Saturday, August 11, 2012

Anderson Gardens

There are those perfect days when everything comes together and you are aware, even when you are in the middle of it, that memories are being made.  Now on these days, if you are extremely lucky, you are among your family, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and you have a good camera with a full battery.  Our trip to the Anderson Gardens in Rockford, Illinois was such a day.

We were taking a break from our long car ride (17 hours over 2 days - We had camped the night before, but have literally outgrown our tent!).  The garden visit was a spur of the moment decision.  I had had a migraine for most all, really, of our visit to my parents at their lake cottage, which had really put a damper on our vacation.  The migraine had finally lifted.  We'd visited the gardens before and loved it, but a second visit to a charming place rarely tops the first.  (In addition, it was less expensive than we had remembered -  a lot less.)  All of this combined to make a morning that we will all cherish.

My husband (aka, Dad) stayed in the car with the dogs and napped for the first part, then I had doggie time.  We had to keep the a/c on for them.  The rest of us embarked on our adventure armed with 2 cameras (Lisa's soon ran out of battery), a sketch book and much enthusiasm.

Now back home in Michigan, with so many great photos to choose from, I knew this was my time to rock Studio J.  Huh?
Studio J is the easiest level of scrap booking Close to my Heart has to offer.  It's a wonderful user-friendly digital scrap booking program on the web.  My consultant, Carolyn Johnston, who has been my art therapist these past 2 years (my name for her) took me through the program a year ago and it was very straight forward and sooo much fun.  But then, even though I had a membership, I didn't follow through and make my free layouts because I had to make a certain number each month.  I can't explain it, but I would look at the calendar and know that I only had a week or I would lose those layouts, and then the days would count down from there and it would be a new month.  It was a strange kind of pressure that just didn't work for me.  What was the best way to use those free layouts?  Which photos should go into them, another month gone. Crazy, right?  Now the program has been revamped and there is no time restraint.  So, now that I can just buy a 5 pack (5 layouts - 10 pages), or order any number with free .JPGs, or even order just the .JPGs, that pressure just disappeared.  I know, weird.  (Let me add that I got a year of Studio J membership when I became a consultant, so I wasn't really out any money, but I'm still weird!)

You can try this out at any time.  Just go to upload some photos and play.  You don't have to buy your finished layout.  Warning:  You are most certainly going to want your finished layout!!
Now, with the perfect project and no pressure, this is what I came up with for my very first layout:

Make sure you click on this and make it big!
You should see it on my 22" monitor!!
First I uploaded 20 photos and while they were loading  I chose the paper kit that had a bit of an Asian flair to it.  This one is a retired packet that I have never used before called Unforgettable.  (Funny, I had to go back and look up the name of the paper!) Then I chose a pattern from a load of sketches.  When I pressed the continue button it gave me 6 choices of my paper in that pattern.  Once I picked one, it came up huge and I started dropping my photos in the photo well, choosing ribbon colors and placing stickers.  It's like a Paint program for women!   I think I was done in 20 minutes and went on to do 4 more layouts!  Yup 8 pages in one evening and no mess!  Not that I mind a mess.  I thrive in a mess and love scraps, but, did you know, not everyone does?


  1. I have yet to figure out why more people haven't caught on to how quick & easy & affordable & (well the list goes on and on)
    Studio J is.
    Love your layout
    and did you mention...that you always have the right number of "alphabet" stickers.

    1. Oh my gosh, you are soooo right about the alphabet stickers. ENDLESS!!
      Thanks for the love!
      I love your blog!