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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Falling Behind - Catching Up On Project Life

That is how I started Project Life - yep, by catching up!

Sometime in the middle of last year, I decided that I would like to do Project Life! I had two choices. Either I would just start and let the 2012 album start wherever it may, or I would start the album AND catch up the rest of the year.

I decided on the latter. So my initial experience of Project Life was staying on top of the current month, as well as trying to  catch up on, or in some ways, recreating the earlier months of that year.

It’s a good thing I like to challenge myself, otherwise this may have seemed a little overwhelming!

Then later in the year, my Project Life got behind again as the “crazy months” hit (from October through to January usually around here) and I really wasn’t staying all that current for October and November. However, that time around I was a little more seasoned on the whole catching-up thing and I had a few things in place that would make it easier for me.


So, today I’d like to share a few tips and tools with you that will make catching-up a lot easier!

First of all, I think we probably need to define what stage of “behind” we are talking about:


1.) There is the stage that is the quickest and easiest to remedy - the moderately behind.

You have most of your slots filled, you have all the photos off your camera and mostly printed, you just need to catch up on some journaling (which you have a note of somewhere) and stick a few more embellishments on and then you can call it done! There are some unfinished parts, but you are keeping up with it and you are interested and motivated in finishing it!

This is the kind of stage that happens to even the most dedicated Project Lifer at some point. Life gets busy, you or the kids get sick, the holidays take over, etc. Life happens and things fall behind!



Much like the above. There were several pages that had slots, journaling and photos missing at that stage.

The remedy here is to just finally, carve out some time,  sit down and get it done! Plain and simple!


2.) The Mega Behind!

That is pretty much the stage where you find yourself sort of doing Project Life, but there is just SO much to catch up on!

Those are the weeks and month that I started with initially. I think I started in June with Project Life, and I found I was really liking it and then decided to catch up on the rest of the year too!  There were January, February, March, April and May where I had NOTHING! But I was motivated and I knew I wanted to do it!

This is not the happiest place to be in terms of feeling done and accomplished as a Project Lifer, for sure, but don’t panic. You can do it!

The most important part is probably not to get overwhelmed and take it step by step! More on that a little later!


3.) The “I haven’t even started” kind of behind.

Not to worry - it’s never to late and we can get you started! Read on!


With being majorly  behind, or with just getting started, I think, the most important thing is to figure out a few things. First of all - do you really want to do Project Life? It may seem a bit of a “duh” kind of question, but really. Do YOU want to do it? Or did you get swept up in a trend, or did your mother think it might be nice for you to do it?

If the answer is yes, you do want to do it, then read on.

How much time can you realistically carve out to do this? Be very clear that even though this is quicker than traditional scrapbooking and there are various levels of how involved you get in it, it is still something you do have to set some time aside for. It’s likely not something you can fit in an already overfull time table. If this kind of memory keeping is a priority to you, then you need to find the time somewhere!

{You may also want to decide if you want to do Project Life with the folders and the protectors and cards and all that, or if you prefer to go the digital way. You definitely have options here!! All have their advantages and disadvantages. My album is definitely hybrid. }

For this post, I’ll be mostly talking about the paper kind of Project Life, with physical product and printing and cards and albums to put it all into.


Of course there are also many different ways to approach this Project Life memory keeping.

The way that I do it is probably a little more elaborate and involved than many others, but I’m a scrapper and I enjoy this part of the process very much. If you are looking for quick and easy, the Core kits are definitely the way to go!

They are designed to make this whole process easy to manage and if you have little time, are a total beginner at all this or a lot to get through, the core kits are awesome.

You can see an example of how to set up an album with a core kit here.

And here’s a story of somebody who managed to do 9 years worth of photos and memories in just 5 months with the Core Kits! Amazing, right?

Oh, by the way, I am in no way affiliated with Project Life or Becky Higgins - they don’t even know I exist. I am just sharing my opinions, tips, tricks, experiences and recommendations here in regards to Project Life!

