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Runs with Scissors

July 2, 2016


Hello again. Please be sure to shut the door tightly so we keep the heat out and the air conditioning in. How did we manage without Mr. Carrier’s invention? When I lived in Wisconsin the saying was the 4th of July meant summer was half over. Here in Alabama, it seems summer is just revving up. The Knockout rose bushes are definitely heat stressed and the humidity is a constant reminder we live in the south. The sure sign that it is seriously hot outside is Mr. RWS is now riding a cart while golfing, something he only does when the heat index is above 100.

Happily, I am able to escape the Alabama heat and spend time in the Penny Black studio, playing with the stamps and dies in the new Artistic Endeavor release.


I couldn’t let the 4th of July holiday go by without making a red, white and blue card for the occasion. I used the Metropolitan cityscape die and the Celebrations die set to put together an Independence Day celebration in the city. Those stars came from a die in the Postage die set. I love making a holiday card using non traditional stamps and dies.


Who doesn’t love sunflowers? And a wreath of sunflowers is even better. The Flowers all Around cling stamp is fun to color and can be used for any occasion.   I went with traditional sunflower colors after toying with the idea of making them into colorful daisies. Some things are best left in the original. I even thought of fussy cutting the wreath and decided maybe I would leave that up to Birgit. I decided on a two layer wreath instead.


Instead of bold and beautiful I chose pastel and pretty to color the Flower Cascade. First I stamped and embossed in gold, including the sentiment. It became a classic card when I matted it onto the gold mirror cardstock.   This stamp will take on any personality you choose depending on the technique and color combination.

The United States is celebrating its birthday this Monday, making it a long holiday weekend for most. For some of us it is also a time to thankfully remember the ancestors who braved the unknown to venture from their homeland for a new life in this country. My maternal grandmother, known to us as “Busia”, left Poland as a young woman to settle in America and changed the course of our family’s history forever.

Years ago my aunt interviewed her mother (speaking in Polish) about that decision to come to America. We are blessed with an incredible story of what it was like to be a young immigrant traveling to a strange country to marry a man she barely knew.

I will let her tell her own story:

“There were 12 children born to my parents, eight survived. We owned an acre of land plus a house for two families. With a family so large as ours, we could not survive on what it produced so we worked for large land owners. I remember at the age of 8 picking potatoes with my father. Schools were not available nor were they compulsory. We had a family friend who had some schooling and he taught me how to read. In my teen years I was put to work as a kitchen helper and as I was a good worker they then hired me as a live-in pantry maid. I slept in a little nook under the main staircase.”

It was about this time that my grandmother received her proposal of marriage from my grandfather.

“Your father had been in America for almost three years at this time. His early life had been spent in what history books call serfdom. Their family lived in the Russian sector of Poland but owned no land and it was only after the government, in 1907, allotted parcels of land to the peasants that they could farm their own land. While you were in ‘service’ your pay was room and board. If your landlord was generous, you survived; if he was cruel, you ran away. For a time he was farmed out to help his uncle and lived in the German sector where a school was available, so he was fortunate to have two years of schooling.

To avoid military service, he hired a guide to get out of the country. Travel outside the borders of the Russian sector was restricted so their travel had to be surreptitious. Avoiding guards, changing his name whenever necessary, he reached his port of emigration. His original destination was Arizona to join one of his brothers but his money ran out on his arrival in Milwaukee.”

And how did the proposal of marriage come about?

“In Poland, my sister had married another of your father’s brothers and our contact with the family had been on a social basis. We did see each other several times while growing up. My sister and brother-in-law instigated the whole arrangement. So with a little anxiety I agreed to leave my homeland and marry your Dad.”

 What was the boat trip like? How much did it cost?

“I left Poland with about $60.00; most of that your Dad sent me. The fare, which included the train fare into Germany, the boat trip and the train fare to take me to Milwaukee came to $35.00. All my identification was pinned to my lapel. What with language problems in Germany and America, this was to insure that I didn’t get lost.

Steerage class accommodations were below deck.   Areas were relegated for single girls, single men and families. Bunks were arranged in tiers with loosely constructed partitions separating them. We were each issued a kit of utensils. Food was served canteen style. Any food remaining from first class meals was set in boxes and brought down to steerage class and could be purchased.

