Sunday, February 28, 2010

Autograph Sessions...Making Art with Wendy Vecchi

I am very excited to share this next artist/author with you.

Wendy Vecchi  has become one of the most sought-after
mixed media stamp artists in the U.S.  Her style is so relevant
to the new products on the market today.

On a personal note, I had a slight brush with this
wonderful artist as she became a customer of my
stamp store, which at this moment, seems a lifetime ago.
She has since become a stamp designer and author,
a design team member for Tim Holtz Ideaology, Maya Road
and is a Certified Ranger Instructor.

Her newest book, 'Make Art 490 Style Book 2'
is selling like crazy and I am really glad she had time
to visit with us here at The Open Window.

  Wendy ... I know you don't live too far down the road from
The Open Window.  Tell us where and what do you love about it?

We live on 5 acres in the country, outside of Oglesby, Illinois. 
We call it 'Green Acres'.
Think about this, just like the TV show:
bleach blonde...likes diamonds...
goofy, very sweet husband...plenty of animals.
I love my home because I have my studio here.  Walking
through the door makes me oh so happy!
A benefit to living in the window treatments
are needed, so I have minimal valances, some of which are made
from cloth napkins.  That let's in LOTS of lights which I LOVE
and need to survive the dreadful Illinois winters.

I would love if you would share some of your professional 
creative credits with us...

Oh boy, mom said it's not nice to brag, but since you asked...
I'm living a fairytale.  I'm honored to be on the design teams for
Maya Road and Tim Holtz Ideaology, two very cool,
top-notch companies.  I'm also very happy to be Ranger's
exclusive demo artist, which means I demo for them at CHA
using their products.  Part of that requires making plenty of
art for their CHA booth.  I have also done some technique
videos and free tutorials.  Just check out

I am also thrilled to have my own line of signature stamps called
Studio 490  They are manufactured by my friends
Ted & Michelle Cutts, owners of Stamper's Anonymous.

I was recently a guest instructor for Tim for the
Artful Voyage in Mexico.  It was an amazing experience
and I was totally honored to be a part of it.
I've been published in quite a few magazines both in
the U.S. and in the UK.

Which came first for you, rubber stamping or mixed media?

I've always done something creative...needlepoint, cross stitch,
tole painting.  When I found rubber stamps, I KNEW that was
exactly what I was looking for.  It all clicked and just made
sense to me.  I will be playing with rubber for a very long time.


It's obvious you have a passion for paper.
What else are you passionate about?

I LOVE the hunt...antiques to fit our home.
I LOVE organizing, especially art supplies.  Finding just the
right storage container makes me giddy!
Shopping is a passion.  My hubby says that if it were an 
Olympic event, I'd be on the center podium, but I'm not sure
if that's really a compliment...
I LOVE fresh flowers, too.  I could have a bouquet in every
room of the house, every day of the year.

You now have 2 books.  Writing is a creative process in
itself.  How does it compare to 'making art'?

It was much harder than I thought it would be.  I wanted to
write the instructions so that whoever bought the book could
follow them and make art.  I was lucky to be able to write it
exactly as I talk and add a bit of humor here and there.
I agonized over 'will they understand what I mean by this',
but the reviews have made me very happy.

What art tools can you NOT live without?

For sure my stamps and Ranger inks.  One tool that I LOVE
is my Genesis paper trimmer.  It's pricey, but worth every penny.
OK...I'll admit I am totally addicted to grungepaper and
chipboard mini-books.  Hey, you have to have something
to use those inks on!

In the creative world, what have you NOT done yet, that you
would really like to do?

Hmmm...I'd like to design some signature product, something
new, exciting and different.  No ideas yet, but I'm always thinking.

Who inspires you, living or otherwise?

I get the most inspiration from my friend, Tim Holtz.
His products are always fresh and I adore his style.
I also love to look at art made by
Jenni Bowlin and Rebecca Sower.
They each have a very distinct and unique style that I
find very inspiring.

Now for a little fun...

If you could be any fictional character,
who or what would it be?

