Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Gift Guide: Lucky, Pretty, Calm

 Lucky horseshoe necklace by Classic Hardware - $24
Pretty hair clip by Seattle's Orange Box Jewelry - $17
Calming bath salts - $6

"The world will have to wait, I am taking a bath."

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Gift Guide: Northwest-made Presents

We're making new infinity scarves daily because they have been selling like crazy. We have dozens of colors and prints available for everyone on your list. My favorite is this mustard and gray sweater stripe. $30 ea. Order here.
These wood inlay Washington state necklaces by Seattle designer Amy Bengtson are great gifts for any woman whose heart is in Washington State. $40 each

Heather Lewis is the artist behind Crescent Moon Designs and she lives in the same neighborhood as our shop. We've sold her sterling and gemstone earring for years, and her delicate, colorful work appeals to so many different women. She just brought by a new batch next week, and I'm in love with these butterscotch and teal earrings.

Our Clara wristlet continues to be a popular gift. Its compact size and exterior back pocket make it functional inside a larger purse or on its own. $48, available ready-made in many colors and patterns in our shop. Or custom design one in our shop for the ultimate personalized purse.$48 each.

Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Have a Lovely Day

I recently spotted this image on Pinterest and thought it was a nice reminder during the busy season that's just beginning.

Sometimes it's easy to lose track of what's important as we struggle to stay caught up on our To Do list, especially during this time of year. We can get cranky and annoyed.

These little tips are a great way to reset our interactions with those around us, and maybe help others have a lovely day too.

 Wood ornament, made in Germany. Learn more here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Love (Cyber) Monday

We're offering two website coupon codes on Monday, Nov 26:
Spend $100/Save $15 - Code: ILOVEMONDAY15
Spend $150/Save $20 - Code: ILOVEMONDAY20

Check out all of the new merchandise on our site here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Here's An Idea

I saw this floating around on Facebook and like its succinct list of reasons why shopping local rules.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vintage Fabric

This cotton print is a recent addition to my collection.

Did you know that you can bring fabric to us to incorporate into a custom bag design?

Special fabric make extra-special accessories.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Custom Order Deadlines 2012

Custom photo checkbook cover, order here
Custom phone mini wallet, order here.

Our branch of Santa's workshop is in full swing sewing custom gifts. We're open late during this busy season to make it easier for you to visit us. Check out our holiday hours here.
Here's our custom order turnaround time schedule:
Orders complete* by December 7 must be placed by November 18.
Orders complete* by December 15 must be placed by November 25.
Orders complete* by December 20 must be placed by December 2.
Orders complete* by December 23 must be placed by December 8.

*Please note that "complete" means ready to ship or ready to be picked up in the store during  business hours.

Visit our website, or contact us at (206) 789-4044 to set up an in-store design appointment.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Feeling the Photo Love

There is so much joy in the custom photo products that we make. Customers often tell us the story behind the meaningful images. The Becky bag above showcases a gorgeous wedding picture of our customer's parents. I love it with the Lollipop faux leather. The tweed makeup bag is her mother with her grandfather. Can you feel the love?

Checkbook covers and wallets can be compact ways to feature favorite images. The checkbook above is a gift for someone who misses her Springer Spaniel very much. The wallet is embellished with an image of a brand new kitten friend.

View our custom photo product options on our website here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Party Preparations

This cell phone picture is a quick capture of our celebratory window post Friday install. The curtains are made with commercial pattern tissue paper. Thanks to my husband Jeff for spray painting the paper mache letters in metallic gold and gunmetal. Kim did a great job engineering the window installation. Next week I'll get out the good camera to better show the details of this diorama.

We only do one snail mailer a year, and the party postcard is it! Here's the back of the card. I used a background of scanned canvas and a collage of velvet ribbon and sequins from the great Pugly Pixel downloads.
 We also sent an e-invite via newsletter this week. Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glam for Good - Charity Spotlight

Our November 3rd anniversary party is fast approaching, and we're sewing up special bags for our annual Glam for Good collection of one-of-a-kind bags. We'll donate a percentage of the sale price to three of our favorite regional charities.
Chimp Sanctuary Northwest provides lifetime quality care for formerly abused and exploited chimpanzees while advocating for great apes. Located in Cle Elum, Washingtion, CSNW is home to seven chimps that were rescued from biomedical research. Visit their website to meet the chimps here.
Portland-based MercyCorps is dedicated to the mission of alleviating suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities around the world.

From their website, "We listen to locals and prioritize their most urgent needs. We fix market gaps to drive economic recovery. We bring groups together to negotiate conflict and strengthen civic participation. We think big, start small and take responsible risks to find solutions that benefit the greatest number of people."

Learn more about MercyCorps here.

Northwest Harvest provides over 1.7 million meals per month to its state-wide network of food banks and meal programs. Their mission is to provide nutritious food to hungry people statewide in a manner that respects their dignity, while fighting to eliminate hunger.