Anyway, I have been toying with the idea of maybe do a core kit version of the kids earlier years myself, while I still remember all the little things! Hmmm, I have more thinking to do on that!


So, let’s get to the tips to keep you organized, even if you are falling behind.

1.) Keep your photos organized.

I generally download my photos fairly regularly and put them in monthly folders. I do this even when things are VERY busy. Partly because I’m paranoid that I might accidently delete them or that the  card will give up the ghost, but one way or another, I do it regularly. This habit has served me well while doing Project Life too.



Many people doing project life are doing them by weeks rather than months. I haven’t. I go by month and that is how I have my photos. However, you also always have the option of organizing your photos my weeks too!

Now, in addition to that, I also work my way through the photos I want to use, edit them and then save them in a folder within that month, so when I do get to printing and doing that week/month/ day, I can just pull it out of there and go.

I use Paint The Moon Actions for ALL of my photos and it not only takes my photos quite often from “oh dear I’m really not much of a photographer” to “Oh, that is a lovely shot” but it makes the work flow quick and easy! My most used actions are “The Essentials”, “Miracle Makeover” and my latest obsession/fav, the Luminosity set. Totally amazing! I don’t think there’s been a single photo of mine that hasn’t benefited from several of Annie’s actions in the last several years!

If you are in the market for Photoshop/Photoshop Elements actions at all, do give Annie’s a try - they totally rock! She often has free actions and templates on her site or on Facebook too, so you can try her out! And no, I’m not affiliated - just LOVE the product!


Now, you might think that printing all your photos is the next step in catching up and you may very well end up doing that. Personally, I print my photos as I work on the event/week/month. I am not planning my layouts/cards very much, so I tend to decide what photo in what size and what orientation I need at the time and I don’t really like reprinting everything, just because I changed my mind! So, in the interest of saving time and money, I have all my photos ready to go in the edited folder, but I only print when I’m ready to use them!


2.) Keep notes!

There are of course many different ways to keep notes. You can either have a physical little calendar, where you note all the things that later end up in your PL album, or your can have a voice recorder, a dairy kind of app on your computer or phone, post it notes all over the place - whatever way works for you!

For me, what has worked best the last few months, is a free app/website called Evernote. It works great!



I have it synced with my computer and my tablet and basically I can make notes as I go.  I have a Project Life folder in Evernote, also organized by month.

It takes a few minute here and there to make sure I record something, but it’s time well spent, as it becomes my main reference when catching up on Project Life. If you have a smartphone, the Evernote app even let’s you record your voice, so you can literally just talk to it while you drive and save it, or have it transcribe it to text. Totally cool, right?  Oh and you can snap/add photos to your Evernote content too.

Anyway, it’s free and it’s a cool little app - and useful for so much more than just Project Life!


And, when it comes to retracing events, don’t forget your calendar or appointment books, be they online or offline!

So, even if you fall behind, do make sure you keep up with the photos and the notes. It doesn’t have to be much, just little reminder notes on your calendar, or in evernote, or whichever method you decide on. And the odd snapshot of daily life!




3.) Use Social Media as source and reminders!

If you are active on Facebook and Twitter, go back there too when you are catching up. I often post funny little things my kids say, and even though I try and also make a note of them in Evernote, I sometimes forget. But my Facebook timeline provides me with a dated record! Also good if you’re just starting and trying to backtrack what you did when, etc. Every once in a while I also include a little print out of a post or conversation I had on facebook and add it to my Project Life.



Blog posts are a great way to remember what you were doing too, and something you may on occasion include in your Project Life album as well!



4.) Enlist your kids/spouse/friends/pets to contribute to your project life album.

Not only does it help you, it provides a real snapshot of your life! I often give my kids a 6x4 piece of paper/card stock and ask them to write or draw something they would like to go in the album. Sometimes they even come and ask now! I love their contributions!


