Pam Tetreault of North Carolina is a member of the Operation Write Home Blog Circle, an inner group of card makers that many would call pros at their craft. She has quite a few family members that are serving or have served in the military. She is a dedicated card maker, "I know just how important 'mail from home' is. Every time my husband has come home from a deployment, in tow is all the cards or letters we have sent to him, we still have them all," says Pam. Her many travels around the country recently included a stop in Kansas to donate, in person, over 300 hand made cards to Kris (OWH midwest shipper). I asked Pam if she would share her story with us and include some tips on how she does it.
Above, Photo of Pam, taken by her son, November, 2012
How long have you been making cards?
Pam: When I first started making cards, I was making them to send to my brothers units which were deployed to Iraq. There came a time when my husband and neither of my brothers were "down range" and I went looking for somewhere to send my cards to. I found an organization called "Angel Stampers For Soldiers" and sent them cards for a long time until they closed up. I had been looking for an outlet to send my cards to because no one in my family was deployed and I so wanted to share them with others. I am not sure when or how I found OWH, but I sure am glad that I did.
Where do you get inspiration/ideas for the layout?
Pam: I "LOVE" sketches and most everything I make comes from a sketch. When I see a sketch I like, I print it out.. I then turn the paper around to see what it looks like from all four angles, then I get started on making a card." See an example of a sketch on OWH's Stars and Stamps Blog, http://operationwritehome.org/sketch-challenge-145/
How many of your family members are in the military?
Pam: All the men in my family are either currently serving or are retired. My husband is in the Army and just recently passed into his 24th year of serving. Our son is in the Air Force and just two days ago re-enlisted to serve another four years. My dad is retired Army and retired Civil Service as well. I have two brothers, one recently retired after serving 20 years and the other is still Active Duty.
Do you ever get help when making a large group of cards?
Pam: I am a loner when it comes to making cards... however I am going to be getting with some spouses in some companies in our battalion that are already down range. We are going to be making cards for them to send to their soldiers. The rest of our battalion (including my husband) will be leaving the end of January and I will do it as a battalion and on a company level. I can't hardly wait to do this, it's something I have wanted to do in the past, but wasn't really able to.
"When I set out to make a bunch of the same card, I make one and then make multiples from it. Whenever I cut a bunch of paper before making the initial card, I usually end up not using what I had cut and so I have stopped doing that," says Pam.
Pam's first tip when stamping: " I do everything in sets of say 4, 5 or 6. So I lay out all the pieces to be stamped and go one after another. This makes it go rather quickly to get them all stamped.."
Pam's embossing tip, "For these cards, the panel to be embossed wasn't too big, so I could lay 4 pieces in the folder.. two stacks of two. You can actually do three at a time.. it will take a bit more to crank it through, but it can be done. I just did two stacks of two for these."
Photo above shows all pieces cut and/or punched out. "I cut and punch everything first so that I can then do an assembly line to put them together," says Pam.
"Photo above is how I do the adhesive in lots of either 4, 5 or 6.. I was making 25 of these cards so I did sets of 5.. this makes it go rather quickly," says Pam.
Embellishment preparation tip, "I stack layers together to punch through for the brads. In this photo, I have three layers stacked up which are two pieces of card stock each.. so there are six pieces that I am punching through.. doing this makes it go really quickly. I usually punch through two to three groups at one time."
Pam provides a little trick, "when I use brads on a card and I want the outer edge to lay smoothly on the card.. I use a piece of Scor-Tape over the brads."
Pam's punching trick is, "I punch all around the outside of the piece of card stock, then if I need more, I trim away the outer punched area and repeat with the center area. By doing it all around the outside, I can usually get all the pieces I need in a matter of seconds by punching one after another."
Pam's #1 suggestion to those new to card making is: "Find some blogs or card making websites that have lots of samples. There is nothing wrong with "casing" another's card... the more cards you make, the more your confidence builds."
Another good bit of information is, "Do not buy up everything you see others using. I have so many things that I purchased and might have used once or twice. Over time I have either given the item away to another crafter or donated them to a charity."
Thanks, Pam for taking the time to share your story with us! You make it look easy by being so organized and it is inspiring for us all. Everyone can visit her blog, http://airbornewifestamping.blogspot.com