Winner - Winner - Winner!

We have a winner to announce from our "Inchies" challenge!  
Congratulations Joyce Ann, your name was picked at random!!!
Lisa will be in contact with you soon -

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Anything But Glitter!

 Thanks for a great challenge last week, your cards were wonderful!  Thanks for the wonderful inspiration too –

This week we challenge you to make cards for our heroes to send home to their loved ones using “anything you like but glitter”.   I can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Instead of a sample card maker this week we have a free digital image for you from A Day For Daisies!  It’s yours to take and use on your cards for this challenge or any Operation Write Home cards you choose.
Click on the picture above to make it full size, right click your mouse and scroll down to "save image" and click.  I save mine to my desktop so they are easy to find.

Thank you Tammy for sharing your awesome creativity with us!



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 - Shaving Cream Technique: Marbelized Paper

Special thanks to our very own Paula for this week's tutorial. You can see more of Paula's creations at Handmade by Paula.


The supplies you'll need to try this technique are a can of shaving cream (cheap, unscented is fine), a few bottles of ink (I used my StampinUp refills and would suggest you start by choosing 3 colors that go together but have enough contrast to be somewhat distinct from each other), a box frame or tray about 1" deep (I used an 8x10 lucite box style frame since I opted for small pieces of paper. You may prefer larger sheets as discussed later in this post), paper (I used basic cardstock that I cut down to 4.25" x 5.25"), a popsicle stick, a straw or a fireplace match to make your pattern and a squeegee or some other tool that you can 'scrape' with. I improvised and used the thin acrylic block pictured here since it was handy. A table cover or something (I used the huge baking tray you see pictured) to cover your workspace because this can get a bit messy. You will also want to have access to running water nearby so you can rinse your tools easily.



Step 1: Cover the bottom of your tray with shaving cream. Aim for enough to give you about a 1" thickness.




Step 2: Spread it out making sure that your shaving cream area is larger than the paper size you will use. I smoothed it with my fingers but you could use your squeegee. Either way you will need to rinse it or your fingers when your done.





Step 3: Add drops of ink in a random mixed up pattern.



Step 4: Drag your match or popsicle stick through the inks. If you drag it only in one direction your final pattern will differ as you will see shortly. The first image here shows the pattern made dragging in only one direction and the next one shows the pattern I created when I dragged my match in the opposite direction as well.







Step 5: Lay your paper down taking care to gently press it into the shaving cream as needed to be sure the entire paper is covered.



Step 6: Gently lift the paper off the tray. You can see here there are peaks of shaving cream and color on the paper.




Step 7: Drag your squeegee from one edge of the paper across to the other and the pattern will emerge.



Step 8: Lay your papers out until completely dry.




Here you can see the paper on the left was created in a tray that was 'patterned' in both directions and the one on the right has a distinct one way pattern because I dragged my stick in only one direction before I dipped it.




If you find you've missed a spot, like shown here you can dip the paper back in but take care to only dip that spot. Doing this will result in a less distinct pattern.



Also note that the first paper(s) you dip will have the most distinct patterns. While I used small pieces of paper here for demonstration purposes you may want to consider using larger sheets of paper that you will be able to cut down after it has dried. You can dip several papers in your tray but the more 'mixed up' the pattern gets the muddier, and less distinct your patterns will be. You'll want to experiement a bit with how often you 'rinse and remake' your tray to suit your tastes.

Here are some cards I made with the marbled papers I created. Though I find that a nice bright white stock makes a good base color, it can also be fun to experiment as I did with the "Camo" effect card, which uses a tan cardstock and brown, dark green and light green inks.










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Stampers Best - some changes

Hello stampers! Sandy here...we've got some changes goin' on (what ever stays still around here? ha!)

Stampers Best, the fabbbbulous company that makes and donates our OWH freebie stamps for the backs of our cards, is no longer offering the custom stamps. I know, I know, but there weren't enough being ordered to make it worth the efforts. That was a lot of work for them! However...there are even more fun things in store!

