A few months ago I decided to take a monthly approach to Project Life in 2016, so last week I put together my first spread, for January. This is my fifth year doing Project Life and while the number of layouts I have created is changing (from weekly, to bi-weekly, and now monthly), much of my process is still the same :
- Go through my photos and choose which ones best represent the past month. I typically make sure I have a good balance of people and surroundings, and make sure that my kids are equally represented (for the most part). Since I'm sticking with Design A page protectors this year, I know I need at least 8 4x6 photos and I leave the quantity of 3x4 photos open. I'm not using as many 3x4 journaling cards this year - you'll see why in a bit.
- Edit, crop and print my photos at home. My Epson R2880 is three years old and still going strong. I lay the photos out in what I think will be the best arrangement, again, making sure the colors and people-to-stuff ratio is balanced.
- I haven't done the traditional 4x6 date / title card for a couple years, but one 3x4 card I know I'll be using this year is a monthly calendar card from Marcy Penner. I printed them on smooth white cardstock and jazzed them up a little by stamping the corresponding number (with this set) to each month, over the bottom right corner of the date numbers. 1 for January, 2 for February, etc. I used the Clearly Kelly inks in a ROYGBIV pattern, seen here. You can see the January card in the close-up above.
- This month I had 4 3x4 photos, so I spread those out across the layout, then added two pieces of memorabilia and a filler card to the remaining spots.
- Now the fun part. One by one, in no particular order, I began embellishing each pocket. Keeping it very simple, I tend to stick with chipboard + wood veneer, word + alpha stickers, and good 'ol handwritten journaling.
Here is how my final spread turned out :
Here is a closer look at the left side :
Since we won a whopping $4 with our Powerball lottery ticket, I wasn't able to keep it, so I took a photo of it so I could include that story in my spread. I layered a piece of vellum over it along with the "why not?" diecut from the Firsts Story Kit, and added some journaling about this record-breaking lottery jackpot. Although this all January, I added the date stamp sans year to most of the photos as well. This is the right side :
Poor Parker had strep throat after the new year, so I included a clipping of the prescription info sheet here and added these letter stickers to spell out UGH across the middle. The quote filler card is from the Roots Story Kit. I've been getting these kits since the beginning and they are currently the only one I'm still subscribing to. They are for sure going to get a lot of action in my Project Life this year. I can't recommend them enough.
Since I pre-stamped the numbers on those calendar cards, I know I may have to get creative with incorporating that color into each monthly spread. There typically isn't much natural pink around here in January, so I used a couple of pink embellishments to complete a visual triangle with the calendar card. I used the pink sticky note from this set on the photo in the top right corner, along with a diecut from one of Studio Calico's Project Life kits last year on the bottom left photo on this page.
While I've cut way back on the number of photos and journaling cards I'll have for each month, I didn't want to cut back on the content. I'll be adding a 6x12 insert each month that will include a "currently" text document on the front - which I designed in Photoshop and added my own handwritten brush to the top. The back will feature a layout for a longer story from that month using one of Ali's Story Kits. Below you can see both sides together - the front is on the left, the back is on the right :
My intention with the "currently" page was to have a home for my journaling and notes. At this stage of memory-keeping I'm finding I have way more words than photos so this is my solution. I typed out a bunch of standard prompts I can use month after month (reading, watching, eating, etc.), and filled in the ones that had content to match. I imagine the prompts could change each month as some may be more or less applicable as the year goes on.
The black and white January tab sticker on the bottom edge is from this set, and I plan to add one to the insert each month.
I'm still milking the Firsts Story Kit and documented the kids swim lessons and progress for the layout on the back. I used one of Ali's old 6x12 layered templates as a layout base to get the photos and text on paper before adding some stickers and diecuts. This template was from Ali's days with Designer Digitals and I hope she adds it to her shop in the future. Here's how the insert looks with the divided page protectors :
And the back :
I still need to finish my opening page and I'm also setting up a few pages in the front of my album to hold themed collages of photos from the year. It won't really look like much until December, because I'll be adding to it all year long, much like my monthly house photo spread in last years album. I also added a big envelope page to the back of my album to collect little bits throughout the year that won't necessary make it into a pocket - like Parker's first skiing lift ticket.
2016 Project Life Supplies : Design A page protectors, 6x12 page protectors, Big Envelope Page, Ali Edwards Story Kits, Marcy Penner 2016 monthly calendar cards, Kelly Purkey Metropolitan Number Stamps, Studio Calico monthly tabs.