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Runs with Scissors

July 9, 2016


Welcome, friends. Here in Alabama, Summer has called in the professionals. Heat and Humidity have landed and are doing their job with intensity. Thankfully, Air Conditioning is holding its own against this dynamic duo and life is going on.

The Artistic Endeavors release has arrived here on the blog and I am learning more than I had planned this summer. Last week’s videos about art journaling have been more than informational; they are inspirational. The best piece of advice came from Jill Foster’s Monday video explaining that art journaling is not necessarily about the product; it is about the process. We are given permission to create art just for the fun of the process and the freedom to explore techniques and products and images.

There’s been no time for lemonade and sun bathing since Angela Kennedy posted her amazing video of Art Journaling Tips, using the Muse and Portrait stamps in this release. The large stamps can be used as is or the images altered to allow for our own expression.

Actually, I could easily be a mixed-media artist: if only I hadn’t misplaced my Gesso. I decided since I have no experience with art journaling that the best place to start was with Angela’s video and take it one step at a time, doing exactly what she does.


And this is what happened. Because I elongated the torso/dress portion of this stamp I ended up with an over sized water colored painting of about 6”x8”. Angela’s video is extremely easy to follow and extremely helpful and after viewing it, I set to work.   I began with stamping and masking and then painted my image with water colors. Except for the weird eyelashes, I was satisfied with the result. I used the Energized stamp for the halo, the Hydrangea stamp for her dress and the Butterfly Trio stamp for her wings.


Here is my second Muse, this time smaller and more delicate. Her Butterfly Trio wings are made of vellum. I’ve used the Verdure stamp for the background and the Script stamp for the front of her dress. I was more careful with her eyelashes and I am pleased with this softer look. I was happily surprised how relaxing it is to start with the basic Muse stamp and let your creativity take over.


If one Silhouette Lady is good, two are even better. I prepared my card base by blending several shades of Memento Luxe inks and then used the Silhouette Lady die to cut the two faces. I added flowers cut from the Shall we Dance die. The Artistic Endeavor release has added new possibilities to our work with Penny Black stamps and dies and makes it much easier to dabble more artistically.

It is time to let my grandmother continue her story. (Part One HERE)

Can you remember any details about where you stayed before your marriage and of the wedding itself?

The three weeks prior to my marriage I spent with your father’s sister. The entire wedding costs came to about $20.00 and that included the service of two cooks and also the milliner who on the day of the wedding came to arrange little wiglets in my hair and adjust the veil properly. Of course, as custom would have it, the celebration lasted two days. And so, with about $14.00 we received in wedding presents and about $40.00 your father had saved, we started our own household.


Antoinette Klazura married Stanley Ciechanowski in October of 1911. Our family owes so much to their courage and hard work.

What was your first impression of America?

I was very disappointed. I suppose my vision of homes leaned more to that of landowners’ homes in Poland and not that of the shabby and drab homes that we lived in. The streets seemed muddier than those in my village. A sea of mud: the wooden sidewalks were broken making walking precarious and some stretches were removed entirely.

The stores were huge barn-like structures with stretches of benches piled high with merchandise and much time was spent searching through this melee for whatever you needed. Each house we lived in had to be renovated before it was livable. Your dad was handy enough to make many improvements. And it pleased the landlord, too, so much so he would raise the rent and we’d move and do it all over again. We finally were able to buy a house in 1918.

What was the labor market like at this time?

Work for the common laborers was plentiful though cheap. Foreman of various factories would walk the street looking for workers. Average wage was ten cents an hour, twelve hours a day, six days a week. Changing jobs was customary. If rumor had some factory paying so much as a penny more an hour, the men would quit en masse and hire out to the better paying employer.

Some factories developed a piecework system on a straight time basis to keep their employees. Men were allowed to come in as early as they wanted. It came to be a game with the men to see who would come in the earliest. It was common to be at work at 3:00 a.m., early enough for the privilege to earn two to three times the normal wage for that time. A two week shut down at Christmas was reason enough to leave; no one could afford such a long layoff. Your father found another job at a foundry making cast iron pistons for Nash auto engines. During summer vacations you children would carry a hot lunch for your Dad and then stay to watch the men pouring the molten iron.

Were there other ways to supplement your income?

We would keep boarders. They were usually friends or relatives who came here ahead of their own families, to establish a home, save a little money to send for their wives and children. For some this was possible, others lived out their lives without attaining that goal.

Then there was Prohibition.


It was a source of income if people were willing to take risks. It brought many spurious people into the bootleg business. Demand was high. However, if caught, a first offender would pay a heavy fine. If it was a big operator or a repeater, jail time was a certainty. Our basement turned into a small distillery along with many others. And the children were the helpers.

My note: I thought it was not a good idea for the children to take lunch to their father at the foundry and watch the molten metal being poured. Now I learn the boys in the family were the key to the success of the family liquor business!

To be continued.


The element stamps that work so well with the Muse stamp also work well for more traditional card making. Here I’ve used the Energized image as the focal point of a Golden Wedding Anniversary card. The numbers have been cut from the Numbers die set and I’ve added the Gaiety flower. Again, the perfect sentiment from the Happy Snippet set. I will be using the Energized stamp often, I believe.


