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Runs with Scissors

February 16, 2019

Hello, dear Readers! Valentine’s Day is in the past and, my, it is obvious here in the Penny Black studio. The decorations have been taken down and since they brought joy to those of us who hang out here, they will be packed away to be used next year. I will be discussing “Joy” a lot this week, thanks to Ms. Marie Kondo, latest Netflix sensation.

There is joy in the Penny Black shop now that the new release, Timeless, has arrived.   My heart races seeing the wonderful and Timeless stamps, dies, and sample cards.

I love the entire release, but at first glance, these cute transparent sets are destined to become favorites:

30-542 Critter Celebration

30-543 Flower Teddy

30-545 Balloon Ride

30-546 Smiling

30-549 Cheering Critters

However, the cards I made for Runs with Scissors this week are made with older Penny Black stamps. In keeping with my theme of “joy” this week, I wanted to browse my collection and choose stamps that brought me joy at the time I got them and continue to do so now. I wanted to honor them before I go onto the new collection.  Remember the Girl Scout song “Make new friends but keep the old”? Here are some of my old Penny Black friends:

The Special Thoughts transparent set includes seven beautiful messages, some Biblical and some special thoughts of encouragement. They bring me joy. I chose these words to remind me that little acts of thoughtfulness or kindness matter for those who give or receive them. Because it is the heart of winter, I added a favorite bouquet from the Stitched Flowers set, using soft colors that made me smile. That butterfly is from the Flicker and Flutter die set and reminds me of the magic of nature.

I’ve never been owned by a cat, but Penny Black’s cat stamps make me smile. These two are from the Critter Fun transparent set and they are the feline representation in the group that includes mice, dogs, birds and a hedgie. Just looking at that group of diverse critters having fun brings me joy. All are fun to color and will cheer anyone’s day.

I may have overdone my polka dot theme this week, but I was so excited to find my old generic polka dot stencil that I couldn’t stop using it to create backgrounds. I know Penny Black has a polka dot stencil called Dotlets which I will order for future polka dot projects. What is happier than polka dots? The word polka reminds me of my Polish extended family that never missed a chance to dance the polka, especially at family weddings. My sweetie in the tree is from the Sweet Smiles set and she is enjoying a sunny day. I made the curvy edge by using the Edger die and trimming off the lacy part. A sunny day, flowering tree and polka dots = Joy!


Have you heard of Marie Kondo? She is a Japanese organizing consultant and the star of the Netflix hit “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”. She has named her system of tidying and organizing “KonMari” and has been referred to as “a tiny and terrifyingly cute woman”. Thrift shops across the country are reaping the bounty of the KonMari trend.

I have to believe that anyone who is referred to as “terrifyingly” anything is a force to be reckoned with and her advice should be taken seriously.

While tackling a major decluttering of our homes, Ms. Kondo’s mantra is “Does it spark joy?” If the answer is no, then it doesn’t make the keep pile. She says it is helpful if you choose what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.

Marie Kondo also has sage advice regarding gifts you have received. How often we feel obligated to keep gifts even though we don’t use them or they don’t spark joy in our home. She says, “Presents are not things, but are a means for someone to convey their feelings for us. The true purpose of a present is to be received.” At last, we have permission to let go of unused gifts.   The giver had the joy of presenting their feelings, we have had the joy of being cared about and the gift can now be sent to bring joy elsewhere. How freeing!

Last week I finally tackled the purging of my clothes closet. Unlike the way I used to tackle this chore, I nibbled at it daily for a few days rather than emptying out the entire closet onto my bed and working from there. This made the task more manageable and allowed me to work at my slower pace without being exhausted.

In a telephone conversation with one of my stamping friends, I expressed the guilt I felt when I added clothes to the donate pile that did not bring me joy but still had tags on. My friend wisely shared what she had learned from Ms. Kondo: that piece of clothing brought you joy when you bought it. Maybe it was on sale, maybe you really believed you would lose the weight so that it fit, or maybe it just made you feel better to buy something that day. This advice was like a light bulb going on in my head!   I had received the joy that article of clothing had to give and now it was time for it to be the joy in someone else’s life.

