So, earlier this year, my mom got me a sewing machine. I was determined not to make the same mistake I often make when I take on a new hobby which is to jump into the deep end, get frustrated, and give it up. I have a tendency to try to do the hardest thing first, rather that starting out as a beginner. I did pretty well at first. My first couple of projects were really simple and pretty hard to screw up. They helped me learn my way around a sewing machine. The extreme importance of setting the tension correctly, and the frustration of having kids around that sometimes changed settings when I wasn’t looking. All was going pretty well. Then I started to frequent some crafting blogs and saw this quiet book at homemadebyjill. I fell in love and had to have one for Ben. I started looking around the internet for cute ideas and did tons of research before starting to put together my own sketches and ideas. Then I had the brilliant idea of just making the thing in triplicate so my nephews could have one too (one for us, one for my brother’s kids, and one for my sister’s kids). I decided they would be Christmas presents. It’s been difficult, frustrating, and surprisingly fun, but I finished (sort of) in time for them to be Christmas gifts. Sadly, I have not quite finished Ben’s yet. I sort of put it off to make sure the other two got into the mail in time. It’s close, though, and I hope to have it done shortly after the new year. Also, I made them 3-ring style, so I can add more pages as I finish them. Now that Christmas has passed and the recipients have seen them, I can show it to you. Enough talk, though, here is a tour:
The front covers. The little frame holds a picture. I left them empty because I didn’t have great pictures of my nephews to put in them. The strap has three sets of snaps for use as it grows in size when I make more pages.
You can’t see it very well, but I embroidered the spines to say “The Merrill/Grant Family Quiet Book”. Considering that before I made this book I had never embroidered before, I feel pretty good about how it turned out.
Inside front cover/Page 1: The inside cover is a tree that I got from homemadebyjill. The only thing I changed is that I stitched on little labels with the family’s names onto some of the leaves. I love the gumball machine way of doing the color matching. I got that idea from craftychic. The circles just velcro on to a matching circle on the bottom.
Pages 2 and 3: The counting page just had shank buttons on some ribbon. I honestly can’t remember where I got this idea, but it wasn’t mine originally. I did have to put a stitch down the middle of the five bigger numbers and separate out the buttons so the ribbon didn’t sag. I like the cute way of teaching how to count, though. The Noah’s Ark I saw on a lot of different blogs. I kind of combined a lot of them into my own. It unzips and has finger puppets inside. I did not make the finger puppets, I got some really cute ones at IKEA Also, you can’t see it, but the inside of the boat is lined with a cute animal fabric to give a little color and make it more sturdy, since felt tends to stretch. This page was probably the easiest to make.
Pages 4 & 5: This is most definitely my crowning achievement for the book. I got the idea by following the links on quietbook.blogspot.com to her little sister’s, the Egberts. The layout is almost the exact same, but my pages are a little bigger, so I had more to work with. Also, I used tiny (1/8th inch) ric rac for the yellow lines. I think it adds something. You’ll notice each house has a garage (three of which have my nephew’s names embroidered on). Each garage has a Micro Machine in it (thank you Ebay). Also, the stop lights are plastic snaps that come off. The soccer field is a pocket to put the snaps or cars in or whatever. I’m particularly proud of the fire truck and ambulance, on which I embroidered the details. I toyed with making them removable, but I was too proud of them to risk them getting torn apart.
Pages 6 & 7: The shapes pages is pretty straightforward. The shapes snap on with standard, sew-on, metal snaps. You can see a little Penny hand that was very excited about the heart. The football player is another one I’m pretty proud of even if it does look a little off. I decided to do a football to lace instead of the traditional shoe. I got the idea from modestmaven’s quiet book. I just modified it because my pages are so big, it didn’t make sense just to have a football. So I decided to add a buckle of some kind and that led to a football player. And yes, you may detect a Broncos theme.
Page 8/Inside back cover: The pockets hold puzzles I made out of craft foam. Each of the pockets snaps onto the page with plastic snaps, so the puzzles can be easily distributed to different kids. The little frame is meant to be a puzzle board for making the puzzles, but the puzzles can be done on any surface. The puzzle board also removes. I’m pretty proud of the Broncos puzzle, you’ll have to check it out in the album at the end, as this post is getting very lengthy. The last page has slots for twistable crayons and a little pocket with a notebook in it. I put a Cars notebook in it that I got in the dollar bins at Target.
The back cover is just plain with a pocket to keep miscellaneous items in or any pieces that fall out when you grab it as you’re leaving church.
All in all, I’m very pleased with how it turned out, especially considering that I really bit off more than I could chew. I have a lot of fun ideas for more pages, but I have other projects I want to do before I expand this one (most importantly, finishing our book).
And, here is an album with more pictures of the book in closer detail, including the puzzles:
I will do my best to post about Christmas and Penny’s birthday as soon as I can. I hope to have some pictures up today, but it might be a while before I get the videos up. We took a lot of video and it’s taking me a long time to sort through it and edit it.