As the owner of Harvard Art & Frame, Tony Tisei carries on what the original owners started in 1938. He's been manning the old Boston shop for the past four decades, overseeing the staff as it crafts custom frames using acid-free materials. After the artisans help clients select mattes and frames from hundreds of options, including products from Omega Moulding, they encase pieces ranging from maps, prints, and paintings to antique 3-D objects. They also restore old photographs so you can always look fondly upon the scowling face of Great-Grandpa Earl.
Painter's Supply stocks vibrant interior and exterior paints from top-industry brands alongside the tools needed to apply the new hues. Renters, homeowners, or tree-house speakeasy kingpins can complement paint schemes with implements such as tray liners ($5.13), microfiber roller covers ($3.99), paintbrushes ($20.49 for 2.5" brush), paint pails ($12.53), and paint-pail liners ($5.99). Feel free to solicit professional opinions or appraisals on a dumpster mural from each storefront's design center, which is helmed by proficient painters.
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.
Stitch Boutique is splitting at the seams with a full lineup of canvases, brand-name fibers, accessories, and classes for all skill levels. Aspiring needle-wielders can seek advice about tricky projects, spell check their "Home Sweet Hom" pillow, or lose themselves in the world of complex stitchery. Pop into a two-hour needlepoint class to figure out stitchy fundamentals ($20), or try the Needlepoint-Creative Canvas session to make even the most reserved couch weep at the beauty of a plump, poignant decorative cushion ($20). Knit and purlers can sheathe needles in a Bollywood straight needle case ($35) or whip through a pair of Popcorn and Twizzler fingerless gloves ($39), while supervising stitchers can teach a child hand-eye coordination without painful dodgeball lessons with the Balloon needlepoint starter kit ($25).
The tiny Fairy Shop is an anomaly on trendy Newbury Street: it’s not a salon, a high-end clothing boutique or an upscale café. In fact, it’s about as far from trendy as can be. The first clue might be the “Reward: Missing Unicorn” sign posted on the fence outside, or maybe it’s the tiny fairy door installed in the main door to the cutesy shop. This, if anything, is the place to find unicorn stuffed animals, bottled fairy dust, Alice in Wonderland books and endless other trinkets and charms that evoke the magical and science fiction worlds. T-shirts, jewelry and a variety of gifts feature themes from fairies and gnomes to Dr. Who and Star Wars, all wrapped in colorful décor that adds to the whimsy. Even those who don’t often indulge in mystical realms find it impossible to not be charmed by the unusual store.