Thursday, November 29, 2018

Early Christmas gift from L*K

Just for you...here's a little holiday freebie to make your season merrier!  Click here for the December freebie.


This little piece is a companion to the Moon Over Blackbird freebie we posted in October on our website.

We've already celebrated "Thanksmas" at our house. What is Thanksmas? It's the combined holiday you celebrate when you share/rotate the holidays with your adult children's families.

Our daughter Sarah and husband Jeff flew in to Wichita from Chicago for the long Thanksgiving weekend. They really appreciated our sunny, unseasonably warm temps - it was 65-70 degrees during their 4 day stay. Thankfully they flew back to the windy city BEFORE the big storm hit and closed the airports.

Thanksgiving feast with our family of 8

Christmas sweater cookie puzzle - if only they were edible!

We enjoyed all our usual Thanksmas traditions....cooking, baking, eating, working a Christmas puzzle, visit to Nifty Nut House (Wichitans will understand!), trip to N and J's (great Lebanese food) and Molino's (fave Mexi food), walks around our lake, annual Ebright talks and more.

Wichita Note: If you're ever in Wichita, schedule a quick trip to the Nifty Nut House near downtown. It's a giant building with an unbelievable selection of fresh nuts, candy and snacks. You can't walk in there without smiling. It's bustling all year long, but around the holidays it's slammed. The cheerful employees always welcome you to the Nut House and smile while they weigh and package your selections. Which makes me think...where did I hide that cajun snack mix?


We also added a new activity to our holiday fun - we decorated TINY gingerbread houses. I found some patterns online and baked the houses earlier in the week. I crafted 3 different house styles from "construction gingerbread". Gingerbread for houses is edible (I definitely ate some), but is a little harder than usual gingerbread. Note to self: When baking more than one style of house, be sure and keep the pieces separate next time - so confusing.

Hard at work with our pastry bags full of royal icing

Extreme concentration from Sarah and Jeff

Our finished "tiny house" village dusted with powdered sugar sitting in a "drift" of Epson salt!


My kitchen tree with leftover gingerbread

I used extra "construction gingerbread" to squeeze out these pointy heart cookies. Thankfully I remembered to poke holes in them for hanging BEFORE baking. I think they're pretty cute!

I still have 2 unassembled houses in my pantry. I'm looking forward to assembling them myself...leisurely. Here's how I picture it: me in my comfy clothes, looking outside at softly falling snow, a Hallmark Christmas movie in the background on TV, sipping a cup of hot tea. Maybe?!


***L*K CONFESSION
Hello, my name is Linda and I am addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies. It happens every year. Even though the plots are predictable and repetitive, even though every woman has the same hairstyle (soft waves!), even though everyone looks model-perfect all the time, even though it is ALWAYS gently snowing (never blowing), even though someone has always lost their "Christmas spirit" and even though there are a huge number of obscure PRINCES wondering around the US looking for mates....I find these irresistible. 

I'm not sure I have ever watched/listened to an entire Hallmark Christmas movie. I just like them in the background during the holiday season while I'm putzing around my kitchen. 

Want to share a favorite Christmas tradition at your house???

LEAVE A COMMENT below and share the holiday fun!










Friday, November 2, 2018

It's THANKFUL time!

Halloween has passed in a blur of sugar cookies (I'm trying to learn how to make the pretty kind!), scary movies (well, not TOO scary), and my favorite fun-sized candy bars.

Frosting pastry bag 101 - their expressions reflect how I feel holding a pastry bag

FUN "Old timer" FACT:
Can you believe fabulous fun-sized candy bars weren't even invented when I was a youngster? I know! Not until 1968 were these delicious bite-size wonders invented with Snickers and Milky Way being the first to the "tiny party". On the other hand, in the olden days we used to score entire candy bars, if we were lucky!

Can you believe it will be Thanksgiving in only 3 weeks???
I sure can't!! I'm still cutting outdoor flowers and bringing them inside to enjoy.

We're hosting the annual Thanksgiving gathering at our house this year. Sarah and Jeff (daughter and son-in-law) will be home from Chicago and my brother, sis-in-law and nephews will complete our not too big gathering.

Our spatchcocked bird!

As usual I will trust the turkey to Jeff (those big raw birds completely gross me out) and Sarah and I will tackle the remainder. The last time Jeff was in charge he spatchcocked our big bird. If you don't know what that is, look it up. Our festive bird was flattened out like road kill and he tasted great.


