i’m relatively new to project life. i started in september 2013, and since then, i’ve become completely obsessed.

it’s the ideal form of memory keeping for me, because at it’s heart it is simple and straightforward, but at the same time it’s open-ended. when i’m time-poor, it’s not too daunting too keep up with, and when i have leisure time to immerse myself in crafting, i can get completely carried away with details and more complex designs.

i’m constantly pinning inspiring layouts, and browsing through blogs and galleries for ideas, which is brilliant, but can also be a bit of a trap. i’ve found that in the process of admiring other peoples’ work, i’ve lost sight of my own style a little bit. for example:

  • looking at a beautiful, minimal design like this one by green fingerprint, makes me want to start typing all my text content, and printing it out on white to make my photos pop the way hers do. but that’s not my style.
  • i adore the way magda mizera uses lots of still life photography in her layouts, and i sometimes want to just take loads of photos of flowers, food, and books around my home, to get a similar effect. but that’s not me either.
  • caylee grey’s consistent and uniform style makes me want to pick two fonts, and a couple of signature colours, and create a smooth, streamlined look that’s super slick and polished. but i’m not caylee.
so over the past few weeks, i’ve been thinking carefully about the things i like about my own style, and trying to be really specific about what they are. i’ve also been looking at the way i think about project life, and trying to get a clear idea of how i want to approach it. these thoughts have come together into a kind of mission statement for how i want to move forward with my own project life:
1. just because you like something, doesn’t mean you have to do it.
admiring a particular way of doing something doesn’t mean you have to try to recreate it. while it might be the sincerest form of flattery, imitation just leads to a loss of your own identity. sure, take inspiration from others, and learn new techniques from them, but remember what makes your work unique.
2. focus on what you do best, and take pride in it.
when i look back over the spreads i’ve done so far, the ones i like best include:
  • my own hand painted cards. i don’y always have time to do them, but when i do, i never regret it.
  • my own handwriting.
  • pictures of the people i love. still life and landscapes are gorgeous, but my project life tends to be about interactions with friends and family, and those are the kinds of photos i love.
  • lots of stories about the little things that arty says and does – one of the main reasons i took up project life in the first place was to record the little things that are so fleeting and easily forgotten.
  • sparing use of flourishes and embellishments. for me, less is more. i want my photos and stories to stand out, and not get lost among really busy layouts.
these things work for me, and produce overall results that i like. when i compare my work to other peoples’ i have to remember that there’s value and beauty in difference and variety.
3. think about the kinds of things you like to include in your own spreads, and choose formats that make sense for them.
put simply: the content determines the design.
for example, i like to include ephemera in my spreads – movie tickets, invitations, arty’s artwork, and the like – so for me, a slightly hodgepodge, patchy look, works. i try to create a vague sense of cohesion by using colour as a unifying factor.
4. it’s ok to make mistakes and change.
the whole point of project life is documenting the journey. your taste and style might evolve over time, and that’s ok. it doesn’t mean that your old work is no longer any good. it represents where you were and what you liked at the time.
so, this year (and into the future), i’m going to…
make plenty of room for arty’s arts and crafts
include little drawings of my own
do lots of handmade filler cards (they make coordinating the whole spread so much easier, because when you diy you can make as many as you need)
and keep remembering to record the little details of everyday life that make us laugh and think
hopefully having this little mission statement in mind will help me stay on track for creating, and valuing, a scrapbook that’s my very own.