Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



Q&A – part 2

Yesterday I addressed some of your questions and today I’m answering many more! Diving right in…

Q:  I’m leaning towards Digital Project Life but don’t know much about it yet. Is Photoshop necessary?

A: Yep! To use the Digital Project Life templates you will need either Photoshop Elements or full-version Photoshop. The templates are in PSD format and are only fully functional in those programs. If you are wanting to use just the cards, papers, stickers, etc., you do not necessarily need Photoshop. You just need a program that is compatible with PNG and JPEG formats.

Q:  How do you schedule your days and prioritize what gets done? Have you learned any tricks to be truly in the moment with your family instead of your thoughts going back to work and household items that need to get done?

A: I use something called Calendar, which is automatically built-in to all of our Apple products — desktop computer, laptop, iPad, iPhone. This means that everything syncs beautifully. I’m a scheduler. If I put it on the calendar, it’s going to happen. If it’s work time, it’s work time. If it’s family time, it’s family time. Or it’s the gym or a date night or clean-out-the-closets day. When David or I add something to the calendar, it shows up on both ends and we both know what’s going on at any given time of day. This syncing calendars thing is the key to our scheduling organization. My technology pro brother Kevin wrote a very helpful blog post that helps you understand more about the benefits of Calendar here. As for being in the moment, it’s really about boundaries for me. The various hats I wear in life are all very much intertwined. That said, I’ve learned through plenty of stumbling how to be a better version of myself in each of those roles by minimizing the amount of multi-tasking in my life. Now that my children are all in school full-day and we have an actual office space for my work, those boundaries have become more clear to me and that’s been a huge help.

Q:  What is your favorite Project Life Kit?

A: Oh, that’s really not an easy question at all! But I’ll say that Project 52 is my favorite right now because it’s the one I’m using to document our family’s story, week after week, in 2015. Oh – and the Midnight Edition will probably always be in my top all-time Project Life favorites. So classic and simple and clean and complementary to most of my photos. 

Q:  Do you delete photos from all devices after creating and printing projects?

A: I regularly pull the photos from my iPhone (which is where I take all my pictures these days) and get them organized and BACKED UP in Dropbox. I keep things simple: Numerical and chronological order works for me. Once I know they’re safe & sound in Dropbox, then yes — I delete that batch from my phone, just to allow for more space on my phone… and because I know the pictures aren’t “gone” just because they’re not actually living on my phone. Because I use the Project Life app for most of my scrapbooking these days (love, love, love, it)… I can simply access those photos in Dropbox just as easily as accessing them from my Camera Roll. 

Q:  What is your favorite place in the world you have visited?

A: My favorite place in the world is always home – and wherever my family is. But that’s not what you’re asking – ha! My favorite place I’ve ever visited would have to be New Zealand.

Q:  What hair product do you like best after the big chop?

A: I’m still experimenting a bit and don’t feel like I have found any sort of unbelievable product that changed my life (which I was hoping to find, to bring out the best in my wavy-ish hair)… but I’m currently trying the “Not Your Mother’s” brand based on a lot of your suggestions, actually — specifically the “Beach Babe/Texturizing Sea Salt Spray” and it seems nice. And it smells really good.

Q:  What is your daily routine?

A: The morning busy-ness of getting me and my family ready for the day and out the door is probably very similar to what most of you reading this are used to. I drop the kids off at school. Head to my office. Work, work, work. Pick up the kids from school. Do my mom thing all afternoon/evening, running them around where they need to be, getting stuff done around the house, enjoying time together. Sometimes I get a workout in. Most days I don’t. Working hard to be better about sitting down at the table – all together – for a homemade dinner (which doesn’t happen every night). Bedtime and downtime. Do it all again the next day. Feel abundantly blessed through it all.

Q:  What’s your response to people who say that everyday life isn’t worth scrapbooking/Project Life. I’m 24, totally romantically unattached, and no kids. All my photos are of me and friends or my dog. My friends/family think I’m crazy for trying to scrapbook it.

