The “Deep Thoughts” of a Rookie Project Lifer

This is how this post got started, I typically just start typing, but today I jotted down “just one note” and before I knew it I was cursively scribbling away all of the things that I have been keeping in my head that I thought I should share whenever I FINALLY did this post.  So, the result was a yellow stack of the backs of sheets from a message pad book filled with inspiration, so here it goes:

photo

Project Life, Month 1:

I am hoping to make this a monthly series in which I recap each month of my maiden Project Life voyage and just touch base on things such as: what IS working, what ISN’T working, pleas for help and guidance from all of the incredible Project Life veterans that have already tested these waters and made their way to the other side, products I loved, new methods of planning or just reinforcing the tried and true.  Essentially just the random stream of thoughts that will be coming out of me at the end of each month that is a milestone to me sticking with and completing the longest running project I have ever signed up for.

I have no doubts at the one month marker that I can keep up with this, of course I must admit that as I typed that I immediately thought to myself that that may make others chuckle and that I may be foolishly confident and have no clue just how far behind I might become… But, for now, I’m feelin’ good 🙂  I hope that this post has something/anything that is useful to someone out there, I can’t even count the amount of blog posts, youtube videos, pinterest boards, forums etc etc etc I have scrolled just looking for advice and tips and stories about Project Life and I have been soaking it all in like a sponge and thoroughly enjoying it!  So here is a list, in no particular order at the moment, I am going to try and run with that but once I get everything into the draft I may have to categorize things so it doesn’t make me crazy, but I am hopeful I can just transfer everything from my cursive notes onto here without stressing over the order… We shall see….

  • I take A LOT of photos!  I read that some people struggle with not having many photos to work with, but that is NOT a problem for me. But, all this photo taking comes with a “price” and while it’s not without hope at the moment, if I don’t develop and start sticking with some sort of SERIOUS organizing/storage system for my digital photographs I am most definitely going to have a HUGE problem in the not so distant future.

     I am taking all sorts of suggestions on this front, I would like to know all about your photo storage solutions, how you keep them from eating your computer, what makes you feel safest and most secure that your precious memories are taken care of?  

  • I purchased a Canon Selphy for myself for Christmas and I have NO REGRETS!  It is a great compact photo printer that is perfect for printing out 4×6 photos and also will print my instagram images as well.  However, I know I am using it as a crutch at the moment to put off learning Photoshop (I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of Photoshop for some reason, like to the point that I think I need a tutor and a support group simultaneously!)  But, the point is that I know I would feel so much better if I didn’t feel like I was constricted in how I can size my photos, I just know that my creative mo-jo is going to overflow once I get a hang of Photoshop!
  • Photographing Project Life LOs is NOT EASY!  It is HARD WORK! And I just have to give serious props to some of my favorite Project Lifers, these are only a few as the list of blogs I follow on my google reader has grown considerably since taking on this project, but these lovely ladies all have something unique to share!

Amy Tangerine:

Amy Tan‘s AWESOME LO Photography!

Ali Edwards:

Beautiful shot of a stunning LO by Ali Edwards!

This picture is actually from a post that Ali did just the other day which was all about HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH PROJECT LIFE LOs and she does a great job going into detail about her process and what works for her.  There is a link to that post at the end of this one as well! Of course at the end of the day a lot of it comes back to basic photography knowledge and a good understanding of using light (NOT my strong suit!) but, I am committed to keep working on it and find a way to make my LO pictures more beautiful.  Having a massive wall length window would be a great start, I’ll be sure to let the hubby know we will need to be moving 🙂  I did read a great post by Heather Johnson yesterday that had a lot of good suggestions for using light, shooting indoors and getting back to using manual mode on your “real camera“, it is linked on my blog or you can find it here.  She also reminded me about one of the greatest photography books ever written with regards to light and photography which is called “Understanding Exposure”.  Many years ago my father gifted a copy to me and I will most definitely be revisiting it this month on my journey back into “Real Photography”.

Ashley Bennett:

Ashley Bennett who is OBVIOUSLY a photographer, not only has breathtaking photos within her Project Life but she also has outstanding shots of her LOs. She is definitely an inspiration!

Elise Blaha Cripe:

Beautiful spread!

 

Elise had to be on here not only because she takes wonderful photos both of her LOs but also of her life, she has become all the rage since designing the Seafoam Core Kit for Becky Higgins’ Project Life.  And the kit is absolutely gorgeous!  She has become an inspiration to me and I am loving her quirky takes on blogging and the engaging manner in which she writes.  Not to mention it’s incredibly cute watching her little baby bump grow from week to week! (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this project WILL make you want to have a baby!)

This is just a small sampling of what I aspire to someday be able to do with my LOs, it will be so rewarding to be able to take incredible photos of them and share them with friends and family near and far as well as with my readers.  Ultimately I have decided that photographing Project Life LOs is WAY MORE COMPLICATED than actually making them!

Here are some photos of My Project Life (iphone only!)  I hope next months photos of my LOs will be much better quality!

Cover Page:

Cover Page 2013

Week 1:

Week One

Week ONE

Week 2:

Week TWO

Week TWO

Week 3:

Week THREE

Week THREE Left side & Tampa Jay’s Birthday Insert

Week THREE Right side & Tampa Jay's Birthday insert.

Week THREE Right side & Tampa Jay’s Birthday insert.

Week 4:

Week FOUR

Week FOUR

  • Google Reader is one of my favorite things (I use Feedler on my iphone) and the amount of daily motivation, encouragement and enlightenment I get from all of the blogs I have started to follow is immeasurable.
  • This definitely isn’t new information, BUT, it has become painfully apparent this first month that I NEED to learn how to use my Silhouette Cameo!  There are SO MANY adorable things that I find myself drawn to in others LOs that I know I COULD be making if I would just sit down and figure out how to use the darn thing!  Add that to the list of things to do.
  • I have ZERO regrets about subscribing to the Studio Calico Project Life Kit and feel incredibly lucky that all of my blog following paid off in that I was one of the first ones to get on the waiting list thus one of the fortunate ones to get one in time to use it for the first month of the year!

Studio Calico’s First Project Life Kit “Block Party”

 

As you can see, the elements that SC includes are not only cute but they are also thoughtful.  I have found that the kit is neutral enough to compliment other core kits from Becky Higgins, but also, innovative enough to stand on it’s own and be the ONLY kit one uses if they so choose.  I have a blend of Clementine, Amber and Seafoam core kits and there are pieces from all of those that blend nicely with the SC kit, its a beautiful thing when products from different companies and collections can be combined.

  • I would like to start including a “weekly roundup” aka highlights as a part of my weekly title card, it sometimes feels like putting the weekly title card with nothing else on it is kind of a waste of space and I think it will bring some uniformity to the pages having a designated spot where there will be some journaling each week.
  • I need to remember to take better notes throughout the week either in my Erin Condren Planner or in my DayOne app (both of which I love btw) so that when it comes time to write I am not trying to remember what happened but instead drawing inspiration from the things I have already documented.
  • I like that I included a “Now Playing Card” in Week 2 and I would like to make sure to incorporate one for each month throughout the year.
On repeat this month

On repeat this month

 

  • Seeing my husband’s smile when he flips through my modest 10 pages of Project Life makes every moment of thought put into it worth it and to hear him explaining it to others in a way that focuses on it’s “coolness” as opposed to the nerdy craftiness of it puts a stupid little smirk on my face that makes me bashful and giddy. (love that he still has that affect on me…)

    He's pretty adorable...and manly...and super tough :)

    He’s pretty adorable…and manly…and super tough 🙂

  • I am thankful to have atleast one “human friend” (as opposed to cyber/ig friends) that is doing Project Life for the first time as well.  She didn’t take much convincing and now she is LOVING it!  We just had our show and tell this morning and it is so awesome to see what we are each doing with our projects and to get inspiration from one another, it’s a beautiful thing!  Not to mention that neither of us are what you would call “completers”, we are both filled with good intentions and not much follow through, once again, one month in, we are both feeling pretty good about it.
My Project Life Teammate Alysa

My Project Life Teammate Alysa

 

  • I REALLY like Elise Blaha’s ratio breakdowns at the end of the week i.e. pictures taken by her : pictures taken by her husband or pictures taken with “real camera” : pictures taken with phone, I am thinking I am going to try and work that either into my PL LOs or into my blog posts, I find it entertaining and also think it will serve as a good reminder to bust out the “real camera” more often when I see that 100% of my photos are taken with my iphone!
  • I am enjoying my system for organizing photos on my iphone although I am sure there is probably a more streamlined way of doing it, this is working for me for the moment.  This is my process:
  1. Since right now all of my photos are being taken with my phone, the first step is having them accessible in my library.
  2. I have a “filtering problem” which I should definitely work on, but, for now, applying filters from an array of apps on my phone is the next step.  My favorites at the moment are Pixlromatic, Vintique, Camera+ and afterglow.
  3. Once the images look the way I want them to, I save them to my library so they are all in one place.
  4. Throughout the week I add photos to their corresponding day via a new event created on my DayOne app.  This allows me to keep track of when the photos were taken, to add a sentiment or explanation and also gives me a simplified reference at the end of the week so that all of my photos are assigned to a date.  It is also nice that I can add an event to a specific day regardless of when it happened so if I fall a couple days behind I can still go back and add them.
    Very handy.

