How I caught up on 30 weeks of Project Life in 2 days

How to do a major project life catch up by Lauren Likes

I’m not being bashful about how proud of myself I am right now. In the craft world, I completed one of the greatest feats known to scrapbookers. I finished a scrapbook. I completed a full years worth of photos. Pretty much in that current year. I completed a major catch up in less than 2 days. WHERE’S MY MEDAL AT?!

So here’s how I did it.

Back in September, when Olya issued a challenge to get caught up on PL. I took that challenge and realized that my problem was that I was too far behind and wasnt excited about the super old photos anymore. So I began working on the current week and working backwards. This was the best idea. I was able to capture our current memories and stories with a fresh memory and got to work on the photos and events I was excited about. I got a lot of pages done this way and they turned out to be some of my favorites. It’s like a reward being able to work on current photos and that really boosted my creativity. But there was still so much from that in between time and then the actual end of the year because I feel behind again.

So, before I left for christmas holiday I committed to catching up. I carved out a whole afternoon/evening and made sure I had all my supplies, which included my album, cards, enough paper for my selphy printer and my computer/phone containing all my photos. To show you how I streamlined the photo printing process I thought I should show you how I organize my photos first.

How I organize my photos:

1. Confession: until this week, this main folder was a hot mess. But I sat down and organized all the old photos into year folders. In 2014 though I was really proactive and organized as I went. See below. How to organize photos 1

2. Inside each year folder I have larger folders labeled things like ‘events’ and ‘travel’ and ‘blog’ etc. Inside those folders are each individual event or trip we took. How to organize photos 2

3. There is also a folder labeled ‘phone photos’ and inside that are each month of the year. I used to use PhotoStream but it got messed up and NEVER again could it be fixed. So now I use Dropbox/Carousal to stream all my phone photos to my computer. Every other day or so I open Dropbox on my phone and let it upload. Once a month or so (whenever I work on photos on my computer pretty much) I move them out of Dropbox and into their corresponding month folder. How to organize photos 3

4. Inside each folder the photos are all there from the month and they are labeled and ordered automatically with the date. Making it so easy when I need to print! How to organize photos 4

Ok, so here’s how I caught up:

1. I made a list of all the weeks I was missing. I use these planner pages I designed (download them here for free), you can also use this amazing PL catch up plan Caylee designed.Project Life by Lauren Likes

2. Then I select photos. I open my computer and the corresponding month folder. I begin selecting photos from the correct dates. I copy the photos to a new folder (labeled print or something else obvious that I will delete at the end.) and I jot down which photos are in which spread on my planner. **When choosing photos, I chose more than I normally would to make my spreads be more photo heavy.

Project Life by Lauren Likes 3. Write your photos on your planner. This is so important when working on multiple spreads at once. I write just a quick note like ‘sunset’ or ‘us snow’, etc. I do this photo selection + writing for as many weeks as I can or need at a time. I did some odd 20 weeks at once the first go round and about 10 the second time, so having the photos jotted down on the planner saved me from having to go back and search and figure out which photos go with what weeks.Project Life by Lauren Likes 4. Minimal* Photo editing. Now that all your photos are in a folder, decide how you will edit them into the right sizes and if they need any photo editing touch ups. I tried this 2 ways. First, I transferred the folder to my iPhone. I edited all the photos that needed it in PicTapGo and made collages for 3×4 and 2×2 in the Project Life App. Then I printed them all on my selphy printer. The second way I tried was to edit them all on my computer in Picasa and then transfer the completely ready to go photos to my phone and print. I found this second method much faster and easier to stay organised. **I had to make the choice that photo editing was only going to happen on the most necessary photos. The goal here was quick and easy, not detailed and time-consuming. No fancy editing.

