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Runs with Scissors

January 30, 2016


Hello, Penny Black friends. Be careful; don’t slip on the puddles left by my snowy boots. The roads were too slippery for driving today so I bundled up and trudged through the snow and ice to the Penny Black blog. Thankfully, the blog thermostat was set on high and it is cozy warm here.

January has always seemed to me to be the longest month of the year, and at last it is almost over. I’ve always looked forward to February, a month with fewer winter days. Why oh why, when the calendar people had a day to add in leap year did they choose to add it to February? Wouldn’t we all rather have an extra day in beautiful June?

February does bring us Valentine’s Day, an occasion for letting the people in our lives know we love and care about them. This year we have an extra “leap” day to use Penny Black’s Love Always release to make and send handmade cards.


Some images just demand being stamped in red on white cardstock. Love and Hugs is a transparent set with several images suitable for stamping and embossing as I’ve done here. And one can never go wrong with polka dots for background paper. I added a diecut heart from the Sweet Heart die set, popped up for dimension. With a set like this you can keep it clean and simple as I have done, or add layers of embellishments a la the Lovely Layers Ladies who have recently joined the Penny Black family.


I don’t know how to pronounce XOXO, but I love the sweet image. I have popped the darling little girl on top of four layers of cardstock and patterned paper. Her dress, shoes and stockings are paper pieced, a favorite technique of mine for little girl images. I used one of my fourteen pairs of scissors to fussy cut this cutie. I added the Love Always diecut border just to make sure there was enough love in this sweet Valentine.


This time I’ve cut the Fancy Heart from the same mini polka dotted patterned paper used for matting. It seems I am having trouble breaking away from the traditional red and white Valentine theme. By simply using different colors this beautiful heart could be the focal point of any love-themed card. Sending love is not limited to the month of February.

I have used most of the dies in the new Love Always release in the cards I am sharing today. I am amazed at how intricate many of them are. I have no problems achieving a perfect cut every time. With the more intricate dies I sometimes use a shim of some sort; an extra layer of cardstock or sometimes a thin metal shim.

This is the point in my post that I usually pause from card making to share a story or two from my life. Today I am going to venture forth into the years we spent as full time RV’ers. It is a slippery slope, I’m afraid. There are so many stories, so little time.

Let me first explain:

  1. Our original retirement plan was to build a little house in central Florida.
  2. We had not ever even talked about RV’ing as a retirement option.

Imagine my astonishment when one day at work a colleague approached my desk with the news that he had heard Mr. RWS mention at lunch that he planned to become a full time RV’er upon retirement. The colleague was not sure if Mr. RWS mentioned he’d be taking me along.

After our very interesting conversation that evening, I realized this was Mr. RWS’s dream and I could not say no. Also, I firmly believed at the time that due to past health issues, we each had a reasonable life expectancy of five years. I thought RV’ing was as good a way to spend those five years as any.

We were living in a 3,000 square foot home at the time and were now planning to move into a fifth wheel trailer with about 350 square feet. This would be our only home. We could only take with us what fit into that space.

4We moved from this ……

5… to this.


It seemed impossible for me to go from the large home to the RV, so we did it in stages. We sold everything except enough to furnish an apartment to which we moved for six months. What we sold at that time included the “easier” things to part with. I still had my beloved teak living, dining room and bedroom furniture and my china and most of my wardrobe. It was actually quite freeing to live in an apartment and be done with the yard work and home maintenance chores.

When we actually retired and our lease was up on the apartment, we put an ad in the newspaper (remember those?) selling our teak furniture and the excess linens, shower curtains, home décor items, etc. We thought the whole process would take several weeks but to our surprise, everything sold the first day of the sale. We lived for several weeks in an empty apartment with just a mattress on the floor.

We then sold both cars and purchased a shiny new pick up truck with a diesel engine and Alison transmission. My stipulation was that we buy the best truck possible and it didn’t matter to me about the fifth wheel trailer. I wanted to feel safe.

My younger brother graciously allowed us to store several boxes in his basement that included our Christmas tree ornaments, the “good” china, our art work and my beloved down coat that had seen me through the fierce Wisconsin winters.

We drove from Madison to Milwaukee one weekend to gather with our kids for a farewell/retirement cook out. It was all excitement and laughter until it came time to leave. I had this huge lump in my throat as I said good-bye and tearfully asked them all to take care of each other.

I didn’t learn until years later that family and friends made bets about how long we would last sharing such a small place day and night. Most optimistic estimate: six months.



The Together transparent set will not be put away when Valentine’s Day is over. The sweet Mimi images will be suitable through spring and summer, including this heart themed sunflower. I can imagine the hearts in sunny yellow surrounding a brown frame. And don’t you love the little lady bug?


