Wednesday, April 12, 2017

L*K Office "Redoux"

I've worked from home since the beginning of L*K almost 22 years ago. I began on a table in my family room, moved to my basement, built an L*K "mini-me" office next to our house (it looked like a miniature version of our house), then moved almost 2 years ago to our new home.

Alan moved the L*K warehouse/shipping to a little strip mall near our house, and I snagged the main floor "guest bedroom" for my L*K home office.

When we moved, I hastily pulled together the L*K office and got to work. Almost 2 years later, I was in the mood for a "refresh". The theme is based around my giant pink donut painting, and it's FUN!

Here's a peek into my tweaked L*K office and the eclectic decor that keeps me happy and inspired.


On the short hallway to my office (from the kitchen eating area) I have favorite art on both walls. I just got this pink/orange print called "Let's Grow Old Together" from Minted. I adore it! I love the image of the couple walking into the beautiful landscape. That's Alan and I...can't you tell?


And on the other side of the hallway is a colorful contemporary print with a beautiful indigo sky that I love. Can you see the kit flying over the houses?  I figure if art makes you smile, no matter what the style, it's now your style.


And here's what I see when I step into my sunny office every morning. The walls are pale green and it's BRIGHT in here with the east sun pouring in through large windows on right of pic. I have to close my shades to see computer well for a few hours. The color in this pic is kinda dull, but unfortunately I've never learned to edit photos, so picture it bright and colorful.


I love to create little vignettes and this one that greets me first thing changes frequently. It's an old faux bamboo bookcase I got at a junk store 20+ years ago. It's lived in almost every room of the house. It's usually full of old pottery and now it's got a contemporary "dot" painting (Minted) on top. Just got the A/Z bookends from Target, and need some colorful vintage books.


Back to my busy desk. I sold my large pine table and downsized to a sleek white formica desk from IKEA. I wasn't sure how I would like it, but it's perfect. You choose the size of top (I got 2 and turned them into an L-shape), then screw in the legs. I also stuck an IKEA filing cabinet with drawers under big desk. It's a great option for an inexpensive work area, and the smooth white surface is perfect.


I love my new aqua polka dot desk chair from Home Goods. They are new to Wichita and I am a loyal customer. You never know what you need until you see it at Home Goods. I got the funky pillow there too, on the "Clearance/nobody wants me" aisle.


I recently decided I needed more organization on my desk to track all the projects in progress. That really is the hardest part for me...so many projects in all different stages of production. So I bought these fun pink stackers. I ordered from a company called Poppin and am delighted with them. For some reason, pink stackers make organization more fun.

The 4 compartments hold, in order from top to bottom:
* New designs, not stitched (you can spot 2017 Snippet sleds on top)
* Stitched new designs, not published yet
* Published new designs, not yet released
* Recently released designs

I hang onto a lot of paperwork/pre press stuff for a while...stitching notes, sources, proofs, all that stuff that documents the progress from original design to published material...hence the stackers.


And next to my pink stacker is my new gold bulldog tape dispenser. No, I don't need tape often, but I couldn't resist taking home this doggie from the sale bin at Target. And post-its, of course. 

Also here's a recent letter from my sponsored elder friend at Unbound. I've talked about Elena before. She lives in Guatemala, and we correspond frequently, via a translator. Here's the original note written in Spanish, thankfully accompanied by English translation. I write her online and send pics and they're delivered to her. If you want to sponsor an elder or a youngster, check out Unbound.org.


Nestled under my desk - next to IKEA file cabinet - is a basket of finished L*K models (Home Goods). These are "yet to be released"...coming soon in April and June. I keep them near until release date, then they spend time at my LNS or travel in a trunk show. Adios, models!


Circling to left of main desk is my computer table. Here's a sneek peek of upcoming Autumn Smalls chart. I'm stitching these 4 little guys now and they're sure fun. They are a companion to Summer Smalls - coming next week. Also an old-fashioned calendar and a no-maintenance terrarium, one of many at my house.


