Friday, 12 January 2018

Psalm 46 - Be Still and Know that I Am God Tea Set Quiet Book Page

Psalm 46 tells us to "be still and know that I am God".


Memory Verse: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10.

Materials needed to create a Be Still and Know that I Am God Tea Set quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used mid blue.
  • about 4 sheets of brown felt
  • thin brown and cream ribbons
  • clear vinyl/plastic scraps
  • small button - I used one with a shank (loop at the back)
  • printed herb material
  • wadding / batting scraps - ask your quilting friends
  • white felt
  • stiffened white felt (for the teapot and tea cup handles)
  • light blue felt scraps
  • light blue ribbon to match the light blue felt (optional but easier)
  • light blue embroidered flowers etc to decorate
  • sewing thread to match/contrast
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • printer to print the templates and the words "tea chest" in a nice font to use as a template - I used Cooper Black in size 120.
  • I used the following colouring sheets as templates for the teapot and teacup - they may need shrinking to a size you are happy with. I think I printed the teacup to fit about four on an A4 page.
  • a cup or glass to use as a tea bag and teapot cutout template. Check that it fits inside the teapot and tea chest pocket when you print it out.
  • my free tea chest template (minus lettering)

Tea Chest: First cut out some lettering that will fit on your front tea chest pocket. Sew it onto the front single layered pocket piece. Next, cut out the base of the tea chest and sew it down onto the same coloured felt to double and strengthen it. Do the same with both pocket pieces. Cut them all out and sew the doubled pocket pieces in position on the base.


Cut out the lid from your vinyl and edge it with the brown ribbon. Start a little off the midpoint of the bottom edge and end back at the midpoint, overlapping your starting point. Form a loop at the end by folding the ribbon back under itself before finishing. Stop sewing before you get to the end of the ribbon to leave a loop of ribbon. You will use this ribbon loop to hook over the button and close the lid. Re-enforce the stitching here several times as mine is already starting to pull off.

To enable easier movement of the vinyl through your sewing machine, you can do several things. I wedged a piece of paper between the sections of my sewing machine so it would slide properly and not stick to the plastic on my machine. You can use scotch / frosted sticky tape on the bottom of your sewing machine foot for the same reason, but I found I didn't need to as I was sewing on top of the ribbon.


If you want to store your tea pot in the tea chest like I did here, you may need to make some hinges. This allows for a gap at the top which you may need if your teapot is too tall like mine was. I have made two versions of this tea set - one for the Quiet Book Bible Project, and one for my niece. Since I want everything to fit on one page for the Bible Quiet Book Project, I needed to store the teapot and cup in the tea chest - one of the reasons there is only one cup featured here. (Also, the Bible verse is rather conducive to one cup - it can be hard to be still at a tea party)! The version I made for my niece didn't require everything to fit on one page so she has a double page spread. My sister made her a storage pocket to keep her teapot and cups in.


Create two ribbon hinges for the lid by cutting two small strips about 8cm long and melting the edges with a match to prevent fraying. Fold them in half and sew them to the top of your lid. I put my machine on zig zag stitch with a stitch length of zero to go backwards and forwards over the same spot. I did this twice in an 'x' shape on the top of the folded ribbon hinges.

I used a ruler to make sure the angle was 45 degrees.

Pin the other end of the ribbon hinges underneath the top edge of the base and sew the base down around all sides except the right or left slanted side. That will create a secret pocket to store extra tea bags in if needed.

If you are not using hinges, sew the base down to the page leaving the same gap on one of the slanted sides to form a secret pocket. Then sew down the lid on top of the base along the top edge only.

You should be able to fold this little corner back so you can sew the tea chest
onto the page without sewing over the top of the upper pocket.

Sew your button to the middle of the front pocket that says "tea chest" and use the ribbon loop to close the lid.



Tea Bags: Use your cup or glass to mark circles over the printed herbs on your material. Cut them out in a square shape leaving plenty of room around your circles.  Then cut another square the same size from each of the herbs as well.

Sandwich a piece of wadding or batting between the two squares of material, right sides facing out. One of the squares should have a circle traced around one of the herbs. The other side should be the same herb but without a circle traced around it.

Cut as many 20cm lengths of ribbon as tea bags you are making. I made twenty tea bags because that is how many different printed herbs there were on my material. Melt the ends using a match to prevent fraying.

Pin the sandwiched tea bags together around the circle. Slip both ends of a length of ribbon between the wadding and the side with the circle traced on it and pin it in place. This will form a ribbon loop for your tea bag. Set your sewing machine to zig zag and a stitch width of just under 1 (like you would when sewing a buttonhole). Sew around the circle shape. Cut out your tea bags ensuring you do not cut off the ribbon loop whilst doing it.



