Handmade is the byword at Auburn's new Terrapin's Treasures

Originals produced by owners and their friends
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Owners Stephen and Tamara VanHorn take a lot of pride that most everything in their shop is handmade. Stephen sews clothes, Tamara makes hats and they both make jewelry. They also carry items from local artists and artistic friends around the country.
“We could have ordered it off the Internet, but we wanted it to be unique,” Tamara VanHorn said
They opened the shop in January.
VanHorn grew up in Cool and graduated from Placer High in 2000. For the past few years she lived on the East Coast where she was a food vendor at festivals. But art is her main interest.
“I majored in art at college and love to paint,” she said.
A couple of years ago she began creating decorated brimmed caps.
“I wanted a workplace separate from home and a place to sell things,” she said. “So it just came together. I know a lot of creative people, so (the shop) has worked out very well.”
When the VanHorns decided to launch the business, Tamara put out a Facebook message that she was opening a store and wanted to get creative people involved.
“So a lot of my friends contributed (hand-made items),” she said.
The inventory includes guitar straps, drum covers, beaded necklaces and lots of tie-die clothing. There are roses and rose pens made from duct tape in a variety of colors. Those, as well as a selection of wallets, were made by friends in Kentucky.
String-tied sage sticks purchased in Arizona were made by Native Americans, she said.
“We joke around that it is what you’d find at a Grateful Dead concert parking lot,” she said.
Artist Hali Seizer said she likes working with VanHorn and finds her to be fair and friendly.
”Some of the things I have in there are hand-designed and painted baby name letters for the nursery, handmade jewelry and clothing items,” she said.
Customer Marcella Townsend, who works at Pacha Mama’s restaurant next door, appreciates the coziness of the store.
“It’s like it was pulled out of Nevada City,” she said. “They have very unique clothing and her custom hats seem to be her major thing. They are very artistic and definitely the people in here are very friendly.”
The inventory is constantly changing and Tamara VanHorn appreciates input from customers on what they’d like to see in the store. In addition, she offers custom items.
“Anything can be made into jewelry,” she said. “You can pick out the stones and I can have something made.”
That goes for the clothing, too — if customers see something they like but want it in a different color or with a slightly different look.
“I can take down measurements and have the clothing made up right away,” she said.
On weekends, the VanHorns still sell their hand-made wares at festivals and concerts. Last weekend she sold reggae hats at a reggae festival in Sacramento, she said.
Artwork on display includes three black and white prints by local artist Sarah Coomes. The VanHorns would like to get in more items by local artists and want to be part of the Art Walk.
“I love this mall and I love Downtown Auburn,” she said.
Reach Gloria Young at
Terrapin’s Treasures
884 Lincoln Way, Suite 25; Gold Country Mall, Downtown Auburn
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Phone: (530) 885-3308
Facebook – Terrapin’s Treasures