Quiet Book Road Pages
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Going for a Spin, Part One.

Another obvious page for a boy’s quiet book (well really for both genders) is a road page.  I haven’t gotten around to making one for J yet so this is another original one.  I looked at tons and tons and tons and tons and tons (you get the idea…) of road pages.  And I mean tons.  I didn’t see any that were “absolutely awesome, must copy exactly” pages, unfortunately.  The most I had figured out was that I wanted it to be two pages.  Awesome.

I liked the idea of having a garage to park the car(s) in.  So at first I was thinking something along the lines of this.  Except that I wanted more than one car.  And I didn’t want it to be made from felt.  Which was going to make it super complicated–how was it not going to roll out of the book?  Maybe I could sew snaps onto the bottom of the garage and hot glue the other end of the snap to the bottom of the car?  But that seemed like a lot of effort for something that I wasn’t sure would even work.  So I decided to save this set of pages for very last to see if any brilliant ideas struck.

And one did!  I saw this absolutely awesome idea on Homemade by Jill (who has a bunch of easy-to-make-but-still-looks-awesome quiet book pages, templates included!  Check out her blog!!).  I would make a travel caddy, except instead of it being a roll I would sew it right onto a quiet book page!  I was still unsure about how I wanted to do the other half of the road page, but at least I had somewhere to start!

I really didn’t follow any of Homemade by Jill’s instructions–I couldn’t since my finished product was completely different.  Which is such a shame since they’re so easy to understand!! I made it up on the fly.  I started by collecting my vehicles.  Awhile back I found a small baggie of assorted vehicles at a thrift store for 2 bucks and picked it up, knowing that I was eventually going to make a car page.  I chose four random ones:  a motorcycle, a car, a Transformer and a tractor trailer.  Much later, after the quiet book was completely finished, my daughter discovered that the tractor trailer was actually a Pez dispenser!  Totally awesome coincidence!

Next I chose my fabric.  Obviously car-themed.  Since my vehicles were all big I had to make the pockets super long.  I cut my swatch of fabric so it went from the bottom to about 5 inches from the top.  I knew since I was going to make pockets and they were going to puff out that I would need more fabric than just the width of the page.  I went a bit overboard, cutting my rectangle about 6 inches wider than the muslin.  I figured better safe than sorry–I didn’t want to reach the end and not have enough fabric!  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but you can see all of the extra fabric on the left side of the page.  And that isn’t even half of it!

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I folded the top edge under and sewed it down to prevent fraying.  I didn’t bother to do that with the sides or bottom since once I sewed this page onto another page all of those raw edges would be hidden.

Obviously I didn’t want the vehicles falling out so I used what was now becoming a staple in all of Nolan’s quiet book pages:  velcro.  I cut off 3 squares, one for each pocket.  Since I wanted to make sure that everything lined up perfectly, I only worked on one pocket at a time.  So first I sewed one piece of the velcro onto the back of the truck fabric.  I lined the right edge and bottom of the red fabric up with the right edge and bottom of the muslin.  I pinned the other half of the velcro onto the muslin so it matched perfectly.  I sewed it on.  Then I stitched the truck fabric onto the muslin the whole way down the right side.  I made sure to reinforce, then reinforce again, and then reinforce again along the very top edge of the pocket since I knew it would get pulled on a lot.  I didn’t want the stitches coming out.  Then I sewed along the bottom, but only to where the first pocket was going to end.  I slid my tractor trailer into the partial-pocket, making sure I had made it wide enough along the bottom.

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I pushed a pin in at the top of the fabric where I wanted the first pocket to end, hoping that would help me to sew in a straight(er) line.

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Leaving the truck inside of the pocket I sewed from the bottom up to the top, making sure to reinforce the top 2 inches about 6 times like I had done on the other side.  I experimented with the truck a few times, making sure the pocket opened and closed and that the truck fit.  Hooray!!

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I lined the rest of the cars along the top to see how I wanted to do the other pockets.  Turned out that I wouldn’t have enough space for each vehicle to be in its own space, but I could make one of the pockets large enough to fit two of the vehicles.  Fine by me!

I sewed the last two pockets the same way.  First the velcro on the red fabric.  Then the matching side lined up perfectly and sewed onto the muslin.  Since I already had the right side of the pocket sewed from the first pocket, I was able to start down at the bottom.  I slid the Transformer in to make sure I was making the pocket wide enough, then sewed it as far as I needed to across the bottom, then placed a pin in the top where the edge would finish.  I sewed to the top, once again reinforcing the top 2 inches 6 billion times.  Then followed the same steps for the last pocket.  I trimmed off the 4 or so extra inches I had off of the left side (whoops!).  Pockets were finished!

