Skip to content

Runs with Scissors… and Spam!

September 26, 2015


Hello. I am so happy to be with you again on the Penny Black blog. It is such a beautiful autumn day today that I decided the best way to get here was to walk. While on the way I saw the month of September whiz by! October is waiting in the wings. The windows are open here at the Penny Black blog and there is a wonderful breeze blowing the curtains, scattering glitter and paper scraps everywhere. I love this time of the year. It is that short period in Alabama between turning off the air conditioning and turning on the heat pump. Here on the blog it is the time to work on holiday-themed cards.


Holly Concert is a woodblock stamp, my favorite kind of stamp because they feel so permanent and collectible. These birds on a holly branch are fun to color, but this time I embossed with silver embossing powder, adding a touch of lavender to the berries. In my mind’s eye, I can also see silver birds with red holly berries, mounted on red and silver cardstock. It’s a bonus when one card gives you a good idea for the next one.


These cutie hedgies from the transparent set Best Day Ever are having a great time jingling all the way. I just colored them with Copics and fussy cut them so they could each have a square of their own. I am a big fan of the large Christmas sentiment dies; they add so much to a card. And hedgies make me smile.


A kraft and black color combination always catches my eye. Here I’ve created a textured background using the Frame and Pattern die set. I die cut two of the Branching Out trees, in gold and black card stock. I offset them just a bit when I layered them to create some depth. That tree die can be the focal point on cards for so many occasions.

When last we met I was waxing eloquently about the financial hazards of spending time (and money) in an airport. Well, there is more to airport challenges than money. The first major hurdle is clearance by the people and machines that make up the TSA and security checkpoints.

How, you say, can a woman of my age get in trouble going through Security? How could I be a threat to this great nation? Or the plane, or the passengers, or the airline staff?

I have traveled enough that I don’t even slow down the line when going through Security. I place my IPad in a separate plastic bin; take off my shoes and jacket and put them in a bin with my purse. I remember to put my makeup in a clear plastic bag and toss it onto the pile. I then send my carry on bag through.

I know to walk through the scanner, feet apart, hands held over my head (someday this will become impossible, I’m sure) and wait politely for the TSA person to beckon me on my way. Well, on my last trip as I stood at the conveyor waiting for my carry on to come rolling back to me, I noticed it was being pulled back for another scan. I was hoping that the TSA personnel now hovering over the x-ray screen were just discussing how cute my zebra striped bag was. But, no … I was asked to step aside please to the little table where I was reunited with my carry on.

I knew immediately what the problem was. I told the blue-gloved lady that I could explain what they were seeing. She was having none of that and had to see for herself. She unzipped my bag which consisted of several compartments inside. As quietly as I could I explained to her that the object they were worried about was a can of Spam. Well, I think she would have believed plastic explosives more readily! She looked at me quite oddly and proceeded to check the compartments.   There is a strict rule about not being allowed to touch your bag while they search (ok, so one time I had some paper punches in my carry on which those non crafty TSA people didn’t recognize as benign).

So I verbally guided her to the offending container. There it was, visible as soon as you removed the Ritz crackers covering it. I’m sure the TSA lady has never profaned her lips with Spam. She looked at it as if it was a nest of cockroaches hiding under the crackers. Bravely, she picked the can up with her blue hand and held it above her head and in a not-so-quiet voice said, “I would starve before I would eat this stuff.”

It is embarrassing enough to have your baggage singled out for searching without having it announced to the entire population of the airport that I was guilty of transporting Spam. She asked me what I was going to do with it. By that time I was so mortified I could not think of a good comeback (but I’m sure there are a few) and confessed I would be having Spam and crackers for lunches while staying at my son and his wife’s home. I was going to be watching baby Jack for a week and wanted quick and easy lunches. She didn’t seem interested in my telling her the crackers were the peppery ones and combined with the Spam reminded one of the Spam rolls I bake at Christmas. Thankfully, she returned the Spam to its nesting place in my bag and I was allowed to go on my way.

Well, almost as embarrassing as the experience in the Security line, was the telling of the story to my adult kids. They think carrying my own ham sandwiches when traveling is an embarrassment, so imagine their reaction to my bringing Spam for lunches at their house. I didn’t mention the sandwich board I wear while traveling with all their names and their relationship to me. Hmmm, maybe I should add their photos. Serve them right.


