Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

December 27, 2013

Project Life® 2013 | Week Forty (Studio Calico Project Life® Kit)


Welcome to Project Life® 2013 | Week Forty (September 30th through October 6th).

Each month during 2013 one of my Project Life® weeks will be using the Studio Calico Project Life® kit.

You can check out all the new kits for December (called Copper Mountain) over at Studio Calico here: Scrapbook Kit | Project Life® Kit | Card Kit

Here’s a look at Week 40:


This is life my friends.

It’s not all simple and fun and one of the questions I receive over and over is how do you deal with the not-so-awesome parts of life in memory keeping.

Week 40 was one of those weeks that was particularly challenging emotionally. It was also particularly enlightening.

The details aren’t important. But my perspective of the experience is.

I didn’t journal these thoughts when I was living this – I was simply living it and talking to my support system and processing. I did jot down a couple thoughts on post-it notes to simply remind myself of the “big picture” ideas and lessons that were running through my head during this week for when I eventually got around to documenting it.

Here’s a look at the week in my album:


As many of you know, I’m not up-to-date with this project. It’s in progress.

I included an 8.5×11 insert this week that has two sheets of paper inside: Simon’s wish list for the book fair at his school and a blog post from Danielle LaPorte about opening up which was particularly relevant to me during this week.


I went super simple with the photos and didn’t add any embellishments this time.


The “remember” photo is from my Week In The Life project.




I like the idea of taking photos of hand-written notes and even photos of passages from books that are meaningful.

I used the Martha Stewart Glue Pen for adhering the wood veneer letters

For 2014 my plans are to keep this project status quo. For a while I was thinking I would mix it up – maybe use a different set of page protectors as the base. After some thinking I’m going to stick with the Design A. That said I still want to make some adjustments and maybe that’s just in terms of getting back to simplifying it once again, or bringing it back downstairs to my kitchen, or simply just not making it so black and white that it needs to be done in any particular way.

2014 is going to be the Year of Unfinished Projects for me. I’ll be sharing more about that soon. I will start Project Life 2014 before 2013 is finished. I’m carving out time to make that happen sooner rather than later.


Click on the images to link to the products.

Project Life® is a product and a system and a lifestyle created by Becky Higgins. It can be anything you want it to be. The core pieces used in my album are available here. If you live outside the US check Becky’s site for more information on sources. View all my posts about Project Life® here.


  • 1.
    Leanne said…

    Your honesty is refreshing…. I too am behind with this project sitting at week 45, but I know I’ll catch it up and start 2014 before I finish 2013. But that’s ok, at least we’re documenting it, the good, the bad and the in between.

  • 2.
    Thea said…

    I generally find I don’t want to keep a permanent memory of the tough/bad stuff. It makes it too easy to dwell in the negative. I like that you acknowledge that there were difficulties at that time but that you are moving on and seeking the better. Nor do I like the overly done ‘Best Day Ever’ type of things as they seem insincere. This year has lots of unfinished projects for me too, but I am looking forward to starting a new PL album. A fresh start.

  • 3.
    Donna M said…

    I love your honesty too and have often thought of how you handle things as I approach working through documenting some extremely difficult times this year. I chose to elude to difficult days so my life isn’t recorded as happy happy happy every week, but have refrained from recording anything too negative, for my own sake and for anyone else involved to read. But what I am going to try and do (associated with my OLW2014) is to find a happy moment in each day to record. Thanks for always being an inspiration:)

    • ….
      Paula said…

      I love the idea of recording a happy moment from each day!

  • 4.
    Brooke said…

    I love your thought processes! I’ve often wondered how having your years documented implicates on growing up. Hardly any of my childhood good/bad is documented. A lot of my children’s is. What is my documenting (the things I say and convey) teaching them?!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I think it will be interesting to see this as well. For me I hope it gives them insight into me and it gives them permission to embrace themselves at the same time.

    • ….
      pam said…

      as one who lost her mom at an early age, i would be so thrilled to have something like this, from her perspective, about her, her life, her ups and downs, and her everyday…which included and us kids too, of course. i know your books will be treasured by many forever.

