Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



9 years: a success story

Nine years worth of memories.

Pictures and stories filling albums to the brim.

A huge burden off her shoulders.


Project Life Scrapbook Layouts


Title Pages for all 9 years + current 2013 albums

We love stories like this. Cathy in Florida has experienced something that so many others have. In fact, when Brandi from our team first saw this email she immediately perked up because this was so similar to her own experience of mass catching-up with the scrapbooking she tackled not too long ago.

In Cathy’s own words, this is her experience:

I was a traditional scrapbooker for over 10 years, but the I had to quit scrapbooking for 5 years due to life circumstances. When I came back to it last year, I had reconciled that I would never get caught up and I would just have to scrap my favorite photos. Then I found Project Life.

Last September, I purchased the Turquoise Edition and started sorting and printing photos. I am happy to tell you that in just five months, I completed nine years’ worth of albums that include almost 6,000 photos in between their covers and all those photos are off my computer and in those albums (2004-2012). I accomplished this using the Turquoise, Clementine, and Cherry physical editions along with the Seafoam and Wellington digital journaling cards.

I have four children and while my two older daughters (21 & 17) were so impressed that they both wanted Project Life albums of their own, I was most excited in watching my two younger sons (9 & 7) pour over the albums because they can finally look at all the photos of their lives that they haven’t really seen before!

I am now working in real time on 2013. I love this method of scrapbooking that is really more like a visual diary. Even my husband loves Project Life! Soon I will put all of his childhood photos in an album and he will journal the stories. Thank you so much for such a “do-able” system. It was the exact solution I was looking for to creatively and beautifully put my photos in albums without having to do full size layouts for every set of photos! My family and I could not be happier.

201008 small

200601 small

200505 small

200403 small

200401 small

A few more notes from Cathy on how she did it:

I already had all of my photos in chronological order on my computer. I set up a separate Project Life folder to prevent any losses or permanent changes to my original photos. Within the Project Life folder, I created a folder for each year and within each of these folders, I created numbered folders for each Project Life spread. I chose photos from my chronological folders and copied them into my Project Life folders by groups of 10-14. Each Project Life spread has 16 pockets (8-4×6 & 8-3×4) If I did want more than 14 photos because it was a large event or something, I would add inserts. If I needed more journaling space, I chose fewer photos.

I determined which Photo Pocket Page styles were best for each spread and used Photoshop Elements to prepare the photos for printing by cropping them to the size they would be in the album. I kept in mind the second page of the prior spread because that would be the first page of the current spread. For the 3×4 photos, I would open a new 4×6 document in photoshop and place two 3×4 photos on one document, saving me money in the printing process by receiving two 3×4 prints for the price of one 4×6 print.

Everything was saved in the appropriate Project Life folder because I would order hundreds of photos at a time. I was then never confused about where a particular photo belonged when I received and sorted them. After sorting my pictures, I would then cut the prints with the two 3×4’s in half, corner punch all my photos and then place them in my photo pocket pages. I was then ready to add journaling and title cards.


66 Responses

  1. Michele says:

    WOW!!! I am so impressed and jealous!! I need to do this! I believe this is the inspiration/motivation I need to get it done!!! Great work!

  2. Alisa says:

    I love this. I’m in the process now. I only discovered PL at the turn of the year but since then I’ve completed three full baby albums. My daughter’s album goes from 2005-2008!!!! And my son’s from 2007-2008. Then my third’s is all of 2011 AND I completed the entirety of 2012. I’m SOOOOO proud of this and all I need to do now is the second half of 2008-2010 and I’ll have our post kid life totally documented. In the works also is a heritage album and a wedding album.


  3. Jacqueline R says:

    This is fantastic! I am impressed that, even with Project Life, it only took 5 months to catch it all up! AMAZING job! I am using Project Life supplies to play “catch up” on some of my albums now. The flexibility/ease of the products means that it is actually do-able to keep up with my current album while working my way backwards.

  4. Stacey says:

    This is AMAZING! Congratulations on a job well done Cathy!

  5. Stacy says:

    This is serious inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

  6. LJO says:

    This is impressive, to say the least! I did 2 years worth of memories in 3 months last summer, but the difference was I had the hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos printed already and had to sort thru and make sense of what I wanted – i had never really scrapbooked at all before and had no “system” except small photo pocket books. In fact, I had intended to just use PL for big photo pocket books and not the journal system, but I got sucked in pretty fast! I also implemented a new system of doing an album for each child, instead of a family album. Sometimes I do regret that but it does make sense for capturing each moment of the child’s life.

    Congrats on this! Inspiring!

    • Alison says:

      That’s awesome. I’d be really interested to hear how you went about working with pre printed pics and making them work with the photo pocket pages. I am trying to do this too but struggling to get it to work because my mix of horizontal and vertical don’t match up with the pages. If you are happy to share more about how you accomplished this I’d be grateful. Again, congratulations! Alison, Australia

  7. Alison says:

    WOW!!! SO amazing. I have been trying to do this also but am taking forever!!! Your pages even look fabulous. Congratulations on this accomplishment Cathy, I bet it feels wonderful!!

  8. Melissa says:

    This is AWESOME! How amazing to have all of these years put into books, and with such a great system. Great job!

  9. Brenda says:

    I myself have 27 years worth of pictures to catch up on (totalling all the years that I’m behind on each of my five children) I’ve started to work my way through doing one year at a time for each child. I do include some 12×12 pages, but at this point i’ve just been placing the pictures in the sleeve to go back to at another time, and then i continue with PL. I completed one year for four of my children in about one weeks time! Sometimes it took me that long to complete one or two layouts. This has really been a time saver and my husband and children love it…and what can i say…so do I! Now I can honestly say that I will catch up instead of feeling like i never would! Thank you, Becky! I stumbled upon PL about one and a half years ago when googling Becky Higgins to see if she had a new sketches book out because i was in a real slump and needed help! Well, I got it and now i would never go back to doing only traditional scrapbooking. You are a wife/life/mom saver Becky. Thanks again.

  10. Susan says:

    This is amazing! Congratulations on such a big accomplishment. I have 6 years to catch up on and had planned to use project life to do it quickly. Glad to see it can be done!!

  11. Jennifer A says:

    Amazing and motivating. What a great post. What a great accomplishment. Loved the part about the boys loving to look at their books.

  12. Cheryl says:

    Amazing! I’m in the process now of sorting all of my photos into the proper years in the hopes of starting something like this soon. I know with Project Life, I can get it done!

  13. Katie says:

    This is hands down my favorite PL success story so far! What she said about her younger boys finally getting to see pictures that they had never really seen before really struck a chord with me! I think it says a lot about this digital age we are living in. My photos are so precious to me but how sad that my children (or anyone else) never get to enjoy them because they are trapped on my hard drive! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • I completely agree with you… I have several thousand pictures on several hard drives. They’re trapped except for what I put on screen savers. My kids love pouring over the few PL pages that I have managed to pull together out so far this year. Just to add to the sentiment, I lost a few early years in photos of my 8 year old when my computer crashed and took the hard drive with it. If I had PL back then, at least his toddlerhood would be in print in a lovely album that I could see anytime we wanted to reminisce. Now they’re just gone.

  14. laura g. says:

    way to go!! thank you for the encouragement!!! am trying to catch up with last years PL and start this years…am off work for awhile doing chemo for breast cancer…so want to get as much done as possible before i go back to work…somedays i just don’t feel well, and i plan stuff in my head…helps to have a goal…look forward to doing something fun…the main goal is to get the pictures printed and in the albums…many pictures tell a story and don’t need a lot of fou fou embellishments…maybe just a few words of journaling….

    • Kim D says:

      Absolutely !

      I have 3 young kids and have little time PL. I don’t waste it embellishing. I print the photos, get the story down and that’s about all I have time for. Turns out I like the clean and simple look that is a result :) as long as you enjoy your books, that’s all that matter!

      Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    • laura g. says:

      thank you! today is a better day…i have one more Red Devil treatment where i am sick for 3 days then gradually get better…move on to a ‘more tolerable’ chemo for 8 weeks…then maybe back to work? been working on my PL and getting the pictures printed up… glad you are doing PL .. my kids are grown and would have loved it if i had done PL while they were growing up…

  15. Maureen W. says:

    Very inspiring! I’m currently working on 5 different PL albums and it helps to know that major catching-up can be done!!

  16. Denise E says:

    Color me impressed! That’s a huge amount of scrapping, cropping, printing, and journaling and I’m inspired that you got so much done! Thanks for sharing this amazing story!

  17. marisa says:

    These are the stories that inspire! I am so behind and have been dreading trying to catch up. I realized I don’t need to catch up. I just need to get those pics and memories down NOW before I forget about all the details!

    Love seeing the simple pages. I got so caught up in making mine “cute” that I forget about why I am doing it.

  18. Leslie says:

    What a fabulous story!! Congrats on getting all your photos in albums. I am in the process of doing the same. After being a “traditional” scrapbooker since 1998, I have never felt such freedom with my scrapbooking as I have when I am using Project Life. No more stressing that I’ve fallen behind. I LOVE PROJECT LIFE!!!

  19. Ok this is awesome. And I don’t feel so guilty about having 3 years of albums to finish. 9 years! That’s fabulous! :) I so adore PL and the simplicity of it. It’s just plain awesome-sauce!

  20. Laura M says:

    Wow! That is organized. Loved hearing about her process of planning on the computer first. Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas!

  21. Carren says:

    I am working on my own baby album. I only have about 250 photos, but they are in no order, nor do they have dates on them. The suggestion to place photos in a folder for each spread is a great idea. This will help me plan out what journaling cards I need to have for each spread so I can fly home at Easter and pester my mom for all the information I can get. Thanks for the tip.

    • Alanna N says:

      I’m currently *thinking* about doing my own baby album too. And then my partner’s. I just hope our parents play along by doing some journalling for me and thinking back to remembering their pregnancies and our first years. Good luck with yours! I would love to see some inspiration for doing your own baby album. I’m using the baby kits (purchased all three digitally and am printing what I want) but the only inspiration I can find is people documenting for their kids, not themselves, if that makes sense.

  22. Jayme says:

    I have 9 years worth of pictures to do as well. Every year I say I’m going to scrapbook my son’s pictures. 8 years later I had a daughter and now I really need to get on the ball while she is young so I don’t repeat myself. This is fantastic!!

  23. Deiga says:

    So cool! I just started working on my kids baby albums using Baby Project Life – my ‘babies’ are 41 and 38 :)

  24. Jennifer says:

    Very inspiring! I am 12 1/2 yrs behind ;(. Just got my first project life package yesterday and I am hooked!

  25. Julie L. says:

    What a huge accomplishment! I am very interested in doing this myself but was overwhelmed at the idea of having so much to scrapbook! Using your ideas as a guide, it makes it seem less daunting and more FUN! Thanks for sharing your projects and your ideas with us!

    Julie L.

  26. Angie W says:

    I’m working on 2012 like that now. I have all my photos sorted and any time there is a special deal on printing (free just pay shipping, for example) I order a large amount of the pics. As soon as I get them I plop them into their appropriate slot and add journaling. PL has SAVED me!! When I have time, which isn’t often, I still occasionally scrap traditionally. And with the new page options, I can insert those artistic pages into my PL album.

    Thank you, Becky, for giving me back a hobby I dearly love!!

  27. Cindy says:

    I am working on two PL albums (one for each child) going back 22 years. Using Pl makes me feel that I can get all those pictures in a book and this story shows me it can be done. And some of the best fun is looking at all those old pictures of cute babies. LOL Thank you to Cathy and Becky!

  28. Jennifer Kinney says:

    This is what I need to do. I’m working on 2008 (!) right now. I have no photos printed from 2012, 2011, 2012, or 2013. My son (age 9) couldn’t even bring photos to show and tell this morning because he was only 4 years old (!) in all the photos I had. What a frustrating and humbling experience. I have Clementine and have a few months done in 2008 but am now inspired to get more done on it.

  29. Beth P says:

    Wow !! Awesome achievement. They all look fantastic. I am planning on doing mine as well (10 years worth !) and although it is a massive undertaking you have shown me that it is possible :). Thanks for describing your sorting process for photos on your computer into PL folders …. So wonderful that all your family are now enjoying and loving Project Life and all those precious memories of them :) Fantastic ❤

  30. amy says:

    great work cathy! thanks for sharing! preplanning is the way to go! I just uploaded tons of pictures for digital project life for the year 2009 and I believe it is taking so much longer because I didn’t preplan. im not even using all the pictures I uploaded!!


  31. Debbie says:

    What a PERFECT success story of Project Life! PERFECT!

  32. CathyC says:

    Thank you everyone for the kind words!! I love to play with paper, but at the end of the day I really wanted the photos and stories available and off my computer. I figured that after I got everything in albums, if I ever wanted to go back and make a fancy layout of a particular set of photos, I could. In the meantime, our lives are documented. So far, I have been creatively satisfied working on my 2013 PL album as the weeks pass by and I am SO thrilled to be documenting daily life. I think that will be SOOO cool to look back on 20 years from now! Best wishes to everyone on getting those photos in albums to be enjoyed!

  33. Liz says:

    That is a major accomplishment! My question is what to do with photos already printed that aren’t in the right 4×6 or 3×4 size. Should I scan and have them re-printed to the correct size or just mount the odd sized photos on cardstock? I can’t decide!

    • Valerie says:

      I have the same question about lots of 3.5 x 5 pictures from my daughters early years. I’d love to have 12 x 12 divided page protectors for these smaller pictures. I don’t want to have to go back and mount all of the photos on cardstock and don’t want to put them in the 4 x 6 openings because they’ll slip around. I would think this would be a problem for a lot of people who are “catching up” from years of photos before the 4 x 6 size became the norm. Is anyone at Becky Higgins Inc. working on this for us?

    • Alison says:

      ANything smaller than a 4×6 I have got around by adhering to 4×6 or 3×4 blank journalling cards and then journaling around the image. Just one idea. I use these blank/grid cards a lot, they are awesome. Hope this helps, but I get that you’d rather not use adhesive

    • Melanie says:

      I was wondering the same thing. I want to go back and do my childhood, as well as my husband’s. Most of the photos are 3.5 x 5.

    • Liz says:

      March 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      I just found page protectors for these size photos at printfile.com … 3.5 x 5; 3.5 x 3.5; 4.x 4.5 and 2.5 x 2.5. The overall size is not 12 x 12 but they fit the photos great.

  34. PaulaPerk says:

    Loved this story! My Wellington kit is on it’s way. And then I plan on having a similar success story with my son’s baby and childhood photos! What inspiration this has given me- thanks!

  35. Briana Johnson says:

    WOW, I am seriously impressed. You are my new PL hero! I want to catch up too – thanks for sharing how you did this!

  36. Alison says:

    I would also be interested to know how people have handled doing this with pictures already printed from past years. I get stalled on my albums of pre digital photos that are already printed..they don’t always fit with the orientation of the pocket pages and so I find myself stressing about how to put the pages together and end up giving up. I am keeping up with this year’s album because I can choose pictures for the page before I print but this other situation has me baffled The only way I gave been able to get around it is using pocket E pages with the 4×6 squares but then you only fit 4 pictures per page so that is a bit frustrating. Other ideas? Thanks

  37. Rebecca says:

    Cathy, this is so inspiring! I’m knee deep in a similar project, and you’re giving me hope that it can be done. Thank you so much for sharing!

  38. Robin Gibson says:

    Congrats on that Job Well Done! I have several years of photos to get ‘done’ as well! So, now you’ve inspired me! I’ve bought a few things lately, so in my attempt to be smarter about how & what I buy, I’m trying to hold out for the HSN special;) Can’t wait to see what that’s all about. And/or, will be ordering some of the newly released kits, to get all this backlog done:)
    But in the meantime, I’m getting our current photos scrapped, in the here & now! LOVE LOVE LOVE this system! Thank You Becky, David & Your Whole Team!!!

  39. Sharon says:

    WOW!! Great inspiration and how exciting!!
    Everyone – Journaling Solution to get albums done quickly too. Works with Becky Higgins PL journaling core kit journaling cards and much more. I found an awesome website for those of you who like your journal cards printed on your creative pages. What’s so amazing is that you don’t need adhesives or tapes when printing your journal cards. It’s back to basics with their templates. I love PJ LIFE everything, and I love printing my journaling cards. It is so SIMPLE and FAST to get your journaling done!
    Check Out http://www.smpljournal.com
    Happy Journaling!

  40. Dana Klinkner says:

    Cathy – my jaw is on the floor!!! You go girl – you are such an inspiration!!! I have 10 years of catching up to do as well & I have the PL albums & the core kits ready to go but your story has given me the “oomph” to start tackling this project – I am seriously SO inspired I’m giddy! I can’t wait to start working on my albums! Tonight maybe??? :)

    I absolutely LOVE how you said that PL is a VISUAL DIARY – when I read that I had a lightbulb, a-ha moment. That’s exactly what it is! I’ve been doing PL for the past three years and I’ve had to work slowly on it due to some major medical complications with our son. But in the midst of all of this, I’ve still been able to plug away on my layouts & capture the past few years & in particular, capture the every day story of my sons’s challenges & victories & how our family has walked through all of this together. What other system can you still work on (or even want to work on) in the midst of medical challenges??? I love Project Life – tell everyone I know about it – love to look through the albums with my kids – my husband loves it too! I share this because I’m familiar with PL & already love it but for whatever reason, that description – VISUAL DIARY- really captures what it is for me & helps give me even more ideas for every day pictures to take & things to journal about. If I imagine myself sitting down at the end of the day to write in my diary – that totally helps clarify for me what I want to capture about our every day life. Thank you for this description!

