Stars and Stamps


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? :)


OWHtv Week 183

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 0 comments

It’s been another fun week around here….the Mother’s Day last-minute cards have been arriving, thank you! :)  Two OWHtv videos this week helped get us a bit inspired…hope you enjoy them!

Simple monster card for boys

I was playing around with paper and a die…I had been thinking about those paper lunch bag puppets I used to make as a kid, and this little fun card came out. Be sure you tuck cards folded this way all the way into the envelope when prepping them for OWH: the cards that have a front to hang out of the envelope are better for our heroes, since they can see them without having to take them out of the envelope first. But for special cards – totally fine :) Watch below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube!

Post your versions on our Facebook wall – and check out what everyone else made this week: HERE

• A2 Card Curved Edge Die  ——
• Neenah Classic Crest 80# Desert Storm  ——
• Tombow Adhesive Stamp Runner & Refill  ——
• Sizzix Framelits Circles  ——
• EK Success 1-3/4″ circle punch  ——
• EK 1-1/2 inch circle punch  ——
• ScorBuddy by ScorPal  ——

Snoopy Belated Birthday Card

Snoopy started out just looking down at the ground…but wait for it! By card #3, he has something to get him thinking about that birthday he missed! (Note: Belated birthday cards go in the SAME section as birthday when packing your OWH box.) Watch below, or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

——— S U P P L I E S ———

• Tsukineko Tack n Peel  ——
• EZ Mount Thick EZ Mount  ——
• EZ Mount Thin EZ Mount  ——
• Wplus9 Unforgettable  ——
• Wplus9 Unforgettable stamps and dies  ——
• Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Cardstock  ——
• Ranger Archival Ink Pad, Jet Black  ——
• Koi Watercolor Sketch Box 24 Colors w/Brush  ——


Sketch Challenge #251

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 2 comments

Happy Spring! Well, at least it’s spring according to the calendar. However, in my neck of the woods, the snow that fell this week is telling a different story.

Thanks so much for playing along with Sketch #250! Your cards will be appreciated by our troops and treasured by their loved ones.

This week’s sketch is perfect for those of us who love the clean-and-simple style. With the fast-approaching March 31 Mother’s Day card deadline, our sketch could make a sweet mom card with a floral background and some pretty ribbons.  (A friendly reminder that mom cards — as opposed to Mother’s Day cards — can be used year round.)

sketch 251

Today’s sketch was inspired by this sweet card from Debbie C. I just love her use of coordinating patterns in three different colors that makes her sentiment such a nice focal point. Speaking of sentiments, this sketch is also perfect for the March Our Daily Bread Design challenge that calls for cards featuring sentiments. There are still a few more days to play along with our March ODBD challenge.

sketch 251 sample

Okay, one great sketch with lots of options! Can’t wait to see what everyone creates!

Featured Friday Card Maker: Debbie C, Flint MI

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 25 comments

Hello everyone! I’m away for the weekend, but I bring you the awesome Debbie for your inspiration! She has not one but two Flickr accounts – Deb’s Dreams and a new one Debbie Doty Caldwell  – so feel free to go check out more of her beautiful creations there. See you all later, happy weekend! -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?  I started making cards in 2006, before that I did scrap booking.    

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?    I do have an area carved out of the laundry room, with shelves my hubby put up for me, a 5 ft folding table and an  armoire that I keep most of my “stuff” in.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?  

I do use a lot of digital stamp sets, I drift toward Doodle Pantry and Dearie Dolls for those. Lately I have been experimenting with my stamps and water colors (thank you Sandy for all your coloring tutorials). I love paper, small brads and flat stick on embellishments. I love  Spellbinder and Nestability dies and embossing folders, my Cuttlebug is my best friend.

Do you have a favorite  technique?   

Not really I am trying new things all the time,  so my “favorite” changes often.


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

Not any single one, but I do use OWH sketches most of the time. The triple play you tube videos are favorites for me, because I can see how tweaking here and there make a card go from so-so to Wow!!  I look at other OWH’ers cards and techniques and CASE…A lot!!


Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

A year ago I would have said digis hands down, but now that I have been using my stamps more and more I have to say it is an equal preference. Digis are great and I will always use them because they can be resized and I usually get pre-colored ones, which is time saving and look good (because coloring is not my forte)!


