Friday, October 30, 2009

Handmade Ho Down is a Charity Event for DrawBridge

DrawBridge is the official charity of Handmade Ho Down 2009. The entire Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew felt that we wanted to use this event opportunity of providing local handmade items to provide something back to the local community.

When we came across DrawBridge while researching potential charities, how could we say no? I mean, helping beautiful children of the Bay Area with… ART?!

DrawBridge - an expressive arts program for homeless children and other vulnerable youth operates in seven California counties: San Mateo, Alameda, San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Marin.

DrawBridge's founder developed a highly effective method of using expressive arts to help these children and youth work through the complex emotions associated with homelessness and family dysfunction. While offering this method for art groups at two Marin County emergency shelters, social workers, community leaders, and formerly homeless parents had an opportunity to observe the transforming effect of this process on the lives of homeless kids.

In late 1991, DrawBridge was created as a vehicle to expand this work. Today, DrawBridge is dedicated to mitigating the appalling effects of homelessness on children presently residing in family emergency shelters, transitional and low-income housing facilities and Domestic Violence Shelters. Families residing in these facilities may stay for anywhere from 1 day to many years depending on the type of facility.

The average age of a homeless person in America is nine. An estimated 44,000 children in 66,000 Bay Area families were homeless in 2005. Homeless children commonly experience loss, anger, depression, hopelessness, and isolation. These emotions have an overwhelmingly negative impact on children. Ideally, increased support would be provided during this time, but the reality is that there are few outlets for the emotional needs of children in shelters.

Shelters focus on the survival needs of parents. Parents are unable to provide the extra support needed by their children because their own emotional resources are depleted in a time of crisis. The children, sensing the parents' stress, often subjugate their own needs. At school, homeless children often begin a cycle of poor performance that has severe long-term effects.

Art helps these children release the build-up of potentially destructive emotions. The nonjudgmental and loving support of the DrawBridge staff enables the children to rebuild a sense of control and self-worth. Trained facilitators use art to transform self-hate into self-respect, violence into compassion, and powerlessness into active participation. The children put into images feelings they are unable to speak. Slowly, their stories emerge and their voices are heard. The art facilitator can then begin a much needed process of communication between the child and their parents, shelter staff, the schools, and the larger community. DrawBridge reaches over 1700 children in the various sites each year.

All proceeds from our Handmade Ho Down Raffle and HHD Zine will benefit the children of DrawBridge. We invite all vendors and attendees to bring along any unused or unwanted art supplies to the door at Handmade Ho Down. Tax-deductible receipts will be given if needed, along with a free gift!

Requested donations include the following:

Color and white paper

Tempera and acrylic paints

Face Paint

Finger Paint

Paint brushes

All forms of Clay: Self hardening, Model magic, Sculpey


Mini Pom Poms

Googly Eyes

Paper maiche strips


Masking tape of all colors


Small or Child Safe Scissors


Wire cutters

Colored Pencils

iPods and speakers for art groups

Polaroid cameras and Film

Digital cameras

We also want all shoppers to take advantage of the Official Handmade Ho Down Gift Wrapping station, to get all your holiday gifts hand wrapped by volunteers of DrawBridge. All donations for this gift wrapping go directly to DrawBridge!

Meanwhile, take a look at this video:

Become a fan of DrawBridge on Facebook!

Stay tuned for more insights to DrawBridge!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Behind Handmade Ho Down- Meet the Committee

In today's Behind Handmade Ho Down, we meet Rebecca Gatanis, our Vendor and Logistics Chair, Sponsor Cohort, and Music coordinator.

Rebecca Gatanis of Jim Dandy’s started selling on Etsy in January of 2009, and loves spending what’s left of her paycheck on all the sweetest Etsy items possible!

As a writer by profession, skill, and inclination, Rebecca is also a single mother (to a remarkable and bright 7 year old little girl), Girl Scout troop leader (of another 13 amazing 7 year olds), thrift store ninja, dinner party hostess with the most-est, owner of a wrinkly and adorable Shar-Pei, and an aspiring adult who loves to be surrounded in eclectic and inspiring environments.

“I never considered myself the hands-on crafts type, as my creative outlet has typically been my writing. I've always had really cool ideas, but felt like I just wasn't the type to be able to construct them into reality.

Then one day I made a few feather hair pieces for the girls and me, for a night on the town. Everywhere we went, with our feathered hair pieces adorned in our hair, we were bombarded with flattery. Before we knew it, the whole city was going crazy trying to get a hold of these unique feathered objects of obsession. Men and women alike were falling at our feet. We found ourselves immersed in pools of salivation. At one point, as the love thirsty mob chased us down and almost killed us, I thought to myself… Hey, I can make enough for everyone!”


And  thus, Jim Dandy's was born. Ever since, Jim Dandy's has been adorning the heads of many and quenching the fanciful obsession of many.

