Welcome to my first post in a series of Project Life Process blogposts. With this series I wanted to give you a look behind the scenes of my Project Life process. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on how to get started with this project.
Last year I started Project Life after ruminating for quite a while if I should take this project on or not. My most important con for starting, was the question whether or not I was going to be able to keep this up. As a busy mom of two, with a parttime job, and a big crafting/scrapbooking to-do list, was this going to work? And then in June last year, when needing a bit of a new challenge in scrapbooking, I decided to just take the plunge and go for it.
After a few months in the project now, there’s one thing I’m confident about: anyone can make PL work. No matter what your time frame, work and family life, crafting skills, etc look like, you can find a way to make this project manageable, and maintainable, but most of all rewarding, fun, and enjoyable for you. The key is to not put too much pressure on yourself and not to stress too much about it.
Today I would like to discuss with you the essentials when starting Project Life. Underneath I’m listing the 5 items that I started with when first starting my album, the very basics you’ll need to get to work. If you’re an absolute newbie, this is a perfect list of items to get you started. Once you’re getting a bit more avid in this, you will find your own style, the products/product types you like better, etc. But for me this was a very good starting point.
The first decision you have to make is about the size you want to work on. For me the decision was made pretty fast that I would work on a regular 12×12 size. I know for some people this size seems daunting, as you might think you would be unable to fill a double spread. That’s an objection I personally never had. Some weeks I fill a double 12×12 easily, or even need more. Other weeks I don’t have enough stories to tell, but then combine a couple weeks in one double spread, or work with a smaller page protector in between, or add an enlarged picture, etc. I don’t really care about not filling a double spread a week. I just go with the flow of our lives.
If you’re really not comfortable working on a large size, there are plenty of smaller options available. Most pioneering manufacturers are developing smaller albums and page protector types lately, like 6×8, 8×8, 4×4, etc. More and more smaller sized products are coming out each week.
If you’re going for a 12×12 size, really any sort of 12×12 album will do the trick. If you want a no-work option, you can choose a full covered album. If you love giving your albums a personal touch, you have options too. I’ve been using black American Crafts binder with a little window in the front. Those are the ones I could find for a very good price around the time I started, so I just went with it.
2. Page Protectors:
Since I was working on a 12×12 size, I went for a very neutral design A Project Life page protector as my go-to. Most of the design examples you see around the web are on these ‘standard’ designs, and so it was an easier step from getting inspired by others to creating my own spreads when using those same design A pockets.
But since I like a few more options, and an extra challenge every now and then, I also went for a small variety pack with just a few other designs. I assumed that I would find my preferred design once getting better at this project Life thing. Looking back at the past few months, I do love working with the design A page protectors and definitely use those the most, and I do use a small variety of other designs since I like switching things up every now and then.
I print my pictures at home, ever since I started this project. I will share my process of storing, organizing, editing, and printing in a future Project Life Process posts. I chose to home-print just because I had the option. I have a good printer, and on top of that, I find it easier to be able to work on a new spread whenever it pops into my mind. But you could also order prints once a month or forthnight, if you wish. Most important is that you find the way that works best for you.
4. Project Life Cards:
Back when I decided to start doing Project Life, I subscribed for a kit club, Studio Calico’s. There are a couple different online shops offering monthly Project Life kits, and I chose one of which I really liked the style of the included products. The biggest advantage of a kit like that, is that you get a handful of embellishments (and sometimes even stamps) along with your cards, and the whole kit just coordinates with each other. No need to go searching for other items to beautify your pages, everything just matches and is already there.
Another option, if you’re not willing to opt for a subscription to a kit club, is to buy a set of Project Life cards. Again there are many option around the web, both free and for sale, digital and physical. I highly recommend the Becky Higgins sets, which are available in different styles, and you have the option to buy larger or smaller sets. I’m kind of a favorite of the buy small option, until you know what you like and where you want to go with this project.
5. Smaller embellishments, stamps, etc.:
As I was subscribed to a Project Life kit club,a lot of the embellishments I needed for my spreads, were already included. But if not, a few embellishments or stamps are no luxury to spruce up your pages. Whether you have a stash of products from other papercrafting projects, or you want to buy a few items just for the purpose of this project, is of course entirely up to you.
When starting in June last year I set out a couple of basic rules (or guidelines if you will) to keep this project more time manageable for myself. If you would like to read more about them, you can do that in this ‘The Beginnings’ post. There are many different ways of approaching Project Life, you should choose whatever works best for you. Don’t let others tell you how you should do your project life, this is your project. Make it work for you.
Are you a newbie to Project Life? Or have you been into this project for a while now? What is/was your approach for getting started? Please share in the comments section.