Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

January 12, 2011

Project Life | Week One

I’m excited to be underway with Project Life again.

Here’s a look at where I’ve got it placed in our house. For me, out and available is the key.

Last year Project Life lived in my office. It sat on the ledge of a chalkboard and that worked great.

This year, because I’m wanting to get my family more involved in the process – and make it even more visible – I’ve set up a place for it at the far end of our kitchen counter. I’m also hoping this will help me keep more up-t0-date than in 2010.

Here’s the wide view of our kitchen. Project Life is in that back far corner near the door that goes to our laundry room.

And here’s an up-close look:

This station consists of the album and page protectors (I’m just using a black We Are Memory Keepers albumthe only reason for this is that I like plain albums), a vase that holds the journaling cards + pen + corner rounder + scissors, my Fujifilm Instax camera, and a new little 4×6 Canon Selphy printer.

I’m still in the testing out mode with the Selphy printer. I love the idea of it I’m just not sure that I love it. Giving myself a bit more time with it. I’m also used to printing upstairs so I’m working myself out of that habit and into this one (at least attempting it). I want the whole process to be simple and d0-able.

Here’s what my first week looks like:

And the spread:

I’ve pre-stamped the date for each week onto the rounded corner cards so those are all in the album and ready to go.

Some of the things you may or may not notice:

  • I’m not journaling everyday.
  • I’m journaling when I encounter a story I want to tell or something specific comes to mind. Most of these are little moments type stories or conversations.
  • I’m using a pen to write directly onto the cards.
  • I’m definitely including lots of little bits of life: receipts, grocery lists, wrappers, packaging, things the kids draw, etc.
  • I’m not worrying about taking a photo a day.

Here’s a look at the start of this week:

For things I want to include that are larger (like the program above) I’m just sewing and trimming the page protectors to fit. It’s very easy. You can see a short video I did about sewing on page protectors here.

If you don’t have the counter or table space available to leave it out, consider pulling out the page protectors for the week and putting them up on a bulletin board. You could use binder clips like I do with my calendar (shown above) to hold it up without punching holes through the page protectors.

If you’re looking for more support, ideas and encouragement don’t forget to sign up for the free Project Life community at Big Picture Classes.

NOTE : It looks like Project Life is currently sold out at Amazon. According to Becky they should be getting more in stock very soon!


  • 51.
    Jennifer P said…

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing your project life album. The direction you’ve taken with the kit is exactly the direction I think I’ll take (once they become available again). Question? Have you noticed issues with the page protectors not turning well (wholes not big enough)? I’m not going to let that deter me from buying it (not going to sweat the small stuff) but I was wondering if it was a fluke with a few kits or if everyone was having the same issue. Can’t wait to see more. I’ll check back daily ;)

    PS: I’d love to see more of your new home. Love the open feel I’ve seen thus far.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Jennifer – I have had no problems with the page protectors turning whatsoever.

  • 52.
    Jayne said…

    Ali – I love your Kitchen! The white and the plain wood is lovely and it looks so big!
    I also love the start of your Project Life – just need to source the folder, page protectors etc (here in New Zealand) and I am away. Can’t wait.

  • 53.
    Janine Fox said…

    This is the first time I have seen project life. Is it designed specifically for documenting every week of the year or could it be used as a general album to document my son’s life? I like the look of the divided pocket pages – would it work for use as a general album?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      It has lots of ways it can be used – one of which is just simple documentation (vs. doing it over a specific period of time – like a year). Here’s a link to Becky’s site directly that can give you more information:

    • ….
      Mikki McGehee said…

      Project Life is a very versatile product. It can highlight a picture-a-day, a week, a month, a span of years and events. The kit itself comes with page protectors and journaling cards which make documenting and organizing a breeze! As Ali mentioned, check out the Big Picture community, there you can see several different approaches.

    • ….
      Janine Fox said…

      Thanks so much! Where do you source your plain binders from? I am also a fan of plain:)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Janine – in the post up above if you click on the part where I talk about the binders it will take you to where I often purchase them (I try to link products whenever possible).

      Here’s a direct link:

    • ….
      Janine Fox said…

      Whoops sorry didn’t see the link – thanks so much:)
      PS – I love your kitchen too!

    • .
      Ali said…

      Oh no problem – sometimes people don’t know that you can click on those spots to take you to see what I’m talking about ;) .

