Friday, April 24, 2015

TIME TO VOTE, (...again after some initial technical difficulties)


We've been wading through the hundreds of entries you submitted in our 3 Little Words Inspiration Sayings contest. What a pile of lovely, inspiring and unique choices! Alan even made a spread sheet with all the entries so we could ponder them, share with friends for their input, and generally be completed overwhelmed by all the 3 word choices.

SPECIAL THANKS to all of you for taking time to submit your favorite 3 Little Word sayings. We know these little words are special to you for personal reasons, and we appreciate you sharing them with us.

It wasn't easy, but we finally narrowed the list to 10 sayings. We looked for sayings that didn't express the same sentiments as our original 14 sayings. That was tricky, but we didn't want to repeat ourselves on the upcoming FREE graph, and many of the sayings expressed similar sentiments to our original 14 sayings.

With further's the list! BTW...the first person who submitted a particular saying will receive the prize.

To vote, just click on the survey below. You can vote for your top 2 choices.

Voting will begin today and conclude on Friday, May 1 at 11:59 PM Central Time. Please, one vote per email address only. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 4 on this blog. Two winners will receive $75 in L*K merchandise of their choice.

Thanks for submitting cool sayings, following our blog, and VOTING!  May the (two) best 3 Little Words win!

Monday, April 13, 2015

5 NEW designs and A LOT of distractions!

We shipped new designs to shops everywhere last week. Scroll back 2 posts to see all the newbie pictures. Thanks for supporting your favorite needlework shop!

Sometimes I think it's a miracle that the designs keep coming, because I have SO many distractions this spring! I want to tell you all about it, but first, important announcement below!

Our 3 Little Words Contest - Part One - is now OVER!  Thanks to hundreds of you for submitting thousands of lovely inspiration only 3 Little Words!

We're busy sorting through them and I must admit...we're overwhelmed with all the lovely 3 word possibilities. We'll work up a list of our Top 10 - with a little help from our friends - and post it soon. Then the voting period will commence.

After that, the two winning 3 Little Words inspiration sayings will be graphed and posted for FREE on the L*K website and blog.

About those know what I'm talking about. You have some really important stuff to do - like a JOB - but other things keep getting in the way. It's the old "urgent vs. important" discussion, and for me it's hard to sort these out.

Distraction #1 - We're building a new house !!! (and have been for the past 16 months). We were supposed to move in last fall...then Christmas...then March...and now we are hoping (fingers crossed and checkbook handy) to move in early June. Everyone keeps asking us "when will your house be finished?". Our answer is a) 2015 or b) we don't even ask that irrelevant question anymore. The builder will finish when he finishes."

The exterior is pretty well done, minus some cement work and lawn. But last week a quirky storm blew through with 80+ miles an hour winds and rearranged our roof tiles. They're not supposed to be sticking up ODDLY like pic above, but now they're moved back in place. Unfortunately, our next door neighbor had major roof damage and lots of their roof tiles ended up broken in our back yard (and now they have a nice blue tarp on their roof)!

Alas, our almost completed house was missing an essential element - a KITCHEN - until last week. Last Monday morning we met the semi truck driver (who had patiently backed down our contractor/crowded cul-de-sac) and unloaded our a zillion well wrapped boxes. Now the pre-made kitchen is being assembled and it's like a puzzle to watch my pretty kitchen emerge. Not a day too was downright weird having most of house finished and the kitchen was MIA.

We make multiple trips to the new house every day - answering inquiries from contractors - and making decisions...SO MANY decisions. Not to mention the trips to pick out mind-numbingly boring things (to me) like door knobs and roofing materials! Our record is 4 trips to the house during one work day - thankfully it's not too far from the L*K office.

Distraction #2 - Selling the house we're in!!!  We've lived here almost 20 years, which makes it the longest we've ever lived anywhere. The kids are gone, we moved the office out in January (former L*K office next to house pictured above), but SO much remains!

We're doing some major sorting, donating, garage-selling, etc. of ANY non-essential item. My mantra is to be "ruthless" in my decision making about what goes to the new house and what goes away! PS - car is in driveway because full-out garage sale prep is in progress. We are desperate for rain, so I figure scheduling a garage sale may help that happen. Just my little gift to the community, along with all of my excess stuff!

