Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Reflection

As the current year comes to an end and the new year inches closer I tend to think about what I want to do different. This involves everything in my life. For your sake though I will spare you the usual ideas you know, eat better, exercise, etc, etc.

I have though been thinking a lot about the business. It's been nearly a year now that I have been 'officially' open for business. I have done some reflection on this past year and have some changes in store. Yep all good changes! The response so far has been overwhelming and humbling. And every comment, suggestion, and opinion has been taken to heart. I have listened to everyone and am ready to make some changes.

I will keep you updated as these changes begin to take place. Some of these changes include a new look to the web site. An easy way to order your custom bags, and a stronger emphasis on bridal bags and gifts for bridal attendants. Some of the new bags will be created out of fabric I personally have designed, which is totally exciting.

What all this means for you is a SALE! To make room for the new fabric and bags I am clearing out my studio. All bags currently on my etsy shop are on sale with some at 50% off their original price. If you are in the neighborhood on December 20 be sure to stop by Cleveland Handmades Last Minute Market.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Your help is needed

A fellow business associate of mine is in dire need of your help. A family member has gone missing and they are petrified that foul play is involved in her disappearance. Please take a moment and read this article and look at her picture. Please contact the police if you know anything and please keep Guy and his family in your prayers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last Minute Market

For last minute holiday shoppers or for those who simply enjoy handmade wonders...

Cleveland Handmade is enabling, maybe even encouraging, holiday shopping procrastination with a LAST MINUTE handmade market. Many of the sellers presenting will be offering special deals and pricing, just for the show!

Come support your local artists and craftspeople while you enjoy wine, refreshments and a fun, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. There will be something (handmade!) for just about everyone on your list.

We'll be there! To learn more and obtain directions click on the link to the right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh to my surprise!

After countless attempts to unleash my blog from the 'spam' label I am free! Yep I checked today and I am once again spam free. I cannot tell you how many times I requested an unblock from google...doesn't is over. Time to move forward. I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanskgiving. My sister cooked and to tell you the truth it was pretty good! Thanks Linda!

So to catch you up...Blue Orchid is having a sale, free shipping, and re-introduced layaway. We were going to offer all of this through December 1 but have decided to extend the sale and free shipping through December 17 and the layaway option through December 31. We have new items too. Check out our sushi roll tote bags. They have been scooped up around here by friends and family, we have a few left but just a few. They roll up and fit easily in your purse or briefcase or desk.

The newest bag is the wristlet. Check her out! Don't have a name for her yet, if anyone has an idea please let me know. This bag is perfect for brides and their parties too.

Thank you Google!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blog Problems

I am still having issues with this blog. Do you know it is impossible to reach a human being at google? I cannot even find a working e-mail address. All e-mails sent from google are the do not reply kind! Anyone have any ideas or suggestions...all are welcome. In the meantime I am fighting fire with fire and am setting up housekeeping at wordpress. As soon as I am set up there I will post a link here and hope I don't lose anyone. Of course I will post all information in our newsletter and on the web site.


On another brighter note...recent surveys and discussions within the retail segment are predicting that Summer/Spring 09 will bring much needed relief to retailers and to consumers. So with that in mind I have a new Spring bag that I cannot wait to start using myself:)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What a beautiful day

Wow it's November and I actually was able to walk to the polls to vote yesterday! Came home and found my blog was marked and disabled as spam. It seems there is an automated system that can experience false positives and will actually shut you down. I freaked out that's for sure. I guess if you are reading this the matter has been resolved!

Another beautiful day today. I am off to take more pics of the fall bags and will post some here in a bit.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Where did the time go?

So the Summer seemed to fly by and I am just finally settling down after preparing for two huge shows within 7 days of each other. I cannot believe it's November and in less than 48 hours we will have a new president. Living in Ohio we get bombarded by political ads and to be honest I am ready for this to be over! What's really hard to believe is that the holidays are quickly approaching. Cannot think about that right now.

Yes I spent the majority of the Summer months designing and sewing a Fall/Winter '08 line. All in preparation for the line's debut at Sunday in the Valley in Las Vegas held October 19. Just the week before the girls of Blue Orchid attended the Today's Bride Show in Cleveland. That was a lot of fun. We met so many beautiful and friendly brides. We left that show simply exhausted but in a good way. Just a few days later I left for the show in Vegas. The Palms hotel and casino hosted the event and again just a lot of fun. I met some amazing women. The event was in support of the no kill shelter of Nevada. I met the organizations president and all I can say is what a charming woman. More on the event at a later time...

