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Runs with scissors… and away from cockroaches!

November 28, 2015


Greetings! I am happy to be back; from Atlanta and to the Penny Black blog. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday for our family. Mr. RWS, Cooper and I traveled to the Atlanta area to join son John and his family and daughter Kathy who flew in from Minneapolis. Son John and daughter-in-law Sue are superb cooks and the Thanksgiving dinner was outstanding. We so enjoyed the company of our teen grandchildren, Lauren and Andrew. We were joined by two other families, reminding me of the days our entire family could be together on holidays.

With Thanksgiving behind us, it is now onward toward Christmas. Once again I’ve been making good use of the amazing assortment of Penny Black dies, stamps and papers here at the studio.


There is a beautiful assortment of sentiments in the transparent set Season’s Gifts and I wanted very much to feature some of them on my cards.   This card also enabled me to use some Penny Black designer paper from the Holiday Trimmings paper pack. The red and white color scheme reminds me of yummy candy canes.


Oh, how I have admired and been inspired by the beautiful watercolor backgrounds created by Jill Foster and the Penny Black designers. I was determined to keep trying and this is a background that I made using Jill’s technique of placing water on the paper and adding color from the brush, letting the color find its own way. This reminds me of a bright and sunny winter day, snow falling hard where snow has fallen previously. The die In the Winter was used for the trees. Again, this die is one that can be used year around. A tree theme for a card works for so many occasions.


It all began with stamping the Letter Background onto my card base and building from there. I embossed the tree from the Joy to All transparent set, decorated it with stockings from the Twinkle and Wish set along with golden birds from The Gathering. I’m not sure you can have too much gold on a Christmas card, but this may be close.

When I was taking out my watercolors to create backgrounds, I realized that watercoloring had become a fear for me. Perhaps it’s all about fear of failure. I finally realized that a watercolor background is allowed and encouraged to be what happens for you when you take brush and paint to water.

While on the subject of fear, I will share with you that “these are a few of my fearfullest things” (with apologies to Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music):

I will begin with a creature I’d never heard of before that mainly hangs out in the southern part of the United States. It goes by several names: wood roach, palmetto bug or tree roach. It is a cockroach on steroids!


See what I mean? It is at least two inches long with antennae as long as its body. My first encounter with this horror was when taking a towel out of my linen closet and one dropped onto the floor. We later encountered them behind the toaster and marching boldly down the hall to the bedrooms. After learning they are not the type to infest but only seek warmth for short periods, we put borax powder around the border of the house and in places where we had spotted them. They were gone within a week and thankfully, haven’t been seen since.

As I was Googling “photos of wood roach”, Mr. RWS happened by and inquired what I was doing.   I told him I was looking for a cute photo of a wood roach so I wouldn’t upset everyone with a regular photo.   After much searching I realized there is no such thing as a cute photo of any form of cockroach.


This is why we left Wisconsin. My fear of snowy roads had become a bit irrational and was preventing me from driving to work on snowy days. When I found myself staying home if snow was even in the forecast, I sought help from a therapist who used hypnosis to enable me to drive in snow again.


Every trip to visit the family in Atlanta starts with anxiety over driving in Atlanta traffic. Most of our route is by way of lovely scenic roads passing through a few small communities. The closer we get to Atlanta the worse the traffic and the higher the anxiety level. We must travel at least 20 miles on the crowded interstate in order to avoid at least ten miles of stop and go traffic on city streets. We always time our coming and going to occur during very early morning hours or Sundays. We left our home at 4:00 am on Thanksgiving day and had very little traffic.


Perhaps it’s because of experiences as a child, but I dread a visit to the dentist. Sadly, I postpone preventative procedures and then pay the consequences when I finally work up the courage to go.

I don’t know if any of these fears is worse than any other, but I will say this: I would rather drive all the way to Atlanta on the snowy interstate with a toothache than meet up with those wood roaches in my linen closet again!


From gold to silver; one of the reasons Christmas cards are so fun to make. This Regal Reindeer is even more regal when using a monochromatic silver theme. Easy enough to do in quantity for everyone on your list, as it is simple embossing.


Here I have used the same transparent set Regal Reindeer but added a mat of designer paper from the Holiday Trimmings paper pad. Again, this would be easily produced in quantity. I plan on keeping this set handy all year around for winter or masculine cards for birthdays, thinking of you, get well and others.


Once I had the paints out and the watercolor paper, I created another background, this time for the Berry Branches diecuts. The design gave me another opportunity to feature another of the lovely sentiments in the Season’s Gifts transparent set.

Our grandson Jack Lincoln celebrated his first birthday recently. How quickly that year has passed. If there is such a thing as a perfect baby, Jack qualifies.


And two and a half year old Evelyn made her first visit to the dentist and thought it was a great place to be. She is an amazing big sister to Jack.


Cooper is not a good traveler. He suffers from car sickness and we usually board him when we travel to Atlanta. This time there was “no room at the inn” for Cooper and he made the trip. This is Cooper with Spencer, the Atlanta family’s dog. When I calculated what relationship Cooper was to Spencer, I decided he was Spencer’s uncle. When John and Sue and the kids were choosing a name for Spencer, Cooper was one of the alternate names they considered. We liked it so much we chose it for our dog.


