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Filtering by Tag: project life

project life :: february 2014

liz lamoreux

This year, I'm working on my Project Life album one month at a time. Letting go of the weekly updates has been like taking a deep breath.

And as usual, it isn't about being perfect or hoping my albums will look like some of the true designers or really experienced scrapbookers out there. 


This is about photos + words and a few little fun bits and gathering them together as evidence of this awesome, crazy, beautiful, sometimes really messy life we're living over here.

These layouts show glimpses of a month full of sick days and a snow day and three trips to IKEA and a visit from my mom and going through "stuff" and rearranging and continuing to make a home that feels like home.

Read more about my experience with Project Life + get links to some of the products I'm using right here.

project life :: january 2014

liz lamoreux

There's a reason why I haven't posted about Project Life for about a year. I stalled out last Spring. I just couldn't find a groove. But this year I'm finding my way with it again.

I'm still doing a lot of the things I shared in this post and this post

(And if you are completely new to Project Life, head over to Becky Higgins' site to learn more.)

All photos from this spread are from January 1st, so I added that on a label with my typewriter (arrow journal card by Pam Garrison)

A few things I'm doing differently:

1) Gathering photos + stories by month: So far I'm putting them together during the first week of the next month. I let go of each spread needing to represent one week. Doing that felt like a big sigh of relief. Whenever I'd think about catching up last year, I'd think about how I'd never be able to recreate each week. The amount of time it would take me to put the photos in the exact order they should be in felt so overwhelming. I often wondered why I didn't just gather things by month. Then when I read that Elise was doing her Project Life monthly this year, I felt the permission I needed. (And gosh I can't wait to hug that girl in person in just two weeks!)

A huge part of January was about the word of the year necklaces from my shop. Including pieces about this felt really important. 

2) Printing all my photos at home: I have the Epson PictureMate and I LOVE it! But I also have a whole lot of supplies for my little Canon Selphy left over from the photos I didn't print last year, so right now, I'm using the Selphy. I'll be switching to just the Epson for Project Life soon. (Here's the thing about the Selphy, it is super easy to use. But I have an older one and it doesn't interface with my computer, so I have to load the photos back onto my camera's memory card to print them. And the photos aren't exactly 4x6, which is okay, but I really want full size photos to fit the page protectors. I'll be using the Selphy for other projects though because I do really love it and it prints wirelessly, which is awesome for quick iPhone photos.)

Love that Ellie creates so much artwork these days. Lots of playing is happening inside her "art journals" too right now, so including photos of her artwork is also fun

3) Printing Instagram photos at home: I started to stall out last year when so many of the photos I wanted to include were Instagram photos and I thought I had to get them printed by a place that printed 4x4 photos.* This year I simply created a 4x6 template in Photoshop and pop the square photo in and trim it when it prints. I bet you could also do this with PicMonkey. I'm also attaching part of a journal card right to the 4x4s to fit them in the 4x6 spots. Easy and means I don't have to use an entire 4x4 page protector every time I want to include them.

4) Doing what I know: I reread my own tips in this post and started following them again. Not worrying about my handwriting. Just getting the stories down. Letting Ellie help because she LOVES to. Also, I'm not rounding the corners on everything. Maybe I will go back and do that. Not worrying about that right now.

Ellie loves to help with the stamps and letting that be imperfect is awesome and totally okay. (Stamp from Elise, but she's not selling them at this time.)

5) Studio Calico: I did it. I signed up for the monthly Project Life kit subscription. And I love it. I still use cards from both the Seafoam and Clementine kits, but having some new things to work with each month is making me happy. 

6) I'm also using more filler cards with quotes and that feels really easy and I love how they look. 

A huge part of January was also about my Five Deep Breaths practice, and photos from it are scattered throughout these January spreads. I think I'll share more about how I tell my story with Project Life in another post along with how I'm storing Project Life stuff. Stay tuned!

Other supplies I used: 

And see my Project Life Ideas Pinterest board for some inspiration.

