Featured Friday: SuzAnn, Salt Lake City, Utah

Today's featured cardmaker is SuzAnn, who also serves as an OWH board member. Check out her cute cards!

How long have you been stamping? Not very long actually, just a little over 2 years. I scrapped before that but need something that was a little more instant and less "emotionally" taxing.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp? I'm lucky to have half of my family room, which runs the length of my house, dedicated to my craft. I make a huge mess when I'm creating and can completely cover every surface which includes a 6 ft table, several cadenzas and chairs!

What are your favorite stamp products? I love SU! but am on a budget these days and find I'm using more digi stamps. I love Bugaboo Stamps and Digi's with Attitude.

Do you have a favorite technique? I'm still pretty basic and so easily intimidated by all the techniques. I'm glad S&S has the archives of techniques to refer to although I still am confounded by masking! And Sandy converted me to Copics, lol.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards? I like the classics: red/black/white, orange/pink, tan/blues

What type of cards are your favorite to make? I like doing general themes and especially "thinking of you" or "Love/miss" you. I tend to be a little off-center when it comes to sentiments and I love puns. I'm not very good at kid's or heavily embellished cards.

How did you hear about Operation Write Home? I was on another scrapping site and one of the gals mentioned Cards for Heroes. I thought it was a great idea and checked it out. Then when Sandy personally replied to a question, I was hooked!

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? I found CFH/OWH during a very down time of my life and it gave me something outside of myself to focus on and could feel good about. I absolutely agree when Sandy says that making cards blesses many people: the card maker, the shipper that packs it, the soldiers that select it and the person that receives it. So much BANG for your buck! Our heroes and their families are offering everything to protect our freedoms and a card is such a simple way to say thank you and let them know they aren't forgotten.

How did you become involved with the board? Sandy emailed me a year ago asking me to be on the board and to serve as the secretary. I'm annal by nature and love reports so I guess she picked up on that, lol.

What has being on the board meant to you? I love the board members and our meetings are delightful - everyone is so engaged and excited to support OWH in any manner. I love telling people about OWH and that I'm on the board, especially when I ask for donations. The JoAnns by me was so much fun to visit during their Craft for a Cause contest and especially after we won 2nd place! I feel like a member of a great big sorority.

Thanks, SuzAnn, for the work you do for our heroes!

SuzAnn doesn't have a blog, so please leave your comments for her here.


Holiday Vacation Challenge #11: Goodbye 2010!

Congratulations to the winner of the ® challenge, Nina S!

Today's final holiday challenge is to say a fond (or not so fond?) farewell to 2010! You need to use TEN things or TWENTY things on your card. You pick which. Now we don't want a card slathered with sticker sneeze....still make it as nice and clean a card as you can. But the things that count in your TEN or TWENTY are the physical stuff attached (not the adhesives or card base)...things like:

  • layers  
  • paper (sentiments or stamped images on them don't count as a separate item)
  • ribbon
  • buttons, bling, etc count individually 
Now we're not gonna get legalistic here. But you get the idea. Be sure to either put a list of your ten things on your blog or FB post, or in a comment on this post. Go have fun counting up stuff!

Our sample card is very simple for a card with ten items. There are four pieces of cuttlebugged paper, four corners, one stamped image, and one layer of paper. And of course the lil robot, shined up with some Glossy Accents, is apologizing for anything he did wrong in 2010. On to 2011 with a clean slate!
 We've got some goodies for a lucky winner - link up your project before 2010 is over to qualify!


Holiday Vacation Challenge #10: Round Rs!

Our Anything But Pink winner from yesterday's challenge was Cindy O!! Congrats! And don't forget, there's still the Midweek Throwdown challenge to make kids missing you cards - you have til next Tues night to get in on that one and qualify for the great prize!!

If you saw the little announcement on the Homefront Blog today, you'll know why we're celebrating a little round R! Didn't see? Go read the story quick, we'll be waiting here for you!

Wasn't that COOL! So in honor of that little R in a circle....make a card with, if possible, all circular elements - and things starting with the letter R! There are very few sentiments that start with R or that deal with roundness, though, so don't hold yourself to it for that part of your card - don't force it, we still want to make nice cards :)

The sample card came together really easily after looking across my table for round things. The strip of printed buttons, polkadotted papers, corner rounder, nestabilities...and when searching for a sentiment, I noticed the round globe!