    Very handy.

    This Photo Stream makes finding which photos I want to use much easier!

    This Photo Stream makes finding which photos I want to use much easier!

     

  5. I saw a great tutorial on how someone else organized their photos and I just can’t remember where it was, but if I find it I will link it here, but she basically shared how she uses DropBox as her storage/organization program for her Project Life.  So that is what I have been doing.  Before the year started I created a main folder simply titled “Project Life”,Dropboxwithin that folder I created sub-folders for each week with the label “PROJECT LIFE WK 1” etc. Dropbox Once that was created it made it easy to just upload within each week the photos that I might use for that weeks LO.  This past month I had two “events” that were photo intensive and that I knew would require and insert and/or their own LO, so within the “Week File” I created an “Event File” so that those pictures could stay within the respective week but be grouped together and ready for printing for that event.Dropbox
  6. When I get ready to print my photos I look through my DayOne Photos feed and decide which ones to print, sometimes I print them all and other times I leave some out or decide to make a collage to incorporate more images in one printed photo.
  7. Then I print from my phone to the Selphy printer.  This has been working so far, but, I know that I want to learn how to size images to fit pockets so printing on the Selphy won’t always be practical, but it is a great option for printing 4x6s.
  • I have decided that if I am going to blog about Project Life that I need to not stress about it too much.  Just like making my lay outs, creating my blog posts should be something I look forward to and not something I over analyze, so I am giving myself permission to just write and share however it comes out of me because otherwise the obsessing over getting it just right is going to keep me from doing it at all.
  • I think that I feel comfortable committing to an end of the month recap, I mean that’s only 12 posts a year right?  But, I would also like to be sure to share more often than just that, hopefully with stories of triumph pertaining to the Silhouette Cameo and Adobe Photoshop (aiming high!)  The monthly recap will be a good way for me to assess my progress and also to keep an ongoing and evolving reference of what has worked, what hasn’t and also what I have learned along the way.  In my biggest dreams it will have helped others that I don’t even know yet conquer their own challenges regarding Project Life, only time and your comments will tell.
  • So being just one month in, I already find myself wishing that everyone I know was “PL-ing” so I could flip through their books lol!  Perhaps one day I will inspire most people I know to “cultivate a good life and record it”.
  • Not just this month but in the last few months (I am not being too hard on myself since the last few months did include our wedding, our 11 day honeymoon, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Gasparilla) but in that time I have abandoned my first love having been so pre-occupied with Project LIfe and I sadly have not done ANY SMASHING (aka SMASHbook-ing) in a VERY long time.  I really need to set time aside to delve into my smashbooks because I truly do love and enjoy them and I think that if I have them as an outlet for my “messy crafting/scrapping” that I will feel more comfortable keeping my PL pages clean, simple and streamlined.  As of right now it’s almost as if I am smashing on each card for each pocket which can be quite a bit of work!
  • My “friend” Carrie (I say “friend” only because she is amongst the many wonderful people I have gotten to interact with and come to know a bit via my rekindling my relationship with the craft world via the internet, blogging, twittering and instagramming but yet I have not now, nor will I probably ever meet her or any of the many in person.)  But even those these “friends” aka “cyber-friends” are not “real”, the “relationships” I have with them feel very similar to “real world friendship” and I certainly can’t deny that they bring me joy on a daily basis.  So to call them anything other than “friend” just feels strange so, “friends” it is.  But.  I digress, back to Carrie, she was the reason I made the jump on to the “Project Life Train”.  I asked her back in October (the month before my wedding lol!) if she PL AND Smashbooks and she said “Yes!”.  She went on to say that while she loved both projects, that they served very different purposes for her, Project Life is for the every day and Smashbooks became more of a themed/event oriented project which made perfect sense to me.  The point is that the craft world is a very kind and open space and I am happy that I have been able to engage with and get to know so many due to my love of this project.
  • I need to work on capturing the everyday ordinary which I have been doing a better job of this week, but the month of January as a whole was filled with mostly “head shots” and I would really like to branch out and add some variety and capture the small elements of Don and I’s days that make this life what it is right now so we can recognize the differences when we look back from our future.
  • I need to learn to let myself just love a photo.  #NOFILTER
  • In February I would like to start using the timer and remote for the “real camera” and even on the iphone so that I can start incorporating my hands into my images and also to allow more possibility for captured movement.  This will also allow for more unique and interesting angles.  LIke this shot by Elise:

 

Whats not to love about this photo? I want to incorporate more images JUST LIKE THIS!