    THANK YOU Cathy!!! I cannot say thank you enough – this post was inspiring beyond what I can put into words. Your “catching up” is so encouraging & gives me hope that ANY amount of pictures or history or time in our lives that we want to document CAN be done with Project Life!!! And to Becky & the PL team – THANK YOU too!!! This system is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G – so do-able and to say I LOVE it is such an understatement – you have given me back my desire to scrapbook, my hope that it CAN be done & my creativity to express as I work on my layouts – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! And thank you SO much for taking the time to share these PL stories with us – such a huge inspiration!

    I LOVE PROJECT LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  41. I am totally inspired!! What an awesome accomplishment!! Now I can see how I can go back and catch up on past years!! Yay!!!

  42. Karen says:

    I had decided just recently that I was never going to catch up either and thought that the PL system was for me.
    I went on a scrapping weekend and did 3 years of Xmas photos (with no journalling or embellishing at this stage) but was so pleased with the results.
    It will now be PL all the way for me with the occasional 12 x 12 layout for the speacial photos

  43. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had heard Becky talking about using Project Life for your older photos and memories on the Paperclipping Roundtable a few months ago and it was an “aha” moment. I hadn’t gotten around to starting this on my own, but now with your examples, I am inspired to get right to it!

  44. Liz says:

    I just found page protectors for these size photos at printfile.com … 3.5 x 5; 3.5 x 3.5; 4.x 4.5 and 2.5 x 2.5. The overall size is not 12 x 12 but they fit the photos great.

  45. Brianne says:

    Your story is so inspiring! I just ordered the baby core kit for her and the blush kit through HSN. My plan is to start baby #3’s album with the baby kit (she’s only a few months old) and 2013 with the blush kit. Then I want to go back and do baby #1 and baby #2 and hopefully past years. Your story is helping me see that it’s possible! I am going to try out your organization and planning tips; I think they will be extremely helpful and I might not have thought of them on my own. Thank you for sharing!

  46. […] 2012 vacation “mini” album and be even more frugal by trying out a handy tip from Cathy posted at http://www.beckyhiggins.com . I say “mini” because it’s not technically in […]

  47. […] 2012 vacation “mini” album and be even more frugal by trying out a handy tip from Cathy posted at http://www.beckyhiggins.com . I say “mini” because it’s not technically in […]

  48. […] 2012 vacation “mini” album and be even more frugal by trying out a handy tip from Cathy posted at http://www.beckyhiggins.com . I say “mini” because it’s not technically in […]

  49. What’s up to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this
    weblog; this web site includes remarkable and in fact excellent data for readers.

  50. excellent issues altogether, you just gained a new reader.
    What could you recommend in regards to your put up that you
    made a few days in the past? Any sure?

  51. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  52. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  53. I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site :)

  54. Ashley says:

    I’d there a way the picture links can be fixed? I was so excited to find this being I have 15 years to catch up on, but would love to see how she did it…

  55. Vicky says:

    I am in the process of trying to complete an album all about my family before I moved to America from England, before I met my husband.

    . I used to spend a lot of time with my three nieces, my sister, my mum, dad and sometimes other relatives. I have started one big album of those memories starting from 2006-2014, as I left the UK in 2015. Also I worked in Europe twice, 2009 in Austria, 2010 in Greece so I have trying to get those photo memories in an album too.

    I have other plans too, like to eventually make an album of my baby years, childhood and teen years at some point too, though all the photos for that are with my mum in England, when I am able to visit I plan to scan all those photos and gather up all my memorabilia as well.

    Its a huge task but I have a baby on the way now and I would love to get all the back years caught up as much as possible, as I just know I am going to make loads of albums about our baby too! Lol

    I have already made plans to begin a baby album, wrote down all I want to include in the album, with help from YouTube videos and blogs, Facebook. Lol