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and limited needs – final cards are due August 1, no later.

Sketch #259

Posted by on Jul 25, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps, Uncategorized | 5 comments

Hi, everyone! With mixed emotions, I’m here to share one last OWH Sketch. Like many of my fellow OWHers, I’m thrilled that so many of our heroes are home, but will really miss these weekly OWH hangouts.

Before getting to today’s sketch and sample card, I’d like to thank all of you who have continued to make cards for our troops and their loved ones. From the look of the photo that Sandy posted earlier this week, we OWHers have been a busy bunch indeed. And the cards linked up for our last sketch challenge were great. :)

Speaking of Sandy, she has three treats for us this week: a new sketch — perfect for CAS lovers, a fabulous sample card, and she found the time to make a video for her beloved OWH family!

Sketch 259


Here’s her card…you knew it would be red white and blue, right?Sketch 259 - sample

You can watch her video below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

I, too, want to add a few words of thanks. My sincerest thanks to Sandy, the OWH Board of Directors, the OWH Blog Team, and my fellow card makers. It’s been an incredible experience to be a part of such a generous, uber-talented, passionate family of crafters. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.

And, don’t forget, Sandy’s just a click or two away. We’ll be able to continue following her artistic journey at and on her You Tube channel. Sandy, don’t think you’re going to get rid of us that easily! :)

For one last time, now it’s your turn! Remember that August 1 is the absolute deadline to get cards to Sandy. When I last checked the July Our Daily Bread Design challenge, we are still a few cards short of our 50-card goal. Appropriately enough, this month’s ODBD challenge is to make a thank you card.



Featured Friday Card Maker: Carolyn S, Amherst NH

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 15 comments

Hello friends! As we’re nearing the end of the month – we have a little more inspiration for you that comes from the awesomely talented Carolyn, a 19-year resident of New Hampshire! Be sure to leave her LOTS of love in the comments! -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?

I started stamping and making cards in the spring of 2006.  My sister, Joan, who at that time was a Stampin’ Up demonstrator, walked me through the steps to making a card.  After that I was hooked and started on my own, buying both paper and stamps from her.  Now I order from various sources. 


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

Yes I do.  I have taken over the fourth bedroom in my house which is now packed with all sorts of stamps, stamp pads, paper, markers, gadgets, and embellishments. 


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

I use Gina K. Designs, Stampin’ Up, and Stampscapes Stamps the most.  My preference being any and all stamps that require coloring using Copics and adding ribbons and brads. 

Do you have a favorite technique?

I have no favorite per se.  My mood, the stamp, the type of card needed, and/ or the time of year usually dictate which technique I use which includes sponging, die cutting, embossing, or just plain coloring and adding embellishments. 


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

I am sad to say no to this question.  I have used mainly the card sketches from Split Coast Stampers, and the tutorials from Gina K. Designs, and Stampscapes.

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

I use stamps 95% of the time and digis for the rest.  


Do you have a favorite theme?

I would have to say that I lean towards Nature, for example flowers, animals and scenes.  Those types usually lend themselves to coloring with Copics which I love to do and find very relaxing.  

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?

I use all colors on cards and love the brighter ones.  On the ones included here I seem to use lots of green which plays into my Nature theme. 


How did you hear about Operation Write Home? 

I first heard about OWH from my sister, Joan.  Her sister-in-law, Dee Nixon, was sending you 100’s of cards each month and  I decided I would check out your organization and see if I could contribute also.  I only have been part of this worthwhile campaign for a few years but it has been very rewarding.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? 

Since I make duplicates of all my cards and can’t use them all, I figure that our troops  could use the extras that I make.  They sacrifice so much for our freedom  that it seems only fitting they should have nice cards to send home to loved ones. 

Behind the scenes

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Stars and Stamps, Uncategorized | 42 comments

A little behind the scenes look at OWH – this morning I arose before 5am (since it was cooler for all the heavy labor) to finish clearing out packages from last week, and completed that by 10:30am:


Unfortunately within 5 minutes of carrying the last box of packed cards to the garage….the mail arrived.


BEFORE you get excited at the sight of these boxes….

  1. Please recognize that this load will take an estimated 11 hours of processing. That’s why receipts are not being emailed out; it’s enough to keep up with opening, sorting, and packing to make room for the next day’s mail. Please don’t email asking if your cards arrived, I’ll get the courtesy receipts out once I can breathe again.
  2. That’s been my day every day for the last couple weeks, in the summer heat – and will only be getting crazier as we near the final August 1 deadline. Yep, another reason for no receipts for a while, sorry!
  3. No OWHtv can be done with this much work going on – keep an eye on YouTube in case I can sneak in any video time.
  4. Each day, mail like this is generating enough cards for at least 2 weeks of future shipping; with 10 days left til the deadline, that’s going to be 20 or 30 more weeks’ worth to add to the stockpile. It’s crazy – you guys are wayyyy over-generous!
  5. Though our goal was to send all cards by November 2015, we already have enough cards to last through summer of 2016….not even counting what is yet to be mailed in. See #4.
  6. The garage is completely full. We may need to rent a storage unit, as there is not any space in my house for more boxes to wait around for that long! :) We never had this many cards waiting to be shipped, even in our heaviest shipping times years ago!

