Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to Make a Quiet Book: Bead Ladder

About Allison:
I met my husband Ben traveling overseas together while we both attended Texas A&M. We married in 2009 and have two little darlings, Mali Joy (22 months) and Tenley Grace (7 months), and a Hippo who we affectionately refer to as “Bippo.”

During the day I manage property taxes for telecommunication companies and my husband divides his time between financial planning and teaching. In the evenings we are busy spending time with our sweet girls and putting some TLC back into our home.  When I’m not working and mothering, I’m drooling over DIY ideas at Young House Love and pining over the idea of a double jogging stroller for runs with my little misses.

How to Make a Bead Ladder
Quiet Book Page


I have a bad habitat of thinking I can do anything and everything, I took on this project with little sewing experience and in the middle of our office renovation. Which really means I moved twice as slow and found myself sewing on a 2x10 held up by sawhorses. I was so thankful to Laura for graciously let me practice creativity with 19 other mommies. I know my pages didn’t turn out perfect but I’m growing. Maybe when my daughters are getting married they will ask me to sew their wedding dresses (with beaded detail of course).

  • 2.5 yard of Pellon Peltex 70 Ultra Firm Stabilizer  (cut into 8.5 x 10 pages)
  • 3 sheets of green stiffened felt
  • 2 rolls of brown Ribbon (ladder legs) – desired width
  • 3 rolls of 1/8in. brown ribbon (ladder rungs)
  • Thread to match (green and brown)
  • 1 Large bag of mixed beads

Crafting Tools:
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Straight Edge
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread Cutter
  • Pins 

I duplicated the Counting Ladder over at Sugar Bee Crafts. Why improve on what was already amazing?!

Page Assembly:

1.  Cut Pellon pages to size with a rotary cutter. If you have a cutting mat, use it – I improvised with a diaper box because one, I’m cheap and two, I have a plethora of boxes with two little ones.

2.  While you still have your rotary cutter out, cut 20 1.5 in strips of the stiffened green felt for the grass. Set aside.

3.  Presort beads into color groups and pick your pattern accordingly. The mixed bag I selected had more of some colors than others – not important if you are only doing a couple pages, but with 20 pages you don’t want to get to the last page and run out of 10 beads in the same color.

4.  Bag your beads.

5.  Pull out one set of beads and lay them out in lines from 1 -10 on a sheet of Pellon to determine how wide and tall you want your ladder legs. Mark accordingly on the Pellon - I drew out lines that would run down the middle of the ribbon I was using for the legs to help me pin the rungs later.

6.  Cut 40 strips of ribbon for the ladder legs to size. Pair up and set aside.

7.  With your leg height and width determined, you can now measure and cut the ribbon for the ladder rungs. I cut an extra ¼ in. on each side to allow for easier sewing and pinning once the beads where added.
8.  Now that everything has been prepped the tedious task of stringing and pinning 20 sets of beaded ladder rungs begins. Maybe I’m paranoid, maybe I just don’t want my daughter growing up thinking 10 beads really is 11 but I found myself recounting the beads about every 5 seconds (okay maybe 30).

9.  Sew down the ladder rungs – I used a zigzag stitch because I thought it would hold up to toddlers pulling on the beads better and I didn’t want to send 19 other mommies a choking hazard.

10.  Remove the 400 pins that were used on the rungs and resist the urge to poke an eye out with one (can you tell I don’t sew often?)

11.  Trim the ribbon used for the rungs to ensure none of it will stick out of the side of the ribbon being used on the legs.

12.  Center and pin the ladder legs over the zigzag stitch that was just sewn for the rungs.

13.  Sew up and down both sides of the leg ribbon, reinforcing the rungs so no beads come loose and find their way into little mouths.

14.  Pin down and sew grass– trim accordingly. I found it easier to trim the sides to 8.5 in. after I had sewn everything together.

15.  Clean up, double check the bead count again and enjoy.

True Story – my oldest daughter pulled the first finished page off the table and started counting to nine. She has never done this. How is that for instant gratification?!

Up Next: The Grand Finale: Susan's Pistachio Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

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