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The Original Quiet Book, Part Four. Hooray!

Okay, this is it!!!  My last three quiet book pages I made for J’s original quiet book (check out parts one, two and three if you haven’t already), the cover and some general musings about the whole process.

Mailbox page is up next.  quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-2 quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-3 quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-4This one is a two-parter.  The left page has a pocket to hold a few markers/pens and a pocket for a small notebook.  The opposite page is the mailbox.  These pages are everywhere so you really shouldn’t have a hard time finding one you like.  I modeled the pocket page off of this post and the mailbox from this one.

do not like these pages.  The pen and notebook both fall out of the pocket all of the time.  And the mailbox is junk.  Which is due to my novice quiet book making status and sewing skills, not to Imagine Our Life’s instructions in the slightest!  As you can tell from the picture below, my button and ribbon combination did not work well.  J was never able to loop the ribbon behind the button, which I’m not sure if that’s due to the button being too small or the ribbon too thick or what.  Either way the ribbon is falling off now.quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-1Technically the rest of the page works but I just don’t like how it looks in general.  I made a similar page for Nolan’s quiet book, which I think turned out much better.  You can read about it here.mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-2 mailbox-quiet-book-page-2I need to ask Amanda how everything is holding up, and if it’s good then make a carbon copy of that page for C.  And in J’s new quiet book just include a place for a small notebook and pack of crayons to be stored somewhere.  You’re never too old to color!

The next set of pages are two that I added a bit down the road.  When she was 3 she was absolutely obsessed with playing doctor for about 6 months.  And I mean totally obsessed.  The moment Hubby walked in the door until bedtime that’s all she wanted to play with him.  She has a My Life doll we named Wendy and poor Wendy was constantly in fires and needed to be fixed up.  It’s been two years since she’s asked Hubby to play it with him and I think he’s still burnt out on it.  But I thought a Doctor’s Kit would be a great addition to the book.
quiet-book-original-doctors-kit-page-2 quiet-book-original-doctors-kit-page-1Ugh, this is another one that makes me cringe when I look at it.  I couldn’t find anything online that I liked and apparently this is what happens when I design a page myself.  On the left page I figured out a way to attach the stethscope.  I took four rectangles of fabric about the same size, added velcro to each end and sewed half of each one directly onto the page.  And then you simply slip the stethoscope piece into the flap and fold the other end over and secure the velcro.  It works really well.  The thermometer doesn’t actually go there (all of the loops are for the stethoscope) but J must’ve popped it over there at some point.

The opposite page is just three pockets to hold doctors supplies.  The only thing that I found in there now is some gauze, but it used to hold a thermometer, a medicine dropper, a reflex hammer, an eye-checker-thing (obviously that’s it’s official name), gauze, two of those huge bandage things that you can use as a cast/wrap your ankle/sling/etc, and some bandaids.  Oh and a few surgical masks.  All of the stuff I either bought from the Dollar Tree or was duplicates of what she had in her doctor’s kit at home.  And let me tell you:  bandaids are a brilliant idea for keeping toddlers occupied either at home or in the car.  J would spend hours putting bandaids on herself, her stuffed animals and us.  Of course she was a good kid and all we had to do was tell her one time that bandaids don’t belong anywhere else except those three places and she remembered (and followed) that forever.  Other kids may not be so good…

Although this page is perfectly functional I hate the fabric that I used.  I tried and tried to find some doctor’s-type fabric but to no avail.  I had a bunch of this crappy yellow stretch knit and figured it’d work fine, which it does…it’s just not appealing.  And this is another example when it was a waste to use up two pages.  One would have been sufficient.