Seasick passengers would unwisely fling open port holes for want of fresh air and by so doing would create a flood until enough help could be gathered to force the windows shut. This happened often enough to make the entire ten day trip quite damp.

I was so fearful of becoming lost on the boat that I did not leave the steerage level for the entire trip.

I arrived in New York on October 23, 1911 and spent one day on Ellis Island and arrived in Milwaukee on October 25, 1911.”

I will pause here to interject that my mother was born just six years later, the fourth child out of seven.


My mother is the third girl from the left. The only child still living is my Uncle Eugene, the little guy in short pants standing at his father’s knee.

To be continued. (The Wedding and First Impressions)


Ahoy there! This adventuresome pirate is from the mini set Journey and is just right for a child’s birthday card. I am delighted that there is now a die set with the numbers from 1 through 0 as well as other symbols to make celebrating specific occasions easy peasy. The designer paper from the paper pad Golden Moment seemed just right for a wavy ocean background.


I chose this sweet image from the transparent set Adventures to demonstrate how perfectly the designer papers in the Golden Moment paper pad go together. This little cutie does not seem to be in an adventurous mood; maybe she is waiting for the car to get packed before she buckles up in her car seat.


Who wouldn’t love to go camping in a sweet purple tent with your own bluebird of happiness along? This is another of the summer fun stamps in the Adventures transparent set and will be a fun image for many a summer occasion.


You may remember this photo of Cooper celebrating the 4th of July from a previous year’s celebration. I couldn’t think of a better way to combine Cooper and the American flag. And this saved me a treat as Cooper has now learned if he poses for the camera, he receives a treat when it is all done: smart boy, happy doggy mama.

Once again it is time to stash the scissors and clean up those itty bitty scraps from the Metropolitan die. And there are a few little stars sprinkled about, too. I love my itty bitty vacuum for a day such as this.

Last week when I was fresh out of story ideas I did receive a few suggestions for further content, from recipes for tuna casserole to cleaning techniques. Since I am not a whiz at either I will just have to depend on Brain to conjure more inspiration. Sometimes an idea will surprise me by just popping into my head. You can be sure I quickly write it down before it becomes lost in the universe somewhere.

Speaking of ideas, I am stopping by the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery on my way home to be inspired by your work. Be sure to post the projects you’ve made using Penny Black products. I’ve been told the Gallery is air conditioned which might encourage a longer visit.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black Supplies:

Card No. 1: 51-169 Metropolitan, 51-028 Celebrations, 51-190 Postage

Card No. 2: 40-467 Flowers all Around, 30-283 Snippets, 51-204 Circle Tags

Card No. 3: 40-466 Flower Cascade, 30-353 Words of Kindness

Card No. 4: 30-367 Journey, 51-239 Numbers, 80-015 Golden Moment

Card No. 5: 30-370 Adventures

Card No. 6: 30-370 Adventures, 51-050 Tweet Things

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Holly Saveur permalink
    July 2, 2016 12:14 am

    Gorgeous cards!
    wow what a story about your grandmother…and father..

  2. Cathy P in AZ permalink
    July 2, 2016 12:30 am

    Love your beautiful cards, Judy! I adore the stories you tell on the PB blog and I can’t wait to hear more about your grandmother and grandfather!

  3. July 2, 2016 3:36 am

    Lovely cards, particularly the Cityscapes. Great story, I’m waiting for part two.

  4. Marliese Zimmerman permalink
    July 2, 2016 3:49 am

    I thought the girl pirate was my favorite until I scrolled down to the little girl peeking out of the purple ten. Now I’m torn. Love them both!

  5. knurse22 permalink
    July 2, 2016 5:22 am

    Great cards again this week, Judy! This new release is really a fun one! And enjoyed your family heritage story, too. My maternal grandparents were also immigrants, and I wish we knew the story of their past. What a treasure for you!
    Happy 4th! Celebrate America’s freedoms and wealth!

  6. July 2, 2016 5:40 am

    Thank you for sharing your family’s history, Judy. My dad came to America from Italy in those days, he was just a little boy at the time. My grandma lived a long, happy life even though life’s start was hard.

    Oh yes, always enjoy your stories and your wonderful cards. Lucille xoxox

  7. mjmarmo permalink
    July 2, 2016 6:00 am

    Georgeous cards. How wonderful to have this story written down!

  8. Sandra Andersen permalink
    July 2, 2016 6:20 am

    I enjoyed your family story and beautiful family photo. Your cards are always an inspiration.

