Bead World

They've got beads up the wall at Bead World Phoenix, the colorful shop for beads and beading materials at the northwest corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road. With a motto like "She who dies with the most beads wins," we know these people take this bead thing seriously. Shoppers find beads ranging from Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls to wood, copper, Czech glass, and African Trade beads. You'll also see beading materials for stringing, tools, and tubes, plus jewelry-making kits for Chimera and meditation bracelets, and TierraCast jewelry. Big spenders can take advantage of wholesale and volume discounts. Bead World itself also hosts classes on bracelet- and necklace-making, and special events like a Traditional Bead Party, or "Plan Your Own Adventure" bead parties – where you rent the classroom space and shop tools for up to seven beaders. Bead World opens at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and is closed on Sunday.

More than simply a store with yards (and yards and, okay, still more yards) of yarn, Tempe Yarn & Fiber serves as a community hub for crafters. Tempe Yarn is home to classes for beginners new to the needle game and aspiring crochet pros, as well as courses on weaving with a loom, using crafting website Ravelry, and how to spin your own yarn on a freaking Sleeping Beauty-style spinning wheel. Stuck on a project that's going nowhere? Pop in on Wednesday afternoons for free help. And while you're at it, scope out the shop's locally dyed yarns, array of needles and tools, and patterns aplenty.

Arizona Art Supply

For more than 60 years, Arizona Art Supply has been the Valley's go-to resource for everything from high-end drafting and drawing materials to kids' art easels and crayons. Founded by hardware store owners back in 1950, the shop offers up all sorts of tools an artist — whether aspiring, professional, or somewhere in between — might need for such projects as framing, oil pastel sketching, or simply organizing that growing collection of Prismacolor markers. Wanna try your hand at printmaking or sculpture? There's a book for that. Need a black pen? You'll find so many varieties your head might explode. But do your best to keep it together; there's art to be made.

Donning vintage garb is one thing, but actually working with vintage equipment is quite another. That's exactly what happens inside Hazel & Violet, founded by longtime friends Nancy Hill and Beverly Wolfe. The small custom letterpress printing shop, located inside the historic Bragg's Pie Factory, has five letterpress printers — including two built during the 1920s. Hazel & Violet has mastered the fine art of mixing century-old technology with contemporary digital tools to create masterpieces ranging from humble coasters to super-slick posters — although the letterpress actually specializes in wedding invitations, announcements, and letterhead. Hazel & Violet is even happy to share the letterpress love through tours and workshops that give the rest of us a chance to make a good impression ourselves.

The Melrose District in central Phoenix did in fact say yes to the dress when the boutique Cleo & Clementine opened in 2012. Monique Sandoval is the owner and dressmaker — a combination of designer, seamstress, and overall creative type — who, along with her small team, produces unique wedding, prom, and special-occasion gowns. Sandoval learned to sew from her grandmother, borrowed her aunt's sewing machine growing up, and even participated in family projects like reupholstering the couch as a kid. Sandoval first started the more young-woman focused OUMA line, and later developed Cleo & Clementine. The gowns are designed in-house — the fabric handpicked, hand-dyed, and hand-stitched — and range in color from beige, cream, and white to soft pinks and blues, gold sequins, and solid black — some of which have been featured in Rock N Roll Bride and New Times.

Danese Creations

Any bride that's made her way to the altar can tell you that planning a wedding isn't so simple as black and white — emphasis on the white. Finding your perfect dress to say "I do" in is rarely done in a day, let alone in a one-stop shopping trip. That's where Danese Creations comes in. For more than 40 years, owner Sylvia Danese has been helping brides-to-be make their must-have gowns fit like a glove — even going so far as to make them from scratch if she must. Come for quality alterations, stay for fairy godmother-esque words of wisdom for your big day, because at this point, Sylvia knows a thing or two about weddings.

He went to the mall? Well, that's too bad. Especially when you consider that he could have given you a custom-made piece from local jeweler Mother of Gideon. Business owners Charis Elliott and Seth Fainkujen specialize in one-of-a-kind creations that are as edgy as they are beautiful. Whether it's a crown, a wedding ring, or something in between, the creative duo will work with you to bring your idea to life while not straying away from their signature style of being sustainable, ethical, and unique. Adding to their elusive charm, Mother of Gideon recently closed their brick-and-mortar location, so interested buyers must seek them out at their Phoenix studio by appointment only.

Christina "Xappa" Franco has a thing for darkness. Among her favorite works of art are Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal and Frank Frazetta's Cat Girl. Different styles, sure. But when you consider the fantastical mysticism of the former in conjunction with the snarling lure of the other, Franco's jewelry starts to make a whole lot of sense. Under the banner Xappaland, the artist crafts metal jewelry that blends minimalism, goth tendencies, and statement making in a way that looks distinctly Arizonan. There's a beautiful but eerie heft to the dangling pendulum earrings with an earthy pink patina, her wiry crowns that wouldn't look out of place in a nymph-filled fairy tale, and the stabbing point of a stackable copper ring. They're pieces that merit a double take — and a spot in your jewelry box.

Dunno if you and your denim jacket have heard, but pins are happening in a big, err, we mean small way. And in Phoenix, nobody's on their pin game quite like Bermuda Press, a subsidiary of local apparel company Hello Merch. A bizarro mix of Arizona pride, pop-culture obsession, and sci-fi allure, Bermuda's stocked locally at Frances, but you can order online, too. At $10.99 a pop, go ahead and fill your lapels with Illuminati logos, a drippy Paul Is Dead proclamation, Bob from Twin Peaks screaming into oblivion, potted aloe, and an Arizona sunset in old-school Suns colors. Putting a pin in it never looked so smart.

Arizona Natural Remedies' selection of concentrates made in house
Nate Nichols
Arizona Natural Remedies' selection of concentrates made in house

The most creative pieces of dispensary marketing this year were the T-shirts at Arizona Natural Remedies. In the style of the classic D.A.R.E. campaign, these shirts celebrate Arizona medical cannabis with just the right amount of humor. The shirts read, "D.A.N.K. Keeping locals supplied with quality medication." Pick one up next time you're checking out Arizona Natural Remedies' truly quality medication.

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