Monday, September 7, 2015

Thanks & Thoughts on "Why do we custom frame anyway?"

In a few months, LLB will be moving into a new direction. I have had 25 wonderful years of framing and I look forward to now getting back to creating some of what I have been framing for the past couple of decades - the "other side", so to speak.

With all of the feed back I've been getting in the past few weeks (and thank you for all the wonderful visits and chats!) there has been a lot of exchange about what custom framing at an experienced small local business means to a lot of you. And these were some of the questions that popped up.

What does custom framing mean to you?

To a lot of my clients, custom framing means a personalized experience and an exchange about their ideas and decor, and for us to translate that together into a unique treatment of your artwork, objects, mirrors or any other "thing" or memory. The result will be a one-of-a-kind, long lasting art-"capsule" and presentation. It will not fade, it will not yellow, it will preserve both memories and objects like engravings, documents, drawings or photos that have endured centuries at times. Without our help, those things might disappear in storage or in a cardboard folder, where they will be exposed to elements like acid, mold or foxing.

The frame is a vehicle to show off your art and to integrate it into your environment. That's why we have so many choices on our walls at LLB: all of your interiors and tastes are different, and this way you are sure to find exactly what will fit your budget and taste. (That's why there is such a crazy variety of samples and art on our walls at the shop to show you all the many ways and ideas represented out there.)

Our job is to be able to help ALL of the different directions of tastes and back grounds. We are guides through a maze of wonderful choices and we make sure you arrive at your destination with style - while you have some fun!

A lot of my clients are super creative, and they come to us with an idea that we then translate into reality to be displayed in their home. I often think of it as "furniture for your walls". They are conversation pieces, stories, memories, trips, mementos, all on display for your eyes and your minds to play with.

What can you do with custom framing? 

The answer is: "Oh, just about anything!"

From creating gilt lines, re-finishing your frames, repairs, etc. to creating brand-spanking new capsules for your artwork: if you bring your ideas to a passionate "real" custom framer, they can translate them into reality. Every framer has their own knack and specialties. Some rely more on modern equipment and can create awesome cuts and curves in your mats, others still know how to do things by hand that will connect your hand-created artwork to the frame. The options are endless. Put your framer to the test, they love a great challenge and they love to learn new tricks every day!

re-gilded reclaimed tile frame

Is this world being taken over by chain stores?

Well, unfortunately this trend cannot be stopped unless we support our local trade. The trend for instant gratification and online sales has created a disconnect in all of us, and the idea that one has to wait for someone else to actually MAKE something has become unpopular and for a lot of the new generation has become hard to fathom or understand.

Social media and the economy have created a very bland, average and "same" look to interiors that can be instantly recognized and that makes it easy for everyone to fit in. Anything unique stands out and is less recognizable. There is less commitment to objects, to leave the option to change one's mind and keep it occupied and entertained.

On the other hand, we are slowly seeing a trend toward more personality and uniqueness again.

Chain stores benefit from huge volume discounts that are not extended to the smaller businesses.
It makes it very difficult to compete with the larger businesses, in spite that your smaller stores employ wonderful long time craftsmen who will share their skills and will create work that is much more worthy of your investment. Faux discounts fool the public into thinking that they get a better deal at the huge chains, but is that really true? Michael's just lost another law suit regarding these practices in Canada.(more...)

Aside from that, what is better than locally created goods and foods and knowing who made them and where they came from?

Who will do all of the specialized and small jobs and trades in the future?

(And yes, we still need all of those crafts and trades!)

Well, that depends whether and how we pass the love for all things hand created down to the next generation. Sometimes it's easier to play a game on the computer and press "re-start" when the outcome is not as desired... but there is something so rewarding and fulfilling about teaching children art and challenging their minds to solve a problem or see a project through.

Cabinet makers, carpenters, wall paper hangers, custom framers, upholsterers, jewelers, the list goes on and on, and as un-glamorous as those professions seem to some, these folks know their stuff and
let's face it: without them we'll live in a totally plasticky and personality-less world.

I guess what I am trying to say is: support your local craftsmen, show them some love and appreciation and keep the trades alive or even join in! That's why I love publications like The Scout Guide & The Scout Guide Charlottesville, who support a myriad of local-only business communities and show off their unique talents all over the States. What a great concept, and we are so thrilled to have been a part of it for the past couple of years!!

I have also been very blessed to have been part of one of C'Ville's most creative communities. Check out McIntire Plaza some time: it is full of creative energy, comradery and unique, passionate businesses that you will not find clustered together like this anywhere else in town! (Keep it local!)

Thanks for reading!
And keep bringing those awesome projects for the next month - October 15th is the last date to place orders - I'll get them done for you before we leave!

PS: all art and gifts are now on sale and flying out the door, so come in and pick up some early Christmas gifts when you are in our neck of the woods!


Friday, May 29, 2015

New at LLB - Olie Biologique.

When (or if) you read through the list of ingredients on the products you apply to your skin every day, many of which you'd never eat if they were in your food, consider this: you will actually be ingesting them ... through your skin.

Your skin is totally permeable, and it has no filter, so the things that you put on it will enter right into your system. 

TEST THIS: slice a clove of garlic and rub it on the bottom of your foot. Notice that about 30 seconds later, you will be able to taste garlic in your mouth. Why? Because the oils of the garlic have traveled through your body - that fast!

Would it not make sense to re-think what you put on our skin?
Because I have seen the effects these chemicals can have on one's system, I have committed myself to a quest to introduce as many wonderful natural or organic high end and high quality products to my clients as I can.
We all start out as perfect little human beings, and if we put a little effort into it, we can continue to keep our beautiful shells running on clean fuel and as perfect as the our world will allow it.
(Hey, it's always worth to try our best)

NEW at LLB in June:


Olie Biologique is founded on the simple notion that looking and feeling radiantly healthy is completely natural. With minimal packaging and maximum benefits, the certified-organic skincare oils are harvested without taking advantage of the earth. 100% pure and equally luxurious, Ol├Če Biologique products contain the best botanical ingredients that are nourishing, moisturizing, healing, restorative and anti-aging. They provide incredible daily solutions for face, hair, nails, and body.

Choose from 23K Gold Argan oil, Huile Claire, Huile Moderne, Huile Radicale and 100% Argan Oil.
Women in France have sworn by these oils for many years.

Just a few drops of these oils, used alone or in your (hopefully organic : ) moisturizer will totally transform your skin in as little as a week. Oils are the latest pathway to directly and intensely introduce natural essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients to your skin, healing and protecting it and balancing it out (no, oils do not make you oily, on the contrary) - use them on your face, nails, hair... wherever you need some extra nutrition - introduced via the outside.

We will introduce some oils in the travel size for you to test, and then there are a few that I KNOW you will love, and we'll have those in the full size.

For those of you who are interested, here is some more info about Argan Oils and their multitude of benefits.

We're excited to welcome these new playmates to our collection of natural treats.
Stop by some time in June and let us introduce you!

And don't forget, we also have a full lineup of wonderful SkinOwl oils for you!


La Linea Bella !
McIntire Plaza, Charlottesville

Sunday, May 17, 2015

New Cards at La Linea Bella !

There's nothing better than giving a great (passionate) card when you need it!

Papaya! is the latest addition to our collection.

If you are a fan of one of my biggest inspirations, Where Women Create, you will absolutely love these!

ABOUT - PAPAYA! has been pushing the envelope since 2003 with bold, heart-centered imagery and a philosophy all their own.  Based in Southern Oregon, USA, PAPAYA! strives to share an original and undiluted artistic perspective.
A family business from the beginning, PAPAYA! is fueled and founded by Gina & Anahata Katkin and joined by Elijah Katkin.  What began as 20 greeting cards has evolved into an exciting spectrum of hundreds of fine lifestyle & stationery offerings.  Their collections are celebrated in over 12 nations worldwide and across the United States.  Their products feature original artwork by Anahata & the PAPAYA! design team, using a special range of paintings, drawings, & mixed media to achieve their signature aesthetic.

Arriving at the end of this week, can't wait to share them with you!

La Linea Bella ! 
Fantastic Framing & Art
McIntire Plaza, Charlottesville, VA

Friday, April 24, 2015

Calendar of Events - May 2015

Image courtesy Cartolina Cards.



Saturday, May 2, 2015
12 - 4 p.m.

McIntire Plaza celebrates the completion of the McIntire Interchange!

Hot 101.9 and Hitkicker 99.7 will be helping us celebrate the completion of the interchange after a somewhat challenging period of construction. Thank you for your patience, your sense of humor and your loyalty!!

Register for prizes. Music. Food. Fun. 

Special events and giveaways throughout the Plaza!
Discover what's so unique about our community of creative local artisan businesses.

 Generously sponsored by Monticello Media | Woodard Properties | Great Harvest Bread Co. | La Linea Bella ! | Cathy Mares | Sarisand Tile | Animal Connection | Habitat for Humanity | CIRCA | ReThreads and the City of Charlottesville.

Register with us to win a framed piece of original art (valued at $420)
a beautiful spring gift basket full of natural spa products by Caldrea, Lucia, SkinOwl and LURK (valued at $80).

We'll also be giving away free deluxe sized samples of LURK and SKINOWL!


Wednesday, May 6th 

Happy Birthday, LLB!


Saturday, May 21st
10 - 3 


We have to make room for all our new samples, so it's time to have a sale!
We'll be setting up either in front of LLB or in the Harris Court right outside our workshop.

Cash or check only, please, these prices will be low.


Saturday, May 30th
8:30 a.m. (10 a.m.) Lee Park

"Picture This!"

Join Titus, Pandora, Play-Doh, Kay Taylor (Sheridan Avenue Studios Photography)
and La Linea Bella ! (Team "Picture This!") at the annual
CASPCA Bow-WOW-Walk through downtown Charlottesville.

Bring your pooch, register to walk with our team
or create your own team and support C'Ville's animals in need.

