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Project Life + Library of Memories

I’ve mentioned in forums and on social media that I’ve been using Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories categories with the Project Life products and concept from Becky Higgins. There has been a lot of questions and interest, so this post officially introduces my approach.
See other posts in this series.

More than a year ago I blogged about our community’s increasing emphasis on scrapbooking everyday life. While I respect those who choose to document many details in traditional Project Life albums, I’ve seen too many scrapbookers get frustrated and give up on the weekly, chronological approach.

At that time, I also mentioned that I really liked the Project Life products. So much, it turns out, they stuck in my mind for quite a while. All through the spring of 2012 I thought about Project Life and how I might be able to adapt the pocket page protector approach for my own needs. With a baby’s life to document, I was in the perfect season of life to figure out a simple approach that could capture her story (as well as ours) and be something doable for the average busy memory keeper like me.

After all, I never said I was anti-Project Life. My whole point was that a chronological, creative photo-diary of life was not a good fit for me (and I suspected, not for many scrapbookers like me.) What I wanted was an organized method to include Project Life pocket pages with regular layouts, and one that you really couldn’t “get behind” with.

“When you let go of being 100% chronological you can find freedom to scrapbook the stories that matter most, using the products that make the most sense for the job.”

How it All Started

I thought and browsed and thought some more. The lightbulb finally went off when I saw the plain plastic Project Life dividers on Amazon.

Since 2009 I had been organizing my layouts in four albums corresponding to the Library of Memories categories: People We Love, Places We Go, Things We Do, and All About Us. I loved Stacy’s approach to organizing photos and stories as well as her mantra of “do something with some of your photos”. For me scrapbooking is a wonderful, rich layer to the photos we take, adding depth and color to the stories of life.

What if, I thought, I used the dividers to create Library of Memories categories within a single album? This would allow me tell stories over the album’s span of time, but simultaneously escape the day-to-day documentation. I could capture life right now, when I am interested and able, without worry that I’ll get behind by days or weeks.

I wasn’t sure if it would work – if my album would really come together. But it did. Now that I’ve given it a thorough test, I’m ready to suggest that maybe Project Life + Library of Memories could work for you.


The Essentials of This Approach

At its most basic, take a 12×12 album and add four dividers. Insert memories in between. There’s no behind because you’re never on a certain week. Add photos, stories, layouts and memorabilia as you go.

When you leverage the super easy and super fast features of the Project Life system, you can get more photos scrapbooked. I think we can all agree on that.

By adding in layouts, you can offer an additional level of storytelling that can only come from reflection. Even more significantly, when you let go of being 100% chronological you can find freedom to scrapbook the stories that matter most, using the products that make the most sense for the job.

Page examples from the Things We Do (left, bottom right) and Places We Go (top right) categories.


Products for Project Life + Library of Memories

When I started this experiment, I thought I would use grid cards, washi tape and patterned paper to make all my own cards. After making a few and battling my perfectionist demons along the way, I realized that I simply wanted a place to write. I’m finishing up this 2011-2012 baby album with printables from Paislee Press. For 2013, I’m using the Project Life kit from Studio Calico and will likely purchase one of the latest core kits later in the spring to have a broader selection of journaling cards.

Because this album had a single subject, I replaced All About Us with All About You. This is one of my first pages in that category.


The soaring popularity of Project Life also means that 3×4 journaling cards as well as journaling tags and other bits for smaller-scale scrapbooking are easy to find these days. Echo Park has even licensed the Photo Freedom brand to create a line of products for non-chronological page protector scrapbooking. And at CHA Winter last week, We R Memory Keepers (true pioneers of the divided page protector) announced that the 3×4 size was coming to their Albums Made Easy system.

I believe these products can help us all tuck more photos into albums so we can have time to tell the really good stories that can’t fit on a 3×4 card.

Little to No “Designing”

Unlike with regular layouts, I don’t think a lot about designing a page or a spread. I simply insert photos and journaling cards in each category as I go. Sometimes I’ll have photos ready before journaling cards and other times I’ll have journaling cards ready before photos. This means there are sometimes gaps and it may look more unfinished, but I love seeing this album live and grow. I also don’t necessarily pair a journaling card one-to-one with photos. Some stories don’t have a photo and some photos don’t need a story.

The main areas where I try to be a little more creative are with the title page and my dividers. I’ve also done inserts from a single event that were more coordinated, but again it’s about getting the photos into the album. The bulk of my creative energy goes into the individual layouts inserted in each category. I love the 8.5×11 ones especially; the smaller page protectors in the album feel bit more special.

Title page for my 2011-2012 baby album.


Dividers decorated with washi tape and Thickers.


