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Angelically Runs with Scissors

September 3, 2016


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.


Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies


Card No. 1: 40-497 Wintry Trail, 51-270 Beneath the Birches

Card No. 2: 40-497 Wintry Trail, 30-370 Holiday Snippets, 51-191 Gift Card

Card No. 3: 30-372 Autumn Splendor, 30-370 Holiday Snippets

Card No. 4: 51-254 Manger, 51-259 O Holy Night

Card No. 5: 51-249 Winter Garland, 51-248 Merry Christmas

Card No. 6: 2521K Snowy, 51-266 Frosty/Snow Mates, 51-270 Beneath the Birches



27 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2016 4:11 am

    Beautiful cards, as usual! You, Cooper, and I are in the same boat…gotta get something done with this mop…but that would mean having to leave the craft room! Thanks for the reminder…gotta go start my macaroni salad for my contribution to Sunday’s cookout!

  2. Marliese permalink
    September 3, 2016 4:59 am

    As always, loved your cards and commentary. I can’t wait to try Wintry Trail with my Misti. Love, love that tool. I’ve been so busy stamping, I didn’t have time for a haircut.

  3. September 3, 2016 5:28 am

    well I got my haircut yesterday—-long overdue also! Love your cards, and enjoy your comments so much—thanks. this labor day is dedicated to crafting at my house!

  4. Kelly Flaherty permalink
    September 3, 2016 5:55 am

    How do you do this? Time after time, always such beautiful cards, the creative ideas and layouts, I am always so impressed with your work! Congrats on wow-ing your audience once again!!

  5. September 3, 2016 6:23 am

    How cool is the alcohol ink card?!? And crud…love the Manger scene card….should have ordered that die. Your being an Angel is so true…..they sound like Kitchen non-angels. So glad you stuck it out and was really welcomed into the fold. They are so lucky to have you, as is Penny Black. Another great column, great cards and the cutest dog ever. Now go get your haircut!!!! Hugs!!!!

  6. mjmarmo permalink
    September 3, 2016 6:39 am

    Such gorgeous cards. Congrats on getting your wings. Sounds like s fun way to volunteer your time.

  7. Jackie Whitmarsh permalink
    September 3, 2016 7:06 am

    Beautiful cards! I really have to try that alcohol ink technique-just have to find time 😉 What is the die you used for the white mat on the nativity card? It’s super cool!
    Your post are always so enjoyable. I never miss them. Being a ‘Kitchen Angle’ myself in our church I can fully relate to your experience. We don’t do the weekly meals, but do have meals after funerals, and special fundraisers. And you don’t dare deviate from the ‘norm’. But it really does make everything go smoother if there is a routine.

    • Judy Jung permalink
      September 3, 2016 12:34 pm

      Jackie, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You could use any circle die to get the effect I did; just lay part of the die across the edge of the white cardstock. Easy peasy! That die was a gift from a friend … but any circle die will do. Again, thanks.

  8. September 3, 2016 7:39 am

    I love starting my Saturdays with your post, Judy–wish we lived close enough to visit! The Angels story is wonderful & congratulations on getting your wings, which clearly you did! Stunning cards & if I still got that weekly paycheck I’d be using it at PB! I’ve been on the hunt for a nativity die, so this one is now on my list along with the winter garland which made such a beautiful background for the bird! Thanks for the reminder–gotta get Fritz on the groomer’s schedule, although I love the look of our guys fluffy! Enjoy the weekend, my friend!

  9. jane harrah permalink
    September 3, 2016 8:15 am

    Stunning, amazing, cute and beautiful cards. Such a variety and such talent. Love Penny Black!

  10. September 3, 2016 9:14 am

    I like your writing as much as your cards. How about putting together a cozy mystery in your spare time? I would read it. I am reading you already! Also I tried to sign up for Flicker Gallery but it says my name is already there but not my password so alas and alack I can’t access it unless I try a whole different name etc, Hmmmm what to do what to do

  11. September 3, 2016 10:36 am

    So much fun to read and to see.

  12. September 3, 2016 10:47 am

    Congrats on your angel status–I understand the kitchen angel status well, having grown up in a German congregation myself, and my Mom was on the angel committee and even chairwoman of the “wedding” committee at the time I was married! I understand the politics involved–so good for you! Love all of your cards, so jealous you are allowed to play in the PB studio each week!

  13. September 3, 2016 12:08 pm

    Terrific array of cards. I so love those scenic ones you created using Jill’s technique. They’re gorgeous and, since I own the Nativity and Oh Holy Night dies, I was happy to see them in action. I’ve been looking for snowy all over cyberland. You’re right he IS the most adorable snowman, EVER.
    Sure that neither you or Cooper look as shaggy as you say, certainly, in his case, doesn’t look that way in the photo.

    • Judy Jung permalink
      September 3, 2016 12:39 pm

      Conil, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. The woodblock stamp Snowy is available in the Penny Black store. Just click on “Shop” at the top of the blog and enter 2521K in the search function box. I am happy we have the same taste in snowmen!!

