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Handmade Quiet Book

Want to make this quiet book for your child? It's easy! As you can see from the photo, the little ones find it very difficult to keep their hands off of it. This quiet book is slightly girlish in theme because I made it for my daughter, but you can easily make one with a boy or unisex theme. The book is completely hand sewn (I can't afford a machine) and it took roughly two to three hours per activity to sew so you can have it done in about twelve or thirteen days with the last day to sew the whole thing together if you make one activity a day. I used sheets of felt from the craft store (18 to 24 cents a sheet). I'm afraid I do not have any patterns available. I did it all from my head and I never use patterns - just cut and sew. Believe me, it's easier than it sounds.

If you do not know how to sew - hot glue works AMAZINGLY well on felt but does not look quite as nice.


These are the second and third pages of the book. Each activity is done on a single piece of felt, then two of the pieces are sewn back to back around the edges using a blanket stitch and darker colored embroidery thread. The flowers can be removed from the flower pot which is a pocket and then matched by length to its corresponding button. This is good for length matching. The stems are braided yarn and are attached inside the flower pot and between each flower and its leaf.

The next activity is hanging little items of clothing on the line. I purchased the tiny clothespins from a craft store and threaded the laundry line through the holes in the metal spring to keep them from becoming lost. When sewing the pictures onto the page, a blanket stitch looks nice sometimes, but a running stitch is much faster and easier to do.


This is an image of the front and back of the book. I typed out the title on the computer in a font that I liked and printed it out. Then I cut out the letters and used them as a pattern for the felt letters. I used a blanket stitch to sew them on. The activity in the cover is an I Spy Bag. All of the little items on the outside have a matching piece inside the bag which I filled with grain. Clean the dust out of the grain by spreading it onto the back of a towel and rolling it around for a few minutes. The towel will catch all of the dirt and dust and can be washed.


This is a dress-up doll. The pocket for the clothes is just the space between the two pages. Simply sew a zipper into the side of the page. There are a lot more little outfits than this, but I didn't have room to lay them all out. For a boy, you could do a boy doll or maybe a boy with various super hero costumes. The doll is sewn to the page with a blanket stitch and I made her hair from embroidery thread.

On the facing page, there is a felt envelope with a little Valentine from Mommy inside (embroider the words and lay another piece of the heart behind the first and stitch around the edges to hide the embroidery stitches). The cat has a bow you can tie around its neck. The caterpillar is made from a chenille stem and the thread that sews him to the page gives him his stripes. The cocoon opens with a zipper I cut from a plastic disposable toiletries bag and inside is an embroidered and beaded plush butterfly.


This first activity I will complete just before giving it to my daughter. The large pocket will hold a small pad of notepaper and the little sleeve will hold a pencil stub. Include only a 2 inch stub and be sure the pencil is not too sharp so that a child cannot become impaled on it should you have an accident while they are playing with it in the car. The facing page is an apple tree with little hooks and the apples have eyes on the back for hooking on the tree. They can be harvested and put into their little woven basket.


Here, I used the extra pieces I had left to make a weaving activity. On the facing page, there is a tic-tac-toe game with hearts and stars cut from felt.


At the end of the book is a doll with yarn hair that can be finger-combed, braided, and styled in a variety of ways. Two ribbons are strung between buttons on which to clip a collection of hair clips (I will add more before it is finished) to put in the dolls hair. For a boy, you could make a face with different eyes, noses, and mouths that can be changed out to make silly faces. On the opposite page is a lacing/stitching activity with yarn. To make the "needle," I wrapped clear packing tape tightly around one end until stiff like the end of a shoelace.

Match two pages of the same color and lay them back -to-back, then use a blanket stitch around the edges with embroidery thread. The handles and buckle strap should be two pieces sewn together to make them strong enough to hold the whole book. Once you have all of the pages, Lay them together and sew them all down the spine about 1/2 inch in using doubled-up thread. Cut a piece of felt to cover the spine and sew it around the edges using embroidery thread.

In hindsight, I would not advise doing the I Spy Bag in the book. It ended up being quite heavy and makes a large, heavy, thick pouch in the front. Still fun, but I wouldn't do it again.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 22nd, 2009 07:37 am (UTC)
I've been wanting a simple sewing project and this is perfect thank you!!!
Sep. 22nd, 2009 09:29 am (UTC)
Oh Amber.. I've read back through a lot of this journal.. why did I not know of it before?

You are my HERO, for real! you and I have a lot of things in common but a lot of things NOT in common.. I think we've understood each other well enough so far and we both have respect for each other, at least. :) My thing is humility.. I don't live as simply as you do, though I'd like to. But my days somehow end up being full just with the quest to let go, release, be humble. It's hard and will probably take my whole life to achieve, if I can. :)

I just wanted to say.. I am in wonder of your talent, creating this book (SO creative), the way you are raising A, your relationship with D, and your love of our island.

Sorry to go on.. I'm just full of aloha for you and your lovely family right now. :)
Sep. 22nd, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Awww, thanks hon :)

I sure do wish you guys could have stayed. Do you think you'll ever make it back someday?
Sep. 22nd, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
We actually still own our house out there. It's as we left it, full of furniture and junk in the closets. The bank has the foreclosure "on hold" because they don't want to commit to owning the loss, but it's nothing to us.. we've moved, the law is on our side, they'll move eventually.