I made a similar page for Nolan’s quiet book, which turned out much better.  Minus the fact that I majorly messed up the pocket so all of the stuff is going to fall out, hahaha.  If C gets into the doctor thing I’ll make a page like that for him instead.  You can see how I made it here.quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-6Last but not least, the rainbow and name page! quiet-book-rainbow-and-name-page-2 quiet-book-rainbow-and-name-page-2 quiet-book-rainbow-and-name-page-1This one is okay.  I got the idea for the name here.  I saw a few sites where I could’ve used velcro instead, but that seemed too easy and there was a ton of velcro throughout the rest of the book, so I wanted something else.  I think the buttons were too hard for J though, because she only ever laid the letters on top.  And although I liked the idea of felt rainbow and thought it looked really neat, she only put it together once or twice.  Either because she didn’t care or it was too difficult for her.  Obviously she knows how to write her name now so this page can go into the garbage.  I’ll probably make one for C down the road but find a different way to attach the letters.  Maybe snaps?  Nolan will get a page like this first so I’ll experiment on him 😉

So that’s it for the pages.  Let’s talk cover now.  I researched the crap out of how to make a quiet book cover.  It’s been so long since I’ve made it that I really can’t remember much about it…except that I cried and seam ripped a lot.  One thing I know for sure is that I did not like the ribbon for handles.  It isn’t sturdy enough.  Otherwise the cover is okay.  I put a ton of pockets on there, which is good since a lot of my pages wouldn’t actually hold the pieces so I needed some extra storage, haha.  j-quiet-book-cover-4 j-quiet-book-cover-5 j'-quiet-book-cover-1j-quiet-book-cover-3 j-quiet-book-cover-2This one and this one are two of the four blogs that I have saved that the links still work that I used as a reference…I have no idea what I took from where.  However, you can read all about how I made Nolan’s quiet book cover here.  That should help tremendously if making your own.

General thoughts:

  1. Hate the ribbon as a handle for the cover
  2. The pages are too big.  I think I went with 12×12?  So once they were finished about 11×11.  Although great when spread out on the floor, it’s just not practical in the car.  Way too big.
  3. Felt, iron-on Heat n Bond and muslin are not friends.  As you probably noticed while looking at my pages, a bunch of the felt letters fell off.  Which is fine…in retrospect the pages didn’t need titles anyway.  Now ironing fabric on with Heat n Bond works great.
  4. Close/secure all pockets.  It doesn’t matter what’s being stored in it or how big it is, it’s going to fall out.
  5. 3/8″ grommets are way too big for the pages.  I couldn’t find anything smaller until I finally bought my Crop-a-Dile, which uses eyelets instead.  Game changer.
  6. Making quiet books is extremely addictive.  Going through and writing these posts have made me itching to make some more pages.  We currently have three books:  J’s Original Quiet Book, the ABC Quiet Book and a mini Baby Quiet Book (that C never played with even though I tried my hardest to get him to.  Bastard.)

I think that’s it!  Hope you learned lots of what-not-to-do things and got some ideas on pages that might work for your little one!  Check back to see future posts about the ABC and Baby books!

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The Original Quiet Book, Part Three

Almost finished with J’s original quiet book, I promise!  Just this post and then one more.  You can check out parts one and two for more ideas!

Super easy one:  bead counting.quiet-book-counting-pageI got the idea from here.  I have a huge thing of beads so this was a great way to use them up.  I also added her name since I have a bunch of letter beads as well.  I don’t think she ever really played with it, but I can’t remember for sure.  Either way she’s been past that one for quite awhile now.  It’ll go into C’s book for sure.

Money page next.  Another one of my favorites!! quiet-book-money-page-3 quiet-book-money-page-2 quiet-book-money-page-1Once again it’s easy to tell that I used this blog for my inspiration, haha.  I really didn’t have any creativity when making this first book!  Although I did add something completely different that I didn’t see anywhere else:  the money sorting pockets at the bottom.  The downside to those, however, is that the money doesn’t actually stay in there.  Yet another time when I should’ve used velcro or snaps or something.  Fortunately it can be stored in the pig instead.  I also should have reinforced the slot where the money goes in.  Like by making it an actual buttonhole!

This is another one that J never really played with and once again I’m not sure why.  I think that I’ll just move it over into a new quiet book for her though.  She’ll start understanding money a lot more in the next couple of years and this would be a great learning tool!  I just need to see if I can hot glue some velcro to the money pockets.