  • As far as my “process” I have learned about myself this month that I use what I see, what is readily accessible and also what is fairly new mostly because it is fresh in my mind.  I have complete admiration for someone like “Glitter Girl” aka Shimelle who is able to recall the brand name and collection for EVERYTHING!  She is amazing to me, I really enjoy watching her videos on YouTube which are a part of a series for Two Peas in a Bucket called “Glitter Girl Adventures”,

she pulls questions right from the discussion boards and provides solutions, very clever girl 🙂  But, for now, I do not have the ability to remember everything I have in my stash, let alone who made it and which collection it is a part of!  So I am thinking that knowing this about myself mean that I need to either weekly or monthly select random supplies, papers, ephemera etc and put them in a container directly on my table so that they are readily available and fresh in my mind.  I think this will help insure that my pages don’t become predictable and also will help me delve into the abyss that is my craft collection and actually take advantage of all of the different products that I have been hoarding over the past year or so.

  • I would like to start incorporating a “Favorites right now” insert or card atleast once a month listing out favorite movies, tv shows, books, music, food, hangouts etc…
  • And last but not least I think I am going to start including a monthly Instagram insert in the hopes that that will encourage me to embrace my photos as they are or to explore apps that allow me to use filters but not neccessarily change the dimensions of my photos in order to do so.  The security of knowing that the IG insert will be there for me to fill should help A LOT!  And besides, I am really not a big fan of putting square photos into rectangular pockets, it urks me.

 If you have made it this far then you deserve a reward of some sort as well as a BIG THANK YOU from this girl.  Those of you out there that do blog know that it can be incredibly time consuming but when others actually take the time to read it and even better leave comments and feedback, it makes it all worth it!  Have a wonderful weekend and I will be back hopefully sooner than a month from now but MOST DEFINITELY in a month from now!

-thejensspin

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12 thoughts on “The “Deep Thoughts” of a Rookie Project Lifer

  1. shellbelle says:

    Hey,
    I think your pages look great! I take a LOT of photos too and find it really hard to narrow it down to a few. I also bought myself a Canon Selphy and LOVE it! Makes life so much easier to be able to print your own photos and re-size them. I am totally going to look up your suggestions for great Project Lifers and get some inspiration – I haven’t shared my pages yet, cos I feel like they wouldn’t be interesting enough to other people – I’m still trying to find my PL mojo. I look forward to your updates though! Cheers

    Like

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for reading! And for your kind words, I know that I am a sponge for all things Project Life and think that sharing anything could be useful to others so I am going to try and stick with it! Makes me smile to know people are reading! If you do decide to share please let me know! I would love to see your pages!

      Like

  2. Anita says:

    What a fun, informative post! And you know that I totally approve of starting with cursive:) I am so honored that I made an appearance in your Project Life Month 1.

    Like

  3. photecstasy says:

    You have some AWESOME ideas! I’m so glad I found this post!

    Like

  4. […] The “Deep Thoughts” of a Rookie Project Lifer […]

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  5. […] The “Deep Thoughts” of a Rookie Project Lifer […]

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  6. aurooba says:

    Jen! 🙂 When you decide to take the plunge and resize photos for 3×4 pockets, you can always put 2 3×4’s on one 4×6 template and then print on the Selphy. It saves paper and makes cutting convenient. That’s how I’ve been doing it and it’s super easy! 🙂

    If you need some help, let me know, I’d be happy to help. 🙂

    Like

    • thejensspin says:

      Awesome! Thanks! I really appreciate it ;). I have only print on the Selphy from my iPhone so far (which is great!) but I will definitely let you know if/when I need some help! Take care and thank you for reading!

      Like

  7. […] first, around the time of my “Deep Thoughts of a Rookie Project Lifer Part 1″ post, I was up to date, working at the end of each week on the week that came before and while that […]

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  8. […] first time ever, thanks to Juliechats.blogspot.com with Whimzee’s Scrapbook Studio who shared my “Deep Thoughts of a Rookie Project Lifer” on the stores’ Facebook […]

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