Monday, 7 May 2018

An Interview With Brenda Dent - Devotions Through Play Quiet Book

Today I would like to introduce you to Brenda Dent and her Devotions Through Play quiet books. I saw how she was able to include a printed Bible verse in her books and just HAD to invite her to share her method with you though an Interview on Faith and Felt Obsession. Brenda operates the Creative Seamstress Shop in Tacoma, WA.


Devotions Through Play Quiet Book Video





Carissa D: How did you get interested in making quiet books?

Brenda: Got interested in Quiet Book sewing because they are colorful and entertaining even for me. Is a great distraction from nursing and I am in midst of retiring in 2-3 years. Thinking about starting a sewing business. Just something to do when retire from, as of now, 48 years of nursing. Love being imaginative and sewing since age 11. Altering my own clothes was essential due to then, my large size. And then had a little sister who laid on floor (sucking her fingers) asking me to make her a dress. I instead made her pajamas. Her pajamas were made by laying fabric on the floor, spreading arms out, like an angel, cutting around her. Then sewing the seams, elastic around neck and wrists, and hem. Well, she loved them, and made these requests every time I opened the sewing machine. My mom noted the talent and began buying patterns, sewing by their instructions and making dresses for rest of sisters and me. I did take a class in Home Economics, but did not ace the class because I had already developed techniques that were not favorable to my teacher.


Carissa D: I love your story about how you learned to sew by making things for your little sister :) does she sew too?

Brenda: Haha. No my sister does not sew.


Carissa D: What inspired this particular quiet book?

Brenda: I became inspired to sew a "Lutheran Quiet Book" because noted little resources for "Lutheran " version of a quiet book. I began making them for new babies in my church after baptism. I also sold them at a local store who sold local home made items. I then changed the name to "Devotions Through Play". They sold like 'hot cakes'.




Carissa D: Where did you get your ideas and did you use any templates?

Brenda: Ideas originally came from templates but refashioned them to the Lutheran teachings. Being a Sunday School teacher, in my high school and college years, promoted the idea of attaching God's word while a child plays.

I think that is why this quiet book stands out because it is learning His Word through play; Reading bible references/stories, hymns, and excerpts from the Lutheran Catechism. Promotes parent and child to spend time together, inspire child to learn, and remind parent of The Word of God.


Carissa D: I am totally loving the method you came up with for adding the written Bible verses to your pages. Could you please explain to everyone how to do this?

Brenda: I transfer bible verses to 'Light' Fabric transfers by AVERY. Just follow directions. Then I Iron the transfer on to a light cloth,I use muslin, then sew on to the page.


Carissa D: What encouragement can you give to anyone wanting to make a quiet book for someone special in their lives?

Brenda: This activity book is great for any ladies church group, where each person can sew a pattern or activity and one other can design a cover. Less work and time. Then all bring pages and place in the cover and present to a new parents of a child who has been baptized. This book is geared for 18 months to 3 years, so you have plenty of time for production. These pages do not necessarily require sewing, activity page can be done with painting and pasting. There are plenty of templates out there for free for references.




Carissa D: Feel free to give your business a plug!

Brenda: Please visit astitchintimecreations.biz. My business is thriving called Creative Seamstress Shop. I mend, sew, tailor, and create custom requests; jean bags out of a father's old jeans for a couple of sisters after his death, activity blankets/aprons for people with Alzheimer's, and make angel gowns for infant deaths to support families during grieving. These gowns/cocoons are donated to hospitals or given to those who request them.





Thank you so much for sharing with us Brenda! I love that you were able to find an easy way to include writing in your quiet books. It is often quite a difficult thing to do without an embroidery machine, which many of us do not own. But you have solved the problem. Well done!



Here is one of Brenda's activity aprons for Alzheimer patients. They are much like a quiet book or a fidget quilt to help exercise the minds of our dear oldies, but aprons are a little more practical as they cannot get lost. Terrific idea.




Thursday, 19 April 2018

Easter Hat Parade - Palm Sunday Easter Bonnet

In Australian primary schools it is very common to have a yearly Easter Hat Parade competition. Each child makes or decorates a hat at home to wear in the parade at school. I remember them when I was a kid.




Now that its my turn to supervise the hat making, as a Christian I couldn't bring myself to make a hat full of eggs or bunnies. In an effort to make the most of the opportunity, and try to teach Tahlia how to share her faith, we made a Palm Sunday Easter Bonnet.




When I told my friends I wanted to make a Christian themed Easter Hat, they all immediately thought of putting a cross on the front of a hat. Kinda morbid looking next to a bunch of brightly coloured and fun filled Easter Hats. Of course I didn't want to embarrass Tahlia, and it's probably not the greatest method of convincing people that the Christian movement is something they should join either!
I think we came up with a hat that is equally bright and rivals the fun of any Easter Hat I've seen.

It is made of painted paper mache molded over a hat and bucket. We made the rim and Jerusalem gateway arch out of aluminium foil, and paper mache over the top. The sign saying "Welcome to Jerusalem" is made from a painted pop stick and marker, and is hung with some elastic and hot glue. 




The battery operated car and track are from one of Tahlia's toys. Jesus on the donkey and the crowd are finger puppets copied and laminated from the book Bible Stories by Twin Sisters Productions, 2005. We used plain old sticky tape to attach them to the hat (and car so Jesus can actually ride the donkey). And as you might have guessed we used felt and hot glue to make the palm tree trunks (and a cardboard hand towel roll for the top one). She wanted the tall one on top because there was a 'Tallest Hat' category. The palm branches are also felt hot glued around some pipe cleaners. They can be taken out and laid on the road or waved around while shouting "Hosanna!"

This hat was inspired by a quiet book page which I am yet to post on the blog. When I do, I'll put a link to the post so you guys can get the template for the palm leaves.

We had a great time making the hat together. Stay tuned for the next few years to see what else we come up with, and if you have any suggestions or requests, please let us know in the comments below!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Genesis 1 - Days of Creation Quiet Book Page

Genesis chapter 1 records the events that occurred on days 1-6 of the Creation Week. The seventh day is also included here for convenience.


Memory Verse: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1.

Materials needed to create the Days of Creation quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used black.
  • Betty Lukens Felt book 01 Bible Stories available at Koorong.
  • sewing thread to best match the page
  • scissors!
Cut out all the pieces for this page and the page itself from the Betty Lukens set. The Betty Lukens FAQ section has posted a cutting tips PDF.

Sew the Betty Lukens page onto the background felt along three sides, leaving the top edge open to form a pocket. Pop the pieces inside the pocket (or better yet - play with them)!

Finished!

Difficulty Level = Easy, plus No Sew version.

A very easy quiet book page!
Just use hot glue wherever sewing is recommended for a no sew version.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Genesis 1 - Learn the order of events on each day of creation week.
  • Matching - Match each piece to the corresponding spot for each day of creation week.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through matching the pieces.




Read the Chapter

Genesis 1

Devotional

There are heaps of patterns in the days of creation. The most basic is that in the first three days God creates a space, and days 4-6, He fills those spaces. There are lots of other patterns too, such as numbering some days by their cardinal numbers, and others by their ordinal number. Such an interesting study.

I have discovered that the days of creation, aside from being literal, are actually a prophecy of the Earth's history and coming events.

Day 1 - God created light and separated light from darkness
Millennium 1 - Adam and Eve chose between light and darkness

Day 2 - God separated the waters above and below with a vault (the sky)
Millennium 2 - The Flood occurred

Day 3 - God made dry ground to appear, and vegetation grew on the land
Millennium 3 - God made dry ground appear for the Israelite's to cross the red sea after the Exodus, and the Earth was re-populated after The Flood / Abraham is promised descendants as numerous as the stars.

Day 4 - God created the greater light and the lesser light (sun and moon) and the stars
Millennium 4 - Jesus was born and lived (the Sun of Righteousness), announced by John the Baptist (the moon), and the earlier part of this period was characterized by the prophets (perhaps represented as the stars) or perhaps Abraham's descendants have now become a nation and are now as numerous as the stars).

Day 5 - God filled the water and sky with birds and fish
Millennium 5 - The Gospel went to the gentiles

Day 6 - God made the animals and Adam and Eve
Millennium 6 - The Gospel continued to go to the gentiles, and perhaps the second Adam (Jesus) will return (my guess is at the edge of the 6th and 7th Millenniums).

Day 7 - God rested
Millennium 7 - God will provide rest for His people during the thousand year respite/Sabbath in Heaven (after which we return to Earth - re-created for our eternal home).

It's pretty cool when you start recognizing patterns in the Bible and find something like this.

Anyway, if you want some great scientific evidence articles (journal, lay and children's) regarding the young Earth and literal days of creation, you can find some great stuff at Creation.com and Answers in Genesis.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Makeup Palette Felt Board Play Set

Hanging Tahlia's felt board on her bedroom wall was a big achievement! After we set it up with a calendar ready for starting school, she decided to use the free space to pretend to do her makeup for school in the morning - just like Mummy does for work.


Which inspired me to make her this...




... her very own makeup palette!


You can make your own with our free template available here.

I used craft glue to attach the felt to the background, and hot glue to attach the plastic pocket. You don't have to attach them at all if you don't want to - aside from the plastic pocket of course. 

Tahlia really enjoyed adding the glitter glue to the top of the oval eye shadows. I won't pretend I didn't enjoy it either. It really makes the item, really topped it off.




This activity provides a great opportunity to learn shapes and colours. And I suppose if you don't attach the items, you could use it to learn spatial awareness too.

I refuse to spell colour the American way... the English way is correct in Australia, and so much more rich and colourful - pun intended!




It does fall off the felt board easily when played with, which is disappointing. It is just too heavy. It will stay up for days when not being played with though. If you have one of those A-frame or slanted felt boards, it would work wonderfully I'm sure. Here is our tutorial on How to Make a Felt Board.

I will probably convert the makeup palette into a quiet book page once it gets neglected like most toys do eventually. Hopefully that will spark another bout of imaginative play, and I'll get twice the value out of my efforts.





See also:

Menorah felt board play set for Hanukkah




Sunday, 11 February 2018

Sublimation Printing on Felt - Test

I have spent a lot of time researching the best AND most affordable way to print on felt.


Background:

I wanted a method of actually printing on felt, rather than using t-shirt transfer paper which leaves a plastic film on top of the felt. This plastic layer prevents felt from sticking to itself and makes layering difficult. Layering is very useful for felt board story play sets and quiet books, such as dress up dolls and the like.

Sublimation printing transfers the ink directly into the felt fibers, and because it uses pigment based ink instead of dye based ink (which is water soluble) it tends to last well even after washing. A sublimation printer prints the pigment ink onto sublimation paper. After it has dried, the paper is layered on top of the felt and pressed in a heat press. This heats the ink so fast that it quickly turns to a gas and transfers from the paper onto the item - in my case felt.

After I came to the conclusion that sublimation printing was most likely the best way to go, I set about finding a way to make it affordable.

There are a couple of companies that offer such services online, such as Bags of Love or Contrado in the UK. It is rather expensive, particularly if you do not live in the UK!

I considered buying my own sublimation printer and heat press - which would have been more affordable than buying from overseas. I joined as many sublimation printing groups on Facebook as I could to find out what were the good brands and such. Most importantly, I wanted to check that sublimation printing on felt does actually work before I made an investment in a printing system.

I quickly discovered that an affordable machine does not come with the most vibrant inks. And the ink can dry up and clog the printer if you don't use it regularly. Since my use would only be as a hobby, I decided it would be better to let the professionals deal with those issues.

In a couple of the local sublimation printing groups I asked if someone might be willing to do a test for me. Thankfully Leonie from Digitextiles offered to test some felt samples for me at no cost!




Digitextiles Test Sample Results:


Club House felt roll (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL and improved the fiber quality (I was worried that it was not good enough but the heat press tightened the structure of the fibers)

Acrylic felt packaged roll (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Arbee 50 pack A4 felt sheets (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Acrylic felt by the meter (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Arbee stiffened felt sheets (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL but became a lot thinner than it was originally, although it remained stiff

Sullivan's A4 felt sheets (Lincraft) - was SUCCESSFUL and remained around the same thickness and quality

All felt was heat pressed for 45 seconds at 190 degrees with no preshrinking.


Screen printed fabric on heat press to sure
 ink in studio by Scrud123


My Felt Printing Plan:

In an effort to make printing on felt affordable, I asked Leonie if she would be willing to print and post me sublimation paper only. That way I would only have to buy a heat press and I would also be saving bulky postage and providing the materials and manpower myself. Transferring individual parts of an image to stiffened felt can be done as required and would not be causing too much mucking around for a sublimation printing business (which would also put costs up).

She has agreed! Printing costs are around $20 per 1 x 1.48m area plus postage. This area fits around 21-25 A4 sheets of images. She prefers images are sent via email or drop box. They should also be sent as individual images rather than as a 21 page PDF (which suits me perfectly).

If you are interested in using this method, here is a great buying guide by STAHLS' for what to look for in a heat press.