The hardest part of the process at Glazed Expressions is probably picking a piece of pottery to paint. They have hundreds of ceramics available, from mugs and platters to decorative vases and trinket boxes. Once you've selected one, you can paint it however you like with a choice of glaze colors, and, for those who don't trust their freehand painting skills, stamps and stencils. Whether attending with friends, as part of an adult or kids' party, or on your own, the staff will fire your piece for you and have it ready for pickup within one week. Beyond readying pieces, the staff can also create custom ceramics, painting gifts for weddings, baby showers, or interventions for paper plate adicts per the customers' design requests.
Chalet stocks its 4.8-acre retail center with thousands of chlorophyll critters, including botanical buddies plucked from Chalet's own nursery in Salem, Wisconsin. When they're not giving plants rubdowns on the undersides of their leaves, more than 100 earthy retail employees (up to 350 seasonally) can help you pick out an African violet ($4) or a host of sprouting vegetables (starting at $3). Nab cache pots for $3 or a gurgling fountain for $40. Birdhouses made from recycled, century-old barns ($24) attract brightly fluttering worm-eaters, and a bag of soil laced with nutrients ($4) satisfies even the pickiest sprout. You can even get an outdoor chair ($99), a bag of dog food (starting at $14), and floral body lotions (starting at $9.75).
When faced with lemons—or many other fruits—the proprietors of Oh, Olive! don't contemplate lemonade. Instead, they envision freshly pressed batches of extra-virgin olive oil, such as their tangy Eureka-lemon variant. The family-run shops specialize in this flexible condiment and stock their shelves with estate-produced Delizia oils. Their catalog covers both plain and fused types with flavors that range from the spicy notes of chipotle peppers to the sweetness of blood oranges, a fitting complement to cuts of chicken and fish. They also vend balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy. Fruits feature heavily in the imported collection, which includes pomegranate, blackberry-ginger, and cinnamon-pear vinegars in addition to a dark-chocolate infusion and the 18-year balsamic—a traditional vinegar aged in oak barrels and given a high-school diploma.
Often, the staff members don't separate the acts of purchasing and cooking with their wares. They prefer to interact with customers and host tastings, classes, and contests to encourage innovative recipes. Amid more than 60 kinds of oil and vinegar, Oh, Olive! sells meal add-ons as well. Tiesta Tea produces soothing, toasty brews, and stuffed olives contain hidden servings of jalapeños, sharp cheddar, and asparagus.
Cookies in Bloom's dedicated bakers craft daily batches of preservative-free cookies from scratch, often hand-decorating them with thick buttercream frosting. The treat-forgers create more than 300 different shapes of cookies in flavors that include chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter. The shop‘s thematic gift packages laud anniversaries, teachers, birthdays, and congratulations, and brownies and cookie cakes secure givers a special place in recipients' hearts or in the line at the DMV. Each sweet treat can arrive on doorsteps across the country packaged safely and with a crumble-free guarantee.
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