Thursday, July 31, 2008

Button Thursday: Filigree with Orange Fabric

Pewter Filigree Button, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Travel Bag Loves Sock Monkey

Sandi Heinrich, customer and photographer extraordinaire, just posted a great blog entry full of pictures about her newest LBD bags. Check it out here.

My favorite picture from her piece is this one of our Travel Bag. Click on it so that it opens up legibly large in your browser. It's fun to get a peak into her bag contents. I love how the breakfast cookie matches the bag!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Introducing Olivia

Here's the latest clutch design, available now in the store. Olivia is roomy, yet demure at about 11.5" wide by 6" tall. Her gathered body offers texture and shape. I made this version with a vintage cotton curtain panel and pink microsuede.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Button Thursday: Great Packaging

Sportswear Buttons, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Buttons - Made in USA, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Swing Time

Part of our little photo shoot yesterday was a quick jaunt to Salmon Bay Park, which is a great spot a few blocks north of the shop. I wanted to try to capture the motion of the swing while photographing a sharp picture of this Eve bag. I set up my tripod facing the swing set, focused on the purse, and selected a long exposure.

Then it was 'ready, set, go' - Ashley would swing as I released the shutter. The picture above was the best shot of the bunch. (Be sure to click on it to see it much larger.) It's not perfect, but it's my first attempt at this sort of thing. I wanted to try it with the merry-go-round too, but it was full of happy toddlers.

Speaking of toddlers, this little girl makes a tiny cameo in the motion image. It appears that she was wondering what those crazy adults were doing on the swing set.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Autumn Preview - The Miranda

An unrelated point:
If you're thinking of adopting a kitten then consider Alvie Pettibone. His foster mom says he's one of the most affectionate kittens she's ever met. What a cutie! He's grown up at the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, so he's been extra well cared for and loved in his short little life.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wood Road Trip

Fir Log Ends, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Jeff and I took a little one day road trip out to Cle Elum, Washington to look at wood. We visited a small sawmill and learned about the whole process of turning felled trees into lumber. This mill specializes in local trees that have been responsibly cut down.

Forklift Drops Off Slab, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Once we drove over the mountain pass, the climate was very different than the Seattle atmosphere - dry and hot. This is the perfect place to cure wood outside to prepare it for production. The slab of Doug Fir that Jeff bought was four inches thick and so heavy it required a forklift to be loaded onto his van.

Jeff's loves wood the same way that I love fabric. We have a great time sharing our obsessions and dreaming about all of the things we want to make with our favorite materials.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Button Thursday: Worn Plastic Button

Cracked Button on Wood, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

The wear on tear on this small button shows up nicely in this macro picture. In real life, the fastener is about the size of a dime.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Project Runway Season 5: Here's Hoping

Here's hoping that the new season of Project Runway will be more like the gritty fun of Season One, and less like the product placement-ized, catch-phrase-o-rama Season Five. Here are the things I'm hoping to see:

1.) More process, fewer catchphrases. Sure it was cute the first five times Christian said, "Hot tranny mess." More interesting would have been a deeper glimpse into how he made all of those ruffles, why he loves skinny jeans. Show us how edgy and creative these designers are. Don't tell us with catch-phrases and cartoonish repetition.

2.) More fashion, less product placement. We know that this is a business enterprise, not an art film. Still, does every challenge need to be tied into some giant corporation? Even the exciting visit from fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker last season was dumbed down. Rather than designing a glamorous confection for SJP, the designers had to make a cheap, lowest common denominator outfit for a discount store.

3.) More New York, less of the same old music. The first season made New York City a character. It was fresh and invigorating. Now the air is stale and so is that tired old music. Even remixes of the same ditties would spice up the runway show.

4.) More Tim, more Tim. Our favorite Gunn is the heart of Project Runway. We want more, more, more. Plus, whatever happened to his fascinating and hilarious podcasts?

What do you hope to see on the new season?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Orange and Chocolate Wedding

Ashley recently worked with a local bride on this small collection of Luxe Clutches. She's using orange and chocolate brown as her wedding colors. How yummy.

The bride paired a bright aqua silk with a lovely Asian-inspired silky fabric. The bag is finished off with a taupe jacquard ribbon and textured button.

The flower panel on the above clutch is cut from the same Asian-inspired print. The bride added a rich chocolate ruched fabric to make a classic combination.

Finally, our customer designed this wedding bag for herself. The ruffled white ribbon is a nod to bridal tradition, while the bold orange and chocolate give the bag personality and punch.

Friday, July 11, 2008

If Marie Antoinette Carried a Miranda Bag

If the Kirsten Dunst Marie Antoinette from the 2006 film carried one of our Miranda bags, it might look like the picture above.

Note the blue chair fabric, pink petticoats, ruched dress and decadent confections.

I don't know if the customer who designed this bag had the movie in mind, but I thought of it immediately when I started sewing the purse. Our blue fabric came from a vintage curtain panel that a store neighbor gave us along with a batch of various vintage fabrics.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Button Thursday: Vintage Aqua Plastic

Exquisit Buttons, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Aqua Plastic Button, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Some Favorite New Things

Most things that I find that I adore, I add to the offerings at the store. A perfect example is the Envirosax, which I bought everyone I knew as Christmas gifts last year before I even knew that I could buy them wholesale.

However, some great items just don't fit in with the store collection, so I thought I'd share some new favorite things with you here.

First off, this is my new aluminum water bottle by Laken. I'm ditching bottled water (so awful for the environment and expensive), and trying to drink more liquids at the same time. Enter this beautiful bottle, which is lined in a food-grade ceramic coating. Made in Spain, and I bought mine at Second Ascent in Ballard.

I'd heard people raving about mineral makeup for a while. The natural, chemical free concept really appeals to me. Then I got sucked into a QVC presentation of the popular mainstream brand. (I've always been entranced by infomercials and product presentations.)

I emailed that company to find out about their brushes, and was disappointed that they use animal hair such as pony, ox, and goat in their Chinese-manufactured tools. (Those hairs aren't harvested by shaving the animals folks.)

After doing some Googling, I found Alima Cosmetics, a small company based nearby in Portland, Oregon. This stuff is high quality and fun to use. Those little containers above are samples that I ordered to find my perfect color on my first order.

For under $2 you can test colors before committing to a full quantity. Those little bags are free samples the company sends with each order. Alima boasts cruelty-free brushes and a container recycling program. I'm glad I hunted around to find a unique alternative to the mainstream brand.

My last endorsement doesn't require a photo. Once I started using my Envirosax bag for all of my purchases, I stopped accumulating (OK I'll say it) poop bags for Otis. Not to worry, those clever Europeans have invented BioBags, 100% biodegradable bags.

Now I just keep a couple of these opaque bags in my purse and I'm a good neighbor. These bags and their contents can even be put in your Seattle yard waste bins. I ordered mine from, but you can find these at many pet supply stores.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

My New Nano: Sew Cute

It's been a hectic week since Ashley's on vacation. I've been sewing up lots of wholesale and retail orders. With all of the production, I've been craving a small, creative project. After working hard, I decided to treat myself to a little personal sewing at the end of the day on Sunday.

Jeff recently gave me an Ipod Nano. Isn't she cute? She is really tiny - only 2" wide by just under 3" tall. I made her a little case adorned with rick rack and a fun print that I had left over from this project.

I added a clip to the case so that I can easily attach the whole shebang to my belt-loop when I take Otis for a walk. The earbud cord extends out of the edge of the zipper while the Nano stays safely tucked inside.

This is definitely the tiniest bag I've ever made. The finished product is about 3" tall by 4" wide, even smaller than our zipper coin purse. I'm glad that I used bright fabrics, not only for the cuteness factor, but also so the case is easier to see in my purse and more difficult to lose.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Blue Pyrex, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

We're off to a potluck cook-out at a friend's house tonight. I hope you're having fun with friends and family today.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Button Thursday: Vintage Pink Metal

I bought a pair of these lovely metal buttons at a button show last year. The card says that they date from the 1800s. I wonder what garment they originally adorned.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Business Card for a Fabric Junkie

We have such wonderful customers generously spread the word about what we do. These great women come into the shop all of the time and tell me stories about random people coming up to them at the grocery store or movies and asking them about their LBD bag. So it's essential for us to have an attractive, functional business card that they can pass along to inquiring minds.

The question is, how can you capture all of the information - store hours, website, custom handbags, gifts, etc - on a cute little piece of paper? For a while I've had a card with a bright pattern on the glossy side, and all of the details on the matte black and white side, all printed here.

Recently, I needed to add the registered trademark symbol to our logo (the little R with the circle around it), so I decided it was time for a new card design. I scanned leftover vintage fabric from this bag and used a swatch for the new card. I think all of the bright colors and the bold pattern connote the creative environment and textile extravaganza that Laura Bee Designs strives to be. Hopefully, you do too!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Window Necklace

These necklaces are so clever. You can easily slide in your own image, and change it any time you like. Handmade in Minnesota by Ceci Cela, the pendants make the perfect gifts for you and your friends.

I used two of my favorite pooch images for the samples shown here, but there are so many other possibilities. How about a bridal bouquet image, or a snapshot of your childhood home? Even a little drawing or scrap of decorative paper would be lovely. You could make yourself a little deck of images and have a new one for each day of the week.

For $24 you can choose from a black patina or shiny silver frame. For an additional $12, you can upload your digitial file and we'll convert it to the proper size and print out an acid free version to place in the necklace.

Since there is clear glass on the back of the necklace, you can even add a second picture. The possibilities are endless.

We have these pendants available in the store, or you can order them here on our website.