Begun in 1985 as a strictly volunteer-based project of the St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship, Plowsharing Crafts grew over the years into a thriving nonprofit with two locations and an expansive inventory of eclectic wares from around the globe. The staff is committed to selling fair-trade art and handcrafts in order to provide much needed income and nurture the businesses of artisans, 70% of whom are women, from more than 45 developing countries around the world. The selection of items ranges from housewares to jewelry and beyond, many of which are made with sustainable and recycled materials or from food grown with sustainable methods.
Within a historic Victorian-era house built in 1863, a friendly staff, an amiable cat, and a documented ghost oversee The Book House's selection of more than 350,000 books. Culled from hundreds of collections, auctions, suppliers, and rogue librarians in the past 25 years, the books range from new to rare to out of print. They nestle into every nook and cranny of the store’s nine rooms and three floors, which are connected by winding staircases. Thrifters and fans of alliteration can venture down to the Bargain Basement to discover discounted reads, and other bookworms search the first and second floors for tomes about any subject from history and philosophy to science fiction and children's books.
A portion of each purchase goes to support the Second Chapter Life Center, which helps young adults with developmental disabilities. The Book House also accepts used-book donations any time during regular business hours.
The Needlepoint Clubhouse supplies inspiration, a wide selection of materials, and needlepoint classes that gather small groups of students for hands-on learning. The store’s rainbow of thread skeins shimmers with metallics and gleams with silk, canvas unfolds in an array of thread counts, and magnifying lamps spare eyes or uncover hidden hovercrafts woven into ancient tapestries. Sectioned tote bags ferry projects about with ease, and frames and expert frame-finishing services ready masterpieces for display. Savvy stitchers, including a master teacher, helm classes, the subjects of which range from needlepoint basics for beginners to advanced decorative stitches for those with thimbles welded to each finger.
Your commission begins with a personal meeting with the artist, either in person or over the phone, depending on your preference. During your consultation, you’ll discuss the theme and color scheme of the painting. Whether you’d like a gift that encompasses the essence of your Aunt Thelma’s favorite lace dress or a piece for your serene bedroom that draws the eye away from the police chalk outline, Bolton will interpret your desires to create an original work of abstract art. Once your painting is finished, you can stop by Bolton’s studio to pick it up on weekday evenings between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., or between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends.
The spirited souvenir-smiths at For Keeps Sake supply creative crafters with all they need to anthologize the best of days gone by. Starting Monday, September 12, introductory classes brighten up crafting tables each Monday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. as the friendly staff teaches the basics of prettily piecing together memories. A start-up kit's bevy of basic materials and supplies fits neatly in a large canvas tote bag, which spills twice-monthly promotions and discounts for holders. Scope out the August-September schedule for upcoming events, such as special days for Tote Club members and classes on fashioning a meta-scrapbook out of the best past scrapbooks.