Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project | AllPeopleQuilt.com Staff Blog

Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project


This pillowcase is empty

But I’m colorful and bright

Just put a pillow in me

And watch me come to life.


I am here to lay your head on

To look at, cuddle and hold

And take me along with you,

Wherever you may go.


There is more behind this pillowcase

It came from donations filled with love

And wishing you well and happiness

But never once think “I Give Up.”


Judy Bleiler includes this poem with each pillowcase she donates to local hospitals. The poem was inspired by Kaeli Brandt, a 9-year-old child who died of a rare brain cancer.

Judy learned about Kaeli’s condition through her Pennsylvania church and knew she wanted to help. While working on a gift for her grandson, she decided to also make a birthday quilt for Kaeli’s hospital bed out of Tinkerbell fabric–Kaeli’s favorite character.

The quilt was a hit with Kaeli and the rest of the hospital. Judy wondered how she could use her talents to put more smiles on children’s faces. She began asking local churches for donations, collecting $450 to make pillowcases for other children with cancer.

Sadly, the pillowcases, which included the Tinkerbell one to match Kaeli’s quilt, arrived at the hospital a few days after Kaeli’s death. The quilt meant so much to Kaeli that her family buried the young girl with it.

In memory of Kaeli and two other young girls battling cancer, Judy started Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project in 2010. She quickly gathered $2,000 in donations, but knew she needed more to help all the kids in need.

She applied for the Pepsi grant in June and a week later received news that one of the $10,000 grant was hers. The Pepsi Refresh Grant is based on online voting from the public, and Judy’s project came in 6th out of 140 applicants. Judy has made more than 2,500 pillowcases with the material purchased through the Pepsi grant and hopes to double that number with the money.

Judy estimates that each pillowcase costs about $7 to make, between the material and packaging costs. She gets help assembling the pillowcases from others in the community.



See the rest of the blog hop schedule here:


September 1: Welcome from American Patchwork & Quilting

September 2: Rashida Coleman-Hale

September 3: Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project

September 4: Morgan’s Smile Factory

September 5: Pat Sloan

September 6: Northcott

September 7: Betsy Chutchian

September 8: Vanessa Christenson

September 9: Andover Fabrics

September 10: Laurie Simpson

September 11: Oak Hill, Ohio

September 12: Robert Kaufman Fabrics

September 13: Pam Buda

September 14: Indygo Junction

September 15: 4-H

September 16: Katie Hennagir

September 17: Anni Downs

September 18: FreeSpirit Fabrics

September 19: American Patchwork & Quilting Staff

September 20: Patty Young

September 21: Moda Fabrics

September 22: Monica Solorio-Snow

September 23: Moda Bake Shop

September 24: Andover Fabrics 

September 25: Roseann Kermes from Rosebud’s Cottage

September 26: Ann Kelle for Shannon Fabrics

September 27: Therm O Web

September 28: Edyta Sitar

September 29: Fabri-Quilt 

September 30: Cherri House

7 Responses to “Olivia and Alayna’s Pillowcase Project”

  1. A wonderful story. I like the poem.