How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Templates are a fantastically easy way to get a page or a pocket done quickly. I use a template that I made myself every week of my Project Life. For pockets I love using Liz’s 6×4 Photo Templates, as well as Tracy Larsen’s Simply White Collection – v1. For inserts, I like getting fancy and using the paislee press Press Plates. I used No. 39 for this tutorial. I’ve had questions about how to use them mailed to me a few times. I’m using Photoshop CC (I pay $9.99 per month and spend hours every day on it), but it will be similar for any version of Photoshop. I’m not sure about Photoshop Elements but you can give it a try (and let me know). This is how I get it done.

Click each image for a larger size.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Open up the .psd file. Save it as a different filename so that you don’t overwrite the original (or, if you like to live on the edge just save it with a different name at the end). You’ll see the layers on the right and hopefully they are well-named so that your life is easier. Those layers act as little placeholders for the images.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Make sure your pics have been colour corrected before they go into the template. The easiest way to get your pics into the template is by clicking and dragging them into the document. You could also use File > Place, or copy and paste the image into the template. It’s easiest to do the files in order to avoid confusion or unnecessary time wastage. I used a sequence of snapshots from a video of my new pooch, Griffin, so it was important to me to get it in the right order.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Once the file has been dropped into the template, put the image layer above the “placeholder” layer that you want it to be positioned at. In my case, I put the layer “1″ above “1-CLIPPING MASK” layer.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Drag the image over the placeholder. Don’t worry too much about getting it the right size or exact position for now. Right click and choose “Create Clipping Mask“. I do this so often that I made my own shortcut for it.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Move the image around so that it fits in the box the way you want it to. Resize, drag, etc, until it looks the way you want. I wanted minimal noise in mine so I made a lot of white space with the grass and made little Griffin right in the centre.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Repeat the process for the rest of your images. Put the different images above different layers, obvs. If you don’t like the order of your photos then move them around.

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey


Then make it yours. Add elements, text, photo filters, backgrounds, whatever. Templates are great because they are the foundation blocks. You can build upon them so that they suit you. I used a paislee press woodgrain background from The Weekender as a “photo” and made its own clipping mask for the last image. I deleted the captions in this Press Plate (under the TEXT folder), and I moved the TITLE HERE text to the bottom right, and changed it to my own fonts (Oswald and Archer, as per normal).

…et voila

How to Use Templates // Caylee Grey

Any questions ?


A lot of readers have mentioned wanting Photoshop tutorials. What tutorials specifically would you like to see ? I’d love to know through a comment or email as it’s something I’m passionate about. Any tips, suggestions, or constructive criticism is highly appreciated. 

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey

Another week of something new for me. Far brighter than my usual style, but I guess that’s how we find out what we like, right ?

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey


Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey


Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey

This was the week that my new car came home with me, my parents came to visit, and my body decided to disintegrate itself. My roaccutane turned into dry lips turned into angular cheilitis turned into a bacteria turned into an entire week off of work the following week. It looked like pink eye, but yeah… bacteria. It put a damper on the weekend with my parents since I couldn’t really do everything we planner, but we did manage to do a few things with the highlight being the drag, burlesque and African puppet shows.

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey

I adore this quote card from the kit. I clipped it into a circle to match the pics of my parents on the other side.

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey

I also included a short email from T’s big boss. I’m so proud of my husband.

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey

This lovely quote was just so perfect for the last evening with my parents. No wind out of their sails. They danced among the bachelorette party girls and twenty somethings after our restaurant opened up its dance floor. I took a short video for my sister because it was pretty much the best thing I had ever seen of my parents, and it definitely cheered up my bacterial face.

Project Life 2014 | 12 // Caylee Grey


Products used: Adjust Your Sails by Zoe Pearn (Sweet Shoppe Designs) • title card from pictures + words no.9 and Week in Review Cards from paislee press • Archer and Oswald fonts

Disclosure: I received a gift certificate from Sweet Shoppe Designs to use on any products of my choosing, but I would have bought this kit on my own because it’s just so gorgeous. I would never use products that I don’t like.

