Not that I'm sure I've been to all of them. But I never would have visited Paint Your Pot if my local mom's group hadn't suggested holding craft night there. We had a blast! They had a special back room for guests where we were able to bring snacks and even wine. The employees were old hands at explaining the process and I absolutely loved the fact that since we used a coupon, the pricing structure was based on the cost of the piece to be fired. That makes it so much cheaper for slow painters like me. The storekeepers put up with much hilarity and chatter from our back room. I thought the selection of bisque pieces was very comparable to other such shops I'd been to. What fun!
At least, most of them can't. When you walk in the door of Studio Supply, you are immediately immersed in packed shelves of art supplies. Easels, pads of paper, pens, pencils, inks, paints, tools ... artists can easily find the basic materials for their work here, without picking through the meager selection of a chain craft store. My weakness here is truly the selection of fine papers. The imported rice papers are scrumptious. Perfect for card-making or even lampshades. A quibble: You can't push a stroller through this packed store! I can't imagine a person in a wheelchair making it either. The prices aren't bargain basement, but seem fair compared to catalog prices. I imagine parking can be a challenge on busy weekdays, but I've usually found spots on Franklin St. easily during weekend visits.
I'd love to be able to write a glowing review. After all, the last time my family visited Ali Cat, the store clerk complimented my toddler boy's language skills profusely. And she didn't seem to mind the mess he made at all of the Beanie Babies. However, the store seems to focus on a few very expensive lines of toys. Collector's items mostly. Thomas the Tank Engine, Beanie Babies, expensive play sets. All this is good, but there isn't that profusion of toys you hope for when visiting an independent store. The selection of under 3 toys seemed particularly weak. But it's a pleasant location, and a great local spot to fill in holes in a toy collection.
The tenants of Carr Mill Mall provide such a sumptuous array of products. But no Saturday morning browse is complete without a trip to Mulberry Silks and Fine Fabrics. I spent many hours mooning over materials there before my wedding before I decided to purchase a ready-made gown. And I'm always impressed by the creativity of fellow shoppers as they bring in projects to match trim or gain insight from the knowledgeable staff. In a trendy area like this, boutique shopping prices can be ruinous. The fabric prices here aren't cheap. Jo-Ann's or Hancock's it's not. But no one in the area can provide luxurious materials like these that you can use to create your own boutique masterpieces.
OK. Blue is my favorite color. I love shopping in the rich ambience of Carr Mill Mall to begin with, and a trip to Shades of Blue brings you an immediate sense of peace. What else could you get from a store that only sells blue gift items? Charms, glass balls, and lightcatchers gleam from the windows. Blue pottery is stacked on tables. Trinket boxes with intricate patterns nestle with journals and calenders. Surprisingly, limiting the store's merchandise this way (though the blues vary from sea shades to rich jewel tones) seems to have opened up a truly creative path. However, much of the merchandise is priced out of casual treat range. But it's a wonderful place to pick up a special item for a special person.
I'll admit it. I'm a bead festival fan. But the next best thing is finding a superb local bead shop. Carr Mill Mall is such a gorgeous location, of course, and the hardwood floors and clear glass walls add so much ambience to the shopping experience at The Original Ornament. They have a nice collection of glass and a smattering of other kinds of beads. It's a good place to buy just enough to make a bracelet or necklace for yourself or as a gift. But you can also find a nice selection to round out a more extensive bead collection. Definitely a must-visit on every trip to Carr Mill Mall.
Intaglio salon ended up being where I had my hair styled before my wedding. Fortunately, I booked weeks in advance because my stylist already had several booking on that day. We scheduled a trial session ahead of time, and my stylist also took care of my eyebrows. It looked good. My stylist joined in the fun as my bridesmaids crowded in as my hair was done. We talked about travel, and she did a great job on my hair. Reasonably priced, too. I generally have a casual, low-maintenance style for my hair but if I ever need or want a better 'do, I'll definitely try Intaglio again.
Back in the day, I drove my fair share of clunkers. One of them was a Ford Escort with well over 100,000 miles on it. The engine belt broke -- Massengill's fixed it without fuss, and not overly expensively. I thought I'd found a great local mechanic.
Until I brought my next car to them with an air conditioning problem. I noticed the switch had to be turned on several times to get the system to work and eventually the switch stopped working. I brought it in, they told me to replace it and it would fix the problem. Nope. A few weeks later I had to bring it back because the a/c again wasn't working. What I believed happened is that they only diagnosed half of it. They just said that the switch was working, sent me on, and it took me half a dozen more mechanics to find out the whole problem. I wish they had stood by the problem, worked with me to find out the real answer, rather than trying to shoo me away. Otherwise, the location is a pain to get to, and they weren't helpful with rides or loaner cars like some local automotive businesses offer.
My group of friends and I are board and card game freaks! We play it all from Munchkin to Carcassonne. And Cerebral Hobbies is a great place to find fun games that we all enjoy. Many of my friends also play collectible card games. Cerebral Hobbies carries full lines of these games, and is a perfect source for new releases. There are cheaper sources, particularly over the internet, but you can't beat having local, knowledgeable salespeople and a place to find folks who share your passion. They even offer tournaments! The store could use ... well, perhaps not a woman's touch, but some kind of decorating touch. But it is unpretentious and maintains a useful website too at http://www.cerebralhobbies.com/.
I shopped around florists for my wedding bouquet (and bouquets for bridesmaids and my flower girl). This business was located quite a bit away from my wedding ceremony and so seemed like an unlikely choice. But I took a picture of my dream bouquet to them. I also told them I was on a strict budget. And somehow, we brought the two priorities together. They picked beautiful replacement flowers to match the look of my expensive dream bouquet -- no one knew it was a version on the cheap. Perfectly fresh, well-designed. I was thrilled to have my bouquet featured in several of my wedding pictures. I even still have it hanging, dried, in my kitchen. Bob Adams Florist even worked with us to have a friend pick up the bouquets to transport them to the wedding, saving us additional charges.