All of the other pages of Nolan’s quiet book were finished (except for the pinwheel on the barn) so I had no choice but to figure out how I wanted to make the road for the vehicles. I knew 2 things. First, I wanted a traffic light somewhere that you could attach and detach the different colored lights. Second, I had some extra space on top of the vehicle pocket page that I needed to do something with. So I searched Google images and Pinterest some more. Seriously, I bet I spend more time on the internet looking for ideas than I do making the actual pages! I’m talking hours of (unnecessary) research go into these things.
The road in this quiet book caught my attention. Instead of having a traffic circle or curvey roads, I could just make the road going around the perimeter. Perfect! And then I could make the traffic light a decent size and put it right in the middle of the page. And in the blank space above the car pockets I could have the road extend that way, and then branch off into each pocket like a garage! Finally, some progress!!
I started with the road. I cut 4 rectangles of black felt that were as long as each side of the muslin. They were about 2-3 inches wide (sorry, definitely should’ve measured that!). I cut one more the length of the pocket page, and then 3 shorter ones that went from the road into each pocket. I had seen all kinds of ideas on how to do the yellow line in the middle (ric rac, paint, ribbon, fabric, etc) but I decided to stick with what I thought looked the most realistic: yellow felt. I cut out a bunch of thin yellow rectangles for the dotted lines on the road. As you can tell, I cut them freehand, not bothering to make sure they were all the same size. Whoops. I pinned the yellow onto the black and sewed them down.
This was pretty tedious so I decided not to pin all of them down. But when I went to sew them on they turned out super crooked (not just a little crooked liked the ones I had pinned), so I pinned the rest of them. You’ll be able to tell which ones I was lazy with 😉 Then I placed the road pieces around the perimeter on the empty page. On the vehicle pocket page I lined the road going across the top with the top one on the opposite page (although that turned out to be moot once I sewed all of the pages together. You’ll see.) and lined the short ones up with each pocket.
I sewed them all down and then the roads were finished!
Next: the traffic light. There are about a million of these out there so I didn’t have to search long. Most of them are black. Which I don’t really understand…traffic lights aren’t black! So I made mine an orange-y color. It was the closest felt color I had. And instead of making it with the triangle on the top I just made the whole thing a rectangle. We all know how stellar my cutting-in-a-straight-line skills are so I figured it was safer that way 😉 Yet another change I made from most of the traffic light pages out there is that I didn’t have two sets of lights (one that was sewn onto the traffic light and one that comes off, like this one). I didn’t understand the point of that–how do the cars know to go? I wanted to make sure Nolan knew he was putting them in the right order so instead I decided to use corresponding velcro in the correct order: red, yellow and green. Of course I didn’t have any green so I ended up having to wait to do any of the sewing on this page until I made a trip to Joann’s. Figures. Which I had a difficult time finding different colors of velcro there! The fabric store at our last duty station (Fabricland–it’s a Canadian company) had about 20 different colors of velcro at it so I didn’t even think twice about needing a new color. I had a minor panic attack when I went into Joann’s and couldn’t find any other colors besides white and black in their velcro section. Fortunately I decided to wander around for a bit before leaving and I discovered a whole bunch of “hook & loop” colors in the dollar bins by the checkouts. I completely forgot that this was all generic stuff and not name brand. Whew, crisis averted!
I cut the rectangle for the traffic light first. I left an inch or two of open space between it and the road on the top and bottom and about three to four inches on each side. It looked too plain; it definitely needed something. While doing my hours of research I remember seeing traffic signs on a couple of pages (like this one) and had made a mental note at the time that it was a nice touch. So I decided to make four traffic signs, one for each corner. Deciding on the first three were easy: speed limit, yield and stop. After googling “traffic signs” and not coming up with any other obvious ones that a kid would know immediately, I finally just went with No Parking.
So I cut two white rectangles (speed limit and no parking), a red triangle and a slightly smaller white triangle (yield) and a red octagon (stop) out of felt. I placed all five things on the page and arranged everything so it looked okay.
I cut out the three felt circles: red, yellow and green. I used my Silhouette scrap felt that already had the fusible web ironed on the back. That way it had the extra support since it would be pulled on and off quite frequently. I traced a cardboard ribbon holder so the circles were not only straight, but also the same size. What a concept!Then I got to sewing! I was actually able to think it through so I didn’t have to switch out my thread any more than necessary. Amazing! I sewed the white street signs first, then the white triangle onto the red one. Next I put the velcro on the traffic light and circles; first green, then yellow and finally red. The yield and stop signs were next. And last but not least, the orange traffic light. For it I actually left the top open, that way the colors that weren’t being used on the traffic light could be stored inside. Stroke of genius! I made sure to reinforce the stitch a couple of times on each side of the top so it wouldn’t get pulled up. Then the last step was to put the words on the street signs with puffy paint. It’s times like this that I wish I had better handwriting, that’s for sure.