Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Alphabet Quiet Book: L is for Laundry

This post is the thirteenth in a series about the alphabet quiet book I'm making with the girls for preschool this year. To read the introduction, click here, and to read the rest of the posts (updated on a weekly basis) click the "Quiet Book" label on the right.

L is for Laundry
This is probably my favorite quiet book page to date. And I have some really good ones coming up in the next few weeks. But I especially love this one because it is so personal. It looks just like the laundry area in my kitchen! Check it out:

Isn't that fun?! It even has the glass bottles in the window and my red refrigerator!

I mean, lots of quiet books have a laundry page, whether they're about matching socks or hanging laundry out to dry, but with our page the girls can take the clothes through our whole Wednesday Wash Day routine.

First we gather the dirty laundry and bring it downstairs in wicker laundry baskets.

Then we sort the clothes into piles of darks and lights.

We wash them in the washer, and dry them in the dryer. This is the point where I'd like to pretend that I'm as eco-friendly and budget savvy as I'd like to be, and that I take my laundry out to the back yard and hang it on a clothesline. But I don't do that in real life, so I didn't see any reason to pretend we do in our quiet book. I do hope we'll hang up a clothesline this summer, but between Indiana humidity and my love of tumbled-dry blue jeans and bath towels, a clothes line will never completely replace my dryer.

While the quiet books with miniature clothespins are truly adorable, and I was severely tempted to make one just like those, I knew that they wouldn't stand up to my girls' playing with them. Clothespins have a tendency to fall apart even under fairly gentle use, and I didn't want to be putting them back together every time the girls play with the quiet book. Also, I think the mini clothespins are kind of difficult for little fingers to manipulate. Pair all of that with the fact that we don't actually have a clothesline yet, I decided to go for an alternative drying method we actually do use: clothes hangers!

I found this tutorial on how to make miniature hangers from paperclips, and it was a perfect and very easy way to hang up the clothes. I closed the hook on the hangers, so they are semi-permanently attached to the page. They still can come off, but they generally stay put when you're turning the pages of the quiet book - a big plus.

The clothes are my other favorite part about this quiet book page. I made a piece of clothing that is especially appropriate for every member of our family. A little pink dress for Jenny, a purple shirt for Laurel with her name on it (continuing the theme of working the girls' names into the quiet book pages of the letter that starts their names), and a sunshine shirt for my Annie Sunshine. For me, there is my chocolate brown cardigan with pearl buttons that I'm very likely to be wearing in the cool weather, and for Collin there is his yellow/orange fleece GoLite vest that he wears almost daily from fall to spring. This one especially makes me smile.

All of the clothes I sketched out on freezer paper before ironing to the felt and cutting out. That way I could make a matching front and back to each piece, and get finer details than by freehanding. I sewed them with a blanket stitch by hand, being careful to leave enough extra open space around the neck on the t-shirts that I could still slip in a hanger.

Inspiration and Page Design
I already shared a good bit about this page and some of my other favorite laundry quiet book pages, but here are a few more loose ends:

For another alternative clothesline idea, I think this Velcro clothesline is clever. A good alternative to a felt laundry basket is this mesh laundry bag. A fun pairing for a laundry page is to wash and dress a doll on an adjacent page. That way you both practice laundry routines, but also morning dressing routines. If you do go for mini clothespins (because they are extremely cute!), stringing waxed linen thread through the spring seems like the way to go. Like in this beautiful example from Glued to Glory, except waxed linen thread (sold with jewelry supplies) would be stronger and hold up better to use. Stringing them through the springs this way would ensure that even if the wooden clips fall off, at least part of the clothespin will be permanently attached to the page.

For my quiet book page, I used Stephanie's template from Imagine Our Life for a washing machine, sized down, for both the washer and dryer. I used a flat white shoelace for the trim around the window and the clothesline. The glass bottles in the window are all beads I sorted out from one of those jumbo mixed bags of glass beads you find at craft stores.

Preschool goals for using the Laundry page
This page is about learning to help out with our weekly laundry chores. By taking the clothes through the steps on the quiet book page, the girls will learn more about washing laundry, and hopefully be more excited about helping me take care of our actual laundry. So far, it's working! Laurel helps me collect and sort the laundry, and Annie now folds all the hand towels and rags, which is a pretty substantial pile. I'm working on teaching them to pair socks too, but with so many little girl socks of various sizes, that is a somewhat more advanced job.

All this also goes along with our new chore chart, which I have almost finished. I'm hoping to paint the frame really soon, and after I get that done I'll be able to share it with y'all. I can't wait!

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