Checking off the summer bucket list with fun, local activities

2013-08-05-Hobbies-Ricky

Ricky Llamas

Theano Wales practices sewing circles on a piece of cloth during a bag-making class at the Stitch Lab on Saturday afternoon. Students are invited to bring their own ideas and fabric to personalize their projects.

Claire Gordon

Now that summer is more than halfway done, a lot of us are thinking back to the grand schemes we had before school ended. We were going to read the classics, swim at Barton Springs every day and learn a new language. For most of us, though, those lofty plans haven’t quite come to fruition. Don’t despair quite yet. You have more than a month to get cracking on some self improvements that you can start now and continue throughout the fall.

1.  Glass Blowing Austin 

First and foremost, you need to get your inspiration fired up. A furnace and some melted glass should be just the ticket to getting your creative juices flowing. Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Glass Blowing Austin offers a beginner’s class. After learning some basic safety rules and techniques, students make a paperweight, ornament and cup. These lessons are only for three students at a time, though, so reserve your place early! Once you have the basics down, you can continue on in private lessons, and create a one-of-a-kind set of glassware to serve up some of the fantastic drinks you’ll be making. You can even take one of their ACC courses.

 

2. Antonelli’s Cheese Shop

A good knowledge of cheese is sure to add class to your next soiree and impress your friends. Antonelli’s has you covered with Cheese 101 and 201. In Cheese 101, you’ll gather with 30 to 35 others to taste the seven distinct types of cheese and learn the history of each. In 201, a cheesemaker is brought in to showcase their cheeses and talk about how they make them. Some classes include a live cheesemaking demo. Armed with your newfound cheese expertise, it’s a simple trip to Austin Homebrew Supply to pick up your cheese-making supplies and start creating your own tasty treats. The next Cheese 101 class is Aug. 14 from 6:45 to 9 p.m.

 

3. NXNW

If there ever was a way to make chemistry interesting, it’s by brewing your own beer. NXNW offers a variety of beer classes that will start you on your way to having a microbrewery in your kitchen. You’ll learn how to brew, what makes a beer good or bad, the different styles of beer and find out what cheeses pair well with each type of beer. You’ll also take a tour of the brewery and will get your own pint glass — the better with which to drink your beer. Austin Homebrew Supply is the next stop after these classes also, so load up on beer and cheese-making supplies and create everything you need to host a party that will show off both new skill sets!

 

4. Water 2 Wine

Gluten free or just not a fan of beer? Not a problem. You can go to Water 2 Wine and make some vino to accompany your no-doubt fabulous cheese. With two locations in Austin, you pick the types of grapes you’d like (after, of course, tasting all of the varieties to find out which one you like best), mix the grape varieties and add the life-giving (or, more importantly, alcohol-giving) yeast, design your custom label and sit back and wait for your personalized vintage to mature. After 45 days, you and a group of friends can come in for a wine tasting party. If you’re the impatient type, you can stop in any time during the fermentation to check on your creation and enjoy a glass of wine. You can expect around 28 to 30 bottles, so plan your wine unveiling party to be a big one.

5. Stitch Lab

Now that you’ve got food and drinks covered, it’s time to think about what you’re going to wear. Stitchlab offers a variety of classes for anyone who wants to learn how to turn fabric into fashion. With more than sixty classes, you can learn everything from the very basics to party dresses, millinery (better known as hat making), crochet, knitting and much more. There are even sewing classes just for the guys. Quilts, bags and screen printing are also options, if you already have the perfect dress in mind.

6. Bead It

At Bead It, you can finally have all the jewelry you have ever coveted, because you can learn how to make it yourself. Starting with the beginner’s series, you can learn the tools and techniques you’ll need to get you started, then move on to the tricky stuff. Among the classes offered are metal stamping, wire crochet and feathers, leather and more. With a huge stock of every type of bead, bauble and metal you could possibly imagine, you will never be at a loss for inspiration or supplies. All you need to do is put those together with some classes and you’ll be sporting some seriously cool jewelry.

 

7. Cafe Monet

If you’re thinking that your plates are no longer fancy enough to display your amazing cheese, then the next stop is Cafe Monet. You can choose from hundreds of plates, cups, vases and other types of pottery, and either paint or mosaic tile your creation. Leave it with the professionals to fire and return five days later to pick up your creations. Once you get it home, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the compliments on your creativity. They also can be booked for birthday parties, bridal showers and team building exercises, so you need never be at a loss for ideas when planning an event.

8. Austin Yellow Bike Project

While all the previous entries will add to your material fabulousness, Austin Yellow Bike Project is the place where you can both learn a new craft and increase your karmic wealth. While learning how to build or service your own bike, you have the opportunity to volunteer your time or money toward a fantastic cause. You can either stop by during the scheduled hours and get help from a volunteer or join the adult mechanics class for a comprehensive bike-building experience. When you’re done, you can cycle away knowing that you have a new skill and have helped make Austin a better place.