Monday, June 30, 2008

From Senegal to Seattle

Isn't this orange batik fabric stunning? Our local customer brought this material back from her Peace Corps stint in Senegal a few years back. While in Africa, she wore the fabric as a traditional head scarf.

She paired the cotton with navy microsuede, mandarin faux leather, and this bright lime green on the inside.

I love the juxtaposition of the traditional fabric against our modern Veronica bag design. What a great way to give new life to a garment from a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Seasonal Help Wanted

Photo by Laurie Pearman

Here at LBD, it’s a team effort each day. We work hard, and we have a great time making stuff in our little corner of Seattle.

We’re looking for a great person to join our team from August-October 2008. If you or someone you know might be a good fit, please send them my way via email at leb(at) I'd like to see a resume and a short statement about why an applicant would be a good match for this position.

I could see this job suiting a grad or college student, a quilter or home sewer looking to get out of her/his studio, or a crafty mom who would enjoy some time in our store. We often need extra help at other times of the year too, so the right person could stick around a bit longer than the dates noted above.

Job Description:

6-14 hours per week cutting bag parts and assisting in customer service

Sewing skills not needed, but enthusiasm, focus and manual dexterity are essential. The right person will be a motivated quick learner who likes to stay busy and derives satisfaction from working as part of a team.

Experience with a rotary cutter earns bonus points.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Red and Black Wedding

Our customer, a local bride, ordered five bags to give her bridesmaids. Her wedding color story is red and black, but she chose bags that aren't necessarily meant to be carried on the big day.

Above, you can see a detailed view of a glossy black Gelato bag she designed. She had us line these with bright red.

This is a sleek Chelsea, lined with bright red too.

Finally, this rich red brocade makes a stunning Celeste clutch.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Childhood Toys

Back in May when I visited my folks in Rochester, NY, my Dad and I took a little side trip to the Fisher Price Toy Museum in East Aurora, NY. This wooden horse is an example of their earliest toys, which were handmade during the Great Depression. The images were paper lithographs that workers carefully glued to wood shapes.

The company grew despite the grim economy. During WWII, they stopped all manufacture of toys and made supplies for the war effort. In the postwar 1950s, they kick-started toy-making again with made popular gems such as the "Nifty Station Wagon" above. Most of the toys were made in East Aurora till the 1980s when production sadly moved overseas.

This school-house was a 1970s favorite of mine. I can remember playing with all of the little people inside the building as well as on the playground equipment. I loved drawing on the slate door with chalk too and fiddling with the magnetic letters on the roof.

I recognized many of the classic toys in the museum such as the red record player with plastic albums. But my Holy Grail of vintage toys, the Fisher Price Cash Register, was sadly absent from the display.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Second Life

This brown corduroy skirt hung in our customer's closet for a few years she told us. Apparently, it never really fit her quite right, so it generally stayed out of sight and unworn.

It's a lovely, well-made garment with big embroidered flowers in lime green and two shades of pink.

The skirt made the perfect pocket for this custom Veronica bag with lime microsuede and glossy espresso faux leather accents. The best part - the bag is completely one-of-a-kind. (We gave the rest of the skirt back to her.)

Edited to add: Visit this customer's blog here (the June 23rd entry) to read more about this bag and to see her superior pictures.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Proud Peacock

Each year we make and donate a custom photo bag to the Woodland Park Zoo annual fundraiser. The 2008 Jungle Party theme is 'For the Birds,' so Ashley made this Photo Sara bag using a terrific image the folks at the zoo sent our way. This one-of-a-kind bag will be sold to the top bidder at a silent auction at the July 11th event.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Butterscotch Marble

I participated in a craft show this week that was held in this incredible marble yard.

This was the view from my booth. I was obsessed with the butterscotch colored slab that looked like syrup on ice cream

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Since Father's Day has Passed...

...I can show you this wallet. Our customer visited our shop and designed this mini wallet around a wonderful, well-worn black and white photograph.

The image is of her father, left, and his dad. We converted the image to a soft sepia and stitched it to matte espresso faux leather. I love the timeless quality of the picture.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sock Monkey Wallets & Coin Purses

All week long I've been singing a revision of the famous Beastie Boys song as follows: "Sock monkey, that funky monkey..." This song inside my head began when I had so much fun making these wallets over the weekend.

The monkeys are coated cotton so the images are durable, not just cute. Each little guy has so much personality. They are now available in our shop in all kinds of bright, cheerful colors.

For a little bit of sock monkey history, check this out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How Bags are Born: Part IV

After I ruched and prepped the clutches, I handed them off to Ashley. She put in the zippers and sewed all of the components together.

Once the bag is sewn, everything is wrong side out. I made this little film strip of shots so that you could see the process of 'turning' the bag. (Click on the image to see it full-size.)

Here Ashley works on the last step - sewing on the buttons and adding the bangle.

So that's how bags are born.

Hopefully, you can see how much fun it is to transform flat pieces of fabric into pretty things.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Home Office

Finally, we have nice weather in Seattle. I set up this impromptu workstation in my back yard at 6:30 or so tonight.

Here's the view from my hammock.

