Get to know: San Diego community leader Dain Middleton of Dainty*Made and Art FORM

Dain Middleton of Dainty*Made is an advocate and volunteer for San Diego’s art community. She is also a featured sponsor of Handmade Holiday at the San Diego Central Library on December 13th, for which she has volunteered her time to social media, public outreach, event planning and coordination. She even extended the inventive idea to host Rare Hare Studio and Art FORM’s free crafting for kids at Handmade Holiday, and she is also an extraordinary mom, a blogger, and a crafter herself!

Get to know more about Dain in this brief interview below. And come craft with Dain and Art FORM Tomorrow, Saturday, December 13th (330 Park Blvd. at our new downtown library)!

By coming to Handmade Holiday, you get to see the new Central Library, hear local bands, shop from an independent artists, there is entertainment to keep kids happy …and it’s all for a good cause!

What inspires you to support our new library?

I believe in the investment in public libraries. Public libraries add tremendous value to communities by providing services, entertainment, and educational opportunities to all people.

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Stuart Little, and Chasing Redbird!

You’re a proactive San Diegan who cultivates local art and craft community. We just saw you on Channel 6 news this week! So… How do you feel about San Diego’s arts community?

I love the growth of businesses supporting independent local artists that I’ve witnessed over the years. I hope this trend continues to grow so that more and more opportunities for local artists arise within our city.

What would our readers be surprised to learn about your business Dainty*Made?

I currently am focussing on raising my 18 month old son but I love taking advantage of opportunities to be part of great community events like supporting our new library. It’s important for me to feel connected to our city and use my creativity.

Dain Middleton and Clark J Middleton

That’s part of what makes you such a wonderful mom! Is there any holiday shopping we should think about doing from your company?

I won’t be selling any of my personal work at this show, but I know I will be buying some great gifts! I always love to give Art FORM‘s Creative Reuse Cork Trivets as hostess gifts and I’m sure I will stock up on some of their Block Ornaments as well. I am always on the look out for interesting and unique jewelry, which I know I will be able to find at our show. I will be picking up stationery and great stocking stuffers from boygirlparty. I love her cute to-do list notepads.

Thanks so much for the time you’ve donated in support of art, music and our library here in San Diego, Dain! Visit Dainty*Made online at, and RSVP for Handmade Holiday online here:

#library #fundraiser

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide: Local Passion

Whether the products feature local sights around San Diego or the owner is dedicated to improving the community through upcycling or better events, the small businesses featured in this edition of the Handmade Holiday Gift Guide all have one thing in common… Local Passion. Jewelers, printmakers, and metalsmiths all come together to create a community of like-minded business owners.

Thanks so much for reading! You can check out the other Gift Guides here, here, and here.

And we hope to see many of your faces this Saturday, December 13 at the San Diego Central Library. Happy holidays!

Julia Parker Designs

Julia Parker Designs

What are you selling?
“Handmade jewelry, mostly made of sterling silver and fine silver. I’ll have earrings, rings, bangles and bracelets.”

What’s your favorite part of the holidays?
“Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday of the season. As far as December, I love getting together with friends and family, all the great food, the lights and decorations and the smells that only happen at this time of year.”

What’s the decision making process like when it comes to what you sell?
“The jewelry I make has a contemporary, elegant and edgy feel so I sell pieces that are in line with that. Although each of my pieces are unique and stand on their own, they can also coordinate with one another. I make jewelry that people will have for the rest of their lives and pass on to future generations so I take each piece very seriously. It’s important that my clients feel they can wear my pieces every day yet still feel polished and elegant while they’re wearing them.”

(Click to read more of our Holiday Gift Guide!)

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We’re in San Diego CityBeat! (Thanks @sdcitybeat!)

Thanks to San Diego CityBeat for spotlighting Handmade Holiday in “Ready, set, buy”! In the issue published yesterday, CityBeat says,

Get your gifts at…Handmade Holiday @ the Central Library. More than 30 local artisans, like BoyGirlParty (notebooks, T-shirts, art prints), MI Workshop (wood sculpture), Two Hermanas (papel picado cards), Succulents in the City, San Diego Bath and Body Company and Johan Fritz (jewelry) will be at the San Diego Central Library (330 Park Blvd. in East Village) from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. There’ll be free craft workshop for kids, live music curated by Rarefied Recording, story time with the Grinch and a bake sale and raffle to benefit the library.

Thanks to CityBeat, and see you all this Saturday! (Image below by Abe Vizcarra, one of Handmade Holiday’s vendors)

Handmade Holiday in CityBeat


Don’t miss this event: Handmade Holiday 12/13/14 (Featured Press)

The San Diego Reader, Urbanist, and SD Dialed In all agree: Handmade Holiday is an event for everyone!

