Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Quiet Book

I never thought I would make a quiet book.

And actually, I didn't make one.

I was the coach.

My 10 year old daughter rocked this project.

It was my suggestion. (rolling my eyes at myself....WHY do I always come up with complicated ideas!!!??)

Of course, Angeline jumped right on this idea and the rest is basically history.

We brainstormed together, and with the help of pinterest, came up with a multitude of ideas.

I drove her to Joann Fabrics and helped her make some decisions.

 And so the quiet book project commenced armed with :

-felt

-scissors

-heat and bond

-iron

-sewing machine

-hot glue (yes, when all else fails-use hot glue!!)

-eyelet kit

-hammer

-9 lives


Angeline did all the cutting. This was no small job. We learned this trick for cutting felt {almost} perfectly. 

Some of the patterns were printed from online resources. Some were created on our own.  We had to downsize most of the patterns that we found online because the book we created is smaller in size than most traditional quiet books.

We made it smaller for two reasons

1. It didn't feel so overwhelming
2. I wanted it to fit in my church bag.


We kept our designs very simple and avoided using the sewing machine as much as possible.

We also tried to keep the page activities simple enough for a young toddler.

front cover

This was by far Angeline's favorite page to design and it is also Cassie's favorite page to play with. I love it too.  It's basically a felt paper doll with lots of trendy outfits.

This is a birthday cake page. The candles, pink icing and confetti are all removable and are stored in the little pocket oppose the cake. Cassie loves to put the candles on the cake and then try to blow them out.

Here we have flowers and apples to pick. The apples can be stored in the brown basket by the tree.  The flowers are attached to the page by buttons and the apples by snaps. (it is important to double any pieces for durability that will be handled/pulled/prodded. We cut double the flowers and apples and ironed them together with heat and bond)

Balloons are attached to by Velcro. The pocket opposite is simply a storage pocket. (extra clothes that do not fit on the clothes line get stored in here)

                                  Mailbox with personal letters for Cassie.

We stuffed the mailbox with pictures of family and stickers in addition to the letters.
 
  The scoops of ice cream can be removed and rearranged. They are attached by Velcro. Opposite is a page with elastic strings of beads. Cassie slides the beads and pulls on them. I think using the elastic string was a brilliant idea.

 

 This picture is primarily to show how I zig-zagged the pages together and also to show the eyelets and rings that we used to put the book together.  Angeline and I liked the idea of using the eyelets and rings so that additional pages can be added to the book in the future.

We even got Amos involved with inserting the eyelets. I am quite certain that I could have done this job myself, but the strength of his fingers and his skill with a hammer proved to be of great value.




Although my daughter did a lot of the work on this book - I want to be clear- if you decide to enable your daughter to create something like this- it will require a  lot of careful coaching and time. I didn't actually calculate how much time was invested in this project however, I know that between the two of us we nearly exhausted 9 lives.

It was rewarding to see Angeline work hard on this book-utilizing all her creative powers and learning new skills.

It has been equally rewarding to watch Cassie enjoy the labor of her sister's love. 

And I can't say how much I love this kind of gift over a plastic toy from the Dollar Store.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas reflections

Here's a peak into our home this past month.

 The fireplace mantel bez the banner that fell apart. I found immense pleasure in collecting a variety of greens and berries from the woods this year.

This is probably my favorite corner of the house. A cross, a globe, the infant Jesus surrounded by those who adored him and an old hymnal opened to "Joy to the World".
 
This is Christmas!
 
 

Just a bit more of my obsessions with fresh greens and berries
 
Want your house to smell heavenly?? Try this!!!

 
Boxwood. There used to be two cute little bushes in front of my house. I hope they grow more branches by next summer.
 
 
 
He came to live here among us. Cassie plays with Baby Jesus while she eats her breakfast. She occasionally dunks him into her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What a mess this Baby was born into. What a mess!
 
 
 
Cookies of course....

 
 

A birthday to celebrate! Joshua turned 7 on December 21
 
Brown paper packages tied up with strings


late night hours spent put the finishing touches on gifts for those I love
 
The biggest project by far being this Quiet Book that Angeline made for her baby sister
 
Perhaps I will share more about this project at a later time. Let's just say that there were hours of sisterly love invested in this project.
 
 
 
 

 While there were many things that were nearly perfect about this past month and the celebration of Jesus coming into our world, not all was as perfect as these pictures.

If I could have taken a picture of my heart.

Oh. Dear.  Goodness.

I tend to be very critical of people that get harried and stressed over the holidays.

My criticism hit home this year.  {ouch}

I am disappointed with myself.

And I wonder where I wandered off course?

What happened?

How do you cut out activities that you love and are meaningful to you?

Was it all a heart issue? Or did I actually try to do too much?

What does it mean to receive Jesus?

What does it mean to share the joy of Jesus' birth with those around us?

Maybe any kind of celebration with a family of seven is going to require some hard work and sacrifice on my part???

Maybe I should have said 'no' to a number of extra commitments that I took on for December?

I'm asking myself a lot of questions as I reflect on this past month.

