Saturday, September 25, 2010

Operation Write Home

Edited to add that while comments are still welcomed, the blog candy comment has already been determined.  The winner can be found HERE.   

Hey Peoples!! Today is a very special day as the E-Team is inviting you to join us on a FABULOUS birthday celebration  ride to benefit Operation Write Home.  This non-profit organization collects UNSIGNED cards that our troops can choose to send home to loved ones.   As we come up on the holiday season, it is even more emotionally difficult for our troops to be away from their families and loved ones.  The E-Team invites you to pull out your stamping supplies and either replicate the cards we have to share or use our tips and tricks to mass produce your own awesome cards to send to our troops overseas!!

Visit all the E-Team blogs to get tricks and ideas for mass producing cards and make sure you comment on each blog for a chance to win some paper crafting goodies!! PLUS:  upload your card to eclectic Paperie Flicker group (tag photos as OWH) by Sunday, October 3, for a chance to win one of two eclectic Paperie box of goodies!!


 has a special coupon code to offer some savings in order to stock up on favorite tools, papers, stamps, and all things paper crafts. Use coupon code OWHCARDS and you will receive 10% off your entire order (min $10 order) at eclectic Paperie. The coupon code is good Saturday, September 25th thru Sunday October 3rd. Yes, the coupon code is good through World Card Making day!

Make sure you leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win these paper craft goodies!

You have until Monday, September 27th, 8:00pm, PST to leave a comment.  I will have RandomKid chose the winner of the above goodies and on Tuesday, September 28th, I will post a winner by 10:00 am, PST

Before I begin my project today, I want to make sure you are aware of some REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES that are very important for the cards that will be sent to our troops (i.e. NO GLITTER).   PLEASE make sure you read these as we want your time and effort to be useful to OWH.  I highly recommend you watch the short video too as it gives a great overview of what OWH does!!  More detailed information can be found on the Operation Write Home Site. 

OK!! Are you ready?  LET'S RIDE!!

When it comes to mass production of cards, I am a QUEEN!  When I send out Christmas cards (yes, there are years when this task does not get done!) I mass produce as I have between 70-100 cards to send out and there is NO WAY I am going to come up with a different card for each family on my list. And there is the other factor of time.  In all honesty, I usually start my Christmas cards in December.  LAAATE December!!  I have NO time to be original!! With that being said, here are a few tips that I've learned over the years to make mass production much easier:

1.  Design.  The design needs to be fairly CAS (clean and simple) yet, pack a "WOW" punch.  Some design elements that I think add a "WOW" factor are:  embossing, shimmer (glimmer mists), clear cards and some sponging. Mass production is not really the time to add 15 layers or tons of embellishments.  Make a statement, don't yell it.

2.  Design Part 2:  Have your design planned out PRIOR to moving onto the assembly portion.  This means that you will have a "mock" up of what the final product will look like.  This can be done with those "oops" papers that we all make (you do make those, right?!!).  Your mock up does not have to be assembled completely.  This is the time to experiment with your layout, embellishments, etc.  Finalize your mock draft before you start assembly.

3.  Think assembly line.  Mass production happens in an assembly line in other areas of life.  Plan your card with the same thought process as to what would be the most productive way to assemble your card.

4.  CLEAN SPACE.  I am a VERY messy creator.  I tend to create by starting with an idea and then continuously pull out other stuff to add to it, embellish it, try it...discard it.  All without cleaning up.  This system works for producing ONE card.  This will not work for mass production!!  In order for the assembly line to work properly, the area must be clean so that you have room to put your little piles of supplies and tools as needed.  After you are done with one assembly line, clean up and lay out your supplies for the next assembly line.

Under the space category, I would add that while the kitchen table provides a larger space to do mass production, keep in mind that your family WILL expect to still be fed during this process and shoving all your bits and pieces to the side runs the risk of someone spilling something and ruining all your supplies.  Clean off your craft desk and pull out the card table if you need more space.  Trust me, it is worth the effort!

