Halloween Peek-A-Boo Book

Seriously... I was just sane enough to finish TWO quiet books, but here I am, doing it again!  But how could I resist?!  Halloween is all about the kids!  Little Man knows nothing about Halloween, and this will be the first year he really understands and remembers it somewhat.  So I wanted to make a little peek-a-BOO to show him what Halloween is all about.  Little Man loves playing peek-a-boo and loves reading peek-a-boo books.  What better time to bust out the BOO's than on Halloween?!
First of all, I cut the fabric for my 6 peek-a-boo flaps.  I bought the cheapest Halloween fabric I could find, and cut out squares that are about 3.5 inches by 4 inches.  I planned 6 simple pages--nothing fancy--but I liked the idea of being able to add to this if I wanted to later on.
It's hard to see in this picture, but I decided I wanted the peek-a-boo flaps to have a bit of crunchy sound!  I cut out a square of plastic gift wrap and pinned it all together!  I pinned right sides together, with the plastic square underneath.  I sewed almost all the way around, flipped it inside out, punched out the corners, and then top-stitched around the entire flap.  I did this 6 times for each peek-a-boo flap.
Now for the fun part!  I cut out some cute Halloween images using my handy-dandy cricut.  I discovered this incredible site for Halloween clip art.  Because the images are already silhouettes, they were easy to cut out on the cricut using my Sure Cuts A Lot software!  Score!  Because cutting fabric on the cricut requires using a layer of Heat-N-Bond, the cut images ironed right on to the center of my pages!  
I used white squares of muslin left over from the quiet book as the pages.  They were 6 inches by 6 inches.  Next, I sewed the peek-a-boo flaps so they would cover the images.  I zigzagged the flaps so they would endure all of the turning over and over!  I sewed some flaps on the right, some on the left, some on the top, and some on the bottom!  I like to switch things up!
I made a front and back cover out of more fabric left over from... yes, the quiet book!  I also cut the title out of fabric using the cricut.  My Mama taught me that Heat-N-Bond isn't quite enough over the long run, so I sewed over all of the fabric ironed on!
Now it's time to sew the pages together!  Just like the quiet book, I wanted some stiffness to the pages.  So I sewed a layer of interfacing in between pages.  I sewed 2 pages together, right to right together, with interfacing underneath.  Flip it inside out (this is a little tricky because the pages are so stiff!) and top-stitch all the way around.
Voila!  Now I inserted the eyelets and bound it all together with a book ring!  Of course the book ring looked awfully bare without some ribbon to brighten it up!
Try not to too scared!  Peek-a-BOO!  Here's a sweet little ghost...
And a jack-o-latern...
Frankenstein is awfully cute, I think!
One of my personal favorites:  The witch on her broomstick!
And her friend, the black cat...

And what would Halloween be without bats?!  
Little Man LOVES this book!  It's simple, it's sweet, and he loves lifting the flaps!  It keeps him busy in his crib just after he wakes up from his nap while I put away all of my craft supplies!  I think this took me about 4 hours start to finish, and I only had to purchase the orange fabric for a dollar or two.  Keep in mind, I'm a slow poke, and if you only knew how many oopseys I make along the way!
Have a BOO-tiful day!!  

Themed I-Spy Bags

In case you missed my guest post at Blue Cricket Design here are my I-Spy bags!
It might be the teacher in me, but I adore the idea of I-Spy bags!  What a clever idea to keep those kiddos quiet and happy in church, at the doctor's office, or in the car.  Plus they are educational!  That makes Mom happy, too.  My Little Man can always use some fresh ideas to help keep him quiet and occupied.  

You will need:
* Vinyl.  Just a few inches will be plenty.
* Fabric scraps.
* Poly pellets.  
* Small toys or items to be "spyed."
* Wonder Under (not pictured).
* Sewing machine and supplies.
First, cut out your fabric.  I chose to make themed I-Spy bags, so I cut out a barn to spy farm animals.  I folded my fabric in order to cut out a front and back for my barn.
To create the window, I folded the front part of the barn in half and cut a square shape.  You can make this as large or small as you choose.
Now cut out a piece of vinyl that is at least an inch or two larger than the window on all sides.  This will make sewing the vinyl much easier!

