When Mercedes Austin sees a piece of artwork, her imagination immediately breaks it down into pixels and rebuilds it as a tile mosaic. Recently, she executed this process by making a mosaic of a wall mural: She fabricated jagged tiles, arranged them to resemble the original, and grouted the piece together. The resulting mosaic speaks to her intuition as an artist, and also to the years she’s spent honing the craft.
At Mercury Mosaics’ studio, Mercedes and a team of “tile elves” share their passion in two ways: through mosaic classes and custom installations. Classes explore all facets of mosaic creation, from cutting and gluing to grouting tiles into a pattern that resembles a real-life object or fuzzy television screen. Installations, which are fully customized to the client’s specifications, add a distinctive flair to commonly tiled areas such as bathrooms, backsplashes, and fireplaces.
Upscale Consignment's exacting staffers hand-select gently used items from luxury brand names, such as Coach, kate spade, Banana Republic, and Ugg, for each of its three stores. Clothing for men and women, as well as shoes, jewelry, handbags, and headbands, fill neatly organized racks and tidy displays, which arrange accessories by color or pattern. All consigned clothing must be 3 years old or younger, to ensure the shop's styles remain en vogue.
With more than three decades of lighting prowess under its belt, Acadian Candles floods households with the flickering lights of handcrafted, dripless candles from its 4,000-square-foot shop. Customers can fill quarters with the calming lavender of a 5-ounce aromatherapy candle in a decorative box ($11) that soothes troubled minds or confuses hungry bees. Illuminate kitchens with the familiar aromas of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg from the three-piece spice-rack set in glass jars ($16), or give noses a rest with a nonfragranced burgundy candle($12.50–$17). A white special-occasion candle($14) can commemorate a choice of occasions—such as 25 years of marriage or cavity-free dental checkups—with silkscreened messages emblazoned on its flank. Acadian Candle Company also provides customers with ample free parking.
For more than 20 years, Ricki Butwinick and Stacey Rosenthal have combed countrysides near and far to furnish Hot Ice Jewelry's showroom with one-of-a-kind, designer-inspired adornments. The showroom's ever-changing displays abound with resplendent accessories ($10–$90/piece) befitting a wide range of occasions, from workday conferences to black-tie pig-wrestling parties. Rings ($35) prettify paws with sparkling faux gems, and necklaces ($15–$65) drape necks in a mélange of intricately fashioned stone- and beadwork.
Anthony Shane Florist specializes in traditional arrangements such as a dozen ruby-red Valentine's Day roses ($69) or a bouquet of white roses and lilies ($66). But the florists' freakish green thumbs also makes them quite skilled at European dish gardens, high-style arrangements, silk flowers, funeral designs, dried flowers, and tropicals. As such, you can put a Jimmy Buffett spin on this year's Valentine with the Paradise Found, an arrangement of Asiatic lilies and alstroemeria dotted with birds of paradise in a square black container ($60.95). For something less austere, cheer up the dinner table with a glass bowl of white daisies and solidago ($47.95).