finishing strong... with mixed emotions

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Aug 022015

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve probably learned that over the last five years, I’ve been donating the majority of the cards I make to Operation Write Home.  OWH is an organization that provides handmade greeting cards to our country’s military men and women who are deployed overseas, so that they may use the cards to write home to their loved ones.  OWH also welcomed “AnyHero” cards and letters containing messages of support for our troops.

It’s with mixed emotions on my part for me to state that OWH has ceased its collection efforts as of August 1, 2015.  This is due to many more deployed service members returning home, and staying home, than in the past.  On the one hand, it’s wonderful news that there are not as many people stationed overseas, and that they no longer need to make the sacrifices of being away from their homes and families.  That’s a fantastic thing!  On the other hand, as a card maker, to me it feels like a loss of a purpose, the end of a good cause.

OWH called its final campaign “Finishing Strong” – and that’s what I aimed to do.  Thanks to the USPS tracking system, I know that my last shipment to OWH was received by them on July 30.  I’m not going to state the total number of cards I’ve sent over the last five years because I don’t want to come across as bragging, but I’m proud of the number.  And I will readily admit that I couldn’t have done it without the support of a number of friends – friends who encouraged me by commenting on the cards I’ve posted here on my blog, friends who didn’t mind my donating cards they’d sent to me as part of card swaps (yes, I gave the friends credit for creating the cards!), and an elementary school principal and several teachers who gave me permission to bring AnyHero coloring pages into the classrooms in which I was substitute teaching for the students to complete after they’d finished their assignments.  To all of you who have helped me – THANK YOU so much.

Most of the cards in my last shipment have already been shared here on my blog, but I did make a few at the last minute so I could finish up with a nice round number.  I’m sharing a couple of them here today.  First is an any occasion card.  The “hello” is suitable for just about any reason.  I cut it from textured cardstock.  The white cardstock is textured, too.  The layout of the card is a sketch I’d designed for a CAS Colours & Sketches challenge last February, turned on its side.  The designer papers come from one of my favorite Basic Grey collections (which is kind of hard to say because I love so many of the Basic Grey collections!).  Although the colors seem to suggest masculinity, this card could be sent to pretty much any person of any age.

7-15 hello

And here is the last card I made specifically for OWH.  It’s a quick and easy design I’ve used in the past, but it just seems pretty classic, like this well-known tree image from Stampin’ Up.

7-15 miss you

Operation Write Home, I will miss you – the sketches, the other challenges, the blog hops, the virtual card making parties, and most of all, the camaraderie of everyone involved with the organization.  Thank you for allowing me to brighten the lives of our military men and women and their families.

As for me – I’ll still continue to make cards.  I’ve been looking into some other organizations that accept donations of handmade cards.  Although my time with OWH is finished, there are still plenty of other opportunities for me to spread some cheer through my creative efforts.

Supplies for the “hello” card:
Stamps: none
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Sahara Sand textured, Whisper White textured (Stampin’ Up); scraps from Oh Baby! Boy collection (Basic Grey)
Ink: none
Other: Hello die (Avery Elle)

Supplies for the tree card:
Stamps: Lovely As a Tree (Stampin’ Up); Year-Round Sentiments (Hero Arts)
Cardstock: Naturals Ivory, Always Artichoke (SU)
Ink: Always Artichoke (SU)
Other: sponge

Hello!  I just have a quick post today to share a card made for the current challenge at the Paper Players and for the Mid-Month Throwdown at the OWH Stars & Stamps blog.  It also fits into the current challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More.  The stitched square dies fit together easily and perfectly to cut the frame for the focal panel.  I discovered the clouds on my desk, leftovers from a previous project that had gotten hidden under an ink pad, so I added them to the scene.

PP254

Thanks for stopping by today! Your comments are always read and appreciated.

Edited on July 25, 2015:  I’m thrilled and honored that this card was selected as “A Cut Above” at The Paper Players!

Edited on August 4, 2015:  What a nice surprise – this card was chosen as an “Honourable Addict” at Addicted to Stamps and More!  Thank you!

Supplies:
Stamps: Love Quotes (Mama Elephant)
Cardstock: Sahara Sand textured, Soft Sky (Stampin’ Up); Pure Luxury White and Ivory (Gina K. Designs)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: markers and multiliner pen (Copic); Love Quotes dies (Mama Elephant); stitched square dies (Lawn Fawn); cloud dies (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps)

Cards in Envy - Christmas in July

Comments Off on Cards in Envy – Christmas in July
Jul 202015

Hello there!  What better way to cool off in the summer heat of mid-July than to think of Christmas?  That’s what the Cards in Envy design team has planned for the next couple of weeks.  Our current challenge theme is “Christmas in July”.

