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Runs with Scissors

April 1, 2017

Hello, dear Penny Black friends. I have no April Fool’s Day tricks up my sleeve. However, I have been known to do such things in my younger years. There was the time I was the office manager for a group of family physicians located in a storefront. I went to work early that morning and moved all of the furniture from the waiting room and put a “For Rent” sign in the big window. I learned it really wasn’t worth all that work as they got even the next year by calling in sick, one by one, and leaving me to cancel all the day’s appointments – and they had taken the appointment book home with them.

On to happier topics. I have had another Bliss-ful week with the newest release of Penny Black stamps and dies. I would much rather spend time running with my scissors than plotting tricks.

I wanted this awesome and bold sentiment quoting Mother Teresa to be the main focus of my card, but I knew it needed an image that would complement the quote rather than distract from its beauty. The cling stamp A Little Secret seemed just right. Sometimes we don’t know where to start when help is needed, so it is good to know that small things done with great love matter.

The secret to using the Pop on a Fold die is to place the edge of the die on the scored fold of your card. If you want to end up with a standard sized A2 card, you will need to make sure your card measures 4.25 inches from the tip of the lovely scroll to the bottom of your card. This will give you a smaller space for the main design of your card but the card will fit in an envelope. Here I paired the large Graceful Wings butterfly with the awesome Be Yourself sentiment from the Happy Thoughts transparent set of sentiments.   The background is designer paper from the Golden Moment 6×6 paper pad.

Life is great when you can spend some of it close to nature. Amazing how everything you need can fit in a backpack with your tent and bedroll attached. The Away We Go die set includes eight fun dies: sail boat, ship, tent, jeep, plane, trailer, car and bike. Here I have two tents from the set ready for my campers. I used the embossed resist technique for the tree and added two birds from the It’s a Bird’s Life die. I love mixing and matching stamps and dies.

Like most of you, I enjoy making cards. Stamping and card making have been my creative outlet for almost twenty years. Sometimes I have to ask myself why, after twenty years, have I not improved at all. Also, like most of you, I enjoy sending cards to family and friends. I send a lot of birthday cards but I may send more “thinking of you” cards than any other. Sometimes, it’s all you can do when what you really would like to do is make the situation better for someone or solve their problem, or give them more days with their loved one.

Usually, we have no idea if what we wrote or the card we sent made any difference in the life or situation of the person who received our card. We have to hope that the recipient could sense the love and thought that went into the card.

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn “the rest of the story” after spending a year sending a card per week to a friend at church.

Evelyn and Marvin were a couple in their eighties who sat in the pew behind Mr. RWS and me every Sunday at church. When we first met them we hadn’t lived here long and everything was new and strange to us. We had left friends, family, work, and our church behind in Wisconsin.

The first Sunday at our new church we were greeted warmly by several couples and then we became regular occupants of the front pew. We were grateful for the familiar liturgy and hymns but of course, missed our former church family.

Evelyn and Marvin always made us feel welcomed on Sundays and especially at the events held in our church’s fellowship hall. I can relate well to the school kids who don’t have a friend to sit with at lunch. It was hard for Mr. RWS and I to hold our plates of food at the church pot luck and head to an empty table, hoping someone would join us. Well, Evelyn and Marvin did not let us reach an empty table; they came up to us and invited us to join them. They introduced us to the other people at the table and that awful moment of feeling like outsiders was gone.

So when a few years later I received the news from our church’s phone tree that Marvin had died unexpectedly I was devastated for Evelyn. They were so close, had been married almost sixty years and had been as kind to each other as they were to us. I hated that Evelyn had now entered widowhood and I hated that I could not change that.

At the funeral, I did share with Evelyn how much it had meant to Mr. RWS and me that she and Marvin had made a point of not only welcoming us but making sure we became integrated into their church family. It was a small thing, but done with love.

I turned to what I could do. I sent Evelyn a hand made card with a note written inside instead of a stamped verse or sentiment. And then I wrote her name on a slip of paper that I kept where I could see it on my desk as a reminder. Each week I made her a card, wrote her a note and sent it to her.

After a few weeks Evelyn called me (by this time she changed the time she attended services and we no longer saw her at church) and thanked me for the cards and notes. She told me how much it meant to find that card in her mailbox each week. We chatted a bit and after hanging up I knew I couldn’t stop sending cards … yet.

And then one day, which happened to be a year after Marvin died, my phone rang and I could see by the Caller ID that it was Evelyn. “How lovely”, I thought. Earlier in the year Evelyn and I met for lunch and every now and then there would be a phone call, but for many months it had just been the cards sent in the mail.

I answered the phone and after the “how are you’s” and “fines” Evelyn got to the point. She said she loved receiving all those cards, but it would be ok if I stopped now! I was a bit surprised by that, but took it to mean that Evelyn had made great strides in accepting her new life and my weekly words of wisdom and encouragement were no longer necessary.

That was about ten years ago. So can you imagine my surprise when my phone rang recently and there on Caller ID was Evelyn’s name. I was a bit nervous about answering it because I had no idea what the call could be about. Well, if you can imagine how surprised I was when she said it was ok to stop sending cards try to imagine my surprise when she said she was calling to ask me to take all those cards back!

