S&S Sketch Challenge #6 with Heart Doily Pocket Tutorial

This week's sketch is provided by Velda. She recently taught a class for seniors, they made a bunch of these and she sent along the tutorial she made for them. Thank you, Velda, for the beautiful sketch, instructions and the sample card!

Tip: Cut the accent paper for the rectangles to 3-1/2 x 4-3/4 first, then in half. Space them 1/4 inch apart on the card.

Option: You can make this style card for any occasion. Just change the color of paper or use patterned paper. Add a message to suite the occasion. You can use a 2inch square of cardstock or the doily folded into a pocket to hold a sentiment.

Option 2: You can also fold cardstock so edges meet in the center front. This is called a gate-fold card. To do this, score and fold at 2-1/8 from each side. Attach the center embellishment to only the left side of the front so it can be opened.

You want to know how to make that sweet little pocket for the sentiment, don't you? How about a quick tutorial! Velda secured permission to repost this heart pocket tutorial below from Debra—here's a link to the original tutorial. Though we're past Valentine's Day here at OWH, this is great for a love card with a 'secret message' inside!

An extra tip from Velda:  This year a lot of the heart doilies are 3 1/2" instead of 4".  They will work, but not as well.  I bought mine at Michaels in the Valentine Day food section - special display for the holiday. [Who knows, they may be on sale now too!] If you have a diecutter that can make a 4" heart, that will work too, with thin enough paper.

With wrong side of doily facing, turn doily upside down.

Fold up doily one-third of the way (from bottom) as shown.

Fold left side of doily to center as shown and press to flatten. 

Fold right side of doily to center as shown and press to flatten. Your doily envelope is now complete. Place a dab of glue under each edge of sides where they meet at the center.

To play along, just upload a project using this week's sketch to your online blog or gallery then leave a direct link to your project in the Mister Linky widget at the bottom of this post.

You can use this sketch at any time. When a NEW challenge is posted next Sunday, we'll also include photos of the cards that used this sketch before then. 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!

If you'd like to create a sketch and sample card to be featured in an upcoming sketch challenge, please send an email to Karen and you are on your way!  Keep in mind that the sketch you will create is just a rough draft, we don't expect it to be formated the same as the ones posted here on the blog.  Karen will work with you to create a rough draft in word, excel or even just draw it on paper and scan or take a photo of it.  From there Sandy will work her magic and re-create the sketch in her photo editing software and format it to look the same as the ones posted here on the blog.  So really all you need is your creativity and to make a card! 

Thanks for stopping by and hope you join in the fun!


Saturday Chit Chat & upcoming FUN!

Hi bloggers! What fun this Stars and Stamps blog has been in these first weeks...full of so much excitement and inspiration....are we having fun or what?

Wee Henry update
Earlier this week we posted a challenge using a free digistamp in the form of a .tif file from Hambo Stamps. Some of you have been struggling with what to do with it...sorry! Try downloading this Word document that has the image placed into it already. You should be able to resize the image by dragging the corner of it.

Your blog
Kate posted on our Facebook page that some bloggers might want to change some settings:

I don't know where to say this so that the most people will see it. I've been visiting a lot of the blogs in the blogroll at Stars and Stamps, and I like to leave comments, but some people don't have as many "identify yourself" options on the comments, so I'm finding that if people don't have the option for name and website, I just can't leave a comment at all. :( Can we spread the word?

So if that's you, poke around on your blog settings, and be sure to open up comments to anyone if you can; on Blogger's dashboard, go to Settings/Comments and be sure the Who setting is "Anyone" and also that the form placement is set at "Popup" (I just noticed this blogs's settings were wrong too! Ack!) If your blog restricts comments, you just might be missing out on some wonderful feedback!

This blog
How are you liking this S&S blog? Is it inspiring you? Are you making more cards, or trying new things...or just having more fun making them? Leave a comment on this post!

