Project Life ~ Week Seven ~ Feb 11-17


What I have to say about this week’s Project Life process:

  • I can make my PL plan (which I do on paper) in under 30 minutes. 
  • I can make my “rough draft,” where I place all the photos into my template, unedited, in under 30 minutes.
  • I can’t edit my photos (lighten, color correct, make B&W, and resize, are the main ones) in 30 minutes. Or an hour. Or an hour and a half. I have definitely located at least one of the bottlenecks in the process. I am not a photographer. My pics are all iPhone pics, frequently taken at night in artificial light. I have a bunch of actions which have very pretty “After” pictures illustrating them, and I waste a lot of time trying them out on pictures that are probably beyond saving.
  • It took me 30 minutes just to pick out and fill in a single journal card (the week in review card).
  • I had determined last week to stick with the double-mat, pocket-page layout, but it just didn’t look good with this spread. To my eye, these pictures needed borders!
  • Check it out! I used my first filler card! That’s because I did something different this week. I let go of having PL be my journal and worked with it as a more straightforward record of events instead. It’s a BIG difference. There are some significant conversations and interactions that didn’t make it onto this spread. There are some events I had pictures of that I didn’t include, just listed the event on the week in review card. I feel a little anxious (HOW will I look back and know everything that happened?!) but it was also a huge relief.
  • I made two new templates for myself – both 4×6, one with a single photo (like in the carrot pic above), one with two photos (like the pic of the kids playing cards). I think this is going to save me a LOT of time. I love putting smaller photos into 4×6 spots with journaling – it’s a good solution for a not-so-great picture (man, I tried nearly every action and trick I know on that carrot shot), it lets me get in some nice long journaling without feeling cramped, and I love the way it adds some dimension to the page. But I’ve been reluctant to do it in the past when I’m trying to go quickly because it takes me a disconcertingly long time, with the frame and the angle and the shadowing and all that. So having a premade template for this will, I think, free me up considerably.
  • I am annoyed that the corners of my Valerie Wibbens pocket page rounded corner templates aren’t actually round. Unfortunately they have the spacing I want (more room between photos than the Becky Higgins templates), and re-spacing all those cards is actually a huge drag. Another future time-saving investment will be to make an A template with the spacing I want and properly rounded corners.
  • I would like to work in more of the “Currently” stuff that’s so popular right now, what I’m watching and reading and all that, but there’s no room! My pages are crammed just keeping up with the pictures and stories from each day. Thinking about it now, I guess I could have put one of those cards where I put the filler card. At that point I was so excited to be done, though!
  • I’m pretty proud of how this layout turned out with respect to it being the week of Valentine’s Day. I didn’t want it to be themed as such or over the top with the cutesieness, but I do like the little nods – the touches of pink, the absurd Walgreen’s Valentine’s gifts, the kissers on the theater program, the heart label on the photo, and even the beet tattoo!


Inspiration this week from:

  • Kimberly Kalil (as always!) for the colored borders/patterned background paper look, and for the style in which I did my small photos in 4×6 spots.
  • Suzanne for a great title card, which I totally scraplifted. I’ve been scraplifting or inspiration-farming other people’s ideas for my title card most weeks, and so far I’ve been really happy with all of them.
  • Heather Johnson for her extraordinary post deconstructing how she does a PL layout. She introduced to me the ideas of taking pics with deliberate empty space to journal on, and making a couple of the photos in my layout black-and-white, which worked really well here (and if you disagree, well, you should have seen the dismal quality of the photos before I converted them!).
  • Haley of The Ney Life for the simple numbers stamped on the corners of photos. I go back and forth about how I want to label and record – day of the week, calendar date, just leave photos unmarked and let the layout tell the story of the whole week all together. However:
  • Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, my very favorite paper PLer, (and who I went to high school with – what’s up, Julie!) is, for herself, very insistent that each and every day be documented in her PL, be it with a photo or journal card or ephemera. Reading this made me feel less uptight and compulsive for having similar feelings myself. So it works best for me that at least one thing per day in my layout gets positioned precisely in time, although day of the week or date number both feel okay for me as long as the dates of the week are marked in my title card. And like Julie, I’m a Monday-Sunday person, always have been, probably always will.

I’m linking up this week with The Mom Creative‘s Project Life Tuesday. I’m a little late (posting this Wednesday night) so I may miss out on the visiting and commenting fun, but adding it to the linkup there does help keep me motivated to get this done in a timely fashion, so I’ll add it nonetheless.

Title card: Scraplift from Suzanne
Wood paper: Marisa Lerin at PixelScrapper
Felt camera, background paper, filler card paper: Persnickety Prints Storyteller free kit
Felt circle: Sweet Lilac Studio ~ Softly Falling free kit
Striped paper: Jen Allyson ~ Vanity Fair Aubergine Papers
Felt style on title: Jen Yurko ~ Early Evening Stroll Styles
Stitches: Busy Crafting Mommy Designs ~ Wonderful
Cardstock: Magpie Paper Works Seamless Paper Textures
Weekly journal card: The Splendidly Imperfect Miss M
Halo on filler card: handmade halo brushes by lily-fox on DeviantArt
Ombre paper (under carrots): The Ardent Sparrow ~ The Ombre Kraft Papers
Teal washi: Alamama’s Pressed Petals ~ That’s Old School add-on
Blue washi: Marisa Lerin ~ The Balkans
Totally not-rounded rounded corner template: Valerie Wibbens ~ Pockets No. 3
Fonts: Pacifico, American Typewriter, Amelie, Bebas Neue

6 thoughts on “Project Life ~ Week Seven ~ Feb 11-17

  1. Thanks for your sweet comment! It’s tough to try new things when you aren’t sure how it will come out in print; maybe you can do a trial run with a low-res print at home? But I love the techniques you’re already using. I use mostly iPhone photos, too; I’ve found a number of apps that help with editing, and I do more of my photo editing right on my phone after making my layout plan (on paper) than I do in PSE. I love snapseed and picframe, if you’re looking for suggestions. 🙂 Gorgeous filler card, too! It’s so tough to leave any tiny detail out, isn’t it?? I keep a 5-year line-a-day journal (which I just posted as a free download), and figured that that catches the stories I don’t want to forget but that don’t necessarily need to be in the album.

  2. I’m not a photographer either and that’s actually why i made the decision going into this year to stop worrying about editing. I was spending so much time trying to edit photos and still not being happy with them! the only editing i usually do is to possibly brighten a photo and/or correct white balance. it has help streamline my process so much! Great spread!

  3. Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my blog!! It is so cool to realize that I am not alone with my struggles with phone photos and spending too much time trying to make them look good. I have given up for the most part – I do some basic editing and then leave them be. I guess the blurry, grainy, poorly lit shots are part of real life too – lol. I totally admire Heather Johnson and her awesome photos (and stories) but I am learning to be happy with focusing on the stories first. I don’t do any pre-planning on my pages – at the end of the week I open a couple of different templates and wing it! This probably takes much longer than it should so maybe some planning would not hurt 🙂

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