What’s in a name?

I am feeling quite overwhelmed by the beautiful packets of fabric sitting on my kitchen table. Look how lovely they are!

Christina and I put in an order with Cia’s Palette for a bunch of Denyse Schmidt fabrics a week or so ago and here they are! They look so good all packaged up I am reluctant to undo them. What bliss. Now I just need to find the time to refocus my crafting mojo and make something… actually, I think all that can wait until we get to the other side (insert spooky echo).

Now we are into the last couple of weeks of this side, Big-P and I have moved into baby-name negotiations. I have been collecting all suggestions (apart from some of the less appropriate ones that Amelia has suggested such as Dora (the Explorer), Jack-Jack, Sid and Tinkerbell) for the last few months and now we have to work out which ones we actually agree on. We have two girl’s name we both like and no boy’s names (just incase that 85% chance of it being a girl is all wrong). We want something unique (enough) but not too out-there… and all the rules from last time still apply… it really does make it tough.

A while ago, Hillary linked to the wonderful Name Voyager, which has been very useful when looking for a not-too popular name and I found the list of the 100 most popular names in North America and popular names from Australia which reveals that the two girl’s names we agree on are in the top 3 from last year!

Time to check out Unique Baby Names. How does Camera, Eccentricity or Thunder strike you? I think I need to find a site called “Just Slightly Unique Baby Names”.

80 Responses to “What’s in a name?”

  1. kristis@unitedway-pdx.org

    Like you, I have an Amelia J. as well. However, mine is a litte older than yours – she’s ten! Which is a supremely great age. She has an older sister named Chloe and personally, I’ve always thought the two names sound beautiful together. Good luck with your name search!

  2. jo.reid@optusnet.com.au

    Better still, go back to the 1880’s names. I love these, and not just because there is an Alice there. Maybe I was born in the wrong era? Please don’t go getting any idea’s from the 1970’s list though. Aaagghhh!!

  3. shae.reid@bigpond.com

    I don’t know if this will help but we looked into both sides of the family’s family tree for an interesting name!Our bub now has a very interesting middle name with a great family story attached to it!

  4. artists@cavepainters.org

    we’ve got little Flora and her cousin is called Lily. We always liked Otis for a boy but probably would have been too scared, then some people we know called their little boy Otis! Good luck with it all

  5. penny.brooks@tennessee.edu

    I vote Mae (because that’s my little girl’s name).
    Love your site Claire and the yards and yards of creativity to be found there!


  6. amy@raine.net

    I love thinking of baby names, and my need for something unique but classic sounds a bit like yours. Names we tossed around while I was pregnant with our second:Lily, Kate, Rebecca (or I liked Rebeka), Jaellyn, Jenivive.. and probably more that I can’t remember. We settled on Jocelyn, and so far, so good! Our first, Ethan, we thought was the perfect name – until now it appears everyone else thought it was the perfect name in 2002 (when he was born) too!
    Feel free to use any – my favorite was Jenivive, but it was a wee bit too outlandish for my husband. I also was quite drawn to the simplicity of Kate, but it all turned out well, because mJocelyn simply couldn’t be anything other than my little Jocelyn Grace.

    Oooh, Dorothy. And another favorite (my niece, actually) Clara.
    I better stop this comment before I take up half the page 🙂 Good luck on the name and the other side!
    – amy

  7. tifsmith@msn.com

    your fabric looks delicious.two names to consider.
    Ainsley and Finley.
    pronounceable but different.
    i may be a bit biased though, as these are the names of my two youngest daughters. 🙂

  8. rosampena@hotmail.com

    I like names that are strong feminine names; which are great as a child, and better as a woman. My kids are half Spanish, so they have Spanish names because I am afraid that they will lose their cultural heritage. My girl is Marina, and boy is Maximo. One of the names that I love, but dh is sure to vote down if we ever need to use it is Aurora–from Sleeping Beauty; “hail to the king,hail to the queen, hail to the princess Au-ro-raaa”. The flower names are back in fashion: Rose, Violet, Daisy, etc. Stay away from fruit . . . we saw how that went for Gwyneth Paltrow. Names are a tough decision because you have to actually see the little being that will be the recipient. Maybe going back to family history and finding a beautiful name from a long gone family member. Good luck with your search.