  14. Cynthia Cole permalink
    September 3, 2016 12:52 pm

    Love your cards and your wit!

  15. knurse22 permalink
    September 3, 2016 3:19 pm

    Still sitting here with a smile on my face, after laughing so hard at your church story. I have felt that way when trying to join an established group, too….but it sounds like you are a shoo-in! And truly, it is ALWAYS much more fun to play with PB stamps and dies than to make potato salad (or any other dish, IMO)! Sweet cards, and I must admit I scrolled rather quickly looking for the snowman. I am almost sure I OWN that stamp… will require a bit (or more) of deep digging into stored boxes for sure. Hope he is in there!
    Happy Labor Day, from another retired crafter who sees most holidays like any other day, too!

  16. DebbieP permalink
    September 3, 2016 3:53 pm

    So happy to see you here on a holiday weekend! Enjoy your cards and writing so very much. I have been wanting to order the nativity die for my Christmas cards this year, and seeing your card only inspires me more. Love the alcohol ink card too. And who doesn’t love a fluffy snowman. If Cooper doesn’t get a haircut soon, he may be mistaken for a cute four-legged snowdog! Too cute…and he really doesn’t look like he needs a cut to me! Just sayin’….

  17. quilterlin permalink
    September 3, 2016 4:05 pm

    AMEN about the weekends during retirement, Judy! I don’t like weekends and holidays anymore because it means no mail! And congrats on your elevation to angel status! Sounds like a wonderful group to belong to! Love your scenery stamping this week – I must get one of those and have some fun with it, too! Yay for fall! Our weather here is fantastic so far this weekend – clear but sunny and wonderful cool breezes!

  18. barbara lassiter permalink
    September 3, 2016 6:53 pm

    We may have some issues with Hermine here this weekend. My family is coming Sunday to celebrate my birthday(just past) and labor day(which could be a wash out)! I don’t have to do anything but relax and not make potato salad since they are bringing everything. Well, I will make sure there’s fresh iced tea in the frig. 🙂 I had to laugh about your Tombow markers because I ordered a bunch, too after watching Jill’s videos. In my defense, my old markers were past using and I wanted to switch to Tombow. Now if I could make my cards look as nice as yours and Jill’s! Sigh!

  19. Cath permalink
    September 3, 2016 10:04 pm

    I was going to list my favorite cards this week, but realized I love them all equally. Great crop, so many techniques and designs. Thanks. Your church kitchen story is too funny. My, my, the church kitchen can be a battleground. In my last church I always wished there was someone, or a group of people, who would actually take charge and run the kitchen properly the way the Angels do. As it happened, it was usually a collection of headstrong women, each determined to do things their own way. One of the many times in my life when I wished I’d learned to be assertive and tell other people the right way to do things–my way. Alas, I usually suffered in silence, and still could not expect to be taken into the fold of accomplished cooks who were actually doing it the right way. My hat is off to you for surviving your training with grace. Lucky church members who get to each what you all cook.

  20. Kathy H permalink
    September 4, 2016 10:58 am

    I think it is your good attitude that makes your life seem like one amusing adventure after another. Like PB, you are awesome!

  21. Vicky S. permalink
    September 4, 2016 6:36 pm

    I enjoy reading all your experiences. I also enjoy your cards. Thanks

  22. alexandra s.m. permalink
    September 4, 2016 10:03 pm

    Love your beautiful cards Judy and your story made me laugh!
    So glad to hear you got your wings!
    You are an Angel 😉

  23. Kathi permalink
    September 5, 2016 5:01 pm

    My week isn’t made without your blog! Great cards and conversation – hope you had a wonderful holiday! Even though my kids are way past school age, I still view this time of year as a new beginning – season change to Fall is such a hopeful time as we anticipate Christmas to come (and snow, snow, snow here in Buffalo). I’m ready to kiss the heat goodbye, as I really can’t make a Christmas card when the sweat is dripping off my brow (thank God for air conditioning). And isn’t it interesting how a new haircut can make us feel like a new person? Hope you get that feeling this week – thanks for the inspiration!

  24. Marisela Delgado permalink
    September 7, 2016 3:00 pm

    I love to see your little boy Cooper. He is ridiculously cute. He makes me miss my little boy. He was a beagle named Monster. We had to put him to sleep last year and is buried in my backyard. I say my prayers in my backyard under the stars. He was always by my side— he still is. I talk to my Lord and I talk to my little boy. Okay, I cry more than talk sometimes. Take good care of Cooper and enjoy him as much as you can. Even without a trip to have his “do” done, he is still super cute. =)

  25. Patricia Gasko permalink
    September 8, 2016 5:43 am

    All your cards are just gorgeous! You do good work as my father-in-law used to say. And I can’t express in words how much I love your stories. They are as colorful and interesting as the cards you make. Darling Cooper adds even more colorful and interesting tid bits to your blog writing. I have to say I’m a fair weather person and I’m very grateful living here in North Carolina the past 25 yrs. I don’t look forward to Fall and Winter even though ours are mild and short and I’m glad for all your inspirations which help me through the winter months. So keep on doing what you’re doing b/c you do it so well.

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