Welcome back, Judy!
I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaack!! And where have I been? What have I been doing? How did I spend my summer vacation? Did I get lost? Was I kidnapped? Did I get hit on the head by falling craft items and suffer from amnesia? Did I get on the bus and travel West? Did I get locked in at the Penny Black studio? Did I spend all my money at the craft store and have no way to get home?
It’s been two months since I have invaded visited the Penny Black studio and to say I’ve missed my visits is a huge understatement. I sorely missed having a place to share my excitement and enthusiasm for Penny Black stamps and dies. Equally, I have missed having a place to tell my stories and the opportunity to spend time with other Penny Black fans. I was pleased to see in your comments that some of you were missing me, too.
Thankfully, I have not been absent due to illness or injury this summer. Our family did experience a string of surgeries this past spring, some pretty serious, but all with happy endings.
I was very excited to see that Micheline “Mimi” Jourdain has joined the Penny Black family as a designer. She creates amazing art with the Penny Black stamps and has demonstrated a new level of what can be achieved with stamps, inks, and watercolors. Mimi’s talent and Penny Black stamps are a perfect combination! (Don’t you love it that Penny Black now has a REAL LIVE Mimi!)
Time to share a few cards I’ve made using stamps and dies from earlier releases. That’s what I get for staying home instead of trekking to the Penny Black studio for access to the new release! Actually, I’ve enjoyed using these favorites again and they were happy to spend some time out of the closet where I’d packed them away.
That large intricate die Stellar is a favorite of mine for adding texture and serving as a background. Here I’ve cut it from the same silver paper as the card base and added a double layer of the Flights of Fancy bird. I’ve placed the sentiment on vellum, allowing it to be noticed more easily.
Many of the Penny Black “nature” stamps make perfect Christmas stamps when used as the background for Christmas sentiments and images. I originally stamped the Etched Branches stamp on my silver paper, but while it looked lovely in person, the photos were a bit drab. So I redid it, using white cardstock for the base and adding a silvery snowflake. Once again, the vellum allowed the placing of a sentiment among the branches.
Here I mixed the elegant Stellar die with the cute mouse image from the Jolly Friends transparent set. The red, white and touch of green color combination just says “Christmas”! I love mixing up the different styles of Penny Black stamps and dies. The large variety of options suits my Gemini personality (translated sometimes as easily distracted or bored, prone to leaving projects unfinished).
So how did I spend my “summer vacation”?
I traveled to Milwaukee to spend time caring for grandson Jack who at the age of 7 months underwent some pretty serious surgery. He came through it like a little champ and amazed the medical folks with his recuperative powers and lack of negative side effects. However, he needed time at home to heal before returning to daycare. Mom and Dad invited me to care for Jack for his last week of recuperation at home. What an incredible baby he is! He had every right to be grumpy, whiny, angry and way off his normal schedule. Not baby Jack! We had an amazing time together during the day and added big sister Evelyn to the fun when she came home from daycare in the evening.
Traveling means airports. I have had to accept that financial rules are suspended once you enter an airport. From the $50 fee to fly a suitcase round trip to the prices for snacks and beverages, airports have their own economy, which is thriving. I have been known in the past to carry a ham sandwich or two with me when I travel, but my kids were so embarrassed to learn their mother did such a thing, that I have changed my ways and put myself at the mercy of the food vendors. (My kids must think I wear a signboard at all times listing their names and their relationship to me).
During my Charlotte, SC layover, I ordered lunch from a vendor featuring Southern cuisine, meaning sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese and fried chicken. For $8.95 I could have two pieces of chicken along with two side dishes. I turned down the side dishes and asked for the two pieces of chicken only. “That will be $9.95” the server said. I questioned why I would pay more when I was turning down the sides. Well, she explained, individual pieces of chicken were $5.00 each. Seeing my dismay, she offered me an alternative: their price for three pieces of chicken with no sides was $7.95. Truly, this proved to me that financial rules are suspended in an airport.
The Woodland Wonder stamp embossed in white on silver paper creates a perfect background for the little deer from the Together die set. This is a card that could easily be made assembly line fashion if you prefer to send everyone the same Christmas card. (As a Gemini, I don’t do that) I noticed at one point in my card making for this post that I had made six cards using that silver paper. The paper was a recent purchase and I didn’t realize how enthusiastic I was about it until I noticed so many cards in a row were based on silver cardstock. As I mentioned earlier, I redid one of them onto white cardstock. I then set aside a few for another time.
I was happy to take down and dust off the container of embossing folders to use on this card. At one point in my crafting journey I deemed it necessary to purchase every new embossing folder that came onto the market. They don’t get used very much anymore, but I did find a spider web folder and added texture to the green cardstock with it. The little spider web and sentiment stamps are from the transparent set Spooky Spheres and the little witch mouse is from Halloween Critters.
Inspired by Mimi to do more watercoloring, I used my Koi watercolors to paint this image from the cling stamp Pumpkins. I added a bit of diecut fence, a black sentiment and black dots for more details. Oh how I wanted to do a full scale, all out watercolored background a la Mimi. But I was pleased with what I had done and knew my skills with watercoloring backgrounds need serious improvement. It was better to quit while I was still ahead.
Evelyn and baby Jack had adventures with Mom and Dad this summer, one of them being a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair.
The highlight of a visit to the fair is enjoying the incredible, enormous, mouth watering cream puffs. In this photo, Evelyn is displaying her approval of this Wisconsin treat.
Cooper loved sharing in the Christmas fun on the Penny Black blog this summer. I think he has dreams of a modeling career. How he got onto the blog without me, I will never know. Oh, and that giveaway he conducted … will come right out of his allowance.
Other than being featured on the Penny Black blog, Cooper’s summer has not been much fun. Along with the humans in our family enduring unpleasant diagnoses and surgery, Cooper was diagnosed with a partial tear in his ACL (CCL really in dogs). Finally diagnosing the reason why Cooper was walking on only three legs took several trips to the veterinarian’s office (and the bank), including one visit involving sedation, x-rays and leg manipulation. For a partial tear in a smaller dog there is a choice between surgery or a several month period of medication and severely decreased activity. Due to commitments previously on our calendar and the vets’, surgery had been delayed until October. In the meantime, Cooper has been on very limited activity. He goes outside only on a leash to potty; no playing with toys, no tug of war with his blanket. We have seen enough improvement in his leg to cancel the surgery and have chosen to continue with limited activity and the anti inflammatory meds for another month or so. We know he is no longer in pain as his cheerful disposition has returned. That is, until he goes to where his toy basket used to be and looks at us every so sadly. The downside to the inactivity is that weight loss is almost impossible, another component to his total healing.
Oh, my … time is up for this visit! And I haven’t even told you about the can of Spam and the TSA or the crying driveway and the visit from the big bad bulldozer. Not to mention that I learned I don’t always play well with others! That will all have to wait until next time.
I’ve stowed the scissors, cleaned up my mess and put the silver paper away where hopefully I will forget about it for awhile.
Needless to say, I am glad to be back! My life is happier when I am running with scissors. I love it when you share your work in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery. I will be looking there for your Fall and Holiday cards.
Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:
- Stamps: 40-340 Etched Branches, 30-040 The Wonder, 30-158 Jolly Friends, 40-356 Woodland Wonder, 30-249 Spooky Spheres, 30-185 Halloween Critters, 40-145 Pumpkins
- Creative Dies: 51-138 Flights of Fancy, 51-078 Stellar, 51-067 World of Wishes, 51-066 Crystal Trio, 51-069 Together, 51-060 Exultations, 51-109 Many Thanks
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