Sketch Challenge #123

Wowzers! Did y'all see all the great sketch cards on the bloghop? If you haven't started working your way through all 126 (126!) stops on the hop, get started by clicking here! There is a lot of inspiration to be had on the 'hop!

How about a new sketch... or two? Just a couple of reminders for new folks: all OWH sketches are designed for A2 sized cards (5.5" x 4.25") since that is what we prefer to receive, and the heart shape indicates the embellishment of your choice - doesn't have to be a heart!

First, today's sketch:


Our sample today was made by Sue K. She has a blog called Little Bits of Randomness where you can see more of her great cards and three very cute dogs. I just love the text-y background paper used here. Thanks so much for such a great card, Sue!

 

But wait! There's more! Yesterday on my stop in the bloghop, I offered up a bonus sketch, and I'm copying it here as well. Have fun with it!

 

I don't have a sample for this one, so whoever makes one and links it up first on our Inlinkz tool below will become our sample! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend and don't forget to come back here and link up your cards so we can all share the inspiration!

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Memorial Day Bloghop 2012!

You're one click away from the bloghop post...live at 5am EST!

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Featured Cardmaker: Sandy S., Jamestown, NC


Hello and happy Friday everyone! This week I'd like you all to meet Sandy from North Carolina. Sandy wanted me to be sure that you all know that when it comes to making cards for OWH she gives a lot of credit to her many friends who help her put together many of the cards she donates. Sandy does not have a blog so I hope that you will take a moment to leave her some love here so she will know you've been inspired!


How long have you been stamping? 
I've been stamping for 2 1/2 years.

Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft? 
I have taken over my formal dining room and converted it into  a great stamp room!


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?
I love them all - but I use Stampin Up and Hero Arts on many of my cards.

Do you have a favorite technique? 
Again - all of them - I stamp with three different groups and we are always trying new techniques.  Embossing is so fun and I have become a fan of all of the new dies.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards? 
I am partial to black and white  - brown and peach - I like clean and simple, but elegant.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
Once I became totally "addicted" to making cards, I had so many I began looking for a way to share my beautiful cards, so I sought out web sights that sent cards overseas - I was instantly impressed with the professionalism and great organization of OWH.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?
I feel it is so important to do all we can for our troops - they are making such sacrifices - an I hope that my little fun activity provides something for them to share with family and friends. 







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Midweek Throwdown Love You Challenge


Thanks for a great challenge last week,
your color Tropical color themed cards were beautiful and will be so appreciated!


We have a winner from our last challenge to announce today!

Mary L. entry #20 you are the winner of the Great Impressions prize package!!!
Congratulations, we'll be in contact with you soon.

This week our theme is Love You! 

We're challenging you to make cards using a Love You theme
for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!  We can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Our sample card makers is Cara, to see more of her wonderful creations please visit her blog Crafting Adventures.



Thank you Cara 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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Sketch Challenge #122

  Hello, friends! Have you checked out all the great cards and stamps from yesterday's Armed Forces Day Blog Skip? Go check it out if you missed it, you'll be glad you did! If you are planning to order some of those great Stamper's Best OWH Fundraiser stamps, be sure and do so today to take advantage of their offer to double the donation!

 I think I might pull out some of my new fundraiser stamps to use on this sketch, I think Ciara would be adorable here....

 

Our samples this week were created by the wonderful Cora! She has a blog called Cora Jean's Paper Playtime, be sure and visit to see more of her great cards! I love the clever way she placed the sentiment on the kitty card, don't you? Thanks so much for the fantastic sample cards, Cora!
  
 
 

Get going, folks, and be sure to come back here and link up your cards so we can all share your inspiration! And I hope you're all taking a moment to visit the blogs and galleries that link up, and leave some comments! An encouraging word can go a really long way :)
  

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Stampers Best Blogskip!

Happy Armed Forces Day!  We've got some inspiring fun on the way for you today...hope you're ready to kick that mojo into high gear! OWH has joined forces with Stampers Best for the...


