The designers at Twisted Jeweler aren’t afraid of the competition—in fact, they'll train competitors themselves. While crafting pearl bracelets and 14-karat-gold-filled Daddy Hug Me rings, which bear the birthstones of both a child and a parent deployed in the military, they'll also teach crafters of all ages to string beads and sculpt with wire. Once they've learned the basics, fledgling artisans can sort through sparkling rows of loose Swarovski crystals and jewelry-making supplies such as clasps and head pins. Supplementing a sparkling array of handmade pendants and earrings, the jewelers take on custom design projects to create pieces not found in department stores or the jewelry box of one's elementary-school rival.
Owner of The Paper Trail and avid crafter Karen has made paper her medium of choice for more than a decade. Why? Because “scrapbooking is all about leaving a paper trail of you…what we have done, who we are,” she writes on her welcome page. Not only do Karen and her staff supply patrons with the goods to leave their own trail––from patterned paper and albums to pearls and rhinestones for embellishing crafts or friends while they sleep––but also the techniques. Through regular classes and events such as scrapping parties, they teach the art of cropping, crafting cards and scrapbooks, and even building photo albums from scratch. They also create invitations and cards or custom albums for customers.
Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique stocks more than 6,000 natural, eco-friendly products for babies and their families. Caretakers can swaddle infants in cloth diapers and coverall gowns or dress them up for blind baby dates with stylish miniature shoes and hats. Handcrafted Little Alouette wooden teething toys and child-safe trinkets made from natural rubber or organic cotton protect emerging baby teeth or vampire fangs. New mothers and mothers-to-be can find their own apparel and parenting products in the boutique, including diaper bags and totes, breastfeeding accessories, and maternity garments.
Realizing the region's dearth of Indian eateries, the owners of Shalimar Tandoor Grill and Bar opened their doors to give their friends and neighbors a first or umpteenth taste of the subcontinent's cuisine. The decadent dining room of deep red booths and walls hosts a panoply of vibrant spices and rich aromas that emanate from curries, kebabs, and tandoor-grilled dishes custom-spiced to four levels of heat. To cool down tongues and thwart the growth of uvula cactus patches, the owners added a full bar stocked with domestic and Indian beers and an impressive list of classic and house cocktails infused with an Indian twist.
Even though Loving Stitches has greatly increased in size since its 1996 inception, the sewing haven has retained its familial feel thanks to a personable staff. Their knowledge and affable presence help set visitors at ease in the 10,000-square-foot store as they assist in locating high-quality sewing machines by Bernina and Gammill. During sewing and quilting classes, instructors guide students through crafting a purse or embroidering a bedspread with a thank-you letter to the neighborhood sandman.
Scampering through Lazer FX–Lazer Tag's 7,500-square-foot labyrinth, combatants volley photons in exhilarating 20-minute skirmishes. Laser soldiers don luminescent vests and DayGlo bowties before entering the arena, where a mix of 30-odd friends and foes dodge blasts while darting from refuge to refuge. For groups of four, the battle extends out of the arena and onto the 8,000-square-foot arcade floor. Here, more than 120 games—including pool tables, skee-ball lanes, driving simulators, and air hockey—promote hand-eye coordination more effectively than soccer.