Skip to content

Runs with Scissors and…Watercolors

December 27, 2014


Hello, friends. So glad you snuck away from the Christmas clutter to spend a few minutes with me on the Penny Black blog. I was happy to see Penny Black left the tree up, even though it is looking a little worse for wear with crooked tinsel and a few burned out lights. And, oh my, glitter everywhere. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas is over here on the blog.

I hope all the months of planning and preparing for the holiday have left you with the sense of accomplishment you deserve. Even if things didn’t go as perfectly as you planned, it will all be part of the memories of Christmas 2014.

The inspiration for my cards today came from Swarup’s amazing watercolor art that has been featured on the blog all week. The scenes she painted create a mood; they just pull you right into the picture. And of course, the beautifully painted Christmas images of the bird and berries take her cards beyond ordinary.


Penny Black’s brushstroke stamps are perfect for watercoloring. For this card, I applied the Distress ink pads directly to the Noble woodblock stamp, spritzed it with water, and then stamped onto watercolor paper. After the inks had dried, I went back and used a wash of distress ink and water to paint the background.


I used my Inktense watercolor pencils to paint these birds from the Holly Scroll set, which have become love birds now that Christmas is over. I simply colored the images and then went over them with a brush loaded with water. I sprayed my finished card with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist and was delighted with the subtle result.


This time, I watercolored the background using the blending tool to apply Distress inks in various shades of blue onto watercolor paper. Spritzing it with water causes the colors to blend and swirl. After the paper and ink dried, I stamped my image and heat embossed it with white. It’s all the joy of watercoloring with an almost guaranteed result.

This was an amazing pre-Christmas season at our house. Our family, which usually doesn’t exchange gifts (probably traumatized by my gift selection dysfunction), decided this year to buy a gift for each family member gathered at the Wisconsin son’s home. The limit was $25 per gift.

Mr. Runs with Scissors volunteered to take part in the shopping which is a huge departure from tradition. My theory is that he finally realized the connection between Christmas shopping and competitive sport. We set out armed with coupons, discount offers and sale fliers. By the time we finished, each person on our list received gifts of at least $60 retail value; and we ended up with “cash” issued by the store for future purchases. That store “cash” ended up as part of a dirty Santa gift for the game we play each Christmas. Mission accomplished!

You can be sure each recipient received a copy of the sales receipt and all purchases were made at the same store. I am realist enough to know that most of the gifts will be returned and I wanted to make it as easy as possible. And there are no hard feelings. We had the fun of shopping and wrapping and enjoyed the acting that went on as folks tried to be enthusiastic about the purple tie, the winter socks, and the “everyone can use these” winter gloves. I was smart enough not to buy any more leather belts, however. (Further details in the November 15th issue of Runs with Scissors).

I offered to purchase gift cards but my son informed me that my gift selections only add to the memories and the long talked-about Christmas stories. Note to self: check ego at the door.


There is a freedom that comes with using watercolors; no need to be precise or do too much planning. For this card, I made two identical cards, using the same Distressed inks and water for the backgrounds and the Woodland Wonder slapstick stamp. As you can see, I used a circle die to cut part of the image from the second stamping and adhered it to the base as a second layer. I love the bit of dimension and interest it adds. It also allowed more variations of the background colors to show.


The poinsettia from the slapstick set Festive Florals really inspired me to actually paint with watercolors. I used Jill Foster’s technique of putting down water first, then applying a brush loaded with color. The color “magically” moves around, creating shading. Just be sure to leave a section between each one you are working on, and let adjoining sections dry before going to the next. I stamped the image with very light ink as I did not want lines to show. I used Distress inks to make a wash for coloring the background. When I was done, I went over the light lines with my trusty Signo white pen because I changed my mind and now wanted lines to show! I distressed the edges of the watercolor paper before attaching it to the card base. And now I have my first Christmas card finished for next year!

There you have it; a loose interpretation of Swarup’s amazing watercolor art. I did not have the vision to acquire the stamps she used to create her scenes, but I am grateful that she did. I was definitely out of my comfort zone for a while, but truly enjoyed the process. Thank you, Swarup, for sharing your amazing watercoloring and inspiring me in my efforts.