Semi-Chronological Scrapbooking Freedom

For the projects I’m working on right now, I’m essentially working semi-chronologically. The albums are for a fixed time period. Many of the photos end up in roughly chronological order within each category, but I don’t consider where layouts or other inserts fit with regard to date.

I use some dated products, like a Hello 2013 card on my new album’s cover page, but for the most part don’t tie anything back to a calendar. I’ll sometimes use a date stamp on a layout, but it doesn’t matter to me whether my daughter started walking on the 12th or the 13th. What matters is that I captured the moment and told the story. I am all about good enough.

What I love most about this alternate approach is the new possibilities it offers everyday storytellers. With Project Life + Library of Memories, you can do Project Life without the stress of getting behind.

What’s Next?

Going forward, I’ll be sharing more of my pages here on Simple Scrapper. First up will be a deeper peek into this 2011-2012 baby album. I’m just about to order the last batch of photos from 2012 that I need to finish it up. Then, we’ll dive into my 2013 projects which reunite the baby with the rest of our family in a single album.

In the meantime, I’d love if you left a comment sharing what you think of this approach. Is Project Life + Library of Memories something that could work for you? Do you have any questions? I love hearing your voice in the conversation, so jump right in.

Project Life + Library of Memories is a recurring blog series at Simple Scrapper. Project Life is a modular system of products created by Becky Higgins. Library of Memories is a non-chronological memory keeping approach developed by Stacy Julian.

Need a creative boost?

You’ll feel more inspired and productive when you try this unconventional approach to scrapbook albums. Learn how in our exclusive PDF guide.

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95 Responses to Project Life + Library of Memories

  1. Kay January 16, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    I think your plan is outstanding! I did the 365 Project a few years ago and had trouble keeping up. But I loved the materials and photo holders, etc. As a grandma of a 10 year old, an 8 year old, and an 18 year old, I really don’t think I need to document every day – I’m not with them all everyday. But we have vacations, holidays, special occasions, plus the things that are related only to my husband and me. I can see me doing something similar to yours using the Project Life page protectors and dividers. Guess I’ll have to add this to my “Brain Dump” page! On to the shopping for protectors and dividers and probably journalling cards…

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      Thanks Kay. What I love most is that I can do just a little with a lot of photos, so that I have more time to have fun with a fewer number of photos. It’s a total guilt-reducer all around!

      • Kathy B January 18, 2013 at 8:09 am #

        Generally I am so behind in my Scrapbooking. I like the idea of mixing chronological with LOM (heard of it first here!) I like seeing the progression through time of certain holidays that just gets lost in strictly chronological organizations so I have separated those into their own books. I actually did PL for the first time in 2012 and made it all the way through! Yahoo! I didn’t always scrap regularly but kept notes which matched the date of the photos. I digitally made 12×12 layouts, 1 per week, and actually already printed them through November! Yay! Using Creative Memories pocket pages allows me to intersperse tradition layouts where I feel the need to elaborate more on stories or include memorabilia. I’m loving the end result!

  2. Bec Kilgore January 16, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    This is exactly what I am starting to do but hadn’t thought of how to put it together with LOM. I am also going to do traditional layouts in various sizes like I have already been doing for a while. Really enjoying my Simple Scrapper membership.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      So glad to hear that Bec – would love to see some of your pages when you have a chance to share!

  3. Carol January 16, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Excellent article giving pertinent information on the two approaches and loved the pics you chose. While I’ve heard about Project Life, I never knew the 4 categories and plan to use them in my photo sorting.

    Look forward to your baby album as I have a new grandson– I have not found much for scrapbooking baby boys – i.e. many collections are more just background papers and little emphasis on the ‘baby’.

    Since the toddler stage is much longer I really want ‘baby’ as the emphasis as it passes soon enough. Any suggestions for cute paper?

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      I’m not the best person to ask about more thematic paper. I prefer my supplies to work for most projects, so I have almost no products that have any baby theme at all. You might try searching the baby category at, they tend to have quite a wide variety of products. I believe the Martha Stewart line at Michaels has a lot of cute baby items, not sure about papers though.

  4. Dawn M January 16, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    I. Love. This.

    And I am so going to use this approach. I have tons of supplies now. but always get behind and then just let it go. Ok, ok, I get behind on the very first week, and have never actually created a page for a PL album. This is so do-able for me. My daughter is grown and I live basically alone, my sister and I work opposite shifts so its almost like living alone.

    And because I still manage to take lots of photos with prompts I have daily, and I post on Instagram and FB a lot I might have a section just for that.

    Thank you so much for posting this and explaining exactly how you do it! I feel so free now! I know Project Life is all about doing it how you like, but still, most people were doing chronological, and I always felt I didn’t have enough and blah, blah, blah. I always was afraid (there is no other word for me that works) of going through my photos and deciding what ones and what sizes and what pages to use. Now I can just go by stories, days, moments, whatever I like and make up a page or two in a sitting and be done and be happy and stress free. And without fear!

    Dang, I may even get one done today!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      Oh, I hope you did get one done today Dawn! One thing I’ve done in the past is you page protectors meant for coins to insert a whole bunch of 2×2 Instagrams on both sides of a page. It’s very dramatic and super fun. I especially love it in all black and white!

      • Cheryl April 4, 2013 at 11:53 am #

        Coin page protectors – you are BRILLIANT! (Do you know if they’re archival? I would imagine that the “paper” money protectors are but I’ll have to check on the coin protectors).
        THANK YOU, Jennifer!

        • Jennifer S. Wilson April 4, 2013 at 11:54 am #

          I believe they are Cheryl.

          • Cheryl April 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

            Thank you. Now off to Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon to purchase a package of these protectors. Can’t wait to start scrapping again….it’s been WAY too long.

  5. Beth Holmes January 16, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I seriously LOVE this idea. I did Project Life in 2011 and go about half of the year done. Then I did it in 2012 and got about 3/4 of the year done, but I had already decided not to do weekly chronological Project Life in 2013. I just — as you said — don’t want the stress of keeping up because try as hard as I might I just couldn’t. I was also tired of feeling like I had to take photos of every little thing that I or someone I love did each week. I also really missed having time to do regular old 12 x 12 layouts and telling longer stories. One of the things I loved about Project Life was adding memorabilia and your idea is perfect for this. I tried to do Photo Freedom, but I really prefer to have everything together in roughly chronological order so having an album or two or three for each year, then divided by themes is terrific. I’d also have albums dedicated to what I call comparison layouts the show different years together. Thank you!!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      Reading your comment Beth got me thinking about another idea. You mentioned that you had done “some” Project Life in the past and didn’t finish. One fun idea would be to do A Week in the Life up to a few times a year, perhaps each season, to incorporate that daily flavor into your album without having to do it every single week.

      Thank YOU for commenting!

  6. LauraZM January 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Your blog post is one of those that hit my inbox just at the right time. I have never done the week by week project life albums in part because I love Stacy Julian’s LOM approach and categories. I also noted as you pointed out lots of people upset they couldn’t keep, racked with guilt. I did Twelve. Last year with Stacy Julian and completed over 200 pages, but I still have so many photos and stories I want to tell. I have just purchased the new Project Life baby and childhood editions and plan to do what you are suggesting with my other albums. Using dvided page protectors (so less worry and hassle with the create a whole page aspect) in the four LOM categories. Thanks for a great post, and I am looking forward to the updates!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

      200 pages – that’s awesome. I only got to peek a little at Twelve, but I’m hearing so many stories of how inspiring it was! I can’t wait to see more of your project too, as you get going.

  7. mary January 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    this is a excellent article. i had posted this question on the SC message board a while back: how are LOM users incorporating it with PL? they’re both great concepts and i’ve been so curious to hear stacy julian’s thoughts on this topic, as well:)


    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Yes, I saw that Mary and commented there. I’m so glad you found me back here at Simple Scrapper!

  8. Ann Johnson January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    I love this concept. I love LOM system but I also like the chronological look to my albums because I really feel they tell some sort of story of my life. I do struggle often if this is the correct way even though there is really no right or wrong way.
    So my question to you would be: if you are making a page that is from the past, are you going to incorporate it in this album or is this just for 2013 layouts. Thanks ~ann

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

      There is definitely no right or wrong way, just the way you want it to be! As for my albums, here’s my current thinking. (I also love how ring binders let me change my mind later!)

      The 2011-2012 baby album only includes photos, layouts and memorabilia about my daughter during this time period. I’ll “finish” with the memorabilia and non-layout part soon, but if I do more layouts later they will be inserted. It’s essentially her baby book, which was important for me to do.

      The 2013 album will be similar, but will include all subject matter. However, I do realize that having a toddler means our world revolves around her! Because I tend to scrapbook more stories that fit into All About Us and People We Love, I like how having all in the same album will make it feel a little more balanced and whole. I’m keeping an open mind though, as doing annual albums in perpetuity doesn’t feel quite right. As she grows, I can see myself doing albums for specific LOM categories that span larger periods of time.

      Looking backward though, what I’m currently doing is putting layouts into individual LOM albums. I’ve not yet used the PL format for any stories prior to my daughter’s birth, though I did start an 8.5×11 divided page protector album (the 9-up style) in 2010 for our annual vacations to a specific spot. I don’t have any particular things in mind right now, but I can certainly see putting together pocket pages that have a story arc from the past. One example would be a collection of photos and stories from when my husband and I were dating.

