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A Love Story… and Valentines, too!

January 24, 2015


Welcome to more Valentine loveliness on the Penny Black blog. Amy Sheffer’s work this past week has been a splendiferous treat!

Once I arrived here at the blog, I started right in coloring, cutting, pasting, spritzing and decorating a few Valentines of my own. I hardly had time to notice the weather has been cold, rainy and gloomy. Valentine’s Day takes place at just the right time of the year: a reward for surviving January.


The Hearts in Circle die is fun to use with the wonderful side effect of producing many little hearts! Just gather them up and use them as embellishments. I stamped the hedgie from the Furry Affection transparent set on patterned paper and added a little Copic marker shading. I love a reason to use red, white and a touch of gingham!


Well, if I run out of gingham, there’s always polka dots! This cutie is Mimi from the Mimi’s Love transparent set. The images in this stamp set are versatile enough to use for birthdays, thinking of you and encouragement cards.


The Tree of Love die doesn’t have to be just for making valentines! This could be a birthday or anniversary card. Or enclose it with a thank you gift. Love comes in all colors, not just red.


I have joined the shaker card revival! This kitty from the Share a Hug set looks like he’s having a party in a card. You will notice some of the little red hearts from the Heart Circle die, along with an assortment of sequins. A couple of the hearts are glued to the outside of the acetate, to make sure there’s always some love showing.

I’m glad in this digital age that we have managed to maintain the custom of sending valentines to let the people in our lives know we love them.

post dividing line

A Love Letter Story:

There was a day when people expressed their love by exchanging letters, writing of their feelings, expressing their dreams for the future, and committing to paper their promise of unending love. I’m certain there are still bundles of letters tied with satin ribbon stored in attics all over the world.

There have been books published containing the love letters exchanged by couples separated by war. President Reagan’s letters to his wife Nancy have been compiled into a book. Imagine! Enough love letters to fill a book.

Last fall I wrote the most important love letter of my life. It was more than an eight page letter; it was also a packet of thirty or more photos.


Who would merit such a project?

One of my sons is adopted (I never remember which one). As he grew closer to adulthood I shared with him that I would be supportive and helpful if he ever chose to seek out his birth mother. However, that was not something he seemed interested in doing.

Life has a way of changing minds, however. One day he received an official looking letter from an official state agency that included an updated health history of his birth mother. These had arrived several times over the years, but this is the first time she stated she would be open to contact. She left contact information with the agency and he was free to make his choice.

When he called me with this news, my heart started pounding; was I going to have the chance, finally, to thank this woman for the wonderful gift that is my son? I had prayed for years that I would some day have this opportunity.

They did make contact and I was given permission to write and send photos. As hard as I tried, I could not imagine what it would be like for her to receive the photos and, at long last, see the child she had placed for adoption and learn his life’s story.

I shared from my heart, including the funny little things toddlers do and say; his experiences as a school child; prom, sports, graduations, college. I had copies made of photos taken throughout his life, up to his wedding. Those, I felt, should come from my son.

What an absolute gift and blessing to finally thank the woman who loved her baby enough to place him for adoption. It was so important to me to let her know about the joy and love he brought to our family.

I treasure the letter she sent in return and I suspect the letter I wrote has been read more than once. The very best kind of love letters, indeed.


Ahh, at last… a bit of romance! I’ve used the emboss resist technique here, using various shades of distress inks applied with the distressing tool. I then spritzed lightly with water to blend the colors. This heart stamp from the transparent set So Very Much makes a lovely focal point; just add a pretty bow and some sweet flowers.

Did someone mention love?


This white bundle of fur continues to love us in spite of baths, trips to the groomer’s, daily teeth brushing and visits to the vet. It’s like all these bad things haven’t happened when he wags his tail in greeting and shares his favorite toys. This is a recent photo of him looking slightly confused because there is SNOW in his yard! Didn’t last long, but it was the real thing.