Now it's time to share our Fall line with you. So much is happening in the Blue Orchid studio. One great thing is we have been spotted by Lucky Magazine! Check us out here.

Look for a newsletter coming out this week. It's packed with ideas on your wardrobe and what we have been and will be up to. A special offer for brides will be noted there as well. If you have not signed up already be sure to!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And the winner is....

Sara B! Congratulations Sara on being our 500th newsletter subscriber. She signed up, went on vacation and returned to find out she was our winner. What a great week she said it turned out to be! She has chosen the Jasmine Black and White floral as her gift (a personal favorite).

I have been notified there seems to be a problem signing up to our newsletter. I am working on that for you. In the meantime you can visit our web site and sign up there as well. Keep an eye out for our next newsletter, it's on its way very soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Burn Calories with Every Step???

I was flipping through a magazine last night and saw a cute pair of casual sandals that look like a cross between tennis shoes and flip flops called Earth shoes. They caught my eye along with the statement that you can burn more calories with every step! So I went online to visit the site. Their Kalso Negative Heel Technology shifts your weight back, helping you burn calories while strengthening and toning your body. According to the web site you can achieve better breathing, a straighter posture, stronger core muscles, tighter thighs, and better leg and calf toning! I am definitely interested.

Take a look here at the shoes...I think they are cute. And if they do all they say they do...they are even cuter:) Has anyone bought a pair? Share your stories if you have. Would you buy a pair?

Monday, July 14, 2008

We are reaching 500!

Blue Orchid Handbags is reaching a milestone...500 newsletter subscribers! And because of that we want to give something away. Be the 500th person to subscribe and win a custom Jasmine clutch. Yep custom! Any fabric you want. It's simple just click on the link to the right and sign up. We have fashion tips, coupons, advice, all kinds of great stuff in our newsletter.

Don't worry if you have already signed up. Soon we will be having a contest open to all newsletter subscribers. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Own Labels

I was nearing the end of my stash of labels and unfortunately where I purchased them last time was not an option any longer. I read a few blog posts on how a few artists made their own. I decided to give it a try (after all I am a graphic designer). The result was not bad! Actually they turned out very nice. I am thrilled and now as with all creative minds...I have a ton of ideas swirling through my brain on all the wonderful things I could create with this new found skill and paper;)

Yes the embroidered expensive ones would be nice but then I would have to pass the cost on to the consumer and I simply don't wish to do that. Besides the bags are completely handcrafted why not the tags too!

If there is an interest...I will post a tutorial!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fall 2008 Collection

I have spent the last few days working on fabric choices for the upcoming Fall/Winter '08 season and have to admit it's been very hard. I guess I am just not ready to let summer go! It's already July 11...once again I hear people saying where is the time going. Which is why while choosing fabric choices for the winter months I will do so while wearing shorts, tank tops, and flip flops:)

Since I mentioned Fall '08 I have to admit there are some gorgeous fabrics out there this year. I will give you a little scoop on the styles this fall...lush felted fabrics, textured surface designs and beautiful handles in wood and tortoise shell. Color choices are still being worked on but I am leaning towards deep blues, purples, and shades of brown.

Blue Orchid bags has been invited to attend the Sunday in the Valley shopping event in Las Vegas October 26th, 2008. It's by invitation only...both guests and designers...but it looks like a great opportunity for upcoming designers to connect with boutique owners and get a ton of media exposure. This is just an amazing opportunity and as I prepare for the show I will keep everyone updated!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In the News!

What a surprise this morning as I was enjoying my coffee and reading the paper. There in the style section of the Plain Dealer was a picture of my bags! I nearly wore my coffee when I saw that. The article is showcasing the Rovals boutique and right there in the middle of the picture are my bags! How exciting. If you want to read the article you can here unfortunately there is no picture.