Directly under my computer desk is my furry footstool from the Hobby Lobby clearance aisle. Even 2 years after knee surgery, sometimes my knee enjoys a little pampering.


Directly behind my desk is my favorite part of my office - the giant pink donut painting! It's an original from my daughter, the talented Sarah Wain. By day she's a high art teacher near downtown Chicago, but in her spare time she loves to paint, do collage, printmaking, and all sorts of beautiful art. Who doesn't love a workspace with donuts and sprinkles?! And no, it doesn't make me hungry.



I just added this fun little print from Hobby Lobby. It's a note to myself, reminding me not to doubt myself and my creativity. The cool thing about this HL art...it's so CHEAP! If I grow tired of the print, I can pop something else in the sleek white frame and mat. 


Next to the old aqua dresser and giant donut painting, is my new clear acrylic airchair. Because...WHY NOT? It was inexpensive on Amazon and fills the space nicely. It's holding funky pillows and underneath is L*K model overflow...oops.


As I enter my office, there's a closet that I've converted to supply storage space. I hastily arranged it when I moved in, and it needs some tidying. OK...it needs A LOT of tidying. I know my supplies are there, and keep searching until I find them. There's a charming pink stool from my husband's family farm.


Almost forgot this...it's just behind my computer desk and I see it beyond my giant monitor. I've had this child's rolltop desk for decades - literally. Isn't it scary when you can say this, and it's true?! Like much of my furniture, it's traveled all over my home, but I'm glad to welcome it in the L*K office.


Couldn't finish without sharing my pink plant. I don't know what it is, but I got it a few months ago and it loves my cheerful environment. It bloomed a bit (bonus!) and it's so PRETTY. It also keeps my big fig trees company. 


And the best part of my home office...looking out the windows! I've got east and south windows and have water views both directions. The interesting thing about living near water is the ever-changing view. No matter whether there are giant whitecaps, or whether it's satin smooth...it's a delight to behold. 


Thanks for joining along on the "new and improved" L*K home office tour!

WHEW...my office is sighing because it was impossibly neat for these photos, and now it can relax and resume it's normally state of creative messiness. And "NO", I haven't lost my marbles...they're right in front of me every day! 

***Unlike a lot of decor blogs I follow, this is NOT a sponsored post! I just listed sources in case any of you liked my goodies and "need" them at your house.

I'd love your feedback!!! Please LEAVE A COMMENT with ideas, suggestions, observations, whatever. I have chronic rearranging syndrome, so the office is never "done". I'd love your input!





































Wednesday, April 5, 2017

COMING in 2 weeks!

We've got 4 new designs coming in mid-April. We previewed the first 2 in last blog post. Scroll back to view them!

Here are other 2 newbies joining the L*K 2017 line-up:

F167 Liberty Celebrate! with Charm Flip-it

Our year long celebration continues with a July 4th design. It's the same size as all the other Celebrate! Flip-its, so you can interchange frames if you like. Or stitch all of the holidays together for one horizontal celebration. Flip-it includes an antique gold star charm.


Responding to a request from a Canadian shop, we have also developed a "Canadian alternative" for this design. Thank goodness we consulted with her on the wording, because we had never heard the phrase she suggested before - "True North". She assured us the stars, sunflowers and waves were appropriate, so we are pleased to offer this adaptation for our Canadian stitcher friends.

We'll post the Canadian adaptation on the Free Designs section of the L*K website. 

Many thanks to shop owner Ann McDonald, from Knowledge and Needles in Brighton, Ontario for stitching our Canadian model and suggesting the Canadian tweak. We love our northern neighbors!



K95 A Little Stitch Kit

It's time for another "Little" kit and we've chosen our favorite subject - stitching! We've also included a bit of stitcher wisdom...."Stitch every day". Words to live by! Kit includes easy-to-see 28 ct. Lambswool linen and silver "Made with Love" charm. 

***On another subject, I've been obsessed with "spring refreshing" in my house for the last month. I seem to have caught CPRS. I read about this on a decorating blog and it describes me perfectly. I have "constant pillow rearranging syndrome". My fun pillows travel from sofa to chair, room to room, upstairs and downstairs...all in a quest for a new look. And I seem to be buying more pillows since Home Goods came to town. Love that place!

