From the category archives:

Olive Us

Little Red Dolls

June 20, 2013

littlered03

Images and text by Gabrielle.

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends from high school was visiting and she brought the most thoughtful gift! She had little dolls made based on the costumes my kids wore during the Little Red Riding Hood episode of Olive Us. Aren’t they adorable?

The dolls are called Peg Buddies. Apparently, you can send them an image, and they’ll create a little doll just for you!

Take a look at the video — it’s so fun to see how carefully the dolls replicated the details:

littlered05

I’ve included a few more closeups of the dolls below if you’d like to see — and a special doll for June as well!

Keep reading for more pics.

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Images and text by Gabrielle.

Friends, I’m kind of freaking out about how wonderfully Episode 23 of Olive Us turned out. (Sorry for the brag!) It’s called Le Petit Chaperon Rouge which is the French way of saying Little Red Riding Hood. This video is stunning. It’s simply magical. Oh. And it’s all in French! Entirely narrated by Betty, who also plays the girl in the red cape.

Now don’t you worry, even if you don’t speak a lick of French, I’m betting you’ll be able to follow along with the very familiar story line. : ) If you’d like a translation, you’re in luck. Ben Blair made a pdf with a side-by-side French and English translation — you can find the pdf link here.

Little Red Riding Hood | oliveus.tv

I’m dying to hear what you think! And if your kids watch it, I’d love to hear if they enjoyed it — or if the French threw them off too much. From what we’ve seen so far, for little ones, the language doesn’t seem to matter at all! Consider this a great way to expose your kids to a foreign language in a familiar context.

I also want to say that we didn’t make this alone. Not at all. A huge thanks goes out to Miranda of One Little Minute. who put together the stunning costumes. She started with what we had in our closet, added pieces from thrift stores, then sewed the rest. She re-made the iconic red cape from a women’s red wool coat she found at a second hand shop. It’s thick and cozy and wonderful — and it kept Betty warm on the cold November day when we filmed this.

Little Red Riding Hood | oliveus.tv Little Red Riding Hood | oliveus.tv

Another big thanks goes to Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag for the title illustration. I love how it turned out! I think it would be cool to have a poster of it made for our wall. Lastly, we are over the moon about Tiger in a Jar’s vision for this episode. We think they captured the story perfectly.

Fun Fact: the forest scenes were filmed around the corner from our house, in the same trees that we filmed Christmas Tree Hunt. For the exteriors of Little Red’s house and Grandma’s house, we actually filmed at the Apple Juice Farm you’ll remember from this video. Fantastic, right? The old half-timber buildings on the property were absolutely perfect for a fairy tale!

If it’s not showing up for you in this post, watch it on vimeo here, and find all the Olive Us videos here.

Click here for more photos. It was so fun to take photos on this shoot!

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Text and images by Gabrielle.

I’m super excited to share this Olive Us episode with you! It’s called The Story of Kish, and we’ve been working on it since last July. We’re so pleased with how it turned out!

Kish is a story written by Grandpa Blair (Ben Blair’s dad), so it has great meaning for all of his children and grandchildren. Grandpa Blair is a linguist and uses this story as an example of how to learn a new language. And the coolest part: he’s the narrator in the video!

The Story of Kish - A video by OliveUs.TV The Story of Kish - A video by OliveUs.TV

What a treasure this is for our family. Grandpa’s words, Grandpa’s voice. And it was filmed near Snow Canyon in Southern Utah, one of the very favorite spots from my childhood. The scenery is magnificent!

Snow Canyon in Southern Utah Snow Canyon in Southern Utah

We had lots of help on this episode. The wardrobe was sourced from my sister Sara’s legendary costume closet. The amazing music was written and recorded especially for this episode by Ben’s cousin, Geoff Groberg (he also wrote the Olive Us theme song). The illustrations and title graphic were done by the ever-talented Merrilee Liddiard. And of course, Tiger in a Jar brought their epic talents to the table in the filming and editing.

We hope you enjoy the episode! If it’s not showing up for you here, you can view it on Vimeo. And please subscribe to the Olive Us Newsletter so you’ll be the first to know about new episodes and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks.

Click here for lots more photos from the shoot.

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By Gabrielle.

Hey all you Spring Breakers. Looking for some rainy day fun? Have I got an Olive Us episode for you! It’s called Shadow Puppets, and yep, it’s exactly what the name implies — lots of fun shadow puppets for you and your kids to try. And I’m betting that after they watch it, that’s exactly what they’ll want to do.

Shadow Puppets. A little movie from OliveUs.Tv - perfect idea for a rainy day!

In fact, Ben Blair sent out the Olive Us Newsletter last week (you can subscribe here), and in it he shared this episode. Then all weekend long, we saw tweets and instagrams and emails of Olive Us viewers who were trying their own shadow puppets too! Really, really fun. Made us all grin like crazy.

I hope you enjoy the episode. And if you’re having trouble viewing it here, try it on Vimeo.

P.S. — Happy April Fool’s Day! In France, it’s Poisson d’Avril — children stick paper fishes on their friends’ backs today. Hah!

Shadow Puppets. A little movie from OliveUs.Tv - perfect idea for a rainy day!

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Text and image by Gabrielle.

Exciting news: Olive Us is hosting a video contest! Make a video of your family, inspired by an Olive Us episode, and you could win fame and fortune! Well. Maybe not fame and fortune. But the top videos will be featured on the Olive Us newsletter and website. And the grand prize is a Kindle Fire HD!

The contest was announced last week and there have already been some excellent entries. The panel of judges is definitely going to have their work cut out for them. Entries are due April 30th, and you can find all the contest details here.

If you’re intimidated by making your own video, don’t be. The judges aren’t expecting a professional production. But they hope you’ll capture some footage that will be a great treasure for your family for decades to come. To get you inspired, here’s a video that 15-year-old Ralph shot and edited about a family outing — it’s called Blackberries.

Isn’t that great? I hope it inspires you to make a video and enter the contest. For movie-making tips, be sure to subscribe to the Olive Us newsletter — for the next several weeks, it will be filled with helpful steps that will get you in the movie-making mood.

P.S. — Craving more blackberries?

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By Gabrielle.

Hooray! A new Olive Us episode has arrived. The concept of this episode might be the simplest one we’ve ever conceived: Follow 2-year-old Flora June Blair around for a day and capture it on video.

Two year olds have a reputation for being terrible, and as a mother of six, I’m no stranger to flat-on-the-floor-of-the-grocery store meltdowns, or frankly, playground/grandma’s house/preschool/playdate/library/car/sidewalk meltdowns either. Here is a shot of June taken this last weekend during a 20-minute stand off at the hotel pool — she refused to get out:

At the same time, I know that 2 years old is also one of the sweetest ages. There is so much discovery. So much growth. Huge jumps in vocabulary and communication. Huge jumps in independence. Lots and lots of opinions. Lots and lots of giggles. Here’s another photo of June on the day we filmed Cider Farm:

And here’s another from last August (complete with drool bubbles):

And just one more where she’s wearing the same darling dress from the video. You may remember the dress from this post, too — it was made by the talented Katy of No Big Dill:

First time parents will see their 2 year old as all grown up. Second-time-around parents will see that their 2 year old is really still a baby. I think both are right.

I hope you enjoy the video! It’s a sweet one. (And there’s a happy little bit after the credits, too.)

P.S. — Subscribe to Olive Us to be the first to know about new videos. Find more episodes and behind the scenes sneak peeks at OliveUs.TV, and hey, if this episode doesn’t show up for you here, try viewing it on Vimeo.

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By Gabrielle.

Here’s another fun episode from Olive Us! Take a visit to a Normandy Cider Farm with Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty & June. See how the apples are harvested and the juice is bottled, and get a glimpse of the beautiful countryside.



Fun fact: Normandy is the only region of France that doesn’t produce wine. Instead, apples and pears are so abundant here that ciders and juices are the local drink (and calvados, for those seeking something a bit harder). Apple tarts are also famous in this region. And they are hands down delicious.

We filmed this episode at La Galotiere, the most picturesque little farm you’ve ever seen. We buy their apple juice by the crate!

P.S. — Subscribe to Olive Us to be the first to know about new videos. In fact, a behind-the-scenes video about the Cider Farm will be posted later today. And hey, if the Cider Farm episode doesn’t show up for you here, try viewing it on Vimeo.

Click here to find more images from the cider farm visit.

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By Gabrielle.

A new Olive Us episode! And it’s a charmer. Do you have a wood-burning fireplace at your house? This little episode shows how our firewood is delivered and stacked — an event we have found delightful since this is the first house we’ve lived in with a working fireplace. And hey, if you consider yourself part of the Oscar Fan Club, this episode is especially for you! (Be sure to watch till the end of the credits for a little treat.)

Have you seen Moonrise Kingdom? We really loved it and thought the matter-of-fact narrator was an especially cool aspect of the story. So we thought it would be fun to make an Olive Us episode with a narrator, too. And Oscar was picked for the job!

A bit of trivia: You wouldn’t know it by watching the episode, but it was actually really challenging for Oscar to deliver his lines while looking directly into the camera. So hard! It took lots of practice and many, many (many!) takes. And ultimately, he had to concentrate so hard while doing it, that he is very, very serious throughout the episode. Which happily, turned out to be pretty darn charming (at least, in my opinion).

As usual, you can find more Olive Us episodes, and fun behind-the-scenes info at the Olive Us website. Be sure to subscribe to stay in the loop on Olive Us contests and video releases.

Find more photos from the video shoot when you click through.

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By Gabrielle.

I’ve got a really beautiful new Olive Us episode to share with you today. It’s sweet and whimsical, and if you’re stuck inside with winter weather, it will be just the trick to get you up and making.

The recipe is one my family has been making for decades and it comes with the misspelling of snoball. We’ve chosen to keep the misspelling because we don’t want to jinx the recipe in any way! It’s so simple and yummy — I think these are my very favorite cookie.

For those of you ready to try it out, take note of the marble reference — with these cookies, bite-size is key! Find the full written recipe here.

Big thanks to Tiger in a Jar for their extra-dose of creativity on this one. And thanks to Tea Collection as well — they sent Betty’s sweet outfit!

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By Gabrielle. Instagram shot by Ben Blair.

Oh my goodness you guys. This one is for all the Paris lovers and dreamers out there. I can not wait for you to see this episode! It feels magical to me. I could just watch it forever. I love seeing such a magnificent place through a child’s eyes.

When we move back to the U.S., I’m positive we’ll watch this movie every time we get homesick for France. (Try it on vimeo if it’s not playing for you here.)

You can find out a little backstory about this episode here, and for those who are curious, Betty’s pom pom hat and over-the-knee socks are from Tea Collection. Please tell me you love the video as much as I do!

P.S. — Huge thanks to Tiger in a Jar for the gorgeous footage, to Merrilee Liddiard for the beautiful title illustration, and to our friend Caroline for helping out the entire time!

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Hooray! Here’s the trailer for Olive Us Season 3. We filmed most of the upcoming episodes in early November and we’re excited to share them with you. We tried some new-to-us formats plus new locations, and once again, we had a great time working with the talented Tiger in a Jar. I hope you enjoy the little sneak peek!

But here’s the really big news: To celebrate Season 3, we’re hosting our first ever Olive Us Contest — and you could win an iPad Mini!! It’s really easy to enter, find out all the details here.

 

P.S. — If the video isn’t showing up for you, try watching it here. And be sure to subscribe to the Olive Us newsletter so you don’t miss any behind the scenes fun!

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By Gabrielle.

In episode 15, inspired by last year’s family photo shoot, the whole bundle of Blair kids go on a hunt for the loveliest Christmas tree they can find. Consider it a little video greeting card just for you. : )

Happy Holidays from All of Us at Olive Us!

For those who are curious about the clothing sources, most items were sourced from our own closets or here in our village, but if you like Oscar’s handsome outfit (see it in full after the jump), you’re in luck! It’s from Tea Collectionsweater, pants, boots.

P.S. — You’ll have to read this post for some funny behind-the-scenes info about the trees. : ) 

Click through to see more photos I took during the shoot.

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By Gabrielle.

Come make hand cookies! No cookie cutter required.

I loved working on this episode. Making hand cookies was a family tradition when I grew up and I remember it fondly. I loved the feel of the butter knife moving around my fingers, and I loved seeing my very own cookie — that was just my size (with my initials carved in!) —emerging from the oven. And most of all I loved decorating the hand with rings and bracelets made of sprinkles and candy pearls.

If you have a favorite cut-out cookie recipe, it will probably work just fine for these cookies. Or you can find my mother’s recipe here.

Some fun facts about this episode: The Grandma is my mother, Donna. She no longer owns the home I grew up in, but that recipe box? metal rolling pin? Those are the very same I grew up with. Seeing them makes me so nostalgic! And seeing the actual recipe card we used, in my mother’s fantastic hand-writing, is my favorite part.

Enjoy the video. Three cheers for baking with Grandma!

P.S. — For aprons in a pinch, we grabbed dish towels and tied them on with ribbon and twill tape. Easy (and cute!).

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By Gabrielle.

The latest Olive Us episode features a pottery lesson from Master Potter, Joe Bennion in his studio at Horseshoe Mountain Pottery.

Friends, I have to tell you what a treat it was to make this episode. Joe is simply a delight and we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to get to spend an afternoon with him.

I didn’t have my big camera with me that day, but I took about a million photos with my phone. The pottery is so beautiful! While we were in his shop, we picked out a pie plate to take home as a souvenir. I wish I could get to his shop right now! His pottery would be wonderful as holiday gifts.


If you’d like to see the kids’ finished pottery, Joe posted a photo of the fired pieces on his blog. We can’t wait to visit again next summer to pick up our pottery and spend more time in Joe’s shop.

P.S. — Joe’s wife makes the salve I’m so crazy about. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Olive Us Newsletter so you don’t miss out on any of the Olive Us fun!

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By Gabrielle.

A new Olive Us episode is ready to share!

Have you ever rock-climbed? Our kids love to. (Especially Maude — she scrambles up the mountain like she was born doing it.) As parents, it’s really satisfying to watch our kids challenge themselves, work hard, take risks, and encourage each other to reach the top. I hope you enjoy the episode!

Fun fact: We were scheduled to film this episode in the red rocks of Southern Utah with rock-climbing guidance from my brother. But we were rained out! So we rescheduled and filmed in Provo’s famous Rock Canyon instead. Special thanks goes to Audrey Moore for assisting on this episode, and to Rich Barrett for being the climbing teacher/guide.

P.S. — Video won’t show up for you? Try viewing it on Vimeo.

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By Gabrielle.

This week’s episode is a special Halloween edition of Olive Us. Featuring a visit to a spooo-oo-ooky Ghost Town!

Fun fact: it was filmed in the real-life ghost town of Grafton, Utah. Which is near the entrance to Zion National Park. Have you ever been?

Enjoy the episode. And Happy Halloween from all of us at Olive us!

P.S. — If you’re an Olive Us fan, I recommend subscribing to the Olive Us newsletter. You’ll be the first to know about new episodes, behind the scenes commentary, and trivia about the show!

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Carwash. A fun little video by OliveUs.TV

This post is brought to you by Volkswagen. It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them. Read our stories or share your own at whyvw.com.
Oh man! I’m so excited for you to see this video because we had such an amazing time filming it. We started by borrowing this insanely charming, perfectly restored VW Bus from friends in St. George, Utah.

Growing up, my family always drove Volkswagen vans and as an adult, they’ve been my car of choice as well. (Here’s the VW Transporter we drive now.) So you can imagine I was feeling nostalgic that day!

Want more behind the scenes? Here you go:

Carwash. A fun little video by http://OliveUs.TV

Once we had the van, we scouted a location. We knew the gorgeous VW would look great against the local red rocks. So we drove around until we found a potential spot, then we’d knock on the door of the house and inquire about shooting a video in their back yard. Hah! We ended up shooting at Cottam Farm (fun fact: my family used to buy milk from the some of Cottam cousins).

Click here for lots more behind-the-scenes images.

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By Gabrielle.

A new Olive Us episode just went live! That always makes for a happy day at our house. Little June likes nothing better than to climb into our bed as soon as she wakes up, then snuggle in with Mom and Dad and watch Olive Us episodes on repeat. : )

In this new episode, you can follow along as the children go on a picnic in the mountains. We filmed it at Kotter Trail in Mendon, Utah when we were there in July. Being in the mountains really is one of my favorite things in the world!

Have you ever spent time in the mountains? There’s nothing quite like it.

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Olive Us: Kitchen Cleanup

September 19, 2012

Who has dinner clean up duties at your house? When I was growing up, each sister or brother was assigned a night of dish duties. Mine was Thursday nights and I remember frantically trying to finish up so I could watch The Cosby Show with my family. (Someone was always sure to help me so I didn’t get left out.)

Since we moved here, our dinner time has been pushed back and we’ve found we’re all pretty worn out by the time we finish up with our meal. To get through that final leg of the day, and tidy up the kitchen, we turn on something loud (the older kids will pick a playlist from one of their iPods) and we’ll have a clean up dance party.

It usually only takes a few songs and keeps everyone in a happy mood as we head in to our bedtime routines. And as an extra bonus, it keeps me and Ben Blair up on what our kids are listening to these days.

When Tiger in a Jar was here last April, they filmed one of the cleanup parties. It was a one-shot deal! And we loved how they edited it together. We don’t count this as a full Olive Us episode, but we thought you might enjoy a little behind-the-scenes peek at our family life.

P.S. — You may notice a 7th child. That’s my wonderful niece Roxcy who was staying with us at the time.

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Just in time for back-to-school season, here’s the latest episode of Olive Us: How To Set Up a Study Space. It’s a really cute one!

We filmed this episode at my mom’s house in Mendon, Utah. We actually filmed it as we were packing up and getting ready to drive back to Colorado. It was a busy morning!

Matt and Julie of Tiger in a Jar had such a great vision of how to make it charming. I love the music they found! And a big part of the charm is definitely the fantastic illustrations of Merrilee Liddiard. (Do you know her work? Her excellent blog is called Mer Mag.)

I hope you enjoy the show!

P.S. — Want to see the illustration that didn’t make it in? Go here. And be sure to sign up for the Olive Us newsletter to be the first to see new episodes.

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