Amid the lime-green and burnt-orange walls of Creation Station, an encouraging staff inspires visitors to follow their artistic impulses as they use pottery as their canvas. Seven days a week, experienced and casual artists alike can plunge their brushes into a rainbow of paints and let loose on a variety of mugs, figurines, and dishes. Once colorized to the artist’s content, finished bisque pieces visit a fiery kiln, where colors become more vibrant and snowmen melt into carrot-and-coal soup. Revelers can also gather at Creation Station to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays, or make Christmas ornaments during the winter season.
At Busy Scrappin’, more than a thousand papers, albums, decorations, and kits surround a comfy workroom filled with hobbyists hard at work. The one-stop scrapbooking emporium is dedicated to fostering a community of likeminded craftsfolk by helping visitors learn new ways to memorialize family outings, little-league triumphs, and scrapbooking-competition victories. Guests drop in to socialize during Friday-night cropping sessions or learn new techniques at weekly, fun-filled workshops. And during regular hours, friendly staffers shepherd patrons through the selection of holiday-themed embellishments, card-making supplies, and paper crafts—eagerly giving suggestions for any upcoming project.
With pieces that have been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, hung in the White House, and chosen by Oprah to bestow upon Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to celebrate their joint invention of the cotton gin, Sticks and Stones has made one-of-a-kind art ubiquitous. The company's master photographers have compiled a gallery of black-and-white art photographs depicting natural and structural images that represent each letter of the alphabet, which customers can peruse to craft a framed heirloom up to 14 letters long. Once finished, a panel of judges approves the message masterpiece, which, regardless of semiotic weight, gets framed and shipped. Lauded by numerous other celebrity and media outlets, these letter-based and individually tailored decor concoctions make ideal housewarming, wedding, and new-baby gifts.
Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Krypton Comics escorts devotees through a vast collection of comics, games, and collectibles. New comic issues enthrall eyeballs each Wednesday; past fare abounds with tales of heroics in stories such as Retroactive Superman: The 90s, in which the protagonist teaches an ancient ruler the dangers of unregulated flannel ($4.99). Follow lovable everyman G.I. Joe as he romps through another issue of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero ($3.99), or catch up with his and others' previous adventures with an expansive reservoir of back issues and trade paperbacks. Comic fans in absentia can take advantage of free pull service, and blank walls and foreheads' sneakers can adorn themselves with scenic posters featuring heroes such as Wolverine and Black Cat ($8.99). Nights at Krypton Comics yield to tournaments and game nights, as Fridays celebrate the collectible pursuits of Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Wednesdays draw up discussions of cave décor in Dungeons & Dragons.