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I had the lovely opportunity to attend a Project Life scrapbooking workshop with Life Documented Manila, a boutique service provider and purveyor of high-quality scrapbooking materials. The ladies behind the event, Yam and Pinky, had been emailing with me back and forth for months, trying to find a date for me to attend one of the workshops. But, since I also do my own workshops, it was challenging to find a free date! Thankfully, the stars aligned and I was able to attend their June 21st class.

I really didn’t know what to expect, except that I wanted to learn more about this particular system of the Project Life movement, which was pioneered by Becky Higgins of the Creating Keepsakes magazine, the top scrapbookers’ magazine in the United States (which I used to collect back in my single days). Life Documented is a pioneering company in Manila that sells the Project Life system of Becky Higgins and gives workshops on how to use the system.

Project Life by Becky Higgins 101

The Project Life system by Becky Higgins is a solutions-based scrapbooking system using the pocket method, explains Becky Higgins herself in her website. Her goal was to make scrapbooking easy and effortless for everyone, and so she created a system and products that could simplify the process.

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The official Project Life system involves using a 12 x 12 three-ring binder with photo pocket pages, any of the Project Life Core Kits, and of course, your own photos and mementos to include in the pages. The Life Documented workshops explain this very clearly and easily during the session. They even explain the differences between the types of binders and pocket pages you can use.

life documented workshop project life album

A sample Project Life page by Pinky, one of the Life Documented workshop trainers.

The system is so easy, I can’t stress how appropriate it is for even the non-creatives out there. You basically gather your mementos and photos (printed out, of course), choose your kit designs for the different, pre-designed inserts, and just pocket away! The Life Documented workshops let you scrapbook in a very nurturing, communal setting, and you even get to use Pinky’s and Yam’s stash of “workshop-access-only” materials:

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You can further embellish your Project Life pages and inserts with ink-pad stamps (dozens and dozens to choose from), all sorts of 3D pins, baubles, buttons & what-have-you. There are paper cutters, embossed letters, stickers, labels, decals galore, mostly from Studio Calico… It’s a crafters’ and handmade-homie’s little slice of heaven.

Why scrapbook, and why Project Life?

The owners, CH, Yam and Pinky, began the Project Life workshops and movement in Manila because they were seeing a problem in the social media and digital age. “No one prints their photos anymore,” Pinky said during the intro of the workshop, and went on to explain how many people fail to document memories through anything more than Facebook or another type of social media. Life Documented’s mission and workshops aim to bring the magic and ease back into memory-keeping, so that our photos don’t just stay in our hard drives, phones and devices.

As a blogger, I can totally relate to their sentiments. I myself am so used to documenting everything digitally! There was a time, though, when I would make scrapbooks, handmade cards and all sorts of crafts to immortalize my memories. Years of working in a school, I suppose, kind of snuffed the fun out of crafting for me!

And so I’m glad businesses like Life Documented are bringing this art back into the scene, especially for many young people.

Yes, YOUNG people. Because during the workshop, I was the oldest one there! Haha!

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Marianne beside me is newly-engaged, but I’m likely ten years older still. The girls at the end of the table are in college, waaaah!

Seriously, though, it’s great that Yam and Pinky and CH are bringing this craft to young people who’ve likely never tried scrapbooking before. As “paper, photo and memorabilia hoarders,” the owners are simply passionate about telling good stories and keeping those stories alive through a tangible medium such as the Project Life system. Bravo, girls!

Being in the workshop felt familiar to me in a way, because I was with other ladies who loved paper and stationery as much as I do! For my core kit, I selected the Strawberry set of cards, which were designed by one of my idols, Emily Ley:

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For the workshop, I chose to keep some of the photos and mementos I had gathered from my last trip to Singapore. I included snippets from my visit to Bloesem Creative space, my meeting and lunch date with my friend Ruth Wong and her family, and some shots that my husband took of me walking through the streets.

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All in all, the experience was relaxing and completely worthwhile! I liked that I could come away from my phone and laptop and just document things outside of this blog. I’ll definitely be doing it more often, for myself and my family. The Project Life albums are where I can document some of our best photos, those I don’t want to publish online especially. (And well all know how crazy some crazy people can get on social media: Just read Danielle Smith’s post “Stolen Picture” from some years ago and you’ll see what I mean!)

With Project Life, people like me — disgruntled, burned-but-still-OK former crafters (!) — can go back to working with our hands, making memories, without too much effort. The Becky Higgins’ designs are so varied and current, you’re sure to find a design set that works for you. I’m excited to get through the pile I have and purchase one with a Travel theme, because we have some pretty great travel photos from the past year.

Here’s our class photo, by the way:

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Seated beside me during the workshop was a young lady I’ve admired from afar and on Instagram, Abbey Sy. She’s such a talented letterer! If you’re curious, do check out her work over on her blog, Le Reveur.

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I highly recommend the Life Documented Workshop! For upcoming workshop schedules, please visit their website, www.lifedocumentedmanila.com | You can also play along & follow their Monday series, “Currently,” where you print out their freebies and participate in their Instagram hashtag, #lifedocumentedmanila. Follow them on Instagram @lifedocumentedmanila and “Like” them on Facebook @LifeDocumentedManila