And pillows aren't the only things moving around my home and home office. Small furniture, plants, accessories, anything that I can lift is subject to relocation at any time. I'm blaming those decorating blogs I love to follow and Pinterest, of course. Pinterest = addictive.

I'll do a post soon with my L*K office refresh! I'm in a PINK mood this spring (not sure why!) but maybe because of the giant pink donut painting in my office from my daughter, the talented Sarah Wain. Pink is popping up around the office, and I love it. I'll clean my office to unusual (unsustainable) standards, take some pics and share soon.

Directly behind my desk - sprinkles on my shoulder!

***Stay tuned for "behind the (pink donut) scenes" at my L*K home office!




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

APRIL SNEAK PEEK

It's been 3 weeks since my last blog post, but it seems like FOREVER!

Between now and then, we've had some quirky warm/hot weather (yes, we've already mowed our lawn), watched tons of basketball, I've designed a bunch of newbies for 2017 (including a Mystery Sampler!), and worked on planning a wedding. Ali (aka "Kate") is getting married and we couldn't be happier. But sometimes it's hard to squeeze work between all the fun, family and friends.

But no worries, I haven't forgotten about you, my dear stitching friends. You are what keeps me going.

Here are the first 2 SNEAK PEEKS of April new releases:

We'll be releasing 4 new products in mid April. We'll do another post soon with the other 2 newbies.


#182 Summer Smalls (with embellishments)

We're excited to preview our Seasonal Smalls series! These little buggers are so quick and fun, we decided to make them a seasonal series. Each "Smalls" chartpak will include 4 charming little designs, with embellishments included for all. I promise...this is going to be a darling "small" series.


#183 Coffee Time

What time of day is coffee time? Always! We "perked up" 3 favorite coffee quotes, just for your stitching pleasure. Enjoy the buzz and get stitchin"!

About those "other things" we've been doing, besides running the L*K family biz...it turns out wedding plans are a big deal.  Literally...Ali and Barc are expecting 300-350 guests at their wedding and reception.




We're so excited they've scheduled the event at historic Union Station in downtown KC.


I got the printer who does all my L*K printing to do their invitations. I have learned a thing or two about printing over the last 21 years. They found a cool invite that looks like a vintage train ticket....not your usual stuffy wedding invite, but perfect for the happy couple.

We have an April "full of showers" in Wichita and KC. It will be a joyful month of travel between KC and Wichita (3 hours apart) as we spend time with our dear friends and family.

Amidst all the wedding prep activity, we "faithfully promise" to get our 4 NEW PRODUCTS shipped to shops around the world on Monday, April 17!





Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Which came first...the chick or the egg?

Question: Which came first...the chicken or the egg OR the chick and egg cross stitch from Lizzie*Kate????

#181 Chick Party

Answer: Doesn't matter, this cross stitch is super CUTE and it's here NOW!

AND...we have a wonderful new finishing post so you can finish your little egg just like ours!



These finishing instructions are brought to you by Mona, our good friend and finisher extraordinaire. If you see a finish other than a frame on an L*K design, you know Mona is the "magic" behind the finishing scenes. Hence her biz name - Magic by Mona.

And it is magic for me...because I hate to sew! I know...it sounds weird, but sewing and cross stitch are not at all the same thing. I CAN sew, but I don't really enjoy the process, except when I'm finished.  Back in the day, my Mom taught me sew and I sewed a lot of my own clothes. Heck, I was even a Home Economics Liberal Arts major in college - believe it or not. (That's a fun quirky fact I pull out sometimes to amaze my friends!). Would you believe the Home Ec department has been renamed Human Ecology?

So click on over to Magic by Mona (link above) and find her super helpful egg finishing instructions. You'll find the egg template on the L*K website under the Free Designs button on left of Home Page. It looks like pic below. Then click on egg, download and print.



