Project Life | Reflections, Ideas & 2012 Title Page

Welcome to Project Life 2012.

Today I want to share my 2012 Title Page and a few thoughts, reflections and things I learned from my process in 2011. My final spread of 2011, Week 52, will be posted later this week.

To say that I'm excited that I've almost completed all 52 weeks of 2011 is an understatement.

To say that I'm ready to move on to 2012 would also be an understatement.

I'm so ready and I'm so excited to be doing Project Life again.

Here's a look at my 2012 Title Page:

Here's a close up look at each of the cards:

As I was cutting this piece of paper I was thinking to myself that I really need to cut my pattern paper more.

Here I took one of the Clementine core kit cards (includes the sentiment "living life one day at a time") and cut it following along the lines of the pattern. These little scissors from Fiskars were great at that task. That piece of paper was adhered to a piece of vintage handwriting paper and a bit of Hambly Wings overlay transparency. On top of the three pieces I added an October Afternoon Farmhouse Little Flyers.

That awesome heart paper is from Fancy Pants (I think I'm going to get a few more sheets of that one). I used a sheet from the 6x6 paper pack but it's also available as a full size 12x12. The tag is a Superfine Soft White Hang Tag from Paper Source. On top of the tag I embossed the words "our story" using these jumbo stamps and white Zing embossing powder. The little "memories" tag is October Afternoon and was stitched onto the tag. Our last name was hand-drawn in Illustrator and then cut with the Silhouette.

A piece of vintage wallpaper from Papier Valise with a piece of chipboard from My Minds Eye Memories Layered Chipboard Stickers on top.

Background pattern paper with the yellow three is from Sassafras and a Hambly Wings overlay was placed on top. The piece of dark grey felt is from My Mind's Eye Everyday Fun Borders. I took the Everyday Life patterned card from the Clementine core kit and cut it - leaving one of the "everyday life" pieces sticking up.

And this piece, cut with my Silhouette, is available here. It's part of a package called Hello Life Boxes and also includes days of the week. They work great as PNG files (just print and add your journaling - or add your journaling before you print) or can be cut with the Silhouette (just open the PNG file inside the Studio Software and trace - video tutorial available here).

For more title page ideas you can take a look at my 2011 title page.

SUPPLIES | 2012 TITLE PAGE


Click on the images to link to the products.





2011 REFLECTIONS & IDEAS


Here's a few thoughts I wrote down as I finish up 2011 and move on to 2012:

WEEK AT A GLANCE | This approach absolutely worked for me in 2011 and it's how I intend to continue in 2012. I don't look at this project as one-photo-per-day or one-story-per-day. There's nothing rigid beyond intending to contain each week between a spread (two-pages). Some weeks I did end up with a photo-a-day and other weeks I had photos from all one event. Approaching it a week at a time felt free and flexible and there was no guilt about missing something on a particular day (who needs that).

PROCESS | Most of the time I work on my album throughout the week - tiny bits of time here and there. When I write "work on" what I really mean is that I stick stuff in the pockets, quickly jot down stories on the journal cards, and print photos. Some weeks I printed photos during the week and other weeks I printed them all on Monday. One big thing that worked for me was posting each week on my blog on Tuesdays (most of the time) - what that meant for me is that I needed to complete my week on Mondays. Completing my week means I print photos, add journaling if I need to, cut papers down to size that I might have just left sitting on the spread (fill pockets), photographing, uploading to my blog, and writing my post. I'd say most weeks I spend 2 hours (maybe 3) total. It really doesn't take a lot of time. I really did keep it pretty simple overall. Simple for me = finished.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THE BASIC "STYLE A" PAGE PROTECTORS | My Mom and I were talking about Project Life last week (it's what she wanted for Christmas) and at first she was talking about all the cool extra page protectors that she wanted to get. My advice to her was to start with the basic Style A (looks like it's currently sold out). I love Style A. I love it as my basic foundation and from there I can include additional page protector inserts as I need them based on the amount of content I want to include on any particular week. Most of the time when I added a page protector as an insert it was a smaller size: 6x12, 6x12 with pockets for 4x6, 8.5x11 (sometimes cut and stitched to fit an unusual size), etc. I like that the additional content was sandwiched between the two main pages for the week.