  • 54.
    Mikki McGehee said…

    Thank you so much for sharing your Project Life! It’s so inspiring to see what other people are doing with their albums. I hope you continue to share!

  • 55.
    Carolyn said…

    Love your kitchen Ali – so bright and clean!! Thanks for sharing your PL. this is my first year attempting it. I am excited but alittle overwhelmed. Thanks for the ideas!! I am not taking a picture a day (too stressful for me). And I was thinking splitting the month into 3 – first 10days/next 10days/last 10 days and then maybe a monthly overview (ie:movies watched/books read/family photo/gratitute list for the month from everyone in the family. I do have a question – is the backside of your spreads blank?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      The backside of the spreads are not blank – you can see my first page here:

      I’m already filling in stuff on the back of the second page with content for this week (see the image above where I included the program and cut the page protector).

  • 56.
    {vicki} said…

    Super great idea to leave PL out on the counter like that.

    please give an update on how you like the printer.

  • 57.
    Christine said…

    Love the idea about keeping it in plain sight. I also have extra counter space in my kitchen. I’m thinking I would like to find (second hand) a table-top podium to elevate my album. I will be on the look-out at Goodwill and estate sales.

  • 58.
    michelle said…

    Hi Ali, I have done a similiar set up with my printer and album as well. Also, I did as much prep as possible – date, cards in the slots, page protectors in, etc…I am hoping that this will simplify the process and I can keep up! m

  • 59.

    I’m so glad you share all this! I’m doing Project Life for the first time. I just received my kit today and got it all ready to go. I love to scrapbook so I am so excited about this new project!

  • 60.
    Cindy Welch said…

    Love it. I am doing project life thisyear as well, and I have journaled everyday so far, which is 100% more than I usually do!!! I like the black binder better as I really do not like the binder choice as it does not match my room, so will consder changing it too. (plus binder came broken and my hubby screwed it in to get me going) Do you just buy the kit and not use the binder? Love love it ali

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yep – that’s what I did.

  • 61.
    Kristen C said…

    Hi Ali,
    I was anxiously waiting to see your first week of PL. Did you have the first spread go from 1/1/11 to 1/9/11 so that you can then start each week on Monday? Or, are you going Saturday to Sunday each week since the first was on a Saturday?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I start my weeks on Mondays.

  • 62.
    Linda Gore said…

    As always, love your inspiration!! I received my PL kit last week but have yet to start although I have notes and pics stuffed in my planner at the moment.

    I have possibly a silly question and am somewhat anal on the subject. I tend to want to start the week Sunday through Saturday. How did you handle Jan 1st being on Saturday? Did you just start week 1 as Jan 1 – 7 and go from there?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I just started with my first day on Jan 3. I’m a Monday-starts-the-week person. No one will care that it didn’t start on the 1st of January.

    • ….
      Alexandra said…

      I was wondering the same thing – thanks for asking, Linda!

      I’m a ‘Monday-starts-the-week’ person too so I wasn’t sure how to handle the album – thanks for simplifying things Ali.
      I’m continually amazed at how I complicate/overthink things and you, so effortlessly, have the answer. I think I need to lighten up, quit thinking so much and just DO :)

    • ….
      Linda Gore said…

      Well, like I said, I’m a little anal. haha. I’m a Sunday-Saturday but I do not want to leave out Jan 1st. But I’ve finally come up with a solution. I’m going to do a regular 12×12 layout for my first title page and on the back do a layout about my OLW. Then start my first divided page with New Years Day. It’s one of my most favorite days of the year and this one was quite special.

      I love, love, love all the great ideas.

  • 63.
    Revlie said…

    i LOVE your project life and how you tackle it. and im in love with your kitchen, wow!

  • 64.
    Erin said…

    Hi, Ali!

    I love that you have your album out for everyone. We do that here too-makes it SOOOOO much easier to keep up with!

