Monday, November 30, 2009

Calm & Serene...and a DESIGN TEAM CALL

Did you survive Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
I love Thanksgiving but I must say that I feel sorry
for those who have to be
to work at 3am for the feeding frenzy.
Wouldn't make for a very relaxing day.

So now that a new week has begun,
I thought I would share a project that has
a more peaceful and serene setting.
I think, at last count, there were 10 layers
to make this a very, dimensional greeting.
The die cuts are from My Mind's Eye
and the snowflakes are from Martha Stewart.

It has definitely been a busy time for me here at  
The Open Window.
My Etsy shop has been busy with special orders and so I am doing
my best to get it re-stocked with new things for the holidays.
I will be listing this card as soon as I can, so if you would like it, as it will not be duplicated,
then head on over and make your purchase.

DeSiGn TeAm CaLL......
There is always something new going on and
now we are looking for some new designers with a vintage edge.
Are you a vintage girl or guy?
If so, then we want to hear from you!
We are looking for designers who would like to participate
in a brand new challenge
beginning in January 2010 which  
focuses on a style reflecting pre-1975.
Call it it retro...are we calling YOU?!?

Here is all you need to do:
Send me an email with your name and blog link.
If you would like, you can send up to 3 JPEG files
of favorite projects
you have done which reflect your vintage-style.
Send a list of any online galleries you participate in
such as Splitcoast, Graphic45, The Play Date Cafe, etc.
and please let us know if you have been or are
currently on any other design teams.
We are asking a 6 month commitment to the team
contributing one project per week
with possible hosting once per month.
Deadline for design team submissions is Sunday, Dec 20th.
We welcome designers from all over the world!

See you tomorrow.....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Living in the Moment

Been thinking a lot this week about how quickly time passes.
I think I do that at this time every year because
time seems so specific
between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it's a very easy gauge.
It prompted me to pull out a couple of stamps from
The Artistic Stamper
and combine my thoughts into one card.

I did a little stamping and combined My Mind's Eye die cuts.
Everything was aged using Adirondack in Coffee.

This card is a gentle reminder to enjoy the moment.
So here is what I want to know...
What do you look forward to the most
at this time of the year?
Please leave me a comment...I love when you share.

For me, decorating in a creative way. 
I thought I would lend to the holiday spirit by
bringing new decoration to  
The Open Window and to The Play Date Cafe.
I hope to get my Christmas trees up on Monday.
At last count, I think I have 5.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Are the Snowflakes Falling Where You Are?

The weatherman said, for nearly a week straight, that we would have snow on Thanksgiving Day.  Well...not even a flurry,
so I decided to create my own!
This card will be available in my Etsy shop but may not last long,
so if you are interested, get on over!

These fabulous new patterned papers called 'Merrymint'
are from American Crafts.
It is a 'busy' card to be sure but I had fun with it!
The snowflakes are actually cut from Basic Grey's
'Eskimo Kisses' collection.
I used a Spellbinder's Snowflake die and the Martha Stewart  
Arctic Snowflake punch.
For the frosty icicles, I turned to Martha once again
with the Icicle Border punch.
Everything was topped off with Icicle Stickles and a few brads.
The stamp is from Inkadinkado.

This beautiful creation comes from my friend
Mona at Cupcake's Creations.
It arrived this week as a belated birthday wish along with a sweet package of metal embellishments that I happily added to my collection.  What a lovely surprise!

As if that wasn't enough, I was also informed that I won the above blog candy from Mona's blog in celebration of her 200th follower.  I must say I was incredibly surprised and can't wait to start playing with that Paisley EF from Cuttlebug.
That has been on my wish list for awhile!

