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 247

Posted by on Jan 24, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 4 comments

Hi, everyone! Many thanks to those who played along with Sketch Challenge #246. The OWH Community is truly blessed to have so many talented card makers.

Sandy’s created another wonderful sketch for us with some great oval and circular elements! Not only would this sketch make for some delightful Easter and Mother’s Day cards, it would also work well for Any Hero cards. As of yesterday, we  only had 19 cards linked up for this month’s Any-Hero-card Our Daily Bread Design challenge So, if you haven’t yet linked  up a card for this month’s ODBD challenge, we’d really appreciate your help in getting to our goals of 25 and 50 cards. Please click here for the current ODBD challenge.

OWH Sketch 247

This week’s sketch was inspired by this lovely card sent to us by Donna S. Because of her strong military connection, Donna loves making cards for our troops. Her dad, son, and son-in-law have all served in our military. Moreover, Donna’s husband is a retired firefighter. Talk about a family of our heroes!

OWH Sketch 247 -- sample

Don’t you just love these bright, cheery colors on this pretty card? Donna asked that we give credit where credit’s due. She gets lots of inspiration from the Internet, including the Splitcoaststampers Gallery. And, she is so appreciative of her friend-in-craft Sophie, who did the fabulous coloring on today’s sample card.

Donna’s too busy making cards and organizing monthly card-making church meetings to post cards, let alone blog about them. LOL. So, please leave her a little love in the comment section. Thanks so much, Donna, for your family’s service and your support of our deployed troops.

Can’t wait to see what you do with the layers and elements in this week’s sketch!

Featured Friday Card Maker: Melissa T, Yorba Linda, CA

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 39 comments

Hello everyone! Welcome to what I think is your favorite post on our blog every week – the Friday feature! Thanks so much for always leaving such love for your fellow crafters…it’s so encouraging to us all! Today you get to meet Melissa; she blogs at Melissa T – you might want to go follow her, she’s so talented! She shared a tutorial here at OWH a while back and that one is HERE. (You’ll see one of these cards below, too, so she’s still having fun making them!) -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?  

The card making started about 8 years ago when I thought making my own cards would mean I could create one at home whenever needed without having to run out to purchase one.  But the paper crafting started more than 25 years ago when working with children. Seeing how easily entertained the children were with paper and adhesives made me decide to make it a regular part of our routine and I quickly became known as the “craft lady”. 

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

About a year ago I moved everything into my guest room so that my family could have their dining room back. I purchased two drafting tables that are side by side for a nice 6 foot work surface (but I keep them level), and a nice tall office chair which gives me the perfect view out of a window.  Being right in front of the window gives me plenty of natural light to color with, which I love. 


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?    

I am loving Our Daily Bread Designs stamps because their images and sentiments are so nice to create with. And I love to color! I use Spectrum Noir Alcohol Markers and now can not imagine how I ever colored with regular markers (that do not blend together as easily.) My very most favorite thing is to sit and color, I call it my “relaxing time”.


Do you have a favorite technique? 

I love the effect of embossing powders/heat embossing. Seeing the added texture and shine created using these makes my creations look so much better. 


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

I love OWH Sketch #21. All those little rectangles create the perfect background for stamped images.  And this blog post by Sandy Allnock is my all-time favorite…watching the Saturated Canary image come to life while listening to the music motivated me to just sit back and enjoy the coloring/creating process. Thank you Sandy!

Do you prefer digis or stamps?

I love digi’s because I do not have to worry about messing up while stamping. However I find rubber stamps offer more variety and I love being able to use my favorite embossing powders on them. 


Do you have a favorite theme? 

I love to make “patchwork” cards using up all those little bits of pretty paper I just do not want to throw away.  Making patchwork cards is as close to being a quilter as I will ever be (tried it once and could not get those seams to match up, ever.) Plus, I get to use some of my favorite threads to stitch around them. 

Are there colors you love to include on  your cards? 

I love bright colors the most and I always hope the cards will look happy and cheery.


How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?  

A Facebook friend liked an OWH post three years ago and I had to check it out. Once I visited the OWH website I knew making cards for OWH was something I wanted to do. 


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

My husband served in Vietnam and his father was career Navy. I see the impact their service had on the family and think anything that will help keep family members connected is a great thing. Emails, phone calls, and video chatting help too, but being able to actually hold onto a card or letter written by a family member might bring even more comfort. 

