Gettin' Made: Meet the OC Handmade Brigade!

Have you noticed aside from events like Patchwork that there's a serious lack of indie crafting events in Orange County? What is it about the OC--are we too cool for school? Has the stigma of crafting as something your grandma would do not been purged yet?

The OC Handmade Brigade is lookin' to help change that by hosting all sorts of crafty events all over Orange County, and getting the word out in general that crafting can be just as hip as the new Nissan Cube. Join us over this next week as we meet the group's four members, and enter to win a gift package from the newest craft club to hit Southern California!

After the jump, we meet Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls and find out all about her funky vintage jewelry.

Scaley Green Necklace by Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls
Scaley Green Necklace by Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls

Nina Brito is like a lot of other Etsy shop owners; she's got a day job, and works on her own creations after the standard work day is done. Unlike most Etsians, though, her day job directly relates to her passion for making jewelry. As a buyer for the jewelry department of Tall Mouse Arts and Crafts, Nina picks out beads, findings and everything else jewelry related to bring into the stores for your crafting enjoyment.

Upcoming Events

She's also started planning indie crafting events for the stores, which began as a plan to bring a new, different customer into the Tall Mouse, but also had a hand in forming the OC Handmade Brigade group. When asked about her crafty compatriots, Nina puts it in her own words:

Fly to Me ring by Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls
Fly to Me ring by Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls

Nina lives in

Fashion Freak necklace by Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls
Fashion Freak necklace by Nina Brito of Tacos and Eggrolls

One issue that sometimes arises in the handmade community is imitators - most recently, mall stores seem to be picking up on the quirky vibe seen in lots of Etsy shop offerings. At spring's Patchwork show I saw a gal in a tiny hat I could've sworn was vintage; I then overheard her telling someone that she had bought it at Forever 21. When asked about this mainstreaming of indie crafting, Nina shares:

"It's a tough one. As an artist that doesn't have a lot of money, I totally get people shopping at places like F21; its cheap. On the other hand, once it hits their store, it is no longer unique. You will no longer be able to rest easy that you won't be wearing the same exact thing as someone else! As for them copying the ideas, it happens and there's really nothing you can do to stop it. Buying handmade, you have a personal connection to the product. In most cases you can see the personality and the hard work that goes into it, you can tell it is good quality, and there is someone that is willing to stand behind their product should something go wrong. It is also something that hopefully has stemmed from someone's personal creativity and is different than ANYTHING you can find in Forever 21, no matter how hard they try."

Thanks so much to Nina Brito for sharing her fun jewelry line with us! The OC Handmade Brigade has put together a gift box to be given away to one lucky winner, including a couple of jewelry pieces from Tacos and Eggrolls!

Leave a comment on any of the OC Handmade Brigade posts over this next week, and you'll be entered to win! You must leave your comments before midnight, July 31 - comment as much as you'd like, but one entry per person and if you've won a prize in the last 30 days you'll be ineligible so other folks have a turn. It's sharing! Now share your thoughts with us!

You can see the latest Tacos and Eggrolls designs at Nina's Etsy site , or for more information on the OC Handmade Brigade, visit their website. And for information on Tall Mouse Arts and Crafts, including store locations, visit their website.

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