Barely an inch of wall space at Stars Beads remains visible. The rest hides beneath a rainbow of bracelets and necklaces, as well as dangling baggies of shiny beads, semiprecious stones, and the materials to turn them all into expressive accessories. Drawing from this stock, jewelry-weavers of all skill levels can plump up home arsenals or gather together in the shop to bolster the beading community. Classes led by experienced crafters guide groups through projects such as creating beaded clasps, learning the arts of metalsmithing, or using pearls to create bracelets and necklaces instead of decoy-gumball collections.
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For 50 years, the owners and staffers of Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing have encouraged the artists of their community. They visit local fairs and set up booths for kids to color and craft, and they workshops, demos, and classes for artists of every age. As their name implies, they also outfit art makers of all skill levels with top-of-the-line materials, such as Gamblin oil paints, Prismacolor pens and markers, and custom frames perfect for saving a favorite art pieces or memorializing a sibling's failure to color within the lines.
The concept is simple—at Paint Your Own Pottery, you paint your own pottery. Artists of all levels get to choose from more than 600 objects. The friendly staff then glazes and fires each piece, and original works of art are ready to take home in a week. Open studio time gives toddlers, seniors, and every artist in between a chance to personalize their own dishes or figurines. Group services range from creating pottery for fundraisers to gathering coworkers for corporate retreats. Kids can enroll in summer camp or celebrate with birthday packages. The mobile Party on Wheels service lets guests paint outside the studio.
Banner's Hallmark hosts unique gifts and Hallmark greeting cards that creatively accent any holiday or special occasion. In the absence of sufficient stashes of construction paper for homemade coupon books, offspring can bestow upon hard-working patriarchs a puzzle-themed photo card personalized with an ingratiating image of the family ($3.49). Assorted gifts include décolleté-decorating jewelry, such as DaVinci beads ($6.99 each), and a library of recordable storybooks ($29.95 each). In the home-goods department, comely chalices provide sturdier drinking alternatives to sippy cups and wineskins made out of swiss cheese. Prices and selection may vary based on location.
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).