Thank you so much, Mona....for honoring your followers 
but most of all, your friends...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope today finds you thankful for all that you have...
Here are a few things that I am thankful for:

My dear husband Paul
 who protects my heart
and has learned that it's ok to celebrate this day,
even though he's English
My daughter Mallory and my son Alex
who are my greatest creations
My parents
who are reminders of the good that still exists in this world
My grandchildren
who help me to know that I'm never too old to make wishes
My friends near and far, old and new
I honestly don't know what I would do without you


most importantly,
my God 
who makes all these things possible

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Little Fun to Share with You

As a mom for the past 25 years, I can truly say that no matter how much time I spent with my kids, there were still days I felt like I was neglecting them...ever felt that way?  That's kind of where I am with my blog at the moment.  I have missed my daily posts with new creations, but the truth is I have been SO BUSY behind the scenes working on some exciting projects which include not only The Open Window and The Play Date Cafe, but more interactive things for all of us coming just after the New Year.  You have been so gracious to come along for the ride and have been such loyal, encouraging blog friends, and I thank you.

So today...just like the early days of my blog, it will be about a couple of fun projects that I worked on yesterday.  I told you recently that I LOVE Platinum Stickles from Ranger.  The sneak peek above is a is the result...

This features a brand new Fiskars Ornament punch on Basic Grey patterned paper, the Cuttlebug Dot EF on beautiful Silver card stock from American Crafts, a simple $1 Christmas stamp, satin ribbon and of course, embellished with my beloved platinum Stickles.
I've started another project using this same punch with brand new American Crafts papers for Christmas and hope to share that with you later this week.  So many possibilities with this new punch!

Surely you recognize this little sneak peek. 
A little more Mabel Lucie Attwell.
This was one of the fabulous images I received in my box from
The Artistic Stamper.
I started this project last week, but was having trouble with
the finishing embellishments.
Then during last night's 'Dancing With the Stars' finale dances, became inspired to finish her accoutrements.

I added the silver Stickles to her shoes and collar and the pearls to her umbrella.  I had already run the umbrella cut-out through
'The Bug' using the dotted EF, and brought it alive a bit with a little bit of ink, but it still needed something....that's when the pearls were added.  The bit of patterned paper you see if from
Graphic45 'Baby 2 Bride'.  I also ran my distressing tool around the edges of the card stock just before I added the bow and pearl brad. 
So there's my creative process at work!

So here is what I want to know from you today...
What are YOUR thanksgiving plans?
I have a huge amount followers who are from countries that either do not have Thanksgiving or have already celebrated Thanksgiving.  But do not let that stop you from leaving me a note....what will you be doing THURSDAY?  Do you know, every year for the past 18, I call my mother-in-law to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving.  Now I know, she should really be calling me...
so I would love to hear from YOU!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Little Glitter...A Little Mabel

This weekend marks the new release of the Mabel Lucie Atwell stamps from The Artistic Stamper.

I got mine yesterday, just in time to give you a sneak peek of a new Holiday image.
Can you tell what fun I had with this image?  I love to raise 'characters' off the page.
And what would the holidays be without a little glitter...

Here you didn't think I was going to keep it from you,
did you?

Did you know...

The Artistic Stamper is the only place in the WORLD that you can get Mabel Lucie Atwell licensed stamps
 If you love Mabel stamps too, let me know...
leave me a comment and share your story...

Friday, November 20, 2009

My First Digi-Stamp Experience! How Fun!

Believe it or not, digital stamps is a place I had yet to go...
I admit, I am pretty 'old-school' fact, until recently I had yet to really use many of the fabulous clear stamps that have now become the 'stamp of choice'.  When I think of clear stamps, I have to laugh because my store was 2200 square feet in size.  How on earth would I have filled it with those flat, packages of clear images?!

But the switch ended up being very easy.  After all, you can see EXACTLY where you want to stamp your image, can't you!  So imagine the thought of 'printing' an image from my computer?!
I know, I can hear some of you already,
but I am going to ask a favor of you...

Alison, one of our fabulous designers for The Play Date Cafe has started a wonderful new line of digital images and when I saw this one, I KNEW it was the one I wanted to try.  She has a great selection on her blog Stretch N' Bubbles and
I KNOW there is one just for you!
This one is called 'Unity' and that title is what caught my attention.

