Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tutorial: Using CTMH's "Studio J" to Express Print Your Digital Photographs!

As many realize, digital scrapbooking is the next-great thing down the pike in preserving your memories. And Close To My Heart has been an industry leader in the field, with it's STUDIO J service.  

However, many of my friends and followers are still diehard traditional scrapbookers, who only want the ability to print their digital photographs to size for use in their albums and hand-embellished layouts.  There are many services that provide standard-sized photographs (4x6", 5x7", 8x10"), but what if you want to print your photos in unusual sizes to fit your Picture My Life, Project Life, or brag albums?

Consider using Studio J's new Express Print service, where you do a layout of abutting photographs, then print/cut those pictures that you have pre-sized to fit YOUR need!

To do this, all you need is your digital pictures, a computer and internet access to use the Studio J software -- and this tutorial where I'll walk you through how to get the most out of your Express Print project.  

It's EASY and FUN ... and best yet, in March, all Studio J layouts (including Express Print) are discounted to just $5.00 (plus tax/shipping/handling) for two 12x12" pages, with as many pictures as you can fit on those 288 square inches!! (The regular price is $6.95 plus t/s/h.)  

Step 1:  Let the Fun Begin with Studio J!
Go to:  This is your opening screen, shown below:

Step 2:  Create an Account – It’s free and easy!
Here is what the screen looks like, and what you’ll need to complete:

Step 3:  Welcome to Studio J!  Here you’ll find ways to create or open your existing projects (top right click), start a new project (middle right click), or how to buy/print your projects (bottom right click):

Here is what the screen looks like:

Step 4:  Today, I want to show you how you can use your Studio J “layouts” as a printing service for your digital photographs by using what is called “Express Print”.  You can arrange the photographs in any size configuration that fits on two 12” x 12” digital pages and, during the month of March, have those photographs printed for just $5.00 for each two-page spread (Regular retail: $6.95).  

To start, click the middle link: “Create a new project”
You’ll see that I’ve named my project: “Pictures for PML” – that’s Picture My Life™, Close To My Heart’s newest product for scrapbooking-on-the-go.  

With the Picture My Life™ specially-designed layouts produced with sectioned page protectors, your photos can be full sheet (12” x 12”), or 4”x6” (horizontal  or vertical) and/or 3”x4” (horizontal or vertical).  

Here are the designs of the sectioned page protectors currently available in Picture My Life™:

Design 1 – 12 x 12” page protector: Full sheet.  Available as top loading or side loading to fit in your
D-ring or post-bound albums, in packs of 10 or 25;
also available to fit your strap-system album,
in side loading value packs of 25.

Design 2 – 12x12” divided into 6 sections,
each 4”h x 6”w (horizontal photos).
Holds 12 photos (using both sides)

Design 3 – 12x12” divided into 4 sections
that are 6”h x 4”w (vertical photos),
plus 4 sections that are 3”h x 4”w (horizontal photos).
  Holds 16 photos, using both sides.

Design 4 – 12x12” divided into 4 sections
that are 4”h x 6” wide (horizontal photos),
plus 4 sections that are 4”h x 3”w (vertical photos).
Holds 16 photos, using both sides.
Design 5 – 12x12” divided into 3 sections
that are 6”h x 4”w (vertical photos),
plus 6 sections that are 3”h x 4”w (horizontal photos).
Holds 18 photos, using both sides.

In addition, you can expand the possibilities of how your pages look and how many photos each page can accommodate, by using Close To My Heart’s unique Flip Flaps™. 

Flip Flaps™ are individual protectors with an adhesive strip, made in convenient sizes to attach over your page protectors to add more photos or journaling to conventional layouts.  You can also use them with your Picture My Life™ albums in the same way! 

So be sure to design your Studio J™ Express Print pages to include some photos in the Flip Flap™ sizes you want to use in your albums. Those sizes are:

Step 5:  Upload your pictures. 

Step 6:  I’ve uploaded pictures from my granddaughter Charlotte’s recent photo shoot with her Mom and Dad.  I’ll want some for my albums, and some to give away.  

See the tab in the bottom right that says “CONTINUE”?  Click that!

