The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round…

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

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

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


Beep Beep! Family on the Bus!

This is a project I made almost 3 years ago for J that I just happened to rediscover when packing the car bag for our recent 5 hour drive home.  J absolutely loved this project and since rediscovering it has started playing with it again.  I need to update the photos a bit, but she didn’t seem to mind.  Although she wouldn’t believe me that there was a picture of her in the bag–she kept insisting that it was C!

I’d highly recommend making this if you have kids between the ages of 2 and 5.  It is ridiculously easy and not at all time consuming.  And your kids will get hours of use from it!

So I started with the bus.  I printed off a picture of a bus I found online, glued it onto a leftover box from Amazon and cut it out.  Then I hot glued strips of velcro in each window and one on the bottom for the driver. I think I used the soft side, although I don’t know why it would matter.diy-busy-bag-photo-school-bus-2

Next I went through my giant collection of photographs and picked out one picture of each family member and close friend.  I cut the faces out and then laminated them (I own this laminator and absolutely adore it).  I hot glued small squares of the opposite side of the velcro onto the back of each photograph.  That’s it!  diy-busy-bag-photo-school-bus-1

Like I said, I made this almost 3 years ago and it was played with–a lot.  And as you can see it’s still in relatively good shape!  There are quite a few family members who are missing so before C gets old enough to use it I’ll need to do a little updating.  Love it!!diy-busy-bag-photo-school-bus-3

Quiet book finished

Nolan’s FINISHED Quiet Book!

After what felt like years (but in reality was probably a couple of weeks) of nap-time work, here it is!  Our fake nephew’s Christmas present:  a quiet book.

Fork lift page.  The “packages” can attach onto the fork lift and it can move up and down.  The wheels spin.  And Nolan’s dad works at Lowes so I made him the driver.


Pocket page with vehicles parked inside.


Road page with a stop light (the lights detach) and traffic signs.

Barn page.  The barn doors open to reveal farm finger puppets.  The windmill can come out of the pocket.  There’s a puddle and some mud for the puppets to “play” in.


A  jellyfish counting page.  Beads go from 1 to 10.

Dog page.  The leash comes off of the page and can attach to the collar.  There’s a piece of velcro on the dog’s tongue where the bone, ball or toy can go.


Dump truck page.  The dumpster swivels back and forth.  There’s a piece of dirt that can come in and out of the dumpster.  The wheels can come on and off.

And finally the peek-a-boo house page.  The windows, door and chimney open to reveal pictures of Nolan’s family.

At 15 months Nolan is probably too small to truly appreciate the book, but Amanda sure loved it.  And I know that it’s going to get a ton of use in the future.  Plus it’s the gift that keeps on giving:  Nolan will be getting quiet book pages for Christmas and birthdays from Aunt Nikki for at least the next 3 years!

Update:  Here are 8 new quiet book pages that I’ve given to Nolan since he got his original book a year and a half ago.

Matching balloonsquiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-finished-2

Doctor’s kitquiet-book-doctors-kit-page-6

Wheels on the busquiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-2

Ladybug quiet-book-ladybug-page-9

Mailboxmailbox-quiet-book-page-2 mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-1

Brush your hair and teethquiet-book-toothbrush-page-5and Gumball machine.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-6

Quiet Book Road Page

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.


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


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

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

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

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

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 Road Pages

Going for a Spin, Part One.

Another obvious page for a boy’s quiet book (well really for both genders) is a road page.  I haven’t gotten around to making one for J yet so this is another original one.  I looked at tons and tons and tons and tons and tons (you get the idea…) of road pages.  And I mean tons.  I didn’t see any that were “absolutely awesome, must copy exactly” pages, unfortunately.  The most I had figured out was that I wanted it to be two pages.  Awesome.

I liked the idea of having a garage to park the car(s) in.  So at first I was thinking something along the lines of this.  Except that I wanted more than one car.  And I didn’t want it to be made from felt.  Which was going to make it super complicated–how was it not going to roll out of the book?  Maybe I could sew snaps onto the bottom of the garage and hot glue the other end of the snap to the bottom of the car?  But that seemed like a lot of effort for something that I wasn’t sure would even work.  So I decided to save this set of pages for very last to see if any brilliant ideas struck.