I have a confession to make about my card for this challenge.  It’s the card design that my family sent out to our friends and family last Christmas.  Last week when my sample card was due in to the design team, my family was getting ready to go out of town to visit my husband’s parents, so I knew I had to do something quick and easy.  I always make a few extra Christmas cards “just in case” and then donate any remaining ones to Operation Write Home.  I just happened to have a couple left over, and I looked through both my computer’s database and my blog and realized I never shared the card online.  So I did the quickest and easiest thing possible – I snapped a few photos of one of my leftover cards and chose the best photo to use here.  My card was heavily inspired by this one at Splitcoaststampers.com.  I’ve changed the colors and sentiment, stretched the card into a portrait-oriented rectangle, and used just one little rhinestone as an embellishment.

CIE 07-20-2015

What kind of Christmas card will you create for this challenge?  Just remember that it needs to be A2 sized and it must be flat enough to mail at the standard first class postage rate.  Link it to the Cards in Envy challenge post by 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, August 2.  We’d love to have you join us!

All supplies for this card except the rhinestone are from Stampin’ Up.
Stamps: Festive Flurry, More Merry Messages
Cardstock: Smoky Slate, Buckaroo Blue, Whisper White
Ink: Buckaroo Blue
Other: rhinestone (Recollections)

Hello!  It’s theme challenge week at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.  This time it should be a fun and easy one:  snowmen.  Feature a snowman (or two or more) on your Christmas or wintry card, and share it with us at the 52CCT site!

I’ve used OWH Stars & Stamps sketch #255 for the layout of my card.  It called for lots of layers, which isn’t my usual style, so it was fun to do something different.  After I stamped and colored the snowman, I added some shimmer paint for the snow on the ground.  It was really hard to get the shimmer to show in the photo.  The white layer of the snowflake embellishment was punched from cardstock that had also been painted with the shimmer paint.

52CCT 07-18-2015

Go to the 52CCT website to see what the rest of the Design Team has made.  Then create your own card and share it with us at the challenge site by 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, July 24.  We’d love to have you join us!

Supplies:
Stamps: Be Jolly (Avery Elle)
Cardstock: Poppy Parade, Gumball Green (Stampin’ Up); Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs); designer paper from Nordic Holiday 6″ x 6″ paper pad (Basic Grey)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: Frost White shimmer paint, enamel dot (Stampin’ Up); Pierced Oval Stax and Dimensional Banner dies (My Favorite Things); snowflake punches (EK Success); markers (Copic)

It’s time for another color challenge at CAS Colours & Sketches.  This one has some bright colors and a dark neutral.

I’ve used OWH Stars & Stamps sketch #78 for the layout of my card.  For the hearts, first I scribbled some metallic turquoise and coral Gelatos onto white cardstock.  Then I smoothed the color out with a paintbrush that I’d dipped into both water and into reinker in the challenge colors.  This gave me two nice, vibrant, shimmery colors of cardstock from which I die cut the hearts.  I pierced the top and bottom of the dark brown cardstock to give it a little extra interest before I added the hearts to it.   The brown panel is attached to the card with dimensional adhesive.

CASCAS133

CC&S color133-001

Be sure to check out the CC&S challenge site to see what the rest of the Design Team made with these colors.  Then link your own card to the challenge site by 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 22.  We’d love to have you join us!

Supplies:
Stamps: Sophie’s Sentiments (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Naturals White, Early Espresso (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Early Espresso (SU)
Other: Melon Mambo and Bermuda Bay reinkers, dimensionals (SU); metallic Gelatos (Faber Castell); heart dies (Lawn Fawn), piercing tool (Making Memories)

Hello there!  It’s color challenge week at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.  We have kind of a “pick your own” deal this time – we’d like to see what colors you like pairing with kraft.

I’ve always liked the look of light blues and light browns together, so I’ve put them together for my card.  When I saw the current CAS(E) this Sketch! challenge, it made me think of snowflakes, so that worked perfectly for me.  I’ve stamped the snowflakes (using two shades of blue) and the sentiment onto shimmery white cardstock.  Hopefully the photo shows some of the shimmer.  I sponged some pale blue ink around the edges of the white panel.  Once I had the card all assembled, it looked like it was lacking something, so I added iridescent rhinestones to the centers of some of the snowflakes for extra sparkle.  Honestly, this was one of the quickest cards I’ve made recently!  It’ll be going into the box I’ll be sending to Operation Write Home before the end of the month.

52CCT 07-11-2015

I’m also submitting this card into the July CAS challenge at Happy Little Stampers.

What colors will you use with kraft to create a Christmas or wintry card?  We’d love to see what you can come up with!  Share your card via the linky tool on the 52CCT challenge post no later than 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, July 17.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Supplies:
Stamps: Critters in the Snow, Sophie’s Sentiments (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Baja Breeze, Shimmery White (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Baja Breeze, Soft Sky, Crumb Cake (SU)
Other: rhinestones (Recollections); corner rounder punch (EK Success); sponge

Hello there!  It’s time for another sketch challenge at CAS Colours & Sketches.  This one has some fun stripes and a trio of elements that can be interpreted in a variety of ways.  You’re welcome to flip the sketch or rotate it on its side.  So long as we can see the basic idea of the sketch in your interpretation of it, it’s all good.

I’ve taken the liberty of stretching the sketch from a portrait-oriented rectangle to a landscape-oriented one.  This allowed me more width for the sentiment and the trio of elements.  I’ve chosen to use stars in place of the circles.  The die cut letters aren’t quite as bold as I’d like, but they were the ones that fit best on the card.  I’m also really disappointed that the texture of the white cardstock isn’t very noticeable. The red, white, and blue color scheme and the “thanks” theme are because this will be one last AnyHero card for me to send to Operation Write Home before the end of the month.

CASCAS132

The color scheme and the “thanks” theme also tie this card into the following challenges:  Less is More, Addicted to CAS, and the OWH Our Daily Bread Designs challenge.

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you’ll check out what the rest of the design team has made, and then join us over at CAS Colours & Sketches with your own take on this sketch!  You have until 6:00 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, July 15 to link your card at the challenge website.

Supplies:
Stamps: none
Cardstock: Real Red, Brilliant Blue, Whisper White textured (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: none
Other: Stars die (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps); “Bounce” alphabet dies (Sizzix)

Hello there!  It’s the first Monday of the month, which means it’s time for a new challenge at Cards in Envy!  Our theme for the next two weeks is “Just Beachy”.  Make a card depicting whatever says “beach” to you – an ocean scene, beach balls, starfish, anything that you think of when you think of going to the beach.  Remember, though, that the main requirement for Cards in Envy challenges is that your card must be A2 sized and not have any lumpy, bumpy embellishments that could push it over the first class postage rate.

I’ve used the current CAS(E) this Sketch! layout for my card.  I paired some watery-looking designer paper with a lightly speckled cardstock that reminds me of sand on the beach.  I stamped various seashells and a sand dollar on scraps of speckled cardstock, fussy cut them, and arranged them on the front of the card.  The largest shell is raised up with cardstock shims to add a little dimension to the card.  A simple sentiment finishes off the card and makes it a suitable addition to the cards I’m compiling to send to Operation Write Home by the end of the month.  The beachy theme also makes this card suitable for the current Paper Players challenge.

CIE 07-06-2015

Be sure to check out the Cards in Envy site for all the challenge details and to see what the rest of the design team has created!  Then create a beachy card of your own and share it with us using the linky tool on the site.  You have until 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, July 19 to play along with us!

Edited on July 12, 2015:  Thank you to Joanne of the Paper Players Design Team for choosing this card as “A Cut Above”!  It was a wonderful surprise to start my week!

Supplies:
Stamps: Stipple Shells (Stampin’ Up); Year Round Sentiments (Hero Arts)
Cardstock: Naturals Ivory, Naturals White (SU); designer paper (source unknown – I’ve had this stuff for years!)
Ink: Soft Suede (SU)

Hello there!  My American readers may be wondering why I’m posting a non-patriotic card on July 4th, but it’s because at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown, we celebrate Christmas all year round!  After all, why should the joy and love and magic of Christmas be limited only to December?

Since it’s the first Saturday of the month, we have a sketch challenge this week.  I’ve turned the sketch 90° to the left and worked with it sideways in relation to how it was drawn.  I’ve been trying to get some more wintry, non-holiday cards made to include in the box I’m preparing for Operation Write Home, so I decided to go with a snowman image and snowy designer paper.  I used some ink and blender pens to add a bit of color to the snowman.  The enamel dots were a last minute decision, but I’m glad I added them because the card seemed a little plain without them.

