The Art of Framing's skilled craftspeople protect and prolong the life of treasured paintings, photographs, and three-dimensional artifacts by encasing them behind thousands of frame designs. Outside of their standard framing services, technicians also stretch mats and fabrics; heat-mount delicate documents; and mend scratched, chipped, and shrink-rayed framework. More than merely preserving personal collections of photos and posters, The Art of Framing promotes the area's thriving art community, hosting a show once a year as well as selling local artists' work in the gift shop.
The craftspeople at Art & Framing by Munro Gallery draw on more than 45 years of experience as they frame cherished items and curate fine arts and crafts. With skillful hands, they swaddle artwork, diplomas, memorabilia, and photos using elements plucked from an arsenal of more than 2,500 mouldings and 1,000 mat samples. When they aren't adorning pictures with princely garb, they stock their shelves with paintings, sculptures, and jewelry that give residences and outfits more personality than Elton John’s herd of peacocks.
Aztec Graphics has adorned keepsakes and decorated bare walls with stylish prints for more than a quarter of a century. Preserve cherished memories behind the glass of a ready-made frame, in sizes ranging from 4"x6" to 30"x40" and styles from ornamental to classic black ($5–$38). Bring in a favorite football jersey, an artistic tapestry, or a pillow with a particularly expressive drool mark and let the expert framers guide you through a myriad of custom framing options, including hundreds of moulding, mat, and glass varieties ($29.95+). Those with empty walls and no memories prior to two seconds ago can search through an array of posters to find an image to claim as their past ($5+). More than 4,000 images of tropical beaches, musicians, movies, and art reproductions will provide ample inspiration for decoration schemes, and a smattering of work from local artists will provoke thoughtful conversations between your walls and your load-bearing maypole.
Ray Street Custom Framing owner Michelle Robinson stuffs her store with one-of-a-kind picture holders. Cosset a canvas in Peruvian-leather or hand-forged metal mouldings ($40–$100/foot), or opt for a basic black-wood frame ($10/foot) to shelter a particularly eye-catching parking ticket. Prices vary, but $100 can usually get a basic 11”x14” frame with a single mat and glass, a 16”x20” frame with glass but no mat, or an imaginary frame with a zillion invisible mats. A trained artist herself, Robinson hosts a stop on the Ray at Night Art Walk on the second Saturday of every month, showcasing work by local artists that she has custom-framed.
A custom picture frame shop that offers customers the option of saving time and money by doing the labor portion of the frame job themselves.
While trekking across New Zealand, Matt Baker and PJ Lamont stumbled upon a burger shack in Queenstown and immediately became addicted to the eatery’s organic, grass-fed beef patties. According to a profile in Beach & Bay Press, the duo often dined there more than once a day and eventually convinced the chef to both part with his recipes and train them how to make them. Upon returning home, the pair recruited PJ’s brother Martin for their budding endeavor: a gourmet burger place that would rely entirely on organic, grass-fed beef from New Zealand. After finding the right spot for their gastropub, the three put their own sweat into renovating it; PJ carved the wooden menu himself without using a woodpecker even once.
That menu quickly garnered its fair share of media buzz and awards by combining beef patties, ground fresh daily, with unique ingredients such as pesto aioli, grilled pineapple, and beetroot. Organic, local vegetables make up the condiments and the house tomato chutney, New Zealand’s hardier version of ketchup. But Bare Back Grill does more than burgers, satisfying appetites with natural chicken and lamb, tempura tofu, and seared ahi tuna coupled with a wide selection of beers and wines. Guests can gulp down Kiwi Steinlagers or sip Australian and New Zealand wines while lounging at either Bare Back location.
