Fourth Street in Berkeley, California is a lovely place to shop and walk around, have a nice lunch, enjoy a Peet’s latte. Like the Carlsbad Forum shops near where I live, some of my favorite stores are right next to each other (Anthropologie, Paper Source, Sur La Table). All Fourth Street needs (or any single shopping mall or area for that matter) to make it my “dream street” for shopping would be Free People, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Homegoods, Cost Plus, IKEA and Target…okay, maybe a Michael’s and a Marshall’s too. I really don’t have a lot of time to shop, so I would love to have a single destination that covers all bases. In any case, Fourth Street does have a good selection of stores and we always find ourselves there for last minute Christmas shopping each holiday season we spend in the Bay Area.
I do love discovering small, independent, specialty boutiques that carry one of a kind items handmade by local artisans or that feature rare finds and unique gifts that are not mass-produced. That’s why I’ve always loved antique stores, gift shops in small towns, small art galleries, funky and hip urban collectives and co-ops, and of course…supporting the handmade community of Etsy online.
During the mad rush of trying to find last minute gifts before Christmas, I happened upon a small boutique/gallery on Fourth Street called Castle in the Air and I was immediately smitten…the beautiful store is filled with the most amazing gifts, collectibles and supplies for the artist, writer and paper crafter. Saying that I was like “a kid in a candy store” is an understatement. As their website describes, “Castle in the Air is a studio for the imagination filled to the rafters with all kinds of inspiring materials and supplies”….and oh boy, how it is! I wish I had time to venture upstairs to the gallery and become immersed in the beautiful puppeteer stages, transported back into the time of olden-day fairy tales. I only spent a few minutes in the store (I had to remind myself that I was supposed to be shopping for gifts and not myself), just enough time to snap a few pictures with my iphone to remember what I must come back and pick up for my own projects. And to my sheer delight, while writing this blog I realized that if I can’t make it back to the shop in person, I can order online!!! Hooray!
|Castle in the Air stocks an amazing selection of European crepe papers for crafting anything from flowers to party hats….look at these beautiful streamer garlands.|
|I’m in love with the vintage designs of these paper reliefs! Made from cardboard and pressed paper, some of the designs date back to the early 20th century. I can already envision some decoupage projects for embellishing furniture and walls.|
|Sparkly treasures….shattered glass glitter from Germany.|
|Plastic babies, anyone?|
|FABULOUS find! Dresden trim. I have never seen anything like this! Gorgeous, highly detailed and intricate paper trim …these “original stickers are die-cut sheets made on machines dating back to Victorian times.”|
|Look at these charming winter scene vignettes made with papier mache and hand-carved wooden figurines. They also have an astounding display of the most unique dioramas.|
|Gorgeous paper lanterns…I MUST have these for my home!|
I’m sure I will have a future post where I’ve put my treasured finds from Castle in the Air to good use! And if it couldn’t get any better, just a couple of doors down is Miki’s Paper, which carries exquisite handmade Japanese silk-screened Chiyogami papers. There goes my heart, again.
Stay tuned for Part Two….to my surprise, I actually found some inspiration when we ventured into Restoration Hardware (it’s been years since I’ve been in that store)!
– Mobile Blogging by EITAK Design via iphone and BlogPress.