Do you have a favorite theme?     

My favorite theme is floral, it was hard for me when I started making cards to make them without flowers. Making cards for OWH has broadened my abilities.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?     

All of them. I love color, my favorite combos are black and red, pink, or yellow. The contrast of dark and bright has always caught my eye, but I am fickle, I love all colors.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?

 On the Hero Arts website, I was looking for card ideas and  saw Operation Write Home, clicked on it…and the rest is history. I can’t think of a better way to honor our Military heroes.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

My dad, and uncles were all in the service.  I grew up during the Viet Nam conflict and was saddened and heartbroken for the way our young men and women who had served were being treated. I want to be that person who makes our military feel appreciated, not ashamed.

OWHtv Week 182

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 0 comments

Hope you’re not dragging from too much StPatty’s week celebrating! We have two videos from this week to share with you.

Creating a patina – with Sketch 250

Check out a little idea for Sketch #250 – and making vases with a bit of a patina on them! Supplies are listed below the video. Click HERE to watch the video in HD on YouTube.

——— S U P P L I E S ———

• Paper Smooches Crystal Clear Set  ——
• Tim Holtz Cracked Pistachio Pad  ——
• Distress Ink Pad, Peeled Paint  ——
• Distress Ink Pad, Peacock Feathers  ——
• Tim Holtz Walnut Stain Ink  ——
• Absorber  ——
• Lawn Fawn 3.5 Inch Acrylic Block  ——
• Lawn Fawn 4 x 5 Inch Block  ——
• 3M Scotch Post It Roll  ——
• Sizzix Circle Dies  ——
• Ranger Mini Round Ink Blending Tools  ——
• Glue Dots 3/8″  ——
• Power Tabs  ——
• Tonic 8.5 Inch Trimmer  ——

A selection of button dies:

  1. Memory Box Stitched Button Die  ——
  2. IO Button dies  ——
  3. MFT button dies  ——

The big trimmer is at Ellen Hutson but it looks like they’re out at the moment – get on the notifications list by clicking here:

  • Tonic Maxi 12 Inch Guillotine Paper Trimmer  ——


Making your own background with the MISTI

Our second video this week shows how the MISTI works! In the video, a stamp set is shown that has a strip of a design – and with the MISTI it’s easy to make it into a background that lines up well. Watch below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube. Supplies and links mentioned in the video are below.

Links mentioned in this video:

  1. MySweetPetunia channel
  2. Facebook group
  3. OurDailyBreadDesigns challenge – sentiments!

——— S U P P L I E S ———

You might possibly get this stamp set in the Flat Rate Envelope Stamp Fundraiser (no guarantees, they weren’t in all packs, but there were a lot of them)…not many of the fundraisers are left! ——

• Misti  ——
• Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Cardstock  ——
• Tim Holtz Faded Jeans Distress Ink  ——
• Tim Holtz Cracked Pistachio Distress Ink  ——
• Tim Holtz Fired Brick Distress Ink Pad  ——
• Tim Holtz Distress Seedless Preserves Ink  ——
• Absorber  ——

Sentiments are from OWH fundraiser sets:
• Blessings to you  ——
• Hero Arts You’re Always In My Heart  ——
• Hero Arts You’re My World  ——


March Mid-Month Throwdown – Red, White, and Blue

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 9 comments

Welcome to the March Mid-Month Throwdown! The kids cards for February were simply adorable. Our heroes will have a wonderful variety to send home to their sweeet kiddos.

This month we are doing a color challenge. RED, WHITE, and BLUE! Let’s have a whole month of sharing patriotic cards using any of the 5 card themes. (Miss You, Love, Thank You, Birthday, and Thinking of You.) Our sample card-maker is Carol L. She blogs over at Our Little Inspirations. She used OWH sketch #242 to create her patriotic miss you card. I love the row of hearts in solid colors on the patterned papers. Make sure to leave Carol some love in the comments either here or on her blog.


