I haven't done shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child in awhile, but I wanted to do one this year. I only did one, and wanted to really focus on making it a nice gift. I started out with a doll that had ladybugs on its sleeper and a toy ladybug. From there, I built the "theme" around it.
I made a felt ladybug softie. It is fuchsia instead of red, though, to match the doll.
We found this cute, sparkly ladybug fabric on clearance at Joann's. It was a little stiff, but it should soften up over time. I downsized my peasant dress pattern, and probably should have decreased the width a little more, but I think it will be fine. Oh, and I also added elastic at the sleeves just because I felt like it.
Then, I made a ladybug tag blanket with some Hello Kitty fabric leftover from an apron I made and some pink minky that was in the remnant bin. I used lots of different ribbons on the edge- I know they don't coordinate, but they are fun!
All the ladybug stuff went together nicely with the doll!
Then, because I was worried the ladybug dress would be too big, I made another dress with some donated fabric. It is a pillowcase dress, but I just kind of made things up as I went along- probably a mish mash of pillowcase dress tutorials I have seen over the years.
The rest of the box was filled with purchased items. I like to stock up on clearance deals throughout the year and I have a storage tote with those sorts of things ready to go. For example, I hit up the "Dollar Spot" at Target when they had 70% off and got Crayola toothbrushes and coloring books for 30 cents each! So, a few of the items came from my bargain tote.
I was surprised at how much can fit in a shoebox! Some things that I took into consideration:
In some areas, sanitation is an issue, so you don't want to send a lot of garbage. Removing packaging and labels is a good idea.
Soap can stink up the whole box! I left that wrapped and stored it in the soap dish. Also, I thought the soap dish was important because otherwise they might not have a good place to store a wet bar of soap.
You don't want the candy making a sticky mess or soaking in the soap smell. So, I stored it in a plastic bag and shoved it down into the water bottle. Water bottles (another clearance find!) are a great way to maximize space. I have seen other people use them to store art supplies.
I left the strip in the flashlight to keep the battery from draining. I totally forgot to add in extra batteries for it. So, don't be like me. Send some extras!
I know you can't tell what climate your box will go to, but I have seen girls in the Ukraine wearing pillowcase dresses with shirts underneath, so I think it will be OK. Even in a hot climate, I think the super soft and fuzzy socks will be nice. I just pray that whatever I send will be useful and be a blessing to the child. (Hopefully she is not scared of bugs!)
There are some things I packed that had "walked away" when I took the above picture and it was impressive that everything fit!
For me, the hardest part was actually wrapping the box! I need to look for a tutorial or video on that because I am a terrible gift wrapper! That lid makes it tough!
Next year, my girls want to do more shoeboxes and I think that is a great idea! I hope this post gives ideas to someone else- that is the only reason I am blogging about it. I know I looked at a lot of other blogs when coming up with ideas and started a Pinterest board, of course (see HERE if you want to follow it). Simply Shoeboxes is another great resource. If you have any ideas to share, I would love to hear them!!!
Here are some more shoebox ideas: