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, December 6, 2013

Quiet Book Pages #11 and #12 Take a Road Trip Through Town and Country

The center of my quiet book is a two-page layout. When the book is open the pages will be across from each other. There are lots of little things on these pages. 

1. I printed the cute town and country layouts from  thediymommy.com website.
2. I cut the little road signs from a sheet of 12x12 scrapbook paper and fastened them to the layouts.
3. I turned the river into a railroad track using brown and black marking pens  (although it is still             showing blue in this picture) simply because I wanted to use the railroad signs.

Do what I suggest --- not what I did!    I copied the original layout pages before putting on the road signs which means I have to cut and paste the signs on each individually.  Duh!!!!  I should have made the copies after I added the signs, train track, etc.

4. The layouts are covered, once again, with  heavy duty page protectors.

Many of the signs overlap each other but if you look carefully you will see that some
of them are on the top of the overlap.  The white spaces in the paper is where 
I cut mine out.

5.  The very cute little car stickers (in car wash and at parking lot) are from Dollar Tree.  There are 15 on the sheet! They are plastic and dimensional. As always, for the safety factor, I sewed around the edges.
6.  The car wash "flaps" are pieces from the fleece strips I found (and used on the hair braiding page).
7. The signs are made using permanent marking pen on heavy pellon interfacing strips.
8. The gas nozzle holders are sections of the reinforced edge (where the holes are punched) of a page protector. I cut these sections  large enough to fit under the pumps.
9. The gas pump hoses are made from a 27" shoe lace. Originally I was going to use a short length cut  from
each end of the lace so the tips were the end of the hose.

Then I decided I wanted the hoses to be able to pull out from the pumps --- and that seemed easy enough if I just cut the shoe lace lengths a little longer and fastened them between the pumps and the base sheet except, and this is a big EXCEPT, how would they "recoil" once they were pulled out.

I finally came up with the following page which  backs the gas pump page. The pages rely on each other to "work." I was discouraged with the plainness/bareness of the page but Carissa, a good friend of mine and mother of three small girls (who wants to make these books) loved it --- so I guess simplicity is okay ---- and maybe/probably  even good.

Ooops, how can I even question simplicity when I am Simply, Gail !

#A You can see the basting at the top of the page.  I wanted to see if my idea worked
before I machine sewed the two pages back to back.

10.  I placed a rectangle of heavy pellon interfacing on the back side of this piece of felt as
reinforcement for the buttons. I sewed the buttons on using heavy buttonhole thread (dental floss also works well). I also placed a small button under each large one sewing through the holes in both  make room for
the "winding" of the shoe laces.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
#B. Hopefully this picture is will help you understand what I am trying to describe.
I didn't stitch the pellon rectangle down. I think the buttons do the job of holding it in place.
I punched two holes in  a small folded piece of the pellon and stitched it to the rectangle.

The red stitching lines are the lines of the pumps. It doesn't show here but I left very small un-stitched sections at the base of the pumps so the laces could thread through.

The white stitching lines are the lines of the hose holder (cut from the page protector) including the part that goes beneath the pump itself.  I have punched a hole in the plastic to reinforce where the laces go through. I made small holes through the felt right where I punched the holes in the plastic.

I pinned the two pages together, back to back. Then . . .

a. On the blue page I put the middle of the shoelace over a button.
b. Poked the laces through the two holes so they come through on the wrong side of the blue page.
c. Poked the laces through the wrong side of the town page so they come out at the base of the pumps.
d. The hoses now come out of the pumps and tuck into the pump holders!

The hoses can reach all over the pages when they are not winding around the buttons.  They are pulled back to their proper length at the pump when the button page is played with. 

I am pretty excited about how it worked how. I hope those playing with it will like it also.

Here Come the Vehicles!!! 

They are shown in the very first picture at the top of this post. I made them two different ways. They were fun to make by hand but since I am making 24 of them, I worked out another way.

I used two layers of stiff felt (I don't know any other way to identify it except to call it what it is --- stiff.) for the cars.  I used 2 colors so that the two cars actually became like four cars (depending which way they were going!) Before I found the stiff kind I made the red car (the hand sewn one) with regular felt and sandwiched a piece of heavy pellon between the two pieces.

In the picture it looks like there are only two wheels on each car but there are actually two on each side ---- each set sewn together at the same time using heavy thread or dental floss.

