Four Seasons Quiet Book

Months ago I decided to make MY FIRST QUIET BOOK.  My need for absolute perfection meant the book took MONTHS to complete.  While I had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish, I have to admit that my ideas evolved as the book progressed, resulting in a book beyond what I originally envisioned.

I love, love, love my book.  More importantly and so much more gratifying is that my daughter loves it too.

The Four Seasons: Winter (Snowflake), Spring (Flower), Sumer (Sun) & Fall (Leaf)

               For the front cover I used purple felt and some embroidery thread. Instead of a title, I hand embroidered symbols representing the four seasons–a snowflake, a flower, the sun, and a fall colored leaf.

Spring: Tic-Tac-Toe

For a SPRING theme page, I chose a tic-tac-toe activity.  For this page I used pink felt, light blue felt, yellow and green felt flowers, velcro tabs, embroidery thread and felt glue.

               Using the light blue felt, I cut four strips of equal lengths.  I used paper edge scissors to cut the light blue felt–just to give the edges a little personality.  Next, I arranged the strips into the pattern of a tic-tac-toe board, covering about 3/4 of the page.  I then used felt glue and embroidery thread to secure the board to the pink felt.
               I love the look of hand stitching–it just feels more “homemade” to me.  That being said, I have this irrational fear of thread unraveling with prolonged use, so for this project, I reinforced my stitching with felt glue.  In the unlikely event the thread should come undone, the board will still be secured to the pink felt by the felt glue.
               A CRAFTY CRAZY RULE:  Where possible, reinforce hand stitching with an alternate bonding method in the unlikely event the thread unravels.
               You are probably wondering, CAN I USE HOT GLUE INSTEAD OF FELT GLUE?  The short answer is yes, but I don’t.  Why? Because hot glue sandwiched between two pieces of  felt results in a lumpy and stiff bind.  TRY IT–take two pieces of scrap felt and hot glue them together. You can actually feel a lumpy stiffness where the hot glue and felt meet.   No bueno!
               A CRAFTY CRAZY RULE:  Do not use hot glue to bind felt onto felt.  It is, however, ok to use hot glue to bind small embellishments onto felt.
               Next, I stitched velcro tabs onto the center of each square of the board.  Also, I stitched two rows of velcro tabs onto the button 1/4 of the page–a place to keep the playing pieces when not playing.
               In keeping with the SPRING theme, I used felt flowers to make the playing pieces.  The flowers are felt stickers that I found, on sale, at the local craft store (Michael’s).  I left the paper backing on the sticker part and stitched velcro tabs on the back of the flowers.
Spring: Tic-Tac-Toe
Four Seasons Tree: FALL
Four Seasons Tree: SUMMER
Four Seasons Tree: SPRING
Four Seasons Tree:  WINTER

This tree was inspired by a quiet book I found at Serving Pink Lemonade.  I used her tree template.  In fact, her beautiful “Season Tree” inspired me to dedicate an entire book to the four seasons and some of the seasonal holidays my family celebrates throughout the year.

For this page I used felt,  Wonder-Under, my printer, an iron/ironing board, a press cloth (I used a thin washcloth), snaps and, of course, embroidery thread.

I cut a sheet of Wonder-Under to the same size as a letter size sheet of paper.   I ran it through the printer, like a regular sheet of paper, printing the tree template on the paper lined side of the Wonder-Under.  I then fused the Wonder-Under with the printed pattern to a sheet of brown felt, using a hot, dry iron and a press cloth.

Once the pattern was fused to the brown felt, I used an X-ACTO knife to cut out the pattern.  Once the tree pattern was cut out, I peeled off the paper backing, laid it on the ivory felt and fused the two pieces of felt together using a hot, dry iron and press cloth.  I then used brown embroidery thread to reinforce the bind.  The end result was a perfect and beautiful tree.

Next, I randomly placed five snaps throughout the tree limbs.