We were home from Wisconsin in time to celebrate Christmas with Cooper, a first. Here he is with his supply of Christmas toys; or as he calls them “froggies”. His first toy was a stuffed frog and once he learned that “froggie” equaled “toy”, there was no need to discern any further.

I only wish you could see his very expensive shiny teeth. Cooper recently had his teeth cleaned under anesthesia at the vet’s. He gave us a very scary two days as the effects of the anesthesia were slow to wear off. He was hiding in very strange places and when taken for a walk refused to turn around to come home. How grateful we were to wake up two mornings later to our finally-back-to-normal Cooper.

Well, the year 2014 is almost over. It was a year ago, New Year’s Eve 2013, that I took over the Penny Black blog for the first time. Little did I know that I would be like “the man who came to dinner” and never leave. It has been such fun for me to share my card making and the everyday (and not so everyday) events that make up my life. Cooper has enjoyed meeting all of you and has learned when he sees the camera, he needs to pose and a treat will follow.

Now that the scissors have been put away and my mess cleaned up (and some of the glitter) it is time for me to wish all of you a New Year filled with good health, much love, and more laughter than tears. Welcome to 2015 with all that it may bring!


Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:


25 Comments leave one →
  1. Darlyne Wagner permalink
    December 27, 2014 12:54 am

    Thank you, Runs with Scissors, for sharing all your self-effacing tales. You are so real and funny, I just love you! Your cards are great, especially that poinsettia! Even Cooper has bad days, huh? Thanks for all the inspiration and Happy New Year.

  2. Maria permalink
    December 27, 2014 2:09 am

    Thank you soooo much for sharing all your work this year ! I only found you a few month ago but has been going back to look at your earlier posting and it has been a fab founding. Your cards have all and are amazing and I also love reading about your family,not least Cooper 🙂
    He is lovely,I love him. Glad he fine again after he’s teeth treatment….
    Well Christmas over and back to crafting for etc. have not a craftroom so found it a bit tricky to be crafting on the bed 😦 just waiting for son to move out, in about 10 years! 🙂
    Wishing you a Happy New Year and looking forward to see your crafting for 2015 !

  3. Dianne Crowe permalink
    December 27, 2014 4:06 am

    All your cards are lovely, my first pick would be the poinsettia card, a very traditional card for me. So glad Copper is happy and well again.

  4. December 27, 2014 4:48 am

    Love all your beautiful cards! And I wish a happy New Year too!

  5. rhorasanian permalink
    December 27, 2014 5:32 am

    Judy’s poinsettia card is outstanding! Merry Christmas to all of the Penny Black team!

  6. Susan Roberts permalink
    December 27, 2014 6:06 am

    The Festive Florals card is beautiful. Thank you Ms. Judy and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  7. December 27, 2014 6:12 am

    gorgeous cards, Judy! love your Saturday posts here on the PB blog. Happy 2015!

  8. Ruth permalink
    December 27, 2014 6:22 am

    Love seeing your beautiful cards and hope to make some of them or at least use your techniques! Also enjoy your sense of humor and hearing about your family. Happy New Year!

  9. December 27, 2014 7:06 am

    Loved all your cards Judy and enjoyed you wonderful sense of humor ! I am so glad, I could inspire and share my work here at PB…it was an honor!

    Happy New Year!

    • judka permalink
      December 27, 2014 7:08 am

      Swarup, the honor was mine! Happy New Year to you! Thank you for sharing your amazing talent.

  10. December 27, 2014 7:17 am

    I so loved your watercolor cards today. Beautiful, gorgeous, inspiring! I will be CASing the Poinsettia card (thank you). Your story of all gifts bought at one store …how is that possible?!? YOU ARE GOOD! I am so glad you have become a permanent part of PB…we so look forward to your art & humor each Saturday. Please give the RWS small white dog a hug!

  11. mjmarmo permalink
    December 27, 2014 7:31 am


  12. donna mikasa permalink
    December 27, 2014 7:53 am

    Wonderful techniques here, Ms. RWS! I especially love how you were possibly channeling Jill on the last card and those distressed edges–so pretty! Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year!

