I made do

I decided I would visit a few stores after work today, so I picked two stores that were seemingly at random.

Seemingly at random because you didn’t know where I was going or why. And seemingly at random because I haven’t told you they were both places I’ve been before — at least one of them frequently. And seemingly at random because you did not know, until this precise moment right here in which I am telling you this part that is very important to the overall story in absolutely no way, that both were between my office, where I spend a lot of time, and the house, where I spend the rest of my time.

I walked through several sections of the first store and found some things, but nothing I had to have. This was really just an excuse to be somewhere, you see. I get in these circumstances and begin to think OK, if you find one thing, two things more you sorta like, you can buy them all. There’s no logic or rationale for this. But if you have some things you’re thinking about getting but you don’t need in the moment, it is a good way to avoiding extraneous purchases. If, that is, you don’t put too much effort into your secondary rationalization skills. And, really, you shouldn’t, because you’ve already built up a credible argument for why you aren’t buying this thing. (e.g. It is only worth it if you find more things.)

So I went to the second store, where I did have a purchase. I needed to buy a picture frame. And not just any, but one that is a random size. It isn’t random, it’s just a standard that applies only to the continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and most of South America. This is a real thing, and we, the Canadians and paper and photo connoisseurs of Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines are the outliers.

And do you know how hard it is to find an internationally accepted frame size in a Hobby Lobby?

I found one. One. The guy was making his patient announcements that the store would close in 15 minutes, and so please bring your purchases to the front and thank you for shopping at Hobby Lobby, where the store will now close in 10 minutes … and don’t you know I waited until the last possible second to go to the register, because if that patient manager sort was going to make his staff work the full shift, I was going to do my part, for them, to see that he did too.

Hobby Lobby is a fascinating place, really. There’s all kinds of carefully distressed things that I would appreciate if they were authentic. But I’m afraid most of their offerings have more attention to the detail of manufactured shabbiness and not enough in overall quality. But it is hard to do much better than Hobby Lobby for a picture frame. Unless you need an A3. And if that’s the case you should go back to the collage frame section, where there is always a miraculous 50% off sale the day you are there, and hope you find something close.

I like the nomenclature of the international, or ISO 216, system. It is only odd if you’re not accustomed to it. But if you think about it. It is a standard defines the “A” and “B” series (and a secondary C series) of paper sizes, which are the most commonly available paper size worldwide. If you’ll round to millimeters, they all have the same aspect ratio. And, while this is more of a paper feature than a photo feature, if you cut or folded a page in half along the width, those halves also have the same aspect ratio. These are great for design elements. And the naming system is simplified. I’ll have an A3, please.

If you, like me, need a 16 1/2 inch by a 11 10/16 inch frame, you might be making do. I made do.

But here’s the thing. I found this frame that some frame maker designed would be great for a matted triptych of 5x7s. It was my only option, so I got it. I liked it a little, but I wasn’t wild about it. I got home, put the print inside the frame. It didn’t fit perfectly, I have a little under a quarter of an inch on both the left and right showing an extra black background, but it fit well enough.

And the look of the frame perfectly complements the print.

You can do worse than making do.

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