Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giveaway for Pretty Little Purses and Pouches

Happy Thanksgiving, American friends!  If it's not Thanksgiving where you are, then I hope you're having a good day however you are spending it.  Today is the first of several giveaways being held here on Chair in the Shade from now until the New Year.

Today's prize is a hardcover copy of Pretty Little Purses and Pouches (affiliate link).  This book is great for beginning bag makers, or sewers looking for some fresh ideas.  There's directions for 29 different purses and pouches as well as hints and tips on inserting zippers, linings, pockets and the like.  Lots of fun patterns that you can customize however you like.  And great ideas if you want to make some of your own Christmas presents this year.

To enter, simply tell me how much stuff is in your purse.  Mine is pretty big, I usually carry my wallet, phone, lip balm, a note book, day planner, a book, Excedrin, and various other odds and ends.  I'm one of those people who would rather have anything I could possibly need than realize I forgot something at home.  You can also earn bonus entries for following on Twitter and Bloglovin.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In a Book Rut... and Some Giveaway Shout Outs

Do you guys ever start reading a book and you're not really into it, but you keep reading it thinking it will get better? I frequently do this with movies. (Sometimes Netflix can be a total crap shoot.) But, with books, I feel like I need to keep giving it a shot, but then get frustrated and I just quit reading all together. That's how it is with Forever by Peter Hamill.  I read the first couple chapters, wasn't really feeling the vibe of the book, and set it down thinking I just needed to give it more of a shot to get into it.  I haven't picked it up since and that was over a month ago.  Now the thought of trying to get back into it makes me feel less than enthused.

So, last night I decided to chuck it back into the book shelf for a try again later and run off with an old standby.  Whenever I get into a book rut, I turn to an author I've been reading sense I was in junior high, Agatha Christie.  First off, she wrote like a hundred books so there's plenty to choose from.  Second, she has a handful of different detectives- Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Harley Quinn, a couple others- and plenty of books that have an amateur sleuth that only appears in that story.  So, there's plenty to choose from, their entertaining, and pretty quick reads.  Just what a girl needs to get her back in a reading groove and out of a book rut.  By the way, if you're interested in which book I picked, I went with Third Girl which a Hercule Poirot mystery.

Anyhow, it got me thinking.  Agatha Christie's detectives deserve a reboot, ala Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock and Elementary.  Especially Harley Quinn, he just seems like there's more there than what he lets on. I'd even settle for a show where Agatha Christie solves mysteries.  I really loved The Unicorn and the Wasp episode on Doctor Who.
Agatha Christie and Doctor Who

And finally, on a completely unrelated not.  I won't be around tomorrow due to Thanksgiving lunch with the family and then off to work.  But, I do have my first giveaway of the Christmas season all queued up and ready to go, so be sure to check back for that.

And, I'm also sharing some links to a couple other giveaways going on hosted by some of the blogs I follow.

Mom Does Reviews is giving away a doggie natural prize pack.  US only, ends 11/29
Mom and More is giving away a $100 Kohl's gift card.   Ends 12/6.

Griperang's Bookmarks is giving away a SoyL Scent Candle Gem.  US only, ends 12/9.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hoarders- Fabric Addict Edition

You all have seen "Hoarders" on TLC right?  The show that makes you want to clean your house while you watch it.  While I have never found one of my cats buried underneath a stack of stuff in my office, and I never save soda cups my husband hauls home from McDonalds, I do have other problem areas.

There's my cupboard of coffee and tea.  Everyone keeps about five pounds of coffee and four boxes on tea on hand at all times right?  I mean, at least if a meteorite hit Earth, I'd be good to go for a couple months.  And I know you're thinking, "Kaylee, you can't make coffee without electricity."  Not so!  While my coffee pot is a plug in, I also have a back up French press.  I'd just need to build a fire, boil some water, and Boom!  I'd be good to go!

There's also my books.  I have a couple crates in the basement that haven't even seen the light of day sense I got married.  But, I intend to read them someday, and the basement is dry so I think they'll be just fine.

I also keep the cabinet stocked with extra shampoo, condition, body lotion, shower gel, face cleanser, and all sorts of things of that nature.  If I have a coupon and can  get a deal, I like to stock up.

But, there's one area that I can't justify away.  My fabric stash.  Dun dun dun!!!

 I thought I should explain in pictures why I'm not letting myself buying any fabric at the moment.  This is my stash.  I hauled it all out of my office/sewing room and into the living room.  There two milk crates, two drawer totes,  a bunch of stuff I keep in my cedar chest, two baskets, and two shopping bags.  This is ridiculous.  Maybe if I was a quilter, it would be okay, but I just sew, and most of what I sew is just bags, purses, and little things.  Can you imagine how many tote bags I could make if I sewed up my stash? 

So how'd it get so out of hand?  Fabric is a relatively cheap thing to collect.  You see a piece you like, and you can get a whole yard for between $5 and $10.  Plus, I love thrift shopping, and I can't pass up a deal.  I'll see something for a buck or two, and I can't resist.  Even if I'm not super wild about the fabric. 

Before long, it got out of hand, and now, it's just kind of turning into a headache to store it all.  At least tea boxes are small.  My fabric stash really takes up a lot of room in my office.  So, I'm making a couple resolutions.  Nothing crazy, like "No buying fabric until I use up everything in my stash!".  That's just setting myself up for failure.  Here's what I decided instead.

1. Stay out of the fabric shop unless I am looking for something specific for a project that's in process.  It's too easy to wander in "just to look" and end up walking out with a bag of fabric with no plan in mind and it ends up sitting in my stash for months or even years.

2. Give some away.  Be on the look out for some fabric giveaways.  I'm also giving away some finished projects, and some sewing books and supplies.  So be on the look out, starting on Thanksgiving.

3. Sew it up!  I don't really see any point to sell it on Ebay or Etsy, when it's perfectly fine, and there's no reason not to use it.  I just need to use it!  And I have plenty of patterns, interfacings, zippers, and the like, so there's no reason not to.

So, hopefully by the end of next year, I'll have it down to a more manageable size.  Having a stash is not a bad thing, but when it starts eating into your workspace, action needs to be taken.  How big is your fabric stash and how do you store it all?  Are you looking to increase your stash or working on downsizing it?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Fabric Shopping

So Christmas is coming. It's okay to say it, even though we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. It's coming, and if you make your own presents or decorations, it's coming fast. I wanted to make my own Christmas skirt this year.  I was planning on using the Festive Tree Skirt tutorial from SewCraftyJess but I just never found enough different fabrics in my stash, that I thought would go and still look Christmas-ey, and I'm really trying to keep from buying more fabric until I downsize my stash somewhat.  I found some snowflake fabric in a bin of blue fabric that I think will work fine for a plain old, one fabric tree skirt, and I did find a way to jazz it up a little, so I'm going to use that for this year, but here are some fabrics I found at (affiliate link) that I would love if I was allowing my self to buy some new fabric right now. I think I love that quilting cotton that looks like a knitted sweater best. I just want to order some to see how it feels. (I may have a fabric addiction, I know!)

So, if you're letting yourself buy fabric, or you need some for Christmas projects you really should check out's Christmas selection.  They ship for free if you spend at least $35 and they have just about anything you could want.  So if you find anything awesome, you think I should check out, let me know,

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Few Favs 11.24 Special 1990s Edition

 I was born in the early 80s so, I grew up on Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers, wide leg blue jeans, and TGIF shows like "Family Matters", "Full House", "Step by Step" and "Hanging with Mr. Cooper".  Lately, I've been having a bit of a craving for all things 90s.

1. Flannel shirts!  I found a vintage one at the thrift store in the men's section the other day.  And it's so comfy.  I've been living in it, with my favorite jeans and moccasins.  It's on my thrifting wish list to find a couple more.  I found this listing on Etsy for a mystery flannel shirt.

2.  Before I loved Doctor Who obsessively, I loved the XFiles (affiliate link).  It was one of my favorite shows.  My mom wouldn't let me watch it when I was a kid, because it was too violent and it had aliens in it and murders and stuff.  But, I used to sneak episodes when I could.  The first Christmas after we got married my husband bought me all nine seasons (they were on special after Thanksgiving for dirt cheap).  I watched them all in order and then the other day, I decided I should watch them again.  So, I started rewatching them.  And I love them just as much as the first time I saw them.  But, I have noticed that the wardrobe is all sorts of 90s awesomeness.  Scully has these really awful wide leg pant suits and Moulder has these super wide ties.  But I still love all the mystery and unexplained, alien weridness to it.

