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Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 35 comments

Featured Friday Card Maker Mary M., Lincoln, CA

Hey y’all hope all is well with you on this very good Friday.  I love to get mail, not bills, but mail.  I can remember as a little girl getting the mail and being told that all the “Occupant” and “Resident” mail was mine—boy howdy I though that was cool beans!!!  I loved it when I was in swaps on SCS because of all the mail I would get and then to pour over the cards, hold them in my hand, figure out how it was made…oh it gave me the good kind of shivers!!!  Now I get excited when I see FFCM nominations in my email box from Sandy—woohoo new people to meet and new cards to study!! 

 I am so glad y’all are really looking at the cards, I can tell from the comments it is more than a cursory glance because I totally missed the eyelets in the center of the small flowers in one the cards last week!!! ACK!!!  Thanks for leaving such great comments last week and as Mary doesn’t have a blog, leave a little oh dadgum leave a BUNCH of OWH love in the comment section below.  Now just a quick tease on Mary’s cards—y’all will pick out what strikes your fancy and personal faves—but these are just a few things that caught my eye….the bamboo card is to die for—have not a clue as to how Mary colored the embossed panel—wowza!  The blue/green daisy card I really like that she continued the color combination throughout the card not only with cardstock but ink as well.  I’ve seen so many cards that use some odd color either in ink or card stock that just doesn’t match and scratch my head. The tag card, to me, is so light and airy and whimsical as if the flutterby is flying away with the tag.  Also like the bright colors on the tag and the bit of ribbon used.  The purple flower card—those flowers remind me of starburst fireworks.  Okay enough teasing, y’all sit back and get comfy, pick out your own fave and details!  Now lets learn about Mary in her own words……

I was born in Eugene, OR but constantly on the move as my father was in the Air Force. I am presently living in Lincoln, CA. I went to nursing school at the Univ. of San Francisco and upon graduation, went into the Army as a nurse. I then went to college at the Univ. of Georgia to study animal science and then Texas A&M for a postdoctoral fellowship in animal behavior in hopes of following my dream of working with animals.

Finding jobs in that field was slim so I went back into nursing and retired 6 years ago. Being a left brain analytical kind of person, card making couldn’t have been further from my mind. A neighbor got me interested and now I’m desperately in need of an intervention. I’ve never been artistic and can’t cook without a recipe so this has been an interesting journey to stimulate my right brain.

How long have you been stamping/card making?

Not quite 3 years. I still remember the first class I took and had absolutely no supplies. I felt like a fish out of water. And my first card had every piece of embellishment and color of paper imaginable–cringe. I wandered around that store for a couple of hours totally at a loss as to what I should buy and what would I do with it once I bought it. Boy has that changed.

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

No one told me that card stock is heavy and when 2 shelves of card stock ripped out of the closet wall, I knew it was time to get serious about storage. I had been using the dining room table with boxes scattered everywhere around the house. Now everything is in my guest room and the closet has been designed for craft supplies and sturdy enough for all the heavy paper.

 What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

Unequivocally dies. My Memory Box/Poppy Stamp dies are my favorite. I have all brands of stamps depending on the image I am seeking. My go to source of specialty card stock is at The Paper Garden in Sacramento, CA.

SU! Flower images “Reason To Smile”, Designer Frame EF; Sentiment & border punch unknown

SU! Flower images “Reason To Smile”, Designer Frame EF; Sentiment & border punch unknown

Do you have a favorite  technique?

I suspect this is a common answer for many of us. Everything is my favorite technique. I’m not much for mass production because there is always a new technique I want to try. I love to color and use water colors. I can guarantee there is one technique that is not my favorite and that is fussy cutting. Ask anyone who knows me.

Heart Die by Lawn Fawn Hearts; Embellishment by Heidi Grace “Daydream”

Heart Die by Lawn Fawn Hearts; Embellishment by Heidi Grace “Daydream”

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

I have a binder with all the OWH sketches but I must confess that I haven’t used them yet. There is always another idea that pops into my head before I reach for that binder. But I watch all the videos from OWH and I am totally addicted to Pinterest and Splitcoaststampers.

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

Stamps but I have used clip art when I am stumped for a unique card theme.

 Checkerboard EF by Darice; everything else by CTMH.

Checkerboard EF by Darice; everything else by CTMH.

Do you have a  favorite theme?

I love all things Asian. Flowers and trees are very high on my list of favorites. The sentiments vary depending on the need but I prefer CAS without themes as I can always add a sentiment later.

Bamboo EF by Cuttlebug; Sentiment by Flourishes “What a Catch”; Banner by MFT Die-namics “Mini Wavy Pennants”; Chinese coin by Kodomo

Bamboo EF by Cuttlebug; Sentiment by Flourishes “What a Catch”; Banner by MFT Die-namics “Mini Wavy Pennants”; Chinese coin by Kodomo

Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?

I love black and white. I find myself going more to the darker colors but will use lighter colors for particular themes.

Sentiment by Hero Arts “OWH Year Round Sentiments”

Sentiment by Hero Arts “OWH Year Round Sentiments”

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?

I’m not sure where I heard about OWH. My inventory of cards was increasing exponentially and card magazines listed different charities where I could donate. I tried them for awhile but then I read about OWH either in a magazine or SCS. Hands down, the most gratifying charity. I loved the positive attitude, ability to learn new things and most important, positive feedback that what I was doing was appreciated.

 Image by Hanko; Sentiment by Savvy Stamps, CASE from Stephanie Nishikawa of The Paper Garden, Sacrament, CA

Image by Hanko; Sentiment by Savvy Stamps, CASE from Stephanie Nishikawa of The Paper Garden, Sacramento, CA

 What motivates you to make cards for our  heroes?

With my father being retired Air Force, my best friend serving with the Army in Vie Nam and my service during the VietNam era, the military has been an integral part of my life. Serving during VietNam was a sad time both for the loss of lives and loss of respect for those of us who served both voluntarily and drafted. I knew what it was like to have loved ones in harms’ way and the only way to communicate was by mail as the internet didn’t exist at that time. In my small way, I hope to mitigate some of that sadness and disrespect.


  1. Wonderful group of cards…I think the weaved cards is my fave. The colors just pop out at me. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  2. Mary, your cards are terrific . I love the color combinations . The weaving is particularly eye-catching as a design element. I don’t really understand brain sides, but looks to me like both sides of yours work very well indeed! My gratitude to you and all the Vietnam Nam Heroes as well as every Hero before and since.

  3. Wonderful cards, Mary! The paper folding, the bamboo, the cute tag with washi tape — it would be hard to pick a favorite. Congrats on being featured today!

  4. Ohhhh, I don’t think I can pick a favorite! Love the different techniques and ideas, a woman after my own heart! The bright colors are great. You are an inspiration to me!

  5. I love the unusual color combinations and techniques. There is more than one that I will want to try. That’s good. It will give me something to fill my time now that OWH won’t need quite the number of cards I’ve been turning out.

  6. Love, love, love your cards, Mary! My fav is the bamboo one and I wondered how you colored it. Did you use pencils or chalks or markers? Beautiful job however you did it. Thank you and your father for your service! My hubby is also a Vietnam vet so I know all about snail mail being the only means of communication back then. That is also part of my motivation for sending cards to OWH. God bless!

    • Hi Bonnie,

      This was a failed experiment that was put in my “try to save later” box which I’m sure we all have. Near as I can remember, it was a tutorial on SCS called Distress Watercolor Dry Embossing. I just wasn’t happy with the colors which are put over the dry embossed watercolor paper which had been brayered with Versamark and embossed with clear powder. The coin was a stamp on chipboard to keep the depth of the card down and layered on mulberry paper which I love. I hope this helps. I had to hold back a knot in my throat for all the wonderful and sincere thoughts from ya’ll. That is why I love OWH. My kindest thanks to everyone.

  7. Hands down the folded heart is my favorite! It is a quiet card (if you get my meaning), but conveys a whole lot! I also like the colors and weaving of the missing u card – simple and striking! Thank you for your service and your family’s service. I always love to read about a fellow vet helping the new generation of troops.

  8. Blue and green is a favorite color combination for me and I love daisies so your first card really caught my attention. The paper folding with the heart is beautiful. Penny in the previous comment described it perfectly. Your cards are lovely. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your service

  9. Great batch! Like them all 🙂

    I had to look twice at the second one and the folding. I love that idea! Really nice masculine colors too.

    I love the weave one…I have been playing with the idea of weave in my head and now I can see how great it could look (if I get it right lol)

    The bamboo…nice coloration…feels like you brayered the EF?

    Gratitude to you and your family for your service.

  10. I love your cards, Mary! My fave is the SU one, since I’m a demo and I love Midnight Muse ribbon! I also really love the bamboo one – please tell us how you did the coloring on that one! Thanks for your service to our country in the past, and your ongoing service to our country through OWH! 🙂

    • Hi Susan,
      Please see my reply to Bonnie re: technique. I used 3 different distress ink colors on wet watercolor paper.

  11. I really like your cards but one of my favorites is the bamboo/Asian inspired card! Very nice and I would LOVE to know how you made it!. The heart and tag card are right up there competing for my favorites.

    Thank you for your service and giving back to the younger generation!

  12. Thanks for serving – both in the military & now, through OWH! I love your cards, but also noticed that you spent time in my favorite city – Athens, GA! I went to grad school there, later returned for a job & ended up marrying a local boy. Life and work have moved us away, but I do miss the laid back pace of the town & hope your experience was pleasant as well!

    Thanks again for sharing your time & talents!

  13. Love your cards!
    Thank you for sharing & more importantly, thank you for your service!

  14. Hi Mary. I loved the butterfly card, what a great way to use scraps. I’m a former resident of Roseville, CA, just a short drive from Lincoln. Wish we could have met then! Keep up the great work with your cards, and thanks for your service to our country.

  15. Beautiful cards! I love your masculine heart card, and I join with the others in thanking you for your service. You are still serving with your cards.

  16. That first blue/green card just grabbed me – LOVE it! the colors, texture with the ribbon, the shape of the focal panel. Just awesome!

    Thank you for your & your family’s service.

  17. I

    I love your cards! Very nice!

  18. I can’t add much to others’ comments besides “I concur.” I love your style and will be Pinning some for future inspiration. Clearly, you have lots of ideas and won’t find yourself in any kind of rut. I think many of us would follow you if you ever started a blog. I, too, thank you for serving our country.

  19. Nice cards. I guess my favorites are the bamboo card and the happy birthday with the tag. You are very talented. Your service, then and now, is greatly appreciated.

  20. These are all beautiful and unique but one favorite is the first one, with its clean and simple design, the combination of stamping and embossing and the gorgeous color combo! My second favorite is the one with the tag! LOVE the embossed background and the white-on-white tag with
    the pops of color! Wow! Loved hearing about your educational background as well and am tickled that a left brained soul managed to find her creativity in spite of herself!!

  21. Such inspiring cards. Woven one is a favorite.

  22. Love your cards and color choices! The last card is my favorite. Thank you for your service.

  23. All of your cards are so pretty!! My most favorite one is the Asian one – love how you did the colors in the card!

  24. Thank you for all the new inspirations. I will do the woven card and try the stamping technique.on the asian card.

  25. Beautiful cards Mary!! Your so talented! Thanks to you everyday for bringing me in on the fun of card making!! And, thank you for your service to our country! Miss you much!

  26. Your cards are beautiful, Mary! Thanks for sharing. I love the bamboo embossed card (gonna have to find that folder) AND the gray one with the bright strips! So cool! Take care! And ‘we’ll keep the light on for you’, if you ever come back to Oregon.

  27. I really like the layout and colors of the first card and the origami on the 2nd one! Very nice collection overall!

  28. Hi Mary, fabulous group of cards. Please start a blog so we can see more cards! Thanks for your military service agnd for being a nurse….nurses rock!

  29. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mary at The Paper Garden. Such a delight. Love the bamboo card best!

  30. So much inspiration in your cards. I LOVE the CAS designs and colors you’ve chosen. I think the one that got me the most was the green and brown striped one with the heart in the middle. I really like the points of the center triangles folded back to reveal the heart. Just that one simple detail gives this card such depth. And thank you for your service. My DH also served during VietNam and I had several pen pals over there I wrote to regularly. I love OWH that let’s me do that again! And we’re going to Sacramento the end of the month to visit relatives….now I have a new place to go shop! 🙂

  31. Wonderful group of cards. My favorites are the folded heart & the basket weave. So eye catching! Thank you & your family for your service.

  32. Mary I love your story and comments. Thank you for your service to our country!! Your cards are delightful I cannot pick just one, the one that stands out a bit above the rest for me is the blue and green one…those colors together make a great combination and the CAS design is beautifully done.

  33. Your cards are lovely, Mary! I’d love to see more! Congratulations on being featured and thank you for your service to our country.

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