Thursday, July 17, 2014

Picnic with the electricians and plumber!

Well, sort of. Last night we had a picnic in our unfinished new house, eating amidst the messes the plumber and horde of electricians are making this week.

We had some unexpected "cool" weather in July, so we grabbed the chance for our first dinner with friends in our new house.


Alan has grown a bit obsessed with cleaning up after the contractors when they're not around. He's busy with the blower and shop vac, and the old-fashioned broom. And then the next day they come in and make a new mess...cutting holes and drilling things here and there...and he starts over again. But hey...I appreciate his work. Some men do contracting, and some men clean it up (and be an executive at Lizzie*Kate, Inc.!)


Everywhere you look there are new things...electrical boxes dotting the walls, and all sorts of interesting heating and air/plumbing things crawling all around/through the walls and ceilings.

We invited some of our long-time friends (not old friends, long-time friends) to meet us for pizza dinner in our new sunroom, overlooking the lake. It was a BYOB event...bring your own chair! One couple forgot their chairs, so they got to sit on a cooler and random wood scraps.


It looks like Alan and I took turns supervising the buffet line. 


It was a gorgeous evening to hang out with friends! Here was the view through our open sunroom windows. Hardly a ripple on the water...so rare to not have any wind in Kansas. 


After dinner, we "toured" the house and the recent progress. We talked and walked, and even toured a couple neighboring homes under construction and enjoyed the beautiful, blissfully cool weather.


Here's our nature pic of the week! It's not a good picture, but this is a bird's nest...inside a cardboard box...nailed to our wall. It turns out some barn swallows had made a nest in a bad spot under our eaves and it fell out. The contractors saw it and relocated it on a nearby wall. 

I didn't get a pic of the speedy little birds in flight, but they're going crazy hanging out in their new high-rise condo. Barn swallows are our friends, because they eat tons of bugs and insects. 

Welcome to our new house...little birds and adult friends!




Monday, July 14, 2014

Our slimmer Santa!

A slimmer Santa? Tell me it isn't so!

No, it's NOT true! Just our Santa design is slim this year. The jolly, old soul is still our favorite chubby, benevolent holiday guy!


And Santa has a new pal, resting on his shoulder. We designed a sweet little gingerbread button, and the creative gals at Just Another Button Company brought this little guy to life for us. 

We've been doing a Santa every year for many years! Every year I sit in front of my computer and think..."what in the world am I going to do with Santa this year?"

Honestly, there have been so many great Santa designs over the years from other designers and I collect them. Someday, I might even stitch them...if I live that long. Thank goodness for my magnifier lamp!


So this year I was inspired by this sweet verse I found and our annual Snippet Santa came to life!

Santa '14 is available at needlework shops everywhere this week. If your shop doesn't have it, ask them to order it in! Santa Snippet and gingerbread button are sold separately. You can check out all our "historic" Santa designs on our website at www.lizziekate.com. 


One final random pic...here's a cute pink pig I saw at the County Fair last weekend. He was lazying around in his pen, waiting for his date in the show arena. To be more accurate, at the fair they're not called pigs...or even hogs...they're SWINE! Whatever he's called, I thought he was very photogenic and charmingly PINK...all 255 pounds of him!

Happy Christmas in July!






Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tingles!!!


The gang is all here...the Tingles series is now complete!  All 12 of our tingly, spooky, creepy, charming little Halloween designs are all available next week. Contact your favorite shop to join the fun!

Here they are - all combined into one big Halloween extravaganza! Each Tingles Double Flip comes with 2 designs and olive and black tiny buttons.


If you're the sort of stitcher who needs some extra "bling", opt for our extra Tingles embellishment pack. We collaborated with the creative gals at Just Another Button Company to create 20 extra buttons for more spooky fun. They're incredibly cool and funky!


The all-together piece is AWESOME, but I designed these little guys to be done separately, and still look great! We used lots of varied and creative finishes, and there's a FREE finishing blog. Check it out at http://magicbymona.blogspot.com/
Mona's a finisher extraordinaire, and her instructions are clear and easy to follow. And she's also a great friend...thanks, Mona!




Here are the 6 newbies - not in any particular order. OK...I confess...I put my favorite one first - the Gone Haunting. I love this little bitty witch and her wagonful of pumpkins. 



If I were a better blogger (thinking of my daughter, the pro food blogger), I could figure out how to artfully arrange these photos. But honestly, it's a miracle every time I manage to find and import these files, get them to this blog post and then to you all! I'm so NOT a techie!


 Here are the titles for the final 3 Tingles Double Flips - available next week in your favorite needlework shop!