INCLUDING REAL LIFE | As many of you know by now, 2011 was a year that included some really big life changes for us. I didn't include a lot of that in 2011 - partly because it was something I wasn't ready to make public and partly because this project is not my personal venting journal. My focus in Project Life is more on celebrating all the things that are good. That said, I did include a few things later in 2011 - short references to challenges, etc. so as to not completely ignore what's very real in my/our life right now. Going forward it's likely that I'll continue to include pieces of the more challenging stories but most likely it will be in a way that's reflective, looking for the good in the situation, lessons learned, etc.

PHOTOS | To capture images I use my Canon 5D (also known as my "big camera"), my iphone, and occasionally my Instax 50. I'm absolutely loving Apple's new Photo Stream feature which is giving me immediate access to my iphone photos in Aperture (the program I use for photo management) wirelessly. I can also see and access photos I've uploaded to my computer from my big camera on my iphone. It's just one little thing that has simplified my access to all my photos.

PRINTING PHOTOS | My photo process is now pretty set. I'm using an Epson Stylus Photo R2000 to print all my 4x6 photos using Epson photo paper. This is a wide-format printer that can also fit a variety of different sizes, including 4x6. When I set up my system at the beginning of last year I tried out a small 4x6 printer but it ended up not being truly 4x6 in size (it was a Selphy - and it sounds from what I've read from others that the prints are now true 4x6 - not sure - all I know is that they weren't on the machine I had last year). That bugged me. I wanted the picture sizes to be the same size as the cards in the kit and any other 4x6 pieces I was going to include so I ended up sharing that printer with a friend and using my regular printer in my office. I'm so used to it now and am totally happy with the photos.

PENS | I use a combination of pens in Project Life. My favorite everyday pen (and the one that is often most available) is a Uniball Vision Elite. I also love to use Sharpies for a nice contrast and when I'm working in my office I often grab an American Crafts Precision Pen in .03. The vast majority of my journaling in this album is by hand - it's the quickest and easiest. There were some weeks where I included longer journaling (often using some of my printable Long Journlaers) - those words often came directly from blog posts (where I'm used to typing out longer stories) but most of the time I just used those small cards and made it fit. Those small little bits of recorded life is a big reason I love this project.

BASIC TOOLS | Tiny Attacher for stapling, my printer, photo paper, pens, etc. I kept it pretty basic and am super happy with how it turned out. For me it was never really about any "decoration" and more about just getting stuff documented and keeping it simple enough to keep up with it for the whole year.

CORNER ROUNDING | I rounded all my corners this year and plan to do that again in 2012. It's one extra step but I love the look. I've been using the Corner Chomper (the 1/4 corner) for rounding my corners.

KEEP IT OUT AND AVAILABLE | Throughout most of the week my album sits on a counter in my kitchen. Having the album out and available to stick things in the pockets or jot down comments and things I overheard was huge for me. A big thing I love about this album is the immediacy of the journaling. It's not looking back last month, or last year, or longer. For the most part it's not reflective journaling - it's stuff that's happening right now; it's the little stuff that's really the big stuff of life. Seeing it everyday - on the way in and out of the house - helped me keep up to date. On the weeks when for whatever reason it ended up in my office my journaling was less in the moment because I was trying to go back and remember stuff from the week vs. the more in-the-moment daily stuff that I find I really treasure.

THE FAMILY EFFORT | When I started back in January 2011 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 that initial vision of including all our voices whenever possible. I'll definitely be keeping that in mind again this year even as our family situation evolves. It's really pretty easy to just hand family members a card and say "write something about today." If they do it, awesome. If they don't it means I'll find something else to include.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE | No over-thinking. No making it more complicated than it needs to be. The beauty in this project is in the whole vs. any one particular week. Some weeks will have less and some will have more. Some will be full of fun stuff and others super boring. Fill up the pockets and move on to the next week vs. worrying that you missed the "perfect" story or photo or anything else. Make it work for you.


