Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Me and Ree!!!

So I finally did it! I conspired with my friend Glenna, we both took a day off work and journeyed to nearby Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit Ree aka The Pioneer Woman!

Well, we didn't actually see Ree, but we did visit her fabulous mercantile, eat lunch in her delicious Deli and (BONUS!) visited The Lodge where she films her TV shows on the Food Network.

Glenna and I left Wichita about 7:30 AM - coffee in hand - for the 2 hour drive south to Oklahoma. Pawhuska was a quiet small town until Ree and her Pioneer Woman clan almost single-handedly revitalized the historic downtown.

It was a gorgeous fall day and we were greeted by hundred of pumpkins around the Mercantile exterior. Check out the charming brick buildings in background and the classic black/white tile entry floor. It looks like my office bathroom tile! ***Just noticed the decapitated lady on left side. It was hard to snap a pic without someone getting in my frame.

I should note I originally didn't take any pictures. I was concentrating on shopping and having fun! Then later realized it might make a fun blog post, so hurriedly snapped a few quick pics.

When you walk in you're greeted by a lovely open space with high ceilings and the most charming displays. Each vignette was just a treat to enjoy with the eyes. I love cool displays, but my pics don't do them justice. Check out the gorgeous custom wood shelving - it would have been beautiful if it was empty!

In addition to beautifully curated kitchen/home goods, there's a small area with Pioneer Woman-ish clothing. I bought a cool embroidered tunic top and I'm channeling Ree when I wear it. Pretty sure I'm a better cook when I wear it. Cowboy boots optional.

After we conquered the first floor we went upstairs to the Deli and Bakery. We were there mid-morning so it was quiet upstairs. When we returned later in the afternoon for a take home snack (for our husbands/friends, of course) it was bustling. 

Here's a pic of the sunny seating area next to Deli/Bakery. My favorite thing upstairs were some large windows into the on-site bakery. I couldn't get a photo without horrible reflection, so imagine this...lots of guys and gals in matching checked shirts making/baking/frosting amazing bakery massive, delicious quantities!

Glenna and I worked up an appetite with all that driving and shopping, so we were ready to visit the restaurant. But alas...a long line! It was hard to explain to Alan why we waited 75 minutes in an outdoor line for a table at the Merc. But when in Pawhuska...

Here's a pic of the restaurant we snapped when we first arrived. They also serve breakfast, so these diners were feasting on authentic Pioneer Woman breakfasts!

When we finally were seated indoors (restaurant is in same building as Mercantile - just around the corner), and ordered, we were pretty excited. And the food was FABULOUS!!! 

I'm a little embarrassed to say what we both ordered, but it was amazing. No, we didn't have the Marlboro Man Sandwich. Maybe if the man came with it? No, we both feasted on homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese dippers ($7). Glenna's sis had suggested this entree from a previous visit.

I wish I knew the secret behind these magical grilled cheese dippers, but it's probably best unknown. There was gooey cheese dripping from the long sandwich chunks, but there was also more CRUSTY, CRUNCHY CHEESE on the outside on the sandwich. A minor food miracle that I would like to experience again.

I drank about 4 glasses of iced tea (non-sweet!!!) to wash everything down. And doesn't tea taste best when served in a Mason jar?! Oh yea...should add that we also ordered an appetizer - an olive spread baguette ($5) - because we had waited a long time. I ordered a side of spicy kale ($3), just to make sure I had my green veggies. It was yummy and definitely "spicy".

Can you believe these prices? Super reasonable, which everyone appreciates. And served with a smile from more friendly Oklahomans wearing checked shirts. 

View from inside The Lodge

But folks...that's not ALL!  After lunch (and return to deli for more take-home treats) we drove through the gorgeous Oklahoma countryside to visit THE LODGE! This is where Ree shoots her epic TV episodes. It's hard to capture the beauty of the landscape, but it was stunning. The Lodge sits on top of a hill with need-to-experience-to-appreciate panoramic views. Oklahoma is NOT flat on the Drummond Ranch.

Our greeter at The Lodge

Every time Ree and the family eat outside at The Lodge, I notice how windy it is. They kinda act like "no big deal" but I notice their clothes rippling and their hair swirling. And sure enough, it was really windy on top of that beautiful Oklahoma hill. This is the "good" picture of us. Trying to shoot a selfie seemed to encourage crazy hair.

Inside The Lodge are TWO huge kitchen areas - both with monster sized islands. There was a convenient black skillet and spatula there, so we did what thousands of women before us have done - pose for pictures.

Notice the antlers in the background on both pictures. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the musical Beauty and the Beast where Gaston sings..."I use antlers in all of my decorating". And so does Ree!

Adjacent to the double kitchens, there were two fireplaces, a huge dining table and lots of comfy seating.

Hidden behind the kitchens was a large pantry.

And beyond all that, we found a bunch of lovely bedrooms, each with their own spacious bath...all decorated much more beautifully than the average farmhouse (at least those I've visited). We were told these are used by crew members when they're doing a TV shoot.

Alas it was time to return to the Land of Oz and Ta-town (Wichita). The blue skies and golden fields on the way home were so pretty, with acres and acres of windmills. 

Glenna and I are gathering tomorrow for one of our Pinterest craft nights. I'll sharing the "sweet" fun soon!
HINT: Our project involves multiple bags of large marshmallows. What can we be making?

*You're a Pioneer Woman fan!
*You've had your own pilgrimage to Pawhuska
*You can figure out what Glenna and I are crafting tomorrow night!

Thanks for reading and sharing our adventure!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spirit of Christmas Part 2 BONUS

We shipped the 2nd part of our Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler a couple weeks ago, along with some other new designs. Hopefully everyone has received it by now.

Here's a quick look at the BONUS design that comes with Part 2. We're calling it Christmas Love. You can use it for a pin pillow, door hanger, whatever your holiday heart desires.

It's a sweet little project - perfect for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or anytime you want a little "love" in your stitching basket. Stitch count is 73W x 27H. The Spirit of Christmas Embellishment Pack includes the sweetheart bird and mother-of-pearl heart buttons. 

You can choose your favorite fabric. Use threads from Spirit of Christmas, or go rogue and create your own custom "love" palette.

After our recent shipment on October 2, we escaped for a week in Maine. We traveled with Alan's sister and her husband, and had a great time exploring the northeast coast together. Our visit began with a short trip to Nantucket, visiting our niece and her husband. It's SO nice to have a private tour guide, and Emily is the best. Sorry, Em, forgot to snap a pic of all of us.

Then we ferried back to the mainland, picked up our rental car, and drove north to Camden. We spent the remainder of our week working our way south to Boston...visiting lighthouses, staying in charming B and B's, eating lobster rolls and clam chowder, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Maine certainly didn't disappoint!!!

Evelyn, Galen and I 

Super windy day at this lighthouse

Visiting the LL Bean "mother ship" in Freeport - weirdly warm weather!

Just hanging out in our pumpkin boat

One unexpected highlight was attending the annual Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival and Regatta. What's this???

It turns out they grow really big pumpkins in Maine. So what to do with all these pumpkins? The creative folk of Damariscotta have devised several pumpkin events. First, they display the largest pumpkins, with this year's winner weighing over 1700 pounds. They use forklifts to "relocate" the pumpkins.

This unique entry was entirely carved. Many are painted and elaborately propped.

Then they get local "artists" to decorate giant pumpkins and display them along Main Street. It was hard to capture the creativity and ingenuity on these.

Did you know that pumpkins float?? These boats are actually huge pumpkins, hollowed out for "racing" in the harbor. There were 2 division of pumpkin boats - rowed and motor-powered - but they were all decorated with matching crew members!

Love the gnome boat!

The Viking boat was probably my favorite, complete with braids and horns

Still not sure what this silver glittery boat was...disco ball? 

Rowing was pretty tricky - the boats mostly want to "bob" in the water

Closeup of the Viking boatsman

Can you see us? We're the crazy tourists standing the rain to watch the regatta! But when in Maine...

Many thanks to our bro-in-law, Galen, for planning our Maine adventure! We'd love to return sometime.

Have a Maine memory or recommendation to SHARE???
Leave a COMMENT below!

Monday, October 2, 2017

New "Treats" for October!

Yes, we are doing NEW DESIGNS  - other than Part 2 of our Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler!  Still, it's that mystery mania that is filling our days (and nights and weekends) and keeping us on the phone begging our partners for more supplies. So far they haven't stopped answering our calls!

We are shipping newbies to shops around the world today, after a busy weekend of assembling and packing orders. Here's what will be arriving at your favorite needlework source soon:

Dear Santa, I've Been Good #187

You can thank a long-time (and very persistent) L*K customer for this design. She's been patiently requesting this saying...year after year. Christmas came early for her, and now she's busy stitching multiples of this for family Christmas gifts. Includes 3 white snowflake buttons. Many thanks, Esther!

