Book Signing with Authors…Joshua Savage & Dani Nichols

Join us for our holiday event this season with adventure author Joshua Savage & children’s book author Dani Nichols.

We caught up with these two local writers recently and asked them to share some things about themselves and their books.

Here’s some of what they had to say… to learn more don’t miss their book signing at Desperado!

Joshua Savage
What brought you to Bend and when did you make it your home?

Joshua: We moved here 5 years ago after spending a year on the road with my family. My wife was a traveling nurse, so we’d spend 2-3 months in a community. When we landed in Bend we decided to stay.

What inspired you to write your book “100 Things to Do in Bend, Oregon Before You Die”?

Joshua: My family and I love to adventure and whenever we were in a city, I’d check out the “100 Things…” book series by Reedy Press, but when we came to Bend there wasn’t a book. I contacted the publisher, and they challenged me to write one!

What does it take to make the top 100 in your book?

Joshua: It must be memorable, something out of the ordinary, and something a lot of people enjoy! But don’t worry there are plenty of amazing adventures here in Central Oregon that I choose to keep a secret.

“100 Things to Do in Bend, Oregon Before You Die” is in its second edition released earlier this year. Joshua now resides in Bend with his wife and two daughters.

Children’s Book Author Dani Nichols recently published her debut book, “Buzz the Not-So-Brave” earlier this year. The book is about Dani’s not-very-brave Quarter Horse and the adventures the two of them share.

We asked Dani to share her thoughts & inspiration.

What inspired you to write your debut children’s book?

Dani: Well, the obvious answer is my horse, Buzz, and his tendency to see boogeymen around every corner. These irrational fears are normal for most horses, and a lot of us humans too.

When I had my daughter and started teaching her about horses at a young age, I realized that there were a lot of similarities between her fears of new experiences and the fears of my horse.

All this gave me inspiration and so far I have been blessed to hear from moms and dads who tell me their kids are using Buzz as inspiration to face fears.

One of the greatest compliments I can hear is from a child saying “I can be brave, just like Buzz!”

Portland-based artist (and fellow mom) Kristin McNess Moran illustrated “Buzz the Not-So-Brave.

Dani is a writer, cowgirl, and mom of three. Her work has won several writing contests and has been published in magazines & anthologies. Dani has called Bend home for the last 10 years and plans to never leave. When she is not writing or riding, she loves being a wife, mom, and cook.

Both authors will be at Desperado from 4-7 pm on Saturday, December 10th.

26th Anniversary Trunk Show with Jeweler Paula Carvalho!

As part of our commitment to support artisans and craftspeople from around the region, we are honored to showcase the work of west coast jeweler, Paula Carvalho, at our Bend boutique as part of our 26th Anniversary Celebration. We will be showcasing some of Paula’s unique and eclectic necklaces. We first fell in love with Paula’s work several years ago and have enjoyed how great it pairs with the boho style of our store. Paula creates one-of-a-kind pieces carefully curated from antique coins, pendants, precious and semi-precious stones and more. A specially curated Trunk Show will be on display starting Friday, September 23rd – Sunday, September 25th. Please stop by to check her work out, or if Central Oregon is not your home please see our Facebook & Instagram accounts to see this special collection. We are also always happy to text photos or shop with you via FaceTime. Simply call us to set up whatever works best for you…. 541-749-9980.

Summer Event with Silver.Stone.Boheme

Unleash your Boho Style this weekend with PNW Silversmith Amy Leistiko of Silver.Stone.Boheme!  Kickoff Party begins this Friday, July 1 during 1st Friday ArtWalk & Saturday from 11-4!!!  Don’t miss our best event of the Summer!

We caught up with Amy Leistiko recently and asked her to reflect on her work.  Amy shared this with us, “I’ve always had a love of creating. I’ve done a bit of everything on my way to discovering silversmithing. I started out sewing and doing beadwork as a kid and used to be a prolific knitter. But when I picked up my first “silly little much too small hand-held” torch, something about silversmithing just locked into place and it really felt almost like I’d done it before and I was immediately pulled towards it.  Amy learned her art by herself watching YouTube videos, reading forums, asking questions, and largely just following her gut instincts.

