A while back I posted a picture of my finished Project Life 2013 album that I completed in about 5 hours. Later, Becky Higgins reposted the picture to her Facebook, twitter and Instagram and there were many comments that followed. Some didn’t believe that I did it in 5 hours. Some asked how I did it. Others said they could never do it. So, I’m here to give a few tips and tricks on how I did it, so that maybe you feel like you could too.

project life bahamas I’ve done Project Life for 4 years now. I used to do traditional scrapbooking with papers and embellishments, but it got to be too time consuming for me as a wife, mother and business owner. So I started doing Project Life and was instantly hooked. I love how easy and convenient it is, having everything right there in the core kit (minus the album and plastics, which you can choose according to preference).

Project Life cruise project life cruise 2
FAQ about how I did 400+ pictures in 5 hours:

Does your 5 hours include your photo editing time?
No, truthfully I don’t do much editing to my photos because I’m lazy in that way. I usually take the photos as they’re shot in the camera. I organize my photos on my computer according to year and then month (in folders) so I can easily go through the year month by month and put what I want to print into a “print” folder for when I’m ready to upload. This doesn’t take very long, because I’m not editing every picture.

project life warm winter project life snap conferenceWhat prep work do you do to get ready to scrapbook?
I first take my pictures out and organize them by event on my kitchen table. I’m not one to put them in the book in exact chronological order, I do it more by season so that it’s less pressure to get the dates exactly right. I put each event in a pile and then organize the piles by season – once they’re organized by event & season, I stagger them on top of each other so that they’re ready to put in the book. After that I surround myself with chairs from my kitchen table and put all of my different designs of plastics around me. That way I can easily take out what I want.

project life spring project life summerExplain your process:
I take my first pile of pictures for an event (or if it’s just one picture of an event, I’ll put events together to make one spread). Once I see if my pictures are portrait or landscape, I plan out which plastics will work best for those pictures. I cut down any pictures that need to be cut to fit into the smaller spaces and simply slide them in. I used to round the corners of my pictures, but don’t do that any more. Time saver! Once the pictures are in, I do any journaling to explain them. I do very little journaling, most of the time the pictures speak for themselves. And who am I kidding? My kids like to look at the pictures, not read what I write. If there’s something that needs explained or a location noted, I’ll do that. Otherwise I don’t do much journaling, which also saves time.

project life summer 2 project life summer 3Any tips for us?
Sure!
1. give yourself some time to work so that you’re not dragging out your pictures and supplies over and over. I knew that I had time between lunch and dinner so I cranked my book out!

2. try not to focus on enjoying your pictures right then…I told my son who was very eager to look at the pictures that we’d enjoy them together when I got all done. It’s hard to do, because you want to cherish the memories, but you just really have to focus if you want to complete your book quickly. If you don’t care how long it takes you – then sit with a cup of coffee and cherish your pictures as you put them in your album. I was all about efficiency, so ain’t nobody got time for that when you’re rushing to get a book done before the next thing (laundry, cooking, etc) needs to be done.

3. don’t put pressure on yourself…get done what you can. I have a few pages from previous years that I know still need journaled. I’m just not that worried about it. Those holes will get filled eventually. Right now I’m happy knowing that my years are memorialized in a book that we can all enjoy whenever we want to. We can smile and laugh at the pictures from the past few years instead of dragging out my computer or a box full of unorganized pictures. No pressure. Do what you can do.

4. have fun. The process of memory keeping is supposed to bring a smile to your face. Enjoy what you’re doing, whatever the process or program that you’re using.

project life car show project life swimmingAny other scrapbooking or Project Life questions for me? Leave me a comment and I’ll respond here so everyone can see them! If you’re a PL user I’d love to know that too.

(by the way, this is not a paid ad for Project Life, Becky doesn’t know I’m posting it…
I simply love this product and want to share it with everyone because it’s saves me
tons of time and money!)

At the beginning of the year I started my daily journal in a smashbook to remember all of the bits of 2013. It’s been a journey this year, that’s for sure. I took some time to simply read through the days of 2013 the other day and it’s so amazing to see where God has taken us this year. Thinking that we knew what was best for us when He certainly had a very different plan. This book has definitely made me count my blessings and also remember all of the seemingly “little” things we’ve done – making memories (good and bad).

februaryFebruary was a good month of documenting…I had the month set well in advance so that each day I could put in an update.
Highlights: after vacation in January we found out that our dream house, the “cabin” was still on the market. We put in a bid, didn’t hear for a while, then the bank said we needed to give our best offer by noon, we won the bid and then two days later rescinded our offer. It was a heartbreaking month.

marchMarch I kept pretty simple: I cut ovals with a punch and used rubber stamps to signify the date. I put them in haphazardly, while still having them be a little bit like a calendar.
Highlights: annual mammogram (and clear results), strep & fever in the house, taking Little E to the ER and me passing out, weekend trip to the Bahamas, putting a bid on 3.5 acres.

aprilApril I made a traditional calendar. I printed the days on label paper and then cut them into squares. I added a bit of fabric tape made by my friend Elizabeth and called it done.
Highlights: bank took the 3.5 acres back off the market, listed our house and got an offer after 4 days, sickness back in the house, God closed some more doors on houses, I went to SNAP Conference, looked at more houses, put in another bid on a house.

maymay2May was a little nuts – it was moving month. Mid-month the journal got packed up and essentially forgotten. I added a few receipts and other mementos quickly mid-month. I printed very light numbers on label paper and then punched it with a scalloped circle punch for the dates.
Highlights: we bought a house in the country!! Ellie got glasses, end of school programs & field trips, appraisals, shots for Africa, my brain went to mush.

junejune2Boy, June was forgotten and quite frankly an after-thought. I simply went through my calendar and instagram to “remember” what we did each day. I typed it up on label paper and cut strips, peeled off the back and stuck them to the page. This was a quick-fix for another forgotten month.
Highlights: getting used to an entirely different life, birthday parties, seeing my BIL off to Afghanistan, pool time, VBS.

julyjuly2Oh sweet, July…I’m finally getting settled in to this new life but my craft area is in shambles still due to construction on our 2nd story. I haven’t been able to motivate myself to create because of the mess. So I did the easiest thing possible and again went through my calendar and instagram and used some extra Project Life cards to give the basic highlights for the month. I’m really not happy at all with July, but such is life.
Highlights: garden update, mini-vacations, pool Mondays, 24 hours in NYC, friends-family-fires-food-fishing-fun, Girls Night Out.

augustAugust is a fresh start…I created the calendar on July 31st so that I’d be ready to quickly capture each day. I used a self-inking date stamp to mark the days and it gives it a bit more of a vintage, imperfect look. Some of the dates are even {gasp!} smudged. I’m so excited to fill it up.

Anyone else documenting the little bits – good and bad – in 2013?
I’d love to hear your highlights!

{This post is part of a paid campaign with American Crafts, but all opinions are my own. You all know how much I love Project Life and am happy to share about it!}

IMG_66111Project Life has been part of my scrapbooking life for the past 4 years. Before that, I did the traditional scrapbook with paper, embellishments, journaling, cutting, gluing – all of that. Once I had my second child I realized that I just couldn’t make the time for that type of scrapbooking anymore. Then Project Life came into my life. It is so simple, quick and fun. I don’t have to use any glue or tools at all. It’s perfect for me as a scrapbooker but I’ve also recommended it to friends who have never made a scrapbook before – it’s great for any level of expertise. (some of my project life posts can be found here, here and here).

PL_Kraft_HSNEyeCandyShotsI recently bought the Kraft edition {above} and am so smitten by it. It’s the perfect kit for my style. Once the kids are back in school I plan to catch up on 2013, which I’ll be able to do in about a day, it’s so wonderful! I always have extra journaling cards at the end of the year so I use them to write notes to friends or thank you’s in my jewelry orders. I’ve even used the paper to make magnets and pendants – it doesn’t have to be used exclusively in your scrapbook! There are so many sets to choose from too to meet your personal style. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back to another style of scrapbooking.

380094_2013_ProjectLife_Kraft_SampleHere’s the fun part – HSN is running a special sale on some of the Project Life bundles on August 5th. If you’ve been wanting to try Project Life – now is the time because the bundles will be offered at an unbeatable price. The sets that will be available in the sale kit are either the Cinnamon, Kraft or Rain Core Kit Editions or you can get a Mini Kit bundle with either Seasons or Holiday editions.

PL_Seasons_HSNEyeCandyBe sure to tune into HSN on Monday, August 5 or check out their website to snag your deal. I love Project Life and know you will too!

380045_ProjectLife_Seasons_Mini_Kit

photo 1cI guess you could say I’m a bit addicted to journals this year. I have a study journal, daily journal and now a travel journal for 2013. For someone who doesn’t do well with regular journaling, I’m keeping up so far for 2013. Here’s to hoping I can keep it up and remember all of the bits of the year!

When my bestie Chrissy and I went with our husbands on the cruise, we brought along our Recollections Travel journals.

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We couldn’t print pictures on the ship beyond her Instax camera that she brought, but we were able to shove mementos from each day in our journals to complete when we got home.

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My travel journal is very simple. I added the pictures & mementos, then did the journaling and lastly added some washi tape for color.

photo 2 photo 4c photo 3

I didn’t want this to be a big project since I’m still doing Project Life for my annual scrapbook with more pictures. So simple it is for this journal and I’ll add to it at each place we travel in 2013. I can’t wait to fill it up with adventures!

photo 5

At the end of 2012, I stumbled upon this post by Jessi (Naptime Diaries). She recapped her 2012 and I quickly came to realize that without looking in my Project Life album, I couldn’t really tell you all of the sweet bits of 2012. My memory is horrendous (scarily bad sometimes…like forgetting how old I am) and my journaling track record isn’t much better. But then I stumbled upon this artist and her work inspired me so much that the next day (December 31st!!!) I went to the store and got a Smashbook and set out to create a 2013 journal to record the good, the bad and all of the little things that will happen this year.

So far I’ve recorded something for each day. I’ve started gluing ticket stubs, portions of receipts and other things from daily life to look at later. I’m excited about the fact that I can look at this in the years to come and remember all of the good (and not-so-good) things that happened to our family in 2013. That’s right, this book is not going to be all fluff. I’ve already journaled a rough day that I was having in the first week. These days are important to remember as well.

When I posted the picture of the start of the journal on Instagram, I had lots of questions…so here’s a quick FAQ for you on how I’m doing my 2013 book:

What type of journal did you use? It’s a K&Co Smashbook, 8×10″ size

Did it come with the calendar? It did not. Smashbooks come spiral-bound with different paper designs on each page. I used half-sheet labels to create the calendar. I printed out the numbers for the days and then used a square punch to cut them out. I’ll probably do something different each month to add variety.

Where do you buy the label sheets for your calendar? esupplystore.com although I’m sure you won’t need that many. Check your local Office Supply store for smaller packages.

Where are your colored markers from? StampinUP!

What will you do with all of the extra pages in your book? I’m creating the calendar one month at a time. For example, I’ve only created January so far. That’s so that I can leave room to put in pictures, extra creative journaling, etc on the pages after January’s calendar page. I don’t want to have a set number of extra pages per month, I’m just filling it in as I go. As time moves on I’ll share more pages to give you all examples!