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Runs with Scissors

October 21, 2017

Oh, my goodness! It looks like October is starting to pack her bags and I am worried. I think she has forgotten to do her autumn adjustments in the southern part of our country. The hum of air conditioners still fills the air here and there is nary a naked tree. Jack Frost and his paint brush are nowhere to be found. Poor November may have to do Ms. October’s work when she arrives.

Fortunately, the autumn sun is shining brightly through the Penny Black studio windows and the Peaceful Winter release provided much inspiration for this week’s cards. The Be Merry release still inspires me and is represented here, too.

I felt badly that there was no one nearby when I first ran the Christmas Elegance die through my die cutting machine. I wanted to turn to someone and say, “Oh, look!” I wasn’t sure how that die worked until I saw it firsthand. This is an awesome die to use for making multiples. I’ve added a few gems and of course my die cut sentiment from the World of Wishes die set, but the card is still flat enough to be sent in the mail. I’ve used a red and gold color scheme, but green and gold was lovely, too, as were silver and navy. I like the finished look that the Cut Out Border provides.

Only after I had colored the Feathers and Twigs image and stamped the sentiment where I did, did I notice that the samples show the bird oriented sideways, not up and down! I guess I thought he was looking up from his stash of nesting twigs. I claim artistic license. No matter which way you turn this image, it is versatile enough to use all year around.

The Be Merry release is the source for these Snowflake Trees and the mouse from the To All … transparent set. I am always delighted when I see Jill Foster combine stamps and dies to make scenes. You never know when or where a cute mouse or kitty or puppy is going to show up. And so I placed the little mouse and his present near the Christmas trees.


Gratitude 5

Pioneer Women: My gratitude this week is for something I never had to be: a pioneer woman. I am grateful the new world had been discovered and explored long before I was born.

This is what I mean. A sod hut in the middle of a Kansas prairie was the reward for these women after enduring the long and miserable trek West in a covered wagon. These ladies look traumatized, and with good reason. They also seem shocked to find themselves dressed in their finery after months of bone jarring travel across the country. It is a tribute to the human spirit, especially the female spirit, that they still cared enough to put on their crinolines and long dresses. Most likely something special is happening: maybe a wedding? I wonder where there was room in a covered wagon for such bulky dresses?

These pioneer women are probably living in a space smaller than my living room with at least one other adult, several children and the family livestock. The only “double oven” they own is the combination of their wood burning stove and the large fireplace. Running water meant someone had to run to the creek with a bucket to bring water home. Refrigeration was available only in winter when the howling winds brought snow. There was only light after sundown if these intrepid women had made enough candles.

I have never had to live without running hot water and indoor plumbing. As a married woman, I’ve always had at least two bathrooms in my home while these poor pioneers’ idea of luxury was an outhouse with two seats.

No school bus stopped in front of this hut to take the children to school and out of Mom’s hair for the day. Teaching the children was most likely one more thing on a pioneer mom’s “To Do” list. That is, if there was time left after boiling water for laundry; sewing the family clothing; quilting the family bedding; and preparing the wild game for meals. No one shortened the list of things to do just because you might be pregnant in addition to caring for a toddler or two. Most likely the only help you had during childbirth was your husband. That probably worked as long as delivering a baby wasn’t too different from delivering a calf or foal.

Imagine being confined to such a small space for a long prairie winter with other humans who couldn’t bathe for an entire season. The family pediatrician’s office was not on speed dial and the only medications available were the herbs you collected and managed to stash in a corner of the wagon.

How do you deal with the unbearable sadness of burying your babies somewhere along the trail? Time for grieving was a luxury not available to pioneer women. There were living mouths to feed, both human and animal. Wagon trains did not pause for funerals or medical emergencies.

I am sure the phrase “Women’s work is never done” originated somewhere along a wagon trail to describe the pioneer women’s never ending obligations after a long day of travel. Day after day it was a seemingly never ending cycle of: awake at sunup, feed the family or the entire group; round up the livestock; calm the cranky children; encourage the discouraged; rise above your fear; and keep on keeping on.

Imagine how it felt when after months of hardship and anticipation of a better life for your family, your husband one day announces, “Here we are” and you are staring at open prairie. It is acres and acres of nothing as far as your eyes can see. If you were really blessed, there would be a creek or river nearby for laundry and bathing.