OWHtv Week 174

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 1 comment

It’s been so busy ’round here what with recovery from CHA, I totally forgot to post OWHtv for last week! Eeep! The new stamps from Hero Arts are available for stores to purchase….watch your favorite stores (online and brick-and-mortar) for them around the first week of February. More details about availability when we get some!

PS Deadline reminder: Feb 28 is the due date for all Easter cards. Lots of folks have been sending us holiday cards weeks past the deadlines, so please be aware of those, thank you!


Supplies for the watercolor card: The watercolors come in a couple different sized sets; for a card like the one shown, the small set would work perfectly.

January Mid-month Throwdown: Thank You

Posted by on Jan 17, 2015 in Challenges, Inspiration, Midweek Throwdown Challenge, Stars and Stamps | 5 comments

Hello everyone! It’s Kristie here taking over the Mid-Month card challenges. Thank you Allison, for your dedication to OWH. You provided us with some wonderful inspiration and challenges over the past year.

Thanks to everyone who provided our heroes will all the wonderful Christmas cards and Christmas AnyHero mail. I’m thinking they may be needing some extra thank you cards so they can express their gratitude to all the supporters at home. The theme for January’s Mid-Month Throwdown is to make Thank You cards for our heroes to write their notes.

Our sample card-maker is Cherie. She blogs over at Cherie’s Corner of the World. I just love the bold colors and crisp, clean design of her card. And she’s always great at providing OWH with gender neutral cards. Please go visit her blog and leave her some love in the comments.

IMG_8486Here’s a little about Cherie in her own words.

I discovered OWH in a craft magazine several years ago and knew it was the way for me to give back to our military. When I told my husband about it, he said how much he would have loved to have these types of cards to write home on while he was serving. I was sold! These days I’m much more picky about the craft items I buy…if it doesn’t work for OWH, then it doesn’t go in my cart. This card features my current favorite stamp set and colors that are gender neutral.

Featured Card Maker: Coni L, San Diego, CA

Posted by on Jan 16, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 31 comments

I’m so excited to introduce you to Coni this week – she was born, bred, and raised in San Diego. Coni blogs at “Which Craft” (cute name, eh?) and has been sending in cards since 2011 – a veteran! She makes all kinds of designs, but excels at CAS – which I totally admire! She and I share two big things in common – our favorite color, and *squirrel!!!* Please be your lovely selves and leave Coni lots of love in the comments – and go visit her blog too! -Sandy

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

Thanks to my sweet husband, I do have a craft room bursting with products to play with. We call it the “Blue Room” because, well, it’s painted blue.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?     

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on who you ask, I love them all, hence the bursting craft room. Products I’m currently addicted to include Simon Says anything, Penny Black, Winnie & Walter and Wplus9.

Do you have a favorite  technique?   

As far as techniques, I’m all over the place. I’ll try anything once or twice. Kind of a Jill of all trades, master of none.


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

I use OWH sketches as a springboard all the time. Often with quirky little traits of my own. The previous answer covers whether or not I use the tutorials. In other words, yes.


Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

I’m a dyed in the wool stamp lady. For some reason, can’t get the hang of digis.

Do you have a  favorite theme?     

No, can’t say I have a favorite theme. Just like to do everything. Guess I’m not too focused of an individual. Sort of like a squirrel.


Are there colors you love to include on  your cards?     

Most favorite color is yellow but I do attempt to broaden my spectrum. I stick to softer colors a lot.


How did you hear about Operation Write  Home?    

Honestly, I don’t remember. I do know that I immediately wanted to contribute to this wonderful organization.

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

This answer is easy and very personal to me. It has always amazed me that there are people out there jeopardizing their future by protecting this country and the folks in it. To believe so strongly in what the United States stands for, that they willingly put themselves in harm’s way to ensure it’s safety and security. Making a card for them to send home to their loved ones is a the very least I could do compared to what they do for me and those I love.

