Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is There A Wedding In Your Future?

This is one of my favorite times of the year for framing. There are so many fun things happening. Right now weddings are the happenin' thing. I love framing wedding invitations. I've framed invitations brought in by so many different people: the wedding couple, the parents, the wedding consultant, bridesmaids, aunts and uncles, God parents. The list goes on. Every invitation is different and unique and every one of the finished pieces is the most prized memento from the occasion.

Don't let this photo be your guide, either. This is a very basic but beautiful idea. But you can do even more. You can incorporate the wedding colors into the design. You can include in the whole package the bridal bouquet, or a boutonniere, or the veil, the garter, almost any souvenir from the wedding. Well, probably not the cake, but it has been considered. How about a photo of the cake instead?

If you are a guest at the wedding, imagine the bride and groom receiving something like this as a wedding gift. Believe me, they will cherish it for the rest of their lives.

But the wedding invitation isn't the only thing you can consider framing. OK, friends of the couple, how about doing something really fun with the invitation to the bridal shower? These are usually jovial occasions and you can really let your imagination run wild. Again, incorporate the wedding colors or add some of the gift wrapping or ribbons. How about some of the photos from the shower? If you can imagine it, we can do it.

And with my computerized mat cutter, there are so many other options from multi-opening mats to special debossing, V-grooves, or inlays. And for that special hand decorated touch we can add French lines, colored or marbled panels, deckled edges, gilded bevels and more. Come in and see some more ideas and options. We can personalize the perfect gift for the perfect couple.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What's Coming Up.

First I have to thank you all for coming back since my last posting. My shoulder is feeling good and it's been great getting back to what I love. I've had lots of fun framing your stuff. I've done some kids art, some diplomas, a couple of original watercolors, some posters, lots of photos, some interesting textile art, and much, much more.
So now I'm encouraging you to think about Mother's Day. It's just around the corner, you know. Just a short 5 weeks away. I know that sounds like a long time, but time flies when you're having fun and you just might have so much fun you forget to get that special something framed in time.

Some ideas:
  • Of course photos are always a hit with mom. Snapshots you got recently of your family or of a special occasion. Old photos, maybe a bit tired, cracked, torn, or worn. Even if it might need some restoration, bring them in. I do restorations here & I can make 'em look just as good as new.
  • Does your mom have a favorite hobby? Scrap booking? Bring a special page in.
  • Gardening? How about a photo she took of her favorite flower.
  • Sewing? What about a special fabric or maybe a collection of swatches or tools she uses.
  • Quilting? Quilting is perfect for framing.
  • Collecting? How about a sample of some of her collection.
  • Music? I can frame an old record with or without its cover. A group of CDs or old 8-track tapes. A favorite piece of music.
  • Memorabilia. What about some art that you created when you were a youngster? I'll bet you can remember bringing home a great piece of art you did way back when and your mom loved it but never got around to framing it. It's never too late. I know she'll love it.

Oh, by the way, maybe you're married to a mom. All of the same things above still apply... and more.

  • Do you have some photos from your last vacation? Let's make a fun collage with them.
  • Your kids always have endearing collections or works of art that deserve showcasing. You know mom would love it.
  • Is there a christening gown you used for all your children? Framing that gown will save it forever.
  • How about some artifacts from your child's birth? Hospital photos, footprints, baby bracelets, bassinet labels, baptismal records. What mom wouldn't love to put a collection like that together and display it in a special place.

Whatever it is, together, we can design a great display and find the perfect frame.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back to Framing

After 10 weeks of recovery, I'm now back at it. Late last year I was forced to take a good look at the state of my shoulder and decide to either continue living with it or put an end to all the pain. Too much pain, not enough sleep and a crimp in my agility and strength made for a really cranky Bobbie. So I finally gave in and had the surgery. All I can say is it is not for the faint of heart, but having said that, I'm glad I did it. It has been worth it. Although not yet ready to take on any arm-wrestling or swimming, I am ready to take on my framing with even more vigor.

So what's involved in making one of your frames? Well, let's start with the frame itself. There are three ways a framer can provide a frame to you. Some framers who have the space to store mouldings in their inventory can order your choice of moulding as one long stick then cut it, or chop it, to the size needed to frame your art. Other framers who don't have the space can order your moulding already chopped to fit your art. That's what I do. I receive a long, skinny box from my vendors with a well-padded, tightly bound inner package containing the moulding you ordered and it's already cut to the exact size I need. The third way a framer can provide a frame to you is to order your frame "chopped and joined", that is, the vendor will cut the moulding to the size needed then put it together for the framer then ship it to him. I have ordered some frames this way. If the moulding has an odd shape or is really wide or I think I might have difficulty joining it, I will ask my vendor to join it for me. I haven't done this too often, but occasionally my experience will tell me that this moulding will be really difficult for me to join. The vendors have some super-duper equipment that I don't have that can join mouldings that I can't join.

So how are the frames put together? Well, I line up the corners then glue them together. If the corners have not been cut straight or exactly at a 45 degree angle, then I have to sand them to make them straight. I have a pretty nifty sander made expressly for this purpose. When the corners are stable from the glue, I will either shoot some nails into the corner from the outside edge of the frame or I can use my underpinner. The underpinner is a pneumatically operated contraption that shoots a "V" shaped "nail" into the joint from the underside of the frame. Both techniques are equally good and depending on the size, shape and composition of the moulding, I will use one or the other.

OK, so now we have the moulding put together but your frame design isn't done yet. If you chose a mat board or two or three, these have to be cut and put together. Again, some framers keep many, many mat boards in their inventory. I don't have the space so I order them as I need them. Let's say you need an opening to accommodate your art that is 10-3/4" x 12-5/8" and you want 3" of mat at the top and sides of your art and 4" at the bottom. Out comes my calculator and I start punching in the numbers and... Well, not so much today. Actually my pricing software will calculate all of this for me. Once all calculated, some framers will cut the opening by hand using a manual mat cutter. In my case, I have a computerized mat cutter (CMC) so I have to enter the dimensions into my mat cutting software and the mat will be cut automatically for me. This wonderful CMC allows me to easily cut multiple openings and various shapes and, in general, design much more elaborate mats than ever before. In fact my CMC includes a design program that allows me to design almost anything to be cut or debossed. (See my earlier blog about Mitchell Subaru for a description of debossing.)

Now the two or three mats you ordered are all cut out and they have to be assembled. If you ordered a fillet in your design, it is at this point that I will cut, assemble and install the fillet. This is also the point at which absolutely precise measurements are required. There are no shortcuts at here. It all has to be done by hand and it has to be done accurately. Once cut and glued together, the fillet is installed into the mat opening with more glue and foam core shims to keep it in place.

When all the above steps are done, I will mount your artwork. Depending on what it is, I will either permanently mount it onto some foam core or mount it in an entirely non-invasive, removable process. In general, the value or origin of your art will determine which technique I will use. There are many, many ways to mount art and objects and all of this has to be determined during the design process. Permanently mounting art in my vacuum press is fast and easy - but not fool-proof. Every framer has a horror story of things gone wrong in the press. The removable mounting is not fool proof either, but by its very nature, it is reversible and can be re-done. It also takes much, much longer to do; at least 10 times longer.

Now the art is mounted, the mats are cut, the fillet installed and the moulding joined. The last item is the glass. I have a wall mounted media cutter on which I cut my mat's outside dimensions, the foam core that goes into the art package, and the glass. Once the glass is cut, I seam it, that is, I use a little tool that lightly sands the edges of the cut glass. By seaming it, it helps prevent cuts on my hands and it makes the edges more stable while I handle it and install it. After cutting and seaming, it has to be polished, or cleaned. One would hope that when one takes the glass out of the box it would be clean and usually this is so. But not always. And despite all my precautions of wearing gloves and gingerly handling the glass as little as possible, I usually manage to get a finger print or smudge on it. So now I have to polish it.

Finally all the parts of the puzzle are assembled. The moulding, the art with the mats and fillet and the glass. With the moulding upside down, the glass goes in first taking care to install it with the UV coating toward the inside, next to the art. Finally, I install the art package, which includes the mounted art and all mats. At this time I will flip the whole package over and examine it once again looking for those pesky, little dust motes, stray hairs, or other nasty little things that don't belong in there but have escaped my earlier brushings. With a clean bill of health, I use framer's points to anchor the package into the moulding. Finally, I put the dust cover on the back then add the hanging hardware, wire and hooks. The last step is to put my identifying sticker on the back, and add information stickers about the glass and mats. Voila! A beautifully framed piece of art!

Not everything that comes in can be framed this easily and some are much simpler, but this covers about 90% of the art I get to work with. I hope this little tutorial has helped you understand some of what's involved in creating your finished product when you bring it to me.

So bring it on! I'm ready to get back to it! I can do it all! I am the Arnold Schwarzenegger of framing! OK, so maybe I exaggerate but you get my drift. I look forward to your comments and questions and I certainly look forward to meeting your special piece of art.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mitchell Subaru's Cool Display

When you've got a cool product, it just pays to show it off. That's what Mitchell Subaru in Canton did with a couple of news articles about their excellent cars. I was in their show room recently and noticed a newspaper article from the Hartford Courant about the new Legacy. Someone had laid it on the windshield of the show room vehicle. Being a framer, you know, I couldn't let it just sit there. I had to explain the value of framing the article so that everyone who walked into the show room could see it, read it, and understand the value of that vehicle. I guess I sold them on the idea because now they have not one, but two excellent newspaper articles hanging just inside their showroom door. One is about the 2010 Legacy and the other is about the 2010 Outback. This is a picture of the framed article on the Outback and I've included a close-up of some "debossing" effects I added to the matting.

