Tag Archives: process

A Process for Project Life – Paperclipping 234

paperclipping 234

Do you ever feel like you’re battling with Project Life?

I know Project Life is designed to make scrapbooking simple, fast, and easy. And I believe it does that for people who have not been scrapbooking a whole lot like you and I have.

When I look back on the years I’ve tried on and off to do PL, I realize I’ve been battling with it —

  • battling with its colored cards to keep everything from looking chaotic and disjointed
  • battling with the pocket orientations
  • battling with the time it takes to get it done

But the battle is over.

Over the past year I’ve figured out solutions to all these problems and I want to share them with you. These tips are not rules and they’re not the only way to make your Project Life pages look awesome. These are the tactics I’ve come to love as the way that I make the pages attractive, while letting my photos shine, and still keeping it simple and manageable.

Three Tips for Minimizing Chaos with Project Life

(For the scrapbooker like you and me, who may be a bit of an over-achiever when it comes to memory-keeping).

1. Limit Color

Here are options for how to use color that have consistently given me Project Life pages I love…

  1. Use one color per 2-page spread.
  2. Use two colors in small amounts as accents, with black and white being dominant.

I’m not referring to the photos here. I’m talking about the cards, papers, and accents. In the image above from my video tutorial, you can see that I did the two-color accent option, with black and white being dominant. It’s fresh and energetic, but doesn’t distract from the photos.

2. Use the same 3×4 card across your spread.

I got this idea from my favorite pages in Izzy’s Project Life album and I shared an idea for doing it with washi tape from my December Project Life pages as a way to reduce chaos.

If you have more than two or three journal cards across a spread, you’ll want to break up the repetition with one contrasting card for variation to make it look interesting. Here’s why this looks so good (in addition to keeping it simple and easy!)…

  • It unifies the page.
  • It leads the eye across the page.
  • It won’t compete with your photos.

When you vary each card, especially if they’re all a different color or design, you’re adding contrast. Everything that contrasts is trying to get your attention.

What happens when you have lots of different kids all trying to get your attention? Overwhelming? Yeah — that’s how those pages can feel, too.

3. Use embellishments as a solution, not a problem.

Don’t add embellishments only for the sake of adding embellishments. That leads to all kinds of problems and frustration. Think of embellishments as a way to solve design problems. You’ll still have pretty pages and embellishing, but you won’t overdo it and make your pages chaotic.

Need help with some of these Project Life problems?

You can see it all in action on video! I made a tutorial this week where I go through a month of pages (3.5 spreads), and show you how to do all three of these tips, plus additional ones!

It is because of these tips that my most challenging page ended up being my favorite.

I also share my process for completing a month in a quick, simple way that still leads to attractive pages.

You must be a Paperclipping Member to watch the video.

CLICK HERE for info on a membership!

Members can watch the video in the Member’s Area and on iTunes.

Shine On,

How to Print with a Photo Developer and Maintain a Simple Scrapbook Process


I don’t print at home. I send photo orders to my local Costco Warehouse and I drive the ten minutes to pick them up.

Sounds inconvenient, you say?

Well, I disagree. I find it totally convenient.

I actually have an Epson printer that will print photos, but I happen to like using my developer. It’s true! It’s the reason I’ve felt no incentive to use my own printer!

I know a lot of you print through a developer like me. Others of you print at home, but would like to save money and ink by doing some printing through a developer. If you’ve been agreeing with the masses, though, and feel inconvenienced that you can’t print at home, you might want to take a look at my process and see how I make it work well for me. Maybe just a little tweak here and there to your own process will give you the same ease in your workflow that I feel in mine.

Get Into a State of Flow by Task-batching Your Scrapbooking Steps

I scrapbook when I want to scrapbook, and I play with photos on my computer when I want to play with photos. I don’t make myself do one activity when I want to be doing the other.

Each of the two activities uses a very different mindset and different tools, so I don’t combine them. What I mean is, I don’t think it’s as effective to creative flow when you want to scrapbook, but first you have to get on the computer and pick the photos, edit the photos, and then print them.

There’s nothing wrong with it, and I know there are many scrapbookers who do it that way just fine. But it does require that you change mindsets, and you’re less likely to maximize the potential of your photo editing if you’re hurrying through that process because what you’re really trying to do is scrapbook. Plus, it’s no fun to be doing one thing when you’re wanting to do another. Right?

Of course, this method means that some photos must be ready and waiting for you when you have the paper urge, and want to get into a paper flow.

