Project Life-ish

Recent news in the scrapbook world is that the traditional paper Project Life products by Becky Higgins won’t be manufactured anymore. Becky’s first Project 365 Kit came out in 2008 and it was a year or two after that the Project Life brand was born (I bought my first Project Life kit in 2010). It’s become a way of life for many scrapbookers.

My first Project Life Album – 2010

I think the original Project Life concept is great – take daily photos, make notes and end up with an album that documents your year from the most mundane days to the most amazing and life-changing.

I find so many little pieces of life show up in my Project Life albums that would not have made it to regular layouts and that’s the value of taking on such a project; so I am a fan. But you can make your ‘Year In The Life’ project any way you like and sometimes changing it up gives the project some fresh air and the motivation to keep going for yet another year. I’ve made a Project Life-ish album almost every year since 2010 in so many different ways and sizes and love them all.

We are crafty people and we shouldn’t feel that our projects are reliant on any one brand or product. I’ve learned that lesson over the years even in regards to choosing a size to scrapbook in (see the constant discussions and requests for 9×12 products all over scrapbooking social media). Sadly, in our world, it’s not uncommon for our very favourite thing, the thing we cannot do without, to be suddenly discontinued or held up for months overseas. Being in Australia, I’m further cut off from supplies due to availability, high shipping rates, and the horrible US/Australian Dollar conversion rate.

Welcome to scrapbooking – we want you to love something so much you can’t live without it but then we’ll probably take it away. Sorry.

So what do we do about it? Here are some ideas for switching things up with Project Life. And I preface this by saying I know change sucks. I hate it too. But let’s pretend we’re flexible, okay? 🙂

Other Brands

So many other companies make divided page protectors and journal cards are a staple item in most paper and digital releases. Hopefully, you can get something similar somewhere else and keep going on your merry way. Make sure you stock up so you have enough to finish out the year if that’s what you are planning – lesson learned right?

Project Life in a 6×8 SNAP Album – 2014

Digital and the Project Life App

Controversial, I know. But I’m a digital scrapbooker so I’ve got to get this one in. The Project Life App has been really popular with digital and non-digital scrapbookers just because it is so easy and something people can work on using their phone (waiting at kid activities, commuting to work, watching TV on the couch).

I personally don’t use the app (I scrapbook on my desktop Mac and Photoshop Elements) and I’ve heard that it isn’t perfect, but if you are really wedded to making a 12×12 Design A spread each week, this is an easy way to get that result. You can then print your pages and add to a binder or make a photobook at the end of the year.

The other option is to use digital templates and make your pages in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. These templates mimic the Project Life page protector look and you only need a basic understanding of layered templates to get started. Becky Higgins offers a range of digital Project Life templates (some for free) HERE and other designers have similar templates available.

Digital 12×12 pages printed off each week (note the fake digital divided page protector) – 2013

I know a lot of people hate the idea of digital scrapbooking and want to play with real paper, scissors and embellishments. Making pages on your phone or computer might not scratch the creative itch. But this could still be a good way to get your year documented in a familiar way while leaving you with some extra time to work on other projects or add in some regular layout-making.

I used a Cathy Zielske template each week to make this Project Life Photobook – 2015

A Yearly Photobook or Album that Doesn’t Look Like ‘Project Life’.

Photobooks are my jam and are a great way of putting together a year of memories. I still call these books Project Life even though they are very far away from the original divided page protector format.

Again, we are aiming for a ‘Year In The Life’. I love coming up with a set of templates at the start of the year then repeating. Even in my photobooks, I aim to add some captions and a weekly or monthly recap because…words.

An 8×10 Blurb Yearly Photobook – 2016

Similarly, you could just make a weekly or monthly paper layout and build an album over the year in your own style.

Skip Project Life Altogether

You don’t have to do this every year. It’s OK to skip a year or be done with it entirely. Even if you have made a Project Life album every year since it came out. The year I skipped Project Life was a relief and gave me so much time to work on other projects and make other things. (So much more room for activities!). If you find you are constantly behind, maybe it’s not bringing you joy anymore.

Do it Your Way

Project Life is just a system for documenting your week with some notes and photos. It doesn’t have to be in the format sold to us. This year I’m documenting my weeks using a digital planner template that I came up with – adding a few photos and some notes each week.

My weekly digital planner pages – 2020

Since it’s release, Project Life has developed from a simple yearly album system to a catch-all term for weekly or monthly documenting over a year. You can do it any way you like. Do it weekly, do it monthly but make it fun, simple and something you are OK working on over a year. Love that we always get back to the same mantra – do it your way.

Thanks! Shannan

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