Thursday, February 25, 2010

{ love, and a quilt, for Layla Grace }

I've spent the last few days repeatedly checking Layla Grace's twitter page and blog for updates, hoping and praying for a miracle and news that she's getting better. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that is going to happen, at least not on this earth. I'm kind of a softy, and I cry very easily, but I was especially moved by this passage on Layla's blog that published by her mom two days ago
I take comfort in a few things. First, I know there are angels watching over her. I know they are sitting right beside her; that she is never alone. Her angels will usher her into heaven. Second, I know her death will not be in vain. She has done what God sent her here to do. She has gone above and beyond. I receive hundreds and hundreds of emails every day from people telling me their faith is stronger because of her. She has managed to do more Godly works in her short 2 years on earth than most people do in 80. I take comfort in the fact that when she returns home, she will be greeted by the Lord and hear “Well done good and faithful servant”. She will instantly be renewed and have a perfect heavenly body. There will be no more tears, no more pain and no more sorrow. She will see glorious things we can’t even begin to dream of. Revelation 21:18-21 says The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.d 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

I’ve spent all this time praying for her to be healed. AND SHE WILL BE. It just might not be in the way I want. Within a few short days, one way or another, Layla will be healed and absolutely perfect.

So, as I was working last night, I got an email from my friend Candace, asking if she could blog about my fundraising efforts for Layla's family. And then Candace came up with the fantastic idea of making a quilt in honor of Layla and giving it to her family. Candice runs Cotton Candie Fabric, an online fabric store, and has lots of connections to all sorts of crafty ladies, so we're all going to make some blocks and send them to her when they're done. She'll put all the pieces together and finish the quilts, and then send them to the Marsh family. We're hoping that we'll have enough blocks to make a few quilts, including one for each of Layla's two older sisters. I'm going to applique Layla's monogram on one of the blocks, and I'm hoping to make a few more for each quilt, too.

If you'd like to make a block for the quilt, just let me know! We'd love to have more people contribute to it. Please send me an email directly at olive_and_ollie { at! } yahoo dot com for more information. And if you pray, please pray for peace and comfort for Layla and her family. Thank you.

Friday, February 19, 2010

{ slowly, but surely }

That's my motto these days with regard to my redecorating project{s}. Ok, who am I kidding? Those who know me personally probably know that I'm not the most patient person, so I'm really ready for this all to be done. But, it's not an easy task when { a } you've got two toddlers who are ever so eager to help, which means that things end up taking twice, or even three times, as long as they should to complete; { b } most of your "free" time is spent on completing orders or catching up on laundry; or { c } you finally get a sudden burst of energy but it occurs at midnight.

But, honestly, I wouldn't trade any of this for the world. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with Aidan and Olivia and run my little business, which I absolutely love doing. I just wish I could get these projects done faster! Here are some more pictures of works in progress around here, including my crazy gluing-fabric-to cabinet project. :)

See...too much red, right?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

{ do you believe in miracles? }

because this little girl needs one desperately. Little Layla Grace is just two years old, the same age as my Olivia, but she is fighting a horrible disease called neuroblastoma. I came across her story via twitter the other day, and I've been thinking about her and her family since then. It's such a heartbreaking story, and I can't even imagine what that family must be going through. But I do know, that no mother should ever have to feel that pain, and no baby should have to suffer as little Layla has. I don't know this family at all, but I just feel like I need to do something to help. So, I'm going to donate 20% of my sales from my Olive and Ollie etsy shop throughout the rest of this month to them. I encourage you to pray for a miracle for this sweet baby girl, and I will do the same.

{ update } March 11, 2010

Layla Grace lost her battle two days ago. It's been an emotional rollercoaster for me just "watching" on the sidelines, and I cannot even fathom what the Marsh family is going though. But, I wanted to update you all and let you know that I raised $120 from my shop that I will be donating to them. Also, my dress that was part of Lesley's auction was sold for a whopping $70, so that's even more money raised for them. I really wish there was more than I could do, besides offer my prayers of course, but at least it's a little something. May God bless them all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

{ fun, fun, fun}

Ah, I've got so many fun things going on here in the studio these days, and I wanted to share some of them with you. I'm working on a lot of new designs, some of which have evolved out of custom orders, I'm redecorating basically the entire first floor of our house, I'm making Olivia a quilt, and my mom found her an awesome vintage turquoise wool dress and hat. Fun, fun, fun indeed!

I love this circular monogram design. I've made a few custom orders with it, including this shirt, and it will soon be available in my etsy shop. In this example I used one of Patty Young's Mezzanine fabrics. I really like how abstracted the pattern of the fabric becomes when it's appliqued.

And here's a brand new birthday shirt, using two of Sandi Henderson's new Meadowsweet fabrics, which I absolutely adore. They are so fresh and pretty. I think this combination of pink and orange is super cute.

And here is the latest project in the massive redecorating saga. My corner cabinet, which is now red with turquoise and white polka dots! I painted two pieces of furniture in my studio an awesome shade of green, and I wanted something different for this piece. I'm using fabrics with a bit of red in them for the window treatments, and we've got the new red couch, so I thought red would be fun. But, after poor Jeff spent two nights painting it red, I just wasn't feeling it. It was too much. I thought about painting the interior of the cabinet white or cream to tone it down a bit, but then spotted my turquoise and white polka dot fabric out of the corner of my eye, and voila! I had the brilliant idea of gluing the fabric to the interior of the cabinet, with a little help from Fabri-Tac glue. That stuff rocks, by the way. I still need to touch up a few places and find a new handle, but I really love how it's turning out.

