project life | april 2012 + how i make it work

so this is why i am doing project life. for my family. for my boys. i keep our project life album on the dining room table mostly because it is easy access for me. and now i have another reason to keep it out and not tucked away on a shelf somewhere. because the boys have discovered it too. quinn has flipped through the pages with me a few times. his favorite part is seeing the pictures of himself at his “star wars school” which is the jedi training academy he went to at disney’s hollywood studios back in january. and now tate has started to climb up on the chair and point out pictures to me. he saw himself sleeping and said “bed”. he saw quinn dressed in his darth vader costume and said “star wars”. he points out mommy, dada, quinn and tate. i have found him kneeling on the chair looking at our ablum quite a few times this week. i never would have thought that tate would have noticed project life at 2 years old.

i’m working on week 23 of project life right now. i’m almost half way through the year and i’ve kept up with this family journal. i can’t really believe i’ve done it. i am definitely in a good groove with my process. it has become an easy part of my everyday. taking photos + writing down bits and pieces of our life.

truth time. i have not been on top of project life every single week with printing photos and journaling cards. i do not always have completed weeks done “on time”. but i have kept up with what i do every week so that when i sit down to work on project life, i can easily put together what i need to get caught up. some weeks i keep up fine. and then there are times that i have about three weeks to get done. but i make it work. and i don’t get frustrated. i just make sure that i am taking pictures every week with either my big camera or more often, with my iphone. (oh how i am drooling over the new iphone 4s camera!) i also make sure that i am writing a few things each day in my day one journal app on my computer. then i have everything i need to put it all together when i have some time.

i am taking to heart that the premise of project life – that it is an easy and simple way of documenting our life. i do not over complicate things. i do not worry about getting super crafty. for me the focus is on the photos and the stories. that is it. and that is enough. that is exactly what i want to have in our family journal.

so here is how i approach project life each week and how i make it work for me:

  • prepare. i took time before i started project life to set myself up so that i could keep up with this throughout the year.
  • i decided that my weeks will be monday through sunday so that i get a complete weekend in. i use the calendar program on my mac (ical) for everything going on in my life – family to-dos, appointments, projects, dinner, etc.  so i set it up for the entire year to show which week i am in on every monday. (it will say project life week 23.) this makes it easy to see at a glance where i am – especially on the weeks i am behind.
  • i take photos with my big camera and my iphone and i import them using lightroom. i name the files with the date they were taken and the sequence number. (it will save as may 11, 2012-102.nef – i shoot in raw with a nikon so it is a .nef file.) this is so helpful because i always know which week the photos belong in. i also keep all of my photo files in chronological order. everything is kept by month and year.
  • i use the dropbox app to transfer my photos from my iphone to my computer. i set up files in dropbox on my computer for each week (pl week 21, pl week 22, etc.) so all i have to do is pick the photos, pick the file and upload them right to my computer. (cathy zielske has a great video tutorial about using dropbox here.) i still use lightroom to import all of my iphone photos each month. but i use dropbox for the iphone photos i process with instagram and plan on using in project life. the best of the best if you will. a quick + easy way to have access to the instagram photos i use each week in project life. i don’t process every single iphone photo i take. but i keep them all because i will be using some of them in our yearly family photo book.
  • i am keeping on top of editing my photos so they are ready for me to order and print when i need them. i am not overshooting and taking a million pictures. i can tell a story in just one photo. less to edit means less work in general. that’s a good thing.
  • i still use and love the day one app on my mac. i have it set to pop-up a little box on my computer screen each day to remind me to write down a few things from the day. this is probably the one most important thing that has helped me stay on top of my journaling. once i write it down, i just go back to the day one calender journal and copy + paste onto my week in review jouranling cards or smaller 3×4 jouranling cards. now come on, who doesn’t have 2 minutes to jot down a quick note from the day or a silly story?
  • if something funny or memorable happens while i’m away from home, i send myself an email about it and add it to my day one journal later.

by keeping on top of taking pictures and writing down life everyday , i have everything i need to make project life pages when i have the time to sit down and work on it. i just pick the pictures and order them online from my local sam’s club. (i have considered using an online lab like persnickety prints, but i just can’t wait to get the photos when i place my order. i’m way too impatient.)

right now i’m about two weeks behind in printing. i’m not worried or stressed. i’ll just take some time to pick my weekly pictures and put together the journaling cards and i’ll be caught up.