Distraction #3 - I know many of you can relate to this one...I spend an increasing amount of time caring for my aging mother. Every time I get together with my friends our conversations goes like this..."How's your mom doing?" or "How's your Dad adjusting to assisted living?" or "Is your Mom still in rehab after her fall?" and on and on. This "sandwich generation" thing just couldn't be truer.

Thankfully I have an awesome brother and superb sis-in-law who also live in Wichita and the responsibility is wonderfully shared. But when things get my Mom's recent traumatic fall...and you spend days in the ER/hospital and weeks afterwards visiting in rehab, and then the cautious re-entry to her senior apartment...sometimes the days just disappear. And all that L*K work I had on my to-do list? It's still all there waiting for me. But at the end of a long day, I just want to stitch (L*K models, of course!).

Gratefully, Mom is weak but slowly improving. Meanwhile, you can catch me many weekdays lunching with the "oldsters" at her senior living place. I'm there so much, the minute I walk in the door the hello's and greetings begin with all the lovely oldsters who are now my friends, as well as my mom's pals.

And, BONUS, I've rekindled a fondness for some of the foods I disliked as a child. Wednesday is ham and beans and cornbread day (my brother and I HATED this food as kids) and now I plan my week around this classic fare. And don't get me started on the egg salad and the daily fres-baked cookies on the menu!

All in all, SO thankful for a wonderful job that allows me to do creative, fun things for the needlework community...while embracing the really important things in and friends. Thanks for reading along with my random thoughts - if you can relate, send me a comment!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

3 Little Words CONTEST!

Time for another famous L*K blog contest! In the past couple years you've helped us name the Snow Belles (snow lady series) and select 3 new Inspiration Boxer sayings. Now we need your help to create a 3 Little Words FREEBIE!

Our current Flip-it series is called 3 Little Words. We looked high and low (and on Pinterest, of course) for a batch of inspiration sayings...with only 3 Little Words. We graphed 14 of these sayings, put them in groups of 2, and they became our 3 Little Words Flip-its. And...these 3 Little Words are pop-u-lar...thanks to all of you!

Below are the 3 Little Words that are currently available (F148, F149, F150)

Below are the next two 3 Little Words (F151, F152) that will be in needlework shops around April 10. Check your fave needlework supplier or let them know to pre-order. We're busy preparing shipments now.

Finally, here are the last two 3 Little Words that will be available in early June.

Now it's your turn! We'd love to hear your favorite inspiration only 3 Little Words!

Just leave your sayings below as a Comment. Submit as many sayings as you like, just don't duplicate the sayings we've already used (pictured above). Submit ideas until Sunday, May 12.

Then we'll choose our favorite 10 sayings (with a little help from our friends) and post them here on the L*K blog. 

Then for the next week or so, you can VOTE for your favorite 3 Little Words. The TWO winning sayings will be graphed together and posted on the L*K website as a FREE graph.

What do you do with this FREE 3 Little Words graph? You can stitch it separately, or add it to your own 3 Little Words stitchery. We designed this series to be flexible. Stitch them all or pick and choose your favorites and create your personalized inspiration stitchery.

****L*K Confession Time: Confession is good for the soul, right? one of those middle-of-the-night-can't-sleep-busy-brain moments this week, I realized that unless you are psychic and way more organized than me, you didn't allow enough fabric on your 3 Little Words stitchery to add ONE more design at the bottom. YIKES! I didn't even consider this when I dreamed up this contest. It just sounded like a fun idea when I was struggling to choose my favorite 3 Little Words.

No worries...stitch the bonus separately! I'm sure it will be awesome, since you all will provide the sayings. Or sub it in for one of the 3 Little Words Flip-its. Do you own thing and have fun with it. AND...these little guys are so quick, you may want to do more than one customized 3 Little Words banners. 

Leave a comment on this page with your favorite 3 word inspirational saying. Multiple entries are fine.

NOTE: Our blog comments are moderated, so there will be a gap between the time you write a comment and it actually appears. No need to resend! We are just editing our spam and junk so only valid comments appear. (and we may not be near our computer/phone when you send.)

You MUST include your email address in the comment form. We'll need it to contact you if you should win.

Sunday, May 12 at 11:59 Central Time (whew, that sounds official!)

No purchase necessary to enter. All entries received after the giveaway closing day and time will not be considered. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to confirm receipt of the email. Giveaways will be mailed to the winners' homes.

After the voting period on the Top Ten selections, 3 winners will receive $75 in L*K merchandise of their choice.

Send us your favorite 3 Little Word sayings, start your L*K wish lists, and have FUN! Thanks for your help!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fresh NEW designs blooming at L*K!

Spring has sprung in my yard! Every year I'm excited...same flowers, same blooming bushes and I'm crazy excited every spring to see them open their smiley faces.

It seems a little early to me, but who's arguing with flowers before the Easter bunny arrives? Having everything greening makes better hiding places for the eggs. As we prepare to move soon, every time a holiday passes I think..."sigh...the last Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/etc. in our old house" and so it goes.

Here's the view out my 2nd story office window. The neighbor's pear tree is gorgeous this spring (for the last time...sigh).

I've been busy in my little L*K studio even with all the spring distraction, so here's the new batch of fresh designs!

#170 How To Be a Mean Mother
I found this saying when my kids were young (back in the day) and I ran across it again recently. I did some editing and updating, and it's ready to go again!  Good parenting never goes our of style...right?

S118 Collect Moments Snippet
Flora's been busy again, creating another little vintage-style masterpiece. There are 2 designs squeezed into this Snippet... a little square (perfect for a  pin pillow or lots of finishing options), and a matching fob.

K79 A Little Wedding Kit
You asked for it... another Little kit to add to our Little Kit collection. This is the quickest, sweetest wedding/anniversary chart you'll ever stitch... and it's personalized! Kit includes 32 ct. lambswool linen and antique gold key charm. The main design is stitched over 2 threads, but the personalization is done over one thread so ANY names will fit in the space.

F151 Today Choose Joy 3 Little Words Flip-it
F152 Never Give Up 3 Little Words Flip-it
Our Flip-it series continues with more 3 Little Word wisdom. Stitch them all together, or choose your favorite 3 Little Words to create your own personalized stitchery. Stay tuned for our upcoming online contest to submit your favorite 3 Little Words. We'll vote and the winning sayings will be graphed and posted FREE on the L*K website.

Need some new spring releases in your life? Contact your fave needlework shop and make sure they're ordering the newbies from L*K!  

We're shipping to shops on Monday, April 6. We moved up our shipment to make time for a "spring break" visit from our daughter, Sarah. She teaches high school in downtown Chicago and their spring break is SO late - the week following Easter. Whatever/whenever...we're excited to have her in Kansas for a few days...visiting our new "still in progress" house, seeing our new L*K office (already re-located), visiting her sis in KC,  and generally relaxing and having fun together!

I hope it's springtime wherever you are. If not, THINK spring!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Our market BUZZ - mystery design revealed!

It was a blast to travel to Needlework Market last week in Nashville, but,  in the immortal words of our own Kansas gal, Dorothy (from Wizard of Oz)...."there's no place like home"!

Thankfully, the weather cooperated as we made the 5 state trek to Nashville - to and fro. OK...we drove through 4 hours of rain coming home, but it could have been much worse (and I'm sure it was, for those traveling in other directions).

Alas...after my 18th year at Nashville, I have grown accustomed to the routine, and almost forgot to take
pics....big OOPS!  I have absolutely no pictures of us or our best pals we enjoy seeing every year. But, lots of shoppers snapped pics of Alan and I with their cell phones to share with their customers. I'm sure pics of me with one eye closed are out there somewhere.

Here's the view off our balcony inside the Embassy Suites atrium. There's our colorful banner on the lower left. I'm looking down on the dining area, which is a BIG part of needlework market. Don't cut in line to get BACON at the breakfast buffet - could be injurious to your health. Same goes for the bar line at Happy Hours at dinnertime. The needle ladies (and men) love to eat, drink and hang out together.

