Economy Hardware is more of a home decor store now than a hardware store. The home decor section is a huge room with chairs, lamps, stools, clocks, organizers, and other items you might want. But none of these things are economical. They also sell some kitchen gadgets. The hardware section is limited to a back room crammed with tools, paint, and other items. The selection is not good and neither are the prices. Try pills hardware up the street.
Mountains of fabric piled all over, 100's of zippers in every color for under 50 cents, yarn, buttons, needles, and Michael Jackson music blaring from a boom box hidden under some fabric. Chaotic, cheap, a ton of fun even if you bring your significant other. I love this place!
You can't fit more than one person in the gallery at a time. It is about the size of a closet but the walls are covered with the brightly colored and spirited paintings of Duncan Wells Purdy. There is a "hello" book for you to sign while you are there. Another even smaller room in the "back" has paintings and drawings on paper stacked in bins by price.
I found it a refreshing change of pace from the rest of harvard square where you find yourself constantly in contact with others. Here you can just stand, take in some art, and write in a book all in peace and quiet.
The gallery is advertised outside by three large canvases and a sign that says "Art Show Today." But there is an art show here everyday. Still this delicate touch and the scale of the gallery make it somehow feel like it is an impromtu art show just for you.
I like this place. My friend bought a beautiful singing bowl there and I always lust after their clothing. Unfortunately all the clothes I like cost about $90 so I won't be buying them anytime soon but it's always nice to browse and might be a good place to shop for gifts because of the large textiles/jewelry selection.
A Taste of Culture" may whet your appetite but it won't leave you satisfied. I was attracted into the store by some of the items in the window. But when I got into it, I found they do not have that much selection. Really the only things I liked were the things in the window. They carry embroidered clothing, wraps, tapestries, rugs, jewelry, etc.
When I went to Le Bon Marche today they very little selection of clothing. From the sign I was expecting some chic consignment pieces but the only things that interested me were the nick nacks and jewelry in the antiques portion of the store. The clothing section had little in it and everything that was there was unattractive. Try Oona's up the street for more selection.
Circles is my favorite knitting store in the Boston area. I particularly like it because they make a serious effort to carry ethically responsible wares. They carry a good selection of yarns from local self sustainable producers and also products that are "green" or socially concious. They also carry those high end artistic yarns that normal people want to. They have a yarn CSA (community supported agriculture) where you can prepay for some of the yarn from a local farm.
also great classes, knitting circle, etc
Life Plaza just opened on Mass Ave near Harvard Square in June 2005. But it seems to be doing pretty well. The staff are friendly and always listening to asian pop music when I have stopped by. The merchandise is a mix of completely ridiculous cutesy items like hello kitty or other character piggy banks, pencils, pencil cases, chopsticks, you name it. They also have a selection of everyday japanese products like lunch cases, plastic organizers, pasta strainers, etc. Very dense store, you can spend awhile looking there.
Best thing though: the prices are cheap! Most cute things cost under $3 making it much better priced than your typical cutesy asian store.
Lucky Shop is located on Mass Ave right next to Aroush's Tailor Shop. I guessed the address from that but the phone number is definitely correct. It must have just opened up because I had never seen it before last week. It annouces itself to the street with a bucket full of colorful wooden pinwheels that sit outside the door. Inside is a mixture of goods and gifts. They carry everything from China (like plates or a cat shaped tea pot) to clothing to wind chimes. I thought it was funny that they put the children's swim suits right next to the pasta strainers.
fun store, but nothing there I wanted to buy.
Woolcott and Co is a small but dense knitting store in Harvard Square. Large range of different yarns here, many are high end. Almost all their selection is animal based fiber. So if you are looking for wool, merino, alpaca, whatever check it out. Beautiful stuff. Large selection of needles, crochet hooks, and other notions.
I went with my vegan friend and she was more looking for interesting natural yarns which they don't carry/carry much of.
Regardless the staff there were really friendly and nice.