Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Complete Quiet Book

So I am warning you now, there are a lot of pictures, a few details and some lessons learned.  This isn't meant to be a tutorial, just a "this is what I did, maybe you will be inspired".  I found several great blogs for quiet book ideas.  A lot of them had really detailed tutorials and instructions.  I read a lot of those and then went forward on my own and came up with my own blend of things I read about.

I didn't want to use felt because I don't think it wears really well over time.  I also have a lot of cotton fabric so I just used my stash.  I bought 3 yrds Peltex 70 for my pages and a yard of thick double sided adhesive interfacing for a lot of my pieces. (I couldn't find any information but I think it was something about 73?)  Heat'n'Bond is a must, and lots of it.  I used a lot of thread, like I bought at least 8 spools of different colors, some I didn't use up completely but I did go through several spools of white and black because I "bound" the edges of my pages.  I used velcro and buttons for most of my fasteners and both large and small eyelets.  I bought a bunch of buttons because I didn't have any fun ones. I used ink-jet transfer pages for both white and colored material for all my lettering.  I only bought one piece of fabric for this project and I didn't really need too.  I did get a few beads for the number page as well.

 This was not an inexpensive project.  I would say if you are only thinking of making one to save on cost, spend the money and get a nice one because it takes a lot of time and a lot of money.  It took me at least one full day to finish a page not including all the research and development ideas.  I did mostly machine applique and basically just hand sewed the buttons.

Well, here are the pages:

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? 

Pretty straight forward but it was difficult to do the applique on the accessories as they were small.  I sewed Velcro onto really small buttons for the buttons on his chest.  The arms are wired twine and then I wrapped the bottoms in duct tape and made a little pocket for them on the torso. 

Simple Math

This page is pretty standard but I wanted Jonathan and Charlotte to be able to use this to practice Math Facts next Fall.   We have two sets of numbers from 1-20 in the pouch as well as a plus and minus sign.  I glued embroidery floss on the back of the page after threading it through the eyelets with beads on it to create my "abacus".  All the numbers were made using the transfer sheets. 

Tie Your Shoe 

Just a real shoelace for them to practice tying.  I decided to orient them this way to simulate them tying their own shoes.

Carve Your Jack'O Lantern

The pumpkin is a pouch for holding the face pieces.  It is made of the Peltex and I used the double sided adhesive interfacing for the pieces. I had considered doing a page for each holiday and decided against it.  You could make an entire quiet book just about holidays.  The shapes are fastened with Velcro.

Animal Shapes

 This was one of my favorite Pinterest finds.  I made up the templates from a book I'd seen for purchase on Etsy and I think it turned out well.

Tic Tac Toe

What you see is what you get.  There are two Velcro strips on the back for keeping the pieces when not playing.

Cupcakes by Numbers

This page is by far my favorite.  I love the different colors and details.  There is a symbolic representation, the word and the visual representation of each number.  Just pull them all out of their wrapper and match them up.

Let's go Fly a Kite

This page is about patterns.  You use the colored shapes to make patterns on the kite strings.  I should have left more room under the buttons.  Charlotte helped me sew on the buttons on this page.

What time is it?

I'm really proud of how well this page came together.  This was another Pinterest find that just worked, once I got the numbers figured out. The hands can move to whatever time you want. The minutes underneath the petals can help the kids visually learn the minute correlation to the clock face in a way that hopefully won't make them dependent on it. 

Buckle it up, Snap it and zip it

This is just some dexterity skills.  I actually really proud of my treasure map, the pieces are simple but tiny.  That kind of applique is hard.  A friend gave me the mirror paper so adding a snap to that was perfect.

Paint with Color

This one I goofed on a little bit but that's ok.  I meant to have the color names on the palette not on the color pieces and the point would have been to match the color pieces in the crayon pockets with the color name on the palette.  Now you just match the blob to the crayons.  A little easier but hey, the kids don't care and they still learn something, right?