In case you’re confused here’s a picture of the back of the page.  It’s much easier to see where I sewed the lines on.

quiet-book-road-pocket-backThere we go!  3 pockets to fit 4 vehicles, secured by velcro!
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Now I had all of that extra space on the top of the page.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with it yet–that would have to wait until I figured out how on earth I was going to do the road on the opposite page.

 

Quiet Book Dog Page
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Hey, I made the best copycat dog that I could, okay??

Another popular quiet book page is one revolving around a dog.  Kids love dogs, especially when they have one.  Nolan fits this generalization to a tee–he adores his dog, Stetson.  I knew Amanda wanted a dog page and I had yet another stroke of brilliance–I would make it look like Stetson!

I’ve done a dog page previously for one of J’s quiet book pages.  It looked like this:

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I decided to start there.  I liked the fact that the collar could be buckled and unbuckled and the leash could snap on and off.  I did not like the dog itself at all.  Fortunately that part didn’t matter since I was going to make him look like Stetson instead.  Next, I checked out Amanda’s quiet book board on Pinterest to see what she had found.  She had two dog-related pins on there, this one and this one.  I liked the idea of putting stuff in the dog’s mouth like in the first pin, and doing the dog from the neck up like in the second one.  Finally I went to my BFFs, Pinterest and Google images, and typed in “dog quiet book page” to see what else I could find.  Nothing caught my attention, which meant that I was going to have to come up with the specifics on my own.  Boo.

Since I liked the idea of being able to put things in the dog’s mouth I decided to start there.  Hmmm, what else could the dog have besides food?  Oh!  A tennis ball!  And a little toy!  And since I wasn’t going to have a bowl like my inspiration pin, I opted to do a bone instead of food.

Next issue:  making the dog.  So here’s a picture of Stetson:

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Interesting looking isn’t he?  I had absolutely no idea how to go about making him.  So I decided to procrastinate and make the accessories first.  I cut a small circle out of yellow felt for the ball, a bone from white felt, and sewed velcro in the corresponding colors onto the back.  I added lines on the ball with white puffy paint so it would resemble a tennis ball.  For the dog toy I cut two blobs out of some textured blue fabric.  I sewed a piece of blue velcro onto one, pinned them right sides together and sewed around the edges, leaving a hole on one side to stuff it.  I wanted to make it squeak like an actual dog toy, but although I could’ve swore I saved the squeakers out of old dog toys before throwing them out, I couldn’t find them anywhere.  So instead I took a piece of clear cellophane and shoved that inside the “toy” along with a small handful of polyfil.  Doesn’t squeak, but at least it makes a bit of noise when you push on it.  I folded the raw edges inside of the toy and then sewed that together.  C’est fini!

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When I made my previous dog page I cut about a foot off of a Dollar Tree leash from where the clasp was since I didn’t need the entire 4 feet in the book.  So I took the remainder that I had stowed away, along with a red D-ring clasp (I had a pack of 6 that I saw at the Dollar Tree or the Dollar Spot at Target and picked it up, figuring I would find a use for them someday!).  I folded the top part of the leash down to make a loop big enough for the “owner’s” hand to hold it and sewed it together.  Then I made a much smaller loop on the other end, just big enough for the D-ring to slide through and sewed that side down as well.  Finally, I sewed a piece of red velcro on the back in the middle.  I didn’t want to place the pieces on the page until I had my dog done, which meant switching my thread out 4 extra times (once for each color of velcro).  But oh well.

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Okay, time to stop procrastinating the dog.  I knew that I had some fake-fur-type material that I had picked up when it was on clearance awhile back.  I was planning on making Stetson out of that, but it just wasn’t working out.  Not only was the fabric more black than grey, I also needed something to break it up.  I looked through my fabric and found some remnants of a grey towel I had used to make J’s hooded shark towel.  I figured that was the best I was going to be able to do.  Next, I needed a template to use for his face.  There was absolutely no way that I could make that up on my own.  Since Stetson is a mixed breed it seemed like the best that I was going to get was the schnauzer pictured in my second inspiration pin so I searched Google for a schnauzer template and came up with this one.  That would have to do!  I opened it up in my Silhouette program, sized it so it would fit on my page (leaving room for the dog accessories), and printed out the pieces.  I pinned them onto my fabric and cut them out.  I had to freehand the neck.  Okay, now he needed some eyes (black felt circles sewed onto white felt circles), a nose (a black felt circle) and a tongue (pink felt with a small patch of white velcro).  The last time I was at the Dollar Tree I had picked up the smallest dog collar they had, so now I dug that out and positioned it on.  Good as he was going to get!  

