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Is Weekly Project Life Too Much?

This post was originally published on December 12, 2011. For an updated perspective, visit Project Life + Library of Memories.

I‘ve had something on my mind and its taken until now to articulate it. My opinion might be unpopular, but I’m guessing there are some of you who feel the same way. If you have an opinion, I’d love if you left a comment.

I am just not that into Project Life*.

There, I said it. I like the products (they are very attractive), I like the concept of documenting the everyday and I like how it is getting more people to tell their stories. But I am not in love. Perhaps more importantly, I don’t think its particularly simple.

Let me back up with some context for my opinion.

For the past few years, documenting ‘the everyday’ has been a focus within the scrapbooking industry. I am 110% for elevating the little stories of our lives and celebrating them as ardently as the big events. Concepts like Project 365/52, Week in the Life, the Memory Logbook, even SMASH books have helped us see our worlds through a lens of beauty and wonder. They help us capture what makes up our lives and be grateful for what we have.

We created blog posts, made photo books and designed scrapbook pages about both the mundane and the small things in life. At the same time, we were all celebrating photo freedom with Stacy Julian and waving the flag of non-chronological scrapbooking. And then Project Life changed all that.

Suddenly we were spending time printing photos and documenting all the little details, worrying about staying caught up with each week’s pages (or fretting about being so far behind). One could say we regressed into old habits, allowing the (natural) craving for structure to add unnecessary burden to our lives.

While there is certainly value in this extent of memory keeping, it makes me wonder if we’ve gone too far. Project Life tends to emphasizes the surficial details of our days, but there is so much more to life than ‘the everyday’. For those who only do Project Life, will those important stories that benefit from a bit of time and reflection ever get documented? For those who can’t keep up, will we lose them forever as scrapbookers?

* I am defining Project Life here as the most common implementation of 2 pages per week – using the products from Becky Higgins or not. Certainly, not everyone is following this implementation and I do value that the products and general approach are flexible.

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60 Responses to Is Weekly Project Life Too Much?

  1. sleepydwarf December 12, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    This is the first year I have done a Project 365, and I’ve used my blog for the pictures & the stories behind the pictures. That’s been a lot of work & I think my scrapping has fallen behind as a result of the time I’ve spend on the P365.

    This is my second year of using Project Life. I don’t use Project Life in the P365 way – that just doesn’t appeal to me. I like capturing the occasional ‘everyday’ thing – and I have one spread in my album made up of 10 of my favourite pictures of the month from my P365 blog.

    I do 4 or 5 spreads each month, sometimes a spread might be of one event – then I don’t have to scrapbook it – or it might be a series of pictures from a week or a common theme. I still scrapbook the special moments.

    It means I can get a lot more photos into albums (when I compare 2010 and 2011 with previous years, almost all my photos are done) but even with this approach I do tend to fall behind, especially with the journalling. And the actual scrapbooking of the important things.

    I get what you mean – once you fall behind, it takes a lot of work to catch up, even with the approach I use, and it’s hard to take time every day to work out the photos you want & the journalling & the memorabilia etc that you want to have in it. Sometimes I think I’ve made mine too complicated, and I should just throw in the photos any old how and just get them in there, then if I want to scrap them later, there they are with the journalling as well.

    I will be relieved when the 365 project is over – I want to do the photos justice and explain them, tell the story etc – but this also takes me away from my paper and scissors stuff. For me it’s the having to do something every day nature of the 365 project that’s the problem – so I can see how if you were doing Project Life in the same way, you might have the same problem in terms of it taking a lot of time.

    All that said, I really love the Project Life products and I love how I’m able to get most of my photos in albums relatively easily. I can still keep the non-scrap worthy ones and scrap the important ones. If I had time to do it.

    Hope that all makes sense. I don’t think I really answered your question though.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      I like the idea you mention of using PL for photos and events that otherwise might not be documented at all beyond photos (or sometimes not even with those). What you’re saying is almost using the PL kit as a way to manually capture metadata for some of your memories – almost a visual alternative to the Memory Logbook.