The Gothic Gate die is a great way to add interest to your Christmas cards. Opened or closed, it draws attention to your main image. Love this cutie pup from the Jolly Critters set who is admiring his Christmas stocking and guarding his Tiffany-wrapped package. Just like Cooper, this fellow enjoys Christmas, especially if there are treats in his stocking.


Who doesn’t love penguins? The snowman-making, tuxedo-wearing penguins from the transparent set Mimi’s Christmas have had a fun day playing in the snow. I’ve framed the image with more of my silver paper, adding a diecut sentiment and a few black dots just for fun. If I hadn’t been so enamored with my new silver paper, I might have considered other colors for the theme of this card, too: red or green come to mind.


I felt like Frankenstein when I altered this image from the slapstick set Victorian Homes. The house image was taller than I wanted for my design, so I separated the roof from the house and trimmed things up a bit. I also trimmed some steps and sidewalk from the bottom. I masked off a circle before I created the background with Distress inks. Those black bats flying by are, to my amazement, hand drawn. I was delighted to use the Victorian Homes stamp again; in its altered state it is a great Halloween image.


The idea of using the Holly Concert stamp with a red, white and silver theme just wouldn’t leave my head. So I’ve added it here, proving that any traditional or non traditional Christmas color will work with this stamp. There, I feel much better.


Here is Cooper, fresh from the groomers and reunited with his toys which we had put away for many weeks. Cooper needed to be inactive for awhile and he does not cuddle or sleep with his toys. He is all boy and wants to play fetch and tug of war with them.

Cooper has suffered a torn ligament in his back right leg (ACL in humans, CCL in dogs). For almost two months we have managed his condition with severe reduction in activity, medications and an attempt at weight loss. After a couple of weeks of this routine he was again walking on all four legs. We were so hopeful that the leg had healed and were even thinking of canceling his scheduled surgery. Sadly, we came home on a recent Sunday to find him once again holding the injured leg up and in obvious pain. This convinced us that surgery was indeed called for. It has been scheduled for October 13 and involves an overnight at the vet hospital and then weeks being crated almost 24/7 to allow for healing. It is breaking my heart to even talk about it. Cooper, Mr. RWS, and I will appreciate your good thoughts and encouragement.

That autumn wind has stirred up things a bit here at Penny Black. I’ve run the vacuum, wiped down the countertops and put away the stamps and inks. The scissors are locked up until next time. I will be checking the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery for your holiday and seasonal creations. Your work always amazes me.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black Supplies:

37 Comments leave one →
  1. knurse22 permalink
    September 26, 2015 4:13 am

    Love starting my Saturday laughing heartily as I read about your escapades, Judy. Having also been on the ‘hit list’ by a grumpy TSA lady who didn’t find my teeny little container of pickles funny in the least, I felt your pain! But Spam? Bleh! Tee here,
    Such cute cards today…..I love how you can use these stamps in unexpected ways.
    Will keep Cooper (and you) in my thoughts—-sending a wish for a successful surgery, speedy recovery, and a peppy little Cooper at the end of it all! Hugs!

  2. Linda Page permalink
    September 26, 2015 4:24 am

    It is so good to have you back on Saturdays!! I missed your posts so much. Saturdays just aren’t the same without you. Personally, I think you have to be a rude person to begin with to be hired by TSA!!! Obviously she doesn’t understand about Southerner’s and Spam!! I loved the victorian house card. I would never have thought to make it spooky but it is cute. So sad that Cooper must have surgery. I will keep good thoughts about him and pray for all to be successful. He is such a cutie. Good wishes daily!

  3. Sue C permalink
    September 26, 2015 4:52 am

    I’m so glad you are back on Saturdays. It’s a great way to start my computer time. I thought your Spam story was funny, but know from my own TSA experiences it’s not funny when it is happening to you. I feel badly for Cooper. I hope the surgery goes well and his recovery time passes quickly.

  4. Marliese permalink
    September 26, 2015 5:10 am

    Great to have you back on Saturdays. I’ve also had an encounter with TSA. I don’t know what I enjoy more, your commentary or your beautiful cards. I never would have thought of separating the roof from the house! I’ll have to try it. As a matter of fact, there are so many things I have to try after looking at your cards. So sorry to hear about Cooper. I pray his surgery will be successful.