5.  Make sure you have all the tools, paper, tape and whatnots that you will need to complete the amount of cards you wish to make at that sitting.  There is nothing more frustrating then being in the middle of a mass production than to find you have run out of tape and need to stop everything to run down to you LSS and hope that they have what you need!!

6.  Realize that mass production does NOT have to be completed in one sitting!! I will plan how many cards I think I can make in my time allotment for the evening.  Usually, it is between 10-20 cards.  Mass production can be tedious.  Spread it out over a couple of evenings that way you don't develop an extreme allergy to the task!

Ok....enough jibber jabber!! Let's get STAMPING!!

Here is the card that I will be mass producing today (why is this photo blurry?!! In my photo editing program it looks fine!! grrrrrrr).  I am planning on making 10 cards of this layout to send to OWH.

To begin with, gather up all your supplies that you will need

Supply list for this card: 
Vanilla (Gina K's pure luxury) and Certainly Celery cardstock
Stamps of choice:  SU's Lovely as a Tree and CHF Vintage text *no longer available and Papertrey's Mixed Messages used here
Acrylic blocks, if using unmounted or clear stamps
Inks: Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and Encore Metallic Copper used here
Embossing Powders:  Distress Vintage Photo and SU's Copper used here
Stamp positioner
Corner rounder punch
Heat Gun

Begin by cutting your vanilla cardstock to 4.25" x 8.50"

Round all corners with your corner rounder.  I like to turn my punch upside down so that I make sure the corner angle is in the proper place.

Score your paper at the 4.25" mark.  I LOVE using my Scor Pal (and now my new Scor Buddy for this!! No more crooked cards!)

This will be your 4.25" x 4. 25" base.  Lay it aside for now.  Pull out your favorite die cutting machine and your Spellbinder Nestabilities dies. I am using the 5th die (counting from smallest/center to larger) of the Labels 12 set and the approximate 1 3/8" Classic Oval die.  *If you don't have any of these dies, just use your paper trimmer to make a square that is approximately 3 1/8" x 3 1/8".  You could use a punch to add a different element to the corners or along the edges. Likewise, you could use an oval or circle punch for the ovals on this card.   I am using my Big Shot here, but I have used my Cuttlebug with the Nestabilities and it works just fine!  Pull out all those scraps of Certainly Celery paper (or what ever paper you are using!) and die cut *10 of the label.  Now, I think you are suppose to use the dies with the cut edge up.  I make my sandwich with the cut edge down so that I can see exactly where my die is on my paper.  This way I can make the most of my paper space without waste.

While you have your die cutting machine out, go ahead and die cut the smaller 1" Classic Oval out of your vanilla paper scraps. And die cut the main image square too.  I used the third one from the center (about 2 1/8" x 2 1/8")

You will now have all the basic shaped paper elements of your card.

Now for the fun stamping part!! Now I usually do all my crafting on my Craft Sheet because I can easily wipe off over stamped inks, apply inks to it for the Wrinkle Free Distress technique (a favorite of mine), heat emboss on it or iron on it.  But in trying to keep my ink on the front side of my desired paper only and not everywhere else, I have laid down a piece of scrap paper to absorb the ink.   Begin with your largest Certainly Celery square.  Ink up the background stamp that you want to use with Distress Vintage Photo ink and stamp all *10 squares.  While the ink is still out, sponge along the edges of the square and the large Certainly Celery oval with more of the Vintage Photo ink.  Personally, I LOVE these large sponge daubers for this job!! I have a dauber for each of my individual Distress Ink colors and just label the dauber with a sharpie.

Set aside these elements and pull out your focal image stamp.  Since my image panel has already been die cut, I like to use my stamp positioner to make sure my image is going to end up where I want it, while being somewhat straight.  Yes, I am very capable of still stamping an image crooked even with a stamp positioner!! I tend to get in a hurry and forget to make sure my edges are all nice and tight!

If you've never used a stamp positioner before, take your plastic sheet and butt it up against your "T".  I like to place my "T" facing down towards me.  Just fits my stamping position better.  Ink up your stamp and butt it against the "T", stamping the plastic sheet.  You will place the plastic sheet over you paper, placing the image exactly where you want it.  Butt the "T" against the plastic edge and then remove the plastic sheet.  Re ink your image and butt the stamp against the "T".  Image where you want it!!

For this project, I wanted to add a "WOW" pop with some embossing.  Gather up your embossing tray, embossing buddy and powders *if using Distress Embossing Powder, remember to shake the bottle first to mix the release crystals.

 First wipe your paper with an embossing buddy.  This will keep stray powders from other areas besides the image from sticking! 
 Stamp your image with Distress Ink Vintage Photo. Immediately sprinkle your embossing powder over the wet ink.  Tap off the excess into your embossing tray.  This will make it easier to pour the extra powder back into the bottle.  Set the image aside.  Repeat with the remaining image panels.  *Do not stack the images at this point or you will wipe off the embossing powder.  This is where the clean desk/more room comes into play!

After all the powder has been applied, pull out your heat gun and melt the powder over your Craft sheet.  The Craft Sheet will protect your work area from the high heat and from the embossing powders melting.  If you are using Distress Embossing Powder, the powder will not become shiny, like other embossing powders.  The powder becomes darker when it is embossed. After the image is cool, brush off the release crystals to give the "distressed" embossed look.  While you have the embossing tools out, ink and emboss your sentiment onto the small vanilla oval.

My sentiment is a clear, polymer stamp.  Using a clear acrylic block enables me to see exactly where I want to stamp my image.  Remember:  with clear stamps you do not have to press down as hard as you do with rubber stamps.  The image will squish out and become distorted with too much pressure! Practice on scrap paper if you've never used clear stamps before to get the feel of them.

Finally, the "Putting it all together" portion of our project!!  Gather your scissors, ribbon and tape. I am using Scor Tape (LOVE that fact that it comes in various sizes, I can tear it to size and the backing does not cling to EVERYTHING like the red liner tape!) and Tim Holtz's Tonic scissors (cuts ribbon like butter!).  Cut approximately 4-5" of ribbon and apply tape to the backside.  Wrap the ribbon around the edge of the large square panel. 

Adhere the main image to the background panel.  Adhere that to the card base.  Then adhere the sentiment in the bottom corner.

Use a bone folder to fold along the scored line and WAH-LAH!! The finished cards!!

*I stamped some of the images and sentiments with Encore Metallic Copper ink and embossed using copper embossing powder.  Just playing around with different looks!!

I hope that this little tutorial will encourage you to give some mass production for OWH a try!! I think this is such an awesome way to give back to the men and women who are sacrificing so much so that we can stay home and enjoy our freedoms that we so often take for granted. 

Thanks for dropping by today and don't forget to leave a comment for a chance at the goodies!! AND stop by the other E-Team members for some more inspiration!!

Till then......remember to make some time for creativity in your day!!


Bevie Pearl said...

I like how you used the embossing on the cards you made. Perfect!!!(And I never knew about the large sponge daubers....thanks for the tip!!)

chaun said...

Great card! I love the tree!

Scrap Vamp said...

Ok, yours is my favorite card that I've seen from the E-team! I love the greens and script and that the message says Miss You! Wonderful work!

Joan K said...

First trip to your blog ... I liked your organization, and the card is super. Thanks

Sandra said...

thanks for all the tips - great card, it will be appreciated!

Yvonne said...

Love the tree stamp! the card design is great and will be appreciated.

Sandy said...

"Make a statement, don't yell it." LOL! Great point!!!

I love your tips and how you wrote them - great ideas on what makes a card have that wow factor! Your card definitely has it - love the contrast of the color against white too...nice!

Thanks so much for your support for our heroes!
Sandy, OWH president

Deanna Cosgrove said...

Wow, love your card. The composition is wonderful. And love the distress ink! So glad you ladies are taking part in this special project. Thanks for the tips and instructions.

ChickieChirps said...

Great card! Thanks very much for sharing the how to!


Betty said...

Love the tree and love the card!! Well done - very well done indeed :)

Thanks for sharing and for supporting OWH!

Seongsook Duncan said...

Your card is very nice. Thanks for your great tutorial. I will try to make one with the same stamp that I have.

Denise said...