Rebecca is the Vendor and Logistics Chair for Handmade HoDown (Too Live Crew), as well as Website Designer, Facebook addict, and Music coordinator!

Currently her etsy shop does not have any listings, until Handmade Ho Down happens, but she is available for consignment, is participating in craft shows throughout the end of the year, and welcomes custom orders. Visit the official Jim Dandy's website for more information.

You can also try to keep up with her, on her blog, Running With Feathers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Genesis of the Handmade Ho Down

Legend has it that the idea for the Handmade Ho Down started on fateful September night in an Etsy chat room where the SFEtsy weekly team chat was taking place.
Monkey + Seal had just joined the SFEtsy team a few nights ago, and after coming home from his day job, Monkey remembered that there was a chat going on, and decided to log in. Even though he was late to the chat, everyone else was late as well, and things eventually took a turn to holiday craft shows.

Who knew that an innocent question like "Hey everyone, why don't we start our own craft show?" would gather up such a rowdy crew to actually make it happen. After a massive exchange of emails, a date was set for a tentative face-to-face meeting, and although Jim Dandy's was the only other shop to make it, the Handmade Ho Down committee was born.

That first meeting was said to be destined, fated, magical. After recruiting a cadre of top-notch fellow SFEtsians, the Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew was complete and has dedicated themselves to putting on a kick-ass craft show for your holiday shopping pleasure!

Despite the fact that the band Genesis, has no actual connection (that we know of) to Handmade Ho Down, or the HHD (Too Live) Crew,wasn't Phil Collins a cutey?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Behind Handmade Ho Down- Meet the Committee

In today's Behind Handmade Ho Down, we meet our Promotions and Advertising Chair as well as the Ruler of All things Financial, Nilufur Smith of Earth Cultured.

Nilu grew up in an artistic family in San Francisco, but only recently found her "artsy" niche. She probably never would have found it, if it wasn't for her travel bug.

After living in Hawaii for 6 years, Nilu and her husband decided to dump all of their "possessions" and buy 2 backpacks. They were ready to leave the islands for some adventure. With packs on their backs, they traveled for one year throughout Oceania, South East Asia and India. Once they arrived in the Himalayas of India after almost 10 months of on-the-go travel, there was a strong desire to "settle down" for a bit. They ended up living in the Himalayas, 1.5 hours West of Nepal, for 4 months. The sites, the smells, the people and the natural beauty drew them in deeper every day.

One day, by chance, Nilu entered a store run by a very young man, known locally as the Mala Walla (in Hindi, "Mala" means "necklace" and "Walla" means "Master"). Originally enticed into the store by the homemade poi hanging on the door (Nilu spins fire), her attention was immediately diverted to all of the really cool necklaces hanging on the wall.. Seeing the sparkle in Nilu's eyes, the Mala Walla insisted that Nilu and her husband stay for some chai tea and conversation.

While sitting on the floor, drinking chai, and listening to Hindi house music, they had the chance to look through most of the beautiful stones the Mala Walla had stocked up for his necklaces. He explained the ancient technique monks used to bound their healing stones, so that they could wear them daily.

From that day forward, a cherished friendship was formed. Nilu would sit with him for hours on end, every day, drinking chai, all while learning about the art of macrame, selecting and netting beautiful cabochons, and learning of the healing properties of gemstones. After four short months, her clumsy fingers (along with her husbands) were creating beautiful necklaces that enabled any wearer to carry healing properties with them.

They left India and the island life, to start a life again in San Francisco, where Nilu was raised and has family. Now a year late, when she is not designing necklaces, you can find Nilu and her wares at the Coastside Farmers Markets in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. Other times, you are sure to find her bouncing around town to live music, house music, and anything in between (which usually involves a costume of sorts). :D

Nilu is an amazing member of the Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew. As the latest member and addition to our Crew, Nilu has had no problem taking responsibility to a different level, and her attention to detail makes her the best person to be handling our purse strings.....

You can buy her necklaces from her Etsy Shop, Earth Cultured.

To learn more about Earth Cultured, feel free to check out the Earth Cultured website.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Early Bird Registration Closed, Now the Jury is In!

Although the early bird registration for Handmade Ho Down 2009 is closed, you can still apply to be a vendor at the event with a late registration fee.

We have tons of vendor applications, and the Official Handmade Ho Down Jury is psyched to start the jury process on the plethora of vendor applications that we have received.

With over a 100 applications to review and only 60 vendor spots to fill, the HHD Jury has a lot of work ahead of them!
If you’ve are wondering how the jury works, here’s an inside glimpse into how we are selecting our vendors.
In general, selection is based on quality, creativity, and originality with an eye towards attaining a wide variety of crafts at this show. We accept only original work made by the artist and will not accept any vendors that sell imports, work from kits, or pre-fabricated wholesale items.

