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The Original Quiet Book, Part One

Okay so I’m about to slam you with posts about quiet book pages.  I’m actually writing a lot of these posts in advance and then scheduling them to publish automatically over the next few months.  I’m 8 months pregnant with our third child and am assuming that once he or she (we’re not finding out the sex this time and I love it!!) pops out, this blog is going to be the least of my concerns.  So I figured I’d stock up on a bunch of quick and easy quiet book posts and give myself some breathing room.  Especially since I’m also not currently involved in any projects and one of my goals for the last two years has been to revamp our quiet books.  I’m hoping this will be the motivation I need!

I can’t even remember now how I stumbled on quiet books.  I made J’s first one about 3 years ago and immediately became addicted.  You can tell that this was my first attempt and that I was just getting back into sewing after taking a 10+ year hiatus.  Not that my more recent pages (like Nolan’s quiet book) are amazing and awesome, but you can definitely see the difference in quality.  Hence why I want to revamp this one.

Fortunately I created a Word document that lists all of my pages, the inspiration pages I used to create each one and the materials I needed.  That’s going to make blogging about a project I did over 3 years ago ten times easier!  And I’ll be able to give credit to others where it’s due…I was wondering how that was going to work.

So this is the order the pages are in the Quiet Book.  First is a pirate treasure chest page.  quiet-book-pirate-page-3 quiet-book-pirate-page-2 quiet-book-pirate-page-1As you can tell, this one needs a lot of love.  I had seen a ton of lock and key quiet book pages when doing my research and I thought the idea of a pirate’s chest was neat.  I could put “treasures” like necklaces, gold coins and, for longer car rides, lollipops/other treats.  This and this example were my primary inspiration for my final product.  I didn’t want to “waste” two pages so I combined it all into one by nixing the treasure map.  I used this tutorial to make the pirate patch, which belongs in the chest.  I winged making the sword, which as you can see didn’t go too well.  The handle is super flimsy and I didn’t make the pattern pieces big enough to flip them so the raw edges were inside.  And I had some issues getting it to stick on the page.  There used to be a lock and key, but the red X I made wasn’t exactly great and the key wouldn’t actually stay inside.  And eventually the ribbon completely broke off so I had to remove the lock as well since the chest was now impossible to open.  J never really got into the pirate thing, so minus checking for candy every time she used her book (which 9 times out of 10 I forgot to put some in…) she never used this page.  I may or may not revamp this one for C…I haven’t decided yet.

Next is 5 Little Monkeys, which is actually one of my favorite pages.  J really enjoyed this one as well.  Definitely a keeper!quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-4 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-3 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-2 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-1This one is actually still in pretty good shape.  One of the monkeys is lost and the number 2 pillow is missing its number, but other than that it’s good!  When I made the finger puppets originally they were too small, so I had to make another set down the road.  And of course those ones were too big.  I really despise making finger puppets.  That’s one of those things I’d just rather pay for!

I used this tutorial for the telephone.  I thought it would’ve been cool to find an old school telephone cord, but I couldn’t find one anywhere so I just stuck with ribbon instead. I used my Silhouette to cut numbers out of felt for the pad.

I really loved Imagine Our Life’s 5 Little Monkeys page but there was absolutely no way I could do anything that elaborate, so I dumbed it down for my skill level.  I loved the idea of having the monkeys tuck into the bed and that they each have their own spot.  I used my trusty Silhouette to cut out the numbers for the monkeys and pillows.  And then the damn things wouldn’t stay in the bed, so I ended up hot gluing velcro inside the bedspread to hold them in place.  For the monkeys I followed these instructions, just adding bellies and tails.  I even matched the googly eyes with the numbers!

Next up:  counting petals.  quiet-book-flower-page-2 quiet-book-flower-page-1I followed Serving Pink Lemonade‘s directions and used her template to make this page.  Except I have 10 instead of 8, so I must’ve resized it since my pages are bigger.

This one is a very straight forward page that, amazingly enough, is still intact.  Although I think it’s funny that the number 2 is missing, which is the same number from the 5 Little Monkeys page!  I did go back and draw the outline of the petals onto the flower since J was too young at that point to know which order they went in.  Looking back on it now, it really doesn’t matter if they were right or not.  I should’ve left it alone and she could order them however she wanted until she was old enough to look at the numbers and figure it out herself.  I don’t think J ever used it all that much, but since it’s still in working order I’ll keep this one as well.

Tie Your Shoes page.  quiet-book-tie-your-shoes-page-2 quiet-book-tie-your-shoes-page-1I relied on this tutorial for my instructions and template.  Totally not her fault mine turned out so crappy, haha…my sewing skills were just majorly lacking.

This one definitely needs to be thrown out and completely redone.  I like the background fabric that I used, but that’s about it.  The grommets are huge (this was early in my quiet book addiction so those are the only size I had.  And I hadn’t even heard of the magic Crop-a-Dile, which was going to make my addiction sooooo much easier!).  J was definitely way too young for this page.  I’m thinking about starting a brand new book for her with much smaller pages, and if I do this would be one of them.  Now that she’s 5 shoe tying is going to be an important skill.  Or I could just make one of those shoe tying boards.  Although then again, the kid refuses to wear sneakers and if this trend continues she won’t “need” to learn how to do it until she’s like 15.  Seriously, whose child is she?!

Okay, last one for today.  The fishing pages.quiet-book-fishing-page-2 quiet-book-fishing-page-1The link I used for my inspiration is now broken, so that blog must not be around anymore.  But I cut fish out of felt (they’re so realistic looking aren’t they 😉 ) and hot glued paper clips onto the back.  Then I made a fishing rod from a small dowel rod, tied (and hot glued) a piece of yarn around it.  I cut two worm shapes out of felt, put a magnet inside and hot glued it together and then onto the end of the string.  I made a pocket for the fishing rod, but as you can see since the rod is missing, it didn’t work all that well.

I know, these two pages are totally redundant.  I thought it would be a neat idea to have her “catch” the fish in the ocean and then put them in the goldfish bowl.  What a waste of space.  I mean she did use this page a decent amount, but not enough to justify taking up two pages.  I do like the idea of it and this would definitely be a page I would redo in the future for C.  Except I would make only the ocean scene.  And I would either make the sand on the bottom a pocket to store the fish and rod, or do what I ended up doing and making a special pocket on the cover just for the fish (the bottom one with the fish on it.  Obviously). j-quiet-book-cover-1So that’s it for today!  Check back next week for more pages in Part Two!

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Thankful Tree

What better time for a post about a Thanksgiving project than in February?  Between Nolan’s quiet book pages and all of my Christmas projects apparently I missed blogging about this! Which is a shame since it’s one of my favorite traditions J and I started.  I’m just happy I realized I overlooked it.

So towards the end of October 2014 I decided I wanted to find a way for J to talk about the things she’s thankful for.  Do any of your friends on Facebook do the “thankful post” every day in November?  It was really popular a few years back, but now almost no one does it.  I still do and it’s my favorite time of year.  Of course I think the generic ones that are thankful for “family” and “friends” and “health” are all boring, so I find fun ways to express my gratefulness for life–things like hot dogs to keep my St Bernard in check when he sees kids/dogs/cats/squirrels while on walks or Google for answering my questions like “why will my 4 month old not sleep more than 30 minutes at a time?!”  I always do a serious one on the last day of the month, but I think it’s fun to come up with creative ideas.  Especially because that’s what makes life so great–all of those small things that you never really think about.  I really and truly am grateful for hot dogs and their amazing power over my Saint.

So I wanted to find a way to do something similar with J.  I finally settled on an idea I had seen floating around online:  a Thankful Tree.  Except I wanted to do it completely differently. We would draw a giant tree, paint it and hang it on the wall.  J could pick 30 neat looking leaves from outside.  Each day she would tell me something she was thankful for, I would write it on the leaf and then hang it on the tree on the wall.  I LOVED it!  Here’s a picture from our first Thanksgiving doing this, so an almost complete tree.  diy-thankful-tree-1I used clothespins to attach the leaves onto the tree (which I completely forgot I did!  I used tape last year, which did not stick.  I’ll have to try to remember to go back to clothespins this year).  One thing I did not like was using real leaves.  Neat idea, but not practical…what happens to leaves after they fall off the tree…um, they turn brown and crackly.  Duh.