  2. Stephanie Medley-Rath December 12, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    Great post! I agree completely. I don’t understand it if “it can be whatever you want it to be,” then why is there now Project Life creative team? If it is supposed to be so simple, then there is no need for a creative team to inspire. Right? I think the problem is that the serious expert scrapbookers don’t really know what to do with Project Life. They/we want to get on board with it because “everybody else is doing it.” We might be the one’s complicating it. The folks using Project Life that aren’t online, might be keeping it simple.

    What confuses me even more isn’t the hardcore paper scrapbookers who buy the kit, but the hardcare digi scrapbookers who buy (or will buy) the kit. Maybe this is because I don’t really digi scrap but it seems that templates already exist that could be used for Project Life just as I am using divided page protectors and paper I already own for my adaptation of Project Life.

    I think I am partly doing it as participant observation research. I can’t fully critique it unless I participate in it in some fashion.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 10:41 am #

      As someone who used to be 100% digi, I can confess that the divided page protectors that came out before PL were one of the big motivators to try hybrid/paper again. Something about the modular approach does seem more “doable” that a straight paper layout.

      • Stephanie Medley-Rath December 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

        But what I don’t get is why a digi scrapper needs a digi version of the kit. Maybe I am missing something as a non-digi person.

        • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

          I think the digital versions are intended for a.) those who like the designs but want to create all digital pages or b.) those who don’t like to write by hand and want to have their journaling cards printed (i.e. hybrid).

        • Melissa Shanhun December 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

          Plus a lot of digi scrappers think the designs are cute! 🙂

  3. Érica December 12, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    I totally agree with you. I’ve never tried Project Life, but I’ve considered trying it in 2012. As soon as this idea came it disappeared, because I would be overwhelmed too fast. I tried Project 365 in 2008, but within 40 days I was done.

    Loved our post. What you wrote are my feeling about this Project, though it is a really interesting one.

  4. Ronnie Crowley December 12, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Finally some what who agrees with me. Can we start a movement, an alliance or something to shout to world that its ok to not be into Project Life, December Daily or other similar projects.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      It is OK. Part of the problem is that there are so many talented scrapbookers who create amazing follow-along projects – that there just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything. We have to pick and choose what fits our goals and our lives.

  5. charlenereeves December 12, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    I totally agree. If someone gives me a kit premade it leaves out the “me” part so escentially it is someone elses premade work not as I would do. I tried another one of her kits and it was not up to my standards, but good for some. Thanks for putting a voice to my thoughts.

  6. Peggy December 12, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    I’m with you on this. I do agree that scrapping more that events & holidays is important & in need of being scrapped as part of who we are (life isn’t all Christmas, birthday parties & happy times) but some of these take it to the extreme. Just like anything else, there’s a point where we each need to decide who we are scrapping for: ourselves or for the industry & following it. I do think that out of all the mundane, a week in the life makes the most sense to capture the every day. Project 365 isn’t so much for scrapping as for awareness of the everyday & improving your photography. Whatever we choose shouldn’t be stressing usover it though.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      Thanks for mentioning that one of the original goals of Project 365 was improving your photography. Just getting out there and using your camera (and learning about it) is a big step for some who don’t always think about taking photos, but want to!

  7. Alison December 12, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    I agree and disagree. I love the products and the concept. I have purchased two kits and they sit unused (2010 editions). I had intended to do the first year of my son’s life but I found I didn’t really like the format after all for that. I did two years of p365 on my blog and decided to take a break for 2011. I really miss it. I think i did take a photo a day but have not docuemented it. There is still a part of me that wants to go back and compile it. I may do so using a digital kit. Not sure. I did get 2009 into a blog book. I have 2010 ready to go but I’m not sure which format to go as the blog book separates posts. I do get some of the larger stories done, I participate in
    LOAD 3x a year (and complete it yey!) and struggle as most to “get it all done”. I do value scrapping the everyday – i keep thinking of how much i would have liked to know from my granparent’s era. That is what keeps me documenting the everyday. For me it is still about finding the right format.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:44 am #

      I do think that LOAD (Layout a Day with Lain Ehmann) definitely leverages short-term momentum to lead towards a great accomplishment. Like any sort of marathon, that sense of “I did it” will carry over into the rest of the months and help push your forward.

  8. Donna Curran December 12, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I agree 100%…the “everyday” documentation is getting out of hand. It would seem to me that people are more busy MAKING moments to scrap than actually just living their lives. Life is WAY to short to try and document every little thing…the living gets lost in the documenting, I think.