Lizzie*Kate Star F145 It's Hallo-scream/Toil & Trouble Tingles Double Flip
Lizzie*Kate Star F146 It's Halloween/Fright Night Tingles Double Flip
Lizzie*Kate Star F147 Gone Haunting/Spooky Tingles Double Flip


The covers are so bright and fun...I love this batch of Tingles!


Finally, here are boxes and boxes of Tingles awaiting their date with the shipping table and shipping crew (Alan and I) over the long weekend.

Happy July 4th, everyone!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Tiny Tidings XIX (that's NINETEEN!)

Yikes...how often do I review my Roman numerals? Practically never, so I had to think a bit about this 19th Tiny Tidings.

Yes, this is our 19th year in business at L*K...and time for our 19th collection of small Christmas designs that we call Tiny Tidings.

I still remember designing the first batch of Tiny Tidings...on graph paper with a pencil and a well-used eraser. That was before I got my design software and struggled to learn how to use it and that seldom used computer!

I'm still using that same software (haven't updated!) and the years seem to be rolling by as the Tiny Tidings keep coming.


This year's Tiny Tidings include some favorite themes....a Santa, snowman, reindeer and even a super cute Santa's helper elf! I have to admit that the adorable little elf is my favorite design this year.

I thought you might enjoy a little "rest of the story" behind the cover for this year's Tiny Tidings. My friend Janice does the graphic design for my printing, supplying the background photo and getting everything ready for the printer. I don't have the techie knowledge to do all of this myself!

Anyway, Janice always supplies just the "perfect" background photo for my chartpaks. She's an avid photographer and you can spot lots of her pretty pics on L*K chartpak covers. Check out the recent chartpaks at http://lizziekate.com/bydate.html


Janice thought a pile of peppermint candies would make a cute background for this year's Tiny Tidings. Where to find peppermints in June? It seems they are a "seasonal" item nowadays, but Dollar Tree (my favorite store) to the rescue. Janice's granddaughter was at her house, so they went on a peppermint candy caper together, much to Victoria's delight!

Here's Janice and Victoria enjoying their "work" on the computer. Look at those 2 cute blondies!


Yes, it truly takes a village to get a Lizzie*Kate design from that little seed in my head to the final production, publishing and distribution. Thanks, Janice and Victoria, for going the extra mile (and trip to the store) to get the perfect peppermint background for our Tiny Tidings XIX.

BTW...Tiny Tidings XIX will be available in needlework shops around the world in mid July (ask for #167 Tiny Tidings XIX! We're waiting on the beautiful peppermint-y printing to arrive and then we'll be busy sacking. 


We're also working on a darling embellishment pack that will have the goodies to complement the 5 designs....white and aqua snowflake buttons, antique gold snowflake button, tiny red buttons, and red and aqua beads. It's official name is #E167 Tiny Tidings XIX Embellishment Pack


Here's a pic of my "to go" assembly box. I spend 6+ hours assembling these on our weekend road trip to KC. 

What's your favorite design this year? We'd love for you to leave a comment below and share your Tiny Tidings XIX favorite for 2014...or remind us about your fave Tiny Tidings from years past.

Thanks for 19 great years (and counting!) together!







Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Little Boo is coming SOON!

A Little Boo is our newest "Little" kit! It's a little spooky, a little sampler-y, a little colorful, and a whole LOT of quick Halloween fun!


A Little Boo will be available at your favorite needlework shop in mid-July. Meanwhile, we're busy here at L*K cutting and folding fabric, sacking embellishment packs, and assembling A Little Boo now.


We began with A Little Love kit a couple years ago. It was a surprisingly big success and still is the top "Little" seller". Stitchers requested more "Little" kits so we've kept designing more...A Little Easter, A Little Liberty, A Little Christmas, A Little Snow, and most recently, A Little Beach.



They're super fun and quick for me to design and stitch and they just bring a "little" smile to my face! It's so satisfying to whiz through a quick project and end up with something a "little" cute!


Here's the cover I designed for A Little Boo. I experimented with lots of background colors (changed my mind many times), but settled on this spooky rusty background that looks old and a little haunted.

Almost forgot to say...A Little Boo kit includes 28 ct. Amber linen, golden olive beads (accents on the right side quilt blocks) and an antique gold star charm (spot it on the cat's tail). 

Happy "Little" stitching, everyone!



Monday, June 23, 2014

Blast from the (Lizzie*Kate) past!

I began Lizzie*Kate in 1996. It was supposed to be a hobby...a little extra income while being a stay-at-home mom to 2 busy daughters. And then things took off at our first summer needlework market. What a surprise and a great blessing this business has been! This pic is in front of the old Lizzie*Kate office doorway...otherwise known as the basement!


Here's my original logo - I haven't updated it (perhaps I should?). It was a quick pencil sketch that I filled in with a handy marker. I meant to refine it a bit, but ran out of time, or perhaps forgot in the hustle to get to my first market.


