PRT193 – Get That Balance and Flow

This week we’re talking about solving Project Life problems!

The Panelists

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  • Sorken

    Had to look it up. “Bug out bag.” I learn so much from PRT. :-)

  • Ha ha ha!

  • Loved Jess Forster’s sound bites: “embellishing to the high heavens” etc.

    Also loved what Jess said about not keeping all of the memorabilia of life – I tend to do that too thinking that I’ll want it when what I really want is a tiny fraction of that stuff. I’ve been in the process of purging some of my scrapbook supplies – and as part of that process I’ve been purging memorabilia – tons of it – right into the trash can. And of course I have kept some random and bits that I love – but I realize that I keep way more than I use – so I am going to change how much I keep going forward – ie. I’m going to keep significantly less stuff.

  • My husband watches those doomsday / survivalist shows too – so maybe there is some sort of correlation between scrapbooking wives & survivalist husbands.

  • Catherine

    Even after listening to this show, I still don’t understand the sense of Project Life. I startet Scrapbooking because I was afraid of the work and continuity that regular photoalbums meant. As a working mum keeping up ist not so easy. I love to scrapbook and do my layouts in no particular order. (As talking over 10000 pictures a year- I don’t attempt to put every single one of them in an album in anyway) But most people that talk about PL always seem to “be behind” or trying to fit everything in the system. I just don’t seem to get it. I would rather just adhere my pictures in an oldfashioned photoalbum than calculate how many pictures I need or can fit in the PL protector. It just makes me feel like an memorabilia alien ;-)

  • PetraCorcoran

    You could really be onto something there Katie :)

  • Mary L.

    Great episode. I’ve really been struggling with my urge to document the everyday while it’s happening (because we forget all the little things so quickly) with the fact that I find stories and photos to be much richer with a bit of perspective that only the passage of time can bring. I knew weekly PL would be too hard for me so in 2012 I tried to do monthly–pretty much failed at getting any sort of album together. Last year I had some major personal changes, so while I kept taking photos I basically took the whole year off from papercrafting of all kinds (that even includes listening to PRT, but I get to binge now!). What I inadvertently discovered when I was going through my 2013 photos (which basically hadn’t been touched other than uploading occasionally) was how much more significant my silly food snaps felt when paired with 40 other silly food snaps! On the flip side, I wish I had more written down “in the moment” last year. So moving into 2014 I have decided to do layouts with pocket page support for all the older stuff (I’m going to almost exclusively work with 2013 photos this year) and a weekly 6×8 pocket page PL that is basically all handwritten journaling and maybe a photo a week. I may go back and embellish the PL monthly, haven’t decided yet. The smaller size feels amazingly freeing and then the traditional layouts feel like a real creative/big picture space. I’m feeling really hopeful about this hobby right now. On a related note, I love all your guests, but I think sometimes they tend to throw out there (and remember, I’ve been listening to all the 2013 eps in a row!) that you should just “do it your own way” and “it doesn’t matter what other people do” and while I understand where they’re coming from this isn’t exactly a freeing message when you’re just not sure what your style is and what will work for you. Finding your style and flow takes a lot of time and hard work and it can be the most intimidating challenge of them all and very disheartening at times. I would love a discussion on this between you, Jennifer Wilson, and Stacey Julian…just saying! Thanks for all you do!

  • kelly purkey

    Hi Mary! I definitely understand what you’re saying about finding your style and what’s going to work for you. It’s a bit overwhelming to try to figure out what is going to be the best way to document the year, sometimes even before January 1st. I felt like last year I was one of the only people who moved away from the weekly Becky Higgins system and started using the 6×8. I didn’t know if that was the best thing to do, but it just sounded like it was going to be easier for me so I tried it. And loved it :)

    Are you on Pinterest? I keep a Project Life board on mine Pinterest and that helps me to focus more on what will work for me. It shows me a good visual image of what I’m drawn to and what kinds of things I want to include in my album. It’s not a 100% guarantee that copying an example on your board is going to streamline your approach but it helps me map things out a little better in my head when I sit down to work on it or even during the week when taking photos or saving memorabilia.

  • rosann

    I wanted to give a quick shout out to Amber and Kevin Crowell of Simple Stories. They have been doing pocket pages long before Project Life was on the scene under the Memory Works label, which just closed on January 1. Their Simple Stories pocket pages (including square pockets) were the reason I joined Memory Works about 5 years ago. I think Becky Higgins was at the right place and time and able to capitalize on her notoriety and perhaps has a different, more successful business plan and so now, like Xerox is synonymous with any photocopy, Project Life is synonymous with pocket scrapbooking. Which is awesome and I love it but I also wanted to give some love to the Crowells who really were pioneers in this type of scrapping as well :)

  • rosann

    OMG Mine too. Anything about surviving. It must be a mars venus thing :)

  • P.S. My husband is also really into Ancient Aliens.