The real work began when the wagon finally stopped. The only building material was the grass that surrounded you, and so you built your home with grass and mud. Land had to be cleared for farming; game had to be hunted and stored for the winter; and children had to be added, preferably sons, in order to have future help.

Dear Reader, I would not have survived. First of all, the other families in the wagon train would have held secret meetings concerning “what to do about that Judith. She is always whining and complaining. The meals she cooks for the group are pretty much inedible; she is always trying to get out of her chores; she is useless with a rifle; and without her daily shower her hair is so scary she makes the babies cry.” In my defense, about the hair: mousse hadn’t been invented yet.

Somewhere along that trail, the group would have found a way to send me back East. I’m sure I wouldn’t have minded … I preferred to wait until the railroad was built anyway.

I am grateful that I live in the age I do. Bless electricity, plumbing, retail shopping, doctors’ offices, schools, appliances and grocery stores. My idea of roughing it is discovering my fast food restaurant of choice is closed on Sundays.

Thank you, Pioneer Women, for blazing the trail.

Thank you notes are an after holiday necessity and this sweet flower and vase image from the Berries Delight transparent set is a perfect size for thank you notes. I watercolored this image and then mounted it using various sizes of mats from the Antique Frame die set. This frame die set adds so much to any card design.

Maybe I was a bit ambitious, using four different die sets for this card. But the Polar Bears needed the Evergreen Tree and there was enough room for the Snowflakes and a sentiment from the Exultations die set. Seriously, the snowflakes, I stacked two of them here, are the most beautiful I’ve seen in snowflake dies. There is an assortment of three.

After further review, this scene, Winter’s Forest, could have been a Thanksgiving image. But I labeled it Winter Cheer using the Festive Snippets transparent set. I colored the trees first, using my MISTI stamp positioner, by adding layers of color with Tombow markers and Distress inks. I then stamped the entire image using VersaMark and heat embossed with clear. Then I used Distress inks and my ink blending tool to add the colored sky. Those two little bunnies just showed up when I was done.

This is Cooper enjoying time on the patio last October when the weather was more appropriate, as in cooler. As you can see, the grass is dormant which is more normal for October than the lush green grass we have this year. Cooper prefers cooler weather, so he isn’t hanging out on the patio very much this October.

Once again, Dear Reader, my battery operated clock that I can see because the electric lights are on in the studio, indicates my time for running with scissors is done. At my age, I forget many things, but somehow I always remember to stow my scissors and clean up my messes.

I hope you find stamps and dies in the Be Merry and Peaceful Winter releases that inspire you and make your holiday card making fun. Please share your work in the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery. It’s my next stop. Oh, before I forget, I am grateful for the lovely comments you leave.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies

Card No. 1: 51-067 World of Wishes, 51-353 Cut Out Border, 51-391 Christmas Elegance

Card No. 2: 30-436 Sweetest Moments, 40-571 Feathers and Twigs, 51-397 Antique Frame

Card No. 3: 30-445 To All…, 51-365 Jingle Bells, 51-369 Snowflake Tree

Card No. 4: 30-449 Berries Delight, 80-013 Holiday Trimmings

Card No. 5: 51-060 Exultations, 51-383 Snowflakes, 51-384 Evergreen Tree, 51-393 Polar Bears

Card No. 6: 30-387 Festive Snippets, 40-581 Winter’s Forest, 51-069 Together, 51-161 Into the Woods


30 Comments leave one →
  1. Deb L permalink
    October 21, 2017 4:07 am

    As usual I love your stories and your cards. The cards are beautiful especially the Christmas Elegance. Your Pioneer story is so true and one of my favorite TV shows is Little House on the Prairie. Of course that show makes things a little nicer. Thank you for your cards and entertainment and the handsome picture of Cooper.

  2. creatingincolors permalink
    October 21, 2017 5:31 am

    What beautiful cards. I love the artistic license you took with that bird. And what a powerful story you wrote about Pioneer Women, a reminder to step back, reflect, and show gratitude for all we have.

  3. jillianfoster82 permalink*
    October 21, 2017 5:59 am

    Once again, a delightful post full of eye candy, inspiration, thoughtful reflections, and some giggles! Hugs and thanks for all you share. 🙂

    • October 21, 2017 7:35 am

      Ms. Foster, I am delighted that you stopped by to visit. And honored!

