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IMPORTANT NOTICE!

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? :)

READ ME FIRST

Mid-Month Throwdown: Winter Birthday

Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 5 comments

WOW, can you believe it’s the middle of October already?! That means it’s time for a NEW Mid-Month Throwdown. Here in Texas our temps went from 90s one day to 60s the next. As they say here in Texas, if you don’t like the weather, just wait another day! I hope you are all getting to experience the cool, crisp air that comes with Fall. It’s my favorite time of year. But, as you know, at Operation Write Home we are always ahead of the calendar so that our cards can make it overseas and back again. So, this month’s challenge is to make a WINTER BIRTHDAY CARD. Twenty-one people participated in last month’s challenge and did a fabulous job of making general-themed cards with Fall colors. Let’s see what you can do with winter-themed birthday cards – they can be for adults or kids!

JUST A NOTE: TODAY is the last day for OWH to receive Christmas cards, so if you haven’t sent them yet, DON’T! :-) But never fear, you can still put them to good use. We will accept AnyHero Christmas cards until November 30. So, write an encouraging note in those Christmas cards you didn’t send in on time and send them on through with your general winter-themed cards and early Valentine’s Day cards (December 31 deadline).

Our sample cardmaker this month is Ronni U. who blogs at Ronni’s Spot. Here’s what she has to say about her card:

This Happy Brrrrr-thday card is a shaker card. The frame is backed with acetate from a clear stamp set, then I cut strips of “precious” tape lengthwise and loaded up the frame with Stampendous Shaved Ice. I used an embossed backing for the frame and printed out the sentiment from my computer. A few silver cardstock snowflakes and a strand of silver thread complete the card. Let’s not forget the ever-versatile Stampin’ Up! owl punch!

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Here’s a little about Ronni in her own words:

I am 60 years old, and have been crafting in one way or another for most of those years. I discovered card making three years ago, and the addiction to paper, stamps, and accessories has taken over my space and budget! I discovered OWH through a web search after watching Michele Obama on Oprah. The message she had was that everybody could help our service men and women in their own ways, by doing something we love doing. I took that message and found Operation Write Home, a growing patriotism, and I found my art. I love making cards, experimenting with media and techniques, and knowing I may be helping a family or a friend stay connected. But the best part of being involved with OWH is the people! I have made wonderful friends and connections.

GET YOUR CARD MAKING SUPPLIES OUT AND LET’S SEE WHAT KINDS OF WINTER BIRTHDAY CARDS YOU CREATE – SHOW US YOUR STUFF!

Featured Friday Card Maker Diane W., Stoneham, MA

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 31 comments

Hey y’all—brrr Fall came early to north GA this year—I’m sittin’ here in flannel pjs drinking coffee as I gather this interview together.  Okay, so all the windows are open, and the ceiling fans are still on—low speed, but it really is cool with temps in the  60’s and blankets at night.  This is such a busy time of year, as everyone and their brother is out looking at the changing leaves, corn mazes and pumpkin farms are on the list to see and do, mountain towns are hosting fall festivals, Oktoberfest is a month long party in Helen…just all sorts of things to see and do and go!!!  Go out and ENJOY!!!

 Each week I am so touched by the comments left for our FFCMs.  I am so happy that y’all not only take the time to comment, but also really look at the cards.  I love it when y’all try to figure out how a particular card was made, when y’all mention a new fave layout, color combo, and especially when someone says—oh how cool I’m CASEing this one and that one and oh and this one too!!!  Please leave a little bit of OWH love for Diane in the section below or here on her blog

This my fave part of the interview—when I get to tease y’all about the cards. O.W.H—the coloring is phenomenal, paper piecing is exact, cards are neat not sloppy and I don’t have any faves—I love them ALL and could stare at these forever.  Yes, I know I’m not gushing over these cards, I’m really just out of words, yes, speechless!!–mainly because it’s an O.W.H thing—you know Oh Wow Honey—just go look—no-wait, read about Diane in her own words, then go look at her cards!!! You too will be saying Oh Wow Honey…..

How long have you been stamping/card making?

I started scrapbooking over 17 years ago and somewhere along the line, card-making took over!  While I still scrapbook, making cards is my #1 hobby!

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

My dining room has been taken over with all of my supplies and is used more for creating than eating!  I really do not like moving but my next move will include a dedicated room for crafting- a really, really big room!

