My brother's a difficult person to shop for at Christmas. Anything he needs or wants, he usually buys for himself long before December rolls around. Knowing his love for framed art, though, I purchased a print by a local artist and decided to frame it myself.
I bought a $40 frame at a local art shop, and cut a piece of black foamcore board that I already had. There, frame and mat, $40. I thought I was good to go.
But - I don't know the first thing about framing. As I pushed and prodded to make sure that everything would fit into my chosen frame, I heard awful cracking sounds. First the glass within the frame broke into four pieces, and then the frame itself snapped apart in two places. I was left short $40, thinking that if I had consulted an expert, I would be holding a beautiful framed art piece for my brother, instead of heading to the garbage can having wasted time and money.
As I head into the new year, I think that's an important lesson for me. Cost-cutting isn't always worth it. It's not always going to net results that I'm proud of, and sometimes it won't even net results at all. Sometimes, if I want it done right, I'll have to open my wallet and consult the experts.