BONUS!!! I had no clue when I made them, but they actually stand up by themselves!

For mass producing the cars: Using chalk, on one piece of the felt, I traced around the cardboard pattern I had made.

I laid the chalked piece of felt on top of the second piece and slowly machine-stitched inside the chalk lines, starting with the straight line across the bottom of the cars. It went amazingly fast.  And,  I like to think the slightly misshapen cars simply add to the "charm."

No, it's not snowing nor is it dandruff.  I found some glittery stiff felt.

I think I covered everything.  I hope I covered enough to give you some ideas.

I will wrap (hey, that's almost a pun) this quiet book project up by posting on how I am going to do the wrap/cover as soon as I decide how I am going to do it. I am working on a three ring design so pages can be added or removed as the play-ee outgrows or "ingrows" them, as the case may be. Or, as each page (which is actually two pages) is finished --- kinda like a page of the month gift!

Keep an eye open for next Friday's post.

I will show you how I made the cover. Plus, just as I feared, I have come up with  more page ideas (thanks to Dollar Tree and their fun stuff) and will include them. And, I finished the wild animal weaving page and will show that.

While some of my quiet book ideas are time-consuming, many are easy and quick enough to make  you could start now and have a book completed by Christmas.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Simple No-Sew Activity Books to . . .

help you out if you don't sew or are in a time crunch for making gifts for those you love. . .

and/or for those who need a little love. 

'Tis the Season for gift-giving but for those in special circumstances or who have special needs there is no special season.  Anytime is the right time if you have a little extra time.

Besides your own children or grandchildren, think of all the places (even for adults) were they would be lovingly welcomed:  Safe Houses and Homeless Shelters, Nursing Homes, Rehabilitation Centers, Hospitals, personal homes of those we may be aware of who are less fortunate than we are. 

These books are simple, quick, inexpensive, adaptable for any age and ability level, and can be used over and over again.  No sewing nor skill required.


1. Remove coloring or activity pages from magazines or coloring/activity books or print them from the computer. (There are many free printable pages available for all age and interest levels).

2. Insert the pages into page protectors. You can put the two sheets back-to-back in each protector.

3. Put in a thin 3-ring binder. 

4. Include a small box of dry-erase crayons or markers and a small piece of cloth for erasing.

I buy most of my binders at thrift stores.  They often come with page protectors already in them. Even if you buy them new, there are soft vinyl ones available, in bright colors, at Wal-Mart for $1.00.  When I need new page protectors I use 50 percent off coupons  at craft stores. A inexpensive zippered pencil pouch that has holes to fit the binder rings is great for holding the crayons/markers and cloth.

If you want more information, here are three helpful.




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Button Up with this Quiet Book Page . . .

I'm posting  this extra middle-of-the-week quiet book page in case you  are making one for a Christmas present.  I made this page early in my marathon project but forgot to include it..

It is another simple and quick page which teaches a very important skill.
The flowers are just something I had on hand from other projects and added for
 extra texture. I probably won't do it on the others.

I searched the 25 cent rack at the thrift store and bought shirts
that had large buttons.  Using pinking shears (so the edges wouldn't ravel) I cut out shirt shapes and sewed the shoulders, arms and sides to the quiet book page.

For our kids quiet books 45 years ago a simple shirt shape cut from felt completed the button page. Well, almost completed it, I did have to sew a button and cut a button hole! They were completely happy with simply buttoning and unbuttoning with nothing else to do on the page.

This time I added something to find when the shirt is unbuttoned. I didn't mean to have it showing beneath the shirt however.

Another pre-made pocket, this one with a pocket flap providing an additional button. 

You can leave the pocket empty---or fill it with a small note pad
and pencil or any number of things. They items could change as the child got older. I found these little magnetic hair activities in a package in the birthday party favors section of Wal-Mart and couldn't resist.  I haven't seen these in ages and have never seen mini-ones. Our kids loved them when they were kids (and when I showed these to a visiting 40+ son recently, he was excited to see them again!)

Before I close I want to refer you to another great quiet book site where all the pages are made from used baby clothing.

It is so cute!!! I may have to make one myself. 


(If you don't have baby or toddler clothes laying around, they are easy to find at garage sales or thrift shops. In our area, most of the thrift shops sell their baby clothes for 50 cents each)

I am posting again tomorrow. A special post on NO SEWING books that are simple, quick, and inexpensive. For those you love and/or for those that need a little love.