Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project Life: My Perspective (Part 1)

I am so very excited about all the chatter I'm seeing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs and on message boards about Project Life 2012. Most times the paper crafting part of my world exists primarily online but this year I am thrilled to have several close friends, including my very best friend, and even my 7 year old son join in the Project Life movement.


A movement is defined by Webster as an organized effort to promote or attain an end. Organized? Maybe not but there is an effort within this scrapbooking community of ours to find manageable ways to capture and record the beautiful, crazy lives we are all living while still living this crazy, beautiful life. I love that this is an encouraging community, a community that works to inspire one another and willingly shares so much of what is personally working simply for the collective good. What works is different for everyone, we are all in various seasons of life and looking to fulfill different purposes with our craft but it excites me that this year there are so many people trying Project Life to see if its the right fit for them.

What I personally love is that Project Life will look different for everyone. Not only in the stories that we record but also in the way we record them.

In this community we have:

  • women at the beginning of their story,

  • mothers in the center of the tornado that surrounds early childhood,

  • families in the midst of the all important teenage years,

  • seasoned veterans of life writing some of their most exciting chapters,

  • and some men that fall within all of these groups.

In this community we have:

  • chronological scrapbookers,

  • scrapbookers who approach their stories from a Library of Memories perspective,

  • scrapbookers creating individual children and/or family yearbooks,

  • paper scrapbookers,

  • hybrid scrapbookers,

  • digital scrapbookers,

  • industry leaders,

  • design team members,

  • everyday scrapbookers who have no connection to the industry,

  • scrapbookers fully immersed in the online community,

  • scrapbookers who do not share their layouts online,

  • scrapbookers who fall somewhere in between,

  • some taking a picture a day,

  • some viewing their layouts through the week viewfinder,

  • some using a monthly approach,

  • scrapbookers who are using Project Life to supplement their existing system,

  • those who are only scrapbooking via Project Life,

  • some who are using Project Life as a school album for their children,

  • some who are using Project Life to organize pictures from the past,

  • scrapbookers who are coming back to this craft after a long break due to whatever,

  • scrapbookers who are want to get back to telling their stories for them,

  • and scrapbookers who just want to try something new.

What we all have in common is that we are leading full lives that are worthy of being honored, we all have stories to tell.

Not only are our stories different but the way we tell them, the voice we use, the pictures, the creative energy and the authenticity of ourselves is different. I love that Becky has brought together so many different creative energies together in her first Project Life creative team. There are so many opportunities for connection and inspiration. I love that Becky welcomes and encourages all kinds of scrapbookers from the simplest to the artistic to those that fall somewhere in between to use Project Life in a way that works for them.


All that you've read up to now has been in draft for over a week but I feel it is important to touch on something that has been on my mind all weekend before I go on with any of my other planned content. I share the following with you in hopes of bringing the focus back to you, your story, your approach and the truth that how that compares to anyone else simply isn't important. What is important that you are telling your story. I take great pleasure that my children, my colleagues, those I admire from afar and my very close friends are so very unique. Their differences are what make my life beautiful.

Last week I read a lot of feedback from those that were overloaded with the inspiration of Project Lifer's that lean towards the artistic end of the spectrum. I read of feelings of inadequacy regarding simple layouts. I read of questioning whether or not Project Life has become too trendy, too complicated, too much.

My confession: Days/weeks before I read any of this, I saw the popularity of Project Life increase and became keenly aware that so.many.designers that I greatly admire were taking on this project. I was absolutely intimidated and questioned being on Becky's creative team.

I asked myself, what do I, a full time working mother of two (soon to be three) who has taken a step back from scrapbooking publicly, possibly bring to the table? All I'm trying to do is tell my family's story. How can I fulfill my role on this team when there will be so much inspiration out there by designers that I simply cannot keep up with?


I recently expressed some of these doubts to Becky and she encouraged me, as she has encouraged you, that there is no pressure to be creative. Do what you want do to. Simple = good.

Remember simple looks different for everyone. Becky's simple, my simple and your simple are all going to look different.

Becky's encouragement propels me to leave behind my insecurities and find the value in my work for me, my family and in sharing with you. I may not bring you the latest techniques, the most creative layouts, or most efficient process. However, I will share with you my journey, my best practices and hopefully some creative inspiration as well. What I will work to bring most is my unique perspective.