CHA2015 Recap

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Bloghops/Events, Stars and Stamps | 32 comments

*pant pant pant* Sandy here with an update! It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend at CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) 2015!! I think the only thing I did perfectly is type 2015 correctly every time I hashtagged it…maybe that’ll bode well for the rest of the year…it usually takes til March for me to write dates correctly! :)

It was a lovely time in California, despite the rain for a few days; they were all happy, but I was sure wishing for some California sunshine! I taught at an LSS nearby (Scrampers in Torrance) for a few days, and had lots of fun coloring with the students – including a few OWHers!

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This was a group photo with just one of the classes – and those lovely flowers were brought by a student – I felt like a rockstar!


It was off to CHA after the Saturday class, where the Make-and-Takes with new OWH stamps began! I had prepared kits for each 2hour session using the new stamps – the first was using Copic markers to watercolor on embossed tags – so much fun, and lots had never tried anything like it before.


Quickly the session came to an end and it was time to run off to the first OWH/Hero Arts Copic class, so my friend and invaluable helper Lisa and I hoofed it to the nearby hotel for class. Fun!! I had designed cards using not only the OWH stamp sets that are new – but mixing in some of the old, too! A note on the foxes – that’s not the mama/baby fox in the fox set released last fall. It’s the single fox stamp, masked off to tuck the second fox behind and at an angle! How cool does that look? And the envelope and curved sentiment are from the new envelope stamp set.

PSST If you want me to show you how to make any of these cards on OWHtv, leave comments below and I’ll schedule them in.


Silly photo ops ensued after class…LOL! One of these sweet ladies is a student who’s been in my east coast classes – it’s always great to see students getting out and about! (And I was pretty stoked to be one of Charlie’s Angels with them!)

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Day Two of CHA – lots more running around! My friend Kristina snapped a shot of me at the demos at Art Impressions…I did turn on the video camera while I was demoing, but haven’t had a chance to see if the footage is worth anything; kind of afraid to look, since I kept shaking my own table! I was creating my own California earthquake, I think! And that candy bar on the table? Brought for me by a gal from Switzerland?! YUM!


Next was a Make-and-Give at the Tombow booth…we used their brush markers and some watercolor stamps from Art Impressions – they’re so easy to make, and so pretty!  It was so sad I only had an hour there, everyone had a lovely time painting these. Stay tuned for a tutorial on them in upcoming weeks – I’ll be showing you how easy they can be and giving you some tips.


See the gentleman in the orange shirt next to me (I’m also in an orange Tombow shirt!)….it was pretty funny when folks came up and asked the other Tombow staffers for info on a product. My friend Kasey would say, “Hang on. I could tell you all about it, but you need him to do it…it’ll sound a lot sexier.” We were all a bit puzzled at first. Then he came over and I figured out why – British accent. LOL!10372252_10152720669479492_5949822347807129756_n

I was quickly off and running to the next session at Hero Arts, where I was able to let folks use a Copic airbrush! Oh did they ever have a good time. We kept it to just a tag, since it’s hard to get airbrush even on a large piece – a tag is just enough to get a taste without getting intimidated. It was an extraspecial treat to see two of the OWHers who have volunteered at the OWH booth over the years during this M&T – Sue and Lianna. It was hard not having a booth to hang our hat on, but it was also lots less work – and less expensive for us. And we still got OWH out in front of everyone by doing M&Ts throughout the show.


Hero Arts picked us some winners for the Lil Hoot giveaway last week!

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Sunday night – class #2 out at the off-site hotel! This time we used the stamps in different ways, tried a few background techniques, and shared with more retailers and OWHers. The images were more masculine this time. You hopefully recognize some of these from your own OWH stamp sets! See that train? It’s from Epic Love, and I just masked off the top half of the train and placed a sentiment on it from the new envelope set – chooooo choooo!


PSST If you want me to show you how to make any of these cards on OWHtv, leave comments below and I’ll schedule them in.

After all that whirlwind – Monday was a short day for me, since I was flying home. I did do a Make-and-Take with our stencil though, and I think more folks made that one than any of the others – we had a line! Woohoo! We used finger daubers to apply Unicorn and Butterbar inks through the stencil, then dragged the edge of Forever Green ink pads up from the edge to create grass. We decorated the fronts and backs of the envelopes the same way – and used the brand new envelope stamp set for OWH too! Note that these are not kraft envelopes – they’re a very light tan, and you can see pencil written on them. We don’t use kraft envelopes (or anything darker), or dark card bases without liners, since our heroes might not have something dark enough to be seen on them.

