Framed Items Blog
- Continuing Pickup and Collection Service only
For the time being I will be continuing the pickup and collection service only. I am in the process of moving to a new workshop in the Newtownabbey area (Merville).
Please continue to contact as below.
Many thanks for your continued custom, Mark.
Click here to Send email to m.mcallister @ ntlworld.com no spaces
- Pickup and Collection Service only
Time to finally update the blog again!
My last post was about my official business address as point of contact.
For the last couple of months and due to ongoing and uncertain covid rules I am doing a pickup and collection service only.
Please email or phone for details.
- keep her between the hedges…I have been framing motorcycling items for this client for several years. He is probably Michael Dunlops biggest fan has travelled the country to get items signed by his hero. This was a challenging item to frame and different from the normal sports shirts. The hoodie was quite bulky and the client wanted all the writing on the item to be visible which needed the arms to be folded over. We tried several different framing positions and layouts until we got the final layout you can see below. I then framed it up with a boxed version of the classic black frame. The client was delighted with the frame and it is now the centerpiece of his growing collection.
- Happy New YearHappy New Year to all past, current and future customers from Acorn Framing! Its been a blustery time up here in the glens of Gormley over the festive period and it reminds me of the rough waves seascape print a customer from Augher brought in before Christmas to have framed. The print measured 47 inches by 23 inches he wanted it framed in a white oak-ish style frame with glass. I asked the client if they worked in Belfast or nearby and he said he didn’t but he had spoken to me on the phone months ago and had just waited until he was near Belfast to drop it in for framing. He said he had rang round a few framers and liked what I had suggested and decided just to wait to have me do it whenever he was passing next. It really is a beautiful looking print, full of energy and colour and I hope 2018 is full of energy and colour for you all!
- Use the force….One of my regular clients from Belfast is a big Star Wars fan. To say big, I mean eats, sleeps, breathes Star Wars. He is part of the emerald garrison and has his own Stormtrooper costume. With the launch of the new Star Wars Rogue One film (the best film since the original trilogy in my opinion!) he arrived up at the workshop with this original one sheet movie poster. He mentioned that genuine original 1977 star wars posters now go for thousands or tens of thousands and original star wars toys in packaging can go for the same. Maybe its time to dig out the old toys from the loft! The poster was framed to match the other posters in his collection although his old Star Wars room has now become two rooms, and a cupboard, and part of the garage, and…
- Remember, remember, the 4th of September…Ok its not quite guy fawkes or indeed November but I had a lady from Jordanstown contact me about framing a Northern Ireland top for a charity event they were running. Its always a pleasure to frame a signed team top especially a “Green and White army” one. The signatures where right down the bottom of the shirt so it balanced up nicely with a black frame and an off white background. The jersey was an away shirt from the world cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in Prague on the 4the September and signed by the whole team. The game ended scoreless so lets hope it raises a lot more money for the charity….
- Its the end of the world as we know it…My friend and neighbour Joe Fox came into the workshop recently with a number of items from his trip to Antarctica that he wanted framed. This time it wasnt photographs but a collection of items and memorabilia including some things very special to him. We talked for a while about the layout of the items and what type of mount card/background he wanted and after a while he replied that he had just the thing and disappeared next door only to reappear with a rather large map of the Antarctic Peninsula. Framing folded maps that have been sitting around for a while involves a challenge and extra expense required in vacuum sealing them and other methods of flattening the creases. Joe then said he didnt want the creases smoothed out, that he wanted the background to have a texture to it, to look worn. You know what, the customer is always right, even if they are mad! We settled on using the map as the entire background and I mounted it on stiff board to add rigidity and also weight as it would be a box frame with a little depth to accommodate all the items. The items included certificates of landing on Antarctica as well as a certificate to the authenticity of an arrow used by the scientists tracking humpback whale migration on this trip. The scientists fire an arrow at the dorsal fin of the humpback and the floating arrow contains a small capsule which takes a sample of the whales skin and does no harm to the whale. This sample is then analysed to provide the individual whales DNA and track its movement from Antarctica. All this is strictly controlled by international treaties. There were also some still frame grabs from a gopro camera showing this particular arrow in action as well as an ID badge from the ship and two antarctica penguin badges taken to the peninsula and rested on antarctic soil! The layout was a challenge, getting the balance right and also leaving the ships tracking path free on the map. I did suggest that Joe marked out the tracking path on the map but he said the reason he didnt want that is that it wouldnt give him anything to talk about when showing it to people. As if going to Antarctica and tracking humpback whale migration wasnt enough to talk about! This really is an amazing one off piece of, well, art. Very personal and a great example of how we go beyond framing photos to produce something spectacular.
- Its a match….A lady from Ballymena recently contacted me to frame an oil painting she recently purchased. She wanted it to match another oil painting she had framed over 20 years ago. Some framing styles come and go and some are bespoke to companies which may have long since gone out of business so this one needed a few phone calls and emails to source the exact match. The frame was a box frame with a 2 inch scoop box and a 2 inch matt white outer frame with a slight bevel. This moulding is no longer manufactured as one unit but I managed to track down some old new stock inner moulding and complete the frame using standard moulding for the inner. After some experimentation I produced a perfect match for the old frame and I was absolutely delighted as I love it when a plan comes together. The customer was also delighted and she explained to me afterwards (not for blog use) the sentimental value of the old style frame.
- Id rather walk alone…. **Earlier this week I had a customer come up to the workshop from Holywood with a souvenir football scarf that he wanted framed. It was a 50/50 match scarf from the Manchester United v Liverpool game in September last year, he also wanted 4 photos of him and his son at the game to be included in the layout. Being a Liverpool fan I agreed to do this through gritted teeth, specially bearing in mind Liverpool got gubbed 3-1 in the game. Football being the funny old game that it is I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the text on the end of the scarf ‘Id rather walk alone’. Probably the way Louis Van Gaal felt at the end of the season lads! ** obviously does not reflect the views of Acorn Framing
- Euro Fever approaches…No, not the upcoming EU referendum but the small matter of the football tournament. I had a woman from Whitehead contact me about getting a couple of football jerseys framed. What makes these shirts special is that they were signed by the whole “European Champions elect” football team, Northern Ireland. One off the tops was to be auctioned off to raise money for the local football team and the other to be hung in their clubhouse. I asked where the clubhouse was as I am originally from Whitehead myself and I discovered that the clubhouse was my old youth club! Small world! Good luck to the Eagles and I hope the top raises a lot of money for a great cause
- what a belter!I had a lady contact me, asking if I could frame her sons martial arts belts. Not a problem, says I, call over with them. Several large bags later I wondered just what on earth I had got myself into, still, the ‘I can frame anything’ motto applies so we got to discussing how to do this set. She had saved every single belt he had earned from his white belt aged six right up to his first Dan black belt. Each belt could not be cut and they were all to be mounted together. We decided on an inset box frame with white inlays and a black surround. I hand stitched every belt in order onto mount card and constructed the multi layered box frame sturdy enough to hold the weight of all the belts. We also included his first DAN black belt certificate and I think you will agree it is a great presentation of his journey from absolute beginner to black belt. Something to be very proud of and deserves to be presented. A complete belter you might say! (sorry, couldnt resist!)
- Can you frame a Princess?I recently had a gentleman come to me from Crumlin with quite a large poster measuring 47 inches by 60 inches (120cm x 152cm) The print was purchased in America last summer and was so big it had to go in the hold. It was bought as a birthday present to the gentleman’s wife. The print was one of the old style railway type posters of the TSS Caledonian Princess on the old Larne Stranraer route, one of her favourite scenes. The second stage of the present was to get it framed. With such a large poster the glass was a special order and to accommodate it I built a hardwood oak frame for strength and rigidity. The client asked if it was possible to get a close colour match on the frame to the colour of the flooring in the room he was going to display it. I asked him to get the name of the stain he had used on the floor and better than that, he supplied me with the half used tin of stain he had left over. When finished there was the issue of transport and getting the van far enough down their lane to not have to carry the huge and now very heavy piece of artwork too far. When it was displayed in the newly decorated room his wife was delighted with the poster and mentioned how much of a coincidence it was that the frame exactly matched the flooring! All in a days work!
