Thursday, November 17, 2011


I am getting ready to send out my package for Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child
and thought I would share it here in case anyone else is interested in participating this year or in the future.
I learned of this opportunity to make a child's Christmas brighter over at The Krazy Coupon Lady
where you fill a shoe box with things a child might like, donate $7 for shipping and drop off 
about two months ago and she recommended buying throughout the year different things on clearance and using free samples.   She indicated she has been doing this for several years and stockpiles school supplies that she has gotten for nearly free, free gum samples, summer clearance items like sunglasses, visor, flip flops and 4th of July T-shirts after the holiday.   On Samaritan's Purse website they have a story of a little 5 year old boy who had a shoebox packing party for his 5th birthday. 

As I have a son, I decided on picking out things for a boy 5-9 years old and picked out things that he liked at that age from the The Dollar Tree, Target, Walmart and Walgreens.

I used a Zoo York shoebox that had contained from my son's 10 1/2 mens size which might be slightly above a standard shoe box, but it was all that I had on hand and I ended had to cram to get everything to go in, so you could get by with buying less than what I bought. 

I spent a little over $16 for all of the items pictured below.

  • Smarties (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Planet Earth Coloring Book (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Notebooks (Walmart - .20 cents & .50 cents)
  • Puzzle (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Cars bouncy ball  - (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Hot Wheels (Walgreens - buy one get one 1/2 off - $1.69)
  • Cars mini-frisbees (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Pens (Walmart - .50 cents for each packet) 
  • T-Shirt - Medium (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Cars swim trunks - Medium (Walmart - $4 - built in undies and sturdier than regular fabric)
  • 2 prs of socks -  (Dollar Tree - $1)
  • Kleenex (free sample that came in the mail)
  • Lipbalm ($0 - was in a gift basket received and never used)
  • Soap (.79 after coupon at Walgreens)
  • Baby powder (.99 at Walmart)
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste ($1 at Dollar Tree)

Collection week is this week through November 21st.

In addition to the above, I downloaded and completed the "About Me" at their Graphic Resources 
(but it is not required)

If you pay the $7 shipping online to be able to track what country the box ends up in; I chose this option and paid by credit card.   When I looked up drop off locations within 25 miles found 5, the closest one being within 5 miles of where I live.

Here are more detailed instructions from Samaratin's Purse website on preparing a shoebox for mailing.  I looked up drop off locations and there are

Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork to the right. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child.  Use the gift ideas provided on the bottom of this page.

Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using our “Follow Your Box Donation” option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one combined donation.

VideoPlace a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the Collection Center nearest you during our collection week, November 14-21.

For locations and hours of collection visit our Drop-Off Locations page where you can find the nearest place to take your shoe box by entering your ZIP Code or you can call 1-800-353-5949.

You can also send your shoe box gift to:
Samaritan’s Purse
Operation Christmas Child

801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607

For further details if interested, visit Samaratin's Purse website

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sorry for the late posting - had this done on Friday but not able to post it until today.

This week's PROJECT {DOLLAR STORE} ACCESSORY CHALLENGE - #2 was picking out a piece of jewelry and decorate a pair of shoes and create one other accessory to go with it to accessorize a little black dress.

I chose to decorate a pair of shoes that I already had and make a bracelet to go with it.  My total out of pocket for this challenge was around $2.50, which is for sparkly bead trimming ($1.99 @ 50% off) and scrapbooking diamond shaped rhinestones ($2.99 @ 50% off) both purchased at Hobby Lobby and I still have plenty left over.  The remaining items were from my stash and the round clear rhinestones were from a package of mixed rhinestone from the dollar store.

The shoes started out a pair of sandals with a strap in the back and I used an X-acto knife to cut the back strap off on each side as close as I could and to make it look more blended colored the area that was cut with a black sharpie.

I next taped off the shoes with masking tape except for the very bottom of the heel and then spray painted it gold to tie in with the gold in the necklace and to give them a more expensive look.

For the glue on the shoes I used Amazing Goop as I have used it in other shoe projects and it has held up very well, but any strong clear glue would do.

I glued two small rhinestones on the side of each shoe with a diamond rhinestone in the middle.  On the back of each shoe I glued a larger rectangle.

I used one square of felt to line the inside of the sandals, first by outlining the shape of the shoe and then by trimming to fit before gluing down.

 The picture on the left is the shoes before and the center and right sides are the after

I started with a 1 liter Diet Coke bottle and used masking tape to mark off where I wanted to cut, used an X-acto knife to cut the strip, then wrapped the strip in black ribbon fastening on the inside with hot glue.

I glue a strip of the shiny beads down the center and then glued a dab of glue on the inside of the bracelet and then wrapped diagonally the shiny clear bead string and glued at the end.  I did the same with the gold cord and wrapped it in the opposite direction to create "X"s.

The picture on the left side is the was part of a 1 liter plastic bottle of Diet Coke.  
Be sure to check out other creations by Project Dollar Store Accessory Challenge 2 here.

Happy crafting!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Project {Dollar Store} Accessory: Challenge #2 – …And a Little Black Dress

Today I am working on finishing my projects for Project {Dollar Store} Accessory: Challenge #2 and the above is my is the bling I chose to accessorize a little black dress, although in person the gold around the rhinestones is not as noticeable as it is in the picture. 

The challenge this week is to:

  • Choose a favorite piece of jewelry from your collection and use it as inspiration for your challenge pieces.
  • Create a pair of shoes and an accessory of your choice.  You don't have to make shoes from scratch, you can embellish or make over an existing pair of shoes (which is what I am doing).
  • The shoes and other accessory should both work together with the inspiration piece, and will be paired with a little black dress.
It is still not too late for other to participate if they would like and  Dollar Store Crafts will be posting a linky to link up.  

