Memory Keeping, Project Life CT

How I’m Documenting Life in 2016

How I'm documenting life using Project Life in 2016

Every time I start a new project, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to approach it. I think about it with the end in mind, as Becky Higgins once said, and consider what it is that I want to get out of the project.

For Project Life, it’s threefold. At least. Maybe four-fold. Maybe more… 😉

First, I love taking photos of our family. I do. Honestly, photography is a big part of my life and has been for as long as I’ve been able to get my hands on a camera. Truly, since I was a kid. Moreso, after my father gave me my first SLR in 2001.

Second, I really, really love putting the photos to stories, and keeping them all in one place. Photographs are important. When done right, they will tell a story. But not the entire story. Not the full picture. And it’s the anecdotes and little favorite stories that give me the greatest happiness. Remembering them comes with recording them.

Project Life 2016 | Physical Album by Julie Love Gagen | January

Third, I love the process and the products. I do. I love the feel of the cards between my hands. I love the colors, the stamps, the editing process. I just LOVE IT. And every time something new comes out, I’m inspired by the designers and the creatives that make it all so beautiful.

I could go on, truly, but then I’ll have to change the purpose of this post.

The purpose of this post is to talk about how I’m documenting life in 2016. So that’s what I’m going to share. First, though, let’s talk about how I intended to start the year… because we all know that what you intend to do, what you plan to do, doesn’t always fit into what life wants you to do.

Original 2016 Project Life Plan

Originally, I planned to start this year with an all-physical, or mostly physical album. It makes sense, since I spent my year on the Creative Team accumulating physical products on discount (because how can you not, am I right?!) and I really, really wanted permission to use them.

I also had another brilliant idea: to make all of my cards. Again, awesome idea, but after I found out I was pregnant, and got super sick, that idea quickly went out the window. It’s just not going to happen.

Project Life 2016 | Physical Album by Julie Love Gagen | January

Third plan, do all Project Life App spreads again. Also, awesome idea. And very practical. And with the absolutely stunning Project 52 Edition released this year, it was completely and totally possible.

Of course, it wasn’t enough. So I finally made the plunge and purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements with the hope that I could find a balance between making cards, using the app, and doing digital layouts. That was plan #4.

But I can’t quell that craving for paper.

So here I am, with plan #5, which includes Plan #3, Plan #4, and an additional monthly, or as-needed, physical layout using all of the gorgeous product, and embellishments, and ephemera, that has been anxiously awaiting my love.

So there it is.

You can find my January Project Life App Pages here.

And here are the physical January pages. I’m using the Everyday Edition and the Sweet Edition, both of which are totally gorgeous and deserve to be used forever and ever.

Project Life 2016 | Physical Album by Julie Love Gagen | Cover Project Life 2016 | Physical Album by Julie Love Gagen | January


Also, follow along with all of my creative adventures on Instagram.

Happy documenting, friends!





  1. You totally sound like me. I thought I was going to go all physical but I had several issues with that. My main one is that I dislike how large and heavy the 12×12 becomes. Since I’m doing PL for me when I’m like 90, I don’t want something that heavy. Also the cost was a little daunting with some surprise life happenings (still under wraps). So then I though about doing monthly but disliked that. I thought about 6×8 but felt it wouldn’t tell the stories. So I settled for now with the app. It’s quick, handy and since all my photos are on the phone, makes sense. So for now that’s what I’m doing. I might start a hybrid version later once things settle down but for now, I’m liking my way.
    Your way looks amazing. One day I might try it.

    • Julie says

      Totally agree! The 12x12s can be so big and bulky, I feel like it holds me back from looking at them. I definitely went through a similar process. I love the act of the physical album, but you’re right – you need room for stories. And doing what works for you is *always* the best way. Thanks, Cody!!

  2. I can relate. 🙂 I’m still all-digi for the moment even though I have a billion and one physical supplies. I have started using the app and created my cover for 2016 because I couldn’t resist Amber’s Project 52 edition. Your pages are gorgeous and really inspiring me to print and/or use my physical supplies. 🙂

    • Julie says

      Thanks, Kimberlee! Seriously, the physical supplies are just SO good. And I do use them, occasionally, for mini books.. so I like to tell myself that’s why I “need” them. 😉

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