  4. October 21, 2017 6:13 am

    Oh Judy you woud have been fine because I would have pulled you along. We learn to do what we have to do….like blogging and computers. Lot to learn. Of course your take on the new release is perfect. That is why you are on the DT.
    Hang in there Cooper…cooler temps are promised.

    • October 21, 2017 2:36 pm

      What a kind and thoughtful offer! I would be able to do it with your help, I am sure.

  5. jenni1st permalink
    October 21, 2017 6:38 am

    Thx for sharing your cards – always lovely. And, from one pampered, spoiled 21st-century woman to another – thanks for the bit on our pioneer ancestors – ditto and AMEN to what you said about these forebears! Glad to hear someone else speak of how good we got it!

  6. Chris C. permalink
    October 21, 2017 6:46 am

    I look forward to your posts every Saturday and always enjoy your words as much as I enjoy seeing your beautiful cards (today’s favorite: Winter Cheer). This morning’s post really hit home for me–my great grandparents came to this country from Germany and after a difficult voyage, they were met by an Amish farmer in New York. They traveled by wagon to Kansas and lived in a sod house, working for the farmer and saving every penny until they could afford to buy their own farm–all of this with my grandfather (a toddler) in tow and another child on the way. We are truly blessed by all the conveniences we enjoy today!!

  7. October 21, 2017 7:04 am

    Wonderful cards today…love the bird looking straight up!! Really enjoyed your Pioneer Women story too and have to tell you I LOVE your definition of “roughing it”…I think you and I could be best buds!! :0)

  8. Beth permalink
    October 21, 2017 7:25 am

    Oh, God bless Judy and Saturday mornings. Over the years I have become more simplistic and streamlined…..or is it older and smarter?
    The news, fuss, and clutter of the world just annoys me. My craft room and stamping brings such purpose in my days of retirement, mostly because I do this for others.
    I don’t long to be a pioneer woman, but less is best, except for the craft room!

    • October 21, 2017 7:37 am

      Beth, I tell myself “less is best” and then look around and say, “Who am I kidding?”

  9. October 21, 2017 7:56 am

    Awesome cards. I am thankful for my ancestors who toiled the earth with horse and mule pulled plows. Even my mom as a girl plowed fields with a horse.

  10. Julie permalink
    October 21, 2017 8:48 am

    Like Cooper, I prefer cooler weather, so I am grateful for air conditioning! The first home we bought (in 85) had one bathroom and no a/c. We got by for 13 years with 2 window units and a doughboy pool. When we moved to a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with central heating/cooling, I could not believe our good fortune.

  11. DebbieP permalink
    October 21, 2017 9:53 am

    How I love starting my Saturday mornings with your cards and stories. I love the bird regardless of being sideways. And like you and probably most of your readers, I am thankful to be born in a time long after those pioneer women. We did, however, spend our summers (weeks at a time) in our cabin with no phones, no electricity, no running water, and just an outhouse (pee pot at night just for us kids). We had an ice box that required ice to keep things cool. As we got older, we would go to the river to bathe, otherwise we heated water on the stove. We had no neighbors as we were in the middle of no where, but it was a pretty idyllic way to grow up. Of course we were kids and didn’t have the responsibilities that our mom and grandmother had. I really miss the simplicity….

  12. barbara lassiter permalink
    October 21, 2017 10:07 am

    Your story makes me say, Thank You, for all the many blessings I have, including running water, electricity, heat and etc.! I fear I would have been a bad pioneer woman! I was grumbling to myself this morning as I was doing some ironing and I take it back. 🙂 ( I know, some people don’t iron anymore, but I love to wear cotton, LOL). Thanks for the inspiration for counting our blessings and for the card making!

  13. Patty permalink
    October 21, 2017 10:24 am

    Hi Judy. You might not have been a great trail blazer or ‘wagon maker’ (home maker), but I’m sure you would not have been sent back east. Your companions would have gained so much from your amazing talent for story telling, your wit and humor. Everyone has special gifts to contribute to their community. I always look forward to your weekly missives

  14. Renee permalink
    October 21, 2017 10:45 am

    Absolutely gorgeous cards for this Saturday morning and great inspiration! Loved the pic and the story of the pioneer women. I have a photo of my Grandpa and Grandma Cassidy in front of their soddie in South Dakota. There is a calf in the background and also a rocking chair by the door. Hopefully they found a few moment to enjoy that chair. I will never be sorry I grew up on a farm. My mom and I crafted together in those days and doing it today brings back lovely memories. She passed before I started making cards but I know she would have loved it! I know I will be getting some thongs from this release, it’s wonderful!