Sandy Hero Arts MITI3

After all that, I hope you understand why my Instagram wasn’t exactly full of sneak peeks of all the new products out there. I had maybe an hour a day to walk the floor and peek at things! I had to ask everyone what were the must-see items so I could make the most of what little time I had. And watch the Instagram feeds of all my favorite stores! The one thing that was a must-have, not a must-see, for me? The new bird set from Tim Holtz.

One of the store owners who I’ve taught for in the Boston area was at the show, and texted me that she now possessed one of the sets of Tim’s birds – and I think I squealed audibly in my text back to her! ha! I stalked her for two days until she very sweetly let me borrow and stamp it so I could color up a sample for her store (Absolutely Everything) – so if you’re in the Boston area, go check out the original at Kate’s store:

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She thought Tim should see this bird I colored up for her – and stalked him. LOL. He couldn’t quite believe it was *just* Copic marker….so there’ll be a video coming up on this in coming weeks so I can prove to him that it’s doable without all kinds of sprays and brushes! Gotta love surprising a guy like Tim, eh? He gave me a set….so I’ll be busy with it very soon!2015-01-12 14.03.04

Getting home late at night was met with lots of kitty kisses….the kitties like housesitters, but they realllllllly like having mom back. :)

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It’s going to take me a few days to get caught up on a couple thousand emails (ack!), and I also am going to try to set up the database to send out the year-end summaries of your financial and card donations in the next few days. I hope! But I think I need a nap first. LOL! Thanks for giving me lots of grace in this busy season!

REMINDER: The OWH office will be closed for 2 weeks in mid-February as I travel Europe to be with my sister for her graduation. If you’d like prompt attention to anything – aim for either before or after that time period. As it gets closer, as well as right upon my return, I’ll be very busy! Housesitters will be staying here and caring for the kitties, but mail will be held at the Post Office.

OWHtv Week 173 – we’re back!

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in OWHtv, Stars and Stamps | 3 comments

OWHtv is back! After a nice holiday break, the show is back on…2-3 days a week. This week we have the monthly sit-rep, an unboxing – and a discovery of some new shiny gold watercolors!

Unboxing Debbie’s Cards:

Hero-safe SHIMMER!

And I had mentioned the hamburger-hotdog fold video…here’s that one:

Want to get a look at the paints? They’re HERE! Be sure to TEST YOUR OWN TECHNIQUE…this stays put and doesn’t rub off with this technique on this paper. We’d love your help in testing to see if other techniques work as well, so be sure to let us know.

Sketch Challenge 246

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Sketch Challenge, Stars and Stamps, Uncategorized | 11 comments

Is it too late to wish you all a Happy New Year? Hope it’s off to a great start! From the look of the cards you’ve posted these last couple of weeks, it appears some great crafting goodies were received from Santa and his elves.

Not only do I want to thank you for all of the cards posted for our last sketch challenge, but I also want to thank you for the inspiration provided in our Top 14 of 2014 Blog Hop. If you’re like me, you made note of cards to CASE, techniques to try, and tools/materials to add to your stash.

Now for today’s sketch, which is perfect for all our CAS aficionados out there. I, for one, am loving it! Sketches like this give me an opportunity to use those busier papers that I typically don’t know how to use.

OWH Sketch 246

Today’s sketch was inspired by an adorable Snoopy card sent to us by Glenda F. What a fun card! Don’t you just love the simplicity of the message conveyed by that sweet Peanuts image paired with those two hearts? Seems like kids of all ages would love receiving this card. Glenda doesn’t have a blog. So, please leave her some OWH love in the comment section.

OWH Sketch 246 -- sample card

A quick reminder that the deadline for getting Easter cards to Sandy is February 28. More “generic” Easter cards — cards with bunnies, chicks, and the like without specific Easter references — have a longer shelf life and would be especially welcome in light of the troop drawdown.

Now it’s your turn! Can’t wait to see how you interpret today’s sketch!

Featured Friday Card Maker: Janet B, Reno NV

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Featured Friday Cardmaker, Stars and Stamps | 35 comments

Hello everyone – and welcome to another awesome cardmaker interview! Today we get to meet Janet, and her cards are always such a treat to receive. She’s a graphic designer like me, so Janet and I have lots in common – and once you see her cards, you’ll likely find something YOU have in common with her too. She has no blog, so please feel free to leave her lots and lots of love in the comments section as you always do! -Sandy

How long have you been stamping/card making?     

