Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

February 2, 2011

Project Life | Week Four

Hello Project Life | Week Four.

Click any image to view larger.

Photos and words and just a bit of the stuff of life.

I love this project.

For some reason I’m into it more than last year. I think that’s kinda how it goes – certain projects speak to us at certain times in our lives. This one is really fitting with me and the place I’m at in my own life. It doesn’t feel like a chore. I’m excited about it. And I’m actually finding that it’s making me want to make more layouts rather than less.

This week I received a kids clothing order in the mail from mini boden. One of the shirts came in the plastic bag you see above and it ended up making a very nice page protector for the Rhythm of My Day journaling. I printed the journaling out on two sheets of cardstock and slipped them into the bag before stitching an edge along the left side.

I used my crop-a-dile to punch three holes so it could fit in the album.

After that big journaling insert I added two, 6×12 divided page protectors from American Crafts which gave me room for 12 additional 4×6 photos from our adventures at the beach.

I left the top page protector pocket empty and added a blue Jenni Bowlin label sticker. I typed “beach weekend” on the label sticker using my typewriter. I’ve always liked the see-through/peek-a-boo quality of page protectors.

I also added clear file tabs again.

I need to pick some more of those up at the office supply store. They work great on these different sized page protectors and give you a specific spot to place your hand when turning the pages.

Definitely a fan of having this out in the kitchen. As I’m going about my day it’s simple to grab a card and jot something down or slip a scrap of paper into one of the pockets.

PRINTER UPDATE | All the images this week came off my main HP Photosmart B8550 printer using the photo tray and HP 4×6 photo paper (this is the same printer I use for printing enlargements and hybrid elements). I’m still feeling undecided about this little Selphy printer but leaning towards not liking it. One of the biggest things I don’t like is that the prints are NOT 4×6. After the image comes out of the printer you tear the excess off along the edges and the end result is a photo smaller than 4×6.

For now I’m leaving it out on the counter but it might be finding a new home. Loved the idea of it – of having it right there to print quickly and easily – but I’m finding that my photo-printing rhythm with this project is happening at my main computer where I have more control over the images (to lighten most specifically) and where I can get a true 4×6 print.

GREAT EXAMPLE FROM 2010 | If you’d like to see a completed album from last year that incorporates regular layouts along with the basic Project Life concept check out Mary Ann’s video.

Project Life is a product created by Becky Higgins. It can be anything you want it to be. The album kit is available for purchase through Amazon. If you live outside the US check Becky’s site for more information on sources. View all my posts about Project Life here.


  • 1.

    ARe you still planning on doing a Week in the Life this year? I can’t commit to a huge thing like project life, but look forward to a Week in the Life every year–and now I am afraid it may go away?!! Please tell me it’s in your plans this spring!

    • ….
      TaraMcK said…

      Hi Heather,

      Ali tweeted that she plans on doing it in the summer time this year.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Heather – definitely going to do it again (I’ve done it annually since 2005 – no plans to stop). It’s much more in-depth day to day than this project. My plans are to do it this summer – I like to mix up the times of the year.

    • ….
      cinback said…

      I am pleased to hear that WITL will continue. I, too, am unable to sustain a year-long album, but always look forward to WITL.

    • ….
      Michelle D. said…

      I might be losing my mind, Ali (very likely!) but I didn’t think you did WITL in 2009. I followed along in 2008 and 2010. Anyway, really just curious if I missed something! ;) I love what you tweeted that you are thinking of doing summer this year. Love summer! :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      HA Michelle – maybe I did miss a year :) .

  • 2.
    TaraMcK said…

    Ali, are the clear tabs from the office supply store self-adhesive?

    Love what you are doing with this project, it keeps me inspired. Thanks for always sharing as you do.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yes – self-adhesive.

    • ….
      TaraMcK said…

      love the idea of the tabs, I’ll have to check it out, thanks.

  • 3.
    Jen D said…

    Love seeing your layouts- always so inspiring! I too am loving this project- it’s my first time and I was sure by now I would have stopped. Helps to see your layouts along the way!

  • 4.
    amanda said…

    I love this! So gorgeous!You are so talented.

  • 5.
    Martha Thomas said…

    Beautiful work Ali!!! I am wondering how you are dividing up your week in the page protectors,,,,I mean are you doing sat, sun, mon on the left and then wed-fri on the right? I am SO excited about Project Life but am going back and forth about the easiest way to “read” the week on the two page spread. Especially when there is extra stuff in the middle of the spread,,,,just wondering. Thanks for sharing!!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I do it Monday through Sunday. I start with the top left corner with the date and move to the right and then down. M – W goes on the first page protector. Th – Sun goes on the second page protector. Sandwiched on the inside are any additional photos for the days.

