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.
Thirty years ago, Sun Control had just two part-time window-tint installers. Today, they're 15 strong?each certified to install window films not just in cars, but also in homes and commercial locations. They also benefit interiors by keeping them cool on hot summer days and filtering out damaging UV rays that can fade upholstery. For homes, tinting reduces heating and cooling costs and decreases glare while still allowing in natural light. To ensure proper fit and a seamless look, the 3M certified installers cut films and bless them with a lifetime warranty.
Situated in a red-brick edifice on a cozy corner, The Valley Bookseller gives book lovers hospitable environs and heaping amounts of literature. Text-ravenous eyes can feast on the store's beefed-up inventory, which stocks lockers of bestsellers such as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest ($27.95 for hardcover) and 61 Hours ($28.00 for hardcover) among an already meaty collection of fiction and non-fiction favorites. Wander the written words of a favorite author, decode directions to hidden treasure in the works of Norman Mailer, or get helpful life lessons from sleazy Hollywood agents in the books of Jackie Collins. If a particular manuscript beckons but doesn't appear in-stock at the store, The Valley Bookseller will order the book at no additional cost, with the order usually arriving within a week.