Step 7:  To use the Express Print feature of Studio J™, you’re going to want to design your own Custom Layout. So click the bottom link, “Create Your Own Custom Layout” when the Select A Layout Type screen appears. 

Step 8:  Now the next thing that will happen is that Studio J will load its kits.  For the purposes of “Express Prints,” you’re not going to be using a kit. However, just allow Studio J to load the new kits. Your screen will look like this:

Step 9:  Pick any paper that suits you – it doesn’t matter, because for this, we’re not using the paper. Pick one and you’ll be taken to layout PATTERNS, and your screen will look like this:

You’ll notice that all of the print patterns are shown alphabetically. I want you to scroll down to the pattern that is titled: “NO LIMITS”.  Click on it:

Step 10:  It’s kind of silly here, but it’s asking you to pick whichever “mix” on blank pages – and you’ll see no mix, like this:

That’s okay.  Double click on any one of them – I usually pick door #1 (far left).  Here’s what your screen will look like next:

Step 11:  Next you’re going to want to create your “photo wells”. Click on the first tab underneath all of your photos on the left – the one that says Text & Photo Areas:

See that bottom box on the left column that’s marked Photo Area?   While your cursor is over that box, left click and hold to drag a box onto your upper left side of your page one (left) as I did here:

You’ll see that there is an operations box that opened up next to the space for the photograph that you’ve placed.  Here, this is a horizontal 4x6” photo.  You can change the size by simply changing the dimensions in that box (typing the numbers), or by grabbing the arrow to the lower right of the photo, and dragging it to whatever size you want. 

Your photos don’t need a mat if you plan to trim them for a layout or matting on paper, but if you want to add a mat to ensure your size, choose the drop down menu in the Operations Box and pick how wide you want your mat.

Here is how it looks if you chose a 1/16” mat.  Note that a color box pops up, so you can change the color of the mat to whatever you pick, including white if you just want a trim space.

Continue filling your layout with photographs of your desired shapes/sizes, simply by grabbing another photo box from that left column and dragging it into position on your layout. Resize them manually by grabbing the drag arrows, or be sure your sizes are a perfect fit for your Picture My Life™ spaces or your Flip Flap™ pockets by typing in your desired dimensions.  

Remember, Picture My Life™ only uses 4 x 6” or 3 x 4” sizes (either horizontal or vertical), while there are wider varieties of sizes available in Flip Flaps. 

Another hint:  When you’re dragging your photos into place on your layout and you want to snug up the pictures next to each other, remember that your arrow keys on your keyboard can be used to move the photographs too, one little space at a time.  This makes it easy to ensure you’re using all of the printable surface, and maximizing your dollars when printing these pages. 

If you’d rather save some of the space for titles or Journaling boxes that will print along with your photographs, grab those boxes instead.  These are handy to print out to use on your traditional layouts, or made to size with your Picture My Life or Flip Flaps. 

OK, my layouts are done and now it’s time to drop the photographs in place.

Here are the photographs I’ll be needing to complete my future layouts, along with a title:

Step 12:  Drop in your photographs.
Go back to the upper left-hand column and click on where it says Photos.  This will bring in all of the photographs you have downloaded for this project.  (You CAN add more at any time!)  

Move your computer’s cursor over to the photo you want, and left click and drag the photo into the space you want.  

You’ll see on the Operations Box that opens with the photograph that you can increase the scale of your photograph.  When you increase the scale, the center focus of your photograph may now be out of the print area.  Do you see that in the middle of the photograph there is a handprint?  Move your cursor atop of that handprint and left click/hold to drag the portion of the photograph into the print space. 

For example, here is Charlotte’s picture placed at regular scale:

Here it is scaled to 250% before I’ve grabbed the hand to move it:

Here it is after I’ve moved it into my print position:

There are also all sorts of special effects you can apply to your photograph. For example, here is one of Charlotte’s picture that has had a Sepia filter applied, and her photograph has been rotated 60 degrees:

Here she’s flipped horizontally, and converted to Black and White:

….and if that isn’t sweet enough, you can also edit any of your images, just by clicking the Edit Photo box (third from the right, top, in the Operations Box) to take the photo you’re working on directly to the editing function:

For example, if I wanted to make my little Munchkin into a Leprechaun, I could toy with the saturation and hue:

Not to worry, there are UNDO and REDO buttons in the upper left of the Image Edit screen!  