If you want to "give back" by hosting a sketch, a midweek challenge, or a tutorial, email challenges@operationwritehome.org to offer your talents! We can help format the post (you don't have to be a blogger) ...we just need your creativity and content! 

How about some fun?

Let's shake off the winter blues with a bloghop! This hop will take place on Saturday, March 20th...and here's how it'll work:
  1. Sign up ahead of time by filling out this form.
  2. Spread the word on your blog by linking to http://operationwritehome.org/bloghop ....and if you'd like to add a sidebar gadget, you can snag the code from our Photobucket album!
  3. Please set your post to go live by 9am EST (6amPST) on Saturday March 20th. Make sure it's the only post that day, so it's at the top of your blog. (Or other posts could have a later time stamp so they're below it.)
  4. Be prepared to edit it on FRIDAY night March 19th to add a BIG BOLD LINK to the stop on the hop that follows yours; you'll have that info emailed to you on Friday March 19th or sooner.
  5. Mandatory Content:
    -A springy thinking-of-you or hello type of card (no sentiment is also fine)
    -Please note the deadline for Mother's Day is April 1 for new cardmakers joining us.
    -Something from our site, blogs, or Facebook page that would help or inspire other cardmakers
    -Your reason for being an OWH cardmaker! A story or comment, photos of your hero, links to inspirational videos...anything you'd like.
  6. Optional: you can offer up a tutorial, blog candy....anything else you want to add to make it fun
  7. Please visit the blogs during the hop and leave lots of feedback! The start of the hop will be here on this blog that morning.
  8. Confirmation: We'll be sending a confirmation reminder email about a week before the hop.
  9. If you are UNABLE to join in the hop or edit your post on Friday, please email bloghop@operationwritehome.org and let us know. You won't want to be the missing link in the bloghop! :) (If we come across your blog and you don't have a 'hop' post up, we'll try to scramble and have the blog before you change their link so we hop past yours.)
Have a supercreative weekend!


      Featured Cardmaker: Teresa K, Vancouver WA

      It's such an honor to get to know some of our stampers and highlight the different talents each one has! This week, meet Teresa!

      How long have you been stamping?
      I started about 10 years ago when a friend who sold Close To My Heart invited me into a group that met on a monthly basis for card parties. I was hooked!

      Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp?
      At my last house, I had a whole bedroom! But, we down sized when we moved 4 years ago and now I have a very spacious wall in the family room. My dear husband put up shelves and I have wonderful roller carts that hold my expanding stamp collection. My friends think I’m obsessed. Yeah, it’s an addiction!

      What are your favorite stamp products?
       I love my monster paper cutter. I would be lost without it. But, of course, I love my stamps, lovely papers, punches and lately I’ve fallen very hard for my Cuttlebug. I had such fun making Christmas cards this last season. It helped me make some fabulous Valentine’s cards, and Woo Hoo, here comes Easter! Oh, but you asked about stamp products specifically….I have a large number of Close To My Heart, some Stampin’ Up, Hero Arts, Whipper Snapper Designs, American Art Stamps and many from Stamp Francisco (a web based stamp company that encompasses many different stamp designers. They’re in Camas, Washington, which is close to me, and I LOVE their stamps.)

      Do you have a favorite technique?
      It’s hard to choose any one thing. I love trying new things. Once I find something I really love, I will make a ton of cards with that. But so far, I haven’t found anything I don’t like yet.

      Are there colors you love to include on your cards?
      I tend to like brighter color combinations, but sometimes I just dive in and let my imagination run wild. I sometimes just look through clothing catalogs and see what color combinations are being used this season and will match up papers and let my imagination take me away.

      How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
      I don’t remember if I read about it in one of my fav stamping magazines, Paper Crafts, Stamp and Craft, or Rubber Stamp Madness, or the web site, “Stamp TV.”

      What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?
      Both of my brothers were in the service and so was my husband. I wrote to them and sent a lot of cards. Their letters home to me were so precious, so I just want to do my little bit to help some of the service men and women stay in touch with their loved ones too.


