Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Clue #2 Mystery Sampler

Our Holly & Hearts mystery continues!

We've got another clue for you, and this time you get to send your responses!

Clue #2
You may remember, Clue #1 talked about the Holly & Hearts name and how that name reflects some of the design elements. Check out the photo below and you can spot some holly and hearts. That clue may have been too easy, though, so here's a new clue to keep you guessing.

Our Holly & Hearts thread pack contains a NEW Weeks Dye Works color! We worked with Miranda and the creative WDW gang to develop this color, and we're really pleased with the lovely hue. And let me add...the photo below doesn't begin to capture the beauty of this color's traditional Christmas colors, with a lovely vintage feel. (My photography skills are lacking!) We're not telling which color it is in this great fiber lineup.

What's the new WDW color name? It's the name of one of our favorite TV characters, and he has some very unique living arrangements. Think about it...told you it would be hard! Send us a comment on this post with your guesses and we'll share the fun!

What other design elements can you spot in the pic above? Hmmm...what could those letters be spelling? 

This is another great reason to order the convenient thread pre-packs with your designs from your local needlework shop. This new color won't be in their current WDW thread inventory.

The mystery continues!  Post your guess here!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Great Weekend in Small Town, USA

What did you do last weekend? We had an unusually work-free weekend, so we hit the road for a couple nearby small town events. OK, maybe I did make some embellishment packs in the car on the road, but hey...multi-tasking is my middle name! And otherwise, I fall asleep in the car!

Friday night we drove to nearby Cheney for the County Fair - woohoo!  Somehow I never visited this as a child or young adult, but discovered it several years ago with my friends, and now it's an annual pilgrimage. Those Methodist chicken and noodles and homemade pie keep us coming back! It's not air-conditioned, and you share the dinner table space with 100+ other happy eaters, but it's fun and yummy!

And did I mention, it was HOT?! We were dressed as "oldsters trying to stay cool", unlike all the young girls with their uber-short shorts and skirts and cowboy boots!

After dinner, it's off to the animal bars. These cows really fascinate me when you get to see them...up close!

And, of course, my friends had to dare me (city girl) to pet a cow. He was perfectly still until I touched him and he moved and freaked me out...a bit! I'm laughing outside but I didn't linger long.

I'm also fascinated with the pigs, I mean SWINE. These giant guys (think desk size) are really fun to watch. OK, so they don't move much, unless they're being herded into the showing area. But boy, they can move fast when the food comes out. And they eat like...well, PIGS! Trying to nudge out their neighbor, making grunting noises, generally misbehaving! I was going in for a close head shot just when this guy turned his head and smiled at me!

I liked this prize winning rooster who was sharing the cage with the trophy - not modest at all!

Does this giant lemon-y lemonade stand remind anyone else of the frozen banana stand in Arrested Development?

And then there are the rides...which we only observe...from the ground!

What an exciting, tasty Friday night! I recovered Saturday morning by picking a record crop of giant sunflowers from my garden, along with some zinnias and cherry tomatoes.

Saturday night we were off to nearby Winfield for an outdoor concert at a winery. 

We were excited to see our young friends, Josh and Matthew, and their band.

And it would have been rude not to sip some local wine while we watched, so we obliged.

By the way, we've been friends with our pals above for many 25-30! What a treasure to spend time with people who really know you, and still like hanging out with you!  The evening ended one song early as a giant thunderstorm rolled in and we headed for the car. Gotta love the Kansas weather!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Facebook and lavender

An unlikely combination, you say? Not when you work from home. Here's the scoop!

Last week we put up an official Lizzie*Kate Facebook page...FINALLY!  Yes, it required the help of my visiting daughter, Sarah, and some consultation from her professional food blogger sis, Ali, but we did it!

After avoiding a business page on Facebook for so long, I'm wondering why. This is really fun, so far. It's a great way to communicate with you all (my customers and friends) and it's not nearly so time-consuming as say...this blog!  No matter how efficient I try to be, it always takes me 1+ hours to get my blog posts together...gather/take the photos, download and edit them, transfer the files, write the text, edit some more...and all that. Admittedly, I'm not a good techie (not even close!), but it's time-consuming.

So...for quick little updates, look at preview sneak peeks, and super current info on everything L*K..please check our Facebook page often.

Here's what we'd like you to do:

* "Like" us on Facebook and invite your friends to "like" us on FB.

* When you see a Lizzie*Kate Facebook post you like, click "share" so your FB friends will see it. What a great way to spread the word to all your friends/customers!

These 2 little things will help us get more Lizzie*Kate goodness out there on FB...and we appreciate your help! If there are things you'd like to see on L*K Facebook page, please let us know that, too.

About that lavender...

Last week we had an extremely rare occurrence at our house, when both daughters were home! Yes, we talk on the phone frequently, text often, email and all that, but they were actually HERE in Wichita...together!

