With the coming drawdown, OWH will be in need of fewer cards in the future – that includes upcoming holidays. PLEASE READ THIS PAGE before proceeding to make cards, organize events, etc – it’s really really really really important. Did I say really important? :)


Mid-Month Throwdown: Miss You

Posted by on Dec 20, 2014 in Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 9 comments

Let me start this month’s post by saying I will “MISS YOU!” I have been the Midweek/Mid-Month Throwdown Coordinator for over a year now and life is getting in the way of my crafting and volunteering with Operation Write Home, so starting with the January 2015 challenge, I am passing the reins on to Kristie M. Be looking for some great challenges coming your way! As a way to introduce Kristie to you (although many of you already know her because she also coordinates the monthly Our Daily Bread Designs (ODBD) Challenges), I asked her to be our sample card maker this month. Here is Kristie’s Miss You card:

Dec 2014-Kristie M - Miss You

I just love the clean look of Kristie’s design! You can find more of her creations at her blog The Best Things in Life Are Pink. Here’s a little about Kristie in her own words:

Since my involvement with OWH, the quality of my cards has improved significantly thanks to OWHtv and all the tutorials. I even purchase craft items with OWH in mind; such as looking for more Miss You stamps or making sure the bling isn’t too thick. Our heroes risk their lives everyday for all of us. So, providing them with a quality handmade card is the least I can do for them.

Don’t forget! The Valentine’s Day deadline is just 11 days away and there are plenty of “no mail” holidays between now and then as well so mail your cards to OWH early. And, please try to keep your themed cards as generic as possible so they have a longer shelf life as our troops continue to draw down. Rather than using sentiments like “Happy Valentine’s Day,” consider using more generic Love You themes. It sure does help us!


Featured Friday Card Maker Tara W., Mountain City, TN

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 21 comments

Hey y’all and a very happy Friday to you!!!!  Okay confess how many of y’all, besides me, inspired by Kristie’s tutorial/video went out and purchased a 6×6 paper pad ?  Here’s a link to the tutorial on the OWH website.  Here is the link to Kristie’s blog and video.  You might want to watch the video with a critical eye and realize Kristie is making card fronts, uses black mats, and brings in 2 other colors of cardstock  to match the paper in the 6×6 pad.  I was in a craft store purchasing an oval punch for a current project—making treat boxes for work—and noticed the 6×6 pads on sale and purchased one.—Yup my first 6×6 and I’m going to try this technique probably over the holidays.  I have a tendency to over think  (read OCD) these projects, and will take a tip from Kristie–use sentiments or images with little coloring, pick out some sketches ahead of time, and just go for it!!  I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah and safe holiday travel.

As always y’all were great leaving comments for last week’s FFCM and I’m sure this week will be no exception.  Tara doesn’t have a blog so please leave some OWH love in the comment section below.  You will thouroughly enjoy Tara’s cards!!  Oh my, yes you will!!!  The designer paper on the love/flower power card is just perfect; the blue and yellow miss you will knock your socks off—so striking—CASEing that one for sure; never would have thought of using French script bg with chickens—it works wonderfully well—and that’s all I’m divulging!!  Okay, you know it’s time to sit back, get comfy, grab a cuppa and let’s learn about Tara in her own words……


I was born in New Jersey, raised in Northern Virginia. Moved to Roanoke after nursing school to escape crowded city life. My husband wanted to return home to Mountain City Tennessee. In 2000 we moved to the beautiful mountains of Northeast Tennessee.

How long have you been stamping/card making?

I received my first rubber stamp in 1980 from my Aunt Doris. Soon after I was collecting these tiny pieces of art. The Hallmark stores carried rubber stamps and I bought a lot from this store. I used the stamps on stationery and to decorate mail. The scrapbook hobby wasn’t for me. It was too overwhelming. Here I have stamps, paper and ink and what to make with these supplies? Then I bought an issue of Scrap and Stamp magazine in 2011. I though how fun to exchange cards with a pen pal. I was going to teach myself to make a card.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?

Yes. I have 1/2 of a spare bedroom. I am fortunate to have  space to store my supplies so I can see them. For me out of sight means out of mind. I would forget what supplies I have if not in plain view. I have a 9 cube shelf unit to hold stamp sets, punches 8.5 x 11 papers etc. Plus 2 Iris carts to hold 12×12 cardstock, adhesives, craft magazine and embellishments. I have a kitchen farm table as my work space. It holds ink pads, markers, my mug of hot tea and a feline or two. There are 2 large windows next to my table, I can soak in all the natural light and watch the wildlife.

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

My favorite stamp companies are My Favorite Things, Hero Arts, Avery Elle, and Stampin Up (sets before 2007). I do buy stamps that catch my eye. As for craft products,  I like basic shape dies, embossing folders and distress ink pads.

Tara W5

Do you have a favorite  technique?

I enjoy several techniques, embossing (both heat and dry), paper piecing and distressed inks. I want to learn how to use alcohols markers.

Tara W3

Have any particular OWH sketches or tutorials served as  inspiration for your cards?

I do try many OWH sketches. It’s helpful to have measurements and examples of cards. I find inspiration from many places, OWHTV, OWH facebook page, Pinterest and Splitcoaststampers gallery. Oh a bit of retail therapy is great to spark inspiration. :)

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

Stamps for me. I like to see and hold the stamp.

Tara W6

Do you have a  favorite theme?

I mostly make Love and Miss You themes.  But I also listen to what Sandy requests.

Tara W2

Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?

I like to use a variety of colors. I do love the color brown. Maybe cause this color makes me think of chocolate.

Tara W4

How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?

I found a link in a post in Splitcoaststampers.   So off I went to explore this organization and knew I wanted to be involved.

Tara W1

What motivates you to make cards for our  heroes?

I have been corresponding with our heroes through snail mail since 1980. A handwritten note in a handmade card is such a keepsake of love. My cards are another way to let our heroes know how much I appreciate them.

Helped me to keep in contact

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Hero Blog, Note from Airman | 4 comments

I just wanted to say thank you so much for your support while i have been deployed. I have enjoyed all the cards that i have received during my deployment. The boxes of cards that I have received helped me to keep in contact with my family as well as brighten my day. I wanted to let you know i will be returning home to my family next month and will no longer be at this location. Thank you again for all that you do!

Ssgt H.M., USAF


Because of you

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Hero Blog, Note from Afghanistan, Note from Airman | 6 comments


Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all the support you have provided me this year. Because of you and your organization, I was able to send letters home for every holiday, birthday, anniversary, thank you, and just because. It made my year just a little bit better! Please pass on my appreciation to your volunteers and supporters!


MSGT L.L., US Air Force, Afghanistan


OWHtv Week 170

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 0 comments

Welcome to our recap of week 170! A couple easy cards – as well as a view of what it takes to use up a 6×6 pad of paper and come out with AMAZING cards!

Peekaboo Seal Card

——— T I P S ———

• Use heavy card bases when creating simple cards – and score cleanly.
• Offset a design; sometimes leaving empty space creates a focal point on a card.
• Align stamps by using an acrylic block to place a stamp before inking.

——— S U P P L I E S ———

• Lawn Fawn Critters in the Snow  ——
• EK Success 1-3/4″ circle punch  ——
• Absorber  ——
• Tsukineko Memento Ink Pad Tuxedo Black  ——
• Hero Arts Unicorn White Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Mini Cube Cornflower Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Cornflower Ink  ——
• Copic Sketch Marker C2  ——
• Copic Sketch Marker C0  ——
• Copic Sketch Marker W3  ——

Diecut Scrap Card

——— T I P S ———
• Use up those scraps! Hoarding them just keeps us buried in doodads, so find a design like this and use em up!
• Put thin dimensional adhesive close to open diecuts to keep them raised up but not too tall.
• Don’t forget to decorate the inside!

——— S U P P L I E S ———

• PTI hello die  ——
• Tombow Power Tabs  ——
• Tombow Adhesive Stamp Runner & Refill  ——
• Sunshine Cardstock  ——

Cardmaker Kristie sharing her 6×6 process

Kristie’s blog post: HERE

—— S K E T C H E S ——–

Sketch Challenge 244

Posted by on Dec 13, 2014 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 24 comments

Hello everyone! It’s Sandy here with some sad news – and some very happy news too. We’re changing things up a little! Marlene has been our Sketch coordinator for a very very long time and is in need of a break….and Sybrina is stepping in to take over! Please be sure to leave both ladies some love in the comments…we’re so grateful for Marlene and will miss her! You’ll be getting to know Sybrina in the coming months as she shares our sketches and encourages you to make awesome cards with our OWH sketches. Without further ado – here’s Sybrina! 

Good morning, peeps! It’s Sybrina here… doing my best Marlene impersonation.

As Sandy mentioned, Marlene is passing the OWH-Sketch torch to me… and I have to admit I’m accepting this honor with just a little bit of trepidation. Marlene’s leaving some mighty big shoes to fill. Please join Sandy and me in thanking Marlene for all she’s done for OWH by leaving a note in the comment section. And Marlene, just a word of warning: Be prepared for a couple of help messages from me in the weeks to come.

This is a pretty exciting week to be stepping in as the sketch hostess for several reasons:

  1. Sandy’s provided us with another great sketch, and
  2. Our good friends at Doodle Pantry are generously sponsoring this week’s sketch challenge, which means they are sharing some amazing sample cards — and are offering a prize to one lucky OWH card maker!

Sketch #244

All of the elements in this sketch should make for cards with lots of interesting layers. Even though the deadline has passed for sending in Christmas cards, the December 31 deadline for wintry-themed and Valentine’s Day cards is fast approaching. Or, maybe this sketch will inspire you to make a love card that one of our heroes could send winter, spring, summer, or fall.

OWH Sketch 244

Sample Cards

So, let’s see how the Doodle Pantry DT interpreted our sketch.

OWH Sketch 244 - Ellen Parker


OWH Sketch 244 - Dawn Frost
OWH Sketch 244 - Linda Anderson

A Prize Opportunity

A $10 Doodle Pantry coupon will be awarded to one randomly selected card maker. To qualify, please link up a card inspired by this week’s sketch by noon EST on December 26. Can’t wait to see your creations!

Featured Friday Card Maker Sue S., Castle Rock, CO

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 23 comments

Happy Friday to you!!!  Hope everything is coming up roses and you are have a peach of day!!  So the College Bowls have been announced along with the top 4 rankings—thank goodness a few more games to watch.  I do love SEC football, yeah I know there are other conferences, but the SEC is the BEST!!!! The rankings will never please everyone and are to some extent, subjective, but along with many others, have a hard time understanding how defending champ FSU is ranked #4 with a 28-0 record…scratching head on that.  So much for college ball, let’s talk about cards!

Y’all are so very GOOD about leaving comments for the weekly FFCMs and last week was no exception!!!  Thank you for taking the time to post—it means the world to the featured card maker.  Sue doesn’t have a blog so please leave a little OWH in the comment section below.  Sue’s cards are great!!!!  I am totally in love with masculine cards so crisp and clean; always wanted to try the smores card—maybe I’ll be able to incorporate that technique in a card soon; and I like the paper combo on the black birthday card—great use of designer paper!!!  Time to sit back, relax and learn about this week’s featured card maker in her own words…..


Growing up in Chicago, my family loved to take vacations out west but I never dreamed that I could actually live in the shadow of the majestic Rocky Mountains!   Then when I married, my husband had the same love for the mountains as I and so after 13 years of our summer vacations out there, he finally said, “let’s move”!  So since 2001, my husband, 19 year old daughter, and I have lived in Castle Rock, CO, a cute little (but endlessly growing) town halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs!  Now we spend our weekends in the mountains and smile at how lucky we are to live here, while others pay big bucks just to come for a short visit! 

How long have you been stamping/card making?

My first scrapbooks were done in college, long before we had any “cool” supplies!  I officially bought my first real supplies around 1999 and began creating scrapbook pages.  Then after moving to Colorado in 2001,  one of my friends back in Chicago challenged me to begin making cards.  I took her challenge with the understanding that we would send each other one card every month!  We haven’t missed a month yet (and I have the stack of cards she made me to prove it)!

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?

I have a home office / scrapbook room with a large U shaped desk.  When I work from home I use 1/3 for the computer, printer, and the rest of my office supplies and the rest of the desk, shelves, and floor space is OVERFLOWING with scrapbook supplies!  I just went through another purge session, but all it really did was challenge me to make something with the items I found hidden in the depths of all the storage places!

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

I have always been partial to a pretty piece of paper!  And I love that we’ve had such great 6×6 pads to choose from over the past few years!  They really are great for card making and I love how well all of the colors coordinate, kind of a no brainer!    I love the stamp sets and dies from MFT, Technique Tuesday, Simon Says Stamp, and Papertrey Ink.


Do you have a favorite  technique?

Right now I’m having fun using old favorites like die cutting and dry embossing with my cuttlebug!   I like to try different things so I don’t get stuck on favorites for too long!

 Have any particular OWH sketches or tutorials served as  inspiration for your cards? 

I have used many of the OWH sketches as starting off points in my card making and love to watch the videos!  I’m thankful for Pinterest to keep all my inspiration together for easy review! 


Do you prefer digis or stamps?

I have used both, but prefer stamps more just because of technical issues I have with printing out my digis on good quality paper through my current printer.  I must admit, I am definitely not very good at coloring inside the lines (I am legally blind), so I gravitate towards stamps that can be used with one ink color or word stamps.  It is so great that there are so many choices out there, although it is sometimes difficult to decide which stamp set to invest in next!


Do you have a  favorite theme?

Hi, Hello, How Are You, My Friend Just Because, Thinking of You, Blank –  you know that “general” section as OWH calls it!  The sky’s the limit on what you can do for the “theme” on these cards so I get a chance to try different techniques, challenge myself, and just have fun!  This particular box that Sandy opened contained mostly cards which were male or kid themed – I tried very hard to stay away from flowers!  That was a challenge for me that I really enjoyed!


 Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?

No, not one in particular.  I let the paper I pick dictate the colors of everything else.  I do wish I had more purple to work with!  (My favorite color!)


 How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?

I’m embarrassed to  say I don’t remember.  I do remember that my girlfriend in Chicago and I sent our first batch of cards in together just giving away duplicates of cards we had made for others.  After that I set goals for myself to make cards specifically for the troops and have sent a few boxes each year for the past several years.  I’m sure it’s well into the 100’s of cards now!  I just bought a new ream of white cardstock, so I can easily make a few hundred more!


What motivates you to make cards for our  heroes?

Many times I question whether my family members appreciate the cards that I make for them.  However I know that the heroes that receive OWH cards greatly appreciate all of the hard work and love that goes into each of the cards, so this motivates me to keep on creating more!  I hope that I will continue to have a place to send cards to where people will appreciate the gesture!

A different set of emotions

Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in Hero Blog, Note from Kuwait, Note from Soldier, Stars and Stamps | 3 comments

Hey Sandy,

Thanks for all the cards!  They arrived today.  I am really sorry to hear about your dog, hopefully her memory will warmth enough during the cold holiday season.  I say cold, but it is still shorts and t-shirt weather over here.  

The holidays are an extremely rough time for us all. Being away from family and friends is never easy.  A different set of emotions are generated though from the kindness we receive from strangers.  It is truly remarkable the support we receive and the love that is sent our way from so many volunteers.  

Thank you so much for you support,

SFC S.J.N., Kuwait


Hoping for…and so grateful to receive

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Hero Blog | 2 comments

Dear OWH,

First, I am sorry for your loss of Ciara. I enjoyed seeing her pretty face in the boxes I received.

My staff was hoping for, and was so grateful to receive, the Christmas cards. They went fast!



OWHtv Week 169

Posted by on Dec 7, 2014 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 8 comments

Hello everyone! Only two episodes of the show to catch up on this week…the first is our Situation Report. It’s definitely slowed down pretty drastically lately, despite the big pile of mail shown in the video; that was 10 days worth of packages, which works out to about one tub per day. To keep up with 100 contacts, it’s not quite enough…about a tub and a half or two tubs of mail each day of the week keeps us comfortably serving our heroes. So as you’re able to sneak off to your craft room, make a few cards and send them off; we don’t want to let our heroes down!

(I also realized that this video had remained unlisted by accident – so only those who receive our monthly enews saw it. If you don’t already subscribe, click HERE to get on the list)!

The second video is the first in a series of quick-and-easy cards we’ll be doing through the month of December….that’ll help us all make the best of our craft room time if we have a few ideas in our pocket that we can knock out that 5-card set to put in our OWH box!

Coming up next week – two more quick-and-easy cards, as well as a special TREAT on Friday that you won’t want to miss! If you aren’t subscribed to our YouTube channel, click HERE….and if you’re subscribed but don’t receive emails from YouTube that we’ve posted a video, click on the little round button right next to the Subscribe button (after subbing) — that will give you the option to have them emailed to your inbox so you’re the first to know!

And a little bonus from me – over on my channel I posted 50 jokes that your kids will love. You’ll groan, but….yeah. It’s Christmas!