Back Porch Soap Company offers cool NYC soap classes and how to make your own natural and organic skincare classes.
Relaxing crafting classes
Make something-and make yourself feel better.
Mon Feb 15 2010
Ikebana Flowers New York
Get in touch with nature during a two-hour master-class flower-arranging tutorial at Flower School New York (5 Tudor City Pl between 42nd and 43rd Sts; 212-661-8074, flowerschoolny.com; $250). Each week, the workshop is taught by a different pro in the field; on Thursday 18, Remco Van Vliet, who constructs the magnificent bouquets in the lobby of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will show you how to create a large-scale arrangement using spring branches. For a more Eastern experience, check out a three-hour "Intro to Ikebana" lesson at Ikebana Flowers New York (20 W 20th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, suite 1102; 212-255-9769, ikebanaflowers-ny.com; $50), which owner and instructor Junko Miura says is designed to "loosen up the creative side" of participants. The small group sessions begin with a brief overview of the Japanese art form before students freestyle their own minimalist flower designs.
At this newly opened knitting retreat, you can plop down by the fireplace with a skein of Mongolian cashmere ($41, or a cheaper option: Ella Rae yarn for $6.50) and, once the caf is up and running, an order of empanadas to fuel your stitching. If you need a refresher, drop by during normal business hours and a staffer will guide you through any challenges. 253 Smith St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-963-0369, lacasitayarnshop.com)
Little Shop of Crafts
If you prefer the simple pleasures of painting premade pottery and plaster crafts, head to Little Shop, which offers beading and mosaics. Stop by the East Side location Wednesdays through Fridays from 6:30 to 10:30pm, when the spot serves complimentary wine to help you really unwind (the West Side branch does the same Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6:30 to 10pm). 431 E 73rd St between First and York Aves (212-717-6636, littleshopny.com) *711 Amsterdam Ave at 94th St (212-531-2723)
Move over, Martha: Make founder Diana Rupp will turn you into a regular DIY diva; her recreational school offers classes in everything from batik to wallpaper making. In the artist's studio, you can learn how to create monogrammed note cards with Brooklyn's Sesame Letterpress, or pick up the practical skill of concocting all-natural soap. Not to be overlooked, though, are the popular two-hour introductory sewing classes, which will have you feeling like a Project Runway star with none of the pressure. 195 Chrystie St between Rivington and Stanton Sts, studio 402 (212-533-9995, makeworkshop.com). $80--$500.
Museum of Arts & Design
At MAD, not only can you view art, you can make it, too. Every Sunday from 2 to 4pm, the museum offers drop-in classes for just $10. If you'd rather avoid sharing materials with sticky-fingered kids (Studio Sundays are open to kids ages six and up), check out the adult-geared "Slab-Building Workshop" ($50) on February 27, where ceramists from Greenwich House Pottery will demonstrate some basic techniques once used by sculptor Viola Frey, whose work is on view at the museum through May 2. After you've molded your own creation from flat, damp sheets of clay, see how you fared by comparing your handiwork to Frey's. 2 Columbus Circle at Broadway (212-299-7780, madmuseum.org)
Relive those carefree days at summer camp spent gluing together Popsicle sticks by engaging in some slightly more sophisticated art projects: Here, walk-ins can mold beads out of clay or beeswax, carve stamps for adorning business cards or even decorate a skateboard. 355 Bedford Ave between South 4th and 5th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-2718, spacecraftbrooklyn.com). Walk-in crafts $10--$45.
Newbies may want to consider taking a two-part knitting or crocheting class ($50) at Lion Brand Yarn Studio (34 W 15th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-243-9070, lionbrandyarnstudio.com); by the end of the session, you'll know how to make a scarf and will be able to knit with the best of them during Flicks and Sticks, Lion Brand's free movie night on the last Thursday of every month.
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Best places to relax in New York City