So what should we do? We took a field trip! My good friend, Julie Thompson, told me that the lavender fields near her home were blooming and we should come have a look...and a smell!!! We loaded up the car (pic above is Ali and Sarah grinning from the back seat) and drove to nearby Winfield, Kansas. Julie drove us into the beautiful countryside until we spied LAVENDER!

We met the charming and vivacious lavender lady, Dolly, who proudly showed us around her beautiful lavender patch. Dolly was struck by the lavender bug several years ago when she visited Provence, France during lavender season. Hmmm...she thought...this rocky, sandy soil looks a lot like our farm soil at home. Maybe I should plant lavender? She informed her husband she was ordering 300 lavender plants, and the adventure began!

You may not be able to spot them but the fragrant, large bushes are teeming with tiny honeybees. They didn't bother us (Dolly says she has never been stung), but you could definitely hear a buzzzzzzzzz.

After Dolly picks the lavender, she hangs it to dry in the barn, then sells it at the local farmer's market, or processes it for future lavender projects.

Did you know that lavender is edible? Dolly grows some plants that are specifically engineered for food, appropriate called culinary lavender, but you can eat all the purple goodness. Below is Julie, daughter Sarah and me...soaking in the Kansas sunshine and lavender aroma.

We brought home several bunches (the car smelled great!) and got to work cooking with our lovely lavender buds. We pulled off some buds, washed them well, and chopped some to make an amazing Lavender Cheesecake.  Ali is a pro food blogger, so check out the whole recipe over at Gimme Some Oven.  Even if you don't use lavender, this "light" cheesecake is a real winner, and super easy. Just top with your favorite fresh fruit, and it's a real palate pleaser!

My favorite thing we did with the lavender was make a delicious lavender lemonade. Sarah got to work steeping some of the lavender in hot water and sugar to make a lavender-infused simple syrup. While the syrup was cooling we squeezed about a zillion fresh lemons. When we put it all together and added a bit of sparkling water, the result was...DELICIOUS!  I took the lemonade (and the cheesecake) to a July 4th gathering of friends, and they were glad I came!

Want to do it yourself? Here the link for the lavender lemonade.

That Julie is a smart girl!  After we finished at the lavender farm, we stopped in nearby Wheat State Wine Company, also close to Winfield. Ali went to college in Winfield, and was pleasantly surprised to learn she knew the young husband/wife wine makers. They were in her youth group when she was a sponsor back in college!

Conveniently, the clock has just struck 12 o'clock noon, so we got to tasting! The Kansas-grown wines were surprising tasty and the perfect appetizer for our next activity...lunch!

As we drove back to Wichita we were pleasantly full (thanks to fabulous Mexi food at Neives in Winfield) and satiated with the intoxicating, relaxing aroma of fresh lavender. What a GREAT day together!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mystery Sampler time!

It's hot, humid, windy and miserable here in Kansas, so of course our thoughts turn to CHRISTMAS!! Beautiful thoughts of pretty poinsettias, cheerful holly, wintery bird friends, snowy landscapes, and all things holiday make us smile.

We've been working on this project for months, and we're finally ready...and share it with all of you!


What is a mystery sampler? It's a beautiful needlework that unfolds in 3 parts. And here's the mystery don't get to see a picture of the finished project when you begin! Each part cleverly adjoins the previous part, and it all adds up to a beautiful holiday stitchery. You'll see the completed design as it emerges with fabric and thread!

Our Holly & Hearts Mystery Sampler will be an autumn stitching project, with 3 parts presented in September, October and November. Don't worry...the project isn't huge, but a very satisfying size of 227W x 97H. It's just large enough to fill a perfect spot in your yearly Christmas decor, but manageable enough to finish before you're overtaken with holiday busyness!

We're beginning to take pre-orders from local needlework shops throughout the US and around the world, so ask your favorite retailer to place your order NOW!

Here are some details you'll want to know:

* Design is presented in 3 separate parts, one each in early September, October and November

* Stitch Count is 227W x 97H

* We stitched our model on lovely 28 ct. Doubloon linen. We'll have precuts available that are conveniently cut, serged, labeled and packaged, each with a 3" border on all sides. There is also 32 ct. Doubloon linen available, also precut.

*Aida stitchers, don't despair! We'll also have 14 ct. and 16 ct. Doubloon Aida available. Pieces are also precut, serged, labeled and packaged, each with a 3" border on all sides.

* There is a thread pack available with 12 skeins of beautiful Weeks Dye Works overdyed floss. There are multiples in this design, so we encourage you to purchase the convenient thread pack.

* First shipment in early September includes Part 1 chart with thread key and stitch guide. (Be sure to save these, as they won't be repeated in the next 2 parts.) You can also get fabric and thread packs at this time.

