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Runs with Scissors

March 26, 2016


Hello, Penny Black friends. Here we are, saying good-bye to another month. Hopefully March will leave quietly and politely hold the door open for April. While spring officially arrives in March, we know April is the hostess that makes her feel welcomed.

It’s been all about spring on the Penny Black blog lately. Days and days filled with springtime inspiration using the stamps and dies from the So Special release. I must have been bitten by the “color bug” this week.   When I reviewed the cards I made, I realized there is nothing subtle about the colors I chose. Hooray for spring: hooray for bright colors!


We paper crafters love our poppy stamps. These gorgeous poppies were stamped with the Poppy Gems cling stamps onto watercolor paper. I used Peerless watercolors to create the deep red flowers. I layered three different red colors, blotting in spots to let the lighter color show through the darker layer. I over-stamped the entire card using the Letter Background woodblock stamp inked with Delicata gold ink.


The Tiger Lily II die is a floral jewel. I blended several colors of Memento Luxe ink onto watercolor paper, keeping in mind how I would like the colors to appear on the flower. I placed the die onto the colored paper and ran both through my machine. I elevated the centers after dipping them in gold ink. I had prepared the base of the card by stamping it with the Letter Background stamp inked with Delicata gold ink. So glad to have a Feel Better die cut sentiment in my collection.


I used the same technique of blending Luxe inks onto my paper and then placing the Butterfly Circles die onto the newly colored paper and running it all through the die cutting machine. I did the same with the Believe II die. Butterflies seem to be a symbol of hope, so perfect for the Believe sentiment and this time of year.

Well, here I am at the point in Runs with Scissors that I share a story with all of you. Sometimes it is easy because something fun or unusual or crazy or challenging has happened during the week and there is no lacking for story material.

This past week has been about some spring cleaning, shopping for Easter dinner and Facetime visits with the littlest grandchildren. All pretty routine stuff that doesn’t lend itself to a good story.

So I think I have to let the story out that has been rattling inside my head for the past ten days. My mother’s birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day and she’s been on my mind since. My mother’s parents were born in Poland and came to this country poor but determined to make a better life for themselves and their future family. We loved to tease my mom about being a Polish leprechaun due to her St. Patrick’s Day birthday.

When my dad joined the Army as a young married man with two small daughters, my mom became an Army wife. Most of my dad’s duty assignments allowed the family to accompany him, but twice his assignments took him to places dependents were not allowed. Like all military wives, my mom’s job was to take care of things at home whenever my dad was gone, either on assignment or for periods of training.

I think of the many times we moved. The military is not able to accommodate school calendars, or any personal schedules. When orders are issued life changes immediately and the focus is on preparing for the move, a job at which my mother excelled.

My mom had a system for keeping things simple and not accumulating more than necessary. Before each move she purged drawers and closets and also eliminated anything that was still in a box from the previous move. She was so organized that within 24 hours of arriving at our new home the pictures were hung, the cupboards stocked, and every box unpacked. My sister and I were always surprised how quickly the new place looked like home.

Military families make friends quickly. And those friends take the place of the families left behind. We knew we wouldn’t live at the current location permanently. We dealt with good-byes on a regular basis. If it wasn’t us saying the good-byes, it was friends and classmates who were leaving. The negative side of the good-byes was missing people that had become dear to you. The positive side was that relationship problems were temporary and solved by either your moving or the problem person moving.

My mother enjoyed the military lifestyle and the opportunities it presented. While her family of origin lived and worked in the same city until retirement and beyond, my mom and our family lived many places experiencing different cultures and seeing parts of the country and the world that her siblings were not able to.

Our family did not accumulate heirlooms to be handed down for generations. The multiple moves would have eventually damaged or destroyed most valuables. We did, however, accumulate memories and experiences. Yes, I had to move three months before 8th grade graduation and transfer to a new high school (in Italy) for my Junior and Senior years of high school. My Junior class consisted of five girls and two boys; Senior class was much larger with twelve girls and five boys. But I experienced how it feels to be a foreigner and adapt to a different culture. And how many girls are able to celebrate their 16th birthday in Rome? Or take a train for a day’s visit to Venice?

