Online shopping, Chico-style

Turning to Etsy to findout what neato crafters live in our town

I threw my back out this past week. For anyone who has dealt with something like that, you understand my pain. For those who haven't, well, you'd be surprised how many things—sitting, standing, shaving your legs, bending over to put a leash on the dog—require lower-back strength. I'm stubborn, so I put off going to the doctor for a few days, convinced I could heating-pad the pain away. No such luck.

I bring this up because normally, during my search for fun, funky, homemade or -grown stuff around town to write about, I'm mobile. Right now, just getting into the car is a chore. So, I decided instead of tromping around town, I'd seek out local handcrafted goodies available online. And I actually found quite a few on Etsy (to search for items from a specific place, you can tailor your search by shop location). Here are a few highlights:

Custom Design Studio, run by husband-and-wife team Dan and Jackie Legg, specializes in jewelry. Apparently he enjoys metalwork and sculpture and she likes to create glass photo and Scrabble-tile jewelry. It was the glass pendants that caught my eye—many feature quirky quotes or vintage-inspired images. Jackie says her best sellers are sports-themed necklaces. She can even make them for local teams! Scrolling through their Etsy store (, there are also some intricate bracelets and earrings—love the bicycle-themed pieces!

Another neat online seller is ValDraws, run by Chico artist/mother/enthusiastic vegan Valerie Bean. Her Etsy store ( features quirky, fun greeting cards rooted in astrology. Each one has a collage-and-watercolor drawing of a person alongside a hand-written list of many of a specific sign's characteristics. In Googling ValDraws to find out more about her, I also found her website (, which highlights her more kid-friendly creations.

Steampunk, anyone? OK, here's a random story: Some of my colleagues and I had the privilege of traveling to Salt Lake City this summer for a conference of alternative weeklies. When we were out to lunch one day, we were a bit taken aback by all the people in costume, presumably there for a steampunk convention. I'd never seen such a spectacle! Apparently, Chicoan Dave Moore is into that sort of thing, because his Etsy shop ( is nothing but steampunk/cosplay items, handmade by him. There's admittedly not a whole lot for sale here, but what he's got is pretty awesome. For the guns, he repurposed old nerf guns, and a creepy mask started out as a basic Halloween mask. Very cool stuff, indeed.

I'm always looking for creative locals who are making and growing cool things. So, dear readers, don't hesitate to send me an email with your suggestions.