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.
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.
Since opening in 1895, the Hoigaard family and its eponymous shop has been supplying nature lovers with the equipment and apparel necessary to make a playground out of the great outdoors. Today, third- and fourth-generation Hoigaards run the shop alongside a staff of camping aficionados and skilled craftspeople. Their expertise comes in handy as they dress fellow outdoorsfolk in a selection of belts, jackets, shoes, and boots from brand-name manufacturers such as Patagonia, White Sierra, FiveFingers, and The North Face. A collection of outdoor gear––including tents, bicycles, sleeping bags, and canoes––is available for rent or purchase, and the shop's staff repairs damaged equipment in their onsite repair and service shop. They also perform tune-ups for snowboards, skis, and inline skates, and split bicycles into two separate unicycles upon request.
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.
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.
Castle Building & Remodeling, one of Remodeling magazine’s Big 50 of 2011, hosts a team of professional designers and builders who overhaul interiors with historically inspired concepts. Two design-selection studios display the custom craftsmanship, showcasing a 1940s–style kitchen with cherry cabinets and a 1910s–style bathroom with hex tile flooring and a sink full of Teddy Roosevelt's mustache trimmings.
The remodelers create a mockup of each project using 3-D CAD software, noting any desired changes before installation. They realize projects with the help of artisanal manufacturers such as Clay Squared, whose artists craft custom ceramic tiles using time-honored methods.