Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HHD in the press, and Thank You!

First off, we would like to thank our awesome sponsors, kick-ass volunteers, our wonderful vendors, and all 1800+(!!) of our lovely guests for making our first event so fantastic. The entire committee was completely blown away by the response, and this is definitely not the last you're going to hear of the Handmade Ho Down!

We've also have a review in Ashcan magazine's online issue! Thanks again and keep in touch - we'll keep the blog alive and keep us updated on any and all craft-tastic news! Have a great holiday!

the Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What you callin Ho Bag?

The Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew is excited to present to you,  a new term in the Official Handmade Ho Down Dictionary of Cool Slang.


a Ho Bag is a stylish, eco-friendly alternative to shopping bags, that let's everyone around you know, that you not only buy Bay Area local goods from your Bay Area local artists and craftisans, you also care about supporting DrawBridge- a Bay Area Local charity organization that helps underprivileged youth.

Ho Bags are also a great carrier for all your amazing finds at the Handmade Ho Down. not to mention a must have accessory while avoiding the maddening dis-spirited frenzy at your nearby shopping mall. (but if you happen to find yourself at one, these bags are so roomy you can fit lots of ripped off heads!) (ok that was gross!).

we came up with a list of ways you can use a Ho Bag:

  • perfect for carrying groceries
  • it avoids the use of wasteful plastic bags
  • how could you look any cuter?
  • great for storing knitting projects
  • one-upping forever 21, as they don't have the Handmade Ho Down Ho Bag design on any of their bags
  • sneaking popcorn, snacks, and beer into the movie theater
  • picnics!
  • diaper bag
  • a sweet and charitable way to present a gift
  • to carry wine bottles at your next holiday party
  • trips to the library
  • lug around heads you have chopped off while shopping at the mall instead of Handmade Ho Down
  • let everyone know that you were at the very first Handmade Ho Down!
  • cat/small dog carrier
  • its an old tradition to have a "carry all" dating back the 17th century
  • put over your head when running into your ex!
  • collect pine cones on walks outside
  • frame it and hang on the wall 
  • use to hide behind when the scary parts come on tv
  • when in a crowd, you can use a ho bag to wave at your peeps so they know where you are!
  • A Ho Bag is a retro comeback from the stylish fashion of wearing a "tote" while shopping in the 40's
  • buying one means you have contributed to DrawBridge, who bring art awareness to thousands of children in the Bay Area who deserve to see the beauty in their lives, despite their situations

these Ho Bags are exclusive to the Handmade Ho Down 2009 event, happening TOMORROW, December 3rd at 1015 Folsom St. San Francisco.

Ho Bags are $5 each, and proceeds benefit DrawBridge. how can you resist? sign me up for 6.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Drawbridge Raffle

There are many amazing things about the Handmade Ho Down show (photo booth, DJ's, live art, booze, amazing vendors) but one of my favorites is the charity Raffle benefiting Drawbridge (read more here). Thanks to the generous donations of vendors and some of our sponsors (Brainwash and Magnolia Photo Booth to be exact) we have some pretty kick ass items ranging from jewelry to gift certificates to undies (yep underwear). Raffle tickets will be 1 for $2, 3 for $5, 6 for $10 for all items except, the photo booth, which will be 1 ticket for $5 and 5 tickets for $20.

So make sure to check out a few of the items below so you can scope out what you really want and don't forget to check out the list of vendors who have donated items. Thank you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Picture Yourself Inside the MAGNOLIA PHOTO BOOTH!

Just when we thought this event couldn't get any cooler, Magnolia Photo Booth jumps in and pumps it up another notch!
The Magnolia Photo Booth Co. combines the classic privacy and spontaneity of the photo booth with the latest in professional digital studio photography to make sure the fun comes fast and the memories last.

So, what can we expect from the MAGBOOTH at the Handmade Ho Down?
Not only will there be an attendant who will bring along a variety of props and accessories (I am so being a pirate!); but we'll also be able to get in the booth as many times as we want and take home hundreds of photos that print in under 15 seconds a pop!
Everyone will also be able to view the event photos, order re-prints, or download files to make their own prints on the magnolia website!

