Baby Bunting

So my stats show that the most searched for word on my blog is ‘bunting’. While it seams bunting has been top of the popularity scale for a few years now, there is no sign of it dropping.

And rightly so! It’s cute; adds instant glam and colour to any room or party; it can be decorated or personalised in so many ways; makes a great personal (and affordable!) gift; can be customised for the season, holiday, event or person, can be reused (and so has the ‘green’ factor)…in fact, there are not many reasons to dislike the good ‘ol bunting banners.

My wedding bunting has certainly been well used by friends, family, and friends of friends for various occasions!

Personalised baby bunting is what I make most of; I make it bespoke to colour or theme of baby’s nursery and often get asked to add special details such as weight and date of birth.

Here are just a couple I’ve made recently…

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This bunting was to match with some jungle stickers from JoJo Maman Bebe that had been used to decorate baby Stanley’s nursery. So the fabrics are relatively simple (spots, stripes etc) but all tie in with the colour theme, plus with the addition of a couple of felt appliqué monkeys…

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Jungle themes seem to be pretty popular; Mahli’s bunting was also to be jungle themed and fitting with a pink, green, yellow colour theme, and include some polka dots; I found this Urban Zoologie range of Robert Kaufman from Plush Addict that fitted the brief perfectly.

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Thalia’s bunting was to be similar (but not the same) to Lucia’s bunting; Thalia’s older sister who was born in 2012.

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I think I can say with confidence that my baby will get some bunting!

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Annabelle’s Book

You may have seen the post I published a few weeks back featuring Toby’s picture book – well this is similar; another picture book only this time for a little girl.

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Annabelle, my friend Jane’s little baby, was 1 year old at the beginning of December (how time flies…it only seems like five minutes ago since I made her quilt for when she was born!). I actually started this picture book at the same time as Toby’s (back in September) but it got put on hold for a few weeks due to my Christmas stocking demand!

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I used a combination of pink and yellow fabrics for the pages and, again, like Toby’s I wanted to include a mixture of pictures and quotes, made up of different textures: hand-sewn embroidery, free-hand machine appliqué, regular appliqué, and with both fabric, felt and buttons.

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I decorated the front with Annabelle’s name and a little appliqué pic of a girl in a strawberry outfit (as Annabelle had one of these a few months back!).

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One to come out on her 18th birthday…

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More Christmassy makes

So I’ve mostly been busy with personalised Christmas stockings over the past couple of weeks since posting my first lot and then the patchwork ones.

However, these next few have been a bit more bespoke…

After seeing the first few with the reindeer, angel and gingerbread man design, I was asked if I could make a similar one but swap the fabrics so the main stocking was red and spotty. I was asked to make this for a little 8 month old girl: Mared (which means ‘Pearl’ in Welsh I’ve now learnt!) by her mum, Jessica.

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I was also asked if I could use a ‘M’ as well as her full name for the personalisation and a simple picture such as a snowflake.

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‘I’ve just opened your gorgeous parcel to find the most beautiful stocking inside. It is just perfect and something that both Mared and I shall treasure for a very long time to come … Thank you so much.’  Jessica, Mared’s mum.

Unlike my own designs, another stocking I have recently made was not from my own creation – I was sent a picture and asked to make a similar design. I did make a few small changes, however, and still thought the finished item was pretty cute!

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Again, this stocking was for a little lady: Ada. I emailed Ada’s mum, Natalie, a pic once I had posted the stocking and she loved it but was waiting to collect the parcel from the post office. I received a lovely email once Natalie had collected the stocking…

‘It was the stocking and of course I love it even more in the flesh, I actually felt quite emotional when I saw it. My daughter is only 1 but this will be her forever stocking (my mum still does mine at 33!!!) so it will be treasured for a long time to come.
Thank you so much for fitting our brief perfectly and with such beautiful craftsmanship.’ Natalie, Ada’s mum.
I’ve also made a Santa Sack for my nephew, Jacob. It’s nice a big for all his pressies!
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I decorated the bag with a felt Santa, fabric applique presents which have hand-embroidered ribbons and the words: ‘Ho ho ho’. Plus his name which again is appliqued fabric and i’ve hand-sewn a running stitch around the letters for a bit of extra detail.
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The main sack is made from a medium weight red checked linen, and lined for extra strength.
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The bag has a drawstring ribbon tie which I added small felt Christmas trees to the ends.

And finally (apart from a few Christmas presents) I’ve done some free-hand machine embroidered Christmas cards.

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Stanley’s Quilt

My friends and I are all at that age now where there is a lot of new little people appearing in our lives.

I like to give a personal pressy when a friend or family member has a baby and this is my latest. My friend Rachel who I went to Uni with, and her partner Sam had their first baby in August. Whilst we, and the other Uni crew were sunning ourselves in Italy celebrating yet another Uni friend’s wedding, Stanley was born.

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I’ve made a few patchwork quilts, the most recent being Annabelle’s quilt, which was actually back in January (who is now coming up to her first birthday…seriously – where has that year gone!).

I started Stanley’s quilt in September when I came back from Italy but I really struggled deciding what colours and fabrics to use.

I bought a lot of cotton/linen blends from Etsy (my fav type of fabric) but it’s so hard to tell if they were going to match until they arrive – which, of course, a lot of them didn’t so unfortunately (obviously I was very upset about this!) I had to buy more.

I started by making the outer pinwheel-style patchwork (not sure if this is the offical technical term!) using a range of cute nautical fabric, robots and guitars, matching them with spots and stripes. When these were put together, I didn’t like it – the colours looked too dull which is kind of what the natural linen looks like so I don’t know why I was surprised.

So, back on the internet I went to buy more fabric for the centre square patches that would add a bit more colour and brighten it up whilst still co-ordinating. Finally I found some that worked – and I’m pleased that I didn’t just go with the typical blue-is-for-boys type colours.

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I threw the nautical theme in there as Rach and Sam met in their University rowing club and the rest – robots and cars were just cute!

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As with most of my crafts, I like to add a bit of decoration and personalisation. Unlike Annabelle’s quilt where I mainly used free-hand machine embroidery, I decided for Stanley’s to use regular applique but use felt as well as fabric to add a couple of different textures.

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For the personalisation, of course there was his name in the centre…

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His date of birth in a balloon held by a robot (to tie in with the fabric prints, plus robots make a brill applique shape).

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His birth weight on the side of a truck – again tying in with the other fabric print used in the centre panel.

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As well as machine quilting the pinwheel patches, I hand-stitched a running stitch around the centre panel giving it a bit of a boarder.

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I backed the whole quilt in cute red dots and binded it with a red linen bias binding.

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And here’s the little man Stanley himself looking pretty chuffed with his new blanket (or at least I think so!).

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Patchwork Stockings

It’s not even December and I’ve made eight Christmas stockings so far, and I have another two on the ‘to do’ list for this week!

A little different from the Christmas stockings I made a couple of week ago, these don’t just have one design decorating the front, but many being made up of lots of patchwork squares in a range of different fabrics in Christmas-themed colours.

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The main thing in common though is that all the stockings, like most of my items, are personalised. However, this time I hand-embroidered the names instead of using fabric applique which I think looks better on these as would have been too fussy other-wise (plus ‘Sebastian’ would have been quite difficult to fit on in cut out fabric letters!)

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I trimmed the cuffs in both crochet trim for the girls and pom pom trim for the boys.

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I made these stockings in a slightly different way and, on these, instead of the hanging hoop being sewing into the cuff, I hand-sewed them on at the end after the stocking was finished, but decorated them with a cute button. I also hand-stitched a running stitch around the top of the stocking.

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All of these three stockings are for little ones born this year who’s siblings received them last year, adding to the family collection hanging up on the fire-place. I hope they keep and re-use them for many years to come.

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…

Christmas is coming…now taking orders.

I’ve just finished my first order of Christmas stockings of the year, and about to start on another…you people are getting organised early!

This recent order, I have to admit, are my favourite stockings to date.

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I made these for the lovely Sarah of Leafy Couture who did the most amazing flowers for our wedding a couple of years ago. She asked me to make these for her two little ones: Lily and Elliot, and nephew Finn.

The main stocking is made from a cream cotton linen fabric, with the toe, heel and cuff in a red spotty linen blend – whilst these fabrics are not on the cheap side, using quality fabrics really makes such a difference in the overall finish, and are sure to be much more longer-lasting.

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They are fully lined and include a wadding inner to make them nice and padded. These stockings measure 51cm in length and 28cm in width (around the top of the stocking) – nice and big for Santa to fill with treats!

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Whilst keeping all the stockings matching in size, basic colours and style, I’ve personalised each with their names (also in cream cotton linen), edged in a hand-sewn running stitch, on the cuff. On the fronts of each, I appliquéd a cute Christmas design in felt and fabric on the front, with additional hand-embroidered elements such as the Gingerbread Man’s bow and icing, and the Angel’s halo, hair ribbons and dress decoration.

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Each have a vintage cream and red gingham loop to hang over the fireplace on Christmas eve.

Word in from Sarah on receipt of the stockings...’Emily you are ridiculously talented, they are beyond perfect, thank you so so so much!’…I think she liked them!

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So, if anyone else is getting organised early, and would like a personalised Christmas stocking like these for your loved one, please do not hesitate to contact me (hello@emilycarlill.com).

Ahoy there!

I’ve been making a few cushions of late which I quite enjoy as it’s a little like making a picture; the making up of the cushion is easy, it’s the design on the front that takes the thinking about.

Like my cushions I posted a few weeks ago, for two twin baby girls, this cushion was for a new born baby boy. The theme was nautical to match his nursery.

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I bought the fabric for the cushion from Etsy; it’s a linen cotton blend which I think is more hardwearing and suitable for home furnishings. I wanted something relatively plain coloured with a bit of pattern so this fits perfectly.

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The boat is quite a simple shape so I included a few extra details such as applique clouds, and hand-sewn waves and birds. On the spotty blue background, anything else would have been a bit too much. Finishing it off, I trimmed the whole picture with red and cream gingham ribbon which I think ties in all the colours quite nicely.

My friend Elena, who I’ve made a few bits for in the past for her cutie of a daughter, Emily, asked me to make this for her friend’s new baby. On receipt of this cushion, Els forwarded me her friend’s response…

‘And we had a beautiful package through today!!! Oh my god, the cushion is beautiful! Did you know I liked the nautical theme?! If not fantastic choice! It’s absolutely gorgeous and of course goes so well in his nursery!’

Always lovely to know my crafty items are liked and I hope this adds a little special something to baby Harry’s nursery that will make family Robinson think of Els (and hubby Mark and their little lady Emily) and their kindness.

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Twin Cushions

I was recently asked to make two matching cushions for newborn baby twin girls as their Christening presents. The brief was something quite girly and colourful, decorated with their names.

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The two floral fabrics I used were from Dunelm Mill and, as a medium weight cotton, it was perfect for cushions. The two florals were from the same range so, although different patterns, complimented each other – I used one for the front (called ‘Rosetta’) and the other, the striped floral (called ‘Chloe’) for the back.

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The other request for the cushions were for them to be decorated with something like little baby booties. I thought my attempts at baby booties might end up just looking like wellies so I decided to do little girl-style shoes instead – a much clearer and more obvious (and cute) shape me thinks!

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I used regular machine appliqué for the shoes in a zig zag stitch and straight stitch for the names, hand-sewing a running stitch using embroidery thread around each letter to make them stand out.

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Finishing, I added a little pink button to each shoe for the ‘fastening’ and used coconut shell buttons for the back closing of the cushion.

I really enjoyed making these cushions as, while cushions themselves are pretty easy to make it’s the decorating that’s fun!

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I’ve got another cushion on my ‘to do’ list and this time it’s for a baby boy so I’m looking forward to thinking of ways to decorate this next one.

More and more Baby Bibs…

I seem to be making more and more of these as friends keep having babies!

Not that I mind of course as I get to cuddle a little baby and make these cute bibs. I’ve made plenty of baby bibs with names in my time, but I’ve been trying to refine these and the last few I think are well on their way…

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I am slowly building up a collection of little bibs that I plan to sell on an Etsy shop (once I have enough stock to open one of course!)
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