This one makes me shudder every time I look at it.  Great idea in theory but the end result just didn’t turn out well.  A Walk the Dog page.

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quiet-book-original-dog-page-1I used this post for the idea but made my dog a bit differently, opting for his whole body instead of just his head.  I picked up the leash and collar from the dollar store.  I sewed the collar down so it could still open and close but couldn’t be taken off the whole way.  I trimmed the leash waaaaay down, made a loop for the handle and added velcro to attach it to the page.

This is another one that I don’t think J ever used.  It’s also going in the garbage just because I can’t stand the way it turned out.  I made one for Nolan’s quiet book, modeled to look like their dog Stetson.  I think it turned out much better and would make something similar to go into C’s book.  You can read all about how I made that page here.

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Next up:  Goodnight House!  Another one that I really like.  quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-2 quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-1Finally, a completely original idea!  I thought it would be really cute to have a page where she could put everyone in the family “to bed”.  I printed off our heads and attached them to cardstock bodies.  I printed off something similar to our pjs and pasted them on top.  Then I laminated the whole thing.  This is before I got my super cool laminator and was just using those sheets you can buy and just stick together yourself.  Hence why they look a bit funny.  I then glued them onto popsicle sticks.

I cut out 6 rectangles in different fabrics for our beds, folded the raw edges in, sewed the top down and then attached them to the house.  For the house I sewed on a white fabric square and red fabric triangle (obviously my measuring skills were a bit off since the roof is smaller than the house LOL!).  I added a moon and done!  Unfortunately the popsicle sticks never stayed in very well.  The pockets need to be deeper and wider (in order to fit our fat heads).  Either that or they need to be stored in a separate pocket somewhere.  I could probably add a zipper to one of the sides of the house for storage.  I don’t actually have to redo this page yet (since we’ll have three kids but only two dogs so the number of beds is good.  One of us will just have to sleep in the dog print blanket 😉 ), but I do need to update/fix the people.  Poor C doesn’t have a head since he wasn’t even born when I made this page, haha!

Okay, check out Part Four next week for the final installment!

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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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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

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Ladybug Quiet Book Page

The next quiet book page I made for Nolan’s Christmas present was the Ladybug page.  It’s a super simple page that’s also very popular–it’s all over the internet.  I decided to do one similar to this one, with a black zipper and snaps sewn on the backs of the spots.

I started off by cutting all of my pieces.  I have a ton of red costume fabric leftover from J’s Snow White Cape that I made for her last Halloween.  It’s not the most ideal fabric to work with, but it’s the only thing I had in plain red so it would have to do.  I cut out two half circles.  I cut another half circle out of a scrap of regular black cotton for the head and then seven circles from black felt for the spots.  quiet-book-ladybug-page-1I decided on 7 because I have a package of assorted sized snaps from a previous project and 7 was the most I had in the same size.  I figured it’d be too confusing if the snaps were different sizes.snapsI just eyeballed all of the pieces and I think the sizing actually turned out pretty well.  That definitely could’ve gone another way, hahaha!

I started off by hand sewing the snaps onto the red fabric and black felt dots.  
quiet-book-ladybug-page-8quiet-book-ladybug-page-3I absolutely despise hand sewing.  I was tempted to just use velcro instead, but I know it’s good for kids to learn the snaps–it helps with fine motor skills.  And I really hate using snaps.  The previous project I used them on was a Seasons page for J’s quiet book and I sewed a crapload of them on before I realized that I did them backwards–I put the bottom piece on the top and vice versa.  And then if I remember correctly (it was so traumatizing for me that I think I blocked it out) I sewed them on the wrong way on the Seasons pieces; instead of poking that part that sticks out into the fabric, I sewed it facing out.  Goosebumps just remembering that.  I think there were quite a few tears shed those days…

On the plus side that meant that I double-checked everything before I sewed it down.  And again after I sewed it down.  And again before I did the next snap.  Etc.  And I’m happy to say that I learned my lesson really well last time and I had zero problems with it this time!  Minus it being boring and time-consuming, of course.

