Some of my fondest memories of growing up are of the days I played outside.  It didn’t matter if I was shooting marbles, playing freeze tag, riding my bike, playing hopscotch, organizing red rover or playing baseball in the street until the street lights came on, I always had fun, lots of fun, with the kids on the entire block.

On my recent visit to AR Workshop, several emotions of my childhood raced through my mind as I entered the store.  There were several children from the Torrance-South Bay YMCA seated at two large tables smiling, laughing, having conversation with each other, and at the same time they were each proudly creating their own colorful tote bag.  There were no signs of cell phones or any other type of technology remotely close to them. They were kids, having fun, lots of fun. 

AR Workshop Torrance is owned by Cristina McKinnon.  Cristina, originally from Chicago, always found satisfaction crafting, including cross-stitching, quilting, tole painting, paper and digital scrapbooking.  “AR Workshop provides a creative opportunity for family and friends to come together and make amazing memories together.  We provide an opportunity for individuals, of all ages, to create Do It Yourself (DIY) projects,” exclaimed McKinnon

“Youth projects include plank wood photo frames, plank wood signs,  canvas tote bags, canvas pillows and canvas and wood wall hangings.  Adults can also create centerpiece boxes, rectangular pedestal trays, chunky knit blankets and pillows, blanket ladders, clocks, lazy Susan’s and jewelry stamping,” stated McKinnon.

As I toured, I found myself in awe of this store.  Everything was extremely organized and creatively displayed.  In the back of the store was the area in which the drills, staple guns, nails, pliers, brushes, wire, hardware, nail guns and hooks were located; items used for creating projects were organized. Cristina’s husband, Milton, created the beautiful and unique furniture in the store.  Examples of DIY projects that can be created at AR Workshop are displayed throughout the store. There is also an area in which local artisans sell jewelry, candles and much more. 

The two projects that intrigued me the most were the chunky blankets and the ladders in which you display the chunky blanket you created on.  There were large bolts of vibrant colors of yarn in which a customer could select from to create their blanket.  The ladders, which are individually created, can be made with a choice of wood color.  I can’t wait to attend a class to design my own chunky blanket and ladder to display at home with my fall decorations.

“AR Workshop is perfect for family outings, date night, team building, birthday parties or simply anyone wanting to get together to create something amazing and to have fun. The staff is incredible. They helped the vision of the store come to life and are very attentive to our customers,” commented McKinnon.

The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce thanks AR Workshop for being a valued member and wishes Cristina and her team much continued success. AR Workshop Torrance is located in South Torrance at the Village Shopping Center at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Vista Montana. Information at or 310-893-7553.  

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