Throughout the week, I’ve been sharing bits of my hybrid Project Life process to give you a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of how my pages come together from start to finish. In part one of this mini-series, I shared how I prepare my photos. Part two focused on how I plan out my layouts, as well as how I create or recolor digital cards for printing. Today, in this third and final part of the series, I’m sharing how I assemble and embellish my pages!
Hybrid Project Life Process – Step 6: Trimming and arranging the photos
You may recall from the last post that I decide in advance where my photos will be placed so that I can decide what size and orientation to print them. After printing, I use my paper trimmer to cut apart my photos from the collages I created to save on photo paper (I usually just grab this trimmer from Cricut based on convenience, although I do have this larger paper cutter with the “guillotine” style blade that my husband bought me for a gift one year, which I prefer more and would probably use exclusively, if I had a craft desk to permanently station it).
With my digital page “map” open on my laptop screen for reference, I open my album up and put the page protectors I’ll need in the correct order. Then, referring to the page map, I lay out each photo on top of the pocket I plan to place it in, working on one page at a time. This gives me a good visual, and provides an opportunity to readjust my plan if the page would look better by placing the photos elsewhere (for instance, if all the photos with the brightest colors were all clustered in one area rather than spread out).
Step 7: Choosing background papers
Once I have my photos placed where I want them, my next step is to choose the paper I want to use for each pocket to mount the photos. I have more scrapbook paper than I’ll probably ever be able to use thanks to “beginner’s enthusiasm” (i.e. buying every piece of paper I ever liked when I first started scrapbooking, without having any plan for how I would use any of it!), so I decided to make life easier on myself this year by narrowing down a specific color palette to work with. At the beginning of the year, I pulled out all the papers that matched this palette, and put all the rest in storage. For the most part, with a few exceptions here and there, I’ve been sticking with bright or pastel pinks, blues, and yellows with subtle patterns, and the occasional black, white, and gray thrown in for balance. This helps me to more quickly choose a background paper without having to go through 8 years of
hoarded … ahem…. “collected” stacks of papers!
As with trying to spread the photos out so that all the colorful ones aren’t side-by-side, I attempt to strike a similar balance with my papers (trying to spread out the pink background papers, for instance, so they aren’t all in adjacent pockets). Sometimes my photos help me to decide which color background to use, and sometimes I just pick one I like if there isn’t a predominant match or clash in the photo.
Once I’ve chosen and trimmed each background paper to create the correct size pocket card, I mount my photos onto the papers using Glue Dots, one in each corner of the photo (I primarily use the craft and mini sizes). When mounting the photos, I try once again to provide some balance to the page by considering how I position the photo on the card. If I place the photo at the top of the card in one pocket to leave room for journaling underneath, I try to reverse this for the pocket next to it (photo on bottom, journaling above). Once all the photos are mounted on their cards, I place each card back on top of the pocket it will go in to do one final check and/or rearrangement.
Step 8: Embellishing and journaling
When all the photos are mounted and I’m happy with each card’s positioning, I then get to work on the finishing touches: the embellishments and journaling. My journaling style typically involves simply writing directly on the background paper if it’s a lighter color, or adhering a small strip of contrasting paper to journal on if it’s a card with a darker background. When I did digital Project Life pages in 2014, I did more journaling on each card since type is easier to fit into small spaces than handwriting. This year, since I’ve been including quite a bit of journaling in my intro pages thanks to the #1000WordStory challenge, I’m okay with journaling a little less on each individual pocket. A short sentence or two of hand-written journaling is usually what I end up with for each pocket.
Since my scrapbook work space is limited to our dining room table and one small shelf to store everything, I tend to go pretty minimal on the embellishments. My current go-to’s mostly include a small basket full of washi tapes and enamel dots, a few wood veneer shapes and chipboard word art pieces, stickers with various words or phrases and, of course, alpha stickers. I tend to focus primarily on my photos and journaling first, using embellishments at the end only to fill in obvious blank spots on a card or page. It’s pretty rare that I would start with an embellishment in mind; they’re usually the afterthought for me, although I do love how they can give the page that “complete” look and tie everything together! Since I don’t usually start with certain embellishments in mind, this part of the process is usually also the part that takes the longest, since I have to dig through my entire stash to remember what I have and decide what to use.
So, that’s my basic hybrid Project Life process in a nutshell. If you have questions about something I may have missed (or anything else!) let me know in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them!
Miss the previous steps of my process? Check out the rest of the posts in this series:
Want to see my completed Project Life pages? They’re all here in my page gallery!