How Tos, Personal, Project Life
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What is Project Life?

I’ve been working on a post on Project Life since starting out in December 2014, but I never got around to finishing it because it always ended up being too long. I figured I’d split them into parts (if anyone wants me to expound on anything, that is) and just begin from the beginning.

The What

Developed by Becky Higgins, Project Life is basically a scrapbooking or “memory keeping” system that, in theory, is the easiest, most fuss-free shit to do on the planet. It involves 3 basic things:

Project Life Basics - System

An album or a binder, page protectors (kind of like the ones you use to keep basketball cards in), and photos.

The album I’m using now is 6×8-inch but the more common size is a 12×12-inch. I’m looking to move up to that size; I’m just waiting for my album and protectors. The idea is that you just slip things into the pockets et voilà—instant fun layout.

Journaling Cards? Core Kits?

Aside from photographs, an arguable necessity to the Project Life are the Core Kits, a set of cards in a color scheme, sized 3×4 inches and 4×6 inches. These slip into the page protectors really easily. Core Kits have hundreds of cards and, in my opinion, aren’t that necessary when starting off with Project Life. I bought “shares” (or core kits in a smaller quantity) from Life Documented Manila, but even then, I find the amount of cards to be too much.

Although I enjoy some of the designs of the Project Life Core Kits, they repeat designs too much. I prefer buying from sites like Studio Calico and these Kelly Purkey ones designed by Ch of LDM.

Project Life Basics - Journaling Cards

Journaling cards provide a break in the images, space to write thoughts in, or a base to slip in photos that are too small for the pockets. My favorite cheap alternative to this are the Corona 4×6 index cards:

Project Life Basics - Corona Index Cards

I split them in the middle so they’ll fit into the 3×4 pockets. I’ll stamp, paint, or draw patterns on them if I find white too plain. Here are examples of the pages I’ve made so far:

Spread1-a
My first spread: featuring my BFFs, Isa (now based in Alabang huhu) and Barby (now based in Chicago), as well as gross photos printed from a home printer.

Project Life Basics - Header
One of my 2015 spreads: I used big photos and found patterned paper (first slot) from a brochure about coffee.

The Why

I started Project Life because I was looking for a kind of comeback into the world of scrapbooking (I was into it as a child, lol) but the “traditional” way seemed so complicated. This was easy enough for my feeble mind to comprehend, and it’s easy enough for it to remain therapeutic and stress-free. Right now, I’m doing a weekly “spread,” though I sometimes go beyond the allotted pockets.

I also saw so many awesome layouts that kind of reflected the kind of “scrapbook” I wanted to make and keep. Here are a few of them, to hopefully inspire you:

What Now?

I’m not sure if I should go on about my process (lol what process), materials, methods, and whatnot as there are already a lot of people who make better pages that are showing bits and pieces of their processes online. I do intend on posting some of my spreads, though.

I know a few people who’ve also started doing Project Life, and I hope this helps you make up your mind if you were thinking about doing it, too. :) Please let me know if you have any questions!

  • I was a serial diarist, plannerist and scrapbook-maker when I was in my Grade School/High School days too! I actually miss doing it but I feel like I’ve already too much on my plate at the moment (being a full-time momma and housewife and all LOL) to even think about getting back to it. This Project Life looks quite doable, though! :) I love your spreads, Carina!! Na-inspire ako to do this also. Thanks for sharing Life Documented Manila, will check their shop out :)

    • Diba! Hay nako, Shari, nice the Project Life of people with kids that I’ve been seeing :) I’m sure sobrang nice ng sayo since your pics are maganda na to begin with. Let me know if you end up doing it!

  • I was also into scrapbooking when I was younger! I think I’m going to try doing this with my past travels. :)

    • That’s what I’ve been doing, since I run out of things to scrapbook, lol. I hope I can see yours if you end up going for it! :)

  • I never liked scrapbooking but I looooove to look at other people’s work! If only I have the patience to create something like this. :(

    • Haha this is literally the easiest way! :) I hope you can try it sometime.

      • I’ll think about it! Your photos just made me wanna buy everything and start scrapbooking too. I hope I’d have enough creativity to make it through, tho. :)

  • Yay for this post! I only recently started doing Project Life too, and I got my first album, card shares, and kits from Life Documented Manila as well. It’s so fun and easy! I’ve since begun hoarding scrapbooking stuff and it has become a legit obsession. Thanks for sharing bits of your album — I love looking at other people’s books!

    • Yay!! It’s hard to reel it back in when you go full force no? Haha hopefully it pays off for you and you enjoy it anyway. :D

  • luu

    I’ve seen people doing Project Life for a while now, but I didn’t like how much it focused on the cards, instead of pictures and the actual recording of moments/memories. But I like how you’re doing yours, and I’m considering starting this for my travels (because my weeks are very uninteresting). I hope you keep posting pictures of your spreads, they looks so nice.

    • Yay! I think I want to scrap the “weekly” format (maybe!) and just focus on filling up the pockets. I’m not sure how well that’s going to turn out, though, since I like having a bit of structure, but I don’t want to force-document myself when literally nothing is happening in a week haha.

  • I’ve been revisiting your Project Life posts and have gone back & forth ever since you wrote about it haha. I used to make scrapbooks before and give them as gifts, so I’m mulling over the concept of PL and how it excites me inside, but then there’s also this doubt of if I’ll live up to filling those pages.

    But GAHD, your spreads alone make me want to jump on it already! :D

    • I love making mini books! :D Thank you so much for your kind words, April. I love PL because it’s a destresser + a way to tangibly keep and revisit memories.

  • Audrey

    I love your PL scrapbooks! I keep vacillating about starting these because the base cost of the protector pages and the card sets are so high, but I do like the thought of just decorating my own index cards.

    One question: the OCD inside of me is bothered by some rounded corners and some not – do the cards all come with rounded corners, and then you cut them into your printed photos? Or…

    • Hi Audrey! Thank you so much. :) Another thing you can do is to just stick the cards on paper in a similar grid format, I think.

      I think all the Becky Higgins/Project Life and most of the Studio Calico cards (there are rare special cards from SC that aren’t) are rounded. The ones by Kelly Purkey are not rounded. Basically, it depends where you get them from.