Updo anyone?

My girls love this page, go figure.   I glued the yarn on instead of sewing it.  I think it will stay on better.  The hairpieces are clipped onto a ribbon I glued and sewed into the borders.

Meet, Alphabet, the Catapillar

I used the transfer sheets here to put the lower case letters under the removable upper case letter pieces.  I'm hoping it will help the kids better learn to identify upper and lower case versions of the letters.  I'm hoping it also helps with b vs d and p vs q confusions. 

2-player Blokus-style Game

I modeled this after a favorite game of our family.  I wanted to kids to be able to interact a bit with each other, especially Hannnah and Jonathan.  Charlotte and Jonathan tried this out the other day and the size worked better than I had anticipated.  The Velcro on the back makes these one directional but it still works nicely.  This is even something Hyrum and I could use.

My mother-in-law, a long time ago offered to make me a quiet book page.  I am really particular so I asked if she would be willing to make me a cover instead and she did.  She has made it to fit a three ring binder. You simply slip the covers into pockets and then zip the whole thing shut keeping it together and relatively compact.  Finding a binder to fit the cover was tricky but I finally found one.  I made 15 pages so there is a lot of bulk here, but it fits!!  I used large eyelets to create the holes for the pages.

I love the pockets she put on the inside  and the exterior fabric fits so well.

In addition to the pages, I made three marble mazes.  I placed a small glass stone inside two pieces of material and then sewed a maze on it.  It is completely self contained and no marble to lose.  Yes, another Pinterest find.  There are great tutorials online.  These came together in about 5-7 minutes each.

I also used my scrap materials to make a memory game.  This can all fit into the quiet book binder, though I might make another bag for things like the memory game and mazes along with some crayons, a coloring book, and a few other activities. 

It all turned out so well and I am so relieved it is done.  I looked at my list of things to accomplish in the coming months and a huge burden lifted as I realized everything else is pretty simple compared to this project. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kids' Bedrooms Mostly Done!

After I finished Hannah's bedroom this Fall I decided the other kids' rooms also needed a facelift.  So In February I started the process.

I started by taking down all the window treatments and wall decorations and filling the multitude of holes on their walls.  I am a terrible precision painter so I taped everything up after thoroughly wiping down the walls.  Then it was time to paint.  We tried several colors on Jonathan's walls before we decided on a darker blue gray.  I knew I wanted green for Charlotte and Spencer and after trying several shades, I found a bright green I love.  At first I was a little worried but it is so bright and cheery, it just makes me happy.  The kids really like their colors too.

We love those curtains
I got the painting done and took a couple weeks off then Hyrum and I mounted shelves and curtain rods.  With Jonathan and Ben's room we went for an engineering theme.  I found an etsy shop that has blueprints so we ordered several of those and framed them.  They look great and really reflect Jonathan.

Lego man, Millenium Falcon, Bridge

For Charlotte and Spencer I wanted to make some wooden decorations with some color and I fell in love with animal silhouettes so we decided to go with African big game.   They turned out well, just a little snaller than I wanted so I'm going to move them and figure something else out for the big wall in their room, maybe vines and a monkey, Charlotte really wants a monkey.

Jonathan chose the Laie Temple for the boys' room and Charlotte and Spencer have a twilight picture of the Salt Lake Temple.  They both also have a picture of the Savior in their rooms.

It feels so good to have them finished and looking so much better than before.  It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do. 

The color is much better in person.
 There still a couple of things I want to do but the majority of the work is done and they love having spaces that are really their own.   Slowly but surely this house is beginning to reflect us. 

Happy Spring!!

Tulips and Hyacinth in one of my flower beds

My bulbs have come up and they make me happy.  Unfortunately they are now under snow.  I love how the world comes alive after the winter.  Here, the first signs of Spring are the daffodils and the forsythia.   I love the splashes of color amidst the dead and dormant plants.  I hope Spring comes in Earnest soon though.  I am so over being cold!

