Featured Cardmakers: Leigh E, Houston and Nancy R, Ft Worth TX

Meet friends Nancy and Leigh this week!

We, along with our husbands and children, have been friends for over twenty years. Even though we live four hours away from each other, we visit several times a year, and talk/text frequently. We are scrapbookers turned card makers. We have been scrap booking for over ten years and card making for about two years. Up until recently, the only stamping we did was sentiments on our cards, but we each bought Copic markers at the Great American Scrapbook Convention last month and will be doing more stamping of images to color.

We each have dedicated scrapbook space in our homes. Nancy has a great upstairs loft that is wonderfully outfitted for crafting and I have taken over our formal dining room with a craft desk, extra table and shelves.It's never referred to as the dining room anymore; it's the scrap room.

Nancy's favorite products are rub on sentiments and letters, ribbon and buttons. Leigh's favorite product has to be paper.

Is copying card designs we see on blogs and magazines considered a technique? If so, we are champs at it. Neither of us feels very creative, but do get much inspiration from the creativity of others. Nancy says she doesn't have a favorite technique, but she's more willing than Leigh to try new things. Leigh likes the look of torn paper, and embossing with the Cuttlebug.

Nancy tends toward pink, green and jewel tones in her work, and Leigh likes fall colors, as well as colors that match the feel of the sentiment on a card, like bright primary colors for a kids birthday card.

Leigh heard about OWH when it was still Cards for Heroes via Jennifer McGuire's blog. She told Nancy about it and the next time we were together we made cards and haven't stopped since. We promise, kids, that we'll eventually finish your scrapbooks! We knew we were hooked on card making when we found ourselves perusing scrapbook paper and saying "Oh, these would make a good cards."

We both love knowing that the cards we make for OWH will be appreciated by both the heroes and their loved ones. We also get great satisfaction of making the lives of our service men and women a little easier. And should a husband maybe say something about us buying yet more supplies and tools we love being able to say "it's for the troops!"

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Midweek Throwdown Challenge - Christmas In July

Hello and welcome to this weeks Midweek Throwdown challenge! 

First things first!  We have a winner from last weeks Digital Challenge, Robin H. you are the winner of the Wards Digi’s prize package!  Congratulations, we will contact you soon!

Our challenge this week is Christmas In July, we challenge you to make a Christmas card for one of our heroes to send home.

Our sample card this week was made by me (Jan), there are two more cards that go with these on my blog She's Gone Stampin' if you’d like to take a peek.



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 Inlinkz 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!

EDITED TO ADD:  We have another generous prize donation this week for your Christmas card making good times!
The prize winner will be announced here next Wednesday when the new challenge is posted! 

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.

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Paper Piercing Tutorial and a New Page!

Have you ever thought to yourself, "I know I saw the answer to that somewhere, but I can't remember where?" If so, you are going to love the newest addition to the Stars & Stamps blog.


The Cardmaking Glossary is part index, part dictionary, and part FAQ. You will find links to resources from this blog, the Homefront blog, the Forum, and OWH's youtube page. Hopefully there is something there for everyone. New information will be added over time, and please let us know if you are looking for something that isn't listed.

* * * * *

And now, thanks to Karen for today's tutorial. You all know Karen from the sketch challenges and all her other work on the Stars and Stamps blog. You can see more of her creations on her blog at Feline Creative. Karen writes:

Paper piercing is a method of decorating paper by inserting a needle thru the paper (piercing it) to make a series of small holes that create a design or pattern. There are several paper piercing templates available depending on what design you are looking for. I mostly paper pierce around the edge of my images because I love how it softens the look. When creating landscape or wildlife scenes paper piercing gives the allusion of bringing the edge of the image in a little so the scene no longer looks like it runs off the edge of the paper.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to paper pierce around the edge of your images.

Before we get started, here is a look at the supplies you will need: a mat, paper piercing tool and paper piercing template.


Next, cut the image to the finished size you want to work with leaving a little space around the edge so that you don’t paper pierce the image itself. Lay the image on the mat and place the template over the image lining up the template so that the gridlines are lined up with the edge of your cardstock. This will ensure that your pierced holes are even all the way around the image. Push the paper piercing tool into each hole in the outside row of holes around the edge of the cardstock. When you complete one side simply turn the image, line up the template again and continue until you’ve pierced holes all the way around the image.


When you are finished paper piercing the image should look like this.


Some fun variations are to pierce designs in the corners (triangles, photo corners, etc.) or to pierce two rows around the image. Wherever your creativity takes you, hope you have lots of fun!
* * * * *
Thanks again to Karen for today's tutorial! Please add links to your own pierced cards on the linky below. As always, if you have thoughts about the tutorial or about the new Cardmaking Glossary page, please leave a comment or email kate@operationwritehome.org. Enjoy!


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S&S Sketch Challenge #27

Hi everyone!  Welcome back for another OWH Stars and Stamps Sunday Sketch Challenge.   A HUGE thanks to all of you who played along in last week's sketch challenge.  The cards are phenomenal and are sure to make someone's day!!!

