Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Latest Obsession: Project Life

I have always been a scrapbooker.  Ok.  Maybe not always.  My Aunt Margaret really was the scrapbooker in the family.  She started very early with the super basic Creative Memories concept and kept completely up to date with all of her family memories and adventures.  At the time, I was into making  greeting cards.  I cranked out handmade greetings for every holiday and event there was - stamped, painted, glittered, layered and even popups sometimes.  I was awesome at it and loved it!  However, slowly but surely, she won me over and I began scrapbooking too.

I started out slow, purchased the basics and went to town.  My very first scrapbook was a scrapbook of my solo trip to Europe in my twenties. I look back at it now and cringe. It is so simple and not me. Plus there isn't one word of journaling. But the pictures are in there and the trip is documented.  As a whole, it is a great thing.  After this attempt though, my other attempts have fell very short.

One year my friends and I met once a month to scrapbook.  Honestly, I got nothing done.  I've always had a certain kind of analysis paralysis when it comes to making something permanent like this.  Especially with photos that are expensive to develop/print and then you purchase all this paper, embellishments, albums, pages, and page protectors.  It had to be JUST RIGHT, or well, I just wasn't going to commit. 

Case in point, I have had no issues committing to my husband of twelve years, but do you think our wedding and honeymoon are scrapbooked? Nope.  What if something newer and cuter comes out?  What if I hate it in five years?  In my defense, I did scrapbook our dating year to have out at our wedding so people could view our 'story' but that is it.

Other than my Europe trip and my dating life with Thew, the only other thing officially scrapbooked is #1's first birthday.  She loves that thing and looks through it all the time.  I really want to make more scrapbooks for my kids to look through.  They love looking at all the digital photos of themselves on the computer, just imagine their delight in being able to look at their photos in a scrapbook whenever they want to OR pull out for friends and family to reminisce?

This brings to me a post last week on the "Our Best Bites" blog.  It was all about how Sara captures and documents her family's memories. There are several options listed but the one that struck me was Project Life.  What is Project Life?  The best way for me to describe it is "pocket scrapbooking".  The page protectors have different size pockets in them and then you slide in photos and cutely designed cards to embelish it.  It is quick and easy. People say they get so much done in a short amount of time.  The best part about it?  NO COMMITMENT!  If they come out with newer cuter embellishment cards you can take the old cards out and put the new ones in. DONE.  This appeals to me - seriously appeals to me and my whack-o scrapbooking commitment issues.  If you want to check out project life, you'll need to go to  Ms. Higgins is the creator of project life and you'll find all sorts of great info on that site.

After doing some digging and realizing that I'd have to now purchase all new albums and page pocket protectors (I have a ton of the original Creative Memory albums, pages, and page protectors) - I started to groan. How much was this going to cost me?  Also the thought of having to print a ton of pictures off at Costco without cropping and adjusting them also left me feeling some of that commitment phobia coming back up like some bad drink I had in college. Then, I saw that Project Life was digital with Photoshop Elements or Photoshop.  What you say?  Seriously.  There are also several digital templates and kits sold by Project Life's digital shop as well as freebies that people have made and blogged about.   Go to Pinterest and search for project life freebies and tons of posts come up.  It made me feel giddy!

I purchased some templates and one kit from the Project Life digital site, downloaded a free trial of Photoshop elements from Adobe and then went to YouTube to see how in heck I could use these things.  You can also take formal project life/photoshop classes at though they do cost quite a bit, and I wasn't sure I was ready to commit to that (here we go again!).  I did find two videos on YouTube that were super helpful.  One of them is done by Jessica Sprague and she did a great job - the other one is by an Australian gal who also did a good job.  Here are the links to those:

Jessica Sprague teaches digital Project Life
Digital Project Life Basic Tutorial

Here is my first page - it's a title page, and I was really just trying to figure out to snap everything together and resize things if I needed to - it was super easy:

Now that I know what I'm doing, I have the tools, and some freebies, I'm going to tackle my son's baby book.  I already started with traditional digital scrapbooking so I think it will be a combo pack for him.  I am focused on getting that done this year as well as our 2014 year so I can just stay current.  Once I'm current then I'm going to do my daughter's baby book - she is older and I haven't even started on it yet.  Regardless with what I do with this, I know the kids will be thrilled.

Another bonus with this is that I can print the 12x12 pages and have them developed at Costco. I will then use my current paraphernalia to create the books. I'll adhere the pages to thicker pages and use page protectors to protect it.  I can also use some of my embellishments if I want to on these pages too since the protectors and albums are built for it. These are all vintage Creative Memories and no longer are available for purchase.

I hope this has inspired you to check Project Life out or maybe just start organizing your photos. Whatever it has done, it's a good thing....

Until next time,

J.K. Sasse

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