In 1991, the eponymous founder of Losina Art Center, Olya Losina, moved to La Jolla from Moscow, where she was raised among a vibrant artistic community and served as the art director for the Soviet Union's largest multilingual publishing facility. Losina's fine-art methods, which she honed while obtaining her master's degree at Moscow University, focus on teaching art as a science. While helping her students at the center to work toward mastery of portraiture, the human form, landscapes, and still-life subjects, she performs exercises that aim to reach them on a subconscious level. Together with Losina, the students examine the conscious thoughts that often intrude upon creative expression. They approach the artistic consciousness as a surgeon would approach a brain when trying to dislodge catchy pop tunes from the frontal lobe. With obstructions cleared, pupils find themselves able to work freely and efficiently.
3 Blind Mice Window Coverings’ window-treatment specialists, all of whom are highly trained, work closely with their customers to ensure that each customized order of shutters, blinds, shades, or glass tint suits their home’s needs. Window coverings are extensive, ranging from drapes to fabric valances, and even include motorized window coverings that can be controlled via smartphones, iPads, and telekinetic pets. The team can also protect homes and its inhabitants from harmful UV rays with outdoor solar screens. After customized orders are placed, blinds get delivered within two to three weeks, and shutters within four to eight, and the staff ensures that their high-quality customer service extends through installation and even after the job is finished.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Like fancy suits, sofa sets are sewn from the same cut of fabric. These matching sets provide a well-rounded look in living rooms, but near misses tend to clash due to their small differences. At 20 show rooms throughout the western US, Mor Furniture for Less arranges complete-room sets so customers can envision the collections in their own homes. Furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and children's rooms can be found in each store along with individual lamps, tables, and entertainment centers. The stores also carry complete sets of beds, dressers, and nightstands so that homeowners don’t receive criticism from design bloggers in their dreams.
Mission Hills Nursery draws from a long tradition of horticulture, as it was founded in 1910 by renowned green thumb and urban-green-space advocate Kate Sessions. Year after year, rows of roses, shrubs, and vegetables have sprung up under the staff's doting hands and dangled morsels of plant food. A section for gardening accessories equips yard workers with trowels, thorn strippers, and organic fertilizers to motivate crops without scourging them with caustic chemicals. In addition to tending to its plants, Mission Hills Nursery's staff arranges landscapes with garden-design services and teaches clients to arrange their own through gardening classes.
Mr. Jingles Christmas Trees spreads holiday merriment with noble, douglas, and grand firs individually selected from forests in Oregon. On the lot, trees stand in water and receive additional watering from the staff each day to keep needles healthy and green. Trees vary in size from 2 feet up to 16 feet, ensuring customers can a perfect specimen no matter how high their ceilings or how modest their budget. Complimentary hot chocolate keeps patrons warm as they peruse the lot, and once customers have found their perfect tree, the crew will gladly grab a rope and secure it to a car or riding mower at no additional charge.
Award-winning artisan and sculptor James Stone draws upon 27 years of craftsmanship and artistry to teach his students the ways of transmogrifying ordinary glass into masterworks. During hands-on demonstrations, James leads groups of up to six pupils in wielding 2,300-degree torches that turn brittle glass into malleable liquid ready to be shaped into art or slathered onto injured windows. Each day, the ovens also churn out tumblers and sculptures available for sale, and the studio routinely takes orders for custom projects and ornaments.
Inside Tinsmith, a specialty shop in Old Town San Diego, dozens of light fixtures made from punched tin illuminate shelves stocked with shiny baubles. The fixtures come in a range of shapes and sizes—the most popular are three-dimensional stars set with colorful pieces of glass. The shop even has holiday pieces including tree ornaments, angel-shaped candleholders, and repair parts for Santa’s sleigh, all made from punched tin.
The framing technicians at Tony's Picture Framing know that keepsakes are often as fragile as they are precious. That’s why they draw from years of professional experience to preserve and protect photos, paintings, and 3D mementos with thousands of different framing and matting combinations. While their computerized cutters stencil out mats with robotic precision, pro photographers edit and resize digital pictures before encircling them with metal and varnished wood. In addition to enshrining flat paintings and photos, framers protect sports memorabilia, wedding dresses, and medals with plexiglass shadowboxes, or prepare canvases for landscapes and Baroque portraits of a toga-clad family dog with stretching services.