Here’s my scrapbook process from digital photo to the actual page layout.…

Photo Prep & Printing

When I’m in a computer-photo mood, I spend time prepping my photos by doing any of these steps:

  • Identifying the ones I will want to print, share, or scrapbook.
  • Editing only those chosen ones.
  • Adding journaling into the metadata of my chosen photos.
  • Digitally cropping those favorite photos to the sizes I want for scrapbooking.
  • Ordering my photos for printing.
  • Uploading them to share in sets and collections on Flickr.

For more details on my process, you might want to read my article, How You Really Can Tell All of Your Stories.

How to Organize It:
I have a folder within my Pictures folder on my computer that I called, “Photos In Progress.” Within that folder I add even deeper folders for any picture groupings I’m working on over time. For example, I had a lot of pictures from Aiden’s birthday party and I spent a couple of days choosing the photos, cropping them, and adding multiple small photos to single larger canvases for me to crop later. I kept these pictures in that folder until I had it all finalized.

Screen shot: Pictures Folders

When I have a single photo I’m excited to scrapbook, or a folder of photos that I finished prepping for print, I send them to a different folder on my desktop that I call, “Print.” As soon as I’m ready I upload them to Costco and then pick them up while I’m running errands.

Print in Small Chunks Instead of Big Batches
I no longer wait until I have a big stack of pictures to print. When I did that in the past I found that I had hundreds and hundreds of photos that didn’t motivate me; or that weren’t in the sizes I wanted when it was time to scrap.

What’s working amazingly for me now is to order prints for just the handful I’m most excited about. I order just enough to last me about two weeks of scrapbooking. It keeps me motivated to scrapbook, and I don’t get overwhelmed by the process of organizing a big stack of photos, especially since I love to print in various sizes.

Customizing Stacy Julian’s Library of Memories System
Many of you know I follow Stacy’s system. How am I doing it now with this new process? I do it digitally. I organize my favorite digital photos into quarterly albums in my photo manager (instead of in actual tactile albums), and then when I’m really motivated I keyword photos by Library of Memories categories (instead of putting actual prints into physical category drawers).

Scrapbooking With Prints I Have

I find that after I’ve edited, journaled, and cropped the digital photos I’m most excited about, I’m almost always motivated to scrapbook them right away. I’m working on making a landing spot for the small handful of pictures I’ve printed to serve me over the next week or so.

What if I ruin a photo? Someone commented recently on the large focal point photo that I cropped with the Fiskar’s Apron Lace Border Punch, asking me how I dared to take such a risk with my photo, since I print them at a developer.

4 July

I don’t see this as an issue. If you mess up your photo you just order it again. It’ll be ready within a couple of hours and you can continue scrapbooking with your messed up photo until you can replace it with the good one!

You Have the Urge, But Not the Photos

Recently my urge and scrapbooking speed got fairly manic and I found myself needing to scrapbook two stories for which I did not yet have prints. No problem. You can see in the photo below that I went right to work without the print. I could see what the photos looked like on my computer and I used my understanding of design principles to help me make decisions.

My Work Table on 4/19

Left Layout
On the left I used my understanding of scale and proportion to know how much bigger I would want my photos to be than my embellishments. In this case, it was actually better for me that I started scrapbooking before printing, because had I not started this way, I would have printed my photos either too large and they would have dwarfed my embellishments, or I would have made them too small and my embellishments would have competed.

In this case, the embellishment choices were important to me because they are ephemera. I wouldn’t have wanted to just change my embellishments to fit my photos.

Right Layout
On the right I used a stand-in scrap piece of paper with a similar size and a similar visual weight as the photo I wanted to use. This worked perfectly fine, as you can see in the final results:

N 38

An Easy Printing and Scrapbooking Process

As long as you live fairly close to a decent photo developer (mine is ten minutes away, not close to other places I go), this is a very easy process for scrapbooking! Sometimes I get the impression that scrapbookers feel inadequate for not having a printer at home. I choose not to print at home, though I have the tool to do so.

I just find the common viewpoint to be incorrect. Printing with a local developer can be very convenient if you fit your scrapbook workflow around it!

This Week at Paperclipping

No Paperclipping Event for (Inter)National Scrapbook Day

In the past we’ve had some fun and awesome live online events, plus a donation drive. I’m so sorry to say that this year I can’t do it. I have been looking for an opportunity to take a weekend workshop with an artist I admire, and she finally scheduled one fairly near me on that same weekend! I had to jump on the opportunity!

I know there will be many other fun events happening around the web. I will be looking for a different day where I can do a live event in the next couple of months, so please keep watching the newsletter for the announcement!