By November 4, 2017 Read More →

BigView – Making and Dreaming

The BigView
By Chris Murphy

There is something special about this time of year. We are experiencing a wonderful harvest, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and the tastiest treats at our local farmer’s markets. But as we go into the fall, we are thinking about the people that create, make and invent. The holidays are not that far away so it is not too late to get really creative and dive in to our local area makers.

You may not dive in, but you may crash into some local makers like our own Tasha Williams did when she met up with the creative folks from ModShop. Friends, these people are what make the Greater Modesto Area (Stanislaus County) so special. We celebrate their ideas and handiwork and hope you like your tour.

ModShop: A Creative Dream (Or Not)?
By Tasha Williams
Brace yourself folks! For some of you, the story I am going to share, may be difficult for you tobelieve. But all of it, every word, and with each keystroke that leaves my fingertips – TELL A TRUE STORY!

I have been continuously riding my bicycle since August. During that month, I took you and a few other Positive Peeps, on a ModestoView, “Tour de Food” joyride, all throughout town! Since then, I have been bicycle riding everywhere! I rode my bike through Queen Bean to grab a coffee. I breezed past Fuzio, only stopping to nibble on a Firecracker Appetizer. I slowed down briefly, for one Baklava bite at Papachino’s. I stuffed my face like nobody’s business at Luigi’s Pizza. Even with all that biking through town, still, I kept on riding. I just couldn’t seem to stop myself! Simply put, it was clear: I was turning into the female version of Forrest Gump, except – I WAS ON TWO WHEELS! I just kept riding and riding and riding!

I ended up at the Riverbank Wine and Cheese Festival. My music was playing through my ear buds and I was singing loudly, as the Stylistics crooned, “People Make the World Go Round.” (I still don’t know if I jam to that song because I love “people” or because I love that my “bicycle wheels” go round). At any rate, I digress. . . .

I had gotten lost in the music and I was riding at an unstoppable speed, enjoying every gust of wind that swept by my face. Then, in a flash, and as if out of nowhere, I looked up and saw a sign that said: ModShop Handmade Market. For a brief moment, I thought to myself, “I wonder what The ModShop is?” But it was too late! My speed was undeniable and I could not be stopped!

As my bicycle and I frantically rode through the crowd, I was screaming out to all within my view, warning the crowd, “Look out!” and “Get out of the way!” and “I can’t stop!” Right then and there, wouldn’t ya know it? BOOM! I had finally come to a halt – A SCREECHING HALT! However, it wasn’t my brakes that that stopped me, it was a brick wall! The hit was so intense, that it almost knocked my teeth out! And let me tell ya, you’d have to see my pearly whites in person, to understand the devastation I would have felt in losing even one! But again, I digress. . . . .

I crashed hard and I must have passed clean out, because when I came to, an Angel-like, exquisite beauty, was standing directly above me. She had cocoa skin with long black hair and it turns out, it was she, (Ruhi Sheikh, along with her two friends, Kate Trompetter and Tricia Rosenow, who started the ModShop 5 years ago). Back then, there were only 45 vendors, with the number steadily increasing up to 100 vendors now!

I could not wrap my head around the immaculate ModShop Scene that was now surrounding me on all sides! When Ruhi helped me up, she was so soft-spoken and kind, that I felt as if I had floated back into a standing position and landed on a soft cloud, instead of the hot concrete that was really below my feet. She had a gentle way about herself as she began telling me all about the crafters and magic makers that were everywhere in the ModShop!

She explained how November was an excellent month for people to come and check out the handmade pieces that had been crafted locally, by each individual artists. Ruhi went on to say, that during their events, the vibe was just different. “It is simply a positive place for people come and have fun in a kind of “bustling night out,” she said.
Eventually, I was on my own because whimsically, I had floated off and gotten lost inside the magical wonders of The ModShop! This was definitely my kind of scene! There were booths everywhere that had people displaying a variety of original items! There was beauty, as well as creativity, in every direction in which I glanced! I was among the coolest, craziest, and most artsy people I had seen in years!

Let me tell you about some of the really amazing people and the things they make.

Urban Lumber Jack – Cliff and Stephanie run this woodworking business that specializes in creating lovely things made of wood. Immediately, their beautifully hand crafted wine stoppers caught my eye!

Lorena’s Edible Garden – First off, Lorena was absolutely lovely! Her family has been in business with the Stanislaus County for 17 years! She manages to keep the family business going with her passion for gardening, entertaining and farming. Plus, her company occasionally hosts Murder Mystery Dinners.

