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Runs with Scissors

July 23, 2016


Did you see that? I think that was July speeding by, heading right into August. I guess it’s true that time flies when you are having fun. And I have certainly been having fun today with Penny Black’s Artistic Endeavors release. I think my plan was “go big or go home” and use bright colors.


I have named this card my “warm up” project. I knew I was going to be working on some larger projects and wanted to kick start the creative process by coloring a fun favorite, Tandem, from the So Special release. I made this card previously, but paper pieced the image. This time I wanted to use bright Copic markers and just enjoy the process of coloring. It seems studies have proven what we’ve all known: coloring is good for you.


I was inspired by Birgit’s use of only part of the large Sweet Perfume stamp. I love her creative ideas! I stamped and embossed the image on kraft paper, colored it with Prismacolor pencils, cut out the part I wanted to use and raised it with foam tape onto the base. I wasn’t liking my yellow flowers very much, so I mostly covered them with die cut flowers from the Shall we Dance die.


My projects are becoming bigger as I go along. This is a supersized card using the Flower Cascade slapstick stamp. I masked the image, and overstamped with the Script slapstick stamp. I believe it is obvious I wanted big and bright.

Fourth and Final Chapter of my Grandmother’s Story:

The next subject my aunt raises with her mother, my grandmother, is the effect of war on their lives.

We haven’t touched on WWI and its effect on your lives.

At this time we already had a family of four children so your Dad was not drafted. From an economic standpoint it was a time with better wages and good employment. We had victory gardens and attended many war rallies. Many of our friends were recruited with the desire of being sent overseas, not only to help with the war, but for the purpose of being able to return to Europe at the government’s expense. Their intent was to return to their homeland after the war’s end.

What about WWII?

Two of your brothers were in the Army and were fortunate to return. It was after this war that contact with my family developed.

The children of my brothers and sisters were able to communicate with us on a regular basis and only then were we able to help them. Their poverty was the same as when I was a young girl. They still lived in the same house I was raised in, still farmed the same land. So much time had elapsed and nothing had changed for them.

And so we tried to help as much as we could. Boxes of clothing were sent monthly, money to retrieve the boxes also had to be sent. I’m sure much of what we sent was to be sold on the black market. It was not a matter of what they did with it, but a way to ease their poverty that I was concerned with.

And this:

The important thing that happened was at this time I realized the longings for my homeland proved to be less valid. Though my life in America was fraught with struggle, we did progress: in living conditions, better jobs, improved housing, educating seven children. In retrospect I can say I’m grateful to America for this life. I would have it no other way. I have no desire to return to Poland.

Yes, I am Americanized, but I can’t let go entirely … you must consider me a Polish-American.


This is a photo of my mother’s side of the family before the grandchildren count became final at twenty-three.   I am the little girl on the far left of the front row. You can locate my sister by finding the dress identical to the one I am wearing. My dad is the man in uniform in the middle of the back row, with my mom on his left.

In the early 1990’s Mr. RWS and I, along with my daughter who was working for her company in Amsterdam, were able to spend two weeks traveling Europe by car. We traveled east across the continent and I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting Poland, the country my grandmother left as a young woman.

Ironically, we stayed in Poznan, the nearest large city to my grandmother’s village of Bytrzyna. Communism had ended only a few years before our visit, and the city was still showing the damage done by previous wars. We saw bullet holes in the buildings, rubble that had not been cleared and black soot coated much of the architecture. Shop windows had some appliances and electronic items on display, but the prices were very high. We had passed enormous multi-storied cinder block apartment buildings, with not a scrap of landscaping to break up the walls of gray and the gravel covered yards. We were in the midst of a summer heat wave and I could only imagine how stifling it must have been in those buildings.

Poznan is a center of commerce in Poland and our hotel was completely Americanized. Once inside you could imagine yourself in any city in America. The differences became obvious as we sat on the terrace on a Sunday afternoon enjoying lunch followed by an ice cream sundae for dessert. As was the custom in Europe on Sundays, families dressed in their Sunday best, with their little ones in carriages and strollers, turned out to walk around the man made lake in the park adjacent to our hotel.

We remarked how the scene before us appeared to be from the 1950’s or earlier. The women’s dresses and shoes, as well as the men’s attire seemed from a different time. Poznan had not yet had a chance to become the center of commerce and the second largest city in Poland that it is now. It was obvious that war and the government regime had affected life for the Polish people.

It was with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat that I raised my glass, looked into the eyes of my daughter and said, “Thank you, Busia, for the life you gave us.”