  9. solgafford@yahoo.com

    Love the fabric… I’m jealous. Our dd’s name is Frida.. I love it but a lot of people thought we were out of our minds! I like “Lily Bamboo” as well…there you go I’m weird.Goog luck

  10. tuliptoe@gmail.com

    We went with a name we both liked that was also a derivitive of a family friend’s name. Tessa. We thought it was a good, not too common, strong name. 🙂 Good luck! And I’m so jealous of your packages!!

  11. Seears10@aapt.net.au

    I have three sons so when it came to naming the youngest we wanted something a little different. My husband was working with an apprentice and his name was Torin. At first Torin seemed a little unusual but as time went by it became common place around our house. Big Torin was also a really wonderful young guy. Torin is unusual in Australia but any Irishman would know it as an old Irish name. My little Torin (9)is just so special and he loves his name as do his friends, although it does sometimes get changed to Torza. Good luck.

  12. amanda_lawson@yahoo.com

    It is so hard! So many lovely names are so worn out. For our kids, they both have family names. My daughter’s name is normal, easy to spell, and hasn’t been in the top 10 since the 1880s. Of course, when my Mom named me Amanda she had the same criteria, and you see what name was #1 for the next 5 years!

  13. yarngeek@NOSPAMyarngeek.com

    We named our daughter Sophie after thinking until I was 9 months along that we were going to call her Zoe; Not sure why the shift, but there it was.
    Other names I love:
    Owen for a boy, movie stars notwithstanding
    Lucia (Loo-sha)
    Cecilia (sticks that song in my head every time. :))

    Have fun with your name hashing; I’m sure whatever you choose will fit!

  14. rachel.pultz@gmail.com

    I love the name Sidda. It’s different but not odd. Best of luck!

  15. leetusdesigns@optusnet.com.au

    Oh picking a name is sooo hard..especially since you both have to agree on it. I had a list stuck on the fridge (that I got from the 75000 names book) and I would get Tim to keep checking it to see if he liked any names. Of course he never did and Id keep adding suggestions. About a week before I was due I was reading the paper, and a particular article about a girl and her name was Gretel. (Not Kileen) I looked at my husband and said “what about Gretel?” he said he liked it and that was it. Funny how I NEVER had Gretel on my list even though I read that name book over and over. You can find a name in the weirdest places. Now if people would just stop asking her where Hansel is…hmmm! lol

  16. hill0801@yahoo.com

    I am partial to the name Frances. 😉
    I love Dora. Darn that Explorer girl for making it popular!

    Love Eloise, Phoebe, Nora, Sally and Eleanor.

    And I really, really love those neatly-bundled packages of fabric. I had lovely dealings with Cia a few weeks ago and am busy stitching up one of two simple quilts out of Heather Ross fabrics for my kids.

  17. none@none.com

    I would go with a great grandmother’s or an ancestors name it has so much more meaning and weight.
    It carries the line down through the generations.

    As Maya Angelou said If you know something about your past,you can stand a little more erect,you can face the’slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.:-)

  18. avonhokie@yahoo.com

    You can always do what we did – pick a somewhat popular name but use a less-popular nickname. Our daughter, Elizabeth Virginia, will always be Liza to me. We’ve met one other Elizabeth her age in a playgroup, but nobody’s got a Liza.

  19. island_artist@telus.net

    i Haven’t read your naming rules yet but I had the same idea as yourself. When I found out that my first two name choices were like bellybuttons (everyone seemed to have one) We got serious about names. My daughter’s name is Paige, I’ve met a couple others but nothing scary. My son’s name is Nolan. Mainly picked that one because I don’t know any Nolans and it went well with our last name…I also loved Claudia and Vivian if my son had been a girl.

    I wish I had some skills to be able to use cute fabric like that… I see it everywhere and want to buy it.

  20. david@bunchofmonkeys.com

    Those fabrics are great– remind me of a message I just got from my wife’s cousin’s wife’s company, HomeSpunGoods. (see the fabric options for the various bibs and kimonos)

  21. lesley.mccormick@vitaluk.com

    You should get a few names sort of in place and then see what you think once you look at the baby.Our daughter is called Lucia pron Lucy-a in the Portuguese style rather than the harder Luchia Spanish version….

    My Portuguese friend is pregnant and she was on Scype with her neices in Porto, and the 7 year old Sara said that if she had a girl, it should be called Rita, if it was a boy it should be called Noddy and if it was a dog it should be called Rover!!!
    can’t say more than that really…..

    Good luck

  22. dianedundee@yahoo.co.uk

    Hello! Chosing a name must be a nightmare. I always liked Gaia but have a friend whose little girl (half Italian, half American) is called Greta which I love – we call her Greta the Great and another couple (French) whose daughter is called Maeva.
    As for the fabric – it looks fantastic!

    Good luck with the birth
    from Diane (Long time lurker, first time commenter – but site is fantastic!!)

  23. africankelli@gmail.com

    I’m a fan of old fashioned names too. And I’m all for strong female names. My current favorites are: Georgia, Ruth, and Lake for girls. I know. Lake. I’m such a hippie.

  24. mandm02@hotmail.com

    When my husband and I were thinking about boy names several came out as the top contenders:~Logan

    Yes, my sons name is Random.

  25. mijkimproves@gmail.com

    I’ve got a Yasha girl, still love the name but some people think I am crazy (as it is a russian boysname aswell) well at least she is the only yasha in daycare with 4 grils named Fleur. There will be a name and within 2 days you can never imagine her havinging another name then that.

  26. webmistress@fluffyland.com

    WOW.. when i first read this I honestly though you were PLANNING on naimg your child eccentricity. That really scared me.
    But I’m sure whatever you chose is pretty, especially since I love the name Amelia so after that you can’t go wrong.

    I love the name Lily.. Lily and Amelia would be cute sister names 🙂

  27. wearmystuff@yahoo.com

    My sister wanted to name me Grover when I was born!Next to that tinkerbell and Dora sound quite reasonable! : )

  28. dianne@rigdonia.com

    Okay not that I have any right looking at baby names, but it was really one of the neatest things to do while you wait those last few weeks. 🙂 Anyway, I saw “Bowen” at one of those sites and I believe the meaning was golden and bright and you could call him Bowie. Probably wierd but not so bad as to get beaten up after school. I could never have used it because my dh is called Owen – now how confusing would THAT have been?! Hehehe. Congrats in advance and thanks for sharing your artsy goodness with us all these years.

  29. kathy@pollard.cx

    We’ve got two girls – Alia and Elizabeth. Alia’s name is Arabic (one of the daughters of Mohammed, actually) and quite unusual in Australia at least. Elizabeth, while not hugely common for children these days, is, of course, a VERY popular, conventional name in the English-speaking world. Strangely enough, the two names work really well together.

  30. island_artist@telus.net

    I’ve got it, Sophia.
    Amelia and Sophia… I love the way that rolls off my tongue. and so doggone cute to boot!!

    Haha, good luck with this task…

  31. landmdunster@netspace.net.au

    No matter how hard you try to find a name with no possibility of being changed into something mean it will happen. My son Nicholas gets called Dickolas, rotten school kids. Our surname converts very easily into Dumster, and my husband was Dunny for many years.
    Just go with the names you love.

  32. bagel47@hotmail.com

    wow that unusual names website had some dooseys! ha… except i didn’t mind the name fox for a boy… hmmmm like fox mulder from xfiles

  33. jmneiderer@comcast.net

    i have a daughter Amelia as well (we were going to name her Abby, but that’s way too popular)
    how about Joslyn 😀 it’s good because it’s my name (haha).

  34. aa.christou@optusnet.com.au

    Oh happy name searching. We decided to go with the Greek tradition and named both boys after our fathers but we chose the middle names. Peter Thomas and Neo Markus.For my girl choices I searched a popular french girls name list but no girls for me – maybe one day? who knows?