52CCT 07-04-2015

I’m going to enter this into the current Addicted to Stamps and More challenge, too.

Now it’s time for you to show us what you can do with this sketch.  If you need more inspiration first, be sure to check out the 52CCT site to see what the rest of the design team has made.  Then link your card there by 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, July 10.  We’d love to have you join us!

Supplies:
Stamps: Mini Blueprints (Tim Holtz); Three Little Words (Stampin’ Up)
Cardstock: Pool Party, Whisper White (SU); designer paper from Fa La La petite paper pack (Lawn Fawn)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento); Smoky Slate, Wild Wasabi, Pool Party, Soft Suede, Real Red, Pumpkin Pie [for coloring the image] (SU)
Other: blender pens, candy dots (SU); white twill ribbon (source unknown)

Hello!  It’s time for a new challenge at CAS – Colours and SketchesJane is our challenge hostess for the month of July, and she’s chosen some nice vibrant colors plus a neutral to get us started this week.  I’ve combined our challenge colors with the soon-to-close sketch challenge at CAS(E) this Sketch!  The sketch was a perfect opportunity to use this sentiment stamp.  I didn’t have flowers in the deep raspberry color, and all my flower punches would have been too big, so I dyed some white Prima flowers with reinker.

CASCAS131

CC&S color131-001

Go see what the rest of the design team and our July Guest Designer have done with these colors.  Then show us what you can create with them!  You have until 6:00 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, July 8 to link your card at the challenge site.  We’d love to have you join us!  Thanks for stopping by today.

Supplies:
Stamp: Thank You Note (Hero Arts)
Cardstock: Tempting Turquoise, Kraft, Very Vanilla (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: Tempting Turquoise (SU)
Other: Rich Razzleberry reinker, pearls, Beautiful Wings die (SU); Scribbles Swirls die (Sizzix); Stitched Rectangle die (Lawn Fawn)

Hi there!  It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for a new challenge at CAS Colours & SketchesLizy, our challenge hostess for June, has drawn up a nice little sketch for us to work with this week.

I stayed true to the sketch for my card, and I considered several different ideas for what images to use.  In the end, I decided to follow along with the Paper Players theme of “Summer Treats” and chose this cute little pea pod image.  My family has been enjoying the peas from our garden over the last few weeks, and I’ve been freezing packages of them for us to eat throughout the winter.  Home-grown veggies are definitely a treat in my opinion!  For my card, I originally planned to stamp the card base with a background stamp, but I didn’t like the way that looked.  So I decided to scrap that idea and just keep it plain.  A simple knot bow with the ribbon will smush flat enough to keep this card eligible for Operation Write Home.

CASCAS130

sketch 130

What will you do with this sketch?  There are so many possibilities!  Be sure to go see what the rest of the Design Team has made.  I hope you’ll try out something and share what you create with us!  Link your work to the CAS Colours & Sketches blog by 6:00 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, July 1.  Thank you for stopping by today!  Comments are always welcome and appreciated!

Supplies:
Stamps: Punny Fruits & Veggies (Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps)
Cardstock: Pear Pizzazz, Garden Green (Stampin’ Up); Pure Luxury Ivory (Gina K. Designs)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: markers (Copic); grosgrain ribbon (SU)

Hello!  Once again, it’s time for a new challenge at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.  This time we have a theme for you to follow:  Christmas Elves.  Feel free to check out the 52CCT site to see what the rest of the design team has made.

I don’t own any elf stamps, so I looked online for some digital images.  I found this darling little girl elf at a site called Whimsie Doodles – and best of all, she was free!  I did have to draw in the shelf on which she’s sitting – kind of like those “Elf on a Shelf” dolls that have become popular during the holiday season.  Since I think the idea of having the elf watching you all.the.time. is kinda creepy, I opted for a more friendly sentiment that makes this a more generic “any occasion during the season” card for Operation Write Home.  I figured there’s enough Christmas vibe going on with the color scheme of the card.  The layout for this card is the current Freshly Made Sketches challenge turned 90° on its side.  (I have no idea why the FMS graphic is showing a black background.  I copied and pasted it from the FMS site as usual.  ???)