If you don't already know about Stampers Best, you're in for a real treat. Their support and partnership for our heroes has been amazing - they provide all those red rubber stamps we give away here for free...and they have a great collection of military and patriotic stamps perfect for AnyHero mail, and each sale generates a donation to OWH! And in honor of Armed Forces Weekend, we're hosting a "Skip" (a short Bloghop!) with our friends at SB this weekend! 

Guess where you'll find the fun?
 Over on our NEW blog! 


 Change your bookmark to the new address...and you won't miss a thing! 

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Featured Cardmaker: Kathryn B., Denton, MD.


Hello everyone! Are you ready for your Friday dose of inspiration? Well I've got some to share courtesy of this week's featured cardmaker Kathryn! Many of you will recongnize Kathryn from the OWH Facebook page where she's often found posting helpful answers for those who are new to the OWH family. She blogs over at Kathryn's Cards where you can check out more of her fabulous creativity and of course you can leave her some love here at the end of this post!


How long have you been stamping?  
In one way or another, I've been stamping about 20 years. My cousin and I were penpals throughout elementary school and middle school until we switched to e-mail and I often created the cards I sent to her. I went to some Stampin Up events around 2005 that got me into stamping as an adult. 


Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?
Yes! When I was looking for a home, I knew I wanted an extra bedroom for an office. Six months later, my crafts had permanently taken over the room. My work surface is a rectangular dining room table I bought specifically for my craft space.    

What are your favorite stamp/craft products?
I'm a huge sucker for the $1 clear stamps and ink spots from the big stores. I also have a large collection of paper punches. 


Do you have a favorite technique?
I don't know that it's a technique, but I've been working through the OWH Sunday Sketches this year.  I set a goal in January to complete all the sketches at least once by the end of the year.  The sketches help me design a card with a focal point and I think they help me make more cards that I'm proud to say I designed.


Are there colors you love to include on your cards? 
Oranges and lime greens are my two favorite colors when making cards, so Halloween cards are really easy for me. My other favorite combination of late is chocolate brown and goldenrod. From watching OWHtv, I've learned that neutrals make great layering colors, so I'm beginning to embrace them as well.  

How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
Like so many card makers have said before, I came across a mention of OWH on a website, but I can't be sure which one. It was December 2010 and I was immediately impressed by the organization of the website and the resources available, so I got involved.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes? 
My grandfather and his five brothers all served our military in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I think of how difficult their deployments must have been on the family and I want to do my part to ease that burden for the families who currently have heroes deployed. 




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Looking for OWHtv Episode 55?

Go bookmark our new blog here!
http://operationwritehome.org/starsandstamps

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Midweek Throwdown Challenge


Thanks for a great challenge last week,
your color Patriotic cards were wonderful and will be so appreciated!

This week our theme is a color challenge! 

We're challenging you to make cards using tropical colors
for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!  We can’t wait to see your card creations! 

We have a sponsor this week!

We are very honored to be sponsoring an OWH challenge. 
What a fantastic way to help support our troops that are all over the world fighting for our freedom.
Deone and her husband Ken started Great Impressions in 1984. They started their journey by doing craft shows around the country and then in the 90's decided to sell wholesale. After that they decided to start selling in small retail stores and the original "Stamp of the Month" was born. The next step was opening an online website so that purchasing Great Impressions stamps would be even easier which is where the company is today. We hope that you will visit our website and our blog where we feature a new DT project each day and have a monthly challenge.
Great Impressions has a wonderful prize for one lucky card maker this week!
The inspiration for our Tropical Color theme comes from 
our sample card makers, the Great Impressions design team members:

Angi
Deloris
Jenny
Sue
Thank you 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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Tuesday Tutorial - Serindipity Stamp, Coloring Tutorial


