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? :)


Sketch Challenge #237

Posted by on Aug 23, 2014 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 1 comment

Good Morning Peeps!  Goodness gracious, I don’t know about your neck of the woods but mine has had lots of rainy days. Last night ‘ole Mother Nature sure was riled up! We had rain by the truck loads, constant thunder and lightening, what a ruckus. As my grandma would say, a good ‘ole gully washer! Today was beautiful with nice blue skies and no sign of rain.

I don’t know about you, but today is a good day to make a card using the new sketch! It’s a great sketch and an adorable sample card.



This ‘tweet’ inspiration comes from the creative Cindy. She had it on her facebook but is going to have something on her blog. Cindy’s blog is Cindy’s Card Co., and the link is Here.


237 sample

Before I get back to making cards I’m going on the porch to have some coffee, soak up some rays, and relax. Have a beautiful day!

OWHtv Week 156

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 3 comments

Whew! Has it been as crazy a week for everyone else as it has here? I’ve had hundreds more emails this week than usual….so many questions, so little time to answer! Yeesh! Perhaps it’s because I’m leaving next week and trying to get double the work done before I go….I’m excited to go see Mom, though! If you send cards in the next couple weeks, please be patient – I’ll be back in action by September 11th. Receipts will go out as soon as I can get to opening and processing all that mail. :) But rest assured, I’m getting a couple episodes of OWHtv to keep you going while I’m gone…leave lotsa love so I know you’ve been ’round! And now without further ado…this week’s videos!  

And the winners are:

  1. Lil Hoot: SOOZIE4HIM!
  2. Missing you: MELANIE SMITH!
  3. Surprise gift: JOANN POLLOCK!

Email your addresses to sandy at operation write home (dot) org and I’ll get ‘em in the mail to you!

And I guess “it’s a thing” is a thing. lol.

Featured Friday Card Maker, Andrea F., Gore, VA

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 50 comments

A couple of summers ago I was given the opportunity to spend a week in Washington, DC, hands down the very best vacation ever.  I wandered around the mall, paid tribute to the monuments, sat in the Jefferson Memorial wondering how in the world did these men know how to start a nation? I wandered through the museums, was mesmerized by the original Star Spangled Banner, smiled at Dorothy’s red slippers, was wowed by the First Ladies dress exhibit, thought the mummies, otherwise known as “real live dead people” were the coolest thing ever, and kept expecting the giant elephant/mastodon to come to life. Then I went to the U.S. Marine monument of the flag raising at Iwo.  There my friend pointed out the path of the hijacked plane as it  flew over the monument into the Pentagon.  The next day I visited the Pentagon memorial and quietly took it all in.  I read the 184 names which includes a woman from Gainesville, GA.  Explained why some “wings” pointed toward the Pentagon and why others pointed to the western sky to other tourists. The “wings” are granite benches with the names engraved on one end, when reading the names if you are facing the Pentagon, the person died there, if facing the sky, the person died on the plane. I didn’t get to see and do all that I wanted, there is just so much. I hope one day to go back.

Thanks so much for the wonderful comments left last week for our FFCM.  Andrea doesn’t have a blog, so please leave a little OWH love in the comment section below. Okay, hands down the sailboat card is the cutest card EVAH—it’s just the cat’s meow!! Finally realized the clouds must be a stamp, then die cut in order to get that perfect blue line.  I don’t have a cloud stamp, but I do have a die and will try for the same effect.  Okay confess—how many of you have ever jumped in a rain puddle? I know I have, yup just last week hoping no one saw me acting goofy as I walked through the Lowes parking a few weekends ago.  The memories the rain girl card evoke are just amazing and you can tell that’s going to be a great splash!  Also the soft water color background on a couple of the cards is just fantastic; Andrea you aced that class.  Okay so those are just a few quick random thoughts and details I noticed.  What about y’all?  Let Andrea know the details you picked up on, what got your fire going.   Andrea’s motivation will make you stop for a second and catch your breath.  Let’s sit back, get comfy and enjoy her story in her own words….