Since then, my daughters (Sarah "Lizzie" and Ali "Kate") have turned into lovely young women, my husband Alan has joined me full time in the biz, and it seems we've all gotten almost 20 years older. Strange how that happens...


Back in the 1996, my very first design was Hats Off to Halloween. I took 20 designs to my first market and this one was the top seller. Originally, I was hand stenciling the custom frames to go with this one - what was I thinking? I was thankful to hand that responsibility off a few months later to a great frame company.

Anyway, I was looking for a great Halloween saying for a new Halloween chartpak this fall. The "Hats Off to Halloween" phrase kept popping into my head. I found my self sketching ideas, and realized I could, indeed, use this phrase again...almost 18 years later!

A lot of things have changed since the original Hats Off to Halloween. The speckled Heatherfield fabric (which everyone loved) was sadly discontinued. The frame company is no longer in business. Even the copper-y cover paper is no longer available! Alas, nothing stays the same....


So here's quite a different "take" on this fun Halloween sentiment! It's brighter than the original and has lots of spunk! We decided to include an addtional "bonus" project...a little "one night" stitching wonder!

We're also offering a new (optional) funky geometric button pack. Look closely and you can see the 3 square buttons on the big designs - 2 on hats, and one on the letter "N".

Hats Off 2 will be available in your favorite needlework shops by the middle of July. We're still waiting for the publishing (and then we'll be busy sacking), and can't wait til those gorgeous little button packs from Just Another Button Company arrive in the mail.

More quick Halloween fun is coming soon, so get your spooky stitching groove on. It's Hats Off to Halloween!












Friday, June 20, 2014

My food blogger "internship"

Have you ever wanted to try out a different job...just for a day or two? I'm always wondering what it would be like to visit my friends in their workplaces and experience their work days.

Earlier this year, we visited our daughter Sarah in her "workplace" at Lane Tech College Prep High School in downtown Chicago. It was such a beautiful old building, bursting with 4200 hormonal high schoolers. Sarah works hard to keep their minds on ART!


And would you believe...Ms Wain's classroom just finished their spring semester this week. Can you spell "SNOW DAYS"?


Last week I got the chance to "intern" with our other daughter, Ali in Kansas City. She works from home in her airy loft in downtown KC (near the City Market for my Kansas City readers).

Ali's a busy food blogger and this summer she's trying to juggle her regular workload, while shooting her very first cookbook. So I volunteered to drive 3 hours to KC (and bring her Dad, too) and "intern" in the kitchen for a few days. 

Ali doesn't cook and photograph every day, but for our visit she planned 2 days in a row of nonstop cooking, cleaning, photographing...and a little eating.

Everyone's always asking me what a food blogger does. How does Ali earn a living as a food blogger? What you see on her blog (gimmesomeoven.com) is just part of the job. She spends tons of time on social media (not for fun - for WORK!), editing photos and writing copy, negotiating contracts with food companies, networking with other food bloggers, traveling on sponsored foodie trips and lots more...with tons of experimental cooking and tasting inbetween.


Here's her pristine white kitchen BEFORE we started. Here's a link about how she acquired this beautiful new kitchen. http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/white-kitchen-remodel-white-cabinets-white-appliances/



Here's the same kitchen counter (in real messy life)as we're getting started on our busy day. Ali had shopped early that morning and the dining table was full of groceries when we arrived. Check out the window corner in the top background. That's where she does her photography.


We made some beautiful vegan nachos...yes, VEGAN nachos. No off-limits dairy products in this recipe! Personally, I thought it was a LOT of work to make this "faux cheese", but I'm sure Ali's vegan readers will appreciate this. I was the sous chef for the day, so please notice the beautifully sliced jalapenos and cherry tomatoes and...oh yes...the carefully selected "pretty" chips I chose - no broken chips allowed!


Here's Ali actually photographing the nachos above. She works with natural light in one corner of her loft. She's standing on a ladder for just the right angle.


We also made a yummy salad...and ate the beautiful results several hours later. 

Alan did about a million dishes (forgot to take picture) and squeezed in some honey-do projects and emergency grocery trips during the day. Basically it was wash, dry, use, repeat, wash, dry. use, repeat with pots, pans, food processor, blender, cutting boards, knives and utensils, etc. I kept busy with sous chef responsibilities, with numerous conversations like this:

Me: Do you want cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes cut up? How do I cut them? What size should the pieces be? How many do you need? Do I have to take the seeds out?
Ali: I want the cherry tomatoes, but only the big, blemish-free ones, cut in half.


We were all tired by the end of each day. I never found my way to the sofa, but Alan and Ali's official photography assistant, Henry, squeezed in a quick nap.