I picked up a 7 inch black zipper from Joann’s and sewed it on.  I used my cheating method, as always.  I simply fold the raw edge of the fabric in about 1/4 inch and sew it as close as I can to the zipper.  Then repeat for the other side.quiet-book-ladybug-page-2Next I figured out where exactly I wanted the ladybug to go and sewed the black head down.  Since I was using fabric and not felt, I made sure use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch to help with the fraying. I sewed it along the bottom and around the curve.  quiet-book-ladybug-page-4Then the ladybug, once again with a zigzag stitch. quiet-book-ladybug-page-5I added some googly eyes and twisted a pipe cleaner around my finger for antenna.  I hot glued them down.  quiet-book-ladybug-page-6And that’s it!  The dots are kept inside of the ladybug when not in use and then snap on to make her look beautiful.  Easy peasy! quiet-book-ladybug-page-10quiet-book-ladybug-page-9

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New set of Quiet Book Pages for Nolan: Matching Balloons

I’m seriously loving giving my fake nephew quiet book pages for his birthday and Christmas every year.  It takes the guesswork out of figuring out what to get him.  And, since I already have most of the materials on hand, it’s super cheap too.  I’m all about DIY gifts for people this year.  That or gift cards.  Keep it simple man!

I decided to give him 4 new pages:  match-the-colors balloon, doctor’s, Wheels on the Bus and ladybug.  I started with the one that I definitely already had everything on hand for:  match-the-colors.

I made a very similar page in J’s original quiet book so I already knew exactly what I wanted to do.  quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-originalAnd, amazingly enough, this page actually turned out well the first time around so there weren’t any adjustments to be made!  Seeings as almost all of her quiet book pages need to be revamped, that’s truly a miracle.

I started with the pocket.  Every year (okay last year was the first year, but I plan on it being a tradition!) I make the kids matching Christmas pjs.  I ended up with a ton of leftover fabric that I have absolutely zero use for, so I figured that I would make the balloon pocket out red reindeer fabric.  Even though it makes absolutely no sense.

I made the pocket the same way as always:  cut a rectangle that’s extremely uneven, fold the raw edges in to make it slightly more even, sew the top edge down, pin it onto the fabric and sew the other three sides on.  I sewed it onto the bottom right corner.

Next I pulled out my box o ribbon (super organized isn’t it?!) and my bags upon bags of felt.  box-of-ribbonbags-of-felt-scrapsI picked out 7 colors that I had some of both of:  black, green, yellow, purple, blue, red and pink.  I cut 7 different shapes out of each color felt:  rectangle, triangle, crescent moon, heart, diamond, square and oval.  I made a rough layout with the ribbon to make sure I was spacing everything well enough and then got to work.  Super easy, but veerrrrrrrry tedious.

I started with the red.  I sewed the ribbon down (this one tucked behind the pocket so I just cut two pieces out and then lined it up so it looked like it was all one long piece) and then put the soft side of white velcro on top of the ribbon.  I sewed the scratchy piece onto the back of the red square. quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-1Green was next.quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-3

Followed by yellow, and then black.quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-4Then green and purple.quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-5

And finally, pink.quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-6I used white velcro for all of the shapes but when I sewed it down I made sure to use the color of the matching shape.  quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-thread-2 quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-thread-1

Now I thought it was pretty simple:  pick a shape, follow its matching ribbon and put it on the piece of velcro with the corresponding color.  When J was younger she didn’t really understand, however.  She would get confused as to where to put certain pieces.  I think that’s because sometimes I used ribbon that was two different colors (like for brown the ribbon was actually brown and blue).  I’m going to tell Amanda that Nolan doesn’t get it she can trace the shapes with a marker to make it easier to figure out.  I didn’t want to do that though because once he gets a bit older that makes it really simple.

And that’s it!quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-finished-2 quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-finished-1

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Check your quiet book mailbox!