A set of OWH red rubber stamps that you can use with any crafting inks and be all matchy matchy with your papers! Only $12, and these come on cling mount and cut-out, ready to use, along with a free bonus stamp! (Tip: Dedicate one to white ink, one to black ink...and then you can be lazy like me and not wash them! lol! -Sandy)

If you missed out on the chance to get a custom one made...you can always stamp your name (or name/email) below the OWH stamp, or make labels with both on it - or go to your local office supply store and they can make you a self-inking one with your own artwork/verbage.


Plus - for every one of the Bald Eagle and Old Glory stamps purchased, Stampers Best donates $1.00 to OWH! These are perfect for OWH! Check out this gorgeous card made by Lisa with the eagle:

And a totally random fun tip:
I knew Lisa had posted a couple cards with this beautiful eagle. Rather than scrolling through her blog, I typed in her blog name, http://www.stampingwithamission.blogspot.com , and added /view/flipcard to the end of it. You can do this with any blogspot blog - and see quick thumbnails to find something you knew you saw in the past. Go ahead and try it! (Note: some browsers can't view the flipcard, especially if they are old versions. Try a different one if you don't end up seeing hundreds of thumbnails when  you click on one of these:

Lisa's blog viewed as a "flipcard":

Stars and Stamps, viewed as a "flipcard":

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Sketch Challenge #84

Ready for a new sketch, folks?

Are you working in Fall colors now? I know I am. Make me feel cooler on these 100+ degree days! Thanksgiving and Fall cards need to be to your shipper by September 30th, that's just around the corner!

Today's sketch is great for a large image, and I can't wait to see what y'all do with it. It also features a bow! If you aren't a bow person, try just tying a loose knot and securing it with a glue dot.



Today's sample card was made for us by Valerie. I just love the beautiful patterned paper in the background. Valerie doesn't blog so please be sure and leave some nice comments for her here on this post. We appreciate the lovely sample card, Valerie, thanks!



Ready to make a card now? Let's see what you can turn out! Be sure and come back here to show us!

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 the link to that entry 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.




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Featured Cardmaker: Lori B., Marietta, GA

Happy Friday everyone! This week I'd like to introduce you all to Lori and to share some of her beautiful cards with you. Lori does not have a blog so be sure to leave her some love here at the end of this post.


How long have you been stamping?  I have been stamping for about 5-6 years. I have always enjoyed crafts, but had never stamped.  A couple of my co-workers invited me to a card making party/class and I was hooked right away.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?  I have taken over a portion of the unfinished part of our basement. It used to be an exercise room with a card table in it, but now it's the "Card Cave" that happens to have a treadmill in it.  Since it is in the basement I don't have to worry about making a mess.  My favorite thing about my card room is having plenty of room for my creative supervisor to stretch out and keep an eye on me.  Bert, my yellow lab, always shows up about 2 minutes after I turn on the ipod speakers and start making cards.  He is usually asleep in the next 5 minutes.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?  Patterned paper is my favorite and I have way more than I will ever use.  One of the benefits of making cards for OWH is being able to use lots of paper in different ways. I enjoy making cards for themes that would not be appropriate for my family.  For example, I can make cards for small children, even though mine are older.  Unfortunately it gives me justification to buy more paper. I also enjoy heat embossing and adding ribbon to my cards.


Do you have a favorite technique? My favorite technique is something I learned recently, which is a combination of heat embossing and then painting with distressed ink inside the negative areas.  Now I find myself looking for stamps that will work with this technique.  Also, after seeing all the beautiful cards on the OWH website, I recently invested in a Cuttlebug.  I am building my collection of embossing folders and have really enjoyed how easy it is to add dimension to my cards.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?  My favorite color to make an image pop is black.  After that I tend to lean to greens, blues and browns.  I think I am different than most of the OWH card makers because my nature is to lean toward masculine or neutral cards.  It is a stretch for me to create a pink or yellow girly card.  That is one of the things I like about making cards for OWH.  I can go outside of my comfort zone and try new things that my family or friends may not enjoy, but a deployed hero would appreciate.  Since I have two sons, I try to make a card that would be appropriate for a daughter once in a while.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?  I heard about OWH on Facebook.  I continue to be impressed with the level of commitment from the people who run Operation Write Home.  They do an excellent job with the website.  They not only keep us informed, but inspired through the use of social media.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? Several things motivate me to make cards for heroes. I was born in an Army hospital in Germany while my dad was deployed.  My mom also worked for the Army in Germany, as a civilian. Now my friends and coworkers have children in all branches of the military, along with my son's friends.  This is a constant reminder of how much it means to hear from your loved one that is so far away.  My motivation is also a personal way to give back.  Since I work long hours, it is convenient for me to volunteer on my own schedule.  Most of my free time is spent making OWH cards in the evening or on the weekend. I enjoy making cards so much that I have flooded my family with more cards than they will ever use. Now I know they are being put to good use and appreciated by our heroes. When I am making cards for OWH, I try to think about how it will be for the recipient of the card. The front of the card will be their first impression until they open it and get to read the note from their loved one. I want to make sure that it will be something they will keep and cherish whenever they think about their hero.