Tea Pot: Cut out your teapot template from the colouring page. You will need to print it out several times and cut out the teapot handle with extensions at the ends to allow it to be sewn in place between two layers of felt. Also, cut the teapot bodies a slightly smaller width and slightly taller at the top to allow it to fit underneath the lid so it can close properly.

Cut your handle from white stiffened felt. Cut two teapot bodies and two teapot lids from white felt. If your child is right handed, draw around the cup or glass on the inside of the front teapot body. Cut out the hole. Lay a piece of clear vinyl over the space and sew around the circle to form a window into the teapot. That way you can see which type of tea you are pouring each time. Trim the excess.

There are tips for sewing with vinyl listed above in the tea chest section.

I purposely used a thread in the contrast colour so I would not have to keep swapping colours on my machine so frequently.

Cut out your strips of ribbon and contrast felt sections (the knob at the top of the tea pot and the edges of the teapot and tea cups). If you are using felt you will have to print out a couple of copies of the templates and eyeball some of those sections from that. If using ribbon (recommended to reduce the thickness when sewing it together), melt the ends with a match to prevent fraying. Sew all sections in place. If using ribbon, only sew along the bottom edge of the ribbon at the edge of the teapot body where you will be joining on the lid. This will enable you to fold back the ribbon and allow you to put a split pin through without damaging the ribbon.

Pin the teapot bodies together and sandwich the handle in between the two layers. I chose not to sew the spout closed. Pin the lid together too. Sew both together. You may need to use the hand knob on your machine to get through the thickness of the stiffened felt when sewing through the handle.

Use a darning needle to make holes for the split pins and insert them. I used one on each side.


Hot glue your embroidered flower embellishments in place.

Tea Cup/s: Cut your template from the colouring page in a similar manner to the teapot. Cut your handle/s from white stiffened felt.

Cut out your strips of ribbon or contrast felt sections. If using ribbon (recommended to reduce the thickness when sewing it together), melt the ends with a match to prevent fraying.  Sew in place.

Pin the tea cup/s together and sandwich the handle/s in between the two layers. If you are only making one tea cup, remember to put the handle on the opposite side to the teapot so you can hold one in each hand and still see the pretty decorations. I put both mine on the same side and had to undo it later and swap the handle to the other side on my tea cup to please Tahlia. She wasn't happy she couldn't see the decorations on the tea cup while pouring her cup of tea. I did four tea cups for my niece, so I did two of each side for her.

Sew the tea cup together. You may need to use the hand knob on your machine to get through the thickness of the stiffened felt when sewing through the handle.

Hot glue your embroidered flower embellishments in place.

Finished!

Difficulty Level = Difficult.

I have suggested a few changes to make it a little easier. I wish I had thought of them earlier!

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Psalm 46 - Learn to be still and trust God to help us through our problems.
  • Imaginative Play - Practice relaxing, "let go and let God" while talking things over with Him over a cup of tea.
  • Herbal Medicine - Get informed about what each herb looks like, which parts to use, and what properties they have.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through matching the pieces.



Read the Chapter

Psalm 46

Devotional


Though the tempest rages around us, we can sit and confidently enjoy a cup of tea knowing that God is in control. We may be overwhelmed by the things we experience, but to God all our trials are like a storm in a tea cup. He can sort our problems and give us calm in the midst of the storm. Take a moment today to talk over your problems with Him over a cuppa. It will be time well spent.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

Micah 5 - Oh Little Town of Bethlehem Quiet Book Page

Micah chapter 5 predicts the birth place of the Messiah - Bethlehem.


Memory Verse: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2.
.

Materials needed to create the Oh Little Town of Bethlehem quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used red.
  • 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

  • Micah 5 - Learn about how Jesus fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy by being born in Bethlehem.
  • Imaginative Play - Which of the animals is going to get to see Baby Jesus first?
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through arranging the pieces.




Read the Chapter

Micah 5

Devotional

Bethlehem can mean "House of bread" in Hebrew. Here we have the bread from Heaven / bread of life (John 6:25-59) in a very impoverished 'house'. I guess when you see the Majesty of God, it shows off how wretched, poor, blind, naked and filthy our condition really is.

This prophecy is just one of over three hundred that Jesus fulfilled. The video below talks about the mathematical possibility of Jesus fulfilling just six of those, one being a 1 in 3968 chance of being born in Bethlehem.