Dixie will like the cool flat element ---it's the button strip from a HUGE package that has all sorts of rows of punch out buttons - and it's in the $1 bin at Jo-Anns! I punched holes and threaded twine through them to make them feel more like 'real' buttons. But it keeps the card from getting too lumpy!

And, as you've gotten used to during these holiday challenges, we've got a little prize for a lucky winner!
Just upload by midnight tonight, either here or Facebook, and we'll draw a name to win these goodies!


Missing You 4 Kids Challenge

Thank you everyone who entered into last weeks Valentine challenge!    
We enjoyed visiting your blogs and checking out your wonderful cards!

Today we challenge you to make cards for our heroes to send home to their kids, our theme is “Missing You”.    Please remember no glitter or glitter products on your cards for Operation Write Home.  We’re looking forward to seeing your awesome creations this week!

 Our planned challenge for this week was “Anything Goes” but I saw an OWH post on Face Book where Missing You cards for kids were requested and thought, hey what a great challenge!  So there you have it…
I didn’t have a sample card maker for this week either so I used a card of mine that was set aside for a future design team project somewhere else.  Hope you like it!

To play along in this week's  challenge, simply upload a project using this week's challenge to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the Linky widget at the bottom of this post.  And remember, you may use this challenge at any time.  Feel free to re-post the challenge on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We also have a prize sponsor this week, The Angel Company has given Operation Write Home the set pictured below.  A winner will be drawn from the challenge entries for this cute kids set and an announcement will be made at the beginning of our next Midweek Throwdown challenge!

We  encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants.  Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create. 
Thanks for stopping by and hope you join in the fun!

To play along this week, please enter your name, URL and email address in the link below then press next step and select the photo of your creative project.  An icon will appear on the blog featuring the photo you selected.  If the photo doesn’t appear right away, don’t worry, it will after the page has been refreshed.


Holiday Vacation Challenge #9: Anything but pink!

Yesterday's challenge winner in the Miss You card category: Sue K!!

And a side note before we get on to today's challenge - did you see the news??

Today's challenge is a special shipper's request: Anything But Pink!....after all the hearts, valentines and love, even our birthday and thank you cards are looking awfully pink lately! Your card doesn't need to be masculine, but at least leave the pink out of the mix for today.

Here's an idea you might want to try with some friends - about a week ago, cardmaker Becca was in town and came over my house to hang out for a few hours. She wanted to try my Copics - and she's a natural! She left her colored images here, and I'm having a blast making cards with them! Do you have a friend who's a great color-er, or are you the one with talent in markers, pencil, or watercolor? Consider swapping with a friend -  make part of a card, then let them finish it up and see what a different spin they put on it! Or ask them to do the same for you. It's a lot of fun and can really refresh your own creativity to see something through different eyes.

And of course there's a prize! Once again some paper, cut to card front size - I'm determined to get that task done tomorrow. :) So link up your project by midnight Pacific time, either here or on Facebook. Have fun!!


Tutorial - More Masking, Holiday Style

Yes, Christmas has come and gone, but when I saw this tutorial by Julie (our new sketch mistress), I remembered that some of you have said you wish you knew more about masking. This tutorial is a great example of masking, as well as sponging and using a stamp to get a new look by stamping off the page. So, one last holiday card for 2010...

There are quite a few steps but the end result is totally worth it. Throughout the tutorial you can click on any picture to view it larger.

The supplies: White cardstock cut to 3.75″ x 5″, Early Espresso cardstock cut to 4″ x 5.25″, white A2 cardbase, clear acrylic craft sheet (or old transparency!), Archival Ink in Jet Black, Stampin’ Up inks in Bashful Blue, Brocade Blue, and Night of Navy, a large circle punch (2.5″ diameter), a snowflake punch, a clear gel glitter pen, sponges for each ink color, a paper piercer, small red adhesive rhinestones, small silver brads, sheer white ribbon, post-it notes, and SU! stamps from the sets Peaceful Wishes, Lovely as a Tree, and the single stamp Dasher. Not pictured: Versamark and silver embossing powder.

