March 28, 2012

Time spent on Project Life....

Edited: Thank you for the comments everyone. There were several questions in the comments sections. I think that some of my previous blog posts linked up in this page will be helpful to you. If you don't find what you're looking for in those posts, feel free to ask more questions.

Okay Project Life friends, this post is photo heavy so I'm going to try to keep my thoughts short. I've been reading a lot about how some of you have put your Project Life albums aside for various reasons. You don't have the time, you forgot to take photos, it takes away from your other scrapbooking. I get where you are coming from. It a time commitment for sure to keep up to date on Project Life albums....whether you are doing it in it's simplest form or getting scrappy with it.

For the sake of today's post, I'm speaking from the perspective of going scrappy with Project Life. You want to add fun embellishments and accents and papers. You want to add scrapped inserts. But the problem is that a weekly layout is taking up too much time. Like 5 hours or more a week. Again, I know where you are coming from.

Today I'm going to share my thoughts with lots of photos for examples. My personal concern is this: I want to continue to work on my Project Life albums in a scrappy fashion but I need to reduce the # of hours I work on my albums per week. Our busiest time of year is coming up with Spring sports, day time track meets, gardening, a lively puppy...and soon to be summer break for the girls. For the last 2 years May is about the time I get behind. 17 weeks behind in 2011. I don't want to go there again. I took a look through my albums to do some analyzing. I noticed a few things that might help reduce the time I spend per week on them. Note: When I have 5 or more hours to work on my albums, I love it & I'll continue on as normal. But if not.....

3 x 4 Journaling Inserts:
This is where you write the stories, the events, what went down with a particular photo. The next 6 photos shows what I've been doing lately which is time consuming. Adding small photos to the 3 x 4 cards.
Adding lots of different kinds of embellishments. Plus stitching.
Printing journaling cards...
Stamping out words and titles. Using my vintage typewriter for journaling.
Adding lots and lots of little tidbits.
Making each 3 x 4 insert look like a mini layout of its own. I love it all but when time is a factor, these extra additions are real time suckers.
So now take a look at the next 5 photos. If you do a comparison to the above 3 x 4 photos you'll see a big difference. Still embellished but much simpler. Still used my typewriter because my handwriting is big and loopy. I used a Project Life core kit journaling card for the base.
Another standard card with hand written journaling, a simple strip of patterned paper and a little stamping. No extra embellishments. Super fast.
A Project Life grid card that I had previously stamped with a Studio Calico frame. Easy to pull from my stash. Again, hand written journaling. A simple tag from a shop kit I made earlier. Very simple. Note: LOVE the Week in Review cards and will try to incorporate those weekly still.
More typewriter journaling with very minimal embellishments.
Hand journaling on a Project Life journaling card. A few stickers. Stickers are simple and make quick work. Result: When time is spare, I will definitely be paring down the embellishments.
4 x 6 Photo Slots:
Originally designed for a simple 4 x 6 photo. Plain and simple. I love that these have become mini canvases in my album for me to get scrappy.
Smaller photos so that I can fit multiple photos onto a 4 x 6 insert. With the added bonus of embellishments.
Absolutely love it but again, a real time sucker.
Since I don't do much traditional scrapbooking, I'm okay with spending time on these inserts. IF I have the time.
But if not, these little layouts can take on a mind of their own.
You want each one to be like a mini page. Sometimes it's just not gonna happen this way. There's too much other "life" stuff going on. Or I notice that I'm getting a few weeks behind. Which leads into a month behind....or more. Not a good place for me because then I start feeling guilty for not keeping up. Or like it's a hassle. Note: That is NOT what Project Life is about. It should always feel enjoyable and like something you want to do.
Now look at the next set of photos. A big observation I made is that I really like the weeks where I went back to adding 4 x 6 photos. The photos are more visible and the weekly spread looks less cluttered.
I still added some journaling on my grid labels. Plus some stickers and accents here and there.
But overall the 4 x 6 slot is filled with a photo. I don't have to make a 4 x 6 base and add more to it.
The embellishments are there but it takes so much less time this way.
Plus it makes printing at home a breeze. I simply print a 4 x 6 photo and don't have to worry about what size I need the smaller photos to be.
This also keeps my purpose of doing Project Life in perspective. My weekly layouts are to be an overview of the week. A photo per day so to speak. By reducing the # of photos I select each week, I'm keeping that goal in mind.
Weekly Dated Inserts:
I do love these and plan on going back to them when possible. I insert them into the top, left hand corner.
They may or may not have a photo but the goal is to record the timeframe of the week and perhaps make a title for the main theme of the week....if there is one. Like this week I took 2 road trips.
Or the week of Valentine's Day. It makes the weekly spread seem like one large layout with a title...just like a traditional scrapbooked layout. So these are coming back. And use that date stamp to record the timeframe of the week. I noticed some of you are numbering the weeks (like Week 1, Week 2) instead of using the dates. Cool.
What about the extra photos?
I love my extra photos. I want to include each and every one of them. You too, right? Well we can't do that all of the time, especially if we take a lot of photos. And with the nifty cell phone cameras it makes it very easy to snap more photos every day. I'm with ya. Some of you are keeping up with your traditional scrapped layouts too. This is a terrific way to add in layouts with those special photos. I wish I had more time to do that.

