By November 22, 2014 Read More →

BigView – Modesto Craftiness Goes Mod


Big View
By Chris Murphy

I love crafty and creative people. Better yet, I love it when there are a lot of creative and crafty people like we have here in Modesto. From the musicians who craft amazing music, to our artists that craft wonderful works of art, to our super diverse group of crafts people that make clothes, books, gifts, and other creative crafty things. I live in a house loaded with creative crafty works with my wife Rebecca Murphy constantly creating cool works of art.

We get to celebrate our community craftiness at Mod Shop on the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 6-10 on J St in downtown Modesto. Not only is this Small Business Saturday, it is our shop local day. It is highly possible that you can complete any holiday shopping list during Mod Shop. Mod Shop picked up where HandBorn left off a few years ago and now it is back and better than ever featuring music, fun, food, fellowship and really cool hand made things you want.

We introduce to you the secret agents of craftiness that bring Mod Shop to life. Kate Trompetter, who by day runs Marketing and PR for Center for Human Services, is one of our best community service advocates. She is married to Dave Rogers (an awesome drummer) and they are raising three kids. Ruhi Sheikh bears the heavy burden of being married to our amazing Ninja Poet Sam Pierstorff, but in reality she works for the Stanislaus Community Foundation, has her own jewelry line and is dedicated to living and teaching her craftiness and even assisted her three talented kids at the All Kids Craft Faire at the Library. Tricia Rosenow is a map maker by day, seamstress by night. Tricia Rosenow has been a part of the arts community in Modesto for many years. The mother of two was a fixture at Handborn with her business dittyPop bags, and was a member of Modesto’s favorite dance troupe, The Radiowaves.

ModestoView is on a mission for people to learn about and explore all things local, shop local, eat, drink and live local, so let’s meet our super mod and special agents of craftiness. Kate, Ruhi, and Tricia

ModestoView: What is so important about having a self sufficient hand made craft industry in a community?
Ruhi- Having a community that can rely on their hand made crafts to generate a living is empowering. When you can combine your passion with being financially independent, you end up with residents who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, which makes our community richer and more diverse.

MV: Do you feel that kids of this generation are getting the craft skills they need for a well rounded life?
Ruhi- There does seem to be so much emphasis on academics nowadays that there doesn’t even seem to be time for kids to learn about things like how to make crafts. Being able to envision something, design it, and then bring it to life with your hands teaches so many skills that are long lasting. It’s an education that is just as valuable.

MV: What message do we need to send to our community about the value of “Handmade” and “Locally Produced”?
Ruhi- We live in a small community and when you purchase something that is created here in Modesto or eat at a restaurant here in Modesto, you are helping a small business stay open, which keeps your hard earned dollars here in our town, which will then benefit our town where we live and help us grow and flourish. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Kate: Keep our dollars here! This is about celebrating our community’s gifts AND it’s about economic development. There is so much talent in our city. This event is just one of several examples of how we can showcase the skills and gifts of our residents. At the same time, shopping locally keeps our money here. Keeping money within our community makes it healthier.

MV: For people that think crafts and they think old quilting bee, what do we need to say to them and how can they be enlightened.
Ruhi- First of all, if they think that, they need to come to Mod Shop to see for themselves how high caliber these “crafts” are. We have people who screen print original designs on t-shirts, jewelry made from reclaimed metal by hand. We have industrial, hand sewn denim clothing, furniture that is custom designed and built. We challenge you to not be impressed with the “crafts” you see at Mod Shop.

Kate: Then they haven’t been to Mod Shop. What will be on display at this event, it’s high quality, something-for-everyone, irresistible product. This is not your grandma’s craft show, unless your grandma is totally awesome, in which case you should bring her with you.

MV: – What are some of your favorite hand made experiences?
Ruhi- Some of my favorite gifts that I have received have been handmade. I love to hear why they chose a certain fabric and why they designed something special for me in mind. It’s incredibly touching and so memorable.

Tricia: I love teaching skills to the younger generation. We have crafty play dates and the kids get to bring home a handmade skirt or stuffed animal and they are so proud to show off their work to family and friends.

MV: What is your own secret weapon of craftiness. Are you good with a glue gun, sharp with sewing or ace with art or something else?
Ruhi- I love to plan parties! I love all the fine details for how you can make your party original and memorable. From the hand made decorations, color scheme, thematic food to the party favors. I love to create it all from scratch.

Tricia: I’ve been sewing since high school, It’s a great skill to have and comes in handy to help people with alterations, costumes, or a custom bag or clothing item that they can’t find anywhere else. I recently made a walker bag for someone just out if surgery, and historical costumes for a school event.

Kate: Ruhi and Tricia are the crafty ones of this trio. They are party planners, decorators, sewers, creators. One of these years perhaps they’ll rub off on me.

MV: What can people expect at Mod Shop?
Ruhi- bottom line, the warm and fuzzies. When you walk downtown during this busy holiday weekend with your family and friends, and you see tons of people out shopping in our local stores and not Black Friday Shopping at the mall, you will feel so touched and you will feel pride. You will see downtown all lit up and hear beautiful music as you shop from store to store. You’ll be amazed by the variety of items that are all handmade and you will find something for everyone you love on your list. You’ll get to see a part of Modesto that you may not see everyday. A thriving, talented community that you can be proud to be a part of.

Kate: Fun, family, friends, live music, shopping, food and drink. If you come downtown on the 29th, do some shopping, support a local business, hang with some friends and hear some great music, expect to walk away from this event feeling full, literally and figuratively.

