Friday, December 27, 2013

Busy Books for Christmas

For Christmas this year, I decided to make my two little munchkins Quiet Books, or Busy Books as they're also called. The countless creative pages pop up all over Pinterest, and I thought to myself, "I can do this!" So I happily got to work and found myself spending many evenings planning, cutting, sewing, and fixing. I originally was only going to make one for Little Olive (who's now four years old) but soon realized I had made too many pages to fit in one book. So I started planning a second book for Little Huck (who is now two).

What surprised me very quickly while making these is that, while none of the page designs were "hard", they were extremely time-consuming and sometimes very tedious. I thought I could whip up a book in a day or two, stuff the pages with batting, and sew them up! Ooh did I have much to learn.

It was really a humbling experience for me. I have seen Busy Books being sold on Etsy for $60, $50, and I always thought to myself, "Really? For a simple cloth book?" Now I appreciate those prices. I honestly spent six hours on each book - easily. Possibly more, and I am not exaggerating to be dramatic. (And you will probably not believe me once you see the uneven seems or off-center applications.) But during the process of sewing each page, I thought to myself many times, "If I were to give myself an hourly rate, I would absolutely price these like those other shops."

It made me realize that something homemade should be appreciated and priced higher than a product on a toy shelf at Target or Toys R Us. These homemade items, while expensive, take hours to make! Not to mention the materials to make them.

It also made me realize that my time is very valuable. I spent so many evenings in December working on these books, and I just want to encourage everyone to pause for a moment the next time you're considering purchasing something from a small business. Yes, the price may be higher than if you ran to a local store. But keep in mind that every single cent of your purchase will mean the world to that shop owner. 

Now that I've stood on my soapbox a bit, here are the finished products! (And cut me some slack, hehe. I have not sewn much at all the past year or so, and these are proof of my slipping skills! But I still love them and am proud of them! )

Little Olive's is on the left. Little Huck's is on the right.


Little Olive loves to collect treasures, so I started her book out with a zipper pouch. I may regret this when it's filled with hundreds of tiny pieces of paper. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

 She's starting to write words and asks me how to spell things, so I thought this would help her recognize some important ones.

Learn to braid and tie a bow!

Play with hair and tell time. She knows 6:00 very well; it's when we watch a movie every night.

I took a risk with this page because she loves cutting beads off of things. But if they survive, they will help her learn to add and count, fine motor skills, etc.

The first page of Huck's book was inspired by Olive who loves to announce, "Green means go, red means stop, and yellow means sllllooooow down!"

Huck loves to sign "I love you" to my mom. He also likes to wear things on his hands. 
My hand is too big.

Huck is such a little thinker and likes to figure things I think these will be right up his alley.

Simple counting and learning numbers!

Who doesn't like a fun zipper page? :)

After making each one, I highly recommend purchasing a grommet puncher and make grommet holes like I did for Little Huck's book. It is MUCH easier than trying to sew up the thick materials, and not to mention extremely fun. Another reason I wish I had thought of when making Little Olive's, is that now Huck's has the flexibility of being updated, fixed, or rearranged easily without having to take the entire book apart. Just something to consider! :)