I knew when I saw the slapstick set Butterfly Trio that I wanted to showcase those butterflies. I prepared a base by blending three colors of Memento Luxe inks on white cardstock and drying it thoroughly. I stamped and embossed in gold the image from Verdure. That was so pretty I almost didn’t want to cover any of it with butterflies. But I changed my mind after I stamped the butterflies on vellum and embossed them in gold. I fussy cut the butterflies and mounted them with glue dots. Silly me, I asked Mr. RWS what he thought of this project.   His reply, “It’s a bit gaudy.” But in a pretty way, I think.


Last week I said I would be less conservative when using the artistic images that work so well for art journaling. Well, this is what happens when Runs with Scissors meets “anything goes”. I did fulfill the goal of having fun. I stamped two Portrait images and cut out the face from one and mounted it with foam tape on the second image. I drew Ms. Portrait the neckline of a pretty green dress, trimmed with some gold embossing. I blended Luxe inks onto white cardstock and then stamped and embossed with white the Hydrangea image. Some fussy cutting, some leaves from the Leaves die set, and a flock of white Flutters butterflies formed a wreath around the face peeking from the circle. I had to add some golden jewelry and a pretty flower in her hair. So, did I “let loose” enough? I had to stop myself before I thought of anything more to add.


Mr. RWS made it home safely from his trip this past week, and Cooper’s vigilance paid off. He saw the car drive onto the driveway and nothing could keep him contained in the house. I saved the glass storm door by opening it just in time. This photo does not capture the jumping and leaping and tail wagging. And there is no photo of Cooper running in circles around the living room to celebrate. I’m sure he believes his staring out the door all those hours is what made Mr. RWS appear.

When I began sharing the story of my grandmother’s decision to leave her home and family in Poland, I had no idea it would take four weeks. I could have condensed the interview she gave to my aunt but that didn’t seem the right thing to do. I finally decided if she had the endurance and patience to live her story, we could honor her and all the immigrants of her generation by having the endurance to write it and read it.

Thank you for reading about my beloved Busia. Many of you have similar stories you could tell and have reminded me how fortunate our family is that my grandmother’s story has been written down and shared within the family.

I am stowing the scissors, cleaning up my mess and putting away the stamps and dies. Mr. RWS and I are heading north for a very anticipated visit with family and friends. I need grandbaby hugs and kisses. I need to be around people who talk with the same Midwestern twang I do. I am looking forward to eating pizza in our favorite little Italian restaurant; hamburgers in our favorite local franchise; and Chinese food in our little shopping center takeout place. We no longer visit the house we used to live in; that was just too hard.

If you find yourself lonesome for Runs with Scissors in my absence, you can always use the “search” function on the sidebar of the Penny Black blog to bring up older issues.

You can be sure I will be checking out the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery upon my return.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies:

26 Comments leave one →
  1. Holly Saveur permalink
    July 23, 2016 1:02 am

    LOVE the cards!!

  2. Cathy P in AZ permalink
    July 23, 2016 3:17 am

    Your cards are beautiful, Judy! Tell Mr RWS the golden butterfly card is my favorite! 😄 So sad the story of your beloved Busia is over – loved every minute of it! I can’t wait for your return – and your next story!

  3. July 23, 2016 3:57 am

    Have a blessed journey filled with oodles of grand baby hugs and kisses and great fellowship in your old stomping grounds…sounds like a fabulous trip, I hope Cooper gets to accompany! Thank you for the story of your grandmother’s immigration. I am first generation American and have similar stories in our family…I feel it is very necessary to write their histories to remind ourselves and future generations that courage, sacrifice, and determination paved the path for our comfortable lives and we should never take that for granted.

  4. Diane T permalink
    July 23, 2016 5:01 am

    “Runs with scissors” is my favorite PB posts. Love your cards and your stories.

  5. creatingincolors permalink
    July 23, 2016 5:31 am

    What a touching story. I’m glad you didn’t condense it. I have nothing but admiration for the courage, strength, and ethics of our ancestors who worked so hard for a better life. As always, love the cards. The butterfly card is gorgeous, and love how you dressed up Ms. Portrait!

  6. knurse22 permalink
    July 23, 2016 5:57 am

    Love your work, especially Ms. portrait! And I have so enjoyed hearing your family story, too. Wishing you much fun and many hugs during your trip home! You WILL be missed! Enjoy!

  7. Deb H permalink
    July 23, 2016 6:25 am

    I am a fan of yours from WI. I wait for your blog post every week. I love your work and your stories. I would love to meet you one of these days. Enjoy your trip and your time with your family.

