In 2013 and 2014 I worked every week on my Project Life spreads. For 2015 I decided to create monthly spreads. After three months doing it this way, I don't want to go back to weekly spreads.
STEP ONE // COLLECTING STORIES
To be able to only work on my spreads once a month, I needed a place where I could collect all those stories I want to include in my album. Last week I shared my Stories Notebook on the blog.
Because I don't know which stories will go into my album at the end of the month I keep all memorabilia like business cards, beautiful envelopes, stuff I found outside and receipts.
During the month I don't plan what stories to tell. I just live my life and document it in my Notebook.
STEP TWO // MAKING A PLAN
I work on my spreads about two days a month. The first part is the planning part. I take my notebook and go through all my notes. I highlight the stories I want to tell. Then I look at all of my photos from the month which I uploaded to my computer. I tag every photo I want to include.
On my white paper I draw the outline of the page protectors I'll use this month. And then I fill out the pockets. I make sure to include filler cards and group similar stories.
To make it easier to see, how I have to print my photos I use three colors to mark the different photo sizes. One color for all 4x6 photos, one for all 3x4 photos and one for all the other sizes. I print all my photos at home on my old HP Photosmart C5280 All-in-One printer.
STEP THREE // CREATING MY SPREADS
The last step is creating my spreads. I lay down the photos according to my plan and pick filler cards and embellishments.
- To work on my spreads only once a month saves time. But the planning process is a little bit more intense. I have to go through more photos before I decide which ones to use. Sometimes I end up with too many and have to cut back a bit. In January it was difficult to not get lost and forget meaningful memories. Now, after doing it three times, I don't think it's more difficult than creating weekly spreads. It's just different.
- I realized that I don't have to include a photo of my feet four times or a photo of my hand holding a cup 6 times. Those are photos I do a lot. And in 2013 and 2014 I included those photos often. But now, when I sit down at the end of the month I simply don't want to have several photos of the same theme in my album anymore. One photo tells the story perfectly and that's the only thing that matters.
- I don't care about dates. I still date some of my photos and stories. But it's not a priority anymore. And I totally don't care about the order of my photos. I focus on where it makes most sense to include it and not when it happened.
- I like my monthly title card. Every month I include a title card and it's fun to come up with something new every month.
- I use less photo paper and ink. When I created weekly spreads I ended up with four to five double spreads of photos. Sometimes I even added inserts. Now I have less spreads per month and therefor I print less photos and use less photo paper and ink.
- I finally use all those different page protectors I bought. In the past I almost only used Design A. But now I moved to other designs as well and I love it. It doesn't have to be the same every week/month to look good.
FROM THE NOTES TO THE FINISHED SPREADS
This is a side to side comparison of the plan I made and the actual spread I created. I mostly stick to the plan but sometimes I rearrange the photos or filler cards to get a more cohesive look.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
January 2015 // see full spreads here.
February 2015 // see full spreads here.
March 2015 // see full spreads here.