Thursday, February 15, 2018

WHOA...let us catch our breath!

Since our announcement last week of our upcoming retirement (scroll back to previous post), things have do I say this...INSANELY CRAZY?!

OMG. Never expected THIS. We have been overwhelmed with your emails, blog comments, phone calls, and every kind of sweet sentiment. We feel absolutely blessed by all of your thoughtful, heartfelt words. The stitching community truly is a very special place.

Before this train runs completely off the tracks (that's what it feels like here at L*K world headquarters), we need to clear up a few details. Honestly, we never intended to create a "cross stitch emergency".

RELAX!!!  We have lots of L*K inventory!
We always have excess inventory on hand. That's one of the risks/challenges of the business - printing enough, but not too much. Here's the catch...our products may not be ASSEMBLED and ready to go out the door.

Lizzie*Kate designs are NOT going to disappear after March 31.

We will be shipping directly to shops worldwide until March 31. After that, remaining inventory will be sent to our distributors (who sell to shops). Shops will continue to order L*K products from distributors and it will be ready for YOU.

If you want to make sure you get more L*K in your stash before March 31, contact your favorite needlework supplier and ask them to order. 

We are already SWAMPED with orders from our faithful needlework shops, so we know lots of you have already been ordering.

BE PATIENT! Thanks in advance for bearing with us. Usually we pride ourselves on shipping orders the same day they are received. Because of the current volume, we won't be able to do this. We will do our best to get orders processed quickly.

If we don't have enough printing on a certain design, we'll order more! If we're out of charms for a Flip-it, or supplies for a kit...we will order those supplies. We may be waiting on our suppliers in order to assemble your products, so shipping will be slower.

We are considering various options going forward as some things sell out. We will keep you posted on our future plans when they are finalized.

Carmen in the former L*K office. She's always dressed up, I'm usually in sweats.

Our faithful helper Carmen is already on overtime since our announcement. She is so fast at assembling L*K products, it's a struggle for us just to keep her desk filled. Carmen says she's ready for MORE!

#190 Spring Smalls (with embellishments)

We will release our final design #190 Spring Smalls on March 1. If you're wanting this "historic" design, let your needlework supplier know now, because we're printing soon. We anticipate printing more of this than our usual quantity. If we run out, we'll just print more...and sack more charms!


Our little ride in the needlework biz has been a thrill right from the beginning in 1996. We have never known what twist or turn was hiding around the next corner. It's always been a thrill, and sometimes a bit of a gamble.

Thanks for coming along for the ride of our lives!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

L*K has BIG news!

Drumroll...let's get right to the scoop...

We will be closing our official Lizzie*Kate "world headquarters" office on March 31.

We will be releasing our final design, #190 Spring Smalls, on March 1.

It is with much gratitude that we share this with you - our loyal cross stitchers everywhere. It's hard to find just the right words, but I'll try.

When I reflect over the past 22 years, the word I associate most often with my job is JOY. Who knew this job would be so fun, continually challenging, and bring pleasure and creativity to talented people around the world?!

When I began Lizzie*Kate I knew that I loved stitching. Most often, it was my favorite end to a long day. I could hardly wait to get the kids into bed and pull out my stitching. Before I finished one project, I was already dreaming of the next one and gathering supplies from my local needlework shop.

What I didn't anticipate when I became a designer, quickly became apparent to me. I could help others enjoy their favorite stitching hobby!! It's been so special to enable cross stitch fanatics to pursue their passion with L*K designs.

Sarah "Lizzie" and Alison "Kate" in our basement storeroom, circa 1996

It's been 22+ years since I made an appointment to chat with my LNS owner. I wanted to discuss a crazy idea I had to design cross stitch patterns. I needed a little extra income so I could continue to "stay home" with the kids. She didn't think I was serious, but she patiently told me about the needlework biz. 

Six months later I was sitting in the Lizzie*Kate booth at Charlotte Needlework Market on Row 14, "conveniently" located at the far back of the convention hall by the snack bar and ladies' room. My mother and a friend traveled with me. We had NO idea what we were doing, but we were there with 20 new "hot off the copier" L*K designs. Before market I hurriedly drew a logo for Lizzie*Kate, fully intending to revise it later - I never did.

For 3 hectic days we were unexpectedly swamped with shops owners eager for something new, placing large orders. We busily wrote orders from the nearby snack bar tables, and promised to ship ASAP. We were grateful for other kind vendors who helped us navigate the market. It was overwhelming.

Boy, were we busy when we returned to Wichita!!! I spent the entire first week tallying quantities, and ordering all the printing and photos we needed. Our basement air hockey table was completely stacked with printing, and I almost filled an entire grocery cart with photos. I remember the photo bill was $1700! 

It was summer so the kids and their friends jumped in to our "emergency" (OK, I coerced them and donated to their clubhouse fund) and helped us glue photos and assemble thousands and thousands of chartpaks. Alan helped me every evening as we attempted to ship 10-12 boxes every day.

We hustled and managed to get those original 250-ish orders out the door in less than a month. Complicating things, though, were the new orders piling in from non-market attendees, and those optimistic re-orders. We were blessed by a pile of orders that just wouldn't seem to disappear.

Standing in front of antique L*K door - leading to the basement office

As we were struggling to ship those original 20 designs, one question kept popping up -  "When are you going to have more designs?". MORE designs, I thought? Yikes! Can I do more?

Fast forward to 22 years later...
The L*K girls grew up and our family grew, along with our Lizzie*Kate business. Our family and L*K will forever have a special connection. 

Linda, Alan, Sarah "Lizzie", Jeff, Ali "Kate" and Barclay

As we close the door on Alan's L*K warehouse/office, he'll miss the day-to-day rhythm of L*K with inventory control, phone calls and emails from shops, and shipping. Our home will undoubtedly be cleaner when I'm not buried in all the stages of product development, designing and publishing. It's pretty hard to keep L*K contained in my home office - it gravitates all over the house!

We are so THANKFUL for the presence of Lizzie*Kate in our lives. In fact, I can't imagine doing life without L*K. I was able to use my creative gifts in a way that enriched the lives of others, and have a ball doing it. Because of L*K I was able to work from home and Ali and Sarah got to experience entrepreneurship first hand - whether they wanted to or not! 

Alan joined the biz full-time about 10 years after I began. From our beginning in 1996, he was always behind the scenes doing accounting and supporting me. He's the voice answering the biz phone and chatting daily with our loyal needlework shops everywhere.

Alan and I celebrating our 60th birthdays (several years ago!) with a Hippie Party 

Now Alan and I are ready for a change. We're not sure what the future holds for us "soon-to-be-retirees", but we are excited to have some time to explore possibilities and opportunities.

THANK YOU for the blessing you have been in our lives...sniffle, sniffle...and allowing us to come into your homes and your stitch at a time.

***If you need more L*K designs, no worries. You can contact your favorite needlework supplier. We have a lot of inventory that we will be shipping to them and also their distributors. Just be patient as orders will take longer than order as we are assembling tons of stuff!

If you have a favorite L*K design or memory to share, LEAVE A COMMENT below. We would love to hear from you.

Love and best stitches,
Linda and Alan

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NEW for 2018!

Hey L*K Blog Readers...I'm BACK!!! It's been a long (mostly unplanned) break from blogger-ville and the day to day happenings at L*K. After a nice holiday respite, I'm back in the groove and ready for 2018.

I want to tell you about 2 new Lizzie*Kate designs that are coming your  way SOON! We'll be shipping to shops worldwide on Wednesday, January 17. 

#189 Winter Smalls

Our seasonal Smalls series continue with 4 little winter projects. We've spelled out WINTER with fun motifs, just like Summer and Autumn. The other 3 projects are Snow, Sweetheart (Valentine's Day!) and Snuggle

Has anyone noticed that every season all of the projects begin with the same letter? It's a fun little design challenge for me and I'm wondering if anyone notices?! Check out #182 Summer Smalls (Birds, Bees, Berries) and #185 Autumn Smalls (Hoot, Halloween, Haunted). Now you know about my alphabet obsession!

B59 The Things We Love Inspiration Boxer

I've loved this quote for a long time and was surprised to find the source - St. Thomas Aquinas. It's a timeless saying...don't you agree? Boxer includes 32 ct. Lambswool linen, bonus pattern and beads.

Hope all of you are off to a wonderful 2018!

Please tell me I'm not the only person who hasn't finished putting away their Christmas decor?! I've rounded everything up - well almost everything - and hauled it downstairs. Now I'm trying to put it away in a "meaningful way". What the heck is that?

I'm trying to clean out/edit years of Christmas decor, instead of throwing all the stuff I used on top of the decor that didn't make it out of the totes this year. It's hard to part with some of that stuff, but it also feels good to pare down. And that's my excuse for why it's taking so long to put Christmas 2017 on the shelf!!! For some reason I find this kind of organization really exhausting/boring. What does that say about me? 

****BONUS POINTS if you noticed what is funky about the photo on the Winter Smalls. Look again! Is there something maybe 3 noses? Yes, I forgot to stitch the noses on the 3 snowmen. I know exactly how it happened. I'm sure I didn't have orange thread on my little cart, and figured I would do it later. And I didn't...and I forgot. I didn't notice the ominous missing noses until the finishing was done. 

Digital correction to the issue. The 3 noses are rightfully restored on the final cover photo on Winter Smalls. WHEW!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Me and Ree!!!

So I finally did it! I conspired with my friend Glenna, we both took a day off work and journeyed to nearby Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit Ree aka The Pioneer Woman!

Well, we didn't actually see Ree, but we did visit her fabulous mercantile, eat lunch in her delicious Deli and (BONUS!) visited The Lodge where she films her TV shows on the Food Network.

Glenna and I left Wichita about 7:30 AM - coffee in hand - for the 2 hour drive south to Oklahoma. Pawhuska was a quiet small town until Ree and her Pioneer Woman clan almost single-handedly revitalized the historic downtown.

It was a gorgeous fall day and we were greeted by hundred of pumpkins around the Mercantile exterior. Check out the charming brick buildings in background and the classic black/white tile entry floor. It looks like my office bathroom tile! ***Just noticed the decapitated lady on left side. It was hard to snap a pic without someone getting in my frame.

I should note I originally didn't take any pictures. I was concentrating on shopping and having fun! Then later realized it might make a fun blog post, so hurriedly snapped a few quick pics.

When you walk in you're greeted by a lovely open space with high ceilings and the most charming displays. Each vignette was just a treat to enjoy with the eyes. I love cool displays, but my pics don't do them justice. Check out the gorgeous custom wood shelving - it would have been beautiful if it was empty!

In addition to beautifully curated kitchen/home goods, there's a small area with Pioneer Woman-ish clothing. I bought a cool embroidered tunic top and I'm channeling Ree when I wear it. Pretty sure I'm a better cook when I wear it. Cowboy boots optional.

After we conquered the first floor we went upstairs to the Deli and Bakery. We were there mid-morning so it was quiet upstairs. When we returned later in the afternoon for a take home snack (for our husbands/friends, of course) it was bustling. 

Here's a pic of the sunny seating area next to Deli/Bakery. My favorite thing upstairs were some large windows into the on-site bakery. I couldn't get a photo without horrible reflection, so imagine this...lots of guys and gals in matching checked shirts making/baking/frosting amazing bakery massive, delicious quantities!

Glenna and I worked up an appetite with all that driving and shopping, so we were ready to visit the restaurant. But alas...a long line! It was hard to explain to Alan why we waited 75 minutes in an outdoor line for a table at the Merc. But when in Pawhuska...

