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. Brooke says…
    01/02/2012

    Love your first page.

    This will be my second year doing Project Life. I got it last year and used it to record the little story behind why I took a photo - not a daily or a weekly thing, just documenting those stories for the year. This year I'm excited about my eldest son starting Kindy (for his sake, not mine) and I'm more keen to do a weekly format. I'm planning on also including those little bits of life - drawings, Kindy notices, etc.

    I love that your Mom is also doing Project Life and enjoyed reading about her excitement to get all the page protectors at first. And I love your idea of just handing someone a card to write their story.

    Ali, I also just wanted to thank you for sharing your Project Life with us. It's an incredibly personal project and we are very lucky that you share for the sake of inspiration. Thank you!

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

    Hi Ali,
    Love your title page.
    Your ideas are inspiring. I wish you all the best in 2012 and look forward to hanging out with you on your blog.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Ruth Gilmore says…
    01/02/2012

    Brilliant Post Ali. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom re Project Life. This is my first year. So I am gleaming as much from you and Becky as I can. I love your honesty, your creativity, you sense of celebration, your boundaries. May you be stronger as you face various challenges may you have much loving support around you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. JENNIFER OLSON says…
    01/02/2012

    jennifer olson

    did you get two core kit to work

    are your kids help too with project life

    and keep up thr good work ali

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Emma says…
    01/02/2012

    Ali, I want to do PL and OLW this year and wondered if you had considered ways to incorporate both into one project/album? I was considering adding an additional layout to each month focused on my OLW, but don't know if it would wind up too jumbled. Any thoughts?

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. MaryAnn Perry says…
    01/02/2012

    I think you say it best!!! Love the page it is beautiful! My problem is always over thinking!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Sharon F. CA says…
    01/02/2012

    Congratulations on finishing and sticking with this project. I had one of those years last year and did not get my year done. I am inspired to stick with it this year- making time for myself and this creativity!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Katie Johnson says…
    01/02/2012

    Thanks for sharing so much detail Ali. Thanks to your dedication and the way you make this project seem do-able, I am going to give it a try this year. I hesitated, because it's just me and my husband and the 2 cats. I worry that some weeks will be sparse for information to include, but I think it will be fun to try.

    Thanks for being so inspiring Ali!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Jennifer says…
    01/02/2012

    Wonderful work! My Project 52 is starting as well. I have one question since this is my first time doing it how do you print the small pictures? Do you size them down? I dont have many printing choices right now. I am overseas and really just have Shutterfly or Kodak prints.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. carol says…
      01/03/2012

      Here is a site that lets you create wallet size prints and then save to send off to your photo finisher. A good, inexpensive option to create wallet-sized prints if you don't have photoshop.

      http://www.photility.com/PhotoSheet/default.html

    2. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      I do size them down - I'll have a tutorial later this week/next about how I do it (and sometimes I just crop 4x6 photos).

  10. Annette W. says…
    01/02/2012

    Ali, your title page took me a while to get through, there is quite a lot of content to peruse. And as always, I gleaned some inspiration from the look-see. I took a year long break from scrapbooking while I went through some life changes, but am excited about again using my stash and capturing life as it happens. Since I have no children, it's always a challenge to make it interesting and NOT narcissistic! But I have wonderful friends and extended family and that makes up for no munchkins in my house. Your kids have grown up so beautifully, and I know you are one proud mama! Best to you and your kids this 2012!

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

    Now that I have that "feeling of accompishment" for actually completing the December Daily project this year, I think I am going to try PL in 2012. Every week I would see your posts, and get overwhelmed at it all (how DOES she have time to do this?!?). However, I am going to try! Partner that with my One Little Word (fresh) - I am on the right path! I hope you continue to post your progress throughout the year to keep us inspired. KP

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

    Love your title page. I want to wish you all the best in 2012. I look forward to hanging out on your blog this year. Your ideas inspire me.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Susan robinson says…
    01/02/2012

    great title page and love your tips!! I'm starting pl for the first time... I started back in October, but its my first year. You are always inspirational. Oh and omg you make me want to get a silhouette... can't but if you sold those word silhouette cutouts they would sell like crazy I bet!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. ARC says…
    01/02/2012

    Thanks for all the information about PL on your blog. I bought the kit back in November to start for 2012, and I plan to do a weekly spread like you. I'm NOT a scrapbooker at all, so it should be both challenging and fun. Can't wait to read some of your older posts as I figure it out!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Project Life: 2012 | One Happy Mama says…
    01/02/2012

    [...] Project Life HERE. I love Ali’s Project Life style and philosophy. You can find out more HERE.A few other Project Life folks that I love are: Marcy Penner, Lisa Truesdell and Liz Tamanaha. [...]