*I still LOVE getting my Instagram photos printed from Printstagram (from Social Print Studio) and PostalPix. The quality from both is awesome. I'm using some 4x4 and 3x3 and even 2x2 sized photos in a few other projects I'll be sharing soon.

Quick note: Some links are affiliates, which means I receive a small commission when you purchase from that online store.

seeking evidence in a well-lived home

liz lamoreux

succulents in the family room

Every now and then when I look around my home, I get overwhelmed by what I think other people's expectations are for a home. How neat, how "company ready," how "clean it should be so you can hire a cleaning lady" kind of expectations.

peek at the beginnings of our nature table

Last week, I almost got bogged down in that overwhelm again as I looked at the tall stack of random clean laundry on the dryer, the "never can get it white" grout in between the blue tiles of the kitchen counter, the paper that never finds the right spot to land.

where her shoes land before bath each night

To clear my head, I turned to my camera as a way to seek evidence of how we are really living in this home.

a new jewelry collection in progress

the two Mickeys she insisted Grandma sleep with while she was visiting

bathtime/bathroom time needs

left behind after the last breakfast tea party with grandma

And I kept finding these beautiful pieces of us. The bits of clutter and real that reveal who we are in our beautiful, often messy, lived-in, little home. 

Sometimes you need the close-up lens of the camera to push you back to seeing what you actually know.

a favorite happy bowl

An invitation

Use your camera lens to capture the evidence of a life well lived in your home. Notice the little details beyond the surface. This would be an awesome Project Life prompt (especially if you don't have a lot of photos one week). 


In Inner Excavation, there is an entire chapter about what we gather to us. The book invites you to dive deeply into noticing your world, noticing you through self-portraits in photography, poetry, and mixed media.

Order your own copy signed by me here.

embarking on Project Life 2013

liz lamoreux


Week 1 (love including items Ellie makes at school)

This year, I'm using the Seafoam Kit with bits from the Clementine Kit and a few other good things. And hopefully I will begin to get a bit better at photographing these layouts but my intention in sharing these is more to encourage you to print out your photos and write down your stories and less about me saying, "look how pretty!" (Insert me smiling and winking here.) Because my Project Life album isn't about perfect. It's about getting these stories out of my computer (and my head) and onto paper.

PL Jan wk1 2

Week 1 close up (made the collage instagram photo of EJ and me at the top using an app - love it!)

So far I'm really loving the 4x4 page protectors for mostly Instagram photos (printed from PostalPix) and a few 4x6 photos that I cut to fit. Because of the turnaround time for the PostalPix photos to get here (it isn't long but can be a week), I'm using a post-it with the photo description as a space holder if I'm waiting for a photo. This way I don't get too behind and can finish the rest of the layout.  

PL13 Jan wk2 1

Week 2

Another reason I'm using more Instagram photos this year is because 1) I usually have my iphone with me and often upload my favorites to Instagram and 2) perhaps more importantly, this way I'm included more in the album, which is a goal for me this year. (I take a lot of self-portraits on Instagram.) Plus iphone photos are the only ones I really take with both me and Jon or of all three of us.

PL13 Jan wk2 3

Week 2 closeup (I was feeling out of words during this week and loved that I could just use the "who what when where..." card and the "life looks like" card)

I've also been uploading my 4x6 photos to Walgreens and having Jon pick them up on his way home from work (or I upload them at 11 at night and pick them up in the morning and stop for a Starbucks treat as a way to get out of the house on studio days). For some reason, this feels easier right now, but I still use the Selphy if I want to print one or two photos.

PL13 Jan wk3 1

Week 3 (with an insert of these photos)

A few favorite supplies in addition to the kit:

PL13 Jan wk3 2

Week 3 close up

One big piece I've realized so far this year: I've let go of narrating the photos I use. Meaning, I don't always journal about the photos. Sometimes there is a story I want to tell with a corresponding photo or two, but often I want to include stories that don't have photos. And really the photos themselves tell their own stories. This is another way I keep letting go of any need for perfection with this project. Week 3 is a great example of this.