First, punch a large circle out of a post-it note and stick it in the middle of your white cardstock. Then tear a post-it note (along the sticky edge) and place that across the bottom of the circle. This masks your moon and snow. Sponge Bashful Blue ink on the exposed white area.

Sponge Brocade Blue ink over two-thirds of the Bashful Blue, then sponge Night of Navy ink over one-third, creating a fade effect.

Remove the masks and stamp Dasher in the center of the moon with Early Espresso ink. Stamp the trees twice, hanging off each side, with Archival Ink Jet Black. In the picture above, mine is faded because my ink pad needs to be refilled, but I left it because I liked the weathered effect, which you can achieve intentionally by stamping off onto scrap paper once before stamping your cardstock.

Grab your torn post it note and place it upside down over the bottom of the moon, making it even with the horizon. Tear another post it note in a swoop shape and stick it on the bottom section of the card. Sponge lightly with Archival Ink Jet Black.

Move your post-its and sponge again to create a shadow underneath Dasher and another snowdrift.

Stamp Peaceful Wishes across the top in Versamark and heat emboss with silver embossing powder.

Using the glitter gel pen, carefully trace over Dasher’s antlers to give them some bling. (See that smudge? Don’t do that)

Punch two snowflakes out of an old transparency or a clear acrylic craft sheet. Use a paper piercer to poke holes through the middle of the snowflakes.

Add your Early Espresso mat, then tie on the sheer ribbon and affix your snowflakes with silver brads. Add the red adhesive rhinestone to Dasher’s Rudolph’s nose for your final touch, then adhere to your white cardbase.

Thanks, Julie, for this great tutorial!

If you want to see more from Julie, visit her blog at Handmade by Julie, or leave her some love here. Also, remember you can find information on cardmaking terms or techniques at our Cardmaking Glossary, and I'd love to hear any feedback on the glossary or your tutorial ideas at kate@operationwritehome.org.


Holiday Vacation Challenge #8: Missing you

The winner of the New Toys challenge wins some new toys: Adele!! Congratulations!

This challenge today is inspired by a hero letter just received yesterday - an excerpt:

‎"Can I talk you into sending me another box please? The I miss you cards, especially those that can go to kids are going fast. Everyone has been writing a card a week to each of their kids and it helps them feel they are a part of the process. I wish I had better words to describe how much we appreciate them." J.T., Afghanistan (full letter here.)
JT is #29 in line on Sandy's contact list - yes, there are 29 regulars waiting for boxes with valentines and a mix in them, and this dear lady is #29 :( Note that there are plenty of valentines here (I can still take more but don't make more valentines from here on - go for other themes!); if it gets down to it, I can send a Flat Rate Envelope to those 29 contacts with valentines at least. But....I need to get full boxes out there! All themes are welcome with all the shippers - but Sandy's the only one still needing lots of birthday too.

Challenge #8: make MISSING YOU cards
They can be for adults or children, and they can say things like I miss you - but please, no more "Wishing you were here" cards. Got enough of those in the hospital waiting for re-sentimenting! :)

This sample card is a special one made with an image colored by our newly-famous Miss Lainey, age 3. It says so on the back of the card, too! It's a fun way to turn kids art into a card - just be sure that you use good cardstock, and embellish and trim everything cleanly. If not, it's way too easy for a card like this to go south and look like a piece of refrigerator art instead of something someone will write home on! **Important: Be sensitive to the sentiments on things like this as well; it's going from an adult to a child, so please don't put "Miss you daddy" on a card with a child's art. Those end up in the hospital too.

The prize, not pictured, will be a stack of designer paper! EK Success donated a huge-amongous stack, and it will be chopped down to cardfront size and shared as prizes over time. Hopefully I'll be feeling well enough to get off the sofa and start chopping paper today at least! -Sandy

As always, link up using InLinkz or post on Facebook or our gallery!


Holiday Vacation Challenge #7: New toys!

