Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My iphone Mystery!

Last time I got a new cell phone, I couldn't decide on a new case. What color...what pattern...serious, silly, whatever??? 

So I chose a (very cheap) CLEAR one and I've been playing with paper and scissors ever since! I change out my phone cover frequently, using bits of scrapbook paper, images I create on my computer, bits of this and that, whatever seems timely and fun.

My new cover is so pretty, I want to share it with you. You've all probably seen the Things Unseen Mystery Sampler promo card already, but here it is in my phone....strategically resting on another area of our Things Unseen Mystery Sampler.

This is one of my favorite areas of the sampler...beautiful colors and lots of little critter motifs. It's always tricky to decide which areas to show on SNEAK PEEK pics, and I couldn't resist sharing a bit of this section.

Need more info on Things Unseen Mystery Sampler? See previous post for all the scoop! Contact your favorite needlework shop for pre-order info.

I've been working on this project for many MONTHS now. Every week, there's a different task. This week I'm working on the printed material for Part 1. I've designed a pretty cover on my computer ...and redesigned and redesigned over and over again. I think I've tweaked it enough?!

As I work on a project, I accumulate paperwork, supplies, stitching...it all gets thrown in a basket and carted around. I realized today that my basket has an impressive amount of paperwork categorized and clipped together. Pretty clips are my best strategy for happy organization :)

Part 1 of Things Unseen will come with 3 pages of printed materials, in addition to the cover.Page One will have important info you need to keep for the entire sampler including stitching instructions and color key with symbols. 

Page Two will have the chart for the first part of Things Unseen. It's the upper left section of the design. There are instructions for how to link this section to Parts 2 and 3. Page Two also includes instructions for embellishment placement on the first section. You can attach embellishments as you go (you'll need the optional embellishment pack) or attach them all at the end (my preference).

Page Three will have a couple stitch diagrams (2 easy specialty stitches) and alternate instructions for those stitching on Aida. Page Three will also have the 1st section of the BONUS design. The BONUS design unfolds horizontally, so you'll link the second part to the right of the first part.

WHEW!  So many details to wrestle and keep straight. I'm taking a whole pile of Things Unseen Mystery Sampler paperwork to my local needlework shop (Heart's Desire in Wichita, KS) for proofing this afternoon.  But, maybe a few more changes before I go....

On an unrelated note...here's the daily garden haul. Lots of cherry tomatoes, Romas and jalapenos...regular tomatoes and big peppers are still MIA. I've been roasting and freezing lots of tomatoes which will reappear in yummy things this winter.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014


The secret is out...we're doing another Mystery Sampler! It's called Things Unseen, which we think is the perfect name for a Mystery Sampler. It's a year-round design with beautiful "heart" felt words to live by...any day...all seasons...all year long.

We're SO excited to share the details with you. Here's all the sneak peek scoop!

THINGS UNSEEN Mystery Sampler 

* We used a lovely quotation from Helen Keller. (I'm busy reading/studying more about Helen's fascinating life and looking forward to sharing some of that. She was certainly an inspirational, remarkable woman!) This isn't a seasonal sampler, so you can enjoy it all year long!

* 3-part series will ship in early November, December and January - perfect for holiday stitching and gifting (maybe for yourself?!)

* Stitch Count for Things Unseen is 165W x 205H.

* Things Unseen is stitched on lovely Wren linen, from Picture This Plus. We'll have 4 fabric options...28 and 32 ct. Wren linen, as well as 14 and 16 ct. Wren linen. All fabrics are precut with 3" border on all sides, serged, and individually packaged. You are certainly welcome to choose your own fabric, too! We're offering precut fabric as an option.

* Our thread pack has 14 skeins of Weeks Dye Works overdyed threads, including an exclusive new color we requested especially for this sampler. We named this luscious new pinky-plum color Busy Lizzie (it's another name for Impatiens flowers).

* There's also a BONUS design that will be revealed in 3 parts - a bit with each monthly shipment. BONUS design stitch count is 165W x 34H. BONUS design is stitched with the same threads as Things Unseen, so choose your favorite fabric accordingly and customize your BONUS project. Our Embellishment Pack includes goodies for this BONUS design.