  35. taber12@msn.com

    I am delurking! I have a 10 day old son that we have named Noah. It still sounds weird to me but I’m sure it will get more and more normal sounding with time. Our older son is Sam (Samuel) and it fits him perfectly but it’s not very unique. Some others on our list were Henry, Owen, Finlay (we liked it for a girl but it is also a boy name) and Finn is reallly cute, I think. Also – I was going to comment about the anxiety about being in labor…I was feeling the exact same thing when you posted that. I don’t know if I can say anything to make it feel less scary but just know that you are not alone in feeling that way and that you will make it through to the other side of it! My labor was not fun and didn’t go exactly like I had wanted it but the best part was that I got to ‘catch’ the baby and he immediately was on my chest and nursed right away. It was amazing. I also had a doula which was very helpful. I would recommend it.Best of luck to you. Can’t wait to hear the good news!

  36. adrianag@att.net

    when were looking for a name for our daughter, we got really confused, until I read somewhere to call outloud the name that you like to see how it felt, and also to call the name in a playground to see how many other girls already have it. My daughter name is Hannah Giovanna. I hope this helps.

  37. ayn76@hotmail.com

    If I had another girl, I would name her Luella.

  38. mariabinns@hotmail.com

    If in doubt go with a golden oldie. Old testament names are very cool. For boys names like Micah, Moses, etc or the lovely Sarah or Rebekah.Mia

  39. yogalila@gmail.com

    Since you are such a fan of children’s literature and illustrators I thought you’d might like to consider Stella. Stella is the wonderful central character in a delightful series of Canadian children’s books by Marie Louise Gay.http://tinyurl.com/r2loc
    I think Amelia and Stella sounds pretty nice, too. 🙂

  40. justine_duggan@yahoo.com.au

    Ooh, my middle boy’s name is on the unusual names site! Archer. It ia a family name on my husband’s side. I agree, boy’s names are difficult. I loved Fergus. And Olive for a girl, we went with Ivy for the wee baby girl. And our first boy is called Finn. Lots of luck choosing a name! And agreeing on a name!

  41. indienialNOSPAM@gmail.com

    I’ve always liked my name, and I’ve never met another Clementine.
    I remember a few years ago, you did a sketch for a toy (not sure if you made it tho!) and it was called Clementine… so mayb it would be weird for you! hah.

    I also love the name Ampara for a girl, it’s Spanish and means “to protect”. Tho then you’d have two Am… names in the family! Yep, this really is hard. I know you will choose well tho, and I’m excited for you!

  42. madeline@epprinting.com

    It took us so long to agree on a name. It’s so difficult. We wanted something that wasn’t exactly what everyone else names their daughter but we didn’t want something strange either. We got it down to Sadie or Audrey and in the end chose Sadie. We didn’t deal with boy names this time which is good because i can’t think of anything I like other than Damien which spooks my husband out to no end.

  43. rgreenr@yahoo.com

    when i found out i was pregnant, my grandmother gave me a very valuable piece of advice. she said to make sure that you give your child the name you want him/her to be called as the FIRST name. both she and my grandfather were known by their middle names and she felt that it caused no end of confusion. my one hint is to make sure you like the way the first and last names sound together. it’s easy to get hung up on how first, middle and last sound together – and end up with a dreadful sounding combination when you hear just first and last together!
    my name (roxanne) was practically unknown when i was growing up in the late 50s/early 60s. i LOVED having an unusual name.

    ok, i have to wiegh in with my suggestions:


  44. love@sunday.so

    I agree with you, finding an unique baby name is very complicated nowdays.You might want to check some Indian or Finnish names, if you want a very unique name in your region.

  45. a1ross@ucsd.edu

    My boyfriend wanted to name his brother “Peanutbutter”. Apparently he couldn’t think of any other names.
    Oddly enough, he was telling people about the new baby brother before his parents had even told him that his mom was pregnant. They found it a bit creepy.