      I hope some of these ideas help in your own thinking. I often let the pages tell me what do and try to focus on the moving forward. It all eventually comes together!

  9. Christie January 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Mind. Blown. This really appeals to me, in that I love pocket scrapping, but taking on PL chronologically is overwhelming. I did PL in 2011 and I missed it last year, but I haven’t been able to kick my butt into starting this year. Your concept has my brain going into a million directions of how much easier this could be … thank you!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      So glad I could get your wheels turning Christie. It really did the same to me – and I had to spend a lot of time just thinking to settle myself on how it would work.

    • Kris Beauregard January 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      I love the “pocket scrapping” description. there is something so satisfying about filling up those little pockets!

  10. Elizabeth January 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Seriously the BEST idea ever! I am married, no children, and live for adventure and dogs. I started digi scrapping 4 years ago, but I don’t print because I seriously skip around to much and didn’t want to put pages that are not related in a photobook. Then I got addicted on the page protectors, with no desire to do project life, just to do a travel book and loved the flexibility. I am so excited to put all that I learned from LOM class that gave me the permission and the organization to scrap whatever I want, whenever I want, non-chronological in one album. One of the most disappointing aspects of being a beginner scrapbooker is having empty albums! Please share more on this topic!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks Elizabeth. One thing to always remember, is that your pages have one thing in common – that YOU made them! I’ll definitely be sharing more here soon.

  11. Bev Mascara January 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    I have been thinking the same exact things as you have said in this article, combining Project LIfe with Library of Memories. I have 13 Albums to do for my Grandchildren and realized I needed something simpler but love the Library of Memories Plan and do it already. I am incorporating my Library of Memories with Project LIfe and loving it! It works for me. I am reorganizing some of my Categories and Library of Memories Lists but it works together. I want the flexibility and everyone tells you to fit their products to your way of thinking and plan.
    That is what I am doing and feeling a major release to get the photos journaled and into albums. Thanks for this article. Love it!!!!!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks Bev. I love that this idea (and work you’ve already been doing) has helped lighten your mental load. Sounds like you’re a busy grandma!

  12. Christine N January 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Absolutely in love with this idea! Brilliant!

    At CHA I saw 8.5×11 divided page protectors at the WRMK booth. Would be awesome for some people who want to do this 8.5×11 instead of 12×12.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks Christine. Do you mean new 8.5×11 ones? I am excited to see WRMK really jump into this, because I find their page protector quality the best in the industry.

  13. Linda Walton aka bobbysgirlforever January 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Oh Jennifer! You’ve given me the final push in my recent thought process of overcoming my need for everything to be so-so and just let go-go and get ‘er done!

    I decided sometime mid-2012 that I would go with a Project Life approach to getting albums put together for my six children with 23-35 years of photos to preserve. I am a digital addict, but in this case, I did not see myself completing stories for my children for numerous reasons with the biggest of them being time consumption and/or the expense of scanning all of those photos! I will still do some scanning for specific projects that I wish to share with multiple people.

    As I am a recovering perfectionist, who ends up not accomplishing much of anything, I feel so liberated in giving into my eclectic visual desires (ha, ha … think these have come with age). Reading your post totally validated my idea of making my albums unique/eclectic in that I can tuck my already thousands of printed photos into pockets, create my own journal cards and embellishments (must feed my passion for design), add in multiple sizes of pocket pages for memorabilia, those wonderful 5X7, 8X10 and class school portraits and extra journaling. I can even still feed my digital layout creation appetite with a 12X12 here-and-there for some good old-fashioned storytelling! Squee!

    It’s been a long while since I skimmed through Stacy’s LOM. I definitely know that I will not accomplish a thing if I even give an iota of thought to scrapping chronologically! LOL! Thus why I really, really love the idea of pocket pages in a binder-type album. I can always move things around (or to another binder) if need be, or add things as I come across them, etc.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful blending of LOM and PL! I so admire your work. I, also, have been leaning more toward the pages by WRMK. Enjoyed your thoughts on them.

    I am one scrap-happy camper today – thank you!!!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Thank you Linda, you are just so sweet! It has perplexed me over the past two years to see scrapbookers take on a big huge and new challenge when they could be getting quickly caught up on years of photos very quickly. I kept seeing people leave comments about this for Becky, but I rarely see approaches different from the week-to-week highlighted. (Perhaps a little now that the school and baby kits are out, but catch-up type scrapbooking definitely hasn’t been what the team has modeled.)

      One reminder for you is to make sure you don’t sacrifice progress when you turn towards designing your own journaling cards. I suspect you tend to hyperfocus on one thing and then feel frustrated that it only was a small piece of the puzzle.

    • Marina D-K January 17, 2013 at 12:17 am #

      This comment really clarified your idea of blending the two systems. I have enjoyed chrono project life in 2012 but my LOM albums didn’t grow by much. Using divided page protectors to quickly document school and other type photos seems a great way to keep these albums in the flow. “I can combine both traditional and PL type layouts in my LOM albums” AMAZING. As a side, I will still be doing chrono PL for 2013 but am trying to keep each week to one page and trying to only use the PL cards. Without the time spent thinking about how to add tons of cute embellies it will go SO much quicker.

      • Jennifer S. Wilson January 17, 2013 at 9:08 am #

        Thanks Marina. I love seeing people doing more of what works for them (and of course, less of what doesn’t)!

  14. Ca Angel January 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Thank you for posting this!! TO me this is what Project Life has become a way to simplify your scrapbooking. It always makes me sad when I hear people say they are scared to commit to PL because they can’t take a picture a day or their life is boring. I think PL is all about taking what pictures you want and using the products to simplify the scrapbooking process. I love the idea of combining it with LOM as I think that process truly give you freedom from being caught up! Great job!!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      I totally agree. I hope, in some small way, my post gets more people talking about it. I suspect two things: that there are many people doing this who feel odd because it’s outside of the norm and also that others who feel intimidated might see scrapbooking with a whole new perspective and optimism.

  15. Katherine McKamey January 16, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    You.Are.Brillant.!!!! Seriously! I have purchased the PL kits in the past and gone through and stuffed the protectors with journaling cards and set up the dividers and gotten them all ready to use for the upcoming year…only to never open the album again. I was so overwhelmed with the idea of a daily thing that I just shut down. Each.and.every.time. Project Life + Library of Memories?? That is something I can do! I’ve had my stuff organized in LOM since Jan ’06 and I LOVE it! I can totally see putting it all together in a single album for the year! Great- no FANTASTIC- idea!!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks Katherine, I hope this helps you find new perspective on those past experiences and lifts you up to happier and more productive scrapbooking!

  16. Lauren Madsen January 17, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I have been thinking about Project Life for a year off and on. Every time I tried to contemplate beginning, my heart rate would increase and I thought I might hyperventilate :). I LOVE this article. A week and a half ago a friend (who also felt Project Life for her right now was just too overwhelming) and I decided we would work on categories and themes to document everyday life in a Project Life format. I am actually excited to get started because we really won’t get behind because we’re not working on it chronologically. Woohoo!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 17, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Yay for you and your friend! I definitely find that working on it this way is very empowering. I always feel excited to keep added vs. overwhelmed about what I haven’t yet added.

      Oh and if you purchase a core kit, don’t forget there are lots of duplicates of the journaling cards – so you could share!

  17. Amanda January 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Definitely food for thought! I, too, love all the project life product I’m seeing around out there but know for sure I’d get “bored” with the whole daily/chronological thing. I can barely commit to a mini album. Maybe I could play around with a few pocket pages between my regular ones and see where it goes…

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      That’s a great place to start Amanda!

  18. Janet January 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Last year I used a photo album to do something like Project life. I just put in photos and would digiscrap a 4×6 card that I would get printed with my photos to tell the story or give a title/journaling to the page (s). I just recently bought the protector pages for Project Life and I am thinking about a core kit. I am thinking I want to still put things chronologically but I have NO interest in DOing something every week. I will just try to keep more on top of things (famous last words!) ;D

  19. Erin January 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    I am trying something similar for 2012. I am trying my hand at digi scrapping ( because I have wanted to) with a title page for the month, then for the rest of the month doing a combo of page protectors (using simple stories products I love) to get stuff in fast and traditional scrapping where I can use my stash and allow my creative juices to flow.
    Still going chronologically, just am not at the point of letting that go.
    So I am with you on this one:)

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      I think it’s important to find an approach that “feels” right to you and is also doable. Sounds like you’ve found that Erin!

  20. Miriam January 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I wish there was a simple method for applying the Project Life ease to 8.5×11 scrapping. As far as I know there are no divided sheet protectors that accomodate the 3×4 cards, which is such a great size for journaling cards. Right now I use a combination of things: the WRMK and similar that fit 2 vertical 4×6 and one larger pocket, the baseball card protectors (but those are much harder in terms of formatting photos to the right size), and sheets with 5 pockets for 3×5 photos which work for older photos.

    Another option is what Stacy Julian coined PAS – Photo Album Scrapbooking – taking a regular 2 up 4×6 album and making it more cohesive, using some spots for journaling cards etc. (Much better explanation of that on Stacy’s blog.) But that only works for a defined project – say a vacation or a heritage project, not an ongoing everyday life album.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      One thing to consider Miriam are that 8.5×11 page protectors fit in a 12×12 album. You could use the smaller PL page protectors in combination with your 8.5×11 layouts if you don’t prefer the hugeness 12×12 pages. You can also cut down page protectors if you want them to fit in an 8.5×11 album.

  21. Kris Beauregard January 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Great Article! I am a Project Lifer for sure, but have been thinking about getting my pre Project Life pictures scrapped using the divided pocket protectors also. Love the idea of splitting up the LOM categories using the Dividers.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks Kris. The dividers can be used so many ways to organize your ideas and memories.

  22. Raylene January 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    I think you need to be free to work any way that keeps you going. I never could quite go with the Photo-A-Day thing. But Weekly works for me. If there is a special event that week, I may do a two page layout of the event. Nothing else. Sometimes I don’t get any photos from my home, but my 2 kids are on FB and share photos there. So I will include what they are up to that week. Of maybe it was last week . . . who really cares about the EXACT date??? As long as we are capturing our lives, everybody wins!
    I found the one year I did the PL with the pockets, I spent a fortune on photo paper & ink, so I am sticking to totally digital. Cheaper to get them printed in January in 1 or 2 volumes.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      I totally agree!

  23. Rhonda H January 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Wow! Great article and great comments. I have one of the original P365 kits sitting in a box….errrr….somewhere in this sCRAProom. I accidentally ordered two, thinking I didn’t get one at all, because the website was SLAMMED. (Anyone else out there remember the P365 debut that Jan.1st??? Craziness!!) Anyway, I did use one of the kits that year, but felt like I failed since I didn’t keep up well with TAKING A PHOTO EVERY DAY, and especially neglected the journaling.
    Well, I’m a “BPC/Stacy Julian/LOM/PFP/TWELVER”, and now I’m excited to dig that thing out and at least use the page protectors and order some of the awesomely available journaling cards!!!
    Jennifer, I still want to SEE how you have used yours, and would love a little talkie video with you thumbing through it and giving us the play-by-play on what you were thinking when you did it.
    I think one of my concerns is finding page protectors with the combination of photo orientations I want to use for each page…then what do you do with the back?
    Can’t wait to hear more on this subject. May be adding things to my Plan Your Year worksheet! LOL!
    -Rhonda H

    • Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      More photos and a video are definitely in the works Rhonda!

  24. Rhonda H January 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Shoot. Forgot to check “notify” again.

  25. Wendy Vagner January 17, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Jennifer, you just managed to verbalise exactly what has been going around in my head. I moved to project life style LO’s about 4 months ago as I returned to fulltime work a year ago and was not getting any of my photos scrapped (also being a very slow scrapper). I never wanted to do weekly so just focussed on using @SNAP products and telling the stories that I had not done and wnated to tell and I really love this approach. I accomplished 40 LO’s in about 4 evenings – I am now addicted. I was still unsure though how to incorporate 12×12 LO’s where I still love to play with technique. Thanks Jennifer for making it REAL !!.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Putting things in pockets is definitely addictive. Creating your own structure and organization for it – with whatever products or approach you use – makes it all the more exciting! Most welcome Wendy!

  26. Sarah S. January 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Oh, thank you for this! I tried Project Life last year (2012) and never made it out of February. I was pregnant with our third child, SO TIRED, and just fell off the scrapbooking wagon altogether. And now I feel guilty about all the PL products I purchased and haven’t used. Not to mention the sinking feeling that an entire year of memories went undocumented. You’ve given me a perfect solution here, and one that I can still put together as time allows.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      I think we all have times where we are scrapbooking less than normal, where there just isn’t time. Taking off the pressure of keeping up makes it more enjoyable to scrapbook what you can, when you can. So glad this solution sounds perfect for you Sarah!

  27. Laura O'Donnell January 18, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    this is a great idea!

    I was in the very first LOM class in 2006. I bought the black file drawers and I’m still using them. However they’re getting kind of full and a lot of these photos have stories that just don’t warrant a full page layout. A 3×4 card would do the trick.

    anyway, great blog post. I think you’re on to something!

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Thanks Laura – I hope this idea helps you with those little stories.

  28. Vonda January 18, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    I absolutely love this idea and I love that you are taking this sort of public stand against what I call the “everyday madness” that Project Life is starting to become. We scrapbookers have a way of making everything – including “the everyday” too complicated and too “embellished”.

    I love the Project Life philosophy as presented by Becky Higgins, but I have started to hate the way it has been hijacked by all sorts people into a daily and weekly chore requiring ever more creativity and embellishment. While I will continue to do my PL album as a weekly spread – I give myself a maximum of 2.5 hours to complete it and then go on to something else. I will definitely look back on this approach if I find I can’t “keep up” with what I’m doing.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      Scrapbooking should never be a chore. It’s something fun and meaningful we do to add more to our photos. I’m always on the look-out for ways to uncomplicate things and I’m so glad this idea resonates with you!