Just like last year, I'm continuing to include bits of journaling about the real life/hard stuff. Like the awesome beauty and intensity of being a mama to a smart little girl who understands so much but still has the emotions of a two year old to sift through each day. Including these pieces is really important to me and has helped me see how much of this experience is for me.

To read more about how I approach Project Life (and how I let go of perfection big time with it), see this post.

If you are new to Project Life, head over to Becky Higgins' site to watch a fun short video that explains everything.

PS You shared some awesome comments/emails after I wrote this post about why I take self-portraits and I want to respond to them. Look for a post about that next week.

PPS Registration for the Summer Your Story Retreat will begin next Wednesday, February 6. (The retreat website will be updated with more info on Monday.)

navigating project life

liz lamoreux

catching up #projectlife

Since January, I've been capturing our world through photos + words using Project Life.

I love it.

When I posted the above photo on Instagram last week, a friend commented that she was so behind in documenting her family photos. And I wrote back, "Just start now." I wrote this because I have been in that place of waiting. How can I start printing out photos from this week if I still have so many of Ellie's baby photos trapped in the computer? But if I waited, I would never hold these photos in my hand. So finally, I just dove in.

My friend's words prompted me to write this post because I really want to share why Project Life is working for me. 

The big reason: There aren't any rules.
{For real.}

(If you are new to Project Life and don't really know what I'm talking about, head over here to Becky Higgins' site and watch this short video and then come back. I'll still be here.)

As I play with paper + photos + a few stamps + ink, I am letting go of ALL the rules that people might make up for themselves with Project Life. Here's what I mean:

Project Life one

a glimpse at my studio table in action

I didn't feel like I got into my groove with Project Life until late summer. Up until then, I was mostly using products from the original Amber Project Life kit I had purchased in early 2011, but I wasn't loving it. I like this kit, but I wanted more variety and simpler, plainer options. And as I started using Instagram more, a lot of the photos I wanted to use were square, but I didn't have a way to print them.

And then deeply inspired by the approaches both Ali and Elise use, I drilled down to a very simple look and added a few more pieces to my toolbox:

Project Life two

I bought the Clementine core kit when it became available because those colors are more me. (And I can't wait for the new Seafoam kit!)

I bought the grid cards in both sizes + the plain white cards. They are simple and easy to use and don't distract from the photos.

I started using Postal Pix to print 4x4 Instagram photos (then using these two types of 4x4 pocket protectors).

I started using stamps from Elise and Pam Garrison (these are the stamps you see throughout my layouts) and they are giving me a more unified look that I like. They are also great prompts for me (and you know I love prompts). Honestly, I am kind of obsessed with their stamps. Check them out if you journal, art journal, or use Smash books. Awesome women. Awesome products.

I started using mostly blue and black ink for stamps, my writing, and letter stickers to keep the look more consistent.

I moved everything into two black binders because I like how they look on the bookshelf.

I started using my typewriter because it just makes me happy.

And I let go of needing any kind of perfection. For example:

  • I don't worry about how many days are in a week. Sometimes a layout is from Monday - Sunday, sometimes it is Sunday to Sunday. The me of one year from now and five years from now does not care about how many days are represented in a layout. I go with how many pictures I have and the stories I want to tell. 
  • I don't love my handwriting, but I love reading my mom's writing, my grandmother's writing, so I am writing a lot because it is easy. I struggle with using digital elements and even though I love how they look so clean, the learning curve to figure it out is too much for me. When I want to include longer stories that are right from my blog, I'll just put them into a Word document at the right size and print on cardstock and trim to fit.
  • I don't try to tell a story from each day. If I do, that's great. But this never crosses my mind.

Project Life six

  • I tell the stories I want to tell. Sometimes there isn't a photo that goes with the story. I write it out anyway. 
  • If I'm stuck for a story, I look to Facebook posts and Tweets and Instagram and my blog
  • When I get behind, I sometimes just lump weeks together into one or several layouts without worrying about what order the photos are in and just put a general date at the beginning of that section of layouts. Crazy! I know! Here is what I mean: When we visited my mom and Steve in April, we were gone for three weeks and had quite a few photos from our adventures that I wanted to include. And I found myself about five weeks behind in Project Life. I didn't want to get into the details of what day we did what and instead just wanted to get those photos off of my computer and into the album. I just put one general date card for the entire month of April and put the photos in where they made sense. It was easy and totally okay with me. 