She shares that what also fuels her creative spirit is the energy she feels in the materials she uses!  “I love stones and the different healing energies they have. Similar to essential oils and plants. I actually didn’t start silversmithing with the intention of primarily working with turquoise, but I love its energy!”   Amy also loves the huge variety of different stones that come from the individual mines around North America and the fact that no two stones look the same.  Amy shares, “I only use American turquoise, because I love that it is near to us and that feels good to me. And I only buy from lapidary artists that I trust and know.”  She adds, “All my cabochons are natural stones because I prefer the way they feel and that they take on more character with time and age with their owner.”

Amy calls Oregon home and loves living in the Pacific Northwest.  “I’ve been creating and living with my little beagle in my bumper pull trailer that I am renovating into a tiny home on wheels. It is tucked up against the woods with a seasonal creek that runs behind me that I can hear from my workbench window when it is open. That is if my beagle isn’t snoring too loudly on the couch,” she adds with a laugh.
“When I’m not smithing or working, I hike. I hike a lot, and paddleboard in the summer. And cross country ski in the winter. I try to be outside as much as possible.”

Amy tells us she truly loves to create jewelry and if she hasn’t been to her workbench in a few days she misses it like an old friend. “I would say honestly what inspires me are the stones themselves. I can’t create pieces with stones I don’t like or feel drawn to. I’ve tried with special requests before and I just can’t do it. Most smithing mornings I sit with my stones and rummage thru them while I sip coffee. Then go on a hike with my beagle and think about what I want them to become.”

We think you’ll love Amy Leistiko as much as we do so please come down and say hello and see what beautiful work Amy has today!

Bend Artist Amy Brannan

Amy’s love for the outdoors is apparent in everything she does.  When she is not making her colorful natural stone bead and sterling silver jewelry you will often find Amy in the snowy backcountry helping the visually impaired cross-country ski as a volunteer for Ski for Light International.  We asked Amy to share some of what she loves about life in Central Oregon and here is what she told us!

Amy Brannan: For 45 years I have made jewelry for myself, friends, and family using sterling silver, gemstones, and pearls. My jewelry comes to life with inspiration from the outdoors as when I am not making jewelry you can find me XC skiing, mountain biking, gardening, or hiking with my dog Kitsu.

I love working with all gemstones and also started creating with my Grandmother’s antique buttons.  Many of these are Victorian Era metal and glass buttons that are over 100 years old.  The details are intricate and it’s fun to wear a little bit of history.

Along with gemstones and pearls I use sterling silver wire for hammered shapes and Silver Metal Clay for button and textured pieces. The metal clay is fired in a kiln for 2 hours at 1650 degrees resulting in 99.9% silver pieces.

I moved from Fort Collins, Colorado to Eugene where I lived for three years before moving to Bend.  And for the last 7 years I have been enjoying all that Central Oregon has to offer. I love exploring our trails, and skiing at Mt Bachelor’s Nordic Center and Virginia Meissner.

One fun fact about me – I have a Shiba Inu and she screams so loud when getting a bath I wear earplugs. She is actually quite a good girl and we get many comments on how much she looks like a red fox.

Super fun fact for me as a cross-country skier – this past week I made and gifted 8 pairs of “mini” Color of Snow earrings to our USA XC Women’s team that was here in Bend starting their training season. And not only did I see my earrings in use on 4 of the ladies, but I also talked briefly with two Olympians – Jessie Diggins and Rosie Brennan. Too Fun!

Come meet Bend Artist Amy Brannan of Rainbows by Amy at our June 3rd First Friday ArtWalk from 5-8 pm.

The Stokes Story

Desperado has proudly been carrying this incredible line of locally made top grain leather bags and totes… but it is our pleasure to be hosting our first Trunk Show with Matt Stokes.  We recently asked Matt to share his story with us.  Here it is in his own words…



Matt Stokes/Stokes Co. Leather

My parents moved us here when I was 2 years old in 1976, I have always been motivated by creating, art has always been a big part of who I am.

I love to fly fish and spend time on the river, but I don’t do very much anymore. Since starting my leather work I have given it almost everything I have. I feel like I am doing the thing I love more than anything, so my life is a vacation. I’d rather be in my shop than just about anywhere.

I have been doing leatherwork for about five years now. I began very organically, at the time I was a metal artist, and I wanted to learn how to sew so that I could patch my own clothing, and also make bags for safe transport of my artwork to and from shows. What started as a simple desire to sew turned into a passion once I started designing and building canvas bags. I fell in love with the process, never taking a lesson, nor watching a youtube video I learned the hardest possible way by trial and error. I knew at some point I would be able to see how other bags were made by simply looking at them so I really wanted to maintain my own artistic style before that day came. Once I decided to add some leather accents to my canvas bags, I realized that the leather was simply amazing to work with. It became my new medium. I designed several staple bags in my collection that are always available, however, my true heart still longs to create, design and build something totally original (even if it is just for me)!