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

This is so hard- my favorite stamps change often but I keep coming back to My Favorite Things, Paper Smooches, Mama Elephant, and Hero Arts. I love to try newer stamp companies and I really love Sugar Pea Designs.  Bazzill Card Shoppe Marshmallow is my go- to paper for card bases and I cannot live without my ATG and copics!  I used to be a colored pencil gal but an evil, enabling friend convinced me to try copics and I was hooked…and suddenly poor….they are not cheap! It took me a while to get all the colors I NEEDED…. OK, a few months seemed like a while but I did not buy the all at once so it seemed like I was constantly getting packages in the mail containing wonderful makers! Thank goodness for Rusty at Oozak! And while I do not use it enough, I still adore my Cricut Expression.  I am waiting for the new CTMH cartridge to arrive at my doorstep!

Do you have a favorite  technique?

I like to try different techniques but I love to color and to paper piece. I try to use distress inks and watercolors but I just cannot get the comfort level I do with copics.

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

 I try to make at least one card for every sketch. I like using sketches as a starting point; challenges in general get me to think outside my creative zone. I loved seeing the new sketch from Marlene every Sunday but I am adapting to the new schedule!

DianeW1

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

I prefer stamps BUT- I purchase Mo Manning digi stamps- her artwork is fabulous and I can usually see someone I know in her creations! I also love Amy Young digi stamps from when she created for CC Designs. I do have a few files with other digi artists but I have a pretty large collection of stamps so my digital stamps are often neglected.

DianeW3

Do you have a  favorite theme?

I find ‘thinking of you’ the easiest to create- it is such a broad category but cards for guys are the hardest for me so I really try to get better at it.  I think almost 1/2 of my cards could  be for the guys.

DianeW5

Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?

This is another area where I am fickle- I love yellow and gray, red and black, peach and soft gray but I try to vary my colors and be fair to every single piece of paper and every copic marker! Like children-how can we pick just one to be our favorite? (and for the record, I was by far my father’s favorite child no matter what my 3 siblings think!)

DianeW2

 How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?

I used to create cards and send them to a few different groups I found on message boards. I sent my first package when OWH was Cards for Heroes in 2009.  Fabre- the East coast shipper- sent me a lovely thank you and acknowledgement that she received and liked my cards! That sold me- nobody else had ever acknowledged that my cards arrived! I liked that I knew my cards were going to get to the troops! It was a fun to meet Fabre and get together to make cards-we live about 50 minutes (and yes- she is the evil one who made me by copics- and she was enticed by Sandy…so it is all Sandy’s fault!). OWH is the perfect fit for me…I love seeing the cards others create, I love seeing the replies for our military,  I love to watch Sandy color and I love the support and kindness the card makers show for each other!

DianeW4

What motivates you to make cards for our  heroes?

My grandfather and father both served in the navy as did 2 uncles but that was before I was born. My niece’s boyfriend just started at West Point so I make cards for him to send to her at college. I admire and respect anyone who is willing to sacrifice so much for all of us!  I met William 6+ years ago;  a Master Sgt in the Army National Guard. He spent 2010 in Afghanistan -his 3rd and final deployment (he retired-yahoo!). I had already been making cards for the troops and knew they provided an important connection with home but when it was a person I love away  from home,  it became so much more personal and real for me.  I continue to make cards for someone else’s loved one to send home- and I will continue to make cards for OWH until they are no longer needed!

Updates

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Cardmaker tips, Stars and Stamps, Tutorial | 1 comment

Hello everyone,

I remembered that some folks only subscribe to our blog, and not our enews…so you may have missed the sad news this past weekend: I had to say goodbye to Ciara a week ago today.

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Thank you to all who are leaving condolences only on the YouTube video (I’m asking that people do that rather than in a place where they’ll come to my email; it’s tough keeping on task with work, and with all comments in one place on YouTube, I can read them when I’m more able to do so later. The loss is just really raw right now. Ciara was my right-hand girl…and the house is very very quiet without her.

Click HERE to go directly to YouTube to watch and comment, or just watch it below.

Holiday Cards

News #2 is that we do have a smallish shortfall on holiday cards. Tuesday a bumper crop did arrive – I was expecting Friday and Saturday last week to be that kind of mail days, and they barely had any holiday cards in them. But hopefully this week we’ll be checking off our list and getting all the boxes done. If you can send in five Christmas cards right away, please do so – or if you’re one who stashed 50 Christmas cards for us “just in case”, now’s the time….our holiday deadline is now Oct 18th.