    I had, for a fleeting moment, considered doing PL, but then I thought, really, in 5 years…or 10…or more…who really is going to care what *I* did on any given day in any given year. While it’s a nice project in theory, in reality it seems overwhelming and, maybe even a little too narccisstic for my taste=))

    These are truly just my most humble opinions and I would never, ever, EVER criticize anyone for doing something that they find enjoyable and interesting. This is just a project that doesn’t appear to be for everyone.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:24 am #

      You are very right Donna. What matters most is that scrapbookers are happy and satisfied, whatever direction they choose.

  9. Helen December 12, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    With so much emphasis on projects like P365 these days, I’ve been feeling quite guilty for not doing one. But I know me, and I know that I will go like gangbusters for about 2 weeks and then the guilt will eat me alive for the next 50 weeks for not getting the photos taken, the entries done, the pages compiled, etc. I love the idea of documenting the everyday, but I agree that, for me, some of the bigger, more reflective stories will get lost. There’s only so much time in a day!
    That being said, I have been thinking about following an old concept of Shimelle’s from 2010 called Document Your Life (I think?). She did 2 pages per month and 1 photo sleeve per month. She used a manilla envelope to catch the “stuff” of life like plane tickets, movie tickets, etc. and then used them on the month’s layout when she was ready. I think with commitment, I might be able to do this one and it won’t take over my life like I fear P365 would. My niece completed this project and she liked it and was able to do her regular scrapping as well.
    Thanks for starting this discussion going. I believe it was needed.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      I think a little, just a smidge, of guilt is OK. I think that is what keeps us focused on the deeper why of our scrapbooking. But that bigger guilt, of feeling like a failure when we can’t XYZ, seems to be something that is hard to fend off. As you said, knowing your habits and limits can help prevent that.

  10. Donna Curran December 12, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Helen, I did a very similar project in 2010 called “Document 2010” and it was a real easy way to document a full year without going crazy.

    We used an accordian file with 12 slots and just threw whatever in there…receipts, dr. appt. cards, clothing tags, airline tickets…just any little thing you found “save worthy” (I also kept my winning bingo cards from a sb group I’m part of=)). Then, at the end of the month we would get prompts and little journaling cards to use if we wanted to…some people incorporated photos but I worked with just the “stuff”.

    It was a great alternative, for me, to the P365 that I had done in 2009. MUCH less stress but still a cute way to document a year without getting overwhelmed.

    Truth be told, I just left everything right in the accordian file and added a page of journaling to each month. Talk about easy peasy…it was AWESOME!! One of the best projects of this type that I’ve done so far.

  11. Rebecca December 12, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    People need to do what is right for them, unfortunately, I have yet to meet a scrapper that took on a daily scrapbooking commitment and did not either quit shortly after starting or complain throughout the process. The prompts and products that are offered through the programs are delightfully simple and well worth the purchase but to hear so many stress over the hobby they say they are passionate for is truly sad.

    I still love scrapbooking but have found little time in recent years to stay current or to gather with my like-minded scrapping friends; that too is very sad but not surprising given what I have on my plate as a wife, mother of two athletes, full time school administrator and daughter to aging parents. Daily scrapbooking is not for me but for those that it works for–in a positive, relaxing sort of way, I applaud you. There is a fine line between feeling satisfied that you accomplished something momentous and feeling unsatisfied or defeated that you took on a project too big. Perhaps it is the nature of the hobby or the passion with which scrapbookers lead their lives, we usually commit to finish something no matter what the cost.

    Cost (personal happiness and time) vs. benefit (the legacy of memories we create with our projects) not an easy equation to reconcile–ever!

    Happy holidays everyone!

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      It is those people you mention Rebecca (that can’t keep up with huge ongoing projects and then feel bad about it) that worry me the most. I don’t want anyone to feel stressed about scrapbooking.

