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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 Two

Don’t judge me on the quality of these pages.  I made this book for J about 3 years ago and although my quiet book sewing skills may not be extraordinary and amazing now, they’re definitely a lot better than when I started out.  I love the idea behind most of these pages…just not the application, haha.  You can check out some of the other pages in Part One.

The Seasons page.  This one is actually one of my favorites.  J never really got into it, although I don’t know if it’s just because she was too young or there were too many pieces or what.  But I absolutely love this page.  quiet-book-seasons-page-3 quiet-book-seasons-page-4quiet-book-seasons-page-5quiet-book-seasons-page-2 quiet-book-seasons-page-1This post and this post were my main inspirations for this page.  I made the grass into a pocket but didn’t put anything across it to keep the stuff in, so I ended up shoving it all into the pocket on the back cover, which has velcro on it.  Fortunately I managed not to lose any pieces!  (The “spring” and “summer” labels were just never finished in general, haha).j-quiet-book-cover-2Remember in Nolan’s ladybug quiet book page I said I had a bunch of snaps leftover from a previous project?  The project that made me cry several times because I kept on hand sewing the snaps on incorrectly?  Well this is the one.  I used 4 different sizes of snaps.  For the first size I made a snow cloud, a rain cloud and a regular cloud.  The second size were a sun and a moon.  The third size were the things that went onto the tree:  spring flowers, summer leaves, fall leaves and snow.  And the last size was the name of the season.  That way she couldn’t snap the leaves in the sky or anything like that.  Maybe that’s part of what made it so confusing for her?  Although I really do think she never played with it just because there were so many pieces it made it hard to do in the car.  And she just didn’t understand/care enough about the idea behind it.  Either way I’m keeping this one for a future book just because of all of the effort that went into it!

The next one never ever got played with.  It’s going straight into the trash.  It’s a combined hair and face page.quiet-book-make-a-face-pageI was going for something like this.  I don’t know what happened, but mine just didn’t turn out very nicely.  I don’t know if it’s because the head’s too small or the hair too long or if the face pieces I made were just creepy looking.  Regardless, J never played with this page, either with the hair or the Make a Face pieces.  I think it’s hilarious that even though she never played with it, almost all of the pieces are missing.  How did that even happen?? Definitely the garbage for this one!

Dress-up closet.quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-2 quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-4quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-1quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-3It’s easy to tell that I used this blog and this blog for inspiration here!  I wanted to put two people on there instead of just one, so I used Serving Pink Lemonade’s template for the size instead.  I also used this blog to make a few princess dresses.

I remember when I was making this page that I cut out two tan people, but when I went to sew them on I could only find one.  By that point I was out of skin tone felt, so I cut one out of dark brown instead.  And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I sewed both of them down I found the missing person.  So I just shoved it in the closet with the rest of the clothes so she had a third person to dress.  Looking at the picture I can tell that some of the clothing is missing.  There used to be a full firefighter outfit (she was obsessed with firefighters for the longest time), along with a couple of princess dresses and some shoes.

That’s another one that I’ll just get rid of.  She has another dress-up page in the ABC quiet book that’s just one big person and she plays with that one a lot more.  Of course that’s probably because it’s filed under the letter Q for Queen, so it’s only princess dresses and witch outfits, haha.  But the fabric I used on the closet wasn’t a good one and it’s fraying like crazy so you can only unzip it about 3/4 of the way now.  Now she did play with this one quite a bit, but I don’t see C being too into it in the future.  He’s more of a truck and train guy.

Next up:  laundry day!  This is another one of my favorite pages.  Even if there are only 3 socks left, and none of them match hahahaha!quiet-book-laundry-page-3 quiet-book-laundry-page-2I had two websites listed for inspiration, but only one of the links still works, this one.  This is the one that I followed the directions to make the washer, but not the clothesline.  I really liked the idea I saw somewhere else of making a clothesline with mini clothespins for the socks to hang up on, so that’s what I did.  J played with this one a decent amount.  And fortunately it’s one that I don’t really have to do anything to in order to keep it…minus cutting out some more socks haha!

Another easy page:  match the colors.quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-original quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-originalHere’s my inspiration post.  This is another one that I had two websites listed, but only one link currently works.  I liked the idea of doing balloons and shapes, so I decided to combine them.  This page ended up being a bit confusing for J because some of the ribbons didn’t quite match up with the felt colors.  Like the best I could do for light brown was that blue ribbon with a dark brown stripe (in the bottom photo it’s the one with the red heart on it).  I think it  confused her since some of the shades were different.  Hmmm, maybe my child isn’t the smartest on the block… Just kidding!

I made a similar page for Nolan and I think that one turned out much better.  quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-finished-2That’s it for now.  Check out Part Three next week!

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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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The costume to end all costumes: Glinda the Good Witch. Part One.

In mid-September J and I started talking about Halloween and what she might want to dress up as.  Obviously her immediate response was “Elsa!!”.  I’ll let her do the princess thing, sure, but let’s try to be at least a little creative for Halloween!  I got out of it by telling her that she can be Elsa if she wants to, but really Halloween is a great reason to get a NEW costume and not just wear something she wears all the time anyway.  She was thrilled with that concept and I was happy to not have one of a million Elsas on the street.

Since she already owns most of the Disney Princess dresses this was a problem for her.  The only ones she doesn’t have are the princesses she doesn’t really like anyway (Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine are it I think…).  She loves to play this “Good Witch” game at home.  Simple concept:  she puts on an old witch’s hat, grabs the broom and “rings” the doorbell by saying “ding dong!”  I then have to answer the door, act all surprised when it’s the “good witch” and invite her in.  And then she pretends she’s the good witch and joins C and I with whatever we’re doing.  Ridiculously simple and yet it manages to get on my nerves after the billionth time we play it.  But it’s one of her favorite pretend games so that got me thinking…what if she was a good witch?  And the only good witch that came to mind was Glinda.  Who was PERFECT.  Long poofy dress that covers her feet and is super sparkly, plus she has a crown and a wand.  Could she be any more up J’s alley??

The only problem was that J hadn’t seen the Wizard of Oz yet.  Which wasn’t really an issue at all.  I simply googled Glinda, showed her the pictures and she immediately fell in love.  I mentioned to a friend the following week what J’s costume was going to be but that we hadn’t watched the movie yet.  J went over for a playdate and the friend was “kind enough” to show her the movie.  Which actually made me really upset.  One–she’s at a playdate.  I don’t want her sitting around watching TV…that defeats the purpose.  She should be playing.  And two–I wanted to show her the movie!  I may despise that movie, but it’s still a rite of passage to see it for the first time and I was absurdly upset over the fact that she watched it without me.  Plus J is really sensitive when she watches new movies so I always watch things with her for the first time.  She asks a million questions and needs to know about the “bad parts” in detail before they happen, while they’re happening and while they’re over.  So that didn’t sit well with me at all.

But I digress.  Majorly.

So after we deceided on Glinda I searched for a DIY version.  And I found not only the perfect tutorial but the most amazing blog ever.  If you haven’t seen Make It & Love It you have to check her out.  Like right now.  I’ll wait.  She is so amazing.  I’ve done a couple of projects off of her website since making the Glinda dress and I love them all.

So the Glinda dress.  Last year Make It & Love It’s daughter decided to be Glinda and so she tackled the giant project and put up a clear and easy to follow tutorial on her website, which you can find here.  I’ll show you what I did but you’ll need to refer to her for the specifics if you decide to do one yourself.

I’m going to break this down into several posts since there was a lot of work that went into it.  And just the introduction on how we decided on the dress was really long, haha, so I can only imagine what this post would look like if I did it all in one.

In this post I’ll explain how I made the hoop skirt, the crown and the wand.  In Part Two, next week, I’ll go into detail about the dress.  And then Part Three will be C’s costume, which is…wait for it…a Flying Monkey.  Which honestly I love even more than the Glinda dress.

So, the hoop skirt.  This isn’t something I would normally even think about J having, let alone tackling it myself.  But Make It & Love It has a fantastic tutorial, of course, and it really does add a lot to the Glinda dress.  I think it ended up being just as important as the crown or wand.  Plus J loves wearing it under other dress up dresses.  Every pretend princess needs a hoop skirt!

So this is what I picked up:

  • 3 yards of white muslin.  That’s the fabric I use for my quiet books and I love it–cheap, light, easy to sew.  It just so happened to be on sale at Joann’s while I was there (for the first time for this project…) so I only paid 99 cents/yard.  I didn’t actually need 3 yards, but I always like to buy extra.  Especially since I have plenty of use for this in the future.
  • 2 spools of grosgrain ribbon.  Go to Walmart for this!  I got 2 spools of 7/8 inch ribbon, each with 3 yards, for $2 a piece.  Bargain!!
  • 1/4″ plastic Pex Pipe tubing.  I bought this one from Lowes.  I made it super simple by just adding this item and the next one (the rods) for store pickup at Lowes.  No need to ask an employee or wonder around for 5 hours or anything!  I bought 5 and ended up using 4.
  • 1/4″ threaded rods.  Here’s the one I ordered from Lowes.  It was cheaper to purchase a 24″ one and then cut it into pieces than buy smaller pieces, so that’s the route I went.  I ordered 1 and then asked Hubby to cut it into 8 pieces for me.
  • 3/4″ elastic.  I used a 40% off coupon at Joann’s, but realized when I bought the ribbon that it’s actually cheaper at Walmart.  Something to keep in mind for next time!