    Project Life seven

  • I don't let holes in the layout stop me from moving forward. There are a few blank spots where things are missing but I've just put notes in so I can back at some point. 

Project Life four

  • Sometimes it is all about me. There are a lot of photos of Ellie in this album, and a lot of photos of Ellie and Jon because I am usually behind the camera. I'm totally okay with this. But I'm including myself too. The week covering the Unearth Retreat is all about me. This will probably happen again as I continue using Project Life. And when looking at the big picture, it makes sense because I am the one putting the album together and thinking "in stories." 
  • I let Ellie help me. She loves looking through Project Life.* And she often wants to "help" when we are in my studio. Helping might mean she sits on my lap and helps me stamp journal cards. Sometime it means I give her a blank white card and she draws on it (or decorates it with stickers) and I stamp it with the date and add it in.  

Project Life eight

  • I share the real stuff. This might mean a raw self-portrait or a photo of our kitchen in all its messy glory. This might mean I tuck some writing behind a photo to be found later. I want this album to capture what is real. It isn't gritty by any means and there are a lot of happy photos of Ellie, but I want to share the tough stuff too.

Other things that work for me:

  • I have several baskets on my studio table that hold my Project Life journal cards and the other elements I use. Having them out in the open and ready to use helps me to just get the stories onto paper.
  • When I have less than 10 photos to print at a time, I'm using my Cannon Selphy. More than 10 though, I'm uploading them to Walgreens and Jon picks them up on his way home from work. 

*This piece of Ellie loving to look through Project Life, this is what keeps me going with this project. She likes to look through it over and over again telling me the stories she sees in the pages. She points out the things that she used when she was "Baby Ellie" and names her Grandparents and her Uncle Matt and Kelly and talks about the time we played with the blue ball with her aunt and uncle in Wisconsin. It is awesome.

And I do this because I remember when I was a little one and how I used to look through the albums my mom had filled with photos from days when I was "Baby Elizabeth" and then suddenly "Big Sister Elizabeth" and I know that I will look through these albums in that same way and gather the stories to me again.

a glimpse into my experience with project life

liz lamoreux


last week's project life layout (can you spot my favorite part of this photo?)

i am so delighted to be humming along with Project Life over here. i got a bit behind but am filling in the missing pieces here and there and am really enjoying it. and it makes me so happy that jon is getting involved every now and then. two weeks ago, he and ellie were dancing to a few songs after dinner and i snapped some photos. after he put ellie to bed, he asked me if i would be sure to print one of those photos out for project life so he could write down a few words. YES! and the empty space above is for him to write a bit about his day in Portnald since the photos are all about ellie and me and our week together (since jon was mostly working).

one thing i appreciate about my experience so far with project life is that it continually pushes me to let go of perfection. i am so inspired by other people who scrapbook and capture everyday life this way. and when i started project life, i imagined incorporating more "stuff" in my layouts. not a lot, but i did envision printing out a few digital elements or writing the stories in pretty fonts sometimes or simply just adding a few small bits and bobs and rounding the corners of my photos and how the list goes on. however, i am letting that go for now because my goal is just to get the photos and stories into the binder. and because i found a pen i really like (no surprise here...am totally using my Smash journal pen), i am happy to be writing the stories by hand.

another aspect of my experience that i find interesting is how i go from writing the stories like i am writing them to ellie (as though they are little letters to her) to writing the stories like project life is really for me (as opposed to being "for" my family). it will be interesting to see how this continues to unfold. i am including self-portraits (like the one above that is from my "what is real" series) and more personal things (like a photo of a list in the self-care section of my journal) partly because i don't want to censor myself because project life is for the three of us. i think there can a temptation to just share the happy when we scrapbook for our families, but when i look back on these stories + photos, i want to see the real in all its forms. 

