In the spacious room of Sip & Stroke’s new location, students of all skill levels pick up brushes and daub pigments onto canvases to create works of art during instructor-guided canvas-painting classes. The art studio especially caters to children, who can take on canvases, clay, or strings of beads on their own, or explore creativity with a parent during Mom & Me sessions. Guests of any age are always free to craft a one-of-a-kind keepsake, creating glittering baubles from the studio’s wall of beads or decorating a pre-made ceramic piece that they hand off to experts to glaze and fire.
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.
The purveyors of the written word at Books For Less carry more than 100,000 discount titles, feeding page-hungry readers a steady diet of new best-sellers and used volumes. Bibliophiles can obtain contemporary fictional tales, such as Twilight by Stephanie Meyer ($4.80 for paperback), and non-fiction hits, such as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell ($9 for paperback)––a cogent treatise on the proper way to upend cows. A stiff-backed copy of Nicholas Sparks's Safe Haven ($13.50) quells word appetites while serving as a mobile ironing board.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of ?hard-to-find tools,? and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone?s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.