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Okay so Felt Mats are Just as Addicting as Quiet Books…

After making a road felt mat for C for his 2nd birthday I wondered if I could make a princess version for J.  In case you’ve forgotten (oh, if only I could forget…) she is completely obsessed with the Disney Princesses.  She has a bunch of these pop up board games that came with tiny princess figurines to play.  I think we played the games about a dozen times before she completely abandoned them and now just carries the princesses around with her everywhere.  Between those and her sets of felt people, I thought it would be fun to make a princess mat for her to play on!

I started off like I do with all projects:  Pinterest.  Unsurprisingly these aren’t nearly as popular as the car mats are.  I found three possible inspirations.  First, a Tangled one on My Decoupaged Life.  Although I loved it, I didn’t want to focus on just one princess story.  In retrospect I do kind of wish I would’ve got this route instead–made a small felt mat for each princess.  I just might do that down the road…

The second one I found was a little bit different.  Instead of focusing on the outside, All the Joy made the inside of the castle.  I stored this idea away for the future.

The one I relied on the most for ideas was A Girl and a Glue Gun.  I decided to make a mat that included something from each princess story.

One mistake I made was to make this project while J was home sick from school for a week.  I got a lot of input from her, which was both good and bad.  Like she wouldn’t let me include anything for Mulan, Pocohantas or Merida, even though that had been my original plan.  She’s only had the mat for a couple of weeks and she’s already complaining that they don’t have a home.  I knew I shouldn’t take advice from a 5 year old!

When making all of the buildings I referred to Google images for pictures of what they looked like in the movies and then did my best to replicate them.  I did a better job on some…  The animals especially turned out rather interesting…

I started off with a piece of dark green felt for the background.  I added a square of white for Elsa’s kingdom and dark brown for the woods.  Together those two were the same length as the dark green.  I cut a strip of light blue for the sky that was the same width as the dark green/white.  Last, I cut some dark blue for Ariel’s ocean.  I cut the top so it resembled waves.

I also wish I would’ve made it bigger.  I didn’t realize just how much larger C’s mat was until I had already cut the background felt for J’s mat and it was too late to make it bigger without having to scrap the pieces I had.  It didn’t need to be much bigger, but a little bit would’ve been nicer.

But here’s the final product, warts and all!

J requested the North Mountain first…no surprises there.  I made an Ice Castle for Elsa.  I used blue and white puffy paint to embellish it a bit and glued just one side of the door down so it “opens”.  I cut out a sleigh and Sven, a bunch of white triangles to represent mountains or snow mounds or something.  The light blue is a path for the princesses to walk on (J requested markings on the part leading up to the castle for stairs).  Marshmallow is guarding the castle and Oaken’s Trading Post is in the bottom corner.  diy-princess-felt-mat-north-mountainNext we worked on the woods.  I made a stream that leads to the ocean.  There’s a bridge that crosses over it.  The woods are supposed to represent Pocahontas, Merida, Snow White and Aurora all at once.  J requested a bench, an owl, squirrels and the three fairies from Aurora (just in case you were wondering what the hell those shapes were, hahaha).  The orangish/brownish felt is the path.diy-princess-felt-mat-woodsThe ocean scene was up next.  This one turned out to be waaaaay to spacious.  I should’ve made Ariel’s castle a lot bigger, but I didn’t realize how small it was until I had already glued it together and I didn’t feel like starting from scratch.  But this section has Ariel’s underwater palace, Eric’s ship, sunken treasure (I just needed something to throw in there!), Sebastian, Flounder (not sure where he is…), Ursula and her lair.  I also made Flotsam and Jetsam but by the time I was ready to glue the underwater scene down I had lost them.  I think they ended up getting swept up with all of the other felt scraps.  I haven’t gotten around to making another one set of them yet.  diy-princess-felt-mat-ocean

And then the rest of mat all crammed together.  Aurora’s cottage and spinning wheel.  A bookstore and fountain from Beauty and the Beast.  The Snuggly Duckling, tower and cave from Tangled.  The Wishing Well from Snow White (J had me add a blue sapphire ring at the bottom.  There’s a short story about Cinderella we read once where she lost her ring in the well and the mice had to retrieve it).  A pumpkin and carriage from Cinderella.  Tiana’s Palace (which I had to fight J tooth and nail so I could add it).   The magic carpet from Aladdin.  And, most importantly, Cinderella’s castle.

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I also added a back to the mat.  Since I used a bunch of different felts to make the different backgrounds I figured it would help to make it roll up easier.  Although really this mat isn’t large enough to roll.

I finished the edges of the front and back with some ribbon.

Voila, finished!  J uses it all of the time, just like I thought she would.  I really am considering making a different mat for each story.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll start that right now…

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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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Step two: DIY advent calendar and felt tree all in one. Because I like to combine things to make life easier.

Two Christmases ago I made an Advent Calendar (is that supposed to be capitalized?  I don’t think it is.) for J.  I made one out of mason jar lids shaped into a tree, similar to this one.  I hated it.  And that goes to show just how much I really disliked it, since J reminds me every time I say the word hate, “You’re not supposed to use that word.”.  I told her there are certain times when it is okay to use it, but you have to really mean it.  And in that case I do.  The lids fell out allllll the time.

But anyway, I went to hang it up this year when we got out the rest of our decorations but it was nowhere to be found.  I asked Hubby about it and he reminded me that I threw it away last Christmas.  Good for me…if I hadn’t have bit the bullet and just thrown it away then I would just continue to use it every year for convenience purposes.  So although I was a little peeved at myself for doing it, overall I was thrilled it was actually gone.

But that meant I needed a new calendar.  I searched and searched and searched and just couldn’t find anything that I liked.  I was seeing those felt Christmas trees all over the place that people recommend for toddlers so they don’t tear apart your real tree (ha, $20 says that never ever ever works.  How is that the same to a 2 year old?!) and I wondered if I could somehow combine the two.  I decided to give it a shot

I have a ton of felt from a fabric store closing awhile back so I cut a tree out of dark green and a trunk from dark brown. diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-1I hot glued the trunk to the bottom of the tree and hung it on the wall using push pins.diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-2Not only do I have yards and yards of felt but I also have a bunch of bags of felt scraps, along with a ton of sheets of felt.  bags-of-felt-scrapsSo I got to work cutting out circle “ornaments”–one from each color.  On one side I used a permanent marker to write the day’s Christmas activity.  Then, because my activities change each year I had to figure out a way to make the numbers different.  I didn’t want to have to cut out new felt ornaments every single year…I’m lazy!  So I decided to hot glue a piece of velcro on the other side of the ornament.  I could cut numbers out of felt, put velcro on the other side and BAM, easily change the number corresponding with each activity every year.

Except that after I wrote out all of the activities and glued on all of the velcro I decided I did not like that idea.  The velcro was getting stuck on the felt and tearing it apart.  Plus making numbers was going to be a pain in the butt.  I was going to have to use my Silhouette to cut them all out and then glue them on to square pieces of felt that had velcro on the back.  And you couldn’t read any of my activities–the Sharpies bled right into the felt.  Plus my handwriting is atrocious.  So I threw out the 12 ornaments and went back to the drawing board.

And then I had an epiphany:  presents!  There are presents under the tree!  I could make 3 big presents and put four small boxes on each one.  (I only do 12 days of activities, not the whole month of December like some people.  I don’t see how they have time to do something every day when their kids are in school!!!  I had a hard time picking short/easy activities for the one week that J’s still in school during the countdown!).  And that way if I decide in the future that I want to expand on the number of days all I need to do is make more big presents.  Love it!!!