      Midweek Challenge: Masculine Card

      This week we have a theme challenge preparing us for Father's Day cards: create a masculine card using this digi freebie from Hambo Stamps! A message from our friends at Hambo:

       With Father's Day approaching Hambo Stamps wanted to donate an image to OWH for all of the fathers, sons, and daughters serving our country. OWH does such wonderful  work and we at Hambo wanted to help in whatever  way we could. Hopefully  this Wee Henry Fishing image will inspire many of the awesome volunteers and hopefully some new ones who spend their time making the cards for OWH. Thanks  everyone for all you do!!
      Tim and Monica Hunter-Hambo Stamps
      Be sure to pay them a visit at their main page and/or their Digital Image page...they have some AWEsome stamp designs!! Thank you, Tim and Monica....we appreciate your support!

      So for this week's throwdown, your card can be for any occasion (it's a great one for Father's Day, of course, anf might help with your Half and Half Challenge cards!) and could be for adult men or for boys—but it should be a card for our heroes to send to a dude!

      Click here and "Wee Henry" should download to your hard drive right away, ready to place in Word for re-sizing (if you right-click on the image above, your image may be fuzzy since it will be downloading a jpg rather than the high-resolution tif file, so try clicking on it once and check your hard drive).  Please do not re-post or email out this digi, at the request of Hambo; you're welcome to link to this post to tell your OWH friends about the availability of the image, though! If you don't know how to use digital images, check out the digi tutorial we did on the Homefront Blog a while ago. 

      ETA: Some of you have been having trouble with the download :( Try downloading this - it's a Word doc with the image placed in it; you should be able to resize it however you wish.

      To get you started, a few of our crafters created sample cards using this great image...thanks, ladies!

      Post a link to your card below....let's go fishing!


      Cardmaking 201: Watermarking Tutorial

      Many thanks to Dawn B in New Jersey for providing us with a tutorial on watermarking! 

      For those who don't know—watermarking is adding your name (and other info if you wish) to photos, so you can mark your content as your own. This protects from having anyone swipe your photo and posting it elsewhere and claiming it as their own. It's recommended that at least part of the watermark be overtop a portion of the card itself, so it can't be cropped out.

      At OWH, when we post photos of your cards, we always watermark them with at least our name if you don't already have a watermark on them, to claim it for you (you still maintain ownership over your creative work of course!) and protect you from anyone 'borrowing' your art off of our website!  Watermarking can also be done in Photoshop, if you have that - but Dawn found a great free and easy-to-use site to share with you as well. Happy watermarking!

      Hello bloggers! My name is Dawn, I blog at The Chatty Stamper, and I'm very honored to be guest bloggin' on the S&S blog today. It is one of my goals this year!

      Today I'm going to show you how to use a free website, fotoflexer.com, to place a watermark on your cards. Some people have those fancy programs, I do not! So I found a great site on the web. I'll take you through step by step. Mac users, this may be a little different for you, but you should be able to quickly figure it out..heck, if you have mac you already know how to do this...LOL!

      Take a photo of your card, and upload it from your camera to your computer. Go to the site fotoflexer.com

       In the upper right hand corner you'll see a upload photo box.

      When you do this your picture folder will pop up. I have my cards in a separate folder so you may have to search.  Click on the photo you want and double-click. Your photo will upload, if you get an error try again, sometimes it take more than once.

      Now for the magic. On the top you'll see little tool bars tabs - choose "Decorate." Then click "Text." A box will appear to type in your words (I usually put my name and my blog address). Below that text box, overtop your photo, you'll see a box - stretch it out by clicking and dragging the little corner squares. Move it to the place on the photo you want it to be.

