Tuesday, 9 February 2016

JANUARY Documented Life Project™ 2016: the unPlanner™

This year's Document Life Project™ 2016: the unPlanner™ concept is slightly different, combining the popular planning with art journalling.

Before the beginning of the year, we were given some details about what to prepare, printables to download, there were also kits to be purchased.

If I wanted, I could get most of the recommended (or similar) stuff here in my country, but I ran into trouble with the binders. We have either two- or four-ring binders here and I really wanted the recommended three-ring binder because they are more convenient for this style of journalling. In the end, I ordered the only one I was able to find from Paperchase in the UK. It's A5 size and it doesn't have kraft covers but that can be fixed as I plan to decorate the covers later.

I saw people in the Facebook group preparing the inserts, even decorating them ahead. I only cut my monthly dividers from thicker cardstock according to the size of my binder. And then waited patiently for the project's kick-off.

In the introductory video, we were reminded to READ the texts and the instructions and use it as a springboard, an outline, a starting point. We were introduced to the suggested monthly schedule and assured that all of the features would be explained...
Week 1: Pocket Art Card (PAC), Monthly divider, Month view calendar, Monthly Theme Challenge, Week View pages
Week 2: PAC, Dare2B™ Card/List/Word
Week 3: PAC, ListTen™ card
Week 4: PAC, Monthly Pocket Picks: unPlanned Favorites™
Week 5: PAC, Community Focus, Featured Artist
At this point, I really felt frustrated - I wanted to start, but I didn't know what the monthly things meant, so I waited.

How was I to print all the inserts if I didn't know what they'd be used for? I didn't want to end with a bunch of inserts I won't be using. I also wasn't comfortable with the planning aspect of the project... It was all so confusing - even though I READ and re-read all the posts, even made notes. I felt some things were not explained, some things were lost in translation and I found myself improvising most of the time. I'm not saying it's a bad thing but I felt pressured.

During the month, I made some modifications to the project to suit me:

1 - I abandoned the "planner" aspect of the project
I have a daily journal (a Hobonichi Cousin this year) where I do my basic planning and which I use as a daily diary. I don't do art in my diary, it is to vent my thoughts, and it's not for sharing. It's private. It's my own. My precioussss. Having another planner/diary just for the sake of this project seemed a bit redundant. It took me about a week to decide how to deal with it - and came up with a monthly calendar where I plan to mark my weekly/monthly art challenges and perhaps some other thoughts.
2 - The weekly prompts
I will use the weekly prompts to create some art. Any art... a journal page, a tag, a PAC... Or nothing at all if I don't like the theme. 
3 - I adjusted the PAC card and Monthly Pocket Picks concept a bit
I like the concept of creating something small every week - but I'll be combining them with the Monthly Pocket Picks. Because my binder is a bit smaller than regular 6x8 Project Life inserts, I decided to use ATC-sized pocket page protectors. They hold nine cards, so I had to cut them to fit my binder and now they hold four. 
4 - I redesigned some of the printables and created some of my own
I used to do computer graphic for living once. And still do it as a hobby. So I made my own lists with the layouts I was comfortable with and that suited my own style a bit better. 
5 - I abandoned the Dare2B™ thing altogether
I don't get it... this concept is not working for me. It was lost in translation for me. What was I supposed to write about? What was the point of it? Why was it introduced in the 2nd week when it's supposed to be a monthly thing? I tried and I gave up. In the end, I decided to pick a "BE something" word of the month and do a journal page or a tag about it. 
I'm not saying I will stick to this concept for the whole year. My mind is open... 


January Challenge: 
Going Out on a Limb: Trying Something New

I will be decorating the monthly dividers with the monthly theme:

Week 1
Prompt: Incorporate 16 into your art

I had this spare "Merry Christmas" card so I decided to use it and create a "Happy New Year" piece on the back.
(it says "Merry Christmas" in Czech)

I chose to use the same technique for it, only a different colour scheme. It is one of my favourite go-to techniques of creating washi-tape backgrounds.

I cut holes to the tag to be able to add it to my binder.

Week 2
Prompt: Choose a Quote and Cover All but One Word

I painted this on the back of the January divider.

I glued down a quote printed on a piece of deli paper and added some colour and stencilled some clouds.

Week 3
Prompt: Use Text from a Flyer or Magazine
list TEN™ Card: List 10 Books that Changed Your Life

I have a box full of quotes and phrases from magazines. So the most difficult task was to find some suitable ones.

I made my own List 10 layout and changed the prompt a bit. I can't think of a book that "changed" my life - I do have favourite books but none life-changing. I'm a book-worm and I usually read book series - some have over 10 books - so I chose to list 10 of my favourite series. And I feel bad I had to leave some out (I can't believe I forgot to list the Dune novels).

Week 4 
Prompt: Add a piece of a receipt from your week
Monthly Pocket Picks: unPlanned Favorites

I didn't have a receipt I could use. Most are printed on the thermo-paper and the print fades with time. So I collaged some prints from my stash that had numbers on them.

Then I covered it with paint and added some stamping and doodling.

Monthly Pocket Picks are supposed to be memorabilia collected during the month - photos, words, tags, tickets, receipts... I modified this concept a bit and made a small project-life-like layout to add to my binder.

Week 5
Prompt: Ask someone to draw or mark on your card then finish

I didn't have anyone to mark my card, so I gave up on this week's prompt and focused on finishing the pocket cards I had in my binder.

There is a short flip-through video on my Instagram.

The first month was a bit confusing. I was constantly trying to find a balance between what (I thought) this project was supposed to be about and what I was comfortable with.


  1. Great start!! I see you like fantasy series. Have you read the ginormous 14 book set, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordon? Warning: books 6,7,8 are awfully slow. Lol!

    1. They are on my list but there are always new books coming out... Thanks for all your lovely comments, Anna!