  5. Dena permalink
    September 26, 2015 5:22 am

    Loved reading your TSA story this morning. All of us that travel can relate.
    My little Havanese had the same surgery as your Cooper is going to be having. Yes, it is hard to see our fur-babies crated during the recovery. The surgery worked out terrifically for our little gal, she was back running and playing within three months. Wishing you all the best.

  6. Sheri permalink
    September 26, 2015 6:08 am

    Oh, poor Cooper! I am wishing for a speedy recovery, even though so difficult for him to understand. He knows how much he is loved. I see extra cuddle time on the horizon 😉

  7. mjmarmo permalink
    September 26, 2015 6:34 am

    I love the Spam story! I will have to remember the sandwich board for broadcasting to my adult children as well. Good luck to Cooper. Surgery is not easy with our pets.

  8. Bonnie Kasper permalink
    September 26, 2015 6:47 am

    Every week I look forward to your art and your sharing of personal family stories. You are an asset to Penny Black. Thanks.

  9. Jan D., FL permalink
    September 26, 2015 6:52 am

    Okay…now I’m laughing my behind off at your story. Before retiring, I practically lived in airports all around the country and out of the country when on vacation. I used to say, “all my friends live in the airports”….you know like that Tom Hanks movie. Once a young lady who worked one of the ticket counters who came to know me pretty well said to me…”Mrs. Douglas, you’re here more than I am and I work here.” Awww, you made me think back on some pretty funny things I saw in airports…maybe you were one of them with your spam and I just didn’t know you. LOL Just kidding. Hey, didn’t know you were from Alabama either. We lived there for many, many years before coming to Florida in 1983…still have family there….B’ham and Mobile. Anyway….thanks for the good chuckle this morning. Bless Cooper, too….I think he’s a doll.

  10. Kay Miller permalink
    September 26, 2015 7:03 am

    Oh I laughed right out loud over the Spam story!! That is hilarious!! Your cards are all amazing! I don’t know how you do so many each week! So sorry that Cooper is going to have to have surgery. I will for sure keep all of you in my thoughts! 🙂

  11. Mary Holshouser permalink
    September 26, 2015 7:12 am

    Love the spam story. My husband loved the stuff. I wouldn’t touch it.
    to each his own.
    thanks for sharing.

  12. September 26, 2015 7:22 am

    Gorgeous cards! I loved your story. For the record, I like Spam too! I like to fry it up and make a sandwich. Or (re)chop it up and add sweet pickles and mayo as a form of ham salad. I have to remember to tell people that it’s ham salad or they won’t eat it and they would miss a treat!

  13. bdengler4 permalink
    September 26, 2015 9:07 am

    Oh, my goodness, I love your stories, Judy! And the best ones always seem to come from the airport! Love each and every one of your cards today too! Wonderful work, my friend! Poor Cooper! I was really hoping he wouldn’t need surgery. I’ll be thinking about all of you and sending some prayers. Love and hugs to you! ♥

  14. Kathy H permalink
    September 26, 2015 9:20 am

    Hilarious airport story! My best to Cooper. Sending good wishes his way!

  15. September 26, 2015 9:40 am

    It goes without saying how delightful your cards are.You always do such an amazing job on them. Really impressed with how you made the Victorian house fit into your Halloween scene, hand-drawn bats included. WOW! The spam story made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself (TMI???). Tell your children that their names are NOT tattooed on your forhead and that, since you were taking care of their child, they should shut their mouths and be grateful that you were willing travel, at all. Hilarious though the story is, it does make me wonder about TSA agents. Will send all the healing thoughts and prayers for Cooper’s quick and easy recovery, bless his pure little heart.

  16. Sheri K permalink
    September 26, 2015 9:48 am

    I too wear that sandwich board, just to embarrass my children, who have deemed me “crazy!” Humph! Just fun, is what I say. Hugs to Cooper, hope his surgery goes well. Our animals are part of the family and we care for them just like humans! Love your cards!

