These are listed in no special order.
Jessica from Clip With Purpose ~ Collect as Much as Possible
Near the end of 2010 I stumbled on an Operation Christmas Child blog called Clip with Purpose. Jessica blogs on how to shop year round to pack more boxes. She shares deals and ideas that help
packers collect items inexpensively for shoe boxes.
I left a comment on one of her posts. At the time I was blogging at Simply CVS and she contacted me about writing a guest post: How To Shop at CVS. We emailed off and on over the years chatting up OCC and blogging.
Thru her blog and passion for OCC Jessica has inspired me to collect all I can for shoe boxes and to use it either to pack more boxes or to send it to
processing centers to be used as fillers.
Mary ~ Have A Passion for PackingI met Mary when Jessica's life got extra busy a couple years ago and Mary joined her in posting at Clip With Purpose. Mary is the ultimate Operation Christmas Child shoe box packer!
|Mary & friends sorting thru a huge donation.|
She crafts, she shops year round, she volunteers year round, she hosts a packing party for 2000+ boxes, she blogs--if it is OCC related she has done it or is doing it now. I have enjoyed getting to know Mary a little and have learned a lot from her.
She has given me a desire to be more passionate about my packing. Even tho she is super busy, early in 2014 she posted about a desire to become more intimate with some of her boxes. Crafting more items and making them special was one way she planned to accomplish her goal. This inspired me to turn my focus onto each box, each child, not the number of boxes I can pack.
When I was questioning once if I should continue blogging, take on our church's shoe box collection and other things I could add to my plate, Mary wisely said: "just because you can do it doesn't mean you should." I have a tendency to follow the idea that "if it is worth doing it is worth overdoing." I need to find the balance in all that I do. Mary's advice will continue to help me throughout my life and her passion for packing will continue to inspire.
Aunt Ida [Mary's Aunt] ~ Keep On
|Image by Mary @ Clip With Purpose|
Keep on when discouragements come, keep on when I encounter physically draining days, keep on when there seems to be more need than money. Keep on and one day I will be able to look back and know that thousands of children have felt loved because I, too, didn't give up.
|Front Post Scarf pattern I was inspired to design |
to match Aunt Ida's Hat.
Pam ~ Find Your Niche & Try Something New
Pam has been packing shoe boxes for a few years now and loves to crochet. She made thousands of change purses for their NE Pennsylvania packing party. She wondered if she could tackle crocheted stuffed animals. Several of her online shoe box packing friends assured her she could and she took the plunge and has done a bang up job of crocheting well over 500 stuffed animals.
Thru Pam's example I have learned to not be afraid to try something new. I have also learned to find my niche in this huge shoe box packing world. Pam is not concerned with having to pack boxes for each of her critters to travel in, she is content to be the "Unofficial OCC Critter Creator" and to donate them to the packing party. Her example reminds me that I can find my own specialty when it comes to shoe box packing--I am still searching for what that is.
You can read Pam's guest post here: Adding A Little Love with a Personal Touch.
Jo from Crafting for Shoeboxes ~ Add a Personal Touch
My most "distant" online shoe box packing friend and inspiration is Jo from the UK. I met her thru her Facebook page Crafting for Shoeboxes where she has created a community of shoe box packing crafters. Her montage is that "Happiness is Handmade" and she has inspired me thru her passion of adding a personal touch to shoe box gifts by adding handmade items. The amazing quality of her work has also inspired me to do my best when crafting for shoe boxes.
This year I hope to branch out and make even more handmade items for my boxes. Without Jo's inspiration I would probably not think to craft so many items. The many followers of her page who share their crafting projects continue to spark ideas of things I'd like to craft for my shoe boxes. You can meet Jo right here on Simply Shoe Boxes in this earlier post: Happiness Is Handmade.
Sarah ~ Put Your Heart Into It [and fill it UP!]
My daughters practically grew up packing shoe boxes. We began the first year Operation Christmas Child collected. We lived in "shoe box country" and heard about the drive to collect gift filled shoe boxes on WMIT, a Billy Graham radio station. We often think as parents we teach our children many things, but often it is they who teach us.
As I have watched my daughter Sarah [from Sarah's Scribblings & Simply CVS] pack her shoe boxes over the years she has taught me what it is to put your heart into your box. Tho she packs many boxes each year she puts the time and thought into each one as if it were the only one. Each is made special in some way and she is very creative with what she includes. She would never skimp on wrapping the box and makes sure there are no empty gaps -- things I have been know to do in my quest to pack many.
Another way she makes them personal is in the letter she includes. I am happy to write one letter and print it off and include it in each box--not Sarah. A handwritten personal note is found in each of her boxes. She wrote a guest post here about writing letters: Tips on Writing A Letter to Include in Your Shoe Box. I plan to write my letters throughout the year so I can be more personal and not feel rushed when November comes around.
I am sure my daughters will continue to teach me as the years go by and I look forward to the lessons.
Kristy from Hopeful Threads ~ Give as to Your Family
Kristy began blogging at Hopeful Threads encouraging her readers to join her in monthly charity sewing projects. She eventually transitioned to quarterly projects and this year has another plan for her charity sewing -- sewing from her heart for the projects that mean the most to her and sharing her journey with her readers. I met her thru her blog and her passion for helping others has been a breath of fresh air.
Kristy has taught me to use quality products when crafting for charity. But more importantly she has inspired me to craft items as if they were gifts for members of my own family. Kristy is the mother of six and sews for all of them as well as for kids around the world--from kids in foster care in TN to babies in China; and everything she sews is made with love and care no matter who it is for. She is a constant reminder to pack my boxes as if they were for my own child.
Kathy from Life Inside the Box ~ Don't Be Afraid to "Go For It!"
Kathy began with packing three shoe boxes in 1995. The next year she packed 5, then 40 then 125. By 2008 she was packing over 7,000. I'm not sure what year she started her packing parties but this past year she hosted one of her mega packing parties and they packed over 22,000 boxes in one day.
Even tho she buys in bulk for some items, she still shops clearance deals and she still packs personal boxes at home -- lots of them! Kathy has inspired me not to be afraid to go where I find myself on my own shoe box journey. You can follow along her shoe box packing adventure at her blog Life Inside The Box.
Even those who don't pack shoe boxes have inspired my packing...
JR Frugal Mom from Frugality Is Free ~ Quality & Frugality
JR Frugal Mom and I "met" online several years ago when we entered the blogging world. JR blogs at Frugality Is Free about her frugal lifestyle. She used to have a slogan on her blog that said something like "Living like a Queen frugally." She doesn't skimp on quality while living frugally. This has inspired me to try to aim for higher quality items while packing my boxes frugally.
Two ways she has helped me do this was by introducing me to the concept of earning free gift cards from online activities from sites like Swagbucks and to enter blog giveaways. I have earned hundreds of dollars in gift cards from online activities over the years and hundreds of dollars in gift cards and gifts for my shoe boxes from blog giveaway wins.
From following along at Frugality Is Free I have also learned how to shop more frugally and have been alerted to some great deals I have been able to get in on. One of the things I learned was about using a dollar off total dollar amount coupon AND a percent off coupon on one Kohl's order. This has saved me quite a bit while spending a $250 Kohl's card I won recently. So thanks to JR Frugalmom I have been able to pack more boxes with higher quality items.
|One of Suzanne's Dresses|
When I began following her blog not only did it inspire me to begin sewing dresses for Dress A Girl, but Suzanne inspired me with her dresses. She made the most beautiful dresses. Her goal in 2013 was to sew 350 dresses which se accomplished. She even took her machine on vacations. She showed me what could be accomplished when goals are set.
But the inspiration I take from her is to make the dresses beautiful -- even when sewing a lot. She adds ruffles to the bottom (which I don't do because of the extra room it takes up in the shoe boxes) and always adds a pocket -- and not just a plain pocket, but a special pocket. She has inspired me to take my time and make my dresses, and my boxes, special.
Simply Shoe Boxes Readers ~ Daily Inspirations
Many women who stop by and leave comments here on the blog or on Simply Shoe Boxes' Facebook page continue to inspire me daily. Each time I read of what they are packing or crafting or "hear" their excitement of a great deal they find or share their goals or ideas or tell me about an extra special something they have for one of their shoe boxes I am inspired to keep on keeping on. Thanks to all of you for helping me develop my shoe box packing style and for keeping the passion alive.
Who or what has inspired you in your packing?