Scrapbook page of hip hop workshop fun and using the Project Life App

I have been trying out the Project Life Android App by Becky Higgins, and I must say I’m impressed. For the first time in my life I can (potentially) finish a page right there on my phone which saves me a lot of time, and there’s enough free, beautiful kits to get even the pickiest scrapbooker started.

Scrapbook page of dance workshop

Dancing used to be a big part of my teenage and new adult years. When we moved to Hermanus in late 2010, I discovered a dance studio and convinced my husband to take ballroom & latin dance classes with me 🙂 But after I got pregnant with my first child I had to give it all up, and it’s been a long 3 ½ years. That’s why this dance workshop was such a major event for me. I love hip hop—that’s my roots, and favourite style of dancing—and my youngest is finally old enough that I can “disappear” for a few hours on a Saturday morning. Even if I can’t pop to save my life, LOL!

About the layout:

This scrapbook layout documents a single event, so I’ve “cheated” a little by using a Project Life template—since there are no rules in this wonderful hobby of ours it’s all good! This is what I love about pocket scrapbooking, it takes the guesswork out of a page’s design, and because it places hard limits on the number of photos and areas where one can journal, it actually makes it easier to tell the story. I simply picked my photos, chose two journaling cards and voilà!

Using the Project Life App:

The Project Life App is a wonderful tool, and because it lives on the same device that houses all my photos, it’s a godsend. Unfortunately the app still has some ways to go before it can be a one-stop-app for complete scrapbooking.

One major pain in the behind is the app’s limited font editing capabilities. Oh. Em. Gee. Don’t get me started on it. To work around this majorly lacking functionality, I finish my page without adding any text, then save the layout to pull it into Photoshop Elements where I add the final journaling. This way gives me more control (e.g. in this layout, I ended up changing the journaling card colours to match the photos), BUT it defeats the purpose of making the Project Life app a quick and easy way to churn out layouts. I suppose I could settle for a layout that uses very simple font options —I’ve done it before—but it makes my inner-designer cringe spasmodically, something I try to avoid if I can.

Another big usability issue is that you can’t move elements between pockets. For instance, if you want your journaling to appear in a different location, you have to retype and reformat your journaling from scratch; if you want to use the same photo but in a different location, you have to load it from the Gallery again instead of moving it around between pockets.

A big gripe of mine is that every change overrides whatever was in that pocket previously, and there’s no undo button. I’ve lost count of the number of times a painstakingly edited text block disappeared because I accidentally selected a filler card instead of a journaling card.

It also lacks even basic image editing functionality, like rotation, shadow/highlight, brightness, etc. which is a strange deficiency in a photo-type app. I usually edit all my photos first with Snapseed before importing them into Project Life App.

Besides its amazing array of editing functions, filters, and special effects, Snapseed doesn’t compress the final, saved image like most other apps I’ve used before. This is very important if you want to print out your pages at full size.

How do you use the Project Life app? Do you have any workarounds for some of its limitations?

  • Project Life Kit: Midnight Edition (digital)
  • Software: Project Life Android App by Becky Higgins; Photoshop Elements.
  • Fonts: Avenir (main journaling), Bebas Neue (date), serialSue_TRIAL (filler card body), Times New Yorker (filler card accent)

[Scrapbook page] Digital layout of my 2-year-old daughter at play

Scrapbook pages of my little girl playingIt’s been a while since I’ve scrapped because I simply don’t have time. My little boy is already 7 months old, and that just spurred me on to start documenting our life the way I intended to two years ago before my first one was born, so I began to gather photos (not an easy task between two phones, an SLR, and two point-and-shoot cameras). I fully intended to make a Project Life® layout, but when I saw all the beautiful photos of Linnae playing, it quickly turned into a “Linnae at play” double-page spread 🙂 .

SB Linnae Speel (page1 web)I guess I channelled my inner Cathy again, because this is typically her style for digital layouts, with the wide margins, sharp corners, and unapologetically symmetrical design. She prefers a more monochromatic approach, infused with lots of puns, white space, and #hashtags, while I opted to keep the photos in their fully coloured glory, and used words in a purely functional fashion. But even though the pages are quite busy, the wide margins and symmetry help to keep the layout balanced. And I wanted that happy, almost ecstatic look—it suits my daughter’s personality to a T.

SB Linnae Speel (page2 web)Because there were so many photos to choose from, I decided to rather use all the spaces for photos and skip any elaborate journalling and pocket page-type “filler cards”. Instead I created a post on my personal blog that goes into detail about every one of the photos, hence the QR code. Gotta love the digital age! 😀 For that reason I’m not going to go into any personal detail here, so if you’re curious go read it over there. (It’s in Afrikaans; if anyone who does not understand it asks, I’d consider doing a translation here).

I used a beautiful kit from Mommyish called “Daily” because it has nice PL elements—which I didn’t even use, go figure. I intend to print this in a 12 x 12″ photo book¹ once I have enough pages, as part of my Projek Leef memory keeping (my own Afrikaans version of Project Life®).