Saturday, 25 November 2017

Isaiah 9 - Unto us a Son is Born Quiet Book Page

In Isaiah chapter 9, a prediction of the Messiah's birth occurs.

Memory Verse: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Materials needed to create Unto Us a Son is Born quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used mid blue.
  • purple ribbon scrap
  • felt scraps in white, gray, yellow, orange, straw, dark brown, mid brown, tan, and various purples
  • a yellow/gold shank button with a loop back - this is too accommodate the thickness of four layers of felt used on the star
  • sewing thread to best match the page
  • scissors
  • the free template available from A Felt Nativity Story by Stay at Home Educator 
  • my free template - which includes the extra pieces missing from A Felt Nativity Story by Stay at Home Educator as an added bonus! Most of them are untested, but I am confident they will work - I have made a few templates in my time.

From the felt nativity story template, I used Joseph's body for both Joseph and Mary. I used two of the wise men's clothes for them because they are easily able to be adapted to form pockets to enable cuddling of Baby Jesus. First cut out one of all the pieces and arrange them on your page to make sure they fit. You will need to adapt your pieces somewhat to be able to form a pocket with Mary and Joseph's clothes. I will try to explain adequately below.




Baby Jesus: sew down the pieces for baby Jesus in the order of face followed by swaddling onto a doubled layer white background. When you have gone around the saddling, sew around his head on the white felt. Cut around the edge leaving a white border around Baby Jesus' head.

Manger: sew down the pieces for the manger and straw in that order onto a sheet of felt the same colour as the manger. I used chocolate brown. Then cut it out. Pin it to the page and cut a length of purple ribbon for a blanket and melt the ends with a match to prevent fraying. Pin it in position so it will fold over baby Jesus and form a blanket. Unpin the manger and sew down the ribbon at the bottom edge where it won't be seen under the manger. Then re-position the manger and sew it down around the outside edge leaving the top straw side open to form a pocket for baby Jesus to sleep in.




Star of David Sun: first choose the size appropriate for your button and cut out one star and sew it down to the same yellow felt. Cut it out after sewing it down. Then cut out the corresponding sized circle out of orange felt and layer a piece of orange felt topped by the Star of David and the circle of orange felt on top of that.




Sew down the circle. Sew the appropriate sized button hole onto a scrap piece of felt so you can mark with sewing pins on your sun where to start your button hole.





Sew a buttonhole the appropriate size for your button in the middle of your star and open it up with a seam ripper.





Then cut out the star by cutting the bottom orange layer by following the circle shape at the top. Fold back the yellow star points as you cut around so you don't cut them off. Hand sew the shank button to your page. Button on the sun.

Mary: Use a few of your pieces to line up Mary again, and sew down the back of her head covering and then her body on top. The photo is to show the positioning - not which sections to sew down.




Sew down the two purple pieces onto a white sheet of felt. Position the body piece template over the top and use it to cut out the shape of her dress. Then trim the section of white from around the shoulder area and continue down along the purple to the bottom edge. See below.





Pin the dress on top and sew matching your thread to the white and purple sections. Stop at the spot where the purple cuts across Mary's chest to form a pocket opening so Mary can cuddle baby Jesus.




Next sew down Mary's head and hair. Sew her front head covering down onto the same white sheet of felt it was cut from so it is double thickness. Cut it out and then sew it down along the outside edge.

Joseph: When cutting out Joseph's clothes, cut off one shoulder from the Y shaped pattern pieces. When you cut out the pieces out of felt, extend the length of the pieces you cut off from the Y shape so they extend underneath the other and into the pocket.

Position and sew the back of Joseph's head covering, followed by his body. Then sew down the extended shoulder pieces the go underneath Joseph's outer robe into the pocket. Sew down his head and hair.

Similar to Mary, sew down the two purple pieces on top of each other onto a grey sheet of felt. Position the body piece template over the top and use it to cut out the shape of his robe. Then trim the section of grey from around the shoulder area and continue down along the purple to the bottom edge. Pin the robe on top of his body and sew matching your thread to the grey and purple sections. Stop at a spot a little below where the purple cuts across Joseph's chest to form a pocket opening so he can cuddle baby Jesus too. Why is it always Mary that gets all the cuddles? I'm sure Joseph tried to be a good Step-Dad and gave Jesus plenty of cuddles.

Lastly, Sew down the front of his head covering onto another gray sheet of felt to double it up so it is strong. Then cut it out and position it, sewing only along the outer edge.




Finished!

Difficulty Level = Intermediate.

