Friday, July 6, 2012

Maggie's Garden - Quiet Book

This time of year gets me thinking about Christmas presents!   Our family has a long history of making our presents for one another.  We've had a lot of fun with it, and learned quite a few new skills along the way.   These July school holidays generally mark the time of year that I begin to plan out some ideas.  My favourite presents received over the years have usually been home-made, so I thought I'd share some of them here (and some gifts that I have made) as the months count down to December.  

This is a Quiet Book that I made for Maggie's first Christmas.  She was less than 12 months old at the time, therefore it's not an activity-based book.   My objective instead was to make this book as tactile and visually interesting for little fingers and eyes as possible.  I've used as wide a range and variety of fabrics and notions as I could find, at home and in haberdashery departments.  

This wasn't hard to do, (just basic hand and machine sewing), and it was enjoyable to make!  It was a bit time-consuming, so it's something that may take you concentrated weeks rather than days to complete.  I found ideas for each page by looking at and copying some of what was available on Etsy, and then making up some of the pages myself.

The book's white pages are made of a synthetic fabric that won't crease or get grubby too easily.  Each of the pages are stiffened with iron-on interfacing, and the covers are also lightly padded with iron-on pellon.  The pages are bound with satin ribbon and threaded with two ribbons to finish.

Pretty much everything was glued, then stitched and sewn down over and over again, to make it all as safe as possible for little hands and mouths.  Most of the eyes are glued and sewn, although the smallest eyes are only glued, since they can't be sewn.  Fortunately, the glue I have used from Spotlight is like cement!  

(If you click on the photos they will enlarge, if you would like to see the pages in more detail.)

I used some inexpensive silk flowers and leaves on the covers and first pages, pulling them from the plastic stems.  Fun buttons weren't hard to find.  I've used crystal beads in the center of some flowers.

The apple is made with a thin, shiny fabric vinyl; the ant is made with some soft grey fabric felt and black silk ribbon.  The stem is hand-embroidered, and the background is blue craft felt.

The caterpillar's feet are made from cute little hanging pom-poms.  These leaves are cut out from a large, cheap, rubber fake leaf.  The pink strip along the bottom is ribbon.

I was glad to find this scrap of pink fabric with attached long strings.  The beak and legs are hand and machine-embroidered.  The tail is embroidery strands and flower sequins topped with beads.  The wing is able to be lifted, and has a noisy piece of cellophane sewn in.

I've used buttons, (sewn with silver thread), ribbon, silver embroidery and able-to-be-lifted clear plastic wings decorated with silver puff paint on a fabric background.

The body is made of black velvet.  The wings are satin (with noisy cellophane sewn inside), and I've used black fabric paint for the spots.  The under-wings are of thin, gauzy netting.

Black lurex was perfect for a starry sky.  The green is a soft minky velour.  The gold fabric is edged with gold elastic.  The face is embroidered, and the wings are thin gauze attached to a sticky clear plastic sheet.  

Silver fabric, elastic lace, ribbon, beaded ribbon, braid, felt, pom-poms, pearl rope, small beads (the eyes and mouth), and a small metal butterfly are mounted on soft blue minky fabric.

Silver embroidery thread, strung with crystal beading, is sewn onto black satin.  The beads slide along the branches of the web.  The spider's legs are thick embroidery strands.

I cut this from a girls' t-shirt, then decorated it with glitter puff-paint, ribbons, butterflies, shell buttons, ribbon and lace.

This sequinned kitten also came from a kiddie's t-shirt.  I just added the eyes, ribbons and butterfly.

The body is black velour, over-sewn with yellow velvet ribbon.  The pink flowers and ribbons were sewn down on the blue fabric sky.  The details are embroidered.  The wings are movable (black netting over sticky thin plastic.)

This is probably my favourite page - everything feels so soft!  The green background is minky; the pink is a beautiful real silk; the wool is cashmere-soft.  The 'trail' is silver fabric paint; the thread is silver.

This was a collection of sale-item beaded and embroidered ribbon and braid.  The pink flowers are cheap-shop buys with crystal beads sewn on top.  The metal butterfly can be wiggled about.

The handles make this great to carry.  The book is closed with elastic over a front button.

(Other textural materials you might consider using:  leather, feathers, wooden paddle-pop sticks, hessian, string, vinyl, all kinds of beads, etc.)


  1. This book SERIOUSLY ROCKS!!!! I didn't realise the white background fabric you used was stain-resistant!! But it's still clean, so that makes sense! :) Ana loves playing with this book now in church as well, I love it, and it's so strong it'll last for Maggie's children one day I hope!! :) xo

  2. This is a wonderful quiet book. I love looking through it too (maybe I am a big kid??) Maybe one day I will copy this and make one (if I ever get a love for the sewing machine).