Yes, my mother’s parents left their homeland in order to provide a better life for themselves and their children. I see my parents’ decision as their own way of creating a better life for themselves and their children. And my mother’s role as an Army wife made my father’s career not only easier, but possible.

So, here’s to you, Mom. Thank you for your part in making my childhood better than yours which taught me to work towards making my children’s lives better than mine.


There was a moment or two after I finished this card that I wondered if I had lost my mind! It was only a moment or two, however. I had struggled to find a way to show the Fab Friends on their way to the big city for lunch and shopping, for that’s what fab friends enjoy. I used the Metropolitan die for the cityscape and added stars cut from the star die in the Pillow Box die set. That tiny die yields four stars per trip through the cutting machine, making a sky full of stars easy peasy. I had originally pictured this scene done totally in black and white and finally yielded to my desire for color by adding the green accents, some paper pieced and some colored with Copic markers.


What can I say? Since it’s all about color this week I invited yellow to the party. This tuba player is from the Jazzy Cats transparent set as is the sentiment. It may be bright, but it is fun enough for the men in your life, too.


No color family escaped my attention this week. I chose the teal and purple theme first and then found paper for matting. This sweetie from the Sweet Smiles transparent set was colored with Copics and then simply matted.


When given the choice between the tie and bunny ears, Cooper opted for the ears. He does not understand why anyone would want to wear big purple ears, but he knows if he poses for the camera a treat will follow. He may be wondering why his doggy mama isn’t sharing the chocolate marshmallow eggs or the yellow Peeps.

There you have it: my contribution to the spring themed inspiration this week. Flowers, butterflies, music, friendship, and tons of color all in the same place. What a tribute to the many styles of Penny Black stamps and dies. Elegant, sweet, cute, fun, pretty, serious: all available to put a song in someone’s heart.

For many of us, tomorrow is the celebration of Easter. I wish you a day of contentment, renewal and celebration of a new season. Mr. RWS and I will share a home cooked ham dinner which includes what we fondly refer to as “green stuff”, formally known as Watergate Salad. I will treat myself to some green olives, the real indicator that it is a holiday meal.

I’ve cleaned up and put away my stamps and dies and run the vacuum. I don’t want to wear out my welcome here on the Penny Black blog. I’m going to browse the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery on my way out. I can’t wait to see your cards posted there. I am thankful for your visit and love reading your comments.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:

34 Comments leave one →
  1. ,creatingincolors permalink
    March 26, 2016 1:46 am

    Judy, I tremendously enjoy your beautiful cards AND your writing. You do both so well. Today’s message is a good reminder on the importance of relationships and experiences, not heirlooms and “stuff”. Thanks for that!

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:25 am

      Thank you for your kind comment. I am so glad my stories are interesting enough for others to enjoy. I certainly enjoyed living them!!

  2. Holly Saveur permalink
    March 26, 2016 2:35 am

    Gorgeous cards!
    And super sweet story about your family…..well I lived all my life in this village…and moved only twice…once when I was seven..then when I was 23 and I got married..and we live now 31 years in this same house.
    And it is all a 5 minute walk away from each other…the places I moved to..can you imagine that?
    Happy Easter!
    greetings Holly.

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:24 am

      Holly, I have always said there are so many ways to live a life! I envy people whose roots go deep, yet I would not want to give up my experiences. Happy Easter to you, too.

  3. Nan permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:11 am

    Enjoyed your story so much. Made me think we who have lived in America our whole lives, need to be mindful of the many struggles of the people coming to our country from war torn lands. Your cards are beautiful.

  4. karenajo permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:21 am

    Look forward to Saturdays with your fantastic cards and wonderful life adventures. Your cards are super today – what a great variety! Love that you treasure the memories of your life and not the mementos ! Cooper is darling in his cute, purple bunny ears !