I have been stamping and card making for about ten years.

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

I am a self employed graphic designer and have an office in my home. The past few years my stamping has gradually taken over my office. I plan on retiring my graphics business the end of this month so next year my office will totally be taken over by stamping! I am looking forward to pursuing my hobbies, traveling and passion for photography during my retirement.

JanetB6What are your favorite stamp/craft products?     

My favorite stamp/craft products are Stampin’ Up!, Hero Arts, Unity Stamps, ODBD and Stamper’s Best. I meet monthly with a group of ladies with Stampin’ Up! to learn new techniques and use new stamps and products that they offer. My group is interested in possibly making cards for OWH next year. My Cuttlebug is indispensable!!! Using embossing folders and dies add so much dimension to my cards. I also invested in a tape runner a couple years ago and that makes card assembly so much faster and cleaner. Having the right tools sure makes a difference!!!

JanetB5Do you have a favorite  technique?   

As far as a favorite technique… I like the watercolor effect using stamps but I’m game to try all things new to me. I CASE a lot of cards that I see on Pinterest or Splitcoast Stampers and try to change or improve a design that I like. Splitcoast has a great section on their website that has tutorials on techniques.

JanetB3Have any particular OWH sketches or tutorials served as inspiration for your cards?     

OWH tutorials are great, too. I’ve been inspired by many of the videos and I have printed out many of the sketches as a “go to” when I have a creative block. Cards that Sandy posts on Facebook are also a great inspiration for ideas as well.

Do you prefer digis or stamps?    

I prefer stamps, specifically rubber stamps, although I am beginning to use acrylic stamps. Occasionally I will print out a sentiment on my laser printer if I need something that I don’t have, but I like rubber stamping as opposed to digis.

JanetB2Do you have a favorite theme or colors?     

Themes I enjoy are coastal, western and flowers. I don’t seem to make many flowered cards for OWH, though. I try to include a lot of masculine, missing you and love cards. Warm earth tones are my favorite colors, but I am sorta all over the place when it comes to color depending on the subject.

JanetB1How did you hear about Operation Write Home?  

A couple years ago I decided to convert all of my wood mounted stamps to cling. I ordered cling foam from Stamper’s Best and when I got my order there was an OWH rubber stamp included in my order. Never heard of OWH, so I went on their website to check it out and I have been making cards for OWH ever since!

JanetB4What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?

OWH is such a great concept. I feel so privileged to donate cards to our heroes and their families to keep in touch with each other. I pray each card will be special to the person who receives it and may even be kept as a keepsake for future years to enjoy. My father was in the Merchant Marines during WWII, my husband was in the Navy during Vietnam and several nephews and friends have been in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years and I know how special cards and letters can be from family and friends while deployed. I treasure the letters that I have received from family while they were deployed. I will continue to make cards for our heroes as long as they are needed and I am able. Each deployed person made a choice to serve our great county, making cards for them is my privilege and honor.

January 2015 SitRep

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Bloghops/Events, Stars and Stamps | 37 comments

Happy 2015! It’s time for our monthly Situation Report, updating the status of OWH and the needs our heroes have. Watch it below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.

Links from the video:

New to OWH? Visit this page:
Sandy’s CHA schedule:
Scrat video:
3 million card party:

Newsflash: If you live in the Anaheim area and would be interested in a class using the stamps released at CHA – keep an eye on my blog this week. I’ve requested that if the class doesn’t fill up with retailers, we can make it available to anyone…non-retailer, non-CHA-attendee. Anyone! I’ll be updating that over on my blog if it happens, so you can check there this week.

Sandy’s CHA schedule


  • Make and Takes at CHA at Hero Arts booth #2633, 2-4pm
  • Class, 6-8pm


  • Airbrush Demos at Art Impressions booth #1665, 11am-1pm
  • Make and Takes at Tombow booth, 1:30-2:30pm
  • Make and Takes at Hero Arts booth #2633, 3-5pm
  • Class, 7-9pm


  • Make and Takes at Hero Arts booth #2633, 11am-1pm