Nutcracker Sleds Snippet S133

It's sled time! Three more charming designs are great for your tree, stocking stuffers, package toppers or whatever you want. Snippet includes varied embellishments for all 3 sleds.

Stocking Sleds Snippet Snippet S134

The more, the merrier...we've got another set of 3 sled designs for 2017. They're a snap to stitch and finish and "snow much fun"! Embellishments for all 3 sleds included.

Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler PART 2

It's time for the second (middle) part of your mystery sampler, and I know you're ready! This section includes more text, some classic L*K holiday motifs, fun embellishments (optional) and more MYSTERIOUS fun! 

Thanks for your patience. I know many of you have been waiting for Spirit of Christmas supplies. We always have the charts, embellishment packs and Needle Nannies available to our shops, but there have been some backorders on threads and fabrics (especially orders placed after our original pre-order deadline).  It's been difficult for our suppliers to keep up with your mystery demand, and we really appreciate all of their hard work.

***Have you figured out the author of our beautiful holiday mystery quote? 
HINT: This quote was part of a Presidential address 90 years ago on December 25, 1027. 

LEAVE A COMMENT with your "Presidential answer". Happy Sleuthing, everyone!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Button mystery magic from JABCO

Their name may be Just Another Button Company, but there's nothing ordinary about the creative magic that happens at JABCO every day.

We've worked with Cecile, daughter Rachel and the talented team for many years to supply and create special buttons for L*K projects, including mystery samplers. So I decided to enlist their expert help again for our Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler.

Last year I shared a bunch of behind-the-scenes pics of them crafting their clay masterpieces for the SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler. AMAZING!

This year we included some custom clay buttons, but are also using their new hand-dyed buttons. These colorful gems come in lots of different shapes and sizes. AND they will dye them to match DMC colors...brilliant!

Here are button pros Colleen (foreground) and Hollie. Hollie mixes clay, packs order and, yes, counts buttons! They are counting darling little sweetheart bird buttons for our sampler. 

***Colleen gets "extra credit" because she dresses to match whatever projects she is assigned that day. She has on poinsettia earrings and gorgeous scarf that coordinates with Spirit of Christmas Mystery Sampler. I sometimes listen to Christmas music when I'm designing Christmas in March, but dressing the part...I'm impressed! Colleen is also a stitcher and is delighted to be a part of our mystery journey.

Here are Cathy and Colleen counting out hand-dyed buttons. Cathy answers the phone and takes orders - but EVERYONE in the office pitches in to count. All the ladies can count by 2's in their sleep!

Dying the buttons looks a bit like playing in the kitchen. Here's Rachel mixing dye to add to boiling water. You can see part of the inventory of undyed buttons behind her and the open door is their "natural ventilation" system. A nice air-exchange system is in the JABCO future.

I love this picture - the wooden spoon bouquet! They use different colored spoons for different colored dyes. If you look closely, you can see a button "recipe" on the card at bottom. 

These buttons are going into a dye bath. They use a strainer buasket so all the buttons come out of the dye bath at the same time. Check out the pretty purple spoon!

Here's the high tech button drying system...beautiful hand-dyed buttons chilling out on towels.

Here's a super closeup of tiny buttons on a mesh rack. Otherwise, they fall right through the holes on the strainer baskets.

Here are (left to right) Cecile, Janice and Rachel. Cecile and Rachel run the biz (I am so jealous of their natural curls...sigh). Janice formerly worked at Hillcreek Designs where she hand-dyed the buttons. JABCO recently acquired the biz and Janice taught them her tricks of the trade.  I used hand-dyed buttons from Janice for many years. I'm so grateful that JABCO is carrying on the colorful tradition.

And perhaps the most important "ladies" behind-the-scenes? These are Rachel's 2 darling daughters (Cecile's granddaughters) - Anna and Amelia. They are lovingly nicknamed Misses Button 1 and 2

Who can recognize the "mystery visitor" in the back? It's a surprise appearance from Cathy Habermann, aka Hands On Design. This pic was snapped on a visit from Aunt Cathy to the button factory. I love Cathy's darling, creative designs and beautiful finishes. Shout out to Kathy from L*K! 

Many thanks to Cecile for furnishing and narrating the photos for this post!!!

Meanwhile, we're expecting another button shipment to deliver tomorrow. Which means, more Spirit of Christmas Embellishment Pack assembly on our agenda.

Happy Week ahead, everyone!