Oh, dear. Where is home? I started out in South Dakota, then moved to Minnesota to teach Spanish after I finished college. Then it was on to Colorado, Guam, North Dakota, Alabama, New Mexico, California and Georgia. I bet you have already guessed that I married a military man between Minnesota and Colorado. He was wandering around looking lost, so I took pity on him. Home, now that he has retired, is the boonies near Gore, Virginia, at the very top of the state.

 How long have you been stamping/card making?

It must have been over 20 years ago that I started stamping. My step-daughter and I are in a years-long argument over which one of us introduced the other to stamping, but since she’s not here to defend herself, I’m going to say that she started it. I began with Christmas cards and added birthday cards for my kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. I used to do quite a bit of quilting, but I really like the more instant gratification of card making. To be honest, I was kind of a middling quilter, but it taught me a lot about color.

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

Since I got the chance to design our current home, you can bet there is a craft room, known around here as my play room, or when I’m feeling snooty, my office. It has a big closet with shelves for my supplies, a large credenza-like cupboard about the height of a kitchen counter, that is great for stamping, and my sewing machine. I’m pretty sure there is a desk in in here somewhere, too, but right now it is so piled with colorful paper and scraps that it looks like a rainbow threw up on it.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

I like a wide variety of stamp styles, but I do love good quality clear stamps for easy placement. I’m a huge fan of dies and embossing folders. Gina K cardstock is a favorite, because of the quality of the paper and the vivid colors. I’ve also been enjoying the challenge of the monthly card kits from Simon Says Stamp. They take me out of my comfort zone, and I always end up with lots of cards for OWH.

Do you have a favorite  technique?

Right now I’m playing with watercolor a lot, and it is so much fun.  The online watercolor for cardmakers class I took in the spring really got me interested, and the unpredictability of the medium fascinates me. I’m never quite certain what I’ll get when I watercolor a background, but I sure enjoy finding out. I love to watercolor flowers and other images with large open spaces. Getting better at Copic coloring is next on my list, because my Copic work still looks a little pre-schoolish. Okay, a LOT pre-schoolish.


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

When I’m stuck or not feeling creative, I watch a tutorial or check out the sketches for ideas. It almost always kicks my backside into gear even if I don’t copy anything exactly. I like the Copic tutorials, and find them really helpful.

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

I prefer stamps, mainly because when I have tried to download digis onto my MacBook, I end up saying certain words loud enough for the neighbors to hear. I won’t be specific about exactly what those words are. I’m usually pretty good at figuring things out on the computer, but not this time. I do use my computer for some of the sentiments for the cards. It’s nice to be able to size them to the card and to be able to use different fonts.


Do you have a  favorite theme?

Kid cards are right up there, as are masculine cards, but my short attention span leads me to skip around to different themes as well as styles and techniques. I want to try it all!  It’s hard for me to make multiples of the same card. Sometimes I pack a box and realize I’ve not done any of a certain theme, but it’s never the same one from one box to the next. I think my choice of theme must hinge on which sentiment happens to fit a card, both in style and size. I often have the idea for the card, lay it out loose, then decide whether or not there will be a sentiment, and what it will be, before I tape the parts together.


Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?

Bright colors and strong contrasts are what I’m naturally drawn to. I like the images to stand out and draw your eye to them. I do notice a lot of red accents on my cards, but I don’t really plan it that way. I’m learning to incorporate more patterned papers in my designs, which was a real challenge for me.


How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?

I was at a stamp show in York, Pennsylvania last fall and saw a flyer lying on a table at one of the vendors. I went home and found OWH online, read the guidelines, and started making cards.


What motivates you to make cards for our  heroes?

My husband was in the AIr Force for 25 years, including two tours in Viet Nam, my son-in-law is retired from a long career in the Navy, and my daughter works for the DOD and was working at the Pentagon on 9/11. As part of a military family, I am happy to have a chance to do something that might brighten the day for those who are deployed and for their loved ones back home. My family is very supportive of my efforts to make cards for OWH, and they swear I’m in a better frame of mind since I started doing it. Creating something really is more fun for me when it has a purpose.