  8. barbara lassiter permalink
    July 23, 2016 8:02 am

    Your cards and stories are always inspiring and I wish you a safe journey with loads of fun! 🙂

  9. Virginia L. permalink
    July 23, 2016 8:10 am

    Thanks for the this epic beautiful post, Judy! I didn’t find your Busia’s story long at all. Thank you for taking the time to share such a personal story with us. Your cards are so happy and bright…and your Mr. RWS is much like my hubby who told me the other day that my flowers (on my card) reminded him of the plant from “The Little Shop of Horror”!! Enjoy your time with your love ones!

  10. July 23, 2016 8:16 am

    Beautiful post Judy! I love, not only your beautiful cards!! but your beautiful writing as well. What a pleasure to meet you and to spend some time with you : )

    Have a wonderful get away!


  11. Kathy H permalink
    July 23, 2016 8:25 am

    A heart warming story. Thanks for sharing! Your butterfly card is gorgeous! Must be a guy thing. Have a wonderful trip!

  12. Sandra Andersen permalink
    July 23, 2016 8:26 am

    Such a wonderful story and you are a gifted writer and card maker. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us.

  13. Lynn D permalink
    July 23, 2016 10:20 am

    I’ve probably said this before but I enjoy your cards and stories so much. The fact that you share your talents in writing and creating is our blessing. Have a wonderful trip; stay safe.

  14. July 23, 2016 12:15 pm

    Great cards Judy….have a wonderful trip and enjoy your family! Loved your 4-part story of your Busia’s life. We are grateful we live in the USA, even though I do not know my family history!
    Paper Hugs,

  15. DebbieP permalink
    July 23, 2016 1:18 pm

    Another great post and great cards. The first one would be my favorite if I had to pick. Loved the story of your grandmother, and didn’t think it was too long. I would even love to hear more! I hope you and your family have a fantastic time together. Safe travels….

  16. Kathy permalink
    July 23, 2016 2:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing your family history. Looking forward to the next tale you will share with us. Hope Cooper is making the trip with you, especially since he missed Mr. RWS so much! Enjoy your family time!

  17. Laura Capote permalink
    July 23, 2016 5:32 pm

    Fantastic cards. THANK YOU so much for sharing your grandma’s story!!

  18. dawnnz permalink
    July 24, 2016 2:42 am

    Beautiful cards and a beautiful ending to your Grandma’s story. Enjoy your trip and give those grandbabies big hugs.

  19. marci piraro permalink
    July 24, 2016 6:41 am

    Your cards are beautiful! It is so hard to get out of our comfort zone, isn’t it? But sometimes so rewarding. I have enjoyed your venture into art journaling. I just saw this post today and had to go back and read all of your grandma’s story. What courage and grit. I thought the part about letters from her homeland was so poignant. When she did get the rare letter, they were bordered in black, so she knew someone had died, but she didn’t know who till she opened the letter. So any letter was longed for, for the home connection, but yet dreaded, too. Thank you for the story. And I love how you describe Cooper waiting.

  20. Harriet permalink
    July 24, 2016 9:54 am

    I have read with much respect your grandmother’s story. Thank you for sharing her journey with everyone. I think too often we ‘forget’ those that made our lives possible by their courage to leave all that they knew to encounter the unknown and make it their own.

    I like your butterfly card very much.

  21. judy G permalink
    July 24, 2016 5:04 pm

    Judy, thank you for sharing your grandmother’s story. It was wonderful that you have someone who wrote it all down. My Grandmother was also from Poland but no one ever got her to talk about it so I have no stories to remember. Cooper is one awesome dog! I loved your butterfly card. Enjoy your time with the grandbabies.

  22. mjmarmo permalink
    July 24, 2016 8:22 pm

    Gorgeous cards! Your grandmother’s story was wonderful!

  23. July 24, 2016 10:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s story, Judy–I thoroughly enjoyed it! No pictures or video needed as I can clearly see Cooper’s happy antics–just like Fritz when I got home! You are one talented cardmaker–these are amazing! The butterfly card is stunning & I love the flower cascade & how you used the portrait image–wowzer! Have a wonderful trip visiting your loved ones & we’ll be waiting when you return!

  24. July 25, 2016 8:54 am

    Just wanted to say a big thank you…you touched my heart x

  25. Vicky Schmidt permalink
    July 27, 2016 8:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing your grandmother story. It remind me of my grandmother story.
    We were in Poland when the Russian soldiers were still there. The people were wonderful but scared of the soldiers. Enjopy your trip & loving on your grandbabies.

  26. Carole Centers permalink
    August 2, 2016 7:05 am

    Thank you for the re-telling. It was such a warm, respectful story. I hate to have it done, just like any good book you don’t want to end.

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