Project Life 2013: A New Approach & Week 1-3

This is my second year of Project Life. I love my 2012 album, for it's stories, it's capture of the details, for the documentation of the everyday stuff that makes our family unique. 

I'm excited about continuing the project in 2013, and have some plans to approach it a bit differently this time around, which I describe in more detail below in this post. But first, without further ado, here are my first 3 weeks of 2013. 

These are a bit different from last year's spreads. I'm using just one side per week, for example, instead of the whole 2-page spread. In the rest of this post, I talk a little bit more about how I'm approaching it differently and why. The post is a bit long (sorry!), but I wanted to capture it for myself, and just in case there is anyone else out there interested. Here goes...

I learned a lot last year. I learned some really big things, like what want for myself and my family at this stage of our lives. I also learned a bit about more tactical things, like photography, Photoshop Elements, printing photos, and my personal style. As I start the 2013 album, I'd like these learnings to come together for a slightly different take on the project.

Here are 3 key learnings from 2012 and implications for my 2013 album.

Learning #1) This album is for me. While my family does appreciate my Project Life efforts, and occasionally flips through my binder, I am realizing that I am really the primary beneficiary of this album. I do it for the me-of-the-future, so that I have a record of our lives (and to help compensate for my terrible memory.) And more importantly, I do it for the me-of-RIGHT-NOW. I find that working on the spreads gives me a chance to focus on the positive in my life, focus on what I'm grateful for, and also practice my writing, design, and photography skills. It also gives me a reason to write down what I'm thinking about, and writing helps me develop my thinking and learn. Even if nobody but me ever looked at these books, they would still be worth it. WAY WORTH IT.

Implication #1) I'm going to embrace the fact that I am the primary audience for this album, and make it more centered around my personal growth journey. I find that writing and journaling and photos and creative challenges are really helping me to grow and explore in the ways that I want to this year, and the flexibility of the PL system gives me an opportunity to document and express this journey in physical form, which I find very satisfying. I feel slightly guilty at the thought that I might not focus as much on my family in this album.... but that leads to Learning #2:

Learning #2: This album doesn't have to be the only documentation of our family. There are lots of fun things you can do with photos these days to share and preserve the family story.

Implication #2: I'm not going to feel pressure to include every event, or every cute picture, in my Project Life album. I'm going to trust that I will find other ways to enjoy and share and preserve our family photos, and I'm going to allow the Project Life album to be a highly curated and highly personal expression of my own experience of this year. Sometimes just one or two really great photos is better than a whole page of okay photos. (Or, at least that's what I'm telling myself right now. Time will tell whether I can resist the urge to put them all in.)

Learning #3: I get a lot of enjoyment out of a pretty page. When it all comes together, perhaps with a common color theme, or a repeated design element, the pages can look great. Most of the time in 2012, I didn't have the time or the talent/skills to pull it off, though I got better with practice.

Implication #3: I'm going to challenge myself to create more cohesive pages that I enjoy looking at, and that help me advance my graphics, color, layout, font, photography and overall design skills. That said, I'm also fully prepared to forgive myself when I am rushed or not in the mood. I will err on the side of getting it done, over making it beautiful. But I am hoping to increase my percentage of "pretty" over 2012. (The Seafoam kit is going to help a lot.)

So, in practical terms, here's an overview of how I plan to use the divided pockets in my 2013 album:

Date Card: I adore the large week circles September Blue offered as a free download, so I'm going to start off with these, on top of the Seafoam kit date cards.

Goals: I'm going to dedicate one of the 4x6 slots to my weekly goals. I really enjoyed writing goals each week on the blog last fall. But going forward, I don't think the world needs to see them every week (not because they're secret, but just because they're just not very interesting to anybody but me.) So, I won't be publishing them every Monday on the blog but I will write them, and I'm going to use my Project Life album as my "publishing platform." Writing and publishing the goals helped me to hold myself accountable in 2012, and I want to continue this practice, but in this new format. I created my own goals template, using the Seafoam Kit digital papers.

Quote: I'm going to dedicate one of the 3x4 slots to a weekly quote. I'm inspired by Elise Blaha Cripe who included a weekly quote last year, and I'll likely make heavy use of her quotes (kindly provided as a free download. Thanks Elise!) I'll also be writing up quotes that I find on my own personal journey.

Week in Review: I'm going to be more disciplined about writing a "week in review" blurb, in one of the 4x6 slots, like Cathy Zilske does. I created my own version of her template, using the Seafoam kit digital papers.

Creative experimentation: My goal will be to use one of the 3x4 slots as a tiny little canvas for creative experimentation. Perhaps a tiny watercolor painting. Or some sewn scraps of fabric. Or a drawing, or some experimental stamping or embossing. Just something decorative and creative and all my own. When I don't get around to this, I'll make liberal use of the Seafoam Kit filler cards for an extra bit of "pretty", or add an extra photo. For the one shown above, I printed out tiny little copies of a series of photos I took one morning while walking the dog in my neighborhood.

Photos: I'll chose just a few of the best photos of the week to include, sometimes with some text overlay headlines or journaling. The "shine on" in the example above is from Ali Edwards.

Journaling: In addition to using the journaling cards to explain or complement the photos, I'm going to use these slots to include lists and writing based on journaling prompts I explore on my own or on my blog. I will use a combination of hand written cards, using the Seafoam 3x4 cards, and some of my own that I will make up in Photoshop, like the one above.

Here is another look at the album as it stands so far, all together.

And I've got Week Four started. I wrote up the goals for this week while I was finishing up my Week Three page last night, and slipped it into it's spot. 

A week awaits....

Lets make it a good one!


I'm linking up with The Mom Creative today.


  1. Loved this post! What a great idea to be focused on doing the album for YOU. Love that you are condensing it down to one page per week. I keep telling myself to do a week in review card each week but I never get it done. Must try harder to stay on track with that.

  2. You continue to delight and amaze me with your devotion and comittment to Project Life. I think it is helping you to define yourself and what you need and want for yourself, your family, your relationship with Jeff, but mostly with YOU! That's really important because at this cruial turning point in your life, you will be so grateful to your yourself as you travel down you life's path, that you've documented so much. Your children will find it fascination to read later on in their lives. What a treasure you are building. Love, Mom

  3. Love you weekly goals idea!!! Such a great way to start the week and incorporate that in your album. That will be a grew thing to go back and look at!!!

  4. Great layouts. I love the idea of adding weekly goals and really like the idea of a creative 3x4 each week!