According to the Dallas Morning News, sewing and handwork gave Laura Kay Houser's life "balance"—guiding the stay-at-home mother through life's daily challenges as well as more trying ones, namely her son's illness. In 2006, Houser and two partners turned that restorative hobby into a business venture. Houser now spends most of her days behind the counter, eyes figuratively glued on her latest project.
Inside the colorful shop, shelves overflow with fabrics by brands such as Andover, Benartex, and Marcus Brothers, as well as with books, kits, and experimental needlework patterns inspired by the paintings of Jackson Pollock. Experienced teachers pop in to lead a variety of classes, ranging from sewing basics to workshops with renowned authors and designers. As the culture of quilting has always involved gifting quilts to those in need, the store publicizes volunteer opportunities involving quilting and other crafts.
For nearly 30 years, Future Flight has unfurled its fleet of parachutes to send riders soaring through the open sky aboard lightweight two-person flying machines. Sky captains brief each patron during a preflight inspection and provide a few minutes of on-the-ground instruction on flying powered parachutes to ensure a safe and fun trip. The seasoned aviators then throttle up a rear propeller from the pilot's seat and rumble down the runway until the attached parachute swells with wind and lifts the craft into the air, sending pairs soaring above the Lake Lavon shoreline at altitudes of up to 1,000 feet. For patrons interested in amateur migration, Future Flight also runs training lessons for solo flying in sport-pilot and Far Part 103 Ultralight craft, and sells new and used vehicles and accessories.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
Tony Abbatine, the national director of instruction at Frozen Ropes, believes that athletic success in baseball or softball comes from more than a strong body. That's why he makes sure to cover biomechanics, motor learning, sports psychology, and visual training, all to enhance the motion of a swing, the aim of a pitch, or the ability to catch a pop fly with mind powers. But of course, a strong body helps, and his curriculum reflects that through the inclusion of modern strength-and-conditioning techniques. The structure has proved successful over the years, making the game fun for everyone from kids as young as kindergarten age to even MLB players such as Manny Ramirez and Mariano Rivera.
After shedding the extra pounds that came along with hypothyroidism and three pregnancies, Melody Chandler founded Texas Fit Chicks Boot Camp to share her weight-loss strategies and support with other women. Her all-female staff of certified personal trainers helps exercisers of all fitness levels shape their bodies during group fitness classes. In an effort to challenge muscle memory, the team shakes up workout regimens by using different techniques and equipment?including kettlebells, resistance bands, and lead sweatpants?each day. Melody?s team also helps exercisers retain their results by supplying nutrition support with meal plans and recipes that use healthy ingredients.
At Sip-n-Doodle, colors swirl, spread, and mix over canvases while lively conversations crackle. Artists walk students through step-by-step instructions, helping them fashion their own interpretation onto a painter?s canvas. Participants are encouraged to bring snacks and a beverage of their choice, the better to sip as they daringly work outside the lines. The studio provides all the necessary painting supplies, cups, and bottle openers, as well as blow dryers should works not be completely dry by the end of the night.