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
- 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.
- 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.
- The photo process (taking, editing, and printing) has to be SIMPLE!
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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
- It is less expensive to have the photos printed professionally than on my printer at home
- 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.
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.
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!
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!!!
Simply loving Project Life
Project Life is a memory keeping system designed by Becky Higgins. You can learn more about Project Life products here.