"What is the story/stories I want to tell this month?"
This was the question I came back to again and again over the course of the month and at the end of the month when I carved out time to tell my story from January.
Approaching Project Life® monthly vs. weekly has been a big mental change for me. I've been doing weekly Project Life® (or at least structuring my albums that way) since 2010. There were times over the month when I felt like I was "supposed" to be thinking about or doing something or keeping up or printing or writing. I did decide to jot down ideas I had during the month, but left all the actual work until the end of the month so I was really working on it just once.
I have to tell you that making this change really made me happy. I loved the process of looking back over my photos from the month and establishing my story that way vs. weekly. I think I was just ready for a change. I have no idea how I will feel at the end of the year. For now, I'm excited and reinvigorated.
I've also got a full process video for you below that includes a bunch of reflections and thoughts about the process.
During the month when I had an idea I wanted to remember or something I might want to write about in my January Project Life® I used my Story Planner as a holding place. I'm using the Story Idea Notepad and assigning each section a month. I'm not writing out full stories, just ideas that I may or may not use when I actually tell the story for the month.
I am not planning to follow a specific design formula each month. Next month could look totally different than January. I'm welcoming leaving it open. I envision that I will generally include smaller inserts between two full size 9x12 pages to tell my monthly story.
The story I decided to tell for January included a four main things: (1) 12, 3x3 photos, (2) a 6x12 layered template insert with a list of things that happened over the course of the month, (3) a favorite photo enlarged to 6x12, and (4) 3x4 January Details cards for each person in the family (love including all those voices/points of view).
Here's a look at how I tackled my January storytelling:
I counted up the 3x3 squares that are on the back of my 2019 cover page and then printed out 12 images. These correspond to the writing I did for my "Jan Stories" 6x12 page.
As you can see, I used my 6x12 Words + Photos Layered Template Vol. 2 for the bulk of my journaling this month. I decided to use simple list style journaling to cover some of the basics of what happened in January. I also replaced the original word art that was included on this layered template and replaced it with the Monthly Stories digital word art.
I used my new rolling date stamp (my old one stopped in 2018 - this one is a bit bigger) to add the date of each of the 12 photos I selected to add to the 3x3 pockets. I also added stickers/chipboard from past Story Kits on top of the photos.
Here's what I added to the layered template in Photoshop for my journaling:
I am a fan of January. For the switch from Christmas to New year. For the freshness. For the closure and the beginning again. Here are some of the things that happened this month:
- 1. I embarked on a 30 days of yoga program with Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube. I did it most evenings throughout the month and there were a few times that Aaron joined me and Anna joined me once. I had a completely different experience this year vs. last year when I did most of the daily practices in my office in the morning. This year I did most of them in my bedroom in the evening. It has definitely become one of my favorite ways to begin the year and it’s directly in alignment with my desire to do yoga more days than less in 2019.
- 2. The kids were in and out over the course of the month as always. There was quite a bit of playing with stuff from Christmas.
- 3. Aaron set up his Christmas present to me which was a ceiling mount for my camera in the office. That one thing set off a whole series of other purchases - lights, etc. - so I can up my video game. These are things that have been on my list for a long time - totally happy to be making it happen. I love how it is making me feel reinvigorated in my work.
- 4. I drove up to Portland to meet with Robyn and go to a book signing for Danielle Walker. I love any opportunity to connect with online friends in real life.
- 5. Anna’s classroom was in charge of the Epiphany Mass at her school and I got to go see her. Loved her sense of pride in the planning.
- 6. Aaron and I binge watched a whole bunch of shows when the kids were away. These included both the Fyre documentaries, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Ted Bundy Tapes, Bodyguard, You, restarted The Sopranos, BirdBox, and some Black Mirror episodes.
- 7. We celebrated Simon’s 17th birthday. He had Silas, Seiji, and Emma come over for a movie, video games, and pizza. I loved watching him be a host to his friends. I love that they all have a long term connection. Simon also cooked dinner for the whole family one night this month as part of his Cooking Merit Badge.
- 8. Katie and I traveled to Nashville/Bowling Green for a couple days of meetings (we do this every 6 months). We do two intense days of planning for the coming year and it’s so worth the trip for the face to face brainstorming. I love traveling with Katie - we have our methods down and she’s really such a great companion.
- 9. Activity-wise right now Isaac is doing taekwondo and a photography club. He’s also totally into graphic design. Anna is playing club volleyball. Simon is doing Boy Scouts and wanting to practice driving. Elliott is playing basketball and growing what feels like inches every time I see him. Audrey is also playing basketball and totally into playing legos with Anna anytime they are here together.
- 10. I read four books this month: The Silent Patient, There There, Verity, and The Cuckoo’s Calling. I enjoyed all of them.
If you are interested in learning more about using digital products for paper projects like this layered template, check out my Hybrid workshop.
Behind the 6x12 layered template I printed a 6x12 photo of Simon and I reading in his room. This was definitely one of my most favorite images from the month.
On top of the photo I added cork speech bubbles, a rubber circle, and a quote from Kramer (Seinfeld) that says "We have to do it. It's part of our lifestyle...it's like shaving." This seemed like the perfect Kramer quote to add to a photo of Simon and I reading together in his bedroom under his Kramer poster.
Both the speech bubbles and the rubber circle were from past Story Kits™ or Add On's.
I used four inks - including a yellow - that will be released in March with the Week In The Life™ products. The small alpha stamp set was included with the Type Story Kit™.
Sometimes with prompt cards like this I'll have my people handwrite their responses. This time I texted them and then simply copied and pasted their answers onto the cards before printing.
Here's a complete video of my process this month:
JANUARY 2019 | PROJET LIFE® PROCESS VIDEO
- January 2019 Stories By The Month™ (digital version available here)
- 6x12 Words + Photos Layered Template Set Vol. 2
- 9x12 Black Pleather Album
- 9x12 Page Protectors: 3x3 pockets, 3x4 pockets
- 6x12 Page Protector
- Monthly Stories Stamp Digital
- Story Planner Story Idea Notepad
- Story Planner Album (new options coming soon)
- Alpha Stamp from past Story Kit™
- AED Inks: Pendleton, Willamette, Deschutes (yellow coming in March with the 2019 Week In The Life™ release)
- Past subscription pieces
- Epson SureColor P400 Printer
- 13x19 Epson Photo Paper
- Epson PictureMate PM400
- Rolling Date Stamp (this is the new one I'm using)
- Black StazOn