Apostles’ Creed Quiet Book

For some reason, I always seem to get the urge to do something creative (read: long and drawn out) when I’m busiest at work and church! This week, I had the joy of helping teach children from our church and community about God’s mighty power and love at Everest VBS. I enjoyed every minute of it (truly!), but the late nights and early mornings have really started to wear me down. Plus, as the leader for VBS opening and closing, I’m supposed to be super energetic and motivating! I’ll be happy for a day to “sleep in” tomorrow; of course, sleeping in is relative when small children are afoot.

But back to the something creative…I’ve been wanting to make a teaching tool for the Apostles’ Creed for awhile now, as a way for our children to learn and understand the essentials of the Christian faith as set forth in the creed. At home, we talk about the work of the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but the creed brings it all together in a form easily remembered, shared, and professed by the body of Christ. Since I enjoy making felt books, an Apostles’ Creed Quiet Book was in order!

Apostles' Creed Quiet BookHere is the text of the Apostles’ Creed, with some Scripture references:

I believe (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 4:5)
In God (Deut. 6:4 1 Cor. 8:6)
The Father (Psalm 89:27; Matthew 7:11)
Almighty (Genesis 7:1; 2 Cor. 6:18)
Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 33:6; John 5:17)
And in Jesus (Zech 9:9; Matthew 1:21)
Christ (Daniel 9:24; John 3:34)
His only (Zechariah 13:7; John 1:14)
Son (Psalm 2:7; Matthew 16:16)
Our Lord (Jeremiah 23:6; John 20:28)
Who was conceived (Jeremiah 31:22; Luke 1:31)
By the Holy Spirit (Daniel 2:45; Matthew 1:20)
Born (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14)
Of the Virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:43)
Suffered (Isaiah 50:6; Luke 23:25)
Under Pontius Pilate (Psalm 2:2; Luke 18:32)
Was crucified (Psalm 22:17; John 3:14)
Died (Daniel 9:26; Rom. 5:8)
And was buried (Isaiah 53:9; John 12:24)
Descended into hell (Psalm 16:10; Ephesians 4:9)
And on the third day (Hosea 6:2; Matthew 26:32; Acts 10:40-41)
He rose again from the dead (Isaiah 63:1; 2 Timothy 2:8)
Ascended into heaven (Psalm 68:19; Col. 2:15)
And sits at the right hand of the God the Father Almighty (Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19)
From thence he will come (Isaiah 66:15; Acts 1:11)
To judge (Wisdom 6:6; Acts 17:31)
The living and the dead (Daniel 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:51)
I believe in the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 12:10; John 15:26)
The holy (Psalm 45:14; Ephesians 5:26)
Christian Church (Psalm 22:26; Matthew 16:18)
The communion of saints (Exodus 19:5; Ephesians 4:3)
The forgiveness of sins (Psalm 32:1; Acts 10:43)
The resurrection of the body (Isaiah 66:14; John 5:28)
And the life everlasting (Psalm 16:11; 1 Peter 1:4)
Amen! (Psalm 72:19; 2 Cor. 1:20)

I did a couple things differently in making this book than I did in My Church Book. First, I’ve been having some trouble with the grommets on the pages in previous books coming loose from wear. Since I didn’t immediately have a good, inexpensive grommet solution, and since the Apostles’ Creed is one flowing statement of belief, I decided to make the pages fan-fold out from the cover. Second, I made the pages significantly smaller so the book would fit more easily into a church bag or even a purse. Lastly, I made the cover out of a heavy-weight cotton fabric instead of felt, and use thin quilt batting to make it sturdy and strong. I’m really happy with the overall result, and I think I’ll try some more fan-fold-style books in the future!

There are 14 pages total, 7 on each side of the fan fold. For the cover, I figured out how long of a rectangle I would need to fully wrap around the folded pages. I sewed it out of heavy-weight cotton fabric and thin quilt batting, turned it inside out, and top-stitched around the perimeter. I sewed the first page of the book to the cover, leaving a flap on the front and a long flap to wrap around the back and snap onto the front. I also top-stitched a few vertical seams to finish off the flap and spine. Finally, I added a title to the spine using my sewing machine’s monogram feature.

Here’s a peek at the book’s pages:

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

I believe in God the Father, Maker of heaven and earth.

Each person of the Trinity is represented by a circle with a symbol on it (e.g. a hand for the God the Father) that snaps onto a traced-out circle. I love these star buttons I happened upon in some hand-me-downs from the estate of a friend’s great-aunt. You can twist them a little from side to side to make them “twinkle.”

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…

God the Son, Jesus Christ, is represented by a cross. The next page has the baby Jesus attached to a ribbon and tucked in Mary’s arms. We take him out of her arms and place him over the fiery dove to show that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

…suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.

The crown of thorns with a drop of blood reminds us of Jesus’ suffering before Pontius Pilate and leading up to his crucifixion. Then, the kids can wrap Jesus in his burial cloth (a white satin ribbon) and place him in the tomb. The black page represents the utter darkness of hell, where Jesus went and proclaimed His victory over sin, death, and the devil.

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

And on the third day, He rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence, He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Pulling back the boulder reveals the light of the tomb, where only Jesus’ burial cloth remains (the folded ribbon tucks into the side of the tomb). To make Jesus ascend into heaven, you pull on the top of the cloud, which is attached to Jesus via a white ribbon. The top of the cloud is sewn all the way up to the ribbon so that Jesus can’t be pulled through easily (and lost!). The gavel represents Jesus as our final judge. We need not fear His judgement, because he has made our hearts clean and righteous through His blood.

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints…

Here again, the Holy Spirit is represented by a dove. The church page is one of my favorites. I used a silky tie-dyed ribbon for the stained-glass windows and sewed a little button for the church bell. Inside the church is the body of believers, diverse, yet united through faith in the One True God.

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

…the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Jesus forgives and heals our hearts broken from sin. Because Jesus conquered death and rose victorious, we too will rise (death to life represented by the butterfly’s transformation) and be taken to our eternal home in heaven. The final page gives a glimpse of heaven, which will be filled with God’s light. The Trinity is also represented here by three gold/yellow circles.

Apostles' Creed Quiet Book

Remember the circles from the pages representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? They can be snapped off their pages and snapped together on the back cover to represent the three Persons of the Trinity, distinct, yet united as one God. My kids were so excited about this feature of the book! I think symbols and metaphors make great teaching tools, so I wanted to weave as much symbolism as I could into the book.

These same symbols can be found all over our church in the stained-glass windows, on the pulpit and lectern, and in the artwork. When I used to teach confirmation, we learned about several symbols of the faith and then did a scavenger hunt around the church to find all of them. Many of the youth would tell me they had never before noticed them or thought about why they were there. These ancient symbols not only beautify God’s house, they bring a richness to our Christian heritage and unite the Church past, present, and future.

Finally, here are a couple pictures of my daughter exploring the finished quiet book. She loves it so much! Her older brother likes it a lot, too–in fact, they’ve been fighting over who gets to look at it. There’s something ironic about a faith book being the source of division…yet another reminder of our weak flesh and our need for a Savior to rescue us from sin!

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ~Romans 7:25

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E’s First Birthday Busy Book

E’s First Birthday Busy Book

It’s been too long since I sat down at my machine with a bin of felt scraps. Enter our dear friend E’s first birthday–a great opportunity for a little book-making! Three days ago, I got busy making a busy book just for E. I gathered ideas from Google and Pinterest and came up with six fun pages for a budding toddler. Since I get nearly 100% of my inspiration from other bloggers and crafters, I hope you find some great ideas passed along in this post. I’m still new at making felt books, so I’m learning what to do and what not to do along the way. I’d love to hear your own helpful hints and experiences with quiet books!

For my felt books, I use packages of 9×12 felt sheets sold at Michaels (don’t forget to use the 40/50% off coupon!), supplemented with individual sheets of colors not included in the packaged assortment. I’ve found that 9×9 is a great size for a quiet book page, and it’s easy to measure, since the sheets are already 9 inches wide. I like to make lay-flat pages by using grommets and loose leaf rings to bind the book, like I did in My Church Book. I almost exclusively use felt for both the pages and the cover, as it is sturdy, forgiving, and can be entirely top-stitched (i.e. doesn’t fray at the edges). Oh, and it conveniently sticks to itself, which means I rarely have to pin anything. I HATE pinning!!

