Did you know Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany is locally-owned and -operated – and has been for decades? The Smith family moved from Milan, Indiana, to the area in 1990 and opened up the independent shop, which is located at 420 New Albany Plaza in New Albany. Unlike big box stores, there is no corporate office that mandates what Ben Franklin’s sells. Instead, the family and their staffers offer a personal shopping experience that is geared to customers and includes a great selection of clothing and gifts in their store-within-the-store known as Ben’s Boutique. Sign up for Ben Franklin Crafts’ newsletter and get more details about the store at benfranklinartsandframing.com.
Extol’s Explorer JD Dotson found a treasure trove of unique items and art in Floyds Knobs and Georgetown
By JD Dotson
There is only one thing better than exploring places I’ve never been and that is discovering treasures in my own backyard. Recently, I found two very different but equally enthralling decor and gift shops – one in Floyds Knobs and the other in Georgetown – that make me want to do a bit of redecorating at home.
4781 Paoli Pike
@thenestconsign on Facebook
The Nest in Floyds Knobs is a carefully-curated consignment store with a range of furniture and decor from antique to modern. Each section of the store is set up as a well-appointed vignette, giving subtle suggestions of what lamp to pair with a loveseat, and what accessories could complement the look of the room. Every inch of the place is well designed by owner Martha Pfau. Walls are covered in art and stained glass, and the cabinets and shelves are full of colorful, unique items. It is a bargain hunter’s dream; well-priced, one-of-a-kind items fill the space. Of course, inventory is always changing and the unique pieces come and go, but I picked out a few of my favorites.
The little Japanese shelf sitters, rice paper frame and decorative fleur-de-lis plate complement each other so well. There is a story there somewhere of travels to far-off lands and thoughts of bringing a bit of the world home.
The stained-glass pieces at The Nest are so beautifully crafted in traditional designs and bright colors, and range in sizes and shapes. This particular piece is a large rectangular 44-inch by 24-inch. I was drawn to the repeating fleur-de-lis pattern and the varying shades of blue against the smoky tan was really striking.
Stained Glass, $320
The square and rectangular dishes caught my eye, the bright colors and pattern would liven up any table and I could leave my usual black dishes in the cabinet. Something about this table service for four makes me want to have a big Italian dinner party, not because the pattern is particularly Italian, but I do make a mean Bolognese. As a side note, my husband Jon really dug the modern, yellow bread box, which had me asking if people really keep bread in a box? But he loved it, and I included it for him.
Ceramic Table Service for Four, $98
Bread Box, $12
The Nest carries a line of printed canvas tote bags and tablet cases with grommets and patches and inspirational sayings that make me want to be a more responsible iPad owner and quit just shoving it naked into my backpack.
Tablet Case, $35
A Room Full of Joy
@a-room-full-of-joy on Facebook
Just up the road in Georgetown, very close to where I grew up, is a place that truly lives up to its name. A Room Full of Joy is exactly what its name implies. As soon as you walk in, you are enveloped in lights and sights and smells and the overwhelming urge to explore every inch of this place. The boutique currently has 13 local vendors – each with a section of the space – but it is so much more than a shop. Owner Joy Burden Simon has designed a site that also houses a space for community events and classes. The day we visited, an essential oils class was taking place in a space that has hosted neighborhood bunco games, jewelry-making classes and keto diet information seminars. There were so many handcrafted things that I loved about A Room Full of Joy, including candles, candy, soaps and jewelry, but here are a few of my absolute favorites.
Just inside the door is a handmade sign for Ruff Stuff. In this case, the name implies something completely different. C.J. Owen’s found objects may have started out “ruff” but are put together so expertly as lamps, sconces, chandeliers and furniture that they are the exact opposite of rough. I am always enamored by anyone who can take an old item and transform its purpose. Ruff Stuff completely blew me away with nearly everything in the booth. The chandelier from a yoke and old Ball jars is beautiful, especially paired with the mule collar lamp and hanging over the upcycled crate island with the utensil handles. It is an amazing skill to turn antiquated objects into modern functional pieces.
