Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Favorite Local Stores to Bite the Craft Bug

I've lived in the Lower Mainland (Greater Vancouver area) my whole life and have scouted out some awesome shopping locations for the creative individual. Here is my list of go-to places:

Birkeland Bros Wool Ltd - (Vancouver)
Birkeland Bros is my absolute favorite place in the lower mainland to go for beautiful yarn! The staff is super friendly, knowledgeable and eager to help you out. The prices are higher but expected since the quality just can't be beat. What is amazing is that this is a Vancouver company that has been in its original location since 1939 and still run by the same family! When Jesse and I got married in 2006 I wanted to make a warm shawl (pictured above) and found exactly what I needed here.

Dressew- Downtown - (Vancouver)
I go to Dressew to get CHEAP yarns, fabric, buttons and costume accessories. They have quite the variety of crafty items at a liquidation price! The quality is fair too. I'm so glad that they take debit now! They used to be a cash only place and I never carry cash around anymore. Some of the staff are a bit unfriendly... especially when it is busy there but if you go early in the day and follow their rules (no food in the store and don't touch the scissors!) you can usually find friendlier faces if you needed help finding something in their Goliath sized store. If not, enjoy the hunt!

Opus - (Downtown, North Van & Granville Isl)
My all time favorite art store is Opus. My favorite location is their Granville Island store because I found they had the most variety and quantity of products. You might have to put up with a few nervous looking Emily Carr students but they hire the friendly ones to work in their store.

Rokko Fabrics - (East Vancouver)
Rokko Fabrics has an amazing amount of variety of fancy to casual fabrics in their store for the amount of square footage they have. The prices are great if not the best next to liquidation prices. A big bonus... no hunting because everything is very well organized.

Urban Source - (Vancouver)
Sometimes you don't know what project you are going to do next until you walk into this store. They have obscure little items like little scraps of papers, rubber, magnifying sheets, containers and fuzzy balls? Every time I go in they have something new. Its always worth checking out when I'm in the Mount Pleasant area. The best part is that most of these are being saved from a landfill.

Welk's - (Vancouver)
One of my favorite discount stores! They carry dishes, household items, toys, gardening supplies, storage bins, canvasses, pretty paper, beads and the list goes on. It is relative to a candy store... really. As far as comparing the prices to a conventional dollar store, I've found them cheaper. Plus its in one of my favorite neighborhoods: Mount Pleasant.
Capilano Rock & Gem - (North Vancouver)
Whatever level of jewellery maker you are (from hobbyist to professional goldsmith) this is a place for you. Jewelry makers from all over the lower mainland seek out this store for knowledgeable staff, great product and competitive prices. As much as I enjoy to shop online, nothing beats seeing and touching my supplies before I make a transaction. Plus, this store is family owned. 

Dollar Max - (Richmond)
There are so many dollar stores in Richmond, but the Dollar Max located a few blocks from Richmond Centre is my favorite. They have low prices, even for a dollar store, and nicer quality and variety than the others. There is something about dollar stores that make me a bit queasy (who had to suffer to offer me a huge package of popsicle sticks for $0.99?), but sometimes you just can't find your typical dollar store items anywhere else!

MCC Thrift Mart - Abbotsford
Finally a reason to go to the valley! This is the queen of all thrift stores but please don't tell anyone. Not the best for clothing, but as far as finding books, housewares, lamps and furniture (there are two building to check out one across from the other) this is the best place. I wish I had a huge house that I could fill with furniture to refinish from here. In the same building where you find the furniture they have a plethora of frames and old lamps. The ladies that work here are all volunteers and as sweet as cherry pie. All profits go to the charity... nice!

Now go shopping!

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