Give Thanks Free Design

Here's a little Thanksgiving freebie that you can complete before the big day. I'm sure you've got tons of cooking and holiday prep on your schedule, but...there's always time for a quick stitch. And if you don't get to it this year, Thanksgiving rolls around every November!

Here is the link to the actual pattern.

****And ONE more thing...the miniature experts over at Zappy Dots just added a Moon Over Blackbird Needle Nanny to their L*K collection. This little dot matches the autumn freebie I shared with you on a previous post (picture below). It's amazing how adorable a design looks on a tiny magnetic dot...and it's useful, too.



Moon Over Blackbird freebie

In case you missed it earlier, here's the link to the Moon Over Blackbird freebie pattern

Enjoy your November, everyone!











Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sampler Claus debut!

Santa '18 is here, which means only one thing...you've been GOOD!!!

Santa is busy gearing up for Christmas 2018, surrounded by his favorite Christmas things...wreath, gingerbread, trusty reindeer, basket of goodies, bird in hand, and more workshop goodies.

Here is the link where you can find Santa.

After my retirement this spring, I found myself strangely "moved" to design my yearly Santa. I guess the Christmas spirit really did visit me this past summer. Santa lives!

#191 Sampler Claus

Sampler Claus is an exclusive design available at 123Stitch.com. The chartpak includes designs for both projects shown above.

You can purchase Santa at 123stitch.com and buy supplies from your favorite needlework supplier.


I stitched Santa on a piece of 32 ct. Natural light linen. It's a beautiful neutral color. You can choose whatever fabric you like best, or pose Santa on something different...maybe a pretty pale gray or light green? Santa will be jolly wherever you stitch him!


Could the finish on this little pink/red house project be any cuter? I think it's adorable, resting in a pillow-y wool snowdrift. There are even tiny icicles hanging from the eave. So many fun textures on a "cool" Christmas finish!

Would you believe...it's only 78 more days until Christmas?!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas season as we anticipate Christmas '18 together!

****Thanks to hundreds of you for joining our L*K Facebook "fan" page after I mentioned it in the last blog post. There's still room for everyone in this fun, creative group! To join just send a request to the I Love Stitching Lizzie Kate Designs Facebook page. I know you'll love the community of stitchers and beautiful creative projects that are shared.

****And one MORE THING! Thanks to all of you for graciously enjoying the autumn freebie I posted here last week - Moon Over Blackbird. There are already some finishes on the I Love Stitching Lizzie Kate Facebook page - those speedy stitchers. I will look forward to seeing some fun finishes on this fall project!






Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fall Freebie!!

Is it really FALL already? I can't believe it is already October. I always say that October is my favorite month because I love the changing seasons, getting the house all "cozy" for winter, making soup, looking forward to the holidays ahead...and because (who am I kidding?) it's my birthday month. Shout out to all of you October birthdays!

Moon over Blackbird FREEBIE!

Here's a little freebie to keep your needles busy during this lovely autumn season.

Click here to download the Freebie.

I've included a few options (2 border choices) so you can personalize your fall stitchery. Choose your favorite, or stitch it several times with different choices and share the autumn goodness with those you love.

I stitched on a piece of 28 ct. Weeks Dye Works natural/tin roof gingham linen from my stash. It's super cute on the gingham, but any bit of neutral fabric would work. You have some extra fabric, right?

Happy Fall, Y'all!! (even though it's gonna be 90 degrees here today!)

***By the way, our "fan club" Facebook page is still active, even though we're not. Check out I Love Stitching Lizzie Kate Designs for lots of fun finishes. If you're not a member of this closed group, just ask to join. It's a great group of creative people and we'd love to have you enjoy the stitching fun!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Here comes "Sampler Claus"!

I hadn't planned on designing a Santa this year (truly, I had NOT!!). But something unexpected happened this summer. I was overcome with the holiday spirit on a hot summer day, retreated to my office to piddle around with my design software...and guess who emerged? Santa Claus himself!

I had the BEST time working on this jolly old elf. I literally surrounded Santa with my favorite vintage sampler motifs - Lizzie*Kate style - it's so fun!

There's no "saying" on this Santa design, so he differs from the previous 20+ yearly Santa designs, but change is good...right?! I think he's letting the cheery Christmas motifs do the talking.

We're calling him Sampler Claus. Alan thought of the name, so he