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Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Why I Haven’t Given Up on Project Life. In that post I shared pictures from the four albums I had been working on up until that point: 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

A lot of time has passed since then, but I’ve been silently scrapping away!

I did I little tidying up of my blog and I thought I’d enjoy nothing more that to start off with a new post here with pictures of my albums for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

As you will see, I still haven’t given up on pocket scrapbooking!

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

And I have 10 albums to prove it!

(While that might sound impressive, let me clarify—only 3 of those albums are completely finished. LOL!)

But I’m okay with that! I’m more than half way through the year on the albums that I’m really behind on and I made a lot of progress on those albums last summer, so I feel more confident than ever that I can wrap them up in the coming year!

Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to since my last big Project Life post.

2015: The Problem Child

As I mentioned in my last post, 2015 was a difficult year for scrapbooking…

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

The worst part of it was that I had no notes for this year! All that I have now are the pictures. Looking over my camera roll does trigger memories, so that’s what I’m working with! But it’s frustrating to know that there are more details that are lost to time.

When I started this album, I knew that I wanted to shake things up when it came to the page design that I had been using for the last few years. I am a big fan of Design F, but I thought I would enjoy using more 4×4 pockets this year.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

Well, it turns out that I was wrong—I really, really dislike printing 4×4 photos. I know I’m only losing 2 inches, but it feels like such a waste of photo paper!

I print at home on an Epson Charm which does 4×6 prints. When I need a 3×4 photo, I can fit 2 to a page. When I need a 4×6, it’s perfect! But when I need a 4×4, I just can’t get over it. I know—it’s silly, but it really bugs me.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

So, to work around that, I mixed up the types of page protectors that I used and that made me happy! Problem solved.

I created some scripty notecards to try to unify the album. The handwritten word art is by my friend, the talented Karla Noél.

I also started to play around with the page sizes, adding in half pages for special keepsakes:

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

This album only needs about two more pages to finish it off and wrap it with a bow! All that’s left to document is December and I can hardly wait to wrap that up.

2016: One of the Best

In 2016, I was totally on the ball!

A few things really helped with that. First, I had stepped back from designing in order to focus more on homeschooling my kiddos. So all of my creativity and free time was poured in to scrapbooking.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I decided on a weekly format with weekly title cards for this album. I made good use of all of my alphas, but I do have several packs now that are missing all the numbers and the letters W, E and K.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I also found myself using a lot of Design A, which something I hadn’t done in a while. Design A is pretty much perfect for the weekly format.

I had wanted to use my camera more often this year, but that resolution never ends well. I’m always happier with the pictures from my iPhone! It does such a good job with low light situations. So, instead of using my camera, I made a conscious decision to take more photos in landscape mode.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I also mixed things up by adding a lot of 6×8 page protectors, which was fun! I would use them when I had something special that I wanted to include or if I had just 1 or 2 more photos that just had to make it into the album.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I made good use of lots different Project Life kits this year. They were especially helpful for making those weekly title cards.

Another other thing that kept me at it this year was the Christmas gift my husband gave me: a subscription to Ali Edward’s Story Kit and Story Stamp! When you sign up for both, you also get the digital files and classes for free and it was wonderful! I always had new goodies to play with, which kept me motivated.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

This was also the first year that I ever made a Year in Review page. I loved the experience so much that I try to ahead plan for it now!

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

A layout like this is also a great place for random photos, too! I like to make use of the pictures that didn’t make the cut, but are still cute or funny.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

This whole experience in 2016 was wonderful. I was usually only a month or two behind, instead of being years behind. I was more motivated to work on the album and I loved the feeling of accomplishment that I got from being “caught up.” This was a good year.

2017: Let’s Make it Simple

I had high hopes for my album in 2017! I started off the year with grand plans…

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

…and then life happened.

I was busy with freelance work, my husband was in the middle of a big job search, we were starting to prep our house in the hopes of listing it for sale… and then Hurricane Irma made a mess of everything. With all that going on, I just wasn’t motivated to scrap.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

But I thankfully kept taking pictures and kept making notes! Because of that, I’ve been able to work on it over the last few years as I find time. I’ve kept the design simple so that I can just knock this one out and move on to another project. It’s always more fun to work on something current.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I decided on a few design elements for this album. First, I was going to use Design F again. Most all of my pictures were in portrait orientation. It’s how I naturally use my phone unless I’m really thinking about getting a 4×6 shot.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

Also, I was super excited to find a copy of the Project 52: Fresh Edition on sale at my local Hobby Lobby. I made good use of the weekly cards throughout the album.

I also designed a simple notecard to use for every spread. I just changed the colors for each page and added a date stamp to the card.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

This year was also the year that I was invited to design a collection for Project Life. (It debuted in 2018, but I created it in 2017.) Since I was behind anyway, I decided to use a lot of the Snapshots Edition in this album (even using the matching album itself).

It makes me so happy to actually get to use something that I designed. So many times over the years I made things with other people in mind, but this was one thing I created that I knew I would love to use myself!

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I’m halfway through the year in this album and after I finish off 2015, this album will get more of my attention.

2018: Let’s Keep it Short

In 2018, we sold our house in Florida and moved up to Pennsylvania. That was a huge undertaking! We listed our house just before the year started and it was on the market for about a month. We were constantly cleaning the house all throughout January and packing like crazy all throughout February and March!

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

Then at the end of March, we loaded up the truck and hit the road! We stayed with my in-laws for two months before moving into our current house at the end of May. Then there were some painting projects to complete and a school year to plan…

Is it any surprise that I wasn’t doing a lot of scrapping in 2018? LOL!