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

Sometimes I see a sketch and know immediately what I want to make, and other times I have to ponder for a while. The card in question came about because I’d just bought some red, white, and blue papers, and I was inspired to use them together when I saw the sketch. It was my ritual to anxiously await the OWH sketches to be posted on Sunday morning, because I listen to a 7-10 AM radio show on Sundays that plays all Elvis music, and making a card while listening to the music I grew up with was a great kick-off to my Sundays. I miss the Sunday morning sketch posts, but life changes and we have to roll with the flow.

Featured Friday Card Maker: Patricia H, Verona, VA

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 23 comments

Patricia grew up on a peanut farm in southeastern Virginia, but after she got married, she and her husband settled in the scenic Shenandoah Valley.  They’ve been there for just over 20 years now, and have two teenage sons – a college freshman and a high school sophomore. Patricia has an awesome blog, Thinking of Inking, so be sure to go add her to your reading list! -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making? 

 I’ve done a variety of crafts pretty much all my life.  I started stamping in 2002 when one of my friends became a Stampin’ Up demonstrator and I wanted to help support her business.  My other crafting interests got shifted onto a proverbial back burner when I realized how quickly I could complete a card compared to a scrapbooking layout or a cross-stitched picture. 

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

The short answer is yes.  The long answer is, we have a room off the kitchen that’s intended to be a dining room, but since we don’t have formal dining room furniture we used it as a den when we first moved in our house.  Back in the late 1990s when I became a Longaberger consultant, we converted it into an office.  At the time I had just started into scrapbooking and I moved those supplies into the office with me.  I’ve since dropped the Longaberger business and the craft supplies have mostly taken over.  Funny how that happened…    


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?   

 That’s like asking me which of my sons is my favorite!  Oh gosh.  I’m not loyal to any one company but the things I use most often tend to be from Stampin’ Up, Lawn Fawn, and Basic Grey.   I’m a sucker for cute images and classic botanical images.  I love designer papers and have to remind myself to use them rather than hoard them.

Do you have a favorite  technique?  

 I’ll give just about anything a try at least once.  Based on the cards chosen for this post, I do paper piecing pretty often!  I also enjoy coloring images with my Copics.  I’d say that overall my stamping style is “clean and layered”.  I’ve never been big into lots of frou-frou on cards, but it’s rare for me to make one-layer cards.  And I’d feel lost without my Big Kick for die-cutting and embossing.


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

I like variety so I don’t often lock onto one particular card layout, but I have definitely used OWH sketches 12, 43, and 93 more than any others.  My family’s Christmas cards in 2013 used sketch 12!


Do you prefer digis or stamps?

 I’d rather use actual stamps because it’s a more hands-on experience for me, and for some reason it also feels quicker.  I do have a pretty good collection of digis that I use occasionally.  I will say that I prefer using outline digital images that I can color or paper piece to digis that have been pre-colored. 

Do you have a favorite theme?     

No, not really.  I usually try to focus on creating cards for a variety of themes for my OWH shipments, so I never feel in a rut of doing just birthday cards, or just thank you cards, or just love-themed cards.  I’m on a design team for a challenge blog that focuses on Christmas and winter cards, so I get to make those throughout the entire year, which is fun during the heat and humidity of summer! 


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?     

I’ve never really thought about it!  I frequently make cards as part of online color challenges, so I follow their lead.  (The floral vines card shown here is one such example.)  On my own, I guess I use blues most often.  I rarely use oranges and bright pinks.   


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?    

I first heard about Cards for Heroes in 2008 (OWH’s name way back then) when that organization was the beneficiary of the first “Cards for a Cause” monthly drive on  I sent some cards in at that time, but then it slipped off my radar until I saw OWH mentioned on a different (now defunct) crafting forum in the fall of 2010.  I’ve been sending cards in to OWH periodically since then.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?  

Knowing that I can help our military men and women keep in touch with their families and friends gives me motivation.  I try to imagine what it might be like to be far from home, without the convenience of being able to stop by Target or a Hallmark store, to get a card to let a loved one know they’re being thought of on their birthday or just because.  Being able to provide our heroes something more personal and special to write on than a sheet of paper gives purpose to my cardmaking.  One of my high school friends enlisted in the Army right after he graduated, and he and I wrote to each other for a few years after that (until he found a girlfriend who apparently was quite the jealous type).  I think he would have liked to have sent cards along with the letters he wrote on plain copier paper.  Also, I enjoy participating in various online cardmaking challenges.  As a result, I make more cards than I need to have on hand for my own use.  Sending my creative efforts to OWH in the hopes of brightening the lives of our heroes and their loved ones just seems like a win-win-win. 