  17. Cindy Kight permalink
    September 26, 2015 10:30 am

    Praying for Cooper. Many years ago we had a golden retriever that had hip surgery at six months old and required complete confinement for the first four weeks after surgery. We pushed him from room to room inside his kennel, and carried the kennel outside when he needed to go. From his kennel to his potty spot, we had to lift his back end with a towel under his tummy, only allowing weight on his front feet. It was all a big game to him. He healed up just fine and never had a problem with that hip.
    Thank you for the beautiful cards, and for sharing Cooper.

  18. Kary permalink
    September 26, 2015 11:01 am

    My furkid, Riley, had her torn ACL repaired just Labor Day weekend 2014. Yes – it was hard restricting her activities and getting her to take her pain medication – be ready with cheese, peanut butter, crushed treats,etc. to disguise it! Maybe time to see if Cooper likes spam too! I’m happy to report that after getting her through rehab she is as good as new. Riley and I will be keeping Cooper in our prayers. Thank you for all your stamping inspirations! I always look forward to your emails.

  19. Lynn G. permalink
    September 26, 2015 11:27 am

    I like spam !! I have had encounters with the security people at the airports as well – sigh .
    Poor Cooper – hope he is soon mended .
    Thanks for sharing your talents and humour .

  20. barbara lassiter permalink
    September 26, 2015 1:23 pm

    Love your cards. Thanks for the great inspiration. The Spam story is too cute. I’m surprised they let you keep the Spam, but than again whoever heard of hi-jacking a plane with a can of Spam. Sorry for Cooper’s problems….wishing they are soon mended!

  21. Virginia L. permalink
    September 26, 2015 1:58 pm

    Airport security people are well known for their bluntness/rudeness! Oh my, thanks for the smile, Judy! Happy to see your back on PB blog. Your beautiful cards put me in the winter wonderland already. I shall keep Cooper in my thoughts and prayers!

  22. Shirley permalink
    September 26, 2015 4:14 pm

    I loved your story it made me laugh so much! I have travelled with tea bags, coffee (a problem these days apparently people use it to ‘hide’ things, breakfast cereal (that upset them a good deal) and often my own coffee mug which amuses my husband a lot. (no one elses is quite ‘right’ I feel I can announce that on here! my adult children are just as embarassed as yours. I like the sandwich board idea, we should all adopt something similar for everyday life!!

  23. clebel77 permalink
    September 26, 2015 5:29 pm

    So sorry to hear about Cooper’s pending surgery. I will keep you and Cooper in my thoughts. I love all the beautiful cards. Just lovely. Glad you are back.

  24. September 26, 2015 5:53 pm

    Oh poor Cooper! I’m so sorry he has to have the surgery. We went through that with Keesha–not fun, but she did come through it well & walked on all 4 the rest of her life. I did have a heart attack every time she held up a leg, thinking she had hurt it again. By the way, we didn’t do the expensive state of the art surgery, but opted for the older one. I almost missed your last 4 cards as I was laughing so hard reading your airport story! I’m about to fly to my sister’s, so I’ll be sure not to pack any Spam! Beautiful work, Judy–love the 2 versions with the birds!

  25. September 26, 2015 6:59 pm

    First let me say your cards are all beautiful and its wonderful to have you back and fully active. Second love the airport and the spam, probably lucky you couldnt think of anything witty, they probably would have punished you with a strip search. I’m always amazed that everytime I fly and I mean everytime as I go through security I get pulled aside and my bags and I are tested for drugs or explosive residue. I have always thought of myself as a rather harmless looking creature but I must be on someones list to be watched. There are definetly times I really wonder what they gope to find!!! Lastly be brave, the surgery will go well and it will be the best thing you could have done. He will handle what has to be done, even though he may sulk. My son and DIL have two daushounds, one broke his back and the corrective surgery apart from being astronomical held no guarantees. They went with acupuncture and life in a cage for a couple of months, only out for toilet time. He is now fully recovered and running around the backyard everyday. Amazing to see.

  26. alexandra s.m. permalink
    September 26, 2015 9:12 pm

    Thank You for making us laugh while inspiring us!!
    You are a wonderful story teller and an inspiring card maker Judy!
    Lucky to have You!!