And one did!  I saw this absolutely awesome idea on Homemade by Jill (who has a bunch of easy-to-make-but-still-looks-awesome quiet book pages, templates included!  Check out her blog!!).  I would make a travel caddy, except instead of it being a roll I would sew it right onto a quiet book page!  I was still unsure about how I wanted to do the other half of the road page, but at least I had somewhere to start!

I really didn’t follow any of Homemade by Jill’s instructions–I couldn’t since my finished product was completely different.  Which is such a shame since they’re so easy to understand!! I made it up on the fly.  I started by collecting my vehicles.  Awhile back I found a small baggie of assorted vehicles at a thrift store for 2 bucks and picked it up, knowing that I was eventually going to make a car page.  I chose four random ones:  a motorcycle, a car, a Transformer and a tractor trailer.  Much later, after the quiet book was completely finished, my daughter discovered that the tractor trailer was actually a Pez dispenser!  Totally awesome coincidence!

Next I chose my fabric.  Obviously car-themed.  Since my vehicles were all big I had to make the pockets super long.  I cut my swatch of fabric so it went from the bottom to about 5 inches from the top.  I knew since I was going to make pockets and they were going to puff out that I would need more fabric than just the width of the page.  I went a bit overboard, cutting my rectangle about 6 inches wider than the muslin.  I figured better safe than sorry–I didn’t want to reach the end and not have enough fabric!  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but you can see all of the extra fabric on the left side of the page.  And that isn’t even half of it!


I folded the top edge under and sewed it down to prevent fraying.  I didn’t bother to do that with the sides or bottom since once I sewed this page onto another page all of those raw edges would be hidden.

Obviously I didn’t want the vehicles falling out so I used what was now becoming a staple in all of Nolan’s quiet book pages:  velcro.  I cut off 3 squares, one for each pocket.  Since I wanted to make sure that everything lined up perfectly, I only worked on one pocket at a time.  So first I sewed one piece of the velcro onto the back of the truck fabric.  I lined the right edge and bottom of the red fabric up with the right edge and bottom of the muslin.  I pinned the other half of the velcro onto the muslin so it matched perfectly.  I sewed it on.  Then I stitched the truck fabric onto the muslin the whole way down the right side.  I made sure to reinforce, then reinforce again, and then reinforce again along the very top edge of the pocket since I knew it would get pulled on a lot.  I didn’t want the stitches coming out.  Then I sewed along the bottom, but only to where the first pocket was going to end.  I slid my tractor trailer into the partial-pocket, making sure I had made it wide enough along the bottom.


I pushed a pin in at the top of the fabric where I wanted the first pocket to end, hoping that would help me to sew in a straight(er) line.


Leaving the truck inside of the pocket I sewed from the bottom up to the top, making sure to reinforce the top 2 inches about 6 times like I had done on the other side.  I experimented with the truck a few times, making sure the pocket opened and closed and that the truck fit.  Hooray!!


I lined the rest of the cars along the top to see how I wanted to do the other pockets.  Turned out that I wouldn’t have enough space for each vehicle to be in its own space, but I could make one of the pockets large enough to fit two of the vehicles.  Fine by me!

I sewed the last two pockets the same way.  First the velcro on the red fabric.  Then the matching side lined up perfectly and sewed onto the muslin.  Since I already had the right side of the pocket sewed from the first pocket, I was able to start down at the bottom.  I slid the Transformer in to make sure I was making the pocket wide enough, then sewed it as far as I needed to across the bottom, then placed a pin in the top where the edge would finish.  I sewed to the top, once again reinforcing the top 2 inches 6 billion times.  Then followed the same steps for the last pocket.  I trimmed off the 4 or so extra inches I had off of the left side (whoops!).  Pockets were finished!

In case you’re confused here’s a picture of the back of the page.  It’s much easier to see where I sewed the lines on.

quiet-book-road-pocket-backThere we go!  3 pockets to fit 4 vehicles, secured by velcro!


Now I had all of that extra space on the top of the page.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with it yet–that would have to wait until I figured out how on earth I was going to do the road on the opposite page.