Use of the photo booth are entirely complimentary, but there will be a tip jar for all to show your appreciation. Portions of Magnolia Photo Booth will go towards DrawBridge, so be sure to tip your Photo Booth attendant!
What's more, Magnolia has really stepped up by donating a $1000 gift certificate for our charity raffle to go towards a MAGBOOTH for your own event! Wow, Magnolia has proven they love our community and we LOVE Magnolia!

So, I guess the only question we have left is, "How many Handmade Ho Down crew members can we fit into a MAGBOOTH?"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ana Apple Designs

What is the craziest gift you have ever received?

My cat Salsa brought me an undead gecko once. Although I have been given the gift of double-jointedness, a party trick that never fails to impress.

How did you get started on Etsy/Making things?

It was as simple as asking my boyfriend for a sewing machine for Christmas last year. My curiosity quickly turned into obsession, which mutated into my headfirst leap into 'Hey, this is kind of neat-o. I would pay money for this.' The rest is a crazy months-long blur of research, trial and error, and much-needed encouragement from family and friends.

How did you learn your craft?

Took a night class from the feistiest woman to ever rock a blue plaid blazer, Miss Beverly, who taught me the once-confusing basics, nurtured my supposedly unconventional desire to sew white fabric with hot pink thread, and gladly offered constructive criticism (albeit with an occasional raised brow) on my original designs.

From there, it's just been an experimentation with different fabrics and techniques that catch my eye, logging miles on my trusty Kenmore machine. I've developed a love-hate relationship with my seam ripper.

Pomegranate Ink

"I'm addicted to making things, always have been. I paint, sew, make music, draw, scrapbook, and do a lot of digital art. By day I am a manager of creative services for a software company, by night and weekends I am driven to create..." -- Samantha Brown, of Pomegranate Ink

If you had to live out the rest of your life as a famous fictional character, who would you be and why?

Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice, the clothing would be beautiful but hard to keep your hems clean when frolicking through a muddy green pasture. She's is smart and capable, passionate, beautiful. What I aspire to be on most days that is.

If money were no object for just one day, what would you do?

Give lots and lots of it away. Find everyday people and hungry people and just give it all away. When you buy something you feel good for a while, but when you give something, especially when the receiver really needs it--but is not expecting it, the feeling lasts a long time. Pure goodness.

How did you get started on Etsy/Making things?

Funny story, I used to work as a Sr. Manager of Creative Services for a software company and our VP of Marketing came back from a trip to talk with an analyst who could not stop talking about how Etsy was on the forefront of search technology, with color searching, geolocation, etc. My boss said "I have to show Sam, she would love it" and I signed up right away and listed a few abstract paintings. I was in love, and told people, and told people.

Transient Treasures

Among an incredible variety of treasures keys, spoons and vintage jewelry, the amazing wind chimes from coffee and tea pots have to be among the most creative items to be found. One look at those and we understand why owner of Transient Treasures, Nora Matthes-Kniveton is so fascinated with Tea Parties and Alice in Wonderland!

Her treasures are inspired by the desire to see "worthless" items turned into something that makes others see as aethetically pleasing and marketable. She learned her craft mostly by trial and error. Having an Etsy shop for vintage objects, launching the artistic vintage-based creations seemed like a logical next step.

Nora loves really strong, fresh coffee and oaky Chardonnay. Her "If money were no object" dream is going to Greece, eating seafood, drinking local wine, and soaking up the seascape. Another person joining the list of wanting to come be a cat for a week, Nora's secret TV crush was Robin ("Batman and Robin") - and then Magnum PI.

She loves doing craft shows and seeing how people react to her products.For Nora, the spirit of giving means doing what you can, each day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crow's Nest Shop, handcrafted jewelry

There are many highly creative jewelry makers on Etsy. Probably the only one who offers jewelry and also a "Catch a Criminal Kit" is the Crows Nest Shop. This Mental Map Maker includes graph paper, colorful thread, and instructions to help those who always get lost or budding crime fighters. Brandi Chalker found out about Etsy during a "Stitch and Bitch" night with friends while living in West Virginia.

She is inspired by beaches and oceans around the world, and uses shells she finds in her necklaces and earrings. Her crafting career began while working in a craft store as a teen, and she was an established jewelry maker by age 18.

The famous fictional character she'd like to be is Elizabeth Swann of Pirates of the Caribbean, saying "I'd give anything to be around Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom for the rest of my life." Brandi would love to be her dog for a week, enjoying treats, walks, attention and just being cute. Her favorite cities are San Francisco, San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas, Mexico) and Edinburgh. Her favorite drink is the hibiscus mojito she makes with mint from her garden.

Brandi tries to promote and educate people about the Fair Trade movement through her business. She feels consumer responsibility and knowledge about supporting positive economic relationships with artisans in developing countries is important and valuable. Buying locally helps our communities economically.

The Enchanted Square

Ruth Tillman of The Enchanted Square credits Martha Stewart for getting her started on Etsy. She had struggled for awhile to start a website and sell her quilts, dolls and bags. After seeing a Martha Stewart show that featured an Etsy seller, Ruth checked out the website, loved the look, and jumped right in. Now she's recruited her housmate Mary and her Aunt to Etsy.

Inspired by color, pattern, construction, books and websites, she constantly carries her camera to help the mental notes she makes. She finds that the creative chances taken by others encourages her own boldness. Ruth's sewing teachers were her grandmother, mother and great aunt. She began making quilts at age 10.

Born and raised in Alameda, she loves the cool nights and fresh air of the holidays, crazy discussions with her children, cuddling, and the light of the short days. Her "Day as President Obama" would be spent encouraging all to take part in our future.

The mother of three is thrilled that the HHD supports an art program for kids. She helps teach art in her childrens' schools, in response to budget and program cuts there. She believes that learning about art teaches appreciation, techniques, and expressiveness.

Laser Kitten

Laserkitten crafts custom jewelry pieces with DJs, artists, web personalities and others. Artisan Marisa Ravel is inspired by the 80's, idol Lisa Frank, bright colors, city lights, bling, and anything sparkly, flashy or metallic. She began making and designing jewelry in childhood, and in her designs she has tried metal, glass beads, vintage, polymer clay and resin, knitting and crochet before settling on her laser-cut acrylic mirror style.

Marisa believes that "You can feel the love/time/effort/passion when you wear something handmade. It's like owning a little bit of somebody's soul." The spirit of giving is "the best feeling in the world."

Her favorite neighborhood is San Francisco's Mission, favorite cities are San Francisco and New York. The song she loves to sing is "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.


Cats and birds are favorite animals for Lorena Pinon of Kartwheel. The famous character she would love to be is Cat Woman. She would love to be a bird for a week - especially a pigeon - to travel far and spy on folks! After all that traveling and spying, her dream day would be spent at an all day spa, getting a number of treatments to "make the noise in my head go away." Then, rested and refreshed, Lorena would be President Obama for a day and make the banks pay back the bailout money!The lifelong Bay Area native finds writing copy for her website to be brain-challenging, as she believes she is much better at talking about her designs and selling herself in person. Her art show experience to date is Indie Mart. HHD is the first "true craft show" she is doing because "it sounds like a cool thing to be part of," she says. A graphic designer by trade, she gives back by donating time designing bilingual books for Children's Book Press in San Francisco.

Creating her own art has affected her buying habits - she now thinks twice about who will beneift the most from her purchase, and keeps her buying local or at least in the US. She is happy to support local artists and cutting out the middle man.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

satin corset

Inspired by old-world items, dreams, nature, and the bright colors floating across her eyelids are some of the sources that inspire Tyler Pimental of SatinCorset. The delicate and colorful jewelry found in her shop certainly show the fruits of her inspirations.

"Loose Control" (by backtednted) is the song of her life - because "We all need to lose control sometimes". She would love to be a fish going "whoop" while driving a car - mabye in a panic ... and out of control. Vodka Rockstar Juiced - orange, carbonated, sweet and tart - is her favorite drink. Working out a Japanese quiz challenges her, and she says Tokyo is her favorite city.

The Handmade Ho Down is her first craft show, though she's all about the indie, local, handmade creatife force. Unlocking the creative force of one's own two hands helps her appreciate what other local artisans create. "The kinds of things you can buy from handmade artisans are just too cool, so much better than what's available at the mall!"


California native Maryann Peper-Reynolds has a delightful range of crafted items in her shop, GabriellaDesign - paper flowers, moody abstract paintings, holiday cards, skull and gemstone jewelry offer something of interest for all seekers. She claims to be addicted to paper, and her creations involve paper in many forms. The bright red paper ranunculus she makes are quite eye-catching, and her desk calendars are quite popular!

