I’ve written about Project Life once or twice before – in simple terms, it’s easy scrapbooking. The focus is on photos instead of embellishments and techniques. The idea is to take one photo a day for the entire year. I’m doing a simpler version with fewer photos per week. I recently created my week cards and I had so much fun looking back over our year that I thought I’d share them,

These photos are just one from each spread for the week but I like how together they give a glimpse into our life – lots of Ben, some sewing, travel, food, gardening – there’s a little bit of all three of us.

PL-2013-collage-01 PL-2013-Collage-02 PL-2013-Collage-03 PL-2013-Collage-04 PL-2013-Collage-05 PL-2013-Collage-06 PL-2013-Collage-07 PL-2013-Collage-08 PL-2013-Collage-09

If you are not doing anything to document your life or even to organize and print your photos, start something now! I can’t begin to tell you how much we all enjoy flipping through our family photo albums. In 10 years, I know I won’t remember much of our daily life and the cute little things that Ben says and does. but these albums will remind me. (and if you’re wondering, many of the photos in my recent albums are iPhone photos. There is no way I could document on a daily basis relying solely on a regular camera. So don’t feel like your photos aren’t worth printing if they’re from your phone.)

Tutorial-layer-masksOne of my goals for March is to FINISH my son’s baby album (which is a Project Life album, using the Baby Edition for Him…it started out as a regular Project Life album but I changed it up completely when the baby editions were released even though I was about 80% complete with the original album. That’s another post entirely.) I’ve only been able to squeeze in a few hours to work on the album in the last few weeks but I’m so close – just a few photos to have printed and some things to cut on the Silhouette Cameo. Since I’m going back and filling in instead of spending hours sorting/processing/finding photos, etc., I’m taking a bit more time with each page than I normally would, experimenting with the digital version of the kit (purchased in addition to the paper version – You can find the digital kits {here}).

I imagine most people are either digital OR paper scrapbookers, but I really like a mix of both. My goal was to add in more elements of the Baby Edition since much of what I originally did used such a variety of papers + the Clementine + Cobalt kits. What I really wanted was a more cohesive album. To achieve that, I’ve added digi elements where I can by using layer masks with the journaling cards from the digi kit.


{Note: You need the mask so you can create the frame around the photo. You could just try to crop and resize your photo to fit within the border of the card, but it’s actually easier to create the mask.}

This is how I did it:

1. Open the Project Life digital card that you want to use. I’m trying to fill up some 3×4 slots so I chose a 3×4 card.


2. Crop out the outer edges of the card so that you only have the center part left. Make sure your crop lines look pretty even all around the card.


3. Save this cropped version as a new file with a new name. (I named mine PL-3x4mask.png)


4. Click the undo arrow to restore the original version of the 3×4 card.

5. Open up the cropped image and drag it onto the 3×4 card as a new layer. Make sure the cropped image is the top layer.

6. Open the photo you’d like to use. Drag it onto the 3×4 card as the top layer.


7. From the Layers menu, select “Create Clipping Mask.” (or click CTRL+G on a PC) Adjust the size and placement of your photo as desired.


8. Save the file as a jpeg for printing. It’s that simple.


I also played around a bit with some of the elements from other cards in the set.


Fun, right?  I extracted the “swoosh” element from the card on the top right and added it over the photo with some text. I’m thinking of using that same “swoosh” shape as a cut file for the Silhouette Cameo. I think it would make great week number cards.

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I’m adding month in review pages to my 2013 Project Life album, and I thought I’d share my template with you. I’ll use 8.5×11 in 2013, but I’m going back and adding these to 2012 as well, but in 12×12 format. I’ve sized these at 2.5″ square so they’re perfect for Instagram photos. Here’s my December 2012 page:



It will print with a white border, FYI.

I used Photoshop Elements (PSE) to create these files and you will need PS or PSE to use them. It’s super easy to do.

1. Download files using links below and open in PS/PSE.

2. Open the photos you want to use (12 photos for 8.5×11 size, 16 photos for 12×12 size).

3. With the template open in your workspace, drag the first photo from the Project Bin onto the template.

4. Move the photo layer just above the clipping mask layer where you want it to go. With the photo selected, go to the Layer menu and select Create Clipping Mask  (or click Control + G on a PC).

5. Resize the photo as desired. Repeat for all photos. Save as high resolution jpeg for printing (note: turn off the text layer for the back if you don’t want it to show). Voila!

8.5×11 template | click image to download


12×12 template | click image to download



Project Life is a scrapbooking system invented by Becky Higgins that has exploded in the last couple of years. The basic concept is one photo + journaling card per day for a full year. Becky created a system of plastic page protectors that allow you to slip the photos and cards right into the album, making it an adhesive-free system. I used it to document Ben’s first year, and I loved it. I used to scrapbook the traditional way (layouts, adhesive, embellishments…most of the focus on the cute stuff), but never finished a single album. I was able to finish Ben’s album just a few weeks after his first birthday.  The system is simple and I love, love, love looking back at a year in our life. So I’m doing Project Life again in 2013. (And I’m even thinking about using bits of Project Life to document my quilting. I’d love to have an actual book with photos of my quilts + dates + recipient.)

I’ve decided not to buy a kit for 2013 (mostly because the ones I want most don’t come out until May)…I’m using my leftovers from the two kits I bought for Ben’s album (which is a LOT of stuff). I also subscribe to the Studio Calico monthly & Project Life kits so I have more supplies than I know what to do with.

I’m combining the Clementine and Cobalt kits, and using a narrow palette of green, blue, and yellow to keep things cohesive. I pulled out all of the journaling cards that fit my color scheme and the rest will probably go in my giveaway bin. Here’s what I’ve ended up with:

{clockwise from top left} 52 title cards & various coordinating 3×4 filler cards (with rounded corners!) from my paper stash, 3×4 filler cards mostly from the Clementine kit, and various journaling cards. Choosing the papers was like picking fabrics for a quilt. In fact, for all of my readers who are unfamiliar with the scrapbooking world, you’ll find that many of your favorite fabric designers also make scrapbooking paper (Basic Grey, October Afternoon, Julie Comstock (Cosmo Cricket)…to name a few). If you already have a fabric addiction, don’t click on those links. I warned you…

The next step is to pre-fill my album so each week I just need to print photos and slip them in the pockets. The idea is to keep is simple so I can focus more on quilting this year since that is my true passion.