What started out as a search for a fun alternative form of artistic expression led to the founding of an institution for preserving and sharing a millennia-old craft. That enthusiasm proved to be contagious, as more than 700 students from all ages and walks of life attended J & C Glass Studio's workshops in the first year alone.
Today, J & C Glass Studio continues to teach the art of glass blowing with instructional workshops that cater to beginner and advanced students. Passionate instructors share techniques performed almost the same way as artisans did thousands of years ago. During sessions, a mixture of sand, limestone, and silica is heated to 2,000 degrees until it reaches a honey-like consistency. From there, students shape it with tools, the power of suggestion, and their own breath, creating custom works of art that can decorate a mantel or desk for a lifetime.
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.
La Tea Dolly hosts elegant princess-themed tea parties enlivened by whimsical décor and engaging activities. Each 90-minute party accommodates up to eight guests (including the birthday girl) and up to 126 imaginary friends, all of whom are encouraged to bring along their favorite dolls and ingest provided cups of tea and snacks. Between sips and bites, petite princesses engage with all of the fineries of youthful royalty, including a lady-in-waiting hostess, makeup applications, games and crafts, and bouts of one-upmanship in the form of glitzy dress-up sessions. Although all guests enjoy primping and pampering, the birthday girl alone dons the official birthday tiara, receives a photograph, and uses the official birthday moist towelette.
Raddell's Sausage Shop, a four-time winner of the Polka Hall of Fame's People's Choice Award, boasts three generations of Slovenian sausage-making experience and more than 50 varieties of sausage. Enliven a party with a variety of smoked sausages ($4.79/lb. loose; $4.89/lb. vacuum-packed), such as andouille, hungarian, polish, or the popular slovenian, appreciated for their varying assortments of spices and encyclopedic knowledge of knots. Grills, broilers, and well-aimed magnifying glasses will gleefully roast Raddell's selection of fresh sausages ($3.79/lb.), including the classic bratwurst, the lithuanian, and the fresh garlic slovenian.
At Chef's Ingredient Outlet, premium spices, soup bases, and sauces wait eagerly to add panache and diversity to pantry arsenals. The shop's massive selection of soup bases, which includes options such as Minor's chicken base ($11.95 for 16 ounces, yielding up to 5 gallons of broth), adds excitement to culinary endeavors without the hassle of grilling on horseback. Barbecue specialists can opt for a 7-ounce bag of Slap Yo' Daddy dry rub ($6.95), which is hand mixed in small batches and has been featured in the Plain Dealer. The 12-ounce raspberry chipotle sauce ($7.95) and dozens of other ready-to-use sauces awaken slumbering taste buds like Julia Child playing reveille. Stock spice racks to the brim with more than 200 spices and herbs, including staples such as chili powder and garlic.