I love quiet books. They’re such a great way to keep the kids busy when they need to be still and quiet for a long time – like in church! I made a quiet book for Monster and one for his cousin right after Peach was born (ok, so it actually took me about 3 months to make them, but that’s when I finished them)… to see pictures of my niece’s, click here.
The nice thing about the quiet books I made is that they’re silent – no velcro, no zippers, no snaps to disturb anyone else. But the down side is that they had lots of removable pieces… that are now all over my house, probably never to be assembled in one place again! Some of the pages were also a little too difficult for the two kiddos (my niece is 7 months younger than Monster). So, being the crazy person that I am, I decided to make another book!
I’m going to do one post for every 2 pages (which is actually 4 pages), so this is the first of 3 posts for the pages, then I’ll finish up with a post about how I bind and cover my quiet books. This time around, I’m trying to keep the activities simple, but still interesting as the kids grow. And no pieces that come off! They won’t be 100% silent, but they should be pretty quiet for a church or other silent environment – although I can’t promise your kids won’t celebrate as they complete the tasks!
To start off, I knew I had to do a page with parachute buckles. Monster is OBSESSED with them. He even insists on doing up his own chest clip in the car! The link above is to something similar to what I found at Walmart, although I bought a 10-pack for about $2.50 with half small and half larger. I got my inspiration from a posting on Etsy, where the seller made a whole page just of buckles! He can’t open them back up himself yet, so the more I could squeeze on the page, the longer he can go without help. I saw the next idea for beads on a string, similar to an abacus, also on Etsy. Monster is just starting to count, so these will provide good practice for that. The next 2 pages have balloons for color matching and an old-school rotary phone to play with (although I’m still having a hard time convincing Monster that this is actually a phone!). So without further ado, I will jump into my tutorials!
Parachute Buckle Page
- Parachute buckles (as many and whatever colors you want)
- Long skinny fabric scraps for bands holding buckles
- Coordinating thread
- 9″x9″ piece of fabric
I used a cow print for my 9″x9″ fabric for the buckle page so that the colors would really pop since I had such bright buckles. For each of the bands that hold the buckles, I cut a strip at least 12″ long by 1.5″ for the little buckles and 2.5″ for the large buckles. Then I folded and ironed them hot dog style, opened it up and folded in each of the raw edges, then refolded and ironed flat (exactly what I did on the strap for the triangle bag). After sewing 1/8″ from each of the edges, I cut each of these in half, folded them around the end of the buckle, and stitched forward and backward a few times to make sure it was secure. You may want to use the zipper foot – it will let you get closer to the buckle with less difficulty. Then I lined them up on my 9″ square and pinned them down. They got sewed in when I assembled the page, which is described below.
Counting Beads Page
- 55 pony beads, assorted colors
- Thick embroidery thread, assorted colors
- Coordinating thread
- 9″x9″ piece of fabric, plus 2 pieces 5.5″x1.25″ of the same fabric
The first step is to make your strings for the beads to slide on. You can use ribbon, but I chose to use braided embroidery thread. For each string, I cut 3 strands of thread 15″ long, then folded them in half and tied a knot in the middle to make a small loop at the top. Then I braided the strings, 2 per section, and knotted again at the bottom. Each braid ended up being just over 4.5″ long. Once all the strings were ready, I marked where they would be attached. I started by marking a line along the top and bottom of the 9″ square, each 2.25″ in from the edge. Then I added tick marks every 1/2″, starting 2.25″ from the left, until I had 10 (this will center it up pretty well – see the left photo below). Next, I hand basted the strings at the top and bottom on each tick mark (center photo below). Last, I sewed the 2 5.5″x1.25″ pieces to cover the knots. These pieces will fray a little since the edges are raw, but that’s what I was going for.
Next, I put together these two pages to make a complete page for the book! Start by placing the pages right side together. Add a 9″x9″ piece of batting (on the underside of the photo below). Pin all the way around, leaving a 3″ opening in the top or bottom. Clip the corners (careful not to clip the seam!) and the buckle tails, remove the pins from the buckle page through the opening, and turn right side out.
Sew 1/8″ from the edge with coordinating thread all the way around, turning in the raw edges at the opening you left. And you’ve completed your first page of your quiet book!
Balloon Color Matching Page
- 5 pieces of thin elastic, 9″ each
- 3 circles, each 2.25″ diameter, of 5 different color fabrics
- Coordinating thread
- 9″x9″ piece of fabric (again, I used black so the colors would pop)
- 9″x9″ iron-on interfacing
- 12″ piece of embroidery thread
- 10 magnets
The first step for the balloon page is to iron on the interfacing to the back of the 9″ square fabric to provide stability. Then use a hot glue gun to glue the magnets to the page and balloons. I recommend using a small dab of glue on both sides of each magnet to attach it to each surface it touches – the balloon or the page. Press it flat while it’s still warm so it doesn’t get lumpy. Then zig zag or applique stitch around each balloon on the 9″ square (one of the few times you’ll see me applique without Heat N Bond). Then make your balloons on the strings by using a dab of hot glue again to attach 2 more matching circles, right sides facing out (glue on both sides and flatten when warm again). Then straight stitch 1/4″ from the edge to attach the front and back circles, inserting a piece of elastic at the beginning and stitching back and forth over the elastic a couple times. Gather your balloon strings at the bottom of the page and tie with a double knot and a knotted bow; stitch back and forth a couple times just above and below the bow to secure the strings. Like with the buckle page, don’t worry about the balloon tails until after you’ve assembled the page.
Rotary Phone Page
- Phone pattern (click here: CCF06242014)
- Fabric for phone and rotary dial
- Heat N Bond
- Coordinating thread
- Curly shoe lace
- Polyfill or other stuffing
- 3″x1/2″ piece of velcro
- Buttons (optional)
- 9″x9″ piece of fabric
- 9″x9″ piece of batting
After you’ve cut out the phone pattern, iron the phone onto the 9″ square using the Heat N Bond (you can do the dial at this point too). Pin the 9″ square batting to the wrong side of the fabric to provide stability. Center the hook part of the velcro about 1/2″ above the phone cradle and sew on securely. Then center the loop part of the velcro on the right side of one of the handset pieces and sew on securely. Place the curly shoe lace on top of this piece (with the aglet sticking out) and pin the 2nd handset piece right side down on top of it. Sew around the edges, leaving about a 2.5″ opening on the outer part of the straight edge. Clip the corners and the inside of the curves, being careful not to cut the seam (if you don’t clip the curves, it will pull and look funny when you turn it). Turn right side out, stuff, and ladder stitch the opening closed. Then peel up some of the Heat N Bond attaching the main body of the phone and insert the other end of the curly shoelace. Zigzag or applique stitch around the outer edge of the phone. You can also go back and add some more straight stitches right at the edge of the cord on the page – which I recommend because it’s going to get tugged on a lot! Then, if you want, you can add buttons to act as the numbers on the rotary dial; if you don’t add numbers, you may want to sew along the edge of the rotary circle just to provide insurance that it won’t come off.
To assemble this page, just place the two pages right sides together and stitch around the edge, leaving a 3-inch opening at the side. Be sure to tuck your phone cord in! Clip the corners and trim the extra elastic, then turn right side out and sew 1/8″ from the edge with coordinating thread, folding in the raw edges of the opening.
So we’ve done 2 complete pages: the parachute buckles page, the bead counting page, the balloon color match page and the rotary phone page. Stay tuned for the next 2 pages in my next post!