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Project Life 2012

A lot of buzz is going on in blog land about Project Life – as it always is this time of year.  Those of you who have followed my blog for a while now know that I am a huge fan and have been using Becky’s Project Life kits to create albums for my kids for the past couple of years.  I never followed the “picture a day” concept, although I think it’s brilliant.  For me, I just wanted a simple way to create something special for each of my kids.

Albums that would document our family traditions,  
the funny things my kids do and say, 

close family relationships,

and all of the fun we are having together. 
Albums that would include special artwork,

special vacations and memories,

and special family moments.
I wanted albums that could be low maintenance, just slip in a picture and some journaling, but something that would also allow me to be more creative when I found the time.  The Project Life system has worked beautifully for me and I cherish the albums I’ve created so far.  So does the rest of my family.  
BUT.  At this very moment I find myself a bit unsure.  Unsure about my Project Life scrapbooking plan for 2012.  
Last February I asked Kenny for three new Project Life kits for Valentines Day (two Amber Editions for each of my girls and the Turquoise Edition for Kole).  Aside from looking through them last February, they have sat untouched.  The problem?  I now have THREE children to scrapbook for and even LESS time to scrapbook.  I finished up some school pages for my girls last summer and haven’t had two seconds to even think about scrapbooking since.  Well.  I’m ready to think about it again and here are some of the questions and answers going through my mind:
– Three albums is A LOT to take on right now.  I’ll never be able to keep up.  Should I just do ONE family album?  But I love that my kids have their own albums with their own stories being told.  THEY love that they have their own albums.  It’s my gift to them.  I could do just one digital Project Life album that I could make copies of for each child?  But creating a digital album wouldn’t be an enjoyable process for me.  I don’t want to spend more time on the computer.  I LOVE the creative process of putting together an album with real pictures and real handwriting and real memorabilia that you can see and touch and remove.  Their albums are also where I keep their special school and art work.  How would that work in a family album?  Or a digital album?  
– Ok.  So I clearly need to keep doing one album per child.  But I need to find a way to simplify.  Less pictures for sure.  Maybe a layout for each month?  
– And since I’m a year behind should I start where I left off?  Or just start with current pictures and hope to someday go back and finish up the lost year?  I’ll most likely never get to it.  But if I start where I left off will I ever get on top of things?  
I don’t know the answers to these questions.  What I do know is that I need to come up with a system that is enjoyable, simple, and DOABLE for me or it just isn’t going to happen at the stage of life I’m in right now.  
Why didn’t any of you warn me that keeping up with three kids would be so much work!!??  ;)
Are YOU doing Project Life this year?  I’d love to hear any thoughts, suggestions, or how you are making it work for your family.
p.s.  You can see all of my past Project Life layouts here.  
xoxo, Erin
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53 thoughts on “Project Life 2012

  1. Erin….I feel your pain about not being able to keep up with the kids’ scrapbooks. It’s a HUGE mommy-guilt that I have right now. Scrapbooking has always been my #1 hobby, and my first six kids have complete books up to age three. The next three kids…well, I haven’t even started their scrapbooks yet! and the youngest of the bunch is now three and a half years old. I had every intention in keeping up with all their books. But life with many kids just gets in the way.

    The only way I can scrapbook now is if I GO AWAY on a scrap retreat. I can “say” that I will do it at home and add to their books once a month… but the reality is that it hasn’t happened like that in years. So I’ve accepted the fact that I must go away to scrap. And I try to go away two times a year. I’d love to go more than that…but you know, that can be hard, too.

    One thing I can say… when you get behind and you start in again…always always always start from where you are right now – the most current photos. If you start from where you left off, chances are you’ve already forgotten some of the specific memories that go with those photos (things they did or funny things they said) so it’s best to start with the most current. Besides, if you start where you left off, by the time you get to the “current” stuff you will have forgotten those memories, too. (this rule usually applies if you are more than 6 months behind. I think if you are only a few months behind the memories will still be fresh regardless of where you start)

    Anyways, that’s my advice, for what it’s worth! I see your Life Books and I get the itch to start it up again. Do you find that your blog sort of takes the place of scrapbooking? I mean, it’s not the same by any means, but the journaling part and the photos at least gets the memories down. I honestly believe that my scrapbooking days began to dwindle once I started up my blog. I blame the kids for falling behind…but…I bet if I used the time that I spend on my blog and reading other blogs and instead spent it on my scrapbooking, well I bet I’d have my last three children’s scrapbooks pretty much caught up by now! The more I got into blogging, the less time I devoted to my scrapbooks.