I sewed it all down.  I started with the grey towel.  Since those things shed worse than my Saint Bernard, I used a zigzag stitch all around it hoping to keep the raw edges from fraying a bit.  I did the eyes, nose and tongue next.  For the tongue I only sewed the top of it down (the straight edge), that way it comes up off of the page.  Next I put all of the fuzzy black pieces on.  They fell apart quite a bit when I was cutting and manipulating them so I have a feeling they’re going to make a huge mess someday in the future.  This quiet book won’t be in my house though, so I’m fine with it ;-).  Lastly, the collar.  To sew it down I unclasped it and laid it flat on the dog’s neck, open.  I sewed the entire back down.  That way Nolan can clasp and unclasp the collar, opening it up.  I was a bit worried about getting through it, but I always keep a heavy-duty denim needle in my sewing machine since I sew through a lot of thick materials and had no problems at all.  I just took it nice and slow!

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Now just the finishing touches!  I figured out where the toys were going to go and sewed the corresponding color of velcro in the correct places.  And that’s it!  Another page done!

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Quiet Book Fork Lift Page
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Brilliance at work!

I knew that I was going to have a Fork Lift page to go with the dump truck.  Imagine Our Life has a kick-ass version of this as well, so I used her templates again.  If you haven’t checked out her website yet you really have to!  Her quiet book pages are insane!!!  Most of them look complex and impossible, but they’re actually pretty easy.  Although that’s only because she does the hard part of figuring out how on earth to make it work and then explains it in a clear, easy manner to the rest of us!  Of course my finished products never look nearly as nice as hers do, haha.

So while doing my Dump Truck page I had the best idea ever.  Now I’m not one to brag about ideas (mainly because I never have any good ones, hahaha), but I was pretty proud of myself for this one.  So the fork lift Imagine Our Life made doesn’t have a driver in it.  At first I figured that I would stick a silhouette in there like the dump truck.  And then THE IDEA was born.  Nolan’s dad, Eric, is an Assistant Manager at Lowes.  I could make a mini-Eric!  I found a close up of Eric’s face (I love the Faces feature in iPhoto.  It makes it so much faster to find the perfect photo of the person you need!).  Then I spent entirely too long looking for a picture of a random person in a Lowes uniform.  I wanted to make it so Eric was sitting in the seat, but it was impossible to find a photo of a Lowes employee in that position.  So finally I repeated my mantra to myself (“This quiet book is for a 1 year old…this quiet book is for a 1 year old…”) and made do with cutting it off from the chest up.  I glued Eric’s head on the body, and voila!  In the picture I chose Eric is wearing a white baseball cap, which ended up looking somewhat like he’s wearing a hardhat.  Lucky stroke of genius.

Once I had my picture finished I gathered my materials and cut out the pieces.  Once again I saved Imagine Our Life’s templates to my computer, opened them in my Silhouette program, scaled them to the size I wanted, printed them off, pinned them onto the felt and hand cut everything out.

I started with the driver.  I did that part the same way as the dump truck–placed the blue background on the forklift, put the drivers seat and steering wheel on top, positioned Eric in the least awkward way I could, then laid the vinyl over top.  I sewed all of that down, once again switching out the blue thread for black.  Then I switched it out again for yellow and sewed the body of the forklift down.

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I read and reread Imagine Our Life’s instructions on how to make the platform go up and down about 16 times and never understood exactly what to do.  So I made it up.  I cut a rectangle out of vinyl that was about the same height and width as the forklift.  I sewed the vinyl onto the forklifter piece (the yellow L).  I knew I was going to use velcro instead of snaps for the boxes, so I sewed 3 pieces of yellow velcro onto the vinyl.  Then I cut off two pieces of yellow ribbon; one for the top of the vinyl and one for the bottom.  I sewed them on so they made a loop for Nolan’s fingers to pull.  Next, I took the long black rectangle and placed it against the inner edge of the forklift.  I cut out another vinyl rectangle, this one the same height as the other, but the width only went from the inner edge of the forklift to a bit past the outer edge of the black rectangle.  If you look really closely at the image below you can see the second piece of vinyl to get a better idea what I’m trying to say.  With the black rectangle wedged between the two pieces of vinyl, I used some clear thread that I had on hand from a project a long time ago to sew a line down right next to the black strip.  I switched back to yellow and sewed along the very edge of the yellow side, forming a tunnel to keep the lifter from moving around all over the place.  You can see both lines if you look really closer at these pictures of the fork lift:

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Then I sewed the top and then the bottom of the black rectangle down onto my page, leaving the middle alone.  I tested it out and it could go up and down, no problem at all!  Whew!  It required a lot more thought on my part than it probably should have, but I’m just happy that I was able to think it through without having to redo it a billion times.  That’s my usual MO.

I sewed 3 strips of velcro on the bottom for the packages to go when they’re not on the fork lift.  I didn’t do anything fancy when I cut out the packages–just a square, a rectangle and a triangle out of light brown felt.  I added the velcro to the back of the “boxes”.

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Last but not least, the wheels!  Since I made it so the tires can come on and off of the dump truck, I opted to make these ones spin.  I didn’t want to mess around with buttons like Imagine Our Life, so I just used the same tactic here that I did to make the dumpster dump on the dump truck:  brads.  I found two huge grey ones and poked them through the felt and muslin.  Easy peasy!

After I had all of that done I was looking at the page and it was so plain!  Another brilliant idea–make it Lowes!  I typed “Lowes” into Google images so I could see exactly what the outside looked like, then free cut the pieces out.  I sewed the light brown felt down, sewed the red felt on top of that, and then the blue felt on top of the red.  I used some white puffy paint to write “LOWES”.  The page looked much better after I added the background.  Although I really wish that I had cut & sewed the pieces on a little straighter…you can see it’s a bit wonky.  But that’s okay, I don’t let that overshadow my brilliance 😉

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This idea actually turned out to be even more perfect than I had realized.  After Amanda opened up the quiet book and saw this page she started laughing.  I guess there’s a funny story about Eric at work when he was driving a forklift one day that I hadn’t heard.  So this really did turn out to be the perfect page!  It’s probably my favorite out of all of the pages I’ve made so far.

Hear that sound?  It’s me tooting my own horn!

Quiet Book Dump Truck Page
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Beep, Beep, Beep…Dump Truck Coming Through!

So obviously you can’t have a quiet book for boys without having some construction vehicles.  The Dump Truck page from Imagine Our Life is everywhere and super cute so I went with that one.  And it was surprisingly easy to make as well!  She has very clear instructions on her page for those who need specific directions.  Since I’ve done quite a few pages now I just used her page as a guideline.

First I collected my materials.  I found some fabric in my stash that would work perfectly for the ground–it’s a textured dark orange that feels really smooth.  I actually bought it to make a dog bed out of, but still haven’t gotten around to that yet.  No surprise there.  I used yellow felt for the truck, light blue felt for the window background and black felt for the driver, tires and bumper.  And a piece of vinyl to put over the window.  Then I got to work cutting it all out.  I took the template from Imagine Our Life and pasted it into my Silhouette program so I could adjust it to the size I needed.  Then I printed off the page, cut out the shapes, pinned them to the felt and hand cut them with scissors.  The shapes aren’t complicated and I didn’t want to waste the interfacing in order to use the Silhouette.  Plus it wastes a lot more felt with the machine.

I arranged my truck pieces on the background muslin page, then cut out a piece from the orange fabric as the ground.  I thought it would look neat if the truck was driving “downhill” so I laid the fabric diagonal.  I folded the raw edge underneath, ironed it down and then sewed the “hill” along the edges.  Since I already had the orange thread in my machine I also cut out two pieces of the same material to use as the “dirt”, sewed them together, turned them right side out, and stuffed it with some polyfil.  I also threw in a few jingle bells that I had laying around as well.  Why not?  I cut off a piece of yellow ribbon (probably about 8 inches), poked it into the open hole, folded the raw edges inside the “dirt” and sewed it all closed.  Voila.

Now the truck.  I started with the window.  I placed the blue felt on the truck cab, the driver onto the blue felt and then laid the vinyl overtop of it all.  I sewed all the way around the vinyl, stopping to switch my thread from blue to black.  I never bothered to sew the driver on his own. I figured the vinyl would keep him place just fine.

Next I arranged all of my pieces onto the page.