Tutorial with new OWH stamps and dies

I created a video for The ClassRoom over at Ellen Hutson LLC using the new OWH stamps and dies from Hero Arts – check that out over HERE. And if you’d like a chance to win a bunch of the goodies I used in the video, click HERE.

 

I’m out of town as of today, and the volunteers who are housesitting for me will bring in and process mail. (Huge thanks to them!) I’ll be spending a few days back east with good friends, hopefully laughing, crying, and just being girls together. I’m hoping to come back restored…nothing like the love of good friends to straighten the world out, right?

Thanks for being so understanding during this rough time, and keeping email down to a dull roar; between holiday shipping and personal things, it’s a challenge to keep up, but life will get back to its normal crazy pace in a few weeks.

Sandy

 

Complete strangers back home

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in AnyHero Letters, Hero Blog, Note from Afghanistan, Note from Soldier | 1 comment

Hi, Sandy!

I am a medic in the Army and I have just received a care package from Operation Write Home and card from you was inside. First, let me say, thank you, thank you very much. I hope people from home, like yourself, know how much it means to a military service member to receive a care package, letter or card from complete strangers back home. It is the main reason why I continue to reenlist to stay in the military and it is my favorite thing about deploying. It truly is a wonderful feeling knowing that there is that much support back home. Again, thank you!

SGT A.S.

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Nothing like a hand written note on a beautiful card

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Hero Blog, Note from Afghanistan | 0 comments

I’ve been meaning to write you. I cannot thank you enough for the cards you and Ciara sent us. They have been such a hit! We have been putting them to good use, and a bunch have already made it back to the states. We really are so appreciative.

quote70With so many holidays coming up this fall / winter, I know it will be great to be able to stay in touch by sending notes and greetings to our families. Emails are great, but there is just nothing like a hand written note on a beautiful card!

Thanks again,

-J. E., Kandahar, Afghanistan

The beautiful cards and the messages

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Hero Blog, Notes from Families | 3 comments

I just wanted to say thank you for all you do for our deployed soldiers and their families. I am a spouse of a deployed soldier and your cards truly are a blessing to us. My daughters and I are very fortunate to be able to speak with their father and see him on a regular basis over webcam but we always look forward to his cards in the mail. We have already received so many from him. Though he is really great about keeping in contact with us and emailing, I am not sure we would be getting cards in the mail if it weren’t for your Operation. My children and I love the beautiful cards and the messages my husband writes to us. I know the soldiers are very appreciative of what this operation does but I wanted you to know how appreciative the families are as well. Thank you again!
L.H.
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Sketch Challenge #238

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 3 comments

Good Morning Peeps! How are you all doing on this nice, crisp fall day? Ooooo… the leaves are starting to put on their color spectacular and before long I’ll hear crunch, crackle, crunch of leaves under my feet. Just like that one breakfast cereal, only much better.

Now, It’s time for a drum roooollllll – Please! This week I’m bringing to you the…. misplaced Sketch #238! Now you’re not left hanging, wondering what it was. I know. Right? I’ll spare the mumbo jumbo of how I lost it because now it’s found, and here. Taa-Daaa!

Sketch Challenge #238

238 unnamed

You’ve heard me, and others here, talking about starting with a sketch and making it your own and amping it up. That’s exactly what the uber talented Barb H did with a sketch, and the result is this adorable card. Please pop over to Barb’s blog, Paper Therapy Ponderings, and see the sketch she started with. The link is Here. You can still see the bones, or basics, of the sketch but she added her own special twist to it. While you’re there, leave Barb some love.

238 sample unnamed

Well, enough of my rambling. Go… have a great day… and Create!


Featured Friday Card Maker Lorraine D., Norwood, PA

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 30 comments

Hey there y’all hope all is well with you on this fine Friday. Thought I would mention a few deadlines which can be found on the OWH website

The deadline for Thanksgiving and Fall cards has passed, it was September 30th. Today, October 10th is the deadline for holiday cards it’s a little earlier than in years past due the troop reduction. The deadline for Valentine and Winter cards is December 31st. I do hope y’all visit the the OWH website frequently for information AND watch the YouTube videos made by Sandy and posted several times a week. While you are reacquainting yourself with the website, be sure to check out the Word Card Making Day bloghop here. While the actual hop was last weekend the inspiration lives on—there are some pretty snazzy cards to check out. Keep checking the Stars and Stamps page for further inspiration via the throw downs, Our Daily Bread Challenges and the OWH sketches—just to mention a few of the wonderful features to rev up your mojo. Let me just say, if these features don’t get your fire going then your wood’s wet.