Here I’ve used the negative version of the Love is Growing diecut. I’ve popped it up for dimension and added the sentiment snipped from the diecut Triple Love. How easy it would be to make multiples of this card. Perhaps in a red on khaki color scheme it would please the men in your life. Bright spring colors would be suitable for months to come.


Ahhh, I’ve gone full circle and here I am back to red on white. This is the Flower Heart diecut on wood grained paper with an added heart from the All My Hearts die set. You don’t have to add much to these gorgeous diecuts in order to make a statement.


Cooper was a reluctant participant in the snow fun. Being a native southern canine, snow is a novelty and is too closely related to rain to suit him. Eventually he decided to check the situation out and once in the snow, sniffing every inch, it was difficult to bring him back inside.

I have enjoyed spending time on this almost last day of January with all of you. There is no better place to be on a wintry day than the Penny Black blog with all the stamps, dies, paper and inspiration. There is still time to finish your Valentine projects and share them in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery. You never know who might notice your work.

Thank you for visiting and thank you for the comments you leave each week. You have a way of making this stamper smile.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:



48 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2016 3:54 am

    I love your cards, they always seem so achievable by the novice card maker like myself. Thanks for the inspiration. Your story of the RVing is fun and fascinating. I can’t wait for the next installment. Glad Cooper is doing so well! God bless!

  2. Diane J permalink
    January 30, 2016 4:01 am

    Just love your stories. Sad thing is I have to wait a week to get the rest of the story. Your cards are wonderful. You always have such great ideas.

  3. Deb L permalink
    January 30, 2016 4:19 am

    Love your cards and your stories, I share them with my sister who is also a scrapbooker/card maker. You have a great sense of humor. I can’t wait for the rest of this story. Keep warm.

  4. knurse22 permalink
    January 30, 2016 4:32 am

    Thanks for another fun Saturday wake up read—–always has me smiling no matter how dreary the weather! Your cards are awesome, as always….love red and white together! I agree that PB dies cut very crisply, too.
    We also talked a lot about selling our goods and spending a year in an RV, crisscrossing the country. Luckily, gas prices were too high to do this when we retired, so we moved into an active adult home instead. I am already seeing that downsizing is difficult—-I know I would not have lasted two weeks with DH in an RV, no matter how big! Can’t wait for your sequel to see how it turned out for you!
    And now that gas prices are so low, we are talking about renting a small RV for a month and giving it a go!

  5. wanda permalink
    January 30, 2016 5:04 am

    can’t wait for the next installment of rv living and of course cards and art work

  6. Nan permalink
    January 30, 2016 5:41 am

    Can’t wait for the continuation of your rv story!

  7. carol/creatingincolors permalink
    January 30, 2016 6:07 am

    Always love your cards. The Flower Heart die cut on woodgrain paper really caught my eye today. I’m in awe of your huge decision to sell everything and move on to rv living. What courage it took. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this story.

  8. Jody V permalink
    January 30, 2016 6:56 am

    Nice cards. You are a brave woman. I love camping but I love coming back home. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. Keep on crafting.

  9. Judy B. permalink
    January 30, 2016 7:36 am

    Camping is NOT for me! I slept in a camper in northern Wisconsin in July and almost froze to death! My brother, on the other hand, has traveled with his wife all over the U.S. and Canada with their 5th wheel. He loves it! They do own a home in California, to which they go periodically (their son takes care of it for them), and she would like to stay home more, but they have many neat memories and photos of their travels. More power to them! Can’t wait to hear how your adventures turned out. Love the cards, too!

  10. January 30, 2016 7:39 am

    Such gorgeous cards Judy, and love reading about your RV story.

  11. Cathy M T permalink
    January 30, 2016 7:48 am

    As my son would say, “Wait, what?” You can’t simply stop in the middle of a gripping story like this. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat. Well, obviously it has a happy ending that involves a proper studio because you’ve created a lovely set of Valentines. My favorite is the Love is Growing negative diecut. The comment about leap day would be better in June made me chuckle. So true! No doubt a man planned Leap Day.

  12. Debra permalink
    January 30, 2016 7:50 am

    I’m not sure what it is I enjoy more – your cards or the amazing and humorous stories you are so adept at telling. So sad to have to wait a week for the next installment! Love your cards too. Have to agree that I am so glad to see the long cold month of January on its’ way out. Temps here have not been the usual minus 40 but yesterday was plus 3 and we don’t have the usual amount of snow. I’m not sure whether to be a bit scared or grateful – maybe a bit of both!

  13. Tina K permalink
    January 30, 2016 8:14 am

    Love your cards. You have such talent! And I can’t wait to hear more about your RV adventures!

  14. January 30, 2016 8:43 am

    Waiting for the next installment of the RV adventure – the hubs & I thought about doing the RV thing too 🙂

  15. DebbieP permalink
    January 30, 2016 9:12 am

    Another Saturday morning where the first thing I do is read your blog. It really is the best way to start my day as it always makes me smile and sometimes laugh out loud. Your lovely creations inspire and remind me to do some crafting as well. Your red on white cards will be my templates for today. I love your RVing story. My husband and I lived in our 24 foot Class A for almost 4 months, along with our 40 pound dog and amazon parrot, after we moved from California to Washington state. We loved it. Once we found a place to rent, our dog had to literally be pulled from the RV and moved into the house. I actually wish we could have another RV and travel the country. I’m looking forward to your next installment to see what craziness happens along the way. Thanks for getting my Saturday started with a smile.

  16. January 30, 2016 9:14 am

    You have a little mean streak in you, don’t you?!? Making us was wait a couple of weeks for “the rest of the story”!!! Love your stories. Your Valentine cards are beautiful. I am still partial to red and white for Valentines. Thanks for kick starting my Saturday.

  17. Jan D., FL permalink
    January 30, 2016 9:17 am

    OMG…this is torture to not hear the rest of the story….you are so funny and entertaining. Okay….great cards…love to paper piece, too…the little girl is too cute. I’m working on my Valentine’s Day cards, too and am having a ball….I discovered some new stamps that have a riddle and the answer is stamped and covered with scratch off labels….I’m even velcroxing pennies to the cards for the recipient to use to scratch off the label to find the hidden answer to the riddle….there’s even a little stamp in the sets instructing the recipient to gently scratch to reveal the answer….so fun. Anyway, I’m also making pretty cards, too….my friends and family will get a goofy one and a nice one.

    Okay…see you next week….

  18. Jane permalink
    January 30, 2016 9:19 am

    I look forward to all your posts and your cards, and Cooper of course. Please, please tell more about RV life. I retire in 4 months and we are shopping for the perfect RV now. Can’t wait for next week’s installment. Jane

    • judka permalink
      January 30, 2016 9:47 am

      Oh, Jane! We should talk …………..

  19. Jean Bullock permalink
    January 30, 2016 9:33 am

    Fabulous cards and I am enjoying your retirement story.

  20. January 30, 2016 9:35 am

    No Fair… left us hanging in your story….love your stories JUDY! All the Valentine cards are sooo cute…thanks for the inspiration!
    Paper Hugs,

  21. January 30, 2016 9:48 am

    RV’ing would NOT be for me…it would take much less than 6 months before claustrophobia and possibly murder would be rearing their ugly heads. Plus, I like my stuff and it would be gut wrenching to part with it. That being said, I admire those who can (or even want to) do it. I imagine the feeling to be freeing and adventurous.
    You are certainly ready for Valentine’s Day. There will be many grateful recipients of these terrific cards.

  22. Nancy Scrymgeour permalink
    January 30, 2016 10:16 am

    I look forward to Saturday when I can read your very entertaining stories and see your creative cards. You have a real flair for telling stories and I love the fact that Cooper is included in the stories. I am looking forward to next week’s continuation of the RV adventure!

  23. mjmarmo permalink
    January 30, 2016 10:21 am

    Beautiful cards! Can’t wait to hear the end of this story. Not sure it is something I could ever do.

  24. January 30, 2016 10:23 am

    It is always a pleasure to read of your exploits Judy! Your cards are terrific too–waiting with bated breath to hear more of the RV saga.

  25. Linda S in NE permalink
    January 30, 2016 10:42 am

    It is so fun to see your beautiful cards, and to read your well written life stories. I am in awe of you placing an ad in the newspaper, and being so successful at downsizing. And here I have always felt that that is what children were for….being willing recipients of everything mom and dad no longer want or need. At least that is my excuse for owning a home with too much stuff in it. No kids, so I HAVE to keep all this junk!! I am anxiously awaiting the next installment of your saga. My love and hugs to Cooper.

  26. Harriet permalink
    January 30, 2016 10:51 am

    We had a 5th wheel so I am looking forward to you story. Your cards are a real treat, I love red and white so each card, to me, is stunning.

  27. January 30, 2016 11:34 am

    i was so disappointed when I got to the …to be continued.. part. I want to know the rest of the story. I have told my husband that no way am I ever going on a vacation in a “housework on wheels” vehicle. I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story.

  28. Kathy permalink
    January 30, 2016 12:45 pm

    I love your stories, and having them in installments is fun! Also love your cards— and
    the sweet Cooper of course.

  29. January 30, 2016 12:46 pm

    Oh what a cliff-hanger! I can’t wait to hear the rest (or next part) of your RV-ing. PS — When did this adventure start?
    Oh — and I do love your cards!