I spent $22 total on the materials for the hoop skirt.  Just in case you were wondering.

To give you an idea of my daughter’s size, she has a 22 inch waist and her length from her waist to the floor is 20 inches.

The first measurement was simple:  I cut a 22 x 91 inch rectangle out of white muslin.  I followed the tutorial and sewed the short ends together to make one giant skirt.  I ironed the seams open.

Figuring out the ribbon was a lot more difficult.  Here’s a photo of my trial and error sheet.  I think it took me about 5 tries before I found measurements that made sense.  diy-hoop-skirt-6I sewed the first line of ribbon the whole way across the skirt two inches from the bottom.  I used the selvaged edge just like Make It & Love It so I didn’t have to worry about hemming along there.  That saved me a bunch of time.  When pinning the ribbon down I made sure to follow along with the tape measure and check that I was still the same distance every time I placed a pin to help keep it in line.

I added the next line of ribbon 4 inches above the bottom one.  Turned out that I still don’t know how to sew in a straight line, hahaha, so even though I was really careful about pinning it straight, that didn’t translate quite as well as I had hoped while sewing.  The lines are all a little bit off but surprisingly not too bad.  I made sure to continue to follow along with the tape measure for each pin.

And then I realized after I sewed the first two lines on that they still weren’t spaced out correctly.  I did some on-the-fly math and figured out where to space the last two ribbons.  Here’s a photo of exactly where my ribbon ended up going in case that helps you.  Math just isn’t my strong suit.diy-hoop-skirt-1

I sewed on my last two lines of ribbon.  For each set I left about 2-3 inches of overlap along each opening just like Make It & Love It recommends.  I also stayed as close to each edge as possible.

Since I was running out of room at the top I made the top hem for the elastic as small as possible.  To keep the raw edges at bay I folded it in a tiny bit and then folded it over again, this time about 3/4 inch, to form the casing.  I found that it really helps to iron the fold down first and then pin–helps it stay so much better when sewing.  I threaded the elastic through, tried it around J’s waist to make sure it was a good size, sewed the two elastic ends together and then stitched the opening closed.

Then the pipe.  I followed Make It & Love It’s instructions for the bottom one:  threaded my piping into the bottom ribbon until I ran out, added a threaded rod, connected a second piece of piping and then fed it through until I reached the end of ribbon.  I cut off the excess pipe, added another threaded rod and connected the two end pieces.  This is the part that was a bitch to do–I actually had to have Hubby do it for me.  I just couldn’t connect the two pieces together and shove them inside!  Not enough brute strength I guess…

I did the second row.  And this is where I went wrong, although I didn’t realize it quite yet.  Because I’m a complete and total moron I was thinking that each hoop would automatically revert to a smaller size.  So when I threaded my second hoop in I did the exact same thing as I did the first time around…so it was exactly the same size.  And this where the problem was compounded even more–I had absolutely no idea that this wrong.  So I did the third hoop the same way.  And then when I was threading the fourth hoop and saw that it looked funky I knew something was amiss….

Fortunately the one thing I did do correctly was to not connect the third tier together.  I had to keep asking for Hubby’s help and he was doing something else, so I figured I’d just wait until I was completely finished and then ask him to push the remaining two together.  I decided to try it on J before pushing the top one through.  That was my saving grace.

I wish I had a picture of how ridiculous it looked.  Unfortunately I was on the verge of tears and taking a photo of my complete and utter failure was the furthest thing on my mind.  It was one giant square.  And about 8 times too big around J’s waist.  I almost lost it.

After some thinking I came to the realization that I was supposed to trim the tubes.  DUH.  And then I was irritated because I didn’t understand why Make It & Love It didn’t say that in her post.  After rereading it I realized she does say it and, in fact, gives the measurements she used for each tier on her daughter.  My bad.

I fixed it as best I could.  It was impossible to dig out the second tier since I had already connected the two tubes.  Well I’m sure it’s not impossible but I decided to focus on the other two rows first and see if I had to fight with it.  I chopped off about 6 inches from the third row and tried that.  It wasn’t enough, so I chopped off another 6 inches.  And then I threaded the top tier through.  I only used one of the 5′ sections of pipe, even though it didn’t go the whole way around.  I was afraid that if I connected another piece it wouldn’t fit around J’s waist.

As you can see in this photo, about 1/3 of the top row doesn’t have a pipe.  But I already had to cinch the waist a ton to make it fit with that much tubing in it and there’s no way I could pull it any tighter.  In fact, it’s still a bit too large around the waist and falls down a bit.  So it was just going to stay that way.diy-hoop-skirt-4diy-hoop-skirt-3The second row needs to be trimmed more so I can trim the third row even more and then finish off the pipe in the top row.  However, getting to the piping in the second row was going to be a giant pain in the tuchus so I decided to wait until the Glinda dress was finished and then I would see how it looked under that.  It really irritated me that it didn’t turn out well.
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Oh and I should mention that I didn’t end up closing the ribbon pieces.  Although I determined that once the Glinda dress was on only I could tell that something was off (since I knew to look for it) so I wasn’t going to mess with any of the tiers but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to worry about closing the ribbon.  That piping isn’t going anywhere…trust me.  And it’s on the inside so I’m really not concerned with fraying.  Like I said, I don’t know why I sew.  I really don’t have the patience for it.

So let’s switch over and talk about something that I did like:  the crown and wand!  Of course the star shape turned out a bit funky and they’re both shedding glitter like there’s no tomorrow (I wish I would’ve done them differently), but at least they fit.

I did mine very differently from Make It & Love It (you can find her tutorial here, in the same post as the rest of the Glinda dress).  This is what I used:

  • Grey felt.  I have a ton of felt on hand.  When we lived in Canada a local fabric store was going out of business and I went insane, buying yards of felt at a deeply discounted price.  So I decided to use felt for both the crown and wand instead of foam like Make It & Love It.
  • Heat n Bond.  I use this for quiet books all of the time so I took some and ironed it onto the back of the crown to give it some heft.
  • Dowel rod.  I picked one up at Joann’s that was about shoulder height on my daughter.  It was only 79 cents, but then I discovered a week later they were only 29 cents at Walmart!  Man!!!
  • Hot glue & gun.
  • Rhinestones.  J picked out this tub from Michael’s.  There are A TON of rhinestones in there.  Her costume is finished and we didn’t even end up using a quarter of them.
  • Spray paint.  For the dowel rod.
  • Glitter paint.  For the dowel rod and, originally, for the crown.
  • Grey Acrylic Paint.  For the crown and wand to help the glitter stick.
  • Glitter.  My original thinking was to have J just paint over the felt with some acrylic grey glitter paint I have leftover from another project, but I didn’t have much left and that stuff is expensive, plus it wasn’t turning out as glittery as I had hoped.  So I found a huge container of large white iridescent glitter at Walmart for a couple of bucks.  I figured she could paint it grey and then sprinkle the glitter on top.  FYI I do not recommend this method!  We made the crown and wand over a month ago and I’m still finding glitter all over the craft area.  And they’re both still shedding like mad.  So don’t do it!!!!  The acrylic glitter paint would’ve been a much better option even if it wouldn’t have turned out as nicely…
  • Poly-fil.  Just a tiny bit to fill the star.  I always have some on hand.  J calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night.  And then has a huge meltdown anytime I need to use it.  I don’t understand my child…

$9 total spent on the materials for the crown and wand.  Since I already had just about everything already the majority of that was on the rhinestones.

Crown first.  I started off by taking my grey felt and wrapping it around J’s head to get the right size.  I cut it with about an inch overlap to make sure there was room to close it.  And then I cut it at the top so it was about a foot and a half high.  Next I freehanded a tree shape onto a spare piece of card stock like Make It & Love It.  diy-glinda-crown-2

I placed it on top of the felt and traced four of them.  Here’s the cutout on the felt since I didn’t take a picture of the crown itself… diy-glinda-crown-4Then I had J paint the felt with some acrylic glitter paint.  It just wasn’t glittery enough for either of us, plus it turned out kind of patchy (since I was letting her do it) so we switched over to regular grey acrylic paint and while she painted I sprinkled some white glitter on top and pressed it down to make it stick better. diy-glinda-crown-3The following day after it was all dried I tried it on her.  Still fit perfectly (which is impressive for me…I always cut things too small!) but the top points weren’t staying up.  I have a ton of Heat n Bond so I snipped it to the right shape(ish) and ironed it on the back, hoping that would make it stiff enough. diy-glinda-crown-1It’s not perfect but the points stay up a lot better now.  I had J paint it grey so it would (somewhat) match the rest of the crown.  It’s on the inside so it’s not very noticeable.

Finally we glued the jewels on!  I let her go to town, placing them wherever she wanted and then using my hot glue gun to attach them.
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Finished!

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The wand was really simple.  First I had Hubby spray paint the dowel rod with what I thought was grey, but was actually gold.  It had been sitting in the garage for awhile so either it had the wrong lid on (which indicated that it was grey) or it sat so long that it turned from grey to brown.  Not sure, but either way it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.  After it was dry I just had J paint it with the grey glitter paint and I decided it was close enough. diy-glitter-wand-1For the star I cut a template out of card stock, folded the grey felt in half, traced the star onto it and cut it out. diy-glitter-wand-6I had J paint it with grey paint and sprinkle more of the same glitter we used on the crown all over both sides. diy-glitter-wand-4The following day, after it was dry, I matched the right sides together and sewed it closed, leaving one of the sides open to stuff it and put the dowel rod inside. diy-glitter-wand-3I flipped it right side out, stuffed it with a handful of Poly-fil and added a few jingle bells that we had laying around so it would make some noise.  diy-glitter-wand-2We added more jewels, obviously. diy-glitter-wand-7Finally I shoved the dowel rod inside and used my hot glue gun to close the star up.  Finished! diy-glitter-wand-8j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-1j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-2So there’s the hoop skirt, crown and wand.  Check out next week’s post for the actual Glinda dress…and all my trials and tribulations making it.  Seriously, I don’t have the patience for sewing…

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Brush your teeth and hair!

For my “fake” nephew’s two year birthday I made 4 new quiet book pages for the Quiet Book I gave him last year for Christmas.  While at the beach with their family over the summer I learned there’s nothing more Nolan hates than getting his teeth brushed.  I figured that might be a fun quiet book page for him…and who knows, maybe it’ll make the ordeal slightly less awful for his parents every night!  Long shot, I know, but still worth a try!

Imagine Our Life has a kick-ass tooth brushing page.  No surprise there since all of her pages are A-MAZ-ING.  I decided that I didn’t want to go to that much effort for Nolan’s page.  Simple is what I’m going for!  I did use her idea to stuff the toothpaste tube with a crinkly wrapper so it would make some noise though.  Great touch that took little effort–that’s what I like, haha.

Tangible Pursuits quiet book page was more along my lines.  Simple and to the point!  I liked how she added a comb in too–it gives the page a little bit more to do.  I decided to design mine differently so I wouldn’t waste two pages on this simple design–a pocket to keep the toothbrush, comb and toothpaste in.

I made a template in my Silhouette Studio program.  quiet-book-toothbrush-page-templateI used my machine to cut out the face in tan felt (I can’t cut a circle in a straight line to save my life!), but I ended up hand cutting the rest of the felt face pieces.  First I sewed the black pupils inside the eyes, and then the eyes onto the face.  I sewed the red mouth down, followed by all of the teeth.  I just sewed a “straight” line across the top of the top row of teeth and the bottom of the bottom row so they can move and wiggle.  Just in case you couldn’t tell, I did not pin the teeth down before sewing.  Poor kid really needs to see a dentist.  SOON.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-7Finally I sewed the head onto the page.  I put him down near the bottom, leaving plenty of room for the pocket.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-8I had three colors of yarn:  red, yellow and green.  I decided to make him a ginger since they get such a bad rap.  I played around with the yarn, figuring out how long I wanted his hair to be and then looped the yarn over and over and over again until I had enough to go across the top of his head.  Then I placed it on the page and sewed across his head one way and then back the other way.  quiet-book-toothbrush-page-6The toothpaste was next.  I found some scraps of fabric–yellow for the tube and blue for the toothpaste.  I simply cut two toothpaste-tube shapes out of the yellow and sewed them together, leaving the top open.  I flipped it inside out so the seams were hidden and ironed on the white fabric letters spelling TOOTHPASTE I had used my Silhouette to cut for me.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-3I lost the A, S and T somewhere between my Cameo and sewing station (those suckers are TINY!) so I just hand cut some out.  Would’ve never noticed if I hadn’t pointed them out, huh?  Seriously, how people are able to cut things by hand is beyond me.  Those letters look horrendous and they were my fifth try!

I found some leftover cellophane in my quiet book craft box that I was saving for an occasion just like this and stuffed it inside the tube.  Next I cut out 4 scraps of blue in a wiggly shape to represent the toothpaste.  I folded them in half, shoved them inside and sewed the tube shut.  Voila, toothpaste!quiet-book-toothbrush-page-2The pocket was next.  I cut a large rectangle out of red polka dot fabric, folded the edges in and ironed them so they were straight, sewed the top down, pinned it on my page and then sewed the other three sides down.  I cut a skinny rectangle that was slightly longer than my pocket for the top flap.  I did the same thing–ironed the folded edges down, sewed three of the four, pinned it on the page and then sewed the last one on.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-4J has a beauty salon kit that has about 3 brushes and 6 combs in it, so I just snagged one from there.  I picked up a toddler toothbrush at the grocery store for $1 (it’s not pictured below because I didn’t have it at that point.  I literally picked it up from the grocery store, came home, added it to the page, wrapped the pages, stuck them in a large envelope and headed to the post office.  I procrastinated that one so much that I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to include a note that told Amanda she had to buy a toothbrush to add to it, haha).  quiet-book-toothbrush-page-1quiet-book-toothbrush-page-5I like the simplicity of the page.  I do wish that the pocket and head had been sewn on a little straighter.  And I didn’t bother to put velcro on the pocket, thinking it would be big enough to hold everything, no problem.  It does indeed hold it all–barely.  So I’m sure that stuff will be falling out in regular intervals.  Whoops…

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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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Just what you’ve been waiting for…more quiet book pages!

