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.
The Preschool Prep Company's award-winning line of DVD's and books are designed to teach children basic concepts such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Founder Kathy Oxley has good reason to believe that toddlers? can easily learn these concepts. After exposure to the alphabet, Oxley?s 14-month-old daughter began to recognize letters on signs and in books. Within a year, the two-year-old could read simple words on her own. Preschool Prep aims to provide children with a basic set of tools they'll be able to use when they're ready to learn how to read. In the end, it's a philosophy very similar to other educational approaches. "We teach toddlers to identify dogs, elephants, unicorns and dinosaurs," Oxley said in an interview with EW.com. "Letters are no different. They are just animals of a different kind."
Pinot's Palette is less an art studio than it is a way for people to enjoy a libation-filled night out with friends, one that happens to include a painting project. The painting sessions evoke adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging conversation and good cheer while painting and sipping. Some locations feature a BYOB policy while others serve beer and wine from the bar. Each session features a predetermined painting?from flowers and animals to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night?which each participant tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor.
Every bead, stone, scarf, and shawl at Best Bead Shop is handpicked by owner Chitwan to ensure quality and beauty. The shop carries an extensive inventory of materials from vendors in Turkey and India. Meanwhile, classes teach participants how to make and repair professional-quality jewelry made from clay and various metals.
Just like the organism from which it takes its name, Amoeba Music?s stock of tunes has no definite form. At each location, expert music gurus?many of them musicians themselves, all of them record-store veterans and dedicated sonic obsessives?amass thousands of new and used CDs and LPs from the most mainstream artists to the most obscure underground bands around. LPs, posters, and memorabilia surround the musical inventory, which, like Ringo Starr?s pants, changes every day. Amoeba buys goods from customers, meaning that on any given day the store might usher in a rare vinyl LP, DVD, VHS, or even LaserDisc. Visitors can sign up for any number of contests while admiring Amoeba?s enduring dedication to its green practices and community outreach. Amoeba couples its huge selection of entertainment with visits from the artists themselves, welcoming past guests such as Paul McCartney, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, and Elvis Costello to play in-store.
For Books Inc., it's been a long road, and if you trace the lines back to its origins, it's California's oldest bookstore. After striking gold?literally?back in 1851, Anton Roman set up shop as a bookseller. Although the shop moved, was sold, burned down, changed hands again, and was rebuilt, the spirit remained intact, and today, multiple locations of the indie bookstore have sprouted up across The Golden State. Staff members keep the shelves lined with classic and contemporary tomes in all genres, and a myriad of book clubs help keep the love of literature alive. They also run a vibrant event program featuring author events and readings where patrons can enjoy an experience they can't download.