  46. zelliebear@riverrock.org

    I named my older daughter “Caitlin”–a name that was unknown in the US until we used it & now every third girl is some variant of that. But my second daughter is “Lianna” & we’ve never met another one (at least not spelled that way). I would like to call myself “Zellie,” which was our dog’s name but which I think sounds very energetic & would be a good nickname for Hazel, which was my grandmother’s name–but I’m still currently a plain old 2950’s Linda.

  47. storyteller@storiadivita.com

    With a name like Jerusalem I couldn’t name my boys names like Joe and Mike (very nice names, but not for me all the same.) My boys are Wylie Allman and Miles Simon Cash. All are up for grabs if you like.PS- very jealous of the fabric – how lovely!

  48. catcollier@hotmail.com

    i thought i’d join the ranks abd share my two cents. i’ve always appreciated names like “builder”, “jettison”, “nova”(girl), “blaze” and other names that tend towards being verbs. i don’t have any children of my own, so if any of these strike your fancy it’d be alright with me.

  49. salwonthewest@yahoo.com

    I am a relatively new reader of your web site. When I read the link to your old baby name rules, I was tickled to see how your graphi-digi-style has eveloved…very nicely, I might say. I wish I were an Aussie so I could meet you! I think I would like you quite a lot!

  50. kate.kearney@anu.edu.au

    My partner has an interesting first name, it’s Mostyn. He’s one of only three people I know with that name, one of them being his father. So for the 15% chance of a boy, there’s my suggestion. Good luck with the choice, but remember, Bluebell has already been taken by Geri Halliwell 😉

  51. lpola@hotmail.com

    My girlfriend in Vienna, formerly of Argentina & married to a Chilean Diplomat has called her beautiful daughter .. ISADORA .. A name that hasn’t really been around since that automobile and long scarf incident many many years ago.


  52. cascatel@free.fr

    Hi, first comment here even though I have been reading and admiring your work for a long time. One year ago, 7th month pregnant, our baby girl had still no name. Of course, we had made lists of possibilities but .. then one day, on my way to work, the baby kicked very strongly and I don’t know, suddendly I though “Alice” would be great.It just sound perfect. Her father said ok that same evening when I told him and that was it. I had no doubt it was it. Never looked at that list again. I a still amazed 10 months later. Other possibilities were : Baladine ,(mother of great painter Balthus) Violette, Enora, Colombe, Meredith, Celeste, Allegra, Mirella, Capucine. Before we knew it was a girl, we had the following for a boy : Milo, Mathias, Cyprien, Baptiste, Antonin or Quentin. Voilà, for an international flair. This might help.Best wishes from Paris France 🙂

  53. alison@nosila.org

    Hi, you know what name is great? Alison 🙂 And it means the light of the sun, so it can’t be too bad, right? 😉

  54. amylinnnerooth@yahoo.com

    Being a mom of a three-year-old and also expecting an as-yet unnamed baby, I can’t help but feel like we are having similar experiences. As in your case, my doctor isn’t a 100% sure the baby will be a girl. She/he had knees squeezed together during our two ultrasounds. So, who knows what body parts may have been hiding? Of course that means we have to come up with two names – as if deciding on one name isn’t tough. I like Whitney for a girl. I think she can be as strong or as feminine as she wants with a name like that. Dad isn’t crazy about the name, though. For a boy, it will be James but I want to get creative with the middle name and perhaps have him go by that instead. I like Gunnar, Spencer, Nelson…
    As for your new fabric, which is fabulous, I have always been a huge fan of Vivian Husnik and reading children’s books that are illustrated with fabric (like My First Riddles by Judith Hoffman Corwin). If I had more talent, I would love to do something similar. Perhaps these books will inspire http://www.squngee.bigstep.com/generic58.html (apologies – this is the only link I could find to Vivian’s book) and http://tinyurl.com/r8496

  55. crzylady@alum.albertson.edu

    I have to agree with tifsmith.. I have a five month old daughter I’ve named Aurora (after the Goddess of the Dawn) and Grace (after my greatgrandmother) now everyone and their dog is named grace and I’m serioulsy contemplating changing it to Alice (another greatgrandmother). but I figure she’ll end up Alice all on her own.. what with the nickname bound to arise from naming someone Aurora.
    And Yes.. I do sing that song to her when her royal babiness is particularly demanding.

    Good Luck with the baby names. I always (also) liked Gillian (so I could call her gilly bean), or Harley.

  56. emily@gottshall.com

    I think Adeline is nice…when we picked our girls names…traditional went for us…Lydia and Eleanor (family names of old). We’ve shortened Eleanor to Norrie but on occasion call her Eleanor.The name will come to you and whatever you chose will be just the right name. : ) Good luck!

  57. frankath@lino.sympatico.ca

    i had a little girl 2 months ago, we named her Sandrine. Other choices were Mallorie, Elise & Virginie. Course, we’re French 😉 Boys names ? Elliott, Mathias … Gluck with the birth, the naming, everything ! 🙂

  58. honeydippingsf@yahoo.com

    My little sister’s name is Janci (sounds like Nancy, but with a ‘J.’ I have never met or heard of another Janci. Her whole name is Janci Lynee. We call her J. Lynee. When she was little she wanted to be called Tina, but now she loves having an unusual name.
    Anyway, it’s your baby and your choice and you’ll come up with something great. After all, I love the name Amelia.

  59. mama2beans@gmail.com

    OK, Girl names I love but didn’t use: Brynna, Rayne, Ava. Boy names I love but haven’t chosen as of yet: Griffyn, Colby, Colton, Rowen, Aspen and oddly enough George. There just aren’t any little Georges running around out there and that name needs to make a comeback. Good luck! I’m right behind you ( due the 13th) with MY 2nd!

  60. summer@code-co.com

    Hi, I am a long time lurker-I mean fan. I happen to be expecting too and hashing out names as we speak. We found a book called the “The Baby Name Wizard : A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby.” I don’t know that I would go so far as to call it “Magical” but it is kind of novel. It has little graphs for all the names showing their popularity of use over the past 100 years. It also lists names by the “vibe” they give off as well as lists good names for future siblings so that they all sound good together. It was kind of fun and a break from all of the baby naming books full of name meanings, etc. Good luck, all the names I like are also sadly some of the most popular as of late too.

  61. lwolfe8632@aol.com




  62. gingersnaps2u@yahoo.com.au

    Oh my goodness! Look at all of the people who have an opinion on what you should name your child! I think Kiddley is nice- for a boy or girl…

  63. westwick@bigpond.com

    I like Phoebe, Sophie, and Lily but shall defenestrate some of your dolls if you head to the likes of Chardonnay, Columbine, Crystal or Cashmere or any other name which usually works as a noun. I am also dead against virtues for names – I work as an adolescent therapist and might be biased – as I never meet a truthful Verity, a loyal Faith, an unconflicted Liberty. Don’t see too many called “frequently moody” etc. although a few Graces have lived up to their name.
    I have a niece with the middle name Ariel (yes that what happens when you let other children have a say in the naming process) and one who has the middle name Em balancing out a long first name. When asked what does the “e” stand for she answers “Em” and gets very puzzled looks.

  64. nellup@yahoo.com

    We had three girls names picked out by our number 2’s duedate last year:Scarlett Tuesday
    Isis (an Egyptian name which I pronounce eye-sis but can also be ee-sis)
    Kitty Garland

    But it the end she was 2 weeks late and we called her Una Pearl.

    Our big girl is Frederique and we call her Fred. She is the most raggletaggle Fred of a girl I have ever met. But sometimes she is Frederique, usually when she wears a long dress or wants to stop and smell roses on long walks. I like my names to flex, to change when the light changes.

    Good luck with naming, it is about the only act of magic that really, truly exists I think because a name helps make you be what you are.

  65. bag_it@optusnet.com.au

    My favourite boys name ever is Finn!! Baby No.1 was a girl so we kept that name for Baby No.2 who was another girl. So when Baby No. 3 arrived and was proclaimed a boy we were very excited to be able to call him my very very favourite name – FINN! But we didn’t, it just didn’t suit him. He was so big and chubby and yes ugly too…we called him LUCA instead and it suits him so much better and he is gorgeous of course! And No, there wont be a NO.4 so I can get my FINN.

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