The Smithery: Make memorable, metal trinkets at Grandview shop

Make memorable, metal trinkets at Grandview shop

The Smithery: Make memorable, metal trinkets at Grandview shopI find the most memorable adventures to be hands-on experiences. And, they’re even more memorable when I get to make a keepsake along the way.

Such was the case when I tapped the letters of my family members’ names onto a bronze heart while making a necklace for myself at the Smithery in Grandview Heights. The shop offers metal-smithing classes for adults and children, as well as has a gift shop full of neat handmade creations by local artisans.

The Smithery: Make memorable, metal trinkets at Grandview shopI participated in a “Make and Take” workshop that included choosing a charm, stamping it with decorations and threading it onto a chain. It took about 30 minutes to complete my project, and it cost less than $20.

I chose to embellish a precut heart charm for a necklace. Other options included making a pet tag or a key chain.

Once I selected my charm, I was instructed to tape it to a metal block to prevent it from slipping. I used a brass hammer to firmly tap the ends of metal pegs that had raised shapes and letters on the opposite ends. Doing so left imprints on my metal heart.

I picked from a variety of metal stamps including letters, numbers, punctuation marks and familiar shapes.

The Smithery: Make memorable, metal trinkets at Grandview shopThe hardest part was deciding what to create. I decided to squeeze three names onto my charm. My first attempt revealed a crooked “m.” But I quickly decided that any imperfection added personality and confirmed that it was handmade.

I finalized my piece by adding a few flowers. I also learned I could quickly make my piece look aged by filling in the indented metal with black, permanent marker. I was pleased with my final product, now one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

The Smithery is located at 1306 Grandview Ave. For more information on workshops, visit or call 614-867-5780.

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Paper Moon Art Studio: Put your imagination to the test at interactive gallery

Put your imagination to the test at this interactive gallery

Paper Moon Art Studio offers art classes for adults and children in the Columbus community of Clintonville. I found out about this fun studio while attending a children’s birthday party with my kids.

Owner Kristen Marra Marek led party guests in the making of a variety of crafts, including paint-splattered posters and cardboard puppets. Marek, who has a degree in art education from Ohio State, has a knack for engaging children in the creative process.

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One craft had the children circling around a piece of poster board. Each child held onto a section of the board as Marek squirted on colorful globs of paint. The children were challenged to cover the surface of the board without letting any paint spill off.

Squeals of joy ensued as the children moved the board around, and the result looked like the spin-art creations I made as a child at the fair.

Another craft had them dressing cardboard puppets in fabrics and objects found around the studio, such as bells, beads and buttons. My daughter chose to dress her puppet in summery fabrics. She drew a face and glued on a necklace. My son made his look like a robot by gluing on lots of tinfoil. The projects tested their imagination and their ability to use a glue gun, which they easily mastered.

A great way to sample the studio’s offerings and supplies is at a monthly family event aptly called “2nd Saturday Family Nights.” Parents and kids can stop in from 5-8 p.m. to work on a themed art project. The cost is $25 per family. Advanced registration isn’t required, but calling ahead to reserve a spot is good idea since space is limited.

The Paper Moon Art Studio is located at 4145 N. High St., Columbus. For more information, call 614-332-9149 or visit

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Brio Tuscan Grille: Easton location’s fountain makes this fine-dining destination our top family-friendly restaurant for August

Easton location’s fountain makes this fine-dining destination our top family-friendly restaurant for August

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It’s August and it’s hot. But that’s no reason to consume another box of mac and cheese in an air-conditioned home. Instead, consider heading to Brio Tuscan Grille at Easton Town Center for penne pasta and cheese, enjoyed on Brio’s patio adjacent to Easton’s Town Square and fountain.

Columbus-based Brio has multiple locations, but the fountain is key to the family-friendly quotient at Easton. Ask to sit on the patio, alongside the fence that faces the fountain. Reservations are not accepted for this area, so it’s first-come, first-serve. We sat by a gate that allowed our children to exit and re-enter the patio. It gave us a chance to enjoy fine food and a conversation, mostly uninterrupted by our kids, who were frolicking in the fountain.

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Town Square is the site of many ongoing events during the summer at Easton, including an outdoor movie series on Tuesdays, concerts on Wednesdays and a farmer’s market on Thursdays. So if the fountain isn’t running, such as during concerts, the patio is still the best seat in the house. Learn more about events.

Are bathing suits acceptable attire?

We were skeptical if it’d be OK for our children – ages 7 and 9 – to wear their bathing suits concealed by coverups to the restaurant, only to tear them off during dinner to splash in the fountain. Assistant General Manager Brian Peters assured us that it was OK. Just be sure to bring a towel and change of clothes, if you plan to splash in the fountain. If you forget, though, there’s a Gap Kids a stone’s throw away.

Brio recently updated its menu, but Mike’s go-to dish remains the Pasta BRIO, made of rigatoni, grilled chicken, seared mushrooms, and roasted red pepper sauce. I like to try any number of the delicious seafood dishes. “Bambino Favorites” include ravioli, lasagna, chicken parmesan and grilled salmon – all under $7.

Our kids loved the mac and cheese, but the fountain got all their attention. They ran around in circles with other kids and soaked up the experience. That is, until we had Torta di Cioccolata, a cake-based dessert with a warm chocolate center, vanilla bean gelato, anglaise sauce and a chocolate drizzle.

And for the parents?

Mike and I liked having a good meal somewhat by ourselves as we watched our kids play in the fountain – something we thought they may have outgrown. It was nice to see they hadn’t – at least not yet.

Brio Tuscan Grille is located at 3993 Easton Station, Columbus. Learn more.

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