Friday, February 29, 2008

Sapphire and Silk

I know I've mentioned that the stories behind the bags that we custom sew make our jobs so enjoyable. Here's a perfect example.

Debbie helped a recently engaged customer design this Edith bag. She used her heirloom sapphire and diamond engagement ring as inspiration. (You can see it on her hand in this image.) This is the first all dupioni silk Edith that I've made and I love how the drape of the pleat highlights the luminescence of the silk.

Luckily Ashley was quick on her feet when the customer came to pick up the purse. She snapped this shot on her camera phone so that we could show it to you here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TV Tomorrow

We got a call yesterday from Amanda at KOMO TV regarding their regular Eco Consumer afternoon spot. Tomorrow their theme is 'Buy Local' so they wanted to borrow some of our bags to feature as locally made products.

I bought this skirt at Goodwill a while back so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to finally make something with the crisp black and white fabric. I find that recycling fabric into purses is not only environmentally friendly, but also fun.

When we use vintage fabric like this, I love the fact that we are making something one of a kind. Starting with fabric that has enjoyed a previous life, we transform it into a new and useful object. Of course we especially enjoy working on projects with vintage fabrics that our customers bring us. Those materials often have lovely, personal stories.

If you are in Seattle tomorrow, you can see the Eco Consumer show these bags on KOMO-TV channel 4 during the 4-5 PM hour.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Night Flowers

Last night I set up my tripod in the front yard and played around with taking pictures of the plants outside our front door. These hydrangea skeletons look mysterious and antiqued. Soon they will give way to fresh growth.

Jeff planted this hellebore for me on Valentine's Day three years ago and it has proudly bloomed each February since. I adore the color of these flowers; it is somewhere between chocolate brown and eggplant, so rich and velvety.

Monday, February 25, 2008

In Our Window

We made a banner for our new window display that looks like a black and white version of this image. It's close to impossible to take good photographs of our window since the reflections foil photographic efforts, so I offer you this graphic instead.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Same fabric, new form

Last Christmas, a customer came to us with this gorgeous traditional Chinese dress. He wanted us to create a collection of bags from the rich textile.

Ashley worked with him to design three pieces: a modified Kate bag, an Amanda, and a wristlet.

Once the designs were complete, Ashley meticulously deconstructed the garment and carefully cut and stitched each purse. One of my favorite details was the frog closure that she transferred to this wristlet.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Store Sampler

From left to right, top to bottom:

Enamel Pendant by Foxy Jewelry - $38
Vintage Owl Bank - not for sale
Eve Shoulder Bag by LBD - $84
Pocket Mirror by My Favorite Mirror - $7
Gator Applique Zipper Case by LBD - $25
Large Swallow Brooch by Classic Hardware - $20

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Introducing Celeste

I designed the Celeste clutch before the busy holiday season. She's roomy yet demure.
Celeste's inverted pleat gives her a soft pliable look.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Introducing Envirosax. I'm proud to say that we are now offering this Australian line of 'bring your own bag' style shopping bags.

These roomy bags roll up into tiny bundles. I've been carrying one in my purse every day since January 1st and I've used it at the grocery store, fabric shop, clothing boutique, and shoe store.

Made of durable, waterproof nylon, each bag is $10 in our shop. These clever totes make fantastic gifts too.

Some facts:
- Over 500 billion plastic bags are discarded each year
- It takes up to 1,000 years for 1 bag to decompose
- Each individual uses an estimated 500 bags each year

No more yucky plastic bags for me!

(Photos courtesy of Envirosax, except the dollar bill shot.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chin Rest

The other night as I checked my email on the couch, Otis found a particularly creative way to keep his chin up as he slept (and snored).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Photography Class

Scott, a student who took came to the shop in the photography class last week, sent over bunch of pictures that he took.

This one of a Chelsea bag is my favorite because I love how rich and shiny the glossy black looks. The chair that Delphine the model is using is actually Ashley's sewing chair, and the shoes are Fluevog.

Photo by Scott Sweeney.

Button Thursday: London to Seattle

This is my fashionable sister Susannah back in January. She's wearing a Veronica bag that I made her for her trip to London. It's typical that she's completely color coordinated. Not so typical that she's wearing pants instead of a dress. Anyhow, this is apparently a picture of her at the Tate Modern. To me the image looks like a scene from a Joy Division video - full of stylish angst and drama.

While in the UK, She picked up some buttons for me at a flea market. (She knows me well.) Here are some bright spring bags we designed around these bold beauties.

Thanks, SuzyBuzz, for carrying these fasteners across the Atlantic, and then mailing them to me on the Pacific coast.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Architectural Earrings

Earrings sell so well in our shop that we're always on the lookout for new lines to carry. Recently we stumbled upon Portland, Oregon designer Joseph Brinton's collection. Ashley and I spent some time looking through his large collection to find the most modern, architectural pieces. Each item is handmade in Brinton's Portland studio.

The collection just arrived yesterday. We have several styles in silver tone, goldtone, and mixed metals. All earwires are either sterling or goldfill. Prices range from $16 to $22 a pair, and all are very light and easy to wear.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Caucus Saturday

Jeff and I just finished up our precinct Democratic caucus. The winner in our neighborhood was clear immediately so we didn't have the conversation and discussion that I expected. Still, I'm glad we went. We both left invigorated by the turnout of people of all ages.

Tucker Thursday

Ashley's puggle Tucker makes a weekly appearance at our shop on Thursdays.

Always on his best behavior, Tucker doesn't bark at the mail carrier, whine to go outside, or beg for snacks like a certain wrinkled someone.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fashion Photography Class

Last night a large fashion photography class shot pictures of our bags in the shop. They moved around the furniture, set up lights, styled a model and used various lining fabrics as backdrops. It was wild.

Here's a quick snapshot I took. This is the view from my workstation. The man up top is not a puppeteer, he's using thread to suspend the bag shoulder straps. The students will send me some of their favorite shots. I look forward to sharing them with you here.

More Candy Wallets

I've just posted our latest spring wallet group on our website. A variation on the licorice set, these mini wallets have the same sherbet colors, but we've put them on a glossy dark chocolate background.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I grew up in Rochester, New York, home of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. I've been thinking of both of these childhood heroes lately as I watch the primary process. Anthony and Douglass worked together for the right to vote - both for black people and for women. It's astonishing that it's been less than 100 years since these rights were granted. It's more astonishing that so many of us don't participate in the process that was so hard-won.

Now I live in Washington State, where the presidential primary process doesn't count for the Democrats, and only counts for half of the Republican delegates. Instead, the both parties will caucus this Saturday. I hope lots of people show up, because this is how the delegates will be chosen. This year, at least in the close Democratic race, the Washington delegates will be key.

Here's information about the Washington state caucuses and how you can participate.

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