    It’s easier to blame the kids! LOL

  2. Erin. Commend yourself on what you have done. Being a mommy is a job in itself. I am a mom of two girls as well who are now 11 and 13 it seems as if they grew overnight and when they were your girls’ age I was working outside of the home and never completed my 1st scrapbook. Never. So you can imagine the pictures I have floating around :( Now that I work from home things shall be different. I do feel guilty that I may have taken less pics than I wanted but I’m looking forward. I definitely commend you on what you’ve done for your kiddos.

  3. I think you need to be less hard on yourself. I think as scrapbookers we put so much pressure on ourselves to stay up to date on our scrapbooks. I finally got to the point of just living my life and experience the moments and worry less about my scrapbooks. I love scrapbooking and find it a great stress relief. But I guess with age, I’ve done away with the notion that I will ever be “caught up”. However, I do agree with Katrina in that a retreat is a great way to get pages done. The last one I went to, I completed 17 pages in about 8 hours. :-)

  4. Hi Erin! First, I want to say that I love your blog! I have been reading it for a while but have yet to comment!

    I also have 3 kids and it is definitely hard to keep up! I do one PL for the whole family and add individual things like artwork and notes for each kid as they come along. I always picture them fighting over them when i am long gone…hopefully there will be enough that they can all chose from:)

    I also believe in “start current, stay current”. I do what is most fresh in my mind and then if and when I find time I go back and do what I missed.

    I think that no matter how you do it, this is something your kids will treasure.

  5. Just recently we had an evening enjoying past scrapbooks. As you say such a treasure. Mine certainly are not fabulous like yours but such a treasure. I’ve also realized that they are always a work in progress, like life. I realized after reading your post that on my ongoing todo list is getting our books caught up. Sigh. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I just found your blog. I am a non POTD Project Lifer as well and I’m not sure how I’m going to use it in 2012. I still have to finish 2011 …. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with :)

  7. Start current! I do PL and also have 3 to keep up with BUT I have been “supplementing” w/ the Picasa 12×12 layouts too…I can get SO many pics on one page and I may or may not leave room (afteer printing) for handwriting or a little bit of a memento to put on the page. This has helped me alot, and i get the best of both worlds! Persikety Prints is a great printer and you get your pages in like 1 day – its crazy! I thought I would NEVER like or do digital scrapbooking but it is so rewarding and gives me a little “rush” when I can crank out a bunch of pages with lots of pictures in diff. sizes, collages, etc…in an hour or two in front of the TV or even laying in bed :) It gives me a good,quick sense of accomplishment and Lord knows I need it w/ 3 :) try it!

  8. Seeing posts like this always make me want to start a scrapbook for my kids, but like you, when will I ever have time?? But the pictures of yours look awesome and make me want to do SOMETHING; maybe 2012 will be the year that I start! Thanks for the inspiration…I think! :)

  9. I am new to PL. I am doing my first one this year. I have been reading reccomendations from other moms, and I have decided to do the photo a day format, but only do one album per year. I make individual digital books for birthdays, special occations, vacations, etc. One mom said that she cant see all of her children wanting to leave the house with 18-20 books. She is going to let each of them decide which family books they would like to keep. And if in the future, they would like to switch, they could do so. And she is right I think. IT will be nice for them to have the memories, but they will want to be have room for making them for thier own children as well. Just some thoughts. I will be looking foward to seeing how yours comes along, as I am so new to this!! Good Luck :) Jessica

  10. I understand your dilmena – we scrapbookers/PL-ers like to feel like we are covering all the bases and being thorough – – but keeping up with three, seperate, unique books is quite daunting!

    I do like the idea of just committing yourself to doing a monthly layout for each child for their book (since you’d still like them to have have their own, non-digital book) – exactly the same for each child. That will be EASY – – BUT, if you wish to add more as the moments present themselves, add a bit here or there to each child’s book as you wish, but knowing that at least you have the basic monthly one covered.

    I do a PL family album – the kids (thus far) have a baby album (birth to one year) and will have a school album (from Becky’s original school kit) that won’t be too extensive, just the highlights of that year, specifically with school. So the PL album is what gets most of my attention reguarly. Good luck! Whatever you do, it WILL be cherished by them in the future, no matter how extensive or simple it is – they won’t say “Mom didn’t love us because she didn’t journal and have pictures for every little thing we did every month of our life!”;) They’ll cherish whatever you DO have!

  11. I have a book for each girl. The first three years of Lauren (my oldest) life were “old fashioned” scrapbooking. Then I did two years digital (when my Addison was born) (and did not quite like it as much) and this past year I have done a Project Life book for her (inspired by you!) and I love it.

    Addison has 5 books and I have started her 6th book! She is only 3. oh man.

    Here is what I do:

    Summer vacations I do one digital book for the family. I take so many pictures in one week that I would never be able to finish both girls books of a summer vacation. In their separate book I put one page from highlights from the summer vacation.

    I am going to do another Project Life book for Lauren (my oldest) as I really like how fast they come together.

    I am going to continue to do “old fashioned” scrapbooking for Addison because I really like the creativity in them.

    So, here is what I suggest. Keep the books separate. My girls love looking through their books. I always like to scrapbook what is current, but I usually stay caught up! I take a day every other month and scrapbook from 10 in the morning until about 9 at night with a girlfriend at a local scrapbook shop. That usually keeps up me up to date..but I only have 2 kids!

    Journaling is what I get behind on, but since I have the blog I can go back and get caught up on journaling at a later date…just this past weekend my husband took the girls for 3 hours in the morning and I journaled. I am almost caught up!

    Good Luck and keep us updated!

  12. I have the same questions. I am going to start PL this year and I am really excited. I originally thought I would do one for each child but realize that is not realistic at all. That said I will do one family album.

    I have a few traditional scrapbooks for my daughter and I do plan on catching up on my son’s traditional books so he at least has 2 of the same type. That’s all I can commit to at this point in my life!

    I am an organizing freak but I have to say photos are one area that overwhelm me . . . because I take so many!

  13. 2012 is my third year doing PL and I am continuing to do only one physical album for the entire family. I like that it shows our family as a whole unit and it’s way less stress than trying to keep up with separate albums for each boy.

    My thought process against making each boy a separate album is that I’m not sure they will want 18 albums of themselves when they are grown and leave the house. When I moved out of my parents house, I was overwhelmed with all the “stuff” my mom had saved for me. While I appreciated all of the memories, there was just SO much! Where was I going to put it all? I had to do some major purging of my memories!

    Can’t wait to see what you decide for your family!

  14. Hi Erin – I feel your pain! I am having the same dilemma! What I have been doing is a PL family album and then a PL album for each child. It is SO much work! I just went back to work this year, so I have even less time!! I can’t wait to see what you decide to do!!

  15. Hi, Erin,
    I always enjoy reading about your project life albums and I think it is so wonderful you are making separate albums for each child. You seem to prefer it that way too, so I suggest you keep going that way. Only, do not start where you left them last year, start the new year, or otherwise you will never catch up . You have all the pics from last year in a folder on your computer so you could get back to it even in few years, when kiddos are bigger and you have more time or even can escape for a scrapbooking weekend..

    Looking forward to reading your more simplified way of doing this project!

  16. Hi Erin! I struggled with the same concept; but I was too far behind so I just started doing a family album because I didn’t have the time or patience for creating more than one. I’m still behind…

    What I decided to do is scrapbook the pictures in one family album, BUT will also have a scrapbook that my daughters help me complete. This includes artwork, funny stories, etc. That way it’s personalized for them.

    I do scrap retreats every six months, and it’s a blessing! It’s amazing bonding time for my friends and I and I get a lot done. I’m usually in bed by 10pm but surprisingly when I am away scrapping I’m up until 3 or 4am and out of bed by 10! Less sleep, but lots done.