Mid-Month Throwdown: Gratitude

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 in Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 5 comments

Well, hello, everyone! Did you notice the new title to our challenge AND our new day?! Yes, times they are a-changing around here. If you’ve been paying attention to the goings on here at Operation Write Home, you will have caught wind of some of these changes by now. As our troops draw down, we must draw down as well. No, we’re not stopping completely, so don’t get your britches in a twist, BUT we’re really going to focus on QUALITY and NOT quantity of cards we make for our heroes because, frankly, we just don’t need as many right now. So, our Midweek Throwdown Challenge has changed to a Mid-Month Throwdown Challenge and we’ve moved all of our challenges to Saturday to make it less confusing for you…nice of us, right?!

Don’t forget…the HallNOween deadline is just around the corner on August 31. Making your cards as generic as possible gives them a longer shelf life…see this OWHtv episode from last year and skip ahead to 4:47 on the recording for some HallNOween ideas if you are stuck!

So, let’s get this show on the road for August, shall we? This month our focus is GRATITUDE and you can show it however you would like. It can be a fall-themed gratitude card like the one from our incredible sample card maker this week Joanne T. or if you don’t have an appropriate sentiment specifically for gratitude, why not just say “thanks” which is another way to show your gratitude, right?!

Joanne T-Gratitude

Joanne T. blogs at Sleepy In Seattle so be sure to visit her blog and check out all of her wonderful creations. Here’s a little about Joanne in her own words:

I have been a crafter of one type or another since I was about 5 or 6; stamping is my favorite of all so far. I love it when I can touch someone’s life in a special way by my handmade stamped creations. I hope that when I make cards for our heroes to send to their loved ones I can make their days happier as well. I live on the West Coast and all of my family is back on the East Coast and I know how difficult it is to be so far from the ones you love and how important it is to stay in touch. I am forever grateful for our troops and their families for all that they do for us and they are always in my daily prayers.

This card uses stamps from three stamp sets by Stampin’ Up! Autumn Harvest, Baroque Motifs for the swirl, and Day of Gratitude for the sentiment. I love combining various sets for a new and different look. I especially love to see if I can make a holiday theme from an everyday set that wasn’t intended for that. It’s a great, creative and fun way to stretch the versatility of your products.

Thanks for the tips, Joanne!


OWHtv Week 155

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 0 comments

Happy weekend, everyone! I have another week’s worth of OWHtv to share – and I noticed something in these first weeks of the new “routine” on our blog. We now get a series of posts on our blog that are heroletters all week, then featuredcardmaker+ owhtv + challenge each weekend. Kinda cool to combine all that inspiration on Fridays and Saturdays to get the weekend rolling!

Before going on to this week’s OWHtv,  a couple quick things:

  • To clarify any confusion: we’ve asked everyone to limit the number of holiday cards this year and lean more toward nonseasonal cards in our 5 themes. That, however, does not mean proceed with abandon on those cards. Some have interpreted what’s been said to mean keep going like mad….but we’re asking everyone (me included!) to slow down a bit and focus more than ever on quality – and not at all on quantity. We can finally afford the time and resources to make even MORE special cards, yay!
  • The Operation Rolling Tapegun page is being updated regularly with an FAQ section.
  • Please review guidelines! In the last 3 or 4 weeks, we’ve receieved more cards than ever with glitter, thick embellishments, and cards not tucked properly (they’re just slid under the flap, or flaps aren’t flipped. Watch the video HERE to learn the tuck). These things cause processes at HQ to screech to a halt to separate, store, and eventually repair. Thanks for your help!
  • I’ll be sending out a notice in coming weeks to the entire database, not only our email subscribers; it’s possible folks missed the Operation Rolling Tapegun page and SitRep, and I want to be sure everyone has all the info. If you are a coordinator of a cardmaking group, please be sure you send it on to folks on your team so they, too, know to make fewer cards.

And now without further ado – this week’s episodes! Tues and Weds were a lot of fun, and by the comments on YouTube, you all enjoyed watching as much as I did participating!

Penny’s collecting comments on the YouTube page, so be sure to click on the YT logo in the lower right to go over there and leave her some love. Won’t it be fun for her to be able to go back and read comments once she learns to read?

The Casual Friday video includes coupon codes at Daniel Smith good til Sept 2 – so if you shop for art supplies, have a pencil and paper handy. (We get no benefit from sharing this, just wanted to enable you if you can use the sale!) If you have a local art store, or a community college with art classes you can take, consider one! Just imagine how much fun it would be to learn some watercolor techniques to apply to your stamped images!