In order to hold the vinyl firmly in place while sewing, I ironed Wonder Under scraps all along the areas where the vinyl overlapped the fabric (shown by arrows).  Without the Wonder Under, the vinyl will simply stick to the foot of your sewing machine!  The Wonder Under will become your best friend.
Next, sew the outer edges where the vinyl meets the fabric.  I sewed a straight line and reinforced it with a zigzag stitch all the way around.  To prevent fraying, I also sewed the inner square right around the window.  Again, sew a straight line followed by a zigzag line.  You will need to do all of your sewing on the wrong side of the fabric.
Now for the fun part!  I decided to embellish the front and back of my barn.  I used some ricrac, ribbon, felt, and fabric scraps.
Let's make a barn!  Pin wrong sides together, and sew all the way around leaving an opening to turn the barn inside out.  Be sure to sew a ribbon scrap into the seam.  This will hold your "I Spy" list. To turn your bag inside out, use something long and pointy like a pencil to punch out the corners as much as possible.
Now, add your toys to the bag.  Be sure to keep a list of what you add because you'll want to tell your child what to look for!
Add the poly pellets.  I think the easiest way to do this is by using a funnel.  Less mess, less stress!  You don't need to fill the bag too full, but you do want to cover the toys inside!
Now, sew up your opening with a blind stitch.
Now create a list of items inside the I-Spy bag.  I laminated mine for extra durability.  Punch a hole in the corner and thread it through the ribbon.  Sew a ribbon loop to keep the list nice and snug!  All done!
This entire project took me about 45 minutes from start to finish, with a few "oopseys" in between and documenting the process as I went along!  This project was so simple and so fun, I had to make another one!  I made a fish I-Spy bag with ocean animals inside!  I already have plans to make an ABC bag and a transportation bag in the near future, too.
Helpful Hint
You can vary the difficulty of a I-Spy bag by varying the following:
*The size of your window 
* The size of the toys inside (very small toys and very big toys are harder to detect!)
* The amount of toys and poly pellets
Happy crafting!

Create With Me: Fabric Pumpkins

We all know and love the fabulous Kari at UCreate!  Well, she had a brilliant idea!  She plans a craft each month that everyone can make and share--just like an online craft club!  She calls this "Create With Me!"  I adore this idea, and my jaw dropped when she planned September's craft:  Fabric pumpkins!  
I actually followed this very tutorial to create my own fabric pumpkins last year.  I think of these pumpkins so fondly... they are my 7 happy little friends.  Last fall, I really ventured into my "crafty" side, and these pumpkins really made me fall in love with crafting.  I even whipped up another set of pumpkins for a friend!  So they are definitely among my favorite craft of all time!  Just looking at them makes me want to make more...
This is my favorite pumpkin!  I love how the fabric gives it texture.  It's the perfect pumpkin size, too.... I want to pick a real pumpkin just like this one!  :)
I didn't use the fancy fabrics that Holly originally used in her tutorial!  I shopped JoAnn's red tag fabrics, and I love all of the variety of colors and patterns.
Don't they just look happy sitting on the strand of leaves?!
Each pumpkin is tied with a little ribbon bow.
Okay, if these pumpkins don't make you feel "Fallish", I don't know what will!!  You can follow Holly Brimhall's tutorial by clicking here.  These are fun and easy to sew!  Have fun!

The Quiet Book Makes Its Debut!