  9. Harriet permalink
    July 2, 2016 7:11 am

    I look forward to every Saturday. I love your cards and love your stories. Just remember to carefully run with scissors.

  10. Deb H permalink
    July 2, 2016 7:17 am

    I look forward to reading your blog every Saturday. Your post and cards are my favorite on the Penny Black blog. How wonderful to have the story of how your family came to America. I also enjoy hearing about Cooper. I am a pet lover too.

  11. Kim permalink
    July 2, 2016 7:24 am

    I love the way your card themes went along with the adventurous trip your grandmother had. Love them all. Can’t wait to hear more of the story also. Take Care till Then!

  12. creatingincolors permalink
    July 2, 2016 7:27 am

    Stories of our ancestors, their bravery, and their work ethic are inspiring.

  13. Donna Whitten permalink
    July 2, 2016 7:32 am

    Loved all your pretty cards! Always enjoy your post, thanks!

  14. Dee Earnshaw permalink
    July 2, 2016 7:38 am

    Thanks for your great post and amazing story:)

  15. July 2, 2016 8:08 am

    So happy you’re sharing your grandmother’s story, Judy–hard to imagine the life in Poland or coming here not knowing the language or country or people. My college roommate’s mom was from an area sometimes Russia, sometimes Poland so she spoke both & cooked both–fond memories! Can’t wait for more of the story! Think the first card is my all-time favorite 4th of July card–perfection! I’m also in love with the new Flower Cascade stamp & you colored it beautifully! Hard to justify another flower stamp, but that one may have to be an exception–haha! Enjoy the holiday weekend in spite of the heat & humidity!

  16. July 2, 2016 9:09 am

    These stories of the past are treasures that should be valued, greatly. Having no idea about my own family’s history, makes them more appealing to me. Everyone in my family won’t talk about the past…think they’re hiding something? I do. Anyway, thank you for sharing. Your cards this week are inspirational. Love the first one and the way you arched the cityscape.

  17. BeverlyBL permalink
    July 2, 2016 9:22 am

    Your card projects are wonderful and your story telling is always superb. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely story with us.

  18. barbara lassiter permalink
    July 2, 2016 10:34 am

    What a wonderful story for the 4th of July weekend. A reminder to most of us that our ancestors came here from other countries, and this is what makes America a great country. This country is not perfect, because we are not perfect, but it’s probably as close to perfection as one could get. Thanks for sharing the story and your beautiful cards.

  19. Ruth Treadwell permalink
    July 2, 2016 10:43 am

    My father was born in Boston to parents from Lithuania. They were cousins and came through Castle Garden in Boston. Later moved to Milwaukee Wi. We share some of same story. Thanks

  20. dawnnz permalink
    July 2, 2016 1:43 pm

    Fabulous cards today. Awesome story of your relative. What an intrepid woman to do such a journey on her own.

  21. alexandra s.m. permalink
    July 3, 2016 7:05 am

    Love your cards Judy and thank you so much for sharing your Grandmother’s story!
    I cannot wait to read more.

  22. DebbieP permalink
    July 5, 2016 11:30 am

    Happy 4th of July!!! Love your version of the holiday card…may have to borrow the idea for some July birthdays. Your family history story hit home for me as I recently started doing the genealogy for my dad’s side of the family. I wish someone had done this kind of interview with my grandparents and great-grandparents, as the paper trails they left are few and far between. You are blessed to have such a treasure! Have a great week, and I look forward to reading more about your Grandmother’s story.

  23. L Haff permalink
    July 5, 2016 1:12 pm

    Hi Judy, love reading all your stories. The story of your grandmother is amazing. I am visiting New York this fall and we will be visiting Ellis Island and the statue of Liberty. I’ll be thinking of your Grandma and that long trip to the U.S. -thanks for sharing.

  24. Laura Capote permalink
    July 7, 2016 3:55 am

    The cards are so pretty and festive!!
    The story is amazing and transported me in mind. That trip must’ve been terrifying!!!
    I’m looking forward to read part two!!

  25. Loyce permalink
    July 7, 2016 11:58 am

    Thank you for your sharing your creativity and experiences. Loved the RV stories and can now not wait for the next Grandmother stories. It strikes a chord with me. My Grandparents traveled to Nebraska from Germany after WWI.

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