Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Using up Fabric Scraps and Other Goodies: Quiet Book

About ten years ago I was asked by a coworker to make a "quiet book" for her daughter. I had never heard of such a thing, but after much Googling into what a quiet book was, I said yes. If you haven't heard of them, quiet books are activity books for young children, usually made of fabric stiffened with some kind of interfacing. The learning curve for me was steep and my first one took me over 15 hours to complete. I have made four now, and have cut my time in half, so I guess I'm improving!

I enjoyed the challenge of making these, but I also loved the fact that I was able to use up so many scraps and other bits from my craft room. Buttons, snaps, buckles, Velcro, beads... it all got put to use. I thought I'd share some of my finished pages and who knows... maybe it will inspire someone to try something similar!

All four of my quiet books included a counting page. I used cotton string and a random assortment of beads, starting from one at the top to ten at the bottom:

I also include a shape-matching page. The shapes are two layers of felt, sewn together along the edges. I sewed the Velcro to the back of one layer, then sewed the second layer on the front. This keeps the seams from the Velcro from showing. I then traced the shapes onto the page, sewed along the lines in a contrasting color of thread, and added Velcro to the centers:

One of the reasons quiet books are popular (beyond the fact that they are quiet 😉) is because it gives the kids the opportunity to practice things like buttons, snaps, buckles, and zippers. I inherited some funky buttons from my grandmother, and for years wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. Some of them found homes in these books. I used felt scraps for the flowers and balloons, and made button holes in the centers:

I didn't think of the weaving activity for the flower page, but you could easily add a woven flower pot.

For buckles, I have made both a dog collar and a life jacket, using bits of webbing and other fabric scraps:

For zippers, I once made a little camping scene with a zippered tent (with a bear inside :P). But I usually make little jackets following a pattern for 18" dolls, then simply sew the jacket onto the page:

I always include a page where the kids can practice tying shoelaces. I once made a football on a field of green for the son of a couple who are Rider fans, but I usually make little shoes by appliqueing layers of fabric and felt:

One of my favorite puzzles when I was a child were those "follow the string" ones, where the strings were a tangled mess and you had to figure out which one actually led somewhere. I used that idea to make pages like this, using some cute little fish buttons I had (the black and white bits are supposed to be flies LOL):

Another fun page to include was a marble maze. Sandwiching a marble between two layers of fabric, I drew the maze, then sewed along the lines with my machine. The idea is for the child to push the marble along the maze from beginning to end:

You could do something more interesting here, such as adding little items along the maze or in the dead ends that the child could "collect". Maybe a mouse at the start and a little mouse hole at the end, and it could collect cheese along the way.

For older children that aren't at risk of getting tangled in longer strings, I often include a two-page spread such as this:

The button is a little airplane tied to some string. There are D-rings on each cloud, and the little hangar at the bottom has a buttonhole in it where the plane can be tucked after its flight through the clouds. I have also made a bumble bee flying from flower to flower and ending at a bee hive.

Once the pages were completed, I put them back to back and sewed double-fold bias tape around each pair. I then used some of the leftover bits of bias tape to make the hinges for each set of pages.

For the cover I used denim, decorated with whatever bits of trim I had laying around:

For the closure I have used heavy magnets (sometimes wrapped in several layers of fabric if they were too strong for little hands), large snaps, and in one book I used a buckle from an old purse. I then added a handle made from a few scraps of denim. Once the cover was completed, I sewed bias tape around the edges, then sewed the hinged pages into the center.

What are your favorite ways of using up scraps of fabric and notions? Please let us know in the comments!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

We are CLOSED March 27 & April 3

Due to growing concerns over increasing COVID-19 variant cases in Regina, we will be closing the next two Saturdays to encourage people to stay at home and to help keep our volunteers safe from exposure. Online shopping and donation appointment booking will be suspended until we re-open. However, online ordering can still take place on our online store, so we hope you can consider making monetary donations or buying a membership but curbside orders like mystery bags will not be fulfilled until after April 3. Shop our ONLINE STORE.

We will assess re-opening in two weeks time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Sales in March for Members + Shoppers

We are trying to clear out some supplies from our shelves and we need your help! We are running special weekly promotions each Saturday exclusively for members, but ALL shoppers from March 6-27 can take home a FREE art book per $10 of purchases (spend $20 get 2 books, spend $30 get 3 books, etc).

Exclusive March Sales for Members
  • March 6 - Free Reusable Mask with Any Bag Size Purchase (limited to 1 mask per member during the sale)
  • March 13 - Free Green Items for St. Patrick's Day (no limit in items but the item colour not packaging must contain green or green tones/shades)
  • March 20 - Bag One Get One on all Frames (no limit with frame sizes)
  • March 27 - Free Easter Themed Supplies (items included in the sale will be placed in a special location in the shop)
Not a member yet? It is only $20/year and you get access to special sales and events throughout the year. Go to our online shop to Buy a Membership (Saskatchewan residents only) or buy a membership when you come in to shop in March!