My friends, I thought today might never come.  When I decided months ago to tackle the quiet book, I think I was a bit ambitious--or perhaps crazy!  I planned 20 detailed pages for my book, and attempted to finish one page each week.  Page by page, piece by piece, the pages came together and I have been dying to show you the finished product!  I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to have actually finished this big (more like enormous!) project!  
No, you aren't seeing double!!  By the time I painstakingly finished each page, with each and every tiny velcro piece, I realized my book would be enormously thick!  I finally decided to make TWO quiet books.  This way, Little Man won't tire of the same book over and over... I can alternate which quiet book I bring with us to church, the doctor's office, or even on a road trip!!  I can also switch out pages and create a whole new combination of quiet book fun!

So come take a peek inside the books with me!  I will share some helpful hints at the end of this post...

{Just click pictures to enlarge}
Build a Hamburger Page
Skill:  Decision making, food knowledge, imaginative play.
Using burger accessories stored in the McDonald's bag, you can build your own hamburger, complete with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.  Accessories are secured with velcro.
Ladybug Page
Skill:  Buttoning.
The ladybug's spots can be buttoned and unbottoned.
Stoplight Page
Skill:  Matching colors, learning about traffic rules.
This page was the first page I tackled because it was the easiest!!  You can match the green, yellow, and red stop light colors to the stop light using velcro.

Road Page
Skill:  Motor skills, imaginative play.
A matchbox car, attached with string, is parked in the garage.  You can drive the car around the little neighborhood.

Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head
Skill:  Knowing body parts, practice with dressing.
This is still my favorite page!!  There is a bare potato body sewed on the page, and you can secure the spud face and accessories with velcro.  Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head have a variety of accessories, and I love that I can continue to make more!  You can see this page in detail here.

Basket of Accessories!
Skill:  Using clothes pins.
This page is directly next to the Potato Heads.  All of the extra accessories are stored in the basket, and you can hang them up by clothes pins also.  
This is how the 2 pages look next to each other.
Balloon Page
Skill: Snapping, knowledge of shapes, matching.
Shape balloons are matched and secured using snaps.  The ribbon can also be tied and untied.

Counting Page
Skill:  Counting.
Beads are used to count the watermelon seeds by sliding the beads from one side of the ribbon to another.

Peek-A-Boo Bus Page
Skill:  Motor skills, guessing/predicting.
Behind each window and each wheel, I sewed vinyl windows.  I slid pictures into each window so you can open and close the flaps to play peek-a-boo like this:

Telephone Page
Skill:  Imaginative play, snapping, number knowledge.
The phone receiver, attached with a curly shoe string, can be snapped to the phone receiver.  You can pick up the phone receiver and have pretend phone calls!

Tic Tac Toe
Skill:  Reasoning/logic
The playing mat is also a pocket so that the X's and O's store neatly inside.  You can play tic tac toe quietly all through church if you wish... Mr. Daisy and I tested it out today!

Baseball Page
Skill:  Motor skills, matching.
The baseball and bat can be removed and matched using velcro.  You can put your hand inside the leather baseball glove!

Chick-a Chick-a Boom Boom
Skill:  ABC's.
The coconut letters are stored on the next page.  The letters can be added to the coconut tree, attached with velcro.

Boat Page
Skill:  Zipping.
The coconut letters are stored inside the boat, which is opened with a zipper.  Here is a view of the 2 pages side by side:

Barn Page
Skill:  Imaginative Play.
The barn doors open to a pocket full of barn animal finger puppets!  (That is the one thing I still have left to do!)

Ice Cream Page
Skill:  Imaginative Play, knowledge of food.
The food truck is opened with a flap that holds numerous other ice cream flavor scoops.  You can build your own ice cream cone by securing your scoops with velcro.

Clock Page
Skill:  Telling time, number skills.
The minute hand and hour hand rotate, and can spin to tell a new time!
Gumball Machine
Skill:  Matching colors.
Gumballs are matched by color, using velcro to secure them in place.

Tie A Shoe Page
Skill:  Tying shoes.
The shoe can be tied and untied.

