Project Life: Beginnings and Week 1

While I was working on a month-by-month scrapbook of our first year of married life, I decided it was so much fun that I wanted to continue. I also felt like putting a whole month on one page was forcing me to cut out way too much stuff that I wanted to save and write about. So I decided to do it Project Life style! A lot of my favorite bloggers use this format, and I’ve been watching them preserve beautiful memories since January. I never really considered it as an option for myself (I always seem to hear about these things too late!), but after finishing up our album for our anniversary a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a go. There are really great materials that come with Project Life, but I realized that for now it made more sense for me to use the materials that I have and make myself, so I am just taking inspiration from the spirit of the project: a week-by-week scrapbook and memory saver. It might seem kind of crazy to start in June, but, then again, it is the start of a new year of marriage for us, and, in the words of my favorite blogger, sometimes the best thing you can tell yourself is “just start!” So I did! This is my cover page (I use 12×12 pages in plastic sleeves, which I’ve taken off for the photos. I hold things down with transparent picture corners and my trusty glue stick). Our initials at the top were made using stencils I bought at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse years ago, and the racing tape is from a set I bought in the toy section of Target (go figure!). The colored circles are from notecards I painted with leftover paint from my pinwheel painting. I punched them out with a simple circle punch. The “ECB” pressed into it has a really sweet story. Those are Eric’s initials, but they are also our initials together. The press was a graduation gift to Eric years ago, but he just realized that now I am part of those initials too, so he gave it to me. I love it.

I decided that I would give every special event (anniversary, Christmas, etc.) its own page, as well as trips we take together. Our first anniversary fell under both of those categories, and I gave it two pages. This is the first one, with lots of writing and a handful of pictures.

I can’t ever go anywhere without bringing home an extra map, so I put in this one of Balboa Island. The little logo is from the menu of the place where we ate lunch. I love collecting these little things and having a place to put them.

And this is the first week of the project. It makes me so happy because these are exactly the kind of everyday little details that would likely be forgotten if we didn’t write them down: a weekend walk, making ice cream, talking about a book we enjoyed. It’s those simple things that I most want to capture. For this page I used a strawberry basket to do some stamping (thanks for the idea, Martha Stewart!) and experimented with writing all over the place. I like it!

I am planning to work on this project two weeks at a time because that seems like a reasonable interval to have photos printed. I hope soon I’ll be into a routine with it. I will tell you, I made a colossal mess working on it this weekend. It was *so* much fun. (And then I organized all my supplies and felt like a champion!) I have one million ideas of things I want to include in these pages, and I am so excited about it. Nothing like a good project!

July 2012 Goals

I really love making monthly goals, even though this is only the second month I’ve set them. I like the short term focus and the invitation to reflection that comes with it. Toward the end of a month, I find myself thinking about how I want to shape the month that will follow, and I get all kinds of excited. Every day is a new beginning, truly, but a fresh month makes me a little giddy. To wit, here are my goals for July.

We are heading up to Santa Barbara on Thursday night for a long weekend, and I want to make it a really relaxing one. Eric will be working through Saturday afternoon, but I hope that he can find some time after that to unwind during what is really and truly a very busy summer. Any time we can spend relaxing on the beach or exploring the city will, I hope, keep paying dividends after we’re back into our daily grind.

Last weekend Eric and I took an impromptu Saturday afternoon walk, and it was seriously the highlight of the weekend. We held hands, we took lots of pictures, we noticed all the trees and flowers, and we stopped to admire all the pretty things around us. It was glorious. Definitely something I want to make into a habit.

I’ve started Project Life (in June!) to document our second year of married life (update on that coming tomorrow!), and I really want to commit to sticking to it. There are so many little things I can capture when I get them written down right away, and I know that years from now, we’ll be grateful to have a concrete way to look back on our early days as husband and wife. I am doing my best to undertake this project in a way that works for me, so I hope that will help.

In June I started reading Twyla Tharp‘s The Creative Habit and was reminded of all the other great books on creativity that I want to read. Reading is something that I always manage to squeeze in, so I just want to allocate some of my time to books that will encourage me and get me thinking about new projects.

Woot, we bought a grill today! This month I’m hoping to break it in and try all kinds of things: pizza, veggies, meat, you name it!

My 365 Project, now in the middle of its third year, is languishing over on Flickr now that there are so many other projects I’m working on on a daily basis. It’s not really taking the pictures that presents the challenge, but finding time to upload all of them and write captions. I’m currently about a month behind there, and I’m really hoping to get caught up and set up a routine that keeps it from slipping too far out of date.

One more thing I’m excited about is trying to find one little bit of time per week–even if it’s only 15 minutes–to hunt for inspiration, the lifeblood of creativity. It might be a spin through Pinterest, or listening to a TED talk, or digging through the archives of one of my favorite blogs, or even reading through some of my old journals (chock full of memories and ideas). This seems very doable to me, and I think the benefit will be huge.

And, of course, I plan to take lots of pictures! Just tonight I was reminded of what things were like back we all had only 24 exposures. We had to be so stingy with our shots! But now that we’re in the digital age, there’s no reason not to snap away, and anything that doesn’t turn out can be deleted. So, I hope, as always, to get lots of photographic captures of the beauties of this month.

I am looking forward to all of these things, even if I don’t manage to carry all of them through. They turn my thoughts in good directions, and I am grateful for that.

Update, August 2012:
I love coming back to these goals and seeing how I did on them, and more importantly, what I learned. Santa Barbara definitely delivered on the relaxation front, and I really treasure the day that Eric and I spent together there. We also did pretty well on the weekend walks throughout the rest of the month, and this is something I’d like to make a regular practice for sure. Walking has always opened up an expansive mental state for me, and, when shared with my favorite person on earth, usually makes for some great conversations. I love that so much. Project Life is still going full steam, and I really look forward to working on it on the weekends. I’ve started getting my photos printed through Snapfish, which should give them a bit higher quality than the place I was taking them before. I read a good handful of creativity books this month, and I’m still going strong! Two favorites were Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit and Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist. Two very different books, but both wonderfully helpful and inspiring. We have definitely broken in the grill! My favorites so far have been grilled corn and poblanos, with the former used to stuff the latter. But there has been a lot of eggplant and  zucchini too, and even some steak. I am so happy we got a grill. It has made our summer so much more delicious. I am slowly catching up on the 365 project, and, thankfully, the new upload tool makes it a little easier to do a handful at a time. This year’s project ends in November, and I’m committed to making it. I think I also did pretty well on nurturing creativity, but this one could stand as a goal forever. And pictures, yes, tons of them were taken. I’m so glad. I really love doing goals this way–I pull up my post a few times every week or so, and I’m happily reminded of a bunch of good stuff I wanted to do. In this busy summer, that’s invaluable.

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