AE : 365 : Project Life


For the last few weeks I have been quietly playing along and figuring out a strategy for myself related to doing one of these year long projects where you document life by taking a photo a day. 

Some of you might remember back in January 2008 when I started off on a 365 Self Portrait project. I made it into the second month and then decided to move on to other things. I ended up using those photos for this digital layout that appeared in Creating Keepsakes last year: 

The photo calendar layered template I used for that page are available for
2009 and for 2010 (each package includes all the months with the dates included).

Fast forward to this year.

I decided to tackle this project again. This time I am not doing strictly photos of myself, instead I'm focusing on our daily lives as a family. I'm looking at this project as a chance to tell small stories (the small stories that are essentially the big ones when you see them all together). I want to capture little details, conversations, memories. It feels like a perfect compliment to my focus on story for the year.

Photos & words & the stuff of life is what I am looking to collect and place inside this album.

I am not stressing about taking a photo everyday. If I don't do it, no big deal. From looking back at
years past I almost take a photo a day already. I am cool with, and
looking forward to, adding in other pieces of life: notes, lists, mail,
email, etc. Some weeks will be all photos and other weeks will be a
mixture of the two.

The base for my album is Project Life by Becky Higgins (which is now available through It's a big 12x12 album with divided page protects and other coordinated supplies. Most of you know I am a big fan of divided page protectors. I like how Becky's product is organized and I like that it is totally open to my own interpretation.

Here's a look at what I have been doing so far:

1. Uploading my photos (if I have taken one for the day) to my Flickr page. In the description for each photo I am adding some words. I am then taking those little notes/stories and transferring them into my album (see image example below). This daily activity, or every few days, is simple for me because I am on the already on the computer just about everyday (and I am in the habit of uploading photos every couple of days).

2. Printing my photos weekly. We have a brand new Walgreens down the street and I sent 13 prints as a test last Friday. They came back looking just fine and I think that will work well for these 4x6 photos. I am sure I will end up printing some of them here at home, but I like knowing that they did a respectable job (from feedback I got on Twitter it sounds like their service really varies from location to location). 


3. Taking those words I am writing on Flickr and copying & pasting them into a file I created in Illustrator. This super simple file includes the date, a dotted line, and then a space for me to input my text. These are being printed onto white cardstock and slipped into the pockets.


4. Taking advantage of the page protectors. The photo above shows how I placed Maya Road's acrylic people inside the four middle pockets of the intro page and then stitched the top edge closed to secure them in each pocket. I am hoping to play around a bit more over the course of the year with the page protectors - I've long been a fan of creating spaces that allow you to see through to the next page.


5. Using the cards that come with the kit and not using the cards that come with the kit. I like some of the designs that came with the kit better than others and will definitely be using them along the way. I have run some of them through my typewriter and some I have written little notes by hand. I am keeping one of the packs of cards out on my desk to use for notes, conversations, etc. I also really like that I can simply turn them over and use the white side as a base for stamping and journaling.


6. Adding 8.5x11 page protectors. One of the things that I loved in a previous version of Week In The Life was adding in one of these page 8.5x11 protectors between the 12x12's. I'm not planning on having one in there every week, but when there is something special it's a nice way to include it in the album (and give it a home). I also have a vision of adding in 8.5x11 photo enlargements if there are ones that are really, really special.

7. Envisioning adding in lots of those little bits of scrapbook stuff I have sitting in a basket on my work table.

Here's a look at the title page and the last three weeks all together:


I used my "the year of story" piece that I scanned in for making my blog header as one of the cards for the first page in the album. As you read about above, the Maya Road's acrylic people were each placed inside one of the middle row of pockets and the entire row was stitched closed. The 365/2010 edwards' card was created using my Outline Days, Months, Years, and Numbers Value Pack from Designer Digitals.


I'm including things such as pages from magazines and tags from clothing. I'm using the 4x6 weekly cards that came with the kit (and placing them in the top left corner) and the great little date stamp to label the week.


The little white cards with the journaling are what I showed above (created in Illustrator/copied and pasted from what I wrote in Flickr). I love having a place to keep some of those random bits of life.

The "love" card is from a Paper Source catalog. Other things you see here include folded up receipts, ticket stubs, email print outs, etc.


I'm in the middle of working on last week (week three) but here's a look at it in progress. A grocery list, one journaling card, two photos, and the backs of the other spaces along the middle.

I think the thing that I am really appreciating about this project right now is that it feels laid back. It feels possible and fun.

I am not trying to document every little thing. I am trying to capture the essence of the ways in which we live our lives from day to day. Our normal

If you aren't already playing along with this project it's never to
late to begin. There's no rule that says you need to begin in January. 

In reading Becky's blog lately I found her post about her evolving views on scrapbooking and memory keeping to be a really interesting read. I think this system can definitely work for some people as the way they document and celebrate their lives. For me, I am going to continue doing a mish-mish of things and play along with this project and see if I can't get a few more stories told over the course of the year. 

In addition to checking out Project Life as your foundation you might want to check out Memory Works new Simple Stories system. Simple Stories also uses divided page protectors as their base (they use We Are Memory Keepers 12x12 leather albums and their awesome divided page protectors that come with a variety of different pocket sizes on a 12x12) and offer a full range of accents and designs in their Life Documented kit. The visual style of this kit is very different from the look of Becky's - it's a much more weathered/distressed. I think a lot of your decision will depend on your personal style and what you hope to accomplish with the project.

I know many of you out there are already on your way with your own 365 project. How's it going? If you did it last year did you learn anything that could help someone who is just starting out?

Want to hear me talk a bit about how I've been inspired by the concept of story? Check out last week's Paperclipping Roundtable.

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