Self-proclaimed “paper junkie” Cecilia Torres and her husband Nestor have turned their passion for pretty paper into a wonderfully vivid brick-and-mortar shop. At Casa Papel, you can flip through binders teeming with house-designed stationery samples reflecting Cecilia’s graphic-design sense, and she’ll conceive, assemble and help you create everything from wedding invitations to baby announcements. While you’re there, scour racks draped with 320-plus sheets of paper-cum-art flown in from everywhere from Japan to Nepal, and crafted out of such unconventional materials as mulberry tree bark and … elephant poo. (Hey, even pretty has its eeww side.)
Also just opened… With its sheer draperies and chic oriental rugs, Rittenhouse Needlepoint dispels the image of old ladies hunched over their embroidery projects. The airy living-room-style craft shop fosters the social aspect of needlepoint, with free classes complete with snacks (there’s a Friday 5-7 p.m. happy hour with wine) and cultural lectures where it’s not rude to keep your head down and stitch. Choose from more than 3,000 hues of threads and 1,000-plus updated canvases, including scenes of Philly and geometric patterns that can be turned into belts, pillows — even shoes.