"The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that the simpler the life the greater the peace." - Elisabeth Elliot in The Shaping of a Christian Family

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Making of a Quiet Book

For many years I've wanted to make a Quiet Book - you know, one of those fabric books that have a variety of activities for little fingers to do. When my children were little, I just didn't have the time. So, that dream was put off till I had achieved granny status. Then our lives got a little crazy and I had to work part-time while still homeschooling my youngests. Then we moved and we're still not really settled into our new home or lives. But finally I was able to carve out time to sew while my kids were enjoying time with nearby cousins, etc.

The other problem I'd had recently was trying to decide what pages to make out of all the wonderful Pinterest pins I'd seen. I made a couple of unrelated pages, lost some of the parts in the move, and was floundering in deciding what I really wanted to do.

A couple of weeks ago it just struck me what I wanted to do: A counting book.

So, I wrote a simple story of my three-year-old grandson going for a walk and the things he saw along the way and the things he did when he got home. Because I don't like the way felt looks after it gets well-loved (pilled or stretched or thin), I made the pages of interfaced muslin (10" blocks) that I made two-sided by ironing Wonder Under or Heat 'n Bond between them. I did use some felt for some parts.

Here it is:

For this page, I had seen a picture online, but no pattern, so I drew my own jacket and cut off a zipper to the correct length (this is much easier with a nylon zipper than with a metal one, I learned the hard way).

After cutting out the blue fabric and installing the zipper, I quilted it by sewing it onto a scrap of thin batting and then cutting it out, not worrying about raw edges because I was going to zigzag applique it onto the page.

These too-cute shoes came from popsandpodge and I did use felt for them so I wouldn't have all the raw edges to fuss with.

The left page roadway is a velcroed pocket for the cars. I actually sewed ribbon on the back bumpers of the cars and tacked the ends into the pocket so the cars would stay attached to the book and not get lost, but the ribbons were just in the way of playing with the cars, so I took a chance, and if my grandson loses the cars, they were easy enough to make so I can replace them.

I made the two-sided cars of fabric instead of felt and put thin batting between the pieces to give them a little stiffness. They were fun to draw and sew with button tires.

This one was also somewhat of my own invention. I had seen a picture of an elephant carrying balloons, but didn't think he'd see one of those on his walk through the city. I made the strings so they slide in the man's hand so a balloon can be velcroed to any of the spots.

Again, on this caterpillar (yeah, I know it's not at all realistic) I used fabrics with interfacing for stiffening, zigzag edging, and snaps for attaching the circles.

These flowers were one of the pages I had done months ago, for the purpose of button and color practice and they became the number 6 pages.

Don't you just love the cute little socks?! And the fun dryer door?! The pattern came from Imagine Our Life. Since this picture was taken, I have added the words "They found 7 pairs."

I kinda wish I had made the pieces of velcro bigger so he will be able to stick the socks together more easily. Live and learn.

During some parts of the creative process I made use of these two to hold things in place while I put it all together.

My daughter-in-love tells us John has been pretending he has a blue octopus friend lately, so I made use of that information to create the number eight page.

The idea for the number nine page came from Jocelyn and Jason.

The spine points and button spots are just for tactile stuff and counting. They don't really do anything. I made the points based on my understanding of prairie points (I've never actually done them before). I cut 1.5" squares and folded them in half.

Then I folded the sides down to create a point.

Folding that over into a triangle made it so the spine points stick up and out without any raw edges.

The last page didn't turn out the way I envisioned, but I still like it. I had seen an image online of houses wherein behind the windows was a sliding fabric piece which made it look like the lights went out. Well, given the activity that was surrounding me at the time, I didn't think through the process and measurement well enough to make that work. Maybe another time.

To increase the color fun as well as the tactile qualities, I edged each page and the covers with ricrac.

I debated awhile about how to do the cover and ended up choosing simplicity. So I made buttonholes and used metal rings. The pages turn pretty well with this method and I was able to get things all done with a day to spare before we go visit John.

And guess what! The book passes the Teenager Test!

So, go ahead, give it a try.

I linked up at: 


  1. You did a beautiful job! I love making them.

    1. I enjoyed it. Not too hard, just very time-consuming.

  2. Oh my! Such a fantastic idea.

  3. I've always wanted to make one of them too.. they look like so much fun! Maybe one day when I have grandies... :) xx


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