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.
Today’s Groupon garnishes your world with seasonal shrubbery. For $7, you’ll get a 24-inch Christmas wreath (a $15 value) and a coupon for $5 off a Fraser Fir Christmas tree from B & J Trees, a local tree farm with four easily accessible lots located throughout the Minneapolis/Twin Cities area. This Groupon is valid at the Richfield Farmer's Market, St. Louis Park, and Eden Prairie Center locations.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
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.
Since opening 40 years ago, each of the trees at B&J Trees has been planted, grown, and harvested on-site. Today, it's two resident arborists who nurture a slew of different tree breeds throughout the seasons. In the nursery, visitors will find more than 1,500 "balled and burlap" trees?whose trunks have been wrapped in burlap, and roots have been carefully nestled into a protective covering?including spruce, white pine, and balsam fir. During the summer months, full lines of landscape-ready trees line the walls. Come Christmas, they supply locals with lush, fragrant trees, including fraser fir, balsam fir, canaan fir, and pine. The folks at B&J encourage their patrons to bring along the whole family to enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, popcorn, cups of hot cocoa, a Santa Claus impersonator, and?at some sites?chainsaw carvings.
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.