  29. April January 18, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I love it! I had spent the last two years working both PL and LOM. I LOVED the everyday glimpse and how I didn’t have to design a layout to remember to include ephemera from every day. What I didn’t care for was having two albums and as I would scrapbook, I would often duplicate a story. I also didnt like how BiG albums were getting when scrapbookers were including traditional layouts in the regular chronological album.

    Several weeks ago, I had finally decided I was just going to incorporate my project life “concept” into my regular LOM albums. 🙂 I am still “behind” on 2012 PL because I went into a fall funk and didn’t take many photos, not did I print much.

    I think it’s awesome that we were on the same wavelength with this idea. I know I plan to share much more in this years Finding Photo Freedom with Stacy! 🙂

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Yay for being on the same wavelength! Good luck as you finish up your 2012 project.

  30. Debra Williams January 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Not doing project life but I liked this idea for my layouts that are still in a box because they are random and do not fit in an album yet. I can store them with these dividers in a binder type album and they are still more or less an album to share until they become permanently part of an album. This is important to me because there have been times that I have done a layout twice because I did not recall it was already done but in the box. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 19, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Even if I don’t have a good system for a particular group of layouts, I try to always put them in an album so they don’t get forgotten, can be enjoyed, and can be easily moved later!

  31. Elisabeth January 19, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    I totally agree with Vonda: there’s an “everyday madness” that makes no sense in our busy lives. I never cease to be amazed how we scrapbookers can over-complicate anything.

    The only thing I get about PL are the page protectors (sort of) and the journaling cards, which are basically short stories.
    I have decided to apply this concept to the ephemera that I collect: for example, I collect restaurant business cards from our favourite restaurants (it’s our Friday night family ritual). If there’s a story that goes with the restaurant, I journal about it on business-card-sized journaling cards (which I design myself), slide it into a business card page protector, and call it done.
    I plan to do the same thing with my movie ticket stubs but using trading card page protectors (pkg of 8 for 1$ at the dollar store!!!)
    I call it “micro-scrapbooking”: I mean, how much you can write about a movie?
    Page protectors + journaling cards are the answer to doing something fun with my ephemera.
    Great blog post: have always loved your take on PL.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 19, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Certainly PL is working for some people and that’s wonderful if it is meeting your needs. I just don’t like to see someone struggling to fit a square peg into a round hole. If it’s not a good fit, you’ve got to try something else!

      I love your memorabilia ideas, especially because they are so easy to keep up with.

  32. Lissy January 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Fabuous idea 🙂

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks Lissy!

  33. Sarine January 20, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    I love the idea of combining products for Project Life + Library of Memories. The moment I read your email, I knew this is what I need for 2013. I had a hard time keeping up with my scrapbook album, but your idea is just perfect for me.

    Thank you for sharing and explaining it so clearly..

    • Jennifer S. Wilson January 20, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      Most welcome Sarine – so neat to hear that it resonated with you!

  34. Gab January 28, 2013 at 4:15 am #

    I just LOVE this idea!!!

  35. Kyetra Belton January 31, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    I love this approach! I am so happy to see people using the page protectors (which I LOVE) in different ways. I can’t wait to see more.

  36. JillT February 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Count me in the ‘love the products’ category. I even purchased a core kit know full well it wouldn’t be weekly. (I’m single & old 🙂 This brings a new perspective I hadn’t thought of. The beauty of being open to PL variations is it can combine weekly, monthly, full page artsy layout, heavy on the ‘diary/journal’, and pictures only. Here’s hoping it minimally keeps me interested in documenting. That’s what’s important. I’d love to report back in December ’13 that I ALSO got some old pictures documented because no one stressed the importance of telling the story behind the pictures when my kids were young and they are continually asking me those stories. Thank you!

  37. Sara Grafton February 4, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    I am so glad that I found this link through the Paperclipping Round Table! I have not listened to the episode, but I wanted a preview on the picks of the week 🙂

    I started Project Life in 2012 and only did some of January since we were moving. I wanted to pick it back up in 2013 and just printed over 100 pictures. I am not sure if a chronological approach is best for me, so I will also sit down and consider the categories approach as I put together the album. I have enjoyed Stacy Julian’s books (The Big Picture and Photo Freedom), and this is a great way to approach that system.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson February 5, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Sara, when you start grouping related photos together, I think you’ll see how much more cohesive you album can be. It has really helped me see trends and uncover stories I hadn’t considered. Lots of luck!