      I’m not being strict with it at all. Sometimes there’s 2 photos from Monday, etc. I’m going more for capturing the overall week.

  • 6.
    Jennifer Levin said…

    I so love that you are sharing your Project Life with us weekly. This is my first year doing this project, and I’m loving it. I also have mine in the kitchen, and it brings me so much warmth and pride when I see my kids stopping to look at what I’ve added. I know this is a great gift for them. Thank you again for sharing yours with us! ~Jen

  • 7.
    Alexandra said…

    Love this so much!!
    Just wondering… how do you lighten your photos??
    I’d love a link if you’ve done a tutorial on this anywhere.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I don’t have a tutorial at this time. I usually just play with the Levels and sometimes Curves.

  • 8.
    Alida said…

    Loving your project Life. I live in South Africa, and don’t have my album yet. I am putting my photo’s in a designated folder and keeping a daily journal in the meantime. I’ve done full layouts for special days. I’m just wondering how many additional pages (over and above 52 weeks) the album is likely to hold.

  • 9.
    Terri Porter said…

    Ali, I am loving that you are sharing your layouts each week. So much inspiration! I’m with you on the Selphy — I am so dependent on my computer and Photoshop to get my photos exactly the way I want them that I could never just stick my memory card into a printer and print, and the size issue is big. Thanks again for all you do and all you share.

  • 10.
    Dori said…

    Ali, I’ve noticed that you frequently round the corners of the individual elements before you insert them into the page protectors. Today I noticed that you did NOT round the corners of the three 4 x 6 pix in the 6 x 12 page protector even though the elements in the adjacent 12 x 12 page protector are rounded. Do you have a ‘formula’ for rounding or not rounding? Thanks so much!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      No formula. I might go back in and round those ones :) .

  • 11.
    Stacie said…

    Love your week Ali! Funny thing…I am finding myself much more involved this year than last year too! I think it is because I started the year with it and last year I didn’t start until September. I am using American Crafts PP too and they are a perfect match with Becky’s! Love that! I have an old trunk in the family room that it now sits on with a basket of stuff beside it to keep it up to date…love that it is out and part of our life! This is making a huge difference for me too!

  • 12.
    Karen said…

    So great to see how you take on Project Life, thanks for sharing each week with us. Also enjoy hearing how you make the process work best for you. I’m still old school, ordering prints (just ordered all of January’s for Project Life last night) online. (Lol! Just got a chuckle at the concept of ordering prints online being old school….two kidlets ago, that was new school to ordering prints from film as its old school rival..but, I digress!) And I like the idea of the little tabs for the smaller sized page protectors…thanks! :>

  • 13.
    Mary Smith said…

    Ali, I love my PictureMate 290 by Epson, it prints 4×6′s with no tabs and its jumbo wallets fit in the journaling card pocket of Project Life (I do trim off a bit on top and side). The photos are a better quality of my large HP printer, I think it is the Epson ink. I print almost all of my Project Life photos on this little gem. I love it and I’m very picky about my photos.

  • 14.
    dawn said…

    Hi Ali, your week looks great and love the photos you picked. That’s a great one of your parents. It’s always fun to see all the little added goodies you put in yours, have to get me some of those tabs. Thank you so much for sharing your album with us. I’m finding that this year is more exciting for 2 reasons I love the look/design of Becky’s album and my other reason is to keep it simple and let the kids do more in it. Really loving it this year.

    I have a question that I keep forgetting to ask, does Simon ever say what kind of job/career he’d be interested in when he’s older. Just curious my 9yo wants to be either principal or gym teacher at his school.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      He usually says astronaut. We just asked him again the other day and he said he didn’t know. We told him that was just fine too :) .

    • ….
      dawn said…

      Thanks Ali for your answer, I thought it was going to do with building something. It’s so exciting to think of what they will do when their adults, but no rush of course.

  • 15.
    dawn said…

    I’m excited to be thinking of your doing week in the life again. We just took it off the shelf and read thru it this weekend and was so fun to see what the kids were up to then. Can’t wait to do it again. Please keep us posted on when you plan to do it. Thanks.

  • 16.
    TracieClaiborne said…

    If everyone in the world had your handwriting, the world would be a better place. I think if I could write like you, I would be more interested in Project Life. I hate my handwriting!

  • 17.
    Dana said…

    Thanks for the insight about the Canon Selphy. Very helpful as I was thinking of purchasing one.

  • 18.
    Kim Howard said…

    I love seeing how you incorporate other things into your project life album. My kit just arrived and can’t wait to get started!

  • 19.
    jamaica said…

    Oh man, sorry to hear the Selphy isn’t working out. Bummer. My older model prints 4×6′s without any excess to tear off. Any chance you could try using a different brand of paper w/o the tab?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That’s a good idea – not sure if I can though. The ink + the paper are in one cartridge/pack.

  • 20.
    paula s said…

    that look sfantastic!

  • 21.
    Pam Staley said…

    I always start my day by reading your blog. You give me motivation! I have to make a comment about your dad — I didn’t recognize him in the first photo you had posted. He looks like a different man without his beard! :) Snow storm in Iowa today – great photo opportunities.

  • 22.
    Jocelyne said…

    Love this Ali :) I have mine sitting out and it has been collecting little bits. But I have yet to actually fill it in. My biggest problem is photo ordering. I don’t love my at-home photo printer. I think I will order up a bunch from January today and get to working on pulling that month together. And see how Feb goes…

  • 23.
    Tina said…

    I have been interested to hear your reports of the Selphy. I love the idea of a printer that is easy to use and a smaller size, but I am leaning more to one of those little cameras instead :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That little Instax camera is awesome!!!

  • 24.
    amy w said…

    I was just boxing up my Canon Selphy to return it to Amazon when I read your post. I find it prints dark and the colors are not very saturated. I also need a more versatile printer that will print larger size prints. Ali — are you still happy with your HP? Is there a newer model that you’ve been looking at? Project Life has been ‘forcing’ me to print my photos daily and I love that. Like you, I’m energized by this project. Thx :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I absolutely love this HP printer. The one I have is the HP Photosmart B8550 – not sure what the newest model is but I’ve been super happy with this one.

  • 25.
    Pam S. said…

    You mentioned you use your main HP a lot. I have an HP printer also and while I love the quality, it seems like it really uses a lot of ink. I’m constantly changing cartridges. Do you have any idea of how many prints you get from yours? I’m thinking it’s more cost-effective for me to upload and print from a store. Any thoughts on the subject? Now that I’m trying to keep up with project life, I’m trying to find a solution to not going broke on ink. (smile)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I don’t feel like I’m constantly changing cartridges. I use it daily – but not always for photos. It will be interesting to see how much more ink I’m needing with printing photos at home each month. I haven’t been printing as many prior to starting Project Life this year. Ask me again in a few months :) of regular printing.

  • 26.
    Abby P said…

    With regard to the Selphy not printing on the entire 4×6 photo paper – would you believe I have this problem with my HP 8500 photo printer? Never used to be that way when I used my laptop computer. Ever since I got my new PC, my photos never print full 4×6 or 8.5×11 — SOOOOO frustrating!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Do you choose the borderless option?

  • 27.
    Alison said…

    Get the Epson Picturemate. The print are excellent and they’re true to size.

  • 28.
    Sharon Manning said…

    Well I too have embarked on the Project Life journey and I am loving it! I was a traditional papercrafter creating mainly 12×12 layouts that are rather detailed and can become overwhelming and more often than not – unfinished. This projet however stays out on my work bench and if I have a spare 10 mins I can devote then I do. I’m actually getting plenty done and recording things I never thought I would. Doing the P365 in unison with this is also helping me – I have plenty to add to the album. You can see the progress of my album here I haven’t used the Becky Higgins kit maily because I have so much product on hand I thought I could put it together myself. Thanks for the inspiration – so far so good.

  • 29.
    ShellyJ said…

    Wonderful! … thanks for sharing!!!

  • 30.
    marisa said…

    I love adding different size pockets and pages to it. Adds such a different look and a great way to add some extra goodies!

  • 31.
    Damiane Lucas said…

    Hi Ali,

    I LOVE your PL album! Quick question: Are you using black and white photos? Can you discuss this in your blog? My PL album has visual clutter (too many colors). I love how soft and pleasing your album looks. Please, can you give us advice on how to achieve this toned down attractive look? Thanks!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’m using a combination of bw and color images. I usually go with bw if the original colors are really off and I can’t seem to help them in Photoshop.