Evelyn had kept all 47 of the cards I had sent (guess we were out of town a few times) in a bag and had relegated them to the garage storage. Now that she was facing her 93rd birthday she was purging and sorting and could not bear to throw the cards away. I assured her she had my permission to dispose of them as they had served their purpose. She agreed, but an hour or so later she called again and said she just couldn’t do that, wouldn’t I please take them back.

I told her I would be happy to and would dispose of them for her. And so it came to be that at a recent luncheon at church Evelyn brought me the bag with the 47 cards I had sent her ten years earlier! She was so happy to be relieved of the responsibility of saving them.

Well, Dear Reader. I didn’t dare look at the cards in her presence. But when I arrived home, I took them out and oh, my! I am embarrassed to show you any of them except the few store-bought cards. The hand made cards are so poorly designed, some are falling apart, and some are just ugly! I didn’t remember being such a beginning stamper! I now understood why Evelyn asked me to quit sending cards.

But, as Mother Teresa said and Penny Black put on a stamp, “Do small things with great love.” And I did, for an entire year.

One of the best things about our pets is that they know how to have a happy day and a happy heart every day. The Time to Celebrate transparent set includes hedgies, mice, a cat and a dog as well as two cute bees. It has something for everyone when you need to celebrate. This little guy is very interested in what the bees are bringing and doesn’t have a care in the world. I knew when I first saw that Heart Drops die that it would not be put away until the next Valentine’s Day. It makes a great background for so many occasions.

I can’t imagine a week without another sweet fairy from the Fairy Flutters transparent set. I have to be cautious or this could turn into another Snowy type marathon! The background of the circle cutout is designer paper from the Gentle Whisper set. I’ve altered one of the sentiments from the Happy Thoughts sentiment set to use only the first three words. If you don’t have the heart to cut your sentiments, just tape off the part you don’t want to use while you ink your stamp, then remove the tape and stamp away. I learned that from Jill Foster who always has great tips in her videos.

I love Cooper as much as any dog owner can love a dog. And I know he loves me. But the strongest bond is shown in this photo: Cooper and Mr. RWS.   I feed Cooper, give him his baths, talk to him like he is human, comb him, play with him, and give him a back rub every night before he goes to sleep. But, he worships Mr. RWS. They are the “guys” of the house and stick together. I am so good with that.

And as promised, we are at the end of the post and there have been no April Fool’s tricks. I will leave that to all the other people in your life. But, no fooling, it is time for me to stow the scissors, put away my running shoes and leave the studio for the designers so they can make their magic all next week. Penny Black never disappoints. From Simplicity Sisters, Lovely Layered Ladies, Mimi and Heather’s watercoloring, Cathy’s coloring creations, Peet’s magic scissors, Alexandra’s scrap book pages, and Birgit’s masterpieces there is something for all of us. And did I mention Jill’s videos? And Penny’s Bible pages? Don’t forget Elizabeth’s adorable three dimensional animals. I love seeing all the work you post in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery. I will be stopping by on my way home.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies

Card No. 1: 30-406 All Great Things, 40-515 A Little Secret

Card No. 2: 30-416 Happy Thoughts, 51-320 Pop on a Fold, 51-332 Graceful Wings, 80-015 Golden Moment

Card No. 3: 40-520 Stately, 51-309 It’s a Bird’s Life, 51-312 Away We Go

Card No. 4: 30-414 Time to Celebrate, 30-416 Happy Thoughts, 51-298 Heart Drops

Card No. 5: 30-408 Fairy Fluters, 30-416 Happy Thoughts, 80-008 Gentle Whisper

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. mjmarmo permalink
    April 1, 2017 2:41 am

    More wonderful cards and another lovely story.

  2. Fran Gumprecht permalink
    April 1, 2017 4:32 am

    What a loving thing to do sending your creations so faithfully! Thanks for sharing your gift of story telling and your beautiful cards!

  3. Linda Baker permalink
    April 1, 2017 5:15 am

    Another great post! Thanks for the reminder of why we make cards.

  4. Kathy Neinas permalink
    April 1, 2017 5:22 am

    Thank you for another heart tug. I also make art cards without sentiments so I can write or stamp when needed. I’d love to find my own Evelyn…

  5. knurse22 permalink
    April 1, 2017 5:46 am

    Beautiful cards as always, Judy! Love your stamping, die cutting, and inking on every one, would have loved to see ONE of your beginning cards, for sure. I know I have improved since my beginnings, and have scrapbooks to show that. And even now today, some of my new cards just don’t turn out as I had wished. But that’s okay! Sweet photo of Mr. RWS and Cooper!

  6. April 1, 2017 7:20 am

    Thanks for sharing the story, I bet your cards from back then were fabulous as well, And handmade cards do mean a lot, my grandmother in law was not a warm fuzzy person, but I sent her handmade cards as well, and when she died and we were cleaning out the house, we found she had kept all of them. So they do touch are senders, I believe and we make them with love. Have a great day!