By the time I had purged my closet, I had emptied sixty hangers. My joy is now seeing space between my hangers and reconnecting with what I kept.

My clothes closet is just a start of the decluttering and organizing I hope to do. I have even attempted a minor purging of some crafting items, but I find these are the hardest to give up. It seems everything in my crafting stash brings me joy! Obviously, Ms. Kondo is not a stamper!

Joy came to us in Northern Alabama with unseasonably warm temperatures last week. It was early February and we enjoyed highs in the seventies! How awesome to have doors and windows open and experience the smell of fresh air. To think that just days earlier everything in our city was shut down due to predicted ice and snow. Families shared the joy of a day home together, feasting on the snack foods and extra groceries purchased for the possibility of being home bound.

My week included an important anniversary, too. I joyfully celebrated 23 years of remission from breast cancer. How blessed I have been to experience these past 23 years! My children are well settled adults; I have grandchildren; I have enjoyed retirement; I have experienced a trip to Ireland and a trip to the Rocky Mountains and an Alaskan cruise. I remember at the time I was diagnosed hoping to make it to the five year survival mark. It gives me joy to share my story to frightened newly diagnosed women so that they know remission is very possible.

It goes without saying, but I am going to say it, Penny Black and Runs with Scissors and you, dear Readers spark joy in my life. Your comments and suggestions and encouragement would be the envy of Marie Kondo if she knew!

Mimi stamps stole my heart years ago and I was happy to reunite with her as I was going through my Penny Black stamp files and chose this Happy Days transparent set. She is always fun to color and this time I chose a monochromatic theme, combining Copic markers and purple polka dots. Just saying “purple polka dots” is fun! I am also thrilled with my new jar of fine white embossing powder that picks up the detail on sentiments and leaves no scattered “snow”. Little things bring joy!

I have saved my most favorite for last! I have several cards made with these images from the Tiny Wishes transparent set and each time I have paper pieced this cutie’s outfit. I love paper piecing. That Wood Floor die gives Ms. Tiny and her sweet dog a place to stand while they prepare for their next adventure. As you see, I’ve used polka dots on three different cards in three different ways. The Tiny Wishes joyfully takes me back in memory to my early days of discovering Penny Black. The stamp set is dated 2009 and is truly timeless.

This little guy brings us joy every day. As a child, our family’s military lifestyle didn’t accommodate having pets so I didn’t discover the joy of having a dog until well into adulthood. Mr. RWS and I let fifteen years go by between the death of our first jointly owned white poodle and the adoption of Cooper. We were certain we could never have or love a dog as much as we loved Jobi. We were so wrong. Each dog brings its own personality and its own brand of joy to the family. Cooper is now making use of his winter wardrobe since our temperatures have become more seasonal after a week of temperatures in the high seventies. I’m not sure Cooper cares one way or the other about having a coat or sweater, but I feel better when he puts it on.

It is time to stow the scissors, pack away the inks and paper and ponder which closet is next on my decluttering journey. I hope you find joy in your surroundings and activities even in the midst of snow and wintry temperatures. If all else fails, try chocolate!

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies

 Card No. 1: 30-418 Stitched Flowers, 30-338 Special Thoughts, 51-110 Flicker and Flutter, 51-484 Lovely Border

 Card No. 2: 30-335 Critter Fun, 51-093 Heartfelt, 51-375 Snowflake Stitch Frame

 Card No. 3: 30-349 Sweet Smiles, 51-033 Silver Linings, 51-209 Edger

 Card No. 4: 30-242 Way Cool, 30-277 Happy Days, 51-033 Silver Linings, 51-422 Stitched Square and Circles

 Card No. 5:   30-026 Tiny Wishes, 30-071 Mimi in Paris, 51-441 Wood Floors, 80-015 Golden Moment

If you want polka dots: 25-007 Dotlets

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine permalink
    February 16, 2019 1:45 am

    I have also been Marie Kondo-ing and there is definitely something to it. It has a lot to do with changing your attitude to your possessions and letting go of the past. Like you, I am doing the craft area last as it brings much joy.