I'm asking Jesus what he thinks of this mess I got myself into.

I rejoice in the fact that He came to live here among us!!

And that He speaks into the messiness of my heart.

And that He is redeeming me.

And transforming me.

soli deo gloria







 









 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas cookie hack





Hold on tight, folks.

What I have to say today about Christmas cookies may change your life forever.

Honestly, which of you have not done some inner groaning when the kids start dancing around the kitchen asking:

"When are we going to make REAL Christmas cookies....you know....the kind that you make into all different shapes and decorate with icing and sprinkles!!!??? When, Mom, when?? Can you tell me when we're going to make them? When????!!!"

Um. I'll think about it........

What I really mean is, I hope you guys totally forget about the idea of cut-out-sugar-cookies-with-sprinkles because:

-I don't even like sugar cookies

-They take forever to make

-I don't like detail work with food (at all!)

-I'll lose a week of my life on this project
      -half a day rolling out the dough
      -half a day cutting out the cookies
      -one day baking the cookies
      -3 days icing the cookies
      -2 days cleaning up the mess


Really, kids.

Do you want a semi-sane mom or a totally insane one???

Well. It would appear that my kids prefer having sugar cookies over a semi-sane mother because they convinced me to try it again this year.

Saturday was the much anticipated day.

Mother made sure that she slept later than usual that morning, had several cups of coffee and spent a half hour alone getting groceries and played peaceful Pandora Christmas music all in a brave attempt to prepare herself for Sugar Cookie Episode 2014.
















The step that I always dread the most is icing the cookies because everyone wants to help and none of us really know how to do it very well.

It's so disappointing to work for hours to make sugar cookies only to find the end results displeasing to the eye.

This is what our cookies were looking like



Truly. They were struggling. The kids and the cookies. Not to mention the mother.

That's when I had my moment of enlightenment.

I pulled out  a freezer bag, stuffed it full of frosting, cut off a corner and started squeezing

















To say I was pleased with the results would be the understatement of the year.

Mother was now the one doing the happy little jig.

Easy

Quick

Kid friendly

Cute



 
 




































I am sure that this hack saved us several hours of work.
 
And now for my second hack of the day


 
















 We simply rolled all our scraps into a rectangle and cut out small square cookies.  I thought our little square cookies turned out darling and they saved us a ton of time as well.






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And now for the last hack of the day-
 
How to quickly empty your icing bag
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Folks.
 
The future looks bright.
 
I can keep on doing cut-out-icing-sugar-cookies-with-sprinkles with my kids.
 
And you can too!!!

 
And now I can't help but add a few pictures of my littlest cheerleader and helper




 
 

 
Cheers to sugar cookies and big messes and happy people



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of glue guns



It is hard to know how to break this blogging fast. So pardon me as I talk about hot glue guns for a while. After I get back into better shape maybe I'll be able to write about more important issues but for now, meet my friend....
 
 




Some people preach Christ plus culture.

I preach Christ plus my glue gun. 

With these two, I can take on the world.

Seriously, this glue gun is one of my very best friends.

We have been through a lot together.

Mr. Glue Gun has been a good and faithful servant from lunch exchange creations to healing broken pumpkin stems to hair bows to pennant banners to gift wrapping to boxwood wreaths.

 I love my glue gun.

Only once has he failed me.

That pennant banner that I mentioned. Well.

Last winter I carefully and painstakingly handstitched all these letters.
It was a fun project. When it came time to assemble the banner I was having issues with sewing the fabric on to the twine, so I pulled out Mr. Gluey Gooey.
 
Presto.
 
Problem solved.

I even hot glued the twine to my wooden mantle. It worked like a charm.


















I was excited about adding my banner to my Christmas decor again this year.

 I pulled it out of storage, ironed out the wrinkles, pulled out the my trusty gluey friend and once again hot glued it to the mantel piece.

And now here comes the failure part.

Last winter our fireplace was basically an empty bomb shelter for mice and other small critters.

Until....

My wonderful husband made one of my wishes come true by purchasing a natural gas log insert to fill that empty space.

{this was not the failure}

I love it.
we all love it as you can see!!
 














 Fast forward to December 2014 -banner is hung, fire is blazing, the kids are having quiet time... 

"What just hit me on the head??" asks the startled son.

What!!??? Oh, help. Oh bother!!!

The hot glue is melting. Pieces are falling off my banner.

TOTAL HOT GLUE GUN FAILURE.

Any lesson to pull from this story???

Well....she says, stroking the few hair on her chinny-chin-chin....

1. Quick fixes are not always the best fixes
2. You should never become dependent on one tool or product as your savior.
3. Once hot glue has cooled, it's not a good idea to heat it up again.
4. I totally forget how to bring a blog post to an end.

 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Things that make me smile


handmade presents from my kids



sibling comradery (something rather rare these days)




sending my 3 oldest kids off to a good school where they are learning and growing under the most excellent teaching



my enthusiastic first grader



celebrating 10 years with this young lady


 
fun times with neighbors


baby girl's first spindly pig tails



those adorable crocs



and the cute little feet that fill them



No caption needed.

autumn air