Now for some time in my comfort zone: cute. I love these little mice busily Taking Notes for their Gratitude Journal. Clearly there are mice in a range of ages working on this project together. This is Copic coloring with ink blending for the background. Red polka dots from the Wintertime paper pad add to the cheery atmosphere.


Here is a spunky Geni with an attitude! Little Gini is astride her magic bottle, enjoying her freedom and seeking a wish-granting adventure. She is such fun to color and her sassy expression makes me smile.


Despite having been born in Tennessee, thus being southern born and bred, Cooper does not like the hot weather. However, he finds sunglasses to be helpful when enjoying life on the patio.

I see by the very large Penny Black clock that it is time for me to stow the scissors and put away the stamps and dies. It will take a bit longer to clean up the mess I’ve made. There is something about art journaling that includes the freedom to apply paint with fervor and let the water splash where it may. I am happy I took the leap into art journaling and didn’t let fear hold me back. Last week’s videos were the key to getting started.

I will be stopping by the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery on my way home. I invite you to post your work there and to browse in air conditioned comfort. Thanks to all for joining in on my Penny Black fun. Your comments keep me going!

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Dianne Crowe permalink
    July 9, 2016 3:38 am

    I love your last three cards and of course Cooper is a darling. Thanks ever so much for your stories, I enjoy them. Dianne

  2. July 9, 2016 4:24 am

    Love the jaunt into journaling. I love the stories about the past/ My great grandparents owned a boarding house and came from Poland, too. They came in the l800’s. My mother died just 3 years ago and she lived in the home that had been in the family for 115 years. Its great to delve into family history. Imagine crossing he Atlantic in a boat that certainly wasn’t a cruise ship

  3. Holly Saveur permalink
    July 9, 2016 5:02 am

    such a great story….
    LOVE your cards..especially with the Muse stamp…I ordered both Muse and Portrait stamps…and the Art Journaling videos from this week inspired me so much..that I ordered the Dylusion Art journaling books and the Penny Black stamps….The books arrived now waiting for the stamps to arrive..will have again a look at the video’s!
    I think it will feel so great..just to create..and not having to make it into a card..just create for fun…

  4. knurse22 permalink
    July 9, 2016 5:59 am

    Awesome cards! I am also doing more aRt journaling, and eagerly await my PB order of the new stamps that will enable me to make those gorgeous faces! Thanks for your inspiration today—-and starting my day off with a smile!

  5. mjmarmo permalink
    July 9, 2016 6:49 am

    Just gorgeous cards! Interesting about life back then! It is lovely that you have that information!

  6. Judy permalink
    July 9, 2016 7:02 am

    Enjoyed your story. My brother and I are into genealogy big time and have uncovered a few mysteries, too. Will never find the answers as my parents died 4 and 2 years ago now. LOVED Cooper in his glasses. He is just SO cute!

  7. July 9, 2016 7:12 am

    What a lovely way to start my day…beautiful cards and a step back in history. You did a great job with the journaling cards!!! Love the upside down sentiment on the mice card…too cute! How in the world do you get Cooper to stand still with his costumes?!? Thanks for another great column here at Penny Black! hugs!!!

  8. July 9, 2016 8:26 am

    You’re an amazing learner, Judy as your first Art Journaling work is gorgeous! I’m especially drawn to the second card–soft, creative & so beautiful! Love the 50th anniversary card, too, using that neat stamp, Energized. Cooper & Fritz share being born where heat is expected but not liking it. Fritz does love sunbaths when the temps are cooler, so we always say he has Phoenix blood. Cooper is adorable wearing sunglasses! So fun reading your grandmother’s story–waiting for the next chapter!

  9. July 9, 2016 10:47 am

    They look amazing Judy!!!

  10. Judy Wheeler permalink
    July 9, 2016 7:08 pm

    Love that Cooper! He was born in the right state, and you are correct–it’s hot here!!

  11. Cathy P in AZ permalink
    July 9, 2016 11:03 pm

    Gorgeous creations, Judy! Love the art journaling and the mice with the gratitude journal! I am really enjoying the family historical account from your grandmother – it’s fascinating! And your footnote about the kids with the molten iron and the liquor business made me laugh!

  12. July 9, 2016 11:58 pm

    Love reading your Grand Mother’s story Judy, can’t wait for the next chapter.

  13. Laura Capote permalink
    July 13, 2016 1:01 pm

    Great cards!!
    It’s amazing all the details she could remember. Priceless stories for you and future generations. Can’t wait to read the next part!!! Again TFS!

  14. alexandra s.m. permalink
    July 14, 2016 10:07 am

    Your cards are so beautiful Judy!
    You are rocking that new release!!
    I’m enjoying your Grandma’s story so much!
    It is a real treat to read your posts!!

  15. DebbieP permalink
    July 16, 2016 9:54 am

    Okay, I’m late. I don’t know how I missed this post from last week. In any case, your cards are always an inspiration to me. Love the mice! Your grandmother is amazing!!! So glad she was able to share so much about her life with all of you. On both sides of my family, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all gone. And only now, I have the time to start on our family genealogy! Wish I had made time much earlier to write down their stories. I’m glad to see you documenting Cooper’s life. He looks all grown up sitting at the big table with his shades on!

  16. Dawn Ellis permalink
    August 6, 2016 9:59 am

    Beautiful designs!

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