But what I have noticed in my albums that I LOVE are these collage pages with TONS of photos on them.
Typically Instagram photos in the square format. My printing program allows me to make a simple collage. I just select the photos I want and hit print....with a few custom adjustments.
Reduced in size so I can fit a ton on one page. This just might be my saving grace for reducing the time spent on Project Life weekly layouts: I'm going to reduce the # of photos I use per week (we'll see how my plan works).....and I'm going to make a monthly collage of the rest of the photos I still want to scrapbook. Probably not a lot of journaling. Just photos that capture our life. All on one insert page. A little scrappy, maybe just photos sometimes. Maybe Instagrams, maybe just a collage of reduced 4 x 6 photos. Maybe at the end of the month....maybe where I need to fill a back page of another insert. My plan is to just go through my iPhone photos & regular camera photos and see what's left for that month. I can already breathe a sigh of relief.
I'm going to start with making my weekly layouts a little simpler if I don't find those 5 or more hours to get really scrappy. I'm not going to feel badly anymore that I didn't use a certain photo for the week. I'll pick it up at the end of the month. We'll see how it works.

So what are your thoughts?
Are you holding on for dear life? Breezing through? I'd love to hear your thoughts on where you are with your Project Life. And again, if you're going digital or simply adding photos & journaling cards or only doing a monthly spread on 2 pages, it all counts. You're doing it! Isn't it awesome?


Unknown said...

LOVE this post! love all your ideas and all your inspiration :)

Anonymous said...

Michelle what a great post! I think for many of us that are scrappers we enjoy making PL scrappy. However I have to remind myself the main reason I am doing this is to document "Life" I post sticky notes in my work areas and on my computer KISS- "keep it simple sweety"
Keeping it a little more simple still looks great and gives you more time to live "Life"
Thanks for all the great info

Wendy T. said...

Great post! And timely reminder that it doesn't need to be "perfect" every week. I'vebfinished up to week 6 and feel it slipping from my fingers. I really want to keep going, so thanks for the great ideas and the push to keep going :)

Unknown said...

Great post! I love what you've been doing with project life along with many others but just doing it simple is just difficult. I haven't gotten a routine or process down. I think coordinating with uploading phone pix and pix on my computer is cumbersome. I've taken notes on my Momento app and have a calendar to jot notes down but...I've fallen short. What is your step by step process from the moment you take the picture to the moment it gets down into PL? Thanks! I'm trying to find the best process that works for me.


♥ Another great post♥ I too think of it as mini scrapbook layouts. I love to add little embellishments here and there and if I can't, I add a little piece of Washi Tape, a strip of pattern paper, etc. and it dresses it up so much. I too love to make photo collages for those events that are picture heavy. Love the end of month photo collage for extra pictures you can't get into a two page weekly spread...FABULOUS!!! Hugs, T

listgirl said...

