Monday, August 24, 2009

Project 365

Back in December, I decided that on January 1, 2009, I was going to start the so-called "365 Project." If you're not familiar with this concept, essentially what you do is take one picture a day for an entire year, plus write a few lines of journaling about each day's picture. The idea is to document your daily life and daily activities through pictures. The concept itself has been around for awhile, but it became super popular (and the talk of all of the scrapbooking message boards!) late last year after celebrity scrapper Becky Higgins adopted it and put out a Project 365 kit that she designed. The kit had an album and divided page protectors for each week's layout, with pockets for the photos and separate journaling cards. Although I didn't try to order one, apparently the response to the kit was tremendous and many people who wanted the kit didn't get one. The kit wasn't really my style, but after reading about the whole 365 idea, I was instantly intrigued. I started looking into what other scrapbookers who weren't interested in the kit were going to do. Some planned to do something pretty similar to the kit, using divided page protectors, while others wanted a week's worth of pictures and journaling to fit on one single page.

After exploring a lot of different options, I came up with my own design for my weekly 365 layouts that I would house in a special 365 album that is 8-1/2 inches square. The photo above is a recent example of one of my Project 365 layouts. The big thing to me was to keep the form of the layouts almost exactly the same from week to week, so keeping the album up wouldn't become a huge chore. I mean, I probably have six or seven paper-crafting projects going at any one time, so I didn't want to take on an album of daily pictures if I didn't have a fairly easy way of keeping it up to date. (If I were a digital scrapper, like my friend Becky and her sister Barb, I'd probably have chosen that format for my layouts, as it really lends itself to a project like this. But, alas, I'm not digital (yet).) In any case, I came up with a template that I follow for my weekly layout, using pictures cropped to about 3-1/2 inches square. To keep things simple, I decided to use all cardstock, with no patterned paper at all. Because I'd need a lot of it, I chose inexpensive packaged cardstock from Michael's, the kind that comes with five or six coordinating colors in each package. Each layout uses two different but coordinating colors of cardstock, one for the background of the layout, and one for the mat that encloses all of the pictures for that week. I also bought just a few seasonal types of vellum stickers -- snowflakes, flowers, colored leaves.

I also decided to limit the fonts that I'd use for titles and journaling to my two favorites, 2Peas Flea Market and 2Peas Evergreen. Before I actually put together a layout, I went through my cardstock and picked coordinating shades to go together for the first few weeks' layouts. I opened a document in WordPerfect for my mats, which double as my title backgrounds. My title for each layout is simply the dates of that week. I alternate fonts for the title of each successive layout, and I use the same font for my journaling card, as well. I keep a separate document in WordPerfect for my journaling, and try to catch up on it at least once a week. What I like to do is take my camera right down to the computer with me, go through my recent photos, and write a few lines about each one. I print off photos to make the actual layouts maybe once a month, and get my journaling cards printed out then, as well. (By the way, this is a great project to keep up with at crops, because you have a limited number of things to bring with you.) I use a graphics program to format my journaling box, then I just copy my text into the box from my WordPerfect document. Usually I have to shorten things up a bit, because I need to fit a whole week's worth of notes in a 3-1/2 inch square, and when I write my journaling from day to day, I tend to be wordy. (Let's face it, I'm wordy pretty much all the time.)

I then physically put the layouts together, and embellish them very simply with a few seasonal stickers and three mini-brads along one edge. Why stickers with all of the cute 3-D embellishments out there? Because I wanted to be able to get half a year, or 26 double-page layouts, in one album. The lumpier I went, the less likely that was to happen. So I went flat with stickers, and the mini-brads add just a tiny bit of texture.

If you're intrigued by the idea of doing Project 365, but think you could never take a picture a day, don't worry. It's amazingly easy to find something to take a picture of every day. Have I ever forgotten to take a photo on a particular day? Of course, and it's been more than once. What I do on those occasions is just take two photos the next day. Oh, and I don't necessarily take a picture each day that relates specifically to that day. I also take pictures of things like the front of our house, my van's license plate, our street sign, etc., because I want to make sure I capture the routine details of my daily life in this album. And finally, if I've piqued your interest, rest assured that you don't have to wait until January 1, 2010 to start Project 365. My friends Becky and Barb decided to start on their birthdays, which I thought was a great idea! You could also start at the beginning of any month, or on another day that has personal meaning to you, such as your anniversary, the first day of school, or whatever. If you want to get some ideas before you get started, I recommend simply Googling "Project 365." You'll be amazed at what you uncover.

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