Quiet Book Counting Octopus Page
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1…2…3…

I knew I also wanted to do a counting page in Nolan’s quiet book.  When researching other quiet book pages awhile back I saw this pin on Pinterest and it really stuck with me, so I decided to do that one.  Plus I have this gigantic bag of beads that I got a thrift store last year that desperately needs to be thinned out.  Especially since I already have one of those plastic bead organizers that’s already completely full of beads.

Bead Bag

The original page is an octopus (at least that’s what I’m assuming since it has 8 legs.  I could be wrong).  I decided to just go all the way to 10 instead so technically mine is a jellyfish.  Or an octopus that’s the victim of some crazy genetic disorder; whichever you prefer.

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This page was ridiculously simple.  I would’ve finished it all in one nap session, but of course it figured that this was the day C decided to take only a 40 minute nap and just happened to wake up the moment I closed J’s door for her rest time.  Literally.  Man it’s irritating when their nap times don’t coincide!  Especially when C is crabby after taking such a short nap.  And then I get crabby.  And that causes J to be crabby.  And then Hubby gets home a few hours later and probably wishes that he was still at work.  I desperately need that time to myself in the afternoons.  When J is at preschool (excuse me, Pre-K, as she immediately corrects me.  Every single time.) in the morning and C takes his first nap I do a quick 30 minute work out and then with my remaining time hurry to pick up the house or do some of the dinner prep or clean the bathrooms.  Nap time, however, is my time.  It’s how I keep my sanity.

Wow that was a major digression.  Sorry about that.

Anyway.  The page.  So first I went through my felt box.  I didn’t want to use fabric since the jellyfish was going to be curved and I didn’t want to have to worry about fraying.  Which was a shame because I could’ve used some super cute fabric!  I found the most interesting felt I had–glitter red.  I laid the felt down on the muslim page and eyeballed how big I wanted him to be.  I made sure to leave at least 2 inches free on each side so there would be plenty of room after sewing the pages together.  Then I cut out a body shape similar to the pin I found that I was using for inspiration.

Next I went over to my ridiculous ribbon collection.

Box of RibbonSuper organized, isn’t it?  That’s on my to-do list.  Sigh.

I chose 2 ribbon types that have the little loops on the sides–yellow and blue.  I cut 5 pieces of each color.  Then I went through my bag o’ beads and picked 10 different colors.  My OCD kicked in and I decided to make it a pattern.  Will anyone ever notice?  Probably not.  But it made me feel better and that’s all that matters.  I organized them a pattern and then pushed each bead onto the corresponding ribbon.  I tied the bottom into approximately 6 knots to make sure there was no way they were coming off.   Then I flipped the octopus jellyfish over and laid the ribbon on the back.

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As you can see when I cut the ribbon it was all different sizes.  I lined the bottoms up as close as I could and pinned them down.  It took several re-pins before I was satisfied.  Which was a pain in the butt.  And it wasn’t until I flipped it over and got ready to sew that I noticed they weren’t spaced out evenly (see 5 & 6 in the finished photo?).  But I definitely didn’t care.  Good enough for a 1 year old!  I sewed across the jellyfish 2 times–I wanted to make sure there was no way Nolan could pull it off.  I didn’t want to inadvertently kill the kid with his Christmas present.

Next I debated if I wanted to make a background or just leave the page plain.  I thought about sewing down some blue fabric on the entire page to represent the ocean.  And/or some seaweed.  But I made the jellyfish pretty large and the bead strings were long so I decided it looked fine as it was.  Plain was better in this case.  But it did need something, so I went ahead and made a face.  I kept it super simple and just sewed 2 pink felt circles for the cheeks and a large white felt mouth.  I hot glued 2 googly eyes from J’s craft stash on there.  Then I used some black puffy paint to make eyelashes.  That part turned out a bit funky, but I still like it.

I pinned the jellyfish down and sewed her onto the page.  Finally, I wrote the numbers in puffy paint above the corresponding bead string and voila, finished!  I think she turned out pretty cute 🙂

Quiet Book Barn Page
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No originality with this one!

Page number 2:  the common can’t-search-for-quiet-books-without-seeing-18-million-of-these-pages quiet book barn

Barn-Quiet-Book-Page-Finished

I started off by typing “barn quiet book page” into Google and Pinterest.  Those are my favorite ways to search for ideas.  To make my Google search even faster I click on the “images” tab so I can look at the pictures first.  That way I don’t have to open a bunch of tabs for something that either I don’t like or isn’t what I’m actually looking for.  I liked how this one had a window at the top with they hay poking out.  I liked the windmill on this one.  And I thought the silo on this barn was a nice touch.

One thing I did know for sure was that I wasn’t going to make finger puppets.  I’ve made them twice in the past and they just don’t turn out very well.  They look silly and for whatever reason I just can’t make them the right size!  Apparently DIY finger puppets just aren’t a skill I was blessed with, haha.  So I did a quick search on Amazon and found these adorable puppets which would work perfectly.  Especially since they have a variety of animals so I can save the non-farm ones for a future quiet book page.  Like maybe a zoo theme…

I debated about whether I wanted to use a patterned red fabric or just keep it simple with red felt.  Since I was pretty sure I was going to add quite a bit to it I decided simpler was better.  I liked how some of the pages I found had a grass/fence page adjacent to the barn for the finger puppets to “play” on, but I didn’t want to waste an entire page on some grass.  Instead I made the barn smaller and decided to embellish the background.

With a basic idea in mind I got to cutting.  I looked at the super-helpful templates by Homemade by Jill found here but I didn’t actually use them–I just eyeballed it.  I used white felt for the doors and barn lining.  I also cut out a small red rectangle to fasten the barn doors closed.  I knew I was going to put a chicken or rooster in the window so I sewed a piece of white velcro onto the brown window.  I also cut chicken pieces from this template and sewed him together, making sure to do the velcro first.  Not exactly my best work, but she’ll do.  I used black puffy paint to make the feathers, eyes and beak.

barn-quiet-book-chicken

Finally I cut yellow strips for the hay in the window.  At first I just cut a piece of yellow felt that was the width of the window and then snipped it almost to the end (figuring it would be a lot less work than cutting a bunch of individual strips).  It looked funny though so I ended up having to cut it all apart anyway.  I arranged all of the pieces on the barn.  I sewed down the yellow strips first (as straight as I could–I really wish the long strip had looked better!), then the rest of the brown window, the white barn outline pieces and the sides of the barn doors onto the barn.  I put a piece of red velcro on the back of the door latch and one of the barn doors, and then sewed the door latch down on the opposite door.

quiet-book-barn-door-latch

Next I went to work on the background.  I have a ton of green fabric that kind of feels like burlap that I use a lot for grass in my quiet books.  And I really like the scrap blue fabric I found one day at Joann’s; I think it makes for a perfect sky!  I laid the pieces down and decided how much grass vs. sky I wanted.  The page felt really plain with all of that empty grass.  Then I came up with a brilliant idea–a pond and some mud!  I cut an oval out of blue felt and took a wad of brown tulle and scrunched it up.  I laid those pieces and the barn down.  Better…but still not quite right.  I really liked the idea of both the silo and windmill but obviously both weren’t going to work.  I thought the silo would probably be too big and not really add anything functional to the page so I opted for the windmill instead.  Except instead of cutting one out and sewing it on, I thought it would be neat to find a small pinwheel!  I haven’t found one yet (as you can see) so I decided just to move the barn over to the side and leave space for it.  I’m not sure if I’m going to sew a pocket down for it and slide the pinwheel in or velcro loops on to secure it or what.  First I have to find one!  Last but not least I cut out a sun.  I started with just a yellow circle but it looked too plain so I added yellow and orange triangles.

Once I had a general placement for everything I started to sew it all down.  I did the blue sky first, followed by the grass.  Next I sewed on the pond and mud (for the mud I just balled up the tulle and sewed right across it a bunch of times.  It still sticks up in some places, which I like).  Then I needed to make a pocket for the finger puppets.  I wanted to make sure it was high enough that the puppets wouldn’t fall out but low enough so it would be easier to get them in and out.  I picked some farm-looking fabric (yellow and white squares), ironed the edges down to prevent fraying (and make the rectangle straight) and sewed down just the top line.  Then I sewed the other 3 edges right onto the background just to make sure that it was secure since I have a tendency to cut things too small to actually fit.  I pinned the barn down on top, lining the red and yellow edges as close as possible.

barn-finger-puppet-pocket

Then I sewed the barn down!  I did the barn door opening first and then the outline of the barn (making sure to switch out my thread for white when doing the outline).   And last, but not least, the sun!  And voila, the barn is finished.  Well, as everything in my life tends to go–almost finished.  I still need to find a miniature pinwheel!  Apparently December isn’t the best time of the year to find one of those…

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Update:  made a windmill!  You can find it here.