Runs with Scissors
Hello, everyone! Aren’t the Valentine decorations here at the studio awesome. I always say, “Go big, or go home”. Kind of reminds me of elementary school when we took down January’s snowflakes and put up February’s red hearts. I confess to sneaking some of the little candy hearts in the Penny Black candy dish and I noticed the messages have become a bit techy. “LOL”, “Text Me”, “Call Me”, “ILU”, “Cool” and “I’m Me” are several I came across. I miss the romance!
Valentine’s Day is this week and I have used stamps and dies from the Follow Your Heart release to make cards that are suitable for Valentine’s day, but also for birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions. The Follow Your Heart release is so versatile that you won’t be putting it away after this week.
The Butterfly Heart Popout die is perfect for birthday cards and suitable for male or female themed cards. Here I’ve used gray cardstock for the base and powder blue for the accent color. This large die would make a great white on white wedding card, too. It is fun enough for some occasions and elegant enough for others.
Another large die that could be used for many different occasions is the Heart Butterfly. By using a sunny yellow with a touch of black color scheme, this card could be a non-traditional Valentine as well as a birthday or an anniversary card. A friend and I went shopping recently and realized after the monotone colors of winter, we were ready for some bright and sunny colors. I went right home and pulled the yellow cardstock out of the drawer, adding the largest butterfly I had in my collection.
This card was inspired by one I saw fleetingly on Facebook. It reminded me of the time years ago when “shadow stamping” was very popular. I masked off a square space on my cardstock with Washi tape, blended some Luxe inks and after removing the Washi tape mask, over-stamped the colored square with the hedgie image from the Furry Hugs transparent set. With a different sentiment, this could easily be a Valentine, suitable for males, females, kids or adults.
It seems appropriate for the week of Valentine’s Day that I share with you the improbable story of how Mr. RWS and I met almost 33 years ago. Pour yourself a beverage, sit back, relax, and withhold judgment while I tap into my long term memory for the story.
I had been a single mom, raising my five children while living in a 100 year old house in a small town not far from Madison, Wisconsin. I had been on my own since the kids ranged in age from 7 to 15. Between working, maintaining our home, attending kids’ activities and being mom and dad to five, I was a very busy person. The last thing on my mind, dear Reader, was dating or .. gasp … remarrying. I had other single moms for friends and our kids were included in any outing we planned. This was my life for six years and eventually, one by one, the three older kids left the nest for college.
Being the mom of only two was almost the equivalent of going off to summer camp. Cooking for three, keeping track of events at only one school, and the drastic decrease in laundry made life simpler and easier.
A year or two before the older kids left home , a young couple, parents to a toddler and a newborn purchased the house next to mine. Little did I know how much my life was about to change. Because of my busy life, I didn’t have time to be neighborly to the former owners of that house. And I didn’t plan to include the new neighbors in my life, either. But life has a way of changing our plans.
My new neighbor’s name was Marsha. She is one of those beautiful people that comes into your life at a time when you need them the most, but don’t even realize it. I cannot tell the story of how Mr. RWS and I met without including some background on Marsha.
One evening I was surprised to see my new neighbor coming up my porch steps. I had heard her baby crying earlier for quite some time and I didn’t know it then, but she needed some time out of her home almost as much as I needed a new friend.
Marsha had come to ask if I would like her husband to till a small garden for me in my backyard while he was putting in their own garden. How did they know how much I missed the large vegetable garden I used to have, but had to plant over with grass seed due to lack of time for gardening and canning? I was so overwhelmed by the kind offer that my hesitancy to make friends disappeared and I invited Marsha in for a visit.
I had just made a large pitcher of Kool-Aid (the drink of the 80’s at our house) and we sat at my dining room table and began chatting and sharing stories as women have done for ages. At one point, the Kool-Aid ran out and I went into the kitchen to make a new batch. I looked at the clock on the stove and became quite confused. I said to Marsha that something must be wrong with my clock as it had stopped at 5 o’clock. Dear Reader, the clock was just fine. Marsha and I had been visiting for almost 8 hours. It really was 5 am and I had to be up getting kids off to school and myself to work in just a couple of hours. It was just one of those friendships that was meant to be. While we laugh about that evening, you can be sure we now keep track of the time when we visit.