I needed four new pages for Nolan’s Quiet Book for his birthday.  Two of the pages I decided to do were some of J’s favorites:  the mail and coloring pages.  One side is a mailbox that opens and closes and the flag goes up and down and the opposite page has a notebook and pens/pencils/crayons/markers to draw some “mail” to put in it.  This is still a huge hit two years later.  I noticed when we saw Nolan a couple of months ago that he enjoys coloring so I figured he was ready for these two pages.

There are a lot of things I don’t like about the page I have for J.  First, I used a button and ribbon loop to keep the mailbox shut.  It’s never worked well to begin with (she had a hard time sliding the ribbon under the button) and now it’s falling off completely.  Second, the pockets I made to hold the drawing stuff don’t actually hold it.  It’s constantly falling off.  And, least important, the flag looks funny.

This all meant that although I’ve made these two pages before that I had to go back to the drawing board to find better solutions.  I found a super simple solution for the closed mailbox issue on this blog:  velcro!  I also really liked how The Montoya Family added that zipper in the grass to put stuff inside!  I contemplated doing the same on my page and then either nixing the opposing page that holds supplies or making some felt envelopes like some other pages I had seen.  In the end I decided that it wouldn’t be big enough to hold all of the supplies and I just didn’t care enough to make envelopes, haha.  It just seemed like a bridge too far.

To help solve the pocket problem I decided to make three distinct pockets and make sure they were all large enough.  The first would hold a small spiral notebook; the second a pencil; the third crayons.  While browsing endless “mail box quiet book pages” on Google Images and Pinterest I stumbled across this pin and loved the crayon holder.  Sold!

The flag issue was the easiest to fix.  At the time I didn’t have my amazing and awesome Crop-a-Dile eyelet tool so I used a button instead.  Which works, it’s just not ideal.  And that flag was made out of fabric for some reason, while this time I planned on using felt.

Now that all of my problems were solved it was time to get cracking!  First, the mailbox template.  This was easy since I still had the template from my previous mailbox page saved.mailbox-quiet-book-page-templateI made the mailbox, the door and the flag all a bit bigger and then sized Holtzapple (their last name) so it fit along the bottom.  I learned with J’s original quiet book that felt does not iron well onto felt, so I made the mailbox and the letters out of fabric instead.  Light blue for the mailbox and white for the letters.  For the door I used a dark blue felt and then red felt for the flag.  I ironed sewable Heat n Bond onto the back of all of my fabrics/felts and used my Silhouette to cut it all out for me.  You can find more details on how to cut felts and fabrics on my Cinderella Felt People post.

Then I got to work.

First I lined up the letters on the bottom of the mailbox and ironed them on.  Since there was Heat n Bond on the other side of the mailbox I had to be careful to iron just the bottom part and I made sure to pull it up off of the page immediately after lifting the iron, before it adhered itself on there.mailbox-quiet-book-page-11Then I added the flag.  I placed the flag where I wanted it and then used my Crop a Dile (more information on how amazing it is here) to add the grommet.  So much nicer!mailbox-quiet-book-page-10Next I figured out where the mailbox was going to go so I could sew on the velcro.  I put the soft side on the page and the rough side on the mailbox door.mailbox-quiet-book-page-8mailbox-quiet-book-page-7I also added a ribbon loop on the top.  Really it doesn’t serve a purpose, just looks nice.

Then I sewed the door down, just along the very bottom.mailbox-quiet-book-page-9I lined the mailbox up with the door and pinned it in place.  Then I sewed all around it, starting in the upper right corner and ending where the E is.  Otherwise there’s nowhere for the mail to go!
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Whew, finished with that part!  Although I noticed after I finished sewing it on that somehow the mailbox and door didn’t quite line up.  Still not sure how that happened… 

Then I added some grass and a mailbox post to embellish the page a bit.  I did it on my original mailbox page and I think it adds a lot to it.

First the grass.  I just used some green and white checked fabric that I had on hand.mailbox-quiet-book-page-5Then I cut out a rectangle from some brown fabric and sewed it on.mailbox-quiet-book-page-3Bam!  DONE!  Now for the supplies page.