      To the right you'll see a box that says "Text options."
      1. Starting from the top of the box, click "Transparent." This lets you see through to your card.
      2. Next choose your font (they have a lot to choose from) and size (the standard is 12).
      3. Where you see "Color," click on the little black box and choose your color; go with white or yellow for a dark card, something light that can be seen. Or if your card is light you may want to use black.
      4. Now that is all finished your go to the top and click "Save."
      The option "Save to my computer" will pop up like you see here. Double-click on that. If you use Picasa or Flickr you can click on that on the side and it will upload to those sites for you. Now save your image, rename it if you like, and done!

      Now, that was easy! Go play around check out the site. It has a lot of fun things.

      I hope this was helpful to you. I'd love to know how you like this tutorial, so please leave a comment. Thank you for supporting OWH, and our heroes!


      S&S Sketch Challenge #5

      This week's sketch is provided by Caryl. To see more of her gorgeous artwork, please visit her blog, Stamps and Stitches. Thank you, Caryl, for the wonderful sketch and sample card!

      To play along, just upload a project using this week's sketch to your online blog or gallery then leave a direct link to your project in the Mr. Linky widget at the bottom of this post.

      You can use this sketch at any time. When a NEW challenge is posted next Sunday, we'll also include photos of the cards that used this sketch before then. 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!

      If you'd like to create a sketch and sample card to be featured in an upcoming sketch challenge, please send an email to Karen and she will get you going.

      Thanks for stopping by and hope you join in the fun!


      Featured Cardmaker: Carol L, Gilbertsville PA

      Hi! My name is Carol. I live in PA and I've been stamping about 7 years. I started scrapbooking about 15 years ago, and after I saw some pretty cards on the counter at the scrapbook store, I decided to take a class to learn how to make them. I was hooked and the rest is history.

      I'm a retired empty-nester, so I turned an empty bedroom into a craft area where I have my computer, a small tv, and my craft table and supplies. (and a small but constant supply of chocolate)

      I have so many favorite items that it's really hard to name just one. I use both my Tonic paper cutter and my Scor-pal on a daily basis, so those are 2 items I can't live without.

      My favorite technique is embossing, either with embossing folders, embossing powders & ink, or stenciling with brass plates. I just love the look and there's a huge variety of product available for this technique.

      My favorite color is purple, but I use a wide spectrum of colors on my cards. I love doing color and sketch challenges which stretch me to create things I normally wouldn't think of doing, often with surprising results!

      I read about OWH on someone's blog and clicked the link. I knew it was the perfect way to get my cards into the hands of people who would appreciate and use them! I create cards mostly as a hobby, but it gives me a good feeling to know that when I'm donating them, I'm giving something back to these brave men and women who do so much for us!


      Stash Challenge

      Welcome to our first Stash Challenge!  Some of you may be asking, "What is a Stash Challenge?"  Well, a Stash Challenge is simply creating a card using a formula or recipe of products.  You are not limited to using just the formula but must at least use all the products in the formula.  You will have a week to complete the stash challenge. 

      So, are you ready???

      Stash Challenge
      This month's Stash Challenge and inspiring card samples are provided by Kathy.  To see more of her beautiful artwork, please visit her blog, Pass It On.  Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your ideas and beautiful card creations with us!  The formula or recipe to use is "create a card using two patterned papers and a button"!  Here are some beautiful cards created by Kathy to get your started.

      To play along, just upload a project using this month's formula to your online blog or gallery then leave a direct link to your project in the Mr. Linky widget at the bottom of this post. For those of you who do not have a blog or online gallery simply send a photo of your card to challenges@operationwritehome.org referencing Stash Challenge #1 as the subject and your photo will be included in the slide along with the others. If you'd like to host a stash challenge simply send an email with your idea and sample card and you are on your way.

      For additional inspiration here are a few tips or suggestions from Kathy on ways to use "two patterned papers and a button" in your card making:

      Tips and suggestions for using patterned papers:
      1. Cut one piece of double sided patterned paper and fold over a corner.  And you have just used two patterned papers at one time!  Add a button to the folded over corner and you have just completed this month's stash challenge!
      2. When selecting patterned papers to use together aim for one with a large or medium print and the other with a small or simple pattern so the images coordinate and not compete with each other.
      3. Choose patterned papers from a paper collection.  This way the work is already done for you!