    Good luck, I hope you find a process that works! Love your blog!


  17. I am not a PLer but I love scraping and I found a way to get me caught up and still looking great. Are you albums 12×12? I was so far behind that I had guilt weighing on me instead of the joy of scrapping. Then I started doing StudioJ from Close to my Heart. It is digital 12×12 layouts that you can print as many times as you need and you can slip them into the page protector to fill in your gaps. You could still us the PL books for the school art and cute notes and then print the pages that fit right in (assuming they are 12×12.) That is how I do it and I am proud to say that I am scrapping Aug 2011 right- I am usually a year or 2 behind!

  18. Erin-I think you’ve done a great job documenting thus far. I feel the same way…I’m about 7 years behind and from what I’ve read and know you should start with today and work backwards. Since we’re both feeling like we’re struggling in keeping up, let’s just do a scrapbook day or afternoon every so often. There a spot in Poway where we can rent a table. Every once in a while, we should be able to keep up :)

  19. Hi Erin, I have been following your blog, which I love for a while but haven’t commented yet :)

    I know where you are coming from I only have two boys but I got behind a while ago and am still getting caught up. I do a Project Life for the family then I do a book for each boy. I do a layout a month for the boys. It goes quicker than you would think to do a two page layout for each month.

    I like to go back and get caught up on what I haven’t worked on but at the same time I try to also keep up with the family project life which I am doing digitally, while the boys books are traditional books, I get the best of both worlds.

    Good Luck, can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  20. Erin- When I started Scrapbooking back in 1998, I was always trying to stay “Caught Up”. I lost my love of Scrapbooking, so now I do Project Life for Me and add in the 3 kids info and stuff. I figure that when I leave this place technology will be at a place where my children will be able to make quick and easy copies of what they want. I also plan on doing Stacy Julian method of scraping the pictures of the past that say a story needs to be told.

  21. You have such beautiful scrapbooks already!! I am way way behind. I scrap booked much more when my two oldest were tiny and now they are teenagers. The 6 year old has a baby book and our 3 year old has nothing.

    I have a project life I bought last year and I opened and admired all the pretty things but haven’t done anything with it. My new goal is just to do the project life as a family scrapbook and just have a baby book for each kid. It’s so hard to keep up and then once you fall behind I have a hard time remembering what the pictures are even about!

  22. This is what I am doing (2 kids – one is 7 and one is 4). Each kid got a first year 12×12 album. The first was thicker, but I honestly liked the 2nd one more. They both have 8×8 toddler albums. Each has basically 4-5 pages for that entire year (say age 3 for example). My daughter is in school, so I used PL for her. I do 2 -3 page protectors (style A) for the entire school year. I just store them (for now) in my PL binder until she gets further along in school then I’ll just change them out (love 3 ring binders:)) For PL, I bought the dividers last summer and “caught up” with year in review pages for 2009 – 2011. For 2012, I plan to do monthly instead of weekly layouts. I really liked a Stacy Julian article that went over her School of Life albums for her kids – not just school alone but everything from that year. To me that freed me up from SOOO many pages and albums. I agree with another poster that referred to who would want to take 20 albums with them when they left home. I plan to keep all family albums and they can have their baby, toddler and school albums.
    Good luck and I love your blog :)

  23. I am doing PL this year for the first time and I am SO excited!! I am doing a photo a day to help keep me up to date as far as the weekly layouts go. I thought about doing a separate book for my son, I did one last year to document his first year. But I think this year he will just be incorporated into the one book. It just sounds like too much to have multiple books going at once! Good luck!!

  24. I have three kids, the same ages as yours (1 girl and 2 boys, which are even wilder than Kole)….and it’s HARD to find the time for something like scrapbooking. It’s hard to find time to clean the kitchen some days! Or take a shower….or comb my hair….ok, I’m not that bad.

    You are right…everyone is talking about Project Life. The only way I knew what it was is thru your blog…at first I thought you made up that term yourself! I have heard about them so much I am going to purchase an album and go from there and if I like it, I will order more and do one for each child.

    Thank you for your posts about this, I am taking inspiration from your albums and I really love to see your layouts and album ideas and I would love to do some similar to what you do. Please keep us updated on your albums and good luck find the time and ideas! If anyone can do it, you can!

  25. I was seriously just talking about this with my husband last night! Of course, he was looking at me with a slightly glazed expression :) Between my blog and scrapbooking, it’s hard to know where to put my efforts- especially because my time is limited! I would love to hear what you decide.

  26. Question about PL – how much can you fit in one album? Like how many photos if you’re doing mostly pictures and maybe only one journaling card per page? I have a family blog (which I am crazy behind on this year!) and last year I printed it off with Blurb and LOVE it (here’s my blog post with some pictures if you’ve ever thought of doing it: When I had my first daughter she had her own little digital scrapbook but I am about to have baby #4 (all under the age of 7!!) and I knew I could never keep up on it. The kids love having their own little books of pictures, so I was planning on just continuing the blog books every year and then printing off pictures for each kiddo and putting them in an album(s) for them to take when they grow up. I’m wondering if PL is a better solution than just plain photo albums? That way I can write them a few personal notes about the pictures? Or would it be a waste of a kit to do it this way?? Would love some suggestions. I want to keep it simple so that I’ll actually do it! :-)

    Love what you’ve already done btw.. your layouts are adorable and I’m sure your kids will cherish them!!

  27. Well, my kids are all adults and when they were small there was no such thing as PL and scrapbooking was way different than it is today. I also have three kids and when you talk about how Kole is…I relive my third child all over again. I believe in the “third child syndrome” with all my heart…but that’s a different topic :) There also was no blogging back then which I think is also a big help for keeping the memories.

    What I did with my kids, when I finally resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t keep up with everything, I made each one of my kids a box. In that box went everything I thought I wanted to keep for them. Stuff from school, special awards, anything I thought was a keepsake. At the end of the year I went through everything, purged, and put what I wanted to really keep in a large manila envelope with the year and the grade they were in school on the front. That envelope went back in the box. I had a seperate smaller box, about shoe box sized, that I kept for funny things they said or did. I always had a note pad on the kitchen counter and I just jotted stuff down with the date and the name of the child on the paper and threw it in the box (which can also work if you don’t have time to hop on the blog to record it). I sorted through these at the end of every year also, and put them with the other keepsakes. At some point, when they were all older and not so much in need of me…I started organizing it all. It’s a big project and certainly it would be nice to be able to keep up with it as you go along, but sometimes busy mom’s don’t have that luxury. And just wait until they are all involved in activities, sports and whatnot…there’s even less time. My kids are now 27, 26 and 23 and I am just now starting the process of scanning the thousands of pictures I have from the pre-digital age. It’s a daunting task and I envy all of you who had your families in the digital age.

    You are so creative and I know you will find an awesome system that will work for you. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Good luck!

  28. Erin, your albums are beautiful!!!! I love how you used them. And you know, you should be oberwhelmingly THRILLED to have done so much already. Really. Don’t beat yourself up over what doesn’t exist. I agree with other posters that say to start in the hear-and-now… and when you get time, just print your blog posts for the time you missed… that’s already documented and done! :)

    I’ve sadly all but abandoned my scrapbooks and went to a Shutterfly year-in-review that I print at the end of the year… I’ve done that for the past 3 years and really love it. I do one spread a month… and sometimes I do vacation Shutterfly albums. I do my own designs and upload to the site, but some of their new book styles are very cool.

    I’m a newbie to Project Life, just starting this week and so far I adore it!!! So far I’m doing a photo-a-day, but I’m not stressing myself over it. If life gets busy with my 2 young boys, then I’ll be happy to go to a few weeks on one spread. I’m not going to stress myself out and if I get behind, I’ll just start where I am.

    I also wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I can relate to so many of your posts! THANKS!

  29. I understand how you feel. I actually just started printing our family blog into books. I did mine through blurb. It’s not the perfect way, but at least we have some documentation of our life. Good luck!

