Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Lapels Dry Cleaning's professional staff purifies prized fabrics with environmentally friendly practices that have earned the cleaners certification as an EnviroStars business. Prices vary from location to location, but customers can drop off sullied sweaters ($6.25+), pants ($6.35+), two-piece suits ($13.45+), or down comforters ($30+) for a cleansing encounter with an odorless, nontoxic solvent. As a further commitment to eco-friendly commerce, Lapels recycles all hangers and bags, and uses only low-energy LED signage rather than coal-powered billboards or easily weaponized nuclear marquees.
Ali Mohammad and Nadeem Mazen never got the memo that it was dangerous to play with lasers; they’re willing to carve intricate graphics into almost anything, including the 215 loaves of bread it took to animate the autumnal music video for OK Go’s “Last Leaf.” Now, from their shop—whose sign warns passersby that “it’s the future in here”—they etch equally creative messages and images into the gadgets and gewgaws of their clientele. Laptops, iPhones, and other electronics take on customization, as well as items stocked by the shop itself, from metal business cards to pint glasses and hardwood planks awaiting to become personalized kindling. The showcase demonstrates their expertise with pictures of previous projects, such as a guitar body carved with an elaborate swan and a kitchen knife inscribed with an ominous message.
It isn’t Christmas until you hang the poinsettia above the door as a clever ploy to baffle guests and kiss them while they’re distracted. With today’s deal, score an 8-inch holiday poinsettia for $17 (a $31.88 value), plus a 20% discount on same-day additional purchases at Coady Florist. You can purchase up to five Groupons, putting enough plants in your pocket to spread to family and friends with a prowess unseen since the legendary Bonnie Poinsettia Seed. The percentage off doesn’t compound with each successive Groupon, so give up on those sugarplum visions of 100% off.
A Harvard Square fixture for more than 50 years, Dickson Brothers equips crafty carpenters and handy homeowners with home-improvement supplies to help execute DIY restorations. Create family-room frescoes with California and Pratt & Lambert paints ($36.99/gallon), using tidy tools such as brooms ($5.69), irons ($17.99), and vacuums ($69.99) as inspiration. Illuminate lavish living spaces with lava lamps ($17.99) while brand-new teakettles ($20.99) warm up human interiors.
The brand American Apparel, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, conjures up images of stylish and well-fitting fashion basics. It also likely brings to mind sassy advertisements featuring long-haired beauties in natural makeup posing in skin-bearing bodysuits and loungewear.
But what many don't know about the brand?despite its name and the slice of apple pie that comes with every purchase?is that all of its clothes are made in America. Everything from sewing and cutting to accounting and marketing happens in one building in downtown Los Angeles, and the rest occurs within a 30-mile radius. Not only that, every slim-fitting pair of pants, spandex bodysuit, and v-neck T-shirt is made in a sweatshop-free environment.
Plus, keeping everything in house means the company eliminates unnecessary and wasteful factors, such as shipping fuel and packing materials, as well as provides jobs to Angelenos, instead of outsourcing them.