New Years Weekend: Top Ten Hop!

The end of a year is a great time to take stock - where are you at? How far have you come in the last year? What were your expectations for the past year, and did you achieve them? What surprises came your way?

Creatively, it's always a good idea to take stock of our work, too...so this weekend, we're posting our favorite cards sent to our heroes in 2011! Join us by creating a blog post with your own top ten cards you've sent in; you may have fewer, and that's okay - we just want to visit around and see what everyone is most proud of!

What's a hop without some candy? We've got another OWH/Hero Arts stamp set to give away to a lucky winner...it will go to a commenter on one of the linked blogs. The more you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN! Winner will be chosen Monday night January 2nd, midnight PST!

Go have fun, get inspired, and share your own inspiration with the rest of us!




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Featured Cardmaker: Kyra S., Aurora, IL

Hello Everyone! I am excited to be able to introduce you all to Kyra this week and share a wonderful group of her cards with you. I find it particularly inspiring to meet cardmakers like Kyra, who were raised in military families and can help the rest of us relate to what it's like  and just how much a hand-written card sent home can really mean. Kyra blogs over at The Bunny Nest where you can see more of her terrific work. Hop on over and pay her a visit and don't forget to leave her a hello here at the end of this post too!


How long have you been stamping? My mother introduced me to stamping through her sale finds at Michael's while I was away at college, way back in the late 1900s. There has been such a huge change in the stamping industry since then! I started experimenting with stamps in the early 1990s, and bought some Stampin' Up supplies from a needy friend in 2001. I was hooked, though, when I found Unity Stamps and I've lost a lot of income since then! Happily!


Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft? I own the ArtLab where I encourage experimentation with all sorts of art supplies. It's my little hide-away, and IKEA has contributed to my organization. It has taken years getting to this point, so please, readers, don't lose hope! My Lab shares purpose with art journaling!


What are your favorite stamp/craft products? I adore things that are original. Gina K Designs is my current *FAV* cardstock and image company. Ranger is my go-to ink supplier (but I have a huge building crush on Memento!); and I would be lost without my Copic markers!


Do you have a favorite technique? There are three techniques that I turn to when I need something stunning, and fast. First - dry (or pressure) embossing creates great, fast frames for the perfect image. Second - glossy cardstock turns STELLAR with some metallic mixatives and alcohol ink. And, third, I love *LOVE* using watercolors or distress inks with big-crystal salts (Kosher, Rock, etc.) to create stunning backgrounds! Oh... and the bonus, 4, I love using inks to create a scene. It's easy when you learn - you can use inks for so many great backgrounds!


Are there colors you love to include on your cards?
I try to use masculine colors on most of my cards. I think there are a lot of feminine cards (beautiful ones!) put out there for our troops to use. Masculine cards, and enabling the masculine correspondence, is more difficult. Sometimes, it take me hours to make a card that I think my husband could send to his family. Being raised in a military family, I know first-hand how those messages are received. I want to give our military personnel everything they could need to connect with people back home.

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
I first heard about OWH when I discovered Unity stamps. There were ladies who made such beautiful cards, and when I asked what they did with them, they said OWH. It was a natural fit!


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? My father served, proudly, in Korea and later we were stationed in Scotland, Turkey, and throughout the states. While we followed him to all stations, occasionally we spent time apart. Those letters were a lifeline. We saw the plane my father was supposedly on, blown up on TV during a newscast. We thought we had lost him then, but his letters were a physical symbol of hope. I wore a bracelet for a man missing in action in Vietnam. I was continually exposed to the human element in every conflict our country attends. We may not agree with the conflict, but we *must* support our men and women who are sent forth. I am humbled by those who supported our family when we faced automatic weapons just going for groceries. I am honored by those who allow me to go to market without fear of being attacked. They have my undying support. They are people, with people at home. They deserve our dead-level best. I give it. Our military members are the highest of heroes in my eyes.

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Thank You!!

 Thanks for a great challenge last week, your Birthday Cards were wonderful

This week we challenge you to make Thank You Cards in honor of our friend and shipper Dixie for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!   Dixie has passed on her duties as an Operation Write Home Shipper to Caro after serving for two years - and we wanted to do something special in her honor to say THANKS for all her hard work and dedication!  
I can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Our sample card makers this week are members of our administrative team!  To see more of their awesome creations please visit their blogs by clicking on their names.

Thank you OWH ladies 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 - Shaker Card

We're going to shake things up with this week's tutorial, thanks to Penny! You can see more of her work if you visit her blog - Penny's Page.




What you will need: an A2 card base, patterned paper, a die or punch, closely woven tulle, score tape and filling.



I used Theresa Collins paper and Nellie's Dies. Adhere patterned paper to front of card and decide on placement of opening. I taped my die down to prevent it slipping.




