Monday, March 31, 2008

Where the Money Goes

It's a tough time right now. The election is uncertain, the economy is flailing, the news is not good. People are worried, frustrated, and tense.

In the midst of all this worry, I feel blessed every day when our loyal customers continue to come in the door. So I wanted to thank all of you who continue to shop at LBD. You have thousands of choices for where you can spend your hard-earned dollar each day. I don't take your choosing our store lightly.

I'm thankful too, to live in Seattle, where citizens tend to place exceptional value in shopping locally and supporting handmade work. They think about that essential question, "Where does my money go if I buy this?" And the follow-up questions..."Does my money go to workers who are paid ethically? Does it go to a small business that contributes to the community? Does my money support the values that I hold dear in my life."

Of course shopping is not charity work. The challenge for small businesses is to also provide something that the big boys cannot - to create a fun experience, personalized customer service, and, above all, great products.

I've decided to highlight some of my favorite lines here. Tony's Coffee is Organic and fair trade. Method cleaning products are natural and never tested on animals. I adore the foaming hand soap. I buy mine at Bartell's Drugs, which is the oldest family owned drugstore left in the US. Finally, Theo Chocolate, delicious Seattle-made organic, fair trade chocolate bars (which we are proud to offer in our shop).

So that's my two cents about thinking positively in the midst of all of the chaos and economic darkness that's out there. Most of us are feeling the pinch. Still,I like to think of searching for great products, both for the store, and for use in my daily life like a treasure hunt. It's fun to stumble upon something terrific, and to pay attention to where the money goes.

Thanks for letting me ramble today. Here are a few relevant items I've found lately: Blog entry on Craftivism and real value of the things we buy. Information on companies that do and don't test on animals.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


To celebrate my friend Peggy's new baby (due in late April), three of us put together a little baby shower for her.

One of our activities was decorating (and eating) cupcakes. Amy made vanilla cakes and scrumptious chocolate buttercream frosting from scratch.

Each guest frosted and decorated a few cupcakes, and took them home in pink cake boxes (pilfered from Laura Bee Designs).

Amy's cat Manon supervised from a sun patch.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rhodies in Bloom

One of our potted rhododendrons is blossoming outside the door of the shop.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

She has Slightly Red Hair... she looks great in green.

How I admire the ambition and the generosity of this bride, who is making her bridesmaids' dresses out of this gorgeous green dupioni silk that her friend brought back from Thailand.

I made the ruched clutch above for the bride to carry on her wedding day. She chose a plum moire lining and a shimmering crystal button to top it off.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hands Free

Walkers, bikers, bus-riders, travelers and practical people often ask us for bags that they can wear across their bodies, rather than under their arms.

Our travel bag is a popular choice for those who like to carry their belongings hands-free. The small bag has an adjustable strap and features an outside zipper pocket.

I designed this bag because many people requested something more fun than the typical black nylon travel bag that could be just as functional.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Space Needle Wedding Purse

I've noticed that many brides are getting more adventurous with both their wedding plans and their accessories. Here's a case in point.

Recently a fun-loving bride brought us a small piece of the French blue silk dupioni fabric from which her wedding dress is made. She's getting married at the Space Needle here in Seattle in May, so she wanted something pretty and unique, but not too serious.

Here's the back of the Edith bag that I made for her. She chose a gorgeous silk taffeta designer sample for the body of the bag that has irregular stripes of gold, wheat, blue, and deep red. We used the blue dress fabric as the pleat. The lining of the bag is crimson, "because I'm a vixen," said this fantastic bride.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sleek and Modern

I instantly fell for this new line of sterling silver and enamel jewelry. The candy colors and elegant simplicity make each piece both fun and wearable. Each soft square is substantial in thickness and weight, but also petite (less than 1" square) and subtle.

Made by artisans in Taxco, Mexico, the line is called Far Fetched, and it is fair trade certified. These pendants are less than $40 each, and we have smaller sizes that are less than $25.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cherry Blossoms and Grey Skies

Spring in Seattle brings lovely blooming cherry blossoms opening themselves up to the grey sky.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Introducing Beatrice

Beatrice is a rectangular bag that has more capacity than a purse, but is smaller than a tote. We created her for those people who love to carry a water bottle and a book, but don't want to have a huge bag weighing them down.

