Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fun Finds

My only crafting for this week is going to be in my dreams - duty calls and I am not near my craft room this week. But I still have an internet connection and am adding to my list of crafts to do in the next few weeks.
Everyday Celebrations has a tutorial for these little beauties. Even though I have boys, I think they would love these. I've seen some cute mailbox quiet book page ideas floating around web-land and these would be the perfect addition to a mailbox page after they get used for Valentines this year. #2 - Valentine's Day Countdown
I'm a sucker for a cute countdown craft. My Computer is my Canvas always has cute printables and this may just be my first purchase from her store. I know my boys would love this one!#3 - Swaddle Baby Blanket
I'm also a sucker for a cute baby blanket - especially one made from adorable flannel. I've seen these around at the fabric stores but We're the Joneses tutorial is easy to follow. This will be my next baby gift.#4 - Caramel Marshmallow Pops
My husband knows me very well and every Christmas he supplies me with my most favorite thing on earth - See's Chocolates Scotchmallows - - - - marshmallows with caramels dipped in chocolate. Well - Brown Paper Packages show me how easy it is to make some. I've always imagined they would be easy, but this is so easy I can't resist. She only did the marshmallows coated in caramel and dipped in pecans. I'm definitely going to add a milk chocolate layer in there somewhere. I'm a happy girl just thinking about it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Quiet Book Pages

Post #3 of 3
Road - yet another favorite for my kids. I took this pattern from a book I came across. The signs are all velcroed on to the page and are made from Pellon. The green truck and red car are free moving and made from double layered felt (colored layer bonded to brown layer). The garage is felt sewn on to the Pellon page and left open at the bottom for parking (vehicle storage).
Jack-o-Lantern - felt sewn on with the bottom of the green flap and the top of the orange pumpkin left open for storage. The face shapes are felt and the kids can just move the face pieces around as they wish.House - the idea here was to laminate pictures of our family (immediate and extended) and put inside the house for them to look at. However, that part never happened. Right now the house serves as storage for the X's and O's for the tic tac toe board. The bottom of the room and top of the red house are not sewn down so that things (like pictures or other pieces) can be stored inside.

Ark - the brown felt for the ark was cut apart and a zipper was added. Then the entire brown piece with the zipper was sewn on the page. I didn't include it in this picture, but inside the ark are colored pictures of different sets of animals.

Football - every quiet book has to have a page dedicated to learning to tie a bow. I haven't broken this page out for my kids yet. Someday soon. I'm loving velcro shoe closures so I'm not in a hurry for them to learn this skill.
Flowers - another sentimental page. These flowers snap off and on and can be put inside the flower pot (at the top edge). A few of these shapes were taken from my grandmother's book.Laundry - tiny clothes pins can be found at most craft stores. The clothes are made with double layer fabric bonded together for a little extra stiffness. The basket is made from Pellon and colored with pencils. It is open at the top for storage. The clothes line is jute sewn on at each edge.Weaving - this is a difficult skill level so the boys haven't seen this page yet. Simple strips of felt sewn down for weaving.
Braiding - this is another high skill level page that backs up to the weaving page. I'm relatively sure my boys won't care about learning to braid hair, but I do like this page. The top part of the hair is brown felt sewn down with the strands of yarn caught in the seams. And there we have it - "My" Quiet Book. Like everyone says - these are a labor of love. But so worth it. I have a pile of pages cut out and ready to make some new pages. Pages of patterns and hand drawn sketches are next to them waiting for attention. I hope to get to some new pages within the next few months . . . or at least before my boys head off to college. I'll post here if/when more pages are done. Feel free to comment if you have questions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quiet Book Pages

Post #2 of 3:
Robot Shapes - more velcro shapes that form a robot puzzle. Other than sewing velcro on all these little pieces, this was a really easy page - just outline the shapes and words in black sharpie. Hint - print and/or trace your original on a regular piece of typing paper (am I the only person who still calls it "typing" paper?). Then use a light box or the window to trace the lines on to your Pellon. Then write over it with sharpie marker and/or colored pencils.
Rocket/Spaceship - I was lazy here. The only movable piece on this page is the rocket. It velcros on to the page and can be taken off and "flown" around. Yet another hint - on pieces that I want to be stiff and not bendable, I use heat & bond on the back of the felt (it's easy to make the pieces colorful with colored felt). Then I iron the cut-out colored felt pieces on to black felt. Then cut a narrow border on the black felt around the colored felt piece and ta da, you have a stiffer piece. I don't do this for every piece - only some.
Shapes - these shapes are buttoned on to the page. Son #1 has just mastered buttoning.
Fish Bowl - this is another favorite page for my boys. I used clear plastic and sewed it on top of the colored part of the page (be sure to tuck some together at the bottom to leave a wide opening at the top for little hands to fit inside). Gotta grab those fish somehow! The fish are just felt - although thinking about it right now, I wish I would have made these stiffer with the double layer as described above. They get bent up a lot.Peek-A-Boo - this page came from the class I took. But I remember having a page similar to this in my growing-up quiet book. The hands are sewn on to the page at the "wrist". That way the hands can be flopped up and down to reveal the picture. Son #2 still yells out Peek-A-Boo whenever he plays with this page. We're working on quiet voices at church still, obviously!Counting Bugs - this was fun page from my class. The bug net is netting sewn on to a small embroidery hoop and then the hoop is partially sewn on to the page so that little hands can reach in and out of the net. We have lots of bugs (colored cardstock that was laminated for extra strength) that live in this net.Clock - this was a page I really wanted to do, although neither of my kids is currently worried about telling time. Besides, everything is digital now isn't it? Anyway . . . another easy page with a brad in the center so that the hour and minute hands can independently move on the clock.The Pocket - colored felt with an opening at the top of the pocket part and a button flap . . . super easy. We are currently storing a pad of paper and golf pencil inside for drawing.Tic Tac Toe - my apologies to my neighbors that we sit with at church. Many an adult on our bench has been patient and kind to play tic tac toe with son #1 lately. Sometimes they even let him win. Here is another good example of when I thought it was important to have stiff pieces so I used colored felt that I bonded to black felt. Train - this is probably my most sentimental page. This is a nearly exact copy of a page from my grandmother's book. My boys love trains so this is a huge favorite for them too. The pieces snap on and off. I love to put the pieces in the wrong order - they get after me about the engine and cars and smoke being in the "right" places! This page always makes me think of grandma C. Ok - the last post of pages is coming in a few days.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"My" Quiet Book

First of all - I apologize in advance for the poor lighting in some of these pictures - I only get crafting time at night and the light is difficult for good picture taking.
Ok - now to something I've been wanting to blog about for a long time and I think I have the energy tonight to start it. Before son #1 was born I really wanted to make a quiet book. I have very fond memories of sitting in church when I was a child with a quiet book that my grandmother handmade for us. We loved that book! I found a quiet book class at one of my local craft/fabric shops and of course signed right up for it. I was glad that I did! Their way of putting the pages together was fabulous and I have been able to jump off from their ideas and add lots of new pages and details to "my" book. It's still a work in progress - I have lots of ideas for additional pages . . . some are even sketched out or started. One day soon, I might have some more time . . .
Anyway - another important note - many of these ideas are not my own. Some are straight from the ladies that taught the class, some are from other idea books I've come across, some are from blogs I've seen on the web, a few are copies of pages that my grandmother made for us, and some are actually my own ideas.
So with all that in mind - I present "my" Quiet Book. My sons love this book just like I hoped that they would. I plan on posting it all over the next few days (probably 3 posts total) to get it all in. Stay tuned for more.
This is the front of the book. I didn't want to put the pages in a hard binder so I created my own soft, quilted "binder". I found some sky fabric at Joann's along with a piece of airplane fabric. I used the sky to make the book and then fussy cut some airplanes, rockets and helicopters out and then quilted them on the book. I used ribbon to tie it closed and now wish that I hadn't. In fact, after using it again today at church, I think I'm going to open those seams up and take the ribbon out. I'm thinking about adding in a flap with velcro closures. Here is the front of the book.
Here is the inside front cover.

The inside back cover.

And the back.
I really didn't have a pattern to follow when I made the cover. But I knew that I wanted to be able to put pages in and take pages out. So I used large binder rings from the office supply store along with some thick/heavy ribbon. I sewed that ribbon down a few times along the spine, jumping my needle over the rings when I came to them. I really do like being able to trade out pages from time to time as their skills grow and as they get bored with certain pages. Here's just a taste of the finished pages - again I'll post the rest over the next two posts.
In the class they recommended that we use heavy weight stabilizer (like Pellon 65) for our pages. It is stiff and you can color and sew on it very easily. I used colored pencils to add the color. Sharpie pens (in various thicknesses) are used to add the black writing and lines - super easy! Each page is made on its own and then two pages are sewn wrong sides together. I run my pinking rotary cutter around the edges to square it all up and then use my grommet tool to put the three grommets in. I love this touch because it is nearly impossible to ruin a page at the holes which is usually a weak spot. Another important note - I found it useful to try to put the same level of skill pages back to back so that as I add them in and out of my book, easier or harder pages made sense.

