Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day in the life at L*K

What a typical day like in your life? At your job? At home? I love to hear how other people spend their waking hours...just curious, I guess.

I had a BUSY day at L*K yesterday, so decided to "follow myself" around, take some pics and share with all of you. Put on your walking shoes...it was a busy day!

MORNING

* OK...so I didn't keep an exact time log, but here's how things usually begin. I like to exercise first thing. I don't drink coffee, so exercise wakes me up. In the summer, so many choices...walking, kayaking, biking. Today I took a spin around the 'hood on my bike. **Check out my little bike bell (above). It's just like those ones we had on our childhood bikes, except now mine is an "old lady coming" warning.

With a new neighborhood, lots of nearby places to explore. There are wheat fields about a mile from home. Yea, right next to the Walmart Superstore. I love Kansas!


* Check email. Alan handles most of the correspondence with our shops and customers. He forwards me "stitch-y" questions he can't answer. Here's my little white laminate IKEA table/desk (the kind where you select a table top size and screw on the legs = cheap), looking out at my neighbor's back yard, and lake beyond.

* Check Facebook. I look at the L*K Facebook page, as well as the I Love Stitching Lizzie*Kate Facebook and Lizzie*Kate Mystery Sampler pages. I love to see what everyone is stitching and comment. So many fun and creative people our there in the worldwide stitching community.

* Check blog dashboard. This is where L*K blog comments appear. I have set it up to moderate comments, which means I see and approve them before they are posted. This was an original "setting selection" when my computer savvy daughter Ali set up my blog years ago. I should probably change it, but who knows how?!


* Work on new designs. Yea, this doesn't happen every day...sadly. You would think I spend tons of time designing, but the reality is, I spend most of my time doing other biz stuff. Alan handles the day to day "business" part of L*K, and I'm the "creative" part, but I still do a lot of stuff that is NOT designing.

What's that on my screen? More little sled designs! I have done sets of 3 sled designs (little tree ornaments, or whatever you want to do with them) for the past couple years. These little buggers are quick and fun, stitched on perforated paper (or fabric) and attached to tiny wooden sleds. This year I had so much fun with them, I will be releasing two sets of 3 sled designs this fall.

I'm also working on a new design using a saying from that famous bear muse - Winnie the Pooh. I'm really excited about this one! A former "Pooh-ism" has been super popular, #156 Promise Me. Pooh Bear really is "smarter than the average bear".

Uh oh...I think I'm mixing my "bear" sayings. Can anyone tell me which famous bear originated the phrase "smarter than the average bear"? Leave a COMMENT at end of post with your bear choice. (Youngsters probably won't know this one without Google.)


* Field trip to Heart's Desire, my local needlework shop. I almost always have a list in hand when I head to HD, because I usually have several missions when I visit...proofing, frame selection, deliver an order, buy supplies, browse...just like you. 

 In the design biz, you need to have different projects progressing through different stages constantly, in order to have a continuous flow of new publications. Yesterday I covered a couple of these "stages" at HD.

I've already designed, stitched and photographed all SIX models for this year's Tiny Tidings XXI. I actually LOVE all the little holiday folks I designed this year (more in a future post). I sent all the text files, cross stitch graphs and photo to my graphic designer, Janice. I do some graphic design myself, but Janice does most of the heavy lifting. She's a pro and, BONUS, she cross stitches, which makes her super valuable. Janice takes all that info and turns it into beautiful, informative printer-ready files.

 

When I get files from Janice, I print and deliver to my proofer, Debbie (owner of Heart's Desire), along with all the actual models. Debbie looks them over, marks them up with red (just like getting your papers graded in school). I go over changes and send them back to Janice for corrections. Sometimes we have several rounds of proofing before everything is submitted in an email to the printer. 


* Pick out frames for new projects while at cross stitch shop. So here are a couple new projects at another stage in development. These are designed and stitched and it's time to select and order frames. Debbie is a whiz at choosing just the right frame. Sometimes we chat so much, it's hard to get our work done. And this day I got home and I had accidentally taken a couple frame corners home with me. OOPS...will return soon.