I would love to introduce a guest tutor, Jenny Gropp, who comes to us from One Krafty Kat. Jenny has generously offered a fantastic Copic coloring tutorial for us today on this beautiful card. I just know that you guys will love her style as much as I do! Jenny used a stamp by Serindipity Stamps... the owner of Serindipity, who is a big fan of Operation Write Home, was so pleased that they are also offering us a really great coupon this week to go along with Jenny's Tutorial! Check out the tutorial for details! Please leave some love for Mz. Jenny and Serindipity Stamps at the end of the post!
-Nancy
Jenny's Serindipity Stamp Card Tutorial
(Jenny's Original Post Reads As Follows...)
I wanted to share a card today that I made for Operation Write Home. OWH is a fantastic organization! They collect hand crafted cards that people like me and you create and send in to them.... they package the cards up and send them overseas to our troops. Our Soldiers then have special hand made cards to use when writing home to their loved ones.
1,615,628 handcrafted cards have been deployed since 2007!
When creating cards for OWH, they have a few guidelines to take in to consideration. Please visit the OWH Website and find out more!
OWH also features challenges and fantastic tutorials regularly on their Blog as well.
So please be sure and check out the OWH Blog - Stars and Stamps.


40% Off Coupon!
The stamps I used today are from Serendipity Stamps and you can shop online with a special discount code! Shop at Serendipity Stamps and just enter the code "40FROMHIGH" during checkout and you'll get 40% off the single highest priced item in your cart. Coupon expires Monday May 21, 2012. One coupon per customer.
I chose this great new image from Serendipity Stamps called Mailbox with Wildflowers. I thought a Miss You sentiment with the mailbox would make a good card for someone to send home. I used pattern paper from an older Basic Grey 6x6 Collection - Marrakech.

I stamped the mailbox image on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White using Memento Tuxedo Black ink. I used a Spellbinder's Rectangle Nestie to cut out the image. After cutting it out, I left the image in the die and used the inside edge of the die as a guide line to add piercing around the edge. I do use a piece of scotch tape to secure it and keep it from slipping in the die.

Above, you can see I added the piercing all the way around the inside edge, then I removed it from the Spellbinder's die.

First I used YR00 in upwards strokes from the grass line. Working in vertical strokes again I softened the color going upwards using YR0000. To start on the ground I used a combination of YG61, 63 and 67. These are some of my favorite greens for grass/leaves.
I used Y28 on the wheat looking flowers on the left, just barely touching the paper to add a little color to them. I also used Y28 to add a little touch here and there in the grass. C5 and C2 for the rocks and the mailbox.
Next came the posts and the flowers. The flowers were so small, not much of an area to blend multiple colors, so I just used small dots of the YR's and then smoothed them together using Y19. E23 and E27 for the mailbox posts.
Final steps in coloring... I used Y28 again and added little touches to the mailboxes, to give them a more weathered outdoorsy look. I smoothed the colors on the mailbox with C2 and C00. I used Y0000 to dab at the grass and the wood posts.... removing color is small spots, giving it a bit of texture.
The cards for OWH need to all be uniform in size... standard A2, 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". The white folded card opens at the bottom tent style. The orange strip at the bottom is 1 1/4" x 4 1/4". The blue quilt pattern paper is 4" x 4 1/4". I used a Memory Box die, Meridian Border, to cover the seam where the two papers meet. The pattern papers dont quite reach to the top/bottom of the card base, leaving a small white border exposed.

I used Perfect Layer Rulers to add small 1/16" layered mats to the image and then framed it with the scalloped rectangle nestie. I popped the image with foam tape and added a few small pearl embellishments. I skipped my usual bow on every card today, due to OWH's suggestion that the cards should not be to bulky for mailing purposes.

Thank you, Jenny for joining us today!!!

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Attention Bloggers: Signed up for the hop?

 The Memorial Day hop is coming up soon - you won't want to be on the sidelines! Be sure to go to the bloghop page to sign up!

Also - with the site update, I think I goofed the code for the blog badges. A fix: copy the code from the bottom of the bloghop page, and create a new text gadget/widget for your sidebar. View it in HTML mode. Paste the code, and before going back to compose mode, select each of the quote marks and retype a quote mark in its place. There's something funky in how that's rendering, but the code should work if you do that. (Let me know in a comment below if it works now!) And blog about the hop....maybe post a tease about what you'll be sharing to get your readers to come sign up too. Want to share your tease? I added an Inlinkz widget for you.