  12. Irma P. December 12, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Amen to what you said! I do not scrap chronologically, and even my layouts are not placed chronologically in the albums. I DO have a date on all my pages though. I figure it’s how our memories work – one moment we’re looking at our children’s current abilities, and the next we get a flashback of how we brought our newborn home from the hospital.
    I feel there’s too much emphasis on keeping a daily record and photos for projects such as December Daily, project Life, 365, etc. I’ve done a “Week in the life of us” mini album, and one week was my breaking point. It became an ‘assignment’ to document the daily on days when I didn’t feel like it. My artistic process has mood swings 🙂 Some days I can’t stop creating, and other days I’d rather read a great novel, cross-stitch or look at home-decor magazines for inspiration. Doing ‘project life’ would make it feel like work with a deadline. It is not fun for me to create this way, and I feel 0 guilt by not participating in these projects. Each to her own!

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      I think most of us have those sort of artistic mood swings. On some days I couldn’t design a page no matter how hard I try — so on those days I don’t try to force it. I do something else.

  13. Beth Holmes December 12, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I’ve been doing Project life for the first time this year. I both like it and dislike and don’t know if I will do it again next year. I’ve been doing a two page spread for each week and not worrying about taking a photo everyday. I’ve completed about half of the weeks so far. I did pretty well keeping up until the Summer and have done several weeks from this Fall, but that’s it. I had a breakthrough last week that I could put TWO weeks on one two page spread since there wasn’t much going on and I hadn’t taken many photos. I hate that I feel behind and am trying to decide if I want to just use what I’ve done so far for 2011, call it good and move on. I am having trouble with this concept. what I like about Project Life is having a place to put all the stuff of life that I want to keep but usually end up throwing in a box in no order at all: things like the programs from my daughters ballet recitals and plays, concert tickets, report cards, flyers from events we attended etc… I love having a place for those in a chronological album. I mostly do digital scrapbooking so don’t use this stuff on my pages.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      The modular page protectors are indeed great for storing that kind of memorabilia that we might otherwise throw in an envelope or a box. I’ve really enjoyed using the 8.5×11 versions from WRMK for my vacation memorabilia. It will be interesting to see what Becky’s school years product line looks like and how it will help even more with this kind of stuff.

  14. Tammy D December 12, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    As in all things, there are many ways to look at this. Everyone has different needs and I think that PL fills a need and gap that existed for people who want to do more with their photos but aren’t and don’t want to be scrapbookers.

    I have never looked at PL as a scrapbooking replacement. It’s something I do in addition to. I gave myself permission for it not to be an “” thing. It’s a place to hold every day photos and to hold tickets and papers and receipts. I’m not going to do a layout on every movie I see – but I always save movie tickets and sometimes I have something to say about it. I can do that in PL without adding more pages to my already overflowing scrapbooks. And because I don’t scrapbook chronologically and I fully embrace photo freedom, PL helps does fill a chronological void and gives me a place to have photos in date succession.

    I’m still scrapbooking the way I always do. On big event days, I try to find a detail to put in PL that isn’t going to be part of layout I will create. What was the temperature at 6 AM when I woke up that day? How did the kitchen look in the aftermath of the party? How many miles did we drive to get to the destination? Maybe people add these details to their journaling all the time, but I tend to forget. PL helps me focus on details my scrapbooks and layouts don’t pick up.

    PL can be just one more thing to stress about. I just choose not to stress and allow myself to enjoy the varieity!

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      For any project, if its not stressful for you – and you’ve found a great way for it to fit – then I am 110% supportive.

    • Melissa Shanhun December 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      As scrapbookers we are trying to do it all!

      Even Ali she’d be happy just doing Dec Daily and Week in the Life for her everyday scrapbooking. Of course scrapping is her job & passion so she does more!

      I think thinks like PL and smashbooks aren’t really intended to be another thing on the list for us die-hard scrapbookers. I’m not sure why people put pressure on themselves to do it all.

      Becky H doesn’t even ‘scrapbook’ any more – she just does PL. She said in 2009 that she’d got burnt out on the traditional scrapbooking so PL is an alternative.

      P365 is definitely a photograpy challenge. I did it in 2009 and now I use them as ‘stock photos’ for my other scrapbooking 🙂

  15. Bernice J December 12, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    I didnt even jump on the bandwagon in the first place…I just knew it wouldn’t work for me. I do enjoy documenting the everyday, but I do that throughout the year and put those pages along with all the other ones of specific and special events in the same album (I scrap chronologically). That way, when a certain photo touches me to scrap the related everyday story, I do it then and there. I love that it’s mixed up, just like life is. It’s very freeing to scrap when and what I think is important to remember for my family!

