Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Quiet Book for N's First Birthday

This is the first quiet book I made, but definitely not the last. Thank you to every one of you who inspired me to try my own quiet book.  I planned to post photos of my little granddaughter with her quiet book at the very end of this post, but they're just too cute to show at the end.  My little "N" will celebrate her Golden Birthday, one year old on the first, which will also be my 62nd birthday.

Her 3 1/2 year old brother loves the pages as well. It'll be 6 months or so before she'll understand it and then it will be fun to watch her "do" the pages.

The amount of patterns and styles and ideas are too many!!  So I used some, and added a couple of my own.  The hardest part is deciding which pages would work for your child.  OK, there's more than one hard part.  I found the process of putting the book together mentally exhausting at first.

I am a visual learner, so I had to draw out my pages and then draw what order they were to be put and how.  Once I figured out how to put the pages together - whether to use grommets and rings or sew a separate binding like making a book - I could move on to the choice of pages.

The next hard part was thinking backwards.  Here's what I mean by that.  If you are using Velcro to attach the piece to the page, you have to remember to sew the Velcro on before you attach the pieces. That might seem logical or obvious, but its not when you have already sewn the scarf on the snowman and realize you didn't put the Velcro on first.

With any new concept, it takes awhile to think about the process, but I found that once I was in the swing of thinking about attaching the Velcro first, then layering the pieces before they were attached to the page, the creativity and fun of making A Quiet Book for N began.  After I had done several pages, I realized that I hadn't stuck with my original plans.  But no problem!  No one knew but me what first inspired me and what eventually I chose.

(I'm not gifted at writing directions with coordinating photos, so please keep that in mind.)  This first quiet book has been so much fun, and inspired me so much, I have already started to make a second one, and maybe a few more.  I realized that I could make up pages with just concepts, kind of like coloring books and games, and didn't have to rely on every else's ideas.

This Quiet Book for N is for my granddaughter who was born on my birthday.  The book is for her first birthday, who will not yet have the dexterity for each page, but it won't be long.  I do hope this will be a keepsake for her, and so I designed the pages to resemble experiences I wanted her to have with me, if we lived close enough to share them regularly.

Here's what to consider:

  1. Fabric pages or felt?  I used 8x11 white felt for every page background
  2. Even or odd number of pages? This might depend on the cover and back of book
  3. Cover and back of book needed? I added the cover and back which was one piece, because I wanted the book to be covered and protected while stored
  4. Instructions for each page needed?  How? I chose to sew in a plastic sleeve with typed instructions, for an adult to read to N until she learned what to do.  The plastic sleeve could always be snipped out later.  I knew I did not have the skill to embroider words.
  5. Attaching pages together?  This was the hardest part for me. I chose to attach each 2-page section to an additional 2-page piece that matched the cover/back.  This prevented any problems with the pages being sewn back to back and over stitching where I didn't want it. You'll notice that I used the blanket stitch all the way around every page.  I felt this was needed to hide a few uneven edges.
  6. Sewn or glued?  I sewed all the pieces, but I glued some of the stitching on the back of the page to secure it, before I sewed the page to the 2-page spread.
  7. Pockets? Several pages needed pockets to make it work.  You'll have to consider this with each page.
  8. Your signature? I wanted N to know that I had made this book for her with love so I included that on the information I put in the plastic sleeve, and on the back cover. 
Refer back to this list as you look at the pictures.  Hope its clear as mud!

You will have to have the answers to these questions before you begin, so don't get yourself in a fix by expecting to throw your quiet book together in one day, or even in a week.  The majority of my project was dedicated to the planning.  Once I had the answers to the above, and chose the pages, I worked on a page a day, but you might have time to do more.

My Quiet Book for N

Once I started, I realized I had a lot of neat accents to embellish - I found the gold rick rack and the "angel face" button were meant for the pink "N."  Read #5 above for the explanation of the purple fabric.

Pretend that Gramma is there to share these special times with you!

Count the slices of Pizza. Match the pepperoni with the numbers. Mmmm – I love pizza!

See #4 above for the instructions in a plastic sleeve.  But maybe you would embroider the words, or have them done by a machine.

This also shows page two of the directions in the plastic sleeve. Note: page 1 of the instructions includes half of the book; page 2, the second half of the book.  I contemplated putting a single instruction page, both sides for each 2-page spread, but decided it was too much.

