Besides a working kitchen, there are two things a person needs in order to cook: the right gear and the right recipes. The chefs and food aficionados at Kitchen Fantasy supply both with an extensive stock of cookware and a full schedule of cooking classes. Kitchen Fantasy's products run the gamut from tools, like cheese slicers and meatball makers, to accessories, such as chef's coats. Its courses, taught by a team of experienced chefs, touch on general and specific cooking techniques, from knife skills to vegetable-cooking methods less destructive than flooding a garden with boiling water.
Ace hardware's knowledgeable staff wrangles a massive herd of home-improvement and gardening supplies and provides a variety of services for remodelers and handymen. Pick up a six-piece screwdriver set ($11) and an Ace rip hammer ($14.49) and tap into a cornucopia of fasteners as laden with screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary) as the pockets of a lottery-winning robot. Patrons illuminate newfound décor with a two-pack of Dynatrap ultraviolet light bulbs ($11.99), the better to see by while using a five-piece paint-roller tray kit ($9). The store's staff also cuts keys and offers a paint-matching service free of charge to allow clients to fulfill the wishes of finicky peacock tenants.
Working with local artists, the home decor experts at Skylar's Home & Patio have assembled hundreds of unique furniture pieces and accessories made in the U.S. to fit many interior and exterior home-decor styles. The showroom displays sectionals and a variety of styles that include vintage-like and shabby-chic pieces for the dining room, living room, or bedroom, as well as ultrasleek stands for plasma TVs. Resin-wicker and cast-aluminum patio furniture dominate the outdoor-furniture selection, which includes fire pits that warm up backyard gatherings or make a fine replacement for temperamental office shredders.
The serene 4-acre Buena Creek Gardens fills local gardens with more than 5,000 varieties of flowering plants and showcases botanical innovations in demonstration gardens. An octogenarian pepper tree shades visitors as they stroll through the entryway, leading them to shelves replete with flourishing leaves and gardens that demonstrate the art of attracting avian life, beneficial insect life, and the migrating flocks of biographies from recently closed bookstores. One-gallon Sweet Kate plants ($7.95) and Poorman's rhododendron shrubs ($8.95) adorn yards and gardens with collars of delicate jewel-toned blooms. Lush trays of spiky echeveria succulents ($5.95–$19.95) sport verdant crimson-tinged leaves alongside steadfast resistance to drought and stoic perseverance when suffering through gardeners' dated comedy routines. Sinuous Medusa Head succulents ($15.95) pepper landscapes with sprawling tentacles and mesmerizing floral centers, and garden sculpters can summon armies of lepidopterae and beneficial insects with a vigorous 5-gallon Golden Purple butterfly bush ($24.95). Florid peafowl strut through the grounds and flash their feathery frondescence, attempting to grab the attention of the swarms of butterflies and hummingbirds flitting through the air.