When I envisioned playing with this one, I immediately saw dimension in my mind, so much of this is 3-D.
I used the Cool Gray No 1 Copic for the shading.
The word stamps, which I thought complimented this image so well, were from the Wordsworth 'Messiah' set.

Alison has such a great variety of adorable and UNIQUE stamps and if you're like me, you may need instruction on how to use them.  I promise, she will walk you through the EASIEST steps in the world to get you started.  Let me know if you give it a try.
I would love for you to leave me a comment and let me know which one...or two...or three....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Play Date Cafe Challenge #5

It's official...The Play Date Cafe Challenge is a hit!
Today's challenge now find us with a new design team member hosting her very first challenge, so I hope you will head on over to The Play Date Cafe and see what Jules and the girls have inspired us with this week.

Visit Play Date Cafe

If you want to have inspiration at your fingertips including photos of challenge pieces and ideas for creating them, then click on The Play Date Cafe Social Network button above and join us!
It's free and most of all, it's fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Provence on Paper...I Love GCD Studios

Decided to take a break from my seasonal projects and break out the fabulous papers from GCD Studios.  Awhile back, I shared my love of Provence with you.  When I finished this card, I think my husband's exact words were "that sure screams Provence".  Now, I think...that was a back-handed compliment, but he was right on the money because this paper is from the Provence Collection, so good eye, Paul!

I used a variety of the designs and included 3 of the die cuts from the set.  Even the 12 x 12 sheet that I cut had a die-cut edge.

I 'blinged' up the rooster with a little Diamond Stickles and added a few punch cut-outs with pearl centers.

Just a little project to brighten (literally) your day!

 Have you seen either of these fabulous cups lately?

If not, then you have not been to The Play Date Cafe.
 Thursday starts a brand, new challenge with our brand, new designer, Jules Campbell so make sure you stop by and check out the FaBuLoUs colors for this week's challenge!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Being Creative with The Artistic Stamper

Finally!  The wait is over! 
The stamps from The Artistic Stamper arrived!
A few days ago, I received a big ol' box of rubber stamps and believe me, my head has been spinning with ideas!  Rather than spend time creating a bunch of things to share with you, I thought I would at least get one card up that I thought was kinda fun.

This simple creation was made using four different stamps from Jennie & Hels.
The bird is actually 2 different stamps, a negative and positive, if you will.  These are from the Stitchels line by Hels Sheridan.  The new Chicken Wire stamp was a fabulous background stamp for this card.  Then, there is the simple sentiment 'Imagine', which is perfect for just about anything.

The extras I used on this card are the Martha Stewart Loop punch and rhinestones.
This sweet bird's tail just cried out for a little bling!

 Jennie gladly ships to the U.S. and shipping is extremely reasonable.
The stamps are unmounted,
beautiful red rubber.

Thought I would share a few of the images with you
I love the stamps from The Artistic Stamper
and I know you will too!
More to come......

Monday, November 16, 2009

Introducing the Newest Member of the Play Date Cafe Design Team

 This week completes the first cycle of hosting by our designers at The Play Date Cafe Challenge.  We cannot begin to tell you how much fun we have had as we prepare the inspirations behind each challenge.  We are busy with new ideas and surprises that we are excited to share, so today, I am happy to reveal WHO created the projects in last week's sneak peeks!

I am thrilled to tell you that Julie Campbell of A Vintage Chic is the newest addition to our design team.  Julie's style is classic, unmistakebly vintage.  Her blog has been a favorite of mine ever since I found her and I was so excited when she accepted the invitation to join our creative team.  
Let's get to know her a little bit more...

