Saturday, May 30, 2009

NABLOPOMO heroes!

(and for those who don't know what NABLOPOMO is, it's National Blog Posting Month!)

I'd done NABLOPOMO a few years back, when it was just a one-month deal (in November, I think?) but have ended up on their email list. They have suggestions by theme per month now....and for June it is:

heroes!

If anyone would like to participate, it's a commitment to blog every day for the month of June, with heroes being your topic...details are here from their email:

A message to all members of NaBloPoMo

The theme for June is HEROES. Everyone has a hero or heroine; the challenge this month is to find THIRTY OF THEM.

June HTML badges are here: http://nablopomo.ning.com/htmlbadges/june-2009-html-badges -- please feel free to add your own, and be sure to link to them in the comments.

If you'd like to be on the June blogroll, just click here: http://nablopomo.ning.com/blogrolls/june-2009-blogroll and follow the directions at the top of the page!

Thanks, and good luck, June bloggers!

(Any questions or problems, e-mail nablopomo@gmail.com or message me on the network at http://nablopomo.ning.com/profile/toasteroven.)

Visit NaBloPoMo at: http://nablopomo.ning.com
Your heroes don't have to be CFH-related of course...they can be your parents, a teacher, coworker, famous person, character in history. It's a great chance to really spend some time thinking about who all those people are who have influenced you! (and of course since NABLOPOMO has a monthly blogroll, you'll get more visitors!)

If you decide to try it, post a comment so we can all bookmark you and cheer you on every day!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Make some friends, make some cards

Our emails have been hopping with people wanting to do more, so this week we've been featuring ideas to get you all more involved! Today's idea is to check out our cardmaker list and see if you have some friends you didn't know you had!

Check out our Cardmaker List and....

  • Do we have you listed correctly? (names are only added as cards are received)
  • Do we have your blog or online gallery linked?
  • Is there someone in your town? (email us and we'll try to contact the other person. We will only connect you if both parties agree to share email addresses! If they have a blog, go visit and leave them a hello!)
  • Email info@operationwritehome.org with corrections.

Once you meet your new friends...

  • Schedule a cardmaking party together! Take turns crafting at each others' homes, or find a mutual location (a store, a VFW hall, a church?). Each bring two friends and some snacks, and it's a party!
  • Go shopping together — save some cost and split reams of cool colors of cardstock or large quantities of ribbon)
  • Mail your boxes together — fill a large flat-rate box together and split costs! (If you want to be counted separately for the donations, fill out two packing slips, thanks!)
  • Brainstorm ways to get your community involved. Are there fairs coming up this summer? Clubs you can recruit to write letters? Scouts needing a service project who can fundraise for OWH with a carwash?

Endless ideas are out there — go make some friends!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Double Dog Dare

The dare: go to your local stamping, paper, or scrapping store, and ask to speak with the manager or owner. Ask if they heard about the bloghop—and if so, ask them to get involved! (At two stores this week, employees and managers had already heard about the bloghop! Knock me over with a feather!) And if not, tell them what you experienced, and invite them to participate. (Don't be pushy, but be excited! Your enthusiasm is infectious.)

We especially encourage you, the crafters, to help your local stores—especially in this economy where business is so bad and we're losing stores! Brainstorm with them about how to drive sales, bring people into the store, and do something good all at the same time! Contact local press for them; that's great for business too. On the display pictured here, sample cards were all made with stamps that were available for purchase in the store—helping the store exhibit their wares. Be sensitive to their needs; times are tough and we want to help them, not just ask for handouts. Let's partner to help keep our stores alive!

A few ideas to broach with the store:
  • host a cardmaking party (an afternoon or evening, either they could supply materials or have cardmakers bring their own)
  • host a card drive (collection over a period of time or all on one day. Suggest an immediate-use coupon for anyone dropping off more than 10 cards!)
  • donate supplies (paper or envelopes for you to use for cards, or supplies to offer up to your blog readers for a challenge. You can be a sponsor of one of our upcoming challenges too!)
  • put flyers on the counter for your own cardmaking party or fundraising event (make your own flyer or contact us for help)
  • hold a sale—where a % of purchases is donated to CFH!
So go talk to someone. See if they'll help....we double dog dare you!

