At The Frame House, design professionals tailor custom frames and shadowboxes to suit the tastes and surroundings of discriminating decorators. Painting possessors and particularly judgmental walls will enjoy the efforts of the store's skilled team of frame facilitators, who listen closely to customer requests before launching each project, such as fitting 10"x12" custom blackwood frames, mat, and glass ($77) around oils on canvas or chalk scrawls excavated from the sidewalk.
Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's well-versed shopkeepers stock their 4,000-square-foot mecca with exemplary giftables suitable for satisfying a laundry list of people and occasions. Pick up a Tyler candle for a thoughtful hostess gift ($6.95), or swaddle a favorite baby with a new blanket ($9.95), sealing in security and sealing out thoughts of looming future spelling bees. Shoppers sheathe mascara within the stylish confines of a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag ($22), bestow solemn flair upon empty mantels with a Willow Tree nativity set ($74.95), or take chicly to the skies bolstered by a Baggalini travel bag ($43.95). After customers conclude an easy afternoon of perusing the shop's eclectically grouped items, Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's staff prepares each present with complimentary gift wrapping, adorning gifts with a decorative flourish and taking the stress out of trying to wedge a Tiffany lamp into a festive tin.
A Stitch In Time arms crafters with an arsenal of vibrant yarns, needles, and other accessories to sate knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint cravings. Silver and gold metallic flecks stitched into Lumina cotton-blend yarn ($7.50 for 95 yards) add a girly glint to any hand-knitted scarf, hat, or shotgun cozy. Fabricate a perfect fall sweater in warm autumn hues using a ball of Blackstone Tweed wool blend, a soft but sturdy blend of wool, mohair, and angora ($10.50 for 130 yards). Twine precious fibers into thoughtful gifts with an ensemble of knitting needles including single-pointed ($5–$9) as well as circular and double-pointed models ($8–$16), ideal for tubular creations such as bags, socks, and snake cases.
FrameStore's craftsmen have created more than 250,000 custom frames in the store’s 35-year tenure, designing pieces that now adorn the walls of prestigious institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Walt Disney Company. Professional designers guide FrameStore’s clients through the 2,200 moulding options that can accent paintings and treasured items while adding style and elegance to rooms. The store’s craftsmen then fashion pieces to patron specifications, outfitting frames with classic or museum-quality glass that blocks UV rays from bleaching out images or censoring pictures of the moon. Every piece goes through a 16-point inspection before it is given to patrons, and the team averages a seven-day turnaround on all of its projects.
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.