I think Samantha from the TV show 'Bewitched'.  I could just
pop myself anywhere and avoid the drive to the airport.  I could
get to stores quicker and have more time to make art!


Any favorite snacks that you keep within reach in your studio? fingers are ALWAYS full of ink, so no eating
in the studio for me!

Coffee, tea...or something more potent?

Both and both, hot or cold...and I LOVE 
a good mojito, especially if it's made by my friend, Mario.
His are the best!  I love a good Cosmo, too.

What's one more thing that I haven't asked that
you would like to share?

I guess I want people to know that I was a surgical nurse for
30 years.  I have no art degree and you'll see no graphic design
on my resume either.  I believe with all my heart that if you
REALLY want to make art, YOU CAN!

I've really enjoyed getting to know Wendy, haven't you?!
I hope you will visit Studio490art, Wendy's blog and I
would really appreciate it if you told her you read her
Autograph Session here at The Open Window.


Watch the March issue of Stamper's Sampler
as the guest artist is, Wendy Vecchi!

You can find Wendy's books and stamps
at Stamper's Anonymous and our friends in 
the UK can get yours from our other friend
Wendy, at The Stamp Attic.


To read other autograph sessions,
just click for Diana Trout and Sue Roddis

Please leave a comment and let me know what you
think of Autograph Sessions.
I truly appreciate hearing from you!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Color Splash...What's Not to Love?


I love black and white with just a 'splash' of color.
I always this week's Play Date Cafe Challenge
is one of my favorites.

I'm really excited to share with you that 
The 'Color Splash' Challenge will be offered
as a regular challenge every six weeks or so 
over in The Cafe.


You're encouraged to interpret which side of teal you
will land on....teal green or teal blue.
So I thought I would share a couple other cards with
variations on the theme.

This would have been a perfect card to celebrate the recent
'Blue Moon' that we experienced at New Year's.

How fabulous are these stamps from Memory Box?!
The background stamp is from Artistic Stamper.
For me, 'color splash' is about the 'hint' of color, but I 
thought I would bring in one more card that uses the
featured color just a bit more.

Again, using the same stamps but achieving a little different result.

So there you have it....a little teal in both green and blue.

I would really encourage you to get on over to
The Play Date Cafe and play along with us this week.
Whether you make cards, scrapbook layouts, jewelry,
crochet, knit, paint, digital name it

It's ALL welcome in The Cafe!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Splashin' Color - The Play Date Cafe Challenge


Just a quick note to remind you all of this week's
brand, new challenge over at 

It's a 'Color Splash' challenge.
Head on over, get the details
and start creatin'!

Happy Birthday to Gingersnap Creations

This past month, the creative team for
(of which I am a part)
have been playing along with the design team for


I have really enjoyed playing along all month and plan
to continue doing so.  Their challenges are fun and
allow you to be 'all sorts of creative'.
The final challenge for February was in honor of
Gingersnap's upcoming 1st birthday.
to make any type of birthday card.
I actually had someone in mind when I made
this one, but I can't say who it is because I know he reads
my blog (no, not my Paul).

This is a really simple card with a few layers.
It features the brand spankin' new
'Lace background' stamp from
It doesn't show up nearly as well in the photo, but
I wanted to keep these colors pretty muted.
Again, if you haven't seen the tutorial on how to make
this NO-sew ribbon border, you can catch the tutorial
over at the Gingersnap blog.

The little details include:
Martha Stewart Eyelet Stationary & Satin ribbon
Prima paper flowers
Stickles in my favorite...platinum
and assorted brads and pearls

Tomorrow night at midnight kicks off another brand new 
challenge over at the Play Date Cafe.
We are using a rather unique 'color combo', so you
will not want to miss it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Begging for Spring!

As I made a visit to my friend Julie Campbell's blog
I found one of the seven deadly sins setting in.
You guessed it...



I had already started working on this card last
night, but after seeing the lovely photos of
an early spring in California, I decided to get this
finished so I could get a decent photo
because the sunshine just isn't cooperating right now.