This Beatrice is embellished with red and white oilcloth, but we'll also customize this bag with ribbon, just like our Kate and Eve bags.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On Red Dots and Denim

Recently a customer brought us this terrific starched red cotton fabric. She told me that a friend brought it back from a trip to South Africa. Our customer wanted us to use the special yardage to make book bags for two lucky little girls' birthdays.

We decided to pair the red print with a dark denim for the handles and bottom, and we embellished each bag with oversized red rick rack. Just for fun, we lined one bag lime green, and the other with light teal.

As I made these bags, I had nostalgic thoughts of being a kid and reading little white books by Beatrix Potter. The red and denim combination reminded me of my childhood in the 1970s in a funny way.

Yesterday I was cleaning out a stack of papers on my desk and I ran across this photo. It's a picture of me, circa and 1973-4. And there's that fabric combination. Isn't it funny how the textiles of our youth stick with us for a lifetime?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Button Heaven

Last week Ashley and I headed out to a button sale to update our stash.

Let me tell you, button buyers are very serious about their pursuit of the perfect fastener. You'd be surprised.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ali Working

I thought you might enjoy seeing some shots of the LBD crew making our products.

This is Ali, who has worked part time at LBD since 2003. In this image, she's sewing tags onto wristlet linings.

Look at her fingers fly!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Maryland Wedding: Pink and Silver

Picture, if you will, a summer wedding set in a waterside garden in Maryland. The groomsmen will wear navy blue blazers with pink and blue polka dot bowties. The bridesmaids will wear soft pink pinstriped halter dresses. The look is "preppy casual with a hint of romantic."

The bride will wear a simple ivory dress with a light pink French lace bolero. I worked with her from afar to put together this collection of seven Luxe Clutches that work together as a group, but are also individual enough to capture each woman's personality. We decided to use silver silk dupioni as the main fabric, and to add pretty pink details to each purse.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

La Vie En Rose

Our Edith is certainly a popular girl. I named this bag after Edith Piaf because the shape is glamorous in a vintage, European sort of way. The metal frame supports the soft drape of the fabric, and also serves as the kiss-lock closure. I love making the Edith, so I'm glad she's such a popular choice with both wedding clients and customers in general. You can read more about Edith on the website.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Who knew there could be such rich, controversial opinions about a typeface designed in 1958? The now ubiquitous Helvetica lettering is a main subject of the current documentary of the same name. The film touches on politics, design history, advertising, and capitalism. Jeff and I thoroughly enjoyed the dry humor and visual impact of this film.

We saw it at the NW Film Forum in Seattle, but it may be on DVD too.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

So the Saying Goes

Something old: A bell-shaped charm given to the bride's mother by the bride's father on their wedding day.

Something new: A Celeste clutch for the bride, made with a floaty ivory overlay.

Something borrowed: A satin flower that originally graced the veil worn by the bride's sister.

Something blue: A soft blue moire lining.

Read more about this Victorian wedding tradition here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Which button would choose to go with these fabrics? A customer recently had to make the same choice between these two gorgeous vintage pewter buttons. Really, there isn't a wrong or right answer; it's just fun to look at the options.

(Since I skipped button Thursday last week, we'll have two button days in a row this week.)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

California Kate

The roomy Kate bag is one our best-sellers, so we've made quite a few. This white version, however, is so striking and unique I'm showing it to you here. The customer, coincidentally also named Kate, chose the mod combination of black and white for this bag. She also added several extra embellishments including rings and buttons that perfectly complement the design.

She chose these three cherry red buttons and layered them over a strip of our garden party oilcloth. A coordinating red makes for a nice, bright interior.

I love how Debbie cut the strip of oilcloth with perfect symmetry that off-sets the buttons on the left. Ashley did a beautiful job sewing this complex bag too. Go team!