Here’s a peek inside E’s little felt book:

Blog Cover

For the cover, I cut a picture frame from clear vinyl, leaving it open at the top to insert a picture. (Tip: cut and reuse those clear plastic zipper bags that bed sheets and other linens come in.) The sun’s rays are ribbons. The cover snaps together with a KAM snap, like the ones on cloth diapers. My KAM snap pliers gets a LOT of use!Blog Page 1 Frog FliesI love this frog page idea from Emily at One Lovely Life! Frog’s tongue has a Velcro dot sewn on that sticks to the Velcro dots on the flies’ wings. I’ve learned from experience to always sew together at least two layers of felt for loose pieces like the tongue, as a single felt sheet can be pulled and stretched apart fairly easily, especially at the hands of not-so-gentle toddlers.

Blog Pages 2-3 Guitar and PhoneThe birthday girl I made this book for is from a music-loving family, so I knew I had to include a music-themed page! They already have a piano page in a church book I made for her older brother, so the guitar seemed appropriate here. I got the idea from this cute mini quiet book by Dyan at And Next Comes L. I used cord elastic for the strings–just make sure you sew it down nice and tight! I reinforced the back of the page with a strip of felt and hot glue, since the elastic makes the page buckle a little. I love this old telephone page, also from Dyan. The receiver snaps on and off for phone calls to Grandma or whomever else! I think every kid should know what a “real” telephone looks like, too :).

Blog Pages 4-5 Colors and Shapes Together

This page spread is my favorite! I love how all the bright colors work together. The color-matching clown page looks like it took a long time, but it was a cinch to piece together. I got the idea from this book at The Domestic Notebook. To make the clown, I cut out all the pieces individually and sewed them onto the background felt layer by layer. The balloons (again, two pieces of felt sewn together for durability) snap onto matching ovals with KAM snaps. Tip: be sure to insert the snaps through at least two layers of felt, since they get a lot of wear and tear. In this case, the colored oval on top of the background created two layers, but if I’m putting a snap directly onto the background felt, I will reinforce the back with a small scrap of felt before inserting a snap. The shape-matching food page was inspired by one of my daughter’s toys, the LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket. I considered Velcro instead of ribbons for the food, but I didn’t have enough left and it was too late to run to the craft store. Plus, the hook side of Velcro will stick to and rough up felt, so I wasn’t too keen on leaving it exposed either on the plate or on the food pieces. Ribbons keep them from getting lost, too!

Blog Pages 6-7 Fish and Gumball Machine TogetherI thought this fish page from The Crafting Chicks was adorable! I wasn’t sure how long it would keep a child’s attention, but it ended up being one of my son’s favorite pages (he had given the book a “test run” before we gave it to our friend). The whale and fish slide along the ribbon–don’t you love that the ribbon design looks like bubbles? Speaking of bubbles, the gum ball machine was one of my favorites to put together. I got the idea from this jelly bean machine at The Adventures of Five Hobbits. I sewed down clear vinyl for the “glass,” leaving an opening at the bottom for little fingers to pull out gum balls. There are ten gum balls in rainbow colors. I figured if one or two of these gets lost, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, unlike the specifically-shaped food from the previous pages. I threaded a brass fastener through a grommet in the knob and another grommet on the gray base on the machine to make the knob turn freely. However, I neglected to hot glue the fastener prongs to the base felt before sewing it on, which meant the knob could easily be pulled out. I won’t forget that step next time!

Blog Page 8 Bye Bye PocketI thought it fitting to make the last page of the book a Bye-Bye theme. I cut a pocket from an old pair of jeans, folded the raw edges under, and top-stitched it to the base felt. To go inside the pocket, I sewed a set of keys with a personalized key chain (love the monogram feature on my sewing machine), a dollar bill, and a tube of Chapstick. I thought about making a cell phone, too, but by this point I needed to wrap up the book and I had already included a phone page. I think six pages ended up being a great number for this little busy book.

All in all, the book took me about 10 hours to make…which I did in one LONG day (lasting until around 2 a.m.). I don’t recommend starting AND finishing a quiet book in one day, as it can lead to some serious eye strain and lack of sleep! But, I had fun and it came together much more quickly than any of my other felt books or projects. Only a couple hiccups and not a single issue with my sewing machine! Hooray!!

I hope E enjoys her birthday gift as much as I enjoyed making it. It was fun to drop it off at her house and watch my son excitedly show her how all the pages work. At bedtime that night, I asked him what his favorite thing to do around the house is. His reply? “I love to help you sew, Mommy.” I confess, I never thought I’d be very interested in sewing, but the discovery of felt books and toys gave me a renewed interest in dusting off the sewing machine! Now, I need to figure out what to make for my own daughter’s birthday in just a few days…might be pulling another all-nighter!

Jr. High Retreat: A Game Changer

Jr. High Retreat: A Game Changer

Don’t listen to stereotypes about Jr. High youth and preteens, because these kids are amazing!! Seriously, one of my favorite age groups to spend time with is Jr. High. And last weekend, I had the privilege of going away on a three-day retreat with seven of these wonderful, energetic 7th and 8th graders.

Every year, the Missouri District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod puts on a retreat for Jr. High youth at Camp Windermere in Roach, MO. At this year’s spring retreat, almost 500 youth and adult leaders flooded this beautiful camp in an event jam-packed with live music, games, activities, candy, a talent show, and most importantly, worship and studying of the Word of God. Pastor Greg Bearss of Lake Pointe Lutheran Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas led us in four theologically deep and culturally relevant sessions on God’s L.O.V.E.

This is my fifth time taking a group to this retreat and each time I come away with just as much as the youth. This year was no exception. At Sunday morning’s worship service and final Bible study, Pastor Greg’s Spirit-filled message of God’s infinite, unconditional love and grace for each one of us cut me to the heart and had me in tears. I realized how undeserving I am of that love and how much I take God’s grace for granted. And I realized I all too easily overlook the brokenness around me–in my own life and in the lives of others around me. How often I have neglected to care for the “least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46).

The beginning of change starts with the understanding that each of us is simply a trophy of God’s grace.

Pastor Greg challenged us to make that day a game changer. And that is my prayer–that from this day forward, I would be so grateful for God’s undeserved grace in my own life that I can’t help but share it with the broken around me. I want to leave a legacy of Jesus’ love. When someone looks at me, I want to get out of the way so that they see Jesus in me. I want to be first a foremost a trophy of God’s grace.

I’m going to leave you with some pictures of these amazing children of God I got to spend time with this weekend (in no particular order)…

photo 1

This guy has a contagious smile and loves to bring joy to others

photo 4

This guy soaks up life like a sponge and has a passion for teaching others.

photo 2

This guy has a servant heart and a calming presence that makes my heart happy.

photo 3

This girl is a strong and steady presence and a loyal friend.

This girl is full of life and smiles. I admire her fearlessness!

 

This girl is spunky and confident. She is a friend to all!

Jr high retreat

Even though I just met her, I can see that this girl is loving, caring, and thinks of others above herself.

I got to know David, the other adult leader, on this trip. He is a great listener and has a heart for God and others. He will make a great pastor!

 

 

 

“My Church Book” Quiet Book

“My Church Book” Quiet Book

I recently realized that my preschooler has no clue what really goes on during church on Sundays. We’ve talked about bits and pieces here and there, but never really explained what is happening during each part of the service and why we do it. I’m not expecting him to become a liturgical fanatic at his age, but there’s a reason we do what we do and I wanted to find a fun way to help him (and, eventually, his younger sister) follow along during church. Enter the ever-useful “quiet book.” A friend of mine at church showed me this super cool Divine Service quiet book made by Rachel at Quiet Sunday (visit the Quiet Sunday Etsy shop here). I thought it would make a fun late-night sewing project (multiple nights, of course).

After probably 30 hours of cutting and sewing felt, embroidering by hand, and trying to fix my temperamental sewing machine, I finally finished my version of the quiet book, titled “My Church Book” (original, I know). The book walks them through the church service at our Lutheran church (LCMS), with interactive pages constructed of craft felt. I borrowed many page ideas from Rachel at Quiet Sunday (as noted under the pictures below). So far, the book has been a hit! There’s nothing quite like watching our son show the book to friends at church while explaining excitedly how Jesus washes our sins as white as snow, or how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons but one God. I hope to make a few more less-involved versions for gifts and maybe even for our church’s kid bags, but I had too many late nights making this one, so I’ll have to figure out how to scale it back a bit. That’s okay–crafting is my therapy!