So Nolan’s 2nd birthday was sometime in September.  I’m a horrible Aunt for not even knowing the date!  I’ll use the excuse that I’m a “fake” aunt to make myself feel better.  I had given him a Quiet Book last year for Christmas with the intention of making pages for him every year for his birthday and Christmas.  I have absolutely no idea if he uses his quiet book or not, but I know he has enough toys and clothing (according to his mother at least) and it’s what I planned on doing, so that’s what he’s getting, like it or not!

I browsed both my own and Amanda’s Pinterest boards dedicated solely to quiet books for ideas.  I settled on a mailbox page, a paper/pencil/crayon page to go across from it, a brush teeth/comb hair page (when we saw him a few months ago he hated having his teeth brush so I was hoping it may help!) and a color matching page.

I’ll walk through the color matching page on this post.  You can find the details for the others in the links above 🙂

I found my inspiration pin on Amanda’s board.  It led to a dead-end link that was just a bunch of pictures of different quiet book ideas.  I googled and searched Pinterest for more ideas for a color match, but liked the gum ball idea the best.  Originally I was going to use buttons like the original pin but I didn’t have any large ones and didn’t feel like hitting the store.  As much fun as Joann’s/Michaels/Dollar Tree is with a 1.5 year old, I like to pass as often as I can.  Plus I figured they’re technically a choking hazard anyway, so I’d just stick with felt ones.

This was one of the simplest pages I’ve ever made.  I started off by searching for a drawing of a gum ball machine on Google Images.  I saved it to my computer, opened it in Silhouette Studio and used that to make a template for the page.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-templateI used my Silhouette to cut the coordinating colors of felt for each piece.  All except the round circle where the gum balls would go–for that I used just regular white fabric.  Just remember that you need to iron Heat n Bond on the back of any fabrics/felts first before using your machine to cut!  The red package is for materials that you don’t need to sew later, and the purple for ones that a needle will be going through.  As I learned making this page, this is a very important distinction.

For felt I set my machine to a speed of 3, thickness 33 and blade to 10.  I usually double cut.  You can see more details on how to use a Silhouette Cameo to cut felt on my Cinderella Felt People post.

In the case of the red felt I used I had to send it through about 4 times and it still never cut it well.  It was a glitter felt that was super thick.  Lesson learned.

Once I had my pieces I got to sewing.  I started with the machine “pieces”.  First I sewed the change collector onto the grey box.  Then the grey box and the gum ball dispenser onto the red felt.  Since the pieces were so small putting a pin in didn’t seemed like more of a pain than it was worth so I figured I didn’t need it.  Wrong again.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-3Next I cut out my gum balls by hand.  I already had yellow, green, white, blue and red velcro in my sewing stash, so those were the colors I stuck with for the gum balls.  I sewed the rough side of the velcro (male??) to the balls and then soft side (female?  I could definitely have that backwards.  That’s just what intuition is telling me 😉 ) onto the white round part.  gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-1This is where I made another mistake.  Since the fabric had Heat n Bond on one side since I used the Silhouette to cut it, I thought it would be a great idea to leave that side up…then it would look more like the gum balls were “inside” the machine–the shiny stuff could be glass!  I must’ve used the red (non-sewable) Heat n Bond and not realized it though because that was a b*tch to sew through.  See how it’s all wrinkled?  And my needle got really gummy.  I had to keep pulling it out of the machine and cleaning it off.  Yet another lesson learned–don’t mistake the two different kinds of Heat n Bond!gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-2

It was all easy after that.  I sewed the red piece with the “parts” down first, followed by the white gum ball bowl.  I added the black bottom piece and the little black top part.  Then the little red “hat”.  The biggest pain was having to switch my thread back and forth a bunch of time.  I hate threading the sewing machine for some reason.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-4Finally I added a long strip of white velcro for the gum balls to rest on when they weren’t in the machine.  gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-5Voila, finished!  This page didn’t even take me an entire two hour nap time to complete.  Although it does irritate me how wonky the machine turned out…gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-6

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All 13 Disney Princesses. In Felt.

We were about to embark on a ridiculously long car ride.  C was days away from turning one and since we’re currently only 5 1/2 hours from home (and this will probably be the closest we’d be for awhile) I figured I would do his 1st birthday party at home so the family could all attend (read about his awesome dog themed birthday party here!).  And then after searching for months we finally found a rescue that was willing to give us a new dog after our Saint, Jack, passed away.  The downside?  He was located in upstate New York and they wouldn’t transport him.  So we decided to combine the two trips.  5 1/2 hours to my hometown on Thursday, 5 hours to Troy, NY Sunday morning and 8 hours on Monday back down to our home.  That’s a lot of car time for a 1 and 4 year old.  Especially when I’m ridiculously anal about screen time and won’t allow my daughter to watch more than one DVD or play 30 min on her Leappad per 2+ hour car ride.