A: Single or married, kids or no kids, living in the city or in the country, 12 years old or 73 years old, American or Finnish or Australian or Japanese… Does any of this really make a difference in the fact that we each have a LIFE and a story? I would say no. No matter your situation, your story is unfolding — page by page and chapter by chapter. Of course it is worth documenting! I was a picture-taking, journal-writing, scrapbook-making girl long before I was married and even then, years before children became a part of my story.

Q:  What is your favorite dessert? Would you share the recipe?

A: I have a weak spot for the chocolate molten cake at Chili’s, which is why I have to just not order it. I don’t have that recipe, sorry.

Q:  What are your hopes for your brand 5 years from now?

A: I hope that through the work we do, the products we create, and the continued passion we have… that we are able to help thousands more people document their life and preserve their photographs.

Q:  If  you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive – famous or not… and help him or her scrapbook their life with Project Life… who would it be and why?

A: Wow, what a thought-provoking question! My mind just went all. over. the. place with that! There are so many I’d love to do that for, but it would have to be someone I don’t know; perhaps it’s someone that’s reading this right now. I would choose to spend the day with an individual who doesn’t feel like his or her life is worth documenting. Someone who doesn’t feel like she does anything interesting, and who doesn’t even really know what to take pictures of. I would find that to be a very rewarding experience to help her see the value in recording their story, knowing that along the way they would actually understand more of their own personal worth. 

Q:  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: That totally depends on what area of life you’re talking about. In product design, I draw inspiration from my own problems that I want to solve. In being a wife and a mother, I draw inspiration from scriptures and prayer. In everyday picture-taking ideas, I draw inspiration from seeing lots of everyday pictures on Instagram. In fashion I look to a few friends who I think have a good sense of style. For home decor, Pinterest and Houzz are packed with inspiration. I could go on, but you see what I’m saying… it just totally depends.  ; )

Q:  Do you take all your iPhone photos with your phone turned sideways? I just realized all my photos are portrait and I really need some landscape for my album.

A: I take 99% of my pictures horizontally (a.k.a. landscape mode). That’s just a habit and a personal preference more than anything. A lot of people take their pictures in mostly vertical/portrait mode. It’s ALL good, and you shouldn’t feel the need to force yourself into something that goes against your grain of how you like to take pictures. 

Q:  My question is regarding what to save. I look back on some of my scrapbooks and see pages I made about really random and not memorable moments. If I had scrapped as I went, I would have easily saved 10,000 dance photos (3 active daughters). It’s something that really stops me before I even start. I want to save everyday moments just not EVERY moment. I realize it would be different for everyone, but in your experience, what are some effective editing ideas? Thanks for your inspiration!!

A: I appreciate the question and really understand what you mean. Instead of suggesting what I think you should do, I’ll simply share a couple of things that work for me. First of all, Project 52 is an approach that has “editing” and the narrowing down of photos built into the system/concept. I’ve addressed this on the blog, in detail, and you can read about that here and get more of a full sense of how I document my family’s life on a week-to-week basis. Another thing for me is to think about what kind of things I would want to see from my own ancestors. If I were to have inherited a full album of photos and memories for a particular person (ex:  my grandmother), what would I want to see of her? Would I want 15 pictures that are pretty much the same of her just smiling at the camera? I would treasure those images, of course, but what I would value even more are pictures that paint a story of who she was, what she did, what kind of quirks made her unique, what kind of things people said about her, her accomplishments, her struggles, her friends, her routine. Her everyday.

Q:  How do you do it all? Do you pre-schedule social media posts? Do you mostly work out of your home or the office? Do you have a nanny?

A: I 100% … for sure … with all of my heart … want to be sure that you don’t have the impression that I “do it all.” I don’t. And I don’t try to either. I strive for balance. I’ve experienced my fair share of imbalance in my life, and while I’ll never have it perfectly down… I’m better about balance than I used to be. Pre-scheduled social media posts? Nope. I share as I go, and I share based on whatever’s going on or whatever I feel inspired to share. I used to run this business out of my home (for the first 5 years) but as of November 2014, we have a dedicated office space where I happily report to work each day alongside my small but mighty team. I don’t have a nanny, but I have in the past had a little help with the kiddos as-needed. I do hire various services that lightens our loads, such as landscaping and housecleaning services. And remember what I said about that little team? They’re remarkable. This company very much takes a village to thrive.

Q:  With your retirement coming up, will Stampin’ Up! still feature your Project Life Kits?

A: Oh my goodness! I’m not retiring any time soon! I didn’t realize that having a “Retirement Sale” would cause anyone to think I’m retiring, so thank you for asking! I’m not going anywhere… but we do still have a just a handful of products that are left as part of that sale which is for products that are being retired. You can read about that here or head straight to the Retired section of our shop.  : ) And yes — Stampin’ Up! continues to have a full Project Life program that is fantastic. 

Q:  When are you coming back to Australia?

A: I don’t know! But I’m forever grateful for the hospitality and kindness we experienced when visiting last year. I like to spread out my international travel (speaking of balance) and my next out-of-country excursion will be to Scandinavia this summer. Then Canada in September (see next question).

Q:  What can we look forward to at Cornwall’s Crop and Create in September?

A: Glad to know I’ll be meeting some of you there! I’ll be teaching about Project Life and mingling with pretty much everyone there!

Q: What is your favorite thing RIGHT now? 

A: Favorite thing of all things? I’m not sure how to narrow that down, honestly. I’ll go with something materialistic because I assume you understand my favorite and most important “things” in life really are my family and my faith. But I think you might mean an actual thing, so… I really, really, really love our new office space. From the white walls, to the rad vinyl flooring to the West Elm light globe fixtures, to the orange chairs in our conference room… I love this space and the people in it and the work we do each day and what it all represents.

Q: What makes you laugh?

A: Every day our six-year-old says and does stuff that has us all giggling. My favorite laughter is that which is shared with my family. My friends make me laugh and for a whole bunch of reasons. Game night with friends always involves laughter! Just yesterday a couple of my employees/friends and I were in the desert and we were totally laughing for reasons that I don’t even remember! There isn’t a team meeting that goes by that we don’t have laughter.

Q: Any yummy recipes to share?

A: For sure! Check out #BHRecipes on Instagram and you’ll see that I regularly add recipe pages (all created with the Project Life app). If it’s posted by @BeckyHigginsLLC… that’s me!

Wow, great questions everyone! I appreciate you sharing what’s on your mind. Thanks for the opportunity to respond.


20 Responses

  1. Jenny B. says:

    Lots of great stuff today! I was struck most by the girl who asked if it was crazy to scrapbook her young, single days. I wish I had! I have a box of photos from high school and college, and I wish I had recorded memories to go along with all of them. I can’t even remember all the people’s names that were my friends during those times. I would love to have a scrapbook to look back on my everyday life in those days. I think the same is true for older adults who either don’t have children or whose children have already left the nest. I record lots of things about my children right now, but I hope that I will continue to document even after they are no longer living in my house. :)

  2. Nicky H says:

    To the 24 year old who posted about scrapping while single and childless, KEEP SCRAPPING!! I am 40, and started scrapping after my first child was born 15 years ago. I am past the diapers and formula, and deep into puberty and driving lessons, and I cannot for the life of me remember what I used to love, what my friends and I did for fun, what hair care products I used, what restaurants I liked the most or why, what was on my bedroom walls, etc. I have very few pictures (granted this was back in film days) of me at college, of many of the crafts I made, of me with my family during my teen/ early 20s. I remember throwing a remote control at my brother, but I’m pretty sure that was an extreme in our relationship. I don’t remember so many things that I wish I had photographs or journaling for. In 16 years, when you are my age, and you are possibly knee deep in little people who have taken over your life, you will be thankful for all those memories you took the time to document. :)

    • Nickki, thank you for this posting this sweet comment. I am only 17 and scrapbook. Some days I ask myself why am I scrabooking about shamppo that I enjoy?! Your comment made my night knowing that later on in life I’ll look back and cherish these moments!

  3. Angie says:

    With all these comments and discussions about phones, the Project Life App, etc…will there ever be an Android version available ?