I'll be back next week to share more of my originally planned content regarding my perspective, specifically on being "behind" but before I do since so many reading are new to my blog I'm going to share my personal scrapbooking journey to put my 2011 Project Life experience into context. Depending on how long winded I get this may end up being a three part post. :)

wk 51

See you back on Thursday for a sharing of Week 51, including a behind the scenes on how I put the week together. Thanks for stopping by!



sleepydwarf said...

Great post Monica. With all the wonderful creative and complicated-looking approaches that are out there it's easy to become overwhelmed and forget the whole reason we decided to use Project Life in the first place - to tell our stories and to document our lives - in whatever way works for us as individuals.

If sticking to the core kits and using nothing else enables us to keep up to date and tell our stories, then that's fine and we can create some lovely pages just like that.

And I think that's better than trying to turn the layouts into almost scrapbooking layouts, getting overwhelmed and giving up or getting so far behind that you don't know how You'll ever get it all done. That's happened to me with my regular scrapping; yet in the 2 years I have done Project Life, I have managed to get most of my photos from those years into albums and looking perfectly respectable. The only bits I'm behind on are the photos I want to scrap.

I love that this product is so flexible that you can use it in so many ways, and that whatever works for you is just fine.

Shelly B said...

I am hoping to see my first Project Life Kit arrive today and was encouraged by your post! I am SO EXCITED!

Anonymous said...

I simply love that you are maintaining your simple approach. I too, have kept mine fairly simple....because Project Life is about documenting my life....not about the embellishments or the creative side of my life :)

Although it's fun to see all the creativity out there, it's simply AWESOME to have those "creative design team" members keeping it real.

Thank you!

vintage modern quilts | Lisa said...

Beautifully written! Simplifying and jumping in with both feet is what has really helped me make progress with my album.

Kelly said...

You just summed up exactly how I have been feeling. Thank you for reassuring me that simple is good because I don't want it to be anything more than that!

hchybinski said...

LOVE your post - I admit to being overwhelmed at starting Project Life - this is my first time. . .I didn't know what I was doing and missed out on the "right" page protectors. . .so that's been a major stumbling block for me. . .getting started. . .companies are not sending me free product to work with. . .in trying to contain costs, I quit my monthly kit club. . .so I'm working with my stash - which is old. . .but I am a work from home mama of two boys that has a story to tell. . .and I want to tell that story. . .my story. . .

looking forward to following your story =)


Jennifer Woodbury said...

Monica, you said EXACTLY what I have been thinking/feeling. Thank you for articulating it so much better than I could! :)

Gina said...

My project life kit arrived just before Christmas. It's sitting on a shelf. I haven't even opened it yet mostly due to what you've discussed in this post. Thank you for the encouragement to break out the supplies and slip my memories and my story into the page protectors.

Sharyn said...

Thank you Monica - fabulous post and one that resonates with much of my thinking this week as I tackle Pl for the first time. As a digital, hybrid, paper scrapper I am looking forward to telling our story - simply!

ejmom said...

Thank you for writing such a great post! I really enjoy looking at your project life updates. You definitely inspire me to record my family's story.

Noell said...

Love your post. While it's fun to see the more creative versions, that's not what I'm looking for when I want to see other people's Project Life. I'm doing Project Life for its simplicity and I'm looking to see how other people are making it work for them with simplicity.

I'm also looking for inspiring thoughts about it -- just like this post!

Thanks for being awesome, honest, and simple! :)

Teresa said...

Loved reading your post today. I've spent the last 10 days writing/photographing/thinking/planning/reading/gaining inspiration about and for my PL2012 album. While the pieces are collected for those days, I have a serious case of blank-canvas-itis. The album and materials are all neatly arranged on my desk, but I've lacked the gumption to JUST DO IT and dig in. Thanks for the virtual encouragement. :) Also, it's nice to see more full-time working mamas involved in this project. Sometimes I feel like there's so much of my day spent away from my kiddos that that I miss a lot of the *meat* this album needs. I look forward to being inspired by your pages and seeing how your year progresses!

Emily S said...

What a beautiful post! I love your book, it is absolutely gorgeous. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work in the near future!

Emily Straw

Robyn said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and saying hello. I love what you wrote in your post today, and I'll be visiting again. Great to meet another Dallas girl!

JennV said...

Exactly how I feel but you put it way more eloquently! I'm a newbie too and look forward to checking in here.

Lucia said...

Great post, Monica. You said exactly what I have been thinking. I nearly FB'd you last week to say just that, that I was afraid to get going, knowing my albums/pages wouldn't look like I wanted them to look. I have been disappointed in myself that I don't know how to create the pages I want to create. I have felt stumped. In the last couple of days, I have come to conclusion that when my girls and family look at the albums in years to come that they won't know what others' albums look like. They will think my albums are great, because their STORY has been preserved.