5.) Don’t fall behind while catching up!

It is so easy to get swept up in “catch-up” mode and filling those gaps, that you might fall behind on the current stuff!

So, my objective has always been, do something for the current period of Project Life, then fill a gap or three. That way you are not playing catch-up the entire year!

Work quickly and efficiently on the catch-up pages, you want to get them done, but you also want to have fun and get back to the present as quickly as possible.


5.) Keep it simple!

When you are behind or you are just starting out, keep it simple. You will develop your style and preferences over time, but for now it’s just important to get going (again.) So, go with as quick as possible and as simple as possible! As I have mentioned before, the Core Kits are a great way to not only get you started, but also prompted and on your way in a very efficient and pretty looking way!

So, get some premade cards/inserts, do your journaling in the, for you, simplest way possible. You can always add more to embellish things at a later date, if you really want to, but for now you are getting it done and that is the objective!


Keeping it simple also means, having a few tools, that keep your life and workflow uncomplicated. Those will be different things for everyone. For me they are the following:


1. Fiskars 12-inch Paper Trimmer .



I use this thing all the time! It’s precise and I can trim my cards, photos, paper strips and whatever else I need neatly and most of all ... it’s straight! From very small stuff to 12x12 papers, I can do it all on this!



2. The Glue Glider and the Micro Glue Dots .



I can’t even tell you through how many adhesive applicators I’ve gone in my crafting years. Most of them left me from somewhat wanting to downright furious and frustrated.

About a year ago I found the Glue Glider and I haven’t looked back. I LOVE that thing!!!  Such easy and precise application, bi-directional gliding and it has never let me down on the gluing front!

And, the easiest of all - the refill is a cartridge. No threading, no winding, no nothing when it is time to refill the glider. Just pull it out and insert the new one. Done!

The refills are easily available online and if you are an ebayer, keep an eye out there, as you can often get deals on 2 or 3 pack refills for much less than in the stores!


And then there are the Micro Glue Dots .

They are my go to for adhering embellishments  and anything else small. They are quick, easy and reliable!


3. I already mentioned the Paint The Moon Photoshop Actions! Definitely a favorite tool of mine.


4. My vintage typewriter.

Ok, I still can’t get over that a smith corona typewriter from the 80s is “vintage”. That makes me feel somewhat vintage too! But I digress. I got this machine on ebay. It’s not particularly pretty to look at, not like some other vintage type writers, but it was affordable, it works pretty well and the typewriter ribbon it uses, is still available for purchase!

I do a lot of my journaling on that machine. I love the typewriter look, mistakes, white-out and all!

I also do journaling on my computer and then print it on cards, particularly when I need the writing to be small and there is a lot of it!

Of course you can always just hand write it all! I am not all that fond of my handwriting, and even though I include it, I tend to use the computer and the typewriter the most when it comes to journaling. Not least of all because they are a lot faster and much less strenuous on my hands!


5. Grid Cards.




Even though I don’t use core kit cards in my ongoing Project Life album, I do use the 3x4 and the 4 x 6 grid cards. A LOT! I just love them.

Not only are they a great base for both journaling and embellishment, I love that I can slide them right in as they are. Oh and yes,  I am just ever so slightly obsessed with the grid pattern! You may have noticed.

Oh and just a heads up - these sell out fairly frequently, so if you are into them too, stock up!


6. A good roller date stamp!


I got  this one when I first started with Project Life and it’s still my most frequently used date stamp, even though I have accumulated a few more since, I like this simple one the best!


So, what do you think? Can you get caught up? Or just get started? I hope some of the above proofs helpful to you! Just make a start and then keep going! You can do it!

And don’t forget - enjoy the process!!


I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more of my favorite things when it comes to the Project Life kind of scrapbooking! Until then, have fun!

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post. I am just starting my Pocket Scrapbooking and love all the tips you have here. Thanks for this!
    Best to you!


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