Project Life by Lauren Likes 5. Print your photos. This and the previous step is by far the part that took the longest. My selphy is a little miracle machine, but goodness gracious that thing prints SLOOOOOOOOOW. Like 2 minutes per photo (I timed it!). But I used that printing time to be sorting the photos, choosing more, etc.Project Life by Lauren Likes 5. Create your pages! Once I had all the photos printed, sorted and slipped (randomly) into their weeks pockets I began the fun part! I started at the beginning and completed the spread. The three things I focused on were: stamping the date, filling all the pockets, writing any NECESSARY stories + titles. As you can see in most spreads there are only photos and cards  and, in many spreads, just photos. I relied heavily on my photos to tell the story and tried to choose as many as I could so that the spreads would be overly photo heavy. I relied heavily on my thickers here to add titles to pages. That was the most effective way to make things pretty and embellished and get the main journaling points across that was time effective. I had some memorabilia, but unless it was like a child’s birth certificate or just happened to fit easily, these things were tossed out or stuck in an envelope in the back.Project Life by Lauren Likes 6. Power through. Dont stop. Remember simple = finished. FINISH! Youre so close!Project Life by Lauren Likes 7. Youre finished!! Slam down your album. Yell! Cuss! Dance around like a fool! Fist Pump! Scream at your spouse that YOU FREAKING DID IT!Project Life by Lauren Likes Here are the rest of my pages that I finished over this major catch up session! You can see the whole album in one quick video here.Project Life by Lauren Likes

Project Life by Lauren Likes


Project Life by Lauren Likes

Project Life by Lauren Likes


Project Life by Lauren Likes


Project Life by Lauren Likes  Project Life by Lauren Likes Project Life by Lauren Likes Project Life by Lauren Likes              Project Life by Lauren Likes Project Life by Lauren LikesProject Life by Lauren Likes Project Life by Lauren Likes

This is my closing page. I love it! But its not what I had imagined doing. I was going to use this to represent how we spent the end of the year in Thailand, but when I put the book together and this was the end I decided to be ok with it. Instead of creating 2 end pages I just went with it. Maybe I wont be able to sleep at night because of it and will add an official ending page, but for now, this is it. I used Elise’s digital stamps to create the text.  

Products frequently used: Caylee Grey weekly cards. PL Core Kits: Midnight, Seafoam, Sunshine, Kraft, Flea Market. We R Memory Keepers cards.   We R Memory Keepers Die Cuts. Liz’s Paislee Press digital cards. Studio Calico wood veneers. Elise Joy Stamps. RuKristens Currently Cards. Laurel Lane Designs. Studio Calico Project Life kits. 

*Project Life is a memory-keeping system created by Becky Higgins

19 thoughts on “How I caught up on 30 weeks of Project Life in 2 days

  1. Havok

    Goodness! That’s a lot of catching up to get done all at once! But I can see how having all your photos printed at the (2 minute long) drop of a hat can be helpful!

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  5. Vikki

    I have just started with project life,so your inspire me!!!! thanks! I was a traditional scrapbooker before- but have not done anything for about 4 yrs……so lots of catching up top do

  6. Kirsty

    Loved the fact that you just put it together and you can always come back to it later and work on it loved your philosophy

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  8. Ashley

    I love this! Thank you! You have given me hope! I have 8+ years to catch up on! I take an insane amount of pictures which I love, but then it intimates me when I go pick which ones to print. I was previously doing a double spread for everything and I filled an album with 2 months of pics. I’m gonna now to try to do each week instead with an occasion additional layout for special things. I think that will be much more manageable and make me narrow down photos. Did you make your weekly cards? I love them! Do you know what fonts you used?

  9. Jenn

    Hi. Really like your ideas about catching up. I have a question? I am current for the last 2 years on my project life. BUT, I have 8 years of my son to catch up on. I have approximately…WAIT FOR IT…WAIT FOR IT… 35,000+ photos. Yes, you read that right! They are all VERY organized on my computer. How do I go about PLing them? I don’t have much journal-ing. So how do I go about all this? Thank you for any tips you have.

    1. Lauren-Likes Post author

      Hey! First, I think you have to decide what you absolutely want. You have to come to terms with the fact that you are never going to be officially ‘caught up’ and that each book wont be SUPER detailed, etc. But the important part is that you have an album. I would, personally, start by choosing the most important photos (Set a limit 1 per event, or 5 per month, etc) and make it an attainable goal. Print them all at once, then slip them all in pockets at once, then add in cards all at once, then add in journaling, extras, etc minimally. Just get in dates, titles of the events, peoples names, etc. Doing it in batches and knowing what the least you can do to be happy with it will give you a lot of freedom and will get you caught up fastest. Good luck!

    2. Margo

      I know you posted a while ago but I just found it today…

      I’m liking the Project Life app because it allows you to drag your pics into several different layout pages, “fancy it up” AKA embellishments and even print the pages already done, or just use it as your “working copy” and then do the rest with the hard-copy supplies.

      This might be a quick way to wade through some of your pics and occasions…AND it’s under $5.00.

      M <.


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