I have a few crafting BFFs in town and they recently persuaded me to join in a collaborative project to create quiet books for our toddlers. Though I was a bit reluctant to join in the fun with the baby coming, this project was a really fun undertaking and was a blast to do with my girlfriends. We swapped pages last weekend over sparkling apple cider and other sweets (thanks ladies!) and discussed the process of creating these books.
Thanks to Pinterest, my girlfriends found a ton of inspiration for our quiet books. We each made four pages three times, so we ended up with twelve total pages for our books. We made each page with a muslin background and the raw pages measured 8.5 x 10.5 inches (once they are sewn together they measure approximately 8 x 10). Most of the pages were constructed with felt, though some have Pellon added to the back to make certain elements stiffer. We gave ourselves three months to construct and assemble the pages.
Here are the pages I constructed:
I made this androgynous so our kiddos could dress it as a boy or girl (mostly so I didn’t have to create two dolls on the page). There is Velcro on the feet, underwear, tank top, and head so shoes, pants/shorts/shoes, shirts/dresses, and hair can be added. You can see the four options I created for hair. I found inspiration at this site.
This is to store the clothing items for the dress-up doll. Given Nora’s fascination with zippers, it should be a fun page for her.
My girlfriends laughed a bit when I said I’d like to do a potato, but as an Idahoan, I just had to! I made two sets of each body part, one inspired by the Mr. and the other the Mrs. Potato Head. I sewed a pocket out of muslin on the bottom of the page to store the pieces. A great template for the body and some of the body parts can be found here.
I used an applique fusible web to adhere the grass and flower stems. The flowers can be unbuttoned and stored in the middle of the grass (I cut away the web to make a section that did not adhere to the muslin.) The kids should match the flower to the matching button. Here’s the page I used for inspiration.
Here are the pages made by Lisa (the one who spearheaded the project):
This house has peek-a-boo windows and a door that our kids can lift to see members of their family and themselves. Lisa used a scrapbook page to make the photo holders. This is a great page for toddlers because they can play with it right away.
This page has hair that can be braided. A pocket holds hair clips and other facial features, such as different colored eyes. Here’s another inspiration page.
This gorgeous page features barn doors that open with finger puppets that are held in the barn with elastic. So far, this is one of Nora’s favorite pages. Check out this page for more info on the barn and this one for how to make cute finger puppets.
Each balloon, attached with Velcro, is meant to be matched with the right color. Another good page for the young toddler crowd.
And here are the pages made by Liss (who, makes one crazy-awesome abacus!):
The mailbox opens, revealing letters inside, made of Pellon. The flag can be raised or lowered thanks to a brad. Here’s another page that resembles this mailbox.
Shapes and colors.
This page features shapes of different colors to be matched to their counterparts using snaps. Right now the snaps are new and very strong, so it might be something that gets better over time once the snaps loosen a bit. I love that Liss used pinking shears for the white background. Here’s a similar page.
Here’s the page where our kids are going to learn how to zip their clothes, tie their shoes, and unbuckle their harnesses (oh, the horror!). Nora’s been studying the buckle in her booster seat for some time, so I hope this one captivates her for hours! The adorable shoe has grommets for the shoelace, so it”s a close resemblance to our favorite Converse shoes. Here’s another page featuring a similar shoe.
This is the tour-de-force of the whole book, in my opinion, and a perfect opening page, since each abacus features the kid’s name. I told Liss this page could be a gift on its own for a new baby since it’s so visually attractive and fun to play with. Nora has already enjoyed playing with the beads. I know Liss went to great lengths to secure the ribbon, and she used Pellon to stiffen the background. Here’s one and another one, but none compare hers!
We swapped raw pages so each of us could finish the books according to our wishes. To stiffen the pages once they were sewn together, I sandwiched a piece of white felt in between them and then edged stitched the sewn-together finished pages. My quiet book is bound with binder clips so new pages can be added. I have yet to finish the cover of my quiet book, but we created nameplates and signed them to mark our collaborative project.
This wasn’t a cheap or easy project, but the finished project is absolutely amazing and, we hope, will keep our kids occupied for hours!