LUNCH!!!
I'm not one of those "lunch skippers". I never accidentally miss a meal, and don't really relate to people who do. If I miss a meal, I'm well aware of that fact. I usually make lunch at home, and Alan comes home from work to eat. It's very "Donna Reed-ish", I know (minus the pearls). But we really do enjoy eating lunch together. We go out to lunch once a week or so, and one of our favorite hangouts is Pei Wei Asian Diner. It's our "happy place". Love the (giant) Spicy Chicken salad (to share) and their yummy Mandarin Green Tea in a to-go cup for afternoon sipping.

AFTERNOON
* Field trip to photography studio. Once again, I do some photography myself, but usually rely on my pal, Steve, for the large quantity publications. A picture really is worth a thousands words, and a good quality photo is SO important.


We were shooting a group of small projects for Flora McSample's annual holiday offerings. Flora has designed sets of small stockings the past few years, but this year she did a set of 3 little projects...cushions, pin pillows...whatever you call them, they are vintage cute. Can you spot them in bottom center of the photo?

I hauled in some Christmas decor to Steve's studio and we set up a shot. Those 3 big white things at top of photo are giant diffused lights. You can see the camera mounted on a high tripod looming over the whole setup. We ended up choosing some greenery, a wood bowl, antique brush trees and a darling little set of mini children's Christmas books to accessorize. I love to set up beautiful vignettes, but you can't let the background overwhelm the actual products. 

* Steve and I also re-shot this year's Snippet Santa. No worries...we didn't really "shoot" Santa, we re-photographed him. The printer was having trouble getting the colors on Santa to look right, so we finally gave up, and started over with a new photo. This doesn't happen often, but Santa's coloring looked too "off" to make it through a busy Christmas Eve. Try again.

* Deliver digital photo files to Janice, my graphic designer. After I got a disc from Steve with the photo, I drove to Janice's house. Janice works from home, and can even work on L*K stuff while she's on vacation. Have computer, will work.

I give her the photo file and the actual models so she has them in hand...so useful. I have already emailed her all the instructions and graph files. Now she does her magic. Janice and her camera get the credit for all the lovely background photos on chartpak covers. Not the product photos, those beautiful background pics that complete the look.


* Drop in L*K office. On the way to my home office, dropped in official L*K office (about 1.5 miles from home) to chat with Alan about a couple things. We talk/email/text multiple times a day, but I usually drop in L*K world headquarters daily to catch up, bring home some embellishments or projects, etc. 

We realized recently that our temporary L*K sign taped in window had disappeared. I mentioned this to my printer, and magically a decal appeared (pic above). Thanks, Frank...you're the best!


Alan has set up an assembling line for upcoming shipment later this week. From left to right, you can see SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part Two, 2 new sets of Yearbook Double Flips (July/August, September/October) and A Little Bee kit. The blank spot in middle is reserved for Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful Snippet, which is delivering in the nick of time today. You can see preview pics of all these newbies in the previous blog post.



* Home again to some model STITCHING before dinner. Lots of time in the late afternoon I head to our lower level, watch TV and do some model stitching. Here's my favorite spot on the recliner sofa, my little IKEA cart next to me with stitching supplies and a cool drink, my current project in a basket, magnifier light over my shoulder and remote in my hand. 

I just finished 2 models pictured earlier when I was choosing frames for them at Heart's Desire - A Little Thankful (Thanksgiving "Little" kit) and a new Christmas-y Inspiration Boxer. Now I'm stitching on the BONUS that goes with the Boxer kit. 

This is also my time to watch TV series/movies that Alan might not enjoy. Armed with Netflix and Amazon and my remote...so many options, so many stitches. Just finished watching season 1 of Jane the Virgin (quirky and sweet), waiting on more Call the Midwife (PBS), embarassed to admit I watched Heart of Dixie (sadly, all seasons), and currently enjoying Gilmore Girls (which I never watched earlier) and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (PBS series with lady detective from Australia in the 1920's - great costumes). 

