Use A Digital Image


Thanks for a great challenge last week, 
your cards were beautiful

This week our challenge is a “Use A Digital Image” theme, we challenge you to make cards for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!   I can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Our sample card maker this week is Paige!  To see more of Paige’s awesome creations please visit her blog “She Who Must Stamp”.


Thank you Paige 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 - Color-Bleed Grid Technique

Thanks to Cindy O. for today's technique. This looks fun! You will want to check out Cindy's other creations over at her blog, Mostly Markers.


Color-bleed? Sounds like a laundry disaster, but it's actually a beautiful and easy Copic background technique. I learned it from a tutorial by Julia Stainton on Ellen Hutson's The Classroom blog, where you can find a detailed how-to with photos at every step. The Classroom blog is one of my favorite resources for techniques.






What you will need:
- Several different Copic markers. Other types of alcohol-based inks might work, but I don't have any to test.
- Your favorite Copic-friendly white or light-colored card stock.
- A refill bottle of Copic colorless blender liquid. If you don't have a Copic colorless blender refill bottle, you can use 91% rubbing alcohol and a small eyedropper from the drugstore. I tried it and it works fine, just takes a bit longer to dry.



Here is the basic process and my tips:
1. If using a digi stamp image, print it first.
2. Cut the card stock down to your desired finish size - no bigger than A2. I would suggest starting with a smallish piece, maybe 3x3".
3. Color a rough multi-color checkerboard with Copic markers, using plenty of ink (should be visible on the back). Color completely with no white spaces. I like my squares to be about 1/2" to 3/4" wide. Uneven squares look more interesting to me, so I don't use a pencil grid. IMPORTANT: Let it dry completely. ("Completely" means it no longer feels cool when you touch the back.) This will give you crisper drip marks in the next step.
4. Drip small drips of Copic colorless blender refill onto the colors, including your card stock edges and your borders where two colors come together. Do NOT overlap your drips at this stage. Again, let it dry completely.
5. If desired, drip again, this time overlapping your previously dried drip marks. Let it dry completely.
6. If using a non-digi stamp image, stamp it now.
7. Color your image, if desired, with Copics or other media. If using Copics, keep your coloring fairly simple, and the drip background will show through nicely.




A few tips:

How much blender liquid to drip:
Think of it as an experiment! The process is unpredictable, and no two pieces will look alike. I learned that I prefer small drips, released close to the card stock. The little eyedropper from the drugstore was very helpful for me. If you get a large puddle on top of your card stock, you may not like how it looks. If that happens, you can let it dry completely, recolor the area, and re-drip.

Selecting Copic marker colors:
After the drip process, you will see rings of color. The drip centers will be lighter than your original color, and the outer rings will be darker. Try Copic colors ending in 1 or 2 for a soft pattern, or colors ending in 4 or 5 for something bolder. The colors don't really mix together, so for instance, you could use orange next to blue, and not worry about it looking muddy.

Selecting images:
For your image, keep in mind that your drip pattern will look "busy." With a dark, bold drip pattern, try a silhouette or simple-lined image. For a more detailed image, choose lighter color inks in your pattern. Or you can skip the image and just use it for a nice patterned paper.

Questions? please leave a comment, and I'll be happy to explain more. Enjoy!



Thanks, Cindy, for this great tutorial! I swear, you guys are going to make me buy copic markers yet!



Everyone remember, if you see a nifty technique, or you'd like to show us how you made a special card, please email me at kate@operationwritehome.org.







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Sketch Challenge #97

Hello, cardmakers! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Don't forget to get your Love or Valentine themed cards in ASAP so they can be counted toward the Archway + OWH Special Mission. We want lots of cookies for our troops! For them to count, the cards need to be received by your shipper on or before December 10th.

Today's sketch would make some cute love cards, I bet. See what you can do with it!



We have two great sample cards today made by Kelly. She isn't a blogger so be sure and leave some love on this post! Aren't those flowers gorgeous? Thank you so much for these beautiful samples, Kelly!

Update: Turns out Kelly is a blogger after all! Oops! Please check it out and see more of her awesome work: You and Your Big Dreams.





Ok, folks, get busy making some love cards! Be sure and come back to link up your blog or gallery page so we can all see!

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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Happy Small Business Saturday!

Go shopping at your local store today - then go link up a blog post or flickr photos on the Homefront Blog...so we can do a nationwide tour of LSSs across America (and the WORLD! We do have some international cardmakers....show us what you've got!)