Mish, THANK YOU so much for this post, it totally spoke to my heart. I've been thinking really hard this week about what Project Life is about for me, because it IS taking me 5-6 hours each week to do this and I can't afford to do that on a regular basis. Most people's advise have been to keep it simple with just photos and writing on journal cards. But I've come to realize that's not what I want out of Project Life, because I already document my life pretty well on my blog with photos + words. I enjoy being crafty with Project Life. I just need to know on the weeks that I don't have as much time, that it's okay to keep it simple.

You can read my latest PL blog post and my frustration with how much time it takes me to do it.

Also, I started a discussion thread about it at The Lilypad and got some good suggestions. It helped me realize what I want out of PL.

Thank you again for such a great post!


Jen Shults said...

This is a really great post and just what I needed right now. Sometimes you just have to say to yourself... "Just Do IT!" Don't over think it, don't over do it, just DO. LOVE this!!!

Nicole said...

Fantastic post Michelle! I've been doing really well this year with 'keeping up' until this week. Week 12 is still sitting here, open and ready to work on, but for some reason I'm stumped and too focused of using a bunch of stuff. I love your suggestion to use fewer photos, and more simple 4x6 photos. I think that is a great idea! I think even with almost 3 months done - I'm still trying to figure out the best process to get it done.

Robin said...

Certainly starting to find it a bit more tough... probably because I don't find it as exciting and new anymore AND the weather has been fab here! I am still taking and printing my photos every week, the problem is forgetting to write down bits in my journal for when I sit down to put it together....
Still up to date and ok though... will just have to put my journal in the kitchen or somewhere where I spend lots of time!
Thanks for sharing!

marisa said...

I have to thank you for this! I was actually getting annoyed by my PL because it was taking so long, I was obsessing over the right embellies, what pics, how to lay it out, blah blah. I am so behind because of it. Eben ordered the Clementine ages ago and didn't even open it up yet!

Needed to see this and to see I am not alone! Thanks!

MarionK said...

Thank you for this post. This is the first year for me doing Project Life. I got five weeks behind, but it was the other way around. I have looked at blogposts over blogposts and saw all this beautiful scrappy PL-pages and got really frustrated, because mine were so simple. 4x6 Photos in the big slots, journaling in the 3x4 slots. Trying to get a go at the project. Working full-time, it still is a huge commitment. I found my pages to plain, to colourful, to unscrappy. And this bloged me totally. Last week I decided, that I have not enough time to make it as great as the other pages I saw. So I did the actual week and started to catch up. As of today I am only two weeks behind and both are weeks, who will fill only one spread. So my pages will stay clean and simple. And if I have some extra time, I make more embellies on this weeks inserts. Since I came to this conclusion, I am happy again in keeping up with PL

Marci said...

Such a great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and process of PL with us. I started last year with PL and only made it a month! I am committed to make it work this year but I've completely changed my process. I absolutely KNOW I can't keep up with week by week pages so I'm not trying to. I now do a 2 page spread for each month. It's still plenty of pictures. It may not be every little detail from every day but it gives a pretty good idea of what my family did that month. It's SO much easier and LESS stressful! That's what's great about PL! Loving the process now!! Thanks again for all your great inspiration!! You're the best!

Marty said...

Hi there:
I really enjoyed this post. Which printing program did you use to print the instagram photos? Maybe you mentioned this before, but I can't recall. Thanks!

Candy Bryant said...

I am up to date with my PL. I was wondering where you got the time to get so scrappy with your weeks. When I look at mine I see mostly 4x6 photos and I love it. I'm glad you're using the big pictures because those girls are too, too glam. My own red is 27 and is predominate in my PL books! I love your week in review idea. I send my prints to Walgreens and may have more extras than I need, but having lots to choose from makes my week go faster. I also remind myself to use my stash and just get it done. Hugs & Aloha.

deb duty said...

