FastFrame first germinated in Europe before spreading to Japan, Brazil, Australia, and the United States. A trained local helms each of the 300 locations, and guarantees every design for 30 days and the craftsmanship for a lifetime. Artisans crown original works of art and prints with ornate mouldings. They also store historical artifacts and three-dimensional memorabilia in shadow boxes. FastFrame?s team has even been known to frame sports equipment, plasma-screen televisions, and childhood homes.
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.
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.
Established in 1965 by patrons of the Forward Arts Foundation, The Swan Coach House warmly hosts charming Southern lunches for leisurely ladies who wish to unwind, entertain, or outshine their table with tales of their grandchildren's triumphs. The menu preens with delicate offerings such as the Swan's Favorite, which tucks the house's signature chicken salad into blushing handmade pastry timbales as a creamy, frozen fruit salad clings to its plated skirt ($11.95). The salmon cakes stir Southern nostalgia and hushed pride into a boastful blend of salmon, celery, onion, and tarragon with dijon dill sauce on the side ($13.25). As conversation turns from friendly chatter to intense debate over the cultural prophesies espoused by Mother Goose, cut the tension with a traditional mint julep served in a frosted silver cup and sweetened with a pinch of sugar and fresh mint to contest the romantic wiles of a Mr. Jim Beam ($7.75).
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).