You will also need another paper to for the inside cover. I chose to use white cardstock, but anything you choose is fine. After they are all run through your machine you will have this:



With the inside of your card facing up adhere one end of the tulle to the card front. I used my ATG for this step. Add your choice of filling (small beads for me) and fold the tulle over. At this point you will want to use score tape or other adhesive on the tulle getting as close to the edge of the design as possible. Don't worry about about the stickiness, it will be covered. I apologize for the bad picture, but you can see the score tape around the heart.



Adhere your piece of cardstock, matching the shapes together over the tulle hiding the messy bit. Take the reserved heart die cut (patterned paper) and adhere to the inside of the card again matching the shapes together. At this point, you can embellish/finish your card as you choose. I chose to make frames for the opening on both sides of the card front.



I also added the swans to the patterned paper heart. I stamped "love you" on a small white heart and pop dotted it to the front of the card. When the card is closed the patterned paper heart shows through the tulle.




I hope this tutorial will help you to make great cards!

Thanks, Penny! I've seen these shaker cards and never given them a try. Let's all try it this week and be sure and add a linky below.




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Winners!

With all the Christmas hubbub I forgot to post the winners from the Thank you to our heroes challenge! Random.org picked out these from the ones who left comments and linked a card:

  1. Cora Jean
  2. Barb Turpin
  3. sf_crafter

And of course while I'm here posting...how about seeing another pair of heroes who loves our new stamp sets? I think they're actors waiting to be discovered. LOL.
Below are 2 of the cards in their hands, both using the Year Round Sentiments set.

We're VERY close to wider availability of the stamp sets!! Your stores have hopefully gotten their catalog, and YOUR excitement about it might just help push them to order. Send them a link to the Hero Arts landing page HERE today, and ask when they'll get these sets in!

And of course if your stores don't have them in - or are slow and you just can't wait - Hero Arts will have them in their online store on January 5th!!! Wooohoooooo!!!!

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Sketch Challenge #101

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope Santa is bringing you lots of crafty goodies this morning!

If you're lucky enough to have some crafting time during the holidays, how about participating in the ODBD December challenge? We need 20 more participants in order to get 2 boxes sponsored!

Also a quick reminder to get your Valentines in the mail to your shipper, please! They need to be in her hands by Saturday!

Here's your sketch - thought we'd try something a little different this week, let's stretch those crafty muscles, okay?



Our sample card this week was made by cardmaker Donna. She isn't a blogger so be sure and leave some comments for her here on this post. Aren't those pennants darling? Thanks for the cute card, Donna!



Hmm, what else could become a pennant? Maybe circles folded in half? Rectangles? Bits of ribbon? See what you can come up with and be sure to come back and 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: Cara S., Phoenix, AZ

Hello everyone! If you need a break from the craziness of a busy holiday season grab a cup of your favorite beverage and take a look at these beautiful cards made by Cara, this week's featured cardmaker. Cara blogs over at Crafting Adventures where you will find more of her fabulous work, so extend your break time and hop over when you're through here. You can of course leave a hello and a comment for her here at the end of this post too.


How long have you been stamping?
Since I was a kid...I have a couple of stamps I have had since about age 10. I really got into it though about 10 years ago.


Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?
Yes! I have a very supportive husband that has made me a wonderful space in our family room so I can leave stuff out. Before, it would be taking over the kitchen table for days at a time.


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?
Ribbon! I am a self confessed ribbon addict! Next to that, I don't know how I survived before my Scotch ATG and Copics.


Do you have a favorite technique?
Blending Copics on larger images and using Glossy Accents.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?
All of them...I go through different moods with the seasons.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
I heard about it on a website (I forget which one).


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?
I am so appreciative of the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform as well as their family and friends make every day. When I heard about OWH, I was so excited to see that there was a way for me to take something I love doing and turn it in to something meaningful for this very special group of people.
 


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Happy Birthday

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

We have Hero Arts stamp set winners to announce today!
InLinkz has chosen:
Jen M.
Susie W.
Candy

Congratulations ladies I'll be in touch with you soon!


This week we challenge you to make Birthday Cards for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!   I can’t wait to see your card creations! 


Our shippers don't need tons of them right now - each one has a plethora....however, putting a handful in your box is still okay :) If you ever want to know exactly what your shipper needs, you can check the needs page, or ask them on Facebook.

Our sample card maker this week is Ginnie!  To see more of Ginnie’s awesome creations please visit her blog “Rainbows & Butterflies”.


Thank you Ginnie 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 - Origami Butterfly

The rest of the world may be wrapping up their final plans for Christmas, but in Operation Write Home world, you know that means we're pushing past Valentines and starting to think Spring!

