Project Life – Looking Back (Part 2)

I wrote about at the first two releases of Project Life in my previous post – the original (“Cherry”) edition from 2010 and the Turquoise edition from 2011. (Someone on Facebook reminded me that there had been a previous release of a similar product that Becky Higgins had done when she was at Creating Keepsakes magazine, which was a kit for people following Becky’s Project 365 (photo a day) program. From memory this was only released in the USA, so it hadn’t been easy to get in Australia.)

Towards the end of 2011, two new kits, Cobalt and Clementine, were released for 2012. This time I really couldn’t decide. I loved them both, so I bought both of them.

This time the system had changed a bit and different products had started to be added to the range.

Instead of a kit containing an album, pocket protectors, 12 x 12 papers and the cards and stickers, you got the cards alone in a bigger box and you could buy the albums, pocket protectors and papers separately.

Clementine Kit - released late 2011

Clementine Kit – released late 2011

Clementine Kit - released late 2011

Clementine Kit – released late 2011

There were more designs of pocket protectors, which were available in mixed design packs of 60 or single design packs of 12 (or 60 packs of Design A, the most common design). The 3×4 journal cards had ruled lines on the back rather than being blank, so you could use the reverse side as well if you wanted a plainer looking card (or you could embellish it yourself).

The digital products began to become available too, and while there were no specific horizontal journal cards in the kits, Becky made some horizontally designed cards available for free digitally for the two new kits, so you could print your own.

She also released packs of blank grid cards so you could design your own cards if you wanted to, and the backs of the journal cards were also printed with the grid design.

In 2012 I worked with the Cobalt kit. I bought the digital kit as well as the physical kit, which, along with the different designs of pocket protectors, gave me a lot more flexibility, while still retaining the simplicity of the original system. I started to move into the hybrid arena, putting my own photos and journaling onto the digital cards instead of writing on them or sticking smaller photos on.

Hybrid cards using digital Cobalt kit

Hybrid cards using digital Cobalt kit

Cobalt Kit

Cobalt Kit

Cobalt Kit

Cobalt Kit

Cobalt Kit

Cobalt Kit

After that release, the new kits started to be released more often, and the products became a lot more easily available throughout the year rather than being a (mostly) once-a-year thing.

The format of the kits changed again, with the cards being presented in the flat tray we get today. All the cards were printed double sided. The 6×4 title cards had the vertical version of the horizontal design on the reverse, and the filler card designs were printed on the reverse of the 3×4 journal cards instead of being separate cards.

Current format of the Project Life Kits (this is the Sunshine Kit)

Current format of the Project Life Kits (this is the Sunshine Kit)

There were new mini kits with 100 cards and other accessories like 6×4 and 3×4 cardstock packs that coordinated with the colours in the kits.

Since then the range has exploded and there’s so much to choose from, with new kit designs and products being released all the time. There’s now something like 26 pocket protector designs, mini kits, themed cards, value packs, photo overlays, dies, washi tape, smaller (6×8) albums and pocket protectors, and I’ve lost count of the number of kits that are available.

From buying one kit a year and using it for the whole year, people are now mixing and matching multiple kits, creating their own cards, embellishing their layouts similar to traditional scrapbooking, and other companies are also producing their own versions of the system. There are monthly subscription packs and many many types of kits. Project Life has become huge!

I can imagine if someone was starting out now, rather than in 2010 or 2011 when there were very few options, it all might look rather intimidating.

Project Life was never supposed to be overwhelming, but the quantity of products available now (which is all fabulous and allows people to make albums exactly the way they want to) means that starting to work with the system, if you don’t know much about it, can get confusing. It can also mean that you can spend a lot of time on designing your layouts, rather than just getting it all done quickly and simply.

I know there are people who love doing this, and love making more complicated pages with embellishments, which works for them just fine. This isn’t how I choose do it. I know that even as an experienced Project Lifer, I can get stuck deciding what to do for a layout because I have too many choices (and too many photos). Which cards to use, which pocket protector to use, what size photos to print, what else to add, whether to do it digital or physical. I’ve been trying to catch up on last year’s album and it’s been a very slow process.

The original intent of Project Life was to make keeping your memories a quick and easy process, which is what drew me to it in the first place. I don’t mind that there’s a huge range of stuff out there that suits all the different styles out there, but I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need it all!

Every year I start off with the idea of keeping it simple, and every year I get behind in my photos and end up having a backlog of several weeks because I’ve got stuck. I know there will always be some lag, and I’m not always going to be completely up to date with the album, but I’m still sorting though photos from November (not to mention my trip photos from last year), and I want to get my 2014 album finished!

I want to make this a process that is easy and fun and doesn’t need too much thought, so this year is yet another attempt at keeping it simple.

To start with, I’m not going to buy any more kits. I have plenty of them, and many more part kits that I’ve got from other people. I’ve decided to go old school and use my unopened Clementine kit from 2012 as my go-to kit this year. The challenge with this kit is that the cards are ever so slightly smaller than the new format kits, so this might annoy my perfectionist mind.

2015 title page using the Clementine Kit

2015 title page using the Clementine Kit

I’m going to try and stick with the basic Design A for most of my spreads. I’ll also try and limit the number of photos I use – I love collage photos and I use them a lot, but too many of them on page after page can start to look cluttered.

This probably means taking fewer photos.

Hahahahahahaha.

No seriously, I want my 2015 Project Life motto to be “Get it done”, so that’s what I’m going to try to do.

What’s your Project Life method?

If you like to keep it simple and would like to share your layouts, let me know and I’ll add your blog to my list https://thesleepydwarf.wordpress.com/project-life-2014-a-simple-approach/

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