  30. I have missed your project life posts and pages. I believe that is how I found your blog – Jessica Turner or Becky linked to your page. And now it’s the first blog I check each day. Thankful for project life in more ways than one. ;)
    What I did last year really worked for me. I did the picture a day, with the journaling and tried to update it weekly. I had failed at this in 2009 (was still teaching) and 2010( the last week I did was the week before my second child was born). 2011- I completed it and absolutely LOVE this book. But I take so many pictures and wanted more than just one photo a day. So I used the other kit (it ended up being 2 kits and books by the end) to “scrap” the events, vacations and just those things that require more than one picture. I try to keep each event to a 2 page spread, but some of our vacations or parties turn out to be 4 or 6. With my 2- ages 3 and 1, I find I have brief blocks of time. But, I can sit down and do an event or two during nap or at bedtime and somewhat keep up. I think I am up to November of 2011 doing it this way- with traditional scrapbooking, I would still be working on January. (Again, so thankful for these kits! ) Or if I tried to do multiple books, I think I would get overwhelmed and maybe even a little bored repeating the same events- we all go on vacation or play in the snow or have the superbowl party, etc, etc. I also try to do a spread at the end of each month with pictures I love that weren’t necessarily an “event” or funny things they did or said. So I end up with 3 books for each year. My children look at them all the time and we really enjoy them. Do I feel bad that they don’t have their own book? Not really, because I think I will appreciate them more when they are gone than they will. They will always be here at their home for them to look at. Oh, I do include artwork, tickets, notes, etc. in both books- wherever it seems to fit.
    Can’t wait to see what you decide to do. Good luck!

  31. Love this idea! I to have life albums but they are for our whole family with only 12 double sided pages in them so they stay fairly small and to the point but still include all the most important life moments — I’m a little behind so in the next few dreary Vancouver months I’m going to get to it and finish them up! Thanks for the encouragement and I can’t wait to see more of yours! XoXo*S

  32. Oh my goodness!! I LOVE all of this awesome feedback! THANK YOU for commenting and sharing what you do. It has really got me thinking about the big picture and where I want to go with all of this. You guys are awesome!! :)

    I will definitely keep you all updated on what I decide to do and share what is working for me!

  33. I feel for you! Mine are 18 and 22 and mom is just now thinking about getting things in order as far as albums go. Started some, but then life got in the way. This is on my to do list for this year. I’ll let ya know how I am doing…it is a bit daunting to say the least!

  34. Hi Erin! I started PL last year (2011) and am just about done, i have been printing my own pics and then cutting them out but am ditching this as it is so time consuming. Instead I will wait for a few months worth if pics and have them printed. To keep up to date with journalling I am sticking a sticky note onto the sleeves with some notes written down and and plan one night a fortnight to write them up and then just slip in pics every few months. This is just for a family album. Good luck with whatever you do but I too think you have done an amazing job so far and staying fit,blogging etc all adds up with time but those things are so important too so just Well done from me!

  35. I am sure you have ALREADY gotten an ear full! But, I couldn’t help but notice, AGAIN, that we are twins with our thinking process! Here is what I have done to solve my dilemma:

    2010 I did the Project Life one picture per day style album. LOVE IT! After doing it that way, I decided that I really didn’t need to be as precise in 2011. So:

    2011 I did Project Life ONE LAYOUT PER MONTH!!!! So, each page is just highlights from that month, with inserts here and there on some of the bigger stuff (vacations, birthdays etc.) I love it because I still have room in that album to do at least one, maybe two more years. So on the spine it will read “Family 2011, 2012, 2013.” This is gr8 ’cause I am saving money too.

    Now for the kids: I started Stacy Julian’s idea to do “School of Life” albums for my kids years ago. And it is working. I just save all the memorabilia, photos in files and print important pics for their year. I do 4 12x12layouts per year for them:

    Layout 1 & 2: School year title page and school picture, first and last day photo, journaling or extra photos from school.

    Layout 3 & 4: Life layouts, I include milestones such as baptism pictures, birthdays (usually 3 or 4photos or a collage and journaling), vacations or family events with a little journaling.

    Pocket Page: I include at least one pocket page per year on the back side of the last layout to include memorablia, awards etc for that year. Sometimes I iclude a pocket within the layout for the school page to store report card etc.