Because of that, this album has a super simple format. First, it’s all Design F again. Then I made a title card for each month from the Silver Lake Lodge cut files from Studio Calico.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

The notecards are simple and make the most of the available space. Plus, there’s room for more than one day’s journaling on each card… because this was not a year where I was doing lots of writing. I’m also using a card from Ali Edward’s gorgeous Week in the Life kit to sum up the overall story of that month!

I’ve only finished four months, but this album will be super simple to complete. It feels like all I need to do is edit photos and copy and paste text. There are no frills here because that’s what kind of year it was. Sometimes that’s just how it goes! Plus, I find that I’m always more into adding embellishments when I’m working on a more recent album, vs. trying to just catch up on the past.

2019: Most Favorite Ever

I think it should be the case that your favorite album is the last one you just made.

At least, I think it’s a good sign that you’re happy with what you’ve been working on! It’s definitely the case for my 2019 album. I just love the design and the details of this one.

Many years I have tried to keep up with a weekly format, doing a one- or two-page spread for a whole week. But that is a heck of a lot of work and can make for a lot of pages with too many empty pockets to fill.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I really loved the album that I made in 2016, where I mixed up my design for each weekly spread. I wanted to take a similar approach in 2019, but this time I wanted to mix everything up in a monthly format.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

My first design decision was that I would be telling the story of each month as a whole with lots of inserts. The goal would be to make two- or four-page spreads to cover all of the stories of each month.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

The other thing I wanted to do was to mix up the page protector sizes like crazy! That was the fun part.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I used pages with pockets that were all 3×4 or 4×4. I trimmed several pages to make them into different sizes. I used a ton of Design H inserts and 6×8 page protectors.

This ablum is full of layers and Avery index tabs. I love how fun it is to flip through this year!

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

The only repeating element in this album are the monthly notecards that I made with the Monthly Stories stamp set. Other than that, the design of each spread varied from month to month. I never used the same notecards twice.

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

Because I was afraid this album would be skinny, this was also the first year that I ever participated in the Week in the Life project. (I plan to share that as a post of its own soon!)

Why I Still Haven’t Given Up on Project Life

I thought that adding a Week in the Life would also fatten the album up in case doing monthly spreads was too minimal. I also thought it would be a nice chance from the monthly format. I really, really loved the Week in the Life kit that Ali Edwards’ designed this year. I bought it in both physical and digital format because I knew that I would use the heck out of every single piece of this kit.

Turns out that we did so many things that by the end of the year, there was no need to worry about the album being too skinny!

And by some miracle, as I sit here in mid-January, I can say that I’m actually done with this album! Because I also made a December Daily album this year, all that’s left for me to do is select a few photos to print again for a highlights page. I think that might be a record for me!

2020: The Future is Here

As for the future… at the moment, I’m waiting for inspiration to strike.

I’m assuming that I will enjoy tackling this project in the same format as last year. I’m just going through that (probably normal) period of burnout that comes after the holidays. I’ve scrapped my heart out for the last month, so I think I need a little downtime before I’m ready to make overarching design choices for a new year.

And I’m totally okay with that! I’m close to having 10 years’ worth of Project Life albums now and I’ve learned a lot from that! I know how to speed it up and how to slow it down. Creativity can ebb and flow, so I’ll just try to go with the flow… when it shows up.

But I have had a few thoughts already:

  • I love the monthly format. That’s a keeper!
  • I’m totally going to keep mixing up the page sizes. It’s so much fun to do!
  • I need to figure out a way to simplify making my notecards, because sometimes that’s the most time-consuming part.
  • I really enjoyed participating in Week in the Life and I hope to include that again (as well as Day in the Life).
  • For Christmas, my husband bought me a subscription to Ali Edwards’ Story Class. I’ve gotten so much use out of the digital files I have from my past subscription, I knew I would get a lot out of joining the class once again.
  • I’m also looking forward to blogging again, just for the love of it, and I’m thinking that will keep me motivated as well.

Here’s to a year full of happy scrapping in 2020!

7 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Great work! I went back and created scrapbooks (some 12×12, many pocket pages or a mix) from my childhood through. Many years per album. But I have yearly albums since 2009. I also have albums for each of my 2 sons. Still love it, but as with you, approach changes. I’m still doing 12×12 this year, still monthly, but focusing on specific stories rather than all the stories. Good luck with deciding!

    Reply
    • nicoleseitler

      Thank you!

      I’m definitely leaning towards “specific” vs. “all the stories.” There are times I look over my journaling and I think “Does it mean anything to me today to read that we had pasta for dinner in 2012?” Maybe… but more often than not, that’s not the real story. I wanna focus more on catching those details!

      Reply
  2. Kellie Fite Turner

    I love this post & reading about all the different things you’ve tried. I recently realized that I really like the pocket style, so I’m doing 2019 with Erica Zane’s stitched pockets. I just started, but it feels so good to be back in the habit of regular documenting!

    Reply
    • nicoleseitler

      Aww! Thanks, Kellie!

      I have such a hard time working on regular scrapbook pages. They intimidate me so much! But little pockets? That I can do! LOL! So I’ve just stuck with what I know.

      Another goal of mine for this year is to crank out some more full-sized pages. We’ll see how that goes!

      Reply
  3. Beccy

    Great post and lovely to see your albums. I’d love to know how you get the lovely white border around your photos. I have no luck getting 3x4s with a white border!

    Reply
    • nicoleseitler

      Thank you!

      To get the white border, I add a 50 px white stroke in Photoshop. I actually design most of my layouts in Photoshop first using a simple template. It’s just a bunch of shapes that are the sizes of notecards. I will copy and paste a photo into the template, clip it to the shapes and then resize the photo to fit the page. Since the shape has a stroke, the photo gets one, too. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. Melissa Shanhun

    How lovely to see you had posted! 😀 We mentioned you in the Scrapbook Your Way podcast! 😀

    Reply

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