If you are ever passing through Santa Barbara, make a stop to not only breathe the ocean air and enjoy the scenery but also load up on crafty stuff! We have a few stores with good rarities and unexpected finds, and this would be a better use of your vacation funds than a t-shirt:
#1 is Art From Scrap : www.artfromscrap.org
This is an initiative through SB's Community Environmental Council to resell and promote creative reuse of items instead of sending them to the landfill. It is incredible, cheap, and always changing (there is always a reliably huge supply of ceramic tile, specialty paper, fabric swatches and doodads, though). They have tons of ideas and inspiration, too. They aren't open many hours, so check on that before you go. It's just a few blocks from the Garden St. freeway exit and definitely worth your time.
#2 is Random : www.randomstore.com
As the name implies, there's all kinds of stuff, and it is generally good stuff. There is a focus on home decor/furnishing, with a big ol' back area of unfinished furniture parts (chair legs, crown molding, frames, etc) and bolts of upholstery and decorating fabric. Random is on the north end of downtown.
#3 is Scavenge, on the lower end of downtown, and it is the place most visitors already know about. If you visit State Street, you'll see it. There's some off-color stuff that warrants parental discretion, just to let you know.
#4 is Pacific Company, which is on Upper State St. in the Gelson's/Wherehouse shopping center off Las Positas Rd. They are like a smaller, rated-G version of Scavenge with no clothing section. Lots of little import goodies as well as live plants, for some reason.
#5 is Art Essentials (in Downtown SB), which is The fine arts store and thus on the pricey side, but they have a good variety of art/craft types represented, including the best supply of large handmade paper in the area (that I've found, at least).
#6 is Craft Essentials in Goleta (owned by Art Essentials). More expensive than Michaels, but that's how it goes, and they're approximately the same size. This is the place to go for any sewing and needlework supplies, and they have all of the other things one would expect from a larger arts/crafts store.
#7 is Santa Barbara Scrapbooks, which is Downtown close to Paseo Nuevo. I've only been in there once, on business, because it would be too tempting to get "one of everything," and I don't have the funds. Looks like a good store, though.
#8 is a nice little store in Downtown SB, across from the Historical Museum, that just says "Beads" on the outside, and I don't know if they're open right now because the building suffered an extensive fire earlier this year. All the more reason to support this local business if it IS open, though.
#9 is the Saturday morning swap meet at Santa Barbara High School. It's free to get in (unlike the Sunday morning swap meet in Goleta, which charges by car) and always interesting.
#10 are the thrift stores, which can be found in the phone book.
#11 is Michaels, in Goleta...It's good to know it's there, but if you're just visiting Santa Barbara there's no reason to go to a chain store.
There are other little treasure troves hidden through the area, but these are the ones I am acquainted with. Please add your own, too.