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Featured Cardmaker: Susan R, Dayton OH

Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 4 comments

I’m Sandy and I am SO excited for you to meet Susan and see her cards. She is hereby the Queen of CAS! I had to ask her what she uses for card bases, because her box full of white CAS cards were on just the best cardstock. “Mostly Papertrey Ink’s white.  But when I color using alcohol markers, I use Gina K’s 120# white because no matter how much you layer the ink, it won’t bleed through. Years ago, Julie Ebersole wrote on her blog that using cheap paper makes cheap looking cards. I took that to heart!” (And I finally got around to ordering both of these white papers to try out…why it took me this long I have no idea – thanks for the motivation, Susan!)

Susan is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, but after years of moving around, she’s now settled in Ohio, and loves it. She blogs at Simplicty: Doing Simple Things Well so I bet she’ll have a lot of new subscribers after today! -Sandy

susanr1

How long have you been stamping/card making?  

At least a dozen years.  

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

YES! I have a nook in our finished basement next to a giant sliding glass door that gives wonderful natural light. I can stamp but still be a part of the family.    

susanr6

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

High-quality white card stock, a variety of colorful inks, and lots and lots of stamps! Oh, and bling. Of course.    

susanr2

Do you have a favorite  technique?  

Perhaps it’s not a technique, but I love precision. As a clean-and-simple stamper, I strive to use the minimal number of elements on a card to send the message in an interesting way. That means there’s no place to hide when a sentiment is crooked or an image stamps unevenly. If it’s not precise, I pitch it and try again! I’m a human, not a machine. Mistakes mean I’m learning, and after all, it’s only paper.

susanr3

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

Since my cards are so minimalist and not particularly technique-driven, what has helped me most is your regular updates on what themes you need and the deadlines. Those help me focus and give me confidence that what I’m sending will truly be useful and appreciated by our heroes.  

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

Stamps. Definitely stamps.   

Do you have a favorite theme?

Nope. I like variety.      

susanr5

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?

I love the contrast between bright, strong colors and lots of white space, but I love soft, subtle colors as well. It depends on the theme, I guess. Oddly, I rarely use yellow or purple. No idea why.

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?

Splitcoast, I think.   

susanr4

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

My husband served in the United States Air Force for twenty years. He deployed several times, and deployments were particularly hard after we had children. Emails were fine, but I would love to have received cards from him…something he had touched, with his handwriting on it, something I could keep and put in a scrapbook. Operation Write Home fills that need for our heroes and their families. It’s a real human need to hold something tangible that says, “I love you.” What an honor it is to contribute to that little bit of love, that little bit of connection across oceans and continents for families who are making huge sacrifices in service to our country. Thanks, Sandy, for making it possible for so many of us to play a part in making those connections a reality.  

Happy Memorial Day

Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Hero Blog, Stars and Stamps | 5 comments

Hello friends! I hope you’re having an enjoyable long weekend with your friends and families; but as I say every year, remember that this holiday isn’t about barbecues and mattress sales. Truth be told, it’s not even about the red white and blue. Patriotism on our part isn’t what we’re remembering.

It’s the heroism of the fallen.

Some of them served because of a love of country. Some because they wanted to defend their families. Some because they were angry at things going on in the world and wanted to make a difference. (And face it, some because they just love – and are good at – shooting things.) And some even because the economy left them no other option. Just as we have mixed motivations in anything we do, our service members may well have the same jumbled emotions that caused them to sign up for the military.

But the thing they have in common is their heroism.

Many currently serving will tell you they aren’t brave. They’re not heroic. But compared to a regular ol’ citizen like many of us – they’re heroes. They put their very lives on the line, all to defend people they don’t even know. And too many have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation.

Take a few minutes today with your families, and talk about the freedoms that you enjoy today because of those who have given it all for you. Teach your children and grandchildren, lest we forget the valor of the fallen.

This video is about one of those fallen, PFC Dewater. I was priveleged to attend his burial service…and will never forget the impact of that day.

 

Story Sunday #1: How The Precious Got Her Name

Posted by on May 24, 2015 in Schools and scouts, Story Sunday | 25 comments

Story Sunday #1: How The Precious Got Her Name

For the final 10 weeks of our regular blogging before we close August 1st, we’ll be hosting “Story Sundays” to share some fun/quirky/inside stories you may or may not know about. And may or may not need to know, either! Feel free to laugh along in the comments!