We had a ton of fun last year, this year should be even better!


Congratulations, graduates!
(You're free!)

Bring us your diploma or portraits and photos from your graduation and
receive 10% off your custom frame through the end of May.


La Linea Bella !
Fantastic Framing & Art
Charlottesville, VA
434 244 3050

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Benefits of Mangosteen

Behold the power of the mangosteen - she is the latest player in a lineup of luscious exotic fruit with the amazing benefits of cancer fighting antioxidants.

This is one of a series of reviews of products featured at LLB.

I recently encountered mangosteen for the first time via SkinOwl, who created these amazing oxygenating beauty drops for a quick and effective overnight treatment of your skin.

Now, obviously these beautiful drops are not edible, but the mangosteen itself is quite delicious and sports some amazing benefits for your health.

About mangosteens: 

From the exotic reaches of Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, mangosteens are a bit unfamiliar to many in the U.S., but deliver for anyone looking for lively flavor and the nutritional benefits to go with it. This glossy purple fruit (with a few different colored varieties) is low in calories, high in fiber, and contains powerful antioxidants, including xanthones, vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, such as thiamin, niacin and folate. These and other phytonutrients neutralize harmful free radicals and help the body fight infection. Studies have shown that mangosteens have the potential to slow the growth of cancer cells and may be chemopreventive.

Nutritional benefits:

Low in calories and high in fiber (100 grams equal about 13% of the recommended daily amount), mangosteens have lots of essential nutrients, but no saturated fats or cholesterol. The potassium content helps control heart rate and regulate blood pressure, which in turn aids in stroke and coronary heart disease prevention. Healthy amounts of manganese and magnesium are also present, and new research suggests that xanthones – a powerful antioxidant found almost exclusively in mangosteen – have properties that fight pain, allergies, infections, skin disorders, and fatigue while supporting intestinal health.
Mangosteen’s vitamin C content is another advantage, providing the body with a water-soluble (easily absorbed) antioxidant, while staving off infections and scavenging harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folate help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

But back to our product review of SkinOwl's Mangosteen P.M. Beauty Drops:
These amazing drops by SkinOwl do everything an expensive cream promises to do - but naturally and without the addition of harmful preservatives and chemicals.

They have become a staple in our routine at home, they absorb quickly, never leave your skin feeling greasy, and you wake up the next day with a face that feels totally refreshed.

"An oxygenating, night time oil intended to de-stress dull skin—the ultimate power oil to recharge and reverse signs of fatigue.  
Aromatherapy: The aroma is sweet, fruity, and tart. Helps to bring client into a restful, peaceful state. "

(Sweet dreams!)

For even more about mangosteen (and a delicious recipe) 
visit Skinowl and Dr. Mercola.
For a free sample, pop by LLB this week!

See you soon!


(Thanks to Dr. Mercola for the nutritional info quoted above.)
Charlottesville, VA

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RECENT PROJECTS - Omar, the puppet.

This is Omar.

 He's a very well-dressed puppet, and he's recently visited our workshop to find a suitable (permanent) display in his owner's home. 

Dana (his lucky owner) says: 
"A friend of mine traveled to Burma (now Myanmar) and bought him during her visit.  That was at least 15 years ago (when it was still called Burma).  She brought him back and he's been traveling with me ever since!  Omar has lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Sonoma, and now Cville!  Quite a well-traveled puppet!"

The first challenge in this perfect mid-winter-storm project was to find a frame that was tall enough to accommodate his bulging little belly.
I ended up extending/building up the back on this Max Moulding vintage gold speckled 3" shadow box frame and I then re-finished the sides again to match the front.

We decided to let Omar dance inside the box. I chose to raise his arms with the help of some silk wrapped wood blocks, to add a bit more depth and movement to the composition.

I also loosened and flared his garment a bit and stitched it onto the backing, to add some extra interest and to show off the beautiful workmanship and design. He is floating on a chai colored Bainbridge natural silk backing As an extra pop, we decided to add a beautiful Marsala colored silk to line the edges of the interior of the box.

 Above, here he is, happily dancing away...

... and below, in his final new housing, looking at the world with his intense gaze.
Naturally, we used the virtually invisible Museum glass choice.
He will be living on a soft gold and coral striped wallpaper and I cannot wait to see what he will think of his new surroundings.

A great big THANK YOU to Dana for sharing this beautiful piece with everyone!

Keep bringing us your beautiful ideas - working on these special projects is such creative fun!
Thanks for popping by, I hope you are feeling inspired!


Charlottesville, VA



 Organic soy candles and soaps.
Beautifully wrapped, delicious, and new at LLB.

"Our philosophy behind our passion for creating superior quality products is that we, as a society, are constantly being bombarded with stressful life situations : too much traffic, too much pollution, unhealthy foods, lack of exercise, too much sun, too much pressure. We need to focus on the simple and pure pleasures of life; to enjoy a quite moment alone with no interference from the fast paced environment we live in." Lucie Bernier and Andre Pace 

Charlottesville, VA