Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.
Socially conscious crafters can take home a hand-stitched measuring-tape cat (Vietnam, $8) from Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts, while frugal fashionistas can sport dancing-girl earrings made from recycled soda cans by KICK Trading Ltd. (Kenya, $12) or a marbled bead choker from TARA Projects (India, $16). Decorate the great outdoors with Manos Amigas' ceramic bird wind-chime (Peru, $44), or beautify the indoors with the world children wall hanging (Haiti, $84) from Comité Artisanal Haitien. Fair-trade staples, such as Equal Exchange coffee, tea, and chocolates, make tasty gifts for Father's Day, Secretary's Day, or Father's Secretary's Day.
All Fired Up!'s homey studio invites artists of all ages to participate in kiln-fired activities. Whether perusing the shelves laden with blank pottery or cutting and arranging colored glass to design their own plate, visitors get the chance to create personalized mementos and dishware. Classes let students try their hands at a pottery wheel, and kids' parties keep birthday guests distracted with painting while their parents wrap last-minute gifts.
Nominated by Mashable readers in 2011 as one of the year’s best music apps, FIT Radio stands out from other smartphone jukeboxes with its huge selection of professional DJ-curated custom playlists. Each playlist is made with workout motivation in mind, boasting a high number of beats per minute (BPM), seamless transitions between songs, and genres ranging from rock to hip-hop to indie. The playlists stream through speakers and headphones non-stop using FIT Radio’s app, which sorts the playlists by genre and BPM, simplifying the process of picking music that best suits a specific running pace or workout intensity. Users are also able to customize the app based on their music preferences, and also have the opportunity to share their favorite mixes and artists using social meda.
The monogramming mavens at Melrose on Ponce personalize property with embroidered initials, customizable with an array of colors and fonts. Mark your towel territory, or delineate his-and-hers jean overalls, with a single-color, machine-stitched monogram ($12), or emblazon less stitchable material, such as floor mats or pet lap giraffes with a vinyl monogram ($12). Embroidered paraphernalia makes a great gift for baby showers, housewarming parties, or attempts at bribing unscrupulous judges.
Sheepish stuffs its shelves with vibrant fibers, needles, and other knitting supplies, and an amenable staff stands ready to satisfy any and all string-related inquiries. A reasonably priced selection of knitting, crocheting, and weaving products is available for uninitiated and seasoned fiber-wizards alike. Brittany straight needles ($7–$9) send fingers flying through a scarf-sized skein of Cascade 220 wool ($7), and geometrically talented crafters can produce Möbius strip sweatbands by the dozen out of basic cotton yarns ($2.50/ball). Yarn wranglers seeking helpful hemming hints can procure a handy booklet ($6.50), a book brimming with sewing knowledge ($10–$30), or a panoply of premade patterns to guide their hands ($3–$7).