Arts + Crafts

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

July 24, 2014

Recently I was burning time posting photos on Instagram when I noticed my friend Leslie has posted this pic below. And under the pic she wrote, “Love these #studiocalico #projectlife cards by @ashleygoldberg these are going to be so fun to use!”. Of course, anything my friends are involved in, I have to know more about. And seeing cards by Ashley Goldberg was a great inspiration to me, so of course I had to google! My fingers happily tapped away trying to find these companies Leslie had hashtagged (is that a word?) and BOOM! there I was on the Studio Calico website looking at Project Life kits and BAM! I found Pandora’s box.  This newfound hobby would be detrimental to my wallet.

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

Days later, a box of gorgeous supplies arrived from Studio Calico including Project Life stuff which I learned later, is actually by Becky Higgins. What a small world as I had met Becky in person at The Creative Connection in St. Paul when I gave a keynote (she was also a speaker). Studio Calico sent me a box of loot because they saw I was interested in their products from Instagram and so when they offered to hook me up I accepted with delight. They knew I wasn’t going to do anything for them in return except maybe use the products. But they were clever because after seeing them, and playing around, I knew I had to blog about their prods but more than that, I actually have some questions at the end of the post about this stuff if any of you are users and can help me, I’d appreciate it loads.

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

Okay so now I’m sitting in my studio with these nice things from Studio Calico (see my table below) and I’m wondering what I’m going to try out first. I think I’ll use the mini gray album and pages from Project Life to create a small baby album for Aidan first. That would be nice. I’ve been looking at the amazing member pages where Studio Calico fans upload their work and sheezus, these people have some mad skillz. I did some scrapbooking back when I lived in New Hampshire, it was a New Hampshire thing to do after all because everyone was into it, so I gave it a whirl so I could make friends and have something to do on the weekends.

But honestly, scrapping just didn’t work out for me. Too involved at least for a perfectionist like me who took planning scrapbook layouts a little too seriously. I was wondering which elements to use and where in my sleep. I’d finish like 5 pages in a year. Frankly, I don’t have endless amounts of time for scrappin’. Looking at the pockets in my Project Life kit though I keep thinking, “This feels realistic, I can imagine doing a pocket at a time and not obsessing, yeah this may work.” So I’m going to attempt to get into the whole Project Life thing which I admit, when I see their billion fans all over the internet, I’m a bit late to the game on this one.

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

To inspire you, why don’t you go look at some of the things that Studio Calico members are making with their Project Life pages? This is Magda from Poland below. Can you get over the prettiness? She made these and slipped each little card into a pocket in her ring binder. These pages look like book spreads or something. This could be a really fun project for a new mother like me especially as Aidan grows so I can do sweet little pages for him and file them into their stylish books. If anything, if gives me something to do with my hands and a way to get all of my photos of him into the real world. Not that the internet isn’t the real world, but c’mon – how long has it been since you printed and framed a photo you’d taken of your kid on your iPhone?

That’s my point.

Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico Becky Higgins, Project Life + Studio Calico

At least this hobby may help me to print stuff again. Lots of people who are digital die-hards may object and I understand. Clutter. More crap to store. More supplies to file away. But as a creative woman who needs to do things with my hands other than pinning pretty photos as my hobby, which is kind of meaningless once you have like 200 boards and you haven’t cooked a single recipe you’ve pinned or made one of the DIY projects out of the 11,000 you’ve filed away on Pinterest, real world hands-on work like this could strike a nice balance for me so I can still drift into Pinterest playland by night and a few afternoons a month, slip into page making with Project Life as I listen to Sia’s new CD and trim my son’s adorable little photos, merrily slipping them into pockets and later, showing my pages to friends and family.

So, are ANY of you guys using Project Life or Studio Calico stuff? Do  you like it? And PLEASE can any of you tell me the BEST PHOTO PRINTER out there for this stuff? I want to print IG photos and photos from my Canon so I can just trim ’em and put them in the pockets that came with my kit. I’ve been looking at mobile printers and a million others but reviews are so mixed so I just want to know, what are you guys using?

(images: leslie shewring, holly becker, studio calico, magda)


  • Reply Kristin July 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I am using Project Life for keeping our family memories. I LOVE it and even if I don’t have the time I force myself to write a few sentences a day and print out some photos. Every week I am designing some pages out of these and this is truly a great memory for life!
    For printing out my photos I am using a Canon Selphy because I can print directly via my iPhone!

    • Reply decor8 July 24, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Kristin – Thank you, I’m going to look at the Selphy, did you get yours on

  • Reply Juliette July 24, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I’ve see lots of the Becky Higgins stuff in person and have always been impressed w/the quality of the materials. I love the little cards b/c they’re good for lots of little crafty projects and journals, but I don’t use the Project Life stuff like it’s supposed to be used. I think I just get overwhelmed with the possibility of ‘doing it all’ and then do nothing, hah!

    I will say is a pretty good stop for all things paper-crafty; they also carry a huge assortment of PL.

    Also, we’ve been really happy w/our Canon printer. It’s an older model that’s probably not what you’re looking for, but the colors are good, and that’s what’s important to me. I tend to think that would be true of newer models as well.

  • Reply Jennifer July 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I used to scrapbook and, like you, the perfectionist in me turned every layout into an evening long project. Now my supplies are boxed up in the basement and I haven’t created a page in over 5 years.

    I’ve looked at Project Life before…it looks simple, and do-able…but I have yet to commit. You’ve inspired me to think about it again :)

  • Reply Aga @ Passion shake July 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    This is such a great idea. I have never heard of this particular project life but the kit looks very tempting! As for the printer I’m using Epson XP 302. Got it two years ago and still very happy with the quality :) I’m using it for all kind of photo DIYs. If you would like to see an example please let me know. Hugs x

  • Reply Miss Flexibelle July 24, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Same for me – we are using Canon Selphy for years now (it is an older version, so we cannot print from Iphone). This printer is our perfect tool for any journal (my Kids and me do journaling during our holidays, so we took it everywhere all over the world). Pics quality is fine, even after years.

  • Reply Jule July 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I have been doing PL for about 2 years now and order my cards and all materials from! We have a Canon Selphy CP, but most of the time I put the pics on my USB flash drive and take it to a photography shop in town where I think the quality of prints is much better. The canon ones look good (now), but I am not sure if they are made to last? I don’t want my pictures to become yellow in 10 years or so and I don’t completely trust the compact printers there. I have a 12 x 12 inch album and try to do one page per week – it’s only about the highlights or funny things that happen, sometimes I take pictures of everyday things like a favorite pair of shoes, the book my daughter is reading over and over again or I add a snippet from the newspaper if it’s interesting or related to us in a certain way. I don’t “scrap” a lot, but like it simple – just picturesand a little journaling (and a filler card if I can’t fill the complete page with photos. Nothing too extravagant. I don’t like those “overly scrapped” pages (many scrapbookers do), because I think the most important thing is the picture, not all the bric-a-brac that surrounds it. Therefore I love PL. It’s a lot simpler and for me as a mum with a full time job, actually realistically doable.

  • Reply Iara July 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    I love Project life and have been doing it since 2011. for the first three years I went with the flow, adding Pictures and words without caring about doing a weekly spread. the only Problem was to catch up after Holidays or a break. It was difficult to decide how much place I had to leave for the “missing” time. This year I am doing a 12×12″ page per week and I am loving it :)

    if you want to give a look in my Albums my blog is and in the categories there are links to PL 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 (which is almost up to date but I Need to take Pictures of it).

    I make PL printables and purchase some Cards to mix and match from It’s the biggest scrapbook store here in Germany, she just has it all.

  • Reply Samantha July 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I’m so happy you just dove in!

    I have a Selphy and the quality is fine for me. I’m not overly obsessive about my photos though. I know some prefer a higher end and I’ve heard many mention Canon printers.

    Have fun! Let me know if you need anything!

  • Reply april foster July 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm


    I use the selphy as well! And we’d love you to join our community of Project Lifers at SC!

  • Reply Kristin July 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Yes, Holly, I ordered my Selphy at!

  • Reply Jacki July 25, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Hi Holly!! I LOVE Project Life, because, like you, traditional scrapbooking totally overwhelms me. The 12×12 layout is just too big. PL is simple but also so insanely creative. I can choose simple layouts of just pictures, letting them tell the story, or use less pictures and more journaling cards. Whatever fits. It’s much more manageable and much more my style. I got really into it when I did a December Daily album this past Christmas, and even though I didn’t blog much about it (even though I planned to), I still love how it all came together and I was able to document the Christmas season, which is my favorite all year.

    I also don’t do the weekly layouts. I do layouts as they come. For instance, I did a layout for a baseball dugout dedication ceremony for my dad which was held back in March, and the one adjacent to it is from when I visited the Naval Academy in May. I’m not stressing about doing weekly layouts, just documenting the important stuff as it comes.

    Studio Calico is awesome. Their products are phenomenal, and the inspiration in their user galleries is absolutely incredible. Some of the contributors just make my jaw drop with their creations. I’m not a subscriber, but man oh man, it gets harder to resist signing up when I see the monthly kits as they’re released!!

    Also, I use a Canon Selphy printer. Prints great photos, and it’s wireless! So, I can cart it all over the house to wherever I’m scrapping & print photos as I go.

    I hope this is helpful!

  • Reply Julia L July 25, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Hi Holly
    I love your blog and like you, I have only recently converted to PL because of lack of time and my tendency to perfect my scrapbook layouts which I eventually never completed! Check out too, she does absolutely fun and gorgeous project life stuff, and I think she uses the Canon Selphy printer too. I am also wanting to purchase a printer for PL purposes! Have fun, I would love to see your PL layouts on your blog!

  • Reply Melissa July 25, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I loved listening to you and Becky at The Creative Connection in 2011! This post brought back so many happy memories of that event. You both are amazing women :) I love how Magda is using the stationary with her pictures- simple and gorgeous!

  • Reply Katherine Wilkinson July 25, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Love project life for memory keeping! I’ve been doing it since 2010 and has definitely changed my scrappy life for the better! Haha! I love magda’s way of scrapbooking it’s so fresh and clean!! I also. Love Elise blaha cripe, and marcy penner’s style as well. Good luck with your project life!

  • Reply justine July 25, 2014 at 7:58 am

    They sent me a kit last year and I love it! I sew my own clothes and my kids clothes and use Project Life to document my projects as well as trips and the usual family stuff. I’m finally printing photos again. I always thought scrapping seemed a little nerdy but this is really fun.

  • Reply Karolina from H O U S E L O V E S July 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

    i wish i have more time to do that, this is no clutter to me i would love to be able to create some for my Gabi but i have to realisting i cannot – no time, not this time :)

  • Reply Julia Schueler July 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I do PL and also use the SC Kit. It is beautiful and fun but like most scrappers I buy extra things. Because I live in Germany I buy at “Scrappbook Werkstatt” or “Dani Peuss”. There are so many great PL themed products.
    I have a “no rules” approach at PL, that means I don’t use a weekly/monthly format. I just put it in there chronological but if I don’t fill a whole page or have more than one that is fine with me. No pressure. I just want to document our family life because if you have 3 little children you forget so much I want to remember.

  • Reply Pink Ronnie July 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    The Canon Pixma MG6360 is also great because it can print up to A4 sizes, which is brilliant for 6×12, 8×10, 5×7, etc. inserts.
    Ronnie xo

    • Reply decor8 July 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      @Pink Ronnie – I will go look at that right now, thanks for the suggestion!

  • Reply {leah} July 25, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I’m so glad you’re looking in to starting this! Totally worth it. I have a canon pixma MG7120 to print from home (straight from my iphone using their app to create 4×6’s) I do find myself wanting that 3×4 size that fits the smaller pockets, though, and through recommendations from friends, found persnickety prints! So awesome. They will upload straight from your instagram, iphone, computer, whatever – and you can choose that 3×4 size (amongst so many others)! The owner is a scrapbooker, so they’re on top of all of the current trends for products, etc. Since I’m in catch up mode for this year, I’m ordering a bunch from them very soon!

  • Reply hchybinski July 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I too am a project life/studio calico junkie-it seems so manageable and fun…but there’s time and that tricky perfectionist thing too…lol…I do manage to create pages for about half the year-i typically lose May-June and Sept-Oct …but every January-I swear this will be the year….oh and those Studio Calico kits keep rolling in every month :)

  • Reply natalia h July 25, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    If they want to send me a kit, I WILL GLADLY take on Scrapbooking!! And blog about it, in Spanish, and all. Just sayin’.

  • Reply Nancy July 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    The Project Life kits are awesome, which isn’t surprising since they are from Becky Higgins. She is an inspiration! I don’t have a set schedule or rule about my PL album. I don’t have little ones at home any more so I don’t think I could do a weekly spread (and have it be very interesting!) but that’s the beauty of this type of scrapbooking . . . anything goes!

    I don’t print at home – I use Persnickety Prints. Great prices, great quality and quick shipping. Love them!

  • Reply Diane B July 26, 2014 at 6:08 am

    I use a Canon Selphy CP910. Got it on the recommendation of Kelly Purkey’s blog (It’s Me, KP-Scrapbooking While Traveling). You can print from your iphone and iPad and it’s SO easy. My 11 year old did all the set-up and it’s so easy to use. Perfect for PL style Scrapbooking because you only print what you’re going to use. Amazon has the printer on sale periodically too.

  • Reply Kristin July 26, 2014 at 9:03 am

    april foster,

    Thanks April. That sounds good. Where/how can I find your community?

  • Reply Pink Ronnie July 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm


    I hope you’re able to find one cause it’s a great machine. Also, I don’t know whether you have CostCo where you are, but they sell a brand of photo paper called Kirkland ( and for the same price as the Canon paper, you get three times the amount of paper. I wish I’d tried it earlier because I would’ve saved so much money in these last few years. The quality is amazing. Kirkland paper + Canon Pixma = stunning, beautiful pics.

    Ronnie xo

    • Reply decor8 July 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      @PINK RONNIE – Thank you for that paper suggestion, I’m going to look at and see if we have that over here. Thanks again!

  • Reply Allison T July 27, 2014 at 6:03 am

    I love Project Life! I am doing a journaling project as well as a photo a day, I am utilizing project life for both projects.

  • Reply Kim B. July 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Just wanted to say how much I admire the work of Magda whom you highlighted! A different color scheme than one usually sees. Dreamy and fresh.

  • Reply decor8 July 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm


    Ahhh thanks so much!!! :) So nice that you saw me there speaking. That was such a huge event and exciting for me to be a part of, I’ll never forget it.

  • Reply Youngmi July 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Welcome to the community of scrappers! I love it when two things I love collide. I’m a fan of Decor8 and I’m an avid scrapbooker and Project Lifer. There are so many lovely designers out there and everyone’s style is so unique. So much inspiration!

    I’ve been struggled to find a good photo printer for a couple of years now. The Canon Selphy is a really popular one but the fact that the photos it produces aren’t quite 4×6 turns me off since I would mainly use it for Project Life. The print quality looks excellent and it’s an easy to use, cute, compact little printer.

    For years I had a Epson Picturemate and I liked the photo quality but the ink system they use is terrible. You have to buy print packs that includes an ink cartridge and a TON of photo paper that you supposedly will use up. What happens is that the ink runs out super fast (you frequently have to clean and realign the nozzles which for some reason uses up ink) and you’re left with a large stack of unused photo paper. After a few ink cartridges, you have quite an impressive pile of photo paper that probably will never get used.

    I’m seeing more and more scrappers using Canon Pixmas so that may be the next step in my research.

    In general, I’ve found that you always need to compromise on something in terms of photo printers. And I’m a stubborn mule so for now I’ve given up the search and will continue to print using Snapfish for their affordable prices and CostCo for their 12×12 prints. I’d love to see which printer you end up with!

  • Reply Elena July 31, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Scrapbooking is addictive and expensive! Ah oh well :)

    I’ve written a couple of posts related to PL and printing if you’re interested:

    The Canon Selphy seems to be a big hit. Elizabeth does a post on it along with a video:

  • Reply penny lane (moni) August 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm


    I love scrapbooking and I do a bit of PL, too! Although I’m more of a layout-mini-album type, that year of PL made me realise the little things more, and the fact that they are “scrapworthy” too.

    I print pictures at home and at dm (drugstore), but the printer doesn’t work properly anymore (it’s Epson).

    I wish you lots of joy with PL!

  • Reply Almuth November 1, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Having just read your post about project life I am wondering whether you bought a printer for photos and if you did which one. I have been doing project life for almost a year now and am loving it but so far I have been printing my photos in the local drug store. But I would prefer printing at home since it would allow more flexibility! So I’d love to hear which printer you are using! Thanks!

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