OWHtv Week 181 – and a boo boo!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2015 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 2 comments

Hello everyone! OWHtv returned this week with a pair of videos – one’s a short tip about all those fancy fold dies that have been coming out lately…the other shows how the Butterfly Kaleidoscope card was made. Be sure to check out the supply list if you haven’t picked up the new OWH stamp sets yet…I keep calling them by the wrong names (Stitched Animals and Flowers) so maybe you haven’t found them yet – but the links are there to two online stores!

The Boo Boo in the subject line? I’m sad to report that two of our videos were removed by YouTube, and some of you noticed that as you went to look for the tag videos from a couple weeks ago when we gave them away. I’ve been trying to figure out why, and haven’t come up with answers yet. Maybe they didn’t like us sharing tags, LOL! But oh well. Two videos out of all the ones we posted isn’t too bad a record! Good news: a few of the cards using those tags have begun to come in the mail, and I’ll be excited to share them with you in April. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget our challenges hanging out there- the ODBD challenge, and just yesterday our 250th sketch was posted with a new pdf!! Let’s see if we can hit a record number of participants to celebrate that milestone!

Below are our videos from this week…enjoy!

About Fancy Dies: Watch below or click HERE to watch on YouTube.

Hero Arts Butterfly Kaleidoscope: Watch below or click HERE to watch on YouTube.

Supplies for this card:
• Butterfly and Flower (Stitched Flowers) Ellen Hutson  ——
• Butterfly and Flower (Stitched Flowers) Simon Says  ——
• Baby Animals (Stitched Animals) Simon Says  ——
• Baby Animals (Stitched Animals) Ellen Hutson  ——
• Butter Bar Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Orange Soda Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Iris Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Punch Chalk Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Pool Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Shadow Bubble Gum  ——
• Hero Arts Tide Pool Ink  ——
• Hero Arts Green Hills Ink  ——

Sketch Challenge 250

Posted by on Mar 14, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 2 comments

Well, you did it again — creating another wonderful set of sketch-inspired cards for our heroes to send home. Thanks so much!

The winner of our fab Doodle Pantry prize was chosen by Our winner is…. Andrea at Andrea’s Paper! Congratulations, Andrea! Please contact me at cards[dot]by[dot]sybrina[at]gmail[dot]com for prize information. Thanks again to the Doodle Pantry team for all you do to support our heroes and their loved ones.

Sandy’s also done it again — creating another wonderful sketch for us this week. That horizontal strip looks like a perfect location for a love-you-mom sentiment.

OWH Sketch 250

The beautiful love card shown below was made by Lori T. and is the inspiration for today’s sketch. You might remember that Lori was one of our Friday Featured Card Makers a few weeks ago.  Lori shared some amazing cards with us then, and she’s back to share one more. Don’t you just love the richness of these colors, those perfectly placed accent elements, and Lori’s wonderful CAS design? You can see more of Lori’s work at her creatively-titled blog Inking Aloud

OWH Sketch 250 -- sample

By the way, did you notice that today’s sketch is Sketch #250! That’s right, #250! In honor of this milestone, Sandy has updated the OWH Sketch PDF to include all of the recent sketches. To see all 250 sketches, as well as a few bonus sketches, click here


Featured Friday Card Maker: Val D, Naugatuck, CT

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 47 comments

Hi everyone! My apologies for the late posting today – apparently I forgot Friday was coming. LOL! Meet Val, today– she was born and raised in Stamford, CT and has spent most of her life in the state, with her husband and three daughters, although her “girls” are now grown with two of them living out of state. Be sure to leave her some love in comments on this post – she doesn’t have a blog but she does have a Pinterest board with her work HERE that you can stalk for more of her creations! (I just adore her mouse card….LOL!) -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?