Speaking of bad things: it’s time to clean up and put away. My scissors have been confiscated; the glue has been scraped; and the tiny little scraps are safely inside the tiny little vacuum.

And good things: I am delighted to share time with you on the Penny Black blog. And I love and appreciate that Penny Black shares their stamps and dies with me (as long as I put everything back where it belongs).

I can’t wait to see your valentines in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery. Thank you for spending time with me today; I love you for it!

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:

46 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2015 1:23 am

    What a wonderful “love” story, Judy! Your son is blessed to have two Mothers–one who gave him the gift of life and the other who raised and nurtured him into a fine young man. And your Valentines–love them all! I’m a little partial to the ink distressed heart. It’s a beauty!

  2. Sue Bridges permalink
    January 24, 2015 4:55 am

    Always smile when I find your posts. Such a wise decision Penny Black made to share their products with you. You have such a wonderful way to reach everyone, just by being real. It is so nice to pause once in a while to reflect with a total stranger who makes you feel so much a normal part of her time. Thank you, Judy. Love you back!

  3. maureenchandler permalink
    January 24, 2015 5:43 am

    Thank you for your love story – it started my day off with a smile and touched my heart. Your son is lucky to be surrounded with such an abundance of love! XO
    PS. Your cards are just wonderful too! 🙂

  4. Cindy C. permalink
    January 24, 2015 5:44 am

    Thanks for sharing the heart warming “love letter” story Judy, I was crying when I was reaching the end! The Valentines are all so pretty, and I love the last one most!

  5. Susan Roberts permalink
    January 24, 2015 6:06 am

    What a beautiful story! And your cards are wonderful too.

  6. Scott schmidlkofer permalink
    January 24, 2015 6:54 am

    Mom, thanks for sharing such an incredible story. I have an adopted sibling? Who knew.


  7. January 24, 2015 7:09 am

    Such a Beautiful Story and I’m Loving all your cards!! My very favorite cards to create have always been Valentine’s 🙂 xoxoxo

  8. Laura Jane permalink
    January 24, 2015 7:21 am

    Beautiful cards today Judy! However the Love Letter Story is encouraging in so many ways.. You are a remarkable woman.

  9. Ava Sloane permalink
    January 24, 2015 7:34 am

    Judy, such a beautiful story and shows the huge heart you have!

  10. Kay Miller permalink
    January 24, 2015 7:35 am

    Your cards are just beautiful Judy! The each and everyone made me smile! But the story or your son and his birth mother brought tears to my eyes!

  11. January 24, 2015 7:35 am

    Well….what a way to start my day…by crying! You have such strength and wisdom to have turned what could have been a big negative, instead into a huge positive for you and your son. Wowzers on the resist card with the flowers…It sure is pretty!!!!! I am so glad that Penny Black invites you to create in their blog each week. Your stories and cards just can not be matched in any other blog I have read. hugs!!!

    • January 24, 2015 7:36 am

      oh, oh, oh…I forgot to add…I always look to see what your son Scott has to say…he is such a crack up!

  12. January 24, 2015 7:42 am

    Such a beautiful story, Judy. You are so kind & loving…your sin is lucky to have you as a mother. Love all your cards. Hugs.

  13. bdengler4 permalink
    January 24, 2015 7:52 am

    You’ve brought tears to my eyes this morning, Judy. You are such a special lady – I hope you realize that! Your son is so lucky to have you for his mom but I have a feeling he knows that already. Love all your cards so much but love you more! ♥

  14. jmhave44 permalink
    January 24, 2015 8:05 am

    Loved all these cards and the wonderful new stamps & dies. Adore that cute Hedgie on ANY stamp, but he’s particularly well suited to the Valentine themes I think. Your story was so heartwarming, thanks for sharing it. So thankful that your lovely son is getting to know his birth mother and realize how much she loved him, to be sure he grew up in a loving, safe home. And good for you, that you are willing to share your special boy with someone else, and not feel threatened by that. Each Mother has received a blessed gift, and is a special person to recognize the fact. Have a great day and pats to Cooper. TFS

  15. Donna Whitten permalink
    January 24, 2015 8:24 am

    Love your pretty cards, especially the last one! Loved your beautiful love story, thanks so much for sharing!