  2. donna mikasa permalink
    February 16, 2019 2:30 am

    I totally agree that Marie Kondo is not a stamper! And if messiness makes her happy, she’d be bursting with happiness if she ever made it to my craft room. And cheers to your BC anniversary—that, and seeing your sweet cards, spark a ton of joy! 😊

    • judka permalink
      February 16, 2019 1:05 pm

      Love seeing you here, Donna!

      • donna mikasa permalink
        February 16, 2019 3:20 pm

        I’m always happy to visit, Judy 😘

  3. Andrea Hastilow permalink
    February 16, 2019 3:10 am

    There are several thoughts swirling round my head as I’ve read RWS today but the greatest one is congratulations on the 23 yrs of remission. That must reach out & spread you the most to others. I have never heard of Marie Kondo till today, she sounds a wise woman but like you say not a stamper. You’ve raised very valid points on the clothes de stash, I’ve never thought of it this way, spread joy to others not the guilt I feel for having wasted money on unworn clothing. I’m so glad you went back through previous joy stamps as I’ve not met many of these on my short journey so far. Off to try & research Ms. kondo & de cluttering. Till next week, have a good one x

  4. Andrea Hastilow permalink
    February 16, 2019 3:11 am

    Apologies for my above you when I meant spread joy . X

  5. Jan Pignanelli permalink
    February 16, 2019 3:58 am

    Cute, cute, cute, sweet cards! Early on a Saturday morning, you bring me joy! (Tiny Wishes, adorable.)

  6. creatingincolors permalink
    February 16, 2019 4:22 am

    First, congratulations on your 23 years of remission! Yes! Now your cards… I love polka dots because they are happy, and I especially love your “Mimi” card. The new Timeless collection is amazing and I want so much of it! And that leads me to Marie Kondo. I’m all ears to tips on thinning out a huge (don’t ask) collection of stamps, dies, etc. I’ve done pretty good with household clutter and clothes (and that feels great), but stamps, dies, etc, are something else!

  7. Katia Krinkie permalink
    February 16, 2019 5:34 am

    I look forward to seeing your adorable cards every week almost as much as I enjoy reading about you and your adventures (Cooper, Mr. RWS, family, etc.)…thank you for bringing so much joy into my life! Congrats on 23 years…continued blessings!!!

  8. Diane T permalink
    February 16, 2019 6:11 am

    Always! Love your posts.
    Hi, Judy,
    Hurrah for your cancer remission. Thank you for sharing the encouragement.

    We are all in the same boat. Trying to pare down our possessions. It’s hard but necessary for many as we go forward into new stages of life.
    And, thank you for using older but loved products in your post today. I too am trying to use what I have in new ways. I have been a stamper for almost 25 years and it has brought me so much joy. I have made many friends and learned so much by sharing my love of
    stamping. As always, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. And, most importantly, the best of health to you!

  9. Judy permalink
    February 16, 2019 7:52 am

    Congratulations on your years of remission! My mom lived for 35 years after her breast cancer surgery, surviving until almost 98!

    Thank you for using the floor die on your last card. I bought that last summer and have not used it yet. I will have to try harder I guess.

    Keep up the good work, and best wishes for continued health. Love your cards!

  10. February 16, 2019 8:07 am

    My favorite verse…weeping …..but JOY comes in the morning.

  11. ginger na permalink
    February 16, 2019 8:34 am

    Loved the polka dot cards. My favorite was the purple one. All the cards are cheerful and happy. Thank you for revisiting older stamps. They are timeless. Take good care.

  12. Ruth Lickteig permalink
    February 16, 2019 9:19 am

    Wonderful inspiration. Thank you.

  13. Peg permalink
    February 16, 2019 10:07 am

    Congratulations on being in remission so long. That is a joy to hear! And how delightful to see these older stamps of Penny Black. Yes, I read the book first and have lately seen her on You Tube. I hope to do the clothes thing soon. Keep pushing on…eventually you’ll get everything cleaned out!!!

