When Vicki Lapp first started her business in 2003, she taught beading classes out of her home, selling accessories, tools, and beads. The venture was so successful that she eventually transformed her small business into a legitimate brick and mortar store: Bead Inspirations. There, in addition to a host of jewelry classes, visitors will find pre-assembled kits to craft necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, or a variety of beads, clasps, and other materials for creating beautiful, hand-made wearables. Strongly rooted in the philosophy that every person can tap into their creativity, classes foster a positive, welcoming vibe for crafters to express themselves.
Almost anything could happen to a chicken wing in PS Eatery’s kitchen. The culinary team could crisply fry it and dunk it in buffalo spices, or prepare it Asian-style, tossing it in fish sauce. The eatery specializes in comfort food with a twist, adding flavorful touches and Asian influences to its classic platters. The mac and cheese, for instance, comes crowned in Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs and mixed with spicy tuna. Grilled pork loins arrive sided with tasty tangles of spaghetti chow mein, and even the humble veggie burger is reinvented with six layers of yellow squash, eggplant, and zucchini, rather than the standard autumn leaves.
A frequent winner of Diablo magazine’s Best Maternity Couture Shop in the East Bay award, Stork’s Nest delivers a chic bundle of maternity and baby clothes and nursery accessories. Maternity clothes in a variety of styles, from seersucker dresses ($96) to vertigo pants ($64), snuggle up to their baby-size offspring. In addition to chromosome-specific Baby Brother onesies ($33) and Toni Tierney bluebird dresses ($51), gender-neutral clothes such as Trumpette knit hoodies ($27) keep both boys and girls stylish and un-naked. Stork's Nest also carries a cozy collection of nursery accessories from chenille baby blankets ($32–$64) to mobiles that sing nightly Metallica lullabies.
Lauded by style magazines, Chinese Laundry’s array of footwear frames feet in styles ranging from elegant to everyday using eye-catching lines and innovative materials. Complement cocktail dresses by slipping toes into a choice of evening items, such as angelic, gold Willy Shimmer heels ($49.95) and dark and racy Haughty suede heels ($29.95), or wear one of each to engage gams in existential debates about good and evil. A range of daytime togs such as wedges ($29.99–$170), flats ($14.99–$89.95), and sandals ($14.95–$150) pair with jeans, shorts, and sundresses effortlessly, and sleek stiletto Faith boots ($59.95) drape legs in luxury while keeping out wind, rain, and subliminal messages instructing feet to do the mashed-potato.
Studio Seven Arts, voted Best Art Gallery of 2011 by Diablo magazine's readers, is bedecked in one-of-a-kind fine art, handcrafted jewelry, and eclectic crafts, fostering an inspiring backdrop to their custom-framing services. The staff members curate a collection of American art pieces, including locally made creations, displaying handcrafted fine jewelry and skillfully made crafts that can be both functional and decorative—much like a scarecrow in a sundress. The gallery’s in-house framing artisans draw upon 25 years of experience to build custom frames for such treasures as paintings, photos, diplomas, and mirrors of any shape or size. Frames can be outfitted with wood to match any room’s décor, and with a variety of glass options that can block the bleaching effects of sunlight and scribblings of pets who feel they ought to be in all the family photos.
What started out as a simple consignment shop quickly evolved into something more. Today, more than 15 years later, Ricochet echoes some of its initial framework, as owner Jill Pillot specializes in selling "up-cycled" clothing that has been repurposed and reimagined. Inside the store, she also leads sewing classes to share her knowledge?bolstered by a degree in costume and fashion design?suited for all ages and abilities. Ricochet is also a proud supporter of local artists, frequently showcasing and selling wearable works of art made nearby at the local Art Factory.