Here is a link to the creations from last week if you would like to check them out.

Happy crafting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Italian Cream Cheese Herb and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

This is for  Mom's Crazy Cooking Challenge where there is a theme each month and the mission is to use a recipe by a fellow blogger, make it and post it.  This month's theme is Mashed Potatoes and I picked this recipe from What's Cookin Italian Style Cuisine.   They turned out very creamy and spicy, but recommend cutting down on the cayenne as they do have a bite after you have taken a bite.

This easily made 6-8 generous servings.

5  medium white potatoes
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoon cream cheese or Philadelphia Italian Cooking Creme
1/2  stick butter
1/2 tsp parsley or cilantro
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano or Italian seasonings
1/4 tsp basil
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk, heavy cream, half and half
Non-stick spray coating

Topping (optional)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 -3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 to 3/4 cup Shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

Bring water to boil and add a few dashes of salt (optional).  Peel and dice the potatoes until tender over medium heat until well cooked (test with a fork) - takes between 25-30 minutes.   Drain and return to pan.

Mince garlic (I used pre-minced) and measure out spices
Measure out butter, sour cream, cream cheese and parmesan.   I had a buy one get one free coupon for the Philadelphia Cooking cream cheese so I used that in this recipe.
I didn't have a heavy industrial mixer, so I started out using a blending mixer, adding a little of the milk at a time, but ended up going old school on it and used a potato masher until smooth.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick coating and preheat oven to 375 degrees
Transfer the potatoes over to the baking dish

For the topping, in a separate bowl put the bread crumbs and butter and melt the butter (I put it in the over for a few minutes) and mix together until crumbly.

I used to fork to sprinkle the topping on the potatoes.
Sprinkle the mozzarella or Italian cheese blend over the top. 
Put in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
I served ours with a country fried steak, but What's Cookin Italian Style Cuisine indicated she serves this with ham, pork or poultry and leftovers are great to use in croquettes or topping for a Sheperd's Pie.

Be sure to check out everyone else's recipes at the challenge.Mom's Crazy Cooking Challenge

Friday, November 4, 2011


As I posted yesterday here Dollar Store Crafts has a challenge to correspond with Project Accessory.   The challenge was to create a belt, a necklace and one other accessory to go with a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans based on items from a thrift store (or in my case, using the materials I found in my garage).

I decided I would go with sort of a car theme and for a busy Mom or babysitter on the go.  Sadly, just like on the show, I ran short on time and ended up sacrificing quality for just getting the job completed.  Doing this gave me a whole new appreciation for what shows with these sorts of competitions go through as they make it look fairly effortless.
I will start with the third piece as I like how it turned out the best.  I used the license plate, the purse and the broken Hot Wheel.  I cut down the purse at the bottom and flattened it and cut off the straps and attached one of them to each end instead of the sides.  On one side I glued the license plate and added 4 brads for decoration and to help hold it on the bag.  On the back, there was an ugly spot where I removed the bow that had been on the purse, so I glued the broken Hot Wheel to cover it up, and it also gives the purse a different look depending on what side is facing outward.  I used velcro inside and glued it in to hold the purse closed.

I used the t-shirt to make the road and turned two of the cars into pins to use on the road.  

The other items used were thread, yellow fabric paint on the necklace and velcro, pin backs and E6000 glue on the cars.

For the cars I wanted to make it so the pin could be taken off the back and the car to still be used as a car.  The idea was to be able to take off the necklace and have it double a  race track to entertain a tot at Dr.'s office, visiting a relative, etc.  

If I had to it to do over, I would also use larger pin backs as I think it would lie down straighter when pinned, but I used what I had on hand.

The belt is made out of one of the straps and the snaps of of the purse and the wheel off of the model car.  The other components are thread, aluminum tape from the hardware store and E 6000 glue.
How to here.

Check out  Dollar Store Crafts to see what Heather and others have made.

Happy crafing:)


I am late to the party, but one of the blogs that I follow,  Dollar Store Crafts posted a challenge based on the show "Project Accessory" where the first week the designers had to 15 minutes to grab stuff from a storage unit to create a necklace, a belt and one other accessory.  

Here are the rules:

"Our Challenge
  • We will each start with a plain white tee and a pair of jeans, which we can alter if we wish.
  • We will each create a necklace, a belt, and an accessory of our own choosing, and make them into one cohesive look.
  • Since we don't have a storage unit to raid, we will go to the closest approximation we can:  the thrift store!  We get to pick one thrift  store and spend a maximum of $10 (before tax, since that varies from place to place).  No time limit on shopping, in case there are kids in tow...  You know how that goes!
  • The contestants on the show had access to a wall of embellishments, so it's only fair that we get to dig into our own stashes.  Each item that we make for the challenge must be made up of at least 75% thrift store items and no more than %25 stash materials.
  • The contestants had 2 days, but they also have no other responsibilities outside of the challenge.  Since we have lives to maintain, we get a week.  We'll post our creations for this challenge on Friday, November 4."
Everyone is welcome to play along with us as well!  Stop by next Friday and see what we made, and share your looks with us!"

As the deadline is tomorrow, I didn't have time to shop and raided my non-stash storage area, the garage where I seldom venture anymore.  I found the above items which I may or may not use on my project:  
  • An old license plate
  • Stained t-shirt that was going to be used as a car washing rag
  • 3 Hot Wheels (one broken)
  • Wheel off a scale model car 
  • Purse I got from a free box at a garage sale a few years ago and never used and never got around to donating to Goodwill. 
I plan on spending $0 for this challenge.
If anyone wants to join in,  please do so and let Dollar Store Crafts know as well as myself as I would love to check out your creations!