I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1 by Megan Anderson

This week, to celebrate Project Life Lessons, the Big Picture Classes workshop I’m teaching with Elise Blaha Cripe and Annette Harring, I’m posting a Project Life spread every day this week. It starts tomorrow, September 5, Welcome to the Project Life extravaganza!

*Click the photos for a larger view.

While I use the Project Life system to document my everyday weekly, I’ve been motivated to get my old photos out of boxes–I want those stories TOLD! So I set out to use Project Life to document my whole childhood. Yep, my whole childhood. (Don’t think I’m not planning on tackling the teen years and my heritage stuff too.) For now, I started with the photos that were already at my house: birth to age 8 or so. The rest of my childhood photos are spread out between my parents and grandparents and will take some work to find. The photos I had filled two albums, so today I’m sharing the first album: birth to age 4.

By going super simple with this album and using Project Life in its most basic form, I got 9 years of photos organized into two albums in two days. I like a lot of extra frills in my weekly Project Life spreads but, in my opinion, this is what the simple version of Project Life is perfect for. Putting together the album was a snap: digging through tons and tons of unorganized photos to find my childhood photos and then getting them into a sort of chronological order? THAT was the hard part.

Armed with the Kraft Core Kit (perfect for my late ’80s-early 90′s childhood), Big Variety Pack 2 page protectors, and some Design G page protectors (so I could combine horizontal and vertical orientation photos onto one page), I set to work. I also added in the traditional pages from my childhood I’d already completed with 12×12 page protectors and some bigger portraits with 8.5 x 11 page protectors.

Here’s some of my album, pre-journaling. My mom is going to help me fill it with stories!

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

First off, my #1 tip: use the 4×6 title cards as backgrounds for photos smaller than 4×6. They won’t be perfectly centered, they’ll slide around a bit, but your photos are preserved with the stories in their original state. (If you don’t want photos flying around, try using a temporary acid free adhesive like this one.)

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

I was so lucky that the Kraft edition worked so well with the colors I’d chosen for the traditional layouts I did about my childhood years ago. Man, my style has changed a lot!

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

I made sure to mostly use 3×4 cards that fit journaling, and balanced them with a few filler cards.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

I pulled the color scheme for the cards from colors in the photos, usually in clothing.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

It doesn’t bother me that, to make the pages work with photo orientations, I ended up with a lot of blank 4×6 spots. I expect to have more journaling than photos, so that just leaves more room for words!

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

Can’t get over how perfect the cards were with this chevron afghan!

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

To keep the layouts cohesive and to keep the cards from overwhelming the photos, I kept the color scheme on each page to two colors of cards. If I brought in more colors, I used a multi-colored card to pull everything together.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

For the most part, I also alternated the colors. Unless I went monochrome, there’s usually not two cards with the same main color adjacent.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

The Design G page protectors really were a life saver for keeping the size of the album small. I loved being able to mix horizontal and vertical photos, and they were perfect for when I just had a few photos left from a certain age.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

Sometimes repeating a card has an interesting effect. I chose these because they look like my second birthday outfit! I love the birthday photos, because they aren’t just of me: they’re of my whole family.

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I’d rather have one photo of my and my mom than a hundred photos of little me. Remember that when you’re snapping pictures now, parents who are reading this!

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

You don’t necessarily need holiday themed cards–just by being with some red cards and Christmas photos, those asterisks become snowflakes!

I added any bigger “professional” photos in with 8.5 x 11 page protectors. I might add in patterned paper later, but I like them just floating for now.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

See what I mean about the luck with the traditional pages?

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

These ones are my favorite.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

Always classy.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

I grew up with my mom, my grandparents, and my five-years-older-than-me aunt. The family photos with all of us are the best–I just wish there were more candid together shots too.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

I used busy cards to mimic the busy sweater. The things my family dressed me in. Hah!

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

That’s the highlights of my first album! I’ll probably share the second album next week, and then I’ll share some of the journaling when that’s all done!

I’m so so excited about this project. I’m still pinching myself that it was this easy and that it looks this good. It’s inspiring me to tackle every photo box in the house. No photo is safe from Project Life from now on.

I Documented my Whole Childhood in a Weekend with Project Life | Part 1

To contain it, I used an album from the exclusive Michael’s Project Life Vintage Travel line. It’s the perfect sintement for a childhood album, and the colors go really well with the Kraft edition!

For all posts tagged Project Life, click here.

Project Life is a memory keeping concept created by Becky Higgins. It can be anything you want it to be.


Project Life Lessons at Big Picture Classes

I hope I’ll see you in class tomorrow!

Big Idea Festival at Big Picture Classes

I’m also one of the many teachers in the FREE Big Idea Festival, which also starts tomorrow! If you are interested in documenting your childhood, this is one you’re not going to want to miss.