Love is the Thing: Petunia and Marigold Give Back

Love-is-the-thing, michelle vackar

Do you have a family project where everyone in your home comes together toward a common cause?  Whether you share a passion for a specific cause because a friend or a member of your family was afflicted by illness, raise funds via a walk for a cure, or otherwise want to make a difference and help others? We have had several such projects in our home, from gathering food for our local food pantry to making friendship bracelets for an orphanage in Russia, but nothing to the extent that we ventured into at the beginning of February.  I must say that it is wonderful to see your children have such a caring heart, and to want to help others…to take an idea…to plan it…then to make it happen.

Taped upon a shelf above the computer in our studio is a post-it note that reads, “Together we can do great things”.  Not too long ago, I was looking through an art blog and came across this very quote that had been made into a wall hanging. I like the way this quote can be interpreted and applied in a variety of different ways, but at the heart of it, it is the idea of accomplishing something that is important to you, to taking an idea and doing the best you can.

In late January, my oldest daughter Alex and I were discussing this quote. She asked me, “Why do you like the quote?” I shared with her my logic behind it and she looked at me. At that moment, I could tell something was brewing in her mind. So over the next few days, Alex began thinking of ideas, and as we sat at breakfast one morning, she declared, “Mom, I have an idea. I want to help the kids at the hospital where I stayed. I want every patient on that floor to get healthy. Maybe we could give coloring books, books, puzzles, crayons, so when they go home they have a little something that is fun and new. A little bit of cheer and to let them know that they are special and that someone is thinking of them.”

A little back story: Last September, I took a little hiatus from writing on OMHG because Alex contracted pneumonia and we had to stay at Riley Children’s Hospital. The hospital made quite an impact on her, as well as our entire family. I know as a 7 1/2 year old, she had (and continues to have) many questions as to why certain things occurred during her stay, and many more about the other children who were on the same hospital floor with her. It is a lot to digest as an adult, and particularly so for a child. One very important thing I discussed with her is that it is so very important to remain positive when an illness strikes, because being positive is sometimes the best possible medicine to help you get better.  Granted, I know there is much more to a recovery, but your overall attitude and outlook on life can do wonders. I guess one would call it the power of positive thinking.

together we can do great things, michelle vackar

While at the hospital, we met a little girl that lives about two hours north of our hometown. She was the sweetest little thing, and despite having spent much of her young life in various surgeries and  chemotherapies, she would pop in, every chance she got, just to see how Alex was doing. Just checking to make sure she was okay…to see if she needed anything, just to talk and be friends to each other and to show that she cared. This little bit of sweetness has already gone through so much, but there she was, positive and genuinely concerned about the other children on the floor. Since Alex has been out of the hospital and has been reflecting upon her experience, she’s developed a whole new realization to how important it is to be positive and to help other kids and families who may be in a similar situation. We need to be thankful for what we have; our health, a roof over our head, family, food and knowing that we are loved. 

Alex, and her little sister and partner-in-crime, Sydney, have always had such big hearts. So now we officially have a family project: to help Alex and Sydney with their passion in helping the children at Riley Children’s Hospital. We’ve created an Etsy store called “Petunia and Marigold,” named for the girls’ favorite flowers. On the website, we sell various items, lovingly handmade. Each week, we will add new items, and all of the proceeds from these sales will go toward the purchase of books, coloring books, puzzles and activity items for Riley Children’s Hospital, for the kids to keep.

petunia-and-marigold give back, michelle vackar

In order to help the project moving forward, Alex created a special folder called “Alex’s helping folder.” Within this folder she keeps notes to herself on ideas to add to the store. She also created a banner for “Petunia and Marigold” by drawing a flower garden with markers. Sydney and Alex also created bookmarks where they drew different animals and motifs to send to family and friends about their new project. You can visit the Petunia and Marigold Etsy shop right here.

Do you have a family project or cause? Please share your stories and ideas in the comments, we would love to hear them! 

Editor’s note: I had originally planned to publish this for our February Love it Up theme but felt it was a much better fit for our Entrepreneurial Ethics month. Alex’s compassionate (& entrepreneurial!) spirit is something we can all be inspired by and hope to bring to our work. This story is the perfect example of practical ethics and how kindness + creativity combine to change everything, even if just for one family. It is a beautiful reminder that ethics start at home and I want to celebrate Michelle for nurturing her daughter’s loving hearts. Hooray for you all!


  • http://blog.CreativeDharma.com Pamela

    What lovely girls you have! And the lessons they are learning in gratitude, love and giving back are inspiring. I’m sharing this post with my friends and readers. What a great mom you are for teaching these darlings and supporting their mission.

    p.s. As a nurse I can assure you that a positive attitude absolutely is powerful healing agent. Blessings to your family.

  • Larry Greenwalt

    Thats my girls!!

  • Judy cook

    Great job in “giving back.”

  • Jo Mahnke

    What an inspirational and wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing. Please share with your girls what an absolute inspiration and blessing they will be to so many! I plan to share this story as part of Sunday School or a Children’s time during worship some time very soon.

    Also- I love the font used in together we do do great things. Would you mind sharing its name? Thank you!

    • http://ohmyhandmade.com/members/ohmyhandmade/ Jessika Hepburn

      Hi Jo! Happy to hear you were inspired by Michelle’s post:) The font I used in the graphics is Emily Lime from My Fonts:)
      @Pamela-I’ve been really enjoying reading your comments! Thank you for your lovely thoughts:)

  • http://www.shanghaitai.com Roxanne Coffelt (Shanghai Tai LLC)

    Right now I have a couple of pendants in my shop that are in memory of Aliahna Lemmon, a 9 year old Indiana girl who was killed last Christmas. Half of the proceeds from each pendant go to Allen County (Indiana) CASA. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. These are people who advocate for the rights of children. You can see one of them here: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/4430438