  • 5.
    pam said…

    ah, ali, love your great big open heart… so much. also…”the year of unfinished projects”… as in freedom to explore and not worry about finishing?, or finishing the unfinished? (personally, i excel at collecting unfinished projects and i’m determined to finish up the unfinished and start reversing the trend. working on creating the habit to finish more than not- i want to be a finisher and a reveler in, not a fire put-er-outer…there’s just so much to be interested in, right?!). looking forward to reading that post, and always love to see your PL!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      For me it will be finishing the unfinished :) .

    • ….
      Ali said…

      And this, “i want to be a finisher and a reveler in, not a fire put-er-outer” – this is SO it for me. I was just writing about that related to my word for 2014 (thrive) because I feel like I’ve been doing that way too much the last few years.

    • ….
      pam said…

      well then, nice to have your company on the battlefield.;) i know we can do it! i have to, it’s killing my spirit not to. so yes, time to stop “surviving” and start “thriving”…love the word you’ve chosen. you’ll wear it well i am sure! xo

  • 6.
    slmnontec said…

    I, too, am trying to figure out how to “rev up” 2014′s PL but keep it the same too. I love flipping back through the pages at our amazingly ordinary life. It’s all in the details.When your kids are grown, it’s a whole new ballgame….

  • 7.
    Anne-Marie said…

    I know we all have these weeks. For me, when I have them, I find myself uninspired to take pictures, because often, during these weeks, I just don’t feel it.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Me too. I know that I really liked being able to have some photos from this week – even if it was just the trees and the bathtub. I’ve trained myself to take photos like that just as a reminder of what was happening – makes it all real in a very okay, this is life sort of way for me.

  • 8.
    Laura said…

    I too will be starting the 2014 project life before I finish my 2013. Thanks for reminding me to be flexible and remember that I can make the “rules” or lack thereof. To be honest, my Dec Daily is not finished, waiting for my 2 days of me-time next week to dedicate to all of the above. I have to remind myself it is not about “finishing” something, it is about being grateful for what I do record and photograph. Unfinished is better than not doing any of it at all.

    • ….
      Ali said…


  • 9.
    Monika Wright said…

    I don’t know what your Year of Unfinished Projects means for you Ali, but I have a plan to finally, hopefully, maybe, finish some projects that have been haunting and taunting me. I have such god ideas and then precious time is scarce and it’s either projects or kids and family life.

    I look forward to reading your thoughts, which are always so insightful and full of perspective.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Monika – hoping to share a plan/intentions soon.

  • 10.
    Cindy said…

    After taking the past year off from Project Life, I am ready to establish a routine and work it back into my life. As a single Mom to two teenage boys, one of which has Autism, there are weeks when it seems there are more bad times than good. I need to allow myself to document those days as well. It’s all part of a growing process, and hopefully a learning one as well. I just know that someday, I’ll look back on those little snippets of our life, and see how far we’ve come.
    Thank you for always being an inspiration Ali, both in your outlook on life, and your creative mentoring.
    I hope your new year is fantastic!

  • 11.
    Sue P, said…

    Ali, love that your simplicity is such an inspiration. I too am behind and to be honest a little fatigued with my PL. Yet, I love looking back. I think I want to try it again but may change it up to a more monthly system. I also wonder if others feel like seems to be more about me and what I did just because I am the picture taker?…..

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh mine is definitely about me. My perspective, my journey, with bits of all the other characters and their lives added in to the mix.

  • 12.
    Michelle t. said…

    Thanks for your perspective. Michelle t.

  • 13.
    Andrea Williams said…

    Dear Ali, how is it that you always post something that truly hits home with me. Life is about the good, the bad and the ugly. 2014 for me has to be about change. I must make the change or I will continue to feel lost. I have a super family but have lost my spark. I too plan on beginning my 2014 album tomorrow but am still deciding whether or not to add in December in 2013 PL or just have my separate DD for December. I like to have the flexibility to make the choice. I’m looking forward to change and all the mental toughness that has to come with it. Thinking of you. Andrea

  • 14.
    Ximena said…

    As usual, I love to read your blog. I really resonate with your perspective on life :)
    Quick question: could you post which book was the one that you photographed? I’d like to know more about it.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yes – that book is called Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow: Highly recommended.

    • ….
      Ximena said…

      Thanks, Ali!

  • 15.
    Kris said…

    I love your honesty and read your blog daily. What main theme kit do you plan to use in 2014?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Kris – I’m just going to use what I have for 2014 – lots of extra stuff around here ;) .

  • 16.
    heidiY said…

    I love watching your pages come to life! You’re always so real! Thanks for sharing. I was wondering what PL set(s) you are planning to use in 2014? Or is that the Studio Calico set you mentioned? I have their subscription & love it. Thx!!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’m not going to get another core kit for 2014. I’ve got so much stuff already and I’m just going to use what I have.

  • 17.
    Paula said…

    We all have those days, weeks (ok, sometimes indefinite timeframes) like you describe … we’re with you sister!

  • 18.
    Kary in Colorado said…

    Having survived several difficult weeks this year, I applaud your way of processing and documenting. I think it is not only a help to you now as you think it through, but also to your kids in the future–as an example to them of how to deal with hard things and move on. My father died last month, unexpectedly, and I was at first at a loss how to document those last few days he spent in the ICU. As I thought about what photos to take (not of him, obviously), and how to tell the story, it was very cathartic. My mom just saw those pages when she came for Christmas and she loved them.

    Thanks for the inspiration you share.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’m sorry for your loss Kary.

  • 19.
    Stacy said…

    I have also vowed to tackle my unfinished projects in 2014 (in particular, my 8 yr old’s baby album). I would love to see a post on how you’re planning to do this. I tried this past year but was unsuccessful, and I think it was due to lack of planning. I did keep up with PL, tho!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’ll be posting about my plans soon!

  • 20.
    Kimberly James said…

    2014 is going to be my year of completing unfinished projects. It is one of the things I want to “focus” on (my OLW).

  • 21.
    Martha Thomas said…

    Go Ali go!!

  • 22.

    :) you’re reading breaking open by Elizabth Lesser.
    I purchased that book earlier this year after seeing it featured on your blog and am SO glad l did. Earlier this year my Mum passed away and for her final few months this book was a huge support. I would go so far as to say I don’t think l would have got through that period as intact as l did without that book.
    I hope it is as valuable for you – hugs xx

    • ….
      Ali said…

      It is such an important book for me too. I’ve been savoring it and turning to it when I really need to be lifted up.

  • 23.
    Megan said…

    I like the way you documented the hard times. I have had a few of those myself. For the layout I still focused on the good and tucked the bad into a folded journaling card behind a picture. This allows me to write about it (not in too much detail) and I’ll know its there. If no one else ever finds it – I’m ok with that too :)

  • 24.
    Kris said…

    What core kit do you plan on using in 2014 (and album)?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’m not going to buy a new core kit this year – I have so much stuff here that I’m just planning to use a mix of what I have.

  • 25.
    Lynn Wigren said…

    So glad to hear you say that 2014 is the year of unfinished projects! Its exactly what I’ve put on my list of intentions for 2014.

  • 26.
    Genevieve Joy said…

    Hi Ali,

    Long time reader – first time commenter.

    I just wanted to thank you. My biggest hurdle with documenting my everyday is knowing how to document the not great days, the bad days, and the downright diabolical days. It has stopped me from completing projects authentically, or completing at all at times.

    Thank you so much for being open and sharing this with us.

  • 27.
    Ames said…

    I appreciate your honesty and courage to document the struggle along with the joy. The scrapbook world is filled with so many “BEST DAY EVER!!” embellishments .. but how many “best days” does one actually have?

    I think you have a digital project or two about the hard days .. could you provide a link to that?

    • ….
      Jenn Serrano said…

      I agree, it is rare to see product that is actually more real life, so much “best day ever” stuff out there! I’d like a few things that say, well that sucked!,hard day,need wine, worn out, tired but trying, etc! Kelly Purkey at Simon Stamps has some badges that are pretty funny and real life.

  • 28.
    Sheila said…

    I wish you peace, Ali. And’Yes’to the year of finishing unfinished projects!

  • 29.
    Sheila said…

    P.s. The year of unfinished projects sounds like a serious bestseller to me. I will see you at the signing end 2015.

