Tribute to our special cat

Last July, not long after moving to North Carolina, a stylist from Country Living Magazine reached out to me on Etsy. She was looking for unique items for a special pet feature they were creating for the October 2018 issue and was interested in working with me to secure one of my hand drawn custom pet portraits.

Best in Show Pet Portraits Country Living Magazine Oct 2018
“Best in Show” Pet Awards featuring custom pet portraits in Country Living Magazine, October 2018 issue

hand drawn mixed media portrait of our cat big guy

The deadline was tight, but I was able to make it work — I was over the moon at the opportunity to be featured in a magazine! And I thought it was particularly nice that it was Country Living, given I had just moved to the country myself. When I asked the stylist if she had a particular direction in mind, she said she’d love to see a ginger tomcat.

Well, that could not have been a more perfect idea for me since I used to have two cats that fit that description. My husband and I adopted Big Guy and Little Guy, a pair of litter mates from a farm near our hometown in Iowa pretty much the second after we moved in together. They were with us for about 16 years and even when it was challenging (through naughtiness, illnesses, and general messes) we loved every day we had with them. They were truly special cats.

I brainstormed some ideas and settled on doing a portrait of Big Guy. He was stoic, gentle, and very sweet. I gave him a buffalo plaid scarf because he reminded me of  a lumberjack — the strong, silent type. His favorite toy was a feather on a wand and when he played with it his eyes got super intense and focused. For his botanical frame, I chose oak branches, which remind me of farms in Iowa.

Working on a product that gets featured in a magazine has always been a dream of mine. When I was a full-time graphic designer, I imagined it happening for one of my clients. But never really for my own work! This was such a fantastic experience and I’m grateful for the team at Country Living for giving me the opportunity to participate in the feature.

Changes to Oxford Dogma

Pivot: embracing growth, adaptation, and change

In 2015 when I created Oxford Dogma, I was focused on designing and sewing accessories for dogs rooted in classic style and that solved problems for dog parents. It has been a remarkable experience for me! Getting to know people through a mutual love of our dogs is wonderful and knowing I’m helping them fulfill their desire to be good pet parents is so rewarding.

As I worked on building the business, I quite naturally added in some portrait projects. First as gifts for friends who supported me in tremendous ways, and then as products available in my shop. My portrait style is ever-evolving and currently the portraits are available as mixed-media drawings with a quirky yet classic style. (If you’re interested in ordering a portrait of your dog or a gift for your favorite pet parent you can reach me through my contact page.)

What’s next

Over the last year I’ve had the intention to put more time into my art development and offer more artwork for pet lovers and other fine art projects. But the reality of the accessories I started Oxford Dogma with made this near-impossible. Sewing takes a LONG time!! Or at least it does when you’re as particular as I am about the finished product. There’s no such thing as quick-and-dirty in my studio ;)

So as of December 31, 2018, I took my final custom order and intend to shift away from sewing and toward artwork. For the time being, the items I had already completed are still available in my Etsy shop, along with custom pet portraits I’d like to do more of.

I’m excited to work toward my goals this year and I hope the new year brings you lots of energy to work on your own goals as well as oodles of snuggles with your fur babies!

Stickers featuring your pet

Custom Pet Portrait sticker sheets by Oxford Dogma

I’m excited to be offering a new companion product to the Custom Dog Portrait!

I don’t know about you, but I seem to always be out of gift tags when I’m wrapping a gift for someone. To solve this dilemma, I’ve been wanting to make my own gift tag stickers for so long. Well, earlier this year I bought a Silhouette Cameo and am able to cut out custom shapes from sticker paper. What a fun tool for a maker!

I make each sheet (7 1/2″ x 10″) of 18 stickers based on a Custom Dog Portrait, and now pet parents can have some labels with their very own fur baby on them. There are a variety of sizes and shapes, and I designed them with neutral colors so that they can be used on any occasion. In addition to gift labels, they can be used for addressing an envelope or to decorate a planner. I’m a total planner girl (Bullet Journal for me!) and would also love to design planner stickers like these.


