Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last Round of Quiet Book Pages!

The final pages (queue the triumphant music please)

This page isn't educational per se, but it's fun, and I suppose we could use it to work on directions "Turn left." or "Go North" por ejemplo. The green felt is open on the left side to store the truck or a matchbox car or whatever.

I like this page. He's in his undies. :) Umbrella puzzle or a United States map just weren't doing anything for me.

I imagine this will be good when talking about weather and dressing appropriately for the season. I like the rain gear with leather boots and the overalls the best.

I was reaching for a V word, can you tell? I really like this one when all is said and done though. Kind of an I Spy page. The vacuum bag is closed with a magnet at the top so I can periodically change what's inside. I tried to hide the magnets though so little boys wouldn't eat the contents of the bag. Here's hoping.

Last but not least! The seasons wheel is velcro-ed on to the page. The wheel spins to show different seasons.
Ta da! Now, to assemble the book.

Quiet Book Pages # I-Lost-Count

I'm breaking the last two sets of pages up so they aren't as pic-heavy. These last two groups were made last because they took more thought and planning since they aren't standard quiet book pages.

Color Sorting. This page will have strips of velcro along the outside of the page to mix up the colors, as well as the velcro next to each color.  Look at me putting my button collection to good use! :)

This one seems really easy, but my son's name starts with the letter J, so there was a lot of hemming and hawing about doing a page with pictures of him or something. I eventually decided against it since we plan on having another child at some point.

I cut out enough shapes to make a happy, sad, surprised, or angry face. The right side of the pumpkin is left open to serve as a pocket. I did that wherever possible for ease of storage.

One of each key is glued down to the page, and the other is loose. Since I didn't plan storage into this page I will probably put all the loose keys on a ring or something. I'll give an update on that later. 
This is a take on the standard tie-a-shoe page. The football idea came from Tricia at Made By Me. Shared with You., and the quarterback image was traced from clipart via Google. This one took a lot of thought as well because I was contemplating including my husband's favorite team and player- Packers and Brett Favre, or maybe an additional lacing card. As you can see, I decided on something generic instead. The football is upcycled from a leather purse, and has a double layer of felt on the back as well as velcro so it can be pulled off and played with.

Linked up to:

D-O-N-E Designing!

Hallelujah! I'm done with the quiet book pages at last!

I've still got to put the book together, but the creative (aka time consuming) part is done!

Keep your eyes peeled for the final 9 pages and the finished product, coming soon!

See all the exclamation points?! Can you tell I'm excited?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thrifty Finds

Sigh I love thrift store shopping. It feeds my soul. Is that wrong? Here are some of my recent finds.

A lacing Bear. I've been thinking about keeping my eye out for some of these, and lo and behold I found one for a quarter. It's too difficult for Wee One right now, but he's interested in it.

An Erector Set Jr. car. I wanted to be sure the pieces were all there, so I put it together. Wee one will LOVE this. He is fascinated by how things are put together-kind of like his mama. There is an awesomely fun splash zone at the local aquatic center, and what do you think he's immediately drawn to? The bolts holding the thing together. Sigh


Tons of odds and ends. Lots of little notions and little do-hickeys for a sensory tub, a couple little figurines, bingo chips, all in a bag for 25 cents. A recorder! Every kid needs one, don't they? See the frog? It's a puppet and a book. It's super cute.

The book in its mouth is about what it ate. We love it. Especially for $1.

Lastly, a tool box for my little Mr. Fixit.

Tools included.

Along with a pink Polly Pocket chair? I don't know what that's about, but I'll take it anyway.

Have you had any luck thrifting lately?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can you help?

 I'm not the type to ask favors of people very often, but I'm going to make an exception today.

Two months ago my cousin Sarah died from complications of Lymphoma. Only nine weeks passed from the time I found out she was sick to the time she suddenly passed away. To say the least, it was a shock.

 As a result, my sister is now training to run a half marathon in Sarah's honor for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her goal is to raise $4500 for LLS, and I'm helping her out by doing some of the leg work (haha no pun intended) for her fundraising.