Some of our summer bags are on sale at Etsy...take a look before they are gone:)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Studio Update

It has been a busy couple of weeks having to deal with a persistent sinus infection and a sprained ankle. But it's not all bad...Blue Orchid Bags are now available at Rovals Artisan Boutique in Strongsville, Ohio! The boutique is having a grand reopening in July with featured artists and a new web site. We are fortunate to be the featured artist this July! If you are in the Cleveland area be sure to stop by and say hello to Rochelle.

What a great response to the virtual bag parties so far. It looks like late July will be the debut for the first party! If you are interested please contact me and I will forward more information to you.

And there are new bags on our Etsy site. Take a look! And last did you get an opportunity to read my article for Etsy? If not take a moment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Tranquil Moment

After dropping my son off at school, making beds, washing dishes and two loads of laundry, and the typical picking up around the house I took a moment to water my hanging baskets. It's 8:00 am and it's an absolutely stunning morning. The air is warm almost that perfect temp, the sky is blue not a cloud in site, the air is still and the only sound I hear is the birds. I love this. I find mornings like this therapeutic and rejuvenating. I wish every morning could be like this. What a great way to start the day.

Blue Orchid is participating in the "Here Comes the Sun" online market at Poppytalk. Take a moment and visit us there. Mention Poppytalk and you get free shipping;) Also stop by Hip Mama's Place, leave a comment on her review of Blue Orchid and be entered into the giveaway for one of our bags!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Featured on Hip Mama's Place!

That's right Blue Orchid Bags has been reviewed by Hip Mama's Place. What an honor! I spent some time reading the posts, the reviews, and all the great information I found on the web site and suggest you do too.

As a mom I know we sometimes find it difficult to find time for ourselves let alone our wardrobe. But we all know how important it is to take care of mom because as the saying goes, "if mama ain't one is happy"! So hats off to Jocelyn and the team over at Hip Mama's Place for bringing great style to all the hip mama's out there.

Did you notice??? New bags and even a hostess apron is on our Etsy site. Let me know what you think and if you say "I saw it on Hip Mama's Place" I will ship your purchase for free!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Custom Bags

Ok this is why I love creating custom bags...
"Jackie, This purse is just great! I love the changes that we made. The lining is perfect! I bought some new brown pants so that I'll have a whole outfit to match. Thanks for all your work!L."

I cannot tell you how happy I am to create a bag that you want. I love it when you fall in love with my designs but I get a lot of joy creating something you desire. Which is why I am working on a system that allows you to pick what is created already or personalize the bag to fit your needs and your desires. More info to come soon.

Thanks to "L" for all your kind made my week:)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Birth of a Bag

Someone recently made a comment to me about designing handbags. Now I don't think she meant to be mean or rude, she simply spoke her mind. Her comment was anyone can make a purse, "come on it's only basically a square or a rectangle with some handles". True most bags are a form of one or the other, some with rounded edges or a combination of both. But really folks it's not that easy! My husband always says to me when I get crabbing about how frustrating a design is being, "if it was easy everyone would be doing it". He could not be more right. So I thought maybe it was time to give you a slight peek into the birth of a bag!

A lot of thought and effort goes into the pattern. I use my own patterns as well and designing those takes time. I begin with paper and pencil, many sketches later I settle on what looks most similar to the image in my head. I measure things and cut out a paper pattern. I start with a muslin as most fashion designers do (a mock up in cheap fabric that you don't get sick about throwing away). A few muslin's later I am typically satisfied with my design or it's back to the paper!

Ok that doesn't sound too bad! But here's the thing...where do you place the handles for the best drape? Do you use hard handles (bamboo, etc.) or do you use fabric? Which would maintain the structure of the bag best? How wide do you make the bag to work with those handles? Too wide and the bag caves in, not wide enough and it looks homemade! What about interfacing? Do you use the heavy kind or the soft one? Both? Do you interface the outer fabric, the lining, or both? Which will maintain the feel and drape of the bag while maintaining the integrity of the structure? When the bag is filled will it hold everything or will the contents be poking out here and there? And then the cutting process...what is the most efficient way to use the fabric. Same with the sewing process...what is the most efficient way to sew to save time yet produce a bag that looks handcrafted and not crafty? I won't even tell you about the hand stitching needed!

Ok so yes maybe you too can make a bag, it comes pretty easy to me, but anyone??? As the other women stated to her friend "just getting the image from my brain onto a piece of paper would be challenge enough"! I could not agree more.

