Friday, May 28, 2010

LONG TIME COMING- Big Project = Big Blog Post

In true motherhood obsession, I took on the mother load of all projects. A year ago some friends and I were all talking about getting together to make our kids quiet books for church. We came up with some fun ideas but alas, new babies came and life got pretty busy for all of us.

So for some reason the time had come and I decided to tackle it. I agonized for weeks and weeks about the style of how I wanted it to look. Do I do everything out of felt, do I draw on fabric with fabric markers, do I design each page myself? Then I searched and searches everywhere online that I could to find some ideas, and came up with a few of my own. I will admit that Audrey (at 2.5 years old) is too old for some of the cute ideas out there. I wanted her book to be a little more interactive and challenging in her though process than pages with buttons and lift tabs. She has regular books that do that. Anyway, there is nothing worse than when a project turns out less than mediocre when you put so much effort into it.

So here is how it turned out. I can't believe it turned out so amazingly awesome I must say so myself. I better get a comment from EVERYONE that reads this, to tell me how AMAZING I am for doing this for my daughter and how stinking cute it turned out! HAHAHAHA

My final book pages measure 10 x 11 inches and the cover is 11.5 x 12.5. The pages in these pics are all unfinished but if you see in the final book pages I sewed them inside out and then flipped them and finished them like you would a pillow case.

I used a combination of hand drawn things ( the kites on this page, and clip art with iron on transfer paper) That way I didn't take quite as long as it might have if i had had to cut all those shapes out, and heaven forbid come up with decent art work. The point of this page is matching patterns. I didn't actually do a match for each kite because I like that she has to "search" through some extras to find the matching pattern.

Iron on for the face, and I ended up using tacky glue to put the pieces of yarn in place. Worked like a charm.

I wanted something to help her count. She already knows how to count but this page helps with the added bonus of learning to count one thing at a time. funny how you don't ever think about the "stages" of learning to count.

This is a page she can grow in to. The hands spin

The ark opens like a drawbridge with the animals inside.

Once again a page where her being older and already knowing her animals and sounds attributed to this outcome, Finger puppets. This is probably her favorite page. She loves to have me stick all of these on her tiny little fingers.

Learns to set the table and how to open a belt buckle.

I have seen an apple tree in almost every book out there, but I didn't think there was actually much point to just learning to stick them on! This is a great way to learn your family history early. Unfortunately with 7 kids on the Charles's side, I don't think she will be getting a Graf family tree.

Once again the wonder of iron on made this page so easy and so much better.

So simple but this one turned out super cute. Fun little game thrown in the mix.

Right now I only have the one set of coins to explain the concept of tithing, but later you can add lots more to help learn to count the worth of money.

Pretty self explanatory. I just traced my own shoe.

Pockets for the letters of the alphabet and then an entire page with rows of velcro where for now she can practice her ABC's and eventually spell words of sentences.

Cute page where she can write letters and put them in the mailbox, eventually teaching how to address letters and put a stamp on it

Printed out a wintry scene on iron on and then built all the snowman pieces out of felt, each piece comes off.

I decided to make kind of a zipper folder cover for the whole thing to stay in so that if any of the little pieces fall out, hopefully they don't get lost. Plus I used pretty sturdy iron on interfacing to make it lots more sturdy but still have a pretty soft appeal to be tossed around and things. I was so excited at how cute this cover turned out. I didn't have a pattern, I just kind of dreamed it up in my head. I cut out two layers of fabric about an inch and a half larger than my pages ended up being. I might actually do it more if anyone cares to follow my technique. Then ironed one piece to sturdy interfacing, and then heat bond onto the other piece so that the finished two pieces could eventually be bonded together. I added all the front page accessories and then bonded the front and back of the "folder" together. Then I ran a zipper all the way around the inside of the folder. Then I decided to use bias tape to cover the unfinished edges.

I ended up punching the brad holes into each page to turn it into a "three ring binder". this way you can take each page out or add more pages if you want.

I want to advise also, a SUPER easy way to do some of this stuff is with the heaven sent machine called a CRICUT. My sister in law has one and I knocked out the titles for each page in like a half hour. It was awesome! Saved me lots of cutting. Sanks Cassidy.

-If you are making things that come off the pages strictly out of felt ( like in the tic tac toe game) I would recommend using a thicker interfacing to keep them sturdy. Felt stretches in the hands of curious two years old's.

- I used a thicker interfacing on each page to help it hold it's own and then when sewn together each page (which is actually two thick) is quite sustainable. Some people just use felt alone as the page, or I have seen muslin or straight pellon used. Pretty much up to you and how you want it to feel.

- I spent very little on this project, I only had to buy some interfacing, the cute cover fabric, the zipper (need at least a 36 in) and the iron on paper (which is actually kind of expensive so do a test print, and remember to change your paper setting in your printer or reverse your image.) All other fabric and felt was stuff I had.

- DO NOT re-iron anything with the iron on transfer paper on it. It will stick to whatever is against it. I did that on the clock and the felt from the hands got stuck in the clock face. URG!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Summer Food

Is there anything more divine than real Italian bruschetta with fresh basil and enough garlic to taste it for days?!

I think not! And it's healthy!

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
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Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil Recipe


  • 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


1 Prepare the tomatoes first. Parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. Using a sharp small knife, remove the skins of the tomatoes. (If the tomatoes are too hot, you can protect your finger tips by rubbing them with an ice cube between tomatoes.) Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area. Why use plum tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes? The skins are much thicker and there are fewer seeds and less juice.

2 Make sure there is a top rack in place in your oven. Turn on the oven to 450°F to preheat.

3 While the oven is heating, chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Once the oven has reached 450°F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

Alternatively, you can toast the bread without coating it in olive oil first. Toast on a griddle for 1 minute on each side. Take a sharp knife and score each slice 3 times. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil on each slice. This is the more traditional method of making bruschetta.

5 Align the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.