  7. DebbieP permalink
    April 1, 2017 7:45 am

    Thank you for sharing your talents with us. LOVE that first card! The yellows and oranges are beautiful! Enjoyed the story and wish I had more folks to send cards to. I make more cards that I need, but still make my birthday cards specific to each person just before their birthday. That way, it can reference something going on in their life at that moment. As for dog love, that goes to my husband and our dog Chloe. She will just sit and stare at him while we watch TV and has to give him kisses every night when we get into bed. She loves her Daddy!!!

  8. April 1, 2017 9:59 am

    What a wonderful story, Judy & a true example of doing small things with love. My sister has saved all the cards I’ve sent her over the past many, many years & needed permission to throw away any she wants to–they’re just paper & so many are not worth keeping except for the love inside. Your cards are wonderful & thanks for the tip about how to use the Pop on a Fold die–may end up having that at my house! I really love the Heart Drops card–that die’s a winner, too! Absolutely darling picture of Cooper & his daddy! Fritz has started laying on hubby’s lap at times when he’s in his recliner–so cute! Same in our family–I do everything, but daddy is his favorite & that’s OK!

  9. donna mikasa permalink
    April 1, 2017 11:29 am

    Such a beautiful story, though I’m not surprised because you have such a kind heart. I’m inspired to make more “thinking of you” cards and send them out, just because. And that pic of L and Cooper is precious! I guess the guys do tend to stick together! Happy weekend, Judy!

  10. barbara lassiter permalink
    April 1, 2017 12:30 pm

    Lovely story, Judy! I think most of us might cringe a lot to see the cards we first made. LOL! After Christmas, I had a phone call from a lady I know in an assisted living facility, who called and thanked me for a card I had sent her. Then she asked me how it was that she knew me. After I explained, she thanked me again for the card and said she had it on display. I’ve since wondered how she came by my phone number when she wasn’t sure who I was! Being remembered is the important aspect of this! I will send her more cards! 🙂

  11. dawnnz permalink
    April 1, 2017 12:49 pm

    Fabulous Judy. I know what you mean about cards from years ago. We all develop so much. Lovely photo of Mr RWS and Cooper. Thanks for such a fun post

  12. April 1, 2017 1:26 pm

    Yes I would hate to see some of my cards from years ago .Been crafting all of my life but it wasn’t until my friend introduced me to SU that I started to learn how to do cards. Now I still use there products but trying to branch out. I had no idea there was so much out there Penny Black is becoming one of my favs. Thank you for your talent and your wonderful stories.

  13. April 1, 2017 2:03 pm

    How sweet of you to send her so many cards…I KNOW they helped her through some difficult days after her husband died….just like you helped me by reaching out. You have touched my life Judy and I am thankful!!! Never stop giving encouragement to those you love…and to those you come in contact with – even if you don’t personally know them. You are a treasure – and your cards are wonderful, as are your stories!
    Thank you!!!
    Jan

  14. karenajo permalink
    April 1, 2017 3:34 pm

    What a special story – those cards were small acts of love and it is touching she kept them all those years. I am sure all of us cardmakers have improved over the years. Thanks for your beautiful array of lovely cards today ! I appreciate too the little helpful hints you offer ! Cooper is so lucky he found such a special family to love him !

  15. creatingincolors permalink
    April 1, 2017 5:05 pm

    Lovely story. I believe recipients of handmade cards find them so special when they understand the effort and love that went into their creation. And not to worry about your “beginning” cards. I too have have wanted to say “aarrgghh” when I look at cards I made years ago, but then I remind myself that trends in cardmaking do change. That’s why they look so different from today’s creations! What an adorable photo of Cooper and Mr RWS!

  16. jane harrah permalink
    April 2, 2017 5:30 am

    Again, I so adore your stories. It is the one time I actually slow down and read every word. Your cards are darling as always and your words are from a pure and VERY GOOD heart. I sewar,you couldn’t make a bad card if you tried. I am sure anyone would be proud to get one of your cards. I love the picture of the pup but more so, love the look of loe on your husbands face. thanks for sharing.

  17. Kathy H permalink
    April 3, 2017 6:35 am

    It was so kind of you to send all of those cards to Evelyn. I’m sure they are all amazing! Like clothes, products and trends change over time so looking back at anything makes you wonder what you were thinking at the time.

  18. Kathy B permalink
    April 3, 2017 10:07 am

    Love your posts! I have never tossed a single card I have received from my best friend, over 3 shoe boxes full. I know how Evelyn feels! April 1 is a day of celebration for us. We had our first date on that day 27 years ago and married 7 months later. We went out to eat at the restaurant where it all began…
    Cooper is adorable! Daddy is top dog at our house, but all mine when he in at work, since I work part time. Thanks for sharing so much with us.

  19. Debbie Gaetz permalink
    April 4, 2017 10:58 am

    I have missed reading your story posts because they are the best, along with your card designs. I, too, enjoyed the love of my bichon, Hannah. I, too, fed her, bathed her, soothed her, indulged her, etc., and she adored and worshiped my husband; they were buddies. I figured my role was “mom” and his role was “buddy”. After 15 years, we had to say goodbye to Hannah at the end of October. I continue loving your story ends with Cooper stories and photos. Hugs

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