Join us for a day of family fun and holiday shopping in support of our new Central Library this Saturday, December 13th! Buy locally, handmade artist goods from over 30 artisans; enjoy live music curated by Rarefied Recording; children’s craft workshops with Rare Hare Studio; and a special appearance by the Grinch during this community event!

Saturday, December 13, 2014 – 9:30-4pm
at the new San Diego Central Library
330 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

“Skip the same old gatherings: [Go to] Handmade Holiday at the downtown library. From grandparents, moms and dads to teens and toddlers, there’s something for every member of the family at this holiday fiesta.” – San Diego Reader

Handmade Holiday @ The Central Library is a Top Calendar Pick for DecemberUrbanist Guide San Diego

“Celebrate the holidays in San Diego – and do it for free! Handmade Holiday at the San Diego Central Library” – SD Dialed In

“The free and family friendly Handmade Holiday Marketplace will feature local artists, gift ideas, crafts for kids, live music and entertainment, food, a raffle, and more.” – East Village San Diego

“Check out the beautiful new library and enjoy handmade gifts by 30+ local artists and designers, live music and entertainment, and free crafts for kids.” – The Bakery: a design collective

Join the conversation! Follow @handmade_SD on twitter and Instagram




Get to know: Lucky 13 Strategies

Lucky 13 Strategies is a San Diego marketing coach and communications strategy firm that does not believe in chance! By helping clients create their own opportunities with strong branding and positioning, the right messaging and marketing tactics, Lucky 13 Strategies helps small businesses create their own luck.

Lucky 13 is also a featured sponsor of Handmade Holiday at the Central Library on December 13th, where strategist Lilly Ghahremani has been helping us get the word out to San Diego: By coming to Handmade Holiday, you get to see the new Central Library, hear local bands, shop from an independent artists, there is entertainment to keep kids happy …and it’s all for a good cause!

Get to know more about Lucky 13 in this brief interview below with founder Lilly Ghahremani.

Lilly Ghahremani Lucky 13 Strategies

What inspires you to support our new library?

To me, the library marks a turning point for San Diego. It shows that our amazing city, a city that could theoretically get by on looks alone is committed to promoting culture, education, and community.

Where else can you find such an incredible collection with a reading room overlooking a breathtaking harbor view and housing a high school? It’s truly the library of the future, and I think we’re just seeing the beginning of what this wonderful space will bring to San Diegans.

(Click to read more about Lucky 13 Strategies, San Diego Marketing Expert!)

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Handmade Holiday is coming!

This Saturday, December 13th, you can come to Handmade Holiday at 330 Park Blvd (at our new central library) to buy locally, handmade goods by over 30 local artists and designers; listen to live music curated by Rarefied Recording; get crafty at children’s workshops by Rare Hare Studio and Art FORM; and enjoy a special appearance by the Grinch at the Library Shop during this community event brought to you by the Friends of the San Diego Central Library.

A live music stage, hosted by local studio Rarefied Recording will feature performances by San Diego musicians Normandie Wilson, the Gift Machine, Kalashnikov My Wife, and Erik Canzona.

Poster by Abe Vizcarra, one of the artists who will be selling at Handmade Holiday!


Get to know: June Owatari!

June Luna Owatari is a San Diego freelance writer and musician whose enthusiasm for the arts is contagious. Her work has been published widely on eat.drink.craft, Villains Records and Craft Beer Magazine.

June is also a featured sponsor of Handmade Holiday at the Central Library on December 13th, where she has been featuring and interviewing San Diego’s artists and musicians here on this very site in support of our library fundraiser and community festival!

Get to know more about June in this interview about her craft, her passion for community and what drives her work.


What inspires you to support our new library?

When I was 5 or 6, my mom would pick me up from school and take me to the library across the street, where I would pick up the maximum amount of books allowed. I think it was 10? Then I would finish them all on the car ride home.

The books are longer nowadays and I can’t finish them on my bike ride home, but the library still holds a special place in my heart. As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate that the library is absolutely ESSENTIAL to serving underprivileged children and adults. From computer literacy and tutoring to just being a free educational resource… we need libraries to support our society.

(Click to read more about June Owatari, freelance San Diego writer!)

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Get to know: The Gift Machine

Handmade Holiday welcomes The Gift Machine to the music fest!

Nineties-inspired Gift Machine has been hard at work producing a new album Hard Facts Are Still Uncertain. Produced, engineered, and mixed nearly entirely by frontman Dave Matthies, it’s quite a feat! Listen to four songs from the upcoming album below, and read our fourth and final band interview in anticipation for the Handmade Holiday Music Fest! You can keep up with news from the band at Facebook and listen to two other albums Sooner or Later or Not and Goodbye, Goodluck on their Bandcamp.

Tell me briefly about the Gift Machine. How would you describe your music? What inspires your lyrics or musical direction?

The Gift Machine is a four-piece band currently based out of North County San Diego. I write the songs, sing, play guitar, keyboards etc. My wife Andrea Matthies sings and plays drums. Dan Chambers plays guitar, keyboards, and Felipe Benavides plays bass. We have a definite 1990’s indie rock thing going on with also some psychedelic and folk rock influences. I love lyrics, especially stream-of-consciousness lyrics that allow you to put your own picture to the story. Writers like David Berman (Silver Jews), Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), and Bob Dylan in his mid 60’s period are big influences on me.

I lived in the Pacific Northwest and was very involved in the music scenes of Anacortes, Seattle and Olympia, WA for a large part of my life, so that is a big influence on our music. In my 20’s, I ran KNW-YR-OWN records in Anacortes, WA with Bret Lunsford (of Beat Happening) who was and is a mentor to me. When Beat Happening started they didn’t even know how to play their instruments but that didn’t stop them from writing songs and expressing themselves and influencing a lot of people in the meantime. I think it is a really important thing to keep that sort of innocence when playing and writing music. It doesn’t always have to be fancy to be good!

 “I think it is a really important thing to keep that sort of innocence when playing and writing music. It doesn’t always have to be fancy to be good!”

What makes you passionate about your music?

It’s sort of like a lemming driven to jump off the cliff. I don’t know how to stop doing it. I have been writing songs and playing music since I was 12 years old. My brain makes music whether I want it to or not.

What sets you apart from other artists?

I think we’ve been playing long enough, without the typical “career” music aspirations, that I would hope that it comes across that we actually like what we are doing and are trying to have fun.

“We actually like what we are doing and are trying to have fun.”

What makes the San Diego music community important to you?

My wife is from here (Carlsbad) and I live here now so I want to do what I can to help support it and make it grow. There are a lot of amazing people here and I would like to see it get a little more connected and community driven.

Goodbye, Goodluck by The Gift Machine

What inspires you to support our new library?

Libraries are the cultural center of any community. A physical place to gather people, events, and information seems even more important in this day and age and it’s wonderful that San Diego is pooling it’s many resources into something that will actually serve the city well. The building looks amazing!

What was your favorite book as a child?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Any exciting news for the band?

We are going to release our first new album in several years sometime in the next couple of months! It’s called “Hard Facts Are Still Uncertain” and was recorded mostly in San Diego (2 tracks at Rarefied Recording, the other 11 at our house in Vista, with a chunk of overdubs done in Anacortes, WA). We are also going to do some national touring to support it.

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide: Cozy

Welcome to another edition to the Handmade Holiday Gift Guide. The winter season is the perfect time to wrap up in a blanket with a hot beverage and a good book. It’s also a time for loved ones, making memories, self-care, and enjoying each other. Make that winter ideal happen with these following vendors!

Sarahnade Handmade

What are you selling?
“Knitted and embroidered accessories.”

What do you like about the San Diego art and craft community?
“There is an immense amount of support. I came into this handmade world nervous and unsure, but I have received so much kindness and reassurance from others in this world. Believe me, the caliber of makers in this city is off the charts. The bar is very high, but everyone I have met has been humble and kind and encouraging. There is no greater compliment than when another maker orders something from me. It means so much.”

(Click to read more of our Handmade Holiday Gift Guide, Cozy edition!)

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Handmade Holiday Gift Guide: Forest Living

Happy holidays, San Diego! I hope everybody’s Thanksgiving was wonderful. Did you avoid the crowds at the mall on Black Friday? Or were you in the thick of it?

If you want a chance to buy local gifts this year, check out the Handmade Holiday coming up on December 13, 2014! We’ll be featuring over 30 artists at the San Diego Central Library and 4 bands at the SDCL auditorium!

To help us get into the holiday spirit, I’ve put together several Handmade Holiday guides, each guide featuring a special theme and 5-7 artists. Stay tuned for upcoming holiday guides as we get closer to the main event!

These following artists often use earthy motifs from forest animals to earthy colors.

Jessie Keylon

What are you selling?
“Handpainted lightboxes, shadowboxes, small paintings.”

How do you decide what to sell in your shop or at craft fairs?
“When I make something, I put it up for sale. The inspiration to paint something comes from a place inside of me I still don’t quite understand. It’s a practice of discovering myself as I paint these creations that appear before me. The only difference for a craft fair is that I can’t fit 15 large canvases on a table, so I aim for smaller, more portable pieces.”

(Click below to read the rest of the guide!)

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