  14. Jan Castle permalink
    February 16, 2019 10:53 am

    YOU spark JOY in all of us Judy, and we say a BIG THANK YOU with MANY HUGS!!!!! We appreciate spending Saturday mornings with you and enjoy your talent in card making and sharing your life with us. Happy to know you are 23 years cancer free – again an encouragement to many…you truly are a BLESSING!
    I am confident Ms. Kondo is not a crafter! When I downsized from a home to a one bedroom apartment, getting rid of things was a snap…until I came to my crafting supplies. I had to ask for help as I did not want to part with anything – it was all too precious! BUT, part with a lot of it I did, and believe me when I say I still have a ‘store’ full – LO! So now when I see something I want, I shop ‘my store’ of goods FIRST! It really has helped – I have stamps and dies I don’t remember I have until I go through ‘my store’ before purchasing a similar item. (a lot I have never even used….YET)!
    Paper Hugs,

    • judka permalink
      February 16, 2019 1:08 pm

      Jan, I saw the photos of your new crafting storage! You do, indeed, have a store! What did you do with the stamps you let go of?

      • Jan Castle permalink
        February 18, 2019 10:31 am

        Fortunately, a store took them as consignment. I got over $1,000 in-store credit so purchased things I DID need like a Vagabond 2! It was a WIN-WIN!!!

  15. Jane permalink
    February 16, 2019 11:45 am

    Great post today. Marie Kondo’s book came into my life several years ago. Closets and clothing proved easy. Gifts, flower vases, and kitchen were also easy categories. My 30 years of stamping stuff? Never, Marie, they all spark joy, every last little piece of rubber, paper, adhesive, embellishments, stencils, inks … Although I recently managed to give ten books, my other addiction numbering in the hundreds, to donation recently.

    I now keep a donation box open and drop random things into it daily. When it fills, I take it to donation and start another. Clutter will reappear if we don’t change the way we think about acquisition and if we don’t set up a flow. And I am so much more careful about adding clothing or stamping supplies into my space. Slower than the KonMari way, but the pace suits me.

    Cancer free more than 10 years now and so accurate about how we once upon a time found the five year mark a terrifying amount of time.

    • judka permalink
      February 16, 2019 1:09 pm

      Yes, Jane, I thought I would be satisfied with five more years, but more birthdays are so much better. Happy for you!

  16. Debbie P permalink
    February 16, 2019 12:04 pm

    First I would like to say congratulations to 23 years of cancer free. Love your cards. The polkadot are very joyful. Thank you for the great stories too. Love reading your post.

  17. February 16, 2019 12:16 pm

    I can’t express how much I enjoy your contributions on the Penny Black blog. I love following along with your adventures and seeing Cooper ( though I confess I’ve never been a dog lover, only a dog liker who is partial to cats). I agree with you and fellow followers that my whole stamping stash is one of my most joyful possessions. Sorry Marie.
    I am glad to hear you are another long time breast cancer survivor. I celebrate almost 18 years of BCa survivorship, as well as a 5 year survivorship of a separate (not related) endometrial cancer.
    Now I need to get on board with downsizing my closet – LOL. looking forward to your next post.

    • judka permalink
      February 16, 2019 1:10 pm

      Hooray for you .. a double survivor! Wishing you many, many more birthdays!

  18. February 16, 2019 1:38 pm

    OMG! These are adorable, great cards!!

  19. Tina Murphy permalink
    February 16, 2019 6:01 pm

    Hi Judy, thanks for sharing your wonderful cards and thanks especially for using the older stamps. I, like a lot of stampers, have loads of stamps, some going back 20 + years. I often don’t use them as they are not the latest and greatest. But I think I shall go back and design some cards with those. Penny Black does the best flowers and flowers never go out of style. I too am a BC survivor (10 years) and an endometrial cancer survivor (2 years) but the fear still creeps in late at night when everyone but me is asleep. Your story gives me inspiration and I thank you for sharing. We have 2 Shih Tzus who always know when I need some extra cuddling. Love of a dog is a great gift, I can’t imagine being without one. Love your blog!!
    ps – lived in Montgomery for 2 years during my husband’s military career. Loved the state and the people.

