Home & Garden

Frame those treasured items to display, preserve

Custom framing can clear out clutter as well as preserve special items, such as the military memorabilia here.
Custom framing can clear out clutter as well as preserve special items, such as the military memorabilia here.

A framing studio may see seem an unusual place to do your holiday shopping. But things are hopping this time of year for Ali Semon and her crew at San Luis Obispo’s Frame Works.

“It’s definitely a season where we do a lot more shadow boxes and memory boxes using family or personal memorabilia,” she said.

There are numerous benefits to bestowing someone with a framed memento. It honors family and other cherished relationships, which is certainly in the spirit of the season. It’s a good choice for tough-to-buy-for people. It avoids adding an unwanted item and possibly extra clutter to someone’s home. And it can actually reduce clutter by getting heirlooms and memorabilia out of drawers and into the hands of someone who will enjoy them.

Perhaps most importantly, professional framing protects items that might otherwise deteriorate.

“A client brought in a Christmas stocking her mother made that was intricately beaded. She wanted it to be preserved,” Semon said. “A custom-framed shadow box isn’t just a great sentimental gift — it can protect an item for years and generations to come.”

Possibilities for shadow boxes and framing include military metals that can be framed alongside a photo of the person in uniform. Christening gowns can be displayed alongside a favorite baby photo and even a lock of baby hair. One Frame Works client had her grandmother’s quilt samples framed individually, then gifted them to her nieces.

Items don’t have to be valuable to qualify. Semon has framed travel mementos, postcards and family documents. She also recommends perusing photos that have been languishing on your digital camera or phone.

“We’ve become so used to having our photos either on our phone, computer or social media. Sometimes it’s nice to take photos that capture a special moment or event and present them on either paper or canvas,” she said.

The holidays are a time for nesting and Semon offers some suggestions on quick home improvement projects. A custom framed mirror, for instance, adds polish to a bathroom or other space.

“When you get a custom frame, you can make sure it suits your space and style,” she said. “There are so many options. You can fine tune it to go with your hardware or even your tiling.”

An easy yet often overlooked update is to simply re-frame a favorite photo or an old piece of art. A new mat or frame can bring new life to a tired piece of art.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air, because clients get so used to seeing something in a certain way,” said Semon. “Just a change in coloring totally brings out new elements. It feels like you have a brand new piece of art.”

More ideas for framing mementos and creating custom home décor can be found at the Frame Works website, www.sloart.com.

Frame Works is at 339 Marsh St. in San Luis Obispo, 542-9000.