Last year I decided to tackle Project Life for the first time.
I’ve been scrapbooking seriously since 2002 (yes I’m that old, and that nerdy), but I inadvertently took a few years off to deal with moves, and planning a wedding, and then adjusting to life as a married woman (who could no longer live on cereal alone).
While I learned to cook, and work-from-home, and find my way around the metroplex my lovely (hoarded) scrapbooking supplies went mostly untouched. And as a result a lot of personal stories went untold.
It was no way to live my life.
(Oh, you know what I mean.)
Enter #ProjectLife. It’s a so-called simplified scrapbooking system, in which people use page protectors to store photos and journaling. It’s mean to be a quick way to preserve memories.
I was super excited to give it a try.
And then I got started.
The first few weeks I overthought every little thing, confused at the idea of mixing elements in divided page protectors.
Having gotten used to the gigantic canvas that is a 12x12 piece of cardstock, it felt unnatural and weird trying to limit my decorations and journaling to tiny 4x6 (or 3x4!) cards.
January and February from last year remain unfinished notes about what photos to print and put where.
But, by March, I had started to get the hang of things. And actually completed several weeks worth of layouts.
Then things got busy, and my layouts starting getting less… completed.
I still have weeks and weeks of partially filled pages from 2013.
And do not get me started on the “ephemera.” Oh. The. Ephemera.
Business cards and grocery lists. Band stickers and folded shopping bags. Things saved with the intention of placing them neatly in my album.
They’re now a mess of unsorted, unused “junk” to most people. But to me they represent stories still waiting to be told.
Memories I intended to capture, before my overly-ambitious plans got the better of me.
What a mess. What an unfinished mess.
Honestly, I’m a natural scrapbooker. (And hoarder, but that’s a story for another day.)
I love taking photos. I love writing, telling stories.
I love playing with stickers. And colors. And patterns. And glue dots.
That's precisely why scrapbooking was such a great creative outlet for me.
So it surprised me that I really struggled to find my groove with Project Life.
I just couldn’t find my scrapping mojo (it’s a real thing!). And it started to really get me down.
When the new year started approaching that unfinished album of mine taunted me more and more.
And seeing it so disappointingly incomplete left me with a lot of questions to consider.
Do I even do Project Life again?
If so, do I change my approach?
Do I keep collecting stuff?
Do I go to a smaller album size?
Do I go back to traditional scrapbooking?
Do I try to do them both?
Or go digital?
Or do I give it up altogether?
Does this hobby I once loved have a place in my new life?
Is it worth the trouble?
Can it be fun again?
I think the decision I’ve come to is that it’s time to get back to the root of what I loved about this hobby in the first place.
I loved telling stories, through pictures and words (and stickers!).
I loved creating things with my hands, albums that I could treasure (and share with my family) for years to come.
It wasn’t about capturing every detail of every day, but telling the stories that should be retold.
It was about fully experiencing my life, with gratitude and awareness. Then preserving the highlights for future generations (or a forgetful, older version of me).
Mostly, though, it was about having fun doing it!!!
I loved scrapbooking.
And I really think I can love it again.
I just can't tackle this project - Project Life - like I did last year.
I can't have another year of jumbled receipts and clothing tags, and incomplete layouts.
I can't have hours of stressing over design ideas, instead of simply telling the stories I want to tell.
Last year I spent so much time perusing Pinterest for ideas about how to tackle Project Life that I lost sight of what I was really trying to do.
This year I don’t want to worry about trends, or techniques. I want to get back to the basics.
I want to create a scrapbook I can be proud of, one that’s completed. That’s really important to me.
And I want it to accurately tell the story of our life. Notsomuch what we ate for lunch each day, but what passions we were pursuing, and what new adventures we were taking.
I want to celebrate the little things that make our life special, and document the daily things we’re doing to grow, and learn, and love each other more.
I also want to enjoy creating again.
And I know, to do that, whatever I make must come from the heart.
Inspiration is great, but it shouldn’t drive my every move.
Art is about trusting one’s own instincts.
And I’ve got to let mine have some say again.
This year I’m tackling Project Life again, but not because it's trending. Or supposedly simple. Or quick.
This year I'm trying it because I think it’s the best vehicle for telling the stories I want to tell.
Little ones. Big ones.
Stories that are ours.
Stories that are us.
That’s what I thing scrapbooking is really about.
And that's what I want to pursue with this project. Take two.
Telling more of our stories, in the ways I deem fun, and good.
Being driven by passion, and fun, not fear (of lost memories, or imperfect pages).
This was a note I found tucked away with my Project Life "stuff" from last year.
"Doubt kills more dreams than fear ever will."
I think it's a good motto moving forward, both for scrapbooking and life.
More than anything I want 2014 to be the year I tackle things without fear.
A year for stepping out of my comfort zone, trusting my instincts (instead of second guessing every move, or sticker placement).
A year for more doing, as The Home Depot would put it.
A year of conquering. Completing. Trying again, and if that fails, trying harder.
A year of less looking on from the sidelines, and more living.
Now wish me luck crafty friends!
And thanks, as always, for your sweet support!