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 thousands of frame and mat samples, The Great Frame Up can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most diplomas can be framed for around $100–$200), personalized jerseys glisten (most for under $300), and dorm-room movie posters sparkle (many 24"x36" pieces are under $100). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. The Great Frame Up’s no-hassle guarantee and assurance that all work is done on site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of ?hard-to-find tools,? and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone?s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
The inspiration for Hope Chest's mission of helping breast cancer patients arose from the personal tragedy of founder Barbara Hensley. Having lost two sisters to breast cancer, Barbara was horrified by the plight of other women who lacked the financial resources to adequately care for themselves, or who had to make difficult decisions between seeking treatment and providing for their families. The Hope Chest eases the burden by assisting with rent, utilities, and transportation, even educating the community about early detection and screening programs. Funding for these programs comes from Orono and St. Paul retail stores, which sell furniture, home decor, and designer clothing.
Baby Grand sheathes small ones in fashionable accessories and carries furniture, slings, wraps, and baby clothing for moms and moms-to-be. Cloak a trend-setting tyke in the bamboo romper ($28.50), a vintage-style onesie decorated with snaps, making it easy to remove. The funky farmyard activity gym's dangling livestock and noise-making plush toys can entertain bored babies ($65). The laminated buckle bag ($70) boasts a foldout changing pad and insulated bottle bag and comes in a variety of popular prints to fool passersby of its contents. The baby boutique's Balboa Baby adjustable sling ($56) is capable of carrying an 8–25-pound baby or roasted chicken.
The storefront of Artworks Art & Frame, Inc. qualifies as a work of art in and of itself: its side wall is covered with an intricate mural of a Victorian home, and its front face features large reproductions of the most famous works of Seurat and Van Gogh. Within the store, every surface is covered with supplies for all disciplines, including reams of paper, paints in every hue, and temperamental watercolor paints that will only mix with Perrier. In custom framing services, you can enhance pictures, posters, and artwork with creative matting and hand-finished molding, as well as frames with gold- and metal-leaf finishes.