 And.....let's see what sketches are the most popular! Post a comment with the sketch number you think you'll be using. (For now, go to the old Sketches page to view them all together, the sketches page on the new site isn't as functional as I'd like it!)

 Last but not least...you may wish to edit your bookmark to the S&S blog and subscribe here (unsub from the other blog - we'll be double-posting for a while, so you might not want two copies. Eventually I'll have the url redirect here, and you won't get emailed posts from the other site.)

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Sketch Challenge #121

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in the OWH family! Hope your day is great!

We have a fun sketch for you to try today... which reminds me, have you signed up for the sketch bloghop yet?

 

We have 121+ sketches, surely you can find one you like for the 'hop!


Our samples this week are by the awesome Maureen! Be sure and visit her blog Hideaway to see more of her great cards. I just love the pattern mixing and stitching in the second card, don't you? Thanks so much for the fantastic samples, Maureen!



Does this sketch give you some mojo? I can't wait to see what you come up with, so be sure and link your blog post or online gallery on our Inlinkz below!

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: Katie H., Chicago, IL


Happy Friday everyone! This week it's my pleasure to be able to introduce you all to Katie. She is a hero mom and a dedicated OWHer. She also blogs regularly over at Crafty Khandy where you can see more of her wonderful creations. So leave here some love here and then pop on over to see some more!


How long have you been stamping?
I started stamping 15 years ago, was terrible at it and let it go. But I was still scrapbooking a lot. Then about 4 or 5 years ago I picked it up again. I still stamp the same thing 5 or 6 times to get one I like. When someone comes up with a use for smudged images – I’ll have a gold mine!


Do you have a craft room or specific area where you stamp/craft?
My craft room is a work in progress but when finished it will be pink with zebra print. My space is pretty small about 7x7 and it is stuffed to the gills.  For my birthday my dad made me a pegboard to hang my tools on which has freed up a lot of desk space.  He even hand painted a zebra print on it!!


What are your favorite stamp/craft products?
My favorite??? Whatever is in my Michael’s bag. Though, I couldn’t function without my ATG gun; other than that, I always have a new crush; Kanban die cuts, Graphic 45 paper, My Favorite Things Stamps, Cricut, Perfect Pearls…


Do you have a favorite technique?
With all the fun toys and fancy stuff I have found and learned – I really think layering is what makes a project look finished and polished.  It used to seem like a pain to try to cut things even and get one layer centered on top of another nice and clean.  Now, I can’t even mentally picture things without a layer.

Are there colors you love to include on your cards?
Red, I love red- so vibrant and so ME. Pink – it is so pretty. Brown – is subtle and cozy. Cream – because you can’t see all my smudges.  Blue – because it is cheery. Yellow – because it reminds me of my kids. I guess the answer is yes – there are colors I love to include on my cards.


How did you hear about Operation Write Home?
My mother is a librarian and she had been organizing OWH card parties with her paper crafting groups for quite a while. I honestly didn’t pay a lot of attention to it until we got news in early 2011 that my daughter would deploy on the Geo HW Bush. I pledged to myself that I would make one OWH card for every day she was at sea as a way to support her. She ended up not deploying, and I ended up making much, much more than one card a day.


What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?
I am the mother of an active duty US Navy Sailor, mother-in-law to an active duty US Airman, sister, cousin, niece, and granddaughter to former and active duty service members as well. The idea that our way of life is protected by a 100% volunteer military is amazing to me. I am humbled that they and their families volunteer to put the ideals and values we share before their safety and comfort. My contribution of paper, ribbon and ink is so small by comparison. The notes we see on the Stars and Stamps blog and Facebook from loved ones who receive our cards reinforces that what we do makes a difference to someone.




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OWHtv Episode 55: Club Scrap

So glad to report that YouTube seems to be working again! :)


Here is the great stamping video from Club Scrap:

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Midweek Throwdown: Patriotic

Thanks for a great challenge last week,

your Floral challenge cards were wonderful and will be so appreciated!

This week our theme is Patriotic or 4th of July! Just remember your July 4th cards are due to your shippers at the end of this month!

We're challenging you to make cards with a Patriotic theme for our heroes to send home to their family and friends!  We can’t wait to see your card creations! 

Our sample card maker this week is Margaret bringing us a wonderful 4th of July card!
You can see more of her card creations on her blog Cards and Cats


Thank you Margaret for sharing your awesome creativity with us!

YOUR TURN

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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OWHtv Episode 54...belated!

YouTube's hiccups finally stopped! :)

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Tuesday Tutorial - Scrappy Backgrounds!

Hello, cardmakers! Did you have a fun weekend with the Rebel Card-Making Party? I know I sure did! Now after all of that crafting, I have more scraps! Have you wrangled your scraps yet following Sandy's awesome scrap-wrangling tutorial? If you have, here is a tutorial by Cara from over at Crafting Adventures. I love this idea soooo much that I can't wait to try my own red-white and blue version on a hero card. Notice how Cara makes use of both solid and patterned paper scraps... the possibilities for this are endless! Ready? Here we go! -Nancy

Scrappy Backgrounds 
by Cara

One of the things I love to do with scraps is to create backgrounds that I can use with my larger images or sentiments. These scrappy backgrounds are great for that purpose!
Scrappy Background Card

Here's what you need:
Strips of paper. While I've done some with varying widths, like the one above, I generally prefer to work with 1/4" strips.
Tape runner. No glue dots, no glue stick, no liquid glue. My personal preference is my Scotch ATG.
4"x5.25" card stock. I prefer to work in this size so that when I make a 4.25"x5.5" card, the front is matted.
Dry embossing tool and folders. I use a Cuttlebug and embossing folders from a variety of companies.
Paper trimmer
Scissors

Now, let's get to it!

1. Sort your scraps and cut your strips of paper to 1/4". What I like to do is actually cut narrow pieces to this size as I craft. I then put them in envelope as I go and every couple of months I dump out the envelope and make a stack of these backgrounds.

The best tool to do this with is a small paper trimmer. Large paper trimmers can make it hard to see 1/4" and it is too difficult to maintain consistent widths and straight edges with scissors.
Sort Your Scraps
Use a small paper trimmer.
2. Now that you have a nice pile of 1/4" strips, take your 4"x5.25" cardstock and run your tape runner. I like to run it along the edges and then make a asterix (*) pattern across it.
Adhesive
I've drawn lines on here to show you the adhesive pattern since it is hard to really show that in the picture. It is important that you get the adhesive all the way into each corner. If you don't your corner pieces will fall off.

Here's why you need to use a tape runner for this project. If you use glue stick or liquid glue, the amount of glue you need would wrinkle your paper. If you use glue dots, you won't get a good overall adhesion and may have some uneven textures when you dry emboss this.

3. Lay down your first strip. I lay this piece in one direction and the majority of the other pieces will butt up against it. Once I put this first piece down I run a row of adhesive directly below it so that the ones butting up to it are very secure on the paper.
First Strip
4. Now start placing the rest of your pieces. When you get to the corners be sure there is good adhesion there.
First few strips
5. You can either trim your strips that hang over the edge as you go or wait until you are done. I generally trim mine when I'm about half way done and then at the end. Trim away everything hanging over the edge of the piece of card stock. You can do this with scissors or a paper trimmer.
6. Admire your work! At this point I make a bunch of these backgrounds so I have them ready to go when I'm making cards.
One Scrappy Background!
Whole stack! This will last me a few months.
7. When I incorporate these into my cards I like to dry emboss them. I do this at that point so I can choose an embossing folder that goes with the card I am creating. I really like to dry emboss these background pieces for two reasons: first I love adding texture whenever I can and second it is another layer of security. The embossing helps hold all the little strips securely to the backing.
Going to be embossed. The "swiss dots" pattern is my favorite.
All done and ready for a card!
8. Incorporate this into your card.

Beautiful work! Be sure to comment here and leave Cara some love for sharing this tutorial with us today. Then go out and use your wrangled scraps to make a scrappy background! Share your work here! 




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