* Things Unseen Embellishment Pack! We've never done a separate embellishment pack for a Mystery Sampler, but we're pulling out all the stops (and embellishments!) for this one. We've collaborated with the gals at Just Another Company for some lovely, sampler-worthy buttons. We named our new floral button "Helen's Rose". Pack also includes a host of other goodies...mother-of-pearl buttons, hand-dyed buttons, beads, etc. Pack includes embellishments for Things Unseen, BONUS pattern and ???? (maybe another surprise).

This is one of my favorite pictures of Helen Keller. This was an inspiration for our exclusive new button, which we've named "Helen's rose". The beautiful flowers in this picture also inspired our lovely new "mystery" overdyed thread color from WDW, Busy Lizzie.  

Do you remember studying Helen Keller in school? I remember reading The Story of My Life, and watching the film The Miracle Worker (photo above, starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke). I'm sure I learned a lot more about her life in school, but alas, have forgotten much. 

Now I'm busy re-educating myself about the fascinating, diverse and sometimes controversial life of Helen Keller. She was a world-famous speaker and author. Not only was she an advocate for people with disabilities, she was a suffragist, a pacifist and a radical socialist...who knew? Helen met every US President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon Johnson, and was friends with many famous figures. More later...

You're ALL invited to join our Things Unseen Mystery Sampler Club! We've mailed info and order forms to needlework shops around the world. Just contact your favorite needlework supplier for pricing and pre-order info. 

We'll be blogging soon with behind-the-scenes looks at the whole mystery sampler process, including our awesome suppliers/partners at Weeks Dye Works, Picture This Plus, and Just Another Button Company, and (of course) the busy goings-on at Lizzie*Kate. It's truly takes a village to put one of these projects together, and we want you to know how it happens...step by step...as we unfold this mystery together.

Mysteriously yours, 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Been there, done that...

Needlework Market, that is!

How many times have we gone to market with Lizzie*Kate? Heaven only knows, but every time it's a combination of fun, laughter, and plain old hard WORK! (Definitely not a vacation, except for the "travel" part.)

Speaking of travel and work...here is a pic of my local shopowner and her helper who kindly schlep a bunch of Lizzie*Kate inventory to market for me every year. We've just unloaded their car in front of the Embassy Suites (where our market is) and we're waiting on a rolling cart to get the boxes to our room.

The BEST part about needlework market is seeing all of my friends...shopowners and other designers! Some shops have been supporting L*K since we began 19 years ago. Miraculously, none of us look a day older! I think cross stitch has magical anti-aging properties, or maybe our eyesight is just fading? We also get to make new friends at market every year, which is also wonderful. It's a huge blessing to be around people who understand what we do...and love and appreciate it. We love and appreciate you all, too!

Now that market is over and all the attending shops are busy blasting the new images all over the internet, I can release the photo of our "Market Exclusive" kit - SPOOKY EYES!

SPOOKY EYES kit (K72) includes EEK! hand-dyed linen (faded orange with gray/black swirls), hand-dyed black pom pom trim, kohl WDW overdyed thread, and spooky eyes (2 mother-of-pearl buttons topped with tiny black buttons). 

Here I am on Saturday morning, ready for a busy day in room 601 Lizzie*Kate expo! I brought a roll of black kraft paper along and had fun with chalk making a few impromptu signs. Making the freelance signs was fun, but crawling around the hard floor on my hands and knees with chalk (and no yard stick to keep things straight) seems to be getting harder every year. Alan snapped a pic of me on the floor but I'm not sharing it...TMI.

This was my favorite sign (covering up the mirror over the bar area in our room), announcing our Inspiration Boxer Sale. We brought ALL of the Inspiration Boxers (B33-B48), so there was plenty of inspiration for all!

Part of the challenge in decorating our showroom in the Embassy Suites is the existing decor in the rooms. Everything is positively psychedelic at this hotel...it looks like a 60s party gone wild! The walls are orange (there's orange everywhere!), the sofa is a crazy wild print (designers have all sorts of creative ways to cover these sofas), and the decor has a zillion competing patterns and is very distracting! So if these photos are glowing a bit...

