After brunch one day last spring, I took a sunny stroll along Amsterdam Ave. on the Upper West Side.
A brightly colored shop immediately caught my eye; the window was filled with hand-painted pottery and a sandwich-board-sign promise that I, too, could create a work of art.
I stepped in, chose my piece from the hundreds that adorned the wall, paid for it and started painting. When I picked up the finished product a week later (after it had been fired in the kiln), I was rather proud of myself (as I often am). I had a hand-painted dog bowl that no one else in the world owned. Fair trade for $40-plus dollars.
However, what I thought was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with this establishment – it’s called Make – ended when they screwed up a custom order I had placed (this time, light-up pumpkins for me and my fiancÃ©), refused to honor my request that we receive free paint time for the error (it’s $12 each normally, and I paid nearly $100 for the two-weeks-late pumpkins), and were otherwise unwilling to accommodate us on another occasion when there seemed to be no room at any of the tables (in fact, the lazy B’s behind the counter just didn’t want to make room).
I had had it with Make, but I still wanted to get all Real Simple on a Saturday afternoon. I know – woe is me! What was a craft-happy homo to do?
Never fear. I remembered a friend telling me that there’s a similar place just up the street that offers the same kind of activities. Even more, actually. Little Shop of Crafts – which I visit very frequently (the kind, courteous staff knows me by name now) – offers pottery and plaster painting (look at the Chinese bowls I made!), mosaics (hand-claps all around for my dog’s new leash holder, please), jewelry making, and T-shirt painting for stuffed creatures.
But the best part about this place isn’t the friendly, helpful employees; the complimentary paint time no matter the time; the wide, reasonably priced selection of projects; or the abundance of space. Nuh-uh. It’s the FREE ma’fuckin’ wine they pour during adults-only time, Wednesdays to Saturdays from 6:30pm to close.
Joy, my fave Little Shop manager, will tell you that I take full advantage of the bottomless Jesus Juice every time I arrive. Nothing beats painting a cookie-jar penguin when you’re half lit. (Except, of course, rubbing my good time in Make’s face. Your loss, ladies.)
That’s not all the goodness that comes from Little Shop, either. Mention that you read about it on Broke-Ass Stuart’s Goddamn Website and you’ll receive $3 off your craft project of $13.95 or more or 50% off a craft project if you bring a friend (or a date!).
Uh-huh. Who loves ya, baby?!
Little Shop of Crafts
711 Amsterdam Ave. @ 94th St. [Upper West Side]
Wednesdays to Saturdays
6:30pm to close
FREE Wine and other exclusive discounts