Learn more about their great work here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Party Arrival: Amy Bengtson

Seattle artist Amy Bengtson crafts jewelry from various wood species using a laser cutting technique. We're proud to offer her line of necklaces and earrings at our anniversary party on November 3, 2012.

Learn more about the party here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We're Hiring!

Studio Assistant Wanted for Busy Retail Custom Shop

Laura Bee Designs is looking for the perfect addition to our team. We are a custom handbag studio and retail store in Ballard. 

We are looking for someone who understands our brand and is excited about working with customers and executing production tasks. If you thrive under tight deadlines, excel at customer service, and are handy with a rotary cutter, we’d love to hear from you.

Available shifts are 6 hours Fridays and Saturdays starting in early December during the Christmas rush. We’re looking for someone who can jump in during the busy season, then continue to contribute after the first of the year.

Job Duties:
Customer service including custom bag sales
Cut handbag materials including faux leather, fabric, and interfacing
Price and receive incoming merchandise
Fabric and materials organization
Other duties as assigned

Skills and qualities we’re looking for:
Customer service and cashier experience preferred
Ability to complete repetitive tasks with accuracy and speed
Quick learner
Strong manual dexterity
Rotary cutting and/or fabric/sewing experience preferred
Ability to shift between tasks easily and smoothly
Willingness to take on assorted tasks as needed  to maintain and run the store
Pay rate $11 per hour, direct deposit. Generous employee discount on merchandise.

Please email a resume with a cover letter explaining why you are a good fit with Laura Bee Designs. Please, no calls or drop ins. Email:

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Texting Gloves...Going, Going....

 I'm obsessed with fingerless gloves, and apparently other people are too. We gave great styles in our shop, and I took these quick cell phone pictures of the colors available in case you want to order these from afar.

Above, recycled cotton cable knit gloves. These are longer and slouchy. Perfect if you like to scrunch up your sleeves, your coat gets drafty, or you wear 3/4 length sleeves. $16.50 each. Lime, indigo, mustard and espresso (with contrasting trim shown).
Above crocheted cotton/acrylic blend. these have a sparkle button embellishment atop a flower. These are wristlength (short). $18 each, gray, black, turquoise, and forest.
Above, recycled cotton colorblock texting gloves. These are longer and slouchy. Perfect if you like to scrunch up your sleeves, your coat gets drafty, or you wear 3/4 length sleeves. $16.50 each. From top, purpple multi, teal/pink multi, lime/coral multi, pink/espresso multi.

If you would like to order these, just drop me an email with the colors you'd like to orderdesk(at) I will send a Paypal invoice. Flat rate of $6 shipping on any quantity while supplies last.

Glam For Good 2012

Every year we have an anniversary party in early November to celebrate our customers. This year is extra-special because we're celebrating ten years. I can hardly believe it: A whole decade making bags right here in Ballard. 

I can say for sure that I'm incredibly excited about the party this November 3rd and hope that you will join us.  We have incredible new merchandise from local designers ready for you to peruse.

Right now I'm putting that excitement into making our annual Glam For Good collection of super-special one-of-a-kind bags. All year long I've collected unique vintage materials, and now they are finding their homes.

Take the horse brooch above. It is the perfect topper for this Olivia Clutch. The brown and black plaid fabric is part of a vintage kimono stash that I have. (More to come.)

To learn more about our 10 Year Anniversary Party, click here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Textile Inspiration

Back in August I visited the Bellevue Arts Museum to see an amazing quilt exhibit called, "Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley."

The incredible quilts were inspiring in their texture, color, and form. Most were made using fabrics reclaimed from worn clothing, feed sacks, and other sources. You really need to see work like this in person to truly appreciate the craftsmanship and detail.

The exhibit ends on October 7, 2012, so you have a few days to check out these inspiring works yourself. Learn more here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Fall is Coming

bw_zigzag, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

We've been sewing silky soft infinity scarves the last couple of weeks to prepare for crisp mornings.

At $30 each, these cozy loops of knit fabric make terrific gifts.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Earring sale window display

I wanted to create a simple window that would tell passers by about our earring sale.

I created the black and white banners at FedEx office (very cheap), and made a giant stud earring from a decorative wood piece I bought at Lowes. The only color in the window was this earring.

Kim installed the window in a jiffy. The design did its job. Many new customers came into the shop because the noticed they window display.

The sale is now over, but I wanted to share this cell phone picture with you before we install our (totally different) fall window next week.

Monday, August 20, 2012


luxe_10years, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.

We're celebrating one decade of our retail store this year, and I'm preparing for our big party on November 3rd. I'm still deciding on the postcard, window display, and other marketing details. I thought this image was apt, as the anniversary is a celebration of our customers, who are the key to our business. The ten year mark also unlocks our future.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fundraiser for Washington Wildfire

Image courtesy of KPLU

Our Washington State neighbors are suffering through a tragic wildfire. We are sending our love to all affected, human and animals. Livestock and companion animals have been displaced, lost, and hurt. You can read the news here.

This dog was reunited with its owner after being found wandering and singed. 
Image courtesy of King 5. Article here.

When tragedy strikes it's easy to feel helpless. My way of coping with these thoughts is to figure out what I can do, in some small way, to contribute to the aid efforts.
I recently made this Travel Bag for our sales floor. It caught my eye this morning as I was thinking about all of the suffering animals and their caregivers. I would like to offer it for sale, and will donate $58 to the efforts to help the animals displaced by the Taylor Wildfire. Right now I have one made up and ready to ship, but will happily make more if there is demand.

This bag will be for sale through this Sunday, August 19th so that we can collect and donate the funds quickly. To order, just click the link below.

If we ship this bag out of Washington State, we will credit back the sales tax charged by Paypal.
If you would like to pick up the bag in our store, we will credit back the shipping charge. Just make a note when you check out via Paypal.

Questions? Email me at orderdesk (at)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Presenting Our New Locket Charm Necklaces

We can even make and archival print of your favorite image and insert it for you.

Locket charm necklaces, $38-$42
Image insertion, $12

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bridal Collection in Chocolate and Vanilla

The bride's Olivia clutch, left. Bridesmaid Luxe Clutch, right.
The bride who designed these bags had a neutral-themed wedding in mind.
Three ribbons and one vintage button form textural layers.
So she used tones of vanilla and chocolate in luxurious textures to create a special collection.
Distinct button choices make each bridesmaid's bag look special.
The tone-on-tone palette puts the emphasis on the sparkle, shimmer, and shape of each element.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunny in Seattle

The whole earth was brimming sunshine that morning. She tripped along, the clear sky pouring liquid blue into her soul. 
- Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie

Summer windoe
One thing that can safely be said about Seattle residents: We surely appreciate the summer sun when it comes out. (Usually some time after the Fourth of July.)

Pug on a rock
I can't imagine that those living in warmer places like Florida or southern California can truly understand what it's like to have the sun hit your face after all of those damp months.
Last week, I was so happy about the sunny days that I treated myself to a new pair of white sunglasses. Then I designed a sleeve to protect said glasses.
Now I'm offering these cute cozies for sale in my shop or via email (soon on our website). $18-21 each.

Friday, July 06, 2012

What Will I Make with this New Ribbon?

I often tell curious customers that sourcing materials is truly one of the best parts of my job.

I swear I've built my little business around fabric, ribbon, and buttons, three of my absolute favorite things.
When I find a new source, my mind whirrs with excitement over all of the things I can make. I wonder how customers will respond to my finds, and what bag or wallet they will design at LBD.

The above new ribbons are currently en route to my shop via US Mail. My hope is that you will be as inspired by their colors and patterns as much as I am.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scanning Textiles

vintage_embroidery, originally uploaded by Laura Bee Seattle.
Here's an idea: Scan a fabric or textile that you like. You can get some wonderful textures and dreamy images this way.

This is a vintage organdy embroidery I found in my stash recently.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Otis the Shop Dog Poses & Meets Famous Puglet

It's no secret that Otis the shop dog digs having his picture taken. I swear I lift my Canon and he starts to pose.
So when I learned from my favorite blogging pug that his photographer human was coming to Seattle as part of her 1000 pugs tour, I signed Mr. Otis Bee right up. otis_emp3
We made our way down to the EMP at Seattle Center and waited with the other pugs. At 11:40 it was Otis' turn to play America's Next Top model. otis_emp2
He did a great job, and I was a proud Momma. Amanda, the photographer, was super nice and Otis was fond of her magical treat bag.

We were Amanda's last appointment before her lunch break, and she told me that the famous Puglet and his Dalmatian brother Dutch were hanging out nearby in her car. "Would you like to meet them?" she asked. I couldn't believe it! I was so thrilled, I think I acted like a crazy person.
That's me with Dutch and Puglet, who is such a supermodel he's even posing for Jeff's Droid. puglet_supermodel
For those of you who don't know, Puglet is quite famous for his modeling abilities. You can see some of his best work here and here. He treated Otis to a master class at the EMP building. (I wonder what Frank Gehry would think.) Amanda let Puglet off-leash and he scaled the wall and found a pose.
The dogs were BFFs by the end of the time together. Notice Otis (left) and Puglet (middle) in sync. puglet+otis
Thanks Amanda, Puglet, and sweet Dutch for a wonderful day. I can't wait until the book is published.

PS - 1000 Pugs is donating 20% off the sitting fees to the local pug rescue in each area she visits. That means Seattle Pug Rescue benefited from our antics yesterday!