    That is all I try to keep up with each year. I am not caught up, but since I have a set system, it is easy to catch up when I get behind. No thinking invloved!

    I keep a seperate “Sports” scrapbook for each boy since they do 3 to 4 different sports per year. It is easy to keep up since I usually just buy the photo memory page that includes all the info. I include awards and extra photos taken as well. I am not caught up on these at all, but again, since I have the system and the actual binders in place, I just store the sports stuff where it will eventually go.

    Phew. Long comment! Hope it is helpful!!!!

  36. I left my other unfinished albums for project life and got started on the current. I try to dedicate one day a month to work on old ones and once a week on current. I do one month shouts. Seems to be easiest for me. The one a day photo is crazy. I saved the amber and torquosed kits for the yer I’m ehind and got the cobalt ad clemtine ones for current. Either way it’s tough, but I try to give myself an hour or two a week.

  37. Erin, I think no matter how hard we all try we will always be “behind” I just do one project life album right now, but I only have one child right now. I have no idea what I will do when I have more!! I am behind on her first year album and probably always will be haha!! I would just start with the now and if you ever have extra time (what is that!) go back and work on the previous year. I know you will find what works for you though!! Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you come up with:)

  38. How about doing a Project Life Digital Family Yearbook…you can then print off 4 copies (one for you and one for each child)…and then a different system for their “special” projects/artwork for each child. You could use your albums you have now…but since you won’t have all of the pictures you can put more years in one album..saves space and you can work on them when you have time.

    The digital book can easily be worked on as you are uploading your pictures to your computer anyway!

    Another idea would be to have your blog published since you put so much out there anyway!

    Good luck in finding what works for YOU!

  39. Everything you’ve done with scrapbooking for your kids is AMAZING! I don’t have kids yet, but I keep everything I’ve seen from you tucked away in my mind for when I do have them! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to keep up like you do though… you are amazing!

    This year, I decided to switch to digital and am SO thankful I did. I do other crafty things, so I don’t miss that aspect of it. And I definitely don’t miss having to size my pictures and get them printed. I can now scrap as the year goes on, and I’m ready to order the book (I do it through Shutterfly) as soon as the year is over. I plan on doing the same thing when I have kids so I can print out multiple copies for them.

  40. Erin. Just let it go. I mean doing the separate books. I know it is hard but let me tell you about the weight that will leave your shoulders once you do.
    I did the two book thing with my first two…for one year. I was so stressed and doing the same pages twice and printing pictures twice. It was time consuming and expensive. I felt so guilty at first then I felt ok about everything. I do the scrapbooking for myself so just one family book is ok for us. I still do individual pages that are just about them…so they still feel a bit special. This way I can still do other things I love like quilting and sewing stuff for my kids…plus with project life it is so much easier. I won’t promise that it will always be caught up…I am still working on 2010 which is NOT project life but I am almost done with 2011 which is project life…my goal for January is to finish 2010. Anyway hope this all helps…just don’t stress. That is the most important thing. Love your blog by the way. I too am really into organization so I feel we are kindred spirits…

  41. I love reading all the comments. I began Project Life last year. I did a family album and kept up with the picture a day thing for the most part. I work 12 hour shifts and also taking classes but I find time to keep up. Someone mentioned the only time she gets her scrapbooking done is when she goes away on retreats…I do this twice a year and love it because I get lots done! I highly recommend this!!!!! So towards the end of the year there have been times I didn’t get a ‘picture of the day’ but that’s because I was at work for 12 hours…and this is what I document because this is life right now.

    I am continuing PL for 2012 as a family album but not focusing on the picture of the day format…which has been kind of nice. I am doing the monthly approach this year. So some months may have more pages than others, some days I may have multiple pictures and some days I may not have any. I also incorporate traditional scrapbooking into my PL…this is what I love about it. I can keep it as simple as I want and embellish it as much as I want as well!

    I have also done a PL album for our son and I am doing another one this year. I also do the monthly approach for his album and incorporate school into it.

    So I do keep up with two albums every year. The family album and our son’s (5years old) album have a lot of the same stuff in them. Right now each year fits into one or two albums, it just depends how much extra I add to it. I know as he gets older I will be able to fit a few years into an album.

