Maker Stories

P is for Personalization – and Patricia Carlin, and Product Development!

October 31, 2016

We’ve long been fans of artist Patricia Carlin. We feature many of her beloved products in our assortment, and they’ve delighted so many people with their whimsy and personal feel. We (and our customers) just couldn’t get enough of Patricia, so our product development team worked with her to create this extra special Personalized My Alphabet Book.

Personalized My Alphabet Book

The book is tailor-made from start to finish. The cover features your child’s name and a charming illustration of an animal that starts with the same letter (Liam gets a lion, Wyatt a wallaby, Everett an elephant, etc). Inside, they’ll find a little note from the same animal pal explaining why they love their shared first letter — “L is also for lollipops! And library! And leapfrog!”

A is for Alligator, B is for Bear

The book then goes through each letter of the alphabet with a corresponding animal illustration. At the very end, your child gets a final message from their first-letter animal match reminding them why their letter is the best of all.

A-I Illustrations

Your little one will never forget that “N is for narwhal” after seeing Patricia’s illustration of one bouncing a beach ball on its tusk. The skateboarding “H is for hedgehog” and quail playing with sidewalk chalk are also especially adorable. 

J-R Illustrations

The fun packed into this little book is infectious. We were pleased to have a chance to speak with Patricia about the process of making her uncommon creations, following her own path as an artist, and keeping things personal.


Tell us a bit about how the Personalized My Alphabet Book came to be. How did you collaborate with the product development team here at UncommonGoods to put it together?

This one was unusual because I started the series of alphabet art on my own. Typically we start talking about ideas before anything. But I had about half of the illustrations completed before I shared it with Carolyn [our Director of New Business and Product Development] – and she immediately had the idea for the book. That’s what’s really nice about working at UncommonGoods, the collaboration. Working alone has a lot of benefits, but it’s great to have access to such a great team.

U is for Unicorn

The adorable illustrations in the Personalized My Alphabet Book really make it shine. Is watercolor a preferred medium for you? What made you choose watercolor for this particular project?

I used ink and a brush for the black line. It’s a great way for me to quickly capture the essence of the figure. Once the character was created I experimented with color. The watercolor added a nice soft depth that I liked, without overpowering the line. I really wanted the black line to be the focus.

Fill us in on your journey as an artist. In your bio, I read that you’re a former art director. How did you get from there to where you are today? Was making art what you always wanted to do, deep down?

I work on all kinds of projects. My work in advertising is about solving problems creatively, which I love to do. I still do that with illustration, but in a much more personal way. And obviously the problems are much different. Drawing is something I’ve always done, so to work at it everyday is amazing.

As Patricia says, "that co-worker who really slows you down."

As Patricia says, “that co-worker who really slows you down.”

Do you ever feel stunted creatively? What keeps you going?

I always have ideas, the problem is having the time to execute them all. And sometimes the execution takes a lot of trial and error. That can be frustrating, so sometimes I just move on to another project until I can get some perspective and approach the problem again.

Many of your UG products are family-oriented. Are there any little ones in your life? Have you tested the My Alphabet Book out on them?

I have a daughter, although she’s a little old for the book. But I have shared the book with with friends and family. And they like it, which is good, because kids will definitely be honest with you. They’re brutal.ABC Just For Me

In addition to creating products that are family-friendly, many of them are also personalized. What do you think personalization adds to a product? What do you think it adds to the My Alphabet Book in particular?

It’s really nice for kids because they’re all about ownership – maybe because there are so many things they’re not allowed to touch? And this book is for kids kind of learning about letters and spelling, so to have the child’s name printed is a nice way to connect to them as readers. In more general terms, I think personalization works to reinforce family connections. Literally, in fact, with the tandem bike art.

There’s a quote in your bio that I’d love for you to expand on. You say, “For me, paring things down to their simplest essence is always the best way to understand them.” How does this idea come out in your artwork?

I like to keep things pretty simple. I focus on warmth, humor, and emotion. I find that simple line and composition communicate most clearly for me. So I try not to overwork. Sounds easy, but you’d be surprised how many renditions you can go through before you realize the first one was best.




  • Reply Sue Parke December 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I love the tandem bike picture. Can you do a baby as a personalized option? I only see adults, kids and pets as options.

    • Reply Emily G. December 7, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Hi Sue,

      You’re right–adults, kids, and pets are the only options for now, but including babies is a great idea! We’ll have to pass that on to Patricia and the team here to think about for future products.

      Thanks for reading.

  • Reply Wendy Cochran January 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I bought the ski picture for my family a few years back and love it. We also water ski, would that be an option in the futuer? I would love a ski boat with skiers following it. Let me know if we could work that one out:)

    • Reply Emily G. January 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Water skiing art is a great idea, Wendy! We’ll have to pass that on to Patricia. For now, you might enjoy her new Personalized Beach Family Art, though!