So I got to work.  I picked out three colors of felt from my collection:  red, pink and gold.  I cut a large square out of each (which were only slightly crooked.  Go me!).  Then I picked 3 coordinating colors from my felt bags for the pockets:  yellow, pink and green.  I cut four small boxes of each color (which were slightly more crooked than the presents.  Whoops.).  diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-4I went to my ribbon stash Box of Ribbonand picked out three matching ribbons:  yellow, pink and red.  I cut three pieces of each:  one to go horizontal, one vertical and one for the bow.  I hot glued the first two down, made a bow for the top and then glued that on. diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-5Then I sewed all of the boxes on.  I could’ve used hot glue but I just don’t think it works as well.  Plus those glue strings that get everywhere drive me insane.diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-6Man this project was flying it was so easy!  My last step was to get out my puffy paint stash and write the numbers on the boxes. DIY Felt Tree and Present Advent Calendar 7Now I meant to order them the other way (so 12 was in the upper left corner and then numbers would decrease) but I messed up on number one and didn’t care enough to do anything about it.  Still makes sense this way.  I set those aside to dry.

In the meantime J and I got to work on some more decorations for the tree.  I cut some garland out of the colors she wanted diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-3Which, by the way, it’s only been four days since we’ve made this tree and that crap falls off all the time.  It’s driving me insane.  I’m hoping now that there are some ornaments on there it’ll stay better.  If not it’s going in the garbage (pushed waaaaaaay down so J will never ever see it.).

I cut out some more ornaments and she decorated them with markers, glitter and felt pieces that I glued on for her.  I think they turned out cute! I had her pick out 12 to go in the boxes (to hang each day she “opens” a box) and then she hung the rest on the tree.diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-9After the puffy paint dried I tucked the scraps of paper with the day’s activity and an ornament in each box.  Here are the twelve activities I chose this year:

  • Write and mail a letter to Santa
  • Open 1 present (that one’s for Christmas Eve)
  • See the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Make cards for your teachers and bus driver
  • Make an ornament for the tree
  • Make a Christmas craft
  • Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Pick 10 toys to donate
  • Make and decorate sugar cookies
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Visit Santa

diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-10Then I used a few more pushpins to hang the finished presents on the wall under the tree, and voila!  A new advent calendar that I adore!  Fingers crossed I feel the same way about this calendar in 15 days!diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-8C has shown zero interest in “decorating” the tree (which I’m not surprised about in the least) but J is enjoying it.  Until he finally does spot it and tears it all down and she throws a giant fit.  Good times.

Quiet Book Road Page
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Going for a Spin, Part Two

All of the other pages of Nolan’s quiet book were finished (except for the pinwheel on the barn) so I had no choice but to figure out how I wanted to make the road for the vehicles.  I knew 2 things.  First, I wanted a traffic light somewhere that you could attach and detach the different colored lights.  Second, I had some extra space on top of the vehicle pocket page that I needed to do something with.  So I searched Google images and Pinterest some more.  Seriously, I bet I spend more time on the internet looking for ideas than I do making the actual pages!  I’m talking hours of (unnecessary) research go into these things.

The road in this quiet book caught my attention.  Instead of having a traffic circle or curvey roads, I could just make the road going around the perimeter.  Perfect!  And then I could make the traffic light a decent size and put it right in the middle of the page.  And in the blank space above the car pockets I could have the road extend that way, and then branch off into each pocket like a garage!  Finally, some progress!!

I started with the road.  I cut 4 rectangles of black felt that were as long as each side of the muslin.  They were about 2-3 inches wide (sorry, definitely should’ve measured that!).  I cut one more the length of the pocket page, and then 3 shorter ones that went from the road into each pocket.  I had seen all kinds of ideas on how to do the yellow line in the middle (ric rac, paint, ribbon, fabric, etc) but I decided to stick with what I thought looked the most realistic:  yellow felt.  I cut out a bunch of thin yellow rectangles for the dotted lines on the road.  As you can tell, I cut them freehand, not bothering to make sure they were all the same size.  Whoops.  I pinned the yellow onto the black and sewed them down.

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This was pretty tedious so I decided not to pin all of them down.  But when I went to sew them on they turned out super crooked (not just a little crooked liked the ones I had pinned), so I pinned the rest of them.  You’ll be able to tell which ones I was lazy with 😉  Then I placed the road pieces around the perimeter on the empty page.  On the vehicle pocket page I lined the road going across the top with the top one on the opposite page (although that turned out to be moot once I sewed all of the pages together.  You’ll see.) and lined the short ones up with each pocket.

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I sewed them all down and then the roads were finished!

Next:  the traffic light.  There are about a million of these out there so I didn’t have to search long.  Most of them are black.  Which I don’t really understand…traffic lights aren’t black!  So I made mine an orange-y color.  It was the closest felt color I had.  And instead of making it with the triangle on the top I just made the whole thing a rectangle.  We all know how stellar my cutting-in-a-straight-line skills are so I figured it was safer that way 😉  Yet another change I made from most of the traffic light pages out there is that I didn’t have two sets of lights (one that was sewn onto the traffic light and one that comes off, like this one).  I didn’t understand the point of that–how do the cars know to go?  I wanted to make sure Nolan knew he was putting them in the right order so instead I decided to use corresponding velcro in the correct order:  red, yellow and green.  Of course I didn’t have any green so I ended up having to wait to do any of the sewing on this page until I made a trip to Joann’s.  Figures.  Which I had a difficult time finding different colors of velcro there!  The fabric store at our last duty station (Fabricland–it’s a Canadian company) had about 20 different colors of velcro at it so I didn’t even think twice about needing a new color.  I had a minor panic attack when I went into Joann’s and couldn’t find any other colors besides white and black in their velcro section.  Fortunately I decided to wander around for a bit before leaving and I discovered a whole bunch of “hook & loop” colors in the dollar bins by the checkouts.  I completely forgot that this was all generic stuff and not name brand.  Whew, crisis averted!

I cut the rectangle for the traffic light first.  I left an inch or two of open space between it and the road on the top and bottom and about three to four inches on each side.  It looked too plain; it definitely needed something.  While doing my hours of research I remember seeing traffic signs on a couple of pages (like this one) and had made a mental note at the time that it was a nice touch.  So I decided to make four traffic signs, one for each corner.  Deciding on the first three were easy:  speed limit, yield and stop.  After googling “traffic signs” and not coming up with any other obvious ones that a kid would know immediately, I finally just went with No Parking.

So I cut two white rectangles (speed limit and no parking), a red triangle and a slightly smaller white triangle (yield) and a red octagon (stop) out of felt. I placed all five things on the page and arranged everything so it looked okay.

Quiet Book Road Signs

I cut out the three felt circles:  red, yellow and green.  I used my Silhouette scrap felt that already had the fusible web ironed on the back.  That way it had the extra support since it would be pulled on and off quite frequently.  I traced a cardboard ribbon holder so the circles were not only straight, but also the same size.  What a concept!quiet-book-road-circlesThen I got to sewing!  I was actually able to think it through so I didn’t have to switch out my thread any more than necessary.  Amazing!  I sewed the white street signs first, then the white triangle onto the red one.  Next I put the velcro on the traffic light and circles; first green, then yellow and finally red.  The yield and stop signs were next.  And last but not least, the orange traffic light.  For it I actually left the top open, that way the colors that weren’t being used on the traffic light could be stored inside.  Stroke of genius!  I made sure to reinforce the stitch a couple of times on each side of the top so it wouldn’t get pulled up.  Then the last step was to put the words on the street signs with puffy paint.  It’s times like this that I wish I had better handwriting, that’s for sure.

quiet-book-road-traffic-lightFinally, after all of that procrastination, the road pages were FINISHED!  And I was pretty happy the way I ended up doing it.  I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself!

Quiet Book Finished 3quiet-book-road-finished

Quiet Book Counting Octopus Page
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1…2…3…

I knew I also wanted to do a counting page in Nolan’s quiet book.  When researching other quiet book pages awhile back I saw this pin on Pinterest and it really stuck with me, so I decided to do that one.  Plus I have this gigantic bag of beads that I got a thrift store last year that desperately needs to be thinned out.  Especially since I already have one of those plastic bead organizers that’s already completely full of beads.

Bead Bag

The original page is an octopus (at least that’s what I’m assuming since it has 8 legs.  I could be wrong).  I decided to just go all the way to 10 instead so technically mine is a jellyfish.  Or an octopus that’s the victim of some crazy genetic disorder; whichever you prefer.

counting-octopus-quiet-book-page

This page was ridiculously simple.  I would’ve finished it all in one nap session, but of course it figured that this was the day C decided to take only a 40 minute nap and just happened to wake up the moment I closed J’s door for her rest time.  Literally.  Man it’s irritating when their nap times don’t coincide!  Especially when C is crabby after taking such a short nap.  And then I get crabby.  And that causes J to be crabby.  And then Hubby gets home a few hours later and probably wishes that he was still at work.  I desperately need that time to myself in the afternoons.  When J is at preschool (excuse me, Pre-K, as she immediately corrects me.  Every single time.) in the morning and C takes his first nap I do a quick 30 minute work out and then with my remaining time hurry to pick up the house or do some of the dinner prep or clean the bathrooms.  Nap time, however, is my time.  It’s how I keep my sanity.

Wow that was a major digression.  Sorry about that.

Anyway.  The page.  So first I went through my felt box.  I didn’t want to use fabric since the jellyfish was going to be curved and I didn’t want to have to worry about fraying.  Which was a shame because I could’ve used some super cute fabric!  I found the most interesting felt I had–glitter red.  I laid the felt down on the muslim page and eyeballed how big I wanted him to be.  I made sure to leave at least 2 inches free on each side so there would be plenty of room after sewing the pages together.  Then I cut out a body shape similar to the pin I found that I was using for inspiration.

Next I went over to my ridiculous ribbon collection.

Box of RibbonSuper organized, isn’t it?  That’s on my to-do list.  Sigh.

I chose 2 ribbon types that have the little loops on the sides–yellow and blue.  I cut 5 pieces of each color.  Then I went through my bag o’ beads and picked 10 different colors.  My OCD kicked in and I decided to make it a pattern.  Will anyone ever notice?  Probably not.  But it made me feel better and that’s all that matters.  I organized them a pattern and then pushed each bead onto the corresponding ribbon.  I tied the bottom into approximately 6 knots to make sure there was no way they were coming off.   Then I flipped the octopus jellyfish over and laid the ribbon on the back.

octopus-quiet-book-page-back

As you can see when I cut the ribbon it was all different sizes.  I lined the bottoms up as close as I could and pinned them down.  It took several re-pins before I was satisfied.  Which was a pain in the butt.  And it wasn’t until I flipped it over and got ready to sew that I noticed they weren’t spaced out evenly (see 5 & 6 in the finished photo?).  But I definitely didn’t care.  Good enough for a 1 year old!  I sewed across the jellyfish 2 times–I wanted to make sure there was no way Nolan could pull it off.  I didn’t want to inadvertently kill the kid with his Christmas present.

Next I debated if I wanted to make a background or just leave the page plain.  I thought about sewing down some blue fabric on the entire page to represent the ocean.  And/or some seaweed.  But I made the jellyfish pretty large and the bead strings were long so I decided it looked fine as it was.  Plain was better in this case.  But it did need something, so I went ahead and made a face.  I kept it super simple and just sewed 2 pink felt circles for the cheeks and a large white felt mouth.  I hot glued 2 googly eyes from J’s craft stash on there.  Then I used some black puffy paint to make eyelashes.  That part turned out a bit funky, but I still like it.

I pinned the jellyfish down and sewed her onto the page.  Finally, I wrote the numbers in puffy paint above the corresponding bead string and voila, finished!  I think she turned out pretty cute 🙂