Monday, January 14, 2013

Project Life: How I'm Catching Up on 22 Weeks in 2 Weeks

Hi Everyone!

I know my posting has slowed to a crawl. The winter darkness is wreaking havoc on my ability to take pictures. Unless I lug everything to work with me, my only option is photos in the dark, and they just look terrible.  Can't wait to see daylight again!

Snow, rain and dark.....the trifecta of gloom.....
At least my scrapping has taken off - I've completed a lot of stuff in the past couple of weeks.  And this past weekend of CHA-hoopla really put me in a scrapping mood, too.  I hope to get some time to get caught up on pictures and posting this week, so stay tuned.

One area I have really poured some time into is my Project Life. I talked about this project back in the fall but haven't had much to say about it since then.  I started week one on July 1, 2012, in an effort to capture the few months before and after my 40th birthday coming up next month.  I made a good effort through September, but after my surgery, I kind of fell off the wagon. 

Oh, I was still saying I do Project Life. But, I mean, philosophically speaking, if you haven't actually worked on a 52 week project for the past 22 weeks, are you really still doing the project?  I just kept throwing items into my PL basket, imagining they would all just hop into order and magically come together after Halloween.....after Thanksgiving.....before New Year. 

Now that we're firmly two weeks into 2013, I recognized the urgency of getting caught up before another milestone passed.  My real fear was that if I didn't catch up before our vacation in February, I'd have to give up.  I would have to stop saying "I do Project Life."  So I've been plotting and planning a bit in my head, and last week I decided to tackle it. 

Gratuitous Mexican beach picture.....just to see if you're paying attention :).
First, I did some preparation and detective work.  I printed some simple blank calendars, one page per month, for each month of my project (July 2012 to May or June 2013).  I started going through all my photos - our phones, cameras, ipad - and saved anything that hadn't already been backed up to my laptop storage system.  Pictures, screen captures, everything. That process took a couple of hours, since I gave some special attention to my December Daily project and ordering some of those pictures right off the bat.

As I went through the photo files, I started filling in what had happened by date onto my calendar.  The photos acted as prompts to remind me of some stories I wanted to include. They helped me piece together the basis of all those weeks I hadn't kept up with the project. I wasn't good about keeping notes in One Note, like I had been earlier in the project, so the pictures were really helpful.

At the same time, I also saved and recorded dates of other things I wanted to save - text messages, screen captures, and a couple of Instagram files - and added those items to my calendar.

The stars and my motivation aligned that night, and I took about 3 hours to work through this photo/electronica sorting and note taking.  It really helped propel me to the next step.......

.......the pile. *cue danger music here*

Yep, there it is. The pile.  The pile I kept throwing things into, thinking it was a great system for notekeeping.  I mean, it helped that it was all in one place, that's true.

But look at that pink post it note - Meijer, Giant Eagle and Target, all with dates and times.......what in the name of Pete was that note for?!?!?!?  Was I starting some sort of shopping club or new, covert CIA shorthand language meant to confuse the enemy?  Seriously, I have to do a better job if I have hopes of moving forward with this project!

Anyway, after a rare weeknight out for dinner (to celebrate Crystal's promotion at work - yea!), we came home stuffed and ready for bed.  I decided instead to drag the pile, my laptop and my calendar to the TV in our room and began sorting through each item. That's why the picture looks so dark. I was working by TV light as Crystal slept.

First I grabbed my album and looked back to see what was already done. It was actually a bit more than I remembered.  But I also had some holes, and I noted those needs on my calendar sheets.

I used my laptop to look up dates of events, referring to various websites and my email accounts for more clues.  I was on a roll! I remembered several stories and details I wanted to note. Eventually Crystal nodded off (the project just didn't hold the same interest for her :)), but I kept working by nightstand lamplight.  I went to bed with slightly less mess than I started with, and weeks 1-14 were either nearly complete or completely sketched and ready to be finished.

The next night I continued the process, but with a little less detail available. Weeks 1-14 had some advantages over Weeks 15-22.  Some of the earlier weeks were nearly completed and just needed some holes filled.  I had also already gone through those weeks and sketched out some layouts (don't even remember doing it, that's how long it has been). Weeks 15-22 were nearly blank slates.  But I finished sorting ephemera into the correct weeks, and again working with my calendar notes, began to piece together what each week would look like.

So now here I am, after a weekend of work on the project.  After two trips to WalGreens, more detective work and lots of time with my supplies, I am done with 11 additional weeks and pieces of a few more. I knew it would be too much to expect to do 22 weeks in one weekend, but I did accomplish a lot. 

Each day this week I will highlight a couple of pages from the album, and later this month I'll start posting my 2013 weeks.  It's a creative challenge, but I'm ready!


  1. Wow! Great job making a dent in those pages! You're almost caught up!!! And, I can totally identify with the bad picture taking weather. We had a little sun yesterday and today...but it's frustrating to have to wait for it for pictures!

  2. Ooh, well done on getting so much sorted out! I'm thinking of trying project life out digitally, though I'm still trying to work out how to use photoshop elements!

    Have you tried getting daylight bulbs to help with photograph taking? I put daylight bulbs in the overhead light and a freestanding uplighter in my craft room (which is my dining room!), and it means taking photos at night is so much easier. I still take layout shots in the day when I can, but a lot of my tutorial and card photos are taken at night and the daylight bulbs makes them look so much clearer. x

    1. I forgot about the daylight bulb idea - can't remember if you or someone else recommended it a couple of months ago. I haven't looked for one, but it's on my list for this weekend, thanks!

  3. That is awesome Rebecca. Great detective work putting it all together.