My alternative to Project Life

Do you have time for Project Life? Try my simple alternative version ZoeAtHome.com

Whenever I show anyone my photo diary they always say, “wow that’s so cute! What a great idea!” So I thought I’d show some more of my photo project today. If you like the idea of Project Life, but don’t think you have the time or the space for it, this Lite version could work for you. One one side, I write a one-sentence-a-day journal, and on the other side I make up a weekly collage of photos taken during the week. I made a decision when I became a parent that I would never share photos of my family on the internet, so I’ve made up a mock layout to illustrate how it looks. Check out this introductory post for resources and links.

My easy quick alternative to Project Life ZoeAtHome.com

The cool thing about this for me, is that I get a great result for little time and effort. I take and edit all the photos on my smart phone, and I only need to choose five or so photos, rather than the 16 photos you need to make a Project Life spread. It only takes me a minute or two to do the journaling each evening, so there’s no risk that I’ll fall behind. Making the weekly photo collage takes me about 20 minutes, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I could be quicker. This project is achievable!

My one-sentence journal photo diary scrapbook smashbook

Deco Rush tape adds embellishment without extra bulk.

Here’s how it looks after ten weeks. As you can see below, the book is starting to bulk up. I’ve been wondering about how it will go in 2014, but when I look at all the pictures of Hobonichi Planners, I’m not so worried. Those books are about 400 pages, and they seem to cope.

My alternative to Project Life cheaper easier ZoeAtHome.com

Easy photo journal scrapbook smashbook project life

This diary even has a train map, which is a handy reference from my time in Japan.

Why it’s a good idea to print out your photos

Things have changed since I bought my film SLR as a twenty-year-old. For the better, of course. Now there’s no negatives to worry about! And you only need to keep your best photos, not your failures. But it seems that while we are all taking more photos than ever these days, all our photos live on the screen, and we don’t get to enjoy them like we used to. I remember my friend’s grandmother telling me that people are always photographing her great-grandkids, but she never gets to see any of the photos! Now I have a lovely little keepsake, and I love to flip through it and share it with others. My photos have improved more in the past ten weeks than in all my years as a parent. I’ve also learned editing techniques like using filters, playing with exposure and temperature. And I’m taking a lot more photos now. I only wish I’d started this years ago.

I don't have time for Project Life My memory-keeping photo one sentence journal

This plastic container fits the planner and my supplies perfectly. So I can throw it in a suitcase when we go away and they won’t get damaged!

I hope this has inspired you to start taking photos again. If you start a photo journal like this, please let me know. I’d love to share them on my blog.

Related links

  • VSCO cam app for iPhone and Android. I edit all my photos on my phone using this app, and it makes them look so much better than the raw files.
  • PicMonkey. I use the paid version to create my weekly collage. I use the Pinter-Etsy layout and the Stroke Dimension and Pencil Pete fonts.
  • Deco Rush Use and Comparison to Daiso Deco Tape. This video by mits t explains what Deco Rush tape is and how to use it. Deco Rush is a cute alternative to washi tape. I like it because it doesn’t add extra bulk to my book.

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7 thoughts on “My alternative to Project Life

  1. Thanks for such a great idea!! I started this when I originally read about it at the start of December.

    I’ve taken a blank lined book to start with. I think the size is B5 or B6 – I got it from a Morning Glory shop in Sydney. I like this size as it’s not too small but also not too big! I also wanted to try it before I went and spent too much money.

    I write the date then a sentence or two about what’s happened that day. Usually a week fits on 2 pages, then the following page is a photo collage. Any spare space at the end of the weeks entries I’ve started sticking in various bits & pieces.

    I do the photo collage in Photoshop as I have the program. I’ve made a custom canvas the size I wanted to make it & then just fill in the photos from my phone or camera if I’ve used it.

    It’s not perfect & defintely not neat, but I love it. I digitally scrap our photos, but it can often take a long time to find the time to do full layouts. This way we have a weekly record & I use some of the photos that usually don’t make the cut for the scrap pages!

    • Thanks so much for letting me know! I’m so glad it’s working for you. If you’d like me to feature a page here on the blog, please contact me on my Follow & Contact page. We can pixelate the photos and text, or use a mock photo layout as I have done here.
      BTW I think it’s nice that it’s not perfect. It’s real. Your digital scrapbook can be perfect because you can always edit your files. But with your little book you can document your week quickly as you go.
      Thanks for sharing Jo 😉

  2. This is a great way to make memories! I’m only 20, but I started out using a film SLR at college a few years ago, and I decided then that I would definitely use film when I have kids (hopefully it’s still easy to do! 😉 aha) because the photos just seem to hold so much more meaning!

    • Thanks! Film is fun, especially if you have a darkroom and can print your own photos. But I use my phone mostly these days because it’s right there in my handbag.

  3. What a cute idea! I’ve just come across a 6×8 folder that has Project Life style pocket protectors in it. I’m going to be using it to complete my ‘One Little Word’ project in 2014. I’m hoping it will work well because it isn’t the full 12 x 12 spread that can seem a little daunting sometimes! Perhaps that could also work for you? 🙂 Sunday

    • Hello Sunday, I see lots of lovely DIY projects on your blog!
      Recently I bought a few Snap albums: they are 6 x 8 I think. And I bought lots of page protectors and journaling cards and some scrapbooking supplies, and started picking out all my photos… and then I didn’t know where to start! There are so many amazing PL’ers out there that I found the whole thing a bit intimidating. So I started looking on Instagram, searching some hashtags in Japanese and I got on this tangent. I know Project Life is meant to simplify it all, but I think I myself like to complicate things! So my baby albums are still incomplete, but my kids aren’t babies anymore!

  4. Thanks for the great idea! I have challenged myself to take a photo a day this month, and I would like to extend it to the year. I love the idea to journal in a calendar!

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