Best Soap-Making Supplies 2010 | Janca's Jojoba Oil & Seed Co | Shopping & Services | Phoenix
DIY, it seems, will never die — not as long as the economy's down and Martha Stewart's still upright. If you're a soap-maker, or want to try it out, we've found your materials. Janca's Jojoba is the only local soap supply shop that also sports a storefront. (Most are mail-order only.) Known best for locally growing and processing the high-end cosmetic grade "liquid gold" jojoba oil, Janca's has now branched into full soap and cosmetic making supplies. Find a wide variety of other oils from coconut to apricot kernel, a full line of essential/fragrance oils, all kinds of soap additives like pumice and lavender flowers, and chemicals you can't pronounce that soap makers get giddy over as they play chemistry lab in their home kitchens.The people at Janca's are super-helpful and can order you anything you can't find elsewhere. If you've ever wondered what to do with mango butter or pink French clay they'll be sure to help you with some ideas. And then sell them to you with a smile and without a shipping fee or a wait.
If you can actually find this store — tucked away in an industrial park near the three-way intersection of Grand Avenue and Dysart and Bell roads — you will be rewarded with beads in nearly every shape, size, color, and texture you can imagine.But there are rules before you can browse the seemingly endless selection of bead strands, findings, and loose beads. Purses and bags must be left behind in lockers. Grab a tray on which to place your selection of beads and a marker to identify your purchases. Don't stick your hands in your pockets. And be prepared to pay a surcharge if you use your debit or credit card and spend less than $20. Okay, once all that is settled, you can embark on this wonderful world of beads. If you love a bargain, head to the tables with the bead buffet — all-the-beads-you-can-stuff-into-a-baggie for only $2.99. If you're short on inspiration, check out the employees' crafty creations or a display case with the designs of individuals who have taken classes at Confetti.Bracelets, shoelace charms, earrings, necklaces, key chains — at Confetti: The Bead Place, you are only limited by your imagination.
We started going to Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint because we were addicted to needles. Knitting needles, that is. The store, owned by Rebecca Deeprose, is a Shangri-La of knitting supplies and needlework knowledge. Then we took one of Arizona Knitting's wonderful classes on beginning crochet and we were hooked all over again. Hundreds of blankets, booties, hats, socks, and scarves later, we still can't find a store that beats the selection, the service, or the atmosphere of Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint. If crochet is the gateway drug to fiber crafts, then Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint is the fix we can't live without.
We're not sure what first attracted us to this crafty Scottsdale shop — the cheeky name or the crocheted bikini we spotted in the window. This ain't your granny's knitting store. While older folks are welcome to stop by and knit one, purl two with the shop staff, Knit Happens was created for the stitch-and-bitch crowd of bored singles and busy moms who find inspiration in skeins of yarn. The store's cubbies are always overflowing with brightly dyed yarn, and they have every knitting supply imaginable, from needles to patterns and looms. Knit Happens is also the best place to get felted up, which isn't as lewd as it sounds. We're actually talking about felting, the process by which wool is matted down until it becomes a solid sheet. Sign up for the felted wool classes at Knit Happens and your heart will go all warm and fuzzy. So will your feet. And your hands. And anything else you can craft a cozy cover for.
We're all about remnants, so plowing through the big, waist-high cardboard boxes full of bolts of fabric at SAS is our idea of a good time. The thought of wholesale-priced silk and cotton blends that have been marked down makes us a little dizzy, so after grabbing some nice yardage, we move on to the long, long row of smaller boxes lined up along the low, wide counters of this Phoenix institution. There, we find vintage carded buttons, fabric ribbon at a dollar a roll, and enough imported lace to make an endless supply of mantillas. Finally, we head for the clearance aisle, which is filled with end-of-bolt material that's been reduced in price at least three times. We're giddy with glee as we head for the register, weighed down with tons of textiles and enough cash left over for a fun lunch. We love SAS! But consider yourself warned: Not all SAS locations are created equal. You'll find them across the Valley, but we much prefer the Central Phoenix SAS — victim of a fire a few years back, it's now much cleaner and better organized than its SAS-sy sisters.
It's tough to find good fabric in Phoenix. We don't have serious fashion design students (or the cast of Project Runway) to necessitate a Mood Fabrics store, and we aren't enough of a "real city" to have super high-end places like Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. Sure, you can order online, but colors are never the same on your laptop screen as they are in real life, and it's tough to keep track of all those dang color swatches. Danese Creations can help. The funky spot (yes, the one with somewhat creepy mannequins in the window) carries more than a healthy handful of silk, satin, brocade, velvet, chiffon, organza, charmeuse, lace, and fine cottons. Feel free to wander through the bolts and see the beautiful hues first-hand. But be warned: You'll need to empty your wallet for these tough-to-find fabrics.
We always feel a little dirty when we step into one of those bed and bath superstores (nothing super about it, if you ask us, even with one of those ubiquitous 20 percent off coupons) so that's why we were so happy when a friend told us about Valerianne. This is a "chain" with just two outposts — the other's in Vienna, Virginia — and definitely a "special occasion" kind of place. But as Valerianne's website explains, you spend a third of your life in bed, so you might as well do it in style. The shop stocks sheets with a thread count we've only dreamed about, and behind the sweet 1930s adobe there's a smaller guesthouse packed with goods for your bathroom. So get off your duff, Sleeping Beauty, and do it in style.
There are plenty of antiques malls around town, but most carry odds and ends that appeal to a select audience — French lace doilies, Superman lunchboxes, garage-sale crap repainted and marketed as overpriced shabby-chic. Willo Antiques, on the other hand, always manages to get the cream of the crop from estate sales. You never know what you'll find here on any given day. Willo mainly carries large antique furnishings such as dining tables, desks, and wardrobes, though it also has small but luxurious decorative items, including chandeliers and folding screens. Though many people can't afford anything bigger than a teacup here, you can always linger over a gorgeously upholstered mahogany settee or a china hutch with intricately carved filigree designs, hoping you'll hit the lottery.
We found our room-size Persian Hamadan at this bustling, super-stocked local antiques mall, and if we told you how little we paid, you wouldn't believe us. There's an authentic and very old Iranian Isfahan there that we've had our eyes on for some time, but in the meantime, we're happy to have scored a hand-woven wool-on-cotton Bokhara runner for the dayroom and a scatter rug from "Dipsy of Manhattan" (according to its still-sewn-in label) circa 1940. All these and more came from a little room at the very back of Antique Gatherings, a room filled with nothing more than an eye-popping cache of old rugs in like-new condition, all of them displayed on runners and hanging wide on the wall. Any collector will tell you it's tough to find old rugs in great shape, but the folks at Antique Gatherings don't seem to know about this yet. Let's hope they don't find out.
Robert Black's name was already synonymous with fashion in this city; he ran a popular modeling agency forever. Now he's sharing his good taste by dressing you in vintage wares. Housed in the landmark White Hogan building (once home to the famous silversmith), Fashion by Robert Black's got plenty of famous names on the rack — from Halston to Chanel to Oleg Cassini — at prices our friends-in-the-know swear are too good to be true. You may not wind up on the runway or even a red carpet, but you can still dress to the nines, dahling.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of