Moonlight Substance – WOW! What a treat! Owner, Christina Ayala has been collecting rocks since childhood and has managed to turn her love of fossils and dinosaurs into a very lucrative business. She makes necklaces and key chains made of rocks, minerals, and stones. She loves to see the joy her pieces bring to the faces of her buyers!

Jamie Cloud Eakin Bead Designs – Jamie is already famous! She is a celebrated author, who has done “bead embroidery” for over two decades. She teaches classes at Beads of Contentment in downtown Modesto. Her specialty is working with Cabochon (seed beads), and recently, Medicine Woman herself, Jane Seymour, purchased two pieces from Ms. Cloud!

Simply Naturals – Dominique Dupree and Ashley Thompson run this handmade skincare line that is to die for! These two moms came together as pals through the friendships each of their children shared at school. Together, they make a powerful team that create lip balms that smell delicious while keeping your lips moisturized, all at the same time!

Paper Lane Design – Tiffany Benson has a bright and cheerful personality and that makes perfect sense because she creates fun and fancy invitations. Five years ago, she made her son’s baby shower invitations and on the day he was born, someone made their first order from Tiffany’s designs! So basically, two babies were born that day! She now includes hand painted signs as a part of her line.
I wandered from booth to booth in awe of all the creations I had seen that day and eventually, (even though I have no recollection of how), once again, I found myself outside, pedaling on my bicycle, (with my computer sitting on my knees), with my finger typing, and me just floating towards yet another destination unknown.
Again, I know that for some, this story may seem far-fetched and you must make your own decision about whether or not to believe it. However, (in my mind), all of it, every word, and with each keystroke that leaves my fingertips, – TELL A TRUE STORY! Or maybe, it was all just a dream. . . . Either way, do not miss your opportunity to see the magic that happens at the hands of the creative minds inside The ModShop this November 25 in Downtown Modesto!

Buying Local Stuff!
November 25
Shop Local on Small Business Saturday. This is the day when it is all about our local economy. When you shop local, you are not buying a CEO their third beach house, you are helping someone put their kids through school, play soccer and support the local business people that are the first to give back to the community. We do business here with our friend and we need to keep our $ local.

You can do really creative small shopping at Mod Shop on Nov 25 from 5-9pm, located on J St between 10th and 13th St. Shoppers can browse over 60 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, Preservation Coffee, Ralston’s Goat, Tresetti’s and more. J St will be bustling with live music sponsored by ModestoView and there will be much fun, for families and super crafty stuff. Support young entrepreneurs at Mini Mod Shop located at Mistlin Gallery, our community hub. Be sure to stop by the photo booth for a free photo strip.

Paint and Sip – You can be your own crafter. Why not create your own art? Why not drink your own wine? There are fabulous places to sip wine and paint, and do it with friends, especially this time of the year. Art Time and Sip Wine is located at the corner of 16th and J Street and they have a variety of programs and you can custom design your event with Sue Waggoner. You can connect at<> 920 16th St Modesto 209-777-0129

On the north end of town, you can find Pinot’s Pallate where there are wine and painting experiences of all kinds. Most importantly, grab a group of friends and get out there and create. There are paint theme nights too. If you have ever wanted to be an artist, this is a good way to start.

Got Bread?
Do you love bread? We do! There are two amazing hand crafted bread companies in Modesto that will blow your mind. Alchemy Bread has a wonderful variety of craft bread, with weekly specials and if you are lucky, you may get bike delivery. Burnt Bread company works miracles with Sourdough. They can be found at the Modesto Certified Farmers Market and their sourdough pretzels are and chocolate chip cookies are to die for.
Alchemy Bread:
Burnt Bread:

Do it yourself
You know where you can learn how to do anything?
The libraries of Stanislaus County can be your key to knowledge. Yes, we want you to vote Yes on S as smart well-read people are the key to the future. But more than that, you can learn how to make or do anything at the Library. Legend has it that Ernest and Julio Gallo used the library to learn how to start their wine business. What will you do with this new knowledge? Conquer the world of course. Good luck and go make something.

About the Author:

Tasha is a true "Multipotentialite" in every sense of the word! Not only is she a freelance writer, but she also sings, acts, attends MJC full-time, pursuing her degree in Human Services, while single-handedly raising two teenagers, a son, Giovanni (16), and a daughter, Aciemarie (14). Find her on both Facebook and LinkedIn here:,