Thursday, June 29, 2006

Buried Treasure

I'm in my hometown of Rochester, New York visiting some old haunts. Today my mother and I visited Fabrics & Findings. I have many childhood memories of going there, browsing among the remnants and trims. As a teenager, I'd ride my bike to the store to select various 1980s prints for my handmade blouses. I love the big warehouse windows and creaky wood floors of the building.

Last June I went crazy digging through the piles of material and shipped a bunch of stuff back to the studio in Seattle. This year was a little more tame, but I did pick up several great finds, which I'll photograph later.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Day of Rest

Last week was busy and crazy. First off, we went a fabulous tour of Theo Chocolates, a Seattle organic chocolate factory. We're going to sell some of their chocolate bars at the shop, so it was great fun to get a firsthand intro to their product.

Then we had various procurement issues - why are our vendors out of all of the things we need, all at the same time? For a small business, we have tons of supplies, and keeping everything well stocked can be tricky. I trust that this week we'll get lots of great stuff delivered on time!

Then poor Ashley came down with a serious case of cooties and was home sick for two days. Otis especially missed his Auntie - she spoils him all day long.

In any case Otis Bee and I are ready for a day parked on the couch. I think I'll venture out to buy this amazing looking book 52 Projects. I heard the author interviewed on CraftSanity and I've obsessively wanted this book ever since.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Yesterday Ashley made an Oxblood and pink Kate tote that is bound for the Bay Area. Here's a snap of the bag in its flat state - you can see both the outside, and the lining of the purse - all trimmed in a lovely pink and chocolate jacquard ribbon.

The Kate is our biggest style, so at this point in the construction, its well over five feet long! That's the top of Ashley's face at the top and her little toes poking out the bottom.

The next step in production is folding and pinning the bag inside out, installing a magnetic snap closure, sewing around the perimeter, turning right side out, and - voila - big, lovely tote.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

She Totes!

Recently a customer ordered this bag - our Natalie shape with chestnut microsuede, light blue Naugahyde, and butter yellow lining. The bright floral rectangle hides a roomy exterior zipper pocket. She plans to use the bag to carry her laptop.

One of the best ways to help a customer put together a custom bag order is it have them begin by choosing their focal fabric. Usually this is a patterned fabric that will be the centerpiece of their purse. For this tote, our customer chose the bold, large-scale floral that had many lovely colors.

Next step is to choose the accent fabrics. She chose to emphasize the chestnut brown that is a secondary color on the print. We happened to have a rich suede in this color that added a sophisticated vibe to the print. She chose the ice blue Naugahyde for a light, springy final touch.

There are so many wonderful textiles out there...and so little time. That's why we have great fun seeing what our customers choose, day after day.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On Black and Brown

Many fashion rules about coordinating and matching have relaxed greatly. Your handbag and shoes don't need to match, you can mix patterns, and you can have fun with quirky color combinations. Isn't it more fun to stay loose and have fun with your accessories?

Many customers who visit our store want to carry a bag that will look great with both brown and black. Chocolate is such a popular neutral now, that one lingering fashion rule seems to be don't mix black and brown. One great solution is to carry a bag that doesn't have either color.

The bag above features a lovely rich glossy merlot that looks terrific with almost every color including black and brown. Another option is a green bag - in this case a colorful bag can in fact be more neutral than absence of color.

More about this bag.