    Since we only have one child it’s easy for me to say do a PL album for each child. I would think that each of the albums would be very similar and then add special touches for each child.

    Looking forward to reading about what you decide! Have fun with it!!!!

  42. Hi again…
    I forgot to mention in my post that sometimes I do get a bit behind in my scrapbooking as most of us do and I find taking some notes along the ways is helpful. If my son says or does something that I want to document in his album I take notes in a small notebook. That way I won’t forget to document something!

  43. I haven’t used the digital Project Life program, but I have used iPhoto to create Family Albums for 2010 and 2011. I love that not only can you get your album get printed multiple times, but you can also burn a slideshow of the album to DVD, add music, alter the transitions etc. My four year old nephew loves the DVDs and watches them every morning! He loves seeing the photos of himself and bops along to the music (which I make sure is compiled from our favourites from that year).
    There is not a whole lot of space for journalling, which makes it a quick and easy process.
    I also made some iPhoto albums for our holidays last year. For our Cook Islands holiday, as I took 500 photos in ten days! It was super quick and easy to do when we got back. And for a more relaxed camping trip, I took the laptop and just did each day at night time. It seriously took hardly any time and it was so great having a completed book when we got home to show family and friends!
    I definitely recommend using this program if you have a Mac!
    Your albums are simply stunning and very inspiring!

  44. I have read your posts in the past about PL and I think your scrapbooks are amazing! I ordered the album and plan to start this year, although I know I can’t do a photo or weekly layout. I have a ton of photos, but have yet to assemble anything. My son is 9 months and I have not started on his baby book.

  45. I haven’t read everyone else’s comments so sorry if this isn’t a new and fresh idea. But what if you create a digital version for the “missing year” that you can create and print for all 3 kiddos and then start now doing the 3 individual project life books? It kind of gives you the best of both worlds. Yes you have to sit at the computer to create the missing year, but then you have the satisfaction of printing 3 copies and just like that you’re caught up ;) And then you can get back to doing project life and scrapbooking the way that you like. Or you could take that route that I would probably take which to call the missing year the “dark period” and when the kids are older just explain that Kole was a 1 year old and that kicked your fanny :) Clearly at 15 the girls won’t exactly understand but you better believe they will at 25 chasing their own 1 year old ;)

  46. Erin,
    This project is supposed to be whatever you want. Do what feels right and if it’s too much then you’re not doing it the way that is best for you. I know what it’s like to get behind, trust me. I’m still finishing 2011 as we speak … but I think that you need to keep in mind that it is supposed to be fun :) Maybe the month by month for each kid wouldn’t be too much .. and you could still have it be exactly what you want?

    Good luck my friend .. don’t give up! :) You can do it!

  47. Hey Erin! You inspired me! I haven’t done any kind of paper scrapbooking for years (4 to be exact). I just order a bunch of Project Life stuff for both of my kids. Ready to not, here I go! :0)

  48. I have two boys and they like to have their own PL, I maintain the two books by using almost the exact same pictures and layouts for each book but personalize “their” specific book with “their” special items that belong that week (ie: school work, art work, dental xrays, etc)so,…clear as mud?

    Good luck!

    Tara (

  49. The fact that you are only a year behind is awesome. Pat yourself on the back. My advice:
    — start the new PL with 2012. Now. Focus on the current and finding a rhythm that works for you. If each child having their own is important then I’d recommend a monthly approach. Three layouts per month is doable right?? Capture the highlights.
    — as for the “lost year”, maybe take the digital approach there! Do a SIMPLE family photo book of 2011 and order multiple copies.

    For what it’s worth, I used to think my stepson needed his own copy of everything. But that has changed. I now have a toddler and my career is pretty demanding. I focus on capturing the memories and they can fight over them when I’m dead :) I’m pretty sure neither of the boys wants to leave home with 20+ albums anyway.

  50. Hi, this is my first year attempting project life. I also have 3 kids 11,8 and 3. I bought myself a new digital camera, laptop and inkject printer so taking pictures and printing at home has been an easy system for me, it has allowed me to keep up with their individual albums as well as project life.

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