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      Hear, hear to celebrating life’s mixed-up-ed-ness!

  16. SWJenn December 12, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    I’m with the crowd that never got on that bandwagon. I never understood the whole ‘keep up/catch up’ thing. Like I don’t have enough pressure in my life! I scrap what I’m moved to scrap when I have time to scrap. I do like to scrap everyday things, and I do look at these type of programs to see if there’s something that would work for me the way I like to organize stuff. But beyond that, I refuse to buy into (literally AND figuratively) anything that would add to the guilt load!

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      Self-awareness as a hobbyist (in any hobby) is so important. It really helps to take a moment to ask yourself whether any project you want to add really fits in with what you want to accomplish, how you want to get there and the time you have available. Developing this kind of intuition definitely helps eliminate self-inflicted guilt.

  17. Donna Curran December 12, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Jennifer, you wrote:

    “It will be interesting to see what Becky’s school years product line looks like and how it will help even more with this kind of stuff.”

    Is Becky coming out with a new School Life project? I have her original one and ADORE IT!!! I wish I’d had it when my daughter was in school, but I am just loving it for my grandson’s school years. My girlfriend got the complete kit for both of her kids and thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread!

    Do you have a link to any info on this? I’d love to take a peek!! And this will be a safe peek for me since I know I won’t be buying=))

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      She has mentioned it on her blog as in-the-works. There have been no details mentioned.

  18. bdaiss December 12, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    As a non-scrapper (gasp!), I adore Project Life. I am beyond words blessed to have a mom who loves to scrap traditionally. I wish I could do it…I just don’t have the time or patience to do it and I fully admit it. When I’ve tried, I’ve done digital and I just never get to a point of printing anything.

    But I already write in a journal near daily. And I’m a photo freak. My camera goes everywhere with me. So when my daughter was born in 2009, I decided to try PL. I didn’t even buy the kit to start. I simply journaled and took photos to see how far I’d get. Late 2010 I finally bought the kit, printed out all the photos, and spent a week writing out all the cards and adding all the other “stuff” I wanted to include. I took the month of Decmeber off, but I hopped back in to PL in Jan of 2011. I did much better keeping up with it, although I’m a bit behind right now. I still have the photos and the journal, I just need to get them in the book – a great project for the holiday week when I know I have down time.

    Any who. For me, it offers one big plus – it gets my photos off the computer and in to an album. I’m contemplating putting together a few books from the “early years” of my marriage and my son’s life. There are so many wonderful, day to day things that are lost in the computer files. Sure, my mom has scrapped the big things (and a few of the small) but in this day and age there is so much more available. This was really brought home for me last week when my husband’s grandmother passed away. My kids have more photos of them from the first few years of their lives than she had for her entire 97 years. What a gift to the future for them to be able to see and share the everyday, even what we may think is mundane (like their bedtime routines).

    Thank you for your post. Like most things in life, it is truly not for everyone. And no one should feel guilty about choosing another system that works better for them.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      Sounds like PL is perfect for you – especially since you were already doing most of the work on your own (journaling and taking photos). It simply provided the formal structure to get those things into tangible form!

  19. Nat December 12, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    It’s not really for me either, and I prefer to scrapbook chronologically. I like a lot of control and to be able to decide what I feel like I should do with photos from an event, which oftentimes ends up completely different from how I thought I would do it leading up to working on it.

    I can’t say I haven’t been influenced though. I find myself taking more everyday pictures, but not every single day. I like to let the dust settle, get some perspective, then come back to photos down the road and scrapbook them. I’m hoping that I’ll like the everyday pictures I’m taking now. They’ll likely end up as some sort of collage page.

  20. Calvina December 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I’ve been checking out all the cool products for Project Life on Amazon and have really wanted to order some supplies. I’ve read with interest lots of blogs of women who are doing Project Life successfully and beautifully. It has made me want to try it. Finally I sat down and asked myself if that was really what “I” wanted to do for 2012? The answer was honestly, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want that much pressure on myself to document everything. There are many other stories that I want to document about the past this coming year- so I won’t be doing Project Life and I am now at peace about that.
    Having said that, I still admire those who are doing it and for those who have children I think it will be a super neat way to look back on real life in the future. I wish I could remember more about my childhood.
    I think what is important for each individual is to do something that they enjoy to tell the stories of their lives. I don’t think it is a question of has “Scrapping the everyday gone too far?” It really is a personal choice of how we each discipline ourselves to document our lives the way that is enjoyable and worth it.
    I’ve done a 365 project, Week in the Life, December Daily and One Little Word. I am really happy that I took the time, that I stuck with it on each of those projects, but for me (other than Dec Daily which I like to repeat) I will probably only do them once in my life. Each gives a slice of life that is different in focus and scope. I enjoyed doing them and they worked for me. I don’t have any children so I don’t think doing Project Life would be that interesting for me-a close up of one week is fine, but not 365 days of the too ordinary. But I applaud those who will.

    • Jennifer Wilson December 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      Nicely said Calvina – thanks for commenting!

  21. Luisa Morgan December 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    This is the first time I comment and it’s because your post really called my attention.
    In 2008 I did a “Year in Review” project with Jessica Accs at It was like a project 52. Was my first “document your life” approach and I struggle a little bit, but I finished it.
    In 2009 I discovered P-365 and decided to jump into it. I only did 6 months, because it was too stresful for me to be 1)taking pictures and then 2) edit and crop them (I did my own P-365 version with regular binder and baseball cards protectors) and 3) Printing the photos and then 4) Create the pages.
    In 2009 I also discovered Project 12, which is mainly a monthly review layout with highlights of the month (events and everyday life photos).
    I have been doing my Project 12 layouts 3 years in a row now: 2009, 2010 and 2011.
    I do take many pictures of our “everyday” and I add them to “photo albums” cronologically. This way my family and friends can still enjoy the pictures and whenever I want to scrapbook certain pictures I can do it without guilt.
    For 2012, my plan is to continue doing my Project 12 layouts and I will do a Project 52 album this year, but not necessarily with pictures but more of a journal following some prompts that i have been collecting. This will be more of a “get to know me more” project for my daughters.
    I totally agree with you that either Project Life or Project 365 is kind of stressful and it takes the fun of creating out of it.

  22. Cassie K December 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I have been torn about these types of projects. One part is because I don’t always follow through on something I start and so it would it staring me, mocking me because it was only half done (if even that). The other part is because it seems so daunting. I like those who took the idea and turned it into a montly recap. That I MIGHT be able to do. I like to focus on stories. The everyday things aren’t really what I want people (or myself) to remember. I guess that is part of my ideas about this. I have seen those who are able to do this project and still manage to scrap their stories too. That is amazing, but I must just be realistic for me and my life. Do the best that you can do for you and your family 🙂

  23. Lisa December 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I kind of agree with you, Jennifer & I’m glad you posted. I think Project Life is a great ADDITION to a scrapper’s methods for documenting their story, but I worry about it being the only method of documentation. I guess if you were going to do nothing at all or some semblance of PL, the latter would be preferable. But making even 5 meaningful layouts that really tell a story seems more worthwhile than saving all your gas station receipts & food packaging for a year. Although that ephemera of every day life will be interesting someday, there’s at which it’s just too much.

    Thanks for the opinion!

  24. Barbara Eads December 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I’m all about documenting the “everyday”—just not EVERY DAY! I teach organizational classes for scrapbooking. One thing that I don’t see anyone in the “industry” addressing is this: what in the heck are we going to do with all these books—especially with this trend of one photo on a page? We are saddling our children with a burden. Do your kids want you to hand them 21 books on their 21st birthday? I think not. Cut yourself a break and scrapbook what is truly important to you. Forget about EVERY little thing. It’s just too much. Let’s create more meaningful books and tell the stories of our/their lives.

  25. Lucie Campeau December 13, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I admire the organized women. I am organized at work. I have very dense days, I arrive at home flat like paper (pun intended). I love my disorganization and I do scrapbooking at the edge of art journaling. Do not have kids, therefore not lots of events to “document”. Love the freedom of just writing, painting, cutting, just for the creativity involved. And along the way, I have an artistic track of where my life and mind were at a specific defined time. Digital for the experience, mixed media and traditional scrapbooking for the same fun reasons. A project gets started and will combine several years as it is incomplete for lack of time in 2011 and will be filled with more tidbits in 2012.