I had just finished my Cinderella felt people and I wanted to get one more set done before we left so she would have that to help keep her occupied in the car (which worked like a charm, FYI.  Totally worth the days and days and days and days and days and days and days and days and days…where was I?  Oh…days and days and days of nap time).  I gave her a choice:  either all of the just the princesses or the cast of Snow White.  She went for just princesses.

You can see my “Another Monster Project” blog entry for specific details on how I made them.  Basically I made a template for each princess, used the Print and Cut feature on my Silhouette to cut out the outfit pattern pieces, hand cut the pieces from felt and hot glued the teeny tiny clothing onto felt bodies.  No biggie 😉

For most of my princesses I used Continually Creative‘s templates that she has posted on her blog for a princess duvet she made for her daughter.  They were extremely helpful.

Cinderella was already made.  Only 12 left!felt-disney-princesses-cinderellaAurorafelt-disney-princesses-auroraSnow Whitefelt-disney-princesses-snow-whiteBellefelt-disney-princesses-belleRapunzelfelt-disney-princesses-rapunzelMeridafelt-disney-princesses-meridaTianafelt-disney-princesses-tianaJasminefelt-disney-princesses-jasmineMulan (although I didn’t actually end up using her Mulan pattern since that dress was a lot different from the one I wanted.  I just made Mulan up on the fly by looking at pictures of her).felt-disney-princesses-mulanand Ariel.felt-disney-princesses-arielContinually Creative didn’t have a pattern for Pocahontas.  Her dress is super simple though, so I was able to just throw it together on my own by eyeballing a picture of her.  Her hair used to be longer but somehow one of the sides ripped/fell off so I had to give her a trim.  Oh well.felt-disney-princesses-pocahontasContinually Creative also didn’t have a pattern for Anna or Elsa (she made her duvet in 2013 before FROZEN–I always feel the title needs to be shouted).  Fortunately I found a Portuguese blogger who makes Anna and Elsa dolls.  I used her templates for their hair and clothing.felt-disney-princesses-elsafelt-disney-princesses-annaHere are some screenshots of the templates I made on my Silhouette Studio program in case those are helpful.silhouette-studio-screenshot-felt-princesses-2 silhouette-studio-screenshot-felt-princesses-1

Last but not least, I figured a castle would be helpful.  After all, they need somewhere to live!  I found a simple template on Google Images, saved it to my computer, opened it up in the Studio program, sized it, used the print and cut feature to cut out the pattern for me, hand cut it out of felt and hot glued it all together!  Hands down the easiest part of this entire process.felt-princess-castle

And that’s it!  Once I made the templates (which is definitely the most time-consuming part; that in and of itself was about a weeks worth of nap times), the gals only took 3 or 4 nap times to make, with a few last-minute mornings added in to ensure I was finished before we left.  The castle was just 2 nap times!

And all of that hard work definitely paid off–not only did she play with it during all 3 car rides, she also played with it at my father’s house and at the hotel.  And she’s had it for over a month now and plays with it nearly every day during quiet time!  In fact, that’s what she’s in there doing right now 😀

Now I need to get cracking on the other 12 stories…

 

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Another Monster Project. Because I Just Don’t Have Anything Better To Do With My Free Time.

Well I’ve finally started one of my mega-projects.  Remember how I said that I want to turn the blank side of J’s Art Activity Center into a felt board?  Well, I decided it was time to actually DO it!

So my end goal is to make all of the characters/props from all of the princess stories out of felt so she can reenact it.  Ya know, no big deal.

I decided to start with Cinderella.

First I made a list:  Cinderella in her rags, Cinderella in her pink dress, Cinderella in her blue dress, glass slippers, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, Lucifer, Bruno, 2 birds, Gus, Jaq, the Fairy Godmother, a pumpkin, the coach, the Grand Duke and the Prince.  Pssshhh, simple!!!!

I knew my Silhouette was going to play a giant part in this project.  I opened up the program and got to work.  I’m not going to lie…making all of the templates took FOREVER.   And of course I can’t figure out how to upload a Silhouette Studio document on here on the off chance you already own one and are planning on doing something like this.  Figures.  If you do want my Studio document leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send it to you that way!

I used Continually Creative’s princess template to start. I opened up Cinderella, saved her to my computer and opened the downloaded file in the Silhouette program.  I’ve made felt people before for J’s Quiet Books so I already had a felt person (you can find the template for the person I used on Serving Pink Lemonade’s blog here).  I resized the body template to what seemed like a good size for a felt board.  I moved the Cinderella template on top of it and sized it so it fit well.  Then I used the trace feature and ungrouped the tracing so I had the separate pieces of her dress and hair.

