a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weaving Our Way to Quiet Book Page 9

I don't remember whether our kids liked the weaving page or not but I am assured by daughter-in-law Cheri it is a must.  Checking other quiet book sites, they all agree with Cheri.  Most have included them.  As usual, I looked at several and then took off on my own--- making several variations.

As a result, the weaving page in the 12 books is the only page that will not be the same in each. Because there are several different ones I am going to spread the examples over two Fridays.

Most are very simple ---- a couple not so.

And, once again, I have put something to be discovered when the weaving is "un-weaved."  Just like I did with the snake page.  It is totally unnecessary but it is one of my things.

I will start with the simple.

The first thing I did was "to put whatever I decided to have discovered" on the felt page.

I found it easiest to cut the strips, pin them in place and weave them before sewing them. I cut them longer than needed and trimmed them after the page was finished.  I discovered that if you have the same colors of strips vertically and horizontally  the pattern is different than if you use all different colors.  You will see what I mean when you look at the pictures.

 #1 - Weaving with White

Weaving with vertical colors and white horizontals creates a 
simple checkerboard pattern.

The "discovery" is simply a piece of printed felt
sewn to the base sheet.  I used matching colors for the strips.

#2 - Weaving with mainly matching strips. 
Notice how using mainly the same colors across the top
and sides creates 3-color -block rectangles.
This "discovery" is simply  a section cut from a sheet of scrap-booking paper
 (which was on sale!)
covered in one layer of a plastic sheet protector and stitched in place.

 #3 - Weaving with all different colors
Using all different colors for your strips results in a
simple checkerboard pattern.
The "discovery" in this one is another section of the
scrap-booking paper above.
#4 Weaving using more "boyish" colors
Using only one color, this time vertically, creates a
regular checkerboard look, as in #1 where I used white
strips horizontally.
This "discovery" is a section of flannel I had originally purchased
thinking I would use it to make a match-the-paw print page.
I made the strips from the same colors in the fabric.
#5 - Weaving and. . .hand sewing the strips
With this one I hand-stitched the strips.  Notice each strip is sewn in it's matching color yarn!

I know that sounds like an insane undertaking ---- and it probably is ---- 

but I want to show you a cheap trick on how to accomplish this without needing to buy a bunch of different colors of yarn.
Multi-color skeins!  The length of each color is long enough
to be of use.  I used the muted colors for tails, etc.on  page 4 Mix and Match.
This little trick might come in handy several times over time.

While I really like the look of the matching yarn on the strips  I don't think I am up to doing it 12 times.

I  looked into multi-colored thread (which I hadn't known existed until I read about it on a quiet book blog) and thought that would be fun to use so I took my 40 percent off coupon and headed to JoAnn's.  I figured it would be expensive but hadn't imagined how expensive.  Over $8 per spool. That is when, while I was creative with the yarn, the cheapskate part of me kicked in and I did the others with plain white thread!

If you scroll back up, you'll find white looks okay, and it's a lot easier than changing the thread on the sewing machine.
This "discovery" is another sheet of patterned felt. I tried to
match the strips to all the colors in the pattern.  It may seem like a
lot colors of felt "squares" (they are actually 9x12") to buy but when you are just making one of two
books it only takes an inch or so of one length of the the piece, leaving
a lot of felt to use in the other parts of the book.

When/if you do need to change thread here are a couple of hints 
I use:

This sounds complicated but it is not.  I will use blue as the thread you have been using and red for the next thread you want to use to see if that simplifies the instructions.
1. Leave the sewing machine threaded with the blue thread, and cut that blue thread off near the spool.
2. Remove the blue spool and replace it with the red spool.
3. Using a square knot (granny knots will pull out), tie the ends of the blue and red threads together.
4. Carefully pull the blue thread  through the workings workings and through the needle, until the red thread comes through.  (It does waste some thread but for me, with my declining eyesight and increasingly shaky hands, it saves my sanity.)

For these books, I have not found it necessary to change the color of the bobbin thread when changing the top thread. Another time saver!

And, in hand sewing and  working with several colors, I thread needles in the needed colors before I start. This may not be an issue. This may not be a big issue when making one or two books but it is a big help when making many of the same at the same time --- as in. . .probably the final pages I will post will be the companion center pages of the book.  Those involve 12 approximately 2-inch-high stop lights with red, yellow and green circles hand sewn on each!!!

'til we stitch again....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY Shaped Cakes without Special Pans

I realize this is only Thursday.  My regular post will appear tomorrow as usual.

This past week I received a request on my Teddy Bear Cake post of February 8, 2012.
Since she included her e-mail address I responded personally, but then decided I wanted to share what I found with all of you.

Here is the Teddy Bear Cake site---I love this little guy!


Her request:

Hi, I used to have a book to make all kinds of cutout cakes, somehow I have lost it and would like more patterns for our grand children. Can you help? I am making the rocking horse for our Grandson's 1st Birthday, just as I did for my son.  Norma

Here is the Rocking Horse site--Heidi's first birthday cake (and first taste of anything sweet!) 49 years ago. 


along with comments received when the post  first appeared.

Thanks for posting this image online. Back in March of 1981, my mother made this cake for my father's birthday. Right now I am in the middle of recreating a photographs from that day, in which the cake has a role. My mother lost the book that the pattern came from so we were going to have to try and make it from memory. I did an image check through Google and came up with your black and white image of the cake and your patterns.  We are going to make the cake tomorrow. I am excited, but probably not as much as my mom. I'll document the process and blog it a bit later.

Thanks! My daughter is turning FORTY-SIX and has asked for this cake every year for a long time. I lost the old Pillsbury pattern and this is a lifesaver for her birthday this week!

It was great to be able to help them  recreate their  memories.

To help Norma I did some internet searching myself.  Here is what I found. Hopefully it will be of help to

Hi Norma,
I, to, used to have that great little book.  And have missed it many times. I remember it had a sailboat which was easy to make, starting with a square cake; and a butterfly, and a giraffe.  Hopefully just mentioning them will recall them to your memory. 
I did a little internet searching and found many on heart shapes, which use one round and one square cake but also found  the following. Hope they will be of some help
to you.  

Open book cake

Giant cupcake

How to make your own cake pans

Numbers made from cake

Elmo cake

Star cake

Princess Castle cake (with photos off to the side showing other types of castles

47 years ago I made a clown cake for our 3 year old twin relatives.  It was time-consuming but a hit.  I have a photo but I am not sure how to copy it to here. I will try.
I can't remember the details but here is the gist of it. I think the body was a rectangle. The head a round pan. The hat was half a round with graham crackers frosted and standing "up" for the brim.  The clown had "shoes" placed at an angle against one end of the rectangle so the soles would be up. They  were also graham crackers frosted together like a sandwich, allowed to soften a while so one end could be gently carved into the round shape at the front of the sole. Square sandwiched crackers were placed at the other end for the heels of the sole.  

A few years later I made Heidi a doll cake using a Barbie-type doll and a cake baked in a bowl.  They were very popular back then;  they might be novel now.
Thanks for writing. 

Happy creating ,

Simply, Gail