And here's the view of the L*K sign/suite from way across the atrium. We always request to be next door to our good friend, Judy Whitman, from JBW designs. This year Judy brought her husband, Dick, a market first-timer! Dick did an outstanding job in his rookie appearance at market. Judy says she's renewing his contract for next year!

I bring along a big roll of black paper and make a few impromptu signs as we set up. Alas, they are chalk, and you can see the smeary flower in lower left corner as customers lean on the door. No landed in the trash as we tore down.

Another chalkboard sign over our Inspiration Boxer sale. We make piles of all the Inspiration Boxers B33-B50 on the little bar area in the room. Conveniently, we use the drawers underneath to hold additional inventory. 

Finally, here's the elusive BUZZ kit!
More and more, designers release photos of their new market goodies BEFORE market. That allows shops to do pre-orders, plan ahead, etc. But some shopowners don't like this, and want to be surprised at market, and rewarded for their attendance. So we do BOTH - it's impossible to make everyone happy, but we try.

The BUZZ kit was this year's "wait until market" kit. I'm happy to say the little BUZZ kit was a hit!  We had some special fabric dyed just for this project and it's gorgeous. We got lots of compliments on this one. Kit includes 28 ct. Verdant linen, a couple mother-of-pearl buttons for the flower centers and pattern. Lots of BUZZ-y fun!

Our projects were small this year, so we made some blowup posters of the new kits so everyone could see when the room gets crowded - which is often.

Above are a couple other NEW kits.

Hip Hop - includes 30 ct. cream linen, fabulous finishing fabric for front and back, orange polka dot ribbon, flower button, yellow buttons and beads, and complete finishing instructions.

Limited Edition (fabulous) Farm Fob - This 2 sided project includes pale linen (assorted shades will vary slightly), antique gold rick rack. lots of rusty beads, and complete finishing instructions for 2 sided fob. These little critters will be gone soon...headed back to the farm.

A Little Gray Hare Kit Limited Edition Kit- Everyone at market had the same question...."did your little gray hare every reappear?" and the answer was "NO". Our previous post was about the mystery of the disappearing bunny. Our sweet bunny model went AWOL a couple weeks before market. Thank goodness he posed for pics before hopping away. 

As I stitched furiously the week before we left to create a new model, everyone quipped "well now the bunny will shop up for sure". But he didn' has come and gone...still no bunny. Maybe he'll reappear for Easter?

This kit contains beautiful hand-dyed 32 WDW seafoam linen, sweet coordinating backing fabric, WDW overdyed threads, pink rick rack, pale pink beads, egg template and complete finishing instructions. 

Meanwhile, I'm keeping a close eye on the NEW bunny model. He disappeared briefly in our room at market while we were setting up....hmmmmm. And then, when we returned home, he was the absolute last thing we unpacked. I was wondering if he was going to reappear or not....or maybe he ran off with the first bunny?

Happy Stitching, everyone!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Rabbit!

We've all heard about magicians making rabbits appear out of a hat. But we've got a twist on the rabbit theme here at L*K....our little rabbit has DISAPPEARED!

More specifically, our kit model for A Little Gray Hare Limited Edition Kit (premiering at market soon!) has mysteriously vanished.

Honestly, this is one the cutest models I've ever done. I adore this little guy. I didn't originally plan the design to be an "egg". My finisher, Mona, came up with the brilliant idea. (If you aren't into eggs, it would be darling finished differently - that was my original plan).

During our recent office move, I put A Little Gray Hare in a zip bag - for his protection.. The model got carried to/fro the new office/old office/my family room during the kitting process. After a few hectic days, I realized he wasn't sitting on my desk with my other new models. Alan said "no worries, he will show up".

But now we've looked high and low, far and near, and in all kinds of unexpected (wrong) places. The needlework detectives are working overtime, but this case is still open....our BUNNY is gone!'s a little embarassing to go to market with hundreds of this Limited Edition kit, but the sweet model is MIA. While we've been searching for the elusive hare, I had my printer make a big 16" x 16" poster of him. Perhaps I should have added the caption...WANTED!

