I taught myself how to do the blanket stitch by watching a bunch of you tube videos. Then I got some felt and found a bunch of buttons that I liked from Michael's. I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing. I got ideas for the pages from my pintrest boards that I was saving for awhile. I had a lot of the blue polka dot material so I just decided to use it for all the backgrounds. I was able to test how well this book would do with kids around the same age. I work with four year olds that have autism, and I used the book with them to see if there was anything I needed to adjust. It is actually a great learning tool for the kiddos that I worked with. Their were engaged in the entire book for about 45 minutes...which is amazing. It was great for imaginative play, fine motor skills, and some learning activities. I may have to make another one to take with me to work.
The frog was the first page I tried to do. I had seen something similar but I didn't have a pattern. So I used my cricut to cut out the frog shape on a light weight piece of tag board and used that for my template. I tried to use my sewing machine for the embroidery/applique for the edging. It looks really "homemade" since I have no idea what the heck I was doing. I gave up trying to sew the eyes on by hand and decided to use some googly eyes I had laying around. The rest of the pages I just free hand cut and tried to use my new skill of the blanket stitch. I think I got better as I went along. I put some ribbon onto a snap and a snap on the tongue of the frog. On the four year olds I tested this on, they had a hard time with the snaps on this page and on the page with the shapes. If you make one of these Velcro or the magnetic snaps might be better options.
The crayon page was more of an idea of how to use the buttons that I found. I decided to use it at a color matching activity that kids could practice their fine motor skills on. The kids had a little bit of difficulty taking the crayons on and off, but they did great matching the colors. It was a good learning page for me because I got a lot of practice with my blanket stitch, and I realized that I didn't have to put stuffing in all the pages...the book was fat enough as it was. Great page for fine motor skills.
Half way through the book....I decided that this was taking too long, so I decided to take some short cuts. On the page with the finger puppet animals, I had an old pair of gloves and I chopped off the fingers for the finger puppets and sewed only some felt stickers that I had used for some of the hair clips that I make. The barn on all of the pages I saw on pintrest had all these cute hand sewn pigs, cows, and other animals. I didn't have time to mess with all that. So I found these plastic barn animals and put them in a zippered pouch that came from the dollar store (I took out the nail clippers and recycled it for this project). I put Velcro on the back and it was good to go. My barn didn't fit the way they did on my samples, so I modified it to be a barn door with squeeze type clip for my nephew to open. When I tested out these pages, the kids really loved all of the finger puppets. We used the barn to sing Old MacDonald and to match the animals. Actually worked better than I thought.
The road and the train tracks were challenging. I had no idea what to do. I had a bunch of black ribbon so I used that to make the tracks. I was at a really slow craft show one weekend and I had brought this along to work on. I was able to get the track done that afternoon. I was running out of pages, so I decided to add the flaps of brown and green so that the roads would lead somewhere and I could use up the buttons I bought. I tried to get the buttons to move up and down...it kinda works but not that great. I think a kid might end up breaking the strings eventually. I made the dump trucks, the zoo animals and the dinosaurs that way.
My favorite is the doctor's bag. I made some band aids, a hammer/light to check ears, and a stethoscope. I thought this was so cool, but apparently the kids didn't like it as much as I did. I tested the book out with some of the four year olds that I work with. They didn't like that the band aids didn't stick. The stethoscope didn't go around their necks because it was too short. They weren't sure what to do with the hammer thing. Hopefully my nephew likes it better.
The kids really liked the camera and the cell phone pages. They did a lot of imaginative play taking pictures and making calls. It was fun to see the kids that I work with use this book. I hope my nephew likes it just as much. It took about two weeks to make while I was watching tv. Maybe I should start selling these at the craft shows. It is way more relaxing to do this than to crochet for me. It is nice to have something I can work on during the shows. There are a ton of ways to use felt and it isn't super expensive and the results are fabulous. Have a good one and I hope I inspired you to make one for a little one in your life.