Project Life • Catching up

31 Aug

For many years I have kept books with our photos and stories. Some are very traditional scrapbooks, some are more journal in nature, and some look a little like pieces of art. Over the past year these volumes of our life have been incredibly comforting to open up and discover forgotten times. My favorite memories are the ones that share the everyday, the routine, the “normal” parts of life. I love to see our personalities as individuals as well as a family spill out through the photos and words captured in these books.

At the end of 2011 I learned of a system created by Becky Higgins called Project Life. A simple approach to capturing life. Perfect! In this post I shared a few of the details of how I was going to approach Project Life and in January of this year I began capturing our lives week by week, one pocket full of memories at a time.

I had planned to share some of my Project Life pages along the way, but our life got full and it was tricky to carve out time every week just to keep our book up-to-date. I am happy to say that I have completed almost eight months in our book (well, it is actually two books now) and it is an incredible treasure to have day-to-day details of our lives. If I ever deal with memory loss again, I know that these books will help fill in the missing years. That is worth every minute I have spent snapping photos (yay for the iPhone), writing stories, and putting it all together.

One way that I have been able to keep this project up-to-date and enjoy the process along the way has been to have a routine as to how I approach pulling it all together. Just a few simple steps that have made this project a part of our daily lives.

Project Life • My Approach

  1. Find a place in our main living area to keep this project out and accessible. This has been one of the most important steps in the process. Having the book and supplies easily accessible allows for me to write quick notes, collect ephemera, and most important to not forget about the project, I walk by it everyday.
  2. Since this is my first year with Project Life, I kept it simple. There are many page designs to choose from, but I chose one design (Design A) to use throughout the entire book. This made it simple to go from week to week since the back of one week is the front of the next.
  3. The photo process (taking, editing, and printing) has to be SIMPLE!
    1. The iPhone has been key to this process, not only do I have it with me all the time, but it automatically uploads (through iCloud) the photos to my desktop machine where I store, edit, and print my photos.
    2. I created a Project Life folder in my photo organization software and each week I add in the photos I want to print. Most weeks I use less than 10 photos, so this is a quick process. I also keep the editing simple, I am more focused on the story than a gorgeous post-processed photo
    3. I found a same day photo lab that I can walk to where I upload my pictures every Monday (my weeks end on Sunday). I chose to have my photos printed professionally for two reasons:
      1. I am not a fan of inkjet photos. They can bleed when you write on them, stick to the page protectors, and any hint of moisture is bad news
      2. It is less expensive to have the photos printed professionally than on my printer at home
  4. Monday evenings I spend about an hour pulling it all together. I put the photos into the sleeves, write additional stories, and sort through the ephemera collected over the week. Some weeks I add extra touches to the photos (sticker words, stamps, journaling), but usually I keep it very simple.

Throughout the process I try to think about what I want to remember most about this time in our lives. I take pictures and write stories about the details in our home, funny things we talk about or see, the cost of things, big and little decisions we make, the clothing we wear, the everyday places we go, the friends we see, the food we eat, the items we buy, the traditions we keep, how we feel, the world around us, and so much more.

I invite you to walk through a few moments from the last eight months…

When Rachel got her iPhone, she took a few pics of herself. To include all of these self portraits, I setup a template in Photoshop to include four photos in a 4X6 template. I really love how they look in the album and is a great way to include several photos without adding pages.

One of the many reasons that I love Project life is that including ephemera is so simple. I love looking back through the album and seeing the little bits we have collected along the way.

Rachel loves to shop and many of our pages show her outfit choices. I love using the 4X6 space to include 3X4 images to capture the progression of our shopping adventures.

Some weeks need a few extra pages to include all of our memories. This week was a show week for Rachel, crazy time for all of us. So I used an extra Design A page protector and cut it in half to include as an insert between the two main pages. I also used an 8 1/2X11 page protector to hold the program from the show.

I love being able to add the tickets from an event right into a 4X6 pocket, they fit perfectly!

A look at both pages side-by-side (with a couple inserts in the middle). This was a great week. We got to visit our friend’s farm, I flew down to see one of my best friends in Arizona, and Rachel auditioned for a new show. So much to capture!

Another side-by-side look, this time without inserts. Again loving how the tickets fit into a pocket!

This was a BIG week for us. Rachel turned 14, it was dress rehearsal week, and Rachel had congressional hearings at the State Capitol. During weeks like these most of my photos are taken with my iPhone, which usually means Instagram. I like to take my square Instagram photos into Photoshop and put them into a 4X6 template, this leaves some white space to include the story. This week I did a single Instagram photo on a 4X6 as well as two side-by-side. My handwriting is large, so typing the text on the photo allows me to tell a longer story, plus printing the square photos on a standard size allows for me to still send it to the same day photo lab!!!

Rachel’s scavenger hunt birthday party. This was such a blast. Rachel’s friends came into the city for a scavenger hunt 2012 style, it was all about the iPhone. They got clues texted to them and had to send photo proof back before the next clue came. It was so much fun to see the pictures come through, these are some creative kids!!!

I love the beach! This week we took a day trip to Cannon Beach and lucked out with a gorgeous day on the Oregon Coast.

Simply loving Project Life

Project Life is a memory keeping system designed by Becky Higgins. You can learn more about Project Life products here.

11 Responses to “Project Life • Catching up”

  1. Julie Rice 08.31.12 at 9:44 AM #

    I’m so glad you are sharing this piece of your life!!I really love the whole idea! Thank you:)

    • Jackie Wood 08.31.12 at 5:58 PM #

      Julie, I am so glad that you enjoyed it. This project has become a very important part of my weekly life, I love having the last 8 months to look back on and remember. Jackie

  2. Amy 08.31.12 at 10:25 AM #

    I am thinking of doing a project life starting in January to kick off the year…very inspirational!

    • Jackie Wood 08.31.12 at 6:00 PM #

      Amy, Yes!!! It is such an incredible project, a huge impact and yet very simple to complete while living a full life. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Love to you, Jackie

  3. Cyndi S 09.1.12 at 7:10 AM #

    Love seeing some of your pages. It is surprising to me how much I have enjoyed doing it this year and that I have actually stuck with it. You are so right about what a difference it makes to have a sytem in place and accessible. I love your little container for cards and pens on the kitchen table!

    • Jackie Wood 09.2.12 at 6:34 PM #

      Cyndi, I forgot to mention the cards on the table. That has been a huge help, since we do quite a bit of living and sharing while sitting at that table. I knew going into it that it was a simple approach to memory keeping, but I still thought it would be a lot of work to keep it up-to-date. Happily the simple steps I put in place last December have made it fit right into the schedule!

  4. triggsey 09.1.12 at 1:12 PM #

    Hi Jackie!
    Your book looks great! I am playing “catch up” this week myself…Charlie is going out of town so once girls are in bed, it’s finish up summer project life!! I’m loving this system as well, this is my second year doing it (will also be “catching up” the balance of 2011 this week hee hee) It’s so fun to see the photos of you and your family, we had such a nice time with you in Portland. I’ve been meaning to get my books on my blog too…maybe that will be my next step after catching up!
    Big hugs!

    • Jackie Wood 09.2.12 at 6:37 PM #


      I would love to see your pages. A couple of months ago I had five weeks to do at one time and I seriously thought that it would be too overwhelming to get it done. But it only took a couple of hours and presto all up-to-date!! LOVE THAT!!!

      It was great to see you this summer and I have enjoyed keeping up on your family fun between facebook and blogging. Such a great way to keep in touch throughout the year!
      Love to you!

  5. Tracey 08.19.13 at 12:15 AM #

    Love what you do, so beautiful and motivating :-)

    • Jackie Wood 08.19.13 at 2:27 PM #


      Thank you so much. I love sharing about PL because it has been such a huge blessing for me.

      All my best, Jackie


  1. overcoming memory loss with project life « Becky's Blog - 08.16.13

    […] Jackie’s approach to Project Life + some of her favorite ways to get memories into pockets, here. Plus, you can listen to Jackies recent interview on Paperclipping […]

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