Project Life: Evolution of a project

In my previous post, I mentioned that I do a project called Project Life. This post in an in-depth look at how I do Project Life.


Project Life is a system created by Becky Higgins and it is the simplest way I have found to keep your memories. Project Life can be as detailed or as simple as you want. I personally have chosen to take a picture-a-day, but you most certainly do not need to do that. Many other people doing this project have chosen “Week-at-a-glance” and others have simply kept it to big events/outings where they have more photos.


I started doing picture-a-day because that was how the kit was designed. I kept doing it because of all of the things I managed to capture. I carry my point and shoot camera with me everywhere I go. This has translated into pictures at the park, pictures while eating out, my daughter passed out in those crazy position in the backseat of the car, the price of gas.At home, I can capture things like dinner, card games, laundry, daily messes ect (no one’s house looks like a magazine, so just take pictures.)


In 2010 when I started this project, I took a photo a day and I would get them processed each week at Costco. The photo guy has gotten to know us very well. We would show up every Saturday, I would pick up my pictures and when we got home, into the album they would go. In 2011, Kaylee started doing ballet on Saturday mornings so the routine got broken. In 2012, I have fallen behind and so I tend to print my photos in large batches. Does this mean I am burned out on Project Life? NO WAY! This project is something I treasure and everyone in my family has enjoyed looking through the album.

Falling behind is okay! 

This is an spread from this year. I have a “title card” with the date written in. I am missing journaling on all but 1 slot. What I do have is pictures taken, I have a photo from Kaylee’s school “crazy circus” and I even have the “ticket” in the slot. I have memories in an album. If this page never makes it to completion, no one will fret over all the things I don’t have, instead my daughter will excitedly see what is there.


I am most definitely no expert on the topic of Project Life. What I can tell you comes from what works for me and almost 3 years of trial and error. These 2 photos show a very common layout.

The 1st photo, I had a photo for each day, and not a lot of additional photos I wanted to add, so I did the standard journaling cards. In the 2nd photo, I had several additional photos I wanted to add so I didn’t journal at all.

“but what is with the picture of milk?” beats me! We do go through a lot of milk though, would I have cut out one of the photos to make room for the journaling card. NO WAY.  This year, I discovered Martha Stewart brand file folder labels by Avery sold only at Staples and they ROCK! Now I journal on a file folder label and stick it right on the photo.


Not having enough is the hardest for me. As you will see in the next section, adding more is easy, but coming up with content can be tricky.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with photo sizes. Don’t have enough? Take a vertical picture you like and make it 8×12.

Here are some more ideas I’ve tried:
– Hand over a journaling card to your child and have them doodle on the back. – Write or print out a quote you love.
– Do a small piece of art or doodle on a card.
– Do you have any really busy pattern paper that was visually beautiful but won’t ever end up on a layout? use that as a filler. Cardstock left in your stash? use that.
– Find several strips of paper lying around, get out the adhesive or a glue stick and make a collage.
– Get out those rubber stamps and play around.
– Print out a photo online of a TV show you watch, song you’re playing (print out album art or screencap your ipod) or a book you’ve read.
– Journal about a news story.
– Write about a product you love, place you’ve eaten, pet peeve, something you’re happy about, or even how much you hate these political ads.
– Things you like on Pinterest.

Project Life is a way of expressing who you are and how you’re living life.


I don’t usually add a lot of “Stuff” from my day to day life like receipts, menus,  dinner recipes, business cards ect. They are a great way to fill in the blanks on weeks that are lacking in photos though. There is a great time and place for it though, I had a friend come to visit me and we played it up in Vegas, tourist style!

We saw the show “O” at Bellagio. I punched out a flyer they gave us and added it in. I bought a package of baseball card holders ($5-$10 for a pack of 100 at Target.) and added in a receipt, hotel key holder, hotel room key, a few photos and on the other side more random things we picked up. This worked perfectly as an insert (additional) page so it left room in the standard page protector for the normal stuff.

Inserts are great for weeks when you’ve taken more photos than usual

In this insert, I purchased a package of 8×8 page protectors from Michaels. The photos did not line up because they aren’t a Becky Higgins products (you can buy Becky Higgins Project Life 8×8 page protectors on Amazon for about the same price) so I took a hand hold hole punch and modified this one so I could add 2 additional (and larger size) photos.

I have used 8×11 page protectors or 12×12 page protectors to include art my daughter has done in school.

I purchased these page protectors at my local craft store to add additional photos from a hiking trip. Notice, I used pattern pape

r in the sleeves as well. I had 12 slots but not 12 photos, so in went a piece of paper and in it went.

I love doing projects! so my Project Life album each year also includes Ali Edwards “Week in the Life” and “December Daily”.

Sometimes I just put it in with the normal Project Life week, and sometimes it is an insert.

If I only have a couple of photos, I use flip down pockets sold on Amazon.

Photo pockets are all over the place, and if you find one you like, use it. If you don’t have enough photos to fill all of the pockets, use pattern paper or cut it to meet your needs.


This year, I got an Android phone, which now has instagram. I am not a big fan of the photos on my camera. My digital camera takes much nicer photos but I do have my phone with me always and it’s sometimes less conspicuous than my digital camera.

I have printed out the photo in 4×4. To do this, I opened up a 6×4 canvus in Photoshop and sized the photo accordingly, once it was printed, I trimmed off the excess and put it on a piece of pattern paper.

I have also made them really small 2×2 and put them on the provided Project Life cards. I know these look well aligned, but trust me it was a happy accident. I eyeballed the size on a 6×4 canvus in photoshop and printed them out at home. If it required any sort of particular math, I wouldn’t have done it.


Most weeks, I use the standard kit. In go the pictures, in go the journaling cards and if I am feeling fancy, I’ll choose a pen to dress it up a bit.


An entire week takes me about 30-45 minutes to complete and part of that time is because I will cut photos to fit in the 3×4 pockets and/or time to think about what to write without sounding completely retarded to current and future generations. In 2012, I have embraced “so what?!”. If Tuesday’s photo looked like crap “so what?!” put it in OR add a photo from the week that I like better. I have had photos from Tuesday and Saturday look better when paired closer together, so I’ve switched up the placement. I downloaded a photo online from the Olympics, added journaling in Photoshop and printed it in place of a crappy photo of my TV screen in the darkness.

Don’t let excuses get in the way of doing something you think you’ll enjoy. Try it!


Leave a comment

Filed under Life, People, Photography, Project Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s