I really love photo albums — both making them and looking through them. I’ve been scrapbooking since high school, but as I’ve gotten older (and busier), it’s become harder and harder to find (and justify) the time to make scrapbook layouts. What’s more, ever since I got a digital camera, my personal photos rarely ever make it off my hard drive.
Over the years I’ve been looking for a simpler approach to memory keeping–I wanted a creative system that I could keep up with and maintain. I tried slip-in albums, but I ended up with pages of pictures without words or any sense of story. I tried making photobooks, but I missed the lack of any tangible output during the process — the prospect of a completed book once I finished was not enough to keep me motivated. In addition, there was just too much that you could tinker and customize — I spent more time fiddling with pages and layouts than actually progressing.
Then I stumbled upon Project Life, a product created by Becky Higgins to “simplify how you document life.” At its most basic, Project Life is a set of 12×12 divided photo pages and journaling cards that fit in a 3-ring binder. You can put the album together without any adhesives or embellishments, but it’s flexible enough to allow you to add your own personal touches. What is magical about Project Life is that you can make it anything you want it to be. Really.
I’m using Project Life to create spreads of each week. I received the kit in late spring, and that’s where my album starts. So far, I’ve been able to document twelve weeks worth of 2011, from May 2 to July 31. I’m quite pleased and a little surprised at how much I’ve done with relatively little effort. One thing that’s helped me keep up is not allowing myself to order any more pictures until I finish the journaling for the pictures I’ve already put in the album. The weekly spread comes together so quickly and is so satisfying that I’m motivated to finish the previous week’s spread before the end of the current week. For example, this week (August 1-7), I’ve already put last week’s pictures (July 25-31) in the album and just need to add the journaling.
Enough explanation! Let me share the most recent finished spread. This is the week of July 18, 2011. I made my own title card with the dates for the week and added journaling either by writing directly on a photo or stapling a tag with a caption à la Ali Edwards.
One of the fun things we’ve been doing this summer is making ice cream. So far, we’ve had mocha sherbet, strawberry frozen yogurt, peach ice cream, and plum ice cream. Our favorite is the peach. I really can’t believe how good it tastes, especially straight from the ice cream maker into my mouth.
Something that Project Life has really encouraged me to do is make sure I get more pictures of myself. I laugh when I look at pictures of trips that my husband and I have taken together because the sets of pictures could just be titled “Pat in Hawaii” or “Pat in Germany” with no evidence that I was even there with him! At any rate, since I’ve started working on my Project Life album, I’ve been handing my camera or iPhone off to other people or even setting up cheesy self-timer shots, just so I can be part of the album.
I love photo albums, and I especially love my Project Life album.