Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sampler Claus debut!

Santa '18 is here, which means only one thing...you've been GOOD!!!

Santa is busy gearing up for Christmas 2018, surrounded by his favorite Christmas things...wreath, gingerbread, trusty reindeer, basket of goodies, bird in hand, and more workshop goodies.

Here is the link where you can find Santa.

After my retirement this spring, I found myself strangely "moved" to design my yearly Santa. I guess the Christmas spirit really did visit me this past summer. Santa lives!

#191 Sampler Claus

Sampler Claus is an exclusive design available at 123Stitch.com. The chartpak includes designs for both projects shown above.

You can purchase Santa at 123stitch.com and buy supplies from your favorite needlework supplier.


I stitched Santa on a piece of 32 ct. Natural light linen. It's a beautiful neutral color. You can choose whatever fabric you like best, or pose Santa on something different...maybe a pretty pale gray or light green? Santa will be jolly wherever you stitch him!


Could the finish on this little pink/red house project be any cuter? I think it's adorable, resting in a pillow-y wool snowdrift. There are even tiny icicles hanging from the eave. So many fun textures on a "cool" Christmas finish!

Would you believe...it's only 78 more days until Christmas?!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas season as we anticipate Christmas '18 together!

****Thanks to hundreds of you for joining our L*K Facebook "fan" page after I mentioned it in the last blog post. There's still room for everyone in this fun, creative group! To join just send a request to the I Love Stitching Lizzie Kate Designs Facebook page. I know you'll love the community of stitchers and beautiful creative projects that are shared.

****And one MORE THING! Thanks to all of you for graciously enjoying the autumn freebie I posted here last week - Moon Over Blackbird. There are already some finishes on the I Love Stitching Lizzie Kate Facebook page - those speedy stitchers. I will look forward to seeing some fun finishes on this fall project!






Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fall Freebie!!

Is it really FALL already? I can't believe it is already October. I always say that October is my favorite month because I love the changing seasons, getting the house all "cozy" for winter, making soup, looking forward to the holidays ahead...and because (who am I kidding?) it's my birthday month. Shout out to all of you October birthdays!

Moon over Blackbird FREEBIE!

Here's a little freebie to keep your needles busy during this lovely autumn season.

Click here to download the Freebie.

I've included a few options (2 border choices) so you can personalize your fall stitchery. Choose your favorite, or stitch it several times with different choices and share the autumn goodness with those you love.

I stitched on a piece of 28 ct. Weeks Dye Works natural/tin roof gingham linen from my stash. It's super cute on the gingham, but any bit of neutral fabric would work. You have some extra fabric, right?

Happy Fall, Y'all!! (even though it's gonna be 90 degrees here today!)

***By the way, our "fan club" Facebook page is still active, even though we're not. Check out I Love Stitching Lizzie Kate Designs for lots of fun finishes. If you're not a member of this closed group, just ask to join. It's a great group of creative people and we'd love to have you enjoy the stitching fun!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Here comes "Sampler Claus"!

I hadn't planned on designing a Santa this year (truly, I had NOT!!). But something unexpected happened this summer. I was overcome with the holiday spirit on a hot summer day, retreated to my office to piddle around with my design software...and guess who emerged? Santa Claus himself!

I had the BEST time working on this jolly old elf. I literally surrounded Santa with my favorite vintage sampler motifs - Lizzie*Kate style - it's so fun!

There's no "saying" on this Santa design, so he differs from the previous 20+ yearly Santa designs, but change is good...right?! I think he's letting the cheery Christmas motifs do the talking.

We're calling him Sampler Claus. Alan thought of the name, so he gets the applause. This name makes me smile. And, truth be told, I don't take Alan's creative advice very often. I usually smile and say something like "yea, I'll think about that".

Sampler Claus "Sneak Peek"

When I work on graphing a design like this, I always have "leftovers"...little bits I have graphed that don't end up in the final design. Sometimes they're some of my favorite bits, but just don't fit in with the final design.