For the grass, using a green piece of felt, I cut a strip the same width as the felt on which I fused the tree.  I used a wave like cut to mimic a rolling hill.  I then used embroidery thread and an overcast stitch to secure three sides of the green felt to the ivory felt, creating a pocket.

Next, for the leaves, I used felt in various colors.   I used a mossy shade of green for the Summer leaves.  I used a variety of brighter colors for the Fall leaves–which I cut into the shape of maple leaves.  For Spring, I used felt flowers.

With the exception of the Spring flowers, each leaf is made of two pieces of felt sewn together using embroidery thread and an overcast stitch.  Before sewing them together, I inserted the snaps onto the leaves, sandwiching the unsightly metal rings of the snaps between the two pieces of felt.

For the Spring “leaves” I placed the snaps on the flowers.  Then I sewed a button onto the center of each flower to over the unsightly metal rings of the snaps.

You can store the leaves in the pocket created by the rolling hill.  My daughter likes to flip things all over the place.  Knowing this, I had visions of leaves scattering about the house on a daily basis and me scrambling to pick them up before one or all of the dogs ate them.  So, I opted to make an storage envelope, using a snap to keep it closed.

NOTE: You don’t have to use snaps for this page.  You can use whatever style fastener you want.  For example, velcro tabs would work just as well.  I wanted to use snaps and so, I did.  : )

Four Seasons Tree

Easter: Bunny & Basket

I love, love, love my little Easter bunny!  I am not the most gifted artist.  In fact, other than some basic and very rough looking sketching, I can’t draw much of anything.  The way I cope with this handicap is by using coloring pages as templates.  Here, I did a quick Google search for a bunny coloring page and  using white and pink felt, I cut out and pieced together by bunny.  I used a black paint marker to paint the bunny’s eyes onto the white felt.

As is my practice, I used felt glue to glue the bunny and his parts onto the green felt.  I then reinforced the bind by using white and pink embroidery thread–white embroidery thread was used to outline the bunny and pink was used to outline his pink nose, paw pads and inner ears.  I used an overcast stitch.

The same methods I used for the bunny, I also used to for the Easter basket.  When securing the basket onto my green felt, I secured the two sides and the bottom only, leaving the top open.  This creates a true little basket to hold the Easter eggs.  For texture and a bit more depth, I used a chenille stem to form the handle of the basket, securing it using matching embroidery thread and a loop around stitch.

For the eggs, I used various colors of felt to cut out egg shapes.  I then decorated the eggs using whatever odds and ends I found in my scrap box–letters, numbers, embellishments, etc…  To store the eggs, I made a second page.  I used pink felt and some velcro tabs to make an envelope in which to store the eggs.  I had some foam letters left over from another project.  I used them to spell the word “EASTER”, securing them to the felt using hot glue.

Easter:  Eggs, Eggs & More Eggs
Thanksgiving: Set The Table

These pages took some time to complete.  I envisioned an activity where my little one would learn how to properly set a table and also enjoy a pretend traditional turkey dinner.  Again, for the turkey, fruits, veggies and table setting I used coloring pages I found on the internet as templates.  Create whatever food items you prefer.

I also envisioned a lovely little dinner in front of a large window, with a starry night sky as a backdrop.

For the window frame, I used a large rectangular piece of white felt.  In sizing the white felt, I decided I wanted the window to cover at least 2/3 of the page and sized it accordingly. I then used an X-ACTO knife to cut out smaller squares of the white felt to create a window pane look.

For the black starry background, I used a rectangular piece of black felt (just slightly smaller in size then the rectangular shape of white felt I used to make the window frame).  You can’t really see it in the photo (it is difficult to photograph), but the black felt I used was a covered with glitter-like sparkles.  I bought this sheet of “special felt” at Michael’s.

Using felt glue, I glued the window frame into the black starry felt.  I then glued this completed piece onto the top 2/3 of the felt page.  I also used white embroidery thread and an overcast stitch to secure the completed window to the felt page.