Here's a pic of the restaurant we snapped when we first arrived. They also serve breakfast, so these diners were feasting on authentic Pioneer Woman breakfasts!

When we finally were seated indoors (restaurant is in same building as Mercantile - just around the corner), and ordered, we were pretty excited. And the food was FABULOUS!!! 

I'm a little embarrassed to say what we both ordered, but it was amazing. No, we didn't have the Marlboro Man Sandwich. Maybe if the man came with it? No, we both feasted on homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese dippers ($7). Glenna's sis had suggested this entree from a previous visit.

I wish I knew the secret behind these magical grilled cheese dippers, but it's probably best unknown. There was gooey cheese dripping from the long sandwich chunks, but there was also more CRUSTY, CRUNCHY CHEESE on the outside on the sandwich. A minor food miracle that I would like to experience again.

I drank about 4 glasses of iced tea (non-sweet!!!) to wash everything down. And doesn't tea taste best when served in a Mason jar?! Oh yea...should add that we also ordered an appetizer - an olive spread baguette ($5) - because we had waited a long time. I ordered a side of spicy kale ($3), just to make sure I had my green veggies. It was yummy and definitely "spicy".

Can you believe these prices? Super reasonable, which everyone appreciates. And served with a smile from more friendly Oklahomans wearing checked shirts. 

View from inside The Lodge

But folks...that's not ALL!  After lunch (and return to deli for more take-home treats) we drove through the gorgeous Oklahoma countryside to visit THE LODGE! This is where Ree shoots her epic TV episodes. It's hard to capture the beauty of the landscape, but it was stunning. The Lodge sits on top of a hill with need-to-experience-to-appreciate panoramic views. Oklahoma is NOT flat on the Drummond Ranch.

Our greeter at The Lodge

Every time Ree and the family eat outside at The Lodge, I notice how windy it is. They kinda act like "no big deal" but I notice their clothes rippling and their hair swirling. And sure enough, it was really windy on top of that beautiful Oklahoma hill. This is the "good" picture of us. Trying to shoot a selfie seemed to encourage crazy hair.

Inside The Lodge are TWO huge kitchen areas - both with monster sized islands. There was a convenient black skillet and spatula there, so we did what thousands of women before us have done - pose for pictures.

Notice the antlers in the background on both pictures. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the musical Beauty and the Beast where Gaston sings..."I use antlers in all of my decorating". And so does Ree!

Adjacent to the double kitchens, there were two fireplaces, a huge dining table and lots of comfy seating.

Hidden behind the kitchens was a large pantry.

And beyond all that, we found a bunch of lovely bedrooms, each with their own spacious bath...all decorated much more beautifully than the average farmhouse (at least those I've visited). We were told these are used by crew members when they're doing a TV shoot.

Alas it was time to return to the Land of Oz and Ta-town (Wichita). The blue skies and golden fields on the way home were so pretty, with acres and acres of windmills. 

Glenna and I are gathering tomorrow for one of our Pinterest craft nights. I'll sharing the "sweet" fun soon!
HINT: Our project involves multiple bags of large marshmallows. What can we be making?

*You're a Pioneer Woman fan!
*You've had your own pilgrimage to Pawhuska
*You can figure out what Glenna and I are crafting tomorrow night!

Thanks for reading and sharing our adventure!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spirit of Christmas Part 2 BONUS

We shipped the 2nd part of our Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler a couple weeks ago, along with some other new designs. Hopefully everyone has received it by now.

Here's a quick look at the BONUS design that comes with Part 2. We're calling it Christmas Love. You can use it for a pin pillow, door hanger, whatever your holiday heart desires.

It's a sweet little project - perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or anytime you want a little "love" in your stitching basket. Stitch count is 73W x 27H. The Spirit of Christmas Embellishment Pack includes the sweetheart bird and mother-of-pearl heart buttons. 

You can choose your favorite fabric. Use threads from Spirit of Christmas, or go rogue and create your own custom "love" palette.

After our recent shipment on October 2, we escaped for a week in Maine. We traveled with Alan's sister and her husband, and had a great time exploring the northeast coast together. Our visit began with a short trip to Nantucket, visiting our niece and her husband. It's SO nice to have a private tour guide, and Emily is the best. Sorry, Em, forgot to snap a pic of all of us.

Then we ferried back to the mainland, picked up our rental car, and drove north to Camden. We spent the remainder of our week working our way south to Boston...visiting lighthouses, staying in charming B and B's, eating lobster rolls and clam chowder, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Maine certainly didn't disappoint!!!

Evelyn, Galen and I 

Super windy day at this lighthouse

Visiting the LL Bean "mother ship" in Freeport - weirdly warm weather!

Just hanging out in our pumpkin boat

One unexpected highlight was attending the annual Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival and Regatta. What's this???

It turns out they grow really big pumpkins in Maine. So what to do with all these pumpkins? The creative folk of Damariscotta have devised several pumpkin events. First, they display the largest pumpkins, with this year's winner weighing over 1700 pounds. They use forklifts to "relocate" the pumpkins.

This unique entry was entirely carved. Many are painted and elaborately propped.

Then they get local "artists" to decorate giant pumpkins and display them along Main Street. It was hard to capture the creativity and ingenuity on these.

Did you know that pumpkins float?? These boats are actually huge pumpkins, hollowed out for "racing" in the harbor. There were 2 division of pumpkin boats - rowed and motor-powered - but they were all decorated with matching crew members!

Love the gnome boat!

The Viking boat was probably my favorite, complete with braids and horns

Still not sure what this silver glittery boat was...disco ball? 

Rowing was pretty tricky - the boats mostly want to "bob" in the water

Closeup of the Viking boatsman

Can you see us? We're the crazy tourists standing the rain to watch the regatta! But when in Maine...

Many thanks to our bro-in-law, Galen, for planning our Maine adventure! We'd love to return sometime.

Have a Maine memory or recommendation to SHARE???
Leave a COMMENT below!

Monday, October 2, 2017

New "Treats" for October!

Yes, we are doing NEW DESIGNS  - other than Part 2 of our Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler!  Still, it's that mystery mania that is filling our days (and nights and weekends) and keeping us on the phone begging our partners for more supplies. So far they haven't stopped answering our calls!

We are shipping newbies to shops around the world today, after a busy weekend of assembling and packing orders. Here's what will be arriving at your favorite needlework source soon:

Dear Santa, I've Been Good #187

You can thank a long-time (and very persistent) L*K customer for this design. She's been patiently requesting this saying...year after year. Christmas came early for her, and now she's busy stitching multiples of this for family Christmas gifts. Includes 3 white snowflake buttons. Many thanks, Esther!

Nutcracker Sleds Snippet S133

It's sled time! Three more charming designs are great for your tree, stocking stuffers, package toppers or whatever you want. Snippet includes varied embellishments for all 3 sleds.

Stocking Sleds Snippet Snippet S134

The more, the merrier...we've got another set of 3 sled designs for 2017. They're a snap to stitch and finish and "snow much fun"! Embellishments for all 3 sleds included.

Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler PART 2

It's time for the second (middle) part of your mystery sampler, and I know you're ready! This section includes more text, some classic L*K holiday motifs, fun embellishments (optional) and more MYSTERIOUS fun! 

Thanks for your patience. I know many of you have been waiting for Spirit of Christmas supplies. We always have the charts, embellishment packs and Needle Nannies available to our shops, but there have been some backorders on threads and fabrics (especially orders placed after our original pre-order deadline).  It's been difficult for our suppliers to keep up with your mystery demand, and we really appreciate all of their hard work.

***Have you figured out the author of our beautiful holiday mystery quote? 
HINT: This quote was part of a Presidential address 90 years ago on December 25, 1027. 

LEAVE A COMMENT with your "Presidential answer". Happy Sleuthing, everyone!