Book Club: Journal It!
Art Journal Every Day: December Week 3

Project Life: Worth the Trouble

I've made a decision that I've been wrestling with.

Yes, I am going to continue doing Project Life in 2013.  Perhaps I'll hit the sophomore slump?  But, I think not.  I just love the results of this project too much to stop.

Why do I love it?  

To quote Shakespeare, "Let me count the ways...."

ONE: I have a home for all those cards and programs.

I'm a sentimental fool and a pack rat -- a lethal combination.  I like to keep everything: wristbands from events, programs, tickets, cards that come in the mail, receipts, business cards -- you name it, I want to hang on to it.  Project Life allows me to keep it in a beautifully organized chronological (so much more meaningful than stuffed in a shoe box) kind of way.

TWO: I have a need to memorialize my life.

I wouldn't be a scrapbooker if I didn't love memorializing all the little bits and pieces of life.  Well, I certainly wouldn't have stuck with it for this long if that weren't true.  I love giving a bit of extra meaning to a photograph with some well thought out journaling.  I adore pretty-ing up a photo with some sublime patterned paper and a cheeky embellishment.  All of those needs are satisfied by Project Life.

THREE: I like the puzzle of the pockets.

I'm a nerd and I like puzzles and problem solving.  Navigating the grid of pockets and making them work for me is an interesting game.  I enjoy the intellectual exercise.  I strongly believe that this is why I constantly change which style of pockets I use.  I don't like to use the same design over and over again because I feel like it gets stale.

FOUR: It doesn't have to be pretty.

Don't get me wrong, I like it to be pretty, but there's no obligation with Project Life.  It's like a nice bonus if it ends up being pretty.  But, as long as you stick photos in those pockets and add some dates and some journaling, you've done a great job.  I enjoy not having to think about aesthetics sometimes.

FIVE: It gets those photos printed!

I print on demand at home.  So, I only print "scrap-worthy" photos.  Scrap-worthy photos are usually close-ups of pretty people that are totally focused and brightly colored.  That describes about 10% of my photos.  Project Life is a great place for all of my blurry, grainy, dimly lit, ugly photos that still mean so much to me. I have printed  more photos this year than ever before.  I'm thrilled to be going through stacks of photo paper!

SIX: I tell different stories.

For me, scrapbook pages require complete stories.  My Project Life is a place for me to capture all the little parts of life that don't really have storyteller stories.  I can show a photograph of the inside of my medicine cabinet or a pot cooking on the stove.  I can share the million-and-one photos I take of myself in front of the elevator.  It's enough for me to say "on my way to the post office" in my Project Life.  I'm not sure that's deserving of a scrapbook page.

SEVEN: It's satisfying.

Not going to lie, there's nothing quite so smugly satisfying as getting another week into the album.  The sense of complete-ness is simply intoxicating.  

EIGHT: I feel like it's a real picture of my real life.

I have at least one photo or journaling card that represents each and every single day of 2012 in my three Project Life albums.  And I feel like those photos of me brushing my teeth, what I ate, riding in the elevator, standing in line, looking up at the sky -- those photos of every day life are such an accurate portrait of what I do all day long.  Life won't always be like this.  I like thinking that I'll be able to look back and marvel at what life was like back then.  I truly wish that I had started this project long ago!

NINE: I use my supplies.

I am definitely using things from my stash that haven't been touched in years.  Scraps of paper, embellishments, stickers -- so much good stuff is finding its way into my albums!

TEN: This project makes me smile.

I grin from ear-to-ear when I look at the pages.  Love reading the journaling, love reliving the memories, love the whole darn thing!

ELEVEN: Project Life is flexible.

Don't get me wrong, Project Life is relentless.  But, it is surprisingly flexible as well.  I have weeks that are intensely detailed with stitching, handmade embellishments, stenciling, stamping, painting, paper piecing, etc.  I also have weeks that are stick-a-photo-in-a-pocket-and-run-away.  I have weeks that were done digitally and printed out and weeks that consist entirely of me writing on 4x6 photos with a pen.  Once I gave up the idea that every week had to be a masterpiece, this project got a lot easier.  If I have time, I take it.  If I don't, I simply focus on getting those photos into those pockets.

TWELVE: I feel like I'm part of something.

There are so many people doing Project Life and I like being a part of that instead of on the outside wishing I was doing that.  I very much like being part of a group.  I'm a joiner.  That said, I'll admit that I also have a need to do my own thing, even when in a group.  But, that's part of the awesome-ness of Project Life.  You can do it whatever your personal style may be.

THIRTEEN: I've only just figured out what the heck I'm doing.

There's no way I'm stopping now!  I finally figured out how to do Project Life both efficiently and so that I like what the outcome looks like.  I even set up a little Project Life station in my studio...

...and it has made it so much easier for me to get things done!  (Sometime in January I'll put together a post about my Project Life station.)

Thanks for stopping by!

To read my previous posts on Project Life, please visit these links:


P.S. My friend Nathalie is offering her FREE January inspiration smörgåsbord "Creative Jump Start" again.

You can read all about it here.