December 30, 2011

Document 2012: An Introduction

Back in the first week of November it was my turn to host the blog at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  Around the time that I was planning my posts there was a lot of discussion circulating among scrapbookers about taking on Project Life.  I had been considering doing a year-long project myself, but knew I didn't want to do Project Life.  So I decided to explore various year-long projects as part of my week of blogging and to share what I found with our readers.  Since the new year is quickly approaching and some of you might still be on the fence about whether or not to tackle a year-long project, I thought I'd link back to those posts as well as do a review of my thought process as to how I finally decided which year-long project to do in 2012.     

Some of what I had hoped to discover during my blogging week was how other scrapbookers approached each of the projects discussed.  I also wanted to look at the results of each project to see which one best fit my own personal scrapbooking goals.  The four main projects that I explored were Project 12, Project 365, Project Life, and the Document Project.  I also explored two smaller projects that were started by members of Write.Click.Scrapbook.; Amy Sorenson's Write Every Day, and Karen Grunberg's Us Right Now.  I looked at each of these projects in detail, and asked a few scrapbookers who were currently working on them to share their experiences of how the projects were working for them.  I also asked them to share their tips and tricks for keeping up with the type of year-long commitment these projects entail.  If you would like to read the full posts you can find them here:

Day 1:  Project 12 & Project 365
Day 2:  Project Life & The Document Project
Day 3:  Write Every Day & Us Right Now

After looking at all the different projects, what they encompass in terms of time commitment, and what they produce as an end result, I decided to do a Document 2012 album.  Here is a little more detail as to why:

What is the Document Project?
This project started in 2010 as a free year-long project hosted at UKScrappers led by scrapbooker Shimelle Laine.  The idea behind the project is to make four pages for each month of the year.  One page is an envelope page, and holds a collection of items from every day life, essentially ephemera.  Two of the pages are made from divided page protectors where you can put photos, journaling, or anything that will fit into a 4×6 block (this is actually one page protector which makes two pages - front and back).  The final page is a layout that focuses on one event or memory that you want to record in more detail.

Why have I chosen to do Document 2012?
As much as I love the idea of Project Life (and as popular as it is right now), I know that I would not be able to keep up.  I realize that Project Life can be whatever you want it to be, but for the most part, most scrapbookers approach it as a daily or weekly recording of details.  For me, a project like that would likely become a burden and a source of guilt rather than a source of pleasure. 

One thing that I truly love about the Document Project is that there is an emphasis on collecting the little bits and pieces of life through the use of envelope pages.  This past year I have been trying to include more and more of those little bits and pieces into my scrapbook pages, like on this layout here

{The stickers from our trip that day are held in the pocket.}

and another example

{I made a pocket out of patterned paper and used it to hold the map from our museum visit.}

But, I'll admit that I find it challenging sometimes to find a way to creatively incorporate these items into my designs.  I love the pages I've shared above, but there is something about the process of making them that was difficult.  Using a simple envelope page makes that process a little more, natural.  I mean, what could be easier than just putting all those maps, and ticket stubs, and cute drawing your children make into a pocket and calling it done?

I'm also really drawn to the idea of using divided page protectors.  Over the last couple of years I have slowly been incorporating the use of divided page protectors in my scrapbooks too.  For this project I plan to use them to store my favorite "extra" photos from each month.  The ones that generally never make it to a scrapbook page and hence, usually never see the light of day.  I have always had the intention of printing out those extra photos and putting them into a photo album, but that goal has yet to be accomplished.  I know that I cannot scrapbook every moment and record every memory, but I'm hoping that through this project I can begin to tell an even more complete story of our lives by finally finding a home for those forgotten photos.

Finally, it does feel like everyone is doing Project Life next year.  This may be a bit of a tangent, but part of why I didn't want to do Project Life, and chose to make a Document 2012 album instead, is that I have never scrapbooked chronologically.  Frankly, the daily/weekly format seems a little too much like a type of scrapbooking that I have always turned away from.  I love this hobby.  I love recording our stories.  I love creating.  Ultimately, I don't ever want for scrapbooking to become something that I feel I have to do

I think that when you decide to take on a year-long project it is best to be honest with yourself about both how and why you scrapbook.  For me, the Document Project best fits my personality, my goals, and it seems the most reasonable in terms of time commitment.  My hope for this project is, as I said above, that at the end of the year we will have a more complete telling of our story.  For me (notice the emphasis!), this project combines all of those elements together in a doable format.

Next week I'll share how I will put my album together, including which products I will use and how I plan to use them.  Until then, are you planning on scrapbooking your year using one of the formats mentioned above?  Have you done one of these projects in the past?  Share your experience, tips, and projects in the comments.  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I can't wait to see how you set up your album! I love this concept and hadn't seen it before. I did Project 365 a few years back and I did the digital Project Life this past year--which was a lot easier to keep up with! Though I am still not finished and it's this weight hanging over me! I am going to look into what you do for potentially 2013--I need a break this next year!! Ha! I hope you are feeling well right now. : )

  2. I think that word that you used, "weight," sort of sums up a lot of thoughts about Project Life for me. Unfortunately, I just see that kind of phrasing a little too much. People talk about being behind, or not caught up, and feeling guilty about it. I have never had that mentality towards my scrapbooking and I really don't ever want to!

    More power to those who can do Project Life, but as I explained, it's not for me. I'm working on my second post now and hope to have it up tomorrow. =)

  3. Even though I want to do my own version of PL this year I totally agree with you about the keeping up aspect of it. In fact last night as I was thinking about my posts on WCS this week it hit me that I have never been a chronological scrapper and that is really what PL is about. But I do feel the need to do something like this to fill in the gaps. I have promised myself to NOT stress about it and just do it the best I can :)

    I love your Document 2012 idea too!

  4. I know it's probably a really subtle distinction to some, the difference between this and Project Life. I mean, with this project you are still committing to doing something each month, and in order (i.e., chronologically).

    For me, this album is more about having a place to collect, in an organized way, all of those extra bits and pieces (our ephemera and extra photos). Like you said, something to fill in the gaps, but also, to give those special items a home so they're not just stuffed in plastic bins or boxes somewhere.

    I think that your attitude is the best one to start with, to promise yourself not to stress about it. It will be fun to see how different scrapbookers interpret PL. Can't wait to see what you do, Francine! =)

  5. I am really intrigued by this, Donna... looking forward to watching your album develop this year!


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