Our Free Designs page looks like pic above. Find the egg, download and print



Then head over the Mona's site for all of the written instructions with some amazing pictures to help tell the egg-cellent story!



Mona really does make it look easy with her great tutorials. And the step by step pics...so helpful!



And here's the final result...artfully photographed on my placemat! Haven't unboxed the Easter gear at home yet.


All of this "egg" talk reminds me of a kit I did a couple years ago. I adored this little egg finish, and was excited to display it at home. Unfortunately, I lost it somewhere between photographing it and going to market. Pretty embarassing. So I did the next best thing. I made a large poster of it for market and displayed that. I thought maybe I would "uncover the egg" when we moved last year, but alas, no.


I guess the "yolk" was on me! That pesky wabbit must have made off with my egg when I wasn't looking. Yesterday I took my new egg to my local needlework shop (Heart's Desire in Wichita, Kansas) for safe keeping!









Wednesday, February 22, 2017

L*K Charity Update!

Last November I told you about our L*K holiday charity project. We're so excited to share an update with all of you...our stitching and giving partners!

B55 I Am Only One Inspiration Boxer Kit

We introduced our "Charity" Boxer B55 just in time for Christmas 2016. But...it's not a holiday 2016 project only. The giving will continue all year, and for years to come.

How many stoves have you all funded so far? We sent a check at the end of 2016 that will fund 27 stoves. And that's just the first donation! How exciting is this?!

Why did we choose Stove Builders of Guatemala as our charity?



I was fortunate to visit Guatemala several years ago, and am hopeful to return again to build more stoves. Women typically cook on open fires inside their homes. The #1 killer of Guatemalan women is lung and eye diseases from open fires. Women's long skirts often catch fire and small children may fall into the fire. In addition, a lot of wood is burned, deforesting the countryside. Everywhere we traveled, we saw people carrying firewood...young and old...everyone carrying bits of wood.

Long story short...an American who had lived in Guatemala developed a fuel efficient stove that could be built using local materials. Besides being fuel efficient, the stove got the cooking fire off the ground and vented the smoke outdoors. It could be built for about $120.

Stove Builders Juan and Diego

Local "stove builders" have been trained (pic above), and they continue to build stoves and train more stove builders. Twice a year a group from our church returns to work alongside local stove builders and provide financial help. Can you believe Stove Builders have built over 850 stoves?!

$120 is a big price for a family where a good wage is $6 a day. Stove Builders provides $100 per stove through donations and the family pays $20. In addition, the family helps with construction of the stove.


Our hope is to provide a stove for every family who needs one. By purchasing this L*K design, you are partnering with us and stitchers around the world to provide safe, efficient stoves to Guatemalan families. ***Check out those tiny tortillas above. Tortillas are a staple food - breakfast, lunch and dinner.


I couldn't finish this post without sharing this pic of the beautiful women and their gorgeous handmade clothing. I fell in love with the traditional clothing of these Mayan descent women. These ladies aren't "dressing up" for tourists - this is their everyday wear. Every village has it's own "pattern" of embroidery, and you can identify a person's home from their clothing. I also thought the wrap skirts were genius! No matter what your current weight, you could wind these skirts to a comfortable, cozy fit. And the beautiful COLORS!!!


***If you have a special story to tell about how you are using B55 I Am Only One Inspiration Boxer in your life...maybe as a special gift, project or something other creative use...please leave a COMMENT. 

"I am only one. I cannot do everything, but I can do Something".

And with all of you...we can do so much MORE!

Monday, February 13, 2017

NEW next week!!

It's Nashville Needlework Market time, so that means lots of NEW designs from your favorite creative people. We've made the cross-country drive for 20 years, but we're staying home this year. Sometimes life gets in the way of business. More about that in a future post, but all is good. 

But we're still releasing NEW DESIGNS at market time. Actually, we're shipping ahead of market, so shops can cross L*K off their "to buy" list at market. One less busy showroom to visit.

We previewed our Chick Party (bottom pic) last week. 

Here are our other 2 (Nashville) newbies!