You are amazing! Great post with so much useful info!

Unknown said...

Great post! Thanks for taking the time to put it all together. I know that takes a lot of time too! I try to post on my blog when I can, but that takes time! So I will most often just share on Instagram at least. That has been really fun for me and has cut down on stress.

As for the mini-layouts, I love treating them that way but I really like the larger 4x6 photos added in there too. It's faster and gives all my other stuff some breathing room. I also changed up a page protector I was using for Take Twelve. By using the 4x4 size it all came together much quicker with using Instagrams. I heard Becky was working on some 4x4 size too, and I am hoping so! It was really fast and I loved how it turned out. Thanks again for sharing so much and being such a great inspiration.

leanne said...

i am one week behind..... a week where we did a big day trip and took about 50 iphone photos... plan is to do a amy tan mini book to add to PL, but ahhh the time. I'm totally with you on the i dont have 5 hours a week, it usually takes me 3, but I dont even seem to have that..... time to get back to the basics of PL, recording the everyday moments ..... a few weeks of simple isn't going to hurt...

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog specifically about your project life. Your pages are an eye candy and I love how you blog about it. :)

then something happen you became a creative team for BH and everything change...

Although I still get inspired by your post about project life it feels different now especially this post. This is just from my stand point of a previous creative team members.

this is a GOOD Post about frustration over this Project. I've been there and I know the feeling. You see this is my second year of Project Life. I can totally relate and I get why this is happening. Life can sometimes get the best of us.

but after reading this blog post it made me think, is she sharing this because she's a member of a team (marketing strategy) or she's sharing this because she really think it could help others?

It would be nice if this suggestion came from a consumer. more real if you ask me. But this is just me and my big mouth.

over all I REALLY appreciate this post and keep it up. I still love reading your blog. I would love to add my name and link to this comment but I might end up bash by others with this comment.

Anonymous Project Life User

Sonya said...

Great post Michelle! I am a first time PLer and have been keeping up with it so far. I usually upload my photos on Sunday and print and do my page on Monday. What works for me is doing a single page, not a double page layout each week. I think others should try this if they are falling behind and feeling overwhelmed. Some weeks I approach the weekend with zero photos and start feeling a bit panicked, but between my cell phone and my big girl camera it always seems to come together. I'd like to get more scrappy with my pages but for the reasons you mentioned in your post, keeping it simple is what makes it a do-able project on a weekly basis. I'm very inspired by all the scrappy PL pages out there, yours included. And this encourages me to try new things.

Anonymous said...

wonderful post!!! I am a simple Project Lifer... black pen, cards from the kit and labels. That is it! And sometimes I think it takes me too long. Mostly because I take WAY too many pictures. Last week I limited myself to use only 20 pictures from my regular camera and 20 from my iphone (instagram). I love the look of lots of emblishments, but i just don't have the time right now. So get it in and get it done and move on is my moto! I might not be getting any PL awards - but my story is being told. Do they have PL awards? LOL!!

CLEM said...

Could you please share what app/program you use for the instagram photos/collage you showed. I love the look of it and it looks like the perfect way to get in all ninety million of my photos.


Valorie Brown said...

This post is brilliant Michelle! I will be referring back to this quite frequently! I appreciate the time that you take to write up these posts to help us on OUR project life journeys. You are very talented and I visit your blog every week!! THANK YOU!

J said...

Thanks Mish. I think your blog is my fav PL blog. I found this post very useful, you have great tips for making it faster on the weeks when things get wild. I am a first time PL'r and so far I am keeping up. I am using mine like a hybrid between PL and a traditional scrapbook. It's re-inspired my love of scrapbooking - I and throw in a fancy 12x12 when i want to and continue to record our daily lives in between. I cannot believe how busy we are as a family and how much we get done every week. Our seasons are starting to change and it's great to look back on our summer pics, lots of swimming etc and see the changes already happening.
The two biggest things for staying on top for me have been - setting up a PL area in my study and buying a photo printer. I still take stuff in to be printed - it's more cost effective to do so but I can print as i go through the week and add each little section as I go. I usually have my colours and cards popped in the slots ready for photos, journalling and embellishing. This is working for me - I have re-jigged a few pages but haven't had to completely over-haul any.
Thanks again,
Jude in Perth, Australia