The other "stars" of the party were our other 2 new kits! SNOW DUDES (K71) kit comes with both patterns, fabric for both, and embellishments, including polka dot mushroom cap.

DEAR RUDOLPH (K73) kit includes lambswool linen, snowflake finishing fabric, white rick rack trim, 4 buttons, red and white beads and complete finishing instructions. I always bring along a few fun props for the new stuff, including a favorite Santa mug for this one. Also check out the fun red/green scissors. We sold out on these, so get them while you can!

WHEW! It's been nice taking a break sitting at the computer, but I've got to return to unloading boxes and catching up. 

Note to self: Next time I go to market, take pics with shopowners, designer friends, and try to capture the laughter and fun we have together. Thanks for joining me on this little trip recap!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Snow Dudes!

I couldn't figure out what to name this new kit I'm taking to market this weekend. How do I combine a snowy owl and a Santa gnome in one clever title?

I was desperate...so I asked my husband, Alan. He often makes suggestions at L*K and I usually say something like..."oh yea, I'll think about that"...or "that's an interesting idea".

But when Alan said "SNOW DUDES"...I knew I had the winning name!

I had the idea to do a little Santa with a pointy hat. When I changed his coat to blue, he magically transformed into a Santa gnome...who knew? And what is the perfect gnome accessory? A little red/white polka dot mushroom, of course.

I admit I didn't know much about gnomes when I accidentally brought this little guy to life (and still don't), but I tried a little research. It seems gnomes always have mushrooms with them. Can someone tell me why? The gals at Just Another Button Company made me a tiny little mushroom cap button - so cute!

I'm also obsessed with owls and realized I didn't have any Christmas owls, so remedied that with design #2.

Kit includes 28 ct. Lugana fabric for both ornaments, and lots of embellishments...polka dot mushroom cap, red buttons, and lots of white iridescent beads.

These dudes are ready to hit the road to St. Charles Needlework market! If you need the charming SNOW DUDES to visit your house, contact your favorite needlework shop and let them know. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Orange is the new Black...I mean KIT!

Yes, I've joined the bandwagon (one season late!) and I'm busy watching Season 1 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, skip ahead to the "orange cross stitch" portion of this post. But, for those of you also watching "Orange is the New Black"....OH MY! Such an interesting TV series set in a women's prison. It's funny, heart-breaking/heart-warming, troubling, thought-provoking, irreverent and totally unlike any other series I've ever watched. And it's based on a TRUE STORY...gulp/gag/I hereby purpose to make responsible decisions and never break the law! Warning: not kid-friendly viewing (for mature audiences)

Back to the TRUE reason for this post - we have a new ORANGE themed kit called SPOOKY EYES! Alas, no picture...yet!

We're headed to market in a couple weeks, and we're keeping this one under wraps. There's a special promotion at market with a bunch of vendors, and we agreed to participate and make this one a surprise!

But here's some behind the scenes scoop on SPOOKY EYES!! I promise our "orange" secrets are not half as scary as what goes on in that women's prison!

After I did this little Halloween design, I searched for the perfect spooky fabric. I chose a fabric called (very appropriately) EEK! from Picture This Plus. This gorgeous fabric is a muted orange with gray/black streaks running through it - perfect for the spooky season. It looks darker above, because it's wet and hanging out in the dye pots. This hand-dyed fabric company is in my Kansas neighborhood, so it's fun to work with a nearby vendor. 

Here's the fabric after it's overdyed with the dark swirls...hauntingly beautiful!

Now it's hanging on the drying racks. After it's dry, PTP graciously agreed to cut the fabric into individual pieces and serge the edges. The gals at PTP are the best, hardworking, Kansas fabric gals I know! Marilyn (the owner) is a farm wife, but "commutes" to town to run her biz out of an historic building downtown. The fabric dyeing happens in the basement, with an awesome bookstore above her on the main level.

Another fun product I'm including with this kit is some over-dyed pom pom trim. I can't get enough of pom pom trim lately - so darn cute! I ordered up a giant batch of this stuff so I could include it with each kit. It's BLACK, with some purple/dark blue highlights. 

I spent several evenings cutting/bagging pom pom trim into kit-size while watching Orange is the New Black. It's a boring job, but much more enjoyable when I'm diverted by the drama of all those ladies in orange!

Final SNEAK PEEK! Here's the star of the show - SPOOKY EYES -  spending some time in the spotlights and getting photographed. Can you spot it, nestled in the middle of those Halloween props?

Need more ORANGE in your life? Contact your favorite needlework shop and ask them to order SPOOKY EYES for you! Kit includes 28 ct. Eek! linen, black pom pom trim, mother-of-pearl buttons and tiny black buttons, kohl WDW thread, and complete finishing instructions. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Working Weekend!

It happens around here a lot...especially 3 weeks before Needlework Market!

We're bringing 3 NEW KITS to market ( in addition to all of the other stuff!), so we're super busy getting them ready. The models are all sewn and photographed...now it's cutting/folding fabric, sacking embellishments, cutting rick rack, printing/folding instructions, designing/printing covers, making more embellishment packs, bagging pom pom trim and more busywork...times many hundreds!!!

It's kinda like Santa's workshop around here...minus the elves...just Alan, Carmen, Henry (granddog) and I. Carmen helps us a couple mornings a week and the rest is up to us. Yes, our daughters and son-in-law are in Europe and we have the granddog - interesting trade off! Alan swears he's not that keen on Henry, so naturally Henry adores him. I suspect the feeling is mutual, since he's sharing Alan's glasses.

But back to official L*K business....here's our new Dear Rudolph kit!

And here's some of the background involved in bringing this kit to life!

After I designed and stitched the Dear Rudolph model, I mail him to my finisher elf, Mona. She's not only a finishing whiz, she's the cutest, sweetest gal around. Just wish she lived closer so we could hang out more! After a flurry of emails and text message photos, we decided to finish Dear Rudolph with this darling snowflake fabric.

Mona finished the cute pillow, added some rickrack and more beads, and set out on a mission to purchase fabric all over the Tulsa metro area. I did the same in Wichita and we rounded up enough snowflakes to blanket the world in snowflake-y Dear Rudolph kits!

I began cutting the fabric into kit-sized pieces. Notice my Klutz glove (safety glove)! The Klutz glove is my new cutting companion after my accident this winter with the rotary cutter and subsequent ER visit.

Here I am having a Donna Reed moment at the ironing board in my "shirtwaist" dress (where's my pearl necklace?)! If you don't know who Donna Reed is, you're younger than me, and you should Google her. I'm folding/ironing fabric before church...in the family room...currently assembly room.

I visited my photographer pal, Steve, to have the kit professionally photographed. Steve takes much better shots than I do, and everything seems to look better in the long run if I start with a high-quality photo. You can see the "big picture" of our shot, before we cropped it down for the cover. Steve is totally used to me bringing in Halloween/Christmas things in the middle of the summer...business as normal!

Meanwhile, more busy work at L*K headquarters. Cutting and folding the linen...

assembling some rather detailed embellishment packs (2 colors of beads, tiny red buttons, and 3 colors of special order hand-dyed buttons)...

and cutting rick rack from some bulk rolls.

I spent an evening on my computer designing this dandy cover. I emailed the file to the printer and told him it was a rush job. He's the best and brought out a proof later that day. Unfortunately, the red looked orangy, and I rejected the first proof. Even when you're in a hurry, it's always best to hold out for the best quality, so I waited for a new, improved proof. It arrived yesterday and was blissfully (and appropriately) Christmas red. By closing time yesterday, our awesome printer delivered a big pile of beautiful Dear Rudolph covers!

I've got plenty of other office work today, so looking forward to a little Tuesday night at the movies (Netflix) and some serious Dear Rudolph kit assembly!

BTW - if you think Dear Rudolph needs to visit your home, contact your favorite needlework shop to pre-order before market. Rudolph is a welcome holiday visitor!

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!