  20. Jill Groom permalink
    February 16, 2019 6:18 pm

    Thank you for bringing me joy each time you run with your scissors.
    I love seeing BC survival stories – knowing that there is so much that can be done now, unlike when my Mum had BC in the early 1960’s.
    I too battle to re-home ANY of my precious craft supplies. My trouble is that I want them to bring joy to the next owner, not just go to any second hand shop. And all the people I know that I could give them to are already battling with their stash! And besides – I might use then one day 😉
    I am a dog lover and look forward to seeing what Cooper is up to each time you post. I am allergic to cats but love stamping with my non-allergy-inducing PB cats! Thank you for reminding us to go use those older precious stamps.

  21. dawnnz permalink
    February 17, 2019 12:41 am

    Awesome post today Judy. Great cards and love your story. I’ve been hearing a lot about Marie Kondo. My son and his partner used her ideas when they moved house, and had a good clean out. Maybe I will try it out myself soon… but like you I’m sure I have trouble destashing my stash!

  22. barbara lassiter permalink
    February 17, 2019 8:21 am

    I find JOY in reading your column and I am happy for you in your 23 years surviving breast cancer. My daughter is through her 2nd year of survival and doing well. Your “oldies but goodies” from Penny Black helped in the creation of some cute and beautiful cards! I have been donating some of my stamps for the rummage sale for our church each year, but not the Penny Black because I still use them! 🙂

  23. Debbie L permalink
    February 17, 2019 1:21 pm

    To echo so many others, I find joy in reading your posts and seeing your cards. You inspire me in so many ways and not just crafting. Hope you continue to enJOY this process we call life.

  24. Kathleen W Barrett permalink
    February 17, 2019 5:51 pm

    When we moved to AZ last summer, I gave a ton of my craft supplies to a non-profit that works with adults with disabilities. They have a volunteer who does art with the clients and they rely on donations to support the art program. It gave me joy knowing my Stamps, etc. we’re going to be loved by others. I, too, have just found out about the KonMari method. We are moving to out “forever” home in May after we renovate our new townhome and I plan on using this technique as I pack and bring things to our new home. We are having a community yard sale at our new place at the end of April and whatever doesn’t sell will go to charity.
    I am so glad about your remission. My best friend/matron of honor died of bc at age 37 in 1992. I am so glad more women are surviving now.

  25. February 18, 2019 2:17 am

    Mari Kondo is definately not a stamper! (or general crafter :)) and may I add neither is my 23 year old daughter, I just read her a piece from above and she doesn’t agree. Mari Kondo decluttering has made it’s way to us here in Australia. Even my 21 year old son refolds his washing KonMari way (cause I don’t!).
    Congrats on your BC anniversary.
    As always love your creations.

  26. SUSAN KUSH permalink
    February 18, 2019 7:39 am

    Never enough polka dots!! You always bring me JOY. I really look forward to your posts.

  27. February 18, 2019 1:29 pm

    Polka dots could NEVER be overdone!! I love seeing spots!!

    I have never heard of Mari Kondo I will have to go have a look!! : ) I am an organization nut myself! : )

    Congratulations friend on being a warrior and a winner!! : )


  28. Jane Harrah permalink
    February 19, 2019 6:21 am

    Your posts bring me Joy, so I guess I will continue reading them! I love your statement about presents. I actually printed it and saved it. A good reminder. We are very blessed to share your writing and your love and cards. We got a new puppy, and we are way too old to start off like this but……….well, he is a love. His name is Cody and I will try to give you some updates on him as I go along. He is part Pit and a rescue from Scottsboro, Alabama, kill shelter. We are working on his training now and that is a job! It explains why I am late to the page this week. Sending hugs and Joy to you and thanks for the Joy you share.

  29. February 21, 2019 6:09 pm

    great post and wonderful cards. that dog is super cute too!! My husband has been decluttering since the day I met him. There’s nothing left to get rid of around here!

  30. March 10, 2019 7:46 pm

    Oops–just found that I missed this post! I’m with you–still love my old stamps! It’s so much easier to get rid of clothes than stamps/dies! Marie is clearly not a stamper–haha! Such a great post–all great, but I really love the first one with the pretty border & flowers!

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