So now I'm stitching away on a replacement model. I cracked open one of my own kits (a new experience!) and got to work. After one fabulous basketball game shared with friends, he's almost complete!

During this "hare-raising" saga, I keep thinking about this beloved children's book. The bunny keeps playing hide and seek, but he's always found.

Will we end up with TWO bunnies eventually? I figure the best way to find the original is to stitch another. You know how those bunnies tend to multiply....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"with a little help from my friends" (getting ready for market!)

We're headed to Nashville Needlework Market soon, but things have been in "high gear" around here since 2015 began. No matter how prepared I think I am, getting a batch of newbies ready for market, in addition to the regular release schedule, is HECTIC (7 days a week & evenings!). 

Here's what's coming SOON to your favorite needlework shop! Some of these projects are Limited Edition, so make sure to pre-order and add to your stash.

K77 Hip Hop Kit
Time for a little Easter fun! We've got lively chicks, lots of eggs, carrot and flowers, all done in cheerful spring colors. Kit includes 30 ct. creamy linen, JABC flower button, super AWESOME finishing fabric, polka dot ribbon and complete finishing instructions. This gorgeous finishing fabric inspired the whole project. There's enough included for front and back. Time to HOP!

K80 Farm Fob Kit (2 sided fob!)
This farm fresh design is our last minute addition to the market mix. Just last week, I was busy stitching and miraculously it came together (with the help of super-finisher, Mona). Kit includes stitching fabric (some assorted pale linens and evenweaves I discovered when we moved our office!), antique gold rick rack and a stash of little rusty beads. Mona wrote some easy-to-follow instructions so your fob can look farm fresh, too!

A Little Gray Hare Limited Edition Kit
This kit was featured in our previous blog post (scroll back for the whole story).  It's full of goodies...hand-dyed WDW seafoam linen, 8 colors of WDW overdyed threads, teeny pink beads, pale pink rick rack, finishing fabric for back, egg template and complete finishing instructions. Get this one's hare today, gone tomorrow!

K78 BUZZ Kit
No, this chopped-off photo it's not a mistake! This one is a surprise - complete photo will be revealed at market (gotta keep some suspense!). I'm still obsessed with BEES, so it's a bee theme (you guessed it). 

I worked with Marilyn at Picture This Plus to design a custom linen for BUZZ. It's called Verdant (definition: green, leafy, luxuriant, lush), and it's an awesome shade of yellow green. Kit includes Verdant 28 ct. linen and 2 mother-of-pearl round buttons. It's bright and fun, yet has some vintage appeal... it's cross stitch fusion!

Marilyn just delivered our gorgeous Verdant linen last Thursday (she made a road trip to Wichita). We were in a time crunch to get this one ready, so we asked for "a little help from our friends". We buckled down and got all the fabric cut, folded and ironed, sacked the buttons and prepared the printing. 

Then last Sunday afternoon, we hosted an impromptu "Open House/Volunteer Day" at the new L*K office. Friends came and went all afternoon, toured our little office, enjoyed a few snacks, and tried their hands at putting together kits.

I meant to take lots of photos (sorry to those not pictured), but stayed busy giving tours, and keeping these talented new kitters busy. We set up a couple extra work tables and the rookies got going. Talking, laughing  and snacking while working were strongly encouraged.  

Before the afternoon was over, the entire batch of BUZZ kits were finished!  Several friends arrived later, and alas, didn't get to slide kits into zipper bags...darn (their loss). 

It was really fun to have my fabulous friends visit the L*K office and try something new. Maybe they'll want to change careers? I was fortunate to have a couple bankers, attorney, elementary librarian, school bus driver, legal secretary, medical receptionist, construction company owner, oil exec, insurance adjuster extraordinaire, college professor, children's author, accountant, retired teacher (and others) and even a wheat farmer helping me out!!! 

YIKES...hope they don't ask me to do their jobs. I told them the only qualification to be a kitter at L*K was to be able to close a zipper bag. Little did I know that sliding the kit contents IN the bags would be challenging for some.

Shout out to my fabulous church friends who keep me inspired (and help me in a pinch!). LOVE you all!

We'll get by...(and get to market)...with a little help from our friends!