Jeff's been building terraces on our sloped land. You can see a bit of the work-in-progress here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I'm across the country from my Dad this Father's day, so I thought I'd share some pictures of us here. Above, my dad and me circa 1971. Nice specs Dad!

Family Portrait: We had this picture taken at a fair back when I was in college I think. I'm on the left as Lisa, and my little sis is on the right as Bart. If you know the Buzard clan, you know how perfect these roles are for each of us.

My Dad, as Homer, is definitely an ironic casting. I'm sure Vince Buzard likes donuts, but the similarities stop there.

Throughout my childhood my dad ran his own business, and I'm sure that's what gave me the entrepreneurial bug. His father, Allen Buzard, owned Buzard Brother's Furniture in Sullivan, Indiana for decades, so shopkeeping is in our blood.

Have a great day Dad, and have fun playing golf. I'll be thinking about you.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Bags are Born: Part III

Once the parts were cut, I ruched the flat pieces of silk. Each fabric takes on a new life once it's gathered and textured this way. (Left, flat fabric. Right, one ruched seam. Click the picture to see a larger view.)

Above, after I ruched the fabric, I layered it over interfacing for stability. I then prepped the mint green lining by sewing in the orange tag.

This gold fabric is a great example of how a muted material becomes striking when ruched. The sheen of the silk has a special luster that nearly glows in the light. (Click the picture to see a larger view.)

Next stop, Ashley's work station to be completed and embellished.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How Bags are Born: Part II

Debbie and Marissa cut orders and inventory projects that are scheduled for production each week. Above Marissa uses quilting rulers to rotary cut the green striped silk for one ruched clutch.

These are components that we'll use to sew the purse. Here I've pinned in our LBD tag and stacked the fabrics on top of interfacing.

Here Marissa cuts the gold bag. A rotary cutter is like a pizza slicer, but made for fabric with a really sharp blade. Watch your fingers Marissa!

Again, the stack of clutch components. (Not shown, zipper.)

Since it's 'Button Thursday,' here's a close-up shot of the star button that I paired with the stitched golden silk. I think they are a perfect match.

To read 'How Bags are Born: Part I,' click here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stockists: Introducing Ferrante's

A view of the selection at Ferrante's. Note the
Laura Bee Gelato Handbag in the upper right.

You may not know that we sell a selection of our line to some terrific boutiques in other parts of the country. I want to introduce you to these stockists through pictures that they, our favorite shopkeepers, have sent us.

A cluster of LBD wristlets hangs on a hook under the Cafe sign.

First up is Ferrante's in Spokane, WA. Proprietress Robbie started ordering bags, wallets, and wristlets from us back in January of this year. She's reordered several times so our products must be a good fit with her clientele.

The actual inspiration for our Gelato Handbag
for sale at Ferrante's. Sweet temptation!

Not only does Ferrante's sell great gifts, but their main business is an Italian-inspired pizza and sandwich cafe. Just reading this review makes me hungry.

Two Eve bags dangle above a jewelry display.

I've never been to Spokane, but I'm proud to sell our bags through such a terrific, unique business there.

Ferrante's Cafe and Shoppe, 4516 S. Regal Street, Spokane, WA

If you're in Spokane, please go visit Robbie at Ferrante's. Just tell her Laura Bee sent you.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How Bags are Born: Part I

Every Sunday I survey to store to see what bags have sold the previous week. I then put together fabrics and embellishments that will, by the end of the coming week, transform into inventory. (This is one of the best parts of my job!)

Last week we sold all of our Ruched Luxe Clutches, so here are two combinations I pulled yesterday in the store. I thought you might enjoy seeing all of the production steps that we take to turn these fabrics into new purses.

Step one (above): Exterior fabrics, buttons, and bracelets selected. Scrap of paper indicates style and lining choice.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

If She Has Everything

Matches by Fine Spark. Beeswax candles by Big Dipper Waxworks.

When I started selling handbags in the summer of 2001, I really didn't know how my business would look seven years later. I couldn't have predicted that gifts would be such a large part of our niche.

Gently scented soaps by Pre De Provence.

Gradually, I've added in many special items that make thoughtful, reasonably priced gifts. Over the course of the last year, I've slowly brought some spa items - candles, soaps, and lotions into the shop.

Travel candles by Big Dipper, a Seattle company.

These types of consumables make terrific gifts for the woman who has everything. We all need to take a little time to pamper ourselves. Thus, gifts that are pretty and luxurious without being lavish are the perfect way to tell a friend she deserves to relax.

Chocolate bars by Seattle's own Theo Chocolate.

Everything shown here is under $8 in price. Have I shown you our free gift wrap? Next week I'll post some pictures of goodies like these wrapped in our signature pink cake boxes and you'll want a sweet set for yourself.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Shadow Play

When the sun is setting and the light is just right, the shadow above appears on our shop floor. It's rather magical.

This is the banner we have in our window that creates the shadow. I don't have the proper camera filter to get rid of all of the crazy reflections here, but you get the idea.

I bought the 'custom handbags' banner from LetterSpace Paper here. For ten dollars the crafty folks at this Chicago company will make a sign featuring your message and your choice of paper.