      Tips and suggestions for using buttons:
      1. Glue dots work great for adhering buttons on your card.
      2. Use buttons as the center of flowers.
      3. Use floss left over from cross stitching to thread through the buttons or to sew the buttons on to cardstock.
      4. Some companies sell stamp sets especially for use with buttons.  For example:  Papertrey Ink has a stamp set called Everyday Buttons that works beautifully with buttons!
      5. Look at yard sales and thrift stores for old clothes with vintage buttons.  Some times you may get a piece of clothing with quite a few buttons for less money than you would pay for a set of new buttons.
      6. Organize your buttons by color so you are able to find the perfect button faster!

      This is a photo of Kathy's button stash before she organized the buttons by color!

      And this is Kathy's stash all nicely sorted and organized by color!

      If you have any tips or ideas you would like to share for using patterned paper, buttons or organizing your stash, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post! 

      1. irit
      2. Carol L
      3. Judianne Graham
      4. Robin
      5. Sandy
      6. Seongsook Duncan
      7. Karen Howard
      8. Linda

      10. Caro (again)
      11. Donna
      12. Kate
      13. Martha
      14. Kajikit
      15. Dixie
      16. Patricia F
      17. Sarah


      OWH Half and Half Challenge!

      It's time for another card drive.....with Mother's Day coming up, we'll have a lot of heroes who will be wanting to send some love home to Mom! We have 10 prizes offered up...cardmaking supplies donated by various companies and individuals. Thank you to them all for their generosity in helping us get a lot of cards made!

      The challenge:

      1. Make a selection of cards; any quantity is fine.
      2. Your cards should be approx. half Mothers Day and/or Father's Day, and half anytime cards (thinking of you, birthday, love, miss you, thank you, etc) so we keep up with a good mix for our heroes!
      3. Send in your cards to any shipper.
      4. Include this packing slip.
      5. Cards must arrive to the shipper by March 15th.
      6. We'll draw random winners from all participants!
      Bloggers, feel free to post one of our banners on your blog, link them back to this post, and help us spread the word! Note: To post the animated banner, you'll likely need to upload the code from the Photobucket album; if you simply download it from here, it will not animate if uploaded directly into Blogger.


      Cardmaking 201: Coloring, Basic Shading

      (Subtitle: Sandy's Coloring Tips)
      Many folks are intimidated by coloring stamped images — but it needn't be something that seems so hard! Remember that new skills always take practice . . . even the 'pros' had to learn their skills, and are always trying something new — and needing to practice those new techniques!

      A few basic tips

      1. Use white cardstock. Colored cardstock can handicap a new color-er before coloring even begins. WalMart sells a decent cardstock (Georgia Pacific 110) at a low price, making it easier to be willing to toss failed experiments and try again. (Works great for card bases too!)
      2. Stamp in black ink. Coloring has the most "punch" when there's white and black along with it, so the color can really shine! Versafine Onyx Black is a great ink pad; it stamps very well, the color is a nice black (not a purple-y color), and works with many coloring mediums. (If you're diving into Copic Markers, Versafine will NOT work with Copics—go for Memento inks.)
      3. Practice!  Cut your cardstock in quarters, and stamp a couple of the image you'll be practicing with. Then if you goof up one, you don't need to get your stamp and ink back out over and over—just toss and start a new one! And if you leave white space around your image by cutting it larger than you need, you can test colors on the edges of the paper, without getting too close to the image itself.
      4. Finish your image. One of the things I see the most when people send in cards and ask for help with their coloring is that the image isn't completely filled in. Take your time and fill in each of the areas completely, and that alone 'tidies' an image that doesn't look finished.
      5. Shading adds punch. Dimension makes all the difference, so even if you just add a little bit, you can make a big improvement in your coloring.

