Birthday Week: The Quiet Book
UPDATE from 10/11: I started a second quiet book!
At last! I can share Eleanor’s Quiet Book with the world!
I began looking for a quiet book (that I could just purchase for her) around Christmas. I never found anything that was as sturdy as I wanted or had the types of pages I was looking for. I knew I wanted a zipper, buttons, snaps and some kind of velcro page. I’d basically given up. Then I came across the Piece and Quiet pattern from The Quilted Fish. While it didn’t necessarily match exactly what I had in mind for the pages, it definitely had the type of construction I was looking for! (I will not share with you the number of people that thought I’d lost my mind! You know who you are! )
I got the pattern in early April. Thank goodness our kids have early bedtimes! This became my pet project (read: I was obsessed) and I’d work on it each night for a while (read: stayed up very late!).
Enough talking. Let’s have a look at this book!
Some of the pages I did just like the pattern and some I made up or modified from things I’d seen online.
The pink Chuck Taylor is my own interpretation of the pattern’s “old woman who lives in a shoe” page (or Mi Casa es Shoe Casa) I found several images of Converse All-Stars online and made up a template from those. Then I added grommets and used printable fabric to create the logo.
The carrot page is exactly like the pattern. All of the carrots and the dirt pockets are hand embroidered. By far the most time consuming page. The house I made up on my own (with the idea coming from Jacquie!) The windows are actually flap pockets and have little fabric versions of our family that can be moved around to different windows or behind the front door.
These two are exactly like the pattern design. An awesome eye spy page and flowers that button on! The only exception is that on the Eye Spy page, I actually enclosed the magnet inside the pieces, rather than have raw edges of fabric showing. Hopefully this shows what I’m talking about. It shows the pieces right before I folded and sewed down the edges. Thank goodness for invisible thread!
The eye spy page was one that initially gave me fits. I don’t have many “novelty” fabrics and cringed at the thought of getting the ones you see at JoAnn. Luckily, Jacquie staged an intervention! With a little help from her and from my mom, I was able to come up with the 30 sets of matching squares to create a page that is not only fun, but also CUTE! Just look at all of that Heather Ross!!
Neither of these next pages are in the original pattern, but one is close. The balloons are a spin off from the clown page in the pattern. The mailbox is my own. The red flag goes up and down and there is velcro holding the mailbox closed. Every day when I get home from school with the kids, Eleanor helps me go to the mail box to “get the papers!” Now she has one of her own.
But what use is a mailbox without a little mail? Richie and I each wrote a short “letter” to Eleanor and I printed them on printable fabric (including her name and address with a little stamp image on the back!). Then I sandwiched them around a layer of double sided fusible Peltex and stitched down the edges. SOOOO much easier than it sounds. Promise.
He’s not lying about the dancing. You should see the dance parties they have together.
This set of pages is her current favorite! “I have to finish the puzzle. Let’s do it again,” she’ll say. The doll on the right is straight from the Moda Bake Shop. I saw that idea posted and loved it, and just decided to combine it with the quiet book. The suitcase is my own idea, and it’s packed with all of the clothes from the Bake Shop pattern (which is really well written, by the way!).
The suitcase has travel “stickers” that are fused and stitched down using more printable fabric. Eleanor loves using the zipper.
And, finally, the piggy bank page. Eleanor keeps telling me that her fake quarters are “very, very shiny.”
I had so much fun making this for her. Yes, it was a ton of work. Yes, I know I’ll have to do it all over again for Graham (I actually have two of his done- working assembly line style as I did Eleanor’s). For Graham’s I’ll have to cut out the flower page- I am planning a button down basketball, football and baseball instead. And I’m thinking planets instead of balloons on the snap page.
I can see why Amanda, who created the pattern, decided to make a pattern instead of continue to make and sell them. It’s definitely time consuming. But not at all impossible! The only major construction modification that I made was to eliminate the use of raw edges/blanket stitching. I just added a little more fabric around everything and folded it under to stitch it down.
Her pattern really is a great one and it’s easy to modify pages to fit your own kiddo. Even if you don’t think you’ll use the same page designs as hers, I recommend buying it for the basic construction alone. I found her at Market and thanked her for making the pattern. (As promised, Amanda, here it is!)
The reward of seeing Eleanor play with a gift that doesn’t take batteries (!!!) and will be passed down to her own kids is simply awesome. I can’t even describe it.
However, Eleanor gave us a little lesson on what’s really important. Toward the end of her cake-induced sugar high, Richie and I were getting her ready for bed. I asked her what I thought was a simple question. Here’s what happened:
Me: “Eleanor, what was your favorite thing today at your party?” (Expected answer, ‘my bicycle’ or ‘my playhouse’, etc)
Eleanor: “Um, my favorite thing was giving hug and kiss and hug.”
Richie and I looked at each other. Of course, Eleanor. You’re right.
Today, Eleanor turns two! Happy birthday, Eleanor Rose!
NOTE: I receive requests about once a week from readers asking if they can buy one of these from me. I am so sorry, but I do not make things to sell. In addition, the hours in this project would make it a very expensive bit of labor to pay for. I would encourage you to purchase the Piece and Quiet Book pattern from The Quilted Fish (link included later in this post).