If you ever need a place to stay, let me know.. we may still have a furnished HPP house sitting there. :)

I don't think we'll go back. We miss Hawaii in a very fundamental way! But family ended up calling us harder. I think we'll live with my Mom until she's gone, you know? And Pete's Mom is over 80, so we need to be here weekly for her. Our family is here, so we had to come back and be a part of life here, and it's good enough. :)

I certainly do miss the quiet of an ocean view from Hamakua though.. the pounding wavebreak at Kahena.. the ohias and uhule in our acre.. recognizing everyone you saw at Malama market in Pahoa.. rain drowning the house.. most of all we miss the tradewinds blowing through our house. We live in a white-walled box now with nothing open to nature. That's the worst.

Well, we have to be urban now, so we've decided to enjoy what we have here. That's part of humility.. which makes it all okay. I do miss seeing you, or having the chance to run into you. I'm glad we can still talk via the internet. :)
Sep. 22nd, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, Steph! I'm so so sorry! :(
Why don't you try renting the place out? If it's furnished, that's a bonus. I would be MORE than happy to help out. I could go give it a good cleaning and set the furniture up and put locks on the stuff in storage for you if you want to rent it. Any little bit of money is worthwhile, right? What about the loan help you can get from the government now?
Sep. 22nd, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
that is really nice, mama! I love it.
Sep. 22nd, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
This is beyond, beyond, beyond awesome. You are such a good mama, your daughter just might be the luckiest. I'm thinking if I start now I'll be done for Christmas! Haha. I wanted to make your walldorf doll, but this seems a bit mote within my sewing capabilities.

(Deleted comment)
Sep. 22nd, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
I've just always done it. It's pretty easy. You just put one stich in front of another until you come to the end :) I actually find it MUCH easier than machine sewing by far. It just takes a little longer.
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
The little brown pants with hearts on the knees- isn't that a project you showed earlier?
Sep. 22nd, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
By the way, I'm working on your Waldorf Doll for Christmas. I love how you write down all your projects- I always mean to and then never follow through. :)
Sep. 22nd, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Oooh! I want to see photos of the doll when you are done!
Sep. 22nd, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yes! Were you able to find the post? Here's the link:


They still fit her!
Sep. 23rd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
I was! I make similar duds for Iris all the time, but from wool sweater sleeves as covers for her (non waterproof) dipes. Pretty easy.

I am making her a little toddler-size quilt too and have the whole thing pieced and just need to quilt it. I'm making the doll after that and only then, because I'm pretty famous for starting 20 projects and never finishing any of them. :) Those wool pants I was telling you about? I hope we have a second child someday because I let most of them sit on the machine for so long that by the time I finished they only fit for a week. She grew 4 inches over the summer!
Sep. 23rd, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean about starting 20 projects at once. I'm the same way. I have to force myself to finish them when they have been sitting too long, but I DO manage to finish them at last.
Sep. 23rd, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
I do too- like I said, babe #2 will have a brand new stash of never-used hand-me-downs. :D

Between that and the people who buy Iris generous gifts of awesome wood toys- that she would have loved nine months ago- I think there's no reason NOT to reproduce, ya know? lol
Sep. 22nd, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
I love this! :) I'm going to try to make at least one for Christmas. One for a 5 year old and maybe one for my baby (for him to use when he gets older).
Sep. 23rd, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
WOW. Best quiet book EVER. For real!
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)

I've got a baby due in Feb and this is such a perfect little thing to start working on. My MIL made these for her kids to keep them entertained during Mass, and I wanted to do the the same.
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
This is awesome. I've been meaning to make a quiet book for my daughter, but the only ones I've seen were made with regular fabric, and sewing had intimidated me. But I can do felt! And I love the activities you came up with!

Maybe if I started one now, I'd have one ready for her for next Christmas (she's only 3 months now, so can't use it for a while anyway)...
Sep. 23rd, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I was wondering what material you used on the I-spy bag -- just a plastic zipper bag?
Sep. 23rd, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, I used a strong thick plastic zipper bag - the Ziploc type that are very thick like a freezer bag. I did not sew the bag to the cover. I made a pocket behind the page and slipped the bag inside of it, then sewed the pocket shut. Don't push the stitches all the way through the fabric or they will show through the cover. I make shallow stitches.
Sep. 23rd, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, felt is super easy to sew. Also, I found that hot glue works extremely well on it, so if you are pressed for time and don't care if it looks super super nice, you can hot-glue the pieces on. You could probably hot glue almost the entire book in just a couple of days.
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
i love this! i'm so gonna make one for my niece's third birthday. it's not until next summer, but i'm a very amateur sewer and will need many months to work on it. i just had a quick question, how are the outfits/tic tac toe pieces held onto the doll/board? is it only lain on or is there velcro underneath?
Oct. 1st, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Felt naturally sticks to itself fairly well. The pieces won't slide around if you just lay them on the game board.
Oct. 8th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
sorry another question...did you sew the hair on individually or in chunks?
Oct. 8th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
I sewed them on individually. I cut hairs twice the length I wanted and then tied a knot in the middle. I used a large needle to pull each end of the hairs through the scalp. I sewed the hairs on through the whole page after I had already sewn the head onto the page.

Hope that helps :)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )