At ALIVE Bride 2014, engaged couples peruse St. Louis' wedding offerings, browsing displays from local photographers, florists, and luxury event venues. The event, which highlights more than 30 merchants total, is hosted by ALIVE Magazine, a St. Louis lifestyle magazine focused on culture, fashion, and nightlife.
Unique home-decor items can be an extension of one’s personality. At Rambles, a mix of new and used housewares and gifts allows decorators to find the final touches for any room. While upholstered couches and area rugs can contribute to a home’s overall look, it is Rambles’ more unusual accessories—bottle-cap magnets, framed comic-book memorabilia, and vintage LIFE magazines—that spark up conversations and cover up your pet squid’s ink splatters.
Begun in 1985 as a strictly volunteer-based project of the St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship, Plowsharing Crafts grew over the years into a thriving nonprofit with two locations and an expansive inventory of eclectic wares from around the globe. The staff is committed to selling fair-trade art and handcrafts in order to provide much needed income and nurture the businesses of artisans, 70% of whom are women, from more than 45 developing countries around the world. The selection of items ranges from housewares to jewelry and beyond, many of which are made with sustainable and recycled materials or from food grown with sustainable methods.
It’s hard to miss Artmart: Pollock-esque splatters of paint cover its bright-red exterior. Inside, its just as striking. Artists of all disciplines draw from the art superstore’s wealth of supplies and skills to further their next projects. Thousands of colors of paints, pencils, and sculpting materials are in stock here, as well as brushes, easels, canvas and a vast paper selection.
As a locally owned creative marketplace, Artmart has a number of divisions in its store depending on your artistic needs: you can immortalize your pieces and prints at the Framing Center, or stock up on colorful cards, stationery, and decorative paper at the paper boutique. Children as young as three can sign up for the store’s small-group classes, which cover various media including painting, sketching, and sculpting skills. You can be inspired at their Studio which boasts a host of events from fine art adult classes to craft workshops to creative birthday parties.
Within a historic Victorian-era house built in 1863, a friendly staff, an amiable cat, and a documented ghost oversee The Book House's selection of more than 350,000 books. Culled from hundreds of collections, auctions, suppliers, and rogue librarians in the past 25 years, the books range from new to rare to out of print. They nestle into every nook and cranny of the store’s nine rooms and three floors, which are connected by winding staircases. Thrifters and fans of alliteration can venture down to the Bargain Basement to discover discounted reads, and other bookworms search the first and second floors for tomes about any subject from history and philosophy to science fiction and children's books.
A portion of each purchase goes to support the Second Chapter Life Center, which helps young adults with developmental disabilities. The Book House also accepts used-book donations any time during regular business hours.
With thousands of frame and mat samples, The Great Frame Up can satisfy any framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most diplomas can be framed for under $100), personalized jerseys glisten (most for under $300), and dorm-room movie posters sparkle (most 24x36 pieces for under $60). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, like shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. The Great Frame Up’s no-hassle guarantee and assurance that all work is done on-site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.