here are my project life pages from april:

week 14 included a picture quinn drew of “the whole family”. i just scanned his drawing, re-sized it to fit in the 4×6 pocket and added some words about the drawing on the bottom. there is also a screen shot from my iphone of the running program we did this week, some instagram pictures of our run, tate’s messy face after eating chocolate and some other photos from our week.

it was also easter week and full of fun activities for the boys. we painted easter eggs, went to a local easter egg hunt and had easter lunch with my family.

i found the cute “happy easter” printable sign on pinterest so i just re-sized it to fit in the 3×4 pocket and printed it. (all of the 3×4 cards that have quotes i found on pinterest. you can follow me on pinterest to find these printables and more.) i am still using these great free templates from paislee press to make small photo collages onto 4×6 pictures.

i took lots of photos this week so i included an extra 6×12 photo page insert that holds six more photos.

here is the right side of the album with the extra insert flipped over to reveal more easter photos.

week 15 included pictures from our family trip to the beach and a little road trip to meet kelle hampton. i captured a screen shot of kelle’s blog that had a photo of me and the boys meeting her at her book signing and i printed some words on the bottom of the photo to explain what it was. i love the photo of quinn hugging tate. now that quinn knows that the pictures i take will end up printed in our family project life album, he asks me to take their picture.

this week also includes lots of instagram pictures, my sausage soup recipe with a few pictures and a fun blurb about how quinn likes to steal paper from our printer to draw on.

week 16 included pictures of tate’s little arm with a bandaid where he got his 2 year old shots, mark’s real estate license that arrived in the mail and mark and quinn on the couch.

i included an instagram picture of quinn eating his new favorite treat and a little story about how the boys are really starting to play together now.

this week also included some scanned sports drawings that quinn made with markers and stickers, a note from mark and some photos from our everyday life.

week 17 was the week i did ali edwardsweek in the life project. i documented everyday for seven days with my camera. so i decided to keep it super simple for project life this week. i included my very favorite photos, our week in review journaling card and a 3×4 journaling card printed with a free word art from ali edwards (even though it says “one little week” instead of “a week in the life” i still love the simplicity.)

the only other journaling card i included listed all of the new words that tate has started to say. his vocabulary has exploded this week and i wanted to record that in project life.

i am still working on putting together our week in the life photo book. it is coming along a bit slow, but i am making progress. i will share the printed book when i get it done.

are you documenting your world with project life? please share it with me! i love to see how other people design their own life memories.

show hide 6 comments

Jenn - I always love seeing your project life stuff! Mine isn’t anywhere online but if our parallel lives ever meet one day I’ll bring mine to share. :)

I cannot handle getting behind on project life. It stresses me out and I think if that happens I’d just give up. And a year in I love it (and my kids love it) too much for that to happen. I do Monday to Sunday too. I just hated the thought of breaking up the weekend. I usually sit down to figure what photos I want for the album Sunday night and then edit and order by Monday morning. I found a local lab that does decent prints near Jim’s work so if I order first thing he can pick them up for me on my lunch. I usually do any journaling cards on Monday night or Tuesday and then by Wednesday it’s easy to just slip everything together. Do you ever read Elisa Blaha’s blog? Every week she writes “week 23 and I still can’t believe how much I love this project” (or something to that effect) and I feel the exact same way.

I just followed you on pinterest. My word you have a lot of inspiring boards on there.

michelle s. - I’m totally overwhelmed and in awe of this. I so wish I was wired to do something like this. Oh my. So beautiful and what an incredible treasure for your family! LOVE IT.

Renee @ The Calm Mama - LOVE!!! it’s beautiful!! and VERY inspiring! not sure if i missed this, but what cards are you using…i LOVE that they have round edges! :)

Andrea - Oh my! I’m overwhelmed just reading about it. Though the bullet points of how you stay organized help! The more I see your post on this the more I’m interested in trying this. Maybe once Max is back in school. My problem would be with taking and editing photos in a timely manner…and getting decent prints that I wouldn’t have to order online. Hmmm…. keep the project life posts coming! I’m intrigued!

Lindsey W. - Hello! I just found your blog via Pinterst. So far, I have only read this blog post, but I definitely plan to look around. I LOVE the journal card idea of “Tate’s words.” I have a little girl (and boy, but he is older) and I am making a card right now like this of her words to add to our Project life album. I was curious what two fonts you used on the card? They are both super cute!

Alida - Found you via Pinterest and just want to say your PL is really special. Love your photography, and how you capture your stories in the photo’s and journaling. Also love how light it is- all the white, and simple cards.

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