Stoplight - the red, yellow, and green circles are velcroed on.
Seashell Lacing - this is one of son #2's current favorite pages. He loves putting the shoelace through the holes in the shells and is quite proud of himself each time he finishes a shell. The shells are colored with pencils and laminated for durability. The top of the bucket is open so that everything for this page can be stored right inside.Apple Tree - the apples snap on to the page and can be put in the basket at the bottom. I made the basket out of the Pellon since I saw that the felt would stretch and even droop ever so slightly. The grass is cut out of felt and sewn to the page - kind of a three dimensional effect. Boat - kind of like a puzzle or picture that they can velcro off and on to the page. Another hint is to use invisible thread in both your needle and bobbin for sewing the velcro on so that you don't have to keep changing out the thread color for each piece. More to follow . . .

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Wish List is A Little Shorter

Right before I went to China last summer, I came across Lisa Leonard's blog and found her beautiful jewelry. The necklace I wanted had to go on my wish list though since I had a big trip to pay for. Well I recently had another anniversary of my 29th birthday (wow, I've had A LOT of anniversaries of 29!) and decided that necklace would be my present to myself. I do that every year - seems only right somehow to treat myself on that day. Ta Da! I love it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Spy Quilt

Finally - the finishing touches are on, after a few years of being "mostly done". A crafty girl I worked with back in 2007 (right after son #1 was born) coordinated an I Spy Quilt share. Of course I signed up for it - it was easy . . . make 30 squares of all the same block. Turn them in and you get 29 blocks back that are all different. Sew them together with some borders and ta da, you have a super cute I Spy Quilt. So easy and fun, that I made another one in 2008 for son #2. This is one of my favorite squares - bug jars.
Well I had intended on making quilt labels for each quilt - and I actually finished them a few months ago. I had just never gotten around to sewing the labels on the actual quilts until last weekend. Finally - all done! The directions that my friend gave us for making the squares were easy and fast. I thought I would share them here.
I Spy Quilt
For each square you will need two 6 1/2" squares of fabric. One fabric should be the "I Spy" fabric that has something a child can "find" in it. I personally like fabrics that aren't too busy and that have mostly one or two kinds of items. The second fabric should be a coordinating print without any "I Spy" items in it (I like plain prints with dots, swirlys, lines, etc to give it some texture without taking away from the first fabric).
On the wrong side of the coordinating print (not the I Spy print), draw two lines to form an "X" from one corner to the opposite corner, and then connecting the remaining two corners. I used a pencil here, but on darker fabrics I like using chalk or a lighter fabric marker.Then put the two fabrics right sides together and sew all the way around all four sides using 1/4" seams. Do not leave an opening.
Here is what your seam should look like after sewing - no opening, just a 1/4" seam all the way around.Now, with some sharp scissors, starting in the middle of your "X", cut on each of the lines all the way to the seams in each corner. Open your four flaps completely and press the fabrics.
(And I just realized that I drew my "X" on the I Spy print rather than the coordinating print. The car fabric should have ended up in the middle with the dark blue fabric in the corners. Ha! Just use your imaginations here!)When you have 30 different blocks sewn, size them up, trimming off the little triangles at each seam intersection. Sew them together with borders (or not) of your choice. I used 2" borders between each block. Quilt and bind as you like.
Here is another finished block with the I Spy fabric and the coordinating fabric in the right places. Yes, it was very late at night when I sewed the sample block above - I tend to make stupid mistakes when I'm tired. But you get the right idea.
Really - a very easy way to mass produce I Spy blocks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ABC's & 123's

I've obviously known that one day my boys' rooms would be changed as they started to grow up and get real furniture. So a few months back when I saw this post over at Someday Crafts, I downloaded her cute posters and then sent them off to Costco to be printed. I choose the all white background.
So now the day has come when they can finally find their home - son #2's bedroom. Two frames and a couple of nails later, and here they are. Husband thinks they should be lower and touchable to be quality learning tools (ah, ever the elementary teacher he is!). I like them just as they are - cute art for a little guy's room.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Moose Crossing & Jewel Basin Wall Hangings

A few years ago I took a class at a local quilt shop and made this lovely McKenna Ryan designed quilted wall hanging. This is Moose Crossing and it's been hanging in my family room since then. I love looking at it!
Soon afterwards, I bought more of her patterns (she has a quilt shop in WA and still designs incredible outdoorsy type quilts) and made another - Jewel Basin. This one hung in my family room too until I took it down to replace it with a Tom Mangelson photograph of the Tetons in Wyoming. This got rolled up and stored . . . and I always felt badly that it wasn't being displayed. Well it finally has a home - son #1's bedroom. We just redid his bedroom - moving him up to a twin sized log bed with bear bedding. This now proudly hangs on his wall above the log bed and he loves it almost as much as I do. I might have to make another now!