Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Immeasurably More

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  Eph. 3:20.

God is so good! National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is over for another year. I don't know yet how the numbers are nationally or even state wide but I do know the numbers for the Mid-Texas area. God allowed us to do "immeasurably more" this year for the children around the world who will receive shoeboxes in 2016. Last year, 2015, we collected 13,670 shoeboxes. We set our goal at 12% higher, praying for immeasurably more with a goal for 2015 at 15,310 shoeboxes. By the time they were all in we had indeed done immeasurably more! Our final total collected by the Mid-Texas area was 15,993!*** 683 boxes over our goal. Praise God! He is the one who allowed this to happen. 

We are so very thankful to all the churches, groups and individuals who collected shoeboxes this year. We could not have done it without you! We serve 5 1/2 counties, Robertson, Milam, Falls, Bell, 1/2 of Coryell, and Lampasas. We have relay centers in Bremond, Rosebud, Killeen, Copperas Cove and Lometa. They did a great job gathering in the shoe boxes. Thank you Roianne Alston, Zorena Baker & Nettie Hyde, Joyce Steiner, Barbara Perin and Margaret Williams. We also have our collection center in Temple. So many great men and women helped this year that it would be hard to name them all. God knows who you are!

We had a busy start to the week last Monday when we got over 2000 shoeboxes on the first day. Each day was very busy, except for Friday when we had to check to make sure the door was We were busy the last Monday when we had the relay centers bring their boxes to us and we had lots of people making sure they got their boxes in on time. We were accepting boxes until after 5 even though closing time was 5. As long as the boxes were coming, we were there!

Here are some pictures that were taken throughout the week. At one point we ran out of cartons and our Pat Rutland went "dumpster diving" to get cartons for us to use! 

Many people posed with the shoeboxes they brought in.

Lots of boxes to pack into cartons. Our tables were full more than they were empty.

Our great volunteer from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The boxes came in from the relay centers already in cartons. All we had to do was count and load.

We prayed over every trailer filled with shoeboxes before it went to the processing center.
***By the time we went to volunteer at the Processing Center in Dallas, we had had  38 more shoeboxes turned in that we took with us on Nov. 30. Our final total turned out to be 16,010 shoeboxes! That's 16,010 gospel opportunities! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

National Collection Week

It's National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. In 2015 it runs from Nov. 16 to Nov. 23. Be sure to get your shoeboxes turned in to a collection center or relay center near you! Hundreds of thousands of children don't know why we have Christmas and don't received any gifts. Many of these children have never received any kind of a gift. Through Operation Christmas Child, children in over 130 countries and territories have the opportunity to receive a gift and to learn about the saving love of Jesus Christ. If you haven't packed a shoebox yet, it's not too late! You can go online to find a relay center near you or to pack a shoebox online.

All of these children were in Tanzania when they received their shoebox in May 2015.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sewing Kit for Shoe Boxes

National Collection Week is just around the corner, Nov. 16 -23 for 2015. There is not much time left for filling your shoe boxes, especially if you are crafty and like to make things for it. Here is a simple sewing kit that you can make for 10-14 girls. The basic kit costs less than 50 cents to make and fill. I looked at lot of sewing kits online and on Pintrest and saw a lot of really cute ones, but many of them took more time or sewing skills than I have so I came up with my own. I might try something a little more involved next year when I have more time. With just two weeks left, I needed something quick and easy.

Materials needed for each kit:
1/2 piece of 9 x 12" felt
scrap fleece,  fabric or batting
6-8 buttons
mini spool of thread
10 straight pins
2 needles
2-3 safety pins 

I bought enough to make 60 kits (which I won't have finished by collection week, so that will give me a head start on next year). The container of straight pins held 360 pins, 24 spools of thread, and so on. It averages out to be 48 1/2 cents per kit. I got my items and prices at Wal Mart but you can find these things in many stores. 

I also ordered tape measures from Oriental Trading at 12 for $4.99. That would be 42 cents each.  It takes 5-7 days to get an order from Oriental Trading unless you expedite shipping but then that would add to the cost. 

I added pointed scissors to my kit also. I got them at Dollar Tree for 2/$1. That brings the cost of my entire kit up to about $1.50. You could go with the basic kit for less than 50 cents. 

I have seen people put their kit items in all sorts of things. Annie's has a really cool kit to make for $4 or $5 but that requires more time. Some people put them in Altoids tins which is cool also. I don't use Altoids & I haven't been able to get people to respond to saving them for me! Some people even just put them in  a plastic bag but I don't think that would last very long.

Instructions for making my kit: 

1. Fold the felt in half and cut so that you have 2 9 x 6" pieces. Fold one of these in half to have a 3 x 9" piece. Sew a 1/4" seam down the side and across one end.

2. Turn the felt so that the seam is on the inside. 
3. Next you will want to stuff a small amount of batting, left over fleece or other fabric into the closed end. Be sure it is no more than 1/2 filled. This will make a small pin cushion. I used fleece in mine because I had made several fleece blankets and had scrap pieces. Fleece works well because it is so soft.

4. Fold the felt in half and then sew a seam down the middle. This leaves the pin cushion end closed.

5. You will want to decorate the front of the kit next. I hot glued a silk flower and a button to the front of mine because I already had lots of those in my craft room. I did not figure the cost of decoration into the cost of the kit.
 I slid a piece of card stock into the pocket so that the glue won't stick the sides together.

6. Now you are ready to fill your kit with all the goodies that you will include.

The way we made it we have a pocket on one end.
Fill this pocket with thread, buttons, and anything else that you have to include in your sewing kits. The scissors that I have will not fit in the pocket but the tape measure does.
7. There are several ways to close the pocket. You could put velcro on the inside to close it. You could sew on a button and clasp (hair bands make good clasps) or you could just do it simple by adding a large safety pin to the end.
 8. If you are adding scissors, an easy way is to cut a piece of 1/4" ribbon about 16" long. Wrap it around the middle of the kit and tie on the outside. Slip one end of the ribbon through a finger hole of the scissors and tie a bow to hold the scissors in place. I find 1/4" ribbon  at Wal Mart on spools of 10 yards for less than a dollar.

This is very simple to make but I think that it could be a gift an older girl could treasure. Any way have fun packing your shoe boxes. Remember, think more! More shoe boxes equals more gospel opportunities.

For more information on Operation Christmas Child go to and click on the Operation Christmas Child link or click here. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wood & Flower

Here's a card for fall birthdays.

Materials needed:
Chocolate Chip card stock 4 1/4 x 5 1/2"
Old Olive card stock 4 x 5 1/4"
Tan card stock 3 1/2 x 2 1/2"
Truly Grateful stamp set SU!
Bloom with Hope stamp set SU!
Pumpkin Pie striped ribbon about 6"
Orange brads
White card stock
Pumpkin Pie ink pad
Modern Label punch

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shoe Box Christmas Tree

Our church has a large foyer with floor to ceiling windows. Every year before National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, we build two Christmas trees out of shoe boxes. We put an OCC brochure in each one and then our members can take the shoe boxes they want to fill. It is fairly easy to re-make the tree as the boxes disappear, until a large portion of them are gone. We also put a tree in our Welcome Center, as many people enter the church there. This helps us to promote Operation Christmas Child in a visual way and makes it easy for our people to pick up their empty boxes.

 I don't know where we originally got this diagram/instructions to build the trees but I'm passing it on to you. It takes 141 boxes to build each tree. We are a mid-sized church and we collect over 2000 filled shoeboxes each year for OCC. 
Here are the directions that we use each year. Hope it helps you.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mix It Up

I joined Annie's monthly club for card making & have gotten my first kit. I made some of the things as directed but then, I decided to use up some of the other things I have sitting around my craft room with the club kit. Here is one that I did.
Materials needed:
Flower pot die cut, papers & brads from Annie's Oct. club kit
Silk flowers from any store
Birthday greeting stamp
5 petal punch-SU!
Wild Wasabi card stock 4 1/4 x 5 1/2"
Tangerine Tango ink pad

The Annie's kit had the flower pot shaped card that folded over. I cut it in half and used it on double the cards. The flowers are a simple matter of layering paper and silk flowers and placing a brad through the middle. Some of these were punch outs from the kit and some were cut from left over paper in the kit and my SU punches.
A really simple card to make and a great way to use up some of your extras.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Scrap Paper Packs

In many countries in the world, they put great value on paper because they do not have as much of it available as we do here in the US, especially in the poorer families. Since I'm a scrapbooker and card maker, I usually have far more scrap paper than I ever use. From time to time, I will take handfuls out of my stash and give it to my grandchildren and great grandchildren to play with. I decided that this might be a great thing to go in some of my shoeboxes so I made felt pouches to put the paper in.

When you buy felt by the piece, it is usually about 9 x 12". You can make to pouches with each piece.
Cut a piece of felt in half lengthwise so that it now measures 4 1/2 x 12."
Fold one end up 4" and sew a narrow seam on each side.

The top will fold down to about 3 1/2."
Using scrap pieces of felt, cut out some shapes, such as hearts and stars. I cut them on my Big Shot with my Sizzix dies but if you don't have this, you can use any pattern to cut shapes. With the top open, sew shapes on to the outside top.

You can also use silk flowers, ribbons, beads, etc to decorate the top flap of the pouch.
Now go through your scrap pile and cut squares or rectangles out of the larger pieces. I cut most of the pieces to be 3 1/2 x 4" so that they will fit easily into the pouch.

Since I use my leftover scrapbook papers, they are often a mix of colors and patterns. The back side of the paper can vary.
 It's not unusual for the back side to be blank. Sometimes it will have writing about the paper on it. Some scrapbook papers are double sided and will have colors and patterns on each side. I think that any of this scrap paper will be great. The children can use the paper in whatever way they want. They can use the blank sides to write on or be creative and make things out of the colored, patterned sides. I think this will just be a fun item to go in the middle and older kids boxes. When the paper is gone, then they can use the pouch to put crayons or other items in.