  • Reply Wendy R January 23, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Along with Wendy C’s statement, we also just purchased the ski picture for our Colorado place. We would LOVE to be able to hang a hiking picture just below it. (although the campfire and canoeing images are cute, they’re not quite us…)
    Could this be something that perhaps Patricia would do as a commissioned piece?

  • Reply Stephanie March 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Hello I am looking to see if you would be able to create a scene that happened while camping at the lake. It is very funny and there would be 4 adults, 2 kids and 3 dogs with a couple bystanders. I would need it by the end of March if at all possible. Please let me know if you are up for the fun! Thanks! Stephanie

    • Reply Emily G. March 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Stephanie,

      Patricia does have a Personalized Campfire Art print available! You can check it out here. If you have any other questions, you can always send a message to

  • Reply Jane Pascale April 4, 2017 at 8:04 pm


    I would like to create the family bike art with my girlfriend and our 3 pets (2 cats, one dog). Is that possible? Hope so! Also, if it is, I would like to order the print and a pair of glasses. Would I be able t0 place the order once, or would I need to individualize each character twice? Thanks for any help you can give me.


    • Reply Cassie April 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Hi Jane. We’re glad you like Patricia’s art! Unfortunately, we can only add two pets to each piece. If you decide to order (even though one pet would have to stay home and skip the bike ride), the best option would be to order a Personalized Couple Tandem Bike Art and a set of glasses. You would need to customize your characters for each item you order.

  • Reply Tami Forcellina April 18, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Wonderful items and creativity!!! My only request would be to add a Papillon to your Pedigree Poem Pillows, etc. That breed is one of the most beautiful!

    • Reply Marisa April 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Tami! We keep track of requests to help us decide how and when to expand custom options. Your vote has been counted. “Papillon” is also a beautiful name, btw!

  • Reply Suzanne April 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    How about a King Charles Cavalier TRICOLOR (black, tan, white) in a pillow or something?

    • Reply Marisa April 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Great idea, thanks! We note every suggestion from our customers and they do help inform our decisions about how and when we can expand the options for items, so we really appreciate that you spoke up.

  • Reply Sarah May 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I wanted to order the personalized family campfire photo, but I was wondering if it would be possible to add a baby into the picture as well? Right now it is 7 Adults, 1 child, and 1 dog.
    Thank you!

    • Reply Hadley May 30, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      Adults, kids, and dogs are the only options for now, but you aren’t the first to ask about babies! We’ll pass the suggestion on to our team.

  • Reply Kerry Kuhlow May 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    No Cocker Spaniel on the Dog Pillow. Broke my heart!

    • Reply Hadley May 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Kerry,
      Alas, no Cocker Spaniel. We’re always taking suggestions, though, and I’ll pass yours on to our team to consider if and when we add more dogs.

  • Reply Lori Klos June 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I just ordered a ski picture as a gift for my brother and I’d like to get ahold of Patricia asap to let her know that for figure M5, I’d prefer there to be no hair on the guy. Is that possible? Thank you! -Lori Klos

    • Reply Hadley June 22, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Hi, Lori–thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, we are unable to alter the figures in our Personalized Family Ski & Snowboard Art beyond the options listed on our site. Thanks for your understanding. We hope your brother loves the gift!

  • Reply Rebecca Tallon July 5, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Hello Patricia. Your work is so charming. Would you please consider adding an Ibu Shinu to your dog collection? I would love to purchase one for my son and his wife. Thank you for your consideration. Will check back from time to time. Beck

    • Reply Hadley July 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Hi, Rebecca! Although shiba inus aren’t currently included in the Pedigree Poem collection, we’re always open to suggestions, so I’ve passed your comment on to our team. (Incidentally, shibas are some of my favorite dogs.)

  • Reply Karen Turnbull July 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Please consider offering a Skye Terrier to your collection!

    • Reply Hadley July 13, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Hi, Karen! We keep a running list of breed suggestions and will duly add the Skye Terrier on.

  • Reply Maddy Dunn July 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    For the childs personalized Coat of Arms,, I see in the picture is says Benjamin Oliver.. is that the childs first and last name or first and middle? Ordering one for my grandson and not sure which is the right way to order… his name is Max Patrick Dunn… I currently have it ordered as Max Patrick… but I know Max Patrick Dunn will also fit.. can you let me know

  • Reply Hadley July 18, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Hi, Maddy. You can order either way — the only restriction is that the child’s name must be 27 characters maximum. “Max Patrick Dunn” is only 16 characters, so you could order it that way if you prefer.

  • Reply Jaclyn September 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I’d love a Bichon option for any of your dog items! Any chance you’ll have before Christmas?

