HANDMADE :: Kitchen Linens with Charles Dickens Quotes

I was raised in a home where Charles Dickens was quoted often — not the beautiful literary passages, but the little phrases uttered by quirky characters. These lines have been woven into our family throughout the years and pop up at the most hilarious times. So when I wanted to embroider some tea towels for my mom recently, I knew I had to start with a quote from Mr. Smallweed in Bleak House.

Smallweed Quote from Bleak House -Shake me up, Judy- Embroidered onto Striped Linen Kitchen Towels via Oaxacaborn
Charles Dickens Quotes Embroidered onto Striped Linen Kitchen Towels via Oaxacaborn
Joe Gargery Quote from Great Expectations -What Larks- Embroidered onto Striped Linen Kitchen Towels via Oaxacaborn
Quotes from Books Embroidered onto Striped Linen Kitchen Towels via Oaxacaborn

I’d love to make more of these. There’s no end to phrases from great books I could envision stitched out like this. And couldn’t we all use a little beauty infused into everyday chores?

What sort of words would you like to see on a linen towel?

Adoption, Handmade, Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: How YOU Can Help an Air Force Family Adopt a Child

I want to introduce you to my sweet friend Tina and her beautiful children (her Air Force husband, Erick, is not pictured). I’ve known Tina since I was, oh, maybe 11 years old or so? She runs Green by USA out of their home in South Dakota, he’s nearing deployment again, and they are part-way through the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.
Tina Jensen image by OCD Photography
Jensen children image by OCD Photography
Recently, she held an online auction stocked entirely from items donated by friends and family — and all the winning bids combined resulted in $700 toward their adoption fund! There’s another auction coming up in April, and I want to help her make this one even more successful than the last.

I know many of you who read this blog own small businesses or have a handmade shop. Can you help me by donating an item to the auction?

It’s very easy to participate. Just email me, oaxacaborn@gmail.com, the following information:

  1. A photograph of the item you wish to donate to the auction.
  2. A brief description of the item.
  3. The starting bid amount in USD $.
  4. Links to your Facebook page, website, and/or shop.

We will send you a link to the online auction when it is live (sometime in April) so you can spread the word to your circle of friends. Once the auction has ended, we will let you know the name and mailing address of the winning bidder, so you can package and ship the item on to them. That’s it!

And if you don’t have any items to donate, would you be willing to share this post instead?


Image Credit: Justine Luetschwager of OCD Photography


HANDMADE :: DIY Large Felt Numbers Tutorial

TUTORIAL - DIY Large Felt Numbers on the Oaxacaborn blog

TUTORIAL - Make your Own DIY Large Felt Numbers on the Oaxacaborn blog

This is a nice, simple project. Depending how long your little person naps (and how many numbers you choose to make) it just might qualify as a single-afternoon-project.

Since all the examples of felt letters and numbers I found elsewhere were tiny, I made my own template, especially designed for the 8.5×11” sheets of felt that are so cheap at the craft store. Not only are these large items easier to sew than microscopic ones, the resulting numbers are easy to hold, can double as decor, and won’t get lost in the toy box. And, you can print out the template on standard printer paper, without worrying about scale.

Aveline is just learning her numbers (two! free! five! nine!), so I wanted to lessen any confusion about backwards numbers. This was easily accomplished by using a different color for the back of each number. I used charcoal grey felt for the front and off-white for the back, because I really really love when toys match my living room. ;)

The seams are a simple blanket stitch, sewn with various colors of six-strand embroidery floss. I didn’t divide the strands, just used it straight out of the package.

It helps if you have extra-sharp scissors (the secret to cutting felt neatly and crisply.) Because felt dulls scissors quickly, I use these 3/$1.99 Ikea scissors and just replace them whenever I need to.

Make your Own DIY Large Felt Numbers - Tutorial on the Oaxacaborn blog

The project is extremely self explanatory, so I feel a little (a lot!) silly writing a step-by-step tutorial. :-P But here it is:


2 pieces of standard 8.5×11″ felt per number
Embroidery needle
Embroidery floss/thread
Polyfill for stuffing
PDF template (numbers 0-9)

1. Print out the template (numbers 0-9), and cut out the numbers you wish to make. Lest you inaccurately think I’m overly ambitious, I only made 1, 2 and 3.
2. Lay two layers of felt on top of each other, top color first and back color second, then pin the cut-out pattern to the felt.
3. Using extra-sharp scissors, carefully cut out the felt numbers. Take the paper pattern off, then without moving the felt, pin the two pieces together again.
4. Sew the two pieces together with a blanket stitch. When you have about two inches to go, stuff the number with polyfill, then complete the seam.

Voilá! If any of you are crazy enough to make 0-9, you have to send me pictures ;) And if you’re interested in seeing a similar template for large A-Z felt letters, let me know in the comments!