Once November was over I had J make a turkey book.  I wanted it to look like this, but J put her own spin on it which I’m more than fine with–in fact I prefer it!  She’s going through a phase right now where everything has to look exactly the same as the craft that I show her and it bugs me.  Use your creativity to make it your own girl!  I cut out pieces of different colored construction paper for the book and held it together with pipe cleaners (J’s idea.  I’ve added staples to it since then).  Then I wrote one thing she said she was thankful for on each page, that way I can look back on it years from now and laugh that she was thankful for things like “balloons” and “breakfast”.  That’s my girl! diy-thankful-tree-5 This year we made another thankful tree.  I mixed the paint a bit better so it turned out more brown and less purple, hooray!  diy-thankful-tree-2diy-thankful-tree-3I wrote “Jordan is thankful for…” in block letters down the tree and let her color them in.  And then instead of using real leaves I cut out 30 leaves with my Silhouette in 5 different shapes and 4 different colors of cardstock–red, yellow, orange and brown.

Then for our family activity we all painted them to give them a little extra “something”.  diy-thankful-tree-1diy-thankful-tree-4Since C has a tendency to eat paint I tried out another homemade paint recipe, this time this one from Learning 4 Kids.  Look at those colors!  And the consistency was pretty cool.  J, of course, refused to use her fingers and insisted on using a paintbrush instead.  She loathes being dirty.homemade-paintThis one was a lot more successful than the one we tried out at Halloween for pumpkin decorating–he had a taste or two and then must not have enjoyed it because he actually stopped eating and instead painted himself, us and a little bit of the leaves.  Keeper!!!!!C-paintingWe set the leaves out to dry and then once November rolled around I asked J what she was thankful each day.  I used colored Sharpies to write them down and then she taped them to the tree/wall with Scotch tape.  Which, like I said earlier, did not work.  At least half of them were on the floor by the end of the month. diy-thankful-tree-2015I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t keep up with asking her after Thanksgiving, so she was about a week short on thankful things.  I definitely need to get better at that next year.  I was going to have her make another turkey book but when looking at the one from the previous year I saw how much space there was on each page, so I figured I’ll just keep adding to that instead!  I’ll write every year in a different colored marker and then make a key on the back front cover.  Brilliant!  diy-thankful-tree-6These were my favorites from 2015:  “tray lunch” and “everything in the world…except Roman” [our dog].  Oh J.

This is seriously one of my favorite traditions.  I can’t wait until C is old enough to start and we have twice as many leaves on the tree.  I just think it’s a great lesson to teach kids–doesn’t matter how big or small, but find one thing every single day to be thankful about.  Because life is precious and we need to appreciate every single thing that we have.

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Is there a Dr. Nolan in the house?

The next quiet book page I did for Nolan’s Christmas present this year was by far the easiest page ever:  a doctor’s kit.  All I did was sew a giant pocket onto the page and fill it with extra supplies from J’s doctor’s kit (I don’t know how but she ended up with like 4 of some things.  I’m just glad to be rid of them!).

I chose some red and white polka dotted fabric.  I cut it so it was about the same width as the page and slightly shorter.  I turned all four sides in and ironed them down, hoping to make the edges straighter.  It worked somewhat.  I sewed the top edge down first, then pinned the box on the page and sewed the other three sides down.quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-4Next, the flap.  I cut a rectangle out from the same fabric that was slightly longer than my pocket. I did the same thing as above to make the rectangle straighter (and hide the raw edges):  folded each side under, ironed it and then sewed around the two sides and bottom.  Then I cut three pieces of red velcro and sewed them on the flap.  I knew (from past quiet book pages) that one wouldn’t be enough to keep all of the crap from falling out.quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-2quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-5And then I realized I made a colossal mistake.  I didn’t sew the other part of the velcro on the pocket before sewing it onto the page.  Sh*t.  And then I took a Nikki shortcut.  Which I always regret doing.  And even though I know I’m going to regret it, I always do it anyway because at that moment in time I’m just too lazy to fix the problem properly.  So instead of either taking the pocket off of the page, sewing on the velcro and resewing the pocket back on or just figuring out a way to get the velcro on there without using the seam ripper (which since this pocket was so large would’ve totally been doable)–I opted to sew the velcro straight onto the page.  I figured, hey, that’ll still work! quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-3Yeah, it doesn’t.  At all.  I’m a moron.  So I’m going to tell Amanda that if the stuff keeps falling out to just get a safety pin and anchor it in that way.  Or something.

I matched the velcro pieces together and sewed the top of the flap onto the page. quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-1And that’s it!  I added the items we have doubles of:  a shot, a thermometer (which I just realized looking at this picture that it’s not in there.  Hmm, I’ll have to figure out what I did with it…  It probably fell out of the damn page and is laying on the floor somewhere.  Ha ha.), a stethoscope, an eye thing and a knee banger.  J was also obsessed with putting bandaids on things for the longest time.  Seriously, I’d give her a box of bandaids on a long car ride and she would spend 30 minutes opening them and sticking them on her stuffed animals.  I figure he’s still a bit young for those, but I’ll give Amanda a heads up so she can add those too when the time comes. quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-6

Yay, two pages down!