  16. barbara lassiter permalink
    January 24, 2015 8:55 am

    Your cards are fabulous as always and your “Love Story” tugs at my heart strings. Thanks for sharing. Happy Valentine’s to you!

  17. linda Baker permalink
    January 24, 2015 8:57 am

    Beautiful cards and thanks for sharing your “love” story. So touching.

  18. January 24, 2015 9:09 am

    As always, I was so pleased to read this entry today & look at the impressive array of cards you created. Your touching story brought tears to my eyes. Bless you for loving his precious life and being willing to share it with his birth mother. This really is the ultimate Valentine’s gift.

  19. Kathy Schmidlkofer permalink
    January 24, 2015 9:16 am

    Mom – simply beautiful! Of course the cards as always. But this gives me a chance to say how what a beautiful person you are – inside and out! Love you! Kathy

  20. January 24, 2015 10:18 am

    BEAUTIFUL CREATIONS & I HAVE TO SAY, WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY!!!! TRULY A STORY OF LOVE!!! GOD IS SO GOOD, ISN’T HE? I PRAY you & your family & extended family are BLESSED more than you are!!! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VALENTINES story you have shared with us!!!!!!!!! 😉 BLESSINGS!!!!!!

  21. January 24, 2015 10:38 am

    What a wonderful love story, Judy! Your son is blessed to have such an insightful mom like you. And, your cards are fabulous – love the distressed heart; it is so beautiful.

  22. Carol Mc permalink
    January 24, 2015 10:50 am

    Such a beautiful story. Brought tears to my eyes.
    Love your cards of course.

  23. Kathi permalink
    January 24, 2015 11:39 am

    Judy – what a wonderful story – and to have your kids take the time to comment, well, you have my respect! God works in mysterious ways – thank you for the beautiful cards you share with us, and the heartwarming stories and laughs that always seem to accompany them. This is why this blog is one of my favorites! OXOX

  24. Marilyn Valadez permalink
    January 24, 2015 12:46 pm

    You and your family are truly blessed, Judy. What a beautiful love story you chose to share with all of us that adore you. I too, love the comments from Scott! You have raised wonderful children!
    Your cards are so lovely and that picture of Cooper in the snow is delightful. We had 2 in. of snow here in N.M. and our 75 lb. Scooby who is very long-legged didn’t know at first what he was suppose to do in it, picking up one leg and then the other, so that photo of Cooper brought a chuckle through the tears. 🙂

  25. January 24, 2015 1:07 pm

    Tried to read this to my hubby–hard trying not to cry. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Judy. Such a blessing for everyone involved. Love seeing Cooper–what would he do with more snow?! Today it feels like Spring & Fritz is in heaven laying on the deck in the sun!

  26. January 24, 2015 1:08 pm

    Totally forgot to comment on your cards! Beautiful assortment! Love the die with the circle of hearts & your last card is right down my alley–elegant & classy!

  27. debbiew permalink
    January 24, 2015 2:17 pm

    All the cards are great. i especially like your “love letter” story. I know your son’s birth mother has loved all you sent. Your kids are very lucky to have such a special mother! Thanks for sharing.