Debossing is pressing an image into the mat. In this case, I pressed in the words "2010 Outback" but it could be anything. I can add original designs or designs taken from your art. It could be subtle lines around the edge of the mat opening. Gee, the options are limitless. I just thought it would be nice to reinforce the "2010 Outback" brand.

There are many businesses and individuals who have nice write-ups done about them in newspapers and even on line. By framing those articles, you can preserve those moments for generations to come. And in the case of Mitchell Subaru, it was a product they sold. Hey, if you have a great product, why not brag about it.

OK, so what was I doing at Mitchell Subaru? It was just time for some regular maintanence on my Outback. I really like my little Outback. It serves me well with all the stuff I like to do, like canoeing, kayaking, bicycling and just getting around town, and I mean ALL around town. I do a lot of traveling around in the state. There's plenty of room for all my frame corners and matboard samples and finished pieces that I deliver. But I think I might like my husband's Subaru Impreza WRX even more! What a great little car it is. It's got tons of power and it's FAST. I like that... Not that I exceed the speed limit or anything... So if you're in the market for a new (or pre-owned) car, stop in at Mitchell Subaru in Canton and ask for Gary Thomsen. He's a great guy. You'll enjoy working with him.

And tell them all I said "Hi" and that you heard about them from my blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Colorful Custom Mats

With the holidays coming, I offered some gift idea in my earlier post. Now it's time to think about not just what to frame, but how to frame it.

Framing artwork can be fun. Posters, sports memorabilia, and animation art, children's art all send themselves to bright colors. Enhancing art with color is a refreshing change and brightens up any home or office decor.

If you are a collector or have any pieces of animation art, the first thing you'll notice are the vibrant, striking colors. And we're here to help you choose which colors in the artwork should be used for the matting and framing. In the example shown here, Fred and Barney come alive with smart color choices. A bright blue extends the sky, surrounded by a thin bright orange second mat to highlight Fred's outfit, with the third yellow mat pulling it all together to match Barney's hair. The bright orange frame completes the design.

Abstracts also lend themselves to powerful, colorful designs. We can make interesting, unique designs to perfectly fit each piece. This abstract piece was framed using bands of color instead of one flat mat. The blue, red, and yellow matboards picked up the colors in the artwork. Surrounded by a tangerine frame, the piece pops.

Even a traditional painting can be made to look up to date using a rich colored mat and metal frame. The wider, deeper blue mat was chosen to pull that color out of the painting and liven things up. A white frame surrounds the art, but it is followed by a thin beeswax color that is highlighted by the walnut and silver leaf frame.

We look forward to seeing your artwork and helping you decide on a colorful custom made mat and frame design.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holidays? Already?!

Wow, it's hard to believe the holidays are upon us, but the hard truth is... the holidays are upon us. I saw my first TV commercial with a holiday theme this morning as I was watching the news. I was almost offended by that, then I realized that it's only 53 days until Christmas. Sheesh!

I don't know about you, but I've hardly given any thought to holidays this year. I've been busy with so many other things. And there are always some people on my gift list that I always struggle with. It seems they have everything they need or want so I always have to find something really unique. It must be something they will really appreciate.

Last year I found a collection of collector's cards of motorcycles that my husband had packed away. Because he's a motorcycle rider/lover, I knew he'd enjoy seeing those cards displayed so I devised a unique frame that could be viewed from both front and back so he could see both front and back of his cards. He loved it!

So, what's in your closet/drawer/attic that is the perfect gift for your loved one? Maybe it's some sports tickets that could be framed. World Series? Superbowl? Stanley Cup? Maybe you've got a sports memorabilia collector in your family. Have you got a signed jersey you want framed? When you're talking sports, the possibilities are nearly endless.

What about some mementos from your travels. Surely you took some great photos. How about framing some of those. What a great way to remember that trip.

Got an antimacassar that grandma made? These are really fun to frame and give to family members.

Was your grandfather a craftsman or a professional of some sort? Why not grab a couple of items that really defined you grandpa, frame them and now you've got the perfect gift for your mom, dad, or sibling.

Here's another idea: What grandparent wouldn't love to have an original painting, drawing, collage, or other art object done by their grandchild hanging in their home? Children's art can really liven up a room. And their art is so open and honest. It's hard to find anywhere else.

