Skip to content

Runs with Scissors… and her diploma!

April 11, 2015


Oh, sorry … didn’t hear you come in. I have been making graduation cards with “Pomp and Circumstances” playing loudly in the background. Who can hear that triumphant, yet nostalgic piece without thinking of graduation; so perfect for the end of one stage of life and the beginning of another.


Using the mini-set For the Grad, I stamped and embossed the mortarboard image onto the card base. The sentiment was framed with the Deco Frame diecut. I pop-dotted a few extra mortarboards to give the card some dimension. This card sports the cardinal red and white of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (coincidentally also the colors of the University of Alabama). This is a design that could be done in any school’s colors.


Indeed, the road to a diploma began with that first step. I masked off the center of the card base, applied distress inks and then over stamped and white embossed an image from the Sprigs transparent set. I added a butterfly cut with the Flicker and Flutter creative die. The butterfly is symbolic of the life changing event, graduation.


Here she is: Graduation Mimi. Diploma in hand, Pennants flying overhead; mission accomplished.   I’ve colored Mimi with Copics and cut the Pennants from designer paper. This classic woodblock stamp is one of my favorites.

As I’ve mentioned, I have been privileged to attend many graduation ceremonies in our family: high school, university, graduate school, law school. Each is a time of gratitude, excitement and celebration.

My favorite university graduation, however, is my own. As you might expect from someone who is known for running with scissors, my path to a college degree was not traditional, direct or timely. It took several attempts and a mere 39 years after high school graduation to finally walk across that stage for my college diploma. That’s right, I was 57 years old and in danger of becoming the oldest member of any graduating class, ever!

My first year of college was completed in the traditional first year out of high school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Instead of completing the next three years, I became engaged, left school to work for a year and then married and had my family.

Years later, I re-enrolled at the University of Wisconsin when my daughter was also a student there and some of my favorite memories are of her helping me enroll in my classes (pre computer enrollment) and doing our studying together at the library. I managed to complete one more year of credits when life intervened and once again, I left school to devote time and resources to the family.

One day at work I was sharing with a co-worker my disappointment with myself that I hadn’t finished college. Obviously, I had complained about this ad nauseum as my co-worker looked up and said, “Judy, you either have to go back to school and finish or quit talking about it.”

Wow! I guess that was what I needed! We were busy raising the last RWS child, who had two more years of high school before she would be going off to college, following in the footsteps of her siblings. I realized it was “now or never”. I needed to finish my degree before it was her turn, instead of mine.

And so I did. I knew it was only a personal goal, not one that would lead to a career change. At my age, I had too many years invested in retirement and a pension and a good salary to leave what I was doing. Concordia University of Wisconsin had a campus in Madison with evening classes and they accepted all prior credits I had earned.

I persevered even through my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, a son’s wedding (I missed the rehearsal dinner as I had an exam that night) and all the pressures and stresses of my work and personal life. I knew if I quit again, I would never go back.

Here’s my favorite page from the Commencement Program:


There are many occasions other than graduation that need to be celebrated.   Important milestones such as anniversaries, retirements, birthdays, promotions, new homes and significant achievements of any kind can be celebrated with hand made cards using Penny Black stamps, dies and designer papers. Here’s a few I made today.


I love being able to combine die cuts and designer paper to make a card. Here I’ve used the creative die set Tagged combined with the Flicker and Flutter butterfly and the sentiment from the Going Fortune creative die set. Look … no smudges!

A word of warning: I suggest not ingesting liquids while viewing the next two photos.


I wanted to use this sweet fairy image from the Missing You transparent set to convey a “dancing in the rain” celebration. After it was colored and mounted to the card base, I added a few wooden bird embellishments to add balance to the composition. Only when I walked away from it and looked at it again, did I realize I wasn’t conveying a “dancing in the rain” image. Can you see what went wrong?

It looked like the sweet fairy was looking up in surprise to see what the bird flying overhead had dropped onto her mushroom cap!! Oooops!!


Ahhh, yes. Clouds are much more appropriate for the dancing in the rain idea!

Sorry, Penny Black! No disrespect meant. 🙂


On a more serious note: I love a black and white color theme. This flower from the Come Rain or Shine transparent set has been embossed with silver and fussy cut. A few enamel dots in the center and then mounted along with the diecut sentiment from the Hooray creative die set. This could make a great graduation card, too, if done in the graduate’s school colors. Penny Black’s stamps and dies can be used in so many ways; male/female; casual/elegant and fun/serious.