Leave a comment on this post if you're willing to go talk it up....and come back and report what happened! Let's brainstorm ideas to get our local businesses involved!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lisa’s Comment Challenge!

Alright, bloggers, can you handle this throwdown from Bloghop blogger Lisa?
Hi! I’m the gal who challenged myself to make one card for each comment I received on my post. At last view, I had 148 comments—I’m so excited! Thank you so much for all of your precious comments and for helping me with my challenge. I loved reading each one. Even though it might take me a year, I CAN do it, I’ve already started! I’ve set myself a goal to send some cards at the first of each month until I’m done. That way, CFH will have cards to send over the summer. Will you join me? As Heidi says, “spread the luv!”
If you'd like to join Lisa in this, leave a comment on this post! Tell us what YOUR plan is! How many are you going to be making? Got an idea on how to track it? Do it publicly with a ticker on your blog? Let's challenge and encourage each other; all those who sign up to match Lisa's efforts—make a point of leaving an encouragement on each others' blogs each week and spur each other on to more good works for our heroes! :)

Be sure to leave your blog address here so others can come and cheer you on!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Your final mission.......should you choose to accept it!

If you made it this far, we hope you still have just a little *extra* inside you to accomplish just one more task. Or maybe you're feeling extra-energized from all the inspiration!


The prize: A flat rate box filled to the brim with fun crafting supplies!!

And now, the last thing you may want to do---before running to your craft room, now that you're filled with inspiration!---is to sign up for our email list. If you've already gotten emails from us, that's our old list; we're trying a new way to build a fresher and more accurate list. So please sign up even if you've been getting emails so far, thanks!



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Bloghop — nearly here!

I keep "counting sleeps" as I did when I was a little girl before summer vacation...I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am at the response you all have given to our bloghop!

I created this word cloud at Wordle to see what would pop up...and the most popular blog names have the largest words shown here! Cool, eh? Can you find a bit of your own blog here? Or some of your favorite bloggers? We have SO many involved—you are soooo going to want to make it through the whole hop, they're scattered throughout!

Check out the Bloghop page for pictures of the prizes that have been donated, blinkies for your blog, and a little info about how the hop will work this weekend. We'll be posting a list of links to all the blogs on that page on Saturday when we're up and running, too.

Feel free to grab this Word Cloud and post on your own blog — let's get some buzz going!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Reason to Rubber Stamp Every Day

If you ever wanted a good solid excuse every day, check out Kate Pullen's Rubber Stamping Blog on About.com! She shares lots of ideas and fun info—and she's shared a link to CFH for Armed Forces Day! Thanks for the props, Kate!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mailroom Monday

Just how much gets mailed out in a "typical" week here at CFH?

We mail out boxes every week— sometimes it's 3 or 4, but at times like now, just prior to a holiday, our trips to the post office require several dollies to deliver all the love! This week alone saw over 5,000 cards head out in the mail — THANK YOU to all of our cardmakers!


This photo shows only one day's shipment out of our Washington State location—picture a dolly like this in Kansas, and another in Massachusetts! How exciting that each of these boxes, containing up to 350 cards a piece, will be blessing so many deployed warriors!

We have our shipping-to-the-battlefields deadlines set about 4-5 weeks prior to a holiday (our requested deadlines for cards coming FROM cardmakers is early to allow us sorting, counting, stamping-the-backs time!); some of our remote Afghanistan units get shipped out 6 or 7 weeks early to allow for some extended shipping time.

If you're one of those folks who's interested in seeing the ebb and flow of CFH shipments, we post a little chart in the Mailroom, updating it every week or two on Mailroom Monday to show the number of cards mailed each month and the cost to do so. We also post a weekly listing of the shipments sent out that week—how many, to which country, and what branch of service—so you can get a good idea of what we're sending and to where.

Weeks like we're having right now also see our funds depleted fast — we've spent over $400 already and we're only halfway through May! Small donations—even $5 or $10—make sure we're able to ship on a regular basis, and we appreciate all your postage assistance so much...click here to make a gift by Paypal or check today!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Armed Forces Day 2009


Many thanks to all those who have served our nation faithfully—and those who are serving her today! It is because of countless generations of patriots that the United States is the great nation she is today. We honor and celebrate the service and sacrifice of all who have stood guard over our country's freedoms!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Featured Cardmaker: Jody M, Scottsdale AZ


About Jody:
I am married, two grown children and life now evolves around the 2 yorkies that rule the house and a black lab.


How long have you been making cards?
I started making cards because I wanted to create my kids recipe albums that looked like scrapbooking. My 5 1/2 X 8 1/2 cards look a lot like my recipe cards. I learned this through a scrapbooking store in Scottsdale called My Scrapbook Studio. (now closed)


How did you hear about CFH?
I learned about Cards for Heroes through some odd email someone sent me about something else but there was a link to Cards for Heroes. I started looking at the website and was hooked. Unfortunately I only learned about this about 10 days before Christmas and had already made about 300 cards to send to a men and women's rehab center. I sent Sandy what I could muster up and some odd cards I had laying around. Since then I think I have sent around 600 or so cards split between you, Sandy and Kris. I recently committed to Kris to send her the smaller cards in May.


Do you have a special technique you love to use?
My techniques are very eclectic. I love paper, dimension and color/pattern combinations. I am not very good at stamping yet but trying. Since I did not start out as a stamper I still have the need to utilize all sorts of patterned paper. I am getting a lot of inspiration from Sandy's blog. I even bought my first Copic marker. I also love to make altered photo albums and give them to friends and relatives.

Are there colors, style, or product that draw you?
Lately not so much because I have been busy making some albums for friends and relatives getting married and having babies. I try to make cards almost every evening after dinner and also on the weekends. My scrap area is smack dab in the middle of our house right now so can always be part of the action. We bought an older house and are in the process of remodeling.......no entertaining for me right now.


What motivates you to make cards for heroes?
Selfishly this helps me feed my habit because I love to create cards and how many can you give to friends and relatives????? The Heroes Blog is so inspirational and that is all I need to sit back down and start making cards. There is still nothing like receiving a letter or card in the mail. The effort that has gone into creating and maintaining this organization also inspires me. Just look at what has been accomplished just because of some blogs, emails, chats back and forth. I was and still am truly impressed.

Cornish Heritage Farms - "We Remember"

This stamp set was just released in the Rummage Bin Line from Cornish Heritage Farms! And they gave us a plug on their blog, too!!!


You can buy this set by clicking here.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bloghop update

50 bloggers have expressed interest so far — how cool is that! We'll have so much creativity and inspiration going on, be sure to stop in during Memorial Day weekend to take a look! (We'll post the links to all participants on this Homefront Blog afterward, so if you are travelling and miss out, check in here to review the crafty goodness!

Our Blogging Quickstart is posted on the cardmaking tips blog — so for those who need some short instructions to set up a blog for our event, check it out here!

Quickstart: Blogging (in Blogger)

Well this may not be a cardmaking tip—but with all the blogging going on out there, we know crafters love to share! So here's a very short step by step for those who want to start a quick blog before our Memorial Day bloghop.

Sign up for a FREE account at blogger.com. There are other sites you can set up a blog with like WordPress, but this post is only going to walk through a simple Blogger blog.

You'll be asked some basic info to either set up a new Google Account or use an existing one


Next you'll name your blog. Remember that whatever you name it, it will stay that name; you can change the text within the blog, but the url (web address) will always be the same. So make it something easy and memorable for you—and it helps if it's easy to share. (ie myblogwithalongcrazyname.blogspot.com isn't as easy as mycraftingblog.blogspot.com) Yes, your blog's name will have blogspot.com after whatever word you select. Check the availability of the name you choose. Ignore the advanced options for the time being.

Choose from one of their pre-defined templates. You can always fuss with it later, add custom templates, etc (and keep whatever content you are uploading now with one of these templates). But pick one for now to get yourself started!

And voilá, your blog has been created! When you click this last arrow you'll be sent to a screen to create your very first post. Play around with the buttons to see what they do; there are font settings, a button to click to upload images, and a chain-link icon to create links. You'll want to try out posting a picture and making links before the bloghop starts, but you don't have to stress about the advanced features quite yet.

Once your blog is up, send your url (web address) to all your friends and family—and to us here at CFH! We'd love to add your link to the Cardmaker listing. And when you post cards you've made for CFH, send us a link too....we'd love to post weekly or monthly links to all the online posts showing cards made for our nation's heroes!

As you check out other blogs that you like, ask the blogger for help in creating a feature they have on theirs. If they have a cool background, widget (sidebar graphic) or clock, see if they'll help you get one of your own. Beware—blogging can be addictive! Save some time for ink, paper, and stamps! ;)

Happy blogging!


EDITED TO ADD:

Blogger has a bug that we need to report to you! The default comments box (embedded below the post) has a conflict with some older google accounts. Blogger suggests that you change to a popup style comment box. That works fine; if you haven't gotten many comments on your blog, that could well be why! Plenty of us would love to give you feedback! Here's how to make the change:


Go to your Dashboard.
Click on the Settings tab.
Click on the Comments link under that.
Under Comment form check the button for Popup window.
Scroll down and Save changes.
Done!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kleenex Alert: Welcome home

This isn't a new video by any means, but is a total inspiration anyway. (And if you have great things to inspire our cardmakers and financial donors, please send them on....we love to post GREAT things here!)


Friday, May 8, 2009

Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 8)

CFH would like to express a hearty thank you to all military spouses for all you do every day on the homefront. You keep the home running, get the kids off to school, soccer and ballet, you juggle priorities, you do the shopping AND the mowing, you deal with the plumber and the bank manager, and all while worrying over your other half in harm's way----you are superheroes!

So much of what we do here at Cards for Heroes really ends up being for you....sometimes your deployed loved ones might not "get" that a handwritten note means what it does in your eyes. They may not grasp what that extra touch of handcrafting on a card can do for your heart. (And some do, we know that!) But we know that many of you hold onto the cards and letters you receive as absolute treasures, collected in shoeboxes or scrapbooks, set out on the mantle to remind you every day of the hero you miss so much. It gives all our cardmakers great pleasure to know their work is part of bringing a little comfort to your hearts.

Thank you. From all of us, to all of you.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Creativity from, Grafton MA

A special box of arrived in the mail today...a huuuuuge box of cards! It contained a mix of all kinds of cards and styles—445 in all, and a whole lot from kids! Many thanks to the whole community who came together to help our service members with incredible creativity! We want to share some of the kids cards especially with you—but first...


Many folks have wondered what happens to cards that arrive, so this seemed a perfect chance to tell you a little of what happens to cards when they arrive. The first photo is the cards as they arrived; we sometimes get them in bags, rubber bands, individual sleeves, some with envelopes, some without. Each of our shippers "processes" the donations—that involves a few steps:

  1. Counting: we make sure we take an accurate count of what you send in; that's one reason our packing slip helps so much, we can skip the counting step and log in what you've written on your paper!
  2. Stamping the backs: we add our CFH logo stamp to the back of each card; that way when families at home get the cards, they can drop by the website to leave us a hello for the Hero Blog!
  3. Matching with envelopes: sometimes the cards come with envelopes, other times we find envelopes to go with them. One reason we ask primarily for A2 sized cards (4.25 x 5.5) is that we get the most of those envelopes donated, so it works out best—in addition to it being the most efficient size to get a lot of cards in our boxes!
  4. Tucking the cards: we tuck the back of the card inside the envelope, letting the front side hang out—that way when the cards go to the service members, they hang onto their matching envelope. Note that if you aren't stamping the backs of your cards yourself, it's easiest for us if they're not already tucked into the envelopes.
  5. Sorting the cards: we sort them into types, so that when we have enough to pack boxes, we can get a good amount of thinking of you, holiday, love, birthday, etc cards into each box!

And now, on to the kids cards!

These cards were made by children in a number of 2nd grade classes at South Grafton Elementary, as well as Wolf Den 2, Pack 106. It appears that the children were provided with stamped images—cut out or punched already—that they could color, add patterned paper, and adhere to their cards. The insides were all blank—which really helps to leave our heroes room to write! (When children are turned loose with stickers, they sometimes fill the inside, leaving no room to put a note...so guide them to leave insides empty if possible!) Many of the children also drew wonderful pictures on the backs of their cards, and the teachers put a label on the back of each card with the teacher's name, school, and a place for the student to write their first name. This label really makes these cards special—the service members will LOVE knowing who made their cards, and what grade they're in! Without further ado, here are the cards—click on any card to view it larger!

CFH makes the news in San Jose CA

Check out this great article in the San Jose Mercury News about our incredible crafters! Thank you Cindy, Linda, and all the cardmakers who join your efforts to support our nation's heroes!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cardmaking tutorial - double embellishment

This tutorial covers another sketch, along with more ideas for changing it up. Click on any of the images to see it larger. And if you use this sketch, be sure to either share a link in a comment on this post, or send us a photo of the card and we'll add it to our card gallery!



CFH Blog Hop! Memorial Day weekend

****NEWSFLASH! NEW PAGE FOR THE HOP: http://cardsforheroes.bloghop***


Cards for Heroes is sponsoring our very first Blog Hop! We are really excited to spread the word about our organization, and we need your help!

We need your help!

If you have a blog, we'd love to have you participate! (And if you don't have one yet, it's the perfect time to get it set up! It's free, and is a great venue to share your creativity with everyone. Email us if you need help getting started; if we get enough interest, we'll post a how-to on our blog.) You can also help us recruit bloggers by posting a link to this post on your blog (scroll down for some banner graphics you can post too!)—and talk about your personal experience with CFH! There are a lot of great new things happening at CFH and we'd love to share them with the people who love what you do!

What's a blog hop?


It's a series of blogs, each linking to the next "stop"—so visitors would start out at CFH and "hop" across all the blogs. You would sign up beforehand, and be emailed the details ahead of time, so you'll know just what to do.

What will you have to do?


Make a card that you will send to Cards for Heroes and share the love with the rest of us on your blog! You'll be told which blog you'll link to as the "next" one on the list. 

What kind of card: Please use "Cards for Heroes" as your card theme - you can make a patriotic card for a hero, or get really creative with any theme you'd send in for a hero to use - it will be fun to see what everyone comes up with! We are also looking to introduce our group to your blog visitors, so we ask that you please link back to the Cards for Heroes website - and share what participating in CFH has meant to you. Let's get them fired up too!

Time Frame:
We need the posts to go up by noon Pacific time, Saturday, May 23rd and remain up through at least Tuesday, May 26th to give people time to visit the blog post. (If you don't have your post up that morning, the hop "stops" when visitors get to you — so please be sure you can do it!)

What else to post: We'd also love for you to feature our new challenge, 25+2! You can learn more about the challenge here. We'll email some more specifics at that time.

To sign up:


Please e-mail bloghop@cardsforheroes.org. We'll put you on the list and send you more details very soon!

Thank you! We're looking forward to seeing what everyone creates!

Featured Cardmaker: Ann W., Knoxville, TN


    About Ann: I am a retired secondary education school teacher, an aunt, a sister and a friend. I am the mother to 3 four-legged children - two girls (bassett hound mix) and one boy (maltese mix.) I enjoy collecting my "stash" of scrapbooking and card making supplies as much as I do using them. Actually I think from the size of the stash - I collect more than I use. But I am afraid the saying she who dies with the most stash wins - and I wanna win. It IS an addiction :) I enjoy anything involving my alma mater the University of Tennessee - especially watching sports of all kinds - as long as the my beloved Volunteers are involved, I love it!!!! Also I love spending time with family and friends, eating out, playing on the computer, watching TV and music of all genres but especially the music from the '60's.

      How long have you been making cards? I have been making cards for over 6 years. Plus I started scrapbooking back when scrapbooking wasn't cool. I still have some very old albums that were on the old-timey kraft paper back from my high school days over 40 years ago.

        How did you hear about Cards for Heroes, and how long have you been making cards for the organization? I heard about Cards for Heroes on the Two Peas in a Bucket website. I lurked on the message board reading all the great posts for months before I decided to join in the fun. I have been making cards for about 2 years for the troops.


        What is your favorite kind of card to make? It is easier to answer what is my least favorite to make because all the others are about the same. I find masculine cardsto be more of achallenge to create than other types of cards. Most of the cards I make, I leave blank on the inside so the troops can write a longer message.

          Do you have a special technique you like to use? I don't think I have any special techniques that I like to use. It really all depends on my creative mojo and mood. I belong to a Stampin Up group through one of the local churches. Many times I use what I learned at the last month's meeting.


            Are there colors, style, or a product that "draws" you? I love to use patterned paper and ribbon. I found wrapping paper can be an inexpensive substitute for patterned paper. For example I found some zoo theme wrapping paper that made some really cute kids birthday cards. Since these are cards and not scrapbooking pages, I didn't worry about the acid free situation. In regard to stamping, I use mostly Stampin Up product.

              How often do you make cards? I make more cards during the winter time than any other time of the year. Call me a person with seasonal attention deficit ... but during those months I tend to stay inside and get bored easily - so card making fills the bill. I find it all very therapeutic. I truly take making cards or doing anything for that matter by "spells."
                What motivates you to make cards for our heroes?  First and foremost, I love my country. This is a one way I can support those who are protecting this wonderful nation at home and abroad. Secondly, my step-dad served in the Korean war. My uncle was stationed in Germany during the Berlin crisis. I can remember getting postcards and letters from him and reading in amazement and knowing he was a half world away. Recently I ran across some of his old pictures of the Ramstein airbase where he was deployed. I think Ramstein is used to airlift seriously injured out ofIraq as point for additional medical treatment. (But I could be wrong?)Also I lost a high school sweetheart in the Vietnam war.I suppose I have a huge patriotic heart that bleeds red, white, and blue. Making cards for the heroes and their families is just as small way for me to repay them for their service. I wish I could do more!!!! Finally, God blessed me with acertain degree of creativity. By making cards, I feel I am honoring the talent He gave me. Praise be to Him! And may He continue to bless our troops, their families and all those involved with cards for heroes program.

                  Monday, May 4, 2009

                  National Military Appreciation Month: May!

                  May is Military Appreciation Month ... what will you do to celebrate?

                  • Thank a hero next time you see one in uniform. Don't be shy, just walk up, hold out your hand, and say "Thank you for serving!" That's all—no conversation is needed if it's awkward. They'll appreciate it more than you can know!
                  • Make a commitment to a certain number of cards this month — blank cards, AnyHero letters, whatever you think their service is worth. As a matter of fact, you can write in your AnyHero letters what you've done in their honor!
                  • Host an event to get AnyHero cards and raise shipping funds for CFH — a Military Appreciation Month dinner with friends can be a great venue for a small cardsigning...a potluck, ask everyone for a few dollars, and put out a few cards for each person to write a note in! Your office, church, or other groups would also love the opportunity to say Thank You to one of our nation's brave heroes!

                  Have other ideas? Leave a comment below!

                  Friday, May 1, 2009

                  Kleenex alert!

                  If this doesn't get you wanting to write AnyHero letters, well....not much else will!