If you are sharing a booth, each vendor’s items will be juried. If only one of you is accepted, that vendor will have an opportunity to pay the full vendor fee and still participate in the show without a partner.

The jury process takes about a week, to allow the jury members to meet on a daily basis and go over each application and accompanying photographs.

Each vendor application is judged individually, with special attention paid to photos and vendor statements. From there, each juror is rated based on the following categories:
  • Craftsmanship/Skill:
    How well-made are the crafts? We keep in mind some things are meant to look rough or undone, but quality is key.

  • Inventive Use of Materials

  • Labor/Time Investment:
    Was a lot of time invested in the concept/design/product?

  • Physical Design:
    How much thought was put into the aesthetics/function of the work?

  • Rarity/Singularity:
    One of the awesome things about buying handmade and local products, is the unique factor. We want to make sure that each of our vendors has a unique aspect to them. In other words, WalMart has nothing on our event! :D

  • Excitability:
    Would we buy this or recommend it to someone?

  • Appeal:
    We want to make sure each vendor is a success at our event. Given that, we will review each vendor based on their appeal to a large group of shoppers, or to a specific niche group.

  • Pricing:
    We want to make sure there is something for everyone at this event. It is important to us to have vendors that represent a variety of price ranges.
While all this sounds super formal and daunting to some, we do want to express that we provide an equal opportunity for all crafters to participate in Handmade Ho Down 2009!

This time around the Handmade Ho Down Jury is comprised of the Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew. Acceptance is based solely on the above criteria, no matter if we know you, have bought items from you in the past, exchanged a toast with you, or know what your living rooms look like! ;p

Vendors will be notified of their acceptance by October 29th, 2009 at midnight!!

We can NOT wait to see you there!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bazaar Bizarre Loves Us Too!

When most of us think OMG BIG KICK BOOTY CRAFT SHOW, Bazaar Bizarre probably comes to mind.

Which is why we were SO STOKED to see OUR event posted on THEIR blog!

A lot of us SF Etsy peeps and a few of the Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew are vending at their December event.

Maybe we should do some cross promoting? Not a bad idea!

To read their post about us, click here.

Thanks Bazaar Bizarre!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Behind Handmade Ho Down- Meet the Committee

In this edition of Behind Handmade Ho Down, we introduce you to Erin Cadd, our Sponsor Chair and Vendor Co-Chair.

Erin lives in a small old house in Oakland, Ca with her Shih Tzus and her very tall boyfriend.  She has a particular propensity for things in miniature, as evidenced by her car, her dogs and her curio shelf.

Erin started sewing when she was just a wee tot.  Well, she was more like 6, but you get the idea. Her grandmother taught her on the sewing machine she now uses in her own studio.  She’s been sewing clothes for friends, swim meets, and Barbies ever since.  It wasn’t until Erin went to design school for Interior Design that her love – nay, borderline addiction – for fabrics and color became truly realized. 

When a friend told her about Etsy a few years ago, it was just another (wicked) fun place to shop.  But recently, as many may know, the market has slowed drastically in the Interiors and Architectural fields, just like everywhere else.  When Erin lost her job in February, she took a few months of wondering where to go next, looked for a new job unsuccessfully, and decided Etsy was her next big adventure.  

Her very own Etsy shop, Eristotle opened in July of this year. Eristotle is about fun and funky ways to decorate your pad and your life with reduce-reuse-recycle front and center to every design. All of her items  are handmade by using vintage, upcycled, thrifted or eco-friendly materials whenever possible.

"It has been one learning experience after another", she says.

Yet the adventure continues even still, as do the learning experiences, and hey let’s face it, life in general.  Erin joined SF Etsy, one of the Bay Area Etsy Street Teams just a few months ago. She fell into chatting online one night with a truly hilarious group of Etsy artisans, who turned out to be a dedicated and wonderful group of people as well.  

The idea was posed (by MonkeyandSeal, if she remembers correctly and she is mos def right!) that a craft show would be a great endeavor to pursue.  Hey! they all said, we might even get backed by Etsy! 

"Now look at all these people on our Street Team, just as excited as we are to be part of something like this!"

Erin is the official Handmade Ho Down Sponsor Chair and Vendor Co-Chair and there would be no Handmade Ho Down (Too Live) Crew without her.

Where can we get some of that tasty pie Erin? dang.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

IndieSacramento Featured Us!

Word is spreading like swine flu about Handmade Ho Down, and we are all just thrilled with the peep love and enthusiasm of all our supporters!

IndieSacramento was the first craft show for one of our committee members, and we were bummed when they announced the cancellation of their holiday show.

But we were just blown away when they featured our event on their blog. How gracious! We love you IndieSacremento and we can not wait for your next show, so we can be sure to return the favor!

To read their posting click here!

We love you IndieSacramento......xoxo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Behind Handmade Ho Down- Meet the Committee

As part of the series, Behind Handmade Ho Down, we invite you to meet the committee members who have helped make this event possible.

Today we meet Alana Rivera, our Sponsor Co-Chair and Tweeter.

Born and raised in the beautiful yet painfully small town of Willits, Alana escaped the first chance she got to the lovely slightly larger small town of Santa Barbara...

In 2004 Alana moved to San Francisco with happy thoughts of working for the man in a PR firm.  After a horrible stint at a "electric rental car" company for tourists and a multi year "what if I want to be a lawyer" adventure in legal support, Alana finally found a dreamy PR job.  Fortunately, via this PR miracle, Alana realized that she really didnt want to do PR or work for the man after all.

Lucky enough for her, right before the PR job, Alana had received a book on soap making after complaining about her lack of hobbies to her mom.

Eventually, she realized that her true passion was products, and after completing a Certificate in Herbalism (study of medicinal qualities of herbs) she started an eco conscious bath and body company, and thus Etta + Billie was born.

She loves to cook and is an avid reader who is absolutely obsessed with the True Blood series at the moment.  She desperately wants a dog but must resign herself to fish for the time being.  Alana likes to dress up in 80s prom dresses and trys to live her life in a more earth friendly manner.

Alana is the Sponsor Co-Chair, the official Handmade Ho Down Tweeter, and is responsible for keeping us all clean.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Behind Handmade Ho Down- Meet the Committee

As part of the series, Behind Handmade Ho Down, we invite you to meet the committee members who have helped make this event possible.

Today we meet Rick Kitagawa, our Volunteer, Social Networking, and Graphics guru.

Rick started selling pin-back buttons on Etsy in January of 2008.  He is a San Francisco-based multi-disciplinary artist who lives and collaborates with his life/business/artistic partner, Eve Skylar, and together they form Monkey + Seal.  He has only recently started becoming more involved with the Etsy community and joined the SFEtsy street team last month.

Rick (aka Ri.S.K.) found Etsy when one of his friends asked if she could buy some of the buttons he was wearing.

"I had bought a button maker a few years back to help promote some of the theatrical shows I was part of back in college.  I was wearing one I had just made for the hell of it and my friend wanted one.  She told me that I should sell my buttons on Etsy, and the rest is history.  Kinda."  

After eventually letting his button shop drift by the wayside, Rick and Eve came up with the concept of Monkey + Seal for the San Francisco Zine Fest.  "I wasn't putting enough time into the shop, and just sorta let it die a slow, quiet death.  We were focusing on going back to school for our 2nd Bachelor's in Art (Rick has a Biology degree and Eve studied Narrative Theory), and we were approached by my friend who ran the Zine Fest.  He told me about the Fest, and we got our act together and started making zines, comics, and art for the show."

After their overwhelmingly positive reaction at the Zine Fest, Rick decided to start up a new shop and Monkey + Seal was born.  "Our name comes from our baby pictures.  When you look at us when we were kids, I'm pretty obviously a little monkey and Eve is most definitely a seal." 

Ever the overachiever, you can find out more about Rick (and Eve) at, (his wedding invitation design studio), or at (his artist site).

 "Why did I want to help start the Handmade Ho-Down?  Because I want to take over the world!!!  Just kidding.  Sort of."

Rick is the Volunteer, Social Networking, Graphics, and everything Monkey Business Chair.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What Application Process Snafu?

Hey all you Handmade Ho Down peeps!

Just a quick post to let you all know, that we know,  that some of you may have been having problems with the actual application on the website. 

This snafu has been updated and repaired.  We have modified our application process so you should be good to go!

We apologize for any frustrations and really do hope this new format works better for you.

If you are one of the many vendors that have already applied, you don't need to worry about a thing. We have everything we need for now!

Thank you for bearing with us as we iron out the small kinks in this new system, and thank you for your understanding. 

Can’t wait to see more application submissions and we’ll see you at the show!

(if you are still really irritated with everything just look at this puppy and kitten duo...)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Registration Now Open

 Can I get a "Ho Down"!?

bells and whistles please.....

Please visit us at The Handmade Ho Down Crew has worked their behinds off getting the website ready in time for today, and guess what? WE DID IT! It is on this brand spanking new site that we have revealed the location and our official charity of the event!

Registration for Handmade Ho Down 2009 is now officialllllllllly open! Registration closes October 22nd so be sure to get to it!

The registration process is simple, quick, and easy. There are just three steps! From the website, just click on the Vendors page, then click the magic button to register. It is all mapped out for you.

On behalf of the Handmade Ho Down Crew, I would like to personally say that this whole event has been put together with you, the vendor, in mind. I can not wait to see you there!

Feel free to email us at if you any questions or feedback.