    • Peggy December 13, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      Lucie- I so agree with your comment & did not realize that it is so true. I too “arrive” at home flat & looking for this as my outlet. (I say “arrive” because I telecommuted & actually work in my scrap/office tortured by my stuff all day.)

      great comment!

  26. Delanie December 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    A fantastic post. Really enjoyed it!

    Part of the issue with PL, as I see it, is it’s particularly attractive to scrappers who create ‘rules’ for themselves. Who talk about being behind and caught up. Who aren’t especially adaptive and follow concepts precisely. (Of course, generalisations here and I can think of many exceptions.)

    There is nothing wrong with PL in and of itself, provided you make the project suit you. Tailor it to your needs, not jump through hoops to meet some ‘proper way’ of doing it.

  27. linda December 14, 2011 at 7:15 am #

    Thank you for your honest opinion… because I think it’s easy to see everyone else using a system and wanting to jump in – thinking it’ll motivate or simplify the process for us personally.

    I think since we are all unique… no system will be perfect…we will always have to tweak it to our liking.

  28. Elisabeth Bucci December 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Thanks for this blog post, Jennifer, it was right on. I couldn’t possibly agree with you more.
    Other than the points that have been raised by you and others (time, pressure, guilt, the value of “everyday” every single day), I’d like to add another spin to this discussion.
    I was 12 years old when I made my first scrapbook: long before scrapbooking became a verb…and an industry. It didn’t contain pictures (I couldn’t afford a camera), but rather souvenirs that I had collected from a special family vacation. And what did I do with all that ephemera that I had collected? I glued it in a newsprint “scrapbook”. No fancy over-priced page protectors, no product to order.
    If you think about it, if you really want to scrap your everyday things, and you’re not crazy about glue, you can use page protectors from Staples: trading card pages, business card pages, or simple 4×6 albums. Do you really need to order yet another kit?
    I can’t help but wonder if PL is just another way for the “industry” to get us to spend more money on product we don’t really need with the promise that this time, this time, it really will be easier…no…really…

  29. ARC July 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I’m late to this discussion but read it with a lot of interest. I’m doing Project Life this year and am actually caught up. But I am NOT a scrapbooker. This was an easy way to put one toe in the water to try it, and use all those supplies I’ve been hoarding.

    For me, the structure keeps me from freaking out over the blank page in front of me. I cannot complete a single non-PL layout – it’s just too open-ended for me 🙂 I do make cards and mini albums occasionally.

    But – I’m not sure I’ll do a whole PL next year. First, it’s a lot of stuff. Second, it is some pressure to stay “caught up” so I think I’d probably do a Project 12 or something else monthly instead.

    One other thing I love about PL is that it forces me to go through my photos weekly. My online galleries are all up to date, which is awesome.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson July 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      If you take the loosest definition, you definitely are a scrapbooker. I’m all for embracing whatever approach works to get your memories recorded. It sounds like this one is working for you right now!

  30. Annie July 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Couldn’t disagree with you more. PL appeals to keep and others who don’t scrapbook because it is much easier and simpler than scrapbooking. I don’t take a picture everyday. My 2 page spread takes me one hour each week. That’s it. What could be simpler about sticking some pictures in slots and doing a quick journal? When I did traditional scrapbooking I could easily spend two hours or more on one page. That would have two pictures on it.

    • Jennifer Wilson July 29, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      That’s so great to hear! My post was more addressing those that make mini layouts with every card, making it almost impossible to have the liberating experience you described.

  31. Annie July 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    On phone. Stupid autocorrect!

  32. Jerosha August 7, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    I just discovered about it few days ago and that’s how ignorant I am for the past few months/year in the world of paper crafting due to work, family, and trips. I personally like the idea coz you just slip pix and a journal = documentation. What I don’t like is that there is a somehow “pressure” to create an event for the day just so to fill-in the pockets. I viewed some works and most of them are just overboard for me and I kind’a feel that they are running out of breaths just to meet the day-to-day layout plus I noticed that some are running out of ideas. That scared me coz all the while I thought PL makes one’s life simpler in photo documentation. Well of course I have the choice not to follow their phase … I can just do it according to my time. As I studied closer, and as of today, I opted not to buy any kit and everything that goes with it because I’d rather make my own kit using my supplies here … at my own phase.


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