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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quiet Book Pages: Will You Allow Me One More --- Sorta Final Finale to This Project?

A few posts ago I reported on a blog I found using old baby clothes to make a cute quiet book. I think I said, at the time, they were so cute I would probably have to make some.

Here is the site:


And . . .

Here is my excuse for making more pages. I have two friends that want to make quiet books for their two young grandsons but, and this is a big but, neither sew nor craft --- nor do they want to learn.

Another big but is --- they really, really want these books and I won't make them for them.

I found some simple "boy" pages, modified them to make them even easier to do, and am helping them.I don't care if they never do anything crafty again, and I don't expect them to become seamstress-es but I am excited to report they are learning to hand overcast and sew on buttons. I strongly feel it is is important for everyone to know how to do these basics (and maybe a couple more).

 I am Simply, Gail simply doing my part to try to make that happen. . .
and enjoying the process.

The original blog (check it out above, used a onesie for the shirt.  This shirt is
cut from heavy Pellon with the collar (and buttons you can't see under the tie) drawn on with permanent marker.
Polly, from the above site,  has made her double-sided ties out of stiffened t-shirt fabric.  I used 2 different patterns/pieces of felt to make my reversible ties, making it  easier for my friends. I will have them overcast the top part of the tie to securely enclose the magnet because it is a (funny) challenge to sew that part on the machine because the magnet keeps sticking itself to the metal part of the machine.

Polly stacked her ties on top of one another in the book.  I cut the pants from a piece of felt and left the waist open so the ties tuck in there when not in use.

Note: I have them hand overcast stitch any parts when they don't want to use the sewing machine, which is getting them used to the machine because it is so much quicker!

We cut the bottom off this long-sleeve onesie  to fit the page and used a zig-zag stitch
around the edgesleaving the front section of the neck open and the sleeves loose.

Hands were made from a double thickness of felt, overcast around the edges and stitched inside
the bottom of the sleeves. The play-ee can patty cake with the hands, or fold the arms to pray.

With this next page the onesie was too large for the page so we used just the front part and cut it down to fit. We cut the sleeves off and slipped them underneath the front after it was cut down to size. This shirt has the addition of snaps for another learning activity.  You could have something inside if you wanted. She hasn't added the hands yet.

I hadn't realized I had the cute applique covered in the above picture. So, just for the fun of it,
I am printing it again.

Boy baby clothes have come a long way since our boys were born in the 60's and 70's!
I found several really cute ones at the thrift store --- enough to add this type of page
to all 12 of the books I am making.

I found a just for "boys" quiet book site for my friends Barb and Shauna. It has some very cute and quite elaborate pages.


I made the tool box from that site with the following changes:

  • I used sticky-backed craft foam letters from the Dollar Tree (124 letters in 4 different colors). They are sticky enough that they are almost impossible to move once they are placed on the felt so be careful when you place them. In spite of that, I still hand stitched them also.
  • Instead of felt I used, again from the Dollar Tree, 4x6 inch foam sheets (32 sheets, six colors in each package).  I made them double thickness and since the glue didn't hold them together as much as I wanted I hand-stitched them together.  I think I will still try felt --- either the stiff kind or the stiff sticky back kind, but then again, those cost a lot more! And I will probably still feel I have to sew them "to be sure".
  • I wanted something else to fill the space on the page so I Googled "free clip art 6 inch ruler," selected the one I wanted and printed it (as many times as I could get on a page since I need 12 plus those for my friends) on colored card stock.  I enclosed the ruler in a section of a page protector and stitched around it, making sure to round off the corners.  I think I will take the remaining 12 rulers to Staples office supply and have them laminated!
  • I attached the ruler with a brad so it can be moved back and forth on the page.
  • And, purely serendipity, the ruler, when moved down over the tools will help them stay in the tool box!
I think my eyes must see crooked!  Have you noticed how almost every
page is slightly (or not so slightly) off kilter?

Finally (have you heard that before on this blog site?) I happened on a couple of other sites that
I adapted. I always like to give credit when I can but unfortunately 1)  I can't remember where I found 
the original ones and 2) I have changed them so much they probably would not be recognizable. The pieces, on both pages, are simple enough to cut without patterns. And Barb sewed  both of these. 

The original was a regular truck with a felt truck bed and big felt wheels you buttoned onto big black buttons. It did have a pile of dirt, fastened to a cord,  you could remove from the truck.  

We made ours a dump truck.  
  • We used plastic craft canvas for the body to 1) eliminate some sewing and 2) to add some texture.  
  • We made it "dump" by securing the back corner with a brad.  
  • The brad at the front of the truck bed is to (try) to keep the front of the bed from dropping down.
  • The wheels are each cut (and sewn) from double thickness of stiff felt.  
  • Instead of having them button on, we wanted them to turn.  Originally we were just going to use brads.  Husband Dave came up with the idea of having the brads go through metal washers.  Genius!!! They added so much. 
  • But, as usual, even though the fit was good, I was afraid the brad would somehow slip through the washer so we used gray thread and overcast stitched the washers to the page before adding the brad.  I think the stitching added even more to the look. 
  • The dirt load is a double thickness of brown embossed felt with the end of the cord sandwiched between the two pieces. The other end is securely sewn under the back wheel.
  • The dirt pile is a single piece of the embossed felt.
  • The cab has the window hole cut out.  Barb drew the steering wheel on a piece of card stock a little larger than the hole, covered it with a piece of page protector and stitched it to the back side of the window hold.
  • We added the same sun that I had used on the earlier barn with animal finger puppets page.

Barb's grandson has three older brothers. She wanted to make them a part of the book. This is what we came up with.  Instead of looking a lot like windows as they had on the original page we found, Barb
wanted to make it bright and basic.  Each of the three top window flaps lifts up to show a pocket (cut from page protectors) that will hold a photo of one of the brothers. The large window on the bottom opens from the middle to show mom and dad. When little Kashton opens the door ---- he will be there!

Barb did almost all of this herself. I sewed the inside section on the door (it was needed to
cover the stitching of the letters and heart) and sewed on the doorknob. 
I apologize for the crazy formatting that is showing up with some of the sentences.  I am too tired to try any longer to fix them and I want to get this posted in case any of you are trying to get a book done for the

I'm not sure what my schedule will be the next couple of weeks but I will be back on my regular Friday schedule after the first of the year, if not before.

Wishing Peace on Earth to everyone at this time of year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Quiet Book Finale: Putting It All Together


I researched many ways to fasten the book together . I wanted the pages to be removable so 
I chose this idea: 

I have a lot of pages in my book and happen to have 1-1/2 inch binder rings in my stash of stuff so they are a perfect match. 

The photo below my directions will explain what I am not doing  very well explaining with words.

My quiet book pages are each 9x12 inches so . . . 

1. I cut a piece of felt 13 inches long by 20 inches wide to allow for some "wiggle-room". You wouldn't have to use felt for the cover --- denim or other sturdy fabric works well.

2. Laid it out flat so it was a horizontal rectangle

3. Measured 10" in from the edge and used a piece of chalk to mark the center of the rectangle

4. Centered a 13 inch long piece of grosgrain* ribbon along the chalk line and stitched it down both
sides, leaving three channels or tunnels to thread the rings through. Be sure to space the  tunnels so the rings will match up with the holes in the pages.  I'll explain how I did the holes below. 

*Grosgrain ribbon is stronger than other ribbon.  Any sturdy tape or section of sturdy fabric will also do the job. 

5. I sewed a single activity page next to the ribbon, on what will be the back side of the book since I don't plan on doing any decorating on the back.  I have left the inside of what will be the front cover empty until I decide what I want to do with the front cover.  Adding the activity page after decorating the front cover will hide the stitches from the cover design.

The bugaboo (dictionary definition: something that makes people very worried or upset.) of the project is how to create the three holes in the pages for the rings to go through.

I have already said, with the shoe page, I did not want to go through the trouble or expense  of putting eyelets in. And, with the double-thick pages it would really be a chore/trial.

You will have to look closely to see the white stitching where I attached the
sheet protector to the felt.
Sheet protectors, once again, to the rescue!!!

There is a reason I proudly call myself cheapskate; I also think I am creative ---- and I hope you share my opinion!

At first when I was using all the rest of the page protector I was tossing the three-hold section away as useless.

That was then ----

Now I measure about 1 to 1-1/2 inches from the hole-punched section and cut that strip from the rest of the page. 

I choose the two pages I want to be back-to-back and zig-zag them together. 

Note:  I carefully select the two pages I  join so there will be variety but also so they are of the same ability level. More on why, below.

Once again, looking at the picture above, will help you understand the following directions.

I open the flap strip attached to the hole-punched part, slip it over the sewn-together page so it covers both sides evenly, center the strip vertically on the felt so the punched holes line up with the ring tunnels. and stitch it the strip in place.  

NEW IDEA: I just tried stitching the one felt page over the plastic hole punched part. Then I did the same thing with the page that will back it. Then I stitched the two pages together. I think that was easier.   If I have totally confused you, I am posting a couple of new quiet book pages immediately after this post and you will be able to see what I mean if you look closely at the "put on the tie" page and it's back-side page "patty cake."

Another note:  I like to use the sheet protectors that have slightly elongated holes at the top and bottom with a round one in the middle.  These elongated holes give the pages a little space to "adjust" if I goofed a little on the placement.

Yet, still another note: You will want some way to keep the finished book closed. It could be simple ribbons that tie or a buckle-type thing. You can decide. 

A final (?) note:  (make that notes!) I like this loose ring format because it allows the taking in and out of pages ---either as their activity level increases (so either harder ones can be added or easier ones removed). 

I am buying the "soft" (see shoe lace post)  1-inch plastic binders for each set, especially since I can't seem to stop making new pages!!  They will hold 4 or 5 double pages.  

The benefits:

  • It is a lot easier
  • I am ending up with too many pages for one book
  • the pages are easily  interchangeable, as stated above 
  • two 1" binders would allow two children to play quietly at once.

Happy Creating ---- and watch for another to follow later today, which might be the post you see first.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Still More Quiet Book Pages --- when I thought I was finished!

I am really pleased with how the wild animal weaving page turned out. Plus----it was simple and quick!!!

Wild animal patterned felt.  What a fun find!
Un-weave the strips and find who they belong to . . . 

I think kids will have fun matching  the
weaving strips to the animals. 
I couldn't pass up these puzzle cards I found at Dollar Tree ---- three different decks in a $1.00 package! 
Each card is double-sided  with different puzzle on each side. 
This is my build-a-word quiet book page using these cards. The puzzle card page is the same only with three sections in each pocket, all cut from --- you guessed it ---- page protectors!
If you look closely you can see I stitched down the middle of the clear pockets, making two sections.
 You can also see
I didn't do a good job inserting the cards, but it gives you the idea.

Again, the cards are double-sided so there are six objects to match.
This one with a pocket to hold the cards. I am going to change
the tie part because it tangles easily.
The third deck of cards is numbers. 

These cute jigsaw puzzles are also from The Dollar Tree.

There are four different 4-inch square puzzles in each $1.00 package (animals, sea critters or fruits)
Each set contains a puzzle with a different number of pieces - three, four, five and six - making them 
great for different ages and ability levels.

I haven't figured out a way to use them in the quiet books but I will keep thinking. 

  I knew I needed a lacing page to complete the book --- especially when I found these bright 45" laces at Hobby Lobby.
12 laces in a package --- ideal for my 12 quiet books!
I checked out several Internet quiet book shoe-lacing pages before starting out.  

The soccer shoe on the following site is great but it didn't lend itself to 1) my bunch of bright shoe laces and 2) the time it would take to make 12 of them


I also love her tool box!

My shoe is a combination of ideas. My main goal was to make a shoe whose lacing holes would stay firm and intact without going to the trouble (or expense) of making "official" shoe lace holes.

In my attempts to accomplish that, I tried using a simple paper punch to make holes in a variety of non-woven materials. Not only did the material need to be sturdy --- it had to be fairly easy to punch. I found just what I needed in an unlikely place.
I originally bought this flexible plastic 1" binder  (I loved the bright colors and the price 
of $1.00) to see how it would work as an "auxiliary" holder for just a few quiet book pages, thinking that having just a few pages to entertain at a time would not only increase the interest but allow for different pages of different levels of activity so the quiet book could be suited to, and could "grow" along with, the user. Now I will have to go buy 12 more!

You can see where I have begun to cut out the shoe tops!  I will be able to get all 24 lacing sections
from this one binder---with a lot left over. 

Since most of you won't need that much material, here are a few other things I tried that I think would work: Heavy Pellon interfacing, vinyl, and  non-woven re-usable shopping bags. 

Next week I will show you . . .

how I am finishing the "binding" edges of the pages and
how I am going to fasten the pages in the book. 

Have a terrific week!