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 I Hate my Kitchen, on the episode entitled 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.
With an eye for bold design, the staff at FinnStyle curates clothing, home décor, and other goods from Finnish designers including Marimekko, Iittala, and Artek. The online store and brick-and-mortar building house wares that have been featured in magazines such as Lucky, Dwell, and The Nest. Among the items, colorful bolts of Marimekko fabric await future occupations as curtains, pillow covers, or dresses, and Kalevala jewelry designs, modeled after archeological finds from the Iron Age, form bold statement pieces for the neck, ears, and wrists.
Like sword makers in a samurai movie, Eversharp?s skilled artisans toil over blades to ensure that each one is flawlessly straight and sharp. Their shop, hailed as one of the nation's largest Wusthof retailers, houses specialized knives and knife sets suited for any need, be it cutting a turkey, slicing bread, or carving a jack-o?-lantern into the spitting image of Alex Trebek. In addition to supplying cutlery, the staffers sharpen blades on a rolling grindstone and host knife-skills classes that prepare students to tackle any cooking emergency with gusto.
Nadeau characterizes its furniture as "with a soul" because it's true artisan work: handcrafted from wood rather than mass-produced from gasket pylons. Showcase fine china and live gerbils in a mahogany regal glass-door cabinet ($372), or in a hefty, finely trimmed narrow bookcase with drawer ($197). Or, display a new moving picture box on a bobbin leg console table ($116). Furniture comes in a myriad of stains and colors, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind. Nadeau's ever-changing inventory includes a variety of sturdy dining room tables and chairs. Prices and selection may vary due to rotating inventory, but pieces are always fully assembled and ready to welcome any tuckered torso or mound of toothbrushes.
Shop in the City's bright, funky storefront brims with a host of eclectic goods. Scrub off scum or the flavor of beef stew with a bar of fine soap, exuding scents of classic french lavender ($6.95) or french verbena ($6.95), or sate jewelry cravings with turquoise bracelets ($14.95–24.95) or an antique multichain necklace ($28). Minnesota T-shirts available in a trifecta of colors give visitors a way to voice statewide solidarity ($26.95). After browsing the boutique's wearable wares, settle into a comfy, brightly upholstered armchair and sample a few pages of one of Shop in the City’s selection of books ($5.95+). High ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and a quaint collection of lamps add a charming vintage ambiance, where an assortment of wall mirrors allows vampires to don bowler hats in homage to René Magritte.
The Twin Cities Originals are a coalition of locally owned and operated restaurants with a shared mission of preserving and promoting the distinctive experience of dining at individually owned eateries. This year’s event will give you unlimited access to the gourmet goodies of 20 local restaurants. As you graze among Woolley’s Steakhouse, Great Waters Brewing Co., and Azia Restaurant, you’ll get bottomless beer and wine tastings throughout the event to wash down the wonderful wares. You’ll also witness first-hand the “Restaurant Olympics,” where local celebrity judges will rank area bartenders and chefs as they go head-to-head in a Chairman Kaga-free battle for culinary domination. TCO will also play host to a wine raffle ($10 per ticket) that will award two thirsty people 30 bottles of wine. So take a stand against chain restaurants and support local, independently owned restaurateurs, or gift a Groupon to a food-obsessed friend and treat them to a fun night on two towns.