#180 She Believed She Could

I found 2 cool saying I LOVE, so combined them into one powerful, female-friendly inspirational chartpak. Just last week a friend suggested "She Believe She Could" saying to me. I told her it was already DONE!


F166 Easter Basket Celebrate! Flip-it


Our 7-part holiday series is already in full swing with Love (#164 Valentine's Day) and Luck (#165 St. Patrick's Day). Now Basket (Easter) is joining a year of celebration. These little gems are quick, cute and full of finishing possibilities. Let's celebrate 2017 together...in stitches!


#181 Chick Party

Yes, we told you about the chicks last week, but they are still partying and wanted to be included on the blog again. Chicks just wanna have fun! Chartpak includes both designs and a cache of tiny white buttons. Find egg template and finishing instructions online at magicbymona.blogspot.com.


***If you "need" any newbies, be sure to let your favorite needlework supplier know. We're shipping to shops around the world on Wednesday, February 22. Lots of spring happiness coming your way!


Speaking of spring happiness...is anyone else having unseasonably warm weather? On the daily news, I see severe weather on both coasts. But here in the heartland, we're having 60 and 70 degree days in February! My grass is greening, perennials are starting to poke up their heads...it's downright balmy. And my over-achieving neighbor mowed her lawn. AND I had early morning hot tea on my balcony the other day - what's with that?!

Is winter really over...or is a frigid, blustery March lurking ahead of us? Whichever...loving February in Kansas!

Leave me a COMMENT if freaky weather is happening at your house. Whatever the weather, it's always cross stitch weather!




Monday, February 6, 2017

Time for a Chick Party!!!

We're ready to PARTY and we've invited the best "chicks" in town...no men allowed!

#181 Chick Party

Is it possible to have too many chicks? Hope not, because these feathered ladies are ready for some springtime fun!

#181 Chick Party chartpak includes patterns for both designs. Want to finish your little egg just like ours? We'll post complete finishing instructions, including egg template online. Chartpak also includes 6 tiny white buttons for flower centers.You supply the carrots, eggs and your favorite springtime decor.

When are these chicks coming your way???

We're shipping Chick Party (and 2 other newbies I'll preview soon) on FEBRUARY 22 to wonderful needlework shops around the world. 

Need a Chick Party in your life? Let your favorite needlework shop know, and they'll order a copy just for you!


***Note from Linda...now that I've opened the stuffed Easter tote in my basement to get decor for this photo, it's hard not to get out all the spring-y stuff and scatter around my house. I'm making myself wait a few more weeks, but with 60-70 temps in February in Kansas, it's not easy! Spring is coming...





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Official L*K forecast for 2017!

I'm forecasting a year full of cross stitch fun for 2017!!!

****If you don't read about "how I plan a year in advance", scroll on down to the SNEAK PEEKS later in post. If you want more L*K behind-the-scenes, read the whole thing!

Seriously, I'm working this week on my tentative design schedule for 2017. Believe it or not, I do plan ahead...sort of...subject to change, of course.


Here's how it works...kind of an L*K tradition. I tear out a piece of old-fashioned notebook paper (old school!), grab an (erasable!) pencil and get to work. I pencil in what months we will be releasing new designs. That's usually every other month. Unless we're doing a Mystery Sampler, unless market gets in the way, unless...whatever else pops up. In 2016, we had 8 product releases. With only 4 months without new product releases, it seemed like we were always doing major shipments...and we were!

As I pencil in my designs for the year ahead, I refer to the previous year's schedule. There are some designs that occur yearly, and I don't want to forget those. Every year we have Tiny Tidings (tiny holiday designs) and a yearly Snippet Santa.

Then I try to maintain a nice balance of our different product lines and scatter those throughout the year. The goal is to have a little something for everybody.

Chartpaks - usually a large design or group of small designs
Snippets - small designs
Flip-its - series of small design that can be stitched separately or together
Boxers - kits that include fabric, embellishments and BONUS design
"A Little" Kits - themed kits that include fabric and embellishments
Kits - seasonal kits, often Limited Edition
Embellishments - sometimes we have optional embellishment packs to accompany designs

I don't pencil in a whole year at once! But I do have an outline. There's always room for "sudden inspiration" when I find a theme or a quote that really speaks to me and I want to share it with all of you.