You can meet Matt at Desperado this Friday, May 6th from 5-8 at ArtWalk!  This special collection of handbags will be at the store (while supplies last) through next Saturday.

10% off ALL sales at Desperado during the 5/6 ArtWalk from 5-8 will be donated to COVO.

the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach


Secrets to Jean Care by Dear John Denim

Dear John care tags.While washing clothes is never fun… you won’t want to miss this entertaining article from one of our favorite denim lines… Dear John!   It’s worth the read and we promise it will add life to your jeans.

Love, the Desperado Divas


Dear John,

I’m terribly sorry I had to do this through a letter, but this felt better than talking to you in person because I am a wuss like that.  This note will be the last memory you’ll ever have of me.  I’m leaving you and I’m not looking back…This should come as no surprise to you since you’ve ruined every nice pair of denim I’ve every owned.  I have tried reminding you time and time again to stay out of my dirty laundry!  My jeans don’t need to be washed all the time, and when it’s time to wash them – machine wash cold with like colors! Also, wash denim inside out so that it may retain its color longer and doesn’t damage embellishments or embroidery.  And never use bleach!  Hang dry as lycra, which keeps me comfy, hates the dryer. And no short cuts John…denim hates the dry cleaners! But like the typical “Macho Man” that you think you are, you just don’t hear me…I know you listen John…But you never HEAR me and I’m sick of explaining the difference.  So I leave you now and my only hope for you is that you find someone new…and when you do, I hope you’ll be kinder to her denim than you have been with mine… Have a Nice Life!!!  

July’s Jewelry Artist Spotlight…

Amy Wells Designs, located in Memphis, Tennessee is the entrepreneurial dream of designer and artist, Amy Wells.  Amy began her professional life with a successful career in the financial services industry.  After her daughter was born Amy decided to return to her passion…creating beautiful and eclectic jewelry.  Her love of all things rustic combined with her love of design formed the perfect balance for Amy Wells Designs, and has continued to do so for over a decade.

Amy describes her unique jewelry as “Free Spirited”.  Each piece is handcrafted using natural gemstones, freshwater pearls, Thai silver, Sterling silver, other mixed metals, and fine leather.  The amazing color variations in the stones and the diversity of organic shapes mean no two pieces are exactly alike.

We hope you enjoy Amy Wells Designs as much as we do.  You may notice that most of her necklaces are named after songs!  Amy says one of her favorite bands, the Grateful Dead, said it best and is an inspiration for her art: “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

Visit Desperado Boutique and see our special collection available starting this July and watch for pieces to be added to our website soon!

May Artist Spotlight… Handy Crafted Goods!

Our monthly “Artist Spotlight” takes us to the small town of Eagle Creek, Oregon where jewelry artists Hannah & Andy park their tiny home on wheels.  We recently met Hannah & Andy when they popped into our store on one of their road trip adventures.  We immediately fell in love with their vintage leather ‘upcycled’ jewelry.   The jewelry is lightweight, very affordable, and comes in a wide variety of styles from playful cactus and sasquatch designs to geometric shapes made from old tooled leather belts and handbags.

When not making jewelry, this Oregon couple spends their time adventuring in the woods, fishing, and looking for materials to use in their art.  They also scour thrift stores for vintage leather goods to create their amazing and unique jewelry line.  But that’s not all that makes Hannah & Andy special.  The two have also been traveling to places ravaged by natural disasters and volunteering their time to help these communities rebuild.

During the 2018-2019 hurricane season in the Gulf states of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia the two volunteered for 7 months on the front line.  Hannah says, “On many occasions, we were overwhelmed by the devastation, but more often we were overwhelmed by the generosity, kindness, and fellow feeling displayed by both the volunteers and the victims of Hurricane Michael.”   Hannah has been deeply and profoundly moved by their experiences as volunteers and calls it “love in action”.  She adds, “There is truly more happiness in giving than receiving!”

We think their work reflects that happiness!  Please stop by our shop or check out the ‘Jewelry’ tab under ‘Accessories’ on our website for a look at our special collection of Handy Crafted Goods!

First Friday Santa Sightings at Desperado…

Desperado Diva & artist, Mikki Krohn, has turned her talent for portrait painting to Santa!  Yes Santa!  When Mikki isn’t working at Desperado you’ll often find her with a paintbrush in hand. Mikki discovered her love of painting Santas after using a Mall Santa photo for inspiration. “I have always enjoyed painting portraits and I stumbled onto the idea of painting “Santa” a couple of years ago when I created my own holiday cards,” reflects Mikki.

Mikki used an old Santa Clause costume she had and started talking men into posing for her wearing Santa’s suit.  “I discovered that no amount of wigs, beards, or hats could cover up the true personality of who was wearing them,” laughs Mikki.  She adds, “Putting men in Santa suits really brings out a twinkle in their eyes!” Mikki has created more than a dozen Santa portraits for family and friends and is now working on commission pieces for others.  “Everyone has someone in their lives who bring out the true spirit of Christmas, my Santa portraits just help that along.”

ArtWalk Special Friday, Dec. 3rd

Commissioned work placed after Friday, 12/3/21 ArtWalk will be $350

Olivia’s second single – Gypsy…give it a listen!

Click here to listen to Olivia’s new song…‘Gypsy’

Our very own Desperado Diva, Olivia Harms, just released her second single from her new album ‘Rhinestone Cowgirl’ and we are excited to share it with you!  This song written and performed by Olivia is called “Gypsy” and is about life on the road.  The first single titled “Hey There Cowboy”, blurs the lines between country and western music, including a hint of Bakersfield to make any honky-tonk proud.  Find the link to listen to her first song at the bottom of this story!

Olivia, an Oregon native has been working part time at Desperado for the past 3 years. She moved to central Oregon shortly after graduating from Oregon State University with her bachelor’s degree in agriculture business. After college she decided to pursue her true passion of music. Working here at Desperado allowed her to travel back and forth to Nashville and offered a flexible schedule for her to play music around the country.

After commuting back and forth to Nashville for the past 3 years, Olivia decided it was time to record. After all the writing Olivia had done during that time, she had plenty of songs to choose from. She narrowed it down to the 10 songs she connected to most, she cut the demos and set a date for the master recording. Olivia had planned to spend 10 days in March tracking instruments and recording the master vocals. Unfortunately, a little thing called Covid-19 got in her way.

Olivia thought it was just a small setback at the time. Not realizing how much covid would affect her recording process. After rescheduling twice and no sign of change in the world, Olivia decided to go back to Nashville in May and record. “It was an interesting experience traveling during covid. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t want to put anyone in danger, but life also had to go on. All I knew was covid wasn’t getting any better, who knew how long it would last, and I didn’t have the patience or will power to sit around and wait till it was over to share my new music.”

Olivia recorded all 10 songs while she was in Nashville in May. “Such an exciting feeling to hear a song that you wrote, come to life with all the right instruments” she says. After returning home from a successful trip Olivia made a plan for her release. With less live concerts and places to play, she decided to release her music one song at a time throughout the Fall.

‘Hey there Cowboy’ was her first release from the project on September 25th. The song debuted with over 20k views on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In an interview with Y-102 Gorge Country Olivia jokes that the song was written on accident. She said she was driving home from a long day of writing session on a trip to Nashville in January and had been thinking about all of the extra confident cowboys that she had met at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas just a few weeks prior in December. As she was driving, she thought, “what would I say if I were trying to introduce myself to a handsome stranger. What kind of things would we talk about?” Then before she knew it, she had a voice memo with a rough draft of Hey There Cowboy, and she was 20 miles past her exit. It may have cost her a little time to get turned around, but she ended up with a great song.

Music has always been Olivia passion, she grew up playing and performing with her mom, Joni harms, who will be inducted into the western music hall of fame this year. Olivia says “music is a way for us to connect with strangers, sometimes it gives us confidence, other times it helps us heal. In my experience music has always been there for me, and I hope that my listeners will feel that I will always be there for them. I play music to share my stories, make people laugh, cry, happy, and sad. The idea that not just someone, but hundreds of people, can relate to a little song I wrote driving down the freeway blows my mind. I’m forever grateful for anyone that lends an ear and takes a chance on listening to my music.”

You can listen to Olivia’s new release using the link or find it on any streaming platform. Be sure to catch her local performances by checking and mark your calendars for her second release “Gypsy” in November 5th.

Follow this link to YouTube to hear ‘Hey There Cowboy’ now and please listen, like, and share!