I saw this cool “Dream Cheeky Webmail Notifier” gadget online and knew I had to hack it . Most places sell it for $15, but I happened to find this one on ebay for $6. It's powered by usb; a clever bit of circuitry lights up a smart-led in the device when you get an email. It even has a wide range of colors to choose from.
I didn't need a webmail notifier though, so I decided to turn it into a really unique clock. I also wanted to improve the aesthetics, so I bought a hollowed out quartz crystal (the kind used to make novelty lamps) on clearance at my local mall for $6. I’ve used these kind of crystals before to make led lamps, so I know how cool they look when they're lit up. You could use something else though, like say an antique lantern, if you can't find a crystal. The sky's the limit really.
I've made two of these clocks now, one for home and on for my desk at work. I used a bandsaw to make a base for one of the clocks out of a piece of purpleheart, but that's not necessary. It looks great just on it's own.