*Second shipment in early October includes Part 2 chart AND a BONUS holiday design. We'll share more about the bonus design in future posts, but it's a really sweet Christmas piece.. perfect for framing, small pillow or box.

*Third shipment in early November includes Part 3 chart and embellishments for the Holly & Hearts Mystery Sampler, as well as the bonus design.

Inquiring minds want to know...just what does this design look like? We'll never tell...but we will give you some hints. Just like the name implies, our Christmas sampler is chock full of Holly and Hearts. There's a stylized holly border with some lovely satin-y stitches, and more holly inside the design. And speaking of hearts...I think I've counted 12 hearts to make a perfect dozen!

Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and let the sleuthing begin! Can you spot the holly border and some of the muted hearts in the pic above? And you can probably figure out which corner of the design this might be? And don't forget to check out the beautiful color scheme!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more Holly & Hearts Mystery Sampler sneak peeks and holiday fun! We hope you enjoy unraveling the holiday mystery, as much as we've had creating it for all of you!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Is this heaven or Santa Fe?

We just returned from a week in lovely Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it was wonderful!  We traveled to the Southwest with 12 of our best pals from church on a mission work team. The climate was blissfully humidity-free and the cool evenings were a real treat. We smiled as we checked our cell phones and commiserated about our friends and family, left behind in Kansas with hideous 100+ degree temps and extreme humidity. Ah....Santa Fe!

I didn't take a lot of pictures, and am counting on our "official" trip photographer to share his files with me for my digital scrapbook, but I snapped a few I wanted to share. Above is the luxurious church van and our trailer as we navigated a tight corner at a stop in Las Vegas...New Mexico, that is!

We spent a week at lovely Zia United Methodist Church...literally! We slept in their main building, and worked there and the adjacent parsonage. Conveniently, our trip coincided with the departure of one pastor and the arrival of another. We didn't know this when the trip was planned months ago, but...God works in mysterious ways. So, we did an "extreme makeover" on the parsonage during the 4 days while it was empty.

We stripped out all the carpet, tack strips and floor trim in preparation for the tile layers, and painted every wall in the place.

We painted and painted some more, we washed windows and mini blinds (Suzanne dedicated an entire day to meticulously washing blinds out on the porch!). We shampooed the sofas and cleaned all the appliances.

That's me above (seated on the toilet!) with my pal, Shelley. I'm trying to figure out how to shove paint (neatly) BEHIND the toilet.

We pulled out a faulty toilet to reveal...ugh...rotten flooring and who knows what else below! That job turned out a little bigger than we expected. I carefully avoided this area. I'm pretty sure my paintbrush couldn't fix this problem. Did I mention that I LOVE to paint?

While part of the crew worked on the extreme makeover (move that bus!), others worked in the main church buildling. 

We worked outside...

and inside.

We worked high (that's my crazy husband up there on the ladder)...

and we worked low? (We were putting new weather stripping stuff under the doors).

Some of our favorite projects (and most visible!) were on the front entrance to Zia UMC. The guys above are re-staining the frame around the stained glass window with the Zia symbol.

Below the window, we snaded and restained the beautiful front doors. The previous stain had been eaten away by the hot Santa Fe sun...what a dramatic difference!

Then they asked us to paint some of the details on the carved doors with red and yellow paint. Yes, I was called in to do this trim work!

Another tricky exterior project was repainting their front letters. After some discussion on how to attempt this job, we meticulously taped off behind the letters (which took hours!)...

then sprayed in the brilliant red paint they had requested (which took mere minutes!).

And when we weren't working, we chatted and got to know our friends a bit better. Check out our luxury accommodations (air mattresses and cots)  in foreground above. And (also above at bottom) our dining facilities located conveniently close!

We cooked most of our own meals, including LARGE breakfasts. Everyone took turns preparing and cleaning up in the nice Zia church kitchen...girls and guys!

We even celebrated 3 birthdays while we were there...June is a popular month! Birthday girls and boys got to be first in the food line, of course.

And who could visit Santa Fe without eating some of their yummy New Mexican food? !Que delicioso!

Zia celebrated our last night with a traditional church pot luck dinner. We left them a list of improvements we had made during the week....

and a surprise thank you on their chalkboard door when we left early the next morning.

So...Santa Fe isn't really "heaven", but we all experienced a bit of heaven as we spent the week together in beautiful New Mexico. We worked hard, ate big, slept (not so well), did daily devotions and laughed....A LOT!!! As everyone crawled into bed you could hear murmuring across the room...

"Good night, Bob"
"Good night, Connie"
"Good night, Robert"
and on and true Walton style!

*Note: if you don't know who or what the Waltons are probably too young to be reading this blog. It was a family television show from the 70s, and every episode ended with the family "good nights".