MV: Say someone doesn’t care one bit about hand made anything, why should they care?
Kate: If you’re looking for a reason to celebrate this community and have a great time, come downtown on the 29th. If you’re not about crafts, be about participating in your community. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll feel proud.

MV: Describe your ideal day in Modesto?
Ruhi- My ideal day includes laziness and yummy food. Sleeping in, going to breakfast at Deva. Going to Queen Bean for coffee after, reading a book on the porch. While the kids read quietly too.. this is ideal right? Going for a walk downtown, taking the kids to the park , walking to Camp 4 for a late lunch. Maybe attend a really neat Science talk at MJC and a visit to the Great Valley Museum . Hooking up with friends for dinner at Sushi Garden and a movie with the kiddos after. Rinse Repeat.

Tricia: I like to start the day with coffee at Preservation, walk down to the farmers market for the best fruit and veggies in the world, then take the kids to the library for a new stack of books. In the evening, catch a show at the Gallo Center and meet up with friends at a new place downtown. I’ve been meaning to make it to commonwealth!

Kate: It’s probably very similar for all of us. I’d want to start with a really great cup of coffee at Preservation. Then I’d go to farmers market with my daughter. If I’m lucky, I’ll visit a great restaurant with my family and find some time for my friends. Generally, I’d just want to be where my community is…there are some of the best people in this town.

#10 Beatles or Stones?
Ruhi- I love a British bloke in fitted jeans, but I’m going to have to pick Coldplay. Sorry Chris Murphy.
Tricia: Beatles
Kate: Can I say James Taylor? If you’re making me pick, I choose the Beatles. ☺

Birch Handcrafted Wearables

Anne Kapor<>



Founded by “a hobby gone wild” Birch is a one-woman project based out of Turlock in Central California. As the grand-daughter of a demolition worker, the daughter of an ex-construction worker, and part of a family lavender farm, she has constantly been challenged to use what is readily available. Rooted in an agriculture based location and background, what many would consider scrap is a viewed as a blank canvas. Many of Birch’s products are produced via re-purposed steel, brass and copper but also newly minted gold and silver. Birch is about bringing back the lost art form of hand-crafted products within the world of cookie-cutter mass production. Each piece is made to be loved like a gem; a unique item all of its own. With an affinity for the unique and unusual, birch enjoys creating custom pieces for the everyday woman.

Superior Goods Company

Mike and Monica Newhard<>


Leather Goods

24 years ago I was introduced to the upholstery trade. With years of training and dedication I had become a master trimmer. After being involved in the industry and owning my own auto upholstery shop I started pursuing other interest in the textile industry. Always working with my hands has been my bread and butter. My passion for everything textile has culminated into an artisan craft of fine textile and leather goods. I have an appreciation for all artisans who work on their craft like a religion and leave a piece of themselves in everything they create. From concept to design I put my heart and soul into each product. Every piece is handcrafted proudly in the USA. Thank you for your interest and support of your local craftsman.

Cosmic Bath and Beauty

Michelle Adams


Honest natural bath & beauty products you’ll feel good about using everyday. ❤

As a mama I needed to find skin care products that were safe for my family to use everyday, from a company I could not only trust, but one that I wanted to spend my money supporting.

Cosmic Bath and Beauty was born out of my desire for honest, natural and affordable body care products to serve the needs of my family. As a lifelong creative & maker, I decided that if I couldn’t find quality products that met my new-found requirements, I was happy to make them. And if I was going to start somewhere, the beginning – cleansing – made the most sense. So I set out to create a simple soap that was both gentle and effective with ingredients that even my children could pronounce. Cosmic Bath and Beauty launched in 2010 with what our family called “the ultimate bar of soap.” At Cosmic we hand-cut and bevel each bar to fit comfortably in hands both large and small. We use blends of essential oils & non toxic fragrance oils that stimulate body, mind and soul.

Spellbound Crowns

Scott Woodman<>


Everyone deserves to feel like royalty once in a while.

Whether it be our flower crowns or our mermaid crowns, Spellbound crowns is a shop for people who want to be feel like they’re royalty any time. We make magical crowns for anymore attending a fabulous party, wedding, or just running errands around town.

Heads Up Kids

Laura Blom<>


Inspired by Love

My children have been the inspiration for many of my items. I began making headbands for my first child when she was about five months old after becoming frustrated at not being able to find unique items in stores. Wanting to include something for boys, I grew my shop to include adjustable felt bow ties, unique from any others I have seen. Most recently, inspired by my son, I have added slouchy beanies to my shop. It has now been a few years since I started Polish and I find myself enjoying more and more being creative and making fun and functional accessories for all ages.

Rice Fabrication & Design

Marisa Weber/Greg Rice<>


Household items made of metal – lanterns, candle holders, ornaments, desktop succulent planters, buttons

RFD studio is a small locally owned business specializing in handcrafted metal and wood furniture. Our goal is to create well made items that wear in over time and get better with age. We envision our pieces helping to enrich the way people and enjoy their lives.

November 29 6 pm – 10 pm
Shop Local on Small Business Saturday at Mod Shop, located on J St between 10th and 13th St. Shoppers can browse over 50 booths featuring local artists selling art, home decor, clothing, jewelry, children’s clothes and toys, plants, pottery, vintage finds, and handcrafted foods. Enjoy food and drink at Deva Cafe, Concetta, and Preservation Coffee. J St will be bustling with live music, and DJ Crush Congregation at Deva Cafe.
Support young entrepreneurs at Teen Mod Shop located at Mistlin Gallery, our community hub, where we will also host local authors showcasing our very own Stanislaus Community Novel. Be sure to stop by the photo booth for a free photo strip.
ModestoView will be presenting many of the music stages.



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.