It’s only taken two months, but I do believe I know how I will be handling Project Life in 2016. Before I get to my plan, please allow me to digress and explain how I came to my decision.
After dabbling with Creative Memories for a time, I found PL in early 2013 and immediately fell in love with its simplicity. Pictures in pockets with words. Yes! I can do that. I collected supplies for a few months and started my first album in 2014, using Studio Calico’s Project Life kit. It was as awesome as I thought it would be and I loved working with a small kit of supplies each month. My 2014 album makes me happy every time I look at it.
I started out with the best of intentions in 2015, but life happened and I fell behind. Those small monthly kits stacked up and I ended up with quite a stash of left overs that was, quite frankly, overwhelming and demoralizing.
When 2016 rolled around, I seriously toyed with giving the whole thing up and just getting rid of everything. Even as I was setting a goal to be sure to complete my PL pages weekly, I was questioning my desire to do so. Then came Ali Edwards’ Storytelling with PL class and everything changed.
I cannot tell you how amazing this class has been for me. From showing us her past albums to walking us through her workspace and her PL process, Ali managed to provide insight into a couple of the things that have been keeping me from moving forward with PL – namely over saturation of supplies and perfectionism.
One of the things that struck me most was Ali talking about knowing your reason why. Why are you doing Project Life? Why are you choosing to document your life this way? Why is it important. Most honest, I had to take some time to really think about my reason why. Here’s what I figured out.
I come from a family of picture takers.
My Grandpa Roy loved to take pictures of his family and he passed that love onto my dad, who in turn passed it onto me. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and his camera, first as subject then as student. He got me my first SLR and helped me pick out my first DSLR. He taught me how to change a roll of film and how to frame a shot. And he took pictures of everything. I have boxes full of his slides, negatives, and photos to prove it.
What I don’t have are his memories. The reasons why he took all those pictures. Sure, some of his pictures ended up in albums, but they were all photos and no words. I don’t have any idea what moved him on any given day to pull his camera out and photographically document the occasion. And I want that. I want those stories – the ones only he can tell. You see my father and grandfather, they were photographers. Me, I am a storyteller and memory keeper.
Now, I am fortunate. My dad lives close enough to me that I can take some of those old photos to him and begin digging into his story. I can get them into albums – words AND photos. I have plans to do that, along with all of the other photo collections from my family that I have taken it upon myself to keep and protect. One of my intentions this year is to get all of these photos organized and scanned so I can begin collecting the stories to go with them. And let me tell you, it’s a daunting task. But it’s one I truly feel compelled to undertake. I know some of the stories I am looking to gather are lost to time and, as sad as that makes me, I am not going to let it keep me from doing what I can to tell my family’s story.
And what about my own story? As much as I want the stories of those who came before me, I also need to tell my own – the ones I’ve lived and the ones still to come. I dare say I have just as many photos as my dad does, stored in boxes, CDs, flash drives, hard drives, and my iPhone. I also have containers full of the stuff of life I’ve collected along the way. And right now, it’s all just a bunch of untold stories, sitting around collecting dust.
It just don’t think it’s practical for me to assume that either one of my daughters will catch my storytelling/memory keeping bug and I can’t say that I’ll ever push it on them. It’s enough for me that they understand/accept that I take pictures and squirrel away the stuff of their lives, so their story is told until they are able to do it themselves, when or if that time ever comes.
So it’s all on me then, right? I have to tell my own story or run the risk it never will be.
Which brings me to Project Life in 2016.
Thanks to Ali, I feel a renewed focus documenting my life with PL. At the same time, and fully aware that I will be doing quite a bit of scanning this year, I need simplicity.
So I went ahead and purchased the Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp to use as the foundation for my 2016 album. The grey, navy, and teal color scheme combined with simple geometric designs and words in Heidi’s handwriting is both lovely and elegant.
Becky Higgins Picturesque PL Core Kit
And because I just love her style, I will supplement my new Core Kit with Ali’s Story Kits and journal cards, along with the occasional assist from my stash.
PL 2016 – Cover Page
Now that I have Picturesque in hand, it has taken me no time at all to create my cover page and jump right in to the stories of 2016. And they are stories – more than ever before. Granted, they are small ones right now as I develop my new style (what used to be photo heavy inspirational is morphing into story driven inspirational – I still really do love a good quote!), but my pages are coming together so much more quickly now that I’m back to pictures in pockets with words, which is really what it’s all about, right?
Pictures taken. Stories told. Memories kept. Simple and done and exactly as it needs to be.
Page Construction Notes
My cover page is made from the title cards from the Picturesque Core Kit in Becky Higgins Design A page protectors. The ‘FOCUS’ wood veneer is from Color Cast Designs’ The Little Words Set. The ‘H’ monogram is a mix of two stamp sets, both designed by Lindsay Letters for Studio Calico – Monogram and Cotton Candy Add-On. I also threw in a navy chipboard star, also from Studio Calico.