It worked! A very friendly and knowledgeable lady sidled up to us, grilled us about what we had in mind, and then took over, telling us exactly what we could do for as little as $100. Sure enough, we walked out with all kinds of cool, mixed-media materials, and were even able to use them. The store also offers gift boxes, traveling cases and a variety of silver and gold chains, fairly priced. But what delighted us most was the service, which was worth its weight in gold.
The staff is happy to help you determine the sturdiest paper for origami or locate the perfect antiqued keyhole knob for your family album. See what's possible with paper in the shop's small art gallery or do-it-yourself at classes on bookbinding, paper-making or letterpress. Maybe you won't come out a master artist, but at least you'll go home with something fridge-worthy.
Scrap Happy Sisters is more than just a great place to buy the coolest scrapbooking supplies (although it's certainly that, too); it's a way of life, one involving pretty paper both hand- and machine-made; miles of swell stickers and trim; boxfuls of memory-enhancing page templates, and row upon row of beautifully bound books to paste them into. We met several kindred spirits on our first visit there people who know the importance of finding the perfect photo corner, who warned us against using anything but the most acid-free paper for mounting old playbills, who didn't laugh when we asked for those little wax envelopes for pressing flowers in.
We're looking forward to attending one of Scrap Happy's one-hour digital scrapbooking classes, and we're counting the days 'til the next "Late, Late Nighter," the store's Friday-night bash where scrapbookers hang until the wee hours (some of the parties go 'til 2 a.m., and everything in the store is 15 percent off!), nibbling complimentary snacks and comparing glue sticks. Frankly, we're glad to have become Scrap Happy.
Others prefer an off-the-beaten-path locale where we can get a little work done in our own weird way. In this case, we mean setting up shop (and laptop) in a corner of a popular north Phoenix restaurant that's one part coffee shop, one part health cafe observing the world of pretty people in spandex, business types in suits, young mothers with their little ones, and the occasional big-time athlete hanging out.
The friendly folks who work the spacious room at Soma don't give a hoot if you take up space for hours on end, sipping on an iced tea as you "craft" another masterpiece at the keyboard (or just try to get the damn thing done). In fact, Soma's staffers embrace the restaurant's regulars, both figuratively and (if you're lucky) literally. And here's another thing we've seen for ourselves: We'd bet as many deals of all kinds get brokered at this eatery as anywhere around.
We burned rubber, getting in line. And it was there we learned all about Dutch Bros. Coffee, a chain of coffee shops based in the Pacific Northwest. Sound familiar? Not quite these folks are from Oregon (well, they're actually Dutch, but they started the company in a tiny town called Grants Pass, Oregon) and they own almost a hundred shops, rather than almost a gazillion. The coffee was cheaper than the other guy's (even on a day when you have to pay) and tasted great, with specialty flavors like Almond Joy and Milky Way. We even loved the cute cups, decorated with a windmill and a bunch of tulips.
The D.B.'s motto is "All roads lead to Dutch Bros." Not quite at least, not yet, here in Arizona. But if you're in Tempe, we recommend you stop by; syrups and whipped cream are always free, and even the tall, er, we mean small drink comes with an automatic double shot. Truth be told, it's more of a drive-thru than a house, but such is the way of our coffee culture these days.
They have a piano. Each employee has a business card with e-mail and a phone number. Yeah, they make coffee, too, and you'll appreciate that after you've basically moved in. Apparently, "unlimited" means there's nothing they can't do.