The most time consuming DIY I did for Christmas was Reid’s quiet book. I did one for Nell, but hers was only a few pages and done with pictures that I already had. Reid’s was completely from scratch and although I got a lot of inspiration from Pinterest pins, I had to get my ideas from several sources and compile the ones that I thought would interest him (mainly cars and trucks). Every part was sewn by me and only a few components could be bought. The things I did need to purchase were pretty specific so that in itself was frustrating. Not only that, but it took a great deal of math-y type spatial skills that you know I have trouble with. I had to be sure the fabric I chose for the back of one page matched the front of the next page. Needless to say, it hurt my brain.On top of that, I tried to use only the fabric I had on hand and since the majority (ok ALL) the clothes I make are for baby girls, that in itself was a challenge. I did break down and buy the Hot Wheels fabric. When I saw it, I had to buy it for the cover and the car page.
I started by cutting the fabric twice as wide as I wanted each page, plus a little extra for the seam allowances. I wanted to make as few seams as possible by folding the fabric in half, right sides together lengthwise, with a piece of batting in the middle and sew the two short sides together. I then could turn it right side out, iron the seam allowances in on the 3rd (now long) side and top stitch it closed. Before I could do any sewing, though, I had to design, cut out and sew on all of the page components. A majority of the pages covered 2 sides. I had to make sure that I used the correct fabric on the right page so they would end up the same on both separate pages. I wasn’t so careful with Helena’s, although it didn’t matter as much for hers, and facing pages didn’t always match. I’m going to pretend that it doesn’t bother me and I would appreciate it if you would do the same. In hindsight, it would have been so much easier to do them all with the same fabric. Live and learn.
When I finished all the “graphics” and sewing the pages together, it was time to bind them. Originally, I planned to do it like Helena’s, but it was too thick. I used grommets instead and use loose leaf rings (I’m not sure what the real term is) to hold them together. This ended up better because I can take pages out if they need to be mended or added to. It was labor intensive, but completely worth it.
The first pages were the hook for him…roads, tunnels and firetrucks. I made the roads of felt and I stitched the white stripe with embroidery floss. I made the tunnel with a piece of felt so that it would lie flat when the book was shut. I added a railroad track, but Reid thought it was a parking lot. There is also a stop light and the blobs of color in the middle of the traffic circle are flowers, just in case you are wondering. He was not impressed with my french knots but did like the stop light.
I found the tiny cars at Target and glued snaps on the bottoms so they could be attached and not get lost. I sewed the back of the snap on a piece of elastic that I attached to the page.They were originally glued on with hot glue, but after a few day of play, they fell off. I then used super glue and that worked. It worked so well, I had to pry the snap off a little boy’s finger when he did not listen to his Mamie and leave it alone until it dried. The second attempt on the truck was successful. Reid is very careful to always snap his vehicles back in when he finishes playing.
The next page was a marble maze. I sewed a marble under some stretchy jersey and then sewed a “path” in which to move it. I didn’t want it to be too difficult so I just did a back and forth pattern. When I say too difficult, you know I mean for me and not him, right?
|The blue flecks are from the tape I used to hold the fabric in place and mark my lines.
Page 4 was a box truck with “smoke ears” (the exhaust pipes). I like the jaunty angle of them, don’t you? It was purely unintentional. They were sewn on crooked and I didn’t feel like fixing them. The zipper was from a pair of pants I didn’t wear. I made some flat “boxes” out of cardboard and also bought a few truck patches for him to load.
The next 2 pages were the construction site. That boy loves him some heavy machinery and dirt. The back of the dump truck pivots on a button to dump and snaps when carrying the load. I made sand, rocks and a pile of dirt with felt and they are kept in a felt “dirt” pocket.
The 2 pages after that were the most fun. I loved making the firetruck and burning building. After cutting out the truck and sewing it down, I added a ladder and a door. The fireman is kept behind the door. I made his removable coat, which attaches with a snap, with iron on lamination for fabrics. I never knew such existed and I LOVE it. I see lots of matching bibs in my future. I sewed buttons on the truck to hold the ladder and used metal buttons for the hubcaps so Reid could change the tires. I made the hose from a piece of elastic and the nozzle from a scrap of the laminated fabric. The flames for the building are kept in the chimney when the house isn’t on fire.
Next up, Mr. Potato Head. His “suitcase” is made from an old wool army blanket that I got from a friend (thanks Amy) and a watch band. I just cut all his parts out of felt and there you have it. I plan on making more parts to match whatever he is interested in at the moment. I’m sure a fire helmet and hard hat will be in the suitcase soon.
The last 2 pages are probably the hardest for Reid but we do enjoy playing with it as long as I do the cooking. It was the hardest for me to make, too! I cut out 2 circles for the crust and sauce to sew down. I then cut out all the ingredients and hand sewed the buttonholes on each one because the were too small to use the buttonholer on my machine. I chose buttons the matched the ingredient’s color and also varied the size of button to match the ingredient size. Only the cheese will fit on the cheese button, etc. I made the sacks from real paper bags. I used the laminating stuff on this, too (I’m telling you, it’s great stuff!) and trimmed them with pinking shears. I then just zigzagged them onto the page. I wanted each ingredient to have its own place when he wasn’t using them.
|I color coordinated the buttons with ingredient using stickers so that the placement would be balanced and nothing would overlap too much. I thought my head would explode. NEVER AGAIN.
|He really loves this book and carries it with him all the time in the car. I probably could have gone with fewer pages since the thing is as thick as a library dictionary, but I couldn’t stop myself. Now I can’t wait to make a girly one for Helena!