I love Project Life… I love it in both physical and digital form. When I made my 2011 photo a day album, I used an actual core kit and album (it was the amber kit), but this year I’ve decided digital is the way to go.
There were a couple of reasons I decided to make my pages digitally. Firstly, core kits are a bit pricey to buy here in Australia, and the digital versions are much more affordable (although this might not actually end up being the case by the time pages are printed!). Secondly, I didn’t know if I wanted to be restricted to one core kit (I currently have 6 or so digital versions, although I’ve stuck to using just the Seafoam kit so far). Thirdly, I had just gotten a laptop that could run photoshop well, and wanted the challenge of learning to use photoshop better, so I thought why not learn something new? Lastly, I liked the idea of being able to change colours of elements, design my own elements easily, and change up printables I found online. This may not be the case for everyone, as it is a personal decision, but this is the reasoning for my decision.
Since I’m only fairly new to using photoshop, I’ve been working on a system to organise my supplies that works well for me, which I wanted to share. This system is made up of folder on my computer. I have my main Project Life folder set up on my desktop screen, labelled “Project Life 2013”. When you click into this folder, you can see the bulk of what I use, organised in folders to be easy to find, along with my PL templates that I have set up for the year, labelled by week, and the planning template that I use each week to plan my spread. You can see this below.
The first folder here, marked with a tick as the icon, is where I put my completed pages. When you go into this folder, you can see both the .psd file, along with the double page .jpg items. I keep both for each spread, so if I decide I want to make changes to ensure consistency with my new pages (such as fonts), I can load the .psd file and do so with ease, whereas the .jpg files are easy to flick through so I can look at things such as colour schemes, which journalling cards and quote cards I used each week, and anything else I may want to check out.
The second folder I have here is for the class supplies from the Jessica Sprague Digital Project Life class that I did at the start of January. I don’t use very much from here, but there are a few things that I use regularly, such as the frames for photos. I’m trying to come up with ideas for this folder, but to be honest, I think I’ll delete most of it and only keep what I know I’ll use.
Folder number 3 is for journalling cards. Some of these are ones I’ve made or edited, which are .psd files, others are printables that I’ve downloaded and some are just elements to use on journalling cards. This folder still needs to be fine tuned a little, too, but I’m yet to decide what to do with it.
The star folder is for my photos. When I work on a weekly spread, I copy all of my photos from the week into this folder. This narrows down the number of photos I’m looking at. Because they’re just an extra copy, I’ll work through and delete any bad one or ones that I know I won’t use, so that it’s easier to see what I have and choose what I want to include. I personally find having too many photo options can make it overwhelming and hard to narrow down, which means it takes me a lot longer to make my spreads.
My next folder is my Project Life Kits. This is where I store all of my core kits in their own individual folders, as below top. Within these folders, I have the individual parts of the kits in their own folders, as below bottom. I like these folders broken down, so it’s easy to find the supplies, and I’m not overwhelmed with options. I’m pretty sure that over time, I’ll end up buying each of the different digital kits… Even though I don’t necessarily use them for my 2013 PL album, I can see how versatile they can be for other projects, as well. I keep the thumbnails of the kits, so that I can get a quick overview of what’s in the folder too.
In each spread, I always use a quote card from a freebie set that Elise shared on her blog awhile back. You can find them here. I keep these in their own individual folder, and I plan on deleting them from here once I have used both quotes on each 4×6 card. This will make it easier to see what I’ve used, and I have kept the zip file elsewhere, so still have a copy of them, just not here in this folder.
My Studio Calico folder is up next. I seem to be buying quite a few different things from there at the moment… Cut files, brushes and some of the journalling cards, mostly. I haven’t used many of these, as these are only a fairly new edition to my PL stash, but they’d make good little extras to add to the spreads. I have more to add here, once I finish downloading them all.
The last folder here is my PL templates. In this folder, I have just the Project Life A-G templates, which you can get here. I always use design A for my main pages, but I like the other ones for inserts.
I have lots of Ali Edwards and Cathy Zielski files that I am still going through. Once I’m ready to add them into my Project Life supplies, I’ll just be creating an “Ali Edwards” folder and “Cathy Zielski”, and these will be sorted similarly to most of the other folders
One other thing to note about this system… I actually still have the zip files for all of these downloads saved on another harddrive, so if I accidently delete anything, or aren’t using something at this point and want to delete it, I can easily do so without worrying about losing it forever. I do this because I have lots of storage space on external hard drives, but if you have limited space, it may be worth deleting these zip files and only keeping the one copy.
Another thing to note, some of my folders are sorted by list, some are by smaller images, and some are by larger images. This is not an accident, this is how I find it easiest to view my supplies and find what I’m after.
I’ll do another post in a month or two where I go through my process for creating pages, and will share if I make any changes to this organisation system.