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Runs with Scissors

January 7, 2017


Hello, and please join me in welcoming the year 2017. Wasn’t it not so long ago we were stocking up on flashlights and emergency rations because of worries over Y2K? Thankfully, the worries were groundless and our computer world did not crash. For sure, none of us will have to worry about what happens as the world enters the next millennium.

I’ve missed all of you these past weeks and I am delighted to be back. It was quite a surprise to enter the Penny Black studio today to see the Christmas decorations gone, including that glorious tree that occupied center stage. Happily, there are red and pink hearts everywhere to celebrate the newest release, Follow Your Heart.

You will love making Valentines with this new release, but even more, most of the stamps and dies are perfect for other “sharing the love” occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, get well and thinking of you. The year 2017 is a great year to share more love and kindness and a good way to start is with handmade cards that we actually mail to someone we care about.


I fell in love with this Butterfly Heart Popout die at first sneak peek. Like so much of the Follow Your Heart release, this die is versatile enough to use for many loving occasions other than Valentine’s Day. Here I’ve made a “thinking of you” card. I used the Bow Set dies to make the little bow and the Flower Tag die to add a sentiment. These are dies that I consider necessary to my collection, used year after year. I dusted off the sewing machine and adjusted the tension so I can add some stitching to my cards. I love that little detail, but don’t have the patience or talent that Peet has to hand stitch.


I stamped the Blooming Hearts image onto my cardstock and heat embossed with white and then pondered what to do next. Happily, a piece of vellum on my desk caught my eye and I stitched it over the stamped image. The addition of the butterfly, leaves and gold twine is a result of being inspired by Jill Foster’s placing just the right embellishments on her cards. That butterfly is Flutters, a favorite of mine; just the right size and just the right shape. No sentiment on this card, which makes it “all occasion”.


This card is all about the sentiment. I created the background of hearts with three Line of Hearts diecuts, tone on tone. I made this card pure Valentine’s Day, but those hearts will be useful all year around. I am also envisioning a masculine version, using kraft paper and white hearts. This release has so much to be inspired by!

Did you realize that yesterday was actually the 12th day of Christmas? Thankfully, there were no twelve drummers drumming at our house. The only time I enjoyed twelve drummers drumming at the same time was when son John was a drummer in the high school competitive marching band. That was a time when twelve drummers at times didn’t seem to be enough.

Mr. RWS and I do not celebrate the twelve days of Christmas. I’ve never asked him if he would like to because by the time New Year’s Day arrives I am more than ready to pack up the tree and decorations and call the holiday finished. My grandmother used to say in Polish, “All good things must come to an end.” I’m sure she meant the Christmas holidays to be included in that wisdom.

Because we are older and wiser, we do not leave home on New Year’s Eve and most years we are not awake to welcome in the New Year and somehow it manages to arrive without our help. While Mr. RWS enjoys unending football I usually spend New Year’s Day taking down the tree and packing away the decorations. It is a simpler task lately as we downsized to a narrower tree which requires significantly fewer ornaments. The lights stay where the manufacturer put them (I classify pre-lit trees right up there with sliced bread) and the tree all goes neatly back into the box where it will occupy space in the garage until next year. (I say that hopefully, as this is our first experience with this tree and this box).

As I pack away Christmas, I replay the season in my mind, savoring the special memories. This year, because we were home alone, Christmas was more about preparation and tradition. We gathered with family twice in November and will be in Wisconsin later this month to do our family Christmas so it was just Mr. RWS, Cooper and I for December 24th and 25th.

I baked cookies, made some candy, and prepared the barbecued meatballs we used to enjoy making for the large crowds that were part of our holiday. It felt like I was stockpiling ammunition to ward off the loneliness. We tried to create experiences along the way, treating ourselves to eating out, actually shopping together and enjoying the special children’s program and Christmas music events at our church. We kept telling ourselves, “This is what Christmas is really about.” Well, it worked for awhile, but I am still working at adapting to a quiet Christmas.