If you have another charity you would like to redirect your not-yet-sent box to, I’m sure they’d be blessed by your efforts to relabel the back of your cards and donate them. But we will continue to receive cards until August 1st since that was our published deadline; just know that your cards will not be used for a very very long time at this point, so you may wish to redirect them so they see some love much sooner! :)

July Mid-Month Throwdown

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 4 comments

Hello, everyone! Thank you to all who participated in last months Banner card challenge. What a great variety of cards for our heroes to use to write home. It’s so great to see so many dedicated card-makers that are helping Operation Write Home Finish Strong.

It is time for the final Mid-Month Throwdown challenge. The theme is to make Love cards with NO HEARTS on them. I know this may seem like an odd challenge to some of the newer OWHers out there. But for those who have been donating to the organization for several years now, may recall a previous East Coast shipper who wasn’t a fan of all the hearts that arrived in her mailbox. Our sample card-maker this month is that previous shipper, Dixie C. She blogs over at What’s Next? Make sure to leave her some love in the comments.


Here’s a little about Dixie, in her own words.

Hello everyone, Dixie here. I found Operation Write Home in 2009 when my nephew was on his first deployment in Iraq. I’d just retired from teaching middle schoolers, and I wanted to improve my card making skills and share the cards with others. OWH was a perfect fit. When I look back at some of the cards I made that first year, I cringe! Evidently, I packed my boxes really well though, because Sandy contacted me about being a shipper for the East Coast. I told her I’d do it for a year, but I gave it two years.  OWH has been a learning experience for me on many levels.

Featured Friday Card Maker: Wendy S, Raleigh NC

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 17 comments

Hello everyone! I’d like you to meet Wendy – she’s from North Carolina, and makes lovely cards! I asked if she had a blog or shared her work online… “I have always been intimidated by the process and have never conquered that apprehension. I do keep photos on my own computer for reference and enjoyment.” Maybe your warm and loving comments will help her to be willing to start sharing more! Leave her some OWHstyle love. -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?     

I have been card making since 2005 or 2006. At that time I was scrapbooking and looking for a way to use my scraps. No, not those teeny, weeny scraps but the usable size. Each time I finished scrapbooking I cut my scraps from that session into regular shapes with nice clean edges and stored them in two boxes. One box was labeled solid card stock and the other was patterned paper. That sounds kind of compulsive but it always made my tiny work space feel neat and clean.


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

I do not have any craft room or dedicated space. I do all my work on my desk which is cleared off after each crafting session. Luckily I am very organized and neat; one of those people who puts their scissors back in their proper spot right away. 

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?     

Generally I do not have any preferred stamp or craft products but I must say, at this time, I am loving my MISTI stamp press. It allows easy and quick repeat stamping. I never could work the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig correctly and, although many people can stamp on top of their first images when using clear stamps, I can not do it!


Do you have a favorite  technique?   

I do not have a favorite technique. I tend to be a clean & simple card maker but I am trying to extend myself and am learning about watercoloring, heat embossing, and any other techniques I discover while trolling craft videos and websites.

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

I really like sketches. I often turn to the OWH sketches for inspiration but also look on Pinterest, YouTube and multiple websites like Simon Says Stamp for ideas.


Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

I have never used a digital stamp. I prefer to work with pattern paper and card stock. Just this year I began experimenting with building scenes using stamps but I still fall back on using paper and card stock.

Do you have a favorite theme?     

I do not have a favorite theme. I just try to stay within the OWH parameters.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?   

I really like the clean look of a white or cream card base and rarely divert from that. I was a young, impressionable teenager when I learned about “white space” and it has stuck with me all these years. I have always loved the pinks and greens but I really try not to discriminate. At the beginning of the year a friend gave me some very masculine paper (which I never purchase since I am not surrounded by males) so I have tried designing more masculine cards using the gifted paper.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?    

I was introduced to OWH through a card crafting club and thought is was a wonderful way to utilized scraps since, at that time, I was mainly a scrapbooker. I was looking for a way to give back and card making used my creative juices. 


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

My card making motivation is love and support. Our troops do so much for us. They seem to be unsung heroes. My heart hurts when I think about all the physical, emotional, and psychological issues that arise from being overseas and in combat. I want the troops to feel love and support because it seems like a very thankless job. If, in some small way, I can bring joy and beauty into their lives then I want to do it. I was blessed to discover OWH and Soldiers’ Angels at about the same time and have since played a small part in both their missions to support our troops.

Sketch #258

Posted by on Jul 11, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 2 comments

Hello and Happy Saturday! As always, a big thanks to everyone who used Sketch #257 as the inspiration for OWH cards. The linked up cards looked great and will be so appreciated by our troops and their loved ones.

Sandy has provided us with another wonderful sketch. Today’s sketch has lots of potential for interesting elements — with multiple background layers, a few banners, and one final embellishment for good measure.

sketch 258

Today’s sketch was inspired by this cheery card sent to us by super-talented Barb. Black, blue, yellow, and white is not a color combo that I typically see, but Barb has absolutely rocked this palette! And, her banners’ proportions are perfect! Barb’s simply having too much fun making cards to take time out to blog about her creations. So, please leave her some OWH love in the comments.  :)

sketch 258 - sample

Can you believe that there is only one more sketch after this? But, for now, it’s your turn to share your interpretation of today’s sketch! Did you notice that Barb’s card is a thank  you card? Our sketch would be perfect for this month’s Our Daily Bread Design challenge. Regardless of the theme you choose, we can’t wait to see your creations!

Featured Friday Card Maker: Mary Frances A, Tampa FL

Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 34 comments

This week meet Mary Frances; she’s originally from Mobile, Alabama, but she and her husband have lived all over the southeast…Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Birmingham, and finally landed in Tampa, FL, where they’ve lived for the past twenty years. I love the reactions from crafters when I email to ask if they’ll be a featured card maker….Mary Frances just made me smile: “I’m thrilled to be asked to be a featured cardmaker!  And, it means so much for you to say that I make such nice cards!  I’ve watched so many of your videos to help me improve, and to make sure the cards are good to send to our troops and their families!  I’m truly honored to be chosen!” So go meet Mary Frances and see if you agree with me – she makes lovely cards! She has a Pinterest board with her creations HERE.  -Sandy

 How long have you been stamping/card making?     

I’ve been making cards for the past twelve years.  I attended a Stampin Up workshop in 2003 and bought one stamp set and a black ink pad.  The rest, as they say, is history!  I soon became hooked!

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

My crafting area shares space with our guest room.  Over the years, I have to say that the room has become much more of a craft room than a guest room.  Several pieces of furniture have been added to accommodate my hobby!


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?     

I have quite a collection of Stampin Up products as that is what I started out with. I use embossing folders and dies quite a bit, so my Vagabond is my go to tool/machine.  I also like to use punches, there are so many cute shapes, and love the border punches to add interest.  I recently received a MISTI and that is fast becoming one of my favorite tools!


Do you have a favorite  technique?   

I don’t really have a favorite, but I do love embossing folders and dies to add texture and dimension to my cards.  I also love the look of heat embossing.  I follow blogs, etc. to watch for new techniques or refine old ones!


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

I have really appreciated all of the OWH sketches and have printed them out.  When I’m stumped for an idea, I pull them out and search for inspiration.  You can follow the sketch exactly, or combine ideas from several sketches and design a beautiful card.  I will miss new sketches when Operation Write Home ends its mission! You will probably see a sketch design or two in the cards shown here!

Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

I have used a few digis, but I prefer stamps.  I love inking up the stamp and the feeling that I am creating the card.  I’ve collected beautiful inks over the years, and love the look of a great stamped image.


Do you have a favorite theme?     

Holiday cards of all types have always been a favorite, I love sending my creations to family and friends.  I have always loved beautiful floral designs, but have really learned to branch out since I starting making cards for OWH.  I now make a lot more masculine cards, and love making cards with a patriotic theme or colors. 


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?     

I would have to say that shades of blue end up in a lot of my cards, and the decorative paper I buy.  I’m also a big fan of neutrals and use craft, browns and blacks for my cards.  I am trying to use more bright colors, especially with OWH cards.

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?    

I’ve participated in a Stampin Up group workshop for years, and for several years we provided Christmas Cards to OWH.  After asking the ladies about the organization we were making cards for, I researched Operation Write Home and knew I wanted to make cards for the troops and their families.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

My husband and I have always supported our military men and women, and are so grateful for all they and their families sacrifice.  My father was a WWII veteran and after he passed away a few years ago I knew that providing cards for Operation Write Home would be a wonderful way to honor his memory.  I am so honored to use my hobby to help military families stay connected.


July ODBD challenge

Posted by on Jul 4, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, ODBD Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 0 comments

Welcome to the final Our Daily Bread Designs card challenge for Operation Write Home. The Miss You cards for June’s challenge were wonderful. I know our heroes will enjoy selecting the perfect card to send home to a loved one. We also made the 50 card goal! That means ODBD will be sponsoring the shipping cost of two boxes of cards. There are two new winners of the $15 ODBD stamp gift certificates.

#8 Carolynn

#50 Angie Gittles

The winners are chosen using Please email me at eponinekc(at)msn(dot)com to claim your prize. Thank you ODBD for your continued support to our service members!

The challenge for July is to make a Thank You card. This can either be a thank you card for our heroes to mail home, or an Any Hero card with a message of gratitude written inside. As so many of our service members are packing up to head home, there are many that want to say thanks to all the supporters. If you’re currently working on your final box of OWH cards, it’d be perfect to add in a few more thank you cards. Remember, all cards need to be at OWH headquarters by August 1st. Here’s some inspiration from Lori on the ODBD Design team.



Every month for the past several years, OWHers have made the goal of 50 cards for this challenge. Let’s not make the final month any different. Be sure to link up one card below by the end of the month to be included in the drawing for two $15 gift certificates from our great sponsor Our Daily Bread Designs. Let’s make sure to Finish Strong! (Only one entry per person, please.)

Featured Friday Card Maker: Karma K, Enumclaw, WA

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 22 comments


Hello everyone – happy Independence Day Weekend!! Today I wanted to share Karma’s cards with you, isn’t she just so talented! She’s got a Pinterest board you can check out – and she’s a big fan of SU…the “oodles” card was designed by her demonstrator. (Finding your local demo is a great way to meet other crafters and get inspired!) And I love that she used the same anchor stamp a couple ways so I included both so you could see the different looks! Be sure to go leave Karma some love in the comments! -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?     

I have been stamping since 1994 when we moved to WA for my husband’s job. We had family for Thanksgiving so I walked into the local stamp store because I wanted to make place cards for the dinner table. That was the beginning of my obsession. I even worked at this particular store for a short time and spent all of my hard earned money on supplies. It was wonderful.

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

I do have a whole room to myself for my stamping and crafting. I started out at the dining room table but as my boys grew up and left the nest, I converted a bedroom into my craft room. That particular son was not happy when this happened.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?     

I used to buy whatever, wherever, but have in recent years settled on Stamping’ Up products. I love how everything is color coordinated plus I love going to my SU demonstrator friend’s house once a month to learn new techniques and make awesome cards! In fact, the Oodles of Love card was designed by her. 

Do you have a favorite  technique?   

I love to try different techniques and I seem to go through phases. Right now I absolutely adore embossing folders and using decorative papers. 


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

I have printed off many of the OWH sketches and love the inspiration they give me.


Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

I prefer stamps but have never tried digis. They seem like they would be a good supplement to stamps. But nothing compares to physically holding a stamp in your hand and creating an image with it.


Do you have a favorite theme?     

I don’t think I have a favorite theme but so many of my cards contain flowers that I might have to consider that. Plus I enjoy making masculine cards.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?     

I love to use all colors but the brights always seem to be so cheerful.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?    

I heard about OWH through an article in our local newspaper.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

My husband was the first to motivate me. He was in the military for over 30 yrs and when he was a base commander in Iraq, he asked me to make blank cards for his airmen to send home to their loved ones. There was such a special feeling in doing this that when he returned I looked for other avenues to send cards to our heroes. A friend of a friend was holding once a month card making sessions for our heroes so I did that until we moved to Germany. There I joined a group who met once a month and made blank cards for the Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to send home. Then a couple of years after returning from Germany, I read an article in our local paper about OWH and was so excited to find yet another avenue to continue making cards for those who give so much.

Sketch #257

Posted by on Jun 27, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 0 comments

Hello and happy Saturday! Hope everyone had a great week.

I know I must sound like a broken record, but another huge thank you to everyone who made cards inspired by Cindy’s wonderful card and Sketch #256. Our heroes and their loved ones will love receiving your lovely works of heart.  :)

Today’s sketch is the first horizontal one we’ve had in a while. And, it seems to have a few more elements than our last few sketches. I’m seeing an opportunity for lots of interesting embellishments.  :)

sketch 257

Our great sketch was inspired by this cheerful thank you card made by our very own multi-talented Kristie. Yes, that would be Kristie who brings us OWH’s ODBD and Mid-Month Challenges. Kristie’s paper choices and fun embellishments make for such a happy card! More of Kristie’s work, including her famous 6″ by 6″ pad tutorial, can be found at The Best Things in Life are Pink.

sketch 257 - sample

It’s hard to believe that we have just over a month before the August 1 cards-to-Sandy deadline. Looks like today’s sketch is perfect for adding a few more cards to our finishing-strong boxes.

Maybe you’ll use the sketch to make a Missing You card for the current June Our Daily Bread Design challenge. When I last checked yesterday, we were a mere six cards short of having postage paid for a second box of cards. Regardless of the theme you choose, I can’t wait to see how you interpret today’s sketch!