I went to Google Images to search for all of the other characters, and then repeated those steps for everyone else.

I spent days and days and days and days and days of nap times (seriously, I’m not exaggerating) recreating everyone in my Silhouette program.  Then the easy part:  cutting and gluing.  If you don’t own a Silhouette (which you really should.  Seriously, go buy one immediately!) this part will take you a lot longer since you’ll have to cut it all out by hand.

In Silhouette Studio I took each separate piece of each individual outfit and grouped them next to one another.  I colored each shape so I would know what felt color each piece needed, which saved time during the cutting phase.  Here’s a screenshot of my computer to give you an idea as to what I’m talking about…silhouette-screen-shot-cinderella-castAfter I colored and arranged all of the pieces I used the print and cut feature.  If you’re unfamiliar with this feature it’s simple:  you load the paper into your printer where it prints out your creation, then you lay it on your cutting mat, load it into the Silhouette and the machine cuts out everything for you!  It cut out all of those teeny tiny pieces for me!  Amazing!!

Next I filled an entire 8×11 inch page on the Silhouette program with blank people.  silhouette-screen-shot-felt-peopleI picked up some skin tone felt from Michaels (since that’s apparently the one color I don’t have!).  In order to cut felt with the Silhouette a bit of prep work is required.  You need to purchase some Heat n Bond.  I bought 5 yards prepackaged from Walmart since I’m constantly cutting felt and it was the most cost-effective way I found at the time.  When I first started out I just purchased the 1.5 yard package from Michaels and used a 40% off coupon to lower the price.

Cut your Heat n Bond to the correct size and iron it to the “wrong” side of the felt (obviously there isn’t a right or wrong side of felt.  Basically just pick a side).heat-n-bond-ironed-onto-feltThere are instructions included, but really that’s all there is to it.  Then stick the felt onto the cutting mat with the Heat n Bond against the sticky side.  Load it into the machine.  Set your blade to 10, your speed to 3 and thickness to 33.  I usually check the ‘double cut’ box as well.felt-peopleJust like you should have special scissors that are only used for cutting fabric, the same goes for a special Silhouette blade.  They do sell fabric blades, but they’re the exact same thing as a normal blade, just in a blue casing so it’s easy to tell it apart from your others.  I simply took an extra blade I hadn’t opened yet, wrapped masking tape around it and drew a big ‘F’ on it.

There is a downside to using the Silhouette to cut felt.  Because you have to use the Heat n Bond in order to send it through the machine, the side that had the Heat n Bond leaves a shiny “thing” on it.  I don’t know how to describe it.  Oh–it’d be like if you put clear Scotch tape on the felt.  It’s not sticky and it doesn’t peel off or do anything–but felt won’t stick to felt anymore.

See the difference between Drizzela’s front versus her back?  Her face and arms are shiny from the Heat n Bond on the front, and on the back you can see it on her hair.
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In order to get around this situation I made sure to glue the clothing pieces on the wrong side of the felt–the side the Heat n Bond was ironed onto.  That way the body will stick to the felt board without any issues at all.

I peeled the clothing pieces off of the cutting mat, focusing on one character/object at a time.  They were tiny pieces and I didn’t want to lose any of them.  And then since nothing had to be precise, I simply held the template onto the felt with one hand and cut it out with the other.  I arranged the pieces onto the body and hot glued everything on.

I used this template for the Prince and Grand Duke, changing what was needed to customize their outfits.  felt-cinderella-characters-prince-grand-dukeI used my Cinderella template for Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia and pink Cinderella.felt-cinderella-characters-pink-blue-anastasia-tremaine-drizellaFor rags Cinderella I used the templates I had saved for Anna and Elsa (which were next on my list), which can be found here.  felt-cinderella-characters-ragsFor the Fairy Godmother, Jaq, Gus and Lucifer I used the stock images from Disney and recreated them as best as I could.  It’s been about a month since I’ve made the characters and somehow Jaq has been lost.felt-cinderella-characters-gus-lucifer-fairy-godmotherThe birds, dog and pumpkin images were all preloaded onto my Silhouette.  For the coach I just cut out two pumpkins (one orange and one white) and then added a window, wheels and a twirly thing to turn it into a coach.  Apparently the coach and Bruno are hanging out with Jaq in no man’s land as well.  If you want to see Jaq and Bruno just check out the photo of the entire cast below.  Fortunately I was smart enough to take a picture immediately after I finished making them–before they could get lost or ruined.  felt-cinderella-characters-pumpkin-birds

Ta-da!  4 naptimes later I had the complete cast of Cinderella!
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