Thank goodness for Facetime, texting and phone calls. While we couldn’t all be together in the same place at the same time, we visited with each adult child and the grandchildren throughout Christmas day, a reminder we are members of an amazing family. A surprise phone call from a dear friend kept me company while Mr. RWS and Cooper took a quick Christmas nap: a Christmas blessing for me.

One of the reasons we do not extend Christmas beyond the 25th is that the 26th is Mr. RWS’s birthday. While I have only had to deal with this inconvenient birthday for the thirty plus years we’ve been married, Mr. RWS has dealt with it his entire life. Christmas for him usually included one extra gift, designated as his birthday gift. I have tried during our marriage to make certain we remove Christmas decorations from at least the kitchen table and switch modes to birthday! His gifts are wrapped in birthday paper, there is a banana cream pie with homemade crust and I do him a favor and recite, not sing, “Happy Birthday to you”. Dinner in a nice restaurant completes the celebration, if we feel like dressing up. Funny how lately home cooked meals are more of a treat than going out to eat. I never thought I would say that.

And that, dear Penny Black friends, is how I spent my Christmas vacation. As we grow older we find ourselves experiencing gratitude for our blessings more than wanting some new item for ourselves or the house.   We treasure the gifts from the family, but more than that, we treasure the amazing people they’ve become, raising their own families, being successful at their careers, and finding ways for us to be together in spite of the demands on their time.


This is the first year Evelyn has experienced Santa Claus. She is the perfect age for the excitement and anticipation. The Elf sat on their shelf this year and the family went to several events where Santa was present. Jack, on the other hand, disapproved of Santa and wanted no part of the man in the red suit. On Christmas morning he was reluctant to go downstairs to see what Santa brought, as he believed Santa might still be in the living room. Evelyn was confused, wondering why there was so much “stuff” around the tree. Their exhausted parents set aside their expectations of a picture perfect Christmas scene and let the little ones experience it in their own way.


Don’t tell Mr. RWS, but this will be his Valentine from me. Forever and Always is the name of this cling stamp and is so perfect for us “no longer newlyweds” folks. It is a privilege to grow old together and should be celebrated. This would be a great image for those significant anniversaries that occur in families.


Masculine cards are a necessity for Valentine’s Day. I created the background using the Script cling stamp by heat embossing with white. I used kraft paper for layering and kept the sentiment from the With Affection set strong and graphic. However, I could not resist adding some enamel hearts for some subtle bling (can bling be subtle?).


We go from senior love to young love with this cling stamp Hug. These sweethearts remind me of my two youngest grandchildren, older sister Evelyn hugging her little brother Jack. This is a fun image to color with Copic markers. I created the background with the Heart Drops die and altered the Filled with Love diecut in order to stack the XO’s. I see a great future for these two dies!


his is Cooper with his Christmas toy. When squeezed, this hedgie makes a sound more like a duck call than a typical pet squeaker. With his other toys, Cooper happily lets us throw them and he retrieves them so we can throw them some more. He also happily plays tug of war with any of his toys. But not this one. Maybe because the sound is different, he sees this toy as different. It is his, he does not share, and don’t think about throwing it anywhere. We had the most fun Christmas Eve watching how excited and happy one toy made him. Santa was right, Cooper loves that weird sound.

This thirteenth day of Christmas is drawing to a close and it is time to stow the scissors and put away the stamps and dies. I know they will be put to good use in the coming week as the Penny Black designers and contributors share their amazing work. Speaking of inspiration, please share your work with us in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery. I am so happy to see your cards on display and get new ideas for my own card making. Have an amazing week, Happy New Year, and thank you for your kind comments.


Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies

Card No. 1: 30-283 Snippets, 51-291 Butterfly Heart Popout, 51-212 Bow Set, 51-124 Flower Tags, 51-287 Heart Dart

Card No. 2: 40-504 Blooming Hearts, 51-006 Flutters, 51-002 Leaves

Card No. 3: 51-292 Just for You, 51-285 Line of Hearts

Card No. 4: 30-401 Forever and Always, 30-395 Kisses for my Sweet

Card No. 5: 30-402 Furry Hugs, 51-065 Frames Pattern, 51-026 Pin Wheels, 51-292 Just for You

Card No. 6: 30-394 Hug, 51-284 Filled with Love, 51-298 Heart Drops

20 Comments leave one →
  1. dawnnz permalink
    January 7, 2017 1:45 am

    Happy New Year Judy and Mr RWS…(and belated birthday wishes) What stunners of cards Judy. So sweet. looking forward to another year of PB inspiration from you.

  2. creatingincolors permalink
    January 7, 2017 6:16 am

    Missed you! So glad to see you (and your cards) back! I have to say I can totally relate to your words about how Christmas and New Year’s Eve change as the years go by (and also those Christmas birthdays). You described it so well. Grateful for our blessings.

  3. mjmarmo permalink
    January 7, 2017 6:27 am

    BEautiful cards. I enjoy reading your Christmas experiences because we are now dealing with married children and one living far away. We may not always be together and so we must build new traditions. We are expecting our first grandchild in April. Christmas next year will be very different.

  4. January 7, 2017 6:28 am

    I love reading your stories, Judy. I can relate, as the hubs and I have been married 37 years this June. Your New Year’s Eve scene mirrors ours, and I will admit, on New Year’s Day I was itching to put away the Christmas decorations, though I held off a few days. Each year I make another pile of ornaments, lights, extra trees and Chatzkees to send to Good Will, as our Christmas decorating is downsizing. Not that I don’t love Christmas, I do, but as we get older, we are finding that we can do with less just as happily!
    Thanks for the chuckles, and for sharing your amazing talent with us. Your cards, as usual, are lovely. Have a happy and blessed new year!

  5. Bea d. permalink
    January 7, 2017 6:45 am

    Always enjoy your columns but this one hit home. We also spent Christmas alone, I always take the decorations down new year’s day, & my poor husband’s birthday is the 24th! This year I decided to throw a surprise birthday party for him one day early since I feel so sorry for him! That helped getting through the holidays alone—
    Happy new year!

  6. January 7, 2017 7:51 am

    Hi Judy…another delightful post! Love that Cooper has his own very special toy (brings good memories of our ‘Lady’). Friends kept me occupied this Christmas with dinner, a sing along, visiting and another light dinner…by then I was ready for bed! Still counting my blessings thru the loss of Jim – helps knowing he is in Heaven! Moving day is fast approaching the first week of February so BUSY is the word of each day…that helps too. Just hoping what I have left after downsizing will fit in the one bedroom apartment in the Retirement Community! After downsizing I still have 112 pizza boxes full of stamps…think I may have to do another pass at downsizing them – LOL!!!
    Have a Blessed New Year Judy…Happy Belated Birthday to Mr. RWS! Please give Cooper a little scratch behind his ears for me!!!
    Paper Hugs,

  7. DebbieP permalink
    January 7, 2017 7:56 am

    Happy New Year! Love your cards and column this week. There is nothing wrong with a quiet Christmas or New Years. But seriously, Valentines is almost here. I was so surprised to do some after Christmas shopping on 27 December and see all the Valentines merchandise out! It was too soon for me. Does Cooper open his own present each Christmas? Somehow, our Border Collie knows exactly which present is hers as soon as they are put under the tree and will go check on it each day up until Christmas day. Then she gets in on the excitement as we all open our gifts. She gets a new stuffed baby every year. She is 12 years old now and still has everyone of them, intact. Have a great week and thanks for sharing your talents with all of us.

  8. hobbitnoll permalink
    January 7, 2017 7:59 am

    Oh wow!! All your cards are so lovely and I totally enjoyed your stories. I only have one child and hopefully will always get to spend Christmas with her but I know that is only a wish. Happy New Year!

  9. Donna Whitten permalink
    January 7, 2017 8:03 am

    Love your pretty cards! Really enjoyed your post, I can relate to it also. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Judy permalink
    January 7, 2017 8:19 am

    Love your cards. I have great difficulty adhering dies like the hearts in a line. How do you do it without making a mess of glue?

  11. January 7, 2017 8:57 am

    Cooper really enjoys family time. My Babe and I have slowly made friends since Mr.P has gone. She got a stuffed monkey for Christmas and a new bed. She is still crazy and hasn’t completely realized Mr. P is really gone. She keeps looking up in the bed where he should be. Love having you back an look forward to the new year with Penny black designs.

  12. alexandra s.m. permalink
    January 7, 2017 9:08 am

    Thank You for another beautiful post!
    Love your Sweet Valentine Cards and it is always a real pleasure reading your prose!

  13. Verna Angerhofer permalink
    January 7, 2017 12:16 pm

    Such wonderful card designs for the Valentine’s season. I love the heart in the first one too. Great look to all of the cards though. And, our Christmas was the opposite as all our family was with us for a change. It really got loud and hectic at times, but we created some great memories especially trying to cope with no electric power for five days. Talk about an experience. LOL But luckily we live on a farm and had a couple old International tractors which we used to power our generator off and on. So we were good and very blessed in that way. I wish you a most wonderful new year and so glad you could connect by the internet to your children. That is the way we do most years.

  14. January 7, 2017 1:06 pm

    So enjoyed your beautiful crafty work Judy! I spent Christmas in Albuquerque with the girls and had a wonderful time! So glad you and Mr. RWS and your adorable Cooper had a lovely Christmas and New Year. It was a joy to read your beautiful post today. Take good care and hugs!

  15. Vicky S. permalink
    January 7, 2017 2:31 pm

    I enjoy your post. It is hard not to be with family. We will be with our whole family on Jan 22 & see moat of the family I enjoy your cards too. I have not posted my cards on the web site because I have not learn that yet.Have a great new year. I look forward to your next post.

  16. January 7, 2017 2:37 pm

    Happy New Year, my friend! Love all your beautiful cards! The enamel hearts are perfect & still work for a guy! What a wonderful picture of that beautiful family! Cooper really steals the show today–you can see how happy he is! Fritz is much less expressive most of the time, but shows joy when he’s doing the “run & jump through the house” game! We enjoyed Christmas Day with hubby’s daughter & family for the first time ever, so this year we weren’t alone. Glad you get to see your family even if it isn’t on Christmas Day–little ones grow up so fast!

  17. Kathy B permalink
    January 7, 2017 6:10 pm

    So happy you are back! We, too, spent a quiet xmas alone. We went out to breakfast xmas eve and then had our annual cinnamon rolls xmas morning, before opening presents. This year the pups got most of the gifts. Like Cooper, Geena’s favorite gift was a cow that moos. As she was opening it, the mooing began and she jumped back, cocked her head a few times, then pounced on it which got it mooing again! Sammie took the first toy Geena opened and went upstairs until all the commotion was over. My dear husband’s back went out and we ended up at urgent care the next day followed by the ER the next. He had surgery Thursday, so we are off to a good start this year! The pups are keeping him company as he recuperates. Looks like my art room renovation is delayed yet again! (We recently moved and need to paint and put down flooring before I can set up). In the meanwhile, I thoroughly enjoy seeing your creations, reading your stories and of course, keeping up with Cooper. Tell him Geena and Sammie say hi!

  18. donna mikasa permalink
    January 7, 2017 7:37 pm

    Happy New Year, Judy! So nice to see that you’re running with your scissors again! Love seeing your cards–Forever and Always is so sweet as is Hugs. Love them all and now I want a hedgehog toy, too! Here’s to a great 2017 with shiny new scissors!

  19. Virginia L. permalink
    January 8, 2017 9:46 am

    Love your new year’s latest installment, Judy! Glad to hear that your Christmas was quiet and lovely! Your cards are scrumptious along with your astute insights and detailed descriptions. You are such a fabulous PB ambassador! I look forward to more.

  20. Anita permalink
    January 9, 2017 7:44 pm

    Always–always!!–love reading about your adventures in life. Had to chuckle out loud when I read that eating a home-cooked meal was better than going out! Love all of your fabulous card designs! Hugs to Cooper!

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