- A Valentines present with a difference….My good friend and next door neighbour Joe Fox popped in 2 weeks ago with a piece of Liverpool history. The limited edition signed Steve Gerrard top is a tribute to this Liverpool legend and all money from the sales going to Jamie Carragher’s 23 foundation charity.710 of these shirts were produced (one for each of Steven Gerrards games for Liverpool) and are now sold out. They are embroidered with all of Stevieg’s honours. The top is a 40th birthday present for his much younger (he’ll kill me for that) brother Jim (14th Feb) so this blog will only go live on the afternoon of Valentines Day so we don’t give away the surprise. Thats the only link to Valentines Day other than it is red! We decided on a red frame for the top, and we decided not to frame the certificate of authenticity from the charity with the shirt but rather to mount it to the back of the frame. We needed to make a packing crate as it is going to Liverpool where Jim lives on the ferry with Joe. So it went from Liverpool to Belfast and then back again! I would like to wish Jim a big happy birthday on his 40th have a good one buddy!!! YNWA
- The Real Thing….I recently had a man contact me from London enquiring about a framing job he was looking done. The items where game worn football jerseys but not just ordinary tops. …. Real Madrid game worn Tops. not only Real Madrid worn tops ….only Ronaldo and Zidane game worn tops. They where forwarded to me by special delivery and never was that term more appropriate. Zidane and Ronaldo game worn shirts and the shirt presented to the Real Madrid players for winning the champions league in 2000! As the client was based in London all the framing discussed via Skype with the framed shirts to be hung in his holiday apartment in Belfast. Certainly three of the most memorable (and valuable) shirts Ive ever framed, well excluding the signed George Best one but thats another blog story for another day….
- Happy New Year and hows this for a hole in one!Happy New Year and hello 2016 from Acorn Framing. As its the first month of the year I am reminded of one of the more personal requests for framing I had this year. It was one of those ‘can you frame’ questions to which the answer is always yes, its just a question of time and money! The caller was from the Antrim Road area of Belfast and had a real unique novelty item to frame. He had been playing a round of golf at Fortwilliam Golf Club with two colleagues when one of them hit a cracking shot on the Par 3 10th. It was so good it ended up right in the hole a genuine ‘hole in one’. To celebrate the event he had kept the verified scorecard and the guys wanted to have it framed along with a personal message. I mounted it on a white mount with black frame with the personal message below. Definitely a great souvenir of the day and something to cherish forever. (Ive taken the players name out of the photo and dedication in the photos).
- Snow is falling, all around me…Well it is Glengormley in December after all. Just a timely reminder this month of my Christmas and New Year opening hours. Im open right up to and including Christmas Eve but will be closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. I would also like to wish all my past, present and future customers a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Mark (acorn framing)
- Yes, you shall go to the ball…A couple of weeks ago a lady dropped into the workshop with one single boot. Can you frame this? she asked. Of course, anything is possible. Its for my boyfriend, he picked it up in Finland at a football match. Oh? Yes, it was the Northern Ireland last game in the Euro qualifiers after they had qualified. The fans who had travelled were going nuts at the final whistle and a few of the players came over to the crowd and started to throw in scarves, shirts and even the odd football boot or two. He got a boot. Oh, whose boot is it? Some guy called Kyle Lafferty. You mean this guy? (photos credit Joe Fox) I framed the boot on simple black card and made a box frame up to support it. I also had a plaque made up to tell everyone exactly what it was (in the unlikely event of any confusion). Although the boot wont be going to France next summer, the boys in Green will be, in fact both sets of boys in Green will be there. Anyone got any spare tickets?
- Visiting the Theatre of DreamsI recently had a gentleman contact me with another challenging framing job.His son had been invited to Old Trafford to watch a Manchester United match. Not only that but he also got to attend a post match event to meet the team, get some photos and get the all important football shirt signed by the squad. The client wanted the shirt framed as a souvenir of the event so to completely ‘frame’ the event we framed all the photos of his son meeting the team as part of the jersey framing. There was a total of 14 photos to be arranged in the frame and we tried a few layouts before agreeing the final version. The photos were set off well with a black background and a black frame complemented the shirt and the layout. His son was overjoyed with the result and agreed it was something he would treasure as it showed his entire day and the history of who he got to sign the shirt and his whole experience.