  • Mary L.

    Thanks, Kelly! I do follow you on Pinterest but am seeing that I wasn’t following that board for some reason–fixed now! Your 6×8 PL last year was definitely one of the foundations of this solution for me–even though it took me a year to realize it could potentially work for me too. As a 31-year-old unmarried papercrafter living in a city, you can imagine that I naturally gravitate toward everything you do…thanks for being so inspiring ;-)

  • Mary CS

    I have been listening to the paperclipping roundtable for several months now and I love it! It is a great way to get my scrapbooking dose while doing housework or driving! I do not do project life, but listened anyway because I always enjoy Izzy’s humour! (and btw I loved the burnt corner idea!!) I have not tried project life because when I have seen layouts online they are beautifully embellished, and regular scrapbook techniques are used so that it looks elaborately done! Seeing these made me think that I wouldn’t really be able to “keep up” (just like in my traditional scrapbooking). BUT, after listening to this episode of PRT, I have decided that I really do want to do it – but keep it simple with lots of photos, some journalling and minimal embellishment. I will do like Noell and print off my photos for a month and do it by month rather than weekly. I will find my own balance and flow! I am so excited to start now to be able to remember the “everyday”. If anyone has any suggestions of what brand/collection to start with for 2014, I am all ears! Also, I am in Canada, so if there are other fellow Canadians who can tell me the best place to get pocket page scrapbook supplies! Thank-you

  • PjP

    This is just semantics but the word you’re looking for, Noell, when you’re talking about 12X12 scrapbook pages is “traditional,” not “standard.” There may have been a time when the 12X12 spread was “standard” but — mercifully — those days are gone!

    Great show, btw. I’m relatively new to PL and I’m soaking all this in and filing it away for when I hit July and my enthusiasm starts to wane in the face of all the photos and all the plastic. It’s good to know that experienced PLers are adding pocket pages with different-sized pockets to the mix. I have pocket page protectors in 3 different sizes, from 3 different companies, in my album and I love the freedom that gives me to expand or contract the size of spread I do each week, depending on what’s going on.

  • paiscrapper

    Have you seen the new “PML: Picture My Life” program that was released from Close To My Heart on February 1st? CTMH has been selling pocket pages for many years now, but was marketed as 4×6 horizontal and vertical photo pages. The new program includes 122 cards in sizes 4×6 and 3×4, 3 different designed pocket pages, cover page with page protector, and is available in 8 different designs that are based on current and retired paper designs. This is my first experience with a pocket program, so I have nothing to compare it to. I am not sure if I am ready to jump right in, but for consumer purposes I will give this program a try and see where it takes me.

  • Tiffany W.

    I just started Project Life for the first time this year. I wanted to start taking more everyday photos of my family, and especially take more pictures of my older children. So far it has been fun, but I guess we will see how it goes in a few months. I also bought a PL album for my new baby. I love the idea of taking a photo a day of my baby girl and popping it in the album. My goal is to keep it simple. I am keeping to the kits and not worrying about embellishments and stuff.

    When I moved back from Saudi Arabia this last summer, I went into Michaels and discovered the Simple Stories albums and cards. I was so drawn to the cute products and to the album size. I think it is a really fun size to work with. I think the Simple Story products seem to offer a little more flexibility in terms of making it work for your lifestyle and scrapping style. There isn’t any pressure to keep up with weeks or a timeline.

    It does seem to me that some of the pressure of trying to keep up with project life seems to be the antithesis of the original intent of the system. Wasn’t it supposed to simplify things for people? Maybe we scrappers like to over complicate things.

  • Jess Forster

    Hi Mary –

    Glad to see there is another Canadian listening to PRT! I think it’s a personal preference when it comes to choosing what company’s pocket page system to buy. If you listened to episode 175 of PRT, the panel reviews some of the differences / benefits between the difference companies and systems. Essentially the main difference I that I know of between PL and SS is that PL has a true 4 x 6 pocket where Simple Stories has a true 3 x 4 pocket. I am sure other scrapbookers could comment on the differences and why they like PL or SS.

    In Canada, you can buy both Project Life and Simple Stories are at Michaels. If you want to support a local scrapbook store (LSS) than you could also order supplies online. Here are a few online LSS that you could choose from. Both are located in Ontario. or

    Maybe the best solution is picking up a small pack of page protectors from a few different companies. You could use your stash first to see you like this type of documenting. Then if you want to invest more you could make that decision at a later date.