  13. barbara lassiter permalink
    December 27, 2014 9:44 am

    There’s so much talent here on the PB Blog, including Jill and guests such as Swarup and last, but not least, Judy. It’s been a joy this year to follow Ms. RWS and I’ve so looked forward to the Saturday postings. The beautiful water colors today are just one example of the talent from Judy, along with her ability to tell a story. Thanks and Happy New Year to Judy and everyone at Penny Black!

  14. Julie permalink
    December 27, 2014 10:03 am

    Love your post. I’m heading up to the craft room for some watercolor fun.

  15. December 27, 2014 11:11 am

    Thank you for sharing your holiday tales, I’m not so crazy after all, and for sharing your beautiful watercoloring!! I’ve enjoyed the ispiration of your talents!

  16. December 27, 2014 11:31 am

    Just want you to know what a joy it’s been reading your posts this last year. I so look forward to Saturdays now. Always savor looking at the cards you so cleverly create. But your stories and Cooper are the real draw. Thanks for giving such pleasure. Wishing you everything wonderful in the New Year.

  17. jmhave44 permalink
    December 27, 2014 3:19 pm

    Very much enjoyed your chatty post about your holiday adventures and absolutely loved each of the cards. I’m watercolored challenged, so it’s encouraging to see how you did these beautiful cards you’ve shared. Each one is unique, and I loved the woodland scene (and have that stamp!). Birds are a special favorite and truly loved each version that you shared. Especially smiled at the change of plan white outlining as it sounds like Moi! I enjoyed seeing the Swarup videos too, but I think yours are just as lovely. Happy New Year to Cooper, he’s awfully cute, and glad to read he’s back to ‘normal’. Congratulations on your one year achievement. That’s a milestone of which you can be very proud. Hope 2015 is all that you need it to be. TFS

  18. Linda S. in NE permalink
    December 27, 2014 6:11 pm

    Goodness, Judy, you gave me chills when you were telling us about Cooper’s trouble after getting his teeth cleaned. Now his teeth are as white as he is. Your cards are very lovely, and I have earmarked this post to go back and re-read your hints on water coloring. I have also enjoyed Swarup’s videos but I continue to have problems “just letting go” and letting the colors do the work. I’m glad you are safely home from Wisconsin, and I wish you the best of the New Year. Hugs to Cooper.

  19. alexandra s.m. permalink
    December 27, 2014 6:35 pm

    A year already?! It’s been a Joy Judy, I’ve enjoyed every single of your posts and I raise my glass to many many more 😉
    Thank You!!

  20. Marti_L permalink
    December 27, 2014 9:47 pm

    Judy, I enjoy your story blogs very much! These card ideas are so gorgeous & all look doable. Glad Cooper survived his dental surgery…I hope your vet documented Cooper’s reaction, so that next time some precautions can be used.

  21. December 28, 2014 9:02 pm

    Wishing you & your family a wonderful 2015, Judy! So glad Cooper recovered OK. Sounds like you had a great Christmas trip & I know you enjoyed the little ones. Such gorgeous cards today–the last 2 especially grabbed my attention.

  22. December 28, 2014 9:44 pm

    Happy One Year Anniversary, Judy! Time has flown and I have so enjoyed each of your informative and entertaining posts. The cards in this post are beauties, each one a bit different and with different techniques. You have made me want to try watercoloring. So glad Cooper has recovered. Bet he enjoyed being home for Christmas! Happy 2015 to you and Mr. RWS, and of course, to Cooper, too!

  23. December 30, 2014 11:01 pm

    Happy New Year to you and the RWS family. I hope to see more of your fabulous cards and wonderful stories in the new year. Sorry to hear about Cooper’s back reaction to anaesthesia, Hopefully they can swap drugs or alter doses for next time. Fabulous cards – but I have one complaint – you can’t just drop “dirty Santa game” into a sentence and not elaborate, lol.

    • judka permalink
      December 31, 2014 5:04 pm

      Sorry, Linda. After the “regular” gifts are opened and admired, we bring out the “fun” gifts and play a trivia game to win them and then play more trivia for the opportunity to take someone’s gift away from them …. we just can’t behave, even on Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: