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Runs with Scissors

November 11, 2017

Hello, everyone! Here I am again: scissors, stamps and paper all combined to create more Penny Black goodness.

Today in the United States it is Veterans’ Day, a holiday set aside to honor all those who served in the military. Our family is sprinkled with veterans: my Dad, several uncles, two nephews, my husband and my youngest son are veterans: they represent Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Thank you to all who served.

Some parts of the country have had their first snowfall while we in Alabama still enjoy our green grass and leafy trees. I know winter will find us eventually; she always does. After all, it is only 42 days until Christmas Eve.

It’s been weeks of inspiration on the Penny Black blog: so many designers, so many styles, so many ideas. Here is what happened when I sat down to play:

The holidays are approaching, but birthdays still happen. The Be Merry and Peaceful Winter releases include stamps and dies that can be used year around for many different occasions. I created a background for this card using Distress Oxide inks and a blending tool. I simply stamped the Berry Speckled image and the sentiment from the Words of Kindness set onto the background. I could easily have embossed the branch, but purposely kept the card easy to do. After seeing how Birgit made a similar image shine with an overstamping and embossing in white, I added some Nuvo white dots. I sure wish I had thought of the addition of white embossing.

The large sentiments in the Peace and Love transparent set are beautiful expressions for Christmas. I stamped and clear embossed this sentiment off center so there would be room for the Snowy Village. And if it is a snowy village, there had to be snow, created here by using the punch outs from the Snowflake Tree die. I framed it all up using the Antique Frame set.

I am working on expanding my background techniques and decided to give my alcohol inks another try. Fortunately, I protected my work surface so no permanent damage was done. I did, however, have to trim my fingernails in order to eliminate the last trace of ink from my hands. (Some of my bottles had leaked, making them a source of inky fingers) This time, instead of using glossy cardstock, I used Ranger Yupo paper. It is more plastic-like and the inks blend beautifully. I added some rubbing alcohol to the drops of ink and that set the colors into motion. I made four 5×7 sheets of background using a variety of ink colors. For this card, I used a bit of each as the background for the Joyful Ornaments. I “hung” the ornaments from hand drawn lines and added some enamel dots to break up the white space.

More Bucket Worthy Ideas

 In my previous Runs with Scissors post I mentioned having researched the topic of bucket lists. I came upon a site via Google that organized the topic of bucket lists into categories, some of which I discussed last week.

Having never compiled a bucket list, I can only speculate on topics I might have listed, had I been listing topics. When I came to the category of “Music” to be included in my possible bucket list, I was stopped cold. Me? Music? In the same sentence?

Seriously, there is not a musical atom in my entire body. There are ordinances in many of the places I’ve lived forbidding me to sing in public. Cooper gets up and leaves the room should I happen to break out in song while cleaning. (For some reason I remember every musical commercial I’ve ever heard and now and then they just burst forth in song). Mr. RWS tells me I have “relative pitch”. I don’t know enough about music to know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I have two brothers who have been church musicians for years and one has gone on to be part of a band that plays professionally. Mr. RWS has a beautiful voice, is a talented song writer and sings in two music groups at church. Alas, musical talent did not come to me either genetically or by osmosis. There is no point in listing “learn to sing” on my bucket list. Let me tell you about the time I had to try when it really mattered.

I’ve written about returning to school as an adult to complete my degree. Because I wanted to finish my studies before I became the oldest living college student, I even went to summer school.

The plan was to become a teacher which required my taking a “Music for Elementary Teachers” class. Sounded like some easy credits and a nice way to spend part of my short Wisconsin summer. I thought the most embarrassing part of the class was the day that I was the only student who recognized the funeral dirge played at John F. Kennedy’s funeral parade, as my classmates were just babes or not born at that time.

But, no, serious embarrassment was about to occur. For the final exam in the class, each student was required to choose a musical piece to be sung, solo, for the professor. Thankfully, it was a one on one event, no one else present.

Instinct told me to keep it simple so I borrowed Mr. RWS’s autoharp and flipping through the little song book that came with it, I came across “The Little Brown Jug”. Perfect. It was simple strumming, minimal range of notes, and close enough to the ditties I used to sing for my kids to be a little familiar.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison had a new music building with individual rehearsal rooms to be used by music students. The class I was taking qualified me as a music student and therefore eligible to check out a key to my very own rehearsal room.

Dear Readers, sometimes you are better off not knowing how much you don’t know. The first time I entered the beautiful music hall, with its soaring ceilings, and modern décor I was greeted with a mix and blend of soaring musical notes: piano, violin and some of the most incredible vocals ever. These sounds were escaping from the individual rehearsal rooms as serious music majors practiced for their final recitals. Oh, how I wished I had a bag over my head as I checked in at the desk and collected my key.

Not only was I a very nontraditional student, I was carrying a lowly autoharp into these glorious music filled halls. My prayer was that no one could hear me singing my little tune, the first verse of The Little Brown Jug: (requires tapping one’s toes to the rhythm)


            My wife and I lived all alone

            In a little log hut that we called home.

            She loved gin and I loved rum

            I tell you we had lots of fun.


I actually was able to strum the autoharp and sing at the same time, and to my ears it didn’t sound awful too bad.

The day came for my appointment with the professor to sing my solo. The time began with me begging him to excuse me from this performance. I tried to convey my level of distress by telling him I would rather go through labor and delivery than do this solo.

He was kindly, but requirements were requirements and without the solo I would get an incomplete in the class and therefore, no credit.

Dear Reader, being nervous only made everything worse. I avoided all eye contact with the professor and just squeaked and squawked my way through it. Thankfully, one verse was enough to satisfy the requirement and it was quickly over.

Kindly Professor told me I had passed this exam but he recommended I find some other way to bring music into the classroom for my future students.

I used the same technique for this Christmas card as I did for the birthday card, Distress Oxide inks and a gorgeous stamp. These large slapstick stamps, this one is Graceful Whisper, don’t need much added. They work great for making multiple cards of the same design. If that is too repetitive for you, just change the background colors.

This background is one of the four I made during my experimenting with alcohol inks. The white Snowflake Tree draws your attention to the background done in Christmas colors. The Snowflake Tree, of course, needed the Snowflake Stitch Frame to finish off the card.

Of my four alcohol ink backgrounds, this is my favorite. Oh, how hard it was to cut into it. I saved the remnants. Bright white diecuts against these vivid colors makes it all pop. I love that bold Silent Night from the Blessed Night die and the tiny town against the background of blues and greens.

Cooper is a really good sport, but as you can see by his expression, he is not very keen on being “decorated”. When I explained the importance of Veterans’ Day, he agreed to wear the bandana … but not for long. He will miss his daily trip to the mailbox today; it is a Federal holiday and there is no mail.

Once again, I have run out of time without sharing the bucket list I have put together since starting this project. Thankfully, there are more Saturdays in November which are more opportunities to run with my scissors and post my bucket list.

The Penny Black studio is amazingly organized so clean up doesn’t take very long. Thankfully the alcohol inks confined their leakiness to my hands and fingers. Those itty bitty scraps from the detailed dies vacuum up quickly and before I know it, it’s time to turn out the lights and lock the doors.

As always, I am off to visit the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery to see the new additions to the art you post there. After that, it’s home to put our flag on display and remember the Veterans we honor in our country today.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies

Card No. 1: 30-353 Words of Kindness, 40-560 Berry Speckled

Card No. 2: 30-438 Peace and Love, 40-558 Snowy Village, 51-369 Snowflake Tree

Card No. 3: 51-365 Jingle Bells, 51-366 Joyful Ornaments, 51-397 Antique Frame

Card No. 4: 30-442 Festive Season, 40-582 Graceful Whisper

Card No. 5: 51-060 Exultations, 51-369 Snowflake Tree, 51-375 Snowflake Stitch Frame

Card No. 6: 51-377 Blessed Night, 51-396 Winter Village


22 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2017 12:42 am

    Love your cards the backgrounds are gorgeous. I am very messy also when using alcohol inks my fingers always seem to get stained. When I started secondary school at 11 we had to sing solo to the teacher in front of the class to determine which music group we would be put in. How awful for 11 year olds to be put through that, wouldn’t do it in today’s schools, such an embarrassment. Look forward to hearing some more of your stories next week they always make me smile xXx

  2. dawnnz permalink
    November 11, 2017 1:44 am

    Stunning cards as usual Judy. I must get my alcohol inks out and give them a go again. I feel for you with your singing. I can not hold a tune either. I remember being singled out at a mass school choir and being told to mouth the words – humiliating to say the least! Glad you got your pass.

  3. mjmarmo permalink
    November 11, 2017 3:45 am

    Your cards are just lovely! I can feel your trepidation as you had to sing for your professor.

  4. Nancy permalink
    November 11, 2017 4:04 am

    I always like your cards. I get some good ideas. I had to play the piano to pass my music methods class and I had never played the piano. Like you, I passed but I never attempted to play the piano again.

  5. Beth permalink
    November 11, 2017 4:58 am

    Thanks for showing how to use a smallish stamp, by placing the Church//village one in the corner of a card. I’m never sure how to use those small stamps. I’ll pull a couple back out of donation bag…..I was purging stamps yesterday.

  6. Beth permalink
    November 11, 2017 5:06 am

    Judy…..did it say anywhere what kind of cardstock or paper to use with the alcohol ink backgrounds? It’s early here…..eyes not totally focused yet.

    • judka permalink
      November 11, 2017 6:07 am

      Beth, you can use glossy cardstock but I had the best results with a product called Yupo, a more plastic like paper especially for alcohol inks. My best tip is don’t overwork the ink .. let it just happen and then quit!

  7. Maria permalink
    November 11, 2017 5:15 am

    Lovely cards as always. I making such a mess with alcohol paints so keep myself away but I love all the backgrounds you have created. Would grinige if had to sing for anyone, I sound like a strangled cat (never heard one,I must say) Lol I have a Bucket list but only for places I’d like to see and one is to see your country/ state one day. It look so Beautiful where you live. Our next big journey will be going down the Nile, Oct -18. Long time to wait but really looking forward to the trip already. It is the Remembrance day here today so we had 2 minutes silence 11 am. Cooper look gorgeous in his bandana, big cuddles for him xx

    • judka permalink
      November 11, 2017 6:12 am

      The Nile! Incredible trip to look forward to. Maria, we used to call this day “Armistice Day” and we too paused at 11:11 a.m. Now it is called Veteran’s Day and honors all veterans.

  8. November 11, 2017 5:43 am

    Beautiful backgrounds !! I have a question for you. I tried alcohol inks on the same paper and when they dried, they were very chalky and you could rub or scratch the colors right off. Are yours like that too? Even a light touch will take some of the color off.

    • judka permalink
      November 11, 2017 6:10 am

      Carol, that happened to me with my first try and I realized I was overworking it. The magic happens so quickly that I wasn’t done playing! So, less liquids .. ink and blending solution and less playing with it … The backgrounds where I just accepted what happened instead of continual mixing more color and blending solution turned out the best. Hope this helps.

  9. Lydia permalink
    November 11, 2017 6:51 am

    Love your beautiful cards and the colors you used. I always look forward to reading your post cause you make laugh at your stories. I’m like you, I can’t sing worth beans but I do it anyway cause it makes me happy. Thank you for starting my day with a smile.

  10. Kay Boone permalink
    November 11, 2017 7:03 am

    As always, your words give me a good feeling as I start my Saturdays. Thanks. And tell Cooper he looks very handsome in his patriotic bandana.

  11. Verna Angerhofer permalink
    November 11, 2017 7:20 am

    So many wonderful card designs and ideas I glean from you always. Thanks for sharing your talents.

  12. November 11, 2017 8:01 am

    Oh…The blue background is wonderful.
    Your professor was very kind but remember we can all make a joyful noise to the Lord,at least that is what he hears. Cooper is areal champ.

    • judka permalink
      November 11, 2017 8:17 am

      I do sing enthusiastically in church. Mr. RWS says God is tone deaf!

  13. Deborah Kaye permalink
    November 11, 2017 8:47 am

    Your cards are lovely! When I get ink on my fingers and fingernails, I wear the ink proudly. I like to tell people about stamping when they ask what I have on my fingers. LOL I enjoy reading your stories. They make me laugh and reflect as well.

  14. November 11, 2017 9:30 am

    Good morning Judy…so glad to visit you today! We had a wonderful Veterans Day service here at the Manor a couple of days ago – lots of Vets live here! One of my dear friends is a Army Nurse Vet and all had their younger self pictures in uniform shown on the screen. A delight for all viewing; we had uniforms throughout the main floor; the color guard presented by the ROTC cadets; unfolding and folding of the flag by two uniformed soldiers; taps and closing with Amazing Grace by two of our Capital Manor community. It happened to occur on my husband’s birthday – he was a photographer for the Pentagon during the Korean Conflict. I was so proud to stand up with the Air Force Vets and families when the Air Force song was played. Singing is one of my joys, along with card making….and you have to know that the Lord enjoys all our creative attempts. Regardless of what key we choose to sing in (off key is okay too), Let your joy overflow in song – it is beautiful in His hearing.
    Paper Hugs,

  15. donna mikasa permalink
    November 11, 2017 9:59 am

    Oh, Judy, I’m dying here! I love how tactful the professor was with his comment after you performed. And I may call you one day just to hear your sweet voice. 😉 As for your cards, I LOVE your alcohol ink backgrounds! I may have to break down and get some–finally–and must remember the Yupo paper, too. And my favorite is the last one, too–just gorgeous! Thank the men in your family for their service, past and present, and to Cooper for making me smile.

  16. November 11, 2017 6:55 pm

    I keep seeing beautiful ai backgrounds & I just have to try again now! I absolutely love the Silent Night card! Also inspired by the ones with DO backgrounds & the large, dark images with white dots–beautiful & I’m glad you left off the white embossing, although that is also pretty! Your music class story is so funny–thanks for the laugh, Judy & thanks to Cooper for posing as the perfect Veteran’s Day puppy dog! Sending hugs, Greta

  17. November 13, 2017 5:48 pm

    Thanks for this awesome post and so many gorgeous cards !!

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