Project Life—Week One + a video tutorial

Cathy ZielskeProject Life, Tutorials89 Comments

And so Project Life 2012 is underway.

Is it just me? Or is starting on a Sunday just a good way to go? In my mind, a week begins on Sunday, and ends on Saturday. Right? Right. I think because last year I started in March, I never quite got that get in on the ground floor feeling that I have this year. Let’s dive in.

OBSERVATIONS: I didn’t realize how few photos I’d been taking until I started tackling Week 1 and thinking, “Hey! Stuff is happening. You should shoot it!” I found myself taking pictures at Target, at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office—you name it. It actually made me feel a bit like Old Scrapbook Cathy, the Story Teller That Never Rested. But in a way, this is good. More daily appreciation for the simple stuff.

One of the ways I plan to take more photos is to use my iPhone. No, not the fun Instagram stuff; just the basic camera on my iPhone 4. It’s with me all the time so I may as well use it. The quality is decent, especially for the project at hand.

Part of my goal this year is to make sure story is equal to photo. I want to get things down on cards. I’m using the Day One app on my phone and my computer to save little stories throughout the day so I have a stash of stories to pull and commit to the album on every Sunday, my Project Life page assembly day. I love that I get little prompts, four a day is how I have it set up, and I just write a line here or there. Pretty cool.


I have also planned on printing most of my photos at home, so I’ve stocked up on photo paper and ink. The other part of my process will include printable cards.

Here are my first two pages. It took me forever to get shots in focus of the pages. I ended up taking them out of the album and taking the stuff out of the pockets to reduce glare. If I find a better solutions in the coming weeks, you’ll see the results here. For now, I’ll be shooting them straight down on the desperately in need of refinishing dining/scrap room floor:



As I said, I’m a big fan of printable cards. This week, I used one of my new sets, Days and Holidays 01, one of my Phrase Cards and one of Ali Edwards’ Hello Life Boxes and Brushes.

Each week, I also plan to summarize the week on one journal card as seen in the upper left.

I put together a video tutorial today to show how to use these journaling cards, but also how to tweak the sizes of any 3 x 4 layered journal card. The Project Life pocket cards measure just under 3 x 4, so if you want to know how size any 3 x 4 card file down, I’ll show you today. Also, I’ll show you how I gather multiple cards onto a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 cardstock to save paper.

VideoTutorial from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

Questions or comments? Leave them here and I’ll do my best to answer!

SUPPLIES: Layered Journaling Cards No. 01Days and Holidays Cards No. 01Phrase Cards No. 01Hello Life Boxes and BrushesDamask Tonals Sunshine Paper Pack


Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.



Cathy ZielskeProject Life—Week One + a video tutorial

89 Comments on “Project Life—Week One + a video tutorial”

  1. #1

    I’m sooooo excited to see this post, so happy your joining in and sharing it with us. All these photos look great and really capture your family and the week.

    It is fun to take the camera everywhere and I’ve gotten use to the odd stares from customers/patients/whoever around me as I do this. My kids have mostly adapted to this also, but sometimes I get THE LOOK and I put my camera away or let them go walk way ahead of me,lol

    Have another fun week of picture taking!!

  2. #2

    My first year doing project life and I love the video! Never thought to include digital elements as well, but now I will. Any chance you could share the “move more, eat well” card or is that something we can just create ourselves in Photoshop Elements?

  3. #3

    Yeah! I started this project too, my first time ever. Printing the pictures on a regular basis is giving me grief. I tried connecting my iPhone to Archivers printing station and it doesn’t work. Uploading- Printing- picking = not happening 🙁
    May be I should start printing pictures as home too. Will you share you paper and printer brands.
    Oh! I have the 30 day shred video too, I think it works 🙂

  4. #4

    I checked out the app that you mentioned and I think I’m in love – but my problem is that although I have an iphone (3g) I don’t use a MAC – I have a PC. Do you know if there’s a way to print out the entries from my iphone without involving my PC?

  5. #5

    Thank you so much for all the great tips! I just downloaded the app too. I am wondering how you got the photo of the weather. When i go to the weather app, it won’t let me save the image. Just curious if there is a different way to get that photo other than having another camera take the photo. Thanks!

  6. #8

    I know the app syncs with your phone and your computer, but I dont know about printing entries from the phone. I bet you could email the entries if you copied and pasted the content. That might work, then you could retrieve what you wrote on your PC and use them on journaling cards. Maybe?

  7. #9
    Mary Kay

    Thanks for letting us know about the app. I just bought it and made my first entry.
    Your Project Life looks great! I always love your style.

  8. #10

    Very easy. On my iPhone, I simply hold down the Home button and the button on the top of the phone at the same time to take a screen capture of my phone. Then I open it in PS, and enlarge it a bit. : )

  9. #11
    Carrie O

    Thanks for the tips. So excited to see more of your Project Life pages. I use my Iphone 4 to take pictures too and if you use the usb cord that came with your phone and have Itunes loaded in your PC you can sync your Iphone to a PC. (hope this helps).

  10. #12

    Hi Cathy! Thanks for all the great info in this video. I was wondering if you would be open to sharing the size/measurement chart that you referred to when sizing your digital cards from 3×4 to 2.875×3.9375. It would be great to have something handy to look at instead of having to figure sizes out!

  11. #13

    Love the week in review card idea! I’m trying super hard to have a picture everyday this year, but from the previous years (the one’s I’m working on ;-)), some weeks are starving for pictures! I can include so much more info about the week with the review card. Genius, I tell ya!

  12. #15

    Thanks so much for sharing!! Love the idea of that app, saw yesterday where someone was just using the notes app on their iphone too.
    Funny when I was working on my first week last night I realized there were things I should have taken pictures of, but this is why I wanted to do PL. Hoping to do better this week.

  13. #16

    Thank you for the tutorial. I haven’t jumped onto the digital format, but your explanation makes it seem easy enough that even I could do it 🙂

  14. #18
    Laura A. in Oregon

    Hi Cathy, like others, I am so pleased that you are doing PL and sharing!
    I have been doing PL for two and a half years. The first year I started my week on Sunday, but found that things happen in our family on the weekend (ie 2 day events, weekends away, etc) and that the photos were split up (one on the bottom right and another on the next page, top). No big deal, but for the last year and a half, my week has started on Monday, so that Saturday and Sunday were together on the bottom right.Keep us posted on what you think. You are a great writer, and your posts always (well almost) make me smile (and think). Appreciate you!

  15. #19
    Beth H

    I’ve been using the iPhone app Momento. I can jot notes to myself and it also auto imports my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts so everything is in one place. Last year I had weeks that started on Saturday because I started on Jan 1 — that was a real PIA since activities very often span Friday and Saturday. This year I am using Monday as my start day since that makes sense to me and how I keep my calendar. I just tacked Jan 1 into week 1 even though it was a Sunday — I would never have thought of that last year — I am so trying to be less “rule” bound and more out of the box.

  16. #21

    so much info today! just bought the app, took a screen shot on my phone (expecting lots of snow today), and watched the video! i have one more question: did you make the wed. journal card and if so is it available to buy?

  17. #23

    Love your first week Cathy! Hoping that you can save me some digging at DD – do you have a brush that says “these are the days” in the scripty font? If not, could I persuade you to make one? I’ll repay you in gratitude AND free lip gloss!

  18. #25
    Tammy Eberhard

    Thanks for the video share Cathy! It is jammed full of very USEFUL information. I need to watch again so I can take some notes.

  19. #26

    I LOVE your iphone weather photo!!!!! What a great way to document the change in weather throughout PL. I’m definitely bookmarking your blog – it’s AMAZING!! Thank you for the awesome video.

  20. #27
    tammy b

    how did you get the screen shot of the weather on your phone?that’s the kind of thing i like to include when the weather is ‘unusual’ here in seattle but i have no idea how to do it. thanks

  21. #28

    Hey Cathy….awesome PL week 1 – i love it….also wondering, are your journaling cards able to me manipulated (color and text) in Word? I do not have PS.

  22. #31

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. I was wondering,do you print on the textured side or the smooth side?

  23. #34

    You know, off the top of my head, I dont have that. : ( I bet Ali does. Maybe do a search for ali these are the days? have no cool script fonts!

  24. #37

    Very easy: on my iPhone, with the weather showing, I hold down the Home button on the front of the phone and the button on the top at the same time. Youll hear a shutter sound and volia, its saved into your Photos and you can email it to yourself. I then converted it to 300 resolution. Good to go!