Penny Black’s new releases Bring on the Happy and Time to Celebrate are just in time for making graduation and celebration cards for upcoming events. There are so many possible combinations of stamps, dies and designer papers.


Look who heard all about going back to school later in life. Hmmm, a degree in philosophy maybe?

I’ve cleaned up my messes, stowed the scissors and tossed the offending birds into the wastebasket. I am so happy you stopped by and I do hope to return with another Runs with Scissors. I’m not sure how Penny Black will react to my “bird overhead” design error. I do know that Mr. RWS noticed the mistake immediately… unfortunately with a mouthful of water. Hence, the warning about liquids.

Hi, Judy: Penny Black headquarters here… we believe there are no mistakes in stamping and your “bird overhead” design story had us smiling BIG! Keep on running with those scissors (and diploma) girl!!

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:

33 Comments leave one →
  1. debbieg2014 permalink
    April 11, 2015 12:11 am

    I love Cooper in glasses!

  2. April 11, 2015 12:16 am

    Congrats on recieving your diploma regardless of how long it took, your age or anything else. That is quite an accomplishment!!! Love the cards but I didn’t catch the significance of the birds overhead until you pointed it out. I liked the flying birds but the clouds are nice, too. Mr. Cooper looks quite dignified and a philosophy degree would be perfect for outlook on his world. He is a cutie. I always look forward to your Saturday posts to get my weekend started.

  3. rosemarie c permalink
    April 11, 2015 12:30 am

    Judy BIG Congratulations on getting that diploma! ! Absolutely love your blog posts. So glad they have a sense of humor at Penny Black corporate office. Keep the smiles and awesome cards ideas coming to my inbox.

  4. donna mikasa permalink
    April 11, 2015 1:16 am

    Judy! This was by far my most favorite RWS post! I love that your determination to get a degree paid off, big time! So proud of you! And what a good save with those clouds–thanks for the laugh!

  5. April 11, 2015 1:18 am

    Congratulations on receiving your diploma, a great achievement. Love the cards/

  6. Michelle Shackleton permalink
    April 11, 2015 2:07 am

    Well done Judy! I started a Uni degree whilst in my late thirties having not completed high school. What a job! I doubt many people appreciate how many obstacles you need to overcome as a mature-aged female student with a family.
    We also have a beautiful Bichon! Eleven year-old Miss Tilly. My constant companion and dearest friend. I show your photos of Cooper, much to their joy.
    I love reading your photos and posts. Keep up the brilliant job you do ;))))

  7. dawnnz permalink
    April 11, 2015 3:13 am

    what a hoot today Judy… all your cards are delightful, your story of getting your Diploma awesome and how intelligent does Cooper look! Thanks again for making my day with your superb posts.

  8. April 11, 2015 3:49 am

    Absolutely beautiful cards, and the distress ink background on the ‘single step’ card is probably the most vibrant and gorgeous I’ve seen. And LOVE your graduation story!

  9. Mary W permalink
    April 11, 2015 4:43 am


  10. quilterlin permalink
    April 11, 2015 5:38 am

    Now THAT is perseverance, my friend! Loved hearing your story, Judy! And, as always, loved seeing what you’ve been working on this week. Your communication degree has served you very well! Isn’t it strange where life takes us?

  11. Angelina permalink
    April 11, 2015 6:02 am

    You made my day Judy, one of the best posts! Congrats girl!!

  12. April 11, 2015 6:06 am

    BEAUTIFUL WORK JUDY! Now, your college degree wasn’t in “Creative Writing” would it be? 😉 ANOTHER FABULOUS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  13. bdengler4 permalink
    April 11, 2015 7:11 am

    Another delightful post from you today, Judy! Loved reading about your determination in getting your degree! Your cards are all fabulous too! ♥

  14. Kay Miller permalink
    April 11, 2015 7:14 am

    Judy your post are always so fun to read! Loved hearing about how you went back and got your diploma! Good for you! I laughed so hard about the card with the birds flying overhead! haha! But most of all WOW! on all of the gorgeous cards! Can’t decided which is my favorite they are all so wonderful!!

  15. April 11, 2015 7:41 am

    Another Saturday morning, more tears of laughter running down my cheeks. The birds card is priceless! Reminds me of a vacation we took in California. Eating at the Hog’s Breath Inn (outside, mind you)…you can imagine what happened to Butch’s meal. Too funny!!!
    Great graduation cards this week. Especially liking the masked off card with all those gorgeous blues! Huge kudos on finishing your degree. It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish…and you did. Your children were blessed to be raised by such a wonderful role model. hugs my friend, 🙂

  16. Sheri K permalink
    April 11, 2015 8:44 am

    Very beautiful and cute cards–love Cooper in glasses and nice story, congrats on your graduation! I’m so glad I did my college stint before marriage and children, and I’m celebrating 36 years in my field next month-and I still love it!

  17. April 11, 2015 9:18 am

    Honestly, the “bird dropping” card was cute no matter what. But, you’re right, the clouds so seem more appropriate. Love your cards almost as much as I love your perseverence in achieving your degree. That, my girl, makes you very special in my eyes. Kudos!

  18. Donna Whitten permalink
    April 11, 2015 9:59 am

    Wonderful cards! Love your post, I always look forward to them. Thanks for sharing, you are very inspiring.

  19. nancyljk permalink
    April 11, 2015 10:21 am

    Awesome post, Judy! You are such an inspiration, not just to me but apparently to Cooper as well! Thanks for sharing your cards and your amazing life!

  20. Linda S. in NE permalink
    April 11, 2015 12:41 pm

    Hi Judy, I must tell you how proud of you I am for not giving up on that college degree. As you now know, those years of turmoil were worth every moment to have that degree in hand. Even if people never “use” their college degree, the college experience is invaluable. As is Mr. Cooper!! Let me guess, is he working towards his “Vet” degree??

  21. barbara lassiter permalink
    April 11, 2015 1:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful and fun cards and for sharing your story. Congrats on receiving your degree…if nothing else, but for your own satisfaction and knowing you could accomplish this.

  22. L Haff permalink
    April 11, 2015 3:30 pm

    Hi Judy, I am so impressed a degree at age 57, Bravo!. Thanks for another great Saturday blog. As always your cards are wonderful.

  23. April 11, 2015 3:54 pm

    Good for you for following through with a dream. Loved reading the story and looking at your wonderful cards.

  24. alexandra s.m. permalink
    April 11, 2015 4:00 pm

    What an inspiration you are Judy! and I don’t mean just as an artist!
    I hope someday I can go back and finish (I quit for the same reasons as you did 😉
    You are a true force of nature and I want to thank You for sharing your story today!
    I love each and everyone of your cards. They will also inspire me as my DD#1 is graduating in May from McGill’s University.

    A special BIG Hug~

  25. April 11, 2015 4:11 pm

    I love your spunk, commentaries on life and crafting and overall wit and humor, Judy! 😄 The card with the fairy and little birds (first draft) made me LOL! I truly look forward to your blog posts every Saturday morning! The smiles propel me from the crazy week to an enjoyable weekend! TFS!

  26. mjmarmo permalink
    April 11, 2015 5:27 pm

    Congrats on your diploma!!

  27. Cindy C. permalink
    April 11, 2015 7:13 pm

    Congrats Judy on getting your diploma! Beautiful cards!!

  28. Marliese permalink
    April 12, 2015 4:50 am

    Another great post. Congratulations.

  29. April 12, 2015 10:25 am

    Fortunately I had just finished my coffee before reading your post! You made me laugh & cry, my friend. I had forgotten that you were in college at the same time as one of your kids & how much perseverance it took for you to get your diploma–so inspiring & heart-warming a post! Cooper looks ready for school, but I’m betting he may decide lounging at home is a better option for him as he has his “photo model” job well in hand!

  30. Maria permalink
    April 12, 2015 11:51 am

    Congratulations on getting the diploma ! As usual I love reading your post,
    it’s pretty much made my day to read and to see your beautiful Cooper being
    such a good student too 🙂
    Fabulous cards !
    Take care x

  31. Dianne Crowe permalink
    April 13, 2015 3:42 am

    Wonderful cards today Judy. I did have to take a second look at your dancing in the rain card with the birds. Cooper is quite impressive with his glasses and he really looks like he is ready to go to school. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us.

  32. April 13, 2015 4:29 am

    Fantastic cards. Congratulations for sticking with it and getting your diploma. I love the birds – thanks for the giggle.

  33. August 16, 2015 8:48 pm

    So the cards…congrats!

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: