Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 1, 2011

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 4×6 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.


  • 51.
    Michele H. said…

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

  • 52.
    Wendy said…

    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!

  • 53.
    Linda said…

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

  • 54.
    joni possin said…

    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!!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Joni – that’s actually the front of an Ikea catalog :)

  • 55.
    quinna said…

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

  • 56.
    dawn said…

    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.

  • 57.
    Elaine said…

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

  • 58.
    Lisa said…

    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?

  • 59.
    Alexandra said…

    Hi Ali!

    I was wondering about your new 4×6 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 4×6 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 :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I really do like the instax – a great fun play camera. I have an old polaroid too that I really have fun with as well. Need to pull that out and make it more accessible again.

      New Selphy is ok – mainly I wanted one that would be downstairs to simplify the whole printing process. I’m not sure that I love it but I’m giving it a chance.

      I do have a HP Photosmart B8550 that I use here in my office that I love. It has a 4×6 tray that I’ve been using and it’s great.

    • ….
      Alexandra said…

      Thanks so much for your reply – so great to get your opinion on these things.
      I think I just might ‘need’ an Instax ;)

      Thanks again!

  • 60.
    Debbie Craig said…

    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.

  • 61.
    gretchen knutson said…

    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!!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      According to Becky there should be more in stock at Amazon this month.

  • 62.
    gretchen knutson said…


  • 63.
    Stephanie said…

    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.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Those are letter stickers from American Crafts -

  • 64.
    Nolwenn said…

    That’s awesome ! Unfortunately, does not deliver to Canada :(

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