  25. #38

    Hey Krystyn, unfortunately, these files are only available for use in PSE or PS. : ) You should check PSE out. Its not over the top expensive and you can really do a lot with it!

  26. #42

    Absolutely LOVE your layout!!!

    When I take my pictures I try to do it during the daytime, near but not next to a window. I get far enough away that I have plenty of lighting but no glare and look straight down at the page. Then if it’s kind of dark just lighten the photo up on your computer. That’s what’s worked best for me, hope this helps!

  27. #44

    Love the photo of the weather report on your phone. What cracks me really up is that if that photo was in my album, the journaling would be all about how very cold it is (I live in Houston-originally from Michigan though).

  28. #46
    dawny dee

    you are such a hoot – been following your style for years and years it seems, your ability to create such timeless and meaningful pages is a wonder and a gift and you’re so generous to share with us mere mortals (non-creative-types-who-want-to capture-memories-none-the-less).
    i just got the iphone 4S and tried your usggestion above and yet cant make it work. i’ll keep trying tho. such a cute idea.

  29. #48

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m kinda new to PSE but already loving the flexibility it’s giving me. I was just asking some online friends this week if they knew how to group cards onto one new doc for printing! So your post & video absolutely came at the right time for me – thanks for sharing your knowledge and making such an easy to understand tutorial.

  30. #52

    Hi Cathy, So fun to see more of your daily life! Especially egg salad 🙂 If you are going to use your iPhone for photos (which I do too), I suggest Camera+. It’s wonderful, and you can use focus and aperture separately. It is slightly slower than the built in camera, but I think that it is MUCH better. Keep up the good work.

  31. #54

    Could you be more awesome Cathy Z? This totally rocks. Oh, and I am loving Camera+too. You can crop it to 4×6 or a square, plus other options. Really fun. However, just reading her comment I have only used it to edit. Must try using the actual “camera” on it! Cool stuff!

  32. #55

    Ok. I figured as much. Sorry to be such a pest, but within the Archer font family, which do you find most useful?

  33. #56

    I use Archer Medium a lot. For journaling. And I use it for titles too. If I had to have a second Archer, Id probably go with Bold.

    Light is nice, as well. Oh, plus the corresponding italics of all three. That would be a nice six fonts to have. But Archer Medium is what I use on a lot of my journaling, like on these cards for PL. Its a great weight!

  34. #59
    Toni from

    I simply adore you. Another great video with lots of useful information and some of your great quirky humor. Thanks for all that you do.

  35. #63

    Been using the “Day One” app since you recommended it end of Dec. I love it and use it on my MAC and iPhone. How did you get the times to list for each entry each day? Can’t figure it out. Love your work, products and you so motivate me…. thanks for all of your ongoing tidbits and projects.
    enjoy the weekend!… Christine

  36. #64

    Hmm… I don’t know if the previous comment went through.

    Just wondering if you have any suggestions for finding page protectors like those you’ve used here. I’ve only found them at places that charge you more for shipping than the actual product price.

  37. #66

    Megan, I dont know of any page protectors that are exactly like Project Life ones. I know that We R Memory Keepers also makes divided page protectors in a few different sizes!

  38. #67
    Sally Kemp

    Hi Cathy, I remember a long time ago I said that “Cathy + Digital = Rick going over to the Allies in Casablanca”. Awesome! I still stand by that comment 🙂 My question is, which corner rounder do you use? Mine doesn’t match up with the project life smaller cards, and it’s kind of driving me nuts. Yours seem to align perfectly. Thanks for everything. I love the Day One App!

  39. #68

    I bought the Crop-A-Dial Corner Chomper, but I will tell you, Im not thrilled with it. It doesnt cut perfectly and it kind of bugs me! But it is close to the same corner radius as the PL cards!

  40. #69

    Thanks for the tutorial Cathy! I’ve tried resizing things in PS5 and haven’t been able to figure out how to prevent distortion. This will help, I am sure.

    I have to tell you that I was just watching this while my husband was nearby and after it was done, he said, “Oh, come on Cathy, you need a signature closing line like, ‘that’ll about scrap it up!’