I'm also making Olivia a patchwork quilt, as a gift for her second birthday. I was actually hoping to have it finished today in time for her party, but of course that didn't happen. I'm just doing a simple patchwork design, using Tula Pink's Hushabye, but I'm attempting to quilt it using the free-motion method. Wow, it's kind of tricky! But, I love it, and I think it will be gorgeous when it's finished.

And last, but certainly not least, my mom scored an awesome vintage turquoise wool coat and hat for my Olivia. It's in perfect shape, and guessing from the design and tags, I think it's from the 1960s. It's fabulous, and I wish I could find one in my size. Here's Olivia modeling it, while standing on my cutting table. She loved it and wore it, complete with the hat, last night for about an hour. I think my girl has great taste already.

Thanks for letting me share some of these fun things with you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

{ my studio assistant }

Yesterday I was photographing a dress that I had made as a custom order for a friend of mine, and I had a little helper.

Here's the dress.

And here's my helper, Aidan. He loves working as my studio assistant. He's three and a half, going on about twelve, and is the most awesome little boy in the whole wide world.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

{ i made soap! }

Laundry soap, that is. I've wanted to try it for a long time and I finally got around to doing it last week. I used Fels Naptha soap, Washing Soda, and Borax, and the recipe that is on the Duggar Family website. In a nutshell, here's how it's made.

First, you take a bar of basic bar soap and grate it. As I said, I used Fels Naptha, but I've read that you can use Ivory or other brands if you'd like.

This was the hardest part of the process because I grated it by hand, and Fels Naptha is pretty hard. I could have used the food processor to grate it, but I didn't want to worry about all my foods that I prepare in there tasting like soap. So, I used my cheap Ikea box grater.

Finally it was all grated.

Next, add four cups of hot water in a pan with the soap and heat over medium until all of the soap is dissolved.

You'll also need a five-gallon bucket. Fill it about half way with hot water, and then add your dry ingredients, which are 1 cup Washing Soda and 1/2 cup Borax.

Add your melted soap mixture to the bucket and stir.

Then fill the bucket the rest of the way up with hot water. And stir some more.

Then, it needs to set up overnight. I put my sealed bucket in the bathroom and left it alone for about 24 hours. This is what it looked like when I opened it up.

Crazy, huh!? It has the consistency of egg drop soup. It's somewhat gelatinous, but not throughout.

To use it, you dilute it half and half with water. I took an old laundry bottle that I cleaned and rinsed out, and added two cups of the soap and two cups of water. Shake it well, and I actually shake it every time before I use it. I've been doing our laundry with this soap for about a week now and I really love it. Our clothes are super clean, they smell really fresh, and for about $3, I now have approximately 180 loads worth of soap! Can you believe it? Seriously, that's amazing.

And, speaking of amazing...look at these fabrics.

Aaahhhh....aren't they gorgeous? They will soon be put to good use in my kitchen.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

{ brand new designs! }

I wanted to share some of my brand new designs with you! They are all available in my Olive and Ollie etsy shop now.

Stay tuned for more new designs coming soon!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

{ studio redo update }

My studio redo is finally taking shape! We've got just about all of the wallpaper off in the dining room, I've begun painting furniture, and I'm starting on the window treatments. It's been a slow process, due to the limited about of time we've been able to work on it. But, if all goes well, I hope it will be finished this weekend. I can't wait, and I think it's going to be really fun when it's finished. Here are some pictures of the works in progress.

The living room is also getting a bit of make-over as well. Our house is sort of a shot-gun style house, and the studio (aka dining room) is adjacent to the living room, with a set of pocket doors separating them. The doors remain open all of the time, well, except when Aidan and Olivia pretend they're in a barn and need to close the barn doors, so it kind of feels like the two are actually one big room. So, I decided that it would be nice if their decor blended.

We bought a new red couch from Ikea, and I'm making a bunch of ruffled pillows for it and the two leather chairs in the living room. My desk chair will also get one.

You can see that the kids, and the dog, are big fans of the new couch and pillows.

I'm making new window treatments for both rooms (and the kitchen, but that's another post!), and I'm painting some of the furniture, too. I never thought I would, but I am painting my antique dining room set, part of which has been used for fabric storage for the last year or so. It's a nice set, but not too nice, and it was so dark, and just not my taste. We didn't spend too much on it, and it was never my favorite set.

Please excuse the poor photos...I had to use my flash since it was about midnight when this was taken.

But oh, how I love it now that it's Spiny Sea Urchin green, which is on the verge of chartreuse, and seriously one of my all-time favorite paint colors. My tv cabinet in the living room, which began it's life as a china cabinet, and was given to me by my grandparents, is also the same color now. It's really cute. My window treatments are going to be made out of Sandi Henderson's Vintage Dots in Breeze, with a little bit of Amy Butler's brand new Bliss Bouquet in the studio. There will be a lot of fun colors, which I think will be great sources of inspiration to me.

I promise I'll post pictures of the all of the finished projects once they're finished!
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