      One area that can quickly spark up coloring quality is learning to add depth with shading. Take a look around at objects in the room you're in, and note where the light is coming from. If the light comes from the left, the shadows fall to the bottom and right. So that's where you'll add shadows. Don't worry about shadows and highlights at the same time—if all you add is depth to the image itself, you'll be making leaps ahead!

      If the light source is on the right, note that the shadows fall to the left and bottom of the object.
      And from the top, shadows may only be falling on the bottom of the image. If all you want to add is simple shadows, generally just adding a bit of darker color to the bottom of the image is enough to create the illusion of depth - so that's a great place to start.

      As for colors to shade with, color theory can boggle the mind. Instead, if your object is colored light blue, just shade with a darker blue. If it's pink, pick a dark pink or red. Keep it simple as you're learning!

      Coloring mediums
      Many different types of coloring mediums can achieve a nice shaded look, but it's a matter of knowing a few tricks to make that happen. **Note: Here's where I confess that the dog ate my homework. Or the computer. Or something. I had an entire video recorded, and was editing it in new software I just bought. Sadly, the software won't let me export the video. Uhm, not very useful software, huh. So instead of a great little video, you get this text description! Sorry! ** ETA: Scroll down, the videos are there now!
      1. Magic markers. These come in packs of all types, brands, and colors, and are the most challenging to shade with; depending on the brand of marker, type of paper, and coloring style, there are techniques that could do some shading, but often not in a very smooth fashion. It's best to have a selection of light colors to go with the typical darks. I recommend coloring the image solid in marker, then using colored pencils to shade on top of the marker—just pick a pencil that's a couple shades darker than the marker color. The shadows can be much darker around the edge of the image, and fade as it moves further from the edge. 
      2. Colored pencil. These come in a great variety of colors! Note that there are both watercolor and regular pencils - I use Prismacolor brand pencils, NOT watercolor ones. The "Magic Colored Pencil Technique" (MCPT) is a cool one that works with regular colored pencils: color your image lightly with pencil first, and be sure not to get the pencil on too 'thick'. If it gets shiny, that's too much pencil. Color some shadows if desired, or simply let your coloring get darker in the shaded areas using just one color. Then take a "stub" (purchased at a craft store, it's basically a tightly-wrapped roll of paper, about the size of a golf pencil) and dip it into a little baby oil, and apply it to the colored pencil by rubbing it in circles. The oil smooths out and blends the pencil! 
      3. Watercolors. This is a somewhat unforgiving medium for some of us (I don't do well with water!), but is so much fun to play with it's worth a try. You can use children's watercolors (cheap!), or twinkling H2Os, and achieve a shaded effect. Paint a little of the color in the darkest areas only on your image (ie just a line of color at the bottom); then with just water on your brush, drag that color into the other areas of the image, and the color will be lighter toward the top! A tip for twinking H2Os: Put a decent amount of water into the little paint pot and let it sit a while; as it softens, it will become creamy and shimmery!
      4. Copic Markers. These are for advanced color-ers (pricey too!)....I don't recommend purchasing them til you're certain you actually like coloring! With Copics, the simplest way to achieve shadows is by coloring the area first with a base color, then adding shadows in the darkest area. Then take the base color a 2nd time and color overtop both shades, working across the entire section of the image. The wetter the better to blend them; work the pen around in circles and drag the darker color into the lighter area.
      Below is a photo of the sheet colored with the various mediums that were intended to be shown in the now-non-existent video...I am so sad not to be able to show it to you! The colors on this sheet aren't quite what it looks like in real life...the camera just can't seem to pick up some of the subtleties. Hopefully I can work out the kinks on that video and get it to upload to YouTube someday.

      Once I work out software glitches, I'd like to make tutorials on a lot of coloring techniques and styles...but I'm too sleepy and frustrated to work on more right now. Agh! Let me know what kind of things you would want to see, and I'll do what I can!

      ETA: Semisuccess! I had to re-record....but they're here for you!


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