Digital Project Life Blurb Book

Another week complete and I am just loving the Midnight edition of Project Life!

Digital Project Life (Midnight Edition)

Becky Higgins released the Midnight Edition of project life a couple of weeks ago.  This edition was designed by my friend Liz Tamanaha of Paislee Press.  I’ve been waiting for this release! The kit is gorgeous a gorgeous minimalist style and so totally Liz.  I downloaded it right away and totally love it!

I was starting to burn out on Project Life.  I even contemplated switching to a traditional style thinking maybe that’s what I needed to rekindle my excitement about project life.  Then I re-read this post and realized it wasn’t the format… It was the time.  I was spending so much time picking and choosing which journaling cards to use – I have tons from my favorite designers but they’re not all in a “kit”.  I also wasn’t really experimenting with all the different layout options I created in my Project Life blurb booksmart templates and I was getting kind of bored of the whole thing.

So, after re-reading my post I decided it was time to get back to making things SIMPLE.  I downloaded the midnight kit and decided to use only this kit moving forward in 2013.  I spent one evening opening all the journaling, title and filler cards in photoshop and cropped them all to square edges and either 3×4 or 4×6 size.  This way when I used them with my booksmart templates I wouldn’t have to worry about enlarging the card image in booksmart to get rid of the rounded corners.  Then I imported all the cropped midnight cards into booksmart.

After that I went through and swapped out the title cards I had in booksmart for Midnight cards and replaced a couple others too.  Most of the cards I had been using were designed by Liz already so they still blend alright with the midnight edition.  Then I created the last three weeks of layouts over the course of a couple nights (making sure to use some of the templates I hadn’t tried yet) and I’m happy to say I’m totally caught up now!

Here are the latest weeks (and a slideshow of my blurb book so far).

This week I used two layouts to cover the entire week- the one above and the one below – a digital “insert” of photos.

and here’s how the entire project life blurb book is coming along..

Blurb Baby Book… A work in process

I’m *almost* done with Ashleigh’s baby book. I’m creating it in Blurb using my Blurb 8×10 Project Life style templates. I started this project around the middle of March and have been working on it a little each night. It’s all coming together quite nice. The last big event to include is her one year birthday. I still have hundreds of pictures from that time frame that haven’t made it into the photobook yet. I’m planning to sift back through the images and pick out my favorites as well as photos that show relationships and characteristics specific to Ashleigh and incorporate them into the album. I’ll share more about how I organized everything and my process once it’s finished.

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Include Your Handwriting in Digital Project Life

One thing that’s been bugging me about my Digital Project Life project is that I’m not able to include my own handwriting. Not that my handwriting is super awesome or anything, but I love when I see a traditional project life album that has some handwriting. It just feels a little more personal to me. I found this website: and it’s a super easy way to create your own font (and you get to preview your font before you purchase). You download a PDF sheet and write letters within the spaces provided. It took about 6 tries to get the letters just how I wanted them (so the height and width were pretty much the same) and I was happy with the Caps version.  I’m going to work on the lowercase. For now though, I can at least include some of my own handwriting into my project life albums and that makes me happy!


(digital project life card from the Kraft edition)

How to take better pictures

So I’m going through past years photos organizing and adding keywords to them all in Lightroom. I wish I would have taken the time years ago to learn more about photography and to learn how to properly use my camera. Last year I invested some time (and money!) into various online photography workshops. I learned so much and more from ONE workshop – Snapshots from the Heart by Karen Russell. In her workshop she provided so much information. Everything is organized into lessons and you go through specific lessons week by week. She includes PDF downloads of all the lessons + assignments. Everything about her workshop is just top notch and I learned a ton.

Here’s a bath time picture from December 2011 (left) and one from last week (right).


I can still find plenty that isn’t “technically correct” about the photo on the right but c’mon it’s like night and day with the white balance and exposure. I learned all about this stuff in Karen’s class. I also learned tips and tricks for photographing my child and I was able to use those tips to get the fun expression on the right.

Just looking through these old photos I had to post a quick shout out about Karen’s class. You can find more information on her website.

Digital Project Life Week 11

Another week complete! I feel so good about being caught up on this years album. I’ve been working more on organizing / keywording all the photos from past years and I’m down to two years. I’ve already gone through and organized those pictures, just keywording left. Sometimes it feels like it’s taking forever! I’ve got over 18,000 images in my library though and I’m down to around 3,000 left that need keywords.  That’s it!!! I can see the end and that feels sooo good!  You can read more about my Lightroom organizing system here.  I’m still following this system, it’s been a year now and this workflow really works for me.

Here’s a look at Project Life 2013 Week 11

My Childhood Scrapbook (Blurb Photobook)

Woo-Hoo! My 8×10 childhood book arrived today! I am so pleased with how it all turned out. You can read all about how I organized my photos before I started this project here in my last post. To create the photobook I designed a set of 8×10 blurb templates. The templates are based on the Project Life style of scrapbooking. I decided to use the digital version of the Becky Higgins Project Life Childhood Edition Mini Kit “Wellington“. I thought the neutral colors (especially the browns and tans) would work well with these photos. Here’s how it all came together…

1. Before I started, I made the decision to not edit any of the photos. There were just too many pictures and because they were old photos (well, scans of old photos) I knew it would really time consuming, so I just decided no editing.

2. I made a few folders within Lightroom to loosely organize my photos.
a) Baby – this included all my pictures from birth through about 1 years old – I figured if I wasn’t walking I was under one and just kinda guessed at my age in the photos.
b) Younger – This group included pictures from around 1 years old thru about 5 yrs.  Again I just kinda guessed what age I must be in the pictures.
c) Young – This group had pictures from probably 6-10 years old – I still looked pretty young but I was definitely not a toddler.
d) Pre-teen – This group was pretty much almost teenager but not quite. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 13 so it wasn’t too hard sorting these out.
e) Teen – These were pictures from my teenage years. Pretty easy to spot these ones.

3. I designed a set of 8×10 blurb booksmart templates based on the Project Life style of scrapbooking. I was trying to mimic the smaller 6×8 sized albums I’ve seen lately.

4. The rest was super fast and easy! I downloaded the Wellington digital project life kit and added the journaling and filler cards into blurb booksmart.  Then I went through the photos and selected a group at a time to add to blurb booksmart. From there it was just “drag and drop”. I added the journaling right inside blurb booksmart. (you can see this in action using my 12×12 project life templates in this video).

5. When I was finished I uploaded the book to blurb and had it printed on Pro-Line pearl paper. Then I waited for Fed Ex to deliver. When I ordered my book I also added the PDF download option so now I have the hard copy “real” book and I also have the entire album – journaling and all in PDF format for archival purposes.

Here’s a look at my finished Blurb Book…











It makes me so happy to finally have ALL the pictures from my childhood put into a scrapbook, well photo book. It took a few nights to get the photos organized and a few nights to create book. Not too bad for over 100 pages of memories.

8×10 Project Life Blurb Templates

I had a reader Christine comment about a smaller sized set of Project Life templates. I’ve seen the 6×8 Simple Stories and Studio Calico albums and page protectors and I have to admit I do LOVE the smaller size! A couple weeks ago I was working on my daughter’s album (I make one for her for each year of her childhood… well to be honest, I’m GOING to make one for each year and was all caught up on her 5 year album). Anyways, I was lugging around that 12″ scrapbook and dropped it. It hit the tile on the kitchen floor and the metal D rings came apart and 6 months work of page protectors came flying out of the book. I was grumpy. It was a reminder for me why I love digital so much more than traditional scrapbooking. So I started thinking more about that smaller 6×8 size. I knew this would be a great size for her yearly books.

I’m excited to announce the new Project Life Blurb Booksmart Temlates – Size Small
These templates work great for creating a smaller (8×10) digital project life photobook and for me, this system is much faster than creating the layouts in photoshop or photoshop elements.  Here’s a little video that shows you how to use the templates with Becky Higgin’s Project Life digital supplies (note – this video uses my 12×12 project life templates but the same “drag and drop” process works for the new smaller version too).

I started working on my daughter’s baby book using this smaller set and I just love how it’s coming together!

