For the past 2 years in January, I feel obliged to complete two large projects before the month ends. First, I rush to complete the Project Life pages for my album so I can get them uploaded to Blurb and printed into a book. Prior to Project Life, I was making my own version of Project Life with many of the same ideas - repetitive templates throughout, documenting month by month, including the entire family and their memorabilia in the layouts, etc. I love doing it digitally though as they albums come out so thin and well, book-like.
Check out the link for a preview of my latest Project Life Album. It costs a little over $100 to print this 94-pager, but it is well worth the money. One of my favorite books on our bookshelves!
The way I work it out is that each month, I separate our typical family events into themes - Amanda's stuff (usually involving work, hobbies, issues, friends, etc.), Kids' stuff, Family events, and Everyday Life. There are some months when Yusuke has something to share, such as when he travels or attends a friend's wedding. Special family events, such as birthdays, sports festivals, holidays, etc. are allotted extra pages for that month. When time and space allows, I scan memorabilia and use it throughout the pages - things like ticket stubs, kids' drawings, clothing tags, to-do lists, and so on.
I use Photo Shop Elements, both on Mac and PC to complete my pages and then upload them to Blurb in order to make the photobook.
Here's the thing though. By summer, I tend to fall way behind. In fact, in 2013, I was busy researching for my Masters thesis, and I started to fall behind after February. Once I finished with it in September, I spent a few hours here and there trying to catch up but didn't make much headway. I spend most of my winter break powering my way through the last 10 months of the year, so don't get discouraged if you start to fall behind. There are advantages to doing the pages months after the fact (like, you won't be quite as detailed with a little perspective). Of course, there are disadvantages too, like the constant nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach or the likelihood of missing some important details or even the order of events, but really, does that matter in the end? What matter most is that your family has a beautiful book of memories to look at for years to come.
For 2014, I would love to keep up a little better. I don't have the excuse of thesis, but I'm sure other things will come up. Right now, I am trying to figure out some techniques for keeping up and for SIMPLIFYING the whole process. I have a few sets of templates that I go back to again and again, and I found that simple templates work better for me. Though I sometimes love the look of very elaborate pages, it is not feasible for PL pages - too heavy and take too long to work on. I downloaded more Becky Higgins templates and several of Cathy Zielske's templates, both created for the purpose of Project Life. I have a huge stockpile of digital kits that I procured when I was a member of the Digi Files. I have recently unsubscribed because my computer external hard drives were getting so full, and I needed to take a break and use up kits that I have never used yet. I plan to go through and choose several kits that I will use for 2014. Last year, I chose a different kit for each month, but as it turns out, there were some kits I really loved and others, not so much, so I will only choose four or five that I really love, that suit the seasonal colors, that make my heart sing, and I use those over and over.
Here is one in particular that I fell in love with, which lead me to buy several more of the kits created by Libby Pritchett at Sweet Shoppe.
I love the color blending, the oranges, the shabbiness of it. This definitely reflects my style. Bright but shabby.
Next week, we will be into February, and I'll need to start my January pages of Project Life 2014. Wish me luck, and if you feel the inkling to start an album, by all means...your family will love it, and most importantly, so will you!