April Fool's Day

We're not generally celebrators of April Fool's Day, but I do love to make at least one thing for dinner that is something other than what it seems.  I had a whole menu planned but only executed these tasty morsels.

Divinity mixture
Fondant mixture
I made Irish potato candy.  After my recent homemade candy success I decided to try a more involved recipes.  This one required Divinity and fondant. I made the each individual candy and then added melted chocolate chips and walnuts.  You then roll your "potatoes" in a mixture of powdered sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder.  At first they were a little weird with the cocoa and cinnamon but over times they had a nice cinnamon flavor without much of the cocoa.  The kids loved them. 

Divinity setting up

All ready to roll
 I made Irish potato candy.  After my recent homemade candy success I decided to try a more involved recipes.  This one required Divinity and fondant. I made the each individual candy and then added melted chocolate chips and walnuts.  You then roll your "potatoes" in a mixture of powdered sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder.  At first they were a little weird with the cocoa and cinnamon but over times they had a nice cinnamon flavor without much of the cocoa.  The kids loved them. 

Little potatoes ; )

I put one on everyone's plates and the kids came in and of course started asking questions.  They weren't sure what to think until Jonathan came in and could smell the cinnamon.  The light bulb went on for Hannah and they had a good laugh about their potatoes. 

Grandma comes to Town

Hyrum's mom was in Columbus for Easter and so she decided to extend her trip and include a stop at our house.  She was great to play with the kids and try to create special moments with them.  We talked a lot and it was just good to be together.  We missed Gordon and of course the rest of the family but we were glad to have Grandma. 

(Yes I forgot to take any pictures.  But she was here)

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Easter always brings a lot of introspection for me.  Hyrum and I talk about how we can better help our children understand and apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives.  It's an opportunity to recommit to live a life worthy of a disciple of Christ. 

I am so grateful for our Savior and His sacrifice.  It's hard to put into words but I know it is real and I know it is available to every person on this Earth.  I know that Jesus Christ is the only source of true and lasting peace. 

Happy Easter, Hallelujah.

Spring Break Candy Making

Our kids only have a few days off for Spring Break so while I had a lot still to do on some projects I decided I would dedicate some time each day to doing something with my kids.  We ended up making candy two days and dying Easter eggs.  I have fond memories of making Easter chocolates with my mom.  It consisted of melting colored chocolate candies and pouring it in the molds.  Pretty simple right?  Let's just say, my mom was a saint to let us make that big of mess in her kitchen. 

The kids and I made peanut butter eggs, chocolate truffle eggs and coconut eggs.  Then I tried my hand at homemade fondant eggs.  I let the kids choose their favors and we added color to them.  We had Grape, mint, strawberry and raspberry.  They were all loved and I think Hyrum really liked the grape ones.  The kids had fun kneading their fondant to get the color and flavor throughout.  We shaped them and then put them in the fridge to harden a bit then we dipped them in milk and dark chocolate.  The fondant was pretty easy and simple to make. 

Texas Independence Day

Texas celebrates their declaration of independence from Mexico on March 2.  We celebrate it because well, we lived in Texas and who doesn't like BBQ right?  I only took a picture of the food but it was tasty and we shared it with some friends of our.  It's always a fun tradition and a random way to celebrate life with friends here. 

We enjoyed grilled chicken and I also made a pretty mean brisket if I do say so myself.  The kids played and ate to their hearts content.  Friends and food, it's what Texas is all about!!

Yes, that is snow.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Service Project and a New Pattern

A friend is making a quilt for a mother who lost her daughter in a car accident while serving a mission for our church and she asked for a bit of help.  These are two of the blocks I helped make, though I did have to unpick these two since I cut them wrong to start off.

The pattern we used is on this cute blog.  There are plenty of free patterns and tutorials and it's just a fun place to look around if quilting is something you enjoy.   These blocks were super easy and really cute.  I envision a quilt and matching pillow covers.