52CCT 06-20-2015

How will you interpret the Christmas Elves theme?  Share your card with us via the linky tool on the 52CCT challenge post by 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, June 26.  We’d love to have you join in the fun and creativity!

Supplies:
Digital Image: Elves Watching Girl (Whimsie Doodles)
Sentiment Stamp: Sophie’s Sentiments (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Gumball Green, Real Red Core’dinations (Stampin’ Up); Pure Luxury White (Gina K. Designs)
Ink: printer ink; Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Other: markers (Copic)

Hello!  Here in the United States, Flag Day was yesterday, and the Fourth of July is coming up soon, so at Cards in Envy we’re getting into the spirit with a Red, White, AND Blue color challenge.  Cards made for this challenge don’t need to be of a patriotic theme, but they do have to feature those three colors.

I will admit that my brain wasn’t in one of its most creative modes when I was figuring out what to make for this challenge.  So I tweaked the basic idea of a card I’d made last year and went with that.  It’s a quick and easy design with some bold, eye-catching blocks of color.  The sentiment makes this a great any occasion card to include in the box I’m filling for Operation Write Home.

CIE 06-15-2015

Because we have a fifth Monday in June, this challenge will run for three weeks, closing on Sunday, July 5 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time.  We’d love to have you join us!  Just remember that cards for all of our CIE challenges need to be A2 sized and flat enough to mail in an envelope at the standard first class postage rate.

Supplies:
Stamps: none
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Whisper White, Real Red, Pacific Point (Stampin’ Up)
Ink: none
Other: Simply Said Hello die (Avery Elle); Bracket Edge die (My Favorite Things)

Hello!  It’s color challenge week at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown, and this week we have a fun one that allows for a lot of creative possibilities!  We’re asking our challenge participants to create Christmas or wintry cards using the colors black, white, and one additional color that each participant can choose for herself (or himself).

After some mental debate, I finally selected green as my additional color.  The first card I created looked better in my imagination than it did once I put it all together.  So I checked out this week’s challenge at CAS(E) this Sketch! and immediately thought, “Hey, I can do this!”  Four die cut squares, a stamped and punched ornament, a simple sentiment, a few card layers, and a sparkly rhinestone later, here’s the result:

52CCT 06-13-2015

I’m also submitting this card into the Holiday theme challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More.

Which color will you choose to add to our challenge scheme?  We’d love to see what you select!  Share your card with us at the 52CCT blog by 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, June 19.  Be sure to check out what the rest of the Design Team has made, too.  Thanks for stopping by today!

All supplies for this card are from Stampin’ Up except the square die.
Stamps: Delightful Decorations, Christmas Greetings
Cardstock: Gumball Green, Basic Black, Whisper White
Ink: Gumball Green
Other: ornament punch, rhinestone; Small Stitched Square Stackables die (Lawn Fawn)

Hello there, and happy Saturday to you! It’s sketch challenge week at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.  As with all of our sketches, you’re welcome to use the sketch as it’s drawn, flip it mirror image, or turn it on its side.  You may also change the shape of the tag area.  So long as we can see the “skeleton” of the sketch, it’s all good!

The only changes I made to the sketch were to add a few layers.  I decided to go with a snowflake theme.  Once I chose my designer paper, the card came together pretty easily, except for figuring out what sentiment to use.  Because I already have a bunch of holiday specific cards for Operation Write Home that say “Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, now I’m trying to use sentiments that could be used throughout the winter.  I finally decided on this one that seemed to go well with the snowy theme, even though it’s actually from an ice cream themed stamp set.  The sentiment and the snowflake image are both heat embossed to add a little shine to the card.  I wanted something to reinforce the hole in the tags, but thought that a standard eyelet would be too small.  Then I remembered about 10 years ago I purchased a set of Stampin’ Up Metal Magic tags that had these little washer-like discs in it.  So yay – I finally got to put one to use!

52CCT 06-06-2015

Go see what the rest of the 52CCT design team has done with this sketch, and then show us your own take on it!  We’d love to have you link your card at the 52CCT site.  The challenge deadline is 7:00 p.m. Eastern time Friday, June 12.  Please join in the fun and creativity!

Supplies:
Stamps: Mini Blueprints (Tim Holtz); Here’s the Scoop (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Kraft, Brushed Copper (Stampin’ Up); “Glisten/Avalache” designer paper from Fruitcake collection
Ink: Copper (ColorBox)
Other: copper embossing powder (Ranger); copper cording, Metal Magic washer (SU)

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