Precious

In January of 2012, I was at CHA (Craft and Hobby Association Tradeshow) in Anaheim with a group of our OWHers, and we hosted our first-ever booth. The good folks at CHA gave us free boothspace, I think we got a chair or two thrown in, and rented the rest; we were learning quickly about what it took to host a booth!

We had a table that took up most of the space, a little counter at the front, and lots of cardmaking supplies for people to stop in and make a card. Lots would come take a break with us, partially to support our heroes but partly because they were tired from walking the tradeshow floor! We had a great team that took turns manning (womanning? personning?) the booth, helping visitors make cards, and talking up the organization.

I spent a lot of my time walking the floor, meeting with partners, and making new friends for OWH. I had this big idea of getting cozy with 3M since we all loved the giant roll of foam tape so much; we had bought the huge roll to have at the booth for making cards, and I had the idea of strolling into the 3M booth with that over one arm, and my ATG gun hanging out of the pocket of my apron. I figured they couldn’t resist partnering with us, right?

Well, I walked into our booth to snag the roll so I could go do my strolling – and I can’t remember if it was a gasp I heard or if someone slapped my hand, but I do remember the action being accompanied by, “Where do you think you’re going with THAT?”

We all had quite the laugh over the fact that we couldn’t make cards without it anymore – and it’s possible that the LOTR movies were out at the time, because someone (possibly me!?) began imitating dear Gollum and hugging the roll of adhesive. I think of this scene whenever I hear The Precious spoken of:

As you can see, adopting Gollum’s mannerisms is important when speaking the name of The Precious.

Once I peeled The Precious away from the booth, it turned out to be for no real reason; the gentlemen working the 3M booth were office-supply types of specialists, and they didn’t even know their company made a roll that large. It was a “bust” of an attempt to scale the walls of the 3M castle – but it led to our “pet” name for adhesive that has lasted all these years!

The Precious has been the dimensional adhesive of choice for many OWHers because it adds dimension without making a card too thick. Our heroes may not have to pay postage for lettermail, but if our superthick cards cause them to be sent as ‘packages’ then that adds to their cost, and can also get a card eaten by postal machines – therefore defeating the purpose of helping our heroes write home.

Technical specs: For those who have never seen a roll of adhesive this big, the “real” precious was the 3/4″ width, and was purchased at a Business Costco years ago; it’s not likely there anymore. The 1/2 inch width in the 36 yard length is now sold at Ellen Hutson, Simon Says, and Amazon, among others. The very small rolls are sometimes called “Baby Precious,” and can be found in office supply stores, hardware stores, and others. They work fine, but many crafters prefer the big roll since it makes us feel more free to use it generously rather than hoard slivers of a tiny roll.

If anyone else has stories about The Precious, add them in the comments below. Some discussion starters:

  • What did you first think when someone called dimensional adhesive by this pet name?
  • Do you or your craft group have funny stories about your Precious?
  • What’s your therapist say when you tell him you’re almost out of The Precious?

Finishing Strong Bloghop #finishstrong

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Bloghops/Events, Stars and Stamps | 36 comments

finishingstrongblog

Welcome to the “start” of our 9th and final Memorial Day Bloghop! We’ve enjoyed this tradition each year – and we’re really looking forward to seeing what everyone will be sharing today!

If you need more information about our closing later this year – that FAQ is HERE and is being updated with further questions. The bottom line: your final card donations must arrive at OWH by August 1, 2015.

Remember a hero

This weekend isn’t about barbecues and mattress sales. It’s a time to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Please add a remembrance to our Memorial this weekend…may we never forget those who gave it all.

–>VISIT THE MEMORIAL<–

Our card to share

For our blog, OWHtv shows a short(ish) video on using the new Zig Clean Color pens to color a sweet House Mouse stamp – and includes some tips to help you avoid the mistakes made here. Yes, we keep the mistakes in sometimes, since we all learn from them! Watch the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Supplies List:

Facebook Group: The Doobliedoo

Many have expressed an interest in keeping in touch with OWH after August 1. I’m hoping to be able to start that a little early before we all disperse across the internet. I have so loved watching everyone’s crafting grow so much over all these years, and would love to stay in touch!

My desire is to share challenges, ideas, techniques, and more with our lovely crafty family in a safe and positive place….we’ll see how much I’m able to keep up, but I know you guys can keep each other entertained and challenged if I get swamped anyway. So I’ve started a closed Facebook group to test the waters, and it’s called….drumroll please….The Doobliedoo!

Why a closed group? Once we pass the August 1 date, we’ll be attempting to minimize our presence online until our site is revamped and our year-end party gears up – to help reduce any new donations coming in if people find some of our pages and we look “active.” It’ll be quite the process to retune everything, but a private group will allow everyone who wishes to stay in touch.

There will be some guidelines for the group, just to keep everything running well – we have built a loving and helpful community in OWH, and I hope we can continue that! :) If you’re so inclined, go to The Doobliedoo and send in a request to join.

Now…Hop along!

Visit the other stops along the way and be sure to leave them some love. As per our OWH tradition – try to say something more than “great card.” We love to know some element you thought was particularly well done! We have it on good authority there’s a bit of blog candy along the way!


Featureless Friday (We’re saving the mojo for tomorrow!)

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Stars and Stamps | 3 comments

Hello everyone – and TGIF! We hope you’re as excited as we are for tomorrow’s bloghop; it’ll go live at 5amPST/8amEST – and more blogs will be added all morning, so if you start off early, come back again. It promises to be a day full of creative inspiration to help us #finishstrong and get another box of cards sent in by August 1st!

(It’s not too late to sign up  – get the details HERE – then come link up your blog in the morning!)

And in the meantime, if you’re in need of a Friday night date…how about this handsome guy? Happy weekend!

ryan1

May Mid-Month Throwdown – His & Hers

Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 4 comments

Welcome to the May Mid-Month Throwdown card challenge. Thanks to everyone who participated in the April Stitched challenge. There’s always so much inspiration from all the cards shared.

The theme for May is to make a Masculine and a Feminine card using the same card layout/design. Our sample card-maker, Cheryl A. made some adorable cowboy/cowgirl cards. Seriously, aren’t these sweet? She blogs over at Gone Scrappin. Make sure to leave her some love in the comments here or on her blog.

Cowboy Dearie Doll

Cowgirl Dearie Doll

Here’s a little from Cheryl in her own words;

I’m a proud mom of a young Army doctor.  When his West Point classmates were gradually deployed back in 2011, I started making greeting cards to include in care packages so they could write back home.  I quickly ran out of ideas and googled card making ideas.  I stumbled onto Operation Write Home’s blog and I was instantly hooked.  I later started my own blog so I could share my enthusiasm!  Well, 1,500 cards and 3 active years later, it’s become an obsession, so much that my son’s former bedroom is totally dedicated to card making supplies!  God bless our Heroes!


Featured Friday Card Maker: Sindi S, Gilbert, AZ

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 20 comments

TGIF! Today I have another outstanding crafter to share with you! Please meet and greet Sindi….she doesn’t have a blog yet…but has been thinking about it. Maybe your comments can help nudge her to share more of her art! -Sandy 

How long have you been stamping/card making?    

On and off 10 years. I started with photo scrapbooking, but I could never finish a project.  I met a friend that made cards, I took a few classes– then I was hooked.  I love that you can start and finish a project in the same day.

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

I do. I call it my “office”. I had it built a few years ago specifically for me. I usually stand when I create – so most of the space is countertop height.  I have a lot of countertop space which is good because I am a spreader. It is my favorite room in the house – I am fortunate to have it and it gets used EVERY SINGLE day.

SindiS1

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?  

I am pretty much a Stampin’ Up! girl – I love the coordinating colors. Stamps are by far my favorite. I do love 6 x 6 paper packs too. I save those for long, hot summer weekends. Here in AZ we are just getting ready for the shut-in. July and August are my most creative months.

 Do you have a favorite  technique?   

I am just learning the art of Copic Markers. I am working on building my collection. I have watched a few OWH videos for tips too.

 SindiS2

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

Yes, I love the video tutorials – “Start to Finish” and “Triple Play”

 Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

Stamps and ink

SindiS3 Do you have a favorite theme?  

I like nature scenes/flowers/animals. I always try to challenge myself to do more masculine cards. I have a lot of boys in my family and friend circle, so I have to make sure I am always prepared for an occasion.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?  

I love all colors. Sometimes I will make the same card and use several different color schemes.

  SindiS4

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?  

I found myself with a huge stockpile of cards so I started searching for a place to re-home them. OWH caught my attention. At first I didn’t think I was creative enough – but with encouragement from my friends and family – I sent in a box.

SindiS5 

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

I love that I can  provide this small token for the men and women serving this country. We are providing them with the tools  to hand write a  note to their families and friends – a memento that  may get tucked under their pillow, put on the refrigerator or saved in a special box. I’d like to think that there are thousands of OWH cards being treasured by people all over the United States – not just because they are pretty, but because of the handwritten note inside.

Finishing Strong Campaign

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Stars and Stamps | 9 comments

Hello friends! If you’re on our email list or YouTube subscriber list, you already received this information just a short while ago in our OWH status report for May 2015. Please stay tuned until the end; watch it below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Links to read more:

Sketch #254

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 5 comments

Happy May! Boy, where did April go? The year just seems to be flying by.

A big thanks to all of you who were inspired to make a card for our last sketch. The linked up cards looked great.  :)

Like our last sketch, Sketch #254 is a nice middle-of-the-road sketch. It has an overall CAS design — with just enough elements to make for some interesting layers and embellishments.

Sketch 254

This week’s sketch was inspired by a wonderful card from Carol E. Carol’s card has a soothing palette that would work for guys or gals. And, don’t you just love the sophisticated look achieved with these tone-on-tone background layers?! Carol found inspiration from a Debra Currier card that she found on Pinterest. Since Carol’s so busy making cards that she doesn’t have time to blog, please leave her some OWH love in the comment field below.

Sketch 254 - sample

Can’t wait to see how you interpret this week’s sketch! Maybe you’ll include an embossed element or two and link up your card for both the sketch and ODBD challenges.  :)


 

 

Featured Friday CardMaker: Deborah H, Longview, TX

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 40 comments

Hello friends! I’m excited to introduce Deborah to you! She’s an awesome cardmaker…she’s an SU demonstrator, and you can see by her work that’ she’s a very creative crafter. Leave her some love in the comments section! -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?

I’ve been stamping and scrapbooking for about 15 years, but I only started card making a couple of years ago. Once I got started it has become my “addiction”.     

DeborahH5

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

Yes! I have a great space that has been my office for 22 years and is now my craft room. We remodeled it about ten years ago and added an entire wall of cabinets and shelves. I have since added lots of stamp, ink and embellishment storage. It’s not huge, but I can fit one or two other stampers/crafters. For more than that we move to the dining room.    

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

For years I got monthly pizza boxes from club scrap, then a little over a year ago I went to my first Scrapbook Expo and met a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator. I had looked at their products before, but didn’t have a demonstrator. Anyway, as they say the rest is history. I’m totally hooked on Stampin’ Up! I do get a monthly kit from the Rubber Café also. They always have some cute stamps. I always try to get the hero arts OWH stamp sets, too.

DeborahH4

Do you have a favorite  technique?  

I’m always trying new techniques. I love watching videos and learning new things. I like to use distressing especially on masculine cards and use embossing folders to add texture.

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

I have all the sketches printed out and refer to them when I need some inspiration. One of my favorite tutorials is the card making from a  6 x 6 paper pad.   

DeborahH2

Do you prefer digis or stamps?  

When I first started card making I did use digis only because I didn’t have very many stamps and I could download them and use them immediately, but since I have increased my stamp collection I don’t think about using them anymore.  

Do you have a favorite theme?

Not really, I like making all types of cards, simple and fancy, all sentiments, children’s cards and masculine cards.    

DeborahH1

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?

I like using a lot of different colors, but lean towards turquoise blues and taupe/browns. I guess it depends on what type mood I’m in and what I’m making the cards for.     

DeborahH6

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?

About a year and a half ago, I was looking online to see where I could donate boxes of store bought cards I had and found the OWH site. I was intrigued and read all the rules and started making cards for OWH. It is very rewarding and I am always telling others about it so they can make cards or at least write some any hero letters.  

DeborahH3

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

They put their life on the line for us every day, and if in some small way what I do (and enjoy doing) brings some joy to them and their family, it makes me want to keep making cards for OWH.