to the next post {or go make yourself a nice cup of tea}.

So it's no surprise that I'm hopelessly behind in Project Life.  

I think this is an inherent problem with this type, or any type for that matter, of scrapbooking.
Time passes, most of the time faster than we can keep up, faster than we want (except when we were kids and counting the days until Christmas, summer vacation, or the day we could get our driver's license.) Time doesn't stop so we can better appreciate those we love, so we can enjoy our baby's belly laughs, and certainly not so we can catch up with our memory keeping.

But the whole point of Project Life is to document the everyday, the fleeting, time-is-passing-too-quickly moments so that we can attempt to hold onto them forever, attempt to stop time, so to speak.

It's a trade-off I'm willing to make.  So I will trudge on, desperately (but not hopelessly) behind.

And along the way, I've learned a few things:

*I've learned to jump around with my weeks.  I don't have to go in order, and can just make sure I use the correct side of the page (I just do one week per single side, not double page spreads), and leave empty page protectors in my album

week 14

week 15

week 16

week 17

week 19
*I've learned to document, document, document.  Because even though you think you'll remember what day that happened, or the cute thing he said, you won't (or am I the only one with the horrible memory?)  I use a few tools to help me keep up with this:

 I created my own and added them to my Creative Chaos binder:

These are great for jotting down little notes about what happened that week and noting which photos need to be printed.

I created a quick filing system for each week of the year.
Washi tape attaches an index card to the front of each divider so I can easily see the week's dates, jot notes, and keep track of what still needs to be done to complete that week's layout.

Printed photos and other ephemera can be tucked right in ready to be turned into a layout. And the dividers can be reused each year just by replacing the index card.

*I've learned to have everything in reach.  I like to keep all my Project Life supplies together and within easy reach while I'm working.  I organize PL cards in a sectioned box that I bought at Target several years ago:

I separate the Becky Higgins cards by color and or pattern.  This saves me tons of time shuffling through cards in their original packaging.  When I need a certain color or a quote card, I can easily find one to use.

 Oh and those little empty spots are being reserved for the Honey edition as soon as I can get my hot little hands on it!

I also organize all of my other supplies, pens, tools, etc in my Raskog cart from IKEA.  Man, do I love this pretty little thing.

 It holds so much and keeps it all organized thanks to the Antonius inserts.

I try to keep just the Project Life essentials in here, like roller date stamps

my favorite alpha stamps

and of course, some washi tape

{A huge 'thank you!' to Becky at One Scrappin Mama for sending me most of those gorgeous rolls of tape pictured above.  She sent me an absolutely ENORMOUSLY HUGE package of goodies last month when she was cleaning out her gorgeous stash of stuff.  I am one lucky girl!}

OK, back to some more stuff I've learned while doing Project Life this year (I'm so easily distracted).

*I've learned to use a few little digi tools to help me document our lives, specifically these apps:

This app lets you "collect" your memories with a photo, some words, and lets you tag them for sorting.  It also lets you set up multiple albums.  The best part of this app is the little cards it makes:
They have lots of options for sharing, but I like to email them to myself for printing.  Project Life made easy!

Love this app for sorting all my iPod/Phone photos by date.  Aside from the ads, it has a nice, easy to view format that lets you easily see when your photos were taken.

Gratitude Journal
Even if you're not a Project Lifer, this is a fabulous app for keeping track of the little moments in life.  It also lets you snap a picture to represent the day.

*And finally, I have learned that I am happiest when I focus on our Project Life album, when I set aside time each day to write notes, and each week to edit and print photos.  I love the actual creating of the pages, slipping just the right cards into the pages, and trying to create a pleasing and balanced visual representation of our lives for that week.  Project Life has helped me be more present in our daily lives, find the joys and happiness in the little things, and be more conscientious of documenting it all.

Whew!  So there you have it: my little Project Life learnings as I go through my year.  Now if I could just follow my own advice, maybe I wouldn't be so darn far behind!


  1. Well you may be 'behind', as you call it, but I think you're way further ahead than most. The part you've spent the most time on, is what takes the most time and effort. The actual putting together of the pages, adding little embellies and such flies by when you've put the work into the prep like you have. You done an amazing job of "being ready" when you do have the time to sit down and focus on page assembly. And that Becky is such a sweetheart. I adore her and all her girlies, well Matt too I suppose, he just gets less face time than the girls, haha. I want to see more of you pages please ;)

    1. Aww thanks for always being a voice of encouragement, girl!

  2. Hello Hello Michelle!
    What a great post my Friend and I just love your PL, no matter what week you are on, you have captured its essence!
    and I may add you are one organized Mama! Yoohoo!!!

    1. XOXO Love your visits here! And your PL always inspires me to keep going.

  3. That was so interesting to read you Michelle !!! Great PL, with a fabulous organization to be sure and not to forget anything. Thanks for sharing your tips, and for showing this cart ! Sure I am going to buy it !
    I am looking forward to seeing others pages ! Hugs !

  4. what stamp set is that??? love the font and that it has numbers. Love the cart. Wish I had an Ikea closer...but will in about 2 years! lol

    1. Hi Erin, the stamp set is from, but I wasn't able to find it. This one at JoAnn's is very similar: And Ikea is totally worth the two year wait!!

  5. LOVE all your PL organiziation! I have that exact same cart from Ikea. I used it for supplies in my classroom this year but now that it's summer it's going to be used for my Project Life stuff because you've inspired me! I love those Antonius inserts! I was thinking of using those to organize my PL cards. I live NOWHERE near an Ikea and would have to order online but shipping is $$$. So I was wondering if you might do me a favor?! :) Can you tell me the dimensions of the 3 different sized sections in the insert so I can know if it would even work for PL cards before I order? I looked at Ikea but they only give dimensions for the entire piece.

  6. LOVE your Project Life organization! I have that same exact cart from Ikea. I used it for supplies in my classroom this year. But now that it's summer, you've inspired me to use it for PL stuff. Heck, I may not even empty it in August and just buy a second one for my classroom! I was thinking about getting 3 of those Antonius inserts to organize and store my PL cards. I am a newbie at Project Life and have not gotten into stamps and washi tape yet, just the journaling and filler cards. I live NOWHERE near an Ikea so would have to order online and pay the $15 shipping! :S I was wondering if you might help me know if it's really worth buying them by doing a favor for me? :) I went to Ikea's site but they give only the overall dimensions for the insert. Could you possibly measure the dimensions of the 3 different sized sections of the insert? That way I would know if the journal and filler cards would even fit in it before ordering. Thanks :)

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Yes, the Project life cards will fit in the Antonius inserts: the large ones in the center are 4x6-½, the small ones on the side are 3-½x4-¼, and the long one is 3-½x 9. Hope this helps!

    2. I am a cardmaker who is being drawn into scrapbooking the PL way. I have been organizing my life the last year via One of the principles of flying is that you are never behind. Just jump in where you are. Hope this thought helps you to not feel so overwhelmed. Your scrapbook is for YOU. No one is going to grade it. So enjoy:)

  7. My husband is picking up a desk at IKEA for me. I sent him a snapshot of your cart followed by another snapshot or the IKEA website telling him the aisle and bin to find it! How can he say no when I've made it so easy! Thanks for the inspiration! I do basic scrapbooking and sewing this cart will come in handy!

  8. Thank you for sharing all your awesome tips!! I loaded my apps and have my cart and baskets in the cart on IKEA about to order and get organised, thanks again!!!

  9. Love seeing this IKEA cart organized so well for PL. I'm especially liking your idea of using the photo/ephemera dividers according the the PL week. Brilliant! I'm behind but thinking I might get a handle on it if I can organize this way. Silly question. Did you make your photo dividers or purchase them? If purchased, where? I like that the tabs are small. Thanks so much for this post!

    1. Hi Judy, I purchased the divider cards at my local office supply store and then stamped the numbers on them. Others have asked about them, and I have not been able to find these exact ones online. I believe they are from Smead. Try searching 1/5 cut tabbed dividers 4x6. I will post a link if I can find them.

  10. This is a great post Michelle. I love your organisation and your PL ideas. I am inspired to re-organise now and use some of your brilliant ideas. Thanks heaps.


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