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Featured Cardmaker: Sheryl D., The Woodlands, TX

I hope that everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving! If you are heading out to do some shopping this weekend remember to include a stop at your local scrapbook/stamping store or venture out to find one you didn't know existed. Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, a yearly initiative by American Express to help bring customers into small local businesses and keep them in business.

This week it's my pleasure to be able to introduce you all to Sheryl from The Woodlands (in my favorite state, Texas) and share some of her terrific cards. Sheryl's life keep her too busy to blog so I hope you will all take a moment to say hello and leave her a comment here at the end of this post.


How long have you been stamping? I have  been stamping for over 11 yrs. My best friend, Carol, introduced me to stamping several years before that.  I thought it was fun, but thought she was a little out there, saving scraps of paper, and having all these inks, and stamps and on and on.  So decided to not pursue this hobby that looked addictive. A few years later,   I needed something to do with my 90 year old grandmother.  The family was putting on a birthday party for her, and I thought it would be neat if she and I made thank you cards for hr to send out after the party. My husband also thought it was a good idea, but asked, you aren't going to get like Carol, are you? And, sincerely, I responded, NO WAY.  Well, it was downhill from there!  The thank you cards cost over $200 and that, as you stampers know, was just a drop in the bucket!!  Carol and I still laugh about how I'm probably more addicted than she.


Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft? Yes, I'm blessed to have a studio.  I used to call it a stamp room, but would you like a card from a stamp room or a studio?  So the studio is named after my German Shepherd, Chez Inga Studios.  As I tell my friends and family, I have my own little stamp store with almost everything I need.  You ALWAYS need more! HA HA

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?  My favorite line of stamps, if I could only pick one, would be Hero Arts. However, I have stamps from almost every line; and love them all.


Do you have a favorite technique? That is my problem - I love diversity and detail so am always doing something different.  If I were allowed to do only 1 technique, it would be watercolor.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards? In the last year, I love to use combinations of lime green, orange,  aqua blue and purples.  It makes me feel good to see the bright cheery colors!


How did you hear about Operation Write Home? I think it was late 2007 or early 2008, I had heard somewhere about an organization that made cards for the soldiers to send home.  So I searched the web and found OWH, of course, back then, it had a different name, and I did a bunch of cross checks to make sure it was a legitimate organization. I had stacks of cards that I had made, as I had a need to make cards when I wasn't working but couldn't use them all.  So was delighted to find OWH!


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? I just think about how happy  the heroes must be to know that someone cares enough to make them cards to send home.  And then I can visualize a little son or daughter, or a mom or dad, a sweetheart, or a  friend or relative getting the card and smiling when they open it.  It also gives be an excuse to buy more stamps and inks to make cards that I would never get to make.  It has been a blessing to me to be a part of this project!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!







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Love You!

 Thanks for a great challenge last week, your Any Occasion with no sentiment cards were beautiful

This week our challenge has a “Love You” theme, we challenge you to make cards for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!   I can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Our sample card maker this week is Allison!  To see more of Allison’s awesome creations please visit her blog “Allison’sCreations”.



Thank you Allison 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 - Embossed Kiss Technique

Some of you may have seen this new technique on Maureen's blog, Hideaway, when she posted a linky in response to a recent sketch challenge. When we saw it we knew everyone would want to give it a try, and Maureen was sweet enough to put this tutorial together for us!


I stumbled upon this technique while I was making “love you” cards for Operation Write Home. I was trying to design a simple card that novice stampers could do but it was looking rather plain. For “round 2” I added a textured background. Then I stamped on the embossed background in “round 3”. By the time I got to round 4 I realized I had a pretty cool “kissing” technique … one I could actually do, because most of the time, I get so-so results.

First off here is the card where I discovered this simple method to get an amazing kissed image



So without further ado – here is embossed kissing . I know - a grand name, but it’s pretty simple really. You will need a solid image stamp (I used Papertrey Ink’s Flower Fusion #7) and a tight patterned embossing folder (I used the Sizzix Square Lattice embossing folder)

To start with cut your layer to size and run it through your die cut machine to emboss the pattern.



Next, ink up your stamp and stamp onto the embossed paper. Look at the sides to see if you want a negative or positive image (pushed in or pushed out)



Without re-inking, stamp the image onto a scrap piece of card stock.



Rinse and repeat :)



Then assemble your card



That’s all there is to it!

I also used the same technique to get a kissed image, but only used the kissed image on the final card

Here is the scrap I embossed and used as my kissing pattern (that sounds weird :) ) along with the punched final image.



I love how the hounds tooth pattern showed up on this!

Here is the final card



I did the same thing using the Petals Aplenty embossing folder (Stampin’ Up) and the Christmas Poinsettias (Papertrey Ink)



Thanks so much again, Maureen, for putting this tutorial together for us! I know people will be excited to give it a try.

Everyone, remember, if you have suggestions for tutorials, please contact me at kate@operationwritehome.org.


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OWH is going to CHA!

Sandy here with a little update! :)


OWH has been blessed with the chance to go to the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show in January - and host a booth! This is a huge leap forward for us in so many ways, and we are very very very excited!

The big shows are twice a year, and in July 2011, you may remember I walked my little feet off at the show—and met so many wonderful wonderful companies who want to serve our heroes alongside us. Many joined in to host challenges during our Birthday Bash (month of challenges throughout September)...many participated in our World Cardmaking Day bloghop in October....and of course we just celebrated Veteran's Day with the amazing 11.11.11 bloghop (you can still hop along - go see the links here!)

And hopefully you didn't skim right past the huge announcement: Hero Arts has created three stamp sets that will be a benefit for OWH!! You can see Shari Caroll's really pretty sneak peek card below from the hop... she did a lovely job with the clock set!

Retailers: You'll have the chance to preorder in December, so stay tuned for the announcements.
OWHers: Ask your family for gift certificates to your LSS, and make sure you send your local store a link when the preorders start - you can run run run to your store the day they arrive and get your very own stamps! I can tell you these are great sets and they stamp so beautifully - some can be colored, lots are great for simple stamping, and there are tons of sentiments perfect for our cards :)

I have to say, Aaron Leventhal, the CEO of Hero Arts has to be one of the very nicest men in the industry. At the trade show he was so gracious...and once we started working on the stamps, I was regularly invited to give feedback and input. They let me propose the content for the stamp sets, and even some little line drawings to point them in the direction of what I thought would be really great for OWHers...and I am so so so excited for you all to get to see them and use them on beautiful cards for our heroes!

This is just the kind of partnership I was hoping for when meeting with company owners at CHA...and I can't wait to see what January brings!

At this show, CHA is providing us with an 8x8 booth space - we'll have make-and-leaves, and we hope all of our company partners - retailers, distributors, manufacturers - will all stop by and make a card and say hello. Designers - come on by and share your talents with us too! Be sure to visit all the nonprofits who will be at the show, they're a great bunch of people doing awesome work, and you'll want to be helping with their causes too. It's good for your business - as well as a lot of fun!

A couple other things about the show - we'll be hosting a cardmaking party at the evening gala. Ever tried to throw a cardmaking party for 800? Yep! That's what's keeping me busy! Kits for the show plus the gala....and they are adorable since they all use the new swanky Hero Arts stamps!!

And as if all that wasn't enough...the trade association's magazine will be running an article by me in their next issue....talk about exposure. Stoked!!

To all our company/retail partners: Going to the show? Let's plan to sit down and chat! Email me when  you start getting your schedule together....I can't wait! :)

So with all of this - my apologies in advance for the things sliding off my plate. I've gotten behind on some of my data entry, but will be catching up as I'm able. You all have been so very patient with me all during holiday shipping season - so just pretend I'm still drowning in cards for a little while longer :) You guys ROCK!
-Sandy

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Sketch Challenge #96

Hello, friends! It's time yet again for the Sunday Sketch Challenge, but first, did you hear about the Archway + OWH Special Mission? Get your Love or Valentine themed cards in by December 10th to get Archway cookies sent to our heroes!

Try using this sketch to create a cute love card!



I have an adorable sample card for you today made by Dawn. Be sure and visit Dawn's blog The Chatty Stamper to see more of her awesome cards. Thanks so much for the cute sample, Dawn. I just love the paper pieced umbrella!



Okay, folks, go make a cute card! Be sure to come back here and link it up so we can all see!

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: Reta M., Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas

Happy Friday Everyone! This week it's my pleasure to be able to introdue you all to Reta and to share a few of her cards with you. Reta's cards are great examples of the "everyday" card designs that are always in demand for OWH since they lend themselves to use any time of year and for any occasion. She doesn't have a blog so be sure you say hello and leave your comments for her here at the end of this post.


How long have you been stamping?  In 1996 a SU! demonstrator showed me how to heat emboss, and I have been hooked ever since.  I made mostly Christmas cards until I joined OWH in October, 2009.

Do you have a craft room?  I am lucky enough to have a craft room, but I like to assemble at the counter-height kitchen island.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?  Some of my favorite products are Spellbinders, Cuttlebug embossing folders, Martha Stewart punches, and SU! products.

Do you have a favorite technique?  I love the elegance heat embossing gives a card, and embossing folders give such great texture.


Are there colors you have to include on your cards?  I usually use a white or ivory card base, but I enjoy all colors.  If you look at my card stock stash though, you can see I really, really like light green and lavender.

How did you hear about OWH?  I first heard about OWH on a web site, but I haven't been able to find which one to thank them for leading me to OWH.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?   Having shared 23 years of my husband's 28-year military career, I feel honored to be able to help our brave military men and women keep in touch with their loved ones, and I am thankful for OWH in providing the way to accomplish this.

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OWHtv: Episode 36

Today's show was such fun, even if a bit scattered...lots of announcement-y types of things, and some fun mail to share.


The link for Mo's caroler stamps is here.




And of course we can't give you a link for these new Hero Arts stamps...sentiment and two heart stamps are all in one of the sets though! Are you STOKED for December to get here already!!?

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Any Occasion No Sentiment

 Thanks for a great challenge last week, your Valentine/Love themed  cards were beautiful

This week our challenge is a to make an “Any Occasion” card and NOT use a sentiment on the front, we challenge you to make these cards for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!   I can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Our sample card maker this week is Pam!  To see more of Pam’s awesome creations please visit her blog “Airborne Wife's Stamping Spot”.



Thank you Pam 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 - Layering

Today's tutorial is brought to us by Allison of Allison's Creations. It's a fantastic demonstration of the power of using contrasting layers to make them pop!



What is layering? People talk about how it makes their cards look more pulled together, makes their cards feel like they are of a better quality (more layers of paper makes the card feel heavier), and makes their images “pop,” but what does it mean exactly? If you come from a scrapbooking background, you may understand the term “matting” better. Layering or matting means to add a slightly larger piece of cardstock behind your patterned paper or image to create a small border, usually 1/8”, 1/4” or 1/2” larger.

Here are some definitions that I found at a website called UK Craft Fairs (http://www.ukcraftfairs.com/guide-to-card-making-1.asp).
Mat: Mounting a layer onto a larger piece of paper or several concentric layers to produce a pleasing effect.
Layering or Matting: Adding a complementary or contrasting layer below your main focal point, cut slightly bigger than the focal point to "frame" it and draw the eye to it.

Now, let’s take a look at several cards that use the same layout and image. The image, sentiment, and digital patterned papers are all from Doodle Pantry (http://www.doodlepantry.com/browse-store.html).





This card has NO layering at all. The cowboy boot paper is cut to 4.25 x 5.5” (standard A2 card size). The strip of paper behind the digital stamp image of Cowboy Birdie is cut to 4.25 x 1.25”. The digital stamp itself is 2.5 x 2.5”, and the sentiment is cut with the smallest die from Spellbinders Nestabilities Long Classic Rectangles Large (approx. 7/8 x 2”).

This card is acceptable but just wait until you see the difference that a little bit of layering can make!




This card is layered with cardstock that coordinates with the background paper.
Here are the dimensions of the yellow cardstock pieces: card base = 4.25 x 5.5” (cowboy boot paper was cut down to 4 x 5.25”), mat for strip behind stamp = 4.25 x 1.5”, mat for digital stamp = 2.75 x 2.75”, and the mat for the sentiment is cut with the smallest die from Spellbinders Nestabilities Long Classic SCALLOPED Rectangles Large so that it is a perfect mat for the sentiment.

While this card has layering, it fades into the background of the cowboy boot paper and doesn’t pop off the card.




This card is layered with cardstock that contrasts with the background paper.
The dimensions are exactly the same as the card with the yellow cardstock, but it looks entirely different! Now everything stands out more – the image, the sentiment and even the patterned papers.

This is the look we are striving for when using layering on our cards.


Thanks so much, Allison, for an awesome tutorial!

Everyone remember, if you would like to do a tutorial, or if you see something that would make a great tutorial for OWH, please email me at kate@operationwritehome.org




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