Friday, February 11, 2011

38 February Challenge: Project Photography {step 3 - organize prints}

Now that all of our digital files are organized {OK, mine really aren't still, I am giving myself until the end of 2011 at this rate}, it's time to figure out what to do with all those candid moments!

Many of you have asked me if I am a scrapbooker.  Honestly, I used to be.  But I found that I could never keep up and I would fall further and further behind and get sad that I wasn't doing a good job preserving my kiddos memories.  Sure, I had boatloads of digital files, but to print them and then strategically place them in crafty albums took me forever.  No joke, I would go to scrap parties and gatherings and for every 4 pages my girlfriends would get done, I would maybe complete one.  I am too much of a perfectionist for my own good.  I drive myself crazy....

So I needed a new plan.  I also always wanted to give scrapbooks to grandparents each holiday season, but I couldn't even keep up on my own, how was I going to make extras every year.  That's when I was ecstatic to find that you could use photo printing companies to create a memory book.  So that's what I started doing each and every year....

I really liked that these were nicely bound books and that I could create boatloads of colorful pages in any layout that I wanted!  Here is an example of some of the pages from one of my previous years books:

You can choose your backgrounds, layouts, photos and fonts... all to tell a story.  I like to tell a story of our entire year, and squeeze as much as I can in one little book!  Then, I order three copies, one for us, one for each set of grandparents.  {You can get them from just about anywhere that prints photos}  Each year I tell myself to be better about organizing my digital files to make the book building process easier... as I spend almost an entire day at the end of the year to get these done in time for Christmas....  THIS IS THE YEAR!

So that's what I had been doing up 'til now.  Then last year after I got my DSLR, I realized I was taking pictures daily.  And I started uploading to my facebook a "Picture of the Day".  Here I thought it would be a great idea for me to capture a moment a day that I wanted to remember, because there definitely is a moment in each day worth remembering.  Little did I know that I was joining into a fad!  Who knew?  Then things got even better.  I started reading one of my most FAVORITE blogs, Super Organiser Mum, who had a little project called, "Project Life" that she worked on.  I had to learn more.  I was in LOOOOVE!

I put two and two together and realized that since I am already taking a photo a day, and I loved the Project Life concept, that it was the perfect idea for 2011.  It's a great way for me to document our daily lives through my passion of photography, while hopefully watching my skills with my camera increase throughout the year as well.  Perfect!  And I love that Project Life is an organizers dream and each day/photo can be journaled about.  No moment would go forgotten from now on!

So I ordered my kit through Amazon, and when it arrived, I was SO GRATEFUL for Jade's step by step on how to organize the kit.  I followed it almost to a T.  I spent a couple of hours one day, setting up my entire book!

 The kit comes with boxes of journaling cards....

And a date stamper!  I just need to snag some ink!

I spread them out all over the table and filled in each and every page in the book!

So now, the rest of the year should just consist of printing out the photos, and filling out the journaling cards!  And I love that it even came with decorative dividers for each month!

As much as the binder received with the kit was adorable, I switched it out for a plain green one instead.  For a couple reasons.  It matched my decor and I plan to keep this baby out on display.  And because I like that the new album had a place to title the cover....

I just used Microsoft Excel to create the cover title page....

The very first week of February, I had all my photos from January printed and got to work on the book!

This is what my table looks like on Project Life day.... all my supplies right at hand....

My stack of photos:

Extra journaling cards for "just in case" or to add additional info, and some double stick tape:

A vase of Sharpie pens:

A cup of sweetness...

My laptop {I use it to reference a calendar and to look at the "Picture a Day" on my facebook page, so that I can easily remember the order and a little about each event}:

I also use the stickers provided with the kit, to label the journaling cards with the specific day of the week:

Having everything laid out and right in arms reach made the rest of the project easy and fun!  I used the recommended cards for the cover page:

And then filled out the journaling cards {like photo captions}, with my Sharpie pens... I typically don't adore my handwriting, but when it comes to projects like these, I make an exception because it is one more piece of us and it's authentic.

Once the cards are filled out and the pictures are placed in their slots, the pages tell the stories of our days!

A couple of extra things:
  • I created a special folder on my external hard drive for my "Photo a Day" {Organized by Photo a Day -> Month}.  When I pick the picture to upload to my facebook page, I place them in that folder so when I go to print them, I can just select all for that month.
  • I plan to update my project life album one weekend a month, this is much more attainable for me than my scrapbooking days.
  • I will most likely still create a memory book for the grandparents each year, however, going forward, hopefully it won't take so long because I will have all my digital photos organized!
So that's how I plan to print and share our photos this year!  Now it's your turn to share your plan!  Scrapbook-aholic?  Regular photo albums?  Printed memory books?  Or how about a chic progressive photo journal, similar to this? {which I adore btw!}  Something I don't know about yet?  I would heart to know how you share your captured memories!

I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are getting all those pictures in order!  Wanna join?  Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our picture organizing success stories at the end of the month!