However - A Felt Nativity Story board by Stay at Home Educator is easy! I included the missing pieces in my free template above.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Isaiah 9 - This page tells about how God told Isaiah about the birth of the Messiah around 500 years before the fact. He came from Royal lineage as predicted.
  • Imaginative Play - The baby can have cuddles with Mummy and Daddy, wear His crown/halo, and sleep in His royal-blanky bed.
  • Tucking - Tuck baby Jesus into his manger-bed and tack the blanket in over the top.
  • Buttoning - Button and un-button the sun.
  • Shapes - Learn the shape of a Star of David and sun.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through buttoning the sun and tucking the baby into bed and Mummy/Daddy's arms.



Read the Chapter

Isaiah 9

Devotional

Isaiah prophesied Jesus birth around 600-700 years before the event.

Jesus is the sun of righteousness mentioned in this chapter. I made a Star of David shaped sun that can be buttoned on and off the page - and can be used as an impromptu crown or halo on Jesus' head.

This quiet book page features a lot of purple - because the government will be on His shoulders and that is the Royal colour. I gave Jesus a purple blanket for the same reason. It kinda annoys me when they picture Him in prickly hay. As if his Mama wouldn't put a blanky down first!!

Both Mary and Joseph are descendants of King David (government) - although Joseph was a descendant through the line of Jeconiah and therefore not eligible to be a forebear of the Messiah. I will write about that in another devotional, however.

Which brings me to the next part of this devotional... hidden information regarding the virgin birth.

There are countless fascinating things to discover when you start studying the Bible. You might be frightened that you will learn everything there is to know, but you are quite safe to believe you will never get to that stage. The Holy Spirit has inspired so many secret layers of meaning (that probably the original writers did not even realize they were hiding in the writing) that we will never run out of learning.


Image source

There are two ways of writing the Hebrew letter mem - 'M' in English. they are called an open mem and a closed mem, referring to the gap or no gap formed in the letter when writing it. Correct Hebrew grammar rules that the closed mem is only ever used at the end of a word. Theses rules are followed everywhere in the Bible except in one word in a passage in Isaiah 9.  If you are curious as to why the rule is broken here and how that is significant to the prophecy of Jesus' virgin birth, please read this article from JewishRoots.net and even if you don't read the whole article - make sure you follow the link in the article to a two and a bit page PDF entitled The Mystery of the Closed Mem by Daniel Botkin. It is large writing and an easy read, and WELL worth it!


For unto us A Child is Born - Handel's Messiah

Tahlia had fun pretending to conduct the orchestra and choir for this clip!!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Mark 4 - This Little Light of Mine Quiet Book Page

In Mark chapter 4, Jesus tells a parable about how we need to let our light shine or it will be lost.


Memory Verse: " Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine." Mark 4:21

Materials needed to create This Little Light of Mine quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used medium brown.
  • felt scraps in white, red, orange, yellow, and brown, and a basket colour
  • ribbon and/or rik rak scraps
  • sewing thread to best match the page
  • scissors!
  • the free template
Sew a thick ribbon along the bottom third of the page - this is to form a sort-of tablecloth. Make the ribbon longer than the page so you can fold the edges under when sewing the book together. Melt the edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying.

Cut out all your pieces from felt. Cut a length of ribbon or rik rak to fit the top of your basket edge. Melt the edges to prevent fraying, them sew it to the top of your basket. This will decorate it, but also re-enforce the felt to make it stronger on the edge that will be used as a pocket. Sew the basket in place, sitting it on top of the tablecloth ribbon on the right side of the page, leaving the top ribbon edge open to form a pocket.




Cut a length of ribbon about 19 cm long and melt the edges to prevent fraying. Sew it to the top of you candlestick bowl, starting at the left edge. This will mean that you have a length of ribbon left over at the other end. Sew down your candlestick bowl on the other side of the page, sitting on top of the tablecloth ribbon. Leave the top ribbon section open to form another pocket. Tuck the leftover ribbon at the top under the candlestick bowl when you sew it down to form a handle.




Layer the flame pieces and sandwich them between the white candle piece and another white piece of felt. Sew around the top and sides of the candle, leaving the bottom open to form a finger puppet. Cut it out and sit it in the candlestick bowl like Jesus instructed, not in the basket!! Or better yet, put it on your finger and sing the song "This little light of mine" and do the actions.

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.


Another version I made on a smaller sized page (roughly 10" x 10").


Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Mark 4 - This page tells about how we need to let our light (belief in Jesus) shine, lest it get suffocated under a basket.
  • Imaginative Play - Sing the song posted from YouTube below and follow the actions with the finger puppet on your finger. This song is currently one of Tahlia's favourites, which is why I made this page now I guess!
  • Tucking - Tuck the candle into the basket (No!) and candlestick bowl!
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through tucking the candle into pockets, and slotting it onto your finger.



Read the Chapter

Mark 4

Devotional

What a warning! If we hide our light (understanding of God's word) we will lose it. But if we expose it, it will be fed and grow!! God promises in Isaiah 42:3 that "He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged." See also Matthew 12:20. He is sensitive with us and we can trust Him with our souls no matter how fragile we feel.


This is the traditional kids song "This Little Light of Mine" which the page is designed to be sung with. The version is a little dated, but it was the best I could find. Hope your child enjoys singing it with you!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Vegan Vs Wool Felt - My Perspective

Recently I read a discussion regarding wool felt and ethical issues. Whilst I believe these arguments are made sincerely and have valid points, I feel that the other side of the argument is often left out entirely. Are there any ethical issues relating to vegan felt?

Please be warned there may be graphic content in my words. You can google the graphic pictures if you so desire.

Moondyne / CC-BY-SA-3.0
The Big Merino in Goulburn
Australia is famous for it's "Big" attractions


Wool Felt:

The argument was made that vegan felt was more ethical due to the fact that it was made from recycled plastic bottles, and did not cause harm to animals. Whereas wool felt comes from sheep, and there are cruel animal husbandry practices such as mulesing associated with farming practices. Concerns were also raised about living conditions.

As the daughter of a sheep farmer in Australia, I must say that most farmers want to look after their sheep. Sheep in Australia are generally not housed in a shed or factory. They are free to roam in a paddock and eat grass. I guess the exception would be fat lambs - where lambs are kept in an enclosure in order to restrict grass intake and are fed grain in order to fatten them up quickly for market. This is done for the meat market and those lambs do not live long enough to provide wool. So wool felt has nothing to do with that. Sheep do not have to die to give us wool, and in fact, they need the wool taken off them for summer. It is in the best interests of farmers to look after their sheep, and the majority do.

Mulesing is a widespread practice that involves cutting strips of wrinkly wool-bearing skin away from around the backside of sheep to prevent faeces and urine getting stuck to the wool, which attacts flies who lay their eggs there. When the maggots hatch, they eat the flesh of the sheep. I have seen fly strike first hand. I know that whilst mulesing does cause pain it is short-lived and is very effective at preventing fly strike - where a sheep may rot to death from maggot infection. It does not smell nice.


Wool Felt Sheets by Andiec / CC-BY-SA-3.0


Vegan Felt:

Whilst the title sounds great, vegan felt can also have serious ethical issues.

Acrylic/Polyester Felt is vegan. It does not come from an animal source. It is however, made from petroleum. Wars are started over securing a stable petroleum source, so there are definitely ethical issues involved. Also, there are the issues of it being highly flammable unless treated with flame retardants - which probably carry health issues too. Plastics tend to off-gas hormonal substances which can interfere with the endocrine system and possibly cause infertility issues in factory workers. Not to mention the conditions endured by factory workers and the possibility of child slave labour.

Eco Felt is vegan. It is made from recycled plastic bottles. But does the fact that this is a second use negate the effects of production in the first place? The re-melting process is likely to cause further off-gassing anyway. 

Bamboo Felt is vegan. It comes from vegetation. But it is probably harvested in a way that causes deforestation and loss of habitat for Panda Bears. If it is grown, how likely is it that it is grown in areas that were previously deforested?

Viscose/Rayon Felt is vegan. It is made from cellulose sourced from wood pulp, so is also likely to contribute to deforestation and loss of habitat issues.


Colored Felt Cloth by Bastet78 / CC-BY-SA-3.0


My conclusion:

Ethical issues are important, but no decision is perfect. Until Jesus returns to set everything straight, we are going to have to live with imperfect circumstances.
I use whatever I am able to get my hands on. 

If I use: 
  • acrylic felt - I am providing factory workers with a job (and using affordable felt)
  • wool felt - I am providing farmers with a job (and using great quality felt)
  • re-cycled materials / eco felt - I am preventing waste (and reducing pressure on landfill)
  • second-hand materials - I am upcycling (and giving to charity when I buy from a charity shop)
  • new materials - I am developing industry (which is important for the financial health of a region)
  • etc etc etc

I hope that what I am making out of the felt is important too. I am using what resources I can to make the world a better place, and bring a smile to the faces of both children and their carers. My aim is to spread the message of God's love for each individual.

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I Corinthians 10:31