Project Life is a product created by Becky Higgins. It can be anything you want it to be. The 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.

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152 thoughts

  1. Elyse says…
    01/02/2012

    Love it Ali! Here's to 2012!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Deb J says…
    01/02/2012

    ALi, I have so enjoyed seeing your PL for 2011 each week. It has helped me realize that I can do it too. So I am on my way and so excited about it. Thanks for all the inspiration and for sharing your life with us. Can't wait to see your 2012. You are in my prayers.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Teri H. says…
    01/02/2012

    I don't do PL myself, but I sure enjoy checking out your pages every Tuesday. I got some ideas just looking at your title page - love it!

    Happy New Year!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Christine says…
    01/02/2012

    I really love the way you do your PL. I have done it for a few years with a basic photo a day (haven't missed yet!) and a journaling card that sits in a stack by my computer so I can write the day's events that night or following morning. I want to do it more like your style, but I am afraid I would get lazy and miss things and have holes. Have you found any problems with that at all--where on Monday you are feeling like you didn't gather enough for the previous week?

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      I really haven't had that issue. There's always a piece of paper or a thought or a memory or an email or a photo or something to go in one of those pockets.

  5. Karin says…
    01/02/2012

    Hi Ali, You addressed exactly about something I was going to ask you about... I also like to try 'the cloud' having my pics from iPhone move to aperture or iPhoto wirelessly. However I was worried when I set that up that my Aperture/iPhoto pictures would also go vice versa; back to my iPhone. You say in your post you can view your aperture photos on your phone. My iphoto library is enourmous, as I can imagine your aperture is too. Isn't your iPhone 'overloaded' with all your aperture pics? Or does it download them very small? kb vs. mb???
    How does it work?
    Thanks Ali, love your work as always!

    Reply 3 Replies
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      Karin - Photostream only keeps your 1000 most recent photos (so it's not my whole Aperture library on my phone).

    2. Karin says…
      01/02/2012

      ps love you using old wallpaper, i have a whole book of it, i might try to use it too!

    3. Karin says…
      01/02/2012

      happy new year!

  6. Megan says…
    01/02/2012

    Love the look of this page! Makes me what to work on my own book. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Karin says…
    01/02/2012

    Here i am again with another question You speak of your 'album'...did you fit your whole year in one book? at week 28 I had to move to album #2?

    Printer question. I am looking at buying a new one, its between yours and a facy cannon one. I saw a picture of yours in your workroom and it looks enormous!! does that bug you?
    Also how is the ink use on yours. If you were to guess how many 4x6 do you print vs. how many times do you replace your ink cartridges? Are they expensive and easy to get?

    Thanks Ali, those were my questions for today :-)

    Happy New Year!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      Actually I've got three albums for this year (just easier to say "album"). The printer is big - doesn't bother me at all because it's part of my office and my workflow...but yes, you'd definitely want to have a space for it. I think I replace the ink every couple months - but I print quite a bit (need to actually track this to see how much I use). I order it on Amazon - easy to get.

  8. Kris says…
    01/02/2012

    Love it Ali! Your cover page is great. Thanks for keeping us motivated. I was successful this year because I had a similar approach--one week at a time. Sometimes it was a photo day but most it was a few events or even just one event. Keeping it simple .....

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Denisha says…
      11/24/2012

      Thiknnig like that is really impressive

  9. Carole says…
    01/02/2012

    Oh, I like this!

    p.s. I couldn't find the "memory" tag with the link, so I looked at some of the other October Afternoon collections on Two Peas, and found it in the Thrift Shop collection.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      Oh thanks for letting me know!

  10. Karen C says…
    01/02/2012

    I love the colors of your title page, they feel very January and fresh with new beginnings. I started Project Life in Jan 2011 too and I got one week finished. After that I saved and saved and now I have a pile on a table. I keep remembering you saying once that you tried one year but ended up just saving the things but not actually putting them onto pages and then the album filled with bits fell on the floor and scattered. I keep eyeing mine waiting for it to fall too! :) I am starting again this year. Maybe I'll do something with last year or maybe not. That's a wonderful thing I learned from you: it's okay to just scrapbook the story I want, when I want to. I'm not behind. I'm just living life. But I really do feel that I have a better handle on actually doing it this year. Your reflections and ideas really summed up a good approach. Thank you!

    PS - I'm getting Aperture. I have too many iphoto libraries and it's such a pain switching between them. If there's any more ideas you have about using Aperture I'd love to hear them. I use my iPod touch for photos (no iPhone) and I'm just recently started trying to figure out "the cloud" and sharing photos.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      Yep - it's all good :). My album from 2010 is sitting on the floor in my office (the one that fell). It's on my list of things to do and I know one of these days I'll make it happen.

  11. marcy says…
    01/02/2012

    This is gorgeous Ali!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Christy says…
    01/02/2012

    Thanks so much for sharing your proejct life. It's the way I found out about it back in 2009 and it has allowed me to document memories as I tried traditional scrapbooking but just couldn't keep up.

    From your posts along the way I incorporated the following suggestions:
    - sticky notes - leaving the book out and accessible - soliciting others to contribute (with about the same success as you) -and even did hand journeling (typed everything in 2010 as I don't care for my hand writing - incorporated putting receipts, lists and other misc stuff - plus I went a step further and capture things that happen in the month vs. focusing on a week - needed it to be super flexible and forgiving.

    Doing all this I am proud to say that I am now done with 2011 and also ready to start 2012.

    Thanks again - you are my go to blog for inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Jane S says…
    01/02/2012

    Ali, your title page is fantastic. I love the muted colors and the pix of the 3 of you, especially simon cracking up. Great idea to cut up the cards in the kit. I was wondering if you used a tablet to draw your name in illustrator. I love all the words your cutting with the silhouette lately. So delicate looking. Jane

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      Hi Jane - I do use a tablet. It's a Wacom Intuos 3 - I use it for most of my hand-drawn words.

  14. Tara says…
    01/02/2012

    I love your opening page!!! I've started my Project Life type of album in July, but am just starting to use more of the Becky Higgins products. (Had been using We-R-Memory Keepers pages.) I have been looking for hints, or a photo shop mask for printing photos 3x4 to fit in the pockets. I see so many doing this. It's probably a lot easier than I am making it!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      Hi Tara - planning a tutorial on this for later this week.

  15. dena says…
    01/02/2012

    Ali.....everything you post is simply stunning. Always tasteful with just the right touch to make it eye pleasing and perfect.
    It continually amazes me that the simplest touches on your layouts and pages make them JUST SO!
    Please never stop being such an inspiration to me and the rest of us.
    Wishing you and your family all the best for health and happiness in 2012!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Britiney @ Consider the Lilies says…
    01/02/2012

    Beautiful work, as always, Ali. This was my 2nd year with PL and I love love love it. Your weekly posts keep it in the forefront of my mind and I always love seeing what you do. I tend to do really well at the beginning of the year and then the last half I get behind. I think that I have 2 months of journaling to catch up on from 2010 and maybe 4 from 2011, but I do have all of the pictures and intend to go back and fill in. I just ordered my new kit and don't have it yet, but as always, you have me excited to get started. I was thinking I'll work on 2010/2011 maybe 15 min. a day. If I could do the journaling for a week in that time I'd be caught up in a month or two! Anwyay. Thanks for all of your inspiration and for keeping me excited about this project! Happy New Year! I hope this year is a year full of joy for you. xo

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Trina says…
    01/02/2012

    Love your title page, so awesome as usual! And also love your reflections & ideas, great information especially for those of us just starting Project Life for the first time. I like the idea of putting it in a highly accessible location. I also have a space on the kitchen counter that I think will work great for keeping it visible. I just bought the Epson R2000 and am looking forward to the ease & convenience of printing at home. How often do you end up buying new inks for your printer? I was wondering...you always seem to have the latest & greatest supplies (paper & word stickers). How do you keep up with whats current and where is your favorite place to buy supplies?

