Thursday, February 28, 2013

Project Life process & thoughts

Thanks so much to everyone for all your sweet comments about my first PL spread!

Here are some thoughts on my process:

deciding on photos
Like many others, I made a quick sketch of my page design to determine where the photos would go. Because I was working with a month's worth of photos - it was easy to choose my favorites. I forced myself to use only the best photos from each day I wanted to document.

I edited and uploaded them to Sam's Club (one mile from my house). I don't like their processing as much as some of the online guys but it is close, quick and cheap! They always print a bit dark so I actually re-edited a couple and sent them again and picked them up the next day. It was well worth the 28 cents to have a photo I was happy with. 
I used Picasa to put my photos 2-up on a 4x6 because I almost always shoot vertically. In fact, that's one thing that's kept me from taking on Project Life in the past. It is obviously geared towards landscape photos and mine are 90% vertical. I like the way the 3x4 pics look but they are small - it's not the same as seeing them all 4x6. I think 3x4's work better for iPhone pics, which this month was the majority of what I was working with. Part of me would like a few of them to be larger so I'm going to have to remember going forward, that if there's a photo I truly love, I will just make it a 5x7 and stick it as an insert in between the spread. I just wanted my first month spread to be clean but I might go back and add an insert. I'm staying flexible with the whole process.
designing the spread
As soon as I had my photos in hand - I cut them to the right size and punched all the corners. I COULD NOT WAIT to stick them in the pockets! I was like a kid on Christmas morning. (My face was like Ralphie with his BB gun.) In PL videos, I watch as people build their photos and journaling with embellishments, laying everything on top of the protector but I couldn't do it. I had to go ahead and get them in. I did have to take them out several times to add things so I might change that.
I tried a few journaling cards and moved them around to see where they looked best. I wanted a good design flow between photos and journaling and even embellishments. Yes, this is Project Life, but I still have to stay true to my clean style of scrapping.
I pulled out every color bin of tiny bits and looked through them. I've heard people say they "just don't have time for that" but I love all my little bits and bobs and it's a joy to look through them. I have purged so brutally that I am left with only the supplies I absolutely love. So I tried lots of colors and shapes and laid things on each photo and in the end, I decided I wanted most of the photos left plain. I like my photos. I don't feel the need to add something to every one of them. Again - staying true to my style.

telling the story
One of the utmost important aspects of any scrapbooking I do is making sure I tell my story. I don't always do it perfectly. Sometimes it's too fluffy and seems disingenuous. I kept telling myself, "Say something meaningful." This month, I was more excited about the process than the story but I'm going to make an effort to put it first. For instance, I actually had a funny conversation with Caroline I wanted to include and I didn't so I might go back and add that in a pull-out card. I am open to tweaking this here and there until I do my next one.

Several people inspired me to use my 6x6 pads for PL so I pulled out the entire stack...
I immediately went to an Amy Tangerine sketchbook pad I bought very recently and thought the colors in the pad would work great for a jumping off point for the spread. I always like to start with an inspiration piece in any project I make. Plus, I'm always the most excited about the products I've bought most recently. I love how I was able to slide a 6x6 piece in the 4x6 slot and see how it looked without any trimming. Most companies shrink patterns for a 6x6 pad so they are perfect for Project Life! I'm loving that I will use my collection and I have to admit, I'll probably buy more of these soon.

I wanted to use a piece of green polka dot for the main journaling block but it was too dark so I ended up using an old piece of Sassafras paper that was a watercolor look like the Amy Tangerine line:
Luckily, I already owned several sheets of cut apart journaling cards. I pulled all of them out and looked for ones that fit my color scheme which was colorful and used a white foundation. I'm particular about mixing white and cream on projects. I use one or the other - never both. So I stuck with all white pieces which tend to be brighter and more colorful too.
You may have noticed my page protectors are a different design than most people use. They are from a Project 365 kit I bought in 2009. It came with these two boxes of journaling cards...
When I first started on the spread, I quickly realized that the 3x4 sections were not truly 3x4. At first, I panicked and almost ran to Michaels to pick up some We R Memory Keepers that resemble Design A of Becky's protectors. Then I stopped myself and said, "Tracie - just use what you have!!" So I did! And it's fine. I did have to cut down the photos and cards just a little bit but I lived through it. heehee

These cards will come in handy when I want a quick blank card but I plan to mostly use my stash. At this point, I don't plan to buy a core kit from Becky Higgins. I might like to buy PART of a core kit so I might ask a friend if she wants to share one.

I've told this before on my blog but if you're new to it - to print on the lined journaling cards, I printed them one line at a time. It was a bit of trouble but I've done it enough that it doesn't take me that long. I did completely screw up one card I loved by putting the same words twice in a row but I moved on and chose a different one. I came up with a way to prevent that again. I can talk about that process more if anyone wants to hear (let me know).

I've decided that every month I'm going to keep the month title card in the same place and have at least one 4x6 section entirely comprised of journaling. I am not going to make myself keep the title the same. I might use letter stickers some months - maybe some embellishment with the name of the month - we'll see. This month I used patterned paper and my Cameo and I love how it turned out. It seemed bare at the top so I took out some really old rub-ons and made a little artistic spot in the top right corner. I like how it balances the flowers at the bottom and a little messy artsy look helps to make my really clean style more interesting.

So to wrap up - here are my priorities when it comes to my Project Life....
- tell my stories
- get my 2013 photos off the computer and onto the page
- use the thousands of embellishments I own
- use a good portion of my 6x6 pads
- have a ton of fun!!!

I have no plans to do previous years or any other PL project. In fact, since I have been good at getting my photos printed - I think it would be MORE trouble for me to do previous years in this format. I'm thinking that through. I might try the design that geared toward vertical 4x6 but that's only 8 to a two-page spread and it would have to be event based because I don't have my printed photos organized by date. I have them organized by theme. I do need to do something with them so we'll see how this goes for a while first.

I still love mini albums. In fact, I have one I'm finishing up to share with you that's my favorite ever. One of my goals for 2013 is to get back to telling my story so that's how I'm using Project Life. But it's gotta be fun, y'all! I'm keepin' it light and breezy!

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my process! I know this was detailed but as I looked online for inspiration, I really wanted to hear how people walked through the process and I saw that a bit in videos but not much in writing.

Check ya later gator!


Julia said...

Love your process!!

gale said...

Loved reading about your process! I am jealous that you only have to drive a mile to get to Sam's. We have to drive about 50 miles!

Arlene said...

Great PL pages and I love your process! I also do a month in review as it's more practical for me. Hope you are enjoying the process!

LB whosthischick said...

You are very organized

Fleursbydesign said...

Thanks for sharing your process :)

Erica said...

I'm so bad. I tried all kinds of plans last year and still couldn't find one that works. I finally switched to a monthly setup and its been freeing!