Thank you for voicing this very important message. You are very much deserving of your creative team spot. :)

Annette said...

Love the post and just want to say thanks for your continued inspiration and "real" voice. I work sometimes 60+ hours a week and am so exhausted I can hardly think straight. Plus an almost 2 year old and putting a hubby through school. Last year I just gave up. Couldn't keep up. But like Lucia said so perfectly, we all have a story to tell. And remembering that this is just another way to tell that story is priceless. There are so many choices, it is great. But it can be overwhelming.

Yet just after Christmas I finally took a day off to scrap at my local Archiver's (i know, lucky me!) And I met another scrapper who was doing...Project Life! I was so excited. She opened it and it was packed. Full of photos and stories. Yet she had not even used a kit!! Not even the grid cards! Not even a stamp! And it was still AWESOME. She was telling her story and it was so inspiring to me.

As I thought about embarking on PL again, and started seeing so much amazing work, I keep her in my mind. It can be as simple or as complex as I want it to be. Simple as that. I read the link to Becky's blog you had, and I was so motivated by it. She said she is constantly adapting and reevaluating it to fit her needs. That it is awesome whether we get super creative with it or simply add photos + words.

Anyways, enough of my long post. I had a long drive today and thought alot about your post (had read it this morning). Just wanted to say keep it up girl! We love ya!! And kudos to all of us embarking on this project!!

Megan Renfree said...

Hi Monica,
Great post! I'm really glad your on the Design Team. I think you are very much "my" style". I love Ali Edwards and what she does, but I can never "do" what she does, and a lot of other girls that add so much to their pages, even when I want to, I struggle to add as much to mine. But your pages really hit home with me as they are embellished, but not overly so, and I love having a bit of inspiration that is more me! I have just finished my Week 1. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have done with yours!

Monica said...

I' ve just found your blog and bookmarked it right away! I love your PL and it will be great following you this year. Thanks for charing it.

Anonymous said...

I got to your blog through Ali's blog and I'm glad I read your post. For the last couple of years I've been sorta in a break from scrapbooking but I've been reading blogs on a daily basis. I was interested in starting PL because it seemed like something simple enough to keep up with and to have something at the end of the year for my family to enjoy. But as you mentioned, lately I've been feeling pressure that my album has to be "trendy" and artistic. Well, first of all, I haven't bought scrapbooking products (except for PL kit) in years so all my stash is "old" and I'm self conscious about it. It took me a few days to come to the conclusion and truly believe that I shouldn't scrapbook for anyone else but for myself and my family. I have lots of older but beautiful products that I still love and PL will give me the opportunity to use them. I'm happy to be back into scrapbooking and my first week of PL is almost complete. Thank you for being honest and for posting about a topic that a lot of us have been struggling with. I have bookmarked you and will come back to read you often!


Nirupama said...

thanks for the lovely post. I think your work looks great!

Amy said...

Monica- Thank you. Your words were exactly what I needed to hear.

Deanna Lynn said...

Thanks for your inspiration. I just received my PL kit last week and have been overthinking the process...Your post is just what I needed to hear!

Creative Photo Albums said...

I found your page from Ali's and I must say the page totally worth viewing. You justified a link done by Ali and your words are very much inspiring.

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kris with a k said...

hooray! so glad I found your post. I am keeping it simple too, and I love the result! I have always been a simple scrapper, not much embellishing, so I am thrilled (and relieved) that I am not the only one. I know myself, and I know my limitations, and I know that if I don't keep this project easy I won't keep up with it. My take is, life is what you make of it, and that should be applicable to Project Life too!

Debbie said...

Thank you for this Monica.

Lindsey Boschert said...

Thank you for your encouragement. I'm just starting my PL2012 album and have been a bit overwhelmed. You put it all in perspective :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're on the Project Life team. While there are a lot of industry leaders and "big time" scrappers on the PL creative team, I think you're the most amazing because you are the only working mom that works a full-time job that isn't scrapbooking or in the scrapbooking industry. And you even keep up with this blog?! I'm a working mom with boys and you inspire me.

Beth said...

Thank you so much! As a recent college graduate I have no stash to pull from and I also don't have much experience with scrapbooking so keeping it simple is a must for me. I think its important to remember that there are so many more people doing PL than what we will see on blogs.