I have been stamping and cardmaking in earnest for about 5 years. As with many cardmakers,  I know or have read about, I started as a scrapbooker years earlier…my biggest accomplishment there was to scrap each of my daughter’s lives from birth to a special time in adulthood: engagement for the oldest, college graduation for my middle daughter, and acceptance into law school for my “baby”.  Needless to say, I collected all sorts of papercrafting tools and paper during that venture and wanted to continue to put it all to good use. So I began making our Christmas cards and quickly expanded into all holidays and yearly celebrations.

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

Boy, do I have a craftroom!! Having been relegated to a corner in an unfinished basement in our previous home, I was determined to have a clean, sunny, organized space in our Naugatuck home. What the blueprints of our condo labeled as a “bedroom”, I quickly renamed “Val’s Craftroom” and I love it. It is filled with Martha Stewart craft furniture that I assembled myself with the help of my cordless screwdriver. Every corner, including the closet is set up for crafting. A little music on my Ipod and a fresh cup of tea are all I need to keep cardmaking all day long:)


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?  

In terms of favorite craft products, I love my Copic markers, my stamps, and my Big Shot and dies. I took Copic coloring classes at my local craft store (which is now gone, unfortunately) and just love coloring. I also love 6 inch paper pads…any brand, they are easy to store and fun to use.


Do you have a favorite  technique?   

Favorite technique? I guess I would have to say layering with contrast mats…most of my cards end up with layers as I like the way they add dimension and more life to my cards. And of course, as I have said, I love Copic coloring!! And using die cuts…I really enjoy most every technique I try!

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

Sometimes, the paper or the stamp I choose triggers a layout design all on its own, but when I need some new direction, I go through the OWH sketches for inspiration. There are so many great ones there. Sometimes I use the original sketch and sometimes I tweak it as I go along. I am definitely inspired by Sandy’s tutorials. I love any that involve Copic markers (of course) as well as new techniques like insetting die cuts. I finally broke down and bought my own airbrushing system and eventually will play with that for backgrounds. (I fear I may have to plastic wrap my room like in your glitter video, Sandy, to safeguard all my white craft furniture though!)


Do you prefer digis or stamps?  

I enjoy working with actual stamps, and while I used to work exclusively with rubber stamps for a crisper image, I am finding more and more clear stamps are now giving the same crisp result. I recently won some free digis from Jess Crafts (another OWHer, thanks Jess!) though, so am anxious to give them a try. 


Do you have a favorite theme?  

I don’t have a favorite theme, I try to make cards our Heroes want to send home. I particularly enjoy making kid focused cards, so there are always some of those in my boxes.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?     

I like to use most colors, again trying to make what our Heroes request. I like bright pinks, but know they are not in high demand, so generally try to balance my boxes with some pink, some other vibrant colors and neutrals. 

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?  

I learned about Operation Write Home from Cardmaker Magazine in the fall of  2013. I felt that OWH was the perfect outlet for me to expand my creativity and use my ever-growing craft supplies for a most worthy cause.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

I have a great respect for the incredible men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our country, and for their families and friends back home. I am so grateful for their service and commitment and want them to know there is a cardmaker in Naugatuck, Connecticut who thinks they are all awesome!

March ODBD challenge

Posted by on Mar 7, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, ODBD Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 2 comments

It’s a new month and a new Our Daily Bread Designs challenge. Thanks to everyone who participated last month with all the fun animal cards. Lots of great inspiration! And, we had at least 50 cards linked up, so ODBD will be donating the cost of shipping 2 boxes to our heroes. Each month that we reach the goal of 50 entries,  Our Daily Bread Designs donates up to two boxes of free shipping for our heroes–1 for 25 cards posted and 2 for 50. We also have 2 new winners for the $15 stamp gift certificate for ODBD. Congratulations!

#22 Chloe and Me

#49 Amarilys

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 troops!

Now onto the March challenge. This month the theme is Sentiments. Let’s make cards using a sentiment as the main focus on the card. Here’s some inspiration from Lisa on the ODBD design team. I just love how the cut out of the heart really draws the eye toward the sweet love sentiment.


Now go find a sentiment to showcase on a card. And just a reminder, only one entry per person for the ODBD card challenges. Make sure to link up your card for March to get in on the drawing for TWO $15 ODBD gift certificate.  These gift certificates will be good for $15 off stamps found in the “stamps column” on their website. Thank you, ODBD!