Put the tea bags in the pot. Be careful, the water is hot! Take them out when the tea is done. Use a special cup. Wear a fancy hat. Its not tea without a cup or fancy hat, shown in the first picture above. They are attached with Velcro and can be interchanged.  The teabags go in the pot,  to 'steep,' and are attached to the handle of the pot with ribbon.

Remember to zip the zipper shut before you sew on the boot or it won't zip tight.  I also had to add the button to the shoe and the Velcro to the strap before the shoe and lacy sock (made out of my wedding dress sleeve) were sewn to the background.  I had planned to use eyelets for the red shoe, but for some reason they didn't work, so I hand stitched around eye lace hole.

Fancy wedding dress socks with a shoe you can buckle. Tie your running shoe. Zip your boot.

Help her wear it straight, in pony tails, or braids. She loves her pearls.
(This is one of my favorite pages. I laminated her photo, then sewed it to a pink felt face, and then "strung" the pearls with fishing line, sewed the strand on and glued the knots in the back.)

The first of one of the four seasons pages.  We have the four seasons where I live, but not necessarily where N lives, so I wanted her to experience them all.  Here you see the pocket, needed to store the different looks for the snowman. N has the option of changing hats, scarves and even the snowman's face.

Once I laminated N's face for the hair page, I decided to do it again. I used stick on Velcro on the back of the face.
WINTER Add the snow flakes. Build a snowman. Change his scarf. Change his hat. Give the snowman a special face. Which is your favorite?

Grandpa is the gardener, and the kids love to come and pick carrots. I crocheted the basket. The vegetables are 'planted' by sliding them into a slit in the brown 'dirt' garden. The ribbon is long enough so each vegetable can be planted in any corner. I wanted to keep the veggies in the garden and not lost. So I sewed a loop of pipe cleaner for the stem, which hid the sharp end inside of the two layers of felt vegetable. Then I tied on the "stem" made of green ribbon, and finally, sewed the ribbon onto the felt background, which is actually the inside of the basket.  I had to sew the ribbon down before I added the basket.  Some of you can figure this out without instructions.  Some of you, like me, need to know step by step.
SPRING Help Grandpa John plant his garden. Carrots, onions, and tomatoes in this patch. Put them in the basket. Can you find his rabbit?

This was the first page I made.  These clothespins are the middle of the road size.  I had smaller, and I had larger.  The basket acts as the pocket for the clothes. You can see a pink shirt in the basket.  I love to hang clothes, but N. might not every experience that in her city life. The butterfly I made out of shrinky-dinks, and is for my dad, N's great grandfather.
SUMMER Can you hang your clothes on the line? The sun will dry them. Put them in the basket. Can you find Pa's blue butterfly?

What can you do for fall without making it Halloween? - I wanted N. to experience colored leaves.  It was a little bit of a challenge, but it turned out cute.  I realize that the straw will break off in time.  The eyes and mouth of the pumpkin come off, as do the leaves, which could all be interchangeable for a real funny pumpkin and tree.

FALL The leaves are changing colors. Help them fall off the tree. Can you give the pumpkin a funny face?

I wanted to make sure that N. remembered that Christmas is more than presents and decorations, so she's getting a 2-page spread for Christmas.  The left hand page is my own design.  The star comes off.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph are in the gift box.  Read below to see what the heart is for. 

Look in the gift box. Find the star and put it in the sky. Where is Jesus? Find Jesus with his Mom and Dad, Mary and Joseph. Put Jesus in your heart.

The garland is fancy Christmas trim/ribbon, and the loops are repurposed jewelry.  I stuffed the tree to give it depth.  You can see the extra width of the purple felt which is the back cover on the other side. 

Find the star, angel, bell, gingerbread men. What does it say on the bottom of the tree? You can put the garland around the tree and the star on top.

 Now you can button the back page around to the front, and the book is enclosed in its own shell!

(oops!  photo is sideways, but you get the picture!) Then I'll sign my name after this sentence on the page of instructions - my name in my own handwriting.

Now its your turn!  What fun things do you want to share with a little tootsie? Your imagination will take over once you've started to dream about it - I promise! Stay tuned for a post on book #2 which needs to be done in a few weeks, and book#3 for Christmas 2016.  Whew!  I'll have a little more time to pull that one together.

Thanks for stopping by and looking at A Quiet Book for N.  I know you'll have fun putting yours together - you can do it!