All About Yarn owner Pilar learned to knit and crochet from her grandmother at the age of 5. She learned at first by watching, and then by imitating, and eventually, she was skilled enough to make her own patterns. When Pilar later immigrated to the United States with her husband, tasks such as learning English, working, and raising her family filled her time. Now that her children are grown, though, she spends her time doing what she most enjoys: knitting, crocheting, and sharing her skills with others. She conducts lessons with patience and care, and she also stocks a wide variety of yarns and instructional books.
Color Me Mine puts paintbrushes and pottery in the mitts of customers old and young. Budding Toyozo Arakawa will follow six easy steps to craft eye-pleasing objects, first choosing a ceramic piece ($10–$75) from Color Me Mine's selection of hundreds of seasonal options, such as plates, mugs, molded animals, and mystically materialized emotions. After charting out the desired design from individual imagination or one of the design center's more than 22,000 images, painters will select an underglaze from dozens of colors, then gently beautify their objets d'art with the focus and ingenuity of a peregrine falcon possessed by Norman Rockwell. Color Me Mine handles all firing work in the kiln, allowing clients to pick up their final products four to seven days after painting. The studio fee of $10 for adults and $6 for children covers all paints, supplies, glazing, and firing. Regardless of age or ability, customers will find Color Me Mine's ceramic painting experience a rewarding dive into the creative process of an art form that dates back to the ziggurat-dwelling days of Mesopotamia.
Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's well-versed shopkeepers stock their 4,000-square-foot mecca with exemplary giftables suitable for satisfying a laundry list of people and occasions. Pick up a Tyler candle for a thoughtful hostess gift ($6.95), or swaddle a favorite baby with a new blanket ($9.95), sealing in security and sealing out thoughts of looming future spelling bees. Shoppers sheathe mascara within the stylish confines of a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag ($22), bestow solemn flair upon empty mantels with a Willow Tree nativity set ($74.95), or take chicly to the skies bolstered by a Baggalini travel bag ($43.95). After customers conclude an easy afternoon of perusing the shop's eclectically grouped items, Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's staff prepares each present with complimentary gift wrapping, adorning gifts with a decorative flourish and taking the stress out of trying to wedge a Tiffany lamp into a festive tin.
At The Frame House, design professionals tailor custom frames and shadowboxes to suit the tastes and surroundings of discriminating decorators. Painting possessors and particularly judgmental walls will enjoy the efforts of the store's skilled team of frame facilitators, who listen closely to customer requests before launching each project, such as fitting 10"x12" custom blackwood frames, mat, and glass ($77) around oils on canvas or chalk scrawls excavated from the sidewalk.
Inspired by the same brainwaves as the Build-A-Bear Workshop, RIDEMAKERZ allows visitors construct a customized toy car from the axles up with dozens of options that add up to nearly 650 million unique combinations. Guests begin by choosing a body from a stock of Vipers, Corvettes, Mustangs, trucks, and hot rods that can then be accessorized with free stock parts or specialty chassis, tires, rims, and oil slicks. The hot-lava Chevy Camaro ($32) sports a metaphor for the rubber it plans to burn with orange flames on its sides, and the jewel-blue RZ Rascal body pairs its smooth curves with working headlights and taillights ($22). Sets of multicolored or racing slick tires maintain traction while pushed across carpets, hardwood floors, or up the sides of living-room furniture ($4 for two). Glistening hubcaps ($3–$4 for two), undercarriage-glow lighting ($10), and other car accessories offer further customization, while sound-effect chips ($3) relieve vocal cords strained by persistent engine imitations. Builders can also upgrade to a radio-controlled street chassis ($25) to assert hands-free control over the vehicle's movements.