This week's sketch and beautiful cards were created by Martha. I'm sure you will love all the details on her cards as much as I do.  To see more of her gorgeous artwork, please visit her blog, Peachy Papercrafting.

Thank you, Martha, for the beautiful sample cards!






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.

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.

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Featured Cardmaker: Nancy F, Trexlertown PA


I am so honored be a part of the Stars & Stripes Blog! I first found out about Operation Write Home (it was Cards For Heroes) when it was featured in the Readers Reach Out section of Cardmaker Magazine approx. two years ago and have been hooked ever since.

A small corner of an enclosed porch was dedicated to my stamping/card making habit, and everything was quite manageable and neat, until Heirloom Productions starting having their Mid-Atlantic Rubber Stamp Festivals ten miles from my house. This caused considerable mayhem and my craft area has now taken over the entire porch…......
My earliest stamp sets (not counting the 1965 Flintstones set) are foam backed and from Personal Stamp Exchange (1980’s?). I’ve been at this for quite some time and I can‘t imagine not having an artistic outlet, it’s my therapy at the end of a rough day.



Even with the ridiculous amount of stamps that I own, I sometimes find it hard to get started and I worry that Dixie is always seeing the same stuff from me. When I am totally stumped and can’t select something, I usually reach into my Snoopy drawer. You can never go wrong with Snoopy!

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Midweek Throwdown - Digital Challenge

Hello and welcome to this week's Midweek Throwdown  challenge! 

First we’d like to thank everyone who entered into last weeks challenge, we had a record number of entries!  A big thank you to everyone who played along! 

We have a sponsored challenge this week!  Our sponsor is Ward’s Digis, they have provided us with two digital images to work with and will be awarding a prize package to one lucky card maker, the winner will be announced July 28th 

We challenge you to make cards using the digital images provided with an added twist of also using a die cut or punch on your cards.   We can’t wait to see your interpretation of this weeks challenge!

Next I’d like to introduce you to our artist!   Hi my name is Anthony, I’m a 17 year old high school student in Northern California who loves to draw ( mostly manga) and I am now trying my hand at turning my drawings into Digital stamps (because my step mom turned one into a digi and it was a big hit). My dad Tony likes to draw too ( mostly things with wheels haha) and sometimes he adds images to my blog too! I am overwhelmed with the support we have recieved from our digis and I am so flattered that people are willing to use them for their art.

Our samples this week are made by Lena, Anthony’s step Mom!  To see more of her wonderful cards stop by her blog Scrap Butterfly.  Thank you Lena for your fabulous creations!

To use the digital images, click on them to make them bigger and then "save image as", and have fun!


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 Inlinkz 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 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.


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Tutorial: Paper Punch People

Hi everyone! Are you sitting down? It's Sandy here with this week's tutorial - no stamping, no Copics! Yes, it *is* possible! I don't claim to have invented these—I received some Elmos and Cookie Monsters from cardmakers—and I've added my spin to them. They're really easy so there isn't a lot of explanation...just get out your punches and have fun! These just make you want to smile. Great for kids to help make too! Either for their AnyHero cards, or as blank cards for our heroes to send home. They don't even have to be Sesame Street characters....they can just be funny faces!



Supplies:

  1. Assess the paper punches you have on hand. You can also think about Nestabilities or other dies if you have them (those might be in a future tutorial, if you don't know what they are already!), or using objects around your home for templates - plates, glasses, etc. Round, scalloped, ovals, squares.
  2. You'll need some basic paper colors — solids are best. Simple colors...you can even use construction paper or fun foam! Joanns sells some inexpensive packs of a variety of colors - the solid bright colors work well for these.
  3. Adhesive. Tape runners are great for this - if you use the little highlights on the eyes as I show in these samples, a tiny dot of liquid adhesive will be needed. (Glue dots aren't recommended unless your gluedots are smaller than your punch.)
  4. Cardstock for card bases. I recommend white bases, and cut the front panel to glue on—then you're not using potentially expensive cardstock for the whole thing, just one panel instead!
  5. Black pen - white pen - if you don't have punches the right size, you can draw and color in circles too; using objects around your home to trace the shapes!
  6. Dimensional adhesive if you want to pop a nose up off the card. I don't recommend getting too crazy with dimension - these cards are best left simple!
  7. Sentiment stamps and ink - Stamp these on the inside! The outsides are so simple and cute, you won't want to clutter them up with a message.