    I bought BOTH kits this year and decided to use the Turquois for the family project album, but just decided this morning that the Amber kit will be something different…

    …I’m putting together a “Time Capsule” album filled with photos of where we live, pets, our places, current events and prices. It’ll be so much fun to see what evolves and what becomes obsolete over the years. This started with a conversation with the children about what VCRs were :)

  • 65.
    Becky H said…

    Hi Ali,
    I am waiting for restock of PL, but I did it last year. Loved it. When I fell behind I just did a spread for the month. That way there was no stress that I wasn’t able to capture a picture a day. I have a question about reciepts. I have found that the new reciepts on thermal paper fade over time. Have you had this problem or do you copy them and out the copy in. I feel if I am saving them I don’t want to not be able to read them in years to come.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Becky – I actually haven’t run into that yet. I’m sure that scanning would make it so that they lasted longer. I don’t anticipate I’ll do that – it feels like too many steps for a simple receipt. I should look back at some of my week in the life projects for the last couple of years and see what shape they are in -

  • 66.
    Laura B said…

    Thanks for the peek into your album, Ali! Seeing others’ work helps keep me motivated, so I’m also loving the PL commumity forums at Big Picture. I’d love to know your thoughts on the printer, so I’d enjoy seeing a review once you’ve played around enough with it.

    I also love your kitchen–white cabinets with butcher block counters are my favorite! I know this is random, but how’s the upkeep on the counters and are they durable for a family?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Laura – thanks :) . Those are actually faux wood-block (they look like butcher block). They were like that when we moved in and so far they have been great.

  • 67.
    Catherine said…


    Thank you for your continued posts about project365. You actually inspired me to take the plunge and start my own. I love it and I believe my family feels the same way. I find that now it’s difficult NOT to make notes or journal about my day. I also find myself more present in the day-to-day moments I experience. Have a great week!

  • 68.
    Kimberley Y said…

    I did it! As of 12:30am this morning my (2) project life kits are 100% up to date. I even woke up this morning and took one of today’s photos as it is my daughter’s 12th birthday today. I wanted to capture her first thing before I left for work. I am getting over the fact that I don’t love my handwriting and embracing that this is how I write today, and that P.L is about today! Thanks for all the inspiration Ali. I found you in a scrapbook magazine just before Christmas (the one that featured your Dec. Daily book) and from that article I have embarked on a whole new scrapbooking journey (Dec. Daily, One Little Word, Week in a life….. ). I am loving it! Thanks.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That’s so cool Kimberlery – thanks for the feedback!

  • 69.
    Birgit said…

    Love your use of “everyday” stuff – I collect it all the time, too. Question about the “date cards” and the little journaling cards: did you put them in in a certain order or randomly. I am concerned that the bolder stripe and circle patterns won’t go with the photos that I will add later.Same with the journaling cards, do you just pick one that you like or are they in a certain order? I used index cards last year, cut them put a red date stamp on them and kept a handful with me all the time to be able to journal when the inspiration struck.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Brigit – I put the date cards in randomly. My thoughts on colors + patterns is that we live in a colorful world and I use mainly color photos and I’m cool with not having the patterns match the colors in my photos. For the journaling cards I’m just picking random ones from the vase – some days I put back the first one I grabbed and pick a different one but I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I want to jot down the memory and move on to the next thing :) .

  • 70.
    Lacey said…

    HI Ali- I love seeing your PL- I hope to see it often. Everyone has so many ideas, and its so inspiring to see how you and they are doing their PL. I also wanted to comment on the Selphy- and I’m not sure if anyone has commented with the same…but I just read on another blog that they are using it…and you can do a split photo of 2 photos, and use 4 and 6 on one photo and print it out…just thought I would throw that in there in case you didn’t know LOL I am seriously thinking about purchasing this printer. What brand of photo paper are you using for it?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Lacey – with this little printer the paper and the ink comes together in the same pack so you don’t really have a choice on which paper to use.

  • 71.
    Jackie Bremer said…

    I am not doing Project Life. I am doing Project Catch Up plus Yesterday and Today! However, I love my Selphy. I got it two years ago so it is not a newer version but I just reconnected with it and got the softwardx added to my computer. Now I can easily do two-up or more, the color is fantastic. My graphic design son-in-law says that is because it lays the color down with a sheet of film. My grandkids also think it is loads of fun!

  • 72.
    Chrystie DeSmet said…

    I’m SO excited, I just got mine in the mail a few days ago & already have my 1st page done! I think I’m going to like this, at least I’m trying it out this year. I love that you post yours it helps me get ideas, since this is a brand new concept to me! I got the idea from you, so thanks! :) I think it was your friend who took a family picture each month, I LOVE that idea & I’m excited to work that into this project! :)

  • 73.
    Barbie said…

    Is there a source for the divided page protectors? Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration!

