On the fringes of Midtown, right off the metro, a two-block strip offers charm unparalleled by other Houston walk-and-shop experiences. A collection of shops on Main Street that stretch from West Alabama to Berry has live music bars (Alley Kat, Big Top and Continental Club), a whole scale of dining experiences (Julie’s Bistro, Natachee’s and Tacos A-GoGo), a coffee shop & cocktail bar (Double Trouble), even a barbershop (Big Kat’s)—but quickly moving to the forefront on its list of amenities are two little specialty shops, unassuming and side-by-side. I’m talking about The Tinderbox and My Flaming Heart.
My Flaming Heart features a collection of folk, vintage, up-cycled, and hand- made selected treasures. But if that doesn’t do it for you, there’re trays and bags of beads and charms and baubles of every variety that you can put together yourself. Don’t be fooled: this ain’t your grandma’s bead shop. Walking into the shop transports you to a wonderland full of 50’s pin-up glamour, Southwestern, Native American, Mexican influences and Hermetic and Christian imagery with some African and Asian themes for good measure.
In addition to the spectacular array of accessories available for sale, My Flaming Heart sells hand-made and vintage clothing and boots, knick-knacks and photos as well as art of every conceivable nature. But their most interesting commodity is the store-made jewelry that covers almost every available surface.
From costume glamour to macabre, men’s and women’s alike: create your own with the beads and plain chains, commission jewelry by one of the artists that work there, or head over to their DIY craft nights and learn to make one of a kind pieces that are just your taste! In partnership with The Tinderbox, My Flaming Heart shows you how to use common fixtures or virtually any trifle that strikes your fancy and turn it into jewelry.
The Tinderbox seems to be in meditative, guided crafting more than My Flaming Heart’s creatively guideline-free approach (though their partnership promises the best of both worlds). The Tinderbox has an area set aside specifically for crafting and an easily accessible schedule on their website to sign up for their Wednesday Crafternoons (starting at just $10), or one of their specialized classes ranging from $25 to $125 depending on your desired area of study, including apron making and bookbinding.
They also have handmade goods for sirs and madams and even little misses and misters… in case you’re not the crafting type.
Either way, between these two stores, you can find a gift for anyone or a whole new skill-set. I’ll be signing up for the next collaboration class—maybe I’ll see you there?