Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.

Real Life Called: It Wants My Attention Back

Should I answer when Real Life calls?  I'm guessing I should.  Blogging, keeping up the Simply Shoeboxes Facebook page, replying to emails and chatting it up with other shoebox packers takes a lot of time, energy and emotions.  Three commodities I do not have enough of lately.  No matter how much I love it all.

When I do a thing I put my whole heart into it.  Unfortunately my heart is only so big, no matter how hard I try to increase its size by stretching it around more projects.  And I've tried to cut back, do things more simply, but I found that more stressful.  It's easier to change my schedule than to change my personality.  And I'd much rather cut something out of my schedule than cut out some of my caring or passion from my personality.

So to answer Real Life's call I need to hang up on blogging, at least for now.  Simply Shoeboxes will remain online so you can refer to it and share it as usual, but I won't be sharing any new posts.  I will miss my sweet readers and hearing about your Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing adventures.  I'll miss the inspiration and ideas I glean from you all.

Hopefully one day I will be able to return, but for now a final:  Happy Packing!

Image courtesy of Operation Christmas Child.

Mini Purse or Wallet Crochet Instructions ~ Sized to Fit Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

A Simply Shoebox reader and crafter for Operation Christmas Child shoebox fillers has agreed to share her instructions for her sweet Crocheted Wallets or Mini Purses.  Chelle, from Chelle's CayBees, created these delightful wallets just for shoeboxes and made lots last year and donated them to my packing efforts.  They

Winnie The Pooh Dress Waits to Be Finished for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Well, instead of a finished outfit and the beginning of an Operation Christmas Child shoebox like I normally share I'm sharing a very patiently waiting Winnie The Pooh.  I began this pillowcase style dress a couple of weeks ago, and yet here it sits on my sewing machine table waiting for my return.

Winnie the Pooh Dress waiting to be finished for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

Life sometimes gets in the way of crafting for shoeboxes.  As most of you know my mom lives with us and her care takes quite a bit of time.  Recently more time has

Reducing Packaging for More Room in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

We are always trying to find more room in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  I am sure you all do, too.  Sarah recently was working on reducing some packaging on gifts for her girls' boxes.

Removing Packaging for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox packing.

She cut out the image from the front of the box and included it with the pieces inside a zipper bag.

You can see from the side view how much less space will be used for this toy in the shoebox.  Sorry about the poor quality in these images, not sure why they are so dark and discolored.

Sarah has since written several posts on Making it Fit in an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox.  One of the most popular is How to Fit a Spiral Notebook in an OCC Go Box.

What ways have you found to make room in your boxes?

My Tub Overfloweth with Crafted Items Donated for Operation Christmas Child

My friend owns a discount craft store and she loves to help children.  For the past two years she has collected crafted items all year long for Operation Christmas Child.  I have the privilege of delivering them to OCC.  Many will go in my own shoeboxes and I'm able to deliver many as fillers each year for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox processing center.  Every month or two I receive the donated items.  As you can see, my tub overfloweth

Crochet donations to Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

There are dozens of fleece scarves and crocheted hats (many Aunt Ida's design) and crocheted lovey bitty blankets and pencil cases. Some of the pencil cases are

First Skirt of the Month Finished for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

When I shared the fun items I received for Christmas for my Operation Christmas Child shoebox stockpile, I mentioned my mom gave me a "skirt of the month" coupon.  She is to buy fabric each month and I am to sew a skirt for a shoe box girl.  Here is the first one completed.

Handmade skirt for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

I had sewn a floral skirt with gingham accents so I showed her that skirt and asked her to choose a main and a contrasting fabric.  My daughter said when she took her

Ebates Cash Back Check: $66 to Help Pay for Shipping Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

As I have shared in the past, one way I am raising funds for shipping my Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes is thru Ebates.  Whenever I shop online I start at Ebates and go thru the links on their site for the stores I want to shop at.  They offer cash back in the form of a check -- what they call the Big Fat Check.  They mail it out automatically quarterly, I don't even have to request it.

When I shopped with the $250 Kohl's Card I won in a blog giveaway I earned from 3% to 6% on each order.  I have even ordered items from local chain stores and picked them up in the store and still earned cash back, including Lowes.  I've also earned cashback for shopping at Walmart.

This check is a little larger than normal, $66.28, as they offered special bonuses around the holidays for having people sign up under you.  If they shopped and spent $25 at a qualifying store I received big bonuses. I don't remember exactly what they were, but I think $20 for the first and $25 for the second. Usually it is $5.  So this check will mail nine boxes with some left over.

I have shared details about Ebates on my other blog.  You can find them here if you are interested:  How to Use Ebates to Earn Cash Back for Online Shopping.

You may want to check out all the ways we Find Extra Money for Packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

CVS Clearance Shopping for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes ~ Free with Swagbuck's Gift Card

We have been slow on the Operation Christmas Child stock pile purchases lately, but Sarah picked up a couple of 90% off Valentine's items at CVS this week.  The Tattoos will go in the boy boxes most likely, but I may choose a few for the girls especially if they match the theme of the box.  Sarah said she thought some of the cards were not appropriate to include, so we will remove those.  The little pink case in the front is a stamp pad set for a 10 to 14 year old girl box.

CVS clearance shopping for Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

She used some free CVS gift cards earned on Swagbucks to pay, so there was no out of pocket cost.  If you haven't started earning free gift cards from Swagbucks check it out.  It is free and easy and they offer dozens of different gift cards.  Many shoebox shoppers like to get the Amazon cards.  Check out all the ways we find Extra Cash for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Shopping.

Each Saturday Sarah shares our additions to our stockpile.  You can see them all here:  Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ Adding to Our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stockpile.  Have you all found any great additions to your shoebox stockpile this week?

Disclosure: Swagbucks links in this post are personal referral links. 

Pattern & Fabric Donation: A Colorful Dress for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

My friend Joanne offered to sponsor a dress for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  She let me choose a pattern from the See & Sew collection she sells and fabric and buttons to make it.

See & Sew Dress for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

She wanted me to use some of the new line of fabric she had just gotten in.  I was able to choose from any of these colors.

To Wrap or Not to Wrap! ~ Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes That Is

We have always wrapped our shoe boxes for our Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts.  I always evaluate everything I spend time and money on.  Especially when it comes to my shoeboxes: am I spending my time & money on the best things for my shoeboxes.  Wrapping them is no different.

Wrapping shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

It does take time and money to do it, tho not much in the scheme of the complete shoe box.  Yet what could I do for the shoe box child if I didn't wrap them?  Include one more small item with the money I save?  Craft another item with the time I save?  But the bright paper and fun designs surely will brighten the child's day -- even if only for a moment, before they possibly rip it off when opening.

As you can see from this image I have compromised.  I wrap the lid only.  This way I reduce my expense of time and money by half and the child still receives a brightly colored box wrapped with love.

Ever wonder what type of box is best to pack in?  You can read Sarah's post What Type of Shoebox to Use to Pack for Operation Christmas Child for some pros and cons.

Do you wrap your boxes?  Do you find yourself evaluating everything you do?  I think I need tips on how to kick back and enjoy the process!

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.