Toby’s Picture Book

I made this little picture book for my friend Sam’s little boy Toby, for his first birthday. I always think it’s nice to give something special for a first birthday and this project was certainly a labour of love.

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Initially, I thought this project, whilst a nice gift, would be relatively simple and straight forward, which in practice it could have been! But oh no, I seem to get these ideas popping up in my head as I’m going along and as soon as I’ve thought of them, I have to do it otherwise I feel like I’m cheating or cutting corners! So what could have been a quick project, turned out to be quite a task…but totally worth it! I love how it turned out and feel pretty proud of the end result. Toby and his mum and dad loved it too.

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To start, like most of my more detailed projects, I like to draw them out to make sure the layout and design looks right (and the keep referring to so I don’t forget what I’m doing along the way!)

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I chose six different printed fabrics, all in nice bright colours but with subtle prints, nothing to detailed to loose the picture amongst.

Each fabric was to make up in total ten pages in the book plus the front and back cover.

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I wanted each page to be pretty, with a fun picture for Toby to look at and use for learning objects, but I also wanted to put a little bit of meaning behind the pictures so I decided to use some nice quotes and phrases that were relevant.

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Some quotes I choose after the object e.g. To my sailing boat, I found a nice lyric from a Van Morrison song ‘Into the Mystic’ which fitted well: ‘Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly. Plus Anth (Toby’s dad) is a big music fan so that added something else a little special.

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Other quotes I choose before I’d decided on a picture, so then came up with an image that worked; so I wanted to use that old familiar rhyme for little boys: ‘Frogs, snails and puppy dog tails’ to which I added an appliqué dog.

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To make the book more interesting for Toby to look at and touch, I used a mixture of fabric, felt; both regular appliqué and also free-hand machine appliqué, hand-embroidered letters, and buttons.

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Once all the pages were designed, the putting together part was easy! Each page has a piece of wadding between the layers to make it nice and padded.

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I finished the book by adding a ‘Happy 1st Birthday’ to the back cover, edged the covers with a running stitch and added a button and ribbon for the closing.

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I currently have another on the go for a little lady’s first birthday in December and, the way time is flying, I best get cracking…

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