Thursday, December 23, 2010

Taking the plunge: Custom framing

Although the subject of today's post is by no means a last-minute gift idea, it is about a splurge I finally made for Matt and me that's been a great gift for us the last couple weeks.

Over the summer in Florence I stumbled upon the world's most adorable stationery store steps away from the Duomo. In addition to vintage-Italian-inspired greeting cards and gift wrap, the store also carries replica old-fashioned Italian prints. I fell in love with an awesome map of Italy, knowing it would be a great reminder of our trip. It's one of the few souvenirs I brought back from Italy -- the map, along with my red leather gloves from Venice, have been nice to break out this winter.

Of course, as luck would have it, the map is totally odd dimensions -- at 15" wide and 12" high, it doesn't exactly fit any pre-made frames.

So, after letting the map sit in our office closet for five months, I finally bit the bullet and took it to Michael's in late November when the store was in the midst of its 60 percent off custom framing sale. I know they have custom framing orders on sale year-round, but this was legitimately the best sale of the year (and the only remaining sale for anyone who wanted their orders back in time for Christmas).

Even with the fantastic discounts and my tendency to still select the "cheapest" variety of everything -- mat, glass, wooden frame -- I still managed to spend $72 for the finished product, but the reminder of our most amazing trip of our lifetimes hanging on our bedroom wall is a priceless way to warm up the dead of winter.

Walking into Michael's, I didn't have a serious vision of what I wanted the finished product to look like. I only knew I wanted a brown wooden frame to match all the other frames in our bedroom. So, I let the sales rep guide me through the process, and together we got to this. I'm satisfied with the quality of work and the speed at which it was completed, though it was done about four days past its due date. I cut Micahel's some slack, though, knowing this is the busiest retail time of year. I would go back for future custom framing needs, though I might splurge for the glare-free glass in the future (as you can see, it was very difficult for me to photograph this piece of art!).

And, when we have children, I will totally be that mom who gives her children standard 11" x 14" paper for them to draw their masterpieces so as to reduce the need for any future custom framing orders. Because, any way you slice it, this stuff is expensive.

Now off to do some serious bathroom cleaning. Today was dog washing day, and dog washing day = messy bathroom day.

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