These enrichment classes run on a quarterly system at a great price. Most courses are taught by local enthusiasts and are attended by everyone and anyone. It’s a wonderful, safe environment for even the shyest of beginners. I’ve taken a pastry cooking class here (one-time demonstration) and several quarters of woodworking. I highly recommend taking the woodworking class, since you are taught to use powerful machines in a safe environment. The instructors are incredibly friendly, quirky, and all-around awesome. Woodworking 1 typically builds a table. Woodworking 2 graduates to more complicated joinery and machines with projects ranging from lamps, stools, mantle clocks, and more. Woodworking 3 and 4 are self-selected projects with varying degrees of guidance. I’ve technically “graduated” to Woodworking 4, but I still prefer project-based classes so I’ve taken Woodworking 2 several times.
The Makery (now closed)
If I were to describe my heaven, this place would be it. They have a storefront filled to the brim with inspiring handmade products, kits, and all the bits and bobbles you might need to create a little masterpiece of your own. They offer workshops, venue buyouts, and arrange their items in such an inspiring way. A little succulent shop shares the same space– bonus! **Update 10/2016: The Makery is now closed, but it seems that the owners have a few other projects going on.
One of my go-to spots for crafting supplies and unique presents. They sell all sorts of tools, paper packs, gifts, and stationery. My husband knows all too well when I tell him I want to take a “look” inside the store, I typically come out with a few items. One of their best products is their handmade artisanal paper. It can be used to wrap gifts, hung as an art print, or cut up for smaller crafts. Paper Source does a solid job of having sales during special holidays and marking down seasonal items. Look out for special gadgets that can be used to elevate your crafts to a whole other level. One of my favorite purchases of all time? A water marbling kit, that I used to make seating cards for my wedding. Interested in taking a class? They offer workshops several times per month between $25-$35 per class.
West Elm has been making strides to integrate with the local community. The University Avenue store sets up free DIY workshop nights and fun events during the holidays such as professional pet photos hosted in-store. The best way to stay in the loop is to sign up for their email newsletter to get notified about the next special event. Periodically, the store will also host “pop-up” shops from local artists and designers. I’ve seen shops ranging from handbags and accessories to art prints. Strangely enough, I find that West Elm is a place of inspiration for me. I always come away feeling energized by their design elements and get the little boost of creativity needed to start or get back into a personal project.
I recommend going to a Michael’s store if you already have a project in mind that requires supplies. This place is my mecca for random knick-knacks and supplies at a great price. The store has a wide range of products, toys, and faux florals. It’s easy to get lost in the endless aisles, so make sure you have a sense of what you require for the project. Check your smartphone or go online before you visit the store for coupons and special sales. Promotions come quite frequently, and rotate periodically on various items such as scrapbooking stickers, holiday decorations, and more.