Notes Page
Skill:  Drawing, writing.
I sewed 3 pockets to hold a notebook along with a pen, pencil, or crayons, or little love notes.
Here are some helpful hints for the entire process:
* I chose to sew my pages on white muslin.  Each page is 10 x 12.5 inches.  
* When I was done with each individual page, I sewed the pages back to back with another layer of muslin ironed onto a sheet of interfacing for extra thickness, stiffness, and durability. 
* I used A LOT of felt.  I think I bought 3/4 yard of each of the major colors of felt.  I have used most of it!
* I decided to make a 3-ring book because of the flexibility it offered me.  I could take pages out to pass them down to children down the pew.  I could take them out to wash them or even to fix up the sewing in case of wear and tear!  I could make the book bigger or smaller, or even add pages to it!  (I am already dreaming of a Halloween jack-o-lantern page or a Christmas tree page!)
* I used large eyelets  and used a piece of notebook paper as my guide to create the holes and then put it all together with book rings.
* I sewed my covers with regular cotton fabric, slightly larger than the pages.  Again, I sewed a sheet of muslin with interfacing in between them.

* Each quiet book has a button strap to keep it closed... I don't want all of those goodies spilling out any time soon!  On the back of the book covers, I sewed a pocket just in case I feel like throwing in a treat, a love note, or in the event that some pieces that DID fall out last minute.  Or maybe it will just hold some candy for ME!

Can you see why this took months to finish?!  I think it was probably crazy for attempting this, but I am so glad I was that crazy!  I {heart} these books!  Little Man gave his stamp of approval today in church, and I can only imagine that they will get years of experience and use!  
Now, I realize I didn't go into a whole lot of details about the creation of each and every page.  I wanted to show off the entire product first!
SO now it's your turn, my dear and lovely readers! 
* Do you have a specific question about the process? 
* Would like to see one page in more specific detail?
* Would you like me to create a downloadable template for a specific page?
Leave me a comment with your questions, and I will probably type up a question and answer post if there is enough interest.  
Enjoy your week!
You can see the Quiet Book Question & Answer post here.  
You can download your own 9 templates here.  
PS  Thanks to these blogs for the inspiration:

Family Flag

This little project has been in the works all summer, and I can't wait to share it with you!
This summer, my Mom and I  (mainly my MOM!) made a family flag.  My parents went to a church camp this summer, and they were asked to bring some kind of family banner or flag.  For months, we had a vision, and it has been exciting to watch our vision take shape from a sketch on a paper to this lovely flag!
At our family reunion last week, we hung our family flag proudly because it represents each member of our family--my parents and their 4 children, including ME!
My Mom sewed the flag on nylon so it would be durable outside.  I cut out all of the words and pictures on my Cricut (you can get tips for cutting fabric on your Cricut here), and we appliqued them on.  It was a lot of work!!  The front of the flag depicts each member of the family, and the back of the flag features an actual photograph of the whole extended family!
Each of the 4 kids were able to design their own flag section, a quadrant on the flag.   We chose symbols that represented us.   The apple and A+ represent me as a teacher.  It was interesting to see what each of my siblings chose to portray themselves!
My older brother, John, is a huge Cardinals fan because we grew up in St. Louis, Misouri.  His section portrays him perfectly!
Besides being an American Studies major, my sister Celeste is also our resident politics expert and a true patriot.
My baby sister, Kara, is the family musician!  She sings.  She plays the violin.  She plays the piano.  The girl is a musical genius, so these musical notes and treble clef are very fitting.
My parents' symbol forms the center of the flag.  They were married in 1978, the founding year of our family.
The theme of our family has always been Return With Honor.  My Dad always recited that phrase whenever we left the house to go on a date, go out with friends, etc.  As teenagers, we used to roll our eyes in embarrassment, but now it is a motivating motto for our family.
Look how cute my parents are... My Mom and Dad, the ones who started it all!

And here are the 4 kids... John, Celeste, Kara, and ME.  Isn't that flag a beauty?!