And sometimes things I plan on doing just don't materialize. That's why everything is in PENCIL. Then when the new product release is actually scheduled and announced to the needlework shops, I get out the eraser and finalize it in ink.

Sometimes a design that begins as a single design evolves into a series. A good example would be S106 Spring String Snippet. I have so much designing this little "string" that a wholes series followed. Buzzy String, Spooky String, Thankful String, Merry String, Snowy String, Doggy String and Kitty String. They aren't my best sellers, but I love them (sometimes that happens!).

S106 Spring String Snippet

S107 Buzzy String Snippet


NOW...HERE'S A SNEAK PEEK FOR 2017!

* Celebrate with Charm Flip-its. We just shipped the first 2 parts of this 7-part holiday series. They're quick, cute and each one comes with an antique gold charm. So many finishing possibilities on these! Easter Celebrate with Charm is coming in February.




* Chick Party! I just stitched 2 little Easter designs with lots of adorable chicks. I'm not sure whether to call it "Just Chicks" or "Chick Party". I'm leaning toward partying! Coming soon in February.

* She Believed She Could. Suddenly I'm seeing this saying everywhere..."she believed she could, so she did". I just designed and stitched this quote, along with another women-oriented saying that I love. This continues my theme for 2016 on self-care and empowerment and "just go girl!". Coming in February.

Coffee designs! I just finished stitching a series of 3 coffee themed designs. I know we've "done coffee" before, but there's a real "thirst" for coffee stuff. It never goes out of style....

* A Little Stitch Kit. Several years ago I asked my blog readers to submit ideas for Little Kits. I went back through that list (still have it) and decided to do a cross-stitch themed kit. Can't wait to start stitching this model because it's fun. It says "Stitch every day", which is (of course), excellent advice!

* Snippet Sleds. These little buggers are so popular, and they're so fun to design. It's sorta like solving a puzzle...trying to figure out how to fill the allotted sled-size stitch count with a cute design. Each Sleds Snippet comes with 3 sled designs. Last year we released 2 Sled Snippets (6 designs), and hope to do that again in 2017. Each Snippet also includes little sled embellishments.

S129 Snowy Sleds

S128 Peppermint Sleds


* Santa and Tiny Tidings. Every year, these make an appearance. Our 2016 Old School Santa was a very popular guy. And Tiny Tidings XXI was the most popular Tiny Tidings in recent years. I adored the 5 little holiday characters. What should I do in 2017?



* Seasonal Smalls series. I just designed a group of 3 summery "smalls" and they are so cool, I'm planning a seasonal series. What are smalls? Just what you think...sweet little designs. The fun thing about smalls - you can do so many great finishes. Pin pillows, bowl fillers, tiny frames, boxes, easels, whatever you like and they look great. My favorite thing about smalls...they are satisfying, enjoyable, quick little projects. Smalls are FUN!

* Inspiration Boxer Kits. We've done almost 2 dozen Inspiration Boxers, and they're still popular. I think a little inspiration is always a good idea. A few years ago, we had a contest to submit sayings. I graphed the 3 winners, and I still have the long list of submissions. Want to submit your favorite inspirational saying? Leave a comment below.


B56 Be the Rainbow Inspiration Boxer - our most recent release

* Just Cross Stitch Annual Ornament Issue. L*K was MIA from the 2016 Annual Ornament Issue, but we'll be back in 2017. Would you believe we submit our designs in March? I decided, uncharacteristically, to tackle it as soon as I got the request from JCS last week. I designed it and am stitching on it now. The JCS ladies will be shocked when they receive my ornament issue project in February! Definitely a first for L*K.

What else? What would you like to see in 2017???

Please LEAVE A COMMENT below and let me know what is your "heart's desire" for 2017. I keep a file of suggestions from stitchers and refer to it often. I really love the input.

Here's to a great 2017 together...in stitches!