Mule Collar Lamp, $150
Yoke Chandelier, $250
Kitchen Island, $150
Vicky’s Country Creations has one of my favorite activities – but on a huge scale. Yahtzee has been turned into Yardzee. Huge dice in a giant bucket has taken my favorite table game to the backyard. The bucket comes with score cards and instructions on Farkle (Yarkle) and Cootie as well.
Another example of an artist reimagining an object’s purpose is Janice Glotzbach. Janice uses utensils, fishing lures and other everyday objects and transforms their function into beautiful, wearable art with the help of wire and beads. My favorite piece stood out instantly but really surprised me when I realized I was looking at a manipulated and bedazzled fork. The former eating utensil had been cut, curled and beaded, taken off the table and ready to be worn around the neck.
Fork Necklace, $18
Southern Indiana has no shortage of locally-owned businesses, and shopping at them can benefit our community as a whole. Spending money at an independent business versus a big box retailer means more cash in our local economy. And there are several environmental benefits too. Local shop owners are more likely to reuse materials and contribute far less to industrial pollution than corporations do. Plus – and this may be the best benefit of all – when you shop local, you’re supporting your neighbors, which feels really good.
TIP: IF YOU CAN MAKE IT A MONTH WITHOUT ADDING TO YOUR SUMMER WARDROBE, SALE STOCK FOR WARM WEATHER APPAREL FULLY BEGINS IN JULY, THOUGH IF YOU WAIT UNTIL AUGUST, YOU’LL FIND STEEP DISCOUNTS AT YOUR FAVORITE CLOTHING BOUTIQUES.
MUST HAVE ACCESSORIES FROM THE AREA’S HOTTEST BOUTIQUES WILL ADD THAT EXTRA WOW TO ANY OUTFIT. WHETHER IT’S PLAYFUL, BOLD, CLASSIC OR NECESSARY, THE RIGHT ACCESSORY CAN TURN ANYTHING INTO A STATEMENT.
PHOTOS & STORY BY JD DOTSON
The hottest trend is the big initial hanging around your neck and Strandz and Threadz has them in silver for $8.
Bow ties are in for him and her. Take your suit to the next level wearing a leather bow tie with adjustable strap for $25.
STRANDZ AND THREADZ
322 Vincennes St. | New Albany 812.945.5480 | stranzandthreadz.com
Cadella’s Blessing Bracelets are the perfect way to commemorate the blessings in your life. Start with a handcrafted wire and gemstone bracelet, then upload a picture online. Your personalized tile is crafted then shipped and ready to be added. The bracelet is $40 in the store then $15 per tile online.
Everything about this necklace screams at me, from the popping bright colors of the tassel to the sheer size and length. Statements get you noticed and there is no ignoring this wood bead and fabric necklace for $29.
SAPPHIRE ON SPRING BOUTIQUE
326 Spring St. | Jeffersonville 812.920.0017 facebook.com/sapphireonspring/
Currently wearing the silver fox (for obvious reasons), this Animal Farm trucker hat by Goorin Bros. comes in a zoo of styles fitting your mood or demeanor. All manner of beast embroidered on an adjustable hat for $30.
The boutonniere that won’t wilt will add a touch of flair to the lapel of any jacket. This fabric lapel pin comes in a variety of colors and styles for $10.
HIM GENTLEMAN’S BOUTIQUE
314 Pearl St. | New Albany812.595.7752 | himgb.com
Upcycled from vintage jewelry and given new life as hair pins, barrettes and headbands, the mini works of art by local Elaine Crowder will add a touch of elegance to your outfit. The pieces range in price from $9.99-$21.99.
Statement pieces abound at Mariposa and the unusual textures and shape of these cuffs caught my eye. They can be worn with anything from casual to formal and range in price from $9.99-$12.99.
222 Pearl St. #102 | New Albany 812.725.8508facebook.com/MariposaConsignments/
The modernized version of the classic cat eye in rose gold metallic and white sunglasses make me long for summer. Warm weather is just around the corner with these $15.99 specs.
The magical unicorn clutch really needs no description other than magical and unicorn. The iridescent coat, zipper pouch and wristlet handle will make all your dreams come true for $39.99.
219 Pearl St. | New Albany812.725.1321 | colokial.com