29 May 2013

let's talk project life...

The other day after posting project life Amy asked me whether I see this project continuing next year and it got be thinking about doing a bit of a review/chat about project life so far.

The short answer to Amy's question is yes. I like this project, I like that I have a comprehensive document of my first year of university and I like that I am getting into scrapbooking again. I think to have three albums, one for each of my years at uni will be rad. 

The long answer is this... 

My photo taking has increased and improved. I am more conscious, especially towards the end of the week, of having enough photos to fill a spread. Project Life has made me realise that I value having everyday photos and how grateful I am for the camera on my phone.
It has also made me use those photos I take of "things because they look nice". I have endless photos of the sky but on project life they do get used. I like this. I also like that any crafts I do get documented in a way they didn't before.

I like the simplicity of project life. I don't know if this is because I am doing it in digital form but for me it feels clean and simple and uncluttered. I feel in many ways like it is an extension of the blog. Photos and words paired together in a graphic way with bursts of colour and pattern. I like the fact that a lot of decision making like photo placement is basically done for me. 

I like that I have tailored it to suit me. I think this project can go anyway you want and I enjoy the flexibility of that. I feel that it would work brilliantly as once a month spread or a special moments album. I think my advice to new project lifers would be that you have to be prepared to let your album be how you want it to be. It is very easy to be swept away in all the other layouts out there but really however you do it is fine because this project is quite personal.

I have to admit it but it does get dull. The first few weeks are super exciting but as the year progresses it  becomes another job. I find this worst on the weeks when I know that I don't have as many photos. 

Probably linking to getting dull is that it can feel overwhelming. I will find myself putting it off just because I don't know where to start. Again this happens when I don't have enough photos or when I have too many.

Having an aim is key. I can so see why it is easy to fall behind on project life or to just stop. When the dullness kicks in, it really is just another thing on the to do list. I have found having an aim is crucial. I had two simple aims for project life. One was to share it on the blog each week and the other was to have my digital spreads made into a book. So far I have shared on the blog nearly every week. It is a good way for me to feel accountable and to make sure I do a spread each week. The thought of the book at the end of it though is what is really pushing me. The thought of having that hard back book in my hand with a years worth of memories in is the best.

I think at the end of it I have learnt that photos and words are more important than finished or perfect spreads. That getting behind is ok and normal and that sometimes it is dull but that the finished project will be so worth it.

Ruth summed it up well in the comments by saying this "Embrace the monotony of PL- it shows exactly what life is like: a steady line of routine, interspersed with peaks and troughs." 

I also loved this from Elise Blaha"This project is a marathon, not a sprint and just like a marathon, you have to come up with ways to stay inspired and keep your mind moving forward."

Do you do project life. If you do, what are your thoughts on it? 
If you don't do project life are you tempted to or are you not interested? 


Barbara Eads said...

I am a Project Lifer, but I prefer to do it monthly. Sometimes that is a challenge to narrow it down to just what I can fit in to one spread for a whole month. But, I am not plagued with the feeling of being behind. I find it is just easier to keep up with on a monthly basis. Plus, it doesn't seem quite so monotonous that way either. PL really helps to capture the day-to-day in a pretty easy way.

alexa said...

Very interested in your thoughtful observations, Abi, and glad you are finding that it works for you. I am still experimenting myself because although I like digital, I do love the physical feel of a diary or journal and incorporating real bits and pieces of life in it. I wouldn't be able to do the paper PL though because I think I would be bored, creatively. I will post about it in a few weeks time, I think, as I get it clearly for myself! Thank- you for all yr thoughts today which has helped to crystallise some of my own.

Beverly said...

Thanks for the insights, Abi. I do not do PL and have not been really drawn to it. I have weeks where I don't take a single picture so I think it would make me take them just so I had them rather than it having any meaning.

Amy said...

This has been so interesting to read and I find that I agree with so much of what you have written.
I am very surprised that I haven't found this to be monotonous yet, I'm waiting for that to come. I am a bit frustrated with how I chose to design my pages and I am finding that I am itching to change the design ... but I won't because it is too far removed from what I have done so far.
I am extremely conscious of the fact that this will be wonderful as a 'whole' year book and I'm not fussing over individual weeks being slow or not as good to look at as I'd like.

What I like the most is that I am capturing so many more details and this really surprises me as I not journaling as much as what I usually do. I love the simplicity - but that is certainly what you make it - and it is so quick!

I'll be back next year as well!

PS Thanks for the masking advice - I'm going to try it out today. Now that you explain how you do it I remember reading that a while ago but I only had CS, now I have CS3 and I can link the layers ... you can't in CS.

Sian said...

I'm a bit like Beverley. Some weeks I don't take a single picture either and I think I would find it all a bit overwhelming. BUT yes there are definitely years I look back on now and think that a full record would be a very special thing to have. My first year at university would be one of them.

Miriam said...

I don't do project life because I think it would be another project to overwhelm me but having said that I was most inspired to think about doing it reading how you have done yours. (couldn't comment due to bloglovin prob, now solved) I love the idea of a whole year book, but I make a lot of mini books and take hundreds of photos..I might think about it for 2014. I didn't realise you could do PL effectively, digitally. I'll ask Amy if I can see her book as well.

scrappyjacky said...

I'm not a Project Lifer.....but do enjoy seeing yours.....and you seem to be making it work for you perfectly. You are right....it will be a wonderful record of your years at uni.

Lea Lacoste said...

i'm having the hardest time putting the spreads together lately, but knowing i'll have a full book at the end of the year is definitely what's keeping me somehow motivated. Love the quotes BTW :)

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Hi Abi ~ I read this post the other day and wanted to come back and leave a comment. Your words could be used as a great explanation to anyone wondering about Project Life - the process, the in's and out's, the monotony, the rewards. I agree with everything you've written - spot on.

Carrie gifted me a PL album last year for my birthday in May, so I have officially been doing PL for over a year now. I closed out my first PL album at the end of 2012 and it holds only 8 months, but it's already so great to look back on. My young nieces were over in November and I loved seeing them look through my album and enjoy it so much. That was great motivation to continue to keep up with it.

At this point I feel like I've really settled in with the process and keeping up. I got a couple of weeks behind last month and panicked just a little, but spent an afternoon getting caught up and that felt good. I need to go back and finish journaling and embellishing though, and if I let it that would kind of stress me out but I figure, what the heck. It's ok if some spreads are more simple. That's the beauty of this project.

I really need to take some photos and share it on my blog - something I've only done a couple of times. I love that you share your spreads on your blog, and glad to hear that it is a motivation for you as well.

Keep up the great work! :o)

Sandra said...

This couldn't have come at a better time for me. I jumped into PL with such passion at the beginning of the year ( it's my first time of doing this project) and I'm falling behind by 4 weeks at the moment. I think it's because although I do take a photo a day, my life isn't that exciting and we don't have children so I worry it is all getting a bit dull. But like you say, it is caputuring the everyday and I'm ok with that. What I don't do us share it all the time on my blog. Maybe that's what I should.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing Project Life since the beginning of last year. I've got a few weeks with absolutely nothing in them - not even journaling but I continue on. There are some weeks where it all seems so repetitive but then so if my life lately. I will do it again next year but I think I'm going to switch to digital.