That was definitely the case this time, as I began my Santa design by graphing a red and pink house. I've never done a red/pink house before and those colors just made me happy. I mean...who really has a red/pink house...but again, why not?  Alas, the charming house didn't make the final cut for the big design.

Sampler Claus "Joy Sampler" Sneak Peek

So I did a smaller design and began with the little house. Then I surrounded it with other fun "leftovers" and filled in with some snowflakes here and there.

***And here's what I've learned about my almost "retirement". It's SO much more relaxing to work on a design when you aren't on a schedule....when you don't have to churn out 4 more designs to release at the same time...when stitching a model is pure pleasure and you're not on a time crunching schedule. Not to complain about my previous life as a designer, but this is so much more chill and sigh...rrrreeeelllaaaaxxxiiinnngggg.

We are headed west soon on a road trip to Salt Lake City to visit the gang at 123stitch.com. We'll be carrying a big load of L*K including Sampler Claus (in our sleigh?). We will also deliver 17 oldies (vintage L*K chartpaks) that have had "facelifts" and been reprinted in our current chartpak format.

Sampler Claus will be available to purchase soon at 123stitch.com.

We'll keep you posted when Santa "comes to town"!












Sunday, September 9, 2018

Lizzie*Kate and 123stitch.com

As we previously announced on this blog, one of the steps toward our retirement has been establishing a partnership with 123stitch.com.

Here's a link to the "official" announcement from 123.stitch.com:

What does this "partnership" mean???

* From this point forward, 123stitch.com will be selling our kits. Because of reasons we've already explained, it wasn't feasible for us to sell kits through our distributors (who then sell to retail shops and finally to stitchers). We did send distributors all of our chartpaks, Snippet and Flip-its.

In order for some of these kits to still be available for you, we decided to let 123stitch.com sell these kits. Some L*K kits may not look the same. While the designs will be the same, they may elect to sell them as patterns only, with supplies available separately. Check each product for details.

123stitch.com will also be selling other L*K products (chartpaks, Flip-its and Snippets), as will other needlework retailers around the world.

* We have also agreed to let 123stitch.com reprint old designs, as existing supplies of printing are gone. We are working with our graphic designer to "give a facelift" to some real oldies - you remember those chartpaks with the glued-on photos? Now some of them will look like our newer chartpaks with beautiful 4 color printing.

* I have also agreed to do a few NEW DESIGNS every year - available from 123.stitch.com! After feeling pretty burnt out on my 30+ designs a year schedule, it will be dreamy to do a few designs, as I'm inspired.

I've been working on a new Santa design that I'm anxious to share with you. I'll do a blog post soon with a sneak peek and some details. I had SO much fun working on him!

What does our "partnership" NOT mean???

* It does not mean that other needlework shops are out of L*K inventory. We shipped huge orders to needlework shops everywhere after we announced our retirement. We did dozens of reprints just to fill these orders.

Needlework shops continue to order L*K products from their distributors. Check with your favorite needlework supplier for L*K goodies you want to purchase.

Thanks for stitching Lizzie*Kate for the past 22 years and going forward!



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Where in the world is Lizzie*Kate?

I'm still here in Kansas, looking out my office window at the sandpit lake in our backyard, dreaming of the coast!


I haven't blogged since March 28...yikes! After so many inquiries about the "future of the L*K blog", I decided it was time for an update.

Thanks to all of you for being so patient with me during this incredibly busy period of our lives. Since we announced our L*K retirement on February 12, life just hasn't been the same. We were swamped with orders and our little L*K world headquarters was strained with the volume. 

On our path to retirement, we were suddenly busier than we had been for the previous 22 years at L*K. It was completely unexpected, thrilling and overwhelming. We finished shipping orders to needlework shops around the world by the end of April. 

But we're not done yet!!! We have spent the last few months reprinting, assembling and shipping hundreds (and hundreds) of pounds of L*K inventory to our distributors. Needlework shops can then order from these distributors.

We pored over sales records for the past several years, and consulted again...and again...with the distributors trying to get them the right quantities of everything they desired. With hundreds of different items in our inventory, it has been a long process.

Almost empty shelves at L*K headquarters

We also reached an agreement with 123 Stitch.com to continue selling our L*K kits. Because of distributor fees, we had never "allowed" kits into distribution, and it was not feasible to do this going forward. This new agreement will enable many of our kits to still be available to you through 123 Stitch.com. 

WHEW! We are still in the L*K office, extending our lease on a month to month basis with our flexible landlord, hoping every month that will be our last. Really...I think we'll be done by the end of August. We're having a big office sale in a couple weeks to sell dozens of racks and other office equipment.

One of my friends shared some wisdom saying that "Closing your business will be the hardest thing you've ever done". And we agree...much more time-consuming than we had ever anticipated. Hey - we've never done this before!

So what's next???

The short answer is "we need some free time to determine how we want to spend more free time!". Does that make sense?

We are excited to have more time to spend with family and friends, and are excited to pursue more volunteer activities. And, of course, more TRAVEL! We returned recently from 2 weeks in Spain visiting our daughter and husband (who live in Barcelona) and touring their beautiful country.

I've been active for many years on a school partnership team at my church. After weekly events for a long time, I almost "dropped out" the past couple years when I was busy managing my mom's care and daily needs. Now I'm excited to rejoin the team and go "back to school" this fall.

Could they be any cuter?

What's a church/school partnership?

It's so cool!! Over 10 years ago our church began a partnership with the elementary school closest to our church building. It's near downtown and has a high poverty rate. Most of the children speak Spanish in their homes.  A few years ago we expanded this ministry to another nearby elementary school. These schools are wonderful and interesting places!

Basically, we do what a really supportive parent group might do. We send a team of tutors and mentors into the building every week. We also work with the social worker, principle, nurse, whoever makes a request...to do special projects for the teachers and the students. We furnish school uniforms, underwear, socks, even a washer and dryer to do laundry. And more...

This week we're hosting Back to School Luncheons for the entire staff of each school. We invite them to our church building and we dine together. This is the week that the teachers return to school. The students won't be there until next week!

I'm off to serve taco salad and ice cream sundaes to a big school staff this morning...thanks for reading!!!

***I've missed sharing my life with you all. If you're interested in future posts, please send me a COMMENT below. I promise to share more cross stitch related content, too!












Wednesday, March 28, 2018

4 Seasons of Busy-ness!

Every year we have the same 4 seasons...no surprise. But for needle workers, those lovely 4 seasons mean lots of great opportunities for beautiful projects. And...BONUS...you get to pull them out and enjoy them year after year.

During my 22 years designing for L*K, I've done a lot of seasonal and holiday designs. SO MUCH Christmas and Halloween, and all the other holidays...Independence Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day...even one little New Year's Day design.

#190 Spring Smalls with embellishments

I also have several seasonal series...Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. I just completed the most recent seasonal series with my Seasonal Smalls - a set of 4 small adorable designs for each season. ***Scroll back through the last 2 posts if you haven't seen the Seasonal Smalls!

Lately, we've been spending busy 12 hours days at the L*K office, then returning home in the evenings to prep for the following day. What does prep mean? We put thousands of things in little bags...buttons, beads, charms...so they're ready for assembly the next day in the office.

I keep trying to find a way to get help with this, but inventory is flowing through the office so quickly, it's hard to plan ahead. I would literally need to send stuff home with someone one day and need it back the next morning. That sounds like a job for Alan and Linda, right?

We've got more daily help in the office than ever, and we're cranking out an amazing amount of L*K product each day. But it's a daily struggle to keep enough 1" x 1" zip bags filled with appropriate goodies for whatever product bin is running low. ***And we have to have the needed embellishments IN STOCK, so we're ordering beads, buttons, charms, etc. every day.

Actually, after a full day at the office, it's great to SIT DOWN with our current Netflix addiction, make some popcorn (and a cup of tea for me), and prep for the next day.

Longmire - current Netflix addiction - men in hats and boots!