There you have it, I’m done, in twelve easy steps!

When you’re ready to purchase your layouts, click “PURCHASE” in the upper right hand corner, and your project menu will appear.  To the right of the project menu, you’ll find “Add to cart”. Each two-page layout is currently $6.95 but is on sale throughout March for just $5.00.  And best yet – whether you buy four layouts (the minimum order) or fifty -- they ship for a flat $5.95!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reminder: Scrapfest 2014 Deadline Approaching!

It's not too late to sign up for Scrapfest 2014, being held in Willow Grove, PA, April 5-6. I'll be there, representing Close To My Heart's terrific products. I'll have a demo of Studio J (CTMH's fantastic digital scrapbooking program) and I'll have page protectors and FlipFlaps (as well as some cardstock!) to get your pictures off your computers and phones, and into albums.  Come see me here:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pick your most popular post and re-run it ....

Hello, Everyone:  

One of my dear friends, Cathy, picked me to follow along on a sort of "Chain Blog" -- challenging me to find and share my most popular blog post in its nearly four year history. Has it really been that long!!!?  The following blog post from March 2, 2012 has been reprised here, because it was my most popular -- with 799 views and some 125 comments. No doubt it generated that many comments because I had a huge giveaway associated with it.  

Please note: I am editing the post. The blog candy is no longer available and congratulations to the winner. However, many of the things listed are still my favorite things -- and I hope to do that sort of giveaway again in the future!  Sadly, I've also edited out the blog post of a few of the retailers who once sold the products I listed. One went out of business when it could no longer handle the large demand versus their everyday life -- that is good news of sorts. Their company was sold.  Another went out of business when it was discovered the owner was STEALING the product from the manufacturer and re-selling it to unwitting customers at a huge discount (and a huge profit for him, since he paid nothing for it). Legal recourse has been taken against that person; I believe he is still in jail. 

---------------    REPRISED POST, BELOW ---------------------

March 2, 2012: 
799 page views, 125 comments:

When one of my very favorite blogger friends DENA JONES invited me to join the "Our Favorite Things Blog Candy Extravaganza", I immediately started thinking of what are my favorite things that I use in my craft room.

I know this is an unusual "take" on the assignment. Some bloggers are posting about their favorite people, favorite techniques, favorite cards or layouts that they used.

It must be saying something about me that my mind went instantly to shopping!!!

And since blog candy giveaway is one of the requirements to join in this Hop, I thought, "well, why not giveaway a bunch of your favorite things, CardMonkey."  (Actually, I don't really refer to myself in the third person ... much. LOL)

I started assembling my giveaway, and it started growing bigger and bigger ... and this post has gotten longer and longer in the months we've had to prepare. So without further ado, let me FIRST show you my fabulous giveaway prize that will be going to ONE lucky CardMonkey follower who leaves a comment below this weekend!   (Please be SURE you are a follower on Google Friend Connect -- it's how I check to be sure you're a follower. If instead you get my posts by e-mail or some other way, PLEASE tell me so in your comment).

And let me get down to the business of the Blog Hop first .... You should have come here from Jamie's blog, and you'll be heading to Shannon's blog when you're done here. To get to ALL the fun and prizes GALORE, please start at the very beginning of the Blog Hop at our Hostess Dena's blog. (All of those links are live, so hop, hop, hop!!)

NOW, without further ado, allow me to share with you my PaperJungle essentials ... MY favorite things, in no particular order...

Pink ATG gun: Made by Scotch 3M, this gun dispenses a clean line of strong adhesive. Refills are available in acid-free for long lasting project. MSRP: $39.99
Good value: Use a 40 or 50% off coupon at a major retailer, like Michael's or AC Moore.

Crop-A-Dile:  Made by We R Memory Keepers, a Crop-A-Dile is a tool that allows you to set eyelets and grommets, and also hole punch. There are versions available that are handheld, as well as those known as the "Big Bite" that are larger (for table-top use) and have a longer reach. I prefer the Big Bite because my hands are old and arthritic, but the picture here is that of the handheld version. MSRP: From $18 to $40.
Good value: Hunt one down on eBay, for about half the retail value, or use a coupon at a major retailer.

HoneyBee Crafting Scissors: For most of my fussy cutting, I need very small, very fine cutting scissors with super-sharp points. I love how these feel in the hand. They're made by CutterBee, which is a division of EK Success. They're available in most crafting stores with an MSRP of $6.99.  I also like the Close to My Heart Micro-Tip Scissors (MSRP $9.95).
Good value: Best to buy these at a major retailer like Michael's, using a coupon.

Martha Stewart Fringing Scissors:  The name speaks for itself: all things crafty! Use these sweet special effects in cutting paper, for things like hair, fringe or grass, or to evenly slice tissue paper at the top of gift packages. MSRP: $12.99
Good value: currently has them listed for $10.07, with free shipping if you're a member of Amazon Prime. Get a free trial of Prime, too!

Martha Stewart Fine Ball-Tip Glue Pen: While I'm speaking about the crafting Diva, let me say I can't live without my MS glue pens! They're a little tricky to figure out at first -- exert some pressure at the flexible glue well while laying down the glue, and you'll be just fine! I use it for EVERYTHING! 
Good value: Go directly to Martha Stewart Crafts' website by clicking this link. She sells these babies for $3.19 each and they're in stock. Remember, coupons don't always apply to MS craft items.

SookWang Scor-Tape: So now I'm stuck on adhesive -- oops, pardon the pun. Sometimes I crack myself up! ♥ For very strong hold especially on things like rosettes and boxes and such, you should use a good double-sided tape. My favorite is by SookWang Scor-Tape, distributed by Scor-Pal. It is a premium, double-sided, super-sticky, acid-free adhesive tape that's heat resistant. This means it will not lift up or curl when heated. Use it with many different media: glitter, embossing powder, foil, microbeads, flock, on chipboard, matboard, foamcore and more! It comes in all sorts of widths. My favorite to keep on hand are 1/8" (perfect for adhering thin strands of ribbon), 1/4" and 1/2" (best for those 3-D projects you see that I love!). Comes in rolls of 27 yards, all the way up to 4.5" wide!  MSRP: $4 (1/8") to $50 (4.5"), and everything in between.
Good value: The "official" distributor of Scor-Tape is Scor-Pal, and here's the link. However, you can generally find many on-line retailers who have it for about 10-15% less. E-bay is NOT a good place to buy this ... I haven't found any discounts on this genuine tape there.

(Different colors are in the giveaway)
Copic Markers: Moving right along, let's talk a little about markers to color in your rubber or acrylic stamps, digi-art, or whatever moves you. I am addicted to Copic Markers. With a fine-tip flexible nib on one end -- such a great "hand" -- and a firmer broad nib on the other, these markers simply work great! They now come in 380 colors. They're refillable, and also, you can use Sketch Copics with an airbrush system. (I haven't gotten into that -- yet!)
Good value: Hands down, the best place to buy Sketch Copic Markers is from Terri Olsen at Stamps Alive! Terri's regular discount price on Copics is $4.20 each plus shipping -- a huge reduction in the MSRP of $6.99. P.S. Congratulations, Terri, on the birth of your new baby Grandson!!

White Gelly Pen:  I've tried them all, really I have. For terrific faux stitching on your cards or layouts, or to add accent dots or "eyelights" to your Create a Critters' eyes, use a White Gelly Pen.
Good value: I buy these at Michael's. I stock up when I have a 20% off your entire purchase, since they're just not pricey enough to waste a perfectly good 40% one item coupon.

Acrylic Stamps: I'll confess -- I haven't been much of a stamper, and have only recently started collecting them to improve the versatility and ease of making a quick card with beautiful designs. Here are three of my favorite sets:

Waltzingmouse Stamps: Their Autumn-Winter sentiment set is crazy-versatile. Check out their other brilliant designs, too.

K Andrews Designs: Kristal's "Positive Thoughts" sentiment collection resonates with me, and I've used it often.

Peachy Keen Stamps: Called "PKS" on most crafty circles, this company has a wonderful selection, but it is most famous for their face stamps. Try the "Everyday Faces" or even Corny faces to add fun to even inanimate objects.

Good value: Occasionally you can find these used on the Internet, such as on one of my favorite Facebook Groups called "~Get It Sold~".  Otherwise, MSRP is in the $20 range for each of these sets.

Digi-Stamps: I am a digi-stampin' fool!  I love designs by Heather Ellis (particularly her Pure Innocence line) and MelJen Designs.
Good value: Digi-stamps are a GREAT value no matter where you purchase them, and you'll typically have to go directly to the source for them. You can reuse, resize, reprint and use them as often as you wish, of course, honoring the company's Angel Policy not to redistribute or sell them other than a product (e.g., card) you make with them. 

Cutting My Designs: I first got into papercrafting after my dear daughter Emily asked for a CRICUT for Christmas 2008. I had no idea what that was, but as soon as I found out, I bought one for "her" ... and then had to have one for myself. I planned to cut fabric with it, as I was "into" sewing appliques.

True confession: I gave up sewing when I saw how much fun it is to work with paper ...and six months later I started blogging about it. Since then, I've bought more than 120 cartridges, and growing strong.

My favorite Cricut cartridge -- my go-to -- is CAKE BASICS. And no, I don't decorate cakes with it. It has a TON of basic shapes and images that I'm always using. I keep it at my left hand at the Cricut station at all times.
My favorite NEW Cartridge is "ART PHILOSOPHY", a Close to My Heart exclusive. OMG, what wonderful images there are on that -- so versatile for every occasion! 
Another favorite is "WRAP IT UP" since I can cut shaped cards, packages and sentiments for just about every celebration. Again...versatility PLUS!
Good value: I've never been disappointed buying Cricut cartridges on E-Bay. Be careful though, if you're wanting the Cricut Reward Points and to be able to link up your cartridge to Cricut Craft Room or your Gypsy. Make sure you're buying NIB (New in Box). A favorite retailer there is "Proud Parents", who also sell online as

Cheery Lynn Designs Dies: Having acquired so many Cricut dies, I couldn't imagine why I'd ever want to get into collecting dies to cut on my Big Kick or Cuttlebug. But once you experience the intricate designs now available in dies by several different die manufacturers, you'll be hooked like I am. There's no way to reliably produce such intricate wafer-thin designs on a Cricut. My very favorite thin metal designs are produced by Cheery Lynn Designs!

Paper: I'm a stickler for paper quality since I invest so much love into making my cards and other paper projects. Two lines are consistently My Favorites both for design and paper quality ("hand", thickness, etc.). Those are Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker LLC, and Bella Boulevard.  I have an Iris box full of NSS papers, which I turn to regularly to stimulate my creativity when designing a card.

At the risk of totally boring you with more of my very Favorite Things, I'll list some more essentials in the PaperJungle, and may add to it over the course of this hop:

  1. GEEZ!!! I can't believe I missed this entirely in my main features list, since I use it ALLLLL the time ... STICKLES!!!!  I have them in every color available. I'm giving away one large bottle in my blog candy, too!
  2. Creative Charm Embellishments
  3. Hug Snug Seam Binding
  4. Mei Flower Satin Ribbon
  5. Action Wobbles
  6. Aleene's Turbo Tacky Glue
  7. My hot glue gun (any one!)
  8. Martha Stewart fine glitter
  9. - for everything!
  10. Shutterfly for photo books
  11. Ikea - for scrap storage supplies
  12. I-Rock and I-Top
  13. Online shopping
  14. USPS online shipping of Priority Packages - 15% discount!
  15. Crafting magazines for inspiration (Paper Crafts, Scrapbooks Etc., CardMaker, Creative Keepsakes, Cricut Magazine, Cards .... I buy 'em all or subscribe (cheaper)
  16. ... more coming soon! ...
A Winner has been announced and it's SUZANNE ROSEBERRY!  Congratulations! To others, thank you for playing along. All comments are still welcome, but you will not qualify for this blog candy any longer. 

Now, for more of Our Favorite Things, please hop over to Shannon's blog at

Thanks for stopping by! And Good Luck!!