Friday, August 17, 2012


Today we are featuring the amazing Allison Graves.  She is our Operation Write Home guru and helps us with collecting the cards every other month.  I asked Allison to tell us about herself and also to explain what Operation Write Home is all about.

"Hi, my name is Allison and I'm a paper crafting addict (that includes scrapbook pages and cards). While I may need a 12-step program for all the paper I've hoarded, I have actually taken my "all or nothing" attitude and channeled it for good, not evil!  I make cards for an organization called Operation Write Home (OWH).  I learned about the organization through Scrapbook Etc.'s Craft It Forward challenge in January 2011.  I decided to set a goal to make 365 cards in one year to donate to the organization and ended up making 1,280 cards for deployed troops to use to write home to their loved ones."
This is one of Allison's creations that she has made for OWH.  I love so much about this card...the waves, the sand, and those googly eyes on the fish!  Since it doesn't have a specific sentiment, it would work for lots of things.

More from Allison:  "Through all the resources OWH makes available (their website, a blog with challenges, a Facebook page and a weekly live videocast called OWHtv), I became part of an incredible community of crafters all dedicated to helping our deployed troops keep in touch with home.  As I became more and more involved, I discovered a whole online world of crafters with blogs that I wanted to be a part of.  A few months after I began making cards for OWH, I started my own blog called Allison's Creations.  I was off and running participating in as many online challenges as I could, blogging every day and even applying to and joining several design teams.  I was on the Seems A Little Sketchy inaugural design team from December 2011 until May 2012 and have been on the Doodle Pantry design team first as a Guest Designer and then as a Design Team member since November 2011.  Recently, I have joined the OWH Blog Team as the person in charge of organizing their blog hops and virtual card making parties online.  If you would like meet up with others to make cards for our deployed troops, contact Cat's Creations Scrapbooks. We have card making parties on the first Thursday of every other month!

You may be curious to know more facts about Operation Write Home.  Here is a list to get you started:

* Sandy Allnock founded the organization in 2007 under the name Cards for Heroes
* In 2008 the initial board of directors was formed
* In September 2009 the name changed to Operation Write Home and the organization received their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS
* OWH supplies cards to anyone deployed outside our nation's borders. All they have to do is sign up on the website.
* The one millionth card was sent in May 2011
* In early 2012 OWH reached the 1.5 million card milestone
* OWH maintains a waiting list of between 6 and 20 contacts
* Each box of cards shipped overseas costs the organization $15.45 in postage (Consider sponsoring a box by making a donation!)
* There are only 3 volunteer shippers across the United States who prepare the cards for shipment to our troops; OWH is NOT their full-time job!
* Each box shipped holds approximately 340 handmade cards
* Each shipper maintains a list of 50-100 contacts
* Our heroes receive a box of cards approximately every 6-8 weeks
* OWH supplies cards to every branch of the armed forces, including civilian units, around the world, LITERALLY!

* Each box shipped overseas includes a bag of "AnyHero" mail. AnyHero mail is a card or letter, or even a coloring page from a child, with messages of encouragement and gratitude inside. They are distributed to those who receive little or no mail.  We call them AnyHero letters to keep away from branch-specific language. An AnySoldier letter would have to go to the Army.
This card could be used as an AnyHero letter/card or could be used as a note card for our troops to write home. on.  LOVE that eagle and embossed background.
* OWH maintains a website at as well as three different blogs that can be accessed from the website
* OWH has its own Facebook page
* OWH has challenges (contests you can participate in, sometimes for a prize and sometimes just for fun), including a sketch challenge on Sundays, a tutorial on Tuesdays and the Midweek Throwdown Challenge on Wednesdays
* Sandy Allnock hosts a YouTube video live broadcast every Thursday night called OWHtv
 This is another example of a card Allison has made for OWH.  Again, it is generic and could be used for anything by our troops.  That bird is absolutely adorable!

* There are only a few simple guidelines to follow: 
  • absolutely no glitter
  •  4.25" x 5.5" cards
  •  line dark card bases (they may only have a pencil to write with)
  • do not send cards for obscure occasions (happy retirement, for example)
  • provide envelopes whenever possible (not providing them costs the organization time and money)
  •  include OWH name on back of cards (so recipients know where the card came from)
  • deadlines to send in holiday cards are approximately two months in advance - those cards have a long trip ahead of them!
Have you caught the bug to make cards for our troops?!  If you have, visit for more information, and feel free to email me for more information at

Thank you Allison for sharing your enthusiasm and the wonderful information about Operaton Write Home..  I don't know about you, but I am definitely inspired to make some cards for our wonderful heroes.  I hope you will join us at Cat's on September 6th to make cards for this worthy cause.  If you need some stamps, inks, or embossing powders to use while making cards for our troops, Cat is having a sale on these through Saturday.  Time to stock up!


  1. Very cool!!! I'm going to look up the website!

  2. I can testify that Allison is a force to be reckoned with regarding OWH! I was so glad to be able to make & donate cards for our military while at Cat's annual NSD retreat in May &
    to have Allison there to help with specifics. Thank you, Allison, for all your hard work and dedication and also to Cat's Creations for sponsoring this very worthy cause!

  3. Awesome write up on Allison! Thank you Allison for being our contact with OWH! Since I've been introduced to this organization I'm on board! Love having an outlet in which to donate my creations. It is also encouraging to know how much they are appreciated! I love OWH sketches and inspiration they provide! And Sandy Allnock is a blast to watch!

  4. Yay for Allison! Thanks to her and a card making party at Cat's last September, I started making cards for OWH too to use up my huge stash of papers and such. I also started blogging and designing cards for blog challenges. I'm so thankful to Allison for showing and inspiring me to do this! And I picked up a few amazing new stamps and some of that embossing powder at Cat's last night. Well I didn't pick them up, I paid for them Ha, ha and on sale too! :) And I agree with Valerie. I really recommend you to watch the OWH videos. You learn so much and they are entertaining too! And a bit thank you to Allison for your hard work with OWH!