Step 1:  Sort and purge those digital files
Step 2:  Organize your camera equipment


  1. I love it! BUT, I have one question: what will you do if you forget to take a picture one day? Just asking, because I know that's what I would do. :) And then I'd get frustrated and scrap the whole thing.

    And one and half months of 2011 are already over. I wish I had known about this neat idea before the year started! I'm definitely going to keep it in mind for the future.

  2. I've been on the Project Life bandwagon for awhile...she has a digital version too and you can order page protectors for the vertical photos. If you forget a day, just insert a photo around that day (are you really going to remember in 2 years) OR take a photo of your house, your commute, your gas pump to see the prices...things change in your life. Wouldn't it be neat to see a photo of your room from college, or from high school? I never took photos like that. check out Jessica Turner's blog at jessicaturnersblog (at) blogspot (dot) com she does a linky to this each week.

  3. So I started reading this post and was thinking, "Oh my goodness, she needs to hear about Project Life! I am totally going to leave a comment about it, and share about my obsession." And then I read further, and realized there was no need to share, because you have discovered it, too! All I need now to make my Project Life better is to be able to take pictures as well as you do...

  4. Jen, where is the green binder from? I've been looking for one like that for months now!

    Thanks girl! You've got me super stoked to put this kit on my wish list! <3 I love it!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  5. Hmmm...I tried to click on the link to sneak a peak of the chic progressive journal but it didn't send me there! I'm off to check out Project Life though. Can you believe I have been camera-less for almost 8 months now? I've been snapping pics with my smart phone--INCLUDING I'm ashamed to say--Pics of the birth of my 4th daughter! No more though, your projects this month got me and my hubs motivated to by a real camera...we ended up with the camera you mentioned a few posts ago--the one that you dropped and broke. We aren't ready (nor skilled enough) for a DSLR but thought The Canon SX30IS was a great camera for the price! So thanks for that post!!!

  6. Hi Jen!

    Here is a link to the album:

    Heidi, I have to second was a reader above mentioned, if I miss a day by chance, I take two another day of something else worth remembering... for me, I rarely miss a day because IHeart taking pictures, but there are many other ways to use this album if you don't wish to capture a picture every day!


  7. I have been doing the photobooks for a while now. I never print out prints! Only one at a time if say, my oldest needs a pic for something. On top of that, I have never paid for one! All on Promo code!

    I have to figure out what to do with my husbands oodles of older prints though.

  8. Such a cool kit! Again, you know I love you, but now I have another thing to add to my to do list that I was completely fine lacking. :) Seriously though, I love you and your ideas!

    P.S. If you want another idea to remember a moment of each day, this calendar is the perfect DIY project:

  9. This is my 3rd year to do Project Life, but first to do it with Becky's kit. I'm loving it too. Hope you will share your pages every now and then. Love the inspiration!

  10. Love the look of your printed books. Which company did you use?

  11. This is my 2nd year doing PL and I love it! No stress if you miss a day - just do a lay out of a combo of the weeks photos :)

    I even add extra page protectors if I happen to have taken lots of photos on particular week or event. Like you Jen, I also do yearly photo books for all the Grandparents (and of course print a copy for us too!).

    Oh, and I found your blog via Jades blog - so happy I did, love reading about what you have been up to!

  12. My gosh - your photos have inspired me!

    I am also completing Project Life and have a very similar process. I love setting out my kit and spenind 30 mins or so each week updating.

    But now I must go out and buy some Sharpies - they really brighten up the pages!!

  13. Jen, this is a great post. I have a guest blogger who is hosting one of my challenges coming up soon, and she is showing how she organizes her photos.... I am getting all of mine together and have been looking for index file cards to separate the pictures. These look great. Do you think this will work? Or is it just for the book? I can't find anything cute.


  14. I think Project Life is awesome! What I like to do though is print off my blog. I post most of my pictures on my family blog. Then at the end of the year I make a book with I love having my pictures in print plus it is nice to have all that journaling too.

  15. Love the idea of the books (to corral my 11,000 photos)! Where did you get them?

  16. Oh Jen I nearly fell off the couch when I saw my little blog mentioned : ) You are too cute, thank you SO much. I am so glad my little step by step was able to help you : ) xx

  17. Love your Project Life - I decided to do my own take on it before I even knew about Project Life - here
    Love your blog - read it every day!

  18. Oh Jen!! one more reason Iheart your blog!! I've been doing project life for the first time this year and I agree that it is sooo much more realistic!!

  19. I'm not sure about project life for me, maybe it will be more appealing when I have children. I do love photo books.

    Do you have any suggestions for collections of old photos. I inherited the family photo box, but it is just a jumble of lots of different photos. I tried to organize them but gave up. I'm seriously thinking of just sticking them in albums and not trying to organize them by date.

  20. Love your blog and Super Organizer Mum as well!!!! PL is so great! I started this year, too. It's such a simple way of scrapbooking. I have chosen to continue my traditional scrapbooking for my son...way behind but one day I will be caught up, I just know it!!! There are so many great blogs out there that follow PL. I have gotten so many neat ideas from them. Some days I do not get a chance to take a picture so I do what you do as well...just include two from one day. There are some days I have multiple pics, it's hard to pic just one!