  5. knurse22 permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:48 am

    These cards are certainly gems today! I especially love your Believe card with all those yummy circles, and the Fab card. I just love the green addition to this fun card! Thank you for sharing your sweet story about your Mom and your life…..and Cooper is rockin’ those bunny ears! Wishing you and the Mr. a very happy Easter!

  6. March 26, 2016 6:37 am

    I wish I could consistently crank out such beautiful cards as you do! It’s funny to hear that you struggled with your girlfriends card as I instantly liked it so well I pinned it to CASE as soon as I can get that set from my wishlist. LOVE that touch of color and fun scene!

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:22 am

      I guess the Fab Friends card was fun for a lot of us! Thanks for leaving such a kind comment.

  7. Marliese Zimmerman permalink
    March 26, 2016 6:53 am

    I always look forward to Saturday with your beautiful cards and wonderful stories. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Happy Easter to you, Mr. Runs With Scissors and Bunny Cooper.

  8. Jean marmo permalink
    March 26, 2016 6:54 am

    Simply beautiful cards. I loved reading about your mom and life.

  9. March 26, 2016 6:59 am

    Judy, I always love all of your cards and stories. However, the Fab Friends card is one of my favs. Thanks for sharing the Mom story, your Mom was a wonderful woman and you have such warm memories of her. And, that little Cooper, such a sweetie with his purple bunny ears 🙂

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:21 am

      Lucille, I so enjoy seeing your cards in the Gallery! Thank you for leaving such a kind comment. I am surprised that the Fab Friends card is so well liked .. I thought it was a bit “crazy”!! But fun. Happy Easter!

  10. March 26, 2016 9:06 am

    You’ve outdone yourself with these cards this week. My favorite was the 2 ladies going to the city. Think your color choices and paper piecing are perfect. Love the tribut to your Mother. She certainly knew how to make a home, though, I can’t imagine how she was able to do it in 24 hours. Your early and late travels have made you the person you are…kind, lovely and an excellent storyteller. Love my Saturday Judy fix.

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:19 am

      I almost didn’t post the Fab ladies card and it seems to be a hit! Thank you for your very kind comments. I love being here on Saturdays, too.

  11. Ginger permalink
    March 26, 2016 9:16 am

    As always I enjoyed your cards and so down to earth “ramblings”. Fab friends was delightful-agree with the color. Your followers appreciate the time and effort you take to create your posts.

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:17 am

      Ginger, and I appreciate the people who read my “ramblings” and say such kind things!

  12. March 26, 2016 9:25 am

    Cooper, of course, stole the post for me, as I know you’d expect, Judy! Love how you used the script stamp–need to think to do that! The 2 ladies would be us if we weren’t across the country from each other–love the card! Wonderful story–your mom was amazing! Wishing you & Mr RWS a lovely Easter.

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:16 am

      If I thought we could make it happen, Greta, I would buy a green and black print dress and skip my weight loss program. happy Easter!!

  13. Davi permalink
    March 26, 2016 9:42 am

    Awesome job on all the varied and beautiful cards, but I especially love love the Fab Friends green and black!!Thanks for sharing about your interesting life 🙂 I have lived in the same place for 42 years, kinda boring lol, But my daughters are married to military men and are constantly moving. Like you say its a very different life, you dont accumulate keepsakes or many long term friends as my girls have discovered. Like your mom my girls are especially organized. My youngest just left this am for Alaska, their newest station. Even left me a printed itinerary of their trip right down to hotels, miles and times each day 🙂

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:16 am

      I wish your daughters well in their travels, Davi. Be sure to go visit them wherever they are stationed. It’s free room and board and a chance to see more of the world.

  14. DebbieP permalink
    March 26, 2016 9:52 am

    Love all your cards and story this week, but those Fab ladies are, well, FAB!!! I will have to borrow that idea soon for my own version. I am looking forward to spring and the renewal it brings to the garden. I am looking forward to Easter for the renewal it brings to my soul…and for yellow peeps and purple bunny ears!

  15. Marilyn Valadez permalink
    March 26, 2016 10:34 am

    What a delightful definition of military life! As you know I’m a retired military wife and like your mother, I loved every minute of our travels, I think you have to have a little of the wanderlust in your dna to really enjoy all the traveling and moves. Living and experiencing other cultures is an education in itself. I believe you and my children were lucky to have those experiences and can look back on them with fond memories.

    That cutie Cooper is so adorable in his little purple bunny ears. Your cards are adorable also…really love the first one with the beautiful bold red flowers. Gorgeous, Judy!! Wishing you and yours a wonderful Easter! :))

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:14 am

      Marilyn, I would not trade my life growing up for anyone else’s. I always tell young people to travel! It is the best way to understand our world and appreciate our way of life as well as the way of life of people around the world. It is hard for me to believe that I have lived at this same address for ten years!! So glad we traveled a lot during our married years, too. Happy Easter to your and your family, too.

  16. Cheryl Robertson permalink
    March 26, 2016 10:47 am

    Judy, I love and look forward to your weekly posts and stories. My sister is an Air Force wife and she and her daughters have made so many wonderful friends over the years. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    I’ve just started buying floral stamps and bought my first Penny Black stamp. I’ve not done much coloring and am struggling a little but with your posts I’m learning.

    Happy Easter to you and Mr. RWS!

    • judka permalink
      March 26, 2016 11:11 am

      Cheryl, welcome to the Penny Black family! It makes me happy to know my work is helping you enjoy coloring floral images. And you know, you can always paper piece those flowers, too. I am honored that you look forward to Runs with Scissors every week: I do too!

  17. Ruth G permalink
    March 26, 2016 12:30 pm

    Judy, I’ve said it before,and I’ll repeat: you really should publish these wonderful, heartwarming stories. They go straight to the soft-spot hidden somewhere in most of us, and bring a warm smile. You have a real talent for writing, and your blog is the only one that I always read from beginning to end. On another note, my family also called the jello dessert “green stiff,” and I’ve made it my whole life. I happened upon a variation that is also quite tasty. My grocery store was out of lime jello one time and I substituted black cherry flavor. It’s delicious too!

  18. March 26, 2016 12:42 pm

    Another lovely story time with beautifully designed cards to accompany it. You did military families proud Judy by sharing your own experiences with the life! A fitting tribute to your mom and dad. Happy Easter friend.

  19. March 26, 2016 1:33 pm

    Wowzers on the Poppy Gems card…GORGEOUS! The Fab friends card was perfect. Love the different pops of Lime. That could be you and I meeting somewhere between our two homes, heading out for a night on the town (yeah right…heading out to a craft store more likely). Such a tribute to your parents. Hopefully your kids will talk about you with the same loving words. And lastly…poor Cooper is a trooper for putting up with your dressing him up. My little dog would have none of that. Hugs my friend for another wonderful column. You ROCK with cards and words! 🙂

  20. March 26, 2016 3:18 pm

    I love all of your stories:) Happy Easter to you and your family and Cooper of course:)

  21. cmt permalink
    March 26, 2016 8:57 pm

    I love all your cards, but I have a real soft spot for the Jazzy Cats. That line of critters just slays me. Interesting story about your mom, and whole family. I really admire your mother for being so efficient about moving. I guess you followed in her footsteps when you ventured out in the RV, able to let go of so many belongings. I can’t imagine ever being so organized and able to travel light.

  22. donna mikasa permalink
    March 26, 2016 10:52 pm

    Love your cards, love your stories. And your Mom was quite a woman–she makes Martha Stewart seem dull. Hoppy Easter to you, Mr RWS and Cooper!

  23. dawnnz permalink
    March 27, 2016 1:11 am

    Totally gorgeous cards Judy. I really am inspired by the amazing design ability you have. Great post today. Your life growing up sounds as if it was a incredible journey. Thanks for sharing. Cooper looks awesome in his purple ears. Happy Easter Judy and Mr RWS.

  24. March 27, 2016 7:19 am

    Wonderful cards! I love hearing about your family adventures!

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