  28. Maria permalink
    January 24, 2015 2:44 pm

    Hi Judy. Your cards are wonderful as are you ! Will look for some of the stamps and love the tree die. Your stories today made me warm at heart, your children are very lucky to have such a talented and lovely mother. Bless him, Cooper.What a trooper to go out and test the snow tihi ! Big Hug TFS Maria, UK

  29. January 24, 2015 3:00 pm

    Dear Judy — I am so touched by the “Love Letter” and photos that your shared with you son’s Birth Mom! That is one amazing gift and I’m sure something she will FOREVER Cherish…it also a wonderful act of kindness and LOVE and I’m sure it also made your son very proud! Bless your heart…that story made my day….YOu are one very special Lady…Hugs, Lisa

  30. January 24, 2015 4:31 pm

    As a ‘birth Mum’ I loved your story – mine also has a an happy ending in that I now know the family who adopted my (now adult) child – they are a wonderful family and I could not have picked better. God it truly good!
    Love your cards – as always!

    • judka permalink
      January 24, 2015 5:54 pm

      Maxine, thank you for sharing your story! I love happy endings.

  31. lindagrady permalink
    January 24, 2015 5:21 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story with us; your cards are awesome, too. This was/is a very special Valentines gift to your son and his birth mother. Gave me shivers reading it. Bless you!

  32. January 24, 2015 5:39 pm

    What a heartwarming story, Judy. You have been truly blessed and are a blessing to others. I love all your valentine’s. I’m sure glad Penny Black let’s you play with their stamps.

  33. January 24, 2015 5:45 pm

    Beautiful, compassionate story of generous love, Judy, writing through my tears. Perfect Valentine’s story! Such a blessing for each of your children to have you for their mother! The birth mother will forever cherish the love and kindness you graced upon her by your gift, and certainly she will know the love your son received. Your cards are beautiful as always, lovely distressing, colors, and details. Just took another look at the kitty shaker card and I’ve gone from tears to smiles now! Hugs!

  34. Julie permalink
    January 24, 2015 6:35 pm

    Tears in my eyes as I read, “I never remember which one.” Wish all adoptions were filled with so much love.
    My fav card was your tree w/ Enjoy–so pretty.

  35. January 24, 2015 10:54 pm

    I enjoyed reading your story about your adopted son so much that I read it to my husband. You express your love for your son and the gift given by his mother with such warmth and sincerity that I could feel the joy he brought your family. Thank you for sharing.

    Sent from my iPad


  36. Jan Castle permalink
    January 24, 2015 11:23 pm

    Touching story and absolutely the right attitude!!! Being adopted myself and meeting my birth mother at age 39 and learning the circumstances was an enriching experience from my end to learn my Birth Mother and Adoptive Mother were best friends in their youth…I truly feel blessed!
    TFS – a wonderful reminder to count our blessings!
    Jan Castle

  37. January 25, 2015 3:33 pm

    You are such wise and beautiful person Judy. Your LOVE story is so heart warming and positive – lucky, lucky boy to have had you as his adoptive Mum.
    Love your cards especially ‘Mimi’.

  38. dawnnz permalink
    January 26, 2015 1:07 am

    Thank you Judy for sharing your beautiful love story…. and yes there were a few tears welling as I read it… you have such a huge heart. Your cards are superb as usual… so beautiful

  39. January 26, 2015 3:49 am

    Thank you for sharing your incredible love story. You have touched my heart. Plus your fur baby is adorable! My Biscuit looks like that when it snows too. 🙂 TFS Hugs, Kristina

  40. alexandra s.m. permalink
    January 26, 2015 10:20 am

    I love your cards dear Judy! but today, I feel especially moved by your story!
    Thanks for sharing it!!

  41. January 26, 2015 7:07 pm

    Love the heart and the distress background

  42. January 26, 2015 7:30 pm

    Beautiful cards Judy! But today my favorite was your love story, you really touched my heart! Thanks for sharing it, Big hugs!

  43. January 27, 2015 10:01 am

    thank you for sharing your love story….you have an amazingly generous heart and an inspiration to many.

  44. Jan D., FL permalink
    January 27, 2015 1:23 pm

    What a sweet story…today was the first time I scrolled through this blog and your story brought tears to my eyes. If people would just show a little more love for each other, we could change the world. Thank you for sharing your talent and your heart.

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