Marsha was a dear friend in so many ways. She was a prayerful person and let me know that she prayed for me and my family. That little garden got planted and we enjoyed the tomatoes and green beans that tasted even better because of the love that was planted with them. She encouraged me as I dealt with raising teens, money struggles, and maintaining that 100 year old house. It was her husband, Mike, who finally took care of the mouse invasion that I have written about in a previous Runs with Scissors post. Marsha was more than a prayer warrior! She was a “get it done” kind of woman. She decided at one point that what I needed was a husband.
Dear Readers, I laughed when she said it out loud. I had been to several “singles” events in the big city when talked into it by my single women friends. Having five kids was a definite conversation killer for any man and being a wallflower at a dance once again was painful. If you looked in a dictionary for the definition of “optimist” you will find Marsha’s photo. She was not willing to wait for God to send someone; she was going to give Him a hand.
Her sister, Nola, had been a single mom for several years and had finally answered an ad in the Personals column in their local newspaper. She met the man she would marry and they were living their happy ever after. Marsha knew it would work for me. Keep in mind, there were no computers, no computer dating services, no social media to facilitate match making. It was the Personals columns or singles events.
After much resistance and refusal, I finally gave in. After all, Marsha had God on her side and I didn’t stand a chance against such a force. I told Marsha that I would reply to the next personal ad that didn’t ask for a picture and didn’t want to meet for a drink. (I had to assume “drink” did not mean Kool-Aid).
The Sunday paper was the best source for “Male Wanting to meet Female” personal ads and that next Sunday I did find one that didn’t ask for a photo. He presented himself as a single Dad, enjoys music and art, looking for someone to share his life. “Life is an adventure”, he said. I sent a reply and in my letter described myself as a single mom with two teens at home. Dear Reader, I did not use the number 5 to describe the quantity of children. Even Marsha’s optimism and God’s power would not overcome that stigma.
You can see where this is going, but I’ve run out of space and time so will have to continue this next week. You know how it all ends, but the journey to get there wasn’t easy, even if it was short.
The fun of cleaning your craft space now and then is finding things you had forgotten you owned. Recently I found some Inchie Art Squares in my paper stash and stamped the Hugs image on one of them. I used Copics to color this image, and the colors seemed to flow effortlessly and blended smoothly. Inchies are great for using watercolors but I suffer from watercolor phobia.
The base for this card is also an Inchie Art Square. Again, I stamped and colored the image with Copics. I used Washi tape to create the border. I love this image of the mouse helping out with the umbrella for the kitty from the Hearts Aplenty set. No matter how I am feeling when I sit down to color, by the time I am finished I am relaxed and smiling. When you can make something cute or sweet, the smile is inevitable.
One of my duties as a Kitchen Angel for the senior citizen monthly lunch at our church is to provide three door prizes. Because there is a $5.00 limit for the gift, I am sometimes concerned that the recipient might be disappointed, so I make sure that the gift bag is special. I am grateful for my supply of Penny Black dies that make decorating gift bags so easy. Here I’ve used five different dies including the Love sentiment from the Follow Your Heart release to decorate February’s gift bag. I hope the pretty bag makes up for the dish towel and spoon rest inside.
Cooper is an almost perfectly behaved canine, but it seems he cannot tell the difference between one of his rawhide chews and a Copic that has fallen to the floor. This photo is of him pleading for forgiveness after being scolded for chewing one of my markers. You can almost hear him say, “Please don’t be angry.”
And here I am on the last page and it is time to stow the scissors and return the stamps and dies to their proper places. Everyone else who uses the Penny Black studio is neat and tidy and I have to stifle my messy instincts and clean up after myself. Next week will bring the story of Mr. RWS’ and my first date. No Kool-Aid involved. Don’t forget to post your work in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery so I can leave a comment.
Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies
Card No. 5: 30-400 Hearts Aplenty