Another fear I have is of wearing out my welcome at the Penny Black blog. It’s time for me to pack up the stamps, dies and papers; wash out the paint brushes; clean up the scraps that find their way to the floor and of course, to stow the scissors. I hope you have forgiven me for that ugly cockroach photo, but you know what they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. As always, I look forward to seeing your Penny Black creations in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:

20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2015 12:32 am

    What a wonderful collection of cards Judy. All so beautiful and then finishing off with some lovely photos of family and Cooper. Cockroach doesnt look too bad either. Dont know if your’ve ever been to Australia but Sydney has cockroaches galore. Mini German cockroaches right up to huge flying roaches. I got the shock of my life when I moved here from a colder climate where they dont survive.

  2. knurse22 permalink
    November 28, 2015 4:12 am

    Another great start to my Saturday morning, Judy, with your lovely cards and stories—-minus the cockroach, of course! When DH and I were considering buying two smaller homes in retirement, southern cockroaches were the deciding factor! Ugh-est! We built our home here in PA! Cooper looks wonderful! And happy to hear that your family Thanksgiving was a treat!

  3. Sue CD permalink
    November 28, 2015 4:46 am

    Lovely cards. My mom lived in Atlanta for about twenty years and that traffic is a nightmare. More lanes on a freeway than I have ever driven any where else. She had many buggy pests I had never encountered. I don’t like cockroaches either but the fire ants are in my opinion worse! I always seemed to walk through them unknowingly. Happy to hear that your family Thanksgiving was a good one.

  4. Betsy Hunter permalink
    November 28, 2015 6:07 am

    I live just outside Atlanta, north off 400North, which we locals call the Autoban, because people typically drive 20mph over the speed limit. I used to drIve with sweaty hands, but I got used to it and stayed right…away from the fast drivers. Your cards are pretty!

    On another note, I have been in BSF for years and studying the bible has helped me tremendously more than any therapist could, as far as fear goes. I’m sure you’ve got classes in your area.

  5. Kay Miller permalink
    November 28, 2015 7:13 am

    I so enjoyed your post Judy! Your cards are beautiful, especially the one with the watercolored background! My favorite! 🙂 I grew up in Florida and even lived in Atlanta for a while, so unfortunately I am all too familiar with roaches. I could list my greatest fears and most of them I would rather endure than meet up with a roach! My brothers used to catch them and put them in the coin returns of the drink machines and pay phones at the mall, and then hide and watch people get their change! Oh they were awful! haha! Glad you had a happy Thanksgiving!

  6. November 28, 2015 7:21 am

    Adore your gorgeous cards! And, yes, I live in the southernmost area of Louisiana, where those dang roaches love the humidity and wet weather! After all these years, I still HATE them!!!

  7. nemo permalink
    November 28, 2015 7:40 am

    A very interesting post indeed. I can relate to your fears, for instance, I don’t drive at all and frankly hate even riding in a car. I also developed a fear of heights after taking my two-year-old to the Grand Canyon and panicking that he would climb through the railing at a lookout point and fall into the canyon. Now that he’s an adult and living in Chicago, I worry about guns.
    I was thinking that your fear of watercoloring was baseless because you do terrific cards. Then I got to thinking that I have developed a general fear of making cards for other people because I imagine them mocking them for being pathetic, or tossing them aside as boring. I never expected such a simple, pleasant pastime could be fraught with anxiety. Perhaps we live in a society that is too judgmental, even though women like to say, “I’m not judging…”

  8. Jan D., FL permalink
    November 28, 2015 7:54 am

    Another great and funny story. Living in Florida, we occasionally see palmetto bugs….usually when there’s an extreme and sudden change in the weather and usually only in our garage. We were warned when we moved here in 1983 that bugs were really bad in Florida. I have to say, except on those rare occasions, we have never had bugs in our house. Of course, I was raised by a Mom whose primary motto was “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”….LOL I know what you mean about Atlanta traffic. Before retiring and for many years, my work took me to Atlanta on a frequent basis. I never got used to driving in the traffic, but I survived. It was those huge trucks that scared me. Anyway, so glad you had a nice family celebration and a safe trip. Always look forward to reading your posts….you find humor in everything. Even bugs. Have a good one…..thanks for posting great cards, too. Always fun.

  9. November 28, 2015 8:44 am

    Wonderful cards Judy. I understand about cockroaches – I grew up in Miami, Florida…any tropical climate has these ugly creatures….ugh! Only thing worse is scorpions and snakes in my opinion. Thankfully, here in Oregon during the last 15 years I have NOT seen any!
    Happy Holidays and Paper Hugs,

  10. November 28, 2015 9:40 am

    Always a pleasure to share time with you, whether it’s your lovely cards or your fears. I’m totally impressed. Yes, I think Christmas cards are fun, too. Yours are beautiful and will easily fit into the male or the female role. Incidentally, didn’t know that Christmas cards could have too much gold on them. Still think it’s not possible.
    I, myself, have no fear of roaches…I simply loathe them. Icky creatures. They have however outlived humans, if scientists can be believed, so perhaps we could learn a thing or two from them. Traffic, whether in snow or sunshine, is another detestable thing. Completely commiserate with you. Looks as though it was worth the effort considering what was waiting for you on the other end. Glad you had a Happy Thanksgiving and that Cooper could share it even though his tummy was a bit compromised. He does look happy just to be with you all.

  11. Marilyn Valadez permalink
    November 28, 2015 11:11 am

    Hi Judy! Beautiful cards and I need some inspiration for card making this year. Your lovely cards gave me some ideas, as I need to get busy on this.

    I seem to remember some very large roachy looking bugs when Tom was stationed at Ft. Benning, Ga. I couldn’t believe the size of those critters and they had wings and could fly.I only came in contact with one and that was enough…looked something like the one you shared here today.

    Love the photo’s of Cooper and his uncle Spencer. They are so cute together!! So happy to hear your Thanksgiving was lovely, fun and safe with your family and friends! Hugs!!

  12. alexandra s.m. permalink
    November 28, 2015 11:58 am

    Gorgeous cards and always great to hear from your life.
    I share the same fears if that makes you feel a little better 😉

  13. Marisela Delgado permalink
    November 28, 2015 1:37 pm

    Hi, Judy! Your comment about driving in the snow during traffic with a toothache is better than meeting a roach made me laugh. I live in San Antonio, Texas, and we get those major roaches here even out on the lawn. The worst ones are the one that FLY. Yes, ma’am, there are some that fly. DISGUSTING. Or as Jimmy Fallon would say,”Ewe!” For me, what terrifies me something fierce are BATS. I don’t have too many fears, but bats get me going. I swear that they wait in the trees for me to walk past when I go for my daily walk. You can’t spray those with Raid, unfortunately. =) Merry Christmas from San Antonio

  14. Carol Donaldson permalink
    November 28, 2015 1:52 pm

    Loved your cards. As for the fears, I would exchange the bugs for snakes anyday. But everything else is the same. Happy card making.

  15. dawnnz permalink
    November 28, 2015 2:26 pm

    totally awesome cards and a stunning post. I’m with you on cockroaches…. we have trees around our place and at certain times of the year they are “on the wing” and fly inside when we have the doors open in the evenings. YUCK… and add infestations of ants! Cooper and Spencer seem to be happy together. Have a great week.

  16. Deanna Morgan permalink
    November 28, 2015 4:58 pm

    I have forgotten where it is you live in WI. I just moved a little farther north (from Waterford to Sussex) to be closer to my grandson and “my kids.” Fear no more! Your watercolor backgrounds are beautiful! I want to run right in and do some! See what a good motivator you are?

  17. November 29, 2015 8:20 am

    I’m glad Cooper got to be included in your family Thanksgiving this year–hopefully he didn’t get too sick. Love your beautiful cards, Judy–especially those gorgeous trees! That die goes on my wishlist along with the wonderful sentiments. Darling pictures of the kiddos! I’m with you on the fears & fortunately we’re in the north but where we seldom deal with snow.

  18. DebbieP permalink
    November 29, 2015 2:10 pm

    As always, your cards are beautiful. Your watercolors are beautiful, so fear no more. However, please don’t post any more pictures of roaches. I live in Hawaii and we have roaches that range from small to giant sized flying B-52s. I hate them in any size, shape, or form, including pictures. On a more positive note, glad you and your family had a Happy Thanksgiving. Now on to Christmas and a new year – already???

  19. November 29, 2015 4:54 pm

    Judy–love your work-but want to tell you about something that may help with the dentist visits…long story short I am terrified too. I was introduced to a female dentist who had “anxiety level” on her intake form. I put “off the chart!” She talked to me about this—and explained she could give me an rx for a pill to take before I come in–someone would have to drive me–but—I would be aware of what was going on, would be able to communicate, but would be relaxed enough that they could do what they needed to do. They also let my husband sit in the room during procedures—and they would stop and ask me frequently if I was ok, did I need a break, etc (when you are as terrified as I am—sometimes you just freeze). This pill has changed my life! I have, for the first time in all my life, heard “no cavities”! I was able to endure 3+ hrs in the chair prepping for a bridge–its just been a lifesaver!!! The med is Halcion (typically used for sleep)–I am groggy—can tell them what I need, etc (aka I have some control in the situation!)–and can usually remember what happened (some I forget) And I get an awesome night’s sleep when all is said and done! If you want more info—-e-mail me at Blessings, Sharon

  20. Mar permalink
    January 15, 2016 9:08 pm

    I don’t know if you’ll read this or not, since it’s January already (!), but just wanted to say I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one in the world that gets freaked out by traffic and snow driving!! It tries my husband’s patience, but he puts up with me. Being retired is great so I don’t have to do either one any more if I don’t want to. And I avoid them at all costs. Fortunately, we live in an easy city to get around without freeway travel. So I go all the back streets. 😉 Thanks for sharing the stories.

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