Angelically Runs with Scissors
Today it is official: for all practical purposes, summer is over. Here in the U.S. it is Labor Day weekend and it is summer’s last hurrah. I don’t expect to see many of you here this morning as you go about enjoying this last weekend of summer. Hopefully, after the potato salad is made, the drinks are iced and the meat is marinating you will find time to stop by for a visit.
The one downside to being retired (well, if you don’t count the missing weekly paycheck) is that holiday weekends are not as special anymore. Sometimes the only way I remember it is Sunday is that the newspaper is thicker.
Anyway, enjoy your long weekend; you’ve earned it. Since I am not good at making potato salad, I spent my time playing with Penny Black stamps and dies instead. With all the options available from the Autumn Wishes and Magic of the Season releases, I had ideas faster than I could make them happen.
I was totally entranced by Jill’s video demonstrating a technique using the MISTI stamping tool and Tombow markers along with the embossed resist technique. I set up my MISTI and the Wintry Trail stamp, and then tested my black marker, which is called for in Jill’s video. Sadly, my fifteen year old marker had dried up. After taking a timeout to place a Tombow order, I returned to my project with Plan B. I started with a piece of glossy white cardstock and added alcohol inks and the mixative, swirling the colors around until I liked the look. After the inks dried, I placed the paper in the Misti and stamped the Wintry Trail image in black VersaFine ink. I stamped it a few times to make sure my image was dark and solid enough. Honestly, I think this stamp works on any background, any colors. It’s like magic.
Speaking of magic, just two days later my Tombow markers arrived. I only needed a new black marker, but what’s the fun in that? I added some cool new colors along with the black. But then, because I run with scissors, I decided to use Virginia and Jill’s technique, but stamped the Wintry Trail image originally in a light sage green color and highlighted the trees with the brown Tombow marker. The MISTI is totally necessary with this technique because it allows you to color small portions of the stamp with the marker and quickly stamp before the ink dries. And you keep coloring and stamping until you are happy with the result. The final stamping was done with VersaMark ink and then clear embossing powder applied and heated. Last step: blending inks to create the sky, the shadows, and pathway. As I said, you cannot make a bad background with this stamp and the others in this style. Jill’s PB and J videos demonstrate the process step by step not only for using this stamp, but others in these new releases.
As I mentioned last week, I love coloring pumpkins. This stamp is from the Autumn Splendor transparent set and is perfect for fall-themed cards. The “love” sentiment is from the Holiday Snippets set and I am so happy there are so many little holiday wishes in one stamp set. They are perfect for sneaking onto a card or stamping on mini-tags. There are also several larger sentiment verses and even a few snow flakes in that set. It’s a good one to keep on your crafting desk because you will be reaching for it a lot. But I digress. I colored the pumpkins with Copics and then fussy cut the image and mounted it on the ovals.
I am an angel. I know it’s kind of a startling statement, but last year I was an angel-in- training and this year, I am officially an angel.
Our church provides a lovely luncheon for senior citizens once a month. This event is called “Free Spirits” and is a tradition that goes back almost 30 years. The ladies, and one gentleman, of the church who cook and serve this meal are called “Kitchen Angels”.
I chuckle to myself when I look around the church kitchen and realize that most of these angels are older than the senior citizens they serve. They are a fiercely dedicated and talented group of cooks. The Free Spirits bible is a large binder filled with the favorite tried and true recipes collected over the years, with hand written notes in the margins.
Our church was founded by the German scientists who came to the United States to contribute their knowledge to the space program that resulted in sending men to the moon. Some of the long term Kitchen Angels are of German heritage and bring their strong work ethic and great recipes to our church kitchen. They are a no-nonsense group and do not tolerate short cuts or convenience foods.
Last year I wanted to become more involved in volunteering at our church. I was not interested in committee meetings, budget planning, or being in charge of anything. I just wanted to help. Working in the kitchen seemed like something I could do while enjoying the fellowship of the Kitchen Angels.
I will just say it was not easy. I eased my way into their good graces by taking over the washing of the pots and pans and other utensils and dishes that were not run through the commercial dish washer. I will also say it was not easy for the ladies to “move over” and let a newcomer into their kitchen. They had no idea if I was going to adapt to their strict kitchen rules or if I was going to somehow upset the status quo. Perhaps word had gotten out that I run with scissors.
The agreement I made was that for the first year I would not assume any responsibility for planning, shopping or leading the group in cooking the meal. I would just be there and assist where needed. Along the way I learned there is only one way to chop peppers, nuts, celery, onions, whatever: their way. Even though the recipes serve up to 70, there is no mechanical chopping assistance.
And if you are told to garnish the salad with two rings of onion, do not use three, even though the rings are smaller than average. We are talking precision!
For the first few months there wasn’t much fellowship, either. I hadn’t proven myself and because I had deviated from the chopping norm on several occasions, I became someone to keep an eye on.
Free Spirits takes a break over the summer and begins again in September. Imagine my surprise when I received an invitation to the planning luncheon in August. When the list of volunteers was circulated, there was my name, in alphabetical order among the Kitchen Angels. And even better: there I was on the calendar for the months of November and January as part of the team in charge.
No, there were no wings awarded. But I can now relate to those intrepid sailors who finish their Seal training, or the Army members who complete Ranger training.
The Manger die is the right size to be used in many ways. This may be the card I send the most of this year. It represents the real meaning of Christmas to me. No need to stress about coloring or smudged stamping. Just keep running your dies through your machine and spend some time assembling when the cutting is done. No limit to color combinations or type of paper used, either. This nativity image is a timeless classic.
Speaking of paper, about 13 years ago I attended a very large scrap/stamping event in Phoenix, Arizona. Along with the many stamp vendors, there was a huge room set aside for paper vendors. Well, I lost my mind when I saw the huge variety of glossy shiny papers and thankfully bought a large supply. I thought I had used up all my pretty paper, but I decided to take one last look into the depths of my craft closet and lo and behold, still some shiny paper left. The dies from the Magic of the Season release just seem to combine themselves into pretty designs. I’ve used three different dies here, the Bird Amidst Holly, the Winter Garland and the Merry Christmas die. Another easy to assemble card, and shiny paper is not mandatory.
I think this is Snowy.3 in my mission to do a Snowy card each week. This time he is all decked out in red watercolored cap and scarf. He is sending love and smiling big because he loves the glitter on his cap.
Even though I vowed never to forget to set up future appointments for Cooper’s grooming, I did it again. And Poor Cooper is embarrassed to go around looking like this shaggy little guy. Hang in there, Cooper, just two more days. And because I try to be supportive of Cooper in all possible ways, I forgot to set up my next haircut appointment, too. There will be no photo, but take my word for it, Cooper looks better than I do.
Well, time for this angel to clean up and put away. I am grateful that Penny Black lets me do my thing my way. I am grateful for the opportunity to be creative, not precise. I am grateful for the fellowship of the Penny Black family and all of you who visit and leave your comments.
The scissors are stowed. It’s time to get home and fire up the grill and celebrate the last holiday of summer. My hope is that the hot and muggy Alabama summer days are packing their bags and moving on. I also hope you will post your work using Penny Black stamps and dies in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery where I love to browse.
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