ETA: Our winner is Louise F!
**in the morning (Pacific time) I'll pick a winner for the weekend "All about the boys" challenge....I've been sick and need to get to bed early. Will update here when that's chosen!**

Now, we know lots of you got crafty toys from Santa. Or you got gift certificates and picked out some new goodies yourself. So let's play with them! Your challenge for the day is to make something with a new craft tool or supply and show it off! This sample is made with a recently ordered nestabilities set called Lacey Circles....I kept it and another set packaged up so I'd be sure to have something fantastic to play with at Christmas! (Am I the only one that does that?)

Upload your link using InLinkz by midnight tonight, and you could be the lucky winner of a goodie pack! You can post on your blog, our gallery, or Facebook, wherever you like.


Sunday Sketch Challenge #49

Merry Christmas, cardmakers!

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday. If you can carve out a little time for yourself this week, why not give this sketch a try?

We have two great samples this week that were made for us by the marvelous Seongsook Duncan! Be sure and visit her blog Sea Garden for more of her beautiful work. Thanks for the fantastic samples, Seongsook!

I'm sure you all have tons of great ideas for this sketch, so get started and don't forget to come back here and show us what you did with it!

To play along in this week's sketch challenge, simply upload a project using this week's sketch to your blog or online gallery then leave a direct link to your project using the Inlinkz widget at the bottom of this post. And remember, you may use this sketch at any time. Feel free to re-post the sketch on your blog along with your card… then come back and leave a link for us so we may all see your cards!

We encourage everyone to take a few moments to visit and leave comments for the other participants. Comments are a wonderful way to say thank you for sharing your creative project and inspires everyone to create.


We wish you a Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a happy new year!

We thank you from the homefront,
We thank you from the homefront,
We thank you from the homefront,
Stay safe, come home soon!

We wish you cardmaking mojo
We wish you cardmaking mojo
We wish you cardmaking mojo
And a crafty new year!

Also...we had a bunch of folks asking if we can extend the "All about the boyz" challenge from yesterday---your wish is our command, since it's Christmas! That challenge is open til Sunday night, and you can submit multiple entries for it. (Just use InLinkz separately for each one - you'll have to do separate blog posts to get InLinkz to accept them.) See yesterday's post for details and the digi freebie.

We'll start up more daily holiday vacation challenges Monday morning...be here or be square! (We'll have the regular Sunday Sketch tomorrow to get you going, too!)


Featured Friday: Merry Christmas from kids!

In the spirit of the holidays, we thought this Christmas Eve that it would be fun to share some holiday letters and cards from little kids across the nation. It's a long post but hopefully you'll make it through to the end.

First, two letters from heroes received recently; the second was written to a teacher who sent in letters!

Thanks for what you and your volunteers do. Yesterday I got a very nice card from Bridget and a nice colored picture of a dog with a wonderful note from Emily from Forestville, Door County, "Wisconson," and a great letter from COL (ret) Stephen and his wife May. With great gratitude and respect, Lt Col G.L.
Mrs Norris, I found a letter from Aimi of your second grade. I answered her in a separate letter. I am a US Army Reserve Chaplain serving in Kuwait. The unit is responsible for tracking and delivering all goods shipped by ship. As a father of five, I know how it feels when a letter gets answered. My prayer is that you tell all of your students how wonderful their letters are to us. I have seen hundreds of smiles and "thank yous" from the men and women here. The men and women here serve this nation out of hte love shared and instilled by their teachers. You are my hero. You make the impact that makes possible the character and caliber of the Soldiers I serve with here. Respectfully, CH(MAJ) R.S.
And now...some kids letters! Click on a picture to make it larger so you can read it.

Thank you so much to everyone who's been working so hard on AnyHero mail! If you ever wondered what goes into the processing of hero mail, here's a little step by step view from Sandy's house.
Mail is overflowing! The bottom right shelf and all the mail outside the cabinet is from KIDS! :)
All mail is dutifully reviewed. Someone's not happy about the scarf though.

Adult and kids letters from all over are sorted into piles of 20-30 letters & cards.
Each pack is put in a ziploc, with either a seasonal or happy thank you one showing through.
A bag goes on top of each box, along with oversized cards and letters that don't fit elsewhere.
There's so much mail here that a bunch of boxes have begun to be sent over with *just* mail in them - specifically to really remote places as well as to combat support hospitals. To think that we had to put out a cry for more mail - now we have tons! Thank you, America - MERRY CHRISTMAS!


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