A Birthday Busy Book

Okay, this post is going to be long, just to warn you…. I am nearly finished with Ellie’s Birthday Busy/Quiet book. I finished it way ahead of schedule (Ellie’s birthday isn’t till August), but I’m just so thrilled with how the whole thing came out, I have to share it with you early.
I’ve always wanted to make Ellie her own quiet book. (Some people refer to them as quiet books, some people call them busy books. I couldn’t fit “quiet” on the cover, so I went with busy book. Here is a more detailed description of what a busy book is, in case you had no idea what I am talking about. So, I had planned to make Ellie a busy book for her first Christmas but of course through all the nursing and the general new mothering happening (plus the 3 trips we took cross-country in her first year), making anything was pretty much out of the question. About six months ago, I felt like I was getting enough time after she went down for bed to start working on a busy book. I had been planning in my head for a while and I wanted the book to reflect Ellie’s likes as well as be something she could keep always and enjoy throughout her toddler-hood too.

It took me almost 5 months to make. I followed no template. Everything was completely hand-sewn and free form. Here it is in all its glory… I present “Ellie’s Busy Book” ! (Can you tell I’m a little excited?!)

presenting the book

busy book

Most of the fabric I used, were ones that were already in my stash. It was neat using bits and pieces from other projects. Many of them I had used to make other children softie animals.

page one

Page One is a personal chalkboard. Ellie loves drawing with chalk outside and is just starting to enjoy coloring. I found some chalkboard fabric and made a little felt E in the top corner and a little pocket to hold the chalk in the bottom corner. It was one of the easier pages, but I love the soft purples to start out with.


oage 2 farmers market

Page 2 and 3 are the Farmers Market pages. We have visited the farmers market so many weekends with Ellie since she was born. It’s a place Jeff and I love. It was only natural for me to start with building some type of farmers market page. I created a large basket (kind of like the ones we carry to the market every weekend), so that Ellie can fill the basket with fruit and veggies she finds in the bins. I thought I’d make it a little educational as well by adding numbers  to the bins corresponding with

how many bits of produce are in each bin.
farmers market bin

Page 4 and 5 are the Banjo pages. As many of you who read this blog regularly know, the banjo is common talk around here. Daddy plays it every night and Ellie has always loved dancing to his music. We even got Ellie her very own stuffed banjo for Christmas this past year. I thought a banjo page would be fun for her. She will be able to strum the banjo strings on page 5 and page 4 is a photo of her dancing to Daddy playing some tunes (she’s also holding the Daddy banjo peg doll I made for Jeff’s birthday this year too).

banjo pages

daddy plays b

banjo page

Page 6 and 7 are the Kite pages. Ellie’s love of kites started when we put on the Mary Poppins song “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” many months ago. She wanted to hear the song over and over again. Then we bought her a little kite (and one for Daddy too) and we fly those kites pretty regularly around the park and the beach. It’s one of her favorite things to do. Page 6 is Ellie and Mama flying her kite for the first time on the beach near our home. Page 7 is a removable kite with ribbon tassels as well as removable shapes on the kite. Each are attached with snaps to encourage some fine motor work as well as exploring shapes and puzzles.

kite pages


mama and kite


Page eight and nine are the train pages. This was the most complicated of all the pages. Hand-sewing each piece of track down was a bit tedious, but it did come out pretty cute. Ellie is in a big train phase these days. We watch the train every Wednesday, she’s just started to really play with her wooden train set we found at the swap meet and Gramma and Grandpa have taken her on a train ride at the local mall several times too. She can’t get enough trains.

train page

She will be able to open the caboose there to find little felt Wizard of Oz people (I was a very big fan of WofO for many years and my mom got me a Wizard of Oz apron, that I wear regularly while cooking or painting. Ellie loves to point out each character. I thought having her own little set of characters would tickle her.
woo charecters

For the next two trains, I made little windows for Ellie to open and close. Inside are two of the three pigs (another story we tell often and enjoy).


The sock monkey train conductor comes off of his post as well. He’s attached by a snap for easy removal.

sock monkey train conductor

The last page is an Ellie fabric doll page. Kind of like her own personal paper doll kit. I printed out a photo of her on fabric paper, fashioned a “fabric doll” and made several different articles of clothing. In these photos I haven’t quite finished it yet, but Ellie will be able to attach the clothes to the “Ellie doll” with velcro. And everything fits into the little pocket closet.

doll page



I’m still working on putting together a few more outfits, but for the most part, it’s finished.

ellie doll

the clothes

On the inside flap before you close the book, I placed a fabric photo of Jeff and Ellie and I (taken by this incredible photographer). A little inscription for the birthday girl.

inscription photo


the book

It was such a joy putting this book together for Ellie. I would sneak downstairs every night and whittle away at it while she slept. She’s never been a great sleeper so some nights I’d only get a few stitches in before she was calling for me again. But, I got it done. It feels so good to have completed something like this. Something she will hopefully love and cherish.



Making + Listening

MAKING: Projects in the works… the first being Ellie’s Busy Book that I should have started a year ago (because it looks like its going to be a LOT of work) and I’d planned to have it finished by her second birthday (which is four months away). I’m really hoping I can work and work and work and get it done in time. Here’s what I have so far.
ellies busy book

And I’m being super ambitious and I joined a Facebook sew-along group. One pattern was chosen and we are all making the same pinafore dress. I’m hoping this will help me start sewing clothes (which I’ve always wanted to do but never felt I could). I’m hoping with the online support of other ladies around the country working on the same pattern and giving tips and help along the way, I may be able to pull off my first dress for myself. We shall see.

I bought a sheet at the flea market to practice with. I didn’t want to buy any fancy fabric just yet in case I completely botch it up. If all goes well, I will try my hand at it again with some nicer linen.

I just love the picture of it. It makes me want to buy a farm and feed the chickens and pick flowers in it.

LISTENING: Our music repertoire is consisting mostly of this record (and c.d. in the car) and lots of this song and this song over and over. Oh and we borrowed this on tape at the library. Ellie is loving it!


-joining Dawn for Making and Listening!