  30. Sheri K permalink
    January 30, 2016 12:49 pm

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of the RV story-especially as we are closing in on retirement. Love all the cards–but of course Penny Black designs are awesome!

  31. Virginia L. permalink
    January 30, 2016 1:25 pm

    Beautiful cards, Judy! Love the simplicity of these designs. You knocked them out of the park indeed. Now….how can you leave us hanging for another week about RV life? I think I might enjoy a small dose of traveling in RV. My cruise-loving hubby might take some serious convincing. I can’t wait for more of your share!

  32. barbara lassiter permalink
    January 30, 2016 1:32 pm

    Your cards are so lovely and I especially love the ones using the die cuts. I love your stories and wait for the next installment. Being slightly claustrophobic, I think I would have had a great problem downsizing to an RV of 350 sq. ft….:)

  33. January 30, 2016 3:14 pm

    Can’t wait for the end of the story, Judy! Before we retired, we talked about being full-time RVers. Funny, now we just take the RV to campgrounds in our own state! I like going, but love being home! Wonderful cards–sweet one with paper piecing & I love the first one (broke my no more stamps rule & I’m waiting for that set & the darling little heart dies) & cutting the heart in the same paper as the mat looks fabulous!

  34. alexandra s.m. permalink
    January 30, 2016 8:13 pm

    No….I don’t want to wait either!!
    You are such a great writer Judy! and your cards are sensational!!

  35. Dianne Crowe permalink
    January 31, 2016 5:18 am

    All ways love your work, and look forward to your stories and pictures as well. Will check back next weekend to see how you cope with retirement.

    • kemperneck permalink
      February 10, 2016 8:37 am

      Aw wow ur my idol now. I’ve always always wanted to sell out and go on the road. What a great time I bet you guys had.
      Speaking of bets who won the bets among your family and friends? Thought that was funny. Great projects again as usual

  36. Jan D., FL permalink
    January 31, 2016 5:21 am

    P.S. to my previous post…if you use a die cutting machine other than the Grand Caliber, there’s a precision cutting plate available now just for those intricate thinlet dies…I bought one with a 50% off coupon which made it really inexpensive and I do love it. Sometimes I am a little dubious about new tools when I don’t have friends who have used them, but I took a chance on this one and love it. It also reduces the number of acrylic plates you will use. I go through them so fast since I die cut so much.

    • judka permalink
      January 31, 2016 4:33 pm

      Jan, thanks for the tip .. worth looking into as I am also using dies a LOT! Love how we share!

  37. Anne Sweeney permalink
    January 31, 2016 6:21 am

    Judy Judy Judy … ( sorry just always wanted to say that ( I did it Gary Cooper voice ) loI..I can hardly wait to hear how retired life is going for you both .. That is a riveting story and you have me at the edge of my seat .. For we are retired and still working yup.. And wanting something . I thought bout a teardrop trailer that has a cooker on the outside end my lil wrangler could pull around ,and travel a bit from time to time .. But to sell my house idk, heck I still wish I had a basement .. Five kids 13 grands later

    Sent from my iPhone


  38. Anne Sweeney permalink
    January 31, 2016 6:23 am

    Oops silly iPhone sent before I was finished .. Ok then 13 grands later .. Good Luck to you both ..Yours in Christ and Ink Anne

    Sent from my iPhone


  39. Kathy H permalink
    January 31, 2016 9:57 am

    I can’t wait until the next chapter!

  40. jan metcalf permalink
    January 31, 2016 12:49 pm

    Fellow Madisonian here. Enjoyed your RC share, but where oh where did you put your art crafting supplies for this journey??

    • judka permalink
      January 31, 2016 4:29 pm

      Oh, Jan! I have to admit, there is no place like Madison and it wlll always have a place in my heart!

  41. Vicky permalink
    January 31, 2016 2:59 pm

    I enjoyed the beginning of your RV story. a
    About 3 years ago our best friend decided to do rving. We were the ones that cried because we had did everything together. There boys & my girls thought they were brothers & sisters. Looking for ward to the rest of your story & I will tell you the rest of our story.

  42. Pat Gasko permalink
    February 1, 2016 10:18 am

    I love your cards and your stories. I always look forward to hearing and seeing pictures of Cooper. And the addition of Mr RWS in your stories. Can’t wait for the rest of the story.

  43. February 12, 2016 9:53 pm

    I too am so looking forward to more of your fabulous story. I love your you tube videos too. I would love to win a spending spree
    {{{happy crafting hugs}}}

  44. February 14, 2016 3:50 pm

    My husband also had the dream of living in an RV. We bought a fifth wheel that I thought I could live with and a diesel truck. He white knuckled the drive home from the dealer, parked the RV in the side yard and sold it a month later without even using it. I can’t wait to hear how your story ends.

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