Check out A World of Creativity for a well written article about my bags. (Pic is of a Singer Sewing Machine circa 1901).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Time is Flying

I cannot believe that it is already May 16! Time is flying once again. April was such a busy month and May is looking like she is going to be just as busy. I am finding it hard to sit down and do some serious blogging! I am actually almost caught up with bag orders. I have spent the entire week sewing and loving every minute of it.

I managed to grab a spot on the upcoming Trunkt Book for Fall of 2009! This book features a select group of Trunkt artists and will be distributed to galleries and boutiques, and for sale to the general public. Now the agony over which bag design, which fabric, trim, no trim! The great thing is the featured bag will be professionally photographed and there will only be 100 artists featured in the book. Excited and nervous at the same time.

New ideas are forming here at Blue Orchid...virtual home parties! Now you can be the hostess and not have to clean the house, cook, entertain when you would rather put your pj's on, or get rid of the husband and kids! Virtual parties which are virtually effortless. My kind of party! More info will be coming your way here and in our newsletter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations won the Jasmine Clutch!!! Drawing was held at 10:00 am April 1st, 2008 and the your name was pulled from the basket. I will be in contact with you shortly.

This was fun and I love being able to give something away. I definitely plan on doing this again soon. I think maybe next month we should do this again. Keep stopping by and I will keep you updated on the next giveaway.

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Bags!

I finished up some new bags and they are now on sale in my shop on Etsy. A special thank you to the buyer who purchased the newest Meredith Tote - Asian Cherry Blossom! It really is absolutely beautiful fabric, I just hope the computer monitors do it justice. As I mentioned in a previous post this is precisely the fabric I have been somewhat patiently waiting for.

Ok so today is the last day to post a comment and be entered into the drawing for the Jasmine Clutch. Post your comments through midnight tonight and tomorrow I will draw the lucky name and post the winner here by noon.

And today is the last day for 20% off any handbag and the last day for free shipping.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Relaxing Saturday

I thought today would be hectic and a bit on the busy side but it turned out to be a pretty pleasant day. I spent the afternoon with my Aunt who is a very young 87 year old. We ordered pizza and chatted and looked at old pictures. What amazing clothes the women wore in the 40's. I have always been drawn to that style, I love the tailored look. The women always looked so impeccable too. My aunt had some fabulous clothes back then...too bad they are gone.

My fabrics arrived today as well. Love that feeling when you see the package and cannot wait to open it. These fabrics were ordered almost 6 weeks ago, placed on back order, and the company had no idea when they would be shipped. To my surprise I rec'd an e-mail a couple of days ago stating they were shipped and would be on my doorstep today!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring Trends

First...a huge Thank You to all of you who have recently signed up for our newsletter. As you have noticed you get special coupons and deals nobody else is offered. If you have not signed up yet please do so here on our blog. Another newsletter will be coming out soon and you don't want to miss anything!

According to Fashion-Era the top trends for Spring 2008 include Volume and lots of it. Voluminous skirts (dirndl), romantic blouses (which includes ruffles), and asymmetric draped dresses. On the flip side of that you will see nautical tailoring, and a bit of tribal influence. And lots of patterns including ombre's, florals, and bright colors. I don't know about you but I don't feel comfortable dressing in florals or bright colors (maybe it's an age thing;). So to keep fashionable I plan on focusing on my accessories.

I think if you go with the volume you need to focus on streamling those accessories to keep a good balance. Especially if you do the romantic ruffle look you will definately need to keep the accessories sleek looking.

I have to admit I love bold bright florals so I am waiting anxiously for the new fabric I purchased to arrive. Yes you guessed bright bold florals!

Thanks to everyone who has left a comment. All names are counted for each and every time you comment.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fashion Blogs

Have you noticed how many fashion blogs there are!? It seems every brand, designer, store has a blog. It is becoming a necessity like web sites were a few years ago. I spent some time today looking at new fashion trends and noticed the large volume of these blogs. I did notice each one had its own style and goal. My goal here is to offer fashion tips, provide ideas on what to pair with what, and share with you Blue Orchid's latest designs.

Do you have any favorite fashion blogs? If so share them with us here! you use these blogs to gather advice and ideas? Is there something you would like to talk about here? Don't forget each time you comment your name is dropped in the basket!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Ok I promised a are the details.

Starting today, each and every person who comments on my blog will have their name added to a basket. The more comments the more times your name will be added to the basket and the higher your chances of winning! So post often. On April 1, 2008 (no joke) one lucky person will receive the Jasmine Asian Dreams envelope clutch. I will draw names the morning of April 1, 2008 and will notify all on my blog the lucky recipient's name. Good luck and thank you!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Sale

I am simply tired of snow. So to celebrate Spring's arrival I am having a 20% off each and every bag sale this week in my Etsy shop. The free shipping still stands too:)

We keep hearing how the economy is not in good shape and I know I am not buying too many new clothes this Spring. But accessories can brighten up and jumpstart any old wardrobe right! I have a great pair of black capri's I bought from Ann Taylor last Spring. I can throw on a white tank top and maybe the black and white Sabrina Tote bag and I am set for the day. A quick switch from flip flops to sandals and how about the black and white Jasmine Clutch and I am ready for the evening! Quick and simple...and less expensive.

What are your thoughts this Spring on updating your wardrobe?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Indie Designers

I have been asked a few times this week what an Indie Designer is. I consider myself to be an Indie Designer so I thought it best to post a note here about the Indie movement.

Indie designers are independent designers, artists and craftspeople who design and make a wide array of products typically clothing, jewelry, and handbags without being part of a large corporation. Indie designers create small runs on their designs, and do the majority of the work themselves. Buying from an Indie means you are receiving a product that is handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, and available in a limited amount.

Here is a sneak peak of my latest bag. Her name is, fresh, and vibrant!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thinking of a contest...

I have been pondering the idea of a giveaway on my blog. I have heard success stories from other bloggers and think this would be a great way to promote yourself. I plan on working out the details this week and will post the giveaway rules and deadline next week.

I have finally brought to life a bag that has been in my head for quite some time now. I knew what I wanted but not sure of the mechanics. I sketched for some time, played with the math (yuck) and finally took scissors to fabric! I will be doing the final handstitching tonight (hopefully) and will have it up on Etsy tomorrow.

In the meantime I took a pic of my studio buddy Susie.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Etsy has a lot to offer!

I finally have a few of my bags on my Etsy shop, please take a look. I have to admit I spent the last two days visiting all the forums on Etsy and responding when I could. I am happy to say that Etsy has a lot to offer any artist trying to sell their products. I am also finding a lot of great people willing to share their tips for success and even more just super friendly people.

I was accepted at Trunkt today as well! I heard the competition is quite tough there and they only accept a few artists, which means getting accepted certainly does a body good.

A final note...a friend of mine has started his own business...Interview Connections. If you are ever in the need for advice on interviewing, resume help, or all around career coaching please look him up. Tell him Jackie sent you:)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow what a crazy and hectic week! Living outside of Cleveland typically means plenty of snow and that is exactly what we got this week...plenty of snow! And it's still coming down. But that's ok I am inside my studio sewing away. I have created a new handbag style this week and as soon as I run out to grab more batteries I will take a pic and post it.

I found some great people on Etsy this week as well. Desperately was in need of new labels for my bags and online vendors seem to take forever printing them. But I did find two wonderful ladies on Etsy who have come to my rescue. One is designing embroidered labels for my shop samples and the other is printing up some for my line items. Take a look at their shops at and

Back to sewing and shoveling!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Fabric

Ok so I should have been at home working, but I just got back from fabric shopping. A local fabric shop is going out of business and I could not resist. Bought some beautiful floral fabrics that are perfect for spring and summer. Will post some pics when I create something from one of the fabrics.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Hi there. I'm Jackie and I created this blog to share with you my handbag designs. I am the owner of Blue Orchid Handbags...check out my site at Blue Orchid Handbags.

I am a graphic designer by trade but cannot and will not ignore the fact that I enjoy sewing much more than anything else. I have my own graphic design studio and while during the day I help small business owners market themselves and drive their businesses forward, during the evenings I sew. If you are interested in my design work you can check out my portfolio here.

Back to sewing! I am working very hard on finishing up a line of handbags which will be for sale on my site along at Etsy. I hope you stop back often:)