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Linda Beltz says…
    01/02/2012

    Dear Ali,
    I did Project 365 two years ago and then took off a year. I was unable to buy the kit which sold out so made my own cards, etc. This year I ordered the Project Life Kit and album but the Page Protector set A is not available on Amazon so I am frustrated. Do you have any idea when the pages will be available again? In the meantime I will use a little photo album for my photo of the day and jot journaling notes. I love your title page!
    Linda

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/02/2012

      I read on Becky's site that it should be sometime this month for the Style A.

  19. Briana says…
    01/02/2012

    Hi Ali,

    Love your 2012 title page! You have such a lovely way of blending different styles together (delicate, modern, classic, clean, etc.) You always give me inspiration for thinking outside the box (something which is very hard for me to do! :) ) Thank you for this blog post--I really appreciate you taking the time to explain the tools you use, your thought process, and your way of simplifying things so that you get them done.

    I was wondering the same as Karin about your printer, so thank you for answering her question. I have always had my pics printed at a professional printer because I am very concerned about photos fading. However, the trouble with sending them somewhere is that I don't get them back right away and then I lose motivation and momentum waiting for them to get back to me. I would be willing to splurge on a photo printer, but I want to make sure my printed photos won't fade. Do you have any thoughts or advice for me about this? I'd appreciate any help or input you could give me... Thanks so much!
    :) Briana

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Cynthia says…
    01/02/2012

    Happy New Year Ali!

    I so love your title page and it is so you....the stylistic features are so creative and innovative. Can't wait to see your evolution this year.

    2011 was my first year doing PL and I absolutely loved it. I had done a 365 for our son the year before which I finished but I was so glad to be done with it! My PL for 2011 is done and sitting on a bookshelf (I had 2 albums total - probably could be three; the two I have are SO full). I am thrilled beyond belief. I also took the week at a time approach which worked excellently for me. I felt the true beauty of PL when I did the WITL in July and still had stuff to put in PL and didn't feel like I was skimping on either! Yay! Not finished my December Daily (bogged down with life stuff) yet but hope to in a week or two.

    When I got behind in PL I would rely on my calendar for stuff that I had written down. As our son is older I don't find there are as many of those need to quote moments as there were when he was younger.

    I am really looking forward to this year as well. I would like to try and be more creative although again I put no stress on myself other than putting photos, memories, elements into the PL. I guess what I love is it's infinite flexibility. I think the thing you keep stressing, i.e., don't make it more complicated than it really needs to be, is so critical. The magic in it's essence is that it is a record of our day to day life, and each moment doesn't have to look like a scrapbook page. Thank you!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Kimberly says…
    01/02/2012

    This is a beautiful cover page! I'm just starting my project life album, and am loving it. May you have an amazing 2012!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Queen Mary says…
    01/02/2012

    Ali, First I want to say how sorry I am for your challenges in 2011, I was so sad when I listened to the OLW opening video. Second I want to applaud you for focusing on the challenge of celebrating the lessons learned. Third, I too love the soft colors of your title page. I am trying PL this year for the first time, and as empty nesters, I'm thinking it will be a very different project! Maybe more reflections than events! BTW, I love your OLW and the movie from which it derives and the scrapbook scene especially! DH and I put challenging one another into our wedding vows 31 years ago! Love, Mary

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Lisa R says…
    01/02/2012

    Your album looks gorgeous and I esp love your theory on "week in review" as opposed to a photo every day. I was invited to do P365 with a friend of mine, which Im excited for except I told her that my will prob be P265 cause taking a photo daily is not always possible or feasible for me. I plan on just filling in with other photos I love.
    Thanks for sharing your tips and thoughts on project life. No stress - just documenting life :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. cinback says…
    01/02/2012

    Well, I am going to give this a try this year. I love the idea, but am afraid I cannot sustain it an entire year, so we will see. But my OLW is OPEN, so I am trying to be OPEN-minded about this project!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Karen W says…
    01/02/2012

    Ali, love your title page. Am looking forward to following along with you as I do my PL for 2012.

    Reply 0 Replies

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