Nut Kreations smells like the inside of a cinnamon roll. The scent emanates from the kitchen, where fourth-generation nut farmers roast and season small batches of nuts, such as coconut-cinnamon macadamias and chili-lemon peanuts. The finished treats reside in glass cases, which are arranged in a rectangle at the heart of the store. Inside the rectangle, sales associates give samples and measure out portions of more than 120 nuts, dried fruit, and natural snacks. By scooping treats on behalf of patrons, staff members prevent contamination from fingers and squirrel paws.
Sick of buying expensive supplies and having to adhere to a class schedule just to create art, Jennifer Kurtz Rubin started the first of her chain of ceramic lounges in 1993. Each Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge is designed as a social and creative space, one that all customers can use to express themselves artistically while catching up with friends. The lounge throws open its doors for both kids and adults to decorate clay bisque pieces, such as mugs and salad bowls, with a bounty of colorful supplies, never worrying about cleanup afterward. Once they’re complete, the art pieces are glazed, fired, and ready for pickup in a few days. And because artists can stay for a whole afternoon or just 30 minutes, the lounge even grants a few moments of creativity to patrons with the busiest schedules. The company also goes beyond casual art making to host parties for kids and adults, in which they can bring in live music, serve food, and train scoops of ice cream to paint their own bowls.
Razzberry Lips is awash in color. Countless mirrors reflect bright-green and pink walls, tufty princess dresses, and the generous helpings of glitter that grace tiny eyelids and updos. Squeals of delight reverberate though the vibrant salon, where makeover specialists embellish birthday girls and their guests with painted nails, rock-star accessories, and, of course, more glitter. With the finishing girly touch of a feather boa or antique Viking helmet, girls can embrace their inner diva in the presence of staffers dressed as Disney princesses. Razzberry Lips also brings the celebration to home with mobile party services and can transport guests inside a limousine for added glamour.
Glenn Young studied art at Santa Clara University before serving as a photographer in the Peace Corps in The Gambia. Upon his return, he founded Artscapes, where he funnels his 20 years of professional photography and framing experience into art preservation. His clientele includes private collectors as well as museums such as the DeSaisset Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art. And to stay at the forefront of art preservation, he learns best practices and advanced techniques from the Western Regional Paper Conservation Laboratory, where paper cloning was invented.
Glenn pours all this experience and training into leading his team of trained visual artists and craftsmen. The skilled staff takes an individualized approach to framing that relies on museum-quality materials such as hand-wrapped fabric liners, French matting, and UV-filtering plexiglass for long-lasting results. In addition to housing works of art from paintings to photographs in a selection of 2,000 frames, they keep their gallery stocked with antique posters, movie posters, and paintings for elegant home decor.
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.