Friday, February 1, 2008

shopping! in person, and online...

sooo. in my quest to obtain more craft supplies than i will EVER live long enough to use, i've discovered a few really awesome shops. some of them i bought from quite a while ago, but i'm assuming they haven't changed much.

first of all, i adore etsy, really i do. i can find such awesome supplies there, and everyones customer service is so fabulous.

the first is spirit girl, who i've ordered from multiple times, and she's fabulous. it's always super quick, and i love my beads.

i've also ordered from evol pixie's supply, and while they took a little while to get here, it WAS over christmas, and everything was fabulous and wrapped so securely!

i ordered a bunch of vintage beads from peppermint soda, and they were all soooo gorgeous! and she sent some extra goodies!

and i ordered my mom's mother's day present (yes, very early!) from epoch beads, and it's great! she sent extra goodies too!

you know, i buy a lot of beads for someone who sucks at jewelery making as much as i do....

as for ephemera, which is my other major weakness (but is luckily used much more than the beads!), i've been buying that both online and in person.

i finally caved and investigated skybluepink after hearing about them for ages. my order came, and i IMMEDIATELY had to start crafting with it, i loved everything i got. her service was totally stellar (i e-mailed her to add to my order after i started obsessing), and her prices are really really good. plus, she ships to canada without ripping you off! i LOVE shops like that!

and i also checked out the paper flea market, after rackycoo raved about them. they too are pretty cheap, though they aren't so great about shipping to canada (why do shops insist on using UPS for intl packages? UPS sucks ass!). i haven't received from them yet, i had the package shipped to the US, but i'm excited about it.

in person, i finally made my way down to ruby dog's art house, after hearing about it for so long. what an amazing place! the selection totally makes up for the hassle of getting there (why is there never parking on main st? obviously this is an issue, hello city hall! and it drives me crazy when stores aren't open monday!) i got so much amazing stuff for collages and altered art, and used some of it on on the still-secret tip in pages. the owner was very chatty, and i ended up staying in the store for much longer than i anticipated, though it was totally worth it! very fun stuff, such as old cheques, and prescriptions from the 1920s, empty matchbooks with fabulous images on them, lots of cool postage stamps and old labels, that sort of thing. though most of the stuff is priced individually, they also have a bulk bag section, and i filled a good size bag for about $5. the front of the store is rubber stamping supplies, and i'm determined to go back to buy that virgin mary stamp i saw.... anyway, really awesome store, totally worth checking out. be aware that it is NOT accessible though, many of the aisles are too close for wheelchair or proper cane access, and a lot of the stock is low to the ground (i ended up sitting on the floor because i couldn't crouch as needed), and if you have pet allergies, you may have problems, as ruby the dog is a member of the staff!

also on main street is urban source, which i've been going to for years now. in some ways they're similar to the newer ruby dog's, but they carry less of the "old" ephemera. their stock is primarily items from other industries, available for recycling into art supplies. they also have a lovely selection of hand made papers and different colours of cardstock, and carry some more traditional art supplies such as writing utensils, magnets, glue, etc. it's a very small store, but definitely worth checking out. i always find fabulous stuff there. (also not particularily accessible, it's too crowded, though the bins and such are high enough that you rarely have to crouch. and the whole main street parking issue again!)

i also discovered a new art store in tsawwassen called sublime art supplies and gallery. i go out there twice a week for massage, so i'm really happy to be able to pick stuff up there (and be supporting an independant store while i'm at it). it's pretty small, but they carry a large variety of stuff, including lino printing supplies (the current obsession!). and they're in the town centre mall, so i can always find parking (including handicapped spots, which are oh so rare in vancouver), and it IS accessible!

and the other store i wanted to rave about is actually out in delta as well, in ladner, the upstart crow. (and yes, i did write this entire post for the purpose of raving about the store! well, not entirely)
they carry a lot of gift type stuff, made by mostly local artisans (i found the best birthday present ever for my sister there), but more importantly, they also carry art supplies and beads! their bead selection isn't huge, since they carry lots of other stuff as well, but it's good, lots of different things, and a lot of interesting quality beads. they also carry all the basic findings, as well as some fancier ones, which is really nice, considering my other closest options are paying the super-inflated cdn prices for bags of them at micheals, or driving all the way in to country beads in kitsilano when i need things quicker than ordering them online. they also carry a selection of beautiful glass hand made beads, which are pretty much out of my price range, but gorgeous to look at. their art supply selection is really good as well, though i'm rarely in the market for things like oils, etc. they also carry some scrapbooking/altered art stuff, like rubber stamps, ink pads, some paper, and some ephemera. the most important thing about the upstart crow is the service though. i've been going there for a while now, usually on my way home from massage in tsawwassen, and for the longest time the same clerk was usually there, pam. she was super enthusiastic and helpful and fabulous, and is apparently in art school now, which explains why i never see her when i stop in during the week. the last time i went in, i was looking for a specific colour of ink pad, and i started asking questions. the owner of the store was there, and she was so incredibly helpful. she pulled out all her own personal ink pads from the studio in the back to test them for me, and took the time to show me her favourite ink technique, and had me try it myself. she also chatted with me about block printing options, and sold me a block printing medium to mix with regular acrylic ink at a VERY good discount. she showed me a few other things, but really with no pressure, and she must have spent at least half an hour with me. seriously, SUCH good service. i was really impressed. (while some areas of the store might not be accessible, the vast majority is spread out enough. they always have multiple staff working, and with their awesome sevice, i don't forsee an issue if you can't reach something. the majority of their stock is displayed high enough that you don't need to crouch or anything. they're on the street, not in a mall, but i believe there are actually a few street handicapped spots along there.)

okay, this post makes me look like i've been spending a lot of money lately.... not that much, i promise!

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