  15. Harriet permalink
    October 21, 2017 11:29 am

    Wonderful cards. I especially like the bird and joy cards.

    Your photo of pioneer women and your tribute to them is wonderful. Many years ago on our way to Colorado, we stopped at a rest area in Nebraska. The walls had large photos of ‘soddy’ homes. One of the placards explained that often people became crazy due to the living conditions and the relentless blowing of wind. Another placard’s photo showed a Canary in a cage hanging outside the ‘soddy’. It also said, women treasured the little bird as it sang and that was their music in addition to singing hymns.

    Those women deserve our respect.

    Thanks for the memory.

  16. Judy permalink
    October 21, 2017 12:02 pm

    I agree that those women were outstanding citizens. I, too, would probably get kicked off the “train” due to whining. (Maybe it’s because my given name is Judith also?) Nah! Just not a physically strong person, so wouldn’t have made it in those days.
    Thanks once more for all the beautiful cards you make! Makes my Saturday that much better!

  17. October 21, 2017 12:26 pm

    Soooooo happy Judy that Jill Foster commented, and what you share with all of us – we are indeed grateful! We are of so BLESSED to have the luxuries of this day and age (which we all too often take for granted). One of my favorite is ‘e-mail’ so I can spend a few minutes each week with you dear Judy – a favorite blessing to me! especially liking what you did with Winter Forest stamp set….lovely! Thank you for all you share!
    Paper Hugs,

    • October 21, 2017 3:30 pm

      Good to see you again, Jan! Wouldn’t the women who settled our country be amazed if they could return for a day? And who knows what the future will bring? Hugs to you.

  18. Vicky S. permalink
    October 21, 2017 2:39 pm

    As usually I like your stories. Thanks for reminding us how easy we have it. I love the cards . IT always gives me ideas of how I would like to make my cards.

  19. Jani Howe permalink
    October 21, 2017 4:05 pm

    That dear little mouse, with his gift, looking up into the trees….how very sweet, made me smile out loud! And oh yes, I do echo your sentiments about Pioneer Women! My great grandmother was one, SAME sad picture of the mother with alllll the chldren lined up — just the thought of dealing with that across the country, then having to build our own house !! We do owe them so very much!

  20. Parker Owen permalink
    October 21, 2017 4:31 pm

    I LOVE how the bird is looking up, rather that to the right like I’ve seen many times. Thanks for stretching my mind to turn my stamp a bit to make it look different.

  21. Jean marmo permalink
    October 21, 2017 10:27 pm

    I could not have been a pioneer woman. I need a hot shower, hot coffee and my space every day. Lovely cards.

  22. October 22, 2017 2:02 pm

    Lovely cards and musings. I would not have survived either. I am reasonably resourceful and could have dealt with most of it but the lack of a flush toilet turns me into a helpless mess. In other news … how did we ever survive without those GORGEOUS antique frames

    • October 22, 2017 2:24 pm

      I agree those Antique Frame dies are indispensable and add so much to a card.

  23. Susan permalink
    October 22, 2017 3:25 pm

    Hi Judy, I love to knit and at one time, I thought it would be nice to learn how to spin yarn….two months and I had about 30 yards of fairly lumpy yarn. I decided that if my family were to have come over on the Mayflower we would have had to land in Florida in order to survive! So much for pioneer spirit. Sold the spinning wheel and bought yarn, much better. I love your thoughtful blogs and you’re beautiful cards. Thank you.

  24. Patricia Gasko permalink
    October 23, 2017 4:30 pm

    Your cards are Drop Dead Gorgeous, all of them. Yes, the Antique Frames are a “must have” they do so much for a card. Stamps are fabulous too. Reflecting on those days of Pioneer Women makes one really appreciate present days even if filled with hardships. I’m so grateful I’m here today and not back then and now I will continue to count my Blessings. I enjoy your Saturday Runs with Scissors so very much. Hugs until next Saturday.

  25. October 23, 2017 8:09 pm

    Oh yes–we have so much to be thankful for! I couldn’t have made it as a pioneer woman, either! Love your cards–great variety, Judy! The Christmas Elegance die is just amazing & those snowflake dies just may end up at my house! Thanks for always giving me inspiration! Hoping you get some cooler weather soon, so Cooper can enjoy being outdoors!

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