    I just thought you might like to know my husband is listening too. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  41. #70

    I will work on a closing! : ) In PS5, I think you have to hold down the shift key when sizing up and down from any of the four corner handles. Thats a difference between PS and PSE. In PSE, you dont have to hold down the shift key!

  42. #72
    Toni from

    I also have issues with the corner chomped. I end up usually fixing the corners slightly with my Tim holtz scissors. It does not cut perfectly so that is a big disappointment.

  43. #74

    Hi, Cathy. When you said on your video that you were using the “basic” pages. Did that mean the newest version of Design A or the older ones? I am wondering if the small slots are any smaller/larger in the newer better made ones? Thank you so much for the video. It is really helpful.

  44. #77
    Sunnie Tiderman

    Wonder where you get your card stock. Sorry if you have mentioned it before. I tried to read through the comments. I’m new to Project Life but so excited.

  45. #79

    I order it from! If you look at the supply links, and click on the pic of the card stock, itll take you there!

  46. #81
    Gretchen France

    Hey Cathy! I am new to photoshop elements (taking Jessica Sprague’s class for beginners) and I am going crazy trying to get all my journaling cards to all print on 8.5 x 11. I followed your tutorial but I cannot get my cards to copy and paste – the option isnt highlighted so I cant do it! Any idea what I am doing wrong? When you opened up the blank document did you do that in pages or in photoshop? If in photoshop did you resize the paper to 8.5 x 11?
    Im screaming at my computer because I must be doing something wrong!

    Any help?!

  47. #82

    Gretchen, I created a new document in Photoshop that is 8.5 x 11. I chose Letter as my size option.

    Remember, you dont copy and paste your cards. You have to Shift and Select all of the Layers from your card file, then hold down the mouse and drag them into the new 8.5 x 11 doc. Have both windows open on your computer: the layered card file, and the new 8.5 x 11 doc. Sometimes it might just be one thing that isnt quite following this process.

    Start over. : ) Try again.

  48. #83
    Gretchen France

    Thanks so much Cathy!! I finally got it all in one document and was so proud and then when I printed it the cards came out teeny tiny! I must have messed something up when I resized them for my project life pockets ( 2.875 x 3.9375) At this point I just had to laugh and walk away from the computer! I was not a nice Mama or Wife yesterday arguing with photoshop! Well that could also be because I’m not eating sugar or mindless carbs for MMEW!!! ha! 🙂

  49. #84

    Thanks so much for the great tips. I’m diving into Project Life this year. I’ve found lots of fun digital elements that I want to use this year. I wanted to know the best way to place the journaling cards onto a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 cardstock to print. I figure I should be able to print 6 up on a page. I found one PDF that was so nicely set up that all I had to do was cut .25″from the sides and an inch from the top and bottom and then cut the cards in even pieces. How can I set up a similar canvas on my own in PSE?

  50. #85

    AT about 5 minutes into this tutorial, I show you how to drag elements onto a new doc to make a printing page for cards, though not quite what you are trying to do.

    ope that helps!

  51. #86

    Thanks so much. I also noticed on a video that you had a 4 up template where you drop in the cards with the crop marks. I think I might grab that. I need to learn how to play with PSE so I can try and create a 6 up template. Thanks again!

  52. #87

    I’m only a year late joining this party 🙂 I am actually working on wrapping up last week for PL. I bought your Week in Review 01 set and am loving it. THANKS! Anyway, it uses Archer Bold. I don’t have it, and dont’ plan on buying it, but what would you suggest using instead? (something I most likely wouldn’t need to buy, or would be cheap to buy)

    Thanks! And thanks SOOO much for your tips, videos, and products. I just started Project Life for the first time a few weeks ago, also started using Elements at the same time, your videos have been INVALUABLE to me.


  53. #88

    Hey there, do you mean I accidentally left Archer in the templates? If so, my bad! I would go to and look through all of their free Slab Serif style fonts. Lots of similar styles, in a sense, to Archer. Does this help?

  54. #89

    yep, that’s what I meant, Archer was the font that was in the templates. No worries though 🙂 I’ve been playing around with different fonts, i’ve never really paid much attention before. (I’ve never really done any digital scrapbooking before either.) I had no idea there were so many options out there, and especially so many FREE options. Thanks for the font squirrel suggestion. I’ll definitely check it out.

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