This is from the new 'Songbird' Collection from DCWV.
I did a little sewing and added buttons and
Diamond Stickles and the verse is a rub-on
(which is my BOO for the day...
I've had those FoReVeR!)
My favorite embellishment though, is the ribbon
detail that I tried my hand at thanks to the 
tutorial over at the Gingersnaps Creations blog.
Erika shows step-by-step this ultra-easy way to
make the gathered trim WITHOUT sewing.
I used fabulous textured satin ribbon from
Martha Stewart.


So did you visit yesterday?
I had a great time putting together the
'Autograph Sessions' interview with 
Diana Trout, author of 'Journal Spilling'.
If you missed it, just click here.

I also want to congratulate Jennie and Hels
over at The Artistic Stamper on their 400th follower.
Jennie is giving away another batch of blog candy 
to celebrate, so I hope you will stop by & say hello!

That's it for today....but before I go,
here is what I want to know.....

What technique or product for paper crafting
have you NOT tried yet, but really want to?
I've been thinking about some tutorials for you
and would love to know what trips YOUR trigger!

Leave a comment and let's see what we come up with!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Autograph Sessions...Journal Spilling with Diana Trout


You may remember back in November, I kicked off this
new feature with internationally-known UK paper artist
The feedback from that session was fabulous and now
I am pleased to tell you that I have a line-up of
tremendous authors and artists to share with you.

Just a quick recap on how this idea came about...

My dear friend Sarah Anderson
(The Art of Moodling) sent me an autographed copy
of Sue's book 'Handmade Decorative Books'
and I thought it would be a great thing if we could do
something similar online, so that we could have a chance
to meet authors and other creative contributors to publications.

Coincidentally enough, Sarah has been featuring the author
of the next session on her blog over the past few weeks, so
I thought now is a terrific time to share her with you, too!

So here is my time with Diana Trout author of...

Diana...where in the US do you live & what do you love about it?

I live in Glenside, PA just outside of Philadelphia.  Glenside is great!
We call it 'Mayberry'.  I could never live far from a big city, though,
and I take full advantage of the arts and communities.
I love the hills and forests of Pennsylvania which have been a
major influence in my art-making.

I would love if you would 'toot your own horn' and share
a few of your professional credits with us...

I've been making art professionally for more than 30 years (yikes!).
I attended University of the Arts and Pennsylvania Academy of
Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
I've been published in several zines such as 'DogEared Magazine',
Teesha Moore's 'Play, Art & Life' and 'The Studio'.
I've had articles in 'Cloth, Paper Scissors' and 'Bound & Lettered'
and have published two zines, 'Something I Forgo't and 'Springfed'.
I've shown my work in numerous art shows in PA, NY & NJ
and at regional craft shows.
I am currently showing with a diverse and dynamic group of 
Philadelphia-based women artists called Mamacita.
I teach from my studio, in art centers and libraries.
I recently began teaching nationally at Art & Soul.

You have recently published 'Journal Spilling'. 
As one who journals, how is this type of writing different?

I love writing 'how-to's' and my years of teaching was great
practice for writing 'Journal Spilling'.  It's quite fun for me to write
this way because I start with the left-brain 'how-to' and then
my right-brain takes over for some magic.
Some areas of the book were written in a
'stream-of-consciousness' or 'spill-writing',
as I do in my own journal.
I enjoyed working with the North Light team.
I'm pretty disciplined and I love deadlines, so I break
projects down into do-able bits.
Most of all, 'Journal Spilling' was a realized dream I have
had for many years; bringing an accessible art-making
process to a whole bunch of people.


It's obvious you have a passion for art.
What else are you passionate about?

The top of my list is family, friends, students and my cat.
Paper and fabric in any form, reading, music, nature, color,
pattern, sewing and soup making.  Creative problem-solving
makes me very happy and I love to work with students
and help them find solutions.

What age group do you find most 'teachable' when it
comes to journaling?

Oh wow, I've taught all ages...teens through seniors and
everyone is super receptive.  When teaching a new group,
I spend a few moments getting a sense of my audience's
interests and experience, that way I can tailor my teaching.
Keeping an open dialogue and circling the room like an 
eagle on the lookout, I try to engage everyone on their
own level.  Very exciting!

