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.
Within his private studio, Professional Picture Framing Association member Joe Weinbeck handcrafts elegant frames to protect oil paintings and prints. Equipped with conservation framing know-how and hundreds of frames from six different suppliers, Joe introduces artwork to new habitats that shelter the pieces from harmful UV rays and hostile eye contact. Archival-quality mats from Peterboro and Crescent give diplomas or photographs the space they need, and four grades of glass or acrylic glazing protect wandering fingers from sticky globs of paint. Joe can also showcase his talents with large-format framing for epic Led Zeppelin posters or blown-up versions of Robert Plant's braces-laden middle school photo.
Becker Furniture World boasts three table-stocked wonderlands with locations in Becker, St. Cloud (Waite Park), and Blaine, as well as a new location opening in Burnsville on Friday. The flagship branch in Becker consists of nearly 300,000 square feet, on-site restaurant, kids play area with complimentary supervision on weekends, and customers can peruse a vast selection of wares from brands such as Sealy, Simmons, Broyhill, Kincaid, Lane, Natuzzi, Rowe, and Stanley. Avoid the hardships associated with training a dog to stay still as you sit on its back by securing a new comfy sofa or dreamy mattress. Area rugs not only boost the ambiance in a domicile, but they also provide an out-of-sight space to sweep unloved Pog collections.
Googly eyes. Gas masks. Mannequin arms. Blowguns. Ax-Man Surplus Stores dares crafters, DIY enthusiasts, and tinkerers of all stripes to dream bigger, better, and weirder with an enormous stock of new surplus items. Each shop's collection of oddities and odds-and-ends resides in open-air barrels and on easily browseable shelves. Bins entice shoppers to rummage through metal bits in search of the next piece to a welded sculpture, and other aisles hold several decades’ worth of electronic wiring, fans, speakers, and fuses, perfect for building a robot that every generation can relate to. Frequent shoppers are rewarded with a new truckload of treasures every week, along with an ever-changing collection of signs that artistically warn of the hazards of shoplifting and suggest off-label uses for the merchandise. World Famous Design Junkies praised Ax-Man for its signage and its selection alike in 2009, calling it “the greatest place to buy do-hickeys in the entire world.”
When Max Schneiderman began his family’s business, it was a grocery store first and foremost. Then Schneiderman’s began to carry a few furniture items and slowly these grew to overshadow the cans of soup and produce until the furnishings finally swallowed the foodstuffs whole.
Now, Schneiderman's Furniture has spread from the Iron Range to spots throughout the Twin Cities. The showrooms stock local and foreign furniture from more than 100 manufacturers. Many items in stock can be customized in color and texture to match a homeowner's current obsession with plastic flamingos.
ChristmasLtd brings cheer to homes with thousands of holiday decor items to deck the halls. Wreaths and garlands add a touch of green to banisters and doors, and Christmas lights twinkle through the night. The selection of Christmas trees includes artificial plants in a variety of shapes and sizes. Customers can choose a 10-foot realistic fraser fir or a 4-foot frosted and pre-lit tree, and then adorn it with a selection of ornaments including musical instruments and sparkling snowflakes.