Any suggestions for fun TV series you like? I really enjoy historical/period stuff (especially set outside the US), although the list above might not indicate that. Please leave suggestions as a COMMENT at end of post, along with your "bear" guesses. Or questions/COMMENTS about my crazy day!

WHEW! I'm tired just recapping my day. Time for dinner, hopefully more stitching before bedtime, and some book club reading time.

Thanks for tagging along...I've enjoyed your company!!




Thursday, July 7, 2016

NEW goodies coming SOON!

It's July! Can't believe the summer is whizzing by, and it's already HOT, HOT, HOT here in Kansas. Which, of course, also makes it perfect weather for stitching.


And time for Alan's mid-summer birthday. Here's the pic he sent our friends on his birthday party invitation. Clearly, he still enjoys his boy toys..and he's good at sharing. We had a bunch of adult friends over to eat and play in the lake on a lovely summer evening.

Alas, it's not all play. Things are humming at L*K headquarters as we are shipping new goodies EVERY MONTH in summer 2016. Usually we release new products every other month, but when it's mystery sampler time, nobody wants to wait 2 months for an update. 

And as long as we're shipping mystery goodies, we will release some other newbies. 

Here's WHAT'S COMING to your favorite shop AFTER July 15


SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part Two 
Our summer mystery is unfolding over 3 months and progressing left to right over the stitching area. This is the middle section and has the saying...and that's the only clue I'm giving

We hope you're having as much with SPOOKED! as we are. Every day we get orders and reorders from shops around the world. It's so fun to have a world wide community...all enjoying the same mystery...one little stitch at a time. Stitching really is a universal language.

If you didn't join the SPOOKED! Mystery Club at the beginning, no worries. Begin any time you like...there's still lots of time before Halloween (and it comes every year, you know!). Precut fabrics (linen and Aida), thread packs, embellishment packs are also still available to order. 

Each SPOOKED! part comes with a BONUS design (that's 3 in all) and this one is really fun. 


I'm calling her Winnie Witch, and she's a Halloween-y hoot! We finished her as a standup (check out the twig "pumpkin stem") and you can find standup finishing instructions on Mona's finishing blog soon. magicbymona.blogspot.com. You can also finish our friendly Winnie however you like. 

A Little Bee Kit

I was looking through a list of ideas submitted by stitchers recently, and saw request for A Little Bee design. I was in a "bee" sort of mood, so got with it and here it is. I enjoy designing and stitching these "Little" kits so much. I'm stitching on a Thanksgiving themed one now. A Little Bee kit includes 30 ct. natural linen, antique white flower button, chart, and hours of buzzy fun.

F161 July/August Yearbook Double Flip



F162 September/October Yearbook Double Flip


It's also time for more Yearbook Double Flips! I've enjoyed this series so much, and love seeing pics of finished Yearbook months on the I Love Stitching L*K Designs Facebook page. Haven't started on the Yearbook series? Choose your favorite month and get started. Or stitch the whole thing together vertically and get a fabulous calendar of stitches. Instructions for combining all 12 months are on the L*K website.

S128 Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful Snippet

As I contemplated 2016 as L*K's 20 year anniversary, I wanted a theme. Over the years, "inspiration" has become an L*K hallmark. I just love finding, graphing and stitching inspirational sayings of all kinds. So I purposed to have 2016 be all about personal empowerment, self care and a sort of "go girl" attitude. So, that's the idea behind this new Snippet. You're welcome to "be your own kind of beautiful" and personalize this with your favorite colors. Don't forget to post a picture of your finished "beautiful" Snippet on the I Love Stitching L*K Designs Facebook page so everyone can admire it.