A Year of Cups // Caylee Grey

One of the coolest projects the ever-inspirational Sabine did was One Year of Cups. What I loved about her photo challenge was how she somehow managed to get every photo looking different and portraying a different mood. Even though it was of the same object. Wonder woman. Initially I was hesitant to join the project – how would I be able to match up to Sabine ? How would I be able to get this done without being bored or boring ?

Last Monday Rachel and I announced our venture into the project. What changed about my concerns ? Nothing. I still have those things on my mind, but you know what ? Who cares. I’m going to do it my way. I’m setting up one constraint for myself. For the first time ever I’m using solely square photos. I like constraints. I do well within boundaries. I’m not sure if I will get to 365, but I’m aiming for 100. 100 is a decent goal I’d say, and more than enough photos to make it a project. Since my life is rather boring compared to last year’s European adventures, I’m really loving these photo projects.

I invite you to join us. Join along for one, 100, or 365 cups. Follow the #ayearofcups hashtag on Instagram and see what we are drinking.

Essence Creative Team // Caylee Grey

A really exciting new adventure for me and something I’m ever so chuffed to announce – I am on the creative team for the new brand, Essence. There are only four of us on the team – the designer, Sal, my crafty twin/soulmate Aimee, and my new favourite Mira. I am obsessed with what they create and can’t believe that I’m among those names.

So get excited too. Keep an eye out on our blogs for what we make. There are some really freakin’ awesome things coming.

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

Shiny gold ! Shiny gold in a digital kit. It is as though this was made for me. It’s calm, pretty colours are a stark contrast to the actual week that I had, but I guess it’s what I needed. It was another week heavily weighted on the weekend. Am I the only one who gets those weeks ? Is it because I’m working ? I need to move my adventures to include the weekdays too.

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey


Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey


Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

Since I didn’t get any photos of the vodka-work-incident, I just made a collage of the video that my boss made.

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

I’m not usually one to use alphas but the ones that came with this kit were heaven. Also, my new surname is far too long for a 3×4″ card. I think this will be the first and last alpha kit that I’ll use in Project Life (mini albums are a different story).

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

I am currently obsessed with things that are round. My love for my new car (Fiat 500) is completely encouraged by the fact that the interior is circle-based.

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

Absolutely awful photos – and so they’re made into black and white.

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

This is my favourite photo of the week – you see how everyone is posing with their legs all bendy ? Yeah. I’m just standing there. Love how quickly it shows the difference between girls who grew up in the city I’m now living and myself, who obviously grew up elsewhere.

Project Life 2014 | 11 // Caylee Grey

Products used: A Little Bit of Sparkle by Zoe Pearn (Sweet Shoppe Designs) • title card from pictures + words no.9 and Week in Review Cards from paislee press • Archer and Oswald fonts

Disclosure: I received a gift certificate from Sweet Shoppe Designs to use on any products of my choosing, but I would have bought this kit on my own because it’s just so gorgeous. I would never use products that I don’t like.

Intentions | April // Caylee Grey

I’m going to be honest. I couldn’t give a damn about goals this month.

  • finish organising the old photos and prepare for photobooks
  • have mom and dad go through Before Your Story
  • start, and then catch up on my edX course (HarvardX: GSE1x Unlocking the Immunity to Change: A New Approach to Personal Improvement)
  • complete “special” Project Life spreads (1 2 3 4)
  • take more photos this month (at least ten folders)
  • Project Healthy (also, think about and plan what this means)
  • complete one album based on an online course (instead of letting them just sit there !)
  • organise and decorate our library

What are you planning to achieve in April ?

My Week in Paper // Caylee Grey

This week in paper:

  • flying back home from my parents
  • celebrating my parents’ 28th wedding anniversary and the diamond ring my dad gifted my mom
  • a love letter from my sister
  • a love letter from my mom
  • a new handbag (I only keep one at a time, so this is Big)
  • visiting many coffee shops with mom. In particular, one with loveliest back story – a woman who had cancer and decided that she would make lemonade out of the lemons life had given her
  • drinking a lot of fancy hot chocolate with doilies as coasters
  • eating Mexican

Travel | South Africa // Caylee Grey

Spending a year traveling Europe and learning German made me want two things: 1. to travel my own beautiful country, and 2. to learn another South African language. When Mary sent her new prompt for the month, I dreamed of sharing photos of Berlin. But, as I was writing out a travel plan for German friends visiting in December, I realised that I couldn’t not share my favourite parts of SA. See it more as a brainstorm of ideas than a concise travel guide – feel free to research your own ideas.

The ten most beautiful parts of South Africa

(in no particular order)

Cape Town

A great set of photos here. This city has the best food, culture, social, and vibe. I lived here after getting my degree. It is a very relaxed town, and salaries are low because it’s so beautiful. Cape Town has street art,


This is where I fell in love with my husband. A student town with beautiful old buildings, covered in trees, and not far from wine farms. It’s always spring time in Stellenbosch.

Cape Wine Farms

Some of my favourite wine farms include Groot Constantia, De Grendel, Constantia Uitsig, Tokara (fancy!), Asara, Clouds, Fairview (for cheese and goats), Hillcrest Estate (for berries), Holden Manz (our almost wedding venue), Jordan Winery (incredible muscat), Rust en Vrede, Spier (for the Moyo African restaurant, or a picnic), Van Ryn’s (brandy). But I recommend pretty much every wine farm in the Cape.


This is where we were married and completely has my heart. It’s a tiny town, with nothing going on, and transports you 50 years back in time – perfect for a complete escape. The best part of it is just outside in the forest we were married in – Beloftebos – forest of promises.

Safari Parks

It wouldn’t be a list of South African travel places without including our furry natives. We have a LOT of game farms, and I know a few people who own small ones. The main game farms here are Kruger National Game Park, and Shamwari. More niche ones include Addo Elephant Park, Knysna Elephant Park, and the Wolf Sanctuary.

General Outside

Our weather is fantastic pretty much all year round, and it makes for perfect conditions for camping, glamping, and getting up close with animals and nature.


Soft sand (unlike Europe), warm water, and prettiness. We also have Boulder Beach, which has a parcel of penguins walking around there (the actual collective noun!).

The Garden Route

My family goes here on holiday every single year. It really is the best part of our country. Wilderness, Knysna, the Knysna Heads, Thesen Island, Sedgefield, Mosselbay, Plettenburg Bay, and all of those places are just gorgeous.


A visit into the townships with a tour is a must. It shows the heart of our country.


This city, my new home, is growing on me a lot.

This is my country, and I’m learning more about it and the more I learn the more I love. It’s a country of contrasts – the high rise buildings, and the township tin shacks, eleven official languages, crazy gorgeous nature and beautiful buildings. We have the friendliest people I’ve ever met – yeah, the Greek are close competitors, but it’s South Africa’s raw honest friendliness that wins.

All photos are linked to their original sources

How to Make a Memories Library | 01 // Caylee Grey

Project Life is fantastic for creating an organised, chronological library of our life. Each year fits into an album, and each week fits into two half-pocket pages. The albums sit nicely on a shelf. They suit the organisation-driven side of me to a T. The random photo albums and boxes that my mom kept throughout my childhood and her own, however, do not. It is for this reason, as well as for my mom, that I have started the process of getting as many memories as possible together. The intention is to organise, save fading photos, and restore old ones, and ultimately to print into photobooks in a way that makes sense.

And so, armed with my perfectionist nature, and my strong will to fiercely hold onto every memory, I started the long mountain of creating a memories library.

I am including photos from my immediate family (mom, dad, sister, and I, as well as my husband). Nothing from my aunts and uncles. Grandparents included in my parents’ childhood photos. This will not be a Project Life. This will be a brief summary. Making the photos digital and organised is the most important part. Photobooks to create a library is the second. I am sure my plan will evolve as I go along, but for now here is my battle plan:

  1. Get all photos together
  2. Scan in these photos
  3. Find out what each photo is about
  4. Organise photos into folders per year
  5. Add information to the photos with lightroom
  6. Restore photos that need it (a lot)
  7. Organise photos into themes
  8. Get stories from mom and dad
  9. Create and print photo books – one per family member

I’ll be sure to share my process with you as I go along, especially to keep me accountable and on schedule for this task.

Have any of you ever done this before ? How did you get it done ? Is there anything I’m missing out ?