Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces?including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis?await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
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.
George Moore is the third-generation owner of a family business that opened more than 60 years ago. True to its original purpose, the shop still sells sewing machines, cabinets, vacuum cleaners, and ceiling fans, but now aims to acquire equipment that is eco-friendly and ultra-efficient.
Alongside its retail branch, Moore’s nurses the machines it sells back to health and leads crafting classes. Expert stitchers lead hands-on sessions in everything from quilting to correctly taking the measurements of a restless scarecrow.
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Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawas will follow six easy steps to craft beautifully painted ceramics, first choosing a ceramic piece from Color Me Mine's selection of hundreds of seasonally changing items. Most items cost between $5 and $35; today's deal applies $10 toward that charge. After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or Color Me Mine's technique sheets, painters will select an underglaze from Color Me Mine's cast of more than 70 colors, then apply paint with the focus of a peregrine falcon occupied by a Rockwellian spirit. Color Me Mine's standard colors are nontoxic, lead free, and food safe. Color Me Mine handles all kiln-firing work, allowing clients to take home their final products after about seven days. The studio fee of $8 for children under 12 and $10 for adults is waived over the course of the year, compliments of this offer's included annual pass.