Very Custom Picture Framers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Did you miss me?

Those of you who know me well, know just how unnaturally attached I am to my Mother.  Well, now that we've gone through the worst of it and come out the other side relatively intact, I feel I can let the world in again.  

The beginning of June my Father called me from the hospital with the news that my Mother had to go in for emergency surgery on a strangulated hernia.  I immediately dropped everything in order to be the best daughter I know how to be.  What should have been a reasonably short healing process became a little more drawn out than any of us could have dreamed.  Weeks in the hospital and a few more in a physical therapy facility.  Dad and I worked hard to make the house a little friendlier for her transition home. My sister came down from Idaho to help, and (as luck would have it) my brother had scheduled a vacation to come down from Alaska, so the whole family gathered to help her through a rough spot.  She got to go home Sunday, and I'm happy to report that she's doing really well.  Maybe even better than when she went in.  I truly believe that Mom's guardian angel was walking beside her from the moment she stepped foot in the hospital. 

Our experience this time around (some of you remember the ruptured duodenum of 2009) was
entirely different than the last.  From the keen eye of Dr. Nadia Wayment who recognized the necessity for rapid response, the care that she received at Ogden Regional Medical Center from the skilled and talented surgeon Dr. Megan Grunander (who operated at almost a full 9 months pregnant) nurses (too many to name but all just as nurturing and professional as could be hoped for), to the caring and diligent staff at Pine View Transitional Rehab.  Thank you and bless you all for giving me more precious time with my Mommy.

Those of you who know me well also know that I've developed some annoying coping skills when I'm overwhelmed with stress in my life.  I tend to hibernate.  As luck would have it, Amber is so much like me that she does the same.  So, while we haven't been very good about communicating with you all and showing you what we've accomplished in the last few months,  rest assured that we're working our little fingers to the bone.

While I've been spreading myself a little thinner than usual, my amazing crew has been keeping the creativity flying out of here.  So, even though we've neglected to post to the blog in the last few months, we've been doing some of our most creative work.  I'm reminded of the analogy about a little grain of sand...with little heat and pressure...

Here is a lovely series Amber and I (Amber did the designing, and embellishing - I only carved) completed last month.  Aren't they charming?

And here are a few under sea delights that we created for our very special friend, Emily.
Enjoy and stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A few that should be new to you...

Spring is my favorite time of year.  The starlings are telling me silly stories in twelve different bird languages.  The squirrels are angrily chirping at each other "This is MY tree", and the dogs just want to smell every worm and beetle that pops it's head out or wanders by.  I even heard a lonely cricket last night.

Inside the studio, we've been working diligently on our backlog of beautiful stitchery - burning the midnight oil.  We're feeling really good about the creative energy around here.   Here are a few from the vault that you may not have seen.

Lori Bylsma's Country Life by Blackbird Designs
Annie's Strawberry Sampler by Blackbird Designs

Bruce Neil's ship and serpents

Carole Watkin's Dog Sampler

Annie's Violets Blue by Blackbird Designs

Betty Wilson's Betsy Ross by Plum Street Designs

Kathy Jepson's Sneak Peek: Halloween by Heart in Hand Needleworks

Sharon Wulff's The Lady with the Fish by Scarlett Letter

Kathy Jepson's  Seasons by Sisters and Best Friends  - Autumn

Kathy Jepson's  Seasons by Sisters and Best Friends  - Spring

Kathy Jepson's  Seasons by Sisters and Best Friends  - Winter

Kathy Jepson's  Seasons by Sisters and Best Friends  - Summer

Friday, May 2, 2014

A little perspective.

We are really backed up in the shipping department right now.  Please know that Amber, Lois, Rosie, Kari and I are all working overtime to get the bottleneck cleared away.  At this moment, we have over 325 custom orders in house.  That's not a huge number to an average frame shop, but each piece we send out simply has to have our signature embellishments.  Some of the simpler pieces - the ones with merely a fantastic frame and no mats may get finished a little quicker, but for the most part, they're all waiting on ME!
(And here I sit at the computer, sigh.)

I spent hours chopping frames today while Amber built them.  I swear - the pile of mouldings just gets bigger every time I turn around!  Here's what's left in my "to be chopped" pile.

Here's what Amber has built while I've been chopping.   This now becomes Lois's pile as she will do quality control inspections on corners and will put the frames with their prospective pieces.

And this is the "ready for embellishment" rack.  So close to being finished I can hardly stand it.  This is the part of the process where it gets really fun.  You'll notice Eddie is supervising.  He is SUCH a big helper!
(The girls are off napping somewhere)

And here's Rosie's fitting pile!  If your piece is in this pile, you're really close to having your piece packed, and shipped and on it's way home to you.