What about that counted cross stitch your wife made but never got around to getting it framed? Now there's a perfect gift! Remember, any textile can be framed too, whether it is a sewing project, costume, scarf, christening gown, whatever... Over the years, some of my favorite things to frame have been textiles.

What about military medals or memorabilia? Many people have had careers in the military where they have accumulated various certificates, patches and medals. What a great way to commemorate that part of their lives by displaying those articles in a beautifully framed piece.

Got an old family photo? Maybe it needs a little restoration. Don't hesitate to bring it in. We do photo restorations here and we can frame the finished product - one for each member of your family.

These are just a few ideas. Maybe you've got something in mind right now. Bring it in. Let's talk about what you'd like to do, then let's do it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Let’s talk about GLASS.

When you have something custom framed, chances are, a part of that framing package includes GLASS. Did you know you have more than ten options when it comes to glazing? Wow. That’s kind of mind-boggling, isn’t it? Well, let’s talk about some of those options.

Probably the most familiar types of glass to you are regular glass, UV glass and non-glare glass. These can be used to your advantage when you frame your artwork.

There is a lot of talk about conservation, acid free, archival and other buzz words whether you’re a scrap booker, a photographer, a collector or just someone who picked up on it somewhere along the way. All of these things are important considerations. But not all artwork requires conservation, or acid free, or archival, or UV anything.

Let’s say you have a poster you picked up at a concert and it’s pretty cool and it reminds you of the good time you had. You paid $25 for it and it was one of hundreds available. You want to hang it in your family room for a while and remember the fun you had. Something like this probably doesn’t require a UV protective glass.

On the other hand, it’s a really cool poster and you had a blast at this event. You know you’ll treasure this poster for a long time to come and when you look at it, you know you'll recall the really great time you had. (That’s why you’re getting it framed, after all.) Well, to avoid color fading, now you might want to consider UV glass. UV glass protects your artwork from 99% of the harmful, color damaging UV rays that come not just from the sun, but from all light sources.

Now, one of the really cool things about this poster is where you’re going to hang it. It’s going to look great on that wall in your family room, but you know from experience that other framed pieces hanging there reflect a lot of the light that comes in to this room. Here’s where the non-glare glass comes in. There are two types of “reflection control” glass we use in framing. One has UV protection, one does not. So, you want to preserve this poster and not fight with the glare. I would recommend going with the UV, non-glare glass. There are some limitations with this glass though, so we'll have to talk about those to see if this is still the best choice.

And we’re not done yet, can you believe it? This poster is really, really cool. You know you’re going to treasure it for the rest of your life. You’ve got the perfect spot for it and reflection could be an issue. The colors are outstanding and the design is the best and that’s what makes it SO cool. You just love looking at it. Well, we’ve got the perfect glass for you. We call it Museum glass. It is ultra clear, non-reflective and 99% UV protective as well. It has the highest light transmission along with the lowest reflection rating of any glass today. That just means that it almost looks like there is no glass there at all. To tell you the truth, Museum glass is my personal favorite. It is beautiful glass and I wouldn’t use anything else. There are never any issues with this glass... except that it is one more choice for you to make.

Remember in the beginning, I did say there were over ten different kinds of glazing for you to consider. So you can see, I’ve only scratched the surface. Most of these same choices are available in acrylic "glass" too. We'll cover those in a later post. But don’t worry. That’s why I’m here. I can help you make the best choice in the many, many choices you have to make when you have something custom framed. With a little bit of question and answer time, together we’ll come to the best choices for all of your art and objects.

If you would like to explore glazing options for your framed pieces, I suggest you check out the Tru Vue website. This is the glass I use on all of my framing projects. Armed with this information, you will be able to make the best decisions about your artworks.

Oh, and that really, really cool poster? It’s going to look terrific in that spot!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adventures in Picture Framing

Hello everyone.

Welcome to my new blog, Adventures in Picture Framing.

This is my first adventure in blogging so hang in there; we might be in for quite a ride. Actually, this might be a more adventurous ride for me than for you because I'm learning as I go.

My hope is that I can offer timely information to you, my readers. I want to educate you about custom picture framing, not that this is a life changing topic, but it can be fun and interesting. And I want to take some of my cues from you. Got a question about picture framing? I'll do what I can to answer it for you. Got a comment about picture framing? I welcome your comments. Hopefully I will learn from your comments, too.

And along the way, I hope to have some fun. I may be tempted to talk about my other life adventures, my family, my cat, my customers, my friends and just some of those things that come along as we walk through life.

Well it has taken me several hours today to get this far and I've got other things on my list to do today so I think I'll just click that publish button and hope for the best. If you come across this post, let me know and add a comment. I look forward to hearing from you soon. And tomorrow, I'll try to add some real info you can use.