On the back of our flag, my Mom sewed a clear vinyl pocket and slid in a recent family picture.  This way, we can update the picture as more grandchildren come along.
I feel like I just gave you personal introductions to my entire adorable family!
This was such an integral part of our family reunion--a flag we can fly with pride!
Have a wonderful day!

Bath Toy Bag

Sometimes I find that I am most satisfied with crafts that truly fill a purpose... with a little cuteness on the side, of course!  This bath toy bag was such a project--desperately needed and thankfully cute!  We had a real problem when it came to bath time.  Little Man adores taking a bubble bath almost every night.  However, the old ice cream bucket that we were using to store our bath toys finally bit the dust.  
These soggy bath toys, just living in the tub, were driving me crazy!!  They definitely needed a home.  I remembered seeing Ashley's adorable mesh bath toy bag, and decided to set out to make my own!  No more bath toys abandoned in the tub!
I made my bag extra large so we could add to our bath toy collection.  I used fabric to embellish the bag, and it even matches my bathroom!  I lined the top with brown ribbon, and burned the edges so they wouldn't fray.  I sewed ribbon loops into the lining in order to hang it neatly on my bathroom wall.
Wal-Mart actually failed me when I was searching for the suction hooks.  I found my hooks at Ace Hardware.  So easy!!
I think my favorite feature is that the toys drip dry all by themselves.  PLUS Little Man really enjoys putting his toys away.  He loves putting things inside a bag.  Added bonus!  I think I can help encourage his love of cleaning up...
Enjoy your day!

Bus Applique

Here in our tiny apartment we think, breathe, and live in BUSES.  Wherever we are driving, Little Man finds the buses.  He even has 'the usual' bus parking lots scouted out, recognizes them, and insists on slowing down to check them out.  
Whatever store we find ourselves in, Little Man finds the buses!  I find myself buying ridiculously priced bus toys and books because I know I will face the wrath of Little Man if I resist!  We have every bus book, even a vintage 1965 Golden Book that includes several types of buses!  We have the Fisher Price bus.  We have wooden cutouts of buses. We have the matchbox buses.  (Keep in mind that every RV and every truck are buses in his mind, as much as his older cousin attempts to correct him!)  We just bought a windup school bus--he took that bus to bed with him!   I love that he is passionate about something, and I want to support his interests!
So the bus applique was born.

As soon as I completed the applique, I showed Little Man his shirt, and he yelled out, "Bus!"  He immediately tried to put on his new shirt.  He begs to wear his bus shirt every day (good thing the shirt is a bit big and will last a long time!).  His assessment of my work is the most important.  I love that he loves it!

If you would like to make your own bus applique, you can download my template here.  Don't laugh... I am definitely no artist! But I took this pattern seriously.  I used a ruler and everything!  So I hope it helps.

Thanks for making Oopsey Daisy part of your day!

Numbered Placemats

Numbers are hot, hot, hot right now!!  I am loving the idea of numbers.... so I decided to make some numbered placemats!  Admittedly, we rarely use placemats.  My hubby thinks casual is the way to go, so I never had much need for *cute* placemats until now.  I've decided to up my game with my kitchen table setting!
Do you want to know how to make your own??  Here is what I did:
1.  Cut your fabric.  
I used duck cloth because I wanted something sturdy.  I decided to make 4 red placemats and 4 white placemats.  I cut my fabric pieces about 16 x 20.  I needed a front and back for each placemat.  Iron your fabric so it's nice and smooth before painting.
2.  Make stencils using freezer paper.  
I used my Cricut to cut out my number stencils, but you could also you a razor blade.
3.  Iron on your freezer paper stencils.
Be sure that you iron your freezer paper with the smooth side down.  I also ironed some scrap freezer paper on the under side of my duck cloth to prevent any bleeding.
4.  Prepare to paint your numbers!
I painted white numbers on my red placemats and white numbers on my red placemats.  I used Tulip Matte paints.
5.  Paint your numbers.
I painted over my stencil, let the paint dry for about an hour before repeating.  I gave each number 3 coats of paint.
6.  Pin your front and back together.
Pin right sides together (that means the number you painted will face inside).
7.  Sew together.
Sew all the way around the placemat with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Leave a spot to turn inside out.  I like to leave my opening in the center of one of the 4 sides.
8.  Turn inside out.
After clipping my 4 corners, I turned my placemat inside out.  I really had to work my 4 corners to get them as pointy as possible.  I like to use a tool like a pencil eraser to poke out those corners.
9.  Sew up the opening.
Sew up the opening of your placemat!  
10.  Press your seams
Give those beauties a nice, finished look by pressing the seams.  
I am so happy with how my placemats turned out!!  So simple.  So elegant!
Now all I need is new table setting to match!!  
PS Have you noticed my new snazzy menu bar?  You can see where I link my projects by clicking my Link Parties tab.

My First-Ever Apron

Yikes!  These last few weeks have been absolutely CRAZY!  I never felt like I completely recovered from our Fourth of July trip.  I had a colonoscopy last week, and I just finished throwing the hubs a birthday bash today--#30!  Next week, we're leaving town for my best friend's wedding!  I know many of you have echoed your own feelings of summer craziness in your posts, so you understand!  But I missed my Wednesday's Wowzers yesterday, so I will stockpile my favorite ideas for next week!
Someday I will start some fresh new craft ideas, but in the mean time, thank goodness I have some projects in my photo archives that I haven't shared yet! Here is one of them.
Recycled Denim Aprons 
Do I look super domestic in these pictures or what?!  

Can you believe that these are my first-ever aprons?!  
I don't know how I survived cooking up until now without one!!  No more annoying splatters.  And even my Sunday-best is protected.
All that it took was one pair of old jeans to create these easy-breezy aprons.  I had this pair of super-cool Abercrombie jeans since I was a teen.  But let's be honest, I couldn't pull them off as a Mom, so I decided they needed to be recycled.  Really, I just cut the legs of my jeans a bit and created the fabric bias tape to make these aprons.  I used the ingenious tutorial from Keeping It Simple, so I won't reinvent the wheel.  Here is just a quick overview:
My Little Man is an excellent kitchen helper!  Whenever I am cooking in my tiny kitchen, he always requests a spoon and a measuring cup or bowl to mix up some yumminess of his own!  I may have to make him his own denim apron out of an old pair of his jeans!
So my friends... which apron is your favorite?  The red bandana apron or brown flower apron?!  I love both depending on my outfit, of course!
Have a great day!

The Eensy Weensy Spider

Hello, my friends!  I am beginning to see the end of the pile of laundry.  I have food in the fridge and even a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies baked up!  That's progress!  Now Little Man just needs to get used to going to bed early again!!  The joys of coming home from va-cay!

Remember these little guys:

 Joining their ranks...

It's no secret that I love visual aids to help me sing with Little Man!!  Now say hello to our newest friend:

This was so easy and fun to make!

I created the face on a black felt circle.  I made some silly googly eyes and a mouth with a tongue because I wanted this to be a silly spider. Honestly, spiders are not my favorite creature in the whole world, so I wanted it to be goofy instead of scary!  

I stuck the pipe cleaner legs in between the face and another black felt circle, and sewed almost all the way around.  Before closing up the circles, I stuck in a bag full of rice to create a bean bag, and then sewed up the rest!  I curled up the legs so they would be as creepy and crawly as possible... and that's it!  Easy breezy!

Honestly, Little Man was slightly afraid of this at first.  Can't say I blame him too much!  BUT the other day, he was watching Barney and they were singing "The Eensey Weensy Spider", and he ran over to his music basket, and grabbed out the spider and danced around with it, quite proud of himself!  I was so tickled that he made the connection.  He really is a musical genius.  He recognizes a tune immediately.  And that, my friends, is why I make these silly little musical visual aids!  They are wonderful learning tools!!

Have a great day today!  Friday is just around the corner!

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