You may have seen her and wondered: Who is that woman embroidering inside that Peet's coffee shop?
She is Barbara Thomas, a Martinez native who regularly makes her friendship bracelets and keychains inside the Peet's coffee shops in Pleasant Hill and Danville.
Thomas can be seen in those coffee houses at least two or three days a week. She spends 3 to 4 hours each visit, weaving away at the cloth strips.
Thomas said she "double knots" at the shops rather than at home so she can meet people, make connections and even find a customer or two. At the Pleasant Hill shop, she knows a couple who knits regularly there as well as a woman who writes a blog.
"I want to be around people," said Thomas. "That's who I am."
Thomas started making the bracelets 25 years ago for free for friends. She was introduced to the hobby by a 5th grader she taught at a YMCA.
Last fall while the San Francisco Giants were marching to their World Series title, Thomas made an orange and black Giants bracelet.
She sold that piece of work and has been taking orders ever since. She's made about 30, selling about half of them.
The ones she still has on hand include U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, the Giants, the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland A's and the Oakland Raiders.
She's hoping with graduation season coming up, she'll find a market for local schools.
Thomas choose the Pleasant Hill and Danville locations because they're busy.
"It's where the people are," she said.
Thomas charges $10 for a bracelet with five letters or less. The price rises with each additional five letters.
She uses the proceeds as a way to supplement her disability income. She also enjoys the serenity of the hobby.
"It's very relaxing. It keeps me focused," said Thomas. "I don't feel like I'm working."
Thomas grew up in Martinez, graduating from Alhambra High School. She has lived in the Bay Area her entire life, moving back to Martinez seven years ago.
She worked at child care centers and other places where there are school-age children. She was also a volunteer for AmeriCorps for two years.