Organizing for Project Life - 2013


After a bit of thought, I opted not to purchase a new Project Life Core Kit for 2013. While I do adore the colors and some of the designs in the Seafoam edition, neither jumped out at me as one I'd like to use all year long. I am still debating on purchasing the Seafoam cards digitally. I also still have remains of six core kits (some duplicates) that I know I will never get to use. Thinking about giving some of these away on the blog soon.

In addition to this, as you all know, I found myself incredibly stressed at several points this year when working on Project Life. I tried going the super creative route, and it just overwhelmed me. I don't want Project Life to be overwhelming. I want to be able to scrap my week in an hour or two, tops, and be done. And while the album as a whole looks great, I am not a fan of the inconsistency in the layouts.

Next year I want consistency. I want creative simplicity.

So, here's my plan, how I'm organizing my 2013 Project Life. I'm prepping a kit in advance. I'd like to share with you what I've got so far, and I'll do a wrap up post closer to the new year showing off the full kit. Apologies for these being iPhone pictures, my camera is currently packed away.

First, I found a 6x6 paper stack that I absolutely loved at Michaels, and I purchased four of them. These are My Mind's Eye Dolled Up. I am a huge fan of My Mind's Eye, and so excited to find their products at Michaels. There's 24 sheets in each - so I can get 48 3x4 cards from each paper stack, and have scraps left over to attach to the grid cards to make some decorative journaling cards. Picking up four stacks will allow me to cover the entire year.


The reason for the smaller stack (as opposed to a 12x12 paper stack) is that the scale of the designs is smaller. Through my experience as a card maker, the smaller scales work better for smaller paper sizes. Given that the majority of this paper stack is going to 3x4 sized inserts, the small scale fits perfectly.


How gorgeous are these 3x4 filler cards that I cut from the My Mind's Eye paper?

With the leftover small bits of the paper, I can decorate the Project Life 3x4 grid cards:


I've also ordered two White Signature Binders to hold next year's pages. I think that the elegant white will coordinate nicely with the paper I've chosen.


I picked up a textured white core card stock 12x12 stack that coordinates with the patterned paper. I'm cutting these up as my title cards for each week.


Because I like a layered look, I'm making printable calendars for each week, and I'm also die cutting my own chipboard week number thickers. Every week will have the same title card. Excuse the calendar sketch, I haven't had a chance to finish them in Photoshop yet.

Update: Here is the link to the free printable calendars.


The calendar printables will be available on my blog later this year. I plan to cover the chipboard thickers with the grid cards prior to die cutting, so they'll already be decorated.

And then I'll be using a combination of the grid cards, my favorite journalers from some of the core kits, and my own journaling card designs. I'm making all of these up prior to the start of the year. As 2013 goes on, I may swap out some cards for new ones I create, but I want to have my layouts, for the most part, planned ahead.

Finally, I'll be pulling together some coordinating embellishments - washi tapes, stickers, thickers, die cuts - that can be added as I go.


I think all of these things will provide me what I crave for next year. Ease. Simplicity. Consistency. Creativity. And most of all, documented memories.

For actually planning my layout each week - I'm trying out an iPhone app I discovered called Montage. This app allows you a lot of freedom in creating photo collages. Basically you have a blank canvas and you can add all your photos, rotate and size them as you like, and you can save the layered montage. I downloaded a jpg of both my free lined 3x4 card and Marcy Penner's Design A template, and am using these plus my camera roll images (and maybe some sketches) and creating my layouts on my phone. This may get too tedious for me, but sometimes at night I like to plan, and since I can save the layered template I can add photos as I go throughout the week.

What I did was upload Marcy's template first as the background, then add photos and the journaling card placeholder on top, resizing to fit in the template boxes. It doesn't have to be perfect, it's a planning tool. I think this is pretty cool. 


What about you? What changes, if any, will you be making in 2013? What have you learned from doing Project Life about how you like to scrap? What works for you? I invite you to share your process in the comments.

45 comments:

  1. I would love to know how you cut out your cards? I did the same thing but bought my Minds Eye stack from Winners and started to cut them out but it doesn't have a pro look:( I even bought a 12x12 rotary paper cutter.... help
    thank you for the post will be following you!

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    1. I use an X-Acto paper trimmer:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006HVQGY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0006HVQGY&linkCode=as2&tag=avegiathe-20

      It's heavy duty and works beautifully. Then I use this corner rounder to round the corners:

      http://www.uchida.com/p-65-marvy-corner-punch.aspx

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  2. This is awesome. I have no other words.

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  3. Omg, never thought to use 6x6 paper!!!!! Thank you for the ah ha moment!!

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    1. Came after lots of frustration with having a ton of 12x12 paper stacks and the patterns being too large to use on cards. Now I buy smaller sized stacks. 8X8 or below.

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    2. I had that same "Duh! *hitting palm on forehead*" moment, too!

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  4. Hi again do you cut them 3x4 ? or a little less ? is that the only sizes you cut ?
    I don't have the core kits just pocket pages...

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    1. Yup, 3X4 or 4X6 for the larger title cards.

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  5. I haven't thought about PL2013 yet! I'm still behind this year! I bought the Clementine kit, which I love, but am thinking of using my stash! Though, that'll mean I'll need to go out and buy me 6x6 paper pads-genius idea, thanks for sharing!

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    1. I was four weeks behind back when I was designing the retro kit freebie, but I managed to get caught up in one weekend day. You can do it! :) Keep it simple, and if nothing else, print and slide in your photos and go back to the journaling when you have time.

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  6. I love so many of your suggestions! I have several 6x6 pads that I'm going to dig out to use next year. Thanks for inspiring me to start getting ready for my 2nd Project Life album!

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    1. This comment made me smile! Well, all the lovely comments here have made me smile. It thrills me to no end when I receive comments that say I've inspired someone. :)

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  7. I did PL this year and plan to do it again next. I have never been this caught up! (last few years, I did a 2 page layout for each month with intermittent other layouts mixed in). I am not sure which core kit i want but will probably go ahead and get one because I love the title cards. But I will probably get them digi as i think I might prefer to print the titles out how I want. However, I hadn't thought of doing my own version like you did here and I do love what you picked! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I was debating whether to go to a biweekly version or monthly version next year, but in the end I decided I do like having each week documented separately, with inserts for extra photos.

      Of course I have no idea how I'm going to document our Disney trip - I just can't decide yet!

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  8. You are SOOO incredibly smart!! I am like u and like to plan...plus I always have my phone on me, and that way I can plan even while I am out somewhere....I love that idea! Can't wait to really try out montage!! Thanks!!! I too am still catching up 2012 (like others have said) and haven't even thought of 2013, only to think about wanting it easier so this really helps!!

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    1. I'm always thinking years ahead of myself, and once I spotted this paper stack I of course just had to start prepping next year's kit, even though I won't be using it for 3 more months! However, now I'll be ready to go and 2013 will be super simple to scrap. :)

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  9. WOW! love that you are so organised! I too have decided not to go with a Becky Higgins kit next year also, I have for the past 2 years but really cannot find one that I loved! Being a cardmaker also I love the reduced image size of the 6x6 papers, and think this is a great use of them! Look forward to seeing your 2012 PL Album progress. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I wish that some of the papers that only come in 12x12 had a smaller scale version - there are some great paper stacks out there but just too big for making cards, and as I no longer do traditional scrapbooking, I don't have much use for them. I've stopped buying the 12x12 size (except in solids).

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  10. Such a great idea Melissa, loved this post ! I am going to dig out my pad of 6x6 paper from Amy Tangerine and I love the calendar idea too!

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    1. Love Amy Tangerine! :)

      I'll put those calendars up as a freebie once they're done - probably next month. They'll be 52 of them, one for each week.

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  11. Finding this post has come at the perfect time for me - I too have not immediately fallen in love with any core kit designs - though Seafoam would be the closest to the colours I like to work with - as I gravitate to some 'core' colours I have lots of 6x6 paper pads that co-ordinate - whilst they are different in patterns they are similar if not same in colour palette.... you have totally inspired to start cutting and corner rounding in preparation for 2013, and I am working with my beloved colour scheme and using from my stash - I have my album and page protectors in transit - thank you so much for sharing your plan for PL2013, Michelle.

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    1. I do love the colors in Seafoam, but I found that some of the designs I know I wouldn't use. The same with the other four core kits that I have (some were handed down by a friend who turned to digital PL). There's so many leftovers that I won't use in my albums. Initially I was going to design my own and print the cards, but finding this 6x6 pad was perfect. It'll save me on printer ink and the designs are definitely better than I can create right now. I'll be making my own journaling cards to match though!

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  12. I like this idea too! So you said you diecut your numbers . . . what machine do you use that allows you to diecut chipboard? Where do you get your chipboard?

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    1. Hi Kathleen - any machine that accepts the Sizzix Bigz or Originals steel rule dies will cut chipboard. I use the Xyron Creatopia. You can see my post about cutting chipboard thickers here:

      http://www.avegasgirlatheart.com/2012/08/tutorial-using-extra-project-life.html

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  13. This looks awesome! I can't wait to see your vision come to fruition - it's going to look fantastic! :-)

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  14. I love Project Life. I have been doing this project since 2010 and it's so great looking back and seeing all the memories I have been able to capture. Your cards are really inspiring! I'm with you, the new core kits didn't quite do it for me, although I think I will get the Seafoam kit and add things to it.

    I have learned: Do Project Life however you want to do Project Life. I have been strictly "picture a day" since 2010, but then I fell behind... and I ended up having weeks with too many photos or one "blah" photo for Wednesday but 2-3 great photos for Friday... guess what? No one will care that there's a Friday photo in Wednesday =P Put in memories and stories, do it freely and without stress.

    (I am a Vegas girl myself and I really dig your blog.)