And since you’re in video mode….I thought I’d also share a video from my personal YouTube channel too: a tribute to Robin Williams. He was a man who brought joy to our deployed servicemen on many visits with the USO – read more HERE.

I think I’m done blathering for now….Allison will be with you in a little while with this month’s Throwdown!

Featured Friday Card Maker, Stefanie B., Somewhere in Wisconsin

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 15 comments

Wishing a very happy Friday to everyone!  Last weekend was just plum wonderful as I spoke to a very dear North GA College girlfriend which was one of those situations that only God can make happen.  It was so good to speak with her and hope to set up a “30 year catch up” phone call soon.  Saturday was also a great day, here is the Facebook status update: “Ohhh wheee…. I am living in HIGH cotton NOW!!!!  Three new N.T. Wright Bible studies arrived yesterday, Hebrews, Romans and Revelation, re-activated Netflix as cable will be turned off soon, got a brand new tank for the grill as the original was defective and I’m about to dive into a DQ mushroom burger…sigh….it doesn’t take much to make. life.good!!!!”  Today, Sunday, has started out stupendously as I got the high score in a“Criminal Case” scene, doesn’t take much to float my boat!

Y’all were SUPER at leaving comments for last week’s FFCM and I hope this week is no exception.  Stefanie doesn’t have a blog, so please leave some OWH love in the comment section below.  Just a few comments about Stef’s cards and believe me I’m holding back here—I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the happy birthday card. I love the colors, the layout, the geometric shapes.  I want to CASE it and hope it turns out like Stefanie’s.  Oh heck, I want the dadgum card for myself!!!  To me it is the bomb!  The tractor card paired with the chicken wire EF—PERFECT match and I need that EF, after all Gainesville, GA is the Chicken Capital of the World!! The patriotic card is very moving to me and I’m sure you’ll understand why as you read Stefanie’s story and her inspiration as to why she makes cards for OWH.  Now here is Stefanie in her own words.

I am originally from Germany – and grew up in a tiny town called ‘Rheurdt’. My husband and I moved to the US 16 years ago and have since become naturalized citizen, living in Wisconsin.

How long have you been stamping/card making?

I actually started making scrapbooks – and at that time thought I shouldn’t get into card making as it looked addictive. Well – I certainly was correct in that assumption! I’ve been making cards for maybe 10 or 12 years now, and I certainly is addictive – but if that’s my only addiction, I’m doing quite well, right? 

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

I actually make my cards in the kitchen. On the weekends – especially during our long winter – I get up early with my dogs and the three of us move to the kitchen, close the door and let my husband sleep in. To be exact – after I feed them, the dogs sleep again, too – so it’s only me that’s awake and making cards. But I LOVE that time, it’s quite, peaceful, I have some music going (Often Native American Flute)  – how can you not love that?!

 What are your favorite stamp/craft products?

That depends on the mood I’m in – I love cute stamps, nature stamps, fun stamps, unusual stamps – again, depending on my mood. I learned to not try to make fun cards if I’m in the mood for more serene stamps etc. In terms of companies I use – I use quite a bit of Stampin’ Up – especially their paper, as it is coordinated and you can reorder and it matches. But I also use unusual stamps from a variety of sources – a really fun one I recently found are stamps from ‘Suzanna Loves Stamps  You’ve got to check out the oddly sweet curiosity sets! Awesome and very unique.


Do you have a favorite  technique?

That again depends on the mood I’m in – sometimes I love coloring with Copic markers – other times I do heat embossing, this last winter I extensively used colored paper, where in the fall I used a lot of embossing. I do like techniques though that you can combine and that are versatile.


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

I cannot really say that they have – the best inspiration when I was thinking about what cards to make? – “Remember this could be the last thing someone gets from their loved one!” – well at that point, but funny stamps went right out the window (so to speak)! 

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

STAMPS!!!! Absolutely- no question here! I’m sitting at my computer all day every day – don’t want to do that in my spare time.  


Do you have a  favorite theme?

Again – depending on my mood – but I really do like nature – so I often go into that theme.


Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?

The colors I normally move toward are earth tones. So sometimes I challenge myself – using stamps I don’t normally use and colors that are challenging to me (I hardly ever use brights). Then – I quickly go back to my earth tones…….that is more relaxing to me.


How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?

At work we have a card club – I was telling someone that the organization I had supported (Cookie Brigade) was no longer existing and she told me about OWH – as another way to support our serving community.


What motivates you to make cards for our  heroes?

I moved to the US because I believe in what the US stands for – and I always was impressed by how the US supports their heroes. There are not that many ways that I can show my appreciation, but making cards for them that they can use is a small way to show how much I appreciate them standing up for us and fighting for our freedom. Wish I would have more time to do more! I make cards for OWH myself, but then also get friends together – I prep the cards and we make them together – as a thank you they get one card of each card we make. This has gotten to be an established event and the ladies actually have asked again when I’ll schedule another event! – So – I’ll have to get on that!

Sketch Challenge #236

Posted by on Aug 9, 2014 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 8 comments

Gooooood Morning Peeps… and welcome to the new Sketch Challenge schedule of the 1st and 4th Saturdays of each month! [ [ edited to the 2nd and 4th Saturdays]] Did you miss me and the sketches??? Yep, I imagine you did. Well… probably the sketches more than me, but that’s alright. I was glad to see some of your posts about going back and working on the older sketches that you missed, and having a little more time to finish the Challenges.

Reminder: It’s always nice to go back and revisit the older sketches. We’re on #236 and they go back to the beginning to #1. There’s a great PDF file where you can download all of them. The link is Here! And don’t forget… you can also get ideas for sketches from the Mid Month Throwdown, Our Daily Bread Design challenges, and Featured Fridays.

Now for this week’s sketch:


This is the card where the sketch inspiration came from. I’m sorry, I’m not sure whose card it is. I thought is was Beverly Hale Watson’s, but she said it’s not hers. You can view the FB post by clicking Here. If this is Your card, please let me know. I’d like to give you the credit!

236 sample

Alright, it’s time for me to skeedaddle. Have fun with today’s cute sketch!

OWHtv on the fritz!

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Fundraisers, OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 2 comments

Hey everyone! It’s Sandy here, and I’ve been trying to upload today’s OWHtv for, oh, gosh, 7 hours now. For some reason YT really just doesn’t like it! Grrr. It may show up at some point, but I wanted to let you know about something that’s in the video – that we have one final fundraiser in our store that just went live! (if the video does show up, Ciara’s in it! c’mon YT, be nice!)

(So much more exciting to tell you that in a video, so read this in your head in my voice!)

This one’s different than all the minisets – which are all great for color-ers……this new fundraiser pack is made up of awesome sentiments, graphics, alphas, and solid stamps, perfect for NONcolorers! Each flat rate envelope has 8-10 stamp sets in it, depending on the sizes of the sets, so you get PLENTY of stamping action out of any of these. I’ll be using some of them in the next couple months on OWHtv, too, so you’ll have the sets in your hands to try something out with them, too. Cool, eh?

We’ve priced the packets at $50, a really great value for that many fab stamp sets – click on the product to see an image of one sample packet (no guarantees you get THOSE sets, but it’ll show you the kinds of things you’ll get in yours!)

Shop for it!

Feel free to check out the other small sets in the store too, we still have some of the Pure Innocence and A La Modes available! :)

Happy shopping….and happy catching-up-on-OWHtv below, too:

Featured Friday Card Maker Mary M., Lincoln, CA

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

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.

FAQ Followup to SitRep

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Stars and Stamps | 30 comments

Hi everyone!

It’s Sandy here, and I hope everyone’s had some time to digest and process through last Friday’s SitRep; all this week on OWHtv, I’ll be having some chatty time with y’all (Kathy’s rubbing off on me!) and inviting your feedback too! (Click HERE to see the Monday video if you can’t see it below.)

Here are a few questions I’ve seen either asked or implied….and the answers!

Is OWH closing?

Not only no but heck no! We’re continuing. The SitRep wasn’t meant to scare anyone – just to let you know that the drawdown, which we’ve expected, is coming up on us quickly. When we drew down from Iraq, we had no idea what to expect….so this time I wanted everyone to be aware of what’s going on and to work with us to do things more sensibly this time.

