Best Fruits of Fibers 2010 | Two Hills Designs | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Fiber artist Katie Toohil exudes positive energy from head to toe. Fortunately for her customers, so do her crafts. For years, Toohil has been working with fibers of human, plant and animal varieties. In the more traditional vein, she hand-dyes fibers (from wool to vegan varieties), spins them into yarn and either sells the yarn or creates crocheted scarves, headbands and such. She also uses tie-dye and low-water emersion processes to dye handmade clothing items. (She buys articles now, but is working to sew her own.) But it's the human fiber area where Two Hills Designs finds its most dedicated customers. The nimble-fingered lady not only uses human hair to create custom dreadlock extensions but also offers dread extension dying, styling and installation services that make growing longer dreadlocks take all of several hours. But whatever you order from Toohil and Two Hills, it's sure to come from the fiber of her energetic being.

We consider ourselves pretty savvy, open-minded beer consumers, with tastes that run from tart, brisk witbiers to decadently rich imperial stouts to Belgian ales so complex that mentally processing all the flavors is almost a psychedelic experience. In short, we thought we had a pretty good handle on trying the best beers available in this less-than-beer-friendly state, where geographic distance from coastal breweries, senseless legislation against homegrown breweries and a distributor stranglehold on the industry limit the number of brews consumers can choose from. Then we visited the beer aisle at Whole Foods' Park Lane location. Surrounded on both sides by more than 600 varieties of beer, we felt like the chimps in 2001 when they see the monolith. Except there were two of them, turned on their sides, chilled and filled with beers whose names we'd only heard whispered amidst furtive glances, even beers whose names we'd never heard spoken aloud.

With its sign boasting "ATM Lotto Money Order Cigars" and rack of spank mags near the front door, it looks like just another crummy, run-down convenience store where you're more likely to find Steel Reserve malt liquor and thinly veiled drug paraphernalia than a decent beer. But check out the back cooler and you'll be surprised by the selection of microbrews and imports, including a few we've never seen elsewhere. Even better, the store keeps a list of customer stocking requests. In one memorable visit, we inked in an appeal for Ten FIDY, an expensive and difficult-to-find imperial stout, just below where a shaky hand had scrawled "Strawberry Banana MD 20/20." It was heartwarming to see that the place is willing to take care of you whether you want expensive craft beer or rotgut wine—or Steel Reserve, for that matter.

Take the blade itself in here, and they'll sharpen it while you wait for $8.50. Take the whole mower in, and it's $18.50 and might take a little longer. This is where a lot of pros go. Casey's sells good equipment, too, Stihl and Echo. It's worth nosing around, if you happen to be in the market. Actually finding the place is not so easy, however, especially with the construction on Northwest Highway. It's really on West Lawther Drive on the north side of Northwest Highway, so you have to find your way through the construction mess and get on Lawther going away from the lake.

What is it with you people in North Oak Cliff and all your slow-living, community-gardening, bike-friendly, pet-friendly, do-it-yourself selves? Don't you want to buy Chinese like the rest of us? Don't you want the instant gratification that comes with going over your credit card limit? No, these Bishop Arts types are looking for actual meaning in their lives, and they are turning to places like Make Shop & Studio to find it. Here, they can create in Make's modern craft lounge, taking classes in sewing, screen printing, glass etching, stamp making, silk painting, felt rug design or anything the right side of their brain can conjure up. And much like eating only what you kill, you can sell what you make in Make's boutique, where dozens of "designers and crafters and makers" are featured. It's all just so damn, how can we say this...Austin.

If your roommate leaves one more—just one more—nasty dish in the sink for days on end, you are outta there. And the neighbor's yippy, persnickity dog? Yeah, he could take a night off every once in a while, and you wouldn't complain. But let's be real: The process of finding a new apartment often seems as bad as putting up with whatever's wrong with your current pad. Craigslist is a slog, and who has time to spend a Saturday getting mostly ignored by bored apartment managers? The easy solution: Wendy Lacy at Classic Lofts and Spaces. With nary a hint of smarmy salesmanship, Lacy listens to her clients' needs and finds three or four fitting properties that can be viewed in just a couple of hours—over lunch, maybe, or before a dinner date. She'll whisk you away from properties that don't promptly deliver on their promises and only takes a cut when you rent something she's shown you. Lacy wants her clients to find homes, not just places to crash until something better comes along, and her no-nonsense candor shows it.

Cebolla Fine Flowers

Froggie's 5 and 10 has managed to capture the essence of what it means to be young in its small store on Knox, making it the perfect stop for folks of all ages. Whether it's greeting cards, a Slinky, candy or a vintage lunchbox, you'll find it crammed into the shelves at Froggie's, and somehow the employees know exactly where to track down anything your heart desires. You might fancy a magic trick for the kiddo, a retro toy for yourself or maybe a gag gift for your buddy, but you'll buy something. Just be careful. Even though the prices are fair, you'll end up draining your bank account in no time.

First things first, Voodoo Chile is not actually a voodoo shop. Though, we're sure many a late-night shopper has been fooled by the shop's name and the red glow of its lights that are clearly visible from nearby Lowest Lower Greenville Avenue sidewalks. The eclectic vintage shop is open only from 7 p.m. until midnight most nights of the week, and that unpredictability is part of the shop's fun–especially after having dinner and drinks (or, yeah, just drinks) at one of the nearby restaurants or taverns. We never know what secret treasure we'll find while buzz-browsing through the vintage threads, amazing ashtrays, primo eight-tracks and LPs, old Halloween masks, movie flats and original art. Some say Voodoo Chile's mysterious curator is actually named Jimi Hendrix, and we prefer to maintain the mystery. Clearly the guy's a fan, having named his shop after the 15-minute Electric Ladyland track, but Voodoo Chile's speakers are just as likely to be blaring Édith Piaf or '60s surf tunes as psychedelic blues-rock. Don't even bother asking how much those Piaf records are, though—they're not for sale.

For sheer variety and selection, the water bottle section at the back of Whole Earth Provision is hard to beat. Klean Kanteen, Thinksport, Lifefactory, Steelworks, SIGG, Camelbak, Nalgene BPA-free: They have them all, along with some nice water bottle accessories like Neoprene sleeves and web holsters. Every time we see another story about that entire new continent of trashed disposable water bottles forming in the ocean—The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as Wikipedia calls it—good reusable bottles look better and better. Then we cross our fingers and hope we don't read one day about an island of reusable steel water bottles somewhere. That would be worse.

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