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The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round…

For my final quiet book page for Nolan’s Christmas present I decided to go with a Wheels on the Bus idea.  I have a Busy Bag that I made for J about 3 years ago and I wanted to go with a similar idea for Nolan, except in his quiet book.  All I did for the Busy Bag is cut out a bus from cardboard, design a bus in my Silhouette, print it off and glue it on and then glued strips of velcro on the windows.  Then I cut out pictures of family and friends and glued velcro on the backs.  Voila, now she could have friends and family members ride the bus!toddler-bus-busy-bag-She absolutely loved it.  So much so that it’s now falling apart.  A lot of the family members are missing, some of the velcro has peeled off of the backs of the pictures that we do have left and the bus itself is starting to come apart.  C is just about old enough to start playing with it himself so I’m going to update it here soon.  You can read more about the Busy Bag Bus here!

I googled and Pinterested (is that a word?  If it’s not already I’m sure it won’t be much longer until it is!) Wheels on the Bus quiet book pages but never really found anything that I liked.  The closest I found was this page to at least help me design the bus.  And although I thought the finger puppet idea was cute, Nolan already had farm animal finger puppets in his Barn page so I felt that would be redundant.  Plus I really liked the idea of using photographs of friends and family.

I started by making the bus in my Silhouette program.  quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-11I used the machine to cut my pieces out quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-6I had a brilliant idea for storing the pictures when not in use.  I would make a road on the bottom of the page for the bus to drive on and then sew a yellow zipper in the middle as the “line”!  Two birds, one stone:  a pocket and it adds detail to the page!  I bought a 9 inch zipper from Joann’s and got to work on the background. I sewed some blue fabric that I always use for the sky in quiet book pages (I’m finally starting to get a little low!) on the top two thirds of the page.  Then I cut out a rectangle of grey denim for the road.  I made it a bit longer than my page and cut it so it covered about the bottom third.  Then I cut a (not-very-straight) line across the middle for the zipper to go into.  If you look closely you can see that I didn’t cut it into two separate pieces–there was no need since my road was bigger than my page.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-4I slipped the zipper in the opening and sewed it on by folding the raw edges of each side in about 1/4 inch on top of the zipper and stitching it down as close to the zipper as possible. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-5As you can see it’s not straight at all (my M.O.) so I remedied that as much as I could when I sewed it onto the background.  To sew it on I folded the top edge about 1/4 inch down to hide the raw edge.  I didn’t bother doing that for the sides or bottom since they would be hidden when I sewed the pages together.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-12Then I sewed all of the pieces onto my bus:  the black lines, the bumper, the stop sign and the lights. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-9I placed it where I wanted it to go on the page, but didn’t sew it down yet; first I needed the velcro.  I cut a strip of the soft side of yellow velcro the size of each of my bus windows and sewed them on. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-8I laid my bus on top to make sure the spacing was right and sewed it down.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-7See that giant hole?  After the machine cut my bus out I couldn’t figure out why there was so much wasted space in between the driver’s window and the rest of the bus.  So I cut it out so more people could fit on the bus at the same time.  And then after I did that I realized why there was so much space there–for the doors!!!  Whoops!  I did a quick fix by sewing the scrap of yellow I cut off back onto the bus, and then the doors on top of that to hide it a bit (making sure to only sew the far side of each door down so they “open” and “close”.  I added another piece of yellow velcro there so someone could be “getting on the bus”.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-10Originally I wanted the wheels to be able to spin, but that already happens on Nolan’s Fork Lift page so I decided I didn’t care that much for this one.  I found two matching white buttons and placed one in the “center” of each tire and then quickly hand sewed those through the tires and onto the page itself.  They wiggle back and forth, but don’t actually spin the whole way around, which is good enough for me.  And Nolan I’m sure.  As you can see I didn’t do a great job of making sure the buttons were centered.  It drives me crazy looking at it!!!  
quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-1Then I had Amanda email me pictures of friends and family.  I made them all the same size (about 1.5 x 1 inches), printed them off, laminated them, glued squares of scratchy yellow velcro on the back and voila!  Finished with Nolan’s Christmas present! quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-3quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-2