So, I’ve seen these Quiet Books or Busy Books all over Pinterest and Etsy lately, and I couldn’t believe the prices. I mean, how hard could it be? Turns out it’s not that easy, they’re extremely time consuming and can be rather costly to make.
I felt like my girls really needed one of these to fight over on our flight back to the mainland, so I decided to make one myself. Having no sewing machine in Hawaii, the plan was to sew everything by hand. After doing some research, I bought sheets of felt, embroidery thread, buttons, ribbon,….(you get the idea)…., and went to work.
I averaged about a page a day, which I’m proud of. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s my own creation and I put in as much effort as I was willing to. If I make another, I’ll spend a little more time perfecting the thing, since I’ll know it’s not a lost cause. I’ve learned a lot through this process. First things first, make sure your felt pages are all the same size before you start, also decide what size you’d like your pages to be ahead of time (I never intended for mine to be so large, but I got ahead of myself.). Making a plan first is always a good idea.
What I intended to be the last page ended up as the first page. Why? Because when I went to put the book together, everything was on the wrong side. I expect this has something to do with my dyslexia (I have a type that causes me to see everything backwards.), but I should have planned ahead and laid it all out first.
I did not pay particularly close attention to straight lines. I cut everything out without a pattern or stencil. I actually prefer the untidy look of uneven seams, this way when I mess up I don’t have to go back and fix it. No one will ever know.
On this page, the flowers button on and off the stems. I’ve seen several ways of doing this, but since I’m doing everything by hand, I just sewed up the button holes to keep them from ripping.
Peek-a-boo Tiger is on the next page, and I’m pretty proud of this guy. I found craft fur scraps in the clearance section at Wal-mart, and magically turned them into a tiger. Don’t ask me how it happened. I wasn’t aware of this talent ahead of time.
On the opposite page is the Panda, and it didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as I was hoping. Panda’s seem simple, but apparently they’re more complicated than tigers. At least it’s super soft, like maybe the softest thing you’ve ever touched. Another shout out to the Wal-mart clearance section.
Sushi was a must for this book, even though I wasn’t sure how to pull it off. I seriously considered making actual felt sushi, like I’ve seen on Pinterest. You know, the life-sized versions for kids to play with. I finally came to my senses and chose a different route. I would make flat versions, mostly because I’m doing this all by hand, plus that could potentially take forever. The bowl for the sushi was much easier than expected, which was a nice surprise.
I loved the idea of a clock. I saw several on my little Pinterst research project. My preschooler is still learning to tell time, so this part is perfect for her. I sewed the hands on the clock like the flowers on the front of the book, this way you can turn them easily around the button in the middle.
Okay, now for the inspiration for the whole book; the doll’s room. Before I did anything, I made a doll, which took as long as a full page normally takes. This is her book, or at least that’s what my 4 year old has to say about it. She’s been kind enough not to mention how crooked the bed is. I made a chest of drawers and chose to have it swing open, with the dolls clothes inside. I have since decided to store the dolls clothes with her in her pocket on the back of the book, otherwise they fall out all over the place.
On to the doll’s yard. I really over thought this page. I thought it was just going to be too hard, because I was trying to add too many elements. I finally decided it wasn’t going to be just like the books I’d seen for sale online. I used an old onsie (that was falling apart) for the snaps. I just cut the snaps off and sewed them directly to the felt tree and the buttons. They’re holding up great, and I didn’t have to go buy anything.
Back to the doll, here she is in her nice little pocket on the back.
The pocket is the only fabric on the book, and is recycled from the same onsie as the snaps on the tree.
Stay tuned for a tutorial on the next book I make. I was really thinking this would be a disaster, so I didn’t think to take pictures along the way. I hope you find some inspiration though. I know I found lots of inspiration through pictures of other quiet books.