  • 74.
    Joy Anderson said…

    Thanks for the idea of a project life station to help involve the whole family in the process. We set up a basket with journal cards, pencils and a digi camera on our hutch by the front door.My 12 yr old son was the first one to fill out a card! Great idea!
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Joy in GA

  • 75.
    Alison said…

    Love it, Ali! Your book last year inspired me to do a Project Life for my daughter’s first year. She’s 11 months old today and it’s such a great book. I did it in much of the same way as yours, though I did a photo a day and then filled all of the other pockets with memorabilia and journaling. It’s stuff that would never have made it into her albums otherwise. So thanks for the inspiration!

    P.S. – loving the Y&T class :)

  • 76.
    Alexandra said…

    Working on PL tonight and realizing that it’s sooooo much easier when my photos are horizontal!! I have way too many shots with the camera turned – not so great for PL. Lots of playing around in photoshop elements tonight and that is not what I want for this project – want it to be fast and gratifying.

    Note to self… take horizontal photos unless you want to use them in a 2.75 x 3.75 slot!!

  • 77.
    Tina said…

    Is it ok if I start this week and just wing it from the weeks before? I think this is an awesome idea. I was gonna try a photo a day and make it a personal life journal for me but can’t seem to get the time. Think I might try this though.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      There are no rules with this project at all – you can begin at any time!

  • 78.
    Tracey said…

    Hi Ali – how do I add the words on photos like you do? Like Monday, Tuesday etc? I really like the effect on printed photos, looks really good.
    Sorry for such a basic question :-(
    Appreciate your help :-)

  • 79.
    Ingrid from the Netherlands said…

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…………… my kit finally arrived today! And although I’m suffering with flue I already prepared the album for filling: I’m ready to begin!!!!

  • 80.
    Stacie said…

    Love your idea of leaving it out…we have an old steamer trunk in our family room that it will fit nicely on. I am using Willette’s idea of keeping a basket with the extras in it so I can stay on top of it. I didn’t think of adding the paper bits of life until the last month of last year and I LOVE it! It also takes the pressure off to journal every day. This is one of my most favorite scrappy projects yet! I am also getting the kids…and trying for the hubby…to get involved too so it is a family story and not just my perspective!
    thanks for sharing Ali! I know you can keep up with it every week! I’ll try too!
    P.S. Sounds like the Selphy is not the fab choice…have you heard of any others that don’t have the dark print problem?

  • 81.
    Erika said…

    Thank you for your inspiration! I am excited to start my baby’s first year album using the Project 365 layouts/pages. I’m prepping everything in advance before she arrives, so hopefully I will have a finished album by the time she is 1 :) I love the reminders from you to NOT ADD PRESSURE to these projects! There is no need to be obsessive and journal/print a pic every day! THANK YOU!

  • 82.
    Candice McLean said…

    Hi Ali,

    Love this project. I’m looking at purchasing a mini printer for myself thinking it will help me print more often. You posted that you are learning to love your selphy. Are you? I’m looking at a silmilar printer by epson. Thanks for any feedback.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Candice – I posted an update this week ( that basically said I’m tending towards not liking it since the prints are smaller than 4×6 (but a just a bit but noticeable enough to me) and how dark the prints have been. The last two weeks I’ve printed 4×6 from my HP Photosmart B8550 printer and have been really happy (partly since I can adjust in photoshop before printing).

  • 83.
    Paula in Australia said…

    Hi Ali just a quick question… was your first spread for PL started on Monday January 3rd – Sunday January 9th? Then your second spread was from Monday 10th etc? If so what did you do about the 1st and the 2nd – did you just not worry about them? Just curious as I got my kit and have been collecting stuff and will go back and do the weeks in my album now and just curious. Thanks for all your inspiration.

  • 84.
    Linda Farrow said…

    Hi Ali… I’m finally ready to buy a photo printer… I remembered this Canon and wondered how you are liking it? At the time of this post you didn’t “love” it and I’m hoping that now you do :) Thanks for any comments, Linda

    • ….
      Linda Farrow said…

      ok i just saw your review in February… sorry for not reading back enough… I’ll check out the HP that you recommend… are there any other small photo printers that you would recommend? Thanks!

  • 85.
    Mallory said…

    I had to look at this again because I am so excited to start! Can’t wait to get my kit and look through it. So I should definitely put the 4×6 cards in the album ahead of time to make it easier and save time?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I loved having them all in there throughout the year. I will definitely be doing that again.

Post a comment