Time to sew!  I tried to do it in an order that would mean switching out my thread as few times as possible.  It only takes a minute to change it, but does everyone else find it to be a huge hassle too?!  There were times on my other quiet book pages where I didn’t bother to switch and I really regretted it later.  Especially with how fast it is!  Sorry, another digression.

I started with the bumper since I already had the black in.

Now, Imagine Our Life had used a snap to keep the dumpster from swinging around on the page, but I despise hand sewing so I decided to use velcro instead.  And I figured that since Nolan is only 1 he isn’t going to be able to work a snap for quite awhile anyway; velcro would be so much easier for him.  They’ll be plenty of pages in the future that I can use snaps on instead.  I cut a piece of yellow velcro and sewed half onto the muslin and half onto one of the dumpster pieces.  Then I sewed the two dumpster pieces together, leaving the top open for the “dirt”.  I also stitched the other end of the yellow ribbon onto the back of the dumpster.

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Another change I made was to use a brad instead of a grommet to make the dumpster swing.  I didn’t have my totally awesome Crop-A-Dile tool yet and the only grommets I had on hand were gigantic.  And a lot of work.  So I figured I’d see if a brad would work instead.  Sure enough it poked right through both layers of felt and the muslin.  Score!

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Next I sewed down the truck cab and wheel-cover-things.  Obviously that’s the technical name for them.  When I sewed the wheel-cover-things on I only did the tops and sides–I left the bottoms open so the wheels could tuck under if desired.  I did this because I wanted my wheels to detach, which is the final change I made from my inspiration page.

dump-truck-page-driver I changed my thread out for the last time (hooray!) and sewed the black velcro in the wheel wells and onto the back of the tires.  Then I hand sewed (yuck) a button onto each tire.  I was a bit worried about getting through the velcro, but didn’t have any issues at all.

Ta-da, the finished dump truck!

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Quiet Book Barn Page Windmill
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And now the barn page is ACTUALLY finished! Hallelujah!

I still needed a windmill for my Barn quiet book page.  So after checking every store that I frequent regularly for a small windmill (several Dollar Trees, Target, Walmart, Kmart, and probably some others that I can’t remember), I finally admitted that I just wasn’t going to find one.  Since I already sewed all of the other quiet book pages together and was only waiting for this small touch to be able to start on the cover, I decided to just make my own.  I googled “DIY mini pinwheel” and looked at all of the different material combinations people used and picked the one which I thought would work best for what I needed:  a straw, a sewing pin and some craft paper.

I grabbed a light green plastic straw from my disposable silverware stash; it seemed like the most “farm-y” color.  I cut it in half and threw the bendy half away.  Next, I cut two identical squares out of my endless supply of scrapbooking paper.  They were either 3×3 or 4×4…I can’t remember which now.  See, this is why I’m supposed to be blogging immediately after doing a project–so it’s fresh in my memory.  Damn holidays.  Anyway.  I glued the two pieces of paper together and then snipped each corner about halfway to the center.  I folded each side down and cut a bit more as needed so all 4 corners were overlapping in the center.  I pushed one of my sewing pins through the center, making sure it went through all four corners, and through the back of the straw.  Then I bent the pin enough so I could push it up through the top of the straw again.  Obviously I didn’t want Nolan to prick himself!  And then since I didn’t trust the pin quite enough to stay in place with a 15 month old manhandling it, I also hot glued it to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere.  Like this:

Quiet-Book-Barn-Page-WindmillI made a pocket to hold it.  In retrospect I should have sewn down some straps with velcro instead because the windmill does not stay in.  In fact, it’s sitting in a pile of things Amanda forgot because even though I picked it up and put it back in the Quiet Book at least six times right before they left, it managed to slip out one last time.  So all that hard work was for absolutely nothing!!!  Lesson learned.  I’ll probably remedy the situation by hot gluing a piece of velcro onto the back of the pinwheel, and its mate on the back of the page.  I’m sure that won’t hold up for long since it’s just paper, but it might.  You never know.

Anyway, the pocket.  Just in case you want to make the same mistake I did.  I cut a rectangle out of the same yellow fabric I used for the barn pocket.  I folded all of the edges in to make it straight, ironed them down, sewed across the top to keep it from fraying, then sewed the pocket onto the page.  Finally I slipped the pinwheel into the pocket and cut the straw to the right length.  This was something else I didn’t like–I wanted the straw to be longer, but if so it would then block the sun.  Bad placement.  Oh well.  At least it was finished and I could finally sew the last two pages together and start my cover!  Hooray!!!

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