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

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Ribbon Quiet Book Binding Method

The Ribbon Quiet Book Binding Method is a very simple way to put a quiet book together if you want the book to be completely bound. By 'completely bound' I mean that you cannot swap the pages in and out. It is a completely bound book and will stay that way.


The pillowcase closure has been pulled back underneath so you can see the layers side on.



Explanation Video


This is a method I came up with after trying Debbie's tutorial of How To make Cloth Books from her website Cloth Books for Baby. I tried her method on my Up-cycled Clothes Quiet Book, and while it was super simple, I found that the spine was rather thick and difficult to sew. It didn't help that I sewed some of the clothes right to the edge of my borders, but I guess that is what you get when you make a quiet book. Very thick pages.




So to combat this issue, I tweaked Debbie's idea slightly and came up with the Ribbon Quiet Book Binding Method.

I must warn you, I put this quiet book together very late, actually very early, on Christmas morning last year. It came together quite quickly, considering. If I was using the traditional quilted quiet book binding method, I am certain I could not have finished in time.




I think I may have already attached my Pillowcase Quiet Book Closure to the back cover before that night, but I can't quite remember. Let's assume that I had!




Most of the pages were made by people in a swap that I went in, so I can't take any credit for those. Aside from the cover, the pages I did made for this book were for a Felt Board in a Fabric Quiet Book, and a pocket page to store the felt board pieces and random pieces from other pages. I wanted the pocket to be easily accessible from the felt board pages as it is not constructive to play to be having to turn the page to get to a pocket, especially when there is nothing attaching the pieces, and they would likely fall off and have to be re-positioned.


View of the book folded out with the cover and closure showing.

I positioned the pages in the order I wanted them to appear once put together, then sewed the pages on two or three sides (depending on how many ribbon spines or joiners were to be attached to them) with right sides together. Then I turned them so right sides were facing out before attaching ribbons to form spines or joiners between the pages.




This reduced the bulkiness along the seams, and meant that the pages could be stacked together and sewn down the middle to form a spine so much easier than with my attempt for the Up-cycled Clothes Quiet Book.




Mum was horrified that I didn't top stitch the pages once I turned them, and is worried that they will fray, especially if I need to wash it. I guess I am just lazy, and I will hand wash it anyway if I need to so I think it will be OK. The zigzag stitch should help with that too.




View of the ribbon joiner attached at the seam where the pillowcase closure is attached.


The book can be folded innumerable ways so that any page can be sitting on top.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Genesis 6 - Preparing For The Flood Quiet Book Page

In Genesis chapter 6, God tells Noah to build an ark.



Memory Verse: "And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female." Genesis 6:19

Materials needed to create Preparing For The Flood quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used dark green
  • Betty Lukens Felt book 07 Noah's Ark 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. Cut it out as it is, not in the shape of an ark as suggested in the instructions. 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.

One of the easiest quiet book pages ever!
Just use hot glue wherever sewing is recommended for a no sew version.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Genesis 6 - this page tells the story of how God instructed Noah to build an ark to prepare for The Flood.
  • Imaginative Play - get all the animals ready to enter the ark.
  • Matching - there are two of each type of animal - match them into pairs.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through rearranging the pieces.

Read the Chapter

Genesis 6

Devotional

How big was the ark? Tour the life-size replica at Ark Encounter via you tube.

Or read this article on worldwide flood traditions

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Psalm 127 - Unless the LORD Builds the House Quiet Book Page

In Psalm 127, Solomon notes that a lot of effort is wasted when we try to do things without God's help.


Memory Verse: "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain." Psalm 127:1

Materials needed to create Unless the LORD Builds the House quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used bright green.
  • Wonderwall in a slightly smaller size than the background
  • sewing thread to best match the wonderwall
  • stiffened felt in various colours
  • Velcro dots - hook side only
  • hot glue gun and glue - optional
  • the free template
  • pen and scissors!
Cut out the blocks from the template and draw around each the correct number of times on the colour of stiffened felt chosen. Cut out the blocks from the stiffened felt. Cut your Velcro dots in half and attach the Velcro dot to the side of the stiffened felt block which has the pen mark on it. You may need to use a little hot glue to hold them in place, especially if your Velcro dots are a little old like some of mine were, and the sticky is not so sticky anymore.

It is difficult to see in the photos, but the white circle is actually attached with a Velcro dot to a dark blue square block. It is meant to be a clock.

Sew your Wonderwall to the background page, leaving enough room for a colourful border and to allow you to sew your pages back to back once you are ready to sew the book together.




Stick your building blocks onto the Wonderwall with the Velcro and re-arrange to make all sorts of buildings.  They should all fit on the page for storage purposes.




Finished!

Difficulty Level = Easy, plus No Sew version.

One of the easiest quiet book pages ever!
Just use hot glue wherever sewing is recommended for a no sew version.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Genesis 6 - This page tells about how much God works behind the scenes. We often forget that it is actually Him keeping our cities and country safe, and helping us to build our lives.
  • Shapes - Learn the shapes square, circle, semi-circle, arch, rectangle, pillar, and triangle.
  • Touch and Feel - The Wonderwall adds a rough texture to the page.
  • Imaginative Play - Build endless combinations of houses, city gates, and walls, etc.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through rearranging the Velcroed pieces.


Read the Chapter

Psalm 127

Devotional

Solomon wrote this Psalm. I'm not sure that this is what he was talking about, but I found it a little fitting because he was the one God selected to build His house - the Temple. David had been busy making plans to build a temple, but God told him "No". I guess David knew better than to argue with God, because it seems he accepted that without complaint. He did all he could so it was ready for Solomon though, gathering supplies and drawing up plans.

Like I mentioned in my last devotional for Luke 12 - Where is Your Treasure Quiet Book Page, no-one can be an expert on everything, and if you want your plans to succeed, it is best to ask for help. God's help is the greatest help, and He can find you the right people to provide you with help too. If God has decreed something is not going to succeed, it ain't gonna, so don't waste your efforts.

Once again, we can't rely on own own efforts to build a good life and to keep ourselves safe. That's God's job, and that's great for us, because otherwise how could we go to sleep at night? But He is always there keeping watch and helping if we ask Him to.