Any excuse to sew

Any excuse will do if it allows me to enjoy my favorite things. This year Operation Christmas Child gave me plenty of excuses to shop, stitch and stuff.

Usually, filling OCC boxes has just been part of fall visits with grandchildren. We took them to the store with the list of suggested items and then watched as they piled up the buggy with toothbrushes, wash cloths, bars of soap and hairbrushes before they began looking for hard candy, oversized sunglasses, noise makers, small dolls and teddy bears. We stuffed the boxes so full we had to use two or three rubber bands to secure the lids.

This year the fun began much earlier, if a bit reluctantly on my part. Our church coordinator for OCC began asking for donations of sewing notions for the older girls. She wanted to send them sewing supplies along with the toys and candy.
She asked for shears. No response from my house.

She asked for fasteners
I tossed in a couple things.

She asked for spools of thread and stopped me in my path of indifference. My thread racks and sewing basket overflowed with spools of thread I had found at yard sales. Sorting through my stash I found 24 spools that had never been used.
“I have 24 spools of thread. What else do you need for the sewing kits?” I asked the coordinator.

“A yard of fabric and some notions such as lace, ribbon or appliqués to decorate the fabric,” she responded.
And that’s when the fun began. Being a fabri-holic, just handling fabric makes me happy.

That day, I handled a lot of fabric as I looked through my shelves of cloth for matching pieces of fabric. When I found one, I whacked off a yard and folded each piece around its matching spool of thread. Laying the bundles on the counter, I stood back to admire them. As I reveled in all the color, I realized that the girls needed needles and pins for sewing fabric. I went to the store and bought large packages of needles and pins. I divided up the needles and made a cloth needle holder for each girl.

“How do you want all this stuff packaged?” I asked
“Put them in Zip-loc bags to put in the boxes.”
I could have done that, but I needed another fabric fix. So, I had a lot of fun cutting out 24 squares of Christmas fabric to create bags with pull-ties made from the reels of ribbon I found at yard sales. I topped off my fun as I pushed the sewing machine pedal to the medal to quickly assemble the bags.
The bundles of fabric, spools of thread and needles fit neatly into the red and green bags with lots of leftover space.

I needed more fabric therapy. Surely, the girls needed pin cushions to hold those pins. No sense in buying 24 pin cushions, when I could make them using that overflowing pile of stuffing, that stack of small Christmas cross stitch pieces and leftovers from the Christmas fabric I used for bags.

Operation Christmas Child, here I come with more Christmas, but by then I was not sure if it was for them or me. I wanted a reason to sew … I found a reason to sew. The sewing machine whirred every night after work. I stuffed and admired the cheerful little cushions before I slid one into each pull-string bag.

The bags still had plenty of room. No one can sew without a pair of shears. I bought 24 pairs of shears. The Christmas bags now held fabric, thread, pin cushions filled with pins, cloth needle holders, shears, a bundle of safety pins … and there still was room – just enough room to do as the coordinator suggested, so I hauled out more boxes, this time boxes filled with lace, cards of buttons and cute appliqués.

That did it. That topped off the bags. The pull-string ribbons barely closed over the sewing kits. They looked like miniatures of Santa’s overflowing bag. The day I took them to the coordinator, the sewing kits filled a laundry basket. I hope the girls who receive them have as much fun using the kits as I did assembling them.