So it’s that time of year!  Yep, the end of an old year and the beginning of a new!  And for us project lifers out there, we are either thinking, “Hooray!  My album is finished!!!”  Or we are thinking, “Holy cow!  How did I let myself get so far behind?”  That’s where I come in.  You need a pep talk to get juiced & finish up 2014!  I’m going to be sharing some tips with you today on catching up and finishing that album before 2015 overwhelms you and you give up completely!

WARNING: Now you may not like everything that I have to say.  But here’s the real question…  Do you want a finished album, or do you want to beat yourself up over the fact that you did your completed pages a little differently?  At this point, I’m all about just getting it done so that I can keep up with 2015 and not feel overwhelmed!  So bear with me, take off your OCD glasses for a minute, and trust that if you follow this, you’ll be able to get more done!!


Choose one set of grids and stick with it for all of your missing weeks.  That will take the guess work out of “Which grids do I want for this week?”  If you’re like me, you can spend a whole 15 minutes trying to figure out which ones will work best.  That’s a valuable 15 minutes you could use to get a page done instead!  So take a deep breath, and choose 1, yes ONE template to use for the rest of the year.  And if you haven’t been using a template, make one or pick up one to get you going.  Becca’s January Template Freebie would even be great to get you going! They are definitely time savers and give a nice uniform look to your album.  You could flip it horizontally for the right side of the spread to give you a more symmetrical look too!


Go through your photos and choose all of the ones that you want to feature.  ALL of the ones for each of the weeks you are missing.  Mark them, or copy them to a new folder for each week so they are easily accessible and you don’t have to dig through all of your photos to find the ones you want.  Do this all in one whack so you won’t have to revisit your photos.  You’ll find a groove as you work and it will be easier to get it all done at the same time.


Keeping within kit will help you from wandering endlessly through your stash looking for something that matches just perfectly.  Because guess what??  If it’s in the kit, then it already matches perfectly!  Don’t waste your time looking for other cards or flowers.  Just stick with your kit!  You can do it!


You may already be doing this!  If you’re not, let me tell you, it is definitely a time saver!  I just barely did this for the FIRST TIME, compiling this post!  I can’t believe I have been doing single 2 pagers to complete a spread!  Seeing the whole spread helps me visualize my end game without having to jump back and forth between two pages.  I used to complete the left side of the spread, and then start and complete the right.  NEVER AGAIN!  This will be a spread process for me from here on out!

Not sure how to get yourself a two page spread?  Check out this video and I’ll show you how!


You know how you love to put a million embellishments on your pages?  Well STOP!  The main focus of your album should be the photos and the story.  Not the pretty flowers and the clusters and the sparkles and the stitches and the buttons…  Do I need to keep going?  I spend an hour just embellishing the page after I have completed my photos and journaling making sure that my shadows are just right and that everything is balanced.  In that hour, I probably could have made 2 or 3 more simple spreads.  So get the photos and the journaling down and call it good!


Now that you know your plan, get started!  You’ll find your groove and you’ll be able to get things streamlined pretty quickly!  I’ve included a page that I did earlier in the year, and then pages that I created using my streamlined process.  Can you see the differences?  Yes!  But was it worth the sacrifice to get a completed album?  You tell me!

Here is a single page that I spent easily over an hour on:


Notice my tilted cards and my warped shadows.  Tweaking the shadows and tilting the cards in and of itself is at least a 10-15 minutes process when working with a spread.  Selecting all of the layers that go together and rotating them, then separating the drop shadow and warping and blurring (want to know how I do that?  Check out this blog post HERE).  I put a lot of effort into it!  Those little things take extra time, time that could be spent finishing an album instead of fretting about finishing touches!

Following my tips above, here is a whole spread that took me only 35 minutes to complete!  35 MINUTES!  I was shocked!  Pictures were selected prior to beginning (ahem, tip #2), but I completed this whole spread in almost half the time it took me to do a single page!  Can I get a WOOT WOOT???


Are my cards tilted?  No.  Are my shadows warped?  No.  Did I embellish the heck out of it?  No.  There are embellishments there, but not a ton, and they still took more time than I wanted to.  Bottom line:  My photos and my story for the week is recorded.  Simple. efficient, effective!

So here’s the challenge!  Can you get started on finishing your 2014 album??  I want to know when you finish and what you found helpful!  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!



4 Comments on Catching Up On Digital Project Life – YOU CAN DO IT!

  1. in the hammock
    January 7, 2015 at 7:36 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you! This has been so helpful me today while I’m trying to catch up on 2014 pages!

    • Janelle Van Leuven
      January 8, 2015 at 12:19 pm (3 years ago)

      I’m so glad! I love it when what I post is truly helpful to someone. Thanks so much for commenting!!

  2. Jen F
    January 8, 2015 at 10:23 am (3 years ago)

    Love it, Janelle! I’m playing catch up too in a very similar manner to yours. I completed 4 DP spreads (That’s 8 layouts!) in one weekend! That’s good for me! I can probably streamline a little more using some of the tips you suggested. Thanks!

    • Janelle Van Leuven
      January 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s fabulous Jen! Thank you so much for commenting! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who fell behind! Good luck!!


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