Friday, September 4, 2009

Handmade cards only

Our "no storebought cards" restriction seems like an arbitrary attitude toward donated cards that are printed by a manufacturer. But please let us explain — we have a number of reasons we're no longer able to accept them except as AnyHero letters.

Un-useable cards
When we first began this whole project, we accepted storebought cards. And not only did we receive a lot of them — we also received a lot that were completely un-useable! We had thousands and thousands of Father's Day cards for grandsons, We've Moved cards, Happy Birthday to a 6 year old niece (hundreds and hundreds of them), and Merry Christmas to a first cousin. (Yes, they really do make them!) The likelihood of a unit deployed overseas having a need for that kind of specific card is very very small!

Quantity and time factors
We also were given crates and crates of storebought from estate sales, and it took massive amounts of time to process, sort, and determine what among them was even able to be used. Many were yellowed, damaged, or so dated that a hero wouldn't be too likely to actually use them. The time spent on these was taking a toll on our shippers, and giving less time and attention to our beautiful handcrafted cards.

Hero feedback
Out of all the feedback we've gotten from our heroes, one of two negatives had to do with storebought cards. One Christmas we had so many cases of storebought cards, we sent one large battallion a box of handmade and a box of storebought. And they told us that no one used the storebought, and they ended up on the burn pile! It was so sad. We had tried to share with a group large enough that they might be happy for storebought cards, but our hearts broke at the thought that they believed we sent them goods that were less than our best — they knew our handmade cards, and that clearly made our decision: no more storebought cards.

Do not repurpose storebought cardfronts.
This is a possible liability for us; since we put Operation Write Home on our cards, we cannot have copyrighted material on our handmade cards. If it's not a supply made for cardmaking/crafting, do not repurpose it. (This includes giftwrapping as well.)

The bottom line
So we ask that you find another charity that might wish to use storebought cards you've collected, or perhaps cut the pretty images off the front and use them on your own cards. You can use storebought cards for AnyHero letters, however — there are NO restrictions on those! Take them to your local group, school, or church and ask folks to sign them for our heroes!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check here for using recycled cards.
http://stjudesranch.org/help_card.php

Princess Gigi said...

Is it okay to create a digital card and then print it on card-stock,...or is that not handmade?

Is it okay to take a photo and alter it digitally and print it on card stock or is that not homemade?

Thank you very much!

Operation Write Home said...

Gigi, the only problem with printing out an image straight onto the card, our heroes don't really know if it's a drawing or whatever that you made. It's just like a storebought one, and they tell us those don't really get used. You could do that and embellish or color it though, something like that.

Photos are ok as long as you own the copyright to it. You can always trim those out and adhere them onto cardstock, and that's just fine!

peggyburton said...

What about stickers on an otherwise homemade card? I found some really nice military inspired Creative Imaginations stickers that I'd like to use but I wanted to be sure that it was O.K. first.

Operation Write Home said...

Peggy, stickers are fine - they can be a great substitute for a stamped image sometimes. I like to use them in the same ways I'd use an image on a sketch :)

Patchi said...

Can we use a store-bought card as a card base, with a hand-made front on them? This is how I recycle store-bought cards, so they have the printed greeting inside but a hand-made face. Would you be interested in those?

Sandy said...

Yes Patchi, that sounds like a great way to recycle! Just be sure grandma's birthday note isn't inside...can't tel you how many we've gotten that people forgot about the note to them that was included. LOL!

Lori said...

I'm so excited about finding this program. I'm asking all my friends that have scrapbooking "leftovers" to give them to me so I can make even more cards. I would like to clarify...original cards designed digitally and printed by us still need some embellishments of some sort to appear more handmade. Is that correct? Just wondering because I do both digital and paper.

Operation Write Home said...

That's correct Lori! Our heroes can't always tell if it's handmade when it's digital only, so adding layers etc really helps :)

Anonymous said...

I make cards using very pastel card stock. Do I need to use only white/cream ? I write inside my cards using a pen and it doesn't seem to be a problem. I thought Easter and Spring cards would be great, also new baby cards.

Operation Write Home said...

Pastel is just fine, no worries!

Lori said...

Am totally confused. I was told we could not use store bought cards at all or stickers. Please clarify.

Lori (Missouri)

Operation Write Home said...

Lori, as the post says, no storebought cards. Either as-is or repurposed.

As for stickers, it's a different issue. We get cards with random stickers slapped all over them - often made by children, or made that way by adults thinking that they're doing what kids would like. Our cards still need to appeal to adult sensibilities - folks seem to forget it's adult men and women selecting the card. So using stickers to make them look like a child stuck them together isn't what our contacts want. Using stickers tastefully as designed elements is okay, but "sticker sneeze" is not.

Donna S said...

I am confused too. You mentioned to Patchi that it was OK to resurface the front of a store bought card. I would consider this re-purposed. Usually the sayings on the inside are as much of a copy right issue as the outside and if she is using the whole card, you're going to have the publisher on the back (IE: Hallmark, American Greetings, etc.) How is this different?
Donna S

Operation Write Home said...

So sorry for the confusion everyone! I had been looking at the post itself for revisions when we changed the policy o not using storebought card parts. I deleted the comments from 2009 that I made that were prior to that change.

Do NOT use storebought card fronts - or their parts. You can use the bases (no sentiment inside) - a lot of folks like to buy the $1 card packages and just make a complete new card front - and that's fine.

Anonymous said...

Can we use digital download pics as part of our cards decorations? (Providing those digital downloads that one would use would have permission to use for their crafts) I would like to use these as part of the decorations on the cards. Thanks.

Operation Write Home said...

Anonymous, any of the made-for-cards type things are okay for digital cardmaking. Just be sure they "look" handmade; our heroes would see something simply printed out on cardstock as a storebought card. So embellish, layer, have fun! ;0)

Miki Skelton said...

You'd think this is rocket science. Thank you for taking your time to answer all these questions and get great cards to our heroes. I love "sticker sneeze" LOL!

Melissa said...

Hi! I think what you are doing is wonderful and really it's the least we can do to support our troops no matter where they are. So I thank YOU!

I own a card making, scrapbooking, canvas creating, etc. business. On the back of my cards has my info as well as any credit for the stamps I use (i.e. Stampin' Up!, Unity, Technique Tuesday, etc.) Is this undesirable? I would love to donate and have many cards in my inventory (all are handmade by ME and not store bought although they are sold in stores:D) but my info is already on it.. Any suggestions or are there any concerns with regards to that? Thanks so much for your help :D Keep up the GREAT work :D

Operation Write Home said...

Totally fine to have other info on the backs Melissa - though we attempt not to make the entire back into a billboard of course :) Glad to have you with us!

Anonymous said...

I have passed out the Why I love the USA pages to all of my coworkers who have children. Some of the ones who do not have children have pets. They want to know if it would be okay to fill out the page as if they were their pet? Cats, dogs, horses, etc. I think that it would be cute. What do you think?

Thanks
joanne

Operation Write Home said...

Sure, pet letters are a hoot, Joanne! :)

RissyLouToYou said...

Guess I am beating a dead horse, but thought I would ask: I have several boxes of storebought cards from the 70s, 80s, 90s. I had thought to create mosaic effects, but am assuming that would not fit the "no parts".

Second question: I live in south Texas along the US/Mexico border. Would I use the East Coast contact to mail items?

Thanks. I am looking forward to contributing after participating with a local group for Easter cards.

RissyLouToYou said...

Yikes, meant to say "fit the 'no parts' rule.

Operation Write Home said...

Hi Rissy Lou! If you're really making a mosaic with teeny pieces, nothing would be recognizable, so that could be okay. And from Texas, all our shippers get boxes, so you can pick one or take turns between all three :)

Nancy said...

I have some lovely photos I have taken in various National Parks but I am downsizing and feel that some of these photos trimmed down and adhered to a blank card would be a good card option. I think some heros who might enjoy a card that is more formal than we usually create using stamped images and designs. Does this make the cut on homemade adequately or would the lack of a stamped image exclude them? The photos are mine so there is no copyright issue.

Operation Write Home said...

Nancy, it's ok as long as they're attached to the cards, not printed on them. Thanks!

Debbie said...

My daughter is staring to make cards for OWH and was wondering if she could use cards that were purchased as a card kit. The cards are a little smaller than the regular A2 cards, and the kits have everything in them to make cards.

Operation Write Home said...

Yes, the kits are just fine Debbie :)

shamraiz said...

Sometimes it's nice to leave an image simple, free of lots of color.

And that's what this challenge is about...
Recycling can save the globe.

Plastic Business Cards
Plastic Card
Scratch Card