Two week ago the comments left were fantastic, thank you so very much for your kindness. After taking a gander at Lorraine’s cards, it won’t be hard to leave “ohhhs and ahhhhs” this week. Lorraine doesn’t have a blog so leave a little OWH love in the comment section below. Love these cards!!! Very crisp, clean, neat, great color combinations. What caught my eye: turning the sentiment on it’s side; the pink/grey color combo—I forget how much I like it; the combination of the tan, black and cream; sponging on the flowers and the oriental feel of grey, red and black—another of my fave combo’s. Now it’s time to sit back, relax, find your own faves and wows while reading about Lorraine in her own words…..

My name is Lorraine and I live in Norwood, Pa a suburb of Philadelphia. My husband and I are both retired and have been married 42 years. When I first started making cards I was still working so my card making time was limited. Being retired now gives me unlimited time to enjoy this wonderful hobby. Some people count sheep when they can’t sleep, I create cards in my mind when I can’t sleep.

How long have you been stamping/card making?
I have been card making for about 10 years. A friend of mine gave me a handmade birthday card and I was hooked. I had no idea what all was involved in card making so I went out and bought a card making program for my computer, card stock and envelopes and thought that was all I needed. Boy was I wrong! I soon discovered a whole world of must have products out there just calling my name. Michaels, Moore’s and Joann’s soon become a second home to me. Over the years I have tried to stop and think before I buy. Asking myself, will I use it more then once, do I have something similar and do I really need it.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?
I don’t have an actual craft room unfortunately What I do have is a spare bedroom which serves as my craft room, computer room and TV room. Once I retired I figured I didn’t need all the work attire that I had so once that was donated I turn my clothes closet into a craft closet. Still needing more room I purchased storage boxes for under the bed. I am always looking for ways to organize my things so they take up the least amount of space, but are always available when I need them.

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?
I can’t say I have a favorite stamp company. I buy stamps that I like and know that I will get a lot of use from them. I am hooked on embossing folders especially those from Darice. I also have and use a lot of Spellbinders dies. I can truthfully say I use my Cuttlebug every day.

LorraineD2

Do you have a favorite technique?
Nope no favorite technique. I enjoy the challenge of trying something different. I have a binder that I file my techniques in and make notes on the page about that technique. I find that makes it easier for me to find a particular technique and also an measurements that might be needed.

LorraineD6

Have any particular OWH sketches or tutorials served as inspiration for your cards?
OWH sketches are my go to. Love seeing a sketch and seeing how it all comes together. I am not good at thinking up layouts on my own, so I need a little help from OWH.

LorraineD5

Do you prefer digis or stamps?
I am a stamp person. I am not very computer savvy, so working with digi’s makes me a little uncomfortable. A lot of people like them as they can be sized to fit the project and they certainly are easier to store. In time I might try some, but for now just give me a rubber stamp.

Do you have a favorite theme?
I love making cards with flowers or butterflies. Over half of my stamps are flowers and butterflies. I find flowers to be so easy to color and they can be used for any occasion.

LorraineD1

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?
Brown, black, beige and cream are my favorite colors to use. I prefer to use a dark card stock for any layering I have to do. I find with the darker card stock the image and paper seem to stand out more.

LorraineD3

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
My first card site I found out about was Splitcoast. I am not sure but I think that I saw OWH on there and decided that would be a wonderful way to enjoy my hobby as well as bringing pleasure to someone else in return. It is a win win situation for everyone.

LorraineD4

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?
Just the thought that someone so far away from home could pick my card to send back home to a love one, just makes me feel good. My husband once commented that I put a lot of work into making these cards and I replied that to me this isn’t work but rather a labor of love.

Just want to say “Thank You”

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Hero Blog | 0 comments

Sandy,

We received the package and just want to say “Thank You.” We love your cards and have certainly enjoyed sending them to our friends and family at home. Again, thank you for all that you are doing for us and our deployed troops.

Hugs to Ciara!!! Have a wonderful day.

M.B., Afghanistan
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The number of accolades

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Hero Blog | 1 comment

Ms Sandy,

We all want to thank you for the wonderful cards we have received over the many months. They have not only helped our troops but their families as well. You cannot count the number of accolades from our families on the wonderful cards.

H.A., Afghanistan
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