- Life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass……its about dancing in the rain. Or so the saying goes. About a month or so ago my friend, neighbour and photographer Joe Fox contacted me regarding an exhibition he was arranging on behalf of local dance company DU Dance. DU Dance were having three exhibitions of their photographs taken by Joe over the last 12 years as part of their BelFEST 15 celebration of youth dance. The exhibitions are part of a week long series of events including flash mob events in City Hall and Writers Square as part of Culture night and an evening Youth Dance showcase at the Theatre at the Mill Newtownabbey featuring groups from all over the British Isles. The photographic exhibition was in three parts, two with mounted photographs on display boards at Belfast City Hall and the Theatre at the Mill and one main exhibition in the Crescent Gallery in Belfast. I had worked with Joe and DU Dance before for their last exhibition in the Ulster Hall and they were going to use some of the framed images from that event in this showcase and update it with some of the last few years images. I was to match the frames and mounts to the same dimensions and style as the previous ones so they would look uniform. I also took in all the older frames and cleaned them up and repackaged them for transport down to the gallery. In all there were 19 images to be displayed in the gallery which is a lot to package up and transport as one entity. Each photo was mounted in an off white mount with a timeless black frame. The frames were all hung in the Crescent Gallery both as an exhibit and as the backdrop for a series of photography talks Joe was delivering as part of the festival. I wish them all luck for their events as part of Culture Night and at the theatre and hope they dont have to dance in the rain!
- Talk of the toon…Last month I had a local company come to me regarding a colleague who had worked for them for 10 years and who was leaving to move back to his home city of Newcastle in England. As a fanatical magpie supporter, they asked me to supply a Newcastle United Scarf, mounted but not framed. An odd request for a framer but they went on to say they would then take mount away to be signed by all his work colleagues then back to me to be framed. Arranging the scarf was one issue but they also asked me to arrange for a magpie logo to also be painted on the mount by a local artist. A real nice personal touch for the most personal of gifts. On being presented with his framed scarf apparently he “broke down in tears” so I would say another happy customer!
- A draws a draw and here’s the photo to prove it!I recently had a lady contact me from Carryduff with an Ulster Jersey signed by the player, Andrew Warwick. The Jersey in question was rather special as she was one of a hundred people who had entered a draw for the signed top which was to be presented by the player after one of the games at Ravenhill. Everyone who entered the draw had their names printed on the players number, a unique one off jersey! I asked her if she just wanted the shirt framed or did she have any other memorabilia which could also be included. She asked if the photo of her receiving the shirt was what I had in mind! Absolutely! I thought about mounting the photo on the shirt as part of the frame but I thought it might be better balanced with the photo mounted under the sleeve. This left me with an uneven frame with just one photo but I managed to source a photo from that very same game with the player wearing the exact shirt! The whole frame now balanced up and it was all set off nicely in a one inch black wood. The client couldn’t believe we got the second photo! All in a days work at Acorn framing……
- International customers welcome!I recently had a customer contact me from Saudi Arabia, and no he wasnt called Lawrence. He had a collection of canvasses he was looking framed up in box frames for display. I wondered if there wasn’t any framer a bit closer to him but he explained he worked on the oil rigs six months at a time and would be home soon and would give me a call to drop them off. He arrived up at the workshop with the canvasses still rolled up as they were in the suitcase coming home. They did look a bit worse for wear but this is something I am used to dealing with. After some acclimatisation and stretching they were all stretched on canvas bars and box framed up fronted with glass which really sets them off beautifully.
- Framed Degree CertificatesOne of my neighbours in Newtownabbey was doing a bit of spring cleaning yesterday when they came across their old degree certificates. Both were issued by Queens University Belfast (QUB) and were in the dust covered shop bought frames they had been placed in the day after graduation and never touched since. My neighbour went on to do a Masters degree after their first degree and framed the diploma in a similar shop bought diploma frame. The frames were similar but didnt quite match so they asked me to put together some framing options to have both the certificates framed in the same frame so they could be hung on the wall and not gather dust propped up in a cabinet somewhere. We looked at various options including a simple black frame and mount but settled on an antique silver mount. The originals were framed in metal gold finish frames but that was over 20 years ago! With graduation season coming up, its a timely reminder not to wait 20 odd years to get your certificates or diplomas framed!
- Framed, delivered, hung all in one piece…A lady from Whitehead called in recently with another unusual item for framing. Her husband had spent the previous week putting together a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle map of the world. She wanted to know if I could frame it as a present to him and what was the best way to present it. There are a few trade secrets with framing jigsaws as they are one of the most difficult things to frame correctly. Starting with picking the item up from their home and transporting it to the workshop in one single piece not 1000! I didn’t fancy the idea of sitting down for a week trying to put it together again so a few special tools in the workshop ensure that doesn’t happen! As you can imagine it takes a while to assemble the frame for this type of item and once laid out gives the opportunity to pick the colour of the frame. We went with an Italian antique silver moulding as it set off the old map style of the jigsaw well. The job wasnt finished until it was delivered and safely hung in the clients home. A few days later I had a phone call from a rather pleased husband. One of those times where final delivery in one piece was really appropriate!
- Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London…A local Newtownabbey customer called in to the workshop this week asking if I could frame an old style book map of London. The map had been given to him when he was a young man heading off across the water for the first time to look for fame, fortune and work in London. The map itself was one of the old cloth maps and was in great condition considering its age. As for the young man, he went on to establish a taxi company in London which became the first 24 hour taxi firm created. The map was framed on antique white mountcard and the frame was colour matched to the colour of the cloth map as it is now.
- Company certificate framesAn international company recently opened a new subsidiary branch in the Mallusk area of Newtownabbey. They contacted me to help with the decoration of the newly painted white walls of the boardroom, training room and stairwell approaches. For the stairwell we framed a collection of 10 certificates, each framed individually and hung staggered on the stairs as in the photo below. For the boardroom and training room, rather than individually hang 8 certificates around the wall, we decided on two individual large frames each housing 8 certificates mounted as a block. We decided on a black frame and mount and to keep it consistent across all the framing allowing future mix and match or replacement/updating to any or all of the certificates in the future. Part of the commission was also to mount and hang the frames in situ and they set the white walls off well!
- Oddly shaped ballsA sports supplier from Lisburn recently approached me to frame some Ulster Rugby sporting items. Nothing unusual in that request apart from the shirt to be framed was for display and not for hanging on a wall and the other item was a full sized rugby ball they wanted suspended in a frame so that you see all sides easily. Both items were to be used as the window display in their shop. The client also specified that the frames had to be black and hand machined with black mounts. The shirt framing was done with a hand made stand as the frame had to be stood at a specific angle to minimise reflections of not just the glass of the frame but of people looking through the glass window and the glass of the frame. It also had to be heavy duty to support the weight of the large top, framed. It was also hinged to allow for movement and cleaning in and around the window display. The ball concept is one of those known in the trade as a ‘framer’s nightmare’. The double glass solution is a complex one, the type of glass used, the size of the aperture to allow viewing of all sides and it is tested in various lights, such as the photo below to see where shadows fall and to minimise this. Where the ball was to be mounted was also important as this would decide the depth of frame and shadow lighting. The internal surface of the finished box is also coated with specific finishes to minimise reflections and give definition to the edges of the ball from different viewing angles. Finally the suspension mechanism requires a lot of attention as it needs to be discrete and because once its in, its in! I delivered both items to the shop premises in Lisburn and I have to say they really do add the wow factor to the window display.
- Window on the worldA client from Jordanstown arrived down at the workshop recently, looking to get a rather important object framed. The item in question was the front door stained glass window from the house he was born and grew up in. His family had left the property over 20 years previously and he just happened to be passing the property recently as it was just about to be demolished. He stopped and told his story to the contractor who then sold it to him. He now had a panel and didn’t know what to do with it so he brought it to me to see if it could be framed. Framing this sort of item is unusual and requires some structural work and tricks of the trade to get right and enable it to be hung safely. It was framed in a black frame I hung the panel in his new home just beside his new front door a definite talking point for guests coming to the house and what a great way to bring together the new and the old.
- A call to armsRecently a young couple from Glengormley came to me with an item they had bought at Edinburgh Castle. They had been married the month before and were on honeymoon in Edinburgh and paid a visit to the Castle. Inside the castle the is a craft shop with on the castle that draw family Coat Of Arms. Typically these consist of the embossed and embroidered heraldic crest on material and a certificate of authenticity and an explanation of the origin and history of the family name on parchment paper. This particular Coat of Arms is the gentleman’s name. We decided on a black box frame and ivory core mount for the crest with the parchment raised on the mount for display. Two days after it was hung in the house, I received a phone call to ask could I do the same with a freshly ordered coat of arms, this time in the lady’s maiden name.
- A visitor from Deepest, Darkest Peru…No, not Paddington bear, I had a lady come to me from Bangor looking to get a rare tapestry stretched with no visible frame. The tapestry was hand made, embossed, large and extremely heavy and she had bought it whilst on holiday in Peru. Mounting such a large cloth item poses a number of problems beyond the weight and dimensions. The mounting was 4 inches deep at the centre and it takes some work and no small amount of engineering to ensure something this big does not sag when hung on the wall. As with other items of this type, when it was finally put together I advised the client on how to hang such a beautiful special item in their home.