Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Project Life - How "I" Do It

Let me start by saying this is my explanation for how I approach Project Life. I am by no means an expert nor telling anyone else how they should do it.  BUT... I always love to see how other people approach things like this and so thought I would share my process.

ALSO, I only do a 1 page spread per week - not a double spread - but I figure this pretty easily translates!

STEP 1: Upload photos.
  • I try to upload once a month.  I do the entire month and print that all off together.  
  • I use the folder system on my computer to help me.
    1. All the photos go into a month folder for the correct year.
    2. I create subfolders for each week and then separate the photos into those.
    3. In the weekly folders I create another folder called "PL" and one called "Layouts"
      • Into these go the photos I am actually going to use.  I try to do this process quickly and not over think it!!
  • Here is a look at what I am talking about:

STEP 2: Photo interruption!
  • At this point, I am ready to do a bit of planning. I print off Design A templates (I only use Design A for PL with occasional smaller inserts when needed, this keeps it REALLY simple for me)
    • The spot I got my templates is no longer there but I am sure if you Google you will find some free ones.
  • I open up my PL folder for that week and decide where I want each photo to go and get a rough idea on sizing - as you can see this is really rough!!  But it sure helps a lot.
STEP 3: Photoshop
  • Once I have this planned out and am sure of what photos I am using, I copy and paste these into a folder on my desktop called "To Print"and inside that in my "To Prep" folder.  (The photos are copied into the "To Prep" folder.)
  • I use photoshop to resize my photos and try to fit as many as I can onto a 4x6 canvas.  
  • As I save these I rename them to the "week" they belong to: e.g. Jan 5-11 1, Jan 5-11 2, Jan 5-7 3, etc.(see photo)  
  • I then save these in the "To Print" folder rather than back in the "To Prep" folder. When I am done with that week, I go back and delete all the originals from "To Prep" (remember I copied them over so I am only deleting a copy).
  • (You can see I have a "Printed" folder too. I dump these edited photos in the "Printed" folder once I have actually picked them up. I empty it occasionally but keep them around for a while just in case I need to reprint something or need reminding where I have printed up to.)
STEP 4: Rinse and repeat
  • Sorry, couldn't resist!  
  • After I do one week, I just keep repeating this process.  I put the photos I want in my PL folder for that week, plan it out on a template, copy them to my "To Prep" folder, open and resize in Photoshop and save to my "To Print" folder.
  • Once I am done the month (or however long it has been since I last did this process) I upload them for printing.  
  • I personally print at London Drugs (I am in Canada) as I find their prints are far nicer than Costco and I like their index sheet.  It shows me the filename for each print.  Oh, method to my madness!!  I can use the index sheet to sort out my photos after I pick them up!! 
  • (I also have a Selphy but as I am doing a month at a time I don't use it for that. I use the Selphy for layouts more as it's only a couple photos at a time)
STEP 5: Sort and stuff
  • When I pick up all my photos I use the index sheet to help me sort them out. ^^^
  • I then trim  all the photos down to size (remember I have more than one photo on a 4x6 sometimes).
  • I then take these photos and put them into the page protectors they need to go in. (right into my album).  I usually take the time to also pick all the cards (you will see on my video).  I then cut up my templates (I have 4 on a sheet of 8.5 x 11) and tuck them into a free pocket in each page protector and I am ready to do these any time.
STEP 6: Get 'er done
  1. For project life I tend to do it in fits and starts. Recently, I started leaving 1 week out on my work space (in the page protector prepped as I described and you can see above).  Having it in the page protector makes it is easy to move around if I need the space for something else.  But having it sit there reminds me I wanted to work on it and I will usually do 1 card at a time when I need a break from work, when I have a few minutes, etc.
  2. I will sometimes sit down and just do a bunch of PL but as a busy mom who works from home and home schools 2 kids... if I have a huge chunk of time it usually is devoted to a layout.
  3. Another thing I do is take these prepped spreads with me when I have to sit around waiting on my kids.  I have a PL bag with everything I need to do this - I just pop the prepped spreads in a box (use empty page protector box) and I am good to go.  I am going to do another post AND video about this soon.
And there you go... this is a SUPER long post and I promise I tried to make it as simple as possible!  Here is my process video on my most recent Project Life pages.

Please feel free to leave me comments or questions and I will try to answer them all.



Melanie Martin said...

Thanks for sharing this Jen! I found it super helpful to have your written down process shared on the blog prior to the video and feel like I could attempt it on my own now with great results.
Loved the editing out of sticking things down!! Maybe just slow the tempo down a bit on your placement of cards etc so I could follow along and absorb details:)) looking forward to more!

Jen said...

Thanks Mel, that is awesome feedback. That is 4x speed so next time will do 2x and that should make it much easier to follow!