  • 30.
    Sara said…

    After the worst year on record, I also committed to finishing unfinished projects. Two knitting projects done and more to come. Even starting project life is on my list. I have the supplies but haven’t dug in yet. There’s something cathartic about clearing space of the old so there’s room for the new.

  • 31.
    laura g. said…

    i too have gotten behind on my 2013…I was off work for 6 months battling breast cancer and there were days I just didn’t feel well…and I had hoped to keep up with it… I did take lots of pics, and had my kids and grandkids around as much as the germs would allow…lol…I returned to work in June and that took all my energy to keep up with that…but I was determined to take back my life…still getting treatments every 3 weeks until March 2014…I will start my 2014 and work on my 2013 maybe one day a month?? i want to document 2014 and my recovery!!!!

  • 32.
    alexandra said…

    Thanks for posting this Ali. And thanks for being so real and approachable.
    I fall off the creativity wagon over and over. Trying to be more realistic and stream-lined this year.
    The one thing I am struggling with is my printer. Do you think that the Picture Mate Show makes things a lot more do-able? Currently I use an old HP Photosmart D7360 but my photos aren’t looking so hot lately. Would the Picture Mate be an improvement? Is it easy to use?
    Would love your thoughts on this.

  • 33.
    Ali said…

    You’re an amazing inspiration, Ali.

  • 34.
    Lisa Barton said…

    I too slip back and forth between years and having 4 daughters means I always have something to document and plenty of photo opportunities. In previous years I focused on the big picture of what we achieved in the year, now it’s all about the small things that keep our world turning and hinged ;) a lost tooth, a funny hairdo, eating crisps in bed those types of cherished moments that all add up to a life lived.

  • 35.
    Patti L said…

    Embrace the imperfection. One of the most important lessons of my life and I truly feel like if everyone would just keep this in mind the world would prolly be a better place!

    I enjoy documenting the regular, not-so-pretty parts of life. I had a week in June that was tough, I ended up taking some almost sad or perplexed selfies that I converted to black & white and just added journaling which didn’t really tell the story of what happened but just how I was feeling.

    I agree that I think things like this will be more appreciated by those that look at these stories in the future. I find I just want to know what actually happened, not the buttoned-up, polished off stories relatives will pass down.

    I’m taking this approach with an ancestry project…instead of just documenting the little bit i know, i’m going to add some ideas regarding what may have happened due to the times my various ancestors lived through.

  • 36.
    lee said…

    I had to laugh when I saw that you had titled 2014 as the year of unfinished projects. As of last week, that is what I’ve deemed the month of January – we’ll see how productive I can be in those 31 days before I decide whether to continue the efforts into the month(s) after that. =)

  • 37.
    Kristy said…

    My goal for 2014 in relation to Project Life is to finish my 2012 and 2013 albums.

    I have 2 months left to go in 2012 and 6 months to go in 2013. I am going to finish them at my own pace and enjoy the process with the knowledge that it will be TOTALLY WORTH IT to push through and complete them. I can say that from experience having completed 2010 and 2011.

    I will be starting a new album with the New Year but it will not be daily, weekly or even monthly. I will add to it only when I feel like it and be more deliberate about what I include. After 4 years I’ve had enough of the chronology and the obligation that comes with that. The new album I start may include 2 or even 3 years. Only time will tell…

  • 38.
    Debbie said…


    Will you be using the 12 x 12 format with Project Life this year or a smaller version. Thank you.

  • 39.
    Megan said…

    You are awesome. Thank you.

  • 40.
    Peggy said…

    Hi Ali! I am sure you have a TON going on right now with the new year upon us, but could you please share the news print with the big red heart on it?? The 3×4 card? Where is it from? THANKS SO MUCH!!! Can’t wait to see your title page for 2014!! Love your style!! Take care and good luck with your OLW!!

  • 41.
    Peggy said…

    Hi Again Ali!! Ok….I figured it out on the news print 3×4 card. I guess all I need to do is read a little closer. SORRY for the entry!!! Hope you are well. Missing your posts….check back each and every day, but just knowing myself, a little down time is OH SO NICE!!! bye!

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