Thursday, December 22, 2011

Handmade Holidays, Part 5: Biggest Undertaking Ever

That's not entirely true.  Not the undertaking part, the holiday part.  My nephew's 2nd birthday is today, and this is actually about his birthday gift.

A busy book.

I'd wanted to do this for a while, but had no idea how intense this would get, how involved.  This was a lot of work!  See, I wanted to design my own, not use someone else's pattern.  That's not to say I didn't search online for ideas.  Of course I did.  I took bits and pieces of inspiration from some of those, as well as from other places, and from my own head too.

Anyway, here's what I came up with.  Page one, I did color-matching flowers that are held on by velcro.  And the stems are attached to the "separate" flower heads to hold them to the book.

And yes, throughout this whole thing, I hand drew the designs onto paper, then pinned them to the fabric and cut them out, then sewed them on.  Some were topstitched like the felt on this flowerpot page, some weren't.

On to pages two and three.

Page two is a pair of denim shorts with a belt that buckles and unbuckles.  I used my own jeans for the shorts and the waistband of a shirt for the belt, but any thick fabric would do.  It just happened to be the absolute perfect width for the 1" buckle I bought.

For some reason, this page intimidated me before I did it... then it turned out to be perfectly fine and fairly easy.

Page three is my car with snap-on wheels.

The wheels, headlight, and bumpers are felt, but the car body is a really soft velour.  I'm sure my nephew will love the feel of it, but man was it a pain to work with!

Ah, pages four and five.  The pages to teach buttoning and tying.  The pocket, made from the same shirt as the belt on page two, didn't worry me at all, but the fabric proved difficult and the way I wanted it sewn wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be.  And that, my friends, is my very first buttonhole.

Meanwhile, the sneaker, designed by looking at my own Keds, was the last page I completed and most to scare the ever-living daylights out of me.  In the end?  A breeze!  The "toughest" part of that page was hitting the store to purchase the grommet pliers.  Oh, and using crazy glue to make the ends of the laces stiff and keep them from fraying.  It worked, but I did it with my bare fingers and then spent the next day and a half scraping crazy glue off because I don't happen to have nailpolish remover.

Pages six and seven, the zipper page and the clock.  To get a zipper involved, I made a jacket from another old shirt, with felt collar, cuffs, and waistband.

The clock face is made from a shiny, slippery shirt fabric.  The grommet pliers came in handy again on this one, so the clock hands are moveable to teach time.

Last, but definitely not least, page eight.  I had no idea what to do with page eight, but I didn't want a blank page.  I also didn't want to be repetitive and had already addressed buttons, velcro, zippers, snaps, and everything else I could think of.

So, I did a gift within a gift.  I made a pocket out of this fab dinosaur fabric I have.

And in that pocket... a puzzle!

And yes, another button, but for this one I did a loop closure, so it's still something new.

Anyway, on to the puzzle.  It's felt.  It's several layers, and it's dinosaurs.

Measuring 10"x15", it's cut into 8 pieces and features a pterodactyl, a stegosaurus, and a plesiosaur.  I figured one air, one land, and one sea dinosaur would be fitting.  The pieces fit nicely into the dinosaur pocket, too.  And it turns out my nephew loves dinosaurs!  So it's perfect.

I didn't want to leave the cover blank, so I hand-embroidered a title for it.

And I gave it a ribbon-tie closure.

After all that work, I couldn't use my design just once.  So you can purchase the extensive instructions and .pdf patterns for the entire thing in the Reef Botanicals Handmade Artists Shop! Or you can also get the instructions and pattern for the puzzle separately, in case anyone wants just that.

Shared with:
Chic on a Shoestring DecoratingPhotobucketThe DIY Show Off Keeping It SimpleTodays Creative BlogTip Junkie handmade projectsSumo's Sweet StuffThe Southern Product QueenHOG{Junk in their Trunk}A Little Knick KnackFun Stuff FridaysThe Ribbon Retreat + FabricDragonfly Designs


Andrea said...

Wonderful idea for toddlers! Thanks for sharing.

Lindsey said...

Wow, I LOVE this! I've always wanted to make one but haven't had the patience yet. :)

Libby A. said...

I LOVE this book! Found you on tip junkie :)

The Southern Product Queen said...

Love your ideas! I'm having a linky party as well on my blog. Here is the link

Lisa said...

I can see why this took so long to make! Every page is so special and cute! I love it!

Heidi said...

Wow, a lot of hard work and love went into this!! Great job! I would love for you to come link up at our link party going on right

Christine @ said...

What a sweet little book! This is one of those toys that will be saved forever :)

Lindsi B said...

What a fabulous and creative idea!!! Would you please share these with our readers for Fun Stuff Fridays?

Claire said...

Great job! Following from tatertots and jello-stop by for a visit!

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