And then a child looked at the book. Not my own child, but one of my nieces. They were lovingly turning the pages. And I noticed little creases in the page and that the ink was kind of rubbing off where there were creases. So after that little look, I put the book back in its protective sleeve and have kept it there. It only comes out under strict supervision. Because I meant for it to last, and it is clear it isn't going to.
The thing I love about scrapbooks is that they are meant to be handled. They are intended for visiting and revisiting memories. When we moved into our new house, we moved into the family room this piece of furniture we bought last year with a bunch of other items from some guy on Craigslist. It happens to be a type of a bar - with spots for glasses to hang, a retracting board from which to serve, drawers to store corkscrews and other items associated with a bar, and two wine rack grooved levels at the bottom. The feet of the stemware we have doesn't fit in the spot to hang the glasses, so it can't function that way. It had turned into a strange catch-all in our rental. But placed into our family room - in a spot I can see from the kitchen while preparing meals and from the table we eat most of those meals - I couldn't stand the idea that it would just gather clutter. I formed a hypothesis and then I tested it. Lo! The area where the glasses should hang perfectly fits my scrapbooks!
So I placed the scrapbooks I have thus far made in that area. There are some from other companies (I think all paper crafters and scrapbookers dabble in everyone's products at least for a time). There are books of traveling I have done solo or with my husband and family. There are some with photos from weddings I've attended or have been a bridesmaid (I did that 10 times, after all!). There is even one entirely devoted to my husband because I just couldn't stand knowing his photos were in envelopes in a box. Since I have placed them in this spot, not one week has gone by without the Vs pulling out that little bar drawer to "take an order" for which book we'd like to look at today. It is so much fun exploring our shared history - and the history before their time too. It's a way to stay connected with family in another state or those who have passed away (always too soon, it seems). I remember one scrapbook consultant sharing information about how, "Your scrapbooks should live where you live." It's true in my house now, and I love it.
But sometimes I am so engaged with what is happening in our lives or even trying to paper craft some little 3D project or some other excitement of the moment (drat that beloved Pinterest for showing me so readily all sorts of projects I should try!), I started neglecting my scrapbooking. When Close To My Heart introduced Studio J, I was skeptical. Then I tried it. It's so easy. I can do as much or as little as I want at a time. I can put together pages entirely out of sequence and then place them in the right order in my book. I can rearrange. My goodness, I even took the JPG image I get as a Studio J member and made my new home announcements by having the store print 4x8 prints (they do it for cards) - AND I got the envelopes for the low price! I have a full size printed layout that matches my announcements, as members get the JPGs for free with a print (which only costs me $6.50 for two 12x12 pages - or I could buy the JPG alone for $3). [For the remainder of January, Studio J members get the tenth layout FREE after purchasing nine layouts!]
With Studio J membership I also get free shipping once a month, so that gives me a little incentive to get at least four layouts done every month. I hate wasting money. :) Having a monthly deadline helps me keep "current" with my scrapbooking. And the Vs really love seeing the latest pages added to the books!
Of course, I gave myself an added deadline of finishing my layouts before the end of January. I didn't want to feel pressured next week. So here are some of the latest layouts, from November and December 2011 [there are a couple of great ones I've omitted as they have friends' children pictured and I haven't asked permission to put them on my blog]. If you haven't yet tried Studio J, go to my website (you can get there from www.ctmh.com/JuliAnne and click on the Studio J link). You just create an account (email and password), upload a few photos (or skip this part and go right to setting up layouts), and go! It's pretty easy to navigate, but I'm happy to show you how! I love that I can change the colors of any papers (I can't do that with real paper) and can easily add coordinating embellishments (without having to store extras), but perhaps my favorite part is that Studio J resizes my pictures to fit into the wells on the page (AND I can edit those pictures to improve color, soften wrinkles, even whiten teeth and correct blemishes!). Or maybe I love best looking at a collection of photos for an event and saying, "There are seven," and then clicking on the drop-menu for examples of layouts with seven photos (or two or fifteen) and seeing the options. That really eliminates a lot of brain work.
I'm babbling. I promised JPGs. Please forgive. You see, I'm passionate about Studio J! I hope you feel it!