    • Toni Chase Toni Chase says:

      Yes, in the future the app will be available for Android. It is just a complicated and costly project so we appreciate your patience! You can read an update about Android here. http://beckyhiggins.com/take-a-look-inside-the-project-life-app/ ~ Toni at Becky Higgins LLC

    • Katie says:

      Hi Toni, I’ve read that update; its just that its kind of vague and implies that no development work has been started. Is there an update or a projected timeline? No one is asking for a commited date, just that android users would also love this functionality and be able to scrapbook on the go just as easily. Not to mention, another great way of supporting the brand. Ideas about time help us make choices about our next devices, and about how to document our lives in general when thinking about projects. If its at the end of the year say, I can make an informed decision that I’ll make digi pages,or that I’ll continue purchasing the SC kits. A lack of information makes a subset of your customers feel unheard, unsupported and frankly, unwanted, whilst seeing constant reminders of the PL app, continuous inapp purchase reminders on Becky’s instagram etc. Its coming from a place of support, not from impatience.

    • Katie says:

      Apologies, I was trying to reply to my own thread, not hijack this one. I’m not sure why its shown up here.

  4. Shannon J says:

    For the question about needing to use Photoshop for digital Project Life, I have a suggestion for those who do not use or have not used Photoshop. I do own Photoshop but choose to complete my Project Life Books digitally through Shutterfly! It’s so simple! I choose the Design A templates for the first set of pages and insert my daily photos and daily journaling. Then, for the remainder of the book, I have set up pages using other templates through Shutterfly that I use from month to month. I include a Kids’ Quotes page with mostly text to document those funny things (or logical things) that my 4 and 5 year old say each month! I have a recipe page paired with a Design A layout so I can record four pictures and four favorite recipes for the month (these have ranged from simple ones…snow cones made out of real snow, to play dough recipes, to meal ideas that went over well!) I also allow pages for photos on additional Design A layouts to document special photos for the month for special events, trips, birthdays, etc. I include one full page photo of each of my boys paired with information regarding them each month…items like height, weight, favorite books and activities, a first lost tooth, milestones, favorite foods, favorite toys, etc. Anyway, someone can go “digital” without using Photoshop! :) Someday, I would like to make another style of book using Digital Project Life, but for now, the ease of the Design A templates on Shutterfly paired with other Shutterfly layouts that I’ve tweaked to meet my needs work so easily! Can’t beat Project Life! Love it!

    • Shannon J says:

      One last note that I forgot to include: I create the book in a 12 x 12 size and use the Project Life Childhood: Bridgeport Edition. (There’s also Mayfield and Turquoise, I believe.) You can find the Design A Layout in the “Idea Pages” section when creating your book.

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for your comment. I searched the Shutterfly site for the design A layout and couldn’t seem to find it. Happy to know it’s there and I can take another look. :)

  5. Katie says:

    Sad to see there is still no update to the transparent answer to the android question, sigh. Do you have a partnership with Apple, as I’ve noticed a lot of people buying iPad’s in various project life groups just for the app? Its okay if you do, it would just be good to know how far the andorid app is away?

  6. Karen Flores says:

    Is there a way to use the project life app on my computer with the pictures that are on my computer?

  7. Carol Anne Wall says:

    I’d like to point out that you ***DO NOT*** need to have Photoshop to make the Digital Project Life templates, etc. work. What you ***DO*** need is a program that can read and handle .PSD files. I use PaintShop Pro and worked with .PSD files long before Digital Project Life existed. I have no problem using the Digital Project Life files in PaintShop Pro, and I suspect there are other less well-known graphics programs that also can handle .PSDs and Digital Project Life.

  8. Carlie says:

    I’m so glad others see the value in scrapbooking life before kids! It’s so valuable! I love seeing the few pages I did pre-children. I was a person! I had likes and hobbies!
    Definitely scrapbook your everyday, one day you’ll be thankful!

  9. Ronda Franke says:

    I was reading the q/a about horizontal and vertical photos. I also take most of mine vertical. Can you recommend a design pack for vertical ones similar to Design Pack A?

  10. Alice says:

    We use an external hard drive to back up all of our photos from several devices and access the pictures using My Cloud. Is there a way to get to the pics through My Cloud while using the Project Life App?

  11. Christina says:

    Becky, thank you for taking time to answer these questions. I loved reading your responses. . . even if I am reading them two months later! You specifically answered one of my questions, and I appreciate your time. :-)