      I actually prefer color to bw because I think about what I wish I could see from my past – the colors of our houses, my clothes, etc – I love seeing the colors of the different times in my life.

      Part of the reason it might look soft here is because they are photographs of photographs and I often have some “haze” that comes from the way I’m focusing.

    • ….
      Maggie said…

      I have noticed a difference in Ali’s albums than in others I’ve looked at doing Project Life, too. I’m seeing that she often only uses one “colorful” insert on the two page spread, and then uses only BW (maybe a very small punch of color for the journaling spots) rather than a lot of the more colorful tag inserts that come with the kit.

      I am like you…I think often the layouts start to focus more on the colorful fillers in the kit than on the photos if you use too many. Ali keeps the focus on the story and the photos. I will be tempted to overuse product, too, so I’m trying to memorize this concept before I get started! (Thanks so much for sharing, Ali!)

  • 32.
    Camille said…

    Seeing your album helps me to keep up with mine. I think I missed something, the little half pages in the album with the pictures in them, did you just cut a regular album photo sheet in half or do they come like that?? I am doing my own album without a kit.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      They come like that Camille – check out the link above to the 6×12 divided page protectors. You could also just cut a 12×12 divided page protector in half :) .

  • 33.
    Lynadall said…

    You are inspiring!!

  • 34.
    Emily said…

    Photosmart printer question: Are you able to print onto a 6 x 12 piece of paper? I also own this printer and when I create a 6 x 12 document in PSE, the printer won’t print until it is fed a full 12 x 12 sheet of paper. Even worse, it centers my 6 x 12 document on the sheet of paper so I end up with wasted paper! How do you work around this? Thanks!

  • 35.
    Megan said…


    I have been using the Selphy printer for printing all my photos for the last year because it was gifted to me, and well to be honest, I didn’t have any other printer available. I like it but I can’t say that I am in love.

    The Pros for me are:
    - the ease of use because I can transport it & set it up anywhere
    (Check out this Live Scrapbooking event I used the selphy for… )
    - the cost reasonable to get ink+paper for $35 (Printing at a store might be cheaper but the perk here is doing it on my time – which is usually around 11pm:)
    -Speed – I think this is relatively quick for compact photo printers.

    The Cons for me are:
    -Color – Because of the type of printer that is I never feel like the it’s true colors as it prints dark and like amy w. said above.
    -Size – as you mentioned it doesn’t print a true 4×6

    I’ll keep using the Selphy because it is all I have for right now. I do have an (older version) HP Photosmart that I will be starting to use tonight and hopefully will have some luck with.

    Project Life is an amazing experience and I think what really matters to me is telling the stories that chronicle my specialand ordinary moments alike and making the time to recollect and get everything in there. I’m grateful for my selphy and your blog because they keep me going.

    I hope to get some of my Project Life Photos posted up on my blog this weekend!

    Thank you so much!

    Sincerely – MC (http:///

  • 36.
    Tere said…

    Hi Ali; Can you give me a link to the clear labels? I went to Office Depot and I couldn’t find them. Brand? Item or Style #?
    Thanks so much. I love your work on this project. I’d love to do it, but can’t seem to stay caught up with OLW or Y&T, I need to focus there first. Thanks.

  • 37.
    Val Irwin said…

    Looking for a new photo printer and wondering about getting the HP8550, was wondering if there was a newer model, I want to buy something that I know works and I saw other great reviews of this printer in addition to yours but I don’t want to buy something that is older if there is a newer model that is just as good.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Val – I’m not sure but I would guess there’s a newer Photosmart model (I bought mine over a year ago now). In looking at what they now offer it looks like the Photosmart models are all-in-ones (with the scanner) – I don’t know anything about how those :) .

  • 38.
    Priscilla said…

    I started Project 365 and was wondering how to document it, and I stumbled onto your blog! I was so inspired by Project Life. I’ve just received my boxes (one for 2010 & one for 2011) and I’m super excited. Just when I found your blog I was struggling with a photo a day. I’ve now adopted more photos a week approach and now I feel less pressured and so much more inspired!

    I love the idea of using plastic packaging as a page protector, and custom sizing the page protectors. Along the same lines, do you think it is safe to use normal office supplies page protectors in the album? I have quite a few A4 size protectors which fit nicely in the rings, and there would be less excess to trim.

    Thanks for sharing all you do. Love every bit of inspiration.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Priscilla – normal office supply page protectors would work just fine too!

    • ….
      Priscilla said…

      Thanks so much Ali!

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