Speaking of Netflix addiction, is anyone else watching LONGMIRE? Oh my! I had this recommended to me by a girlfriend. I heard it was a Western, and couldn't imagine loving it, but I'm hooked (actually, Alan loves it too). The setting is so unique and the stories are great. But I can't neglect to mention the best part - the MEN of Longmire. Need I say more? Is it warm in here?

FINALLY...here's what I really wanted to blog about:


#001 Hats Off to Halloween - our very 1st design in 1996

As we pull orders every day, we see trends of what is selling best. Sometimes it's expected (Halloween Rules and Christmas Rules Flip-its, Seasonal Smalls, etc.) and sometimes it's a surprise. The designs that usually sell the best are selling well now. We're also selling a lot of "oldies, but goodies". I can't believe how many shop orders include our very first design - Hats Off to Halloween.

Lately, we just can't make enough of this seasonal series (pictured below).They're called 4 Seasons Flip-its. (I know...original name!). They originally published in 2014. With only 4 designs, hey're the smallest set of Flip-its we've ever done. And at the time, they were moderate sellers. Now they're super hot...go figure! I've always loved them, and really enjoyed designing and stitching the models.





Each seasonal Flip-it comes with 3 tiny buttons...mint for Spring, pink for Summer, black for Autumn and white for Winter. We just keep ordering in more and more of these tiny buttons.


These bitty buttons aren't only used for 4 Seasons Flip-its...they're literally included with hundreds of L*K designs. The ones that don't get tucked into little 1" x 1" sacks get sucked up with the vacuum. Which, by the way, really needs to be exercised around the L*K office.

B41 Dance in the Rain Inspiration Boxer.

One thing I've discovered over the years...just because I really love a design doesn't mean it will be a top seller. I've learned to listen to my customers. If bunches of stitchers request a saying, it will probably be popular, even if it's not my fave. Prime example is the Inspiration Boxer above. It's our best seller in the Inspiration series, and I never would have guessed it. But thanks to persistent requests...

Thanks, as always, for reading along. Back to the shipping table!

LEAVE A COMMENT and tell us your favorite "Longmire man"...and why you chose him!













Tuesday, March 20, 2018

More DOTS!

Those busy ladies at Zappy Dots have been at it again - creating more little Needle Nanny masterpieces with L*K designs!

Clockwise from upper left: Winter, Spring, Autumn and Summer Smalls

Kim, one of the "mistresses of dots" just sent me this darling graphic, and I wanted to share it with you.

What is a Needle Nanny?
It's a super magnetic little dot where you can park your needle and/or scissors. You attach it to both sides of your stitching fabric, or wherever you want to hold things securely. And then you enjoy how cute this little functional "dot" looks while you are stitching.

These little magnetic marvels are SUPER strong, and I'm not kidding. Last fall when we commissioned a special batch of dots for our Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler we had lots of funny experiences with these magnets. They will literally slide/jump towards anything metal. We have a small batch of Spirit of Christmas Needle Nannies remaining at the office - all firmly magnetized to each other!

Here's a link to all the L*K Needle Nannies in the collection.

ZappyDots

190 Spring Smalls

We just released our final design in our seasonal Smalls series last week - Spring Smalls. In addition to the 4 designs, it comes with a little embellishment pack with small white buttons and a dragonfly charm. I have been sacking so many little dragonflies, I'm seeing them in my dreams...and on the floor. 

We pulled our K-State Wildcats through a tough March Madness basketball game last night - with 10 of our faithful sports fans anxiously huddled in our basement. While we all cheered, Alan and I were madly sacking charms and chartpaks! I get so anxious during close games that the distraction of having my hands busy really helps.

Receiving more dragonflies in mail today - they keep flying away

It's really appropriate that we are experiencing the busiest time of our L*K career during March Madness, because that's what it feels like at the overwhelmed L*K office...March Madness/Mania/Cross Stitch Overload.

"Vintage" Purple Power People pic at our old house

Hope you're enjoying the annual basketball bedlam...and can keep your hands busy with stitches during all the fun!