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Christina in TN says…
    01/02/2012

    I'm trying a weekly approach to PL 2012 since taking a pic every day wasn't always possible & honestly, I felt that there wasn't anything even semi-important to photograph or capture. I'm hoping to stay caught up this year using the weekly method. Looking forward to seeing what everyone creates & possibly incorporate some ideas into my album. Ali, your title page is great so the "Hello Life" boxes will be my next purchase from DD!

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

    Ali, love your title page!! I just finished my project life 2011 and reading your blog every week for your PL updates was always such an inspiration to keep going!! I can't wait for 2012!

    A question for you-I'm looking to purchase an Instax camera-I thought I remember reading that you use Instax 7s but in today's post you mention the Instax 50. Is that the newest one? I'm having trouble finding info on which is the latest model/the differences between them. Thanks!!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      This one is newer - the prints are the same size but the camera itself is smaller and it has a self-timer.

  18. Taraleigh Gray says…
    01/03/2012

    Hi Ali
    I'm wondering if you were able to fit your entire 2011 in one binder or if you ended up having to split it into two. I love your 2012 entry. I love the soft colors and the sweet photos. Thanks for keeping us all so very inspired. :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      It actually took three - I added quite a few inserts.

  19. Jayne Taylor says…
    01/03/2012

    Wow what a wonderful first page. Gorgeous photos of you, Simon and Anna. So inspiring. I have just ordered my PL bits and pieces and can't wait to get them and get started. In the mean time I will need to think of a way to record and recmember so I can catch up. Any syuggestions? I like you idea of focusing on a week, and want to do this. Thanks

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      You might consider some envelopes - like one per week that can just hold your stuff until you are ready.

  20. Esther says…
    01/03/2012

    Wow, looks wonderful! I love your sense of style and sense of storytelling.
    I don't have much time and money to spend on scrapbooking, so I've been holding of on PL for a few years now. It looks like a lot of fun though. When you mentioned 'A Photo A Day' it clicked. I figured I could do A Photo A Week, to make a nice overview of my year, so I decided to do that. I found a little cardholder (from HEMA :) ) in my stash that I bought years ago, and will be making (digital and then print) little cards to go in there. A photo on the front, some journaling and the date on the back. I think I will laminate them so they stay clean. I'm sure it will be a nice little box to flip through at the end of the year!
    Thanks for the inspiration and for saying 'it can be anything you want', because that made me think I could use different materials for making a Project Life 'album'!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      Sounds perfect!

  21. lili niclass says…
    01/03/2012

    Thanks for the inspiration, Ali! Your title page is amazing! I love your handwriting and I was super excited to see my own handwriting on your page! (I designed that heart paper for FP!) ;) I'm looking forward to seeing your PL updates this year.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      I really love that heart paper.

  22. Jamie Fisher says…
    01/03/2012

    I love the way Simon covers his mouth in that photo! You can't help but laugh along with him!!!

    I did get this LAST YEAR...and completed maybe 2 weeks total. :((( Very disappointed that happened. SO...I'm going to use last year's kit (although I'm itchin to totally start "NEW") because I realized this is important to ME--my word for 2012. :)))

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Amy says…
    01/03/2012

    Its a quick question for you Ali, do you just randomly choose your journaling cards s you go though the year or do you put them in some sort of order/fill up the protectors at the beginning of the year? This will be my 3rd year of doing PL and I think I need to make a few changes so I don't have a repeat of this year...a whole lot of finishing off to do when I just want to start my new album!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      I randomly chose them as I went along. The only things I included at the beginning of the year were a 4x6 card in the top left pocket that shows the dates for the week.

  24. Bethany says…
    01/03/2012

    Ali, would you be willing to go through your set-up on your Epson R2000 photo printer and provide insight to setting up color management. I'm having difficulty in getting my R2000 set-up to produce photos as nice as the ones I see on your blog. I, too, use MAC and Epson photo paper.

    Thanks!

    Reply 3 Replies
    1. Bethany says…
      01/03/2012

      Ali - the specific problem I'm having is that the prints are too dark. I've tried adjusting the lighting a bit but then I loose some of the saturation. There is a wealth of info. out there regarding color management but honestly I don't "get it." Mostly I want to print photos for scrapbooking and I'm not too picky. But if I were to print enlargements to hang on the wall, I would be too afraid they won't come out as expected thus wasting ink.

      I will keep trying to lighten and see what happens :-) Thanks for your input!

    2. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      What's the specific issue you are having? Too light? Too dark?

    3. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      Hi Bethany - I don't have any specific set up or ways to use color management. With most printers I've had, including this one, I figure out what adjustments I need to make before printing. With this printer I know I need to make my photos a bit lighter on the screen before printing (lighter than I think looks best) to come out with a printed result I like. It's always been about compensating for lightness or darkness mainly.

  25. KSW says…
    01/03/2012

    Thanks, Ali.

    Xoxoxo to you. Inner peace - this project has been helping me achieve it, with your help, easing my perfectionism, and opening my eyes to all the beauty that exists in my every day light.

    2012 is going to be good.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      01/03/2012

      Love that. Thank you.

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