"Hi!  I'm Julie...Jules from here on out at The Play Date Cafe (don't want to get confused now, do we?!)  I live in a lovely house my husband built in the central coast area of California.  We love it here...surrounded by so much beauty and fabulous weather!  I'm a very happy and busy wife to Roger and mother to three beautiful, loving girls; Chelsea, Sarah and Annie.  I've been stamping for about 4 years now, and have loved learning and evolving!  My favorite style is vintage--I love everything about it!  I love to go overboard with my use of beautiful trims, but especially with glitter--
can't get enough of it!  

I give all credit for any creative bone I have in my body to my wonderful mother, Karen Smith, who is an amazing artist!  She is a dollmaker, and does just about anything else she sets her mind to.  She encouraged me early in life to try any kind of art that appealed to me, and always helped along the way, but let me develop my own style.  She gave me my love of all things vintage, as well, surrounding us with beautiful family heirlooms, beautifully illustrated old books and lovely artwork.


 I'm so excited to be working with Julie, Alison, Sandi and Sarah at The Play Date Cafe--what a wonderful, inspiring group of women!  I'm so looking forward to all the great color challenges ahead as we all continue to learn and create together."

I hope you will join me in welcoming Jules as she hosts this week's brand new Thursday challenge at The Play Date Cafe.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Play Date Cafe Challenge #4

The reviews are in for The Play Date Cafe Challenge.  You are loving it and so is the design team!  We are on week #4, so spread the word and join the fun!  The design team have been having so much fun working on inspirational projects for you and this week is no exception.

Our host for this week's challenge is Sandi.  You will find the story behind the inspiration over at the PDCC blog, so I hope you will visit there next.

It's been pretty tough to pry the patterned papers from Graphic45 out of my hands.  These are from the Baby 2 Bride Collection.  This is actually a tag card.  The lighter brown base is a flat panel.  The dark brown tag opens to reveal the greeting.

I have to tell you here and now, I am IN LOVE with Platinum Stickles, so be assured you will see more of that color in the future.  I added it to the lace, the cameo and tag die cut.  You no doubt will recognize the Martha Stewart loop punch and the extras include stamps from Inkadinkado, Studio G & Scrappy Cat, Prima paper flowers and flat-back pearl accents.

Now it's time for you to take the challenge.  Join our ever-growing group of players and followers.  And while you're at it, please consider joining our community at The Play Date Cafe Social Network.  We would love to have you along.  There you can upload photos of your challenge cards and discuss your creative techniques with other like-minded players.

***EXCITING NEWS***  Look for two, count 'em TWO fabulous announcements regarding The Play Date Cafe Challenge in the coming days.  You will NOT want to miss it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sharing my Gifts With You...and Another Sneak Peek

 Back in October, I spent a couple of days enjoying the Halloween Party that was sponsored by  

A Fanciful Twist.  Over 300 blogs!  It was tremendous.
I was so glad to know that over 100 guests stopped by  
The Open Window as I hosted a small get-together as well.

Not long after the party ended, I was contacted by 2 other party hosts telling me I had been chosen to receive lovely gifts that they were giving away.  So I thought I would share those with you today.

The parcel above arrived all the way from Belgium today courtesy of  

Inge Bekaert of Pinkepinke.
The packaging of this lovely vintage button box was beautiful!  The fibers that wrapped these treasures were so vibrant and the photo of the baby holding the word BOO was so appropriate for the time.

 Inside...these lovely vintage buttons sewn on amazing hand-aged cards!  The photo definitely does not do this lot justice!  There was also a spool of black Gutermann thread and a little hand-sewn pouch with an old needle, threaded and attached to the pouch.

Again, the photo cannot tell the story...

I love this little quote, again in relation to the Halloween spirit that we were all

Inge...thank you so kindly for such a soul stirring gift.  It was lovely to see every little nuance you included with this special gift!

I was also the recipient of another beautiful gift that just kept getting better and better as I 'clawed' my way through the box!

This courtesy of  
Komis Couture.

I kept finding scary trinkets and chocolates before I ever got to this masterpiece!

This unbelievable necklace is constructed of bits n pieces of vintage costume jewelry.

Silver and gold, black, copper and pearl...layer upon layer, until you reach...

This beautiful bright yellow rose!  What a focal point!

I hope you will visit the girls from Komis Couture.  They have the most unique blog.  If you love stories, this is one for you to follow.

Thank you so very much for this stunning memento of a fabulous weekend!

Sneak Peek #2

Isn't this sweetYummy...the mystery continues...

A Big Thanks & A Sneak Peek!

What can I say but 'Thanks boss!'
Jennie from The Artistic Stamper surprised me with this very colorful blog award.  I am one of the newest designers to join Jennie's team from The Artistic Stamper and I am anxiously awaiting my very first package full of goodies from the UK.  I am going to combine the requirements for receiving this award and the one I posted yesterday, which is to share
5 little known things about Julie Ranae.

#1...I dip my french fries (chips for my UK friends) in applesauce
#2...My favorite color is orange
how could that have not come up by now?
#3...I have been a singer since the age of 16
#4...staying with the music theme, I like EVERY style of music
but polka and opera
#5...staying with the music theme again, I grew up playing
the organ (of the 3 keyboard variety)

Not very interesting, I am sure...but there you have it!

Now to share the love.....I honor:
Anne, Maria, Jill, Julie, Alcoholinky
I share this colorful award with you...
thank you for inspiring us to create!

Don't you just love mysteries?  I do!

See you tomorrow.....
No...I'm really NOT going to tell you anymore...for now, anyway!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Vintage Challenge ... It's About the Girls

I found myself with a nice relaxing opportunity to create today and thought I would take on the challenge over at Just Us Girls.  This week, it's the sketch challenge above, so here is my offering...

Since the challenge blog is in honor of all us girls who enjoy making art in a variety of ways, I thought I would start at the very beginning.  This vintage baby girl card has many layers which feature Graphic45 papers from the Baby 2 Bride Collection.

I distressed all edges with Adirondack ink in mushroom for a worn wallpaper effect.  These fabulous papers are double-sided for easy coordination.  I used a few of the matching die-cuts as well, including the sleeping angel baby.  The sentiment stamp is from  
My Sentiments Exactly.

The flowers are Spellbinders scallops and textured with Cuttlebug's brocade EF.  They are centered with a variety of sweet buttons and floss. Again, the edges were distressed using the same ink as the wallpaper.

I used beautiful pearl-embellished trim in between two different mirrored paper patterns which were accented using the Martha Stewart Loop punch.  The sweet little birdie buttons are also Graphic45 die cuts from the same collection.
I love adding sparkle to vintage pieces using Diamond Stickles.

This card will be up for sale in my Etsy store soon.  If you are interested in purchasing it before it gets there, please email privately at

A big thank you goes to Alice over at Alice's (little) Wonderland.  She honored me with the MeMe Blog Award.  I featured Alice's sweet blog awhile back on one of the Friday Night Favs lists and I know you have come to love visiting her, too.  As we all know with many awards, we are asked to share things about ourselves as part of the acceptance.  I hope you will indulge me if rather than list all those things here at this moment, I will do my best to reveal something new with each post this week.
Deal?  So here is my first installment.

Yesterday, I had promised to share with you what I believe is a most relaxing Sunday afternoon.  I have the opportunity to attend services at church either on a Saturday or a Sunday.  So assuming I have gone on Saturday, my idea of a relaxing Sunday is to sleep in a bit.  Then have a lovely cup of tea with Paul as we talk about whatever may come up.  Some days, it's what's happened earlier in the week and other days, it might be childhood memories.  I love that about our conversations.  I love hearing about his childhood in England and about extended family whom I will never have the chance to meet as they have already gone on before.  But my most favorite thing to do, especially as the weather turns cold and snowy, I love curling up next to him on the couch as he watches his favorite football game, of the English or American variety,  while I have a stack of my very favorite magazines at hand.  Of course, the tea keeps flowing all the day long.  So that's it, really.
Simple, but very lovely.

I hope you had a lovely with you tomorrow.