    Hope this helps! Cheers, Jess :)

  • Jess Forster

    You not an memorabilia alien Catherine! In fact, it sounds like you don’t put any guilt on yourself when it comes to your scrapbooking – how awesome! For me, I see my PL album like a traditional photo album. I often wait a few weeks and complete 2 – 3 pages all at once. For me, I just like that format. Like you, I also don’t feel the need to scrapbook all the photos I take in any given year. The great thing is that we are all participating in memory keeping. Whether it’s traditional layouts vs pocket page scrapbooking, regardless of the format, we all see the benefit of recording our memories.

  • Jess Forster

    After completing PL for two years, I also find that my interest wanes in the summer. Not to play into stereotypes, but after living in Toronto which is like an ice cube for half of the year, I actually want to go outside and enjoy the weather during June, July and August! Go figure! Knowing that I wanted to document my summer stories, I simply keep track of the weeks in my PL album, by placing a blank page protectors and journaling cards with notes that represent the skipped weeks. When I attended a crop in back in November, I was able to finish the skipped 8 weeks over the course of the weekend. I wasn’t stressed out about it because I knew it could be done if I kept it simple. I printed out my photos first and then completed the journaling. Fun fact: I didn’t feel the need to scrapbook every picture from the summer. Plus if there was one great photo, i enlarged it, printed and called it done! Have fun mixing and matching in your album! Cheers, Jess :)

  • PetraCorcoran

    In fact the Flip Pockets (the stick one ones) that I use and love in my PL layouts are made by CTMH. They are called Flip-Flaps and come in a variety of sizes and are awesome to add just an extra photo or two without adding a whole new page. Good luck with your project journey. It is quite rewarding and addictive if you ask me :)

  • PetraCorcoran

    I have times where I get a back log, usually because there is a lot going on and I simply don’t have the time, like recently around christmas. I had about 6 weeks to complete but, I still find with the PL system I was able to catch all that up in a few nights. The point is that I think the PL system actually allows you to “catch up” where as I was just never able to do that with traditional scrapbooking because I always found something more I wanted to document on top of my already large backlog and I would stress about all the stuff I was ‘not documenting’. For me that is the heart of why I love PL. I am able to capture & document all our memories which I was not able to before.

  • carrie

    Mine, too, Katie! Except sometimes I think he’s into a little too much. LOL

  • Mary CS

    Thank-you for your comments, Jess! I checked out your blog also. – you have a very nice approach to pocket scrapbooking. Heading to Michaels now…

  • Pepper

    YAY PL my favourite topic!

    I also do project life once 2 wk or once a month. Kind of opposite from the panelist, I take wayyyy to many photos everyday and i have the urge to include them all. I always find that many of the stories must be told with more than one photo so that i feel wholesome haha. And I’m more of a visual person and take cues and info from photos rather than words. Hence I like my albums to be more of a photo album and let the stories be told thru the photos :) As the sayings goes, a photo tells a thousand words.

    Since i need to include thousands of photos, I allow the week to flow over to another spread if need be. I also add inserts in between. Sometimes a one day event (such as graduation, or a trip to Universal studios) take 1 spread with inserts inbetween and i’m totally fine with it. Sometimes half a week take 1 spread and the other half takes another spread. Sometimes 1 week fill only 1 side of the spread! I just let it flow! :) Just let the photos fill the pockets .

    I was at a dilemma initiall at the start of the year , whether to do it like Petra and Ali Edwards, just to include 1 or 2 photo per day, and use the standard format, so as to keep one album a year. While the rest of the stories i will use 12×12 to scrapbook. Last year, I include EVERYTHING in Project life. Dont get me wrong, I do still scrap 12×12 last year, as I’m scrapbooking vacations and scrapbooking my stories prior to 2012 using that format. I kind of like the idea that i have already scrapped all of 2013 :) So i decide to give it another try in 2014, to include everything inside my PL. Last year , it takes 2 album, hopefully i can contain it in 2 albums this year too :) Maybe when i feel caught up with my vacation scrapping and my photos from 2012 and before is more or less documented, then i might adopt Ali’s style and only use PL to be my day to day , highlights of small details album :)

    Love this episode really, thanks so much for sharing !

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    Hi Noell and Izzy!
    I loved the Project Life show!
    Even though I’m in my 4th year of doing Project Life, I am still trying to find the way that will work perfectly for me. I like doing the album and my family thinks that it’s one of my most valuable project, but it’s so much stress for me to keep up and I always have my album in the back of my head every time a little something happens. You know, the little voice saying: “Dang, you didn’t get a picture!”
    So this year, I wasn’t sure I would embark on the Project Life adventure. I thought about it for a long time. After I came back from CHA and the Play event organized by BPC, I didn’t take one single picture for my Project Life album for 2 weeks!! I did take a couple pictures here and there, because I love taking pictures, but not because I needed a picture to document this moment. And man, it felt SO good! After these two weeks I decided to get back to Project Life and I started my 2014 album. And I am so happy about it right now! I would have regretted it so much if in my library there would be a year missing, the year where my little girls turned 4 and 6. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that the show gave me some good ideas. Like when Jess said that she is doing a “day in the life” every month. I think that by doing this, I could be less stressed about taking a picture of everything happening every day. I also loved when she repeated that really, it is what we want it to be and what we need it to be. It is so true! And we don’t repeated often enough apparently be cause even though I know it, I always get carried away by everyone else’s Project Life and their way of doing it. So I think you will never make too many shows about Project Life, we can always get a new idea to adapt it to what’s fitting for us. :) Thank you!! Marie

    ps: If you would like to see my Project Life album, here it is: And you appear in it. ;)

  • Kathy

    I am liking a loose interpretation of project Life, loosely following a chronological order. I am having to be a little loose in terms of grouping by week as I have discovered that I am apparently a little odd, I don’t have a strong preference in photo orientation, I almost evenly take pictures divided between horizontal and vertical pictures. The 12 by 12 pages lean heavily towards one orientation or another, so I have to mix weeks to include my chosen pics? I also scrap my favorite pics in a twelve by twelve layout, I want to spend the time on them and show them usually as large strong pictures. The consequence of this is that now I try not to use these “best pics” on the pocket pages but I am finding that many of the second choice pictures that go into the pocket pages are small moment but real life moments not as polished but these slice of life pics speak to me more as time goes by.
    my issues with project life include buying core kits and even if I truly love half of the cards, I also truly don’t like the other half, which leaves me with half of a core kit that is never going to be used. I wish I lived somewhere were I could have a project life swap meet. My other issue with project Life is that the albums are really big and bulky. I fill one in about 8 months, they take up so much more room than shutterfly books. I really enjoy them but not so sure that these books I have created and spent time and money on will have the same value for my kids. I think smaller less bulky albumns like a shutterfly book will be more treasured down the road. Anyway just my two cents on PL

  • Love this! Thanks for sharing your link. There is so much fun energy in your PL pages (but it’s still clean and easy to look at) — it makes me happy. It made me appreciate PL even more b/c each of your pages is a slice of real life, and I love seeing people’s real life.

    And your big beautiful smile on those CHA pages makes it all feel so happy. :)

  • It really all depends on your personal taste/style. For me personally, I love the Becky HIggins Midnight kit as a core foundation kit b/c it’s mostly B+W and grey. That way I can easily mix other colors and products with it.

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    Thank you so much!! WOW!! :)

  • JennLynn

    Love the episode but so sad to hear so many are pulling away from the two-page layout. Say it ain’t so! I love 12×24 layouts – I’ve tried project life style inserts, but I have 2 major issues with them: (1) I just do not like the look – I can see other pages through the seams and it just drives me bananas; and (2) Even if I could get past that, once I turn the page I now have to make that page protector style work for my next layout – which may or may not be optimal so it takes more time to work that out. Both (1) and (2) are compounded by the whole corner rounding issue…lol!
    I would rather just take a solid sheet of cardstock and mount my photos in a PL style arrangement – no see through separators and no worrying about making the next layout fit the page protector.
    PLUS I just signed up as a Paperclipping member and I am loving all of Noell’s 2 page layouts I have seen on the videos!! Please don’t stop doing those Noell!! There is room for all types of pages in a scrapbook and there are still a lot of us 2 page scrappers out there! :-)

  • Cathie Reed

    I love this show and the wonderful panel. I always enjoy Kelly and Jess and it was wonderful to “meet”Petra.

    I don’t use Project Life but I do like pocket page scrapping. I use the Simple Stories albums and page protectors and am excited by all the new products released at CHA this year. I like the smaller size of these albums because they’re easier to work with and handle. I find that no one picks up my big 12×12 albums and looks at them. Not even me. So, what’s the point? I don’t believe that my sons are going to want my albums when they’re grown if they never see them when they’re growing up. And what if my albums were lost or destroyed? (perish the thought but I’m sure that happens, right?) At least if I share my albums with my kids now then we’re all enjoying them. And that’s easier to do with the smaller albums. So, a big thanks to all manufacturers of pocket pages and those creative team members who inspire by sharing their pages with all of us.

    ps: I’m with Kelly – straight edges and square corners all the way!

  • Jenn Lynn

    Well I spoke to soon on this issue because I just watched a few of Noell’s videos (membership area) about her approach to PL and I have to say I may give it a try – at least in a way that works for me. I may try to just use a 12×12 sheet of cardstock and mount the photos and cards on there to avoid the problem I have with the protectors. I love how Noell uses the system to capture current events and trends – or things that we post on social media but would normally not get around to putting on a layout. Thx for the inspiration! (But PS I will always create and love double-page traditional layouts so don’t stop with those either. :))

  • LisaDV

    Finally got to listen to the show. It was fabulous! I thought each panelist brought a unique voice to the topic and show.