For instance, after the Iraq drawdown, many people assumed all wars were over and not only stopped making cards and donating, but they logged off our email and blog entirely. That left us high and dry and we had to scramble for half a year to meet the needs of our heroes.

So this time, we wanted you to have ample warning that things will be slowing but not ending. If you’d like to stay updated, continue to be a member of our eNews list, and we’ll be sending out all the important information that way, even if you miss things on the blog or Facebook – it’ll be the most important thing to follow, with additional information shared elsewhere for those who want more.

What do I do with all the holiday cards I’ve made all summer?

I’ve seen a little panic over where to now send the massive amounts of cards – and I’d like to remind everyone of a few things.

  1. We’ll still need some holiday cards! A lot of folks have said they’re not sending us anything anymore – and I get that. But remember that we still DO have heroes out there, we’re still serving them. If you have a huge quantity of holiday cards, don’t panic about sending them to someone else til October, because if we get a flood of requests, we may put a call out for some of the ones you have on hand. Most orgs will have later deadlines than we do since they aren’t sending them overseas, so there’s still going to be time to get them to someone else.
  2. Remember that most charities who receive cards get very few compared to OWH. If everyone floods these other organizations with 100,000 Christmas cards that they made for OWH, there are going to be a lot of charities slammed with extra work. They may not have a need for that many cards either – so watch their blogs, their social media sites, and get on their email lists to see what they ask for. If they ask not to send more holiday cards – please don’t send them.
  3. Please represent OWH well – we have a lovely reputation, and would like other charities to be excited when an OWHer sends them a package. Things like…
    -follow ALL their guidelines
    -send in financial donations with your cards, even if it’s just a couple dollars
    -don’t send them packing peanuts
    -give them lots of grace; they will have different email receipt processes than we do, so please give them time and ability to do things the way they do them.

How will OWH adapt to the post-drawdown numbers?

To adapt to the new deployment environment, we’ll be coming up with plans for the best ways we can assure our heroes that we have what they need in the timing they need it, but without having so much extra that cards go unused for a long time – which could cause them to fall apart or mildew over time. They call this “right-sizing” in other industries, and we’ll be learning how to do that. Don’t worry, we’ll be telling you of plans once we know them, but we aren’t making any definite commitments to any of our plans on the drawing table til we get an idea how many people we’ll be serving. It’s them and their needs we’re focusing on.

Can’t OWH just change its charter to support other beneficiaries stateside?

We could, technically. Refile paperwork, re-form ourselves. But – too many organizations go through that with bad results. Watering down their mission by changing it and broadening it until they lose sight of their deepest passion….and then losing all focus….and then collapse. That’s the last thing we want at OWH. It’s better to become a lean, mean, cardmaking machine and keep our laserbeam focus on supporting those in harm’s way than to change our direction just so we can all keep making a ton of cards. We’re all about our deployed heroes at OWH, and we plan to stay that way.

Will OWH give me all the info on other organizations I can send my cards to?

We don’t really want to become a clearinghouse for that information, unfortunately; if we did it, we’d have to do it OWH-style, which means listing everyone’s information and guidelines and deadlines so we make sure you’re doing right by other charities. That’s a lot of info to regularly update, so we’d love it if you go do some research and figure out who you’d like to partner with. Lots of folks share ideas on our Facebook page, so that’s a great place to get ideas…just be sure YOU do your own research too. Don’t rely on someone’s note - get educated on the organization, its needs, its processes, and please help them out by abiding by their requests.

Be aware that though there are other orgs that support deployed service members, they TOO are going to be very low on contacts. It’s not just us. Even those who send care packages will be looking for people to mail to. I’ve already seen some sites totally change policies and start charging membership fees as they are feeling the pinch. Even if a military support site has NOT mentioned what we did in the SitRep last week, they are remiss in updating you on the status – because everyone will be in the same boat very soon. We may have simply been the first to give donors a heads up. Just want you to be aware of that.

Thanks everyone! If you have more questions, I’d love to tackle anything you want to chat about on casual Friday this week….so leave comments! :)