Needing a pair of earrings to go with a shirt she planned to wear, young Maryann made some earrings - and quickly began making more to go with her outfits and give to friends. She hasn't stopped since, working in different mediums over the years.

While her heart might be in Florence, Maryann loves the time spent with family and friends during the holidays. "Giving a piece of yourself embodies the holidays," she says. This might mean some time, cookies, and/or a good dinner. A good bottle of wine brightens the occasion, and she claims chardonnay as her favorite.

Ticky Tacky

Add Jane Naimark of Tickytacky to our list of people who want to be a cat living with awesome people for a week! She wants to poke into corners and chase bugs. Except for the bug chasing part, that's alot of what she really likes to do - going to antique and junk shops looking for treasures - finding those awsome doo-dads that call out to be made into treasures. Her craft grew out of interest in making "things."

This long-time San Francisco resident loves kombuchas!

Meghan Patrice Riley, handmade fine jewelry

"Making jewelry is the best job in the world" says Meghan Patrice Riley. She learned her craft by taking classes everywhere and apprenticing with a fine jewelry maker. Her "other job" is working with nonprofits and government agencies to provide housing to low-income families - exactly in line with making handmade things and supporting locally made goods.

The Mission is her favorite neighborhood for tossing one back. And the drink of choice is a Kombucha - tasty and fizzy! Singing Radiohead's "Creep" is her Karaoke song. She dreamed of fighting ghosts with Slimer.

What is the craziest gift you have ever received?

I was surprised with a wax pen by my amazing fiance. It's great! I can sculpt in wax more easily with this tool.

Which one song describes your life the best? Why?

Mad World by Tears for Fears. It's has a depressing sentiment which I would say is not an echo of my life, but I absolutely love this song. I work a lot, am involved with a lot of projects and I run around a bit "mad."

We are beyond excited to have Meghan vend at our show, can't wait to see you in her booth!

Jenny Kim, custom jewelry.

Jenny Kim, of San Mateo California, has been making jewelry since 2004. Her pieces are original, delicate, feminine and hold a the eye with their organic shapes and beautiful finish.

How did you get started on Etsy/Making things?

I've been making art in various forms since before nursery school. My first "mural" was a crayon portrait of my family in my childhood bedroom. In the third grade, I began selling mini-picture and puzzle books to classmates for the going-rate at the time of 50 cents apiece. I was a student in the Advanced Placement Studio Art Program at a Los Angeles-city high school, taking nine semester-courses of art before graduating.

Years after finishing an undergraduate degree unrelated to the arts, my instinctive urge to make pretty things with my hands cried out again, and I began taking metalsmithing courses at the City College of San Francisco, in the evenings after my long workdays. Metal immediately became my favorite medium. I have a hard, edgy side to my personality, juxtaposed against an equally-present soft, sensitive, and sensual side. Working in metal, and particularly creating organically-inspired forms with the lost-wax casting method, spoke to me like no other medium had in the past. I have now been creating jewelry and metalwork on a full-time basis since 2007.

What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you, and how has it affected your life?

Buying and selling locally handmade products means that I am supporting my neighbors, my community, and my local economy. I have also purchased items that were locally made in places where friends and family live to give as gifts. For example, I've made an effort to buy handmade products from artisans in, say, Seattle, to give as a gift to my sister who lives in that city, with a note: "This was handmade in Seattle. Just supporting your local artisans."

Shaya Durbin Jewelry -- As Unique as the People Who Wear It

Shaya Durbin has jewelry making and crafting in her blood.  We caught up with her and she had this to say: 
     "Hi! I am a jeweler from a family of artists and crafters. You could call me 3rd generation DIY.
I was taught to solder by my father when I was six years old. Since then I have been designing and creating with metals, my vision advancing as my skills increased.

Even though jewelry has always been in my life it has not always been my primary medium. In college I worked in other arts and only returned to my roots after I graduated. This shift had a profound influence on my sensibility as a jeweler. I do not approach my art from aesthetic of a traditional jeweler. Because of my work as a printmaker I think about jewelry in terms of layers and composition. I use textures, patinas, and contrasting metals to create complexity and compositional integrity. This is not formulaic but a sensitivity to what creates visual balance, and since it is different for each piece, and generally not repeatable, each piece is unique.

For me jewelry has been the great exploration of form, presenting the perpetual challenge of translating sculptural ideas into designs that accentuate the human body. This creates a captivating dialog between the sculpture and the wearer, making my relationship with the metal very personal. Because each finished piece will be more than purely visual art, the future intimate nature of the work is directly present in my own creative process. It is about a translation from artistic sensibility to practical form. I look not only at the aesthetic but at the comfort and the way the design will interact with the wearer. In this way my art is about creating intimate experiences. My philosophy is that people want jewelry as unique as they are."

We at the Handmade Ho Down are pretty unique ourselves, Shaya, so we wondered:

If you had to live out the rest of your life as a famous fictional character, who would you be and why?
Batman. He kicks butt.

If money were no object for just one day, what would you do?
Today I would fly to  Turkey.

If you were invisible for one day and could go anywhere without being detected, where would you go and what would you do?
Fort Knox. That's where they keep the good stuff.

Did you have a crush on a TV character when you were little?  Spill it!
The Goblin King.

What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you, and how has it affected your life?
If I have money to spend, I want it to go to an actual person, not a vast money-sucking machine.

Well, we couldn't agree more, Shaya.  Thanks for the interview, we all look forward to seeing your beautiful jewelry in person!

Vintage Oddities

Longtime Oakland resident Janyce Engan, of Vintage Oddities has created needlework and various forms of fiber art since childhood. She learned to sew and knit from her grandmother, who shared many tricks and secrets from her own learning during the Great Depression about how to do amazing things like making making a bit of cloth stretch and look lovely at the same time.

A year ago, Janyce branched out into exploring different styles, focusing mainly on vintage and historic fashion. Her Etsy shop opened in April 2008. A delightful selection of colorful vintage beads, buttons and findings are offered in her shop - check out the YUMMY green grape headpins. Janyce's creations are inspired by beautiful fashion plates, Art Deco items, and even World War II images.

She would really love to be a pampered house cat for a week... or really lifetime (wouldn't we all?). She would just eat, play, and be petted all week long. Adores Cosmopolitans. A big part of her "give back to the community" time is donating time and materials that are helping Berkeley High music fundraiser.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crafty Girl 05

Jeanine DeSoto creates colorful bright quilts and pillows in her adorable shop Crafty Girl 05.

How did you learn your craft?
First I started sewing fleece blankets with store bought binding, which slowly progressed into quilts and now pillow cases.

How did you get started on Etsy/Making things?
I saw etsy on a yahoo article of the top stay at home jobs and from there decided to give it a try. I started sewing after my grandma passed away and inherited her sewing machine, one day I decided to go to the fabric store and try to make a blanket I had seen for my self.

Where's your favorite neighborhood to toss one back?
I enjoy hanging out in Clayton, California, this small community has my favorite essentials; hair salon, dog groomer, coffee, and good sandwich shop.

Did you have a crush on a TV character when you were little? Spill it!
Yes, of course it would have to be Dylan McKay from 90210.

Kendra Renee Jewelry Design

How did you get started on Etsy/Making things?
I learned how to work with silver from a jewelry artist in Boston. I became an addict, and knew I wanted to own my own jewelry design business. I began amassing quite a collection of tools, and started producing my own line.

What inspires your creations?
I think about jewelry all the time. I am inspired by many things- the simplest of which are the tools I work with every day. I find architecture and mechanical objects to be incredibly beautiful (I kind of drool over the Bay Bridge) but I am also inspired by regularity in natural objects, like the spirals formed at the center of a sunflower.

What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you, and how has it affected your life?
I try to do it as much as I can because I truly appreciate all who have done it for me. They have made it possible for me to do what I love, all day, every day.

As this is a charity event for DrawBridge, give us some insight on how you personally, or your shop, gives back to your community.
I am pumped that the Ho Down is working with Drawbridge, they sound like an amazing organization, and I am proud to donate some of my work to their benefit. I am really new to this community and I am looking for other ways to give back too.

If you were invisible for one day and could go anywhere without being detected, where would you go and what would you do?

I would visit to Louvre at night when there was nobody there to get in my way of the Mona Lisa. (I have night vision too, right?)