I cut 3 rectangles out from some bright orange and yellow fabric.  I just eyeballed the dimensions.  Since I can’t cut in a straight line to save my life, plus to keep the edges from fraying, I always fold in all four sides and iron them down to make them as straight as possible when making pockets.  I sewed each rectangle along the top edge (where the opening would be for each pocket).mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-3I pinned the rectangles down on the page and then sewed along the three remaining sides.mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-4For the crayon roll I sewed a line about 3/4 of an inch from the edge from the top to the bottom.mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-5

I repeated this process 7 more times.  I did one line at a time.  Originally I placed two pins where I needed to sew, hoping that would help me keep the lines straight.  It didn’t seem to be working, so I started using one pin instead.  So I would sew a line, pull out my tape measure, mark 3/4″ with a pin and then sew from top to bottom on the pocket as straight as I could.  Then repeat.  Although they definitely could’ve turned out nicer, I was pretty impressed with myself.  mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-6I dug out a notebook, a pencil and 8 (used) crayons and then the supplies page was also finished!mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-1These two pages also took me less than a 2 hour nap time to sew from start to finish.  I’m starting to get the hang of these things again!mailbox-quiet-book-page-2 mailbox-quiet-book-page-1
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I did make one huge mistake after I sewed the pages together and put the eyelets for the binder rings in.  See how there are two sets of eyelets in the mailbox pictures?  Well after I punched the one set I realized that I put them in on the wrong side.  I punched the holes for the mailbox supply page first and if I left it that way then they would no longer be opposite one another.  Which defeats the purpose.  So I punched three more holes on the other side of the mailbox page and then tucked a note into the pages explaining which set of holes she should use.  So close to being perfect!!!!  Oh that and I don’t think the pocket I made for the notebook is going to work very well.  That sucker is going to fall out.  A lot.  Not my book though, so not my problem, HAHA!

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Putting the pages together made easy thanks to THIS ^^^

Now that all of Nolan’s quiet book pages were finally finished it was time to put it all together.  First I had to decide on the order of the pages.  Obviously I wanted the dump truck and fork lift pages to be opposite one another.  Same with the two road pages.  It didn’t matter for the rest, so for those I just lined them up with the page that matched the closest size-wise.  I still don’t understand how so many of my pages were different sizes!  I mean I used my awesome rotary cutter set to measure each page and cut them in straight lines.  Seriously, what is wrong with me??  But anyway, some of my pages were different sizes (and significantly different…I’m talking about an inch on each side!), so I just matched them up the best I could.

Next I cut rectangles of interfacing for each page.  It all gets folded into the book so the size of it really doesn’t matter.  Finally, cutting something out that doesn’t have to be even remotely straight!  Hallelujah.  I use the interfacing to give the pages a bit more stability.  It’s not necessary, but it does make a little bit of difference.  When I was making J’s ABC quiet book I made one set of pages without it to see if it was worth the extra time and cost and I decided it was.  Use your discretion!

I lucked out and the Fabricland at our last duty station was going out of business so they had a huge clearance sale.  They had some sew-in interfacing for 14 cents per meter!  I prefer iron on (obviously) but there was no way to beat that price!  So I picked up about 20 packages, haha.  I should be good on interfacing for a loooong time now!

Interfacing

Once your interfacing is cut out, line it up on each page.  Normally this would be when I would iron it on, but since I was using sew-in I just laid it on top instead.  I didn’t bother to sew each sheet onto the individual pages; I figured that was an unnecessary step.  It could just be sewn in when I sewed the pages together.  This made it difficult to work with but I still preferred that over sewing an extra time.  Quiet Book Finishing Pages 2Next, place the pages that are going to be sewn together with the right sides together and pin in place.  Make sure that the pages are facing the same direction!  I haven’t made this mistake yet but I’m sure it’s somewhere in my future…

Then sew each set of pages together!  Leave a gap big enough so you can pull the pages through.  I try to keep it in the same place on all of the pages, usually either in the center along the bottom or on the side where the holes will get punched.  My gaps are usually about 4-5 inches.

