Economic stimulus, week two: Local art

For years, I've wanted a print by Charley Harper.

I mean, come on!



Wish you were here!

Harper's a very cool part of Cincinnati's culture. So my sudden tax windfall gave me the perfect excuse to pick up a print by him.

All these images are from Fabulous Frames & Art, by the way - a local custom framing shop that specializes in all sorts of Harper material: prints, posters, and licensed stuff like notecards. They can do amazing things with mats; when I visited, the displays were, like, a print of a bird eating some seeds, but more seeds were printed on the mat, so it looked like the print extended beyond its borders.

But I'm a simple girl with simple tastes, so a simple custom-framed double-mat lithograph with nonglare museum glass was good enough for me.

It's called "A Good World," and it now hangs proudly above my DVDs.

(BONUS BLOG EASTER EGG! How many of my DVD box sets can you recognize?)

This is what's called an unlimited-series lithograph, meaning they still have the plates (etchings? Blocks? What's the right word for lithography?) used to print it, so it can be reprinted at any time. Limited-edition stuff is rarer and more expensive; the pieces I saw at Fab Frames were $500-$900, which is a little beyond my budget at this time. Maybe I'll invest in one of those someday. But this print and my Harry and the Potters glow-in-the-dark gig poster are a pretty good start to my fine art collection.

(You think I'm joking, but I love that poster.)

(I tried to take a picture of it hanging on my wall, but there was way too much glare. Maybe I should have it custom-framed with museum glass ...)


Fabulous Frames & Art: $173.60

Total for Weeks 1-2: $250.87


Economic stimulus, week one: Local shops

The week after the IRS accepted my tax return, I had a four-day weekend, which I spent wandering around my neighborhood to see what I could see.

(One of the things I saw was a singing fish based on this commercial, but I refrained from buying it. Worst decision ever? Only time will tell.)

I was excited to be able to stop at Oakley Wines, which is a fairly recent addition to the Oakley shopping scene (and one whose limited hours make it tough for me to stop by after work). The shop is owned by Joe and Lois Santangelo, who were setting up for their usual Friday tasting when I dropped in. (It's 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and I believe $5 gets you six tastes, but I could be wrong about that.) They were both super-nice, very excited to talk about wine, and happy to inform me that their shop is now open on Saturdays from 1 to 5.

From now on, if you invite me to a party and I bring a bottle of wine, it will probably be from this shop. Oakley Wines specializes in wines you might not have heard of, and they make a point of selling no bottle over $20. I picked up a Malbec, a Pinot Grigio, and a Sauvignon Blanc for just over $40.

Oakley Wines on Twitpic

The next day, I headed over to Hyde Park Square on a more specific mission: to purchase many fancy cheeses from Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine. This shop sells crazy crackers, fun little jams and jellies, tiny desserts - basically everything you think of when you think "gourmet." (They also sell sandwiches, which I didn't realize before I stopped in.) Naturally, they have an extensive cheese case, and with the help of a nice saleslady, I selected four: a Camembert, a brie made with goat cheese, something sharp that involved white wine, and five types of Cheddar compressed into a single stripey block. Yum!


Oakley Wines: $40.44

Hyde Park Gourmet: $36.83

Total for Week 1: $77.27

In which I take seriously my charge to stimulate the local economy

Happy tax day, my fellow Americans! My tax refund was much bigger than normal this year - I would say by about $500! Boo-yah!

As a patriotic American with no real debt other than my car payment, I've decided to take this extra $500* and use it the American way: to participate in the age-old tradition of conspicuous consumption!

*The amount of my normal refund will go into savings; I'm not completely reckless.

But here's the deal: All $500 is going to be spent in local businesses. No video games from Amazon; no new TV from Wal-Mart, no pretty, pretty dresses from Target (hmm, maybe I should rethink this). I want to feel like my money is packing as big a punch as possible, and I think the best way to do that is to go local.

Let's see how far this $500 goes.

UPDATE. Here's my completed series.