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  15. So I found you on instagram and now I'm here, too :) But I totally love your ideas here for getting organized for 2013. I jumped in mid-year this year, and core kits weren't available, so I have been winging it, supplies-wise, which means I keep buying new things rather than using up my old paper, which was the whole goal. I'm definitely eyeing the seafoam kit for 2013, but even just your idea here of pre-cutting 3x4 cards and rounding the corners so they're ready to go would save me so much time in building my pages each week. And also - I LOVE your plan for the weekly calendar page with the chipboard numbers. I was thinking to do something like that (I'm not in love with my weekly title cards but can't bear changing it halfway through the year so I'm sticking with the design) for 2013. elizabeth/shelikesstripes :)

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  16. found this post from pinterest , and i am so happy you came up with this idea, i was too, going to go with my stash because i wasnt totally sold on a kit. i absolutely love those 6x6 pads!!!! thank you thank you!!

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  17. I am beginning the Project Life system in hopes to complete my adult childrens albums. As a traditional scrapbooker, I have enough product to open up my own store. I plan to use my existing products to justify the $$ spent and because I, too, am not in love with any specific core design. I am glad someone else is also using their own product. Wish someone in the industry would create a 3x4 and 4x6 punch ... sure would make the project easier! Thanks for taking the time to share your tips! I learn something each time i read the blogs!

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  18. LOVE this!!
    I can vouch for the digital kits. I love the freedom to buy what I need & the fact I can recolour if I want.
    Look forward to following your Project Life journey in 2013!

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  19. I love this post! You have a lot of great ideas and a lot of what you said goes with the track I've been on. 2013 will be my first PL! But I've been planning for it for awhile (super planner, here.) I noticed you said you bought 2 albums, do you find that you need 2 albums per year? How many weeks fit in a binder? Thanks!

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  20. Love this idea. Ended up buying a cobalt kit for next year. I was considering using my stash but didn't want to spend too much time choosing and creating my pages each week. Pre-making the cards this way would solve that problem. Must remember for 2014! (found it via pinterest, btw)

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  21. Found this via pinterest and Im so happy I did thanks for sharing I just found out about project life and I cant wait to start 2013

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  22. Love this idea I had 12x12 and 6x6x papers from my stash and it did become overwhelming so I think I will be using the 6x6 paper pads as well and I also ordered two of the core kits both were very lovely but it started to get boring using them so most definaly will be using 6x6 pads and my own desgn thank you for this

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  23. Another idea when cutting your 6x6 pads is to bring them to a local print/copy shop (our local Kinkos does this) and they will cut them on their large industrial cutter. They can do the whole stack or even several stacks at one time. It's really inexpensive ($5 or so)and cut with precision and very neatly, no ragged edges. I like that it is all done at one time and you're that much closer to a finished page!

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  24. I love the paper you chose, but it seems that Michaels must sell a slightly different version than the one they carry on Amazon. I was going to order the one on Amazon that you linked to, but noticed that the patterns look more feminine than the stack you got. It also does not have the chevron or the denim pattern that yours does - even though the stacks have the same name. :( The nearest Michaels is hours from me - I guess I'm off to google free shipping codes!

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    1. That's funny, I didn't even notice that they were slightly different, since most of the patterns were in there. Curious if they're just not showing the chevron on the front cover.

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  25. I LOVE LOVE this post, just stumbled upon your blog and am sooooo HAPPY!! I am also doing my own thing this year for different reasons. Just finished up my first week and had so much fun with it. Feels so good knowing that I put my own personal touch to it. The hardest part is cutting up all the journal cards,my trimmer is old and a little crooked. I've changed my size too, those 12x12 were just getting to big and taking up more room then I have. My new size is 8/12x11 and using baseball protectors instead also, LOVE THESE POCKET. So a little more work and effort but hoping I can keep motivated with it.
    The SEAFOAM kit is the one I want to order but now might just wait a little longer instead of making a mad dash to the checkout button for it.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration. Going to follow your blog and see how you do. HAPPY 2013!

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  26. Love this post. Such a wonderful idea. I've started cutting up my 6x6 paper pads and just have fallen in love with the fact that I can make my own filler cards now. Great idea on dressing up the grid cards also with the leftovers. How do you upload the templates to your phone?

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    1. You mean Marcy's templates? I just went to her blog on my phone, pulled up the image of the template and saved it to my camera roll.

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  27. I am new to PL. I am doing a small album of my mom's last 2 visits to the states, (she lives in Spain) in a pocket-scrapbooking -type of album. I am thinking of really getting into PL next year 2015 and I have to say I really loved this post. Your idea of "prepping" and getting the things ready that you will be needing when the time comes is GREAT! Thanks for the tips!

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  28. I am new to PL. I am doing a small album of my mom's last 2 visits to the states, (she lives in Spain) in a pocket-scrapbooking -type of album. I am thinking of really getting into PL next year 2015 and I have to say I really loved this post. Your idea of "prepping" and getting the things ready that you will be needing when the time comes is GREAT! Thanks for the tips!

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