Did you have a fun 4th of July holiday weekend??? We had a double treat, and got to see both daughters on the same weekend...not at the same time...but still fabulous. We traveled to Chicago for daughter Sarah "Lizzie"s art opening at a cool restaurant. She just finished her spring semester teaching high school art 2 weeks ago, so started the summer with a fun exhibit of her paintings.


And while in Chicago, we ate some authentic Chicago hot dogs, of course.


After we returned to Wichita, Ali and Barclay came for a visit...and brought their furry friends, Henry and Fiona. Who knew the dogs would love paddle boarding? Henry has on his handy doggie life jacket, but Fiona was a fabulous natural swimmer - didn't even get her nose wet. The canine friends stayed busy swimming from board to board. I didn't know you could balance a 40 lb. wet dog on the front of a board, and a dinky dog on the back of the same board, but Ali managed it rather gracefully.

Did I mention the fireworks? I forgot to take pics, but we spent 2 nights on the boat watching fireworks coming at us from every direction. So fun, and so LOUD with all the water echoes. I had a great fireworks experience and didn't spend a cent at the fireworks stand - my kind of holiday!

Happy July, everyone!













Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mysterious clarifications!



Have you ever tried to write instructions for something and make them crystal clear...even if there's not a photo or video to explain? It's a challenge...and that's me at mystery sampler time!!! Every time I do a mystery sampler, I agonize over the instructions. Every mystery (this is our 5th) I get a little more detailed, but there are still a few "mysterious" elements that were not intended!


Lots of you have received SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part One and I know you're eager to get stitching and make some progress.

***If you haven't received Part One yet, I'm sure it's coming. You are welcome to inquire at your needlework supplier. We shipped EVERYONE on June 15, so there are definitely some mysteries still in the mail, and on the airplane across the pond, and being rerouted from shops to all of you.


I've seen a few questions popping up on Facebook, so I want to clarify a few details. These instructions made sense to me and my 3 proofers, but I totally understand if you all have questions. Inquiring cross stitch minds want to know!!!

* Under the "If using embellishment pack" instructions...I refer to a cadet "diamond" motif. That is referring to the group of 3 motifs - just to right and above little witch. They are four sided and look like diamonds to us. Whatever you want to call them, if you're using the embellishment pack, don't stitch the center black stitch on the top left one. Attach a tiny black button instead. You will see this motif cropping up again in Part Two and Part Three. If you've been reading my Cross Stitch 101 blog posts, you know that repetition is a favorite design trick. Our eyes find repetition pleasing!

* Also in the embellishment pack instructions, I used the word "onyx" several times. It should says KOHL. I got my WDW black colors mixed up (SORRY!), and this one got past the picky proofing crew. Whatever name you use...kohl, onyx, it's BLACK!!!


* Also in the embellishment pack instructions, I refer to "quilt motifs". Those are the 6 motifs that run across the bottom of the chart - sandwiched between the 2 horizontal lines of sweet potato stitches. These are my best rendering of a quilt motif. Maybe if I were a quilter??? You will see these fun motifs pop up again...but I can't tell you when...because it's a MYSTERY!

* I've seen some comments about fabric precut size. Marilyn and the PTP crew hand dyed, ironed, cut and labelled each piece. If the size of the finished fabric does not exactly match the size printed on the label, make some slight adjustments in the placement of your sampler on the fabric. I ALWAYS measure a piece of fabric and do the calculations with the stitch count before beginning a stitchery. See next paragraph.

To calculate finished stitchery size, just divide the overall stitch count (227W x 97H) by the count of your fabric. If you're stitching on Aida, divide by 14 for 14 ct. Aida, and 16 for 16 ct. Aida. If you're stitching on linen, you are stitching over 2 fabric threads. If you're stitching on 32 ct. linen, divide by 16. If you're using 28 ct. linen, divide by 14. This will give you the finished size of the stitched piece. You may not have a full 3" around the entire size, but it will be adequate for stitching and framing.

* I have seen some questions about using overdyed threads. Whether to complete each stitch before moving on, or do a whole row of half stitches and return to cross them, or use one strand of thread put end to end through needle (whew - 3 choices!) is totally up to you. I don't complete each stitch, because the end to end method is faster for me. And I'm ALWAYS in a hurry...so many models to stitch, so little time for everything else.

If you would like the overdyed effect to be less muted in one specific area - like the little witch's face in Part One - then do that. I didn't want her face looking too stripey. But really...is that a problem if you're already a witch?! You can see the "muted" effect of overdyed threads used end-to-end on the BONUS fob below on another witch's face. Could they be related?



* I've also had questions about the photos available for the BONUS Bewitched 2 sided fob. You can find them here on the blog (and in earlier post) and also on the L*K website at What's New.











Wishing all of you "mystery stitchers" a fabulous SPOOKED! time this summer. Can't thank you enough for joining the "club" of mystery stitchers all over the world. Isn't it great that needlework makes the world a smaller, closer place...one little crossed stitch at a time?!

And yes, I am working on other new stuff that will be coming soon in July and August. More details soon!


Monday, June 13, 2016

SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Final Countdown

We're busy packing orders to needlework shops everywhere - all over the US and around the world. This takes several days, and we'll ship EVERYONE on the same day - Wed., June 15. No matter whether the shop is large or small, near or far...everyone goes out the same day. It's harder for us that way, but it's the closest we can come to "mystery equality".


Here's what's been happening as we near our big day:

Two weeks ago we received 3 giant boxes from the colorful folks at Weeks Dye Works.  My photo is blurry, the boxes look less than perfect, but the threads arrived in perfect condition. They're sorted by color with 100 thread skeins per bag, bundled in neat little packs of 10...which we then proceed to take apart!


We unloaded the boxes and sorted the lovely threads all over the basement floor - office is too crowded. As we have watched the piles diminish the last couple weeks, we know we're almost finished making thread packs...whew.

We set up thread assembly stations at both the office and at home. Our helper, Carmen, found a clever new way to get those pesky threads into the zip bag. After literally thousands of thread packs with previous mystery samplers, we've improved the process...slightly. There's just no super speedy way to get the job done. It requires time and a good TV series/lots of movies!

Here's Alan on a typical evening in the basement. I'm sitting on the nearby sofa stitching on a model...of course.


We filled a nice pile of plastic totes (the ones that hold inventory for Nashville Market every year), and toted the totes to the L*K office.



Last Friday Alan traveled to nearby Abilene, Kansas to pick up a car-FULL of fabric from Picture This Plus. Marilyn and the gang had packed and neatly labeled the boxes of 28 and 32 ct. Ale linen, and 14 and 16 ct. Ale Aida. 


The PTP ladies cut, serge and individually label and package each piece of linen and Aida. I don't think we could handle this process at our crowded office. We appreciate this extra service so much, and so do the needlework shops. NOTE: these fabrics may appear darker in these pics than in person.



After all the invoices have been typed, we're finally ready to pack SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler orders...yes! We set up an assembly line on our shipping table. From right to left...SPOOKED! Part 1 charts, 4 kinds of fabric, embellishment packs, and the order invoices. Where are the thread packs? They're on the right, just out of sight on the pic.


And here's the happy packer...Mr. L*K himself, Alan. This is how he spent most of the weekend, and many hours to go, I'm sure. Sitting on the near side of the packing table (bottom of below pic) are pulled orders. Each one of those boxes - or sometimes more than one box - represents a shop order. We accumulate several pulled orders, then stop and box them. 


Alan loves the satisfaction of a "well-packed box". It's kind of a "thing" when you do a lot of shipping. A well packed box is when you choose the perfect size of box (not too big/not too small - on the first try) and everything fits neatly inside for happy shipping.


After all the boxes are packed, we begin labeling using online postage from the US Postal Service. Even though we save addresses for our regular customers, it will take most of a day to complete labels.

We ship the cheapest method possible, and nowadays that's usually USPS. Just a few years ago, we had a close relationship with the UPS man with a daily pickup. Now, we see him occasionally. But...surprise, surprise...he also delivers to our new house, so we still get the occasional "how ya doin'?". We'll put the super big shop orders in UPS boxes. International accounts advise us on their preferred shipping method.
SHIPPING HAPPENS!

I had better get back to packing. There's a deadline in a couple days, 'ya know!!!


But before I go, I want to tell all of you a giant THANK YOU!!!

THANK YOU for joining us on our summer mystery adventure (whether you pre-ordered or join the party later), THANK YOU for reading these blog posts, THANK YOU for your comments and encouraging notes, and THANK YOU for being loyal L*K stitchers and making this job a reality for us!

Let's have some FUN!!!

****I keep getting Facebook comments, blog comments, emails, etc...asking where to order SPOOKED! It's easy...just order from your usual needlework supplier. Lots of stitchers don't have local shops anymore (sad), so rely on shipping from shops around the country. You're not alone, if you're in this boat! But don't let yourself sink...there are tons of great shops out there who would love your mail order business. You can find a list of shops on the L*K website. Just click on the Info for Stitchers button. Many of these shops will be happy to mail you. Some have online ordering, some you will have to contact by phone or email. Hopefully you will find an awesome needlework supplier that can help with all of your urgent cross stitch needs!











Thursday, June 9, 2016

JABC buttons get SPOOKED!

Have you ever wondered how the gals at Just Another Button Company do their button magic with polymer clay? I just look at those gloriously detailed buttons in awe. They're truly little works of art!


Well, I didn't take a field trip to JABC, but I do have some behind-the-scenes pics of SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler buttons being made at JABC.

We're offering a very special SPOOKED! Embellishment Pack for the mystery sampler, which will have goodies to embellish SPOOKED!, as well as the 3 BONUS projects included. When I think "cool embellishments", I immediately think about JABC. They are so happy to work with me and customize fun, whimsical buttons for L*K projects.

Even before I was done stitching the SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler, I sent them an actual size color printout of the design from my computer design software. I had some ideas about where to put embellishments, but I invited the button professionals to play around with the design and make suggestions.

**When I know I want to use embellishments in a design, I have to consider this while the design is "in progress". In addition to selecting appropriate buttons, I have to make sure buttons are correct scale for the design. This sounds like more of my Design 101 posts!

Shortly, the JABC whiz team returned my printout with lovely little buttons taped here and there, and helpful notes in the margins. Decisions, decisions...how many buttons, which buttons, where to put them...enough to keep a cross stitch designer up at night.


I ended up selecting 4 different JABC buttons, and included 6 JABC in the pack (there are 3 of my fave little buttons - see it being made below). The SPOOKED! Embellishment Pack also contains tiny black and cream buttons from another source, and golden olive beads. We've got a serious buildup of packs at the L*K office now, waiting for our June 15 ship date.


Here's my official SPOOKED! Embellishment Pack assembly box that follows me everywhere...while I'm watching TV, in the car, whenever I have time to make a few dozen (or hundred) packs. 


Just Another Button Company is a family business, like so many other vendors in the needlework biz. Creativity definitely runs in the family. Below are 3 generations of button ladies...Cecile, Rachel, baby Anna (Miss Button 2) and big sister Amelia (Miss Button). As you can see, curly hair also runs in this family. Personal NOTE:  I keep reminding God that I want curly hair when I get to heaven. I know envy is a sin, so I'm just "hoping" for heavenly curls in the hereafter. 

Speaking of heavenly...check out this pic of Amelia, nestled in a pile of buttons. Amazingly, the contest winner who guessed closest to her delivery date won that entire stash of buttons - button dream come true!!!


The button we'll "profile" today is the little black/burnt orange quilt block. For scale, see photo below. I have a 2" square Tupperware container brimming with buttons. They're tiny - 1/4" across. We scaled our button selections so they will work well on multiple fabrics...28 or 32 count linen, and 14 and 16 ct. Aida.


Our button guru, Donna, begins building a "cane" for the button from polymer clay. You can see her tools at top of pic.



You can see the button starting to take shape as she cuts and combines the black and burnt orange pieces.




...and here's the final button. But WAIT...why is it so JUMBO SIZED! Before the button is sliced,baked and drilled, it has to be S - T - R - E - T - C - H - E - D!!!!

Watch video below and you'll see Cecile make a different button cane and see the whole large-to-small button evolution. She's a whiz, and super fast...as you will see!

http://justanotherbuttoncompany.com/handmade-holiday-day-6-how-just-pins-are-made/

Just like our previous posts on hand dyed linen at Picture This Plus, and overdyed fibers from the gang at Weeks Dye Works, I'm so glad I'm doing the DESIGNING part of this job. I don't think I have the patience (or skills) for this button building biz. But the more I learn about other needlework artisans, the more respect I have for what they do...and the lovely products they bring to the cross stitch business!

Ready to get SPOOKED!??? Alan is busy this contacting shops all around the US and outside the US, verifying pre-order amounts, and accepting additional orders. We'll begin packing boxes next weekend and ship SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part One to shops everywhere on Wed., June 15.

Have a great weekend, stitchers!












Monday, June 6, 2016

SPOOKED! Bonus #1 closeup and "thread heaven"

 So much info to share...so little time to blog!


We're super busy here at L*K headquarters, preparing to ship SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler to shops on June 15. It's literally a day to day countdown for us right now.


We just received 3 large boxes of gorgeous Weeks Dye Works threads. OH MY - lots of thread packs to assemble and lots of points on our airline credit card. I literally DID NOT leave the house as I waited on this shipment last Friday. Way too many pretty threads to leave laying around on my porch. I didn't want my neighbor's pet white goose taking a liking to hand-dyed threads.


Alas, it was a GORGEOUS weekend in Kansas and we spent most of it wistfully looking out the window. OK...we did take the occasional paddle board and swim break. Above is my husband, Alan and our friend, Eddie, on his maiden paddle board voyage.I think they look pretty good for 60 year olds on "surf/paddle boards". 60 is the new 40!  Admit it...Kansas is prettier than you thought...right?

I promised you a close-up of the BONUS 2-sided fob in SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part One. There's a BONUS project with all 3 parts of SPOOKED! I had such a good time working on these little gems...pure delight.


My fab finisher, Mona, did a great job finishing the fob. Lucky for you...she will be posting complete fob finishing instructions on her blog soon. I love the "hairy" black fiber she used in her twisted cording. If you don't want a fob, you could easily turn this into a pin pillow or whatever other mini-project you like. 


You can spot a few "goodies" from our SPOOKED! Embellishment Pack in these fob pics. There's a tiny black button on Side 1 and a JABC black/white mini quilt block button on Side 2.


You can spot the other 2 BONUS projects in our SPOOKED! sneak peek collage photo (above). Winnie Witch standup will be included with SPOOKED! Part 2. Don't you love the pumpkin standup finish with the real twig stem? The biggest BONUS of them all will be included with SPOOKED! Part 3. It's called "For the Birds" and the unframed stitchery is folded next to the fob. It's got a flock of blackbirds and a wily cat. 

Check back soon! I'm working on a beautiful post with behind-the-scenes pics from Just Another Button Company. They are magicians with polymer clay, and I think you'll be as fascinated and impressed with their business as I am. And you can see them working on a SPOOKED! button.

Still want to join the SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Club. It's never too late! Let your favorite needlework supplier you want to join the fun. This isn't a Limited Edition project. For those of you reluctant to commit to a mystery project, you can join us later as the mystery unfolds. But if you want to join the group of "mystery stitchers" around the world this summer, now is the time to get SPOOKED!

HAPPY SUMMER 2016!  If you haven't pulled out your white shoes (or flip flops)...Memorial Day is history and it's officially SUMMER. Enjoy!!!