3.  This quilt is awesome!!!  Remember cassettes?  Remember making your own mix tape by taping your favorite songs off the radio?  This mini quilt is from Sewing Under Rainbow.  It's ran by a Polish blogger named Julianna GÄ…siorowska.  She makes some awesome stuff.  There's no tutorial but it does give a girl some inspiration.

4.  William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (affiliate link) was my favorite movie in high school.  This movie is what started my geeky love of  Shakespeare.  After watching this movie, I read the play, along with "Macbeth", "The Merchant of Venice" and some sonnets before moving on to Jane Austen.  So, I guess this movie laid the groundwork for my love of Jane Austen.  Plus, Leonard DiCaprio stars as Romeo and he was a Tiger Beat regular of my Junior High years.  And to be honest, it isn't that horrible to watch now.  It's aged fairly well.

So there you have it: a list of 90s related favorites.  What are your favorite 90s things?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Operation Christmas Child Finish

So it's National Collection Week for Opearation Christmas Child and my boxes are packed and ready to go.  I finished up my bears today and they are super cute!  See for yourself.

Don't they just look happy?
These are made with the Wendy Gratz's Bailey Bear pattern.  It's available on Craftsy (affiliate link) and is super easy.  The first bear I made was the solid color, tan one, but for all the little bear siblings, I just grabbed stuff out of my scrap basket.

Six boxes ready to go.
I donated online, so my labels printed with a bar code and I'll be able to find out what country they end up in.  If you're interested in making your own shoe boxes, there's still time.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

 Snow will be coming any day now, there's been plenty of frost, and it's wicked cold when I leave work each night, so that means it's time to start soup making again.  It seems like in the summer, I eat a lot of salads and not much soup and then in the fall and winter it's the opposite- all sorts of yummy soups and not much salad.  I suppose it makes sense because when it's 90 degrees out, who wants to eat anything hot.  But, when it's below zero and the wind is howling, soup is delicious.

Anyhow, so I have my go to cream of brocolli soup recipe thanks to an old post from The Little Girl's Guide to Sugar and Spice but I have never really found a cream of cauliflower soup recipe that I love.  So, I thought about what kinds of things I love in soup, and just gave it a whirl. 

This is what I learned.  You don't have to precook your cauliflower, or roast it in the oven to make good soup.  Evaporated milk makes your soup super rich and creamy.  Skipping the emulsion blender gives you nice chunks of carrots and cauliflower in your final product, which I like.  Making my own recipe up isn't nearly as scarey as I thought it'd be.

Here's my recipe

Creamy Cauliflower Soup
3 tablespoons butter
2 stalks celery
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour
2 carrots
1 head of cauliflower
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
cheddar cheese, optional

Set a large kettle on your stove and melt butter over low heat.  While the butter is melting, finely chop your celery and garlic.  Add to butter, and saute until celery and garlic are tender, add chopped carrots and flour.  Stir until all are evenly coated.  Add 2 cups chicken broth, and 1 cup of water.  Stir in finely chopped cauliflower.  Put lid on kettle and cook over medium heat until cauliflower is cooked.  About 15 minutes.  Add can of evaporated milk and cook until starts to bubble.  Salt and pepper to taste.  May sprinkle with cheddar cheese if desired.

Being from Wisconsin, I of course add cheddar cheese and lots of it!  It's also great with homemade bread to dip in it.  (Toast or English muffins work in a pinch.)  I used ciabatta I learned to make while taking Craftsy's Artisan Bread Making class. They're even offering 25% off all their food classes in November.  And if funds are a little tight or you're not sure you'll like Craftsy (which I'm sure you will, but whatever) you can take the Perfect Pizza at Home class for FREE, which is taught by Peter Reinhart, who also teaches the bread class.  Just go sign up.  No credit card info needed, no commitment, no pressure.

 Finally, Craftsy is hosting a recipe contest.  I'm entering my creamy cauliflower soup.  If you want to enter, go to the recipe submission page and submit yours.  The winners will receive a free Craftsy food class and have their recipe featured on Craftsy.

So there you have it.  Make good food and win a prize!  What recipe would you share?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas Swap Sign Up

Chaotic Goddess is having another swap!  And sign ups are going on now!  The Twelve Days of Christmas involves buying twelve small gifts for your swap partner.  Then, you mail off your packages to each other.  When you get your package, you open one gift each day. 

The girls that run Chaotic Goddess do a great job making everything go smoothly.  If you're a blogger interested a fun swap, sign up now!  Just click the button above to be taken to the sign up page.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Few Favorites 11.17

Here are some of the things I'm loving this week.

First off, I love Doctor Who.  Who doesn't?  Seriously, everyone I know who starts watching the show, loves it.  When I found this sampler pattern on Etsy, it really made me want to start doing counted cross stitch again.  Darn you Etsy.

This Narwhal Amigurumi pattern is too cute!  I found him on Beth from Living a  Goddess Life's board.  He really makes me want to learn crochet faster so I can get on to cute projects like him, instead of practice squares.  It's a free pattern, too!

Here's something to remember on those days that are going not so good. (And who doesn't have those every now and again.)

And finally, since winter is inevitably coming, here's a pin of some ice in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Sturgeon Bay is located right at the base of the Door County Peninsula, and right on Lake Michigan.  I love the Great Lakes, but that lake effect wind looks like it can get pretty nasty.  Sometimes I think I like living on the west side of Wisconsin just fine.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What's to Come

Another week is done.  It seems like time goes so fast.  But, today I just wanted to kind of give a sneak peek of sorts of what my plans are for Chair in the Shade and where I want to be going.
  • My original goal was to focus on arts and crafts, cooking and baking, and books.  And that's still where I want to be, but I think I get a little lopsided at times and some weeks I'm all crafty and no cooking, so I'm hoping to get a little better balance going by putting more planning into my posts.
  • I'm planning on hosting a giveaway a week from Thanksgiving until into the new year.  I already have a couple planned, but if you're a maker of homemade goodness and would like to team up, please email me.  I love showcasing handmade awesomeness.
  • Books!  I go in spurts where I read and read and read, and then other times where I get busy with other things and don't read as much.  I'm in the latter camp right now.  But, hope to get some of my book shelf read before Christmas and share some new treasures with you.
  • There will be Christmas cookie recipes coming soon.  I love me some Christmas cookies.
  • Also, some simple gift ideas.
  • I also have some new weekly features I want to bring along so be on the look out for that.
So what do you think?  Anything you want to see more of?  Or less of?

You guys that have the weekend off, enjoy.  You guys that have to work (which is the camp I'm in this weekend), hang in there.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crochet is MacGyver

A few months ago I enrolled in Craftsy's Knitting Lab (affiliate link) and Crochet Lab (affiliate link). I can cast on and do a row of either one, but that's all the farther I can go.  I always thought knitting was so elegant and beautiful with fine stitches and cables and patterns and colors blending so effortless.  Crochet was more like the frumpy aunt that makes you bulky, itchy sweaters.  It wasn't until I really got searching for crochet projects on Pinterest that I realized all the awesomeness you can create with a crochet hook.
Yesterday was Lesson 4 in Crochet Lab and I'm so excited!  I can actually "do" single crochet now!  It's not pretty, but the principle of how it's done has finally clicked!  I like to practice with variegated yarn.  That way you can see your past row a little easier and see your progress.

I started a Pinterest board of crochet projects to try.  I've found such a variety of goodies- from winter scarves and hats, to amigurumi (which I was always under the impression was a knitting thing), to delicate flowers, fun granny squares, garlands, afghans, lacy shawls.  Here's some of what I've found so far.

It's pretty awesome!  Crochet really is a MacGyver of fiber arts.  So, if you have any cool projects that you think I'd like, post the link below and I'll check them out!  I know it'll be a while before I'm doing any really detailed projects, but a little inspiration never hurts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Lana B., the winner of the Whatever Goes Giveaway hop here.  She's already responded to my request for mailing information, so her prize pack full of Symbolic Imports will be going in the mail today.  Lana's favorite food smell is pumpkin pie.  That's a pretty good one in my book.

If you entered, but didn't win, never fear, there's many more giveaways to be had before the end of the year.  I hope to do one a week starting the week of Thanksgiving.  There will be sewing patterns, fabric, crafty little things, and more!  So, keep checking in to see what you can win.

I've also signed up for Lauren Paints A Beautiful Life's New Year & an All New You hop which is running from January 3 to January 20.  If you're a blogger and would like to sign up, just click the picture below and follow the directions.

Hope you're all having a good Tuesday.  It was 18 degrees out when I came home from work last night.  I don't think I'm ready for winter yet, but I guess it's coming whether I'm ready or not.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Zip Pouches from Michelle's Patterns

So last week, Michelle's Patterns (affiliate link) released a new pattern for cute zipper pouches, but these have a sweet little button and sideflap detail.  It comes in three different sizes.  I bought it last week, but finally got around to trying out the pattern today.

I had bought this whale fabric at Joann's a few months ago, the beige fabric I used for the accent and lining came in a fat quarter bundle I bought around the same time and the buttons are from an Etsy shop.  I decided to make the tall pouch. 

This pattern goes together very quickly, and only has two pattern pieces per size.  It's labeled as intermediate, but if you know how to install a zipper, you shouldn't have any problems.

The tall is about 2/3 the size of a school notebook.
I like to make zipper pouches because they go together quickly and are super practical.  But, the little button detail on this one gives it a little something extra.  Michelle's Patterns are great to sew with because you just purchase them, download, print, and go.  Her directions are always clear to follow and often she gives several different size options.

Don't mind my sloppy top stitching.
You can add as many or as few buttons of you like.  I plan on using a crochet flower instead of a button next time.

This picture, from Michelle's Patterns, shows all three sizes.
I think these will make great Christmas presents and I love all the ways you can customize them. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Giveaway Round Up for 11.10

Don't forget!  The Whatever Goes Giveaway Hop  ends Monday at Midnight.  There's 55 shops participating, including mine!  If you haven't entered to win the Symbolic Imports treats, I highly suggest you do.  There's salted caramel lip balm, butter cream lip balm. gingerbread cookie roll on perfume, pumpkin soap, all tucked in one of my cosmetic bags.  It's open worldwide, so enter and then check out the other 54 giveaways for more goodies. 

Here are some other giveaways I've found online this week.  I'm not co-hosting any of these, but everyone likes to win things, so go check them out.

There's a Sample the States giveaway full of goodies from Maine hosted by The Adventures of My Family of 8 along with some other bloggers.  Giveway ends 11/14

Win a $25 Gift Card to Hobby Lobby from Simply Stacie.  Giveaway ends 11/22

There's a big giveaway for a new serger and gift certificates for some awesome fabric shops over on Sewbon plus a whole collection of gift ideas for you.  Giveaway ends 11/15

You can win a Singer sewing machine, gift card to Joann's and a bunch of other prizes over at Flamingo Toes.  Giveaway ends 11/30

Win custom candles from Lissy's Lit Wicks over on Mary's Cup of Tea.  Giveaway ends 11/19

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five Must Haves for Bread Making

So, you want to make your own bread, but don't want to run out and invest a bunch of money on something you're not sure you will love.  I totally understand.  Here's my list of what you must have for successful bread making.  You can totally build up from their with specialty pans, stones, and cloths, but this will get you started and make you great bread.

1. Instant Yeast
This has been one of the easiest things I've done to improve my success with bread making.  Instant yeast rises much faster than regular or even rapid rise yeast.  Plus, I've also learned my lesson with trying to force dough to rise in a warm oven or by other artificial means.  Instant yeast will rise even if you put your dough in the refrigerator.  It's easy to work with and I can't imagine making bread without it.

2.Olive Oil
The method of bread making in Craftsy's Artisan Breadmaking class uses olive oil when your dough is too sticky to handle, instead of the traditional flour method.  So you'll need olive oil on hand.  You don't have to buy the most expensive oil you can find, but don't try to use a regular cooking oil like canola.  I use Pompeian, and you can find it online or probably at your local grocery store.

3. Parchment Paper
Similar to wax paper, but not waxy, this paper is a life saver to keep rising doughs from sticking to things and to bake on.  IT makes keeping your baking sheets a breeze and helps your breads to brown evenly.  You can find it in your grocery store or any craft store that sells cake baking supplies.

4. Baking sheets
Well, you have to have something to bake your dough on,  if you have cookie sheets, those will work fine.  If you really get into your baking, there's all sorts of stones and dishes you can bake in for cool shaped loaves, but these are a must.  Surprisingly, I haven't used a loaf pan yet for this class, but I always bake on a baking sheet.

5. Kitchen Scale
I almost left this one off, but I think it really makes a difference.  For this class, you weigh your ingredients by the ounce.  The reason being, is that one cup of flour can a different amount, based on how much or little you pack your cup, how humid it is, and just the texture of your flour.  But flour will weigh the same no matter if you sift it first, if it's humid out, or whatever extenuating circumstances there may be.  So, I use my postage scale, and set a bowl on it, turn it on (so that it zeros the scale even though the bowl has weight) and then add my flour, salt, and water.  I do not weigh my yeast.  You can find them relatively cheap, so I really think their worth the investment.

So there's some ideas to get you started on what you need to begin bread making.   There's other things that would be fun to have, but are definitely not essential.  Just check out all the things that fall under "bread making supplies" on Amazon on there's tons of pans, couches, stones, knives.  It's enough to make a girl lightheaded with the possibilities.

Note all links are affiliate links.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Few Favorites 11.3

So October is done and we've already moved on to November. My windshield is frosted when I leave work at night.  Winter will be here soon.  But, there's still a touch of autumn left, here in Wisconsin.  So, here's a round up of some things I'm liking this week.

1. Banksy came to New York for the month of October.  My husband thinks Banksy is stupid.  I think he's kind of cool.  You can check out his website chronicling every project he did while in New York: Better Out Than In.

2. Roses and Lemons is this super cute Etsy shop.  She sells jewelry, bobby pins, flower crowns, and all sorts of cute things.  She's having a sale through November 10th, offering 30% off.  Check out her shop for more goodies.

3. Good thing to remember: "Someone else is happy with less than you have."  I found this on Pinterest and it's from a website called Soylent Green.  But warning, you could just fall down the rabbit hole looking at all sorts of funny, not so funny, and interesting things on this site.

4. I think of this as cheater tortellini soup.  It takes canned soup, but then adds sun dried tomatoes, and half and half to make it seem like you spent hours sweating over the stove making it.  And of course, the premade tortellini ups the yum factor.

So there you are.  Four things to check out this week.  Have a good Sunday.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reminder: Whatever Goes Giveaway Hop

Just a reminder that you have a little over a week to enter the Whatever Goes Giveaway!

I'm giving away a bunch of awesome, yummy scented products from Symbolic Imports.  She runs an awesome shop on Etsy and has great smelling things.  There's currently over 200 items in her shop!  If you can't wait to see if you win, you can buy any of these items directly from her.

Click on the picture of my prize pack to be taken to the entry page and view the links for all the other blogs participating in the Whatever Goes Giveaway!

But you better hurry!  This giveaway ends November 11.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief organization that's goal is to aid the world's poor, sick, and hungry.  They have many great programs, but one of the most interactive ones is Operation Christmas Child.  The concept is simple- you pack a shoebox (or shoebox sized box) with items for children in need.  You include things like personal hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and just fun things for kids that don't have much.

November 18-25 is the national collection week.  I usually buy little trinkets for my boxes throughout the year and school supplies when they're on sale before school starts.  So, today, I counted up my boxes and ran to the dollar store for a few more odds and ends and then got packing.

HB, the ever helpful cat, getting his big head in my picture.
I ended up having enough goodies for six boxes.  You can't see all the goodies,but there's pencils, sharpeners, kleenex, toothpaste and brushes. socks, some flip flops for 90% off, Lisa Frank sticker books (which, I got to to be honest- I kind of want one for myself), crayons, notebooks, soap, sugar free gum, hair clips, playdough, sidewalk chalk, and harmonicas. 

A cat free picture
So, I packed up my boxes, and tried to group the items by age appropriateness.

The three on the left are for older girls, the three on the right are for younger girls.  They suggest a $7 donation per box to help with the cost of shipping the boxes around the world.  If you pay online, you can print your own box labels with a barcode and they will send you an email to let you know where your box ends up.  Last year, my boxes all ended up in Kenya.  It will be interesting to see where they go this year.

And yes, that is Bailey Bear in a box.  I figured a little girl would get more enjoyment out of it than I would.  In fact, before I take these to my local drop off spot, I hope to get some more Bailey's whipped out for all the other boxes too.

If you are interested in packing your own shoebox, go to Samaritan's Purse for more information, or check out this video.

And then this video to see the end result of all your fun work: