Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Nestled in a spacious corner of the historic Sterling Cider Mill, The Clay Dog Studio inspires and equips all levels of artists to mold and polish self-made and artist-produced masterpieces. Paint your own original classmates can work solo, painting large detailed creations ($30) or invite friends to colorize intermediate ($15) figurines. Pieces are forged from clay that, like Saint Helen's childhood sandbox, consists primarily of volcanic ash. Mini Project classes instruct artistic twosomes in crafting take-home projects including holiday napkin rings or ornaments. During four-session classes, instructors oversee projects from concept to completion, covering basics such as sculpting form, overlays, paint finishing, and tasteful ways to fill end tables with something other than a series of smaller and smaller end tables.
Tucked inside historic Cider Mill Sterling, New Horizons Massage Therapy guides clients toward an increased state of relaxation with an array of therapeutic services. Nimble hands ease tension from torsos and limbs, deploying techniques from Swedish and Kriya massages, or lessen pain with joint, sciatic, and neuromuscular work. Services also include full-body green-tea or mud wraps, paraffin dips, and ear candling. Guests waiting for their appointment can pass the time shopping or bull-back riding within nearby antique and art shops.
The Tinker's Cart fills homes with Irish gifts and special-occasion accessories sourced directly from the Emerald Isle. Official Irish dirt ($9.95) from the ground of County Tipperary helps local green thumbs nourish plants, grow shamrocks from official Irish shamrock seeds ($2.95), or cultivate the ball skills of a sprouting Boston Celtic. Irish license plates ($24.95) make roadsides appear greener, and popular Inis cologne spruces the auras of both men and women. While an Irish Claddagh wedding-cake topper ($23.95) celebrates true love, Red Socks and Patriots paraphernalia celebrates a birthright. The Irish gift store also offers caps and hats ($11.95+), jewelry such as pendants, rings, and bracelets, and hosts an in-house embroidery business where apparel can get custom stitches in Irish logos and designs.
Serendipity stocks a huge selection of both practical and enchanting gifts. Pick up a pair of adorably tiny baby shoes by Kaya's Kloset ($22), or finger through autumn-themed gemstone jewelry ($15–$65). Other handmade items include sweetly aromatic bath and body products from Backyard Soaps ($8–$15) and funky hair accessories from the Sassy Mermaid ($6–$15). This deal is also good towards any of Serendipity's weekly jewelry-making workshops. The fused- glass workshop ($28–$48) on October 21 shows crafters how to concoct their own bowl, nightlight, or dish commemorating David Duchovny's career, and the Gingerbread Friends necklace workshop ($20) on December 11 shows children how to make a cookie-themed gift for the holiday season.