What are tools can you NOT live without?

I love my watercolors, Caran d'Arche water-soluble crayons
and Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils.  When I travel light,
I take just the crayons, a water brush, spray bottle and
a black pen.

In the creative world, what have you NOT done yet
that you would really like to do?

Encaustics.  I took a workshop once and am really drawn
to the look of encaustics.  The veils of colors and patterns
and the ability to use collage within layers of wax is
very appealing.


 Who inspires you, living or otherwise?

Carol McDonald.  She is a Vermont artist who I
found on a recent trip there.  I am entranced by her
textile prints.  Of late, I'm in love with
Cy Twombly (again).

Now it's time for a little fun...

If you could be any fictional character,
who or what would it be?

Dr. Ellie Arroway in the movie Contact pops to mind.
Jodie Foster plays this scientist and dreamer.  In my mind,
that's a killer combination.  I have a huge respect for
scientists and mathematicians and sometimes I pretend
I am a scientist.  I guess on reflection, she speaks to me because
she has a solid faith in something and then takes a leap of faith
to prove it.  It's sort of like knowing the answer to an
equation and then working backwards.  I really admire
folks who can think that way.

Coffee, tea...or something more potent?

Irish Breakfast tea in vast quantities in the morning.
Herbal teas the rest of the day.  I love my Yogi Tea.
Something more potent?
Sure!  I'll have a Belgian white beer, do you have draft?

In your creative space, TV or music?
What show or artist?

Music.  I love my iPod.  Some of my favs are:
Josh Joplin, Simon Shaheen, Joni Mitchell,
Nellie McKay, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald.
I love just about anything but rock.


I've really enjoyed getting to know Diana, haven't you?!
I hope you will visit 'Hub Bub', Diana's blog and I
would really appreciate it if you told her you read her
Autograph Session here at The Open Window.
I know her book is available at Barnes & Noble stores
and at

Please leave a comment and let me know what you
think of Autograph will definitely want
to stay tuned for who's coming up next!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


We are so excited to extend an invitation to YOU!
The Play Date Cafe Challenge is 3 months old and it is time 
to add new talent to our Design Team.

Do you enjoy playing with color?

Do you enjoy a challenge?

 Do you enjoy being an inspiration to others?

We are looking for a variety of styles.
Cards, layouts, altered art, shabby chic or vintage
retro, grunge, clean and name it!

The term would be for 6 months
Along with creating a weekly project inspired by colors
from your fellow design team,
once a month or so, you would also be responsible for 
choosing color inspiration

We are looking for fun, creative people with a blog
and the capability of taking crisp, clear photos

If you would like to apply, 
please provide the following:

3 creations that show 'who' you are as a designer
A list of your current/past design team experience
(No DT experience necessary)
Your name, address, phone #, email & blog address

Send the photo files and above information to
place DT submission on the subject line


February 28, 2010

The Play Date Cafe is headed in a very, exciting direction!
We have had a number of potential sponsors contact us
along with some other surprises.

We hope you will consider joining our Senior Designers
as we head into the Spring and Summer.

Looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's Brewing? Coffee and a Little More...


The Play Date Cafe Challenge was posted extremely late
and I promised the players over there if they stopped
by my blog, I would explain why.
I will do that at the end of this post...

I LoVe this photo by Maria Medeiros over at CozyComfyCouch.
I thought it was terrific inspiration and am very excited to see
what everyone does with this color combo.

Me?  I took it a bit 'literally' 
and went very CAS (clean and simple)!

I have the limited edition Fiskar's 'coffee mug' punch and 
thought this was the perfect time to use it.
I stamped the linen-finish punched-pieces with the fabulous
These stamps are so versatile and I love having them as
my 'go-to' background images.
The sentiment is from The Paper Company.
The 'Eyelet Lace Border' punch and ribbon 
are from Martha Stewart.

A quick reminder that the DESIGN TEAM CALL
is still going on over at The Play Date Cafe.
For all the details, click here

Now to share the past 24 hours of frustration...

