Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She’s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show’s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop’s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.
The crackle of Fireside Hearth & Home's fireplaces have filled the soundscapes of households across the country for more than 60 years. Today, their well-stocked showrooms feature a variety of advanced gas, electric, and wood-burning models from top designers such as Quadra-Fire, Heat & Glo, and Heatilator. In addition to fireplaces and accessories, they offer a number of decorative surrounds and mantels built with stone, wood, or casted material to gussy up any new or existing hearth. At attractive display areas fashioned to look like natural household settings, attentive staffers stand by to answer any questions, offer installation guidelines, or share tips on repelling pesky Santas.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln workers glaze and fire it in time for customers to retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
Built-in back massagers greet guests as they sink into Elite Nail Spa's pipeless pedicure chairs, perched above foot jacuzzis with massaging whirlpool jets. Sea-salt scrubs and seaweed or mineral masks help exfoliate and nourish both feet and hands, which don french tips, gel polishes, and other eye-catching accoutrements. The spa also tailors Princess pedicures to children younger than 12 and paints ACT answers on the toenails of high-school seniors. In addition to nail services, Elite Nail Spa treats guests to Swedish, hot-stone, acupressure, and other varieties of massage, as well as custom facials with extractions and vapor treatments.
Selection is no substitute for expertise when it comes to lighting fixtures and fans. Luckily, Fan Man Lighting boasts both attributes. The owners have a combined 40 years of industry experience and a deep familiarity with their stock, so they can capably recommend a fan or lighting fixture for any setting. They don't expect customers to just take their word for it, though. They have more than 60 ceiling fans, 100 lighting fixtures, and 80 styles of water fountains on display for customers to touch and fiddle with until they find the one that suits their needs.
Viking Blinds is a family-owned-and-operated provider of quality custom window-coverings from Hunter Douglas. With quality wood ($122 for a 36"x36" value blind; $136 for premium) or two-inch aluminum blinds ($116 for 36"x36"), you can suspiciously survey the neighborhood riffraff before letting go with a satisfying snap. Or perhaps you'll find joy performing shadow-puppet shows on soft honeycomb shades ($111 for 30"x30"; $126 for 36"x36") before an audience of tomato-stuffed mason jars. Make sure with today's deal your window-coverings block out the platinum-fringed leaves in the forest homes of obscenely wealthy squirrels, which also shut out the harsh rays of the sun at their convenience.