Monday, June 30, 2014

Tiny Tidings XIX (that's NINETEEN!) often do I review my Roman numerals? Practically never, so I had to think a bit about this 19th Tiny Tidings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Little Boo is coming SOON!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy "Little" stitching, everyone!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blast from the (Lizzie*Kate) past!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

My food blogger "internship"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's her pristine white kitchen BEFORE we started. Here's a link about how she acquired this beautiful new kitchen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time for the Red, White and Blue!

It's time for a little July 4th decorating....with the emphasis on "little", because I don't own much July 4th decor. Sure I have bunches of patriotic Lizzie*Kate designs, but they don't live at my house. They're travelling the country in trunk shows, sitting at my LNS, or even stashed in the office or attic.

If you're in the mood for 4th of July stitching, here are a few quick patriotic stitches. These are all quick and fun, and you'll have plenty of leftover time for your favorite holiday activities...or inactivity!

K59 A Little Liberty Kit
This "Little" Kit is quick and summery. Kit includes 30 ct. natural linen and some teeny red beads for flower centers. Grab some threads from your stash and stitch this in a couple evenings or a weekend...easy!

S107 Buzzy String 
This is our newest patriotic design! It has some patriotic motifs, but it's not "limited" to July 4th, so you can enjoy it all summer long.

S96 Land That I Love Now and Then Snippet
This is an oldie...and a newbie! We originally designed Land That I Love many years ago (the bottom design). Recently we updated the design (still loved the saying!) and gave it a facelift. The Now and Then Snippet includes both designs...take your pick or do them both!

Like I said, I don't own much July 4th decor. I remember having more when my kids were young, so I'm not sure where it went. downloadable art to the rescue! I had a spare 8" x 10" frame. I did a quick online search for FREE downloadable July 4th art and came up with a zillion options. I chose this one, printed it on some white card stock and stapled it in the frame. I can change it out for other seasonal printables later.

Want to see other July 4th Lizzie*Kate designs? Here's the link for more patriotic goodies!