Memories & Beyond's papers, dies, stamps, tools, and classes equip crafters with all the materials and skills needed to preserve precious keepsakes. Underneath an enormous red sign reading "scrapbooking," 6,000 square feet of ribbon and stationery unfold before visitors, helping them to chronicle distant journeys with an extensive travel section or show off regional pride with a wealth of Chicagoland-themed papers. Each Friday and Saturday night, hobbyists gather amid the account machines, die cuts, and tables of the crop room to craft and share drinks and snacks. Classes hone basic and advanced scrapbooking skills sets, from matching basic colors and patterns to constructing stunning gift cards from layered paper or documenting memories before they even happen.
The hardest part of the process at Glazed Expressions is probably picking a piece of pottery to paint. They have hundreds of ceramics available, from mugs and platters to decorative vases and trinket boxes. Once you've selected one, you can paint it however you like with a choice of glaze colors, and, for those who don't trust their freehand painting skills, stamps and stencils. Whether attending with friends, as part of an adult or kids' party, or on your own, the staff will fire your piece for you and have it ready for pickup within one week. Beyond readying pieces, the staff can also create custom ceramics, painting gifts for weddings, baby showers, or interventions for paper plate adicts per the customers' design requests.
Despite an ever-growing base of more than 1,000 clients, Amy Tripple prefers to say she's honed her skills through her main source of inspiration: her own three children. The former elementary teacher employs her advanced child-handling skills as she captures candid images of young ones, preserving childhood memories more easily than laminating a beloved stuffed animal. The National Association of Child Photographers member also shares her know-how through regular classes that cover the basic elements of DSLR photography and how to manipulate the resulting images in digital scrapbooks and Adobe Photoshop.
Back to Bed is a trusted source for sound sleep, growing from a single store in 2000 to a mattress empire with more than 45 locations across the Chicagoland area. Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, and Simmons Beautyrest mattresses await rigorous testing at each of their show rooms, where sleep-savvy employees can help shoppers determine if they're more suited to a firm or soft mattress or to creamy or chunky peanut butter. Back to Bed also induces relaxation in a nonhorizontal form with a selection of plush massage recliners and Human Touch's Perfect Chair, which cradles bodies in a muscularly neutral position.
Eddie Z's Blinds and Drapery dresses dapper wall-holes in a variety of shades, shutters, and other window-covering garments. During a complimentary at-home consultation, a designer will help clients select window treatments, or customers can come to a showroom to observe blinds in their natural habitat. Homeowners can opt to add an earthy accent to rooms with woven wood shades ($72+), or trap runaway air in the insulating compartments of honeycomb cellular shades ($67+). Horizontal-line haters can choose vertical blinds that come in more than 300 colors, styles, and fruit flavors ($55+).
Showcasing local and international artwork, Collector's Choice Art Gallery stocks a wealth of prints, original work, and sculpture in its combination gallery and frame design studio. Solace-seeking apartment decorators find eclectic accents in 700 stock fine art prints and posters, including Greg Stocks's landscapes, the watercolor stylings of Marilyn Simandle, or the arboreal imaginings of painters Chris Donovan and Marysia Burr, both known for their classical portraits of nude Ents. Collectors can adopt lonely paper or canvas mini prints smaller than 8"x10" ($9), small-size posters at 16"x20" ($20), and full-size printed prizes ($40–$60).