And the best part...
Here's the pile of orders to be shipped.  Almost home!

So many projects, so little time!
I'll get back to work now.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stitcher of Pixies

Back in February, I posted the beginnings of an optimistic project.  Pixies, Pixies and more pixies.  One of my readers was quite taken with this project and has asked me to share the background of the stitcher.
Today, I'm re-posting the pictures as well as a short backstory.  Thom, thank you so much for sharing your talent and your story.

The backstory of Thom and idea of the pixies…. 
When I was seven years old, I came down with the chicken pox and had to stay home for several days.  I was one of those lucky people who had a small outbreak of them and the adults made it to be a bigger deal.  After a couple of days of being confined to the bed and not being able to go out to play (it was my luck to get the pox in the spring) I went exploring in my mother’s sewing cabinet to look for something that would occupy my time.  I came across a kit she was working on; it was crewel embroidery and was of Raggedy Ann and Andy in a chair.  I had never seen her work on this and only the arm of the chair was completed.  So I thought hey I can do this and began reading the instructions and looking at the stitching diagrams.  I started on the sailor hat and went from there.  By the time my mother came home from work, Andy was all done.  She came to check on me as I was very quiet (which in her world meant I was up to something destructive or plotting to take over the world) and when she saw what I was doing, she was more impressed that I was being productive and taught myself how to do crewel.  By the time I went back to school, the design was finished and I was looking for another project to do.  She took me to Benjamin Franklin (a craft store in the area) and I picked out a cross stitch design of Scooby Doo and the gang.  As soon as we paid for the kit and were in the car, I anxiously opened the package to read the directions and from there the rest is history.  That same feeling hits me now when the mail carrier brings me a stitching package.  I won’t say how long I’ve been stitching but I will say I can remember when DMC floss was $0.10/skein.

The idea of doing the pixies came when I moved into my new house.  My guest/reading room has a beautiful view of the lake.  It was originally going to be just a guest room but once I saw the view and how relaxing it was to watch the water, I added the reading area to it.  I wanted the room to have a calm and relaxing effect on all who entered.  For me that was the view and a way to have a “garden” that would survive my crazy travel schedule and incorporate my favorite Shakespeare comedy, A Midsummer’s Night Dream.  I always pictured the fairy party differently in my head and all the fairies would be decked out in their finest floral gowns.  I found an antique book engraving of Oberon and Titania that I had framed but couldn’t find any other fairies to go with them.  About that time Nora Corbett started growing her pixie collection.  I bought a couple to see how well they would go with the prints.  They complimented them perfectly and I decided that I would stich the pixies I liked and have them all framed the same way.  As the collection grew I thought this is going to be the perfect garden and fairy party!  As of today I have 7 stitched and four framed with 3 more on their way to Jill and Amber. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

At long last...

I've FINALLY finished the design for the Shepherd's Bush "Fold" piece.  It's called "A Full Heart".  I poured MY heart into it.  I'm embarrassed to say that it took me weeks to design and get it right, but I'm delighted with the end result.  I will be retailing the mats at $75.00 and the full mat and frame set at $143.00.

Easter sneaked up on me again.  I've been trying hard to get all the spring pieces shipped so we can move on to the busy wedding season.   Here are a few of the delights we framed to celebrate spring.  I'm especially delighted with the drawing Amber did on the bunny pulling the cart.  Who can resist violets and pussy willows?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The phones are fixed!  I'm sorry if you've been having trouble getting through.

I've decided that voice mail is just not for me...every time I pick up the phone to check the messages, three more are being recorded!  Ugh! Technology.  So, if you've left me a message and I haven't answered you,
please accept my sincere apology and try me again.  I fully intend to get an old-fashioned answering machine
and just put my hours of operation on it.

Well, I was a little worried that I had worn Amber out.  Her eyes started to glaze over a couple of weeks ago, so she took a quick vacation to Disneyland.  What California vacation wouldn't be complete without an earthquake or two!  So much excitement!  She came home safely with renewed energy and overflowing with creativity!

I do want to mention that Amber and I are working in symphony.  What this means, essentially, is that we both are reading each and every e-mail and that we discuss every phone call, every frame design, and every piece with each other throughout the process.  This might seem like duplication of effort, but what it will mean to all of you is that when you're talking to Amber, you're talking to me - and vice versa.  It means that I have effectively added two arms, two legs, and another brain.  One of us can be designing in the gallery while the other is in the back framing.  When we need a break we wander back and forth and check in with each other.  So, when you're e-mailing you may want to keep this in mind.  It's probably better if you don't tell secrets. We won't keep them! :)

Here are some of the lovely pieces that we've shipped out recently.  Enjoy!