Quiet Book Finishing Pages

Turn the pages right side out and press both sides with the iron to flatten the seams and get rid of any wrinkles.  Find your gap and fold the raw edges inside to hide the interfacing and fraying pieces.  Iron to keep them in place and then sew it closed!  If you’re worried about seeing the stitch you can also hand sew them shut with a blind stitch instead.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I definitely do not care that much!  I just use a beige thread to hide it as much as possible.  If the gap is over a fabric/felt other than the muslin I’ll use a thread color that matches it as best as I can.  And if the fabric on one side is different from the other then I’ll use two different colors–one threaded through the machine for the top fabric and a different color in the bobbin for the bottom.

Once all of the pages are sewn together it’s time to add your holes.  For my other quiet books I’ve always used grommets.  They work, but they’re a huge pain in the @ss.  Since they’re usually going through several layers (two sheets of muslin, two interfacing, plus two layers of felt/fabric), I always have to have Hubby punch them for me.  He’s smashed his finger with the hammer on more than one occasion.  And then the cutting tool doesn’t last for more than one book (and when I made the ABC book he had to improvise and use a drill for the last few pages because it didn’t even make it that long!).  Plus some of the grommets have fallen out.  And they’re entirely too large; they take up way to much space on the page.  So I knew I needed to find a different solution.

I’ve seen some people use eyelets.  While browsing at Michael’s for some ideas I found this tool:  a Crop-A-Dile.

Crop-A-Dile

I debated for awhile about whether or not to purchase it.  With a $30 price tag it was an expensive impulse buy.  And I was unsure of two things:  if it would punch through my pages and if the 3/16 eyelets (which was the biggest size it would punch) was large enough to put a binder ring through.  So I bought one package of eyelets (figuring I could return them if i didn’t end up buying the tool), went home and tried threading the binder ring though.  Plenty of room!  Then I hit up Amazon.  The reviews were mostly positive and it sounded like it would work on the quiet book pages.  It was cheaper on Amazon, but at this point I only had a couple of days before they were showing up and I still had to make the cover so I didn’t have time to spare.  I used a 40% off coupon which made me feel slightly better about the cost!

Let me tell you this:  best $18 I have ever spent.  It took me longer to figure out how to work the thing than it did to punch all of the holes.  I love it.  And will never use anything else.

It took me awhile to figure out how to use it since the “instructions” it came with were completely worthless.  Thank goodness for Youtube–I found a super helpful video by user kristinbell that explained to me exactly what to do.  The part the instructions neglected to make clear was that the black cubes spin! Crop-A-Dile-Close

Basically you punch a hole with the hole punch on the top/bottom (one is 3/16 inches and the other is 1/8), set the correct size eyelet in the hole, spin the cube to the correct side (see the instruction manual for the settings), hold it so the base is on the bottom, line it up with the eyelet and squeeze!  So simple!!!  And painless!

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I put a small dot for where the holes would go with a random marker I found laying within arms reach.  I just eyeballed the first page, punched them, and then lined the page that was going next to it on top and marked the holes.  Earlier I had said how some of my pages were smaller than others, so that’s why I punched each page based off of the one before it.  That way I could line the smaller pages in the center of the larger ones and punch the holes accordingly.Quiet-Book-Finishing-Pages-4

I am going to need to practice using it–sometimes I squeezed too hard or not hard enough or didn’t have the tool centered with the eyelet so the backs of some of them are a bit wonky.  Still much better than the grommets though!

I’ve always used binder rings in my quiet books.  This is something else you can look at options for to see what you might prefer.  Other people have used different materials.  I like the binder rings.  It’s easy to change out pages, easy to thread them through the grommets/eyelets and they look nice.  Oh, and they’re cheap.  I have two different sizes:  1.5 in and 3 in.  Since this book probably won’t hold that many pages at a time, I opted for the 1.5 inch ones.  The 3 inch ones are huge, FYI.  Really huge.

I pushed the binder rings through all of the holes and flipped through the pages, making sure it all looked okay.  Fantastic!  So close to being finished!