I used 1.5″ loose-leaf binder rings to hold the felt pages (9″x9″ each), with two eyelets on each page to feed onto the rings. The binding inside the cover was created using the quiet book cover tutorial here, only I used two rings instead of three, and since I was using felt, I just top-stitched the two pieces of felt together and top-stitched a rectangular piece inside the binding to hold the rings. The page titles and some of the details are hand embroidered. Here are my pages:

photo 2-3

When is Church? Clock hands attach via eyelets and a brad.

Invocation: rings symbolizing the three parts of the Trinity swivel to overlap each other. Confession and Absolution: sin stains us and separates us from God, but Jesus' blood makes us white as snow and restores us to Him (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Invocation: rings symbolizing the three parts of the Trinity swivel to overlap each other. Confession and Absolution: sin stains us and separates us from God, but Jesus’ blood makes us white as snow and restores us to Him (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Gloria (Hymn of Praise): organ pipes velcro on and organ stops are pullable; Readings: Bible has flippable pages for the OT, Epistle, and Gospel readings.

Gloria (Hymn of Praise): organ pipes velcro on and organ stops are pullable. Readings: Bible has flippable pages for the OT, Epistle, and Gospel readings (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Anthem: choir members are finger puppets. Sermon: dress the pastor with vestments for each season of the church year (stored inside the Vestry).

Anthem: choir members are finger puppets. Sermon: dress the pastor with vestments for each season of the church year (stored inside the Vestry).

This pictures shows the finger puppets outside their pews and a pastor dressed for Lent.

This picture shows the finger puppets outside their pews and a pastor dressed for Lent.

Creed: each part of the Trinity is represented, God the Father, who created all things, God the Son, who died and rose again, and God the Holy Spirit, giver of life; we also remember our Baptism in the creed. Offering: pennies sewn under a clear vinyl pouch slide in and out of the offering plate (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Creed: each part of the Trinity is represented, God the Father, who created all things, God the Son, who died and rose again, and God the Holy Spirit, giver of life; we also remember our Baptism in the creed. Offering: pennies sewn under a clear vinyl pouch slide in and out of the offering plate (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Prayers: little hands fit inside the praying hands. Lord's Supper: wafer is stored inside the chalice.

Prayers: little hands fit inside the praying hands. Lord’s Supper: wafer is stored inside the chalice (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Benediction: go with the peace of God (idea from Quiet Sunday).

Benediction: go with the peace of God (idea from Quiet Sunday).

My son thought it super funny to dress the pastor with both robes and all the stoles at once. :)

My son thought it was super funny to dress the pastor with all the stoles at once. 🙂

A little bit about me…

Blog About PicWelcome to my blog! I’m new to the blogging world, so here’s a little bit about me:

I’m a mostly-stay-at-home mom to two little ones, a church worker, musician, website manager, and most recently, a sewer/crafter/hair bow maker (having a girl will do that to you). I work very part-time as a website administrator for our church and am currently training to become a Kindermusik educator. Bottom line: I keep myself busy!

But most importantly, I’m a redeemed child of God. With my husband, I’m on that ever-difficult parenting journey, and I fail daily. Some days I feel like Martha Stewart. Other days, I’m as domestically challenged as they come (have you seen my kitchen lately?!). Still other days, I feel like the world’s meanest or most boring mom, whether it’s warranted or not. But at the end of the day, it’s God’s grace and forgiveness that gets me through. And that’s what I want to impart to my children.

I want my kids to get to know their Heavenly Father, who loves them unconditionally, never lets them down, and forgives every last sassy remark, screaming tantrum, and sibling fight. I want them to see His love–in other people, in nature, in art, in everything around them! I want them to place Him first in their lives.

Maybe you’re here because, like me, you like seeing what fun and creative things other moms are doing with their kids. Maybe you are looking for ways to point the children in your life to Christ. Or maybe you don’t know God as your Heavenly Father, but your curiosity is piqued. Whatever brought you here, I hope you find inspiration, grace, and encouragement in these “pages.”

I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite Bible passages, which has been an encouragement to me in this parenting journey.

~ Anne

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:4-9