Instructions:

  1. Punch out a bunch of each shape and size you have. Note that you can cut circles in half to make eyelids or mouths too!
  2. Figure out which sizes work best for eyes—the smaller should be black, the larger white. 
  3. If modeling your card after a Sesame Street characater - google them to find out what they look like. Assess their eyebrows, eyeball shapes, nose and mouth shapes, and colors. See below for some examples I did with different characters.
  4. If you're making up your own faces - just have fun!
You can create different expressions based on shapes.....play with the shapes before sticking them down, and see what effect different combinations have:
Here are some samples I made based on different Sesame Street characters. You might find other ways to dress them up to look more like the characters, too! Or change them up and just make funny faces. On all these, I added a small punched circle as a highlight in the eyeballs — that's optional, but I think it adds a lot of life to the cards!
Oscar the Grouch: He's green and has a red tongue - this one's made with a heart punch. His eyebrows should probably be a little rougher (try cutting out by hand) to make him more recognizable. On the right: Grover! Pink oval nose and a thin wide pink mouth. 
Who wants a cookie cookie cookie! Blue paper and a cookie in his mouth make this one clearly cookie monster. For the cookie, punch a circle, and take a "bite" out of it with a scallop. Punch dark circles for chocolate chips. Big Bird isn't as recognizable as Big Bird, but he's still cute even if he's just a bird, I think! His beak is a punched square folded in half, with a piece of dimensional adhesive between it. If you look at a picture of Big Bird, he has blue and orange eyelids, and I added hand cut 'feathers' as eyebrows.
 
Bert and Ernie!! Their colors and crazy hair give them away. Bert has a unibrow and an oval nose; Ernie's got a bigger happier smile, round nose, and nice tuft of hair. Ernie also doesn't have round eyes like Bert - so I trimmed circles by hand to make odd shapes. I cut the cardstock short on both of these cards so the hair can stick out - but the card still fits into an A2 envelope this way.

So your paper punches are a bit smaller than those? Never fear! There's plenty you can play with and make some fun cards. Use the same principles as above, just shrink them down:




Once you've gotten used to playing with your punches, you can toy around with other things to make with them. These three little critters - max 4-1/4 inch tall so they fit in A2s - are made from punches! Can you spot the shapes? (Now this sounds like an episode of Sesame Street!) Note that each one has two sets of feet - one on the back of the front half of the card, and another on the back of the back side - so they stand up nicely. 


The cuttlebugged sheep has an extra circle of flat cardstock behind the embossed portion, to make it stay flat.

Thanks so much for joining me this week and bringing along your paper punches! There's a few more of these on my blog, too - I've got the Count, Snuffy, some CASEd Frankensteins (perfect for Halloween) posted today along with an experiment for a strange 'human' face too....more to come I'm sure....I punched out a gajillion eyeballs and need to use them up now!



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Need inspiration?

If you're looking for a great place to find lots of inspiration quickly - check out the OWH Gallery - I was just peeking and oh my! All the goodies I've missed. Go leave some love for the crafters sharing there!

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S&S Sketch Challenge #26

Hi everyone!  Before I present this week's sketch challenge I want to thank everyone who played along with us in last week's sketch challenge!  Hope you were all able to use up lots of those scraps laying around.

This week you are in for a real treat because we have lots of eye candy for you!  We have not only one but six beautiful cards to share with you, all created by the fabulous Rhonda. To see more of her gorgeous artwork, please visit her blog, Rhonda's Place To Share.

Thank you, Rhonda, for the beautiful sample cards!










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.

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.

Read more...

Featured Cardmaker: Ann W, Knoxville TN


This week we have a 'reprise'...Ann's been with us for eons, it seems, back from the very beginning ... and we featured her on our very first blog — and that content is long gone. We thought it's high time to have her pretty cards shown off again!

How long have you been stamping? To be honest, I do not remember. It seems like all my adult life. But for sure, over 10 years if not longer off and on. The past four years I have done it on more consistent bases. For example, I have made over 5000 cards in the past few years for OWH. Yes, I am addicted.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp? I have a table on one side of my living room that I use. Eventually, the guest room will be my craft room. But that is down the road and wishful thinking as to how I want it. (Don’t we all want wall to wall shelving for all those things we hoard?)

What are your favorite stamp products? One of my favorite patterned papers is Die Cuts with a View. My favorite stamps are Stampin’ Up. I am also partial to anything I can buy using a coupon J.

Do you have a favorite technique? I love to use ribbon on cards. While I am not sure about techniques, I can CASE with the best of them. So if you see a card that might be yours, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards? My favorite color is black. While that is not always appropriate for all cards, I love to use pink or green or yellow with some splashes of black. Most of the time, the colors I use happen to be the cardstock I have handy.

How did you hear about Operation Write Home? I first heard about OWH when it was Cards for the Heroes and then it was on the Two Peas in a Bucket message board. WOW, how it has grown!

What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? My step-father was in the Korean War. My uncle was in the Air Force during the Berlin Crisis. I still have two postcards he sent me – I was 12 at the time and it was really a big deal for me to get something sent from Germany. Lots of my high school peers served in the Vietnam War and I remember writing to some of them. Now my niece’s boyfriend is deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan until late fall. So I truly understand the importance of communication between the military and their families and friends. I feel honored to be able to contribute my talents to support the troops. After all, they are what keep the red, white, and blue waving over all of us.

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