  38. Jenn February 5, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    I *love* the chronological Project Life, and I truly enjoy doing it. It gives me a little bit to do every day (and I am lucky enough to be able to keep it set up, so even if I just have 5 minutes I can work on it). However, it really has left a lot of our bigger stories untold. I have been struggling with how to do individual books, using pocket pages, without falling into the “chrono-trap” of it all. I love love LOVE your approach with the sections (places, people, etc). I am still going to do my regular PL, but I finally see that there really IS a great way for me to keep individual scrapbooks for my kids (and my husband & me) without getting overwhelmed. Thank you so much!

    (I came here through a link from a Project Life facebook group, so I’ve not been a regular reader – but I will be!)

    • Jennifer S. Wilson February 5, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks Jenn, and welcome!

  39. Susan February 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    Love reading your ideas!! Our kids are all gown and i just need to get pictures in albums….and I, too love using the Project Life products in a non chrono way!! Thanks for sharing, 🙂

  40. Adel Otto July 23, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Stacy made a big shout out on the latest PRT and I’m glad she did. There is something magical although often elusive when many concepts, from many sources, converge and you have a moment of insight. I love pocket pages. I love embellishing pocket cards. I also love creating a 12×12 of just two special photos or then and now photos. And this summer I realized some of the stories didn’t fit into a weekly Project Life. Conversely, using a pocket page in one of my LOM albums was amazing easy and satisfying. While I may not give up my weekly Project Life, I feel a new sense of vision to revisit my LOM albums that most fit my story telling needs now.

    • Jennifer S. Wilson July 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      Thanks for being the first to let me know about this. I had a listen today and am so honored that I was the pick of the week and of course, by Stacy’s kind words.

  41. Vivian September 5, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    Wow! I have been toying with the idea of PL for about a year now, but never could see the value in it for me. When I looked at one all I could see was a giant blinking sign saying WARNING WARNING, you are about to head in to territory that does not fit you. I love the traditional 12×12 format, have scrapped chronologically albeit slow, but I really need to get a wriggle on before I get left behind under a stack of photos with no voice. This is the first I have heard of LOM and I actually feel excited and can now see myself incorporating the page protectors, the little 3×4 journalling cards and LOM into my life with simplicity and without losing myself. Thank you so much as I admire BH for what she has put out there, but get very disheartened by the talk of PL being the exact opposite of what she envisaged. Thank you again for your clarity.

  42. Libby Wiers September 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Thanks, Jennifer, for putting the link to this in the chat tonight. I still don’t think PL or LOM is exactly my style, but I can definitely see putting the pocket pages in with regular layouts. I’m not doing strictly chronological scrapping any longer, rather telling stories as the mood or a class challenge dictate. but with ‘loose leaf’ album style they can be filed chronologically and the albums adjusted as new pages fit in. It relieves me of the guilt of ‘not keeping up’.

  43. Libby Wiers September 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Forgot the notify box…

  44. Melissa January 20, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    THANK YOU!!! I have been struggling with how to make PL work for me. I just can’t keep up weekly and honestly some weeks just aren’t that interesting. I really want to focus on the story of our family this year and your approach is going to give me the freedom. I can do my journaling, photos, etc… and not worry about doing the in chronological order.I also LOVE being able to include regular layouts.

    You have finally provided me with the focus and direction I needed to do PL in a way that works for me.

    • Jennifer Wilson January 20, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      I’m so glad Melissa!

  45. Ami Pilon January 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Jennifer, Over four years I have gone from a layout each week with daily photos to an album with less regularity more monthly and bi-monthly and putting in all of the other scrapping that I’ve done other than specific mini albums. Reading this was like lifting a curtain on a production I’ve been waiting for. This makes such perfect sense for us at this point in our lives and with my styles of scrapping. I am going to set up my categories today. Thank you once again, for sharing and inspiring.

  46. ana frazee September 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    wow! i’ve been thinking for a while that i want to do project life (bought all the stuff, even printed the pictures) but never sat down to do it…….this is what i was waiting for… this approach……i’ll start soon….well, at least i now have a place to start from. thanks!!!

  47. Deanna September 10, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    I recently finished an album for my daughter spanning the time we lived in California. It worked perfectly as that was 1987 thru 1995. Photos were smaller and I didn’t take as many. Film and developing was expensive for us! In that album I incorporated the 8 1/2 x 11 pages I’d scrapped and other things.Although it is chronological, to the best of my memory, I had fun doing things a bit out of the norm for me!

  48. Nancy August 7, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Well I have created my own variation of topics to fit my album needs. Mine are Celebrations/Events; Sibling Interactions (indoor/outdoor); Family Togetherness (holidays,visitors (relatives)trips), Pets and illness/accidents.
    I use the same format for each of the houses we lived in…it’s chronological that way. I will do 12×12 layouts but use Project Life pages as well. I will include the family stories that are most meaningful during that time period.


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