Monday, September 15, 2014

Paper Issues: Anything Goes!

The new issue at Paper Issues is up on the blog today and this time "Anything Goes!"
This is a pretty easy one cause you can link up pretty much anything. :)
The sponsor this time around is a company called Whisker Graphics and they specialize in really cool party bags, baker's twine, printables and tags.
Here is my layout using some of the party bags and tags, plus a few items from various Swag Bags from Paper Issues...
I wanted to use my tried and true grid like design with instagram photos of two of my scrapbook layouts and two bags with tags tucked inside. One tag contains my journaling and the other is just for balance purposes. The "Every Picture Records a Little Story" die cut was in one of the Swag Bags along with the rest of the embellishments on the page except for the camera die cut.
I had been wanting to use that die cut for a while and this page about why I scrapbook was just right!

Here is a closer look at the journaling. And I mean every word of it! I scrapbook mainly to tell stories. Of course, I will scrapbook the big events, but I also love to capture the everyday moments of our lives together. And not always the good, happy memories. There have been a few hardships that I have made a layout or two about.

So I hope you will join in and link up with us for this issue. You can find all the details on this blog post *Here.* The prize is a selection of Whisker Graphics product.

And don't forget if you use code MARYJO you can get 20% off your purchase in the Paper Issues Shop!
If you link up before Tuesday evening you may just find yourself featured on the Paper Issues blog on Wednesday when I have a blog post going up.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

Or should I say "Beautiful Day"!
U2 finally has a new album out! Finally.
We've been waiting a long time here in the Rhoda house. :)
And yes, we got it for free from iTunes. I love that so many friends and family called, emailed and texted to let me know! But we already had it.
I would like to give it a few weeks before giving my official review.
I need time to really listen to the songs, but I will say favorite one so far is Every Breaking Wave.

This on-line article from Rolling Stone actually made me see the album in a better light.
Songs of Innocence
At first I was a little underwhelmed by the songs, but then again I have such high expectations. After five years and all of that time working on it in studios how can I not!
But from what I read in the article, the album title, "Songs of Innocence," is perfect for what they are conveying. These songs are all a throwback to their youth and where they came from. It's pretty cool when you think of it.

As I listen to the new songs again and again, I find myself as usual loving three or four, really liking a few, and then just tolerating one or two. It's how I am with every album. Well, except Achtung, Baby. Probably one of their best ever! Yes, I know Joshua Tree is worshiped and idolized by many and I do love it, but Achtung did not have one single song I didn't love. That's an anomaly for me. (lol)

And as for Florida pics, they are on hold a bit. Mike put all of his photos from his camera on a flash drive for me, so I am waiting to get that from him so I can sort through them all at once. :)

I will be back Monday with a layout.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


today is the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our country. It's something I know we will never forget.
This is my profile picture on Facebook right now. I took a high school trip to New York City in December of 1988, and we had such a great time. One of the highlights was taking a ferry ride over from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty. My friend Linda took this photo of me on that ride. When I was going through my older photos a few years ago, I found it. This photo took on a whole new meaning for me. Events and time can really do that to a photo.

It was a happy time in my life. The events of that day, September 11th, 2001, can't take away those happy memories. But it does help me realize that life is precious and sometimes way too short. And it shouldn't be taken for granted.

I know I try not to ever take it for granted.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Scrappy Blog Tour

So I was tagged on her Scrappy Blog Tour post by my friend Danielle who is on the Paper Issues design team with me. I have actually been asked two other times by blog friends if I would like to participate, but had to say no both times unfortunately because I had a design team post on one of the dates and we were out of town the other date.
This time the timing is just right so here we go!

What am I working on right now?
Lol, well there is a design team assignment layout there in the center that I am going to finish today after I clean up a bit. As you can see, I have a bit of a mess on my hands at the moment. But as soon as I get it moved, I should be fine.

How long does it take me to complete a project?
It just really depends on the project. Anywhere from 30 minutes to a week depending on how much time I can get. And truthfully, this summer I didn't have very much time to scrapbook. The last layout I completed was a few weeks ago! Although I did recently make two cards for the kids homeroom teachers for the beginning of the school year. I did those in ten minutes. :)

What are my favorite things to create with at the moment?
Most of my pages recently use enamel dots, wood veneer, patterned paper, die cut packs, alphabet stickers and fonts.

How does my creating process work?
For layouts, I usually start with photos unless it's a design team project where I am given a theme or product. But when it's just for me, I start with the photos. From there I pick product out that I think will work well with the colors and story behind the pictures. I can't say it comes together easily at that point though. I will often move things around on my pages a lot before I settle on placement and stick it all down unless I am using a sketch. And I always leave my journaling for last.

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?
I have a few scrapbook blogs that I love to read. I often find ideas there. I pin a lot of scrapbook inspiration on Pinterest, and that is my go to place now though. I have boards for scrapbook inspiration (layouts and ideas), sketches, techniques, project life and cards. In the next few months I plan to go there often and knock out a ton of pages.
Also, I am working on a Summer only Project Life album and some travel albums. I really want to finish those. So I am feeling inspired to get it all done! 

What is my signature style?
This is always a hard question for me. I think I like to change these up a bit from time to time. But generally I come back to a more simple, linear, grid like style. I love my grids. :)
Here are a few of my favorite pages:

And now from what I hear, pretty much everyone has done or been invited to do this blog hop. So I am going to say to any of my blog friends who have not, I invite YOU to join in on the scrappy blog tour next Monday, Sept. 15. I nominate all of you who read my blog and have not participated!

Thanks for stopping by today, and I will hopefully be back soon with Florida pictures!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Paper Issues: "Tell Me Dies" with Jillibean Soup

A new issue went up on the Paper Issues blog today which you can see *Here*.
This time around, Jillibean Soup is our sponsor and we are looking for scrappers to link up old or new projects using some of the following ideas:
  • Show us your mad fussy cutting skills.
  • Use scissors or sewing notions as embellishments, maybe even sewing-themed paper.
  • Use die cuts of all kinds — pre-made, from a manual die cut machine and/or an electronic machine. Be sure to check out the wonderful Jillibean Soup cut files in the Silhouette store.
  • Put the focus on your journaling.
  • Share a family story that's been passed down from generation-to-generation.
  • Are bedtime stories part of the nighttime routine in your house (as in "tell me a story")? Is there a favorite, one you read over and over and over?
  • Show us memorial pages about loved ones who are no longer with us.
  • Create a layout that's all about you (as in "all about me")
  • Use Jillibean Soup products.

Here are a few of the projects I plan on linking up!
This page has the camera die cut and die cut "love this" tag. Plus the "many thanks" label sticker is by Jillibean Soup!

This is a recent favorite page that has a few die cuts on it from Crate Paper. The gold label with the 2012 date and the one that reads "This Memory Belongs To:"
The speech bubbles on this page are die cuts.
If you would like to link up your projects that fit the theme, you have until Sept. 14th and you can just go to this blog post *Here*!
Jillibean Soup is giving away a goodie bag of product to one lucky winner.

I finally uploaded all of the photos from our vacation from my phone to our computer. So I am going to be sorting and editing some of those, but I am still getting back into school routine and taking care of a lot of little things such as oil changes and doctor appointments that are easier to do while the kids are in school and were put on hold during the summer.
So I am getting there, just slowly. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Day of School

In the blink of an eye, we went from Evan's first day of Kindergarten...

to this...

first day of school for a first and seventh grader!
I just can't believe it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog Break Over!

I am back after two weeks off. :)
The big reason I needed a break was because we took an eight day family vacation!
We drove fifteen hours to Orlando, Florida and stayed there for four nights.
Then we drove another seven or eight hours to Gulf Shores, Alabama to stay by the beach.
The drive home on Saturday was ten to eleven hours.
So we did a lot of driving! But it wasn't too bad.
And it was worth it!
While we were in Orlando, we went to Sea World for Evan which he loved...
and the Magic Kingdom at Disney World for Erin. I would have loved to go back to Universal Studios to see Harry Potter's Wizarding World, but two parks were really all we could handle this time.
And it was worth it. The hour and a half we waited in line to see Anna and Elsa from Frozen...
Priceless! I mean those princesses nailed the characters. It was so much fun :) And Erin was sooooo happy.
And having Mike with us ten days in a row was also priceless. ;)
Evan took this photo of us at Lulu's in Gulf Shores.

And can I just say that we brought the DSLR camera with us and didn't use it once! All iphone photos this time. In fact, I think I only took five photos at the beach and that was the night we arrived and just walked down to see the ocean. :)
But I between Mike and I, we still probably took 600 photos with our cameras! I won't bore you with all of them, but I will definitely share some here and there over the next few weeks I am sure.

Today is the first day of school for the kids, which is super exciting and sad at the same time.
I really hate that summer is over, but am looking forward to a little bit more routine I think.
We did have a great summer though which I am super happy about!

Hoping to do some blog reading today. I have been lax I know, but being out of town had a lot to do with it :)
Oh and it is super hot here right now. Heat warnings and advisories. Temps in the high 90's with the heat index 100+. It's been such a mild summer so far and now it's oppressive.
How is the weather where you are?

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Downtown STL Cakes

So one Wednesday in July, the kids and I drove downtown to see how many of the 35+ STL 250 Birthday Cakes we could see.
I had a list of where the cakes were and we made it to ten.
Ultimately not as many as I would have liked, but truthfully still pretty good considering it was a very hot and humid day.
Plus, we made plans to meet my friend Kelly and her two boys and their cousin for lunch.
So here are the cakes as we found them in order. And Evan is actually in a few of these photos!
1. The Campbell House Museum - This is a house that was built in 1851 and has some interesting history. The house is also supposed to be "haunted". Evan's class went on a tour of the house when he was in fifth grade as part of their downtown architectural walking tour. So he wanted to get a photo with this cake. We liked it's brick design!

2. Downtown Central Library - Personally this is one of my favorite cakes. You can't go wrong with books!

3. The Peabody Opera House - Formerly known as Kiel Opera House, it sat around empty for years and years. Thankfully it was renovated and is open once again. The kids and I saw "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" here a few years back and really enjoyed it.
4. Soldier's Memorial - I didn't even know this one existed really. Evan was the one who actually noticed it and yelled "Mom, there's a cake!". I was actually trying to get to Christ Church Cathedral (which we never even made it to). So I stopped for him.
5. The Wainwright Building - was a must see on Evan's list! It is pretty significant as far as architecture goes here in St. Louis and was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's mentor.

6. Kiener Plaza - was originally going to be part of what was known as the "Gateway Mall" similar to what you see in Washington DC. But the full plan unfortunately did not come to be. Still there is a nice stretch of green space that includes Kiener plaza and the City Garden that runs back a few blocks to the Civil Court building. And as you can see it has a great view of the Old Courthouse and Arch.

7. The Old Courthouse - Yay! I was able to get on this one. A very nice guard offered to take a photo of the three of us. :)

The next two aren't super exciting, but we passed them and decided to get photos.

8. The Drury Inn at the Arch
9. The Ballpark Hilton
10. Old Post Office - After meeting up with my friend Kelly, we were able to see one last cake that we passed as we were walking to lunch. For some reason Erin didn't want to be in the photo with all of the boys.
She wanted her own! :)

So ten cakes down in one day. Not too bad!
There were a few we were close to, but one way streets and traffic deterred us from stopping.
We've already seen the cakes at Scottrade center and Busch Stadium, too.
And I would love to go down to the Arch eventually.
Otherwise, I would say we saw enough downtown.

Also, just a reminder that the "Mixed Tape" challenge at Paper Issues 
is still going on! If you have any projects featuring washi or other tapes, music of any kind, mixing up products or brands or "mixing" in the kitchen, please link up *Here* for a chance to win a great prize from Hazel & Ruby!

Ok. So from this point until school starts on the 25th, I am thinking another blog break is in order.
We have a lot going on in the next two weeks and blogging is just not going to be a priority. And probably not scrapbooking either.
So see you after school begins!