Self-Improvement 101

Holiday giving as a class act.

Drop and give me 20 paragraphs!

For aspiring wordsmiths troubled by the transition from thought to print, Richard Hugo House has an antidote. Writer’s Boot Camp offers a month’s worth of exercises to discipline the creative mind and inspire great prose. A combination of writing exercises and reading analysis, the course aims to instill a useful skill set by the fifth week’s honorable discharge.

Instructor: Cheryl Slean

Meets: 4–6 p.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 24–Feb. 28

Location: 1634 11th Ave

Cost: $175 Hugo House members, $190 nonmembers

Information: 206-322-7030,

Addicted to the Needle

Everybody likes a gift that keeps on giving. Even better is giving a gift that gives back. Treat your loved one to Beginning Knitting lessons at Hilltop Yarn and Needlepoint Shop. They’ll learn a valuable skill to pass the time and stay warm during winter. As a bonus, you’ll likely receive handmade scarves and mittens for holidays to come.

Meets: Four sessions, once a week, for two hours each; see Web site for dates

Location: 2224 Queen Anne Ave. N.

Cost: $60

Information: 206-282-1332,

Drink Your Homework

For the wine lover seeking a little culture, South Seattle Community College offers Introduction to Washington Wines. Ron Irvine, of Vashon Winery, is the instructor. In this class, the 21-and-older set will learn wine history, viticulture practices, and winemaking styles. Best of all, the course teaches sensory evaluation, allowing students to taste a variety of representative Washington wines.

Instructor: Ron Irvine

Meets: 6–9 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 3–March 22

Location: South Seattle Community College campus, 6000 16 Ave. S.W.

Cost: $45

Information: (click Class Schedules, followed by the Wine Technology department heading to view the specific course, WIN 131: Introduction to Washington Wines)

Blowing it

Glass objects are everywhere, from useful items like cups and bowls to vanity pieces like paperweights and ornaments. If your loved one has a taste for that which is shiny and sleek, consider a gift of Beginning Glassblowing lessons at the Redmond School of Glass. Students come away with six of their own creations. Just treat your loved one to an additional gift of sunglasses to protect them against the brightness.

Instructor: Cory Hubble

Meets: Six-week course, four-hour sessions; dates determined by instructor upon sign-up.

Location: 18080 N.E. 68th St., A-110, Redmond

Cost: $600, bring sunglasses

Information: 425-882-4971,

Neatness Counts

Classes at PCC Natural Markets aren’t limited to the culinary arts. Though their winter 2006 course list won’t go public until the end of December, a gift certificate allows your loved one to choose one when the time comes. The Clutter Clearing Workshop: Environmental Acupuncture for Home and Office is popular. This single session assesses one’s inability to get organized and offers tips on arranging the home or office in a manner conducive to positive energy flow.

Instructor: Rebecca Ross

Meets/Location: 7–9 p.m. Mon., Jan. 30, at West Seattle PCC, 2749 California Ave. S.W., 206-937-8481; 7–9 p.m. Tues., March 7, at PCC office, 4201 Roosevelt Way N.E., 209-547-1222; 7–9 p.m. Wed., March 22, at Issaquah PCC, 1810 12th Ave. N.W., Issaquah, 425-369-1222

Cost: $20 PCC members, $25 nonmembers

Information: 206-545-7112,

Engineering Your Jeans

From mending a favorite pair of ripped jeans to customizing curtains or clothes, sewing is a money-saving life skill. Stitches, a Capitol Hill store that sells unique and funky fabrics, offers several courses in the needle-and-thread arts. Forget those ripped jeans altogether; Beginning Sewing students emerge from the two-day class with a pair of handmade pants.

Instructor: Jamie Skolfield

Meets: Two-and-a-half-hour sessions (check Web site for schedule)

Location: 711 E. Pike St.

Cost: $25 (check Web site for a list of additional class materials)

Information: 206-709-0707,

Show them Your Etchings

Know an artistically inclined person yearning to experiment beyond simple acrylics or pencil sketches? Printmaking might be of interest. The Sev Shoon Arts Center offers a variety of classes in the medium. The Enhanced Etched Print course covers the basics of drypoint, etching, and aquatint processes.

Instructor: Kim Van Someren

Meets: 6–10 p.m. Mondays, Feb. 6–27

Location: 2862 N.W. Market St.

Cost: $190 until 5 p.m. Jan. 30; price then increases to $220.

Information: 206-782-2415,