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OWHtv Episode 25 - silver anniversary edition!

Happy anniversary to OWHtv! This is our 25th episode, how much fun is that! And to think we wondered if it would even be vaguely interesting - we've had over 6,000 hours of viewing of our first episodes!!

Don't forget to go comment on YouTube to qualify for the prize drawing!




The other 3 cards using sketch 24 can be seen here.


One last thing - if you would like to host a challenge during our Virtual Cardmaking Party on our birthday weekend, Sept 10-11, email your challenge idea to birthday@operationwritehome.org. We've had some great submissions already! We can take 16 ideas - and we'll have you host your idea on your blog if it's selected from all the submissions. Links will be here on S&S, one added every 2 hours, so cardmakers across the nation can join in the party. We had a blast on 4th of July weekend - fishbowls, bears, vintage, tied yellow ribbons - this party should be a blast as well!

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Thanksgiving Any Hero Cards

 Thanks for a great challenge last week, your “Inchies” cards were fun and fabulous – and thanks for the inspiration!

I'll be back a little later to announce the winner of the "Inchies" prize...

This week we challenge you to make Thanksgiving Any Hero Cards!  Simply make a Thanksgiving themed card, write a message for one of our Heroes , enter your card in our Inlinkz widget and add it to your OWH box.  I can’t wait to see your card creations! 

We don’t have a sample card maker for this challenge.  My e mail has been getting lost in cyber space and I’m sorry to say I lost contact with my sample card maker.  If you’d like your card to be posted where the sample card usually is just be the first person to post a Thanksgiving Any Hero card and I’ll take care of the rest!


Thank you Sue from Dancing In The Puddles for being the first card posted in our challenge! 



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 - What is Clean and Simple?


Hopefully most of you were able to participate in this weekend's Clean and Simple Blog Skip. If not, there is still time. Today is the last day to get your comments in on the participant blogs and be entered for the blog candy. Thanks to those of you who left kind words about my tutorial. We wanted to repeat it here today so we can link it in on the Cardmaking Resources page.


The words “Clean” and “Simple” are self-explanatory, but how do you describe what a “Clean and Simple” card is?




It’s almost easier to talk about what it isn’t. A CAS card isn’t ornate or froo froo. It doesn’t have a lot going on. A CAS card is the cardmaking equivalent of the “little black dress.” It’s elegant, understated; it might have a bit of sparkle or interesting angles, but with the CAS card or the little black dress less is more.



White Space – A CAS card will have a lot of undecorated space. It may or may not be white. it may or may not be textured, but this space allows the viewer’s eye to rest and focus on the focal point of the card without competition. Ever look at a card that had so much embellishment you were still noticing new elements on the third or fourth viewing? With a CAS card you’ll see the whole thing at once. It’s crisp. It’s clean. It’s simple.



Does that mean if I slap a sticker on a folded piece of cardstock I’ve made a CAS card? No. Well, extremely unlikely. If I cut a neck hole and two arm slots in a trash bag will I have a “Little Black Dress?” Cards are going to look like the combination of materials and time and skill that go into them, no matter what the style.



Embellishments – I’ve seen people explain CAS by saying the cards don’t have ribbon or brads or patterned paper on them. That’s just not true. They can have any or all of those things on them, even at the same time. It’s not likely there will be several different patterned papers on one card. Maybe you have a ribbon and a brad but not a bow. Maybe there’s a ribbon and bow but no patterned paper. It’s about editing. When in doubt, take one element out. Or, as Coco Chanel said, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”




What about Layers? Do CAS cards use layers? Absolutely. you still want to make your focal point pop. You want your elements to stand out. Sometimes I see people asking on FB or in their blogs, “This card needs something, but I don’t know what.” People are always suggesting, “Add a bow! Put a ribbon on it! How about adding three brads in the bottom corner?” My first thought is usually, “Put a contrasting layer in behind your patterned paper or behind the sentiment.” Layers add depth and definition without adding distraction. Layers are good.




You might have noticed I’ve picked some sample cards that seem to break the “rules” for CAS cards, but I’d call all these cards Clean and Simple. So, what makes a CAS card? Maybe you just know it when you see it.

This week's Inlinkz can be found at the Blog Skip post. Post your Clean and Simple cards there!

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Sketch Challenge #83

Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes last week - and especially for making all those cute birthday cards! Well done, cardmakers!

I have a great sketch for you this week, I can't wait to see what you creative folks can do with this one...



Our samplemaker this week is one of OWH's own - our bloghop coordinator, Yolanda! She has a blog called Imagine.Make.Share. so be sure and visit to see more of her work. Thanks for all you do for OWH and for these awesome sample cards, Yolanda!





Ready to get started? Be sure and come back here and show us what you made! I love visiting blogs each week to see your 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 the link to that entry 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.




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BlogSkip: CAS!

What's CAS stand for? Clean and simple! That's not nearly as easy to achieve as it might seem. A single sticker or stamp on skimpy cardstock may come across as done too fast; the design and the quality of the materials - these can make the difference! As was said on Thursday's OWHtv, quoting Kate..."CAS is the little black dress of stamping!"

These talented ladies have some CAS cards to share with you today - go skip along and see what they've got cooking for you! If you leave some love on every blog, you'll have a chance to win one of 5 prizes - a flat rate envelope of goodies!

  1. Barb at Paper Therapy Ponderings
  2. Maureen at Hideaway
  3. Brenda at Infinite Possibilities
  4. Jan at Jan's Gone Digital
  5. Dawn at The Chatty Stamper
  6. Patricia at Thinking of Inking
  7. Kate at Hello From Kate
  8. Lisa at Stamping With a Mission
  9. Julie at Handmade by Julie
  10. Courtney at Back to the Drawing Board


When you're done hopping - and are thoroughly inspired - give it a shot and see if you can come up with a CAS card...get out your hoarded yummy cardstock and embellishments, do some phenomenal simple stamping - and show us what you've got for clean and simple!















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Featured Cardmaker: Cindy E., El Cajon, CA

Hello everyone! This week I'm excited to introduce you all to Cindy and to be able to share some of her beautiful cards. Cindy is a StampinUp demo and blogs regularly at Heart's Delight Cards. Of course you can leave her some love at the end of this post but be sure to pop on over to her blog for lots more of her inspiring work.


How long have you been stamping?
My BFF got me hooked about three years ago. I still don't know whether to credit her, or blame her, lol.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft? Craft room! It helps being an "empty nester"...I have a whole room all to myself!!! And, at the rate I'm going, I'm going to need another room before too long.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?
Well, as a Stampin' Up! demo, I love all things Stampin' Up! of course. I'm particularly fond of embossing folders, and the Designer Series Paper coordinates so well with the colored cardstock that it's hard to go wrong! The colors are all so yummy!

Do you have a favorite technique?
It changes all the time! Right now I'm loving the inlaid embossing technique - you can get so many different looks with it.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?
That's another thing that always changes. I think this is more season-related for me. After the holidays, I'm ready for bright, fresh spring/summer colors. And just about the time I'm getting bored with them, the new autumn colors are out, and they become my new favorites. As you can see, it's constantly changing!


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
You know, I'm not really sure about that. I'm fairly sure I saw it on someone's blog, clicked to get more information, and immediately wanted to join in.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?
My father is retired military, and my husband is a veteran, as well. I know first hand the sacrifices the families make, along with their deployed loved ones. It makes me feel good that, in some small way, I can help keep families in touch. I wish I had the time and $$ to do much more!!!

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OWHtv: Episode 24

This week's episode: Studio Calico monthly kit; Walnut Hollow Card Keeper Box; and CAS cards! 
Don't forget to join us on Saturday morning for our CAS Skip - starting right here on S&S!







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