Starting My 2012 Project Life Book: Tips on Going back and scrapping past years with Project Life


Oh yes, I did.  I am GOING BACK and documenting 2012 with Project Life.  I didn’t scrapbook as much as I would’ve liked in 2012, so I figured: “Why not?” I had a ton of gorgeous photos sitting on my hard drive with no home.When I decided I was going to go back and scrap previous years, my initial thought was:”But I don’t have records, let alone photos for each week last year!”

But who said that Project Life had to be done that way?

Certainly not Becky.  When I let go of the fact that i didn’t have each week covered, it was actually fairly easy to start my book.  These are the steps I took, maybe they’ll help you make the jump too!

Step 1: Decide on your photos.

When I decided to go back, lucky for me, Shutterfly was having a print sale!  So I chose the photos I wanted to use for the first 3 months of 2012 and batch-printed them through Shutterfly.  I didn’t spend too much time on it, didn’t worry myself to death..I knew if I missed a picture or decided on a different size later, I could just print a 1-off and it would still be cheaper than printing them all at home as I did the album.

I quickly went through and made put 2 3x4s on 4×6 canvases for the photos I knew I would use at that size, then printed the rest at 4×6.  Easy peasy.

Step 2: Decide on your pocket layout.

I have a great variety of pocket layouts, but I knew I didn’t want to make it more complicated than it had to be, so I chose to use all Design A protectors for my 2012 album.  I wouldn’t have to guess at anything and I knew it would streamline the process. You don’t have to make the same decision I did, it was just easier for me because I’m working on my 2013 book concurrently.

Step 3: Decide on your photo placement.

Here is where I really had to get Zen.  I admit, I am totally OCD and the thought of having my photos even a little out of order was daunting for a while.  But the fact of the matter is, I wanted the album to be streamlined and some months, I had enough photos to fill out an almost-weekly spread and some months, I only have a handful of photos total.  Instead of the standard weekly format, I decided that I would group my photos by month and even rearrange some to make them fit.  I put all my photos in pockets (with no cards) as I filled out the months so that I would have an idea as to how many page protectors I would need.  If a set of photos didn’t fit (# wise) with other photos from that same week, I took the liberty to rearrange a little.


Yes, that means that within the month, some of my spreads have photos from the beginning and photos from the end of the month. I’m ok with that.  You’ll have to decide if you’re ok with that too.

Step 4: Journal and embellish.

It’s ok if you don’t remember everything.  Write down what you do remember.  Especially for non-even photos.  Don’t worry about describing your weekly experience, just describe what was going on in the photos with as much detail as you can remember.  Be Zen about it.  Some details are better than no details. Then, get pretty.  Use the core kits to get it done super simply and fast…or be crazy like me and go buckwild like this first 2012 spread I did using Scrapbook Circle‘s July Kit: Let’s Chat!


To be honest, this kit is really what pushed me over the edge to start my album.  I received it and it didn’t go with ANY of my July photos.  But, it’s GORGEOUS with these photos of my boys and their Nana from last year. There’s no time like the present to start, right? Ha!


For the butterflies on the top left card, I cut them out of a paper, folded them in the middle, then adhered with a pop dot.


I also used a lot of silhouette cut outs from 2Peas to match the adorable cut out frames included in the kit!

I’m excited to be getting my photos in albums. Last year, I would’ve thought I was crazy…but this year? I’m just happy it’s getting done.  Have you ever gone back and started a Project Life Album for previous years?

Products Used:


Scrapbook Circle’s July Kit: Let’s Chat which includes exclusive stickers, printables and cards as well as the items listed below:


Included In Kit:

2870319_600x600 2916226_600x600 2916166_600x600 2904633_600x600 2902510_1000x1000 2891064_600x600 2891058_600x600 2891044_600x600 2891035_600x600 2891029_600x600 2862989_600x600 2860736_600x600

Also used:

“Hello Sunshine” Stamp exclusive to Gossamer Blue’s July 2013 Add On Kit #2





23 comments on Starting My 2012 Project Life Book: Tips on Going back and scrapping past years with Project Life

  1. Ruth
    July 16, 2013 at 12:02 am (4 years ago)

    completely awesmoe Traci! I am working on 2011 and 2012 albums too, though some weeks are pretty thin, I love all your tips and will definitely be using them.

    • Traci Reed
      July 16, 2013 at 10:12 am (4 years ago)

      Awesome! You go girl!

  2. Vera
    July 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Will be handy for me, for sure 🙂

  3. Scrumptious
    July 23, 2013 at 10:47 am (4 years ago)

    Thanks, Traci. This is inspiring. I’ve been doing my PL digitally but maybe I’ll print out the pages I already have for 2012 (which isn’t many!) and do the rest in a binder. I think it would be so much faster and easier to have a huge stack of photos that I rearrange and so on if I’m doing it in print rather than digitally.

  4. Sue K
    July 28, 2013 at 6:09 am (4 years ago)

    I’ve gone back to 2004 and slowly working through what photos i have already printed. I didn’t take as many photos back then so i’m happy to do a spread by event or month. Your approach sounds very similar to mine..and although i’m sure it will evolve, i think that can only be a good thing because we learn as we go. love your spreads, they are gorgeous.

  5. valerie
    December 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm (4 years ago)

    thanks for the tips and inspiration!! i have 2 unfinished albums from this year and last and kinda thought i’d be crazy to go back and try to finish them even tho i REALLY wanted too! definitely getting that done now!!

  6. Rexene
    February 25, 2014 at 6:18 am (4 years ago)

    I am completing a Project Life album for last year now. I went through all my pictures and picked out the stuff I really wanted to have documented and put them together in months. I am really enjoying it.

  7. Maribel
    February 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m currently working on 2012 myself and I thought it was crazy to go back and do that but I see it’s not all that crazy of an idea. I started scrapping mid 2012 and my 2012 PL is so vague compared to what i want it to be. It was a P365 gone PL and I left out so many photos so I am redoing it! It will be more simple but with better photo storytelling! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Traci Reed
      February 26, 2014 at 8:03 am (4 years ago)

      Any photos/memories scrapped is better than no photos/memories scrapped! Good luck!!

  8. Debbie
    February 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Noooo, Traci, Noooo! Just kidding… Now you have me thinking of doing this! Thanks for the tips! As I posted on the FB Project Life Gone Digital board, some thoughts I had were that, maybe I could do some internet searching and put in some current events, or favorite songs/TV shows/movies, prices of things or something like that. Or maybe just find one or two really good photos and scrap them and insert them during vacant time frames. I could also use my Outlook calendar to use it as a reference of things I may have attended or done.

    Good Luck to us all 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Traci Reed
      February 26, 2014 at 8:03 am (4 years ago)

      Those are great ideas! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Janet Parker
    March 6, 2014 at 9:02 pm (4 years ago)

    You are inspiring! I’ve never scrapped. BUT I have quite a few pictures, news articles and memorabilia from when my husband ran for state senate. He had quite an exciting campaign but didn’t quite win. I recently ran across the “box of stuff.” It’s been 23 years but I would love to make a scrapbook and I think it would be a huge surprise. Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement.

    • Traci Reed
      March 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm (4 years ago)

      What a sweet comment! I’m so glad to have inspired you..good luck!

  10. Traci T
    March 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I have been pondering what to do with my old photos. I knew I would love your article the minute I saw your name! 😉

  11. Lisa M
    August 2, 2014 at 2:32 am (3 years ago)

    I’ve decided to go back and do all our family photos.. A page or a spread per event and a few “themed” pages from mixed dates for collections of baby photos etc.

    Our photos were already in date folders so I just picked out the special events from each year and copied them to a flash drive to work on… deleted until I had 3-12 nice photos per event…. Printed out 6 years of photos in the first batch and over a week sorted them into layouts… sure I’ve got a wee list of photos to reprint in a different size but they will happen with the next 5 years (or longer!)

    • Traci Reed
      September 9, 2014 at 9:03 am (3 years ago)

      Awesome! That’s so cool!

  12. Laura
    September 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi there! I know your post is over a year old but in any case, here are my 2 cents: thanks for the tips! I am new to PL-a total newbie!!! And I have been thinking about starting fresh on January 2015 and doing it monthly- the idea of going back to previous years just seemed so….unrealistic, impossible, crazy… but you did it! that’s great! I am definitely going to look into it! thanks!!

    • Traci Reed
      September 9, 2014 at 9:03 am (3 years ago)

      Go you!!

  13. Eliza
    June 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m trying to figure out how to put two pictures on a 4×6 print on Shutterfly… is there a way to do it on Shutterfly or should I combine them somewhere else?

    • Traci Reed
      August 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m not sure how to do it on Shutterfly, but you can use and photo editing program, an app on your phone or!

  14. Cyndi Griggs
    October 15, 2015 at 7:50 am (2 years ago)

    I *just* started doing this exact thing. Working on a 2014 monthly….have TONS of daily life pics from my phone saved to my computer and decided to start getting them in a book! Loved the article 🙂

  15. technology blog
    January 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m planning to write a literature blog, and I want to get as much readers as possible, even those who don’t like books much, to be able to encourage them to read. Suggestions? No bashing please!.


1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Starting My 2012 Project Life Book: Tips on Going back and scrapping past years with Project Life

  1. […] Some weeks have nothing – still pondering over whether to try to find other people who have photos for those weeks, collapse them into monthly spreads (or less than that in one 3 month dry spell!!), go through my email and try to fill in the blanks with the bits and pieces of life or just have missing weeks and include only the ones with photos. For a second take on this, I read a terrific post about Project Life and past years by Traci Reed. […]

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