For the table, I used a strip of moss green felt to create the table-top/table cloth look for the dinner spread.  I covered the remain 1/3 of the page with the moss green felt, using felt glue, matching embroidery thread and an overcast stitch.

For the turkey, fruits and veggies, I used various colors of felt.  Using coloring pages as templates, I cut out the desired food items.  Some of the food items (i.e., the purple eggplants, the mini pumpkin, the lemon and green apple) were permanently secured to the page using felt glue, matching embroidery thread and an overcast stitch.  Other food items were secured to the page using velcro tabs. This will allow the food item to be removable.

On my page, all of the foods on the serving plate are removable.  For the turkey, I made it so the turkey leg (and only the turkey leg) was removable.

The second page of this activity was much easier to complete.  I used a sheet of moss green felt (same color as the bottom 1/3 of the food page) to extend the table-top/table cloth look into page 2 of the activity.  Next, I used a contrasting color of embroidery thread to outline the table place setting.  Next, I used my label maker to create laminated labels and hot glued the labels onto their corresponding outlines on the page.  This is totally optional.  I had a label maker I wanted to use.  So, I did!  🙂

Finally, I had some extra foam alphabet letters left over from another project.  I hot glued them onto the page, creating a simple instruction on how to complete the activity….”SET THE TABLE”.

Thanksgiving: Place Setting
               For the place setting, I used grey felt to mimic the look of silverware.  I also used grey felt for the drinking glass and the folded napkin.  I used ivory felt to mimic the look of fine china for the plate.  This is where you let your creative juices flow.  Using templates I found on the internet, I cut out the various shapes I needed…FORK, KNIFE, SPOON, PLATE, NAPKIN & GLASS.  With the exception of the napkin, I cut out 2 of each shape.  I then secured the corresponding pieces together, using felt glue, matching embroidery thread and an overcast stitch.  The end result is a thick and super sturdy table setting.
NOTE:  Before securing the corresponding pieces of the plate together, I used red embroidery thread to embellish one of the plate pieces.  The second piece of felt can then be used to cover-up the back side of the embellished piece, leaving you with a neat looking “plate”.  Also, for the glass, I used fabric paint to create the look of water in the glass.  You can use another piece of felt to do this.  I had the blue paint and wanted to use it.  So, I did.  🙂
Thanksgiving: The Table Is Set
Thanksgiving: Dinner Is Served
Halloween: Finger Puppets
Halloween: Hand Puppets
Winter: Dress The Snowman
Winter: Dress The Snowman
Winter: Dress The Snowman
Hanukkah: Hand Embroidered Dreidel
Christmas:  Decorate The Christmas Tree
Christmas:  Button Ornaments
               Once the pages where finished, I then had to figure out how to bind the book together.  Honestly, I had no clue.  I watched video after video on YouTube, hoping to find a simple solution that did not require tools I did not have and that complimented the look of the book.
               First, I secured the individual pages in groups of two, back to back, using embroidery thread and a an overcast stitch–you can also use a blanket stitch ( I don’t have the patience for a blanket stitch.  If you do, then go for it).  Next, I used the method illustrated in this wonderful and ever so helpful binding tutorial I discovered on Pinterest.  Pinterest gets a gold star for this one.  This little tutorial provided the solution to my very big problem.  Thank you!!
               Because my book was a little on the thicker side (I got a little carried away and made more pages than I originally intended–oops!), I also made a little felt strap that wraps from the front to the back of the book, using a buttonhole and button to secure the strap to the back of the book.
               The strap was made by using embroidery thread and an overcast stitch to secure two pieces of felt together.  Make sure the strip of felt is long enough to wrap from the front to the back of the book, without squeezing, or squishing the book.  I used a X-ACTO knife to slice the button hole into the strip.  I then used more embroidery thread to tidy up the cut edges of the buttonhole, making it look a little more finished.  I slipped one end of strap between the front page and the inside cover before stitching them together.  Then I stitched both pages together, securing the strap between the pages.

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