Gabriel's Garden's beauteous bounty of home- and garden-oriented gifts can match your last-minute Mother's Day, or first-minute Earth Day 2011, shopping needs. Stock up on scented goodies such as the eye-catching Vance Kitira pillar candles (from $4.95) or the shea-butter-enriched Pre de Provence soaps ($1.50–$7.95) available in more than 30 fragrances—none of which, thankfully, are "Uncle Leroy's cigars" or "junior-high locker room." For long-term garden glory, plant a batch of Kalalou Botanical's recycled foam stems ($9.95–$27.95), or invite the animal kingdom into your home without even cracking a window with the pale-yellow bee charmer dishes ($2.95–$59.95) with adorable bumbling bee patterns.
Brilliant Sky Toys & Books began with the assumption that all forms of childhood development are enhanced by allowing kids open-ended play with great, creativity-inspiring toys. The boutique toy store instills this philosophy daily, carrying independently-crafted, thoughtful, educational playthings.
Each shop staffs professional Play Consultants who help kids sort through the selection of games, crafts, books, plush animals, science building dolls, and musical instruments. They provide unlimited demos of the toys, doing their best to ensure that each kid finds one that stimulates their ever-folding brain, whether it’s a magic trick for budding illusionists, an experiment for aspiring chemists, or trains for apprentice train robbers.
Artists-to-be needn't have a Guggenheim Fellowship to enter the cozy doors of Third Coast. Walking in, most experience a rush of creativity at the sight of exposed-clay figurines, bare dinnerware, and a fully clothed staff. Once a piece-to-be-masterpieced has been selected—be it a plate, vase, coffee mug, martini glass, piggy bank, Buddha, or bust of Elvis—decorators can begin applying base coats to their evolving ceramic canvas. Those who suffer from painter's block can consult Third Coast's bountiful idea books, stencils, and stamps, or resolve it the old-fashioned way by pacing the studio floor with a corncob pipe. All the finished pieces are then set aside to be glazed and fired later by the studio staff. Your objet d'art will be ready for pickup in a week. Each brushwielder will be assessed a modest $6 studio fee along with the price of whichever starting piece they select ($6–$40 depending on size).
At The Book Gallery's two Nashville-area locations, savvy staff members point readers toward fiction, comics, and nonfiction titles available in hardcover and paperback at discounted prices. Thousands of kids' and young-adult fiction selections provide more educational entertainment for moppets than playing video games or rearranging PB&J sandwiches into alphabetical order.
One in, one out. This must be Curious Heart Emporium's policy for managing inventory. Colorful, handcrafted lawn sculptures seem to spill out from the yellow-and-green cottage, whose interior shelves are packed to capacity with artisan gifts and novelty pieces from across North America and Europe. Kathy Corley hand selects everything that guests see in her shop, including jewelry, greeting cards, and sarcastic wall art. Corley, who left her career in the film industry as an art director, likens the shop's character to "Willy Wonka's on steroids." When shopping around, Corley often gravitates toward items that remind her of her family members. For example, tin toys remind her of her father, and flamingo-inspired pieces represent her sister, who spent her third year of life standing on one foot. Corley also enjoys handcrafted and designer Christmas ornaments and trees, and dedicates an entire room in the store to them during the holidays. Throughout the spring and summer, her partially enclosed patio and lawn feature garden décor, including metal folk-art roosters and solar-powered paper lanterns.
Dedicated to craftsmanship, creativity, and conservation-quality materials, the framing experts at Picture Frame Warehouse protect the integrity of portraits and paintings with acid-free mats and UV-blocking glass. In addition to ready-made frames, the shop stocks more than 1,500 custom mouldings, with designs to complement any diploma or certificate of lunar land ownership. Most framing jobs are completed within one week, allowing patrons just enough time to peruse the store’s entire collection of photo frames and oil paintings.