Recognize this?  If you have been a follower of my blog
for the past 6 months or so, you know we recently went through
the construction process of a brand new road.
If you are newer to The Open Window, I would encourage you
to catch up with the story HERE before you continue.

The reason for the close-up photo above is to give you an idea of
the proximity from our patio to what's next.

We awoke yesterday morning to lots of noise and many voices.
As I looked out the patio doors, this was the scene behind
all the condo units.  It seems when they built the now famous
'Road to Nowhere', the original easement was not in the appropriate
place, so all....yes, ALL the underground utility lines had to be moved.

About 3pm on Wednesday, I arrived home to no electricity and the
conversation went something like this:
"can you tell me how long we will be without power?"
"we're working on it"
"so you have no idea if this was planned or accidental"
"we're working on it...we've called ComEd"
No lights, no phone, no heat...chilly.

At 8:30pm, 2 men, who I would assume were 
frozen to the core, gave me the good news that we
were getting close...mission accomplished shortly after that.

I rushed to my computer only to find that my DSL was
not functioning.  I picked up our phone and....dead.

It was like an army of people outside today...workers everywhere.
Obviously our phone and DSL service were restored...
approximately 3pm this afternoon.
And now...
HERE'S what it looks like outside my patio door
as I type this...

When they spotted for all these cables, they said not to worry because
it's all done very 'electronically' so the digging will be minimal.
This is just behind our looks like this behind every building.

Here's the part that I just have to laugh at....
It was only OUR unit...
our lowly little abode that was disconnected.
Gee...I hope they're coming back.

Don't they KNOW I have a blog to take care of?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Roaring Twenties with Gingersnap Creations


TWO POSTS make sure you keep scrolling...

It's that time of the week...the Gingersnap Challenge!
I really had fun with this color challenge, which was to
feature any three colors.

The entire month challenges is being sponsored by
I am proud to be on their creative team and have
really enjoyed using the new
'Roaring Twenties' & 'Roses are Red' stamps.
For the die cut flowers, I also used the
'Houndstooth Background' image.


Make sure you stop by this fabulous challenge blog 
and see what their design team have cooked up.
They are one talented bunch of folks!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Falling in Love All Over...


On Valentine's Day, Paul treated me to a little shopping at one
of the nearby SB stores.  The nearest one to our home
is nearly 30 miles away, but I am always happy to have a look!

I'm sure glad we took the trip.  I managed to spend very little money,
believe it or not.  My goal when I visit there is mainly to get the latest
and greatest DP's.  But as their CHA orders weren't quite in,
I had a look at their stamps.


Many of you know, I am pretty old school when it comes to my
stamps.  Yes, I have a very healthy collection of clear stamps, but...

.....there is nothing like the feel of a wood-mount in my hand..... heart pounding.....
.....wondering 'will I get it lined up or not?

I found a line of stamps that was pretty much new to me.
Maybe to you  too?


Memory that simple name.
Along with the stamps, I also purchased every package they
had on hand of the 8x8 collections.  The subtle prints are lovely.

For these cards, I used these extras:

Martha Stewart Eyelet Stationery
Ribbon from American Crafts & Celebrate It
Stickles in platinum
assorted pearl embellishments

I hope to catch up purchasing the rest of the
Memory Box collection of stamps and DP's soon because...

...I am totally in love.
How appropriate to fall in love on Valentine's Day.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Different Take on a Challenge...JUGS20

Thought I would play along this week over at the  
Just Us Girls Challenge.
The technique is 'split negative', but as I am one who does not use
heat embossing all that much, I decided to just put my own spin on it.

My 'split' is one stamp with two colors.
I love these stamps from Hampton Arts & Stampabilities.
Of course, used a little 'Boo' with this really old
Making Memories DP.  I have always loved this floral pattern
so I was glad that it worked with these stamps.

They offer a couple of tutorials on this technique
over at the Just Us Girls Challenge blog, so if you are 
in the mood to do something unique, head on over.

One more thing....PLEASE leave a comment to say hello
and let me know you stopped by.  I truly do appreciate it!