Project Life: Halfway Point

I have wanted to write a bit about how Project Life has been working out for me this year, since I really love reading about how others approach the project. I also LOVE seeing pictures of your craft desk/corner/area. And truly, I think Project Life is so accessible, so I feel like writing about how I approach it might help someone out there realize that they could TOTALLY do this, too. The irony of the timing of this post isn’t lost on me, as I’m here posting photos of my craft space only after it’s all packed away ahead of our move this week. I don’t know how I’ll set up my craft space in the new house, but I know that this set up worked really well for me so I’m sharing it here anyway.

album #1 is done!
I finished my first album with week 26, so it includes January – June. It seems that some people can get an entire year in one album, and others split the year into two (or even three!) albums. I squeezed 7 months into one album in 2012, which was probably just a bit much.

album #1 - end page
Here is the end page of my first album for 2013. I posted a photo of my first page in this post. I’m trying to keep the style simple, with black and white photos, some of the same patterns from the title page, and some notes about the year so far.

It’s funny to read that starting post again, because I definitely haven’t been using more “real camera” photos. Most weeks are primarily iPhone photos, and I’m okay with that, really. I still use the calendar cards and “this week” journaling cards, but sometimes I remove them if I have more content, or want to use that slot for something else. I’m trying to relax my self-imposed rules for the project by a lot, which goes a long way toward making it more accomplish-able.

So how do I approach putting my pages together?
how I plan pages
I have been using the same basic method for a long time now. I have a small 6×8 spiral notebook that keeps everything together. It actually started with what I thought of as my “wedding planning” notebook, and has expanded to be the notebook where I plan PL pages, write important to do lists… everything I don’t want to forget. It’s easy to toss in my bag if I want to work on the week’s plan at lunch, and doesn’t take up too much desk real estate when I’m building the pages itself.

Each week, I draw out the spread, and put the week number and dates at the top and bottom of the page. I use pen for the framework – and then pencil for everything else. I tend to move things around and change my mind as the week goes on. I use the mini calendar at the bottom for a quick summary of what happened each day, as I’m always surprised how quickly I forget what happened each day. I use the margins to include a list of the photos I’ve taken so far, and to help determine if I need an insert to accommodate extra photos, etc.

There are some weeks where I put the pages together very quickly, but every week, without fail, I fill out my pencil plan during the actual week. This makes it SO much easier to build pages even if I’m doing it several weeks (or a month!) later. Seriously, if you take one thing from this: it’s that planning out pages as the weeks happen is HUGE.

Building the pages themselves happens in two stages: 1. Editing/cropping photos, creating any text files, and printing everything on my printer at home, and then 2. Actually filling the page protectors. Sometimes I print the photos that week or the week after, and don’t make the page until 3 weeks later, and sometimes I print them much later. It depends on a lot of things – whether I have an evening to myself while Dan’s gaming or staying late at work, how lazy I feel, how much else is going on, etc.

My desk often looks like this. Even after I organize it nicely, this is mostly how things end up. I have the piles organized by size or category (the pile to the left is all letter stickers, for example). It sort of makes sense as I’m working, but I often forget about supplies that I don’t use much.

Once I bought the second core kit (I now have Honey and Seafoam), I bought little bins for 3×4 and 4×6 cards. I pulled out one or two of each design so they’re handy, since flipping through the entire box wasn’t working very well. I’m very tempted to get one of these Things Bins from fab to replace all of my various mugs, bins, and bowls… even though I love them (and the excuse to buy more mugs/bowls/bins).

my workspace
This is my desk on a good day. I try to keep it clean when I’m not working, so that I can pile the papers and business cards and menus I collect as the days pass right in the middle where they won’t get lost. (Or, okay, sometimes “clean” = keep all the crap off of the green mat.)

And this is my super-fancy solution to where to keep my album as I’m filling pages. We had piles of wedding gifts in my craft room (because our apartment has been packed to the GILLS, and we’re saving many of these for the new house, to help the new house feel even more fun, rather than have to re-pack everything now), and I made a nice little shelf out of boxes. I keep the open album on the pseudo shelf, which is right behind me when I’m sitting at my desk. In my new space I would LOVE a corner desk, but I’m not sure it’ll work out that way.

So that’s how it works. I have gotten pretty seriously behind a few times this year, and surely will with our move to the new house this week, and that little spiral notebook has made it possible to catch back up pretty quickly. I’m always looking for more ways to stay organized, that’s for sure. I’ll probably also sign up for Catherine Davis’s Process workshop at Big Picture, just because I can’t get enough of anything process- and organization-related.

4 thoughts on “Project Life: Halfway Point

  1. Fun, thanks for sharing! I admire that you consistently plan ahead and keep track of everything. Someday I aspire to do that. 🙂 I do keep a list of notes for every week, and refer to that later when putting photos and pages and journaling together, but I don’t plan photos ahead. I just wing it! Living on the edge! Haha. 🙂

  2. I’ve found this entry really handy as I’m trying to start my own Life Project. I just want to know what materials you think I should get before I start. What kind of paper do you use to print your photos?
    Than you!

    Jamie from South America

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