my thoughts on my first year of project life.

I began 2013 Project Life by purchasing digital kits… I found this to be my first problem. Trimming and cutting papers out turned out to be more of a hassle then I was interested in. Interest began to slowly wane because I just didn’t feel like wasting printer ink like this anymore.  I purchased Midnight and Seafoam kits.  A couple of months into the year I purchased my first Project Life kit for the Midnight (I know, I owned the digital copy but like I said… sick of printing it out). Things began to feel a lot easier. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of fancy embellishments. I had a roll of polka dot washi tape and the kit. This didn’t get me far. I felt frustrated, perhaps discouraged after seeing some of the PL regulars pump out amazing layout after layout. What was wrong with me? I used to be so into scrapbooking.  Then the inevitable ink shortage happened. I ran out of printer ink. I have one of those printers where it costs $150 to replace the ink and at the time that just wasn’t happening. Work became busy, I was taking in freelance jobs… my entire creative life at home began to dwindle. It made me sad but the good thing is it didn’t make me stop taking photographs of everything.

I started this project all gung-ho ready to go and by mid-year I didn’t even think of it except an occasional “Oh man, I am so behind” thought. The end of last year I had a week off of work for the holidays. I took advantage of this time to really take my album seriously and get a lot of work done on it. I was still out of ink so I hastily ordered a lot of photos (not even considering some I would want to be 3×4 and not 4×6 and some could have used a little adjusting in Photoshop before sending to print). Anyway, I got my prints… and began going through my album to play catch up.  There were a couple of things I did that really helped me along the way and a few things I wish I would have done to make this easier. I’ll explain below.

What I did that helped: Document everything.

  • I constantly took iPhone photos. Photos of everything. Dinner, a sign, us, daily life. Nothing felt off-limits and with digital photos there really is no limit other than storage space (and that’s why you occasionally sync your photos up and back them up so you can have more space on your phone for photos).  So many times I was able to go through my images and see the date they were taken on to get an idea of what happened when.
  • Facebook was an invaluable tool. Especially if you have a smart phone and are able to check in. I checked into a lot of places. Movies, dinner, vacation spots… you name it. Down the line when trying to piece together what happened and when (especially if you didn’t take photos) this was so helpful.  Are you iffy about checking in? Set your update to private so only you can see the status. (if posting from your phone just make sure you check the settings on your next post and don’t keep posting private posts and wonder why no one is commenting ;-)
  • Post-It notes or sticky pads of paper. So helpful! Most of my layouts I remembered to at least add a sticky note to the page naming what week it was, the date and a brief list of what happened that week.  You can even go as far as placing Post-It’s over each photo slot with a note of what should go there when you eventually get to it.

Things I wish I did:

  • Store memorabilia better. I grab tokens from everywhere we go. Business cards, menus, postcards, flyers, brochures, concert tickets, movie stubs, etc. I had a lot of items in a basket but there are a lot of things I had to hunt down and some I never found (yet!). Keeping memorabilia in order would have been such a good idea. 
  • Take better photos. This one I’m ashamed of. I’m a photographer and somehow managed to take some of the worst iPhone photos ever and totally neglected taking photographs with my real cameras (DSLR’s, film cameras, etc). I mean, I used those cameras but not much of it was something I’d want in my album. I think the issue with iPhone photos was I’d take shots not even paying attention… things would be soft, not sharp.

2014’s plan:

Stay on top of it. If I can’t print photos and work on layouts for whatever reason I will at least be better at putting notes on the pages. I’d also like to include N’s perspective even more… (even if he claims he has no interest in the album). I’ll think of creative ways to include him more.  I also plan on being better with the photography. Like i mentioned above I was kind of ashamed at the quality of photographs I took mostly with my iPhone… I shall be carrying around my DSLR’s and instant cameras more often.  I also plan to actually share the album this time around… I’ll most likely be on a bi-monthly schedule.  I am working from Monday through Sunday schedule to include weekends together instead of splitting them up.  I also plan to expand my creativity by being more innovative (hopefully) with my layouts, finding unique ways to display images and hopefully giving some inspiration as I’ve received so much inspiration from others.  Here goes, 2014!

p.s. I am still playing catch up with my 2013 album. Since I haven’t shared any of this album I plan to occasionally share a layout or two down the line if I feel it was interesting enough to share.

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