Now for the favor. If you could take a minute and visit her fundraising page and make a donation at

 I would really appreciate it. Donations are 100% tax-deductible.

What Will My Donation Do?

Encourage scientists to pursue blood cancer research. Grants to young scientists help grow research talent even as federal research funding becomes increasingly limited.

Develop "targeted therapies" that kill cancer cells selectively. By hitting specific molecular targets, these treatments don't harm patients' healthy cells, resulting in fewer dangerous side effects.

Test immunotherapies. Immunotherapies strengthen a patient's own immune system so it can better fight infections and attack cancer cells, reducing the need for damaging chemotherapy.

Improve the safety of today's cures. LLS funds research to predict, manage and prevent complications in patients most at risk for long-term and late effects of treatment.

Help patients and their families make informed decisions. LLS supplies information and counseling to help guide patients through their cancer journey and access current treatment and clinical trial options.

Provide financial aid and co-pay assistance. A cancer diagnosis is hard enough without having to deal with its financial burden. We provide programs to help relieve the economic strain of a blood cancer diagnosis.

Offer community services. Among the wide array of programs LLS provides are those that link newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteers and that help young cancer patients return to school after an absence resulting from treatment.

Encourage our state and federal legislators to support blood cancer issues. With your help, LLS brings to the attention of lawmakers the urgent need for increased government funding and support of research and patient access to affordable treatment and quality care.

For more information on LLS visit their website here

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Squeeky Door Tip and Back to Work

There are a lot of changes going on around here this week, so things are a bit topsy-turvy. First off, I've got a new job, so after 17 months of raisin' babies at home, I'm going back to work. I'm excited and sad all at the same time. I'm sad to be leaving my little man, but I'm excited to get back into the world, and also to take a lot of the pressure off of my husband (who has been working AND going to school full time). I'll be able to spend most of the day with the wee one, then when my hubby gets home from school we will swap places, and I'll go to work and he'll take care of dinner and bed time. I'll be sad to leave, but I'm so glad that he will get time to bond with his Daddy. They're awfully cute together, don't you think?

I'll admit, I am a little nervous about the breastfeeding/sleeping situation though. Wee One nurses before and after his naps and bed time still, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

The second bit of news is this fuzzy girl:

No, that's not a slipper, it's a Lionhead Rabbit playing shy. We've been talking about getting a pet, and a visit to the Tractor Supply Store sealed the deal. She's a sweet little girl who absolutely adores my husband. Naturally he had zero interest in a bunny and required convincing to bring her home, yet Cassidy follows him around the house and cuddles with him for hours.

Lastly, is just a little tip I wanted to share. Our doors are squeaky here, and sometimes they wake up the wee one. WD-40 would fix the problem right up, but I can never find it when I need it, and it seems too expensive to go buying another can I'm just going to lose anyway. The solution? Cooking spray. Spray a very small amount of cooking spray down each hinge (both inside and outside), open and close the door a few times to distribute the oil, and problem solved! Just be sure to wipe off any excess before it drips down.  Ahhhh, quiet doors on the cheap.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I've been Featured! and An Award!

My humble little blog has been getting an incredible number of hits the past few days since I posted my dryer ball tute. Now, my tutorial has been featured over at Fireflies and Jellybeans!  Wow, I'm so thrilled!

As if that weren't enough, I've also been given the Stylish Blogger Award by Sitting at Our Kitchen Table! It's been a good week for my blog!

Here are the required 7 things about me:

1) I'm a full time mom to this adorable little bundle of energy who rocks my world.

2) I live in a town called Holland, MI, where thousands and thousands of tulips bloom every May during the Tulip Time Festival.

3) Before I was a mother I was studying to be an Occupational Therapist, and I worked with abused and homeless teenage girls in a long-term shelter. I loved my job, and I still miss it and my girls.

4) I married this guy 4 months after I met him.

5) I'm a horrible house keeper. Cleaning is for the birds in my opinion.

6) I am, however, very good at putting things together. I am the resident handy-woman, and fixer-of-all-things.