  27. dawnnz permalink
    September 26, 2015 10:28 pm

    Had such a giggle with your post today Judy… Spam indeed! Love all your cards today. The purple birds and the red birds look stunning. Sending healing thoughts for Cooper and his up coming surgery and recovery.

  28. DAnn C permalink
    September 27, 2015 4:15 pm

    I always look forward to your posts as I often get a good chuckle, but this one got a good round of belly laughs and I kept hearing Monty Python’s SPAM chorus playing in the background! : ) Glad you have a good sense of humor to share the ‘fun’! Thanks for all the giggles and inspiration!

  29. Christine Kosmak permalink
    September 27, 2015 5:41 pm

    I love reading your stories and actually save them so I can re-read at a later date for some laughs and cheering up when I need it! So sorry to hear about Cooper, although he will be better after surgery and healing, but probably a pain while being cooped up and not allowed to run around! Give him a big cuddle from me please, he’s such a cutie! Also sending prayers he has a full recovery!

  30. Kristina CraftyPaws permalink
    September 28, 2015 3:18 am

    Sending prayers and hugs for Cooper. Our Biscuit (mini poodle) who has been on steroids for over a year now had gained a lot of weight (less mini, more maxi) and was struggling to get up and down stairs (we have a lot and I was starting to carry her and we were crating her every time we left the house without her). She’s been on a diet the last month (I weigh all her food and limit it) and is already so much better and walking stairs better. Like for humans obesity is such a handicap for our fur babies. Praying for Cooper.

  31. Anne Lewis permalink
    September 29, 2015 12:17 am

    My Maggie had to have surgery on her right leg a few years ago,in fact two surgeries, and everything turned out wonderful. She is like a new pup. She is a 5 year old Boston terrier . I.wish Cooper well. He will be in my prayers. Love all your cards.

  32. Linda F permalink
    September 29, 2015 3:00 am

    Judy – loved the Spam story – very giggle worthy. But I’m so sorry to hear about Cooper. He should heal well and be doing tug o war with his toys soon. It is a pain when you need to keep them cooped up and keep movement to a minimum. At least you don’t live in a two storey house and have to carry a 30 kilogram dog up and down to do their business – especially when they want to do it at 3 in the morning. I actually had to take time off work to look after our pooch. That’s when you find out how accommodating and understanding your boss is.

  33. debbie p permalink
    October 2, 2015 3:22 pm

    Love your cards this week, but seriously, did you have to make so many? Makes me feel a bit like a slacker! Your airport story is very timely, as we just returned from a trip to Michigan from Hawaii. Luckily we didn’t encounter any TSA tuff guys. I was packing some brads and rivets I picked up at Hobby Lobby and was sure I would be questioned about them. It was a great trip but, as always, so good to be back home. We missed the daily routine with our border collie. Our doggie is our baby so to be away for a week was worrisome. Hope all goes well with Cooper and his surgery. Looking forward to the next weeks post…

  34. October 3, 2015 12:11 am

    Thanks for the inspiration Judy….hope all goes well for Cooper!!!
    Paper Hugs,

  35. debbieg2014 permalink
    October 6, 2015 11:36 pm

    your posts are so inspiring. I look forward to seeing what Cooper is up to and I’m so sorry to learn about his leg. we have a little bichon who is 14 years old and she’s doing great; when we’ve had to treat her for something it just breaks our hearts when she has to be limited and doesn’t understand. they’re such a sweet personality. All of you will be in our prayers and sending good wishes to Cooper.

  36. artsichick permalink
    October 7, 2015 9:05 pm

    Oh…I’m sorry for little Cooper…I wish him a safe and speedy recovery. He’s adorable. Hoping to see him happy and running in no time! Cheers, Rocio

  37. November 29, 2015 11:24 am

    Sorry I’m so late to see this post. I’m sure you won’t even see this comment, but I just had to thank you for the laugh. I had one of those embarrassing pull aside moments because of an odd shaped mini flashlight one time. LOL! I didn’t even know you could get through with make-up, much less a can of SPAM! LOL!! I thought I had to put all of my make-up in my checked bag along with the tooth paste, etc. So, anyway, thanks to the gov’t and the TSA I have just totally stopped flying. I used to love to travel but now if I can’t get there by car, I ain’t goin’. Always love your cards and your stories!!!!

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: