All Hands' schedule of in-person workshops and classes is on pause until further notice.

What if we had an Interdependence Day?

I hear a lot of folks this time of year (myself included) remark in amazement that it's already July. In addition to the fact that over half of 2019 is behind us, I'm dumbstruck that it's already July for yet another reason. It was this month one year ago that the idea to start All Hands was born.

My husband and son and our friend Haley wanted to take our other friend Josh out for his birthday. Josh, being the genuine guy that he is, opted to keep a prior commitment he made to do some volunteer work that evening, so we ended up going out to celebrate his birthday without him. 😂 We decided to go to Malabar downtown. Which proved to be a serendipitous decision, because had we gone anywhere else who knows if I would have seen the 'For Rent' sign on the window of what is now the All Hands studio.

And maybe I would've seen it, but perhaps not on a night when the lights happened to be on with people gathered inside. And perhaps not with Haley there to indulge a little daydreaming on my part that led to us leaving my husband and son in Malabar to wait for appetizers while the two of us popped back out to peer through the windows and ultimately get the scoop on the rental situation from the people inside. Long story, short: The media company that publishes the magazine VegNews wanted to share the space with another business and that other business became All Hands. 

The All Hands origin story may initially seem full of happy coincidence, luck and spontaneity. But the more I reflect on it, the more it reveals the power of interdependence, which is of course the power that keeps us growing to this day. About that particular night, I sometimes wonder: What if it wasn't Josh's birthday? What if we decided not to go out when Josh couldn't join us? What if we hadn't decided to go to Malabar? What if Haley wasn't with us? What if there wasn't the once-in-a-blue-moon vegan meetup happening in the space next to the restaurant that evening? Would All Hands even exist today?

And then there are the larger factors beyond just that day last July: my in-laws moved to California at our request when I became pregnant with Salah back in 2017; my husband had a generous amount of paternity leave remaining; I was growing my network of artist and maker friends in town; my parents were scheduled to visit Santa Cruz in September; and a shared rental opportunity came up in a great downtown location thanks to VegNews. 

All Hands coming to life the way it did truly depended on all of these people and forces being aligned, not to mention the key ingredient: an enthusiastic and awesome community! That includes, you, Seraj 😍

So I'm thinking this period right after the 4th of July should be a time to celebrate interdependence. Because independence, while important both personally and nationally, isn't the end game. It's a necessary step on the path to a global society based on oneness, reciprocity and mutual support. Thank you for lending your unique magic to this shared creative effort in all the meaningful everyday ways that you do. 


PS. I chose a picture of our hand-carved Indian gate for this week's love letter because it is a great reminder of interdependence. It is the partition between All Hands and VegNews, for one. And the herculean task of getting it in here was literally and figuratively shouldered by my whole family (even Seraj's brother in Indiana!) as well as Josh, the friend whose birthday got this whole train rolling in the first place.

PPS. From today through next Friday the 12th, all July workshops and classes are 15% off! 
Sew a Tote - Sat July 6
Watercolor Florals - Sun July 7
Cursive, Calligraphy and Brush Lettering for Teens - Tues July 9
Introduction to Letterpress - Tues July 9
Intro to Bullet Journaling - Thurs July 11
Resin Ocean Waves - Sat July 13
Leather Clutch and Key Fob - Thurs July 18
Brass Wall Hangings - Fri July 19
+ more at