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the inspiration Michelle, your blog is my favorite PL blog too. I love the tips and tricks you share. I am actually right up to date on my PL. This surprises me, because I am never caught up on scrapbooking, but with this year's PL, I am! My layouts and pages are WAY simple compared to yours, but I love them. I have 3 young kids, a husband and a full time job so I just don't have enough time to get super scrappy with them, but that is ok with me. I am just happy to be preserving the memories! :) Also, I ordered some of Marcy Penner's digital journaling cards that you suggested and they are AWESOME! Love those Week in Review ones. Thanks again for all of the fabulous inspiration! Hugs!

Unknown said...

I am not doing project life (seriously tempted by haven't jumped on board yet) but as I read this post, I realized so much of your advice is true for many other crafts. I love to make cards, which is how I found you in the first place, but not every card needs to have 27 layers of goodness. Thanks for the reminder to simplify when needed, focus on what is truly important and remember to enjoy the process! Thank you so much for all your inspiration!!!!

Juli said...

This is a great post as mentioned by others. I am a traditional scrapbooker as well but since discovering PL I am getting away from it. I do still incorporate some traditional pages along the way, once in a while...and I like that. PL alows me to somewhat keep up! This way of scrapbooking allows us to be as creative as we want or as simple as we want! It's great!!! I think some people allow themselves to get too overwhelmed with the options. Just do PL your way. This is my second year doing this and this years pages are not like last years. It's just like traditional scrapbooking...I can see how my pages have evolved over the years.
Such great inspiration Michelle!

Leena said...

This is a fab post Michelle! And thank you so much for sharing those wonderful tips. They definitely come in handy as I'm about 3 weeks behind, I was initially feeling a bit panicky for falling behind a little but now I feel much better after reading your post. I'm definitely still very passionate about continuing my PL, only that I've been traveling quite a bit recently, so I'm hoping to get back into the grove again soon. I know my weekly PL updates take me a number of hours to complete just 2 pages but I'm still happy with the way I put them together. Thanks again for your wonderful inspiration and I'm looking forward to visit your blog again soon! Have a great weekend ahead! :)

lindseylearns said...

LOVE this post!!
I JUST started PL last week (late to the party, I know), and I am so excited about it. But I have been on spring break, so I had lots of time to get these first 2 weeks done. I was already nervous about how I'm going to keep up when I have to start work gain.

Thanks for the reminder that DONE is better than perfect. :)

Susan Weinroth said...

your PL is AMAAAAAZING michelle and i love this post - thank you! :)

Sija said...

It was really interesting to see, how different approaches (sohisticated and simplier) can result in an equally beautiful album. But honestly, I don't see the problem. I don't have that much time either, so I've accomodated the project for my needs. I'm using it to make monthly reviews of my family's life. For some month it would be four or five spreads, for the other one or two. It depends. Not every week is photo heavy. But it doesn't matter, because I know, in 5 years I will forget what we were doing anyway and I will be gratefull for any reminder, even if provided only by 4 pictures and 2 journaling cards per month. I allready have scrapbooking albums that I made 5 years ago and it really is a great joy to be able to go back and see the tibits of our past. Time is flying by, so I collect, what I'm able to catch. Sorry for my English, still learning :)

Susanne said...

absolutely love your pages--the heavily scrappy ones and the simple ones!
could you please tell me what printing program you use to be able to print instagrams? i'm very tech-challenged so maybe that's the problem! just got a new mac so hopefully will be able to do more with that.

Joanne said...

Photo heavy is okay by me - loved seeing all the details. beautiful!

blueskygirl said...

I like the small sizes of the instagram prints. Problem is I am getting an iphone!

Related Posts with Thumbnails