I have always loved scrapbooking as a way of documenting big events, like weddings and significant birthdays. But I’ve never been great at traditional scrapbooking. I just can never figure out to put a page together the way I wanted it to look in my head.
Then a few years ago, I stumbled across the ‘pocket scrapbooking’ method, specifically Becky Higgins’ Project Life, and I fell in love. As Becky says in her introductory post/video, Project Life is intended to be a simplified approach to scrapbooking. You print out your photos, pick some pretty journalling cards to write your stories on, slip everything into pockets, and you’re done! I absolutely love this easy, pressure-free method of scrapbooking, and I love that a lot of the work is basically taken care of for me thanks to the divided page protectors and coordinated journalling cards.
I’m now on my third year of doing Project Life, and I still love it as a creative outlet and memorykeeping exercise. I’ve even gone back and put together a Project Life album for my university years – 2008 to 2013 in one album!
I’ll be sharing photos of my 2016 Project Life pages soon, but I thought I’d kick off with some details about my process for pocket scrapbooking!
My Project Life process
I use photos taken with my Olympus XZ-1 digital camera, my phone, my Instax Mini S7, and even pictures (like movie posters) that I download online.
I use free photo editing software, Photoscape, to edit my photos. I don’t usually do too much to them besides adjusting brightness and white balance, and cropping. Photoscape also allows me to combine two 3×4″ photos as one 6×4″ photo for printing.
I get my digital photos printed by Big W Photos each month, because it’s fairly cheap and super convenient as there are Big W stores near my house and near my office.
For my 2014-2015 album, I rounded the corners of my photos using a punch that I bought in Singapore years ago, but now I don’t bother – it simplifies things even more!
The paper products
One of my favourite things about Project Life is all the pretty paper products. I love flicking through my stash of journalling cards and picking out cards that will match with the colours or themes in my pages!
I use a lot of Becky Higgins journalling cards and kits, because they’re relatively easy to buy in Australia. At the moment, I’m using the following BH kits:
- Maggie Holmes Open Book core kit
- Dear Lizzy 5th & Frolic core kit
- Kraft core kit (though I only have a few cards left after using this kit for my 2008-2013 and 2014-2015 albums!)
- Golden theme cards
- Good Times value kit
- 4×6 grid cards, to embellish/journal on
I really love the Studio Calico kits, but with the low Australian dollar and the cost of shipping, a subscription is just not affordable for me. But I did manage to pick up a few past kits during last year’s Black Friday sale, and have been incorporating cards from those kits in my spreads!
I also use journalling cards I’ve made myself by cutting up scrapbooking paper. I recently made up a whole stash of these, using the Maggie Holmes Open Book 12×12 paper pad and the Amy Tangerine Stitched 6×6 paper pad.
I’ve collected a lot of random embellishments and tools over the last few years! Some I’ve had for ages, and others are more recent additions.
Some of my go-to embellishments include:
- Letter stickers – this is my absolute favourite way to add a little something extra to a journalling card! My favourite letter stickers are Thickers by American Crafts, especially gold foil Thickers. Spotlight often has Thickers on sale for 3 for $20, so I tend to stock up on these a lot.
- Washi tape – I have quite a few rolls of washi tape, and I love how easy it is to add to a journalling card to add a bit of colour or accent. I use a lot of gold washi tape in particular.
- Wood veneer shapes – I love using wood veneer embellishments, especially hearts! I’ve collected quite a lot of wood veneer shapes from various Spotlight sales over the past couple of years.
- Stamps and ink – I never used to stamp much before, but I’m really starting to like it as a technique! I use black Staz-On ink and vintage sepia VersaFine ink pretty much exclusively. My stamp sets are from Typo and Studio Calico.
I adhere paper embellishments using glue sticks or double-sided tape, and thicker embellishments like wood veneer or acrylic with craft glue.
I love pretty embellishments, but I’ve found that I tend to use them sparingly – for the most part, I’m pretty content to let my photos and journalling speak for themselves.
I know that everyone’s process for Project Life is a bit different – the point is to just do what works for you.
For me, I’ve found that a monthly, go-with-the-flow approach makes the most sense for my life. I don’t worry about filling up a certain number of spreads or pages for each month – I just take whatever photos I’ve got for the month, print them out, and arrange them in a way that makes sense for my album. To keep things simple, mostly use Design A page protectors, so there’s less guesswork involved in figuring out where things should be in the pockets.
Once I’ve picked up my month’s worth of photos from Big W, I sit down with my album, page protectors, photos and any bits and pieces I’ve collected for the moth (e.g ticket stubs, flyers, notes, etc.), and all my paper products and embellishments.
I place all my photos in the pockets first, usually grouped into loose ‘themes’. For example, all my work-related photos usually go on one page or spread, while my family-related events go on another, and other social events on another, etc.
After all the photos are in place, I layer in the journalling cards and embellishments, which is always the most fun part of putting a page together! I hardly ever plan things out first – I just move things around until I’m happy with how it all looks.
It only takes me an evening or two to finish off a whole month of spreads, so it’s a fun, relaxing activity that I can do after work or on a weekend!
Plans for Project Life 2016
I was tempted to switch up to the 9×12 sized albums from Studio Calico, but I decided to stick with a 12×12 album because the albums and page protectors are so much easier to buy here in Australia!
Even though my process is pretty much staying the same this year, I’ve been inspired by Ali Edwards to focus on including more journalling in my Project Life pages. My aim is to tell the stories of my life in more than just a ‘this happened on this date’ kind of way.
Next week, I’ll share my title/cover page for my 2016 album!