having project life out where i see it everyday helps remind me to capture the stories when i think of them. and i continue to love how the canon selphy printer makes project life easier for me. i have the printer out next to the binder. i am also using the timer on my camera to capture ellie and me in some of our everyday moments, which really makes me happy. i think she will love these photos. actually, tonight as i was putting the photos in the binder she was really interested in what i was doing. later, she pulled me back to the kitchen table to look through the binder again like we were looking through one of her books. she pointed to all the little things from her daily life (her drink, crayons, mama, grandma, daddy, oranges, and so on) just like she enjoys doing with her books. it was awesome.

moving forward, i do plan to print out a few prompts using some of ali's phrases and other good things at designer digitals. i like the idea of handing a card with a prompt on it to jon or our babysitter or a friend who might be visiting and asking them to share a few words about the day with prompts like "today i want to remember" or "favorite moment of today." and i hope to buy a few things from france when she reopens her shop. i would also like to have some 4x6 cardstock ready to go to use as backgrounds or larger journaling cards. looking at the layout above, i wonder about that mostly blank date card almost everyone uses in the top left corner. i wonder if most people leave it blank or if some journal right onto it. it would be fun to add a few words every now and then maybe using letter stamps.

are you using project life? if yes, i would love to hear about how its going for you. and if you aren't, can you spot my favorite part of the photo on this page? makes me smile every time.

a chocolate chip cookie and project life

liz lamoreux

January 6: You have discovered the joy of eating chocolate chip cookies. Today, you wanted one as a snack and sat like a big girl at the table and ate all of it, small bite by small bite. You offered to share with me, but as I started to take a bite, you pulled the cookie back and broke off one tiny crumb for me and smiled so big. It was pretty funny. Then you gave me the very last bite as you climbed out of the chair and ran off to play. Later, you decided you wanted another cookie and were not content with the half I offered you and insisted on sitting in this chair again to eat another whole cookie all by yourself. While you eat, you often say, “mmmm” just after you take a bite. You bring such joy to the simple moments of living.


I have decided to attempt Project Life this year (for real this time). I actually ordered the Amber kit about a year ago...but it sat in the box on the floor of our family room. Now it sits out by the kitchen table next to the Canon Selphy printer I am using for some of the photos. (Love that this year you can now just get the core kit and choose your album based on your style etc. So many cool products out for Project Life. I think I am going to get a few other types of page protectors to add to what came in last year's kit.)

After talking with Ali about her experience with Project Life and being so inspired by her weekly posts in 2011 (and then looking at how other members of Becky Higgins' creative team approach it), I decided to jump in this year.

And, I am so happy to report that the first week is almost done! As I was working on choosing the photos, I knew that I would want to add the above "chocolate chip cookie" photos + words to this week's story. I love how you can just add additional page protectors into the album and how there really aren't any rules, so I am working on learning a bit more about digital scrapbooking so I can add a few more stories here and there. And then I really want to use what I learn to create other books of other stories I want to tell with words + photos. A big thank you to Ali and Danielle for holding my hand through this learning curve.

So the pieces above are what I will be putting into this first layout. Stay tuned...I think I am going to have a little too much fun with this.

(edited to add) In the spirit of yesterday's post and your kind support (thank you), I want to share this other layer to the story: Seeing her devour this cookie and show such a big appetite made me so so happy. She is a wee one because of her heart issues and doesn't have much of an appetite because of the medication she is on. We have been in a "holding pattern" with her weight recently as she uses up all the calories she takes in as she runs and dances and explores, and we are hoping she will gain more this month. Although she will never have those baby fat rolls that so many people talk about, that I dreamed about when I was pregnant, I am just so happy she is here eating chocolate chip cookies and french fries and ravioli and blueberries and peas and brocolli. I am just so happy when I hear her say, "mmmm" after each bite. 

(This is also my January "Joy Seeker" story. This series is one way I am documenting the "joy" superhero power that Ellie Jane has. My plan is to gather these glimpses here on the blog from her first to second birthday, and then, I will put them all together and have them printed in a small book. Posting the October, November, and December Joy Seeker entries here didn't happen, but I am still gathering them for the book.)