    • Reply Hadley September 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Hi, Jaclyn! Sorry, no Bichons just yet, but I’ve passed your suggestion on to our team for consideration as they add new breeds in the future.

  • Reply John S. Kinsman September 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    please make Sottish Terrier Pillows

    • Reply Hadley September 27, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Thanks for the feedback, John! I’ll pass your suggestion on to my colleagues.

  • Reply Peggy G. Duke October 9, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Can you make these using her instead of he—so one has a choice– we had a female Jack Russell Terrier and I want one that using she/her.

    • Reply Hadley October 10, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Hi, Peggy. This isn’t currently an option, but we appreciate the feedback and will pass it on to our Product Development team. Thanks!

    • Reply Hadley October 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Hi again, Peggy — I just spoke with someone on our PD team and learned that we can change the pronoun for you on a one-off basis. If you’re interested, please let me know and I’ll follow up with her!

  • Reply Elizabeth October 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    We have a Portuguese Water Dog puppy (female) who is mostly black but has a white stripe under her chin and chest. Wondering if we can see what the pillow looks like and if the pronoun can be changed.


    • Reply Hadley October 24, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Hi, Elizabeth! While we don’t supply formal previews of our pillows, you can view our Portguese Water Dog designs in PDF form here. If you’re interested in changing the pronoun, please e-mail with your request.

  • Reply Louise Brown October 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    What is the size of the dog pillow, item #44480?
    Tha nks

    • Reply Hadley October 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Hi, Louise. The pillows are 16″ x 16″. Hope this helps!

  • Reply Barb Sengstaken October 22, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Are you able to change the color of the edges from the blue and brown to another color? This is for a dog pillow

    • Reply Hadley October 23, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks for reaching out, Barb. Right now we only offer the one color scheme, but we’ll pass your feedback on to our team.

  • Reply Deborah November 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I love the miniature scnauzer pillow. Does it come using a “her” instead of “him”?

    • Reply Hadley November 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Hi, Deborah. Thanks for your interest! Changing the pronoun on a Pedigree Poem Pillow is indeed a one-off possibility. If you’re interested, please e-mail with your request and someone on our Product Development team will assist you.

  • Reply Elaine Caughlin November 12, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    On the Life is a Beach framed picture – I have a great frame with a mat to use, but need the dimensions of the actually artwork. I need to know if this would work or if I should just order it with the frame. Please let me know. thanks

    • Reply Hadley November 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Hi, Elaine! Unframed prints are available in 8″ x 14″ for 2-4 figures, 8″ x 20″ for 5-7 figures, and 8″ x 28″ for 8-14 figures. Hope this helps.

  • Reply Dale Feeeney November 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Hi i am interested in your Beach Art Personalized Picture. Would you be able to create a small child that would be have the size of the children you currently have available.
    Thank you, Dale Feeney

    • Reply Hadley November 17, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Hi, Dale. Thanks for your interest in the art! Unfortunately, we can’t create custom figures, but we can pass your suggestion on to our product development team for future consideration. Thanks for your input.

  • Reply Celeste E Denny November 21, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Patricia Only 14 characters for beach family? Could you do 17?

    • Reply Hadley November 22, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Sorry, Celeste–our prints are only large enough to fit 14 max. That said, we’re always looking for ways to improve our products, and I’ll send your feedback to our Product Development team.

  • Reply Andy November 27, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I just ordered today, Nov 27, 2017, the Family Ski and Snowboard Art. We have one person who doesn’t ski or snowboard, so can you not put equipment on that person? Please contact me directly and I will provide the confirmation number and the person to remove the equipment. Thank you.

    • Reply Hadley November 28, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Hi, Andy. Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve asked our customer service team to reach out to you about this. In the future, for questions regarding your specific order, calling or e-mailing our CS team directly is usually your best bet. Here are a few ways to contact them.

  • Reply Kara Cattani December 10, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Hi, would it be possible to get the campfire with eighteen family members?

    • Reply Hadley December 11, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Hi, Kara. Unfortunately, our Personalized Camprfire Family Art is only large enough to accommodate a maximum of 12 characters, but I can pass your request for a greater number of “slots,” so to speak, on to our Product Development team. We’re always searching for ways to make our products better, and we appreciate your feedback!

  • Reply Hannah December 16, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Hello, would like to order the chairlift photo as our family is headed to Park City for Christmas! Would it be possible to have Park City 2017 added in one of the corners of the art? Just to commemorate the adventure. 🙂 Please let me know!

    • Reply Hadley December 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Hi, Hannah. I just sent you an e-mail about this. Let me know if you need any additional information!

  • Reply Max December 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Good Afternoon,

    I am hoping to have 15 people on the customized beach scene as our family just welcomed a new member this past month. Is there any way to add one more person to the design? Thank you.

    • Reply Hadley December 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Hi, Max. Congrats on the new addition! Unfortunately, our largest available size of the Personalized Beach Family Art can only accommodate a maximum of 14 characters, but we’ll pass your request on to our Product Development team–we’re always looking for new ways to improve our products, and adding more figures is certainly one way to do so. Happy holidays!

  • Reply Sarah Mulvaney December 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Hi! I ordered a family lake personalized portrait and just wanted to see if it would be here by Christmas 🙂 I didn’t know how else to contact you but on here! Thanks so much!!

    • Reply Hadley December 20, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Hi, Sarah! It looks like your order is in the works, but hasn’t shipped just yet. For more detailed updates on the status of your order, your best bet is to contact our customer service team, who can be reached at or by phone at 888-365-0056. Hope you have a great holiday!

  • Reply Christine Hernandez December 28, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I ordered a My Little Zodiac Keepsake Box, but got the wrong sign. I need a Capricorn. I see that they are sold out on Uncommon Goods – help!

  • Reply Cassie December 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Christina, we don’t have any Zodiac Keepsake Boxes in stock, so I passed your comment along to our custom orders team in hopes they can request a replacement from the artist. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a firm answer right now, since I’m not sure whether Patricia still makes this item. A member of our team should be reaching out to you via email with more information once we hear back. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to email or give us a call at 1.888.365.0056.

  • Reply Elvira Medus January 8, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    I’d like to know if there’s anyplace where I can buy more Zenguin Mugs. Love them and want more!!

    • Reply Hadley January 16, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Hi, Elvira! We don’t carry Zenguin mugs any more, but I did let our Product Development team know you’re interested in purchasing more, in case they ever choose to revive them. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Reply Nancy Main January 9, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I bought and the whole family loves the reading at the beach artwork for our 10 ladies. Can you develop something similar for our 11 men? Would love a body building scene or something manly.

  • Reply Nancy Main January 9, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Love our 10 ladies reading at the beach artwork. Can you develop one for our 11 men? Like a body building scene or something manly?

    • Reply Hadley January 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Hi, Nancy! Thanks for your comments; I’ve passed them on to our Product Development team. We’re glad you’re enjoying the artwork you have!

  • Reply Kathi Futornick January 21, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Any chance to add Corgy’s to your doggy list?

    • Reply Cassie January 22, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Kathi. Thanks for the suggestion! We passed the request along to our product development team, along with your email, so they’ll let you know if Corgy joins the (kennel) club!

    • Reply Cassie January 22, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Hello again! I spoke too soon. A member of our team just let me know that we do have your breed available! However, it’s listed under the full name: Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

  • Reply Stacey Wurtz February 16, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Patricia,
    I love your fun artwork. I am getting ready to order the beach scene for my husband. However, I was wondering if it would be possible to keep the book and watermelon off of a few of the people? I am (sadly) the only book reader in the house, and I suppose I could put a watermelon slice in one of my sons’ hands, if it’s necessary. I’m happy to pay the same price. Can you do that? If so, when is the best time to let you know? Stacey would have a book and Tom would have watermelon. Everyone else would be lounging with nothing in their hands. Seen on

    • Reply Hadley February 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Hi, Stacey! This is probably a question best posed to our customer service department — please give them a call at 888-365-0056 before placing your order and they can help you.

  • Reply Linda Nobile March 23, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    Any chance of getting a Goldendoodle pillow?

    • Reply Hadley March 26, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Hi, Linda! We’re always looking for suggestions for new breeds to add, so I’ll pass your comment on to our Product Development team. Thanks for your input!

      • Reply Hadley March 26, 2018 at 10:21 am

        Quick update–I just learned that a Goldendoodle pillow is already in the works! You should see it pop up on our site sometime in the next few weeks.

  • Reply Gina Wells June 19, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Hello. I reached out a few months ago to see if the artist, Patricia, could paint/make a Landseer Newfoundland for her pedigree art. Currently the choices are black and brown. My big fur baby is black and white! I sent a picture and communicated with a lovely rep and she was pretty sure that a Landseer would become available. But then I got an email back saying no. I would love to order the Pedigree poem art. Can you please inquire?? Thank you!!

    • Reply Cassie June 20, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Hi, Gina, thanks for reaching out. We get a lot of requests to add dog breeds, so we’re reviewing suggestions and adding new dogs based on demand. You’re correct that we don’t have a Landseer Newfoundland available, but I did pass the suggestion along to our product development team. If you’d like to be notified if it comes into the assortment, please email

  • Reply Gina Wells June 21, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks Cassie – I will email Thank you so much!! I hope they will consider making a Landseer Newf 🙂 I would definitely purchase some items!

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