That's a lot of flies!  Collection of antique hand threaded fisherman flies.

Winner of the Pan American Silver Medal in Endurance Riding, and a collection of her career medals.

There are so many ways to journal your inspirations.  So here I made a list of suggestions and supplies that have been tried and are favorites.  One can get really bogged down with the amount of “things” you can get.  It can be overwhelming, and kind of exciting.  You have all these ideas and then just don’t know where to start. This article is for the basics that you need to begin. In the next article, I will go over some really neat supplies to advance you in your creativity.

 The first thing you need is a good sketchbook.  I like the wirebound, multi media paper.  Or a good watercolor sketchbook is good too, because of the weight of the paper.  You are going to be using inks, paints, collage, and mediums ( will explain that later), and you need a book that will support those.  Get a sketchbook that is about 8 x 10.  This is a good size to start.  Smaller books are good for travel or carrying around every day and sketching thoughts.  Larger books can get to be overwhelming if you are new to this.  

Now you have to be able to prepare the pages.  While you can paint, write, collage right on the page, sometimes you need to give the paper a little help.  Gesso will become your best friend.  There are so many ways to apply this product, and it never gets stale.  You can apply gesso to anything that you want to paint--boards, craftwoods, paper, matboard, furniture, anything you need to prepare the surface for you paint. You will also use it to glue pages together for a firmer surface to journal. Use a brush or old credit card, or you can cut up matboard.  Later we will learn how to add to gesso to make rough surfaces, textured preparations, etc.

The same goes for Mod Podge.  Get a jar. It never goes bad, and you will use it for all of your collage work. Part 2 article we can go over gel mediums ( there's that word again!) as a solution to your collages. You will apply Mod Podge with a brush.  I keep a brush that I don't use for anything else but Mod Podge.  It washes out with water.

With an outstanding career in swimming for Lehigh Valley, the collection of all his medals presented a wonderful display.

Upon her retirement as a schoolteacher, her sister presented her with the original key to her classroom from many years ago, with a little artwork and design by Little Conestoga Picture Framing!

Just when you thought you had all your pictures and memories framed, framing your flat screen TV is one of the most creative additions you can add to your home decor.  Admit it, the biggest focal point in a room is your TV, why not put a glamorous frame around it?


This project was done a few weeks ago.  The client chose a beautiful chunky gold frame, about 3 1/2 inches wide. It enhanced her room decor to a T!  Installing the TV frame takes some thought.  In this case, we "suspended" the frame on the TV itself, as it was installed with a bracket to the wall.  Other frames may include enclosing the sides of the frame to  hide wiring and brackets.  It is fairly easy to install, and the end result is something quite unique.

It is inevitable. The Framing elves, as I call them, will show up at the most inopportune times and "help out" with my framing. They leave a speck on the mat after it is completed, a scratch in the glass not noticed until the final inspection, or a puff of dust inconspicuously centered on the artwork. While I am committed to handing our clients an excellent product, in the end it is custom and custom made, and tiny flaws can occur.

No worries. I look at it as the client is my final inspection, after my eyes have gone fuzzy, and my elves have helped out.  I appreciate some of my client's eye, like an electron microscope  because it helps me to be a better framer. And I have a no questions asked, lets git er done, guarantee. For any reason, we will remedy what the Framing Elves have done.The only charge is a little time. I am proud to have my framing on your walls, and I want you to be proud to show it off!

Recently this plate arrived, of a portrait of the client's great great grandmother dated 1880.  Knowing where to send her to have it properly restored insured it would come back to me for framing.  A good framer should have a network of other experts to help out when needed!  Over the years I have built up a cache of people to advise me when "I get one of those really good ones".

American Flag
American Flag American Flag

When this flag flew on a air craft carrier in WWII at Iwo Jima, Im certain the soldier never dreamed that 85 years later it would hang proudly in his granddaughters family room.  Knowing what to do to keep it for another 85 years is part of Little Conestoga Picture Framing's services.  We treat heirlooms as if they were from our own family.

Everyone likes to see "SALE  50-70% OFF!"  Saving money is a good thing.  But how do you know you are getting what you pay for?

Recently I read an article in my trade/ industry that the franchise framing/craft stores are selling a version of high quality museum glass, passing it off as the Real Deal, or their own personal version of it.  However, what these franchise stores have purchased is a flawed quality, lower standard glass, and are selling it to their customers.  The customer is unaware of the differences in glass, and paying the same price for as an independent would charge for the  Real Stuff.

Confusing?  On the premise that an educated consumer is the best consumer, I feel it is important to let the client know that they have choices.  They are not locked in to what I feel.  The client at Little Conestoga Picture Framing leaves knowing that they made good choices about their art and why.  They also know that they are getting what they paid for.

Consider your passionate, Local Independent Framing Expert, and be assured you are getting what you pay for.

A while ago when a client came to me with an order to cut just mats and glass, I didn't think anything about the frame.  he had purchased the frame at a "big box" store and spent quite a bit on it.  I often do fill in orders, where only the mat or glass is needed.

Two years later, he called on me to say the frame that "I did" was splitting at the corners and falling apart.  After looking at it, I remembered the scenario.  In an effort to save money, and get the "70% off", he purchased the frame, but went elsewhere for the rest of the work ( me). But the frame was of very poor quality, and nothing I would have represented.

The philosophy of our studio is to try to offer the client a little more than the other guys, absorb the details and little things, and try to deliver a hassle free product.  I quoted him an inclusive price that beat out the single price of only the frame.  Had he started out with the entire project in one place, he could have saved time, money, aggravation, and the inconvenience of doing it all over again a couple years later.  All those things add up to expensive mentally, physically, and through his wallet.

When you pay for quality, you only cry once.

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