AE Approach | Project Life 2011

My Project Life kit arrived on my doorstep last week.

As I was opening up the box I was thinking about how I want to approach my album this year. I peeked in at the Project Life Community at Big Picture (it's free) to see what people were chatting about and was inspired by all the different ways people have approached this album.

I love how people are liberating themselves from thinking this has to be a 365 project (which it totally doesn't and it totally can be) and making it work for them.

What I've decided is that I'd love for this album to be a family effort. I loved how someone recently mentioned that they kept their album in their kitchen/dining room and printed photos as they went along. I'm thinking that this might be just what I want to do. I want to encourage Simon and Anna and Chris to be participants in the documenting of our lives - even little things will go a long way in making it "our" project.

In this house I actually have some extra counter space in our kitchen that might be the perfect home for this project. I purchased a new little 4x6 printer that could have a home on the counter and will simplify the process even more. Hook up camera, pick a photo, print. Grab a card, write a few words. This means less time spent messing with the photos in Photoshop. Once I get everything set up there I'll share some photos and more details.

Having the album out in the open, in my experience, is really one of the keys to making it happen (even if it's only to stuff random things in the pockets like I did most of last year).

Here's some things I'm thinking about and ways to include my family in the process:


  • I'd love to include cards of gratitude from each of us at least one week a month. This might be a nice Sunday activity for us.

  • Maybe a family photo per month a la Tara Whitney's family photo project which I just love, love, love.

  • I'm keeping it simpler this year and plan to just hand-write or use my typewriter on all the journal cards. No reason for me not too and I love that I can hand one over to Simon or Chris and ask them to jot down a couple things.

  • I'm not married to making this a 365 project. I anticipate (from my past experience) that some weeks I'll take a photo a day and other weeks I won't. My album will be a combination of photos and what I like to call the stuff of life (papers, drawings, receipts, etc). What I love most about my 2010 album is how I really did collect things throughout the year even when I had zero focus on daily photo-taking and journaling.


A family journal, compiled by our family. It makes my heart beat just a bit faster thinking about it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

And for those of you wondering, my 2010 album is still in process.

74 thoughts shared

  1. Jill

    2011-01-02 19:28:06 -0800

    a friend and i purchased the kit and plan to split it. neither one of us plan to do the whole year so this way we can save a little $ and free ourselves from feeling pressured to document every.single.day.

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  2. Stacie

    2011-01-02 20:00:20 -0800

    I was thinking of doing the exact same thing Ali! As I toyed with the idea of doing one for each of my kids I realized that what I love about our 2010 PL is that it is OUR story. Our families history of one year of our lives and I put pictures in that are screaming for narration from the 5 & 10 year old that made those pictures happen. Now, my goal for this year is to collect more of the paper of our lives. We have a lot of it, I just didn't collect it this past year.
    P.S. My 2010 is still meandering along too!;)

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  3. Michele H.

    2011-01-02 21:57:05 -0800

    wonderful opening page ali! i think this may push me over into doing this too:)

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  4. Wendy

    2011-01-03 05:00:28 -0800

    Your cover page is great!! Think I may do the same thing:) I love the idea of having a station for it. This will be my second year doing PL and I was upset with myself when I looked back and saw how many days I don't have a picture for. I was planning on taking pictures to fill in for all the ones I don't have anything, but I recently changed my mind. I'm just going to let it go, I'll try harder this year hopefully, to take a picture or save something from each day. I think I'm going to try and get my family involved too! Thanks for the great ideas!

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  5. Linda

    2011-01-03 05:54:42 -0800

    Ali, I love your work! Can you direct me to your post on how you make little photos in Photoshop?

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  6. joni possin

    2011-01-03 09:04:44 -0800

    I love the phrase that you wrote on one of your photos... "Horray for the everday!" What a fantastic album that would make. May give this idea a try!!

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  7. quinna

    2011-01-03 09:20:27 -0800

    Stuff of Life...that is exactly what my album is!!!!

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  8. dawn

    2011-01-03 16:15:36 -0800

    Hi Ali,

    Just had to say hooray for today my kit came today, the same as yours. It is so awesome with all the letters, words, sayings. Fun colors, except a tad bit too much red for me but I still love love it. Now I have to set it up, thinking of doing something cool on the cover page as you did. Here's to another year full of everday memories.

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  9. life in pictures » Krista Lund Photography

    2011-01-03 23:02:25 -0800

    [...] *i am also participating in Becky Higgins’ Project 365. a photo a day for the whole year! can i do it? so far, i am 3 for 3! i plan to recap the past week’s photos on my blog. at the end of the day i am emailing myself a little blurb about the day so when i have the time to print out the photos and put my album together, i will have my journaling already done. could you imaging having to remember it all? i am thinking of ways to make it more personal. maybe get the family involved like Ali Edwards suggests. [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  10. Loving | Ali Edwards

    2011-01-07 03:00:57 -0800

    [...] that Project Life is now on my kitchen counter. I’ll give an update in a post next [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  11. Elaine

    2011-01-07 09:08:55 -0800

    I LOVE this scrapbook style. Thank you so much for posting!

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  12. Lisa

    2011-01-08 08:48:55 -0800

    Hi Ali ... I love the idea of making Project Life a family activity & definitely want to purchase a small printer. Are you pleased with the quality of the photos from the Canon Selphy you purchased?

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  13. Alexandra

    2011-01-11 08:50:41 -0800

    Hi Ali!

    I was wondering about your new 4x6 printer and the Instax mini...

    Recently you said (in one of the class videos I think) that your old printer died... if you still had your old HP printer (with 4x6 capabilities) would you have wanted the new Selphy?? I have an HP PHotosmart D7360 but now you've got me wanting the Selphy!!
    How are you liking it??

    And... do you really like the Instax mini?? Is it worth the buy?? I loved the Polaroid cameras my Dad had at his office when I was little - thinking it would be fun to try something similar now.

    thanks :)

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  14. Debbie Craig

    2011-01-11 16:09:51 -0800

    Selphy question for you. The one you had linked to is no longer available, so I researched a couple of others. The question I have is regarding the ink regills. It seems like the ink replacement pacs/cartridges are no available in some places - even Amazon. I don't want to get one and not be able to find ink later - and some times the newer machines are taken off the market...can you give me any suggestions. Thanks.

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  15. Project Life 2011 {Memory Keeping} | adventures of a mom, geek, gamer

    2011-01-12 10:10:36 -0800

    [...] are doing it right out of the box, there are also some creative takes on it. Creative folks like Ali Edwards and Simply Autumn use PL as a base for their albums and add their own elements, including what Ali [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  16. gretchen knutson

    2011-01-12 10:25:01 -0800

    All the kits are sold out on amazon :( do you have any idea when they will be getting more in? or anywhere else that sells them? i have last years and REALLY want to get 2011!!
    Thanks
    Gretchen

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  17. gretchen knutson

    2011-01-14 23:38:54 -0800

    :)

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  18. Stephanie

    2011-01-24 15:04:36 -0800

    Who is the manufacturer of the white letter stamps in the upper left hand corner? I love them, and wasn't sure who made them. Thanks.

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  19. Nolwenn

    2011-01-27 14:14:09 -0800

    That's awesome ! Unfortunately, Amazon.com does not deliver to Canada :(

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  20. {A New Project} Westfield New Jersey Family Photographer » New Jersey Photography || Tea & Brie Photography

    2011-03-09 05:23:49 -0800

    [...] decided to be inspired by Tara Whitney’s Six People Twelve Times and by Ali Edwards’ Project Life. And start a project of my own.  I’ve been seriously itching to get back into a routine with [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  21. Join the Project Life Community & Be Inspired | Scraplicious Blog

    2011-10-30 04:11:45 -0700

    [...] Ali Edwards ~ Approach to Project Life  [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  22. Project Life | Reflections, Ideas & 2012 Title Page | Ali Edwards

    2012-01-02 03:02:07 -0800

    [...] I wrote about how I wanted to make this project a family-effort adventure (you can read about that here). Even though it didn’t really work out how I initially envisioned it, I still really like [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  23. Little Pieces » Project Life, My Way

    2012-08-15 08:18:40 -0700

    [...] reading this post by Ali, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for so I hopped on over to Becky’s [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  24. Project Life (SE Asia & Japan)

    2012-10-09 09:21:03 -0700

    [...] Ali Edwards ~ Approach to Project Life  [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
  25. Project Life 2013 | Intro Page | Ali Edwards

    2013-01-21 11:50:25 -0800

    [...] Project Life 2011 [...]

    * edited 08/11/14 04:10AM
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