  21. What company did you use to print your photobooks and are they 12x12? I love your blog so much. I found you through your post on Money Saving Mom and have never looked back. I have read through all of your archives twice because I love your organizational skils and your style. Very similar to mine. Thanks.

  22. What an awesome idea - I love it :) Personally I'm a scrapbooker and I print photos regularly and just chuck them in albums. I scrapbook the ones I like and then I'm a bit ruthless and throw out the others. I can always print them again in the future - they're only 10-15c!

  23. What a great idea!! I wish I new about this along time ago...I just got a photo scanner so now I'm scanning years of old photos..80's, 90's early 2000...So now I'm on the hunt for an external hard drive to store all the photos...laptop is getting low on memory...I am also taking new photos all the time...should of done this years ago..oh well!!! I just started a blog -

    I'm also on a mission to find me a great camera bag like yours...I just love it..I went to JoTotes and she seems a bit low on stock at this time...but it's on my daily look-out list..I hope you enjoy my site as much as I enjoy yours!!!

  24. Hi Everyone!

    I ordered my family photobooks from Snapfish. However, I know that many places such as Walgreens, Target, Shutterfly, etc... offer the same books!

    Thanks all!


  25. Love it! A friend of mine just introduced me to Project glad you found it too! :)

  26. Jen...I'm just like you. I just can't scrapbook. I'm OK at it, but it took way too much time and I just didn't really get the result I wanted. So, I ALSO do exactly what you do every year for Christmas gifts to the grandparents. I make photo books for them and keep one for us of the entire year of what we did. Besides, grandparents love them! You are doing great to help everyone get inspired!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  27. I am a big fan of PL too! It's my first year, my best friend did it last year and I WISHED I would have jumped on the wagon with her! But I decided this would be a great year to document since we have 3 babies coming and lots of trips. I'm excited too about keeping it all organized!

  28. This is so neat! I'm not sure I can commit to this project right now but I would love to do it in the future. Even if I can't do Project Life right now, you have totally inspired me to take more pictures of my family and to enjoy the big and little moments together!!

  29. Wow, I LOVE the album. I've tried similar things in the past, but have realized that I get behind and then become frustrated (like you said about scrapbooking).

    I recently became a printed photobook fanatic. I'm getting married in a few months, and since my fiance and I had gathered all of our baby pictures and growing-up pictures in one place, I went ahead and ordered a memory book for each of us. I used MixBook, and had such a great time choosing layouts and colors and "stickers." My current plan is to do a printed book each year, but who knows? Maybe I'll decide I have the time to branch out a be a little more hands-on in the future :-)

  30. Scrapbooking is too messy and too much of a commitment for me. I have a folder on my computer desktop that i put all "print-worthy photos" in and then when i get enough, i do a photobook using shutterfly or whatever site has a slammin' deal. Photobooks are the way to go.

  31. First I have to say, I LOVE THAT PROJECT LIFE!!!!! I have never heard of it but I am in serious love! I must have it!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing that!

    Second, you have inspired me and I used a gift code that I had to shutterfly and got caught up on printing out my pictures....all 451 of them, yep, I'll soon be receiving 451 pictures from Shutterfly and be caught up! And I've decided that I am going to order a photo book twice a year to keep caught up....I figure it will be much cheaper than printing them all out and buying a photo album!

  32. Hi Jen:

    Just wondering if you can give suggestions of how to take good scrapbooking/Project Life photos?? I am new to it. Your blog photos are always sooo stunning that I would love any ideas of how to document my son's first year!



  33. Love the Project Life concept! I decided a while ago that I was going to try something like this without knowing about Project Life! Unfortunately, Project Life is just too darned expensive for me with the high shipping price to Canada. But I have tons and tons of scrapbooking supplies stashed away that I will use in my own photo albums (I'm just too busy for those fussy scrapbook layouts now). I haven't started my photoalbums yet, but your posts for the February challenge have been very inspiring and I may just get started!!! :-) Thank you!

  34. Looks great Jen! I still do traditional scrapbooking, I have a lot of supplies and I'm using them up. Plus, there's something about a real photograph that I really love. I will probably switch over to digital scrapbooking when I use up my supplies.

  35. Hi Katie!

    Thanks for the compliment. I carry my camera with me just about everywhere and try to capture those special moments throughout our days. I get down at the kiddos level and play with them or take pictures when they don't know I am, those are my favorites. Even just taking pictures of still objects that might represent something from our day {like a picture of our snack or a special delivery}, is fun also!


  36. Love this idea! Is this still available? When I search on amazon they just have the separate pieces, not the kit..

  37. Where can I purchase the kit you used, Jen??

    1. Hello!

      You can find more details on the kits here:



Thank you so much for taking a moment to join in on the conversation! I read and appreciate each and every comment, however, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious, or spam-like. I would love for this comment section to be used as a place to engage in purposeful dialogue, I only ask that everyone remains constructive and considerate.

All comments will be moderated and may take a moment to appear.