Does it feel like spring yet? Well Rhonda of Rhonda's Place to Share is helping us get into the springtime mood with origami butterflies. Thanks, Rhonda, for sharing this fun technique with us today!




Supply List
2 pieces of designer paper or origami paper (the size depends on how big you want your butterflies, I used 2x2)
Bone folder
Adhesive




First start with your 2 pieces of paper (If your using a paper with fancy edges like I have, make sure the corners are opposite each other).



Fold paper, bringing the 2 opposite corners together. Unfold and fold the same way in the other direction, unfold. You should now have 2 criss cross lines meeting in the center of your paper.



Next fold one side of the paper in half in both directions. Unfold and fold again on the diagonal line (if you have an edge with a design make sure it is on the right and bottom of the triangle.



Lift up on the paper to form a peak like shown in the picture above. Bring the top edge of the peak across to the right so that it lays flat, forming a square.



Using the diagonal line in the middle of the square as a guide, lift that section of the paper to form a “flap” (see picture below).



You now have your right wing. To form the left wing, follow the same directions with the paper on the reverse side. (your starting triangle will face left instead of right).



Now that you have your 2 wings, adhere them together on the bottom flaps.



You have your finished butterfly.







Thanks again to Rhonda! Ok, everyone, let's give it a try.




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Winners winners winners, it's your lucky day!

Yay for prizes! If your name's listed here, be sure to drop an email to sandy@operationwritehome.org with your address! Didn't win? Stay tuned, we just might have a set or two to give out this week on Facebook or Twitter. :)

Our winners from last week's Sketch challenge, #99, each gets a stamp set:

  1. Ann M
  2. Marsha D
  3. Lisa Haines

Our three winners from the Skip, each gets a stamp set:

  1. Songbird Cindi
  2. Karen McAlpine
  3. Linda Grady

Then random.org picked CASE #14, which is Aundria's card - isn't it just wonderful? She used chalks for her background.

PS Those who won sets on OWHtv last week - please send in your address!

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Sketch Challenge #100!

Today is our one hundredth sketch challenge, friends! Can you believe it? I'm so excited!

And can I just say that I get such a thrill out of doing these sketches each week and visiting your blogs to see all the different interpretations. Y'all do some beautiful work and I really appreciate it when you share your ideas!

Enough talk! Here it is, cardmakers, sketch 100:



For our 100th sketch we have a special guest sample maker... Kelly Rasmussen! Kelly is one of the awesome artists for Hero Arts. She does beautiful work, including the sample card today which features one of our new OWH + Hero Arts stamp sets, Right at Home (CL583). I love the clouds! And the twine! And the little heart on the front door!! You can visit Kelly's blog at kr creations to see more of her work, be sure to stop in and say hello.



Okay, folks, let's make some cute cards! Be sure and come back here to link up your creation so we can all share some inspiration!


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Thanks to our heroes...

...at Hero Arts! It is just so darned cool that they're partnering with OWH in such a big way to help our heroes, and that makes them OUR hero! In that light, we've got a special challenge for you today - it's a 5-step one today, so pay attention....

  1. Make a thank you card using at least one stamp. Yep! That's the easy part. You can use any stamps, but if you have something from Hero Arts, that would be awesome. And if you have the new stamps? Go for those! Normal OWH guidelines apply, so no glitter.
  2. Use an OWH sketch as the basis for it. Be sure to share which sketch it was!
  3. Share it using InLinkz below. (No blog? Check out the Flickr tutorial here.) 
  4. Leave a comment for Hero Arts on this post. We'll be using quotes from those comments for something later. :)
  5. Send your card either to OWH for our heroes, or to Hero Arts! Of course if you send it to HA, you'd be writing a note in it...or if it's an AnyHero card it needs a note. Or you could send it blank to your shipper. As usual.
Hero Arts, Inc.
Attn: Mr. Aaron Leventhal
1200 Harbour Way South, Suite 201
Richmond, California 94804
Prizes
Of course we have prizes - you knew it! We're giving away three more stamp sets, one set to each of three lucky winners who play along. Woohoo!! Names will be drawn from those who upload a card AND leave a comment, so be sure to do both! Deadline: upload/comment before Christmas Eve! We'll announce the winners that morning so Sandy Claus can give out some candy that day.

Sample cards
This sample card uses a wide variation on Sketch 64...the stamp set is Year Round Sentiments (CL582). The stars are stamped in Colorbox chalk inks, and layers are plain heavyduty cardstock.
 This card uses Sketch #9, and also Year Round Sentiments (CL582).

These cards shown have already made it to our heroes to use and send home - check them out in the hands of our heroes at a USO in Afghanistan! All the cards they're holding in this photo are made with the HA/OWH sets - pretty awesome to see how much they love them too!
Time for you to go get busy now...have fun!




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