If you’d like a custom portrait of your pup and matching stickers, send me a note on my contact page. I’m working on making this process easier, but in the mean time that will work best!

Sewing class: learn to sew a dog walking bag

Note: This class is over, but you can purchase the pattern from Patterns by Annie. And if you’re looking for unique gifts for dog lovers, you might be interested in ordering a custom dog portrait. Each one captures the unique personality of the dog in a cute and modern way. For more details, visit the Custom Dog Portrait page.


dog walking bag store sample

When the weather gets warmer, I run out of pocket space for my dog walking gear. My American Giant zip up sweatshirt (pretty much the last sweatshirt I’ll ever need to buy!) with its roomy pockets gets me through the mild Arizona winters, but come Spring I need a gear bag.

But I prefer a compact, lightweight gear bag. Something just big enough for my phone and a can of random off-leash-dog-deterrent spray.

With this dog walking bag, supplies are within easy reach. The project features an easy-to-access outer pocket that dispenses clean-up bags, and room in the main pocket for treats, keys, ID, phone, and more. The bag is lined and stabilized, and can be worn over-the-shoulder or cross-body. It’s a fun and simple project that’s perfect for anyone with a pet, and makes a great gift!

dog walking bag with poo bag dispensing pocket in natural linen-6

The pattern is from Patterns by Annie and is as fun to sew as it is handy.

This class is good for all levels of sewers, as long as you’re familiar with your machine.

Class details

Saturday, May 26, 2016
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
35th Ave Sew and Vac
4939 W Ray Road Ste 27, Chandler, AZ 85226

Click here to register

I’ll be at the Jackalope Art & Craft Fair in April

The season for arts and crafts festivals in Phoenix is almost upon us, and I’m excited to be participating in a really great fair in April. Jackalope Art & Craft Fair happens twice a year in Colorado, California, and Phoenix (where I’ll have a booth). They hand-select artisans, crafters, and DIY enthusiasts so that attendees can feel confident they’re getting high-quality indie goods.

Jackalope Art & Craft Fair in Phoenix on April 16 and 17 2016

Jackalope is an outdoor event and it’s free to attend — you can even bring your dog with! I’m hoping to have some homemade treats at my booth for good little doggies to sample.

In addition to shopping for handcrafted goods, you can grab a bite at one of the on-site food trucks, and participate in workshops (TBA).

I’ll be bringing a bunch of new items, including:

  • dog collars with metal buckles
  • leash pouches that dispense clean-up bags (in lots of new colors and fabrics)
  • leashes for small dogs
  • interactive plush toys (regular size for dogs + little bitty ones for cats!)
  • canvas pet toy bins

Pipsqueak may get to come, but she tends to go a little bananas around other dogs, so we’ll have to play that one by ear ;)

Pipsqueak looking suspicious-3

The fair is April 16 & 17, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. It should be a really fun weekend, and a great opportunity to shop for some unique items that you won’t find at the big stores. Hope to see you there!

For full event details, visit the Jackalope Art & Craft Fair: Phoenix Spring 2016 event page on Facebook or the Jackalope website.

Teaching how to sew a lined drawstring bag at TechShop Chandler, a maker space

I’m excited about a new teaching arrangement that starts soon. In addition to teaching at one of my local quilt shops, 35th Ave Sew and Vac, I’m teaching sewing classes at TechShop Chandler starting this month. The first class is for a lined drawstring bag, a simple project that helps students feel more comfortable on the sewing machine and introduces basic sewing techniques.

lined drawstring bag sample for TechShop Chandler workshop

TechShop is a really cool space for people who like to make things. From their website:

TechShop is a playground for creativity. Part fabrication and prototyping studio, part hackerspace and part learning center, TechShop provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software. … at TechShop you can explore the world of making in a collaborative and creative environment.

They have multiple locations around the country, and I’ll be teaching at the Chandler, AZ location. It’s an exciting environment because of the sheer number of different types of equipment they have. Some of the things available to members include laser cutters, a machine shop, wood shop, metal working shop, and (where I’ll mostly be) a textiles department.

It’s pretty much a maker’s paradise.

I put together a curriculum of classes designed to help makers reach their goals through projects that provide exposure to different sewing room scenarios:

  • learning how to get started with sewing machine setup, including needle choice and installation, presser feet, notions, and thread
  • sewing different types of seams
  • installing closures like buttons and zippers
  • working with different types of fabric weaves, weights, and fibers

With these skills, makers will be able to gain experience with different sewing variables, be less intimidated in the textiles room, and create the project they envision in their heads.

lined drawstring bag in progress
In this class, we’ll create a lining for the bag, and make boxed corners for it — both skills that will translate to many other projects

In the first class in the series, students will learn how to sew a bag with a finished lining and drawstring. At the end of class, they’ll be able to:

  • choose needle and thread for fabric
  • create a lining
  • sew long, even lines
  • press seams
  • make a drawstring strap
  • finish ends of strap
  • piece together different fabrics
  • create a boxed bottom on a bag


Class Date: Thursday, Feb 25, 2016
Start Time: 6:00 PM
Class Length: 3 Hours

Member Price: $45.00
Non-member Price: $55.00
Lab Fee: $10.00

To register or view more details about this class, visit the Lined Drawstring Bag Class page.

Future classes in the works

Other classes we’re planning on holding include:

  • heavy duty tool roll
  • zipper pouch
  • shave kit (Dopp kit)
  • device sleeve (for Kindle or other e-readers and iPads or other tablets)

If you’d like to get notified with details of upcoming classes as they become available, just provide your email address and I’ll send you updates:

Teaching a sewing class

Custom pet jacket sewing class

There are many things I’m enthusiastic about in the new year, and near the top of the list is teaching. I’ve always loved learning, and now I get to share with others that awesome feeling of learning something new.

My first class is a two-part workshop where students will learn how to design a one-of-a-kind jacket for their pet from scratch. In the first session, we’ll walk through drafting the jacket pattern step by step, and each student will leave with a complete pattern to test fit on their pet and measure for their fabric selections. This is where to get creative — some ideas include an upcycled tweed jacket (my favorite), pieced fabric scraps, or an old flannel shirt. In the second session, we’ll sew the jackets together and finish with snaps.

If you know someone in the Phoenix area with a sewing machine who’d enjoy making a jacket for the special pet in their life, you can share this link with them for more details and sign-up:

Class begins in Chandler, AZ, on Saturday, January 23, 2016.

Doubled shelter donations for the holidays

thank you note with packaging

From now until the end of the year, each Oxford Dogma sale means doubled contributions to a local shelter. I’ll be donating 10% of the purchase price for each item sold through my online shop or in person at Crafeteria.

I have lots to be thankful for this holiday season. It’s been a year full of learning & making, building my business, getting tons of support from family and friends, and of course, time with my little Pipsqueak.

Help share the love! Shop for the special little dog in your life, and you’ll be giving 10% of your purchase to support shelter pets.

Sneak peak at a new cat toy

little pocket critter catnip toy for kitties

When my husband’s mom saw pictures of the Pocket Critter interactive dog toy, she suggested I make a smaller cat version so she could put catnip in the pocket. Smart thinking! I made one as an experiment and liked it so much that it immediately went on my to-do list for Crafeteria 2015 prep.

This new toy is a great size for kitties to tussle with. If you’d like to get on my email list to stay updated on when they’ll be available in my Etsy shop, just enter your email address below:


Upcoming event: Crafeteria 2015

Oxford Dogma will be at Crafeteria 2015

The 10th annual Frances Crafeteria indie craft fair will be held on Friday, Dec. 4, and Oxford Dogma will be there! I’m especially happy to be a part of an event where all of the items for sale are 100% handmade and local. It’ll be a great chance to do some special holiday shopping for your friends and family, be they canine or otherwise.

There will be 40 makers with their items for sale, plus live music, and food. This handmade fair has been voted Best Indie Craft Festival by Phoenix New Times for the last three years and is free to attend.

Event details

December 4, 2015
6-10 pm
10 West Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85013

The Frances Facebook page has updates as well.