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This new template set includes the following:

  • Five Layout Templates (created in blurb booksmart) – both Left and Right Page Designs (layouts seen above in the sample pages)
  • Grid Overlays in Black, Chocolate, Gray and White
  • Two PSD files – a Left and Right – these are unique to this set of blurb booksmart templates. The PSD files allow you to add your own digital background paper (like the images above that have a kraft paper background)

To Use the PSD files

You’ll need photoshop or photoshop elements and an understanding of how to use layered templates. These PSD files will allow you to customize your book even further by adding your own background paper. They also have a white background that you can see in the above photos that extends a little behind the grid overlay. You can leave it white, delete it all together or clip a digital paper to this block too. For my daughter’s baby book I made a right and left layout with kraft paper background then saved them as JPG files. I uploaded them into blurb booksmart and just drag and drop onto the blurb layout to add the kraft background to select pages. Then inside of blurb booksmart I just drag and drop the photos onto the layout and the end result is what you see above.

Note: These templates will only work with the latest version of Blurb Booksmart.


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The pages above were created using the Project Life Blurb Booksmart Templates – Small and digital journaling cards by Paislee Press.

Organizing Photos from my Childhood

About 8 years ago (maybe longer) I inherited the BIG old worn cardboard box of family photos. Nothing was organized, there were literally hundreds of loose pictures just kind of dumped into the box. This past fall I finally got around to organizing the pictures. I started with piles. There are seven kids in our family so I started one pile for each kid (which would also include photos of their families and kids), one for mom and dad pictures, two grandparent piles (one for my mom’s side and one for my dad’s), a pile for family pictures (when there was more than one kiddo in the picture), a pile for landscapes and a pile for Old Mission landscapes (Old Mission, MI is where I spent my summers as a kid). It was a HUGE task and with seven kids it was a bit tricky to tell who was who in the baby/toddler pictures. If I couldn’t figure it out I’d snap a picture on my iphone, text it over to my dad and he’d text me back with a quick reply and could usually tell me who it was and when/where it was taken. There were some real gems in that old box.

Like this one of my beautiful mom (taken by my dad who has always loved photography)


And look at this old one of my dad. (my grandfather has always loved photography too)


And this one is a favorite. We’re all piled on my mom and dad’s bed. (I remember snuggling with that old afghan all the time – my great grandmother made it.) We’re with my mom and our new baby brother Patrick. This folks is what I’d call a total “lifestyle” shot. I imagine this was our first time meeting him.


I’ll show you a couple more of my favorites because I just love these old pictures. My grandparents had a big cottage up in Old Mission, MI. I spent my summers there as a kid and those are still my best childhood memories. There was a sidewalk path from the screen door at the front of the cottage that went straight to down to our beach. I stubbed my toe on the steps along that sidewalk every single year. Here’s my mom and me with one of my little siblings heading down to the beach. I love this picture. I love the memories it brings back, the feeling of being there – in that special place. I love feeling that sense of motherhood that I can relate to now.


Here’s my brother and me at the beach on my Nana’s lap. I can feel those memories when I look at this photo.


I am so drawn to these family photos. I’m not even concerned with whether the photo is technically correct or not – I just love having the pictures. I would love even more to have all the stories to go along with the pictures!



After the photos were sorted into piles I used the Big Envelopes from Becky Higgins and made one envelope for each of us kids + one for my mom and dad and one for my grandparents (my grandparents on my dad’s side are my only grandparents still living).  Then I took all my photos, the photos of parents and grandparents and the big group of family pictures (with more than one family member in the picture) over to Persnickety Prints to be scanned. They did such a great job with the scanning. I asked them to keep the images separated into the folders so they wouldn’t get all mixed up again and they totally did. When I got the scans back I took the original family photos and landscapes and just divided them out between all the envelopes. I tried to give the original to whomever seemed like the main subject of the photo. I copied all the family photos plus the old pictures of my mom and dad and grandparents onto a disc and put one in each of the envelopes. At Christmas time everyone had their own Big Envelope under the tree. We had a lot of fun on Christmas Eve looking through all those pictures.


Of course the teenagers in the family now thought the old outfits, hairstyles, etc. of their parents and aunties were pretty funny. I can only imagine this type of teasing has been happening for generations. It’s funny to think in another 30 years my own kiddo’s kids will be doing the same thing about her childhood pictures.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a blurb book of all my childhood photos. One of my readers, Christine asked about creating a smaller version of my Project Life Blurb templates. That got me thinking and I knew something like that would be perfect for my childhood photobook project.  My new photobook will be here any day and I can’t wait to share how it all came together.

Project Life Blurb Book 2013 | Week 10

Week 10… I haven’t been taking quite as many notes as usual and I realize I totally depend on those quick daily notes when I make my layouts. Back to using Momento every day from now on.

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