Thanks for all the tips and your great pics of your project! Very nice tutorial! Great card for a great cause! I love the idea of OWH. Have had fun looking at the E-Team's cards! Lots of fabulous ideas!

Susan said...

This is a beautiful card. Thanks for the tutorial and all the tips!

Nikka Geers said...

very cute card. and as an army wife, i thank you for donating to OWH

JMCPhillips said...

Great card - thanks for the chance to win!

Erin Glee said...

Thank you for all the tips about doing a mass card making adventure like this...hungry kids at the kitchen table wanting to eat where you are creating? You've clearly done this before! teehee...
Tour card is beautiful! Thank you for participating in OWH!

Erika M. said...

I love how you constructed your card - thanks for sharing!

Whispers and Wishes said...

Thanks for your support of OWH... love your tips (i'm a messier crafter than you... in my house glitter and acrylic paint are considered food groups) Your card is absolutely lovely!

Micki said...

ohhhh I LOVE white space so I was oohing and aahing over this gorgeous card. Love it!

Your tips are perfect and once again, you MUST be my twin! Late December, messy crafter...... yup, I know you're my twin :-).


Yolanda said...

Stamp positioner?? Who knew! I'm finding out about some new tools tonight.

Lisa said...

Love this card! I'm trying to find a way around that whole people expecting to be fed thing...I'd have much more stamp time. :)

Kim said...

Classy looking card but fairly simple in construction - I love it. Thank you for the tutorial. Kim G.

Pam and Presley said...

Wow I really like your vintage card! It is also manly and a great idea that could be mass produced with different sayings.

Thank you

Sylvia said...

Starla, You have more energy than I can keep up with! Great card! and lovely idea giving to the troops overseas. Enjoy your enthusiasm!

rush said...

i haven't mass-produced any cards yet, but i am sure that time will come, and with your great tips and pics, i would be ready!

Judy Jackson said...

Thanks for sharing your mass card producing tips. I also mass produce Christmas cards. One thing I have learned is to make all of the elements (of one kind for the finished card) in one sitting. Then it doesn't really take too long to do the final assembling and produce a lot of cards. I make about 120 Christmas cards every year. But they are not all the same. I make about 4-6 different designs.

Kitturah said...

Thanks for the great detailed directions!


Whew, lots of pictures....Thanks so much. I don't know if I would every be UP for taking that many pictures. Great job documenting and I love the image you used!

Paper Therapy Ponderings said...

thanks for sharing your ideas on mass production - beautiful card - thanks for supporting OWH.

Barb Housner

Stacy said...

I really enjoyed reading all your tips for mass production. You have great ideas! This is also a great cause. Stacy H-W

Sandi M said...

Beautiful card :) Thanks for all the great tips from neatness (I do exactly as you do for one card) to showing me how to use my new toy - the stamp positioner I just bought.

Lynn said...

Awesome card! Great tutorial. I love the tree!

Rufus said...

Thanks for supporting OWH! I'm like you, for one card it looks like a tornado stuck the studio. Mass production needs a lot more order than that! Like your card, esp that word background in Vintage Photo on Celery. Will be back to see if Kiddo wins his election!

Renee said...

Starla, your card is really quite lovely! Thank you for all that you are doing for this worthy cause!!

Mary said...

Starla, What a great card. I love white space and your card was a perfect example. We're doing our get together tomorrow. We've supported OWH for about a year and we love creating for a cause.

Amber (bambi64) said...

LOVE the simplicity of your card!! Erma seems to have simple down.. now pass that on to Martha!! ;)

Linda Ledbetter said...

Starla, this is gorgeous! The tree stamp is lovely, and the way you layered these papers and panels looks so complex, and yet it's a very easy card to make. Your instructions are great, and the results are stunning!

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial Starla - really clear and helpful. I had to laugh when you said you can still get something crooked even with a stamp positioner - I have just made a card which needed my stamp positioner and I still couldn't get it line up exactly right - I was trying to rush I think!

Broni said...

What great detailed instructions for this beautiful card, Starla!! I love how you didn't wrap the ribbon all the way around but taped it to the front! Smart lady!