Friday, 26 December 2014

Busy Book or a Quiet Book

As my little boy gets closer to turning one, he is becoming harder to occupy quietly in places that require some sort of calm and quiet such as church and long car trips. In order to help entertain him, I decided to create a sort of quiet book.
Searching the Internet for ideas was pretty overwhelming. I had no idea that the concept of a busy book or a quiet book was such a popular one. There were literally thousands of different ideas, some more difficult to make than others. It was hard to make a start with so many ideas to choose from.
The pages that I have created are much simpler than many I saw and better suited to a child under two.

Materials That I Used:
-White cotton quilting fabric
-Medium stiffness calico
-Felt in a variety of colours
-Fabric scraps
-Assorted buttons, bells, belt buckles etc.
-Press snaps
-Embroidery thread
-Assorted ribbons

To begin I cut 6 rectangles of the white fabric and the calico measuring 20 inches by 12 inches. I backed a piece of calico onto each white rectangle to add stiffness and support. I then marked down the centre of each rectangle to create 12 pages 10 by 12 inches. Then the fun began.

Page 1: Match the Crayons
This page includes a pencil case that zips up and 5 coloured felt crayons to match up. The crayons Velcro onto the page or can be safely stored in the pencil case. Each crayon is a double layer of felt blanket stitched together for strength.

Page 2: Button On Flowers
The concept on this page is very simple. The flowers are backed with felt for stiffness and finished with blanket stitch. They can be removed from the buttons.

Page 3: Zip Up Tent
The tent is made from felt with camouflage colours for added interest. The tent zips up the centre and when unzipped reveals a little felt person. The star beads and aeroplane buttons add some texture to the night sky.

Page 4: Bead Abacus
This page features ten rows of beads increasing in number from 1 to 10. The strings are held in place with knots and several lines of stitching hidden underneath the black frame. This page was difficult to put together, but the end result is quite pleasing.

Page 5: Dress the Teddy
This page has a felt teddy wearing a vest and a nappy. The vest fastens with press studs and the nappy closes with velcro. Again, this page was a little tricky to assemble as I was trying to keep the layers of clothing free from each other.

Page 6: Stick on Caterpillar
This caterpillar's body segments Velcro to the page. Four of the segments have legs that stretch out when pulled. The body can be assembled in any way and the little button butterfly's add some interest to the page. Again, all the felt is double thickness and blanket stitched around the edges.

Page 7: Buckle Up Bag
This is a simple page featuring a simple buckle. The bag opens and can hold small items.

Page 8: Christmas Gifts
This first Christmas themed page has three presents with ribbons that can be tied. The largest present unties to allow the present to open. Inside the present are a variety of interesting buttons.

Page 9: Christmas Tree with Baubles
This second Christmas page has a tree with clip on baubles. I have also sewn on small bells to add some interest and sound to the book. The clips are pretty tricky to undo, so it may be some time before my son can use this page.

Page 10: Worms in the Field
This page has a ploughed felt field and a tractor with a Velcro backing. Ribbon 'worms' pull back and forth through eyelet holes.

Page 11: The Barn
I love this page. The barn is made from red felt, edged around with blanket stitching. Inside each barn door farm animals are waiting to be discovered. It was a simple page to make, but very effective!

Page 12: Do Up the Shoes
This last page features three different types of shoes to do up. A laced shoe, and two different types of Velcro fastening shoes. All the shoes are made from felt and carefully stitched for strength.

Finishing the Pages
I finished off the pages by putting two pages right sides together and stitching around the edges, leaving a place to turn them through the right way. Once the pages were turned through, I stitched around the edges to finish them neatly and hold the shape of the corners.
Once each leaf of the book was completed, I stitched it into the cover of the book by sewing down the centre of the leaf (on the line down the centre of each double page marked out at the start).
I did find that my sewing machine struggled a little with this step as I had such thick pages. But we got through!

The Cover
The cover of the book is made from three different colours of cotton fabric with a heavier fabric sandwiched in between the cover and lining for some strength and stiffness. The book closes with a velcro strip and has handles for easy carrying.

I honestly couldn't be happier with the finished product. It looks great, is finished neatly and is very entertaining for my son. Certainly a very time consuming project, but a worthwhile one. Hopefully it will get lots of use and help us out in those moments when some quiet is needed!


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