Project Details:

Digital elements: “Daily” kit by Mommyish • Template: Elmi (that’s me!) • Fonts: Bebas Neue (title), jr!hand (labels/journalling) • Software: Photoshop

Footnotes:

¹ photo book: Q-photo is running a 50% off sale on all photo books until the end of October. If I can do 18 more layouts (just 9 double pages *cough cough*), I will have a beautiful, full colour memory book for roughly R350 (incl. delivery). That’s a bargain!

Inspirational pregnancy album by Kayla Renee

I found the most inspirational Project Life-style pregnancy album, created by Kayla Renee. She documented her pregnancy using Simple Stories and the result is awe inspiring!

Pregnancy album by Kayla Renee.

Pregnancy album by Kayla Renee. Click to view (on her blog).

Last time I posted, I mentioned Project Life and my goal to go about it digitally when I found out I was pregnant. Well, it’s been 6 months since my daughter, Linnae, was born (can you believe that?!?) and I rarely get a chance to open my computer, never mind doing some sensible memory keeping. (At least we take photos all the time, and I keep some notebooks around where I write down memorable things. When I remember…) But one has to make time for the important things in life, and this is right up there with breathing and brushing your teeth.

Pages from pregnancy album by Kayla Renee

Pages from pregnancy album by Kayla Renee. Click to view (on her blog).

This is what I want to leave Linnae, the perfect combination of heartfelt honesty and aesthetic pleasure, and this beautiful album gave me just the right amount of “kick in the butt” I needed. Now it’s time to get off said butt and do something about it. Thank you Kayla!

Header image for scrapbook page

Jumping back into the scrapbooking pool

It’s been aeons since I posted something crafty, and for that I apologize. I’ve made a card or two on occasion (mostly to keep teenagers busy), but it’s been too long since I’ve posted about it, or ventured beyond the “quick indulgence” of a card.

That’s about to change. My life recently took an unexpected turn, and suddenly memory keeping has moved to the top of my priorities. Note that I’m saying memory keeping, and not scrapbooking. See, for me scrapbooking has always been about the creative process: the nice papers and drool-worthy embellishments, those addictive gadgets and beautiful design. That’s why I eventually moved onto cards – less time-consuming, no pressure to perform, and I get to use the same lovely products while getting complete creative satisfaction without the ulcers.

Before I go into the how’s and why’s of this sudden change, here’s the first page I’ve made in… (*gasp!*) 5 years.

An all-digital page, celebrating one of our more random moments.

An all-digital page, celebrating one of our more random moments.

I wasn’t going for eloquent or designer-of-the-year with this one; the sole purpose was purely to see if I could make something in GIMP , the so-called “free Photoshop alternative”. I speak Photoshop quite fluently but I don’t own a copy (how do you justify the US$699 (± R6 500) price tag for something that won’t generate income for me?), so I’ve tried—and failed miserably—to switch to GIMP numerous times over the past few years.

But now I had incentive. And I think I managed quite nicely, thank you very much. Okay, so I used an already beautiful digital kit from Shabby Princess meaning I didn’t design a thing from scratch, and I based the layout on a template meaning I just had to mask and slap everything together, and I probably spent more time on YouTube searching for “how to” videos, but still. It looks impressive, and it wasn’t too hard. Mission accomplished.

Now on to why this was so important.

I’m embarking on an adventure (cue dramatic music). (Hehe, couldn’t resist.) But seriously, I realized that I’ve badly neglected the important task of recording life, and making something meaningful and lasting that would have value to my family and kids one day. Scrapbooking has failed me (although that is mostly my own fault), but at its core I still believe scrapbooking is the answer, so I’ve searched the globe far and wide for a solution.

That’s how I found Project Life. It’s basically scrapbooking without the baggage. The moment I saw it I thought, hey, I can do that! The system is sheer brilliance, but after looking at all the options, once again I just couldn’t justify the starting price of R1 099 for a basic kit, which comes down to an album with the basic elements, enough to finish one album. And since I like variation, I can’t settle for just the basics, so I’d need to buy additional Pocket Pages designs, and I want to make an additional “School of Life” album as well for our daughter (and each subsequent kid), which leaves me close to R3 000 just to get started and suddenly that’s a lot of money for a scrapbook system, even if it does work.

But I can do digital. Hell, I’m a designer. I SPEAK PHOTOSHOP, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! So, I looked into the digital options, and although they are definitely appealing, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could do better. Not to mention, it’s all in English. I love English, don’t get me wrong, but I believe language is an integral part of heritage, and I’m Afrikaans. If this is going to work, it would have to be in Afrikaans (or at least a large part of it). That right there was enough reason to go my own route, and I plan to do this thing right, so there you have it.

Hence, I’m embarking on an adventure. I want to do Project Life—the no baggage, low pressure, memory keeping part of it—while designing my own supplies as I go, replicating a system that has been in development for many years now, by designers who do it as a full time job.

Yeah.

It wouldn’t be my adventure if I didn’t try to make it at least a little bit more complicated, right?

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

Elmi

View supplies list