7) I have a huge button collection. I haven't added to it in at least 10 years, and I've been using them up whenever possible, and yet I still have all of these. My favorite are antique colored glass, and antique black glass buttons. 

So there ya have it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quiet Book Pages #4

It's that time again.

'R' page has a Rocket that slides to the moon and there are 20 stars to count. This page was inspired by Homemade By Jill

'D' page has a buckle and a leash clip thingy to practice with. Inspired by Made By Me. Shared With You.

'B' Page is pretty self explanatory. My idea, though I'm sure it's been done before.

Every quiet book needs an owl, right? The owl's face was inspired by BoutiqueID's ipad sleeve

This part is all me though. Two baby owl finger puppets huddle under Mama Owl's wings. The finger puppets snap on to Mama's body when done playing.

Yup, it's an igloo.

An igloo puzzle that is. This was my idea. I skipped the velcro on this page since the felt sticks together pretty well.

There you go, 5 more pages. Some of the fabrics, the buckles, and belts were upcycled.  Are you sick of quiet book pages yet? I'm getting there myself. Only 9 or so more pages to create.

I partied at:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No-Cost Dryer Balls

Edit: In case you're wondering 'What the heck are dryer balls, and why would I want them?', here's why:
Dryer balls bounce around inside the dryer and move your laundry around so that more air can circulate around the clothes, which makes them dry faster. Faster drying means less waiting around in your underwear for those pants to dry, and of course less money you have to shell out to the energy company. Some dryer
balls also make your clothes smell nice. If you wanted you could add a drop or two of essential oil to one of the middle layers of the ball (while you're still making it) and the scent would release over time. Dryer balls are also supposed to make your clothes softer. I have noticed my husband's t-shirts are much softer, and all my laundry is definitely fluffier!

Do you use dryer balls? I've been wanting to try them out, but until recently I was under the impression that dryer balls had to be made of either rubber or wool. I started making a dryer ball out of wool yarn, but it took up so much yarn and it felt like a waste, so I came up with these up-cycled sock dryer balls.
Everyone has lone socks hanging around their house, so why not make them earn their keep?

For the core you can ball fabric scraps together tightly, or tie a knot in the toe of a sock.

Wrap as much fabric scraps as you have around the core as tightly as you can, then put into the toe of your first sock.

Push the core all the way down, stretching the sock, then twist tightly around one full turn- I know my twist is loose here. Do what I say, not what I do. ;)

Flip the remaining sock up around the ball, pull the sock tight, and it will look like this. At this point the sock is 2-ply. Clear as mud, right?  Repeat the twist, pull the sock over, twist, etc. until you reach the top of the sock.

Fold/stretch the top of the sock over like a little hat, and insert into the next sock, "hat" down so it stays put.

You'll know you're done adding socks when it's about the size of a baseball/fist. To finish, pull the top layer tight and sew a quick whip stitch around the edge to keep it together. All done! Throw them in the dryer with your next load, and watch your clothes dry in less time.

You lookin' at me?

*Notice I put the ugly hospital socks in the inside and the more decorated frog sock on the outside.
*You could use pretty much any fabric for these. If you had an old t-shirt you could cut it into strips and wrap it into a good size ball then use one sock on the outside to finish. Use what you have!
*Keep it tight. A loose ball won't bounce around and do the job like a hard one will.
* Don't worry about the lumps and bumps. They will actually help the ball to bounce around more erratically, thereby creating more movement and more efficiency.

I read that 4 dryer balls are optimal to save energy, so that's how many I made. I tested them out, and they work awesome! Usually I run a 60 minute dryer cycle with my ancient dryer, and I was able to decrease the time down to 45 minutes with a load of towels. Awesome, right? I tested them with king size sheets also, and I didn't have to pull out and re-arrange the sheets toward the end to get them completely dry. Do your sheets do that? Get all wrapped up around themselves so the inside layers are damp and the outside dry? No longer a problem.

Cost: Nada.
Savings: No idea!

If you use a laundromat that gives you 7 mins of dryer time per quarter then you could save $1 with every two dryer loads. That would add up quick at my house. I'd love to hear if you try this out.