Friday, March 31, 2006

Boastful

I ***love*** getting emails like this! Thank you Penny in Boston! - Laura B.

"I have a Lucy that I got over 2 years ago that is in fantastic condition still, despite lots of use. It has become my tried and true travelling handbag. I've taken it to Morocco and Argentina and it packs like a dream, looks great and is deceptively roomy enough to even fit a sweater or wrap for unexpected foreign city chill!"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Details - A Collection of Clutches

A vintage glass button sits atop interwoven chocolate grosgrain, stitch to a pink silk dupioni Luxe clutch.

Ruched chocolate silk dupioni topped off with a dollop of pink grosgrain ruffle.

Pink and chocolate dupioni bisected by a floral ribbon with an antique resin button embellishment.

Sneak Peak




I've been working on lots of new bag shapes recently. The great thing about having a store is that I can make something, hang it in the shop, and get customer feedback immediately. Above are two new styles - the olive bag is Amy, and the red is Eleanor. They are cousins with the same basic shape.

Eleanor has many of the recent features that I've been incorporating into the newest bags - hardware, zipper closure, and Naugahyde on the bottom and single strap. This version is made from this gorgeous brick tooled material embellished with a dusty brown velveteen and braid ribbon.

Amy has an exterior pocket made from a print, framed by suede and trimmed in Naugahyde. This actual bag has sold, but there are infinite fabric combinations that would be perfect for this functional bag. Amy has the same single strap, hardware, and zipper closure as Eleanor.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just like Candy



Check out these big red resin beads. They resemble red hots, or candy covered cherries.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Brief History



The other day I noticed that Ashley had posted these tags on our shop bulletin board in chronological order. The top tag is the silkscreened style that I used when I first started the business. I used my Print Gocco machine to screen the logo onto quilting cotton, fused the tags to the lining of each bag, and then machine applique stitched around the tag. These were circa 2000-2, and I made them in pink, mint, and blue.

In 2002, when I opened the store, I decided to splurge by upgrading the tags and to order custom woven tags to match the ceiling of the shop - lipstick pink. At the time ordering 1000 (the vendor minimum) seemed insane and I thought they would last forever. The light pink tag went into circulation around 2004, and graced our first mini wallets an additional new styles. This time I ordered 2000 tags!

Some time last year I ordered the green and brown tags - one of my favorites because I adore the color combination. Recently we started using the light blue. We still have some green left that we use when the colors are just right. Each tag is still sewn on painstakingly with the applique stitch. Each tag represents an little mini era in our growth.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Doggie Bag



If there was a contest for worlds cutest Labrador Retrievers then this pooch would surely be a contender. We made this Maggie Bag for a customer who ordered online. The bottom and straps are licorice Naugahyde, while the trim around the image is black microsuede.

Learn more about the Maggie.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pet Me



This is a picture of John and Otis. Both weigh twenty pounds. One is three and the other is nine months. Both love snacks, petting and Kongs.

Sometimes shop antics have nothing to do with handbags.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Earrings for You





I dug into our collection of yummy components to make these earrings. I matched vintage jewelry parts like lucite flowers and glass burst stones with iridescent dyed shell disks that measure 3/4" in diameter. Tomorrow I'll add ear wires and poof! a limited edition earring collection. (March 28: These are finished finally, and a few are still available.)

These won't make it onto the website because we don't have enough components to make a whole bunch. However, they are for sale for $16 in the store. If you're not in Seattle call or email if you'd like a pair and we can send them your way.

(206) 789-4044; leb@laurabeedesigns.com

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gathering


I've been working on some new ruched designs recently. I love ruching - an heirloom gathering technique - because it adds texture and highlights to rich fabrics. I used a cinnamon dupioni silk on the Luxe Clutch in the photo above, and tucked a teal organza ruffle into the seams.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Africa



Our customer took this photograph when she spent time in Niger. The little strip is a scrap left over from some collages that she made with images from her trip. She brought it to us, and we made her a bubble necklace to commemorate her experiences. The bubble captures a little hut, goat, and a lovely tree growing into the dusky sky.

Learn more about these custom photo necklaces.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Three Graces



The Joey handbag is named for the pouch that the Kangaroo mom uses to carry her baby. Each Joey has two exterior zipper pockets to hold your essentials - cell phone, keys, wallet - close at hand.

We made these the Joeys for an especially fun trio of customers who spent a Saturday afternoon designing their bags in our shop. Notice how different each bag looks because of the materials chosen - first the print for the pocket, then the suede and Naugahyde trim.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Regrets, I've had a few


Once I made a purse from a gorgeous gold and orange vintage Obi that a customer brought into the shop. The fabric already had so much mysterious history that it was wonderful to give it new life as a purse and to send it off with that creative customer. That was over two years ago, and I regret that I didn't take a picture of the bag.

I wish I'd taken more pictures of my work over the years. I have a few, but perfectionism and rushing headlong onto the next thing have been easy excuses. It would be great to back to see more of the evolution of the designs, the improvements, changes, and one-of-a-kind projects.

Thus, my 2006 New Year's resolution was to take more photographs, and that's one reason that I started this blog. We've also been compiling an album of photos in the shop for customers to use as an idea book. This week the album got an upgrade when Ashley made this lovely album cover. Really, its more like an album cozy - soft and inviting, sewn from strips of our favorite fabrics.

Finally, a comfy home for the bags that are out in the world carrying wallets, diaries, and plane tickets.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

For her attendants

These are the completed wristlets we designed and made for Kristen's bridal attendants. The rich silks in grass and rose create a bold coloration against the soft celery of the ribbon and the simple bridesmaid dresses. Each wristlet is embellished with a unique vintage button to add character and personality. These lucky girls will be able to use these wristlets all summer long - mojitos at happy hour anyone?

Learn more about our bridal options.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Always the bridesmaid

Wedding season is upon us and we recently completed an especially fun project for a bride. She sent us the green swatch at the left to start our design process. Her attendants are wearing simple J. Crew dresses made of this celery silk shade. It is a lovely spring color that can be quite tough to match.

Once I received the swatch I hit the fabric stores and found the ribbon at the bottom of the photo,which is the perfect match for the swatch. (Very lucky!) I put the ribbon with various silk swatches and emailed JPGs to Kristen to review.

Next post: the design reveal.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Store Tour Part Two

Big bag zone: The maple plywood panel holds some samples of our larger styles that customers order for work, travel and mom duty. The Kate is on the bottom right, and a new tote style is on the lower left. It has an exterior front pocket and I haven't come up with a good name for it yet. The top bag is a new single strap slouchy style that is in need of a name too. Ideas anyone?

Under the panel you can see some Naugahyde makeup bags, Sublime Stitching patterns, and an easel with bobbie pins. The tubes in the very far right of the photo are a glimpse of our Naugahyde rack, which has over thirty shades of upholstery vinyl waiting to be transformed into bags and wallets.
Wristlets galore! Here's a mix of Naugahyde wristlets, one of our store best-sellers. These are especially fun to make because we can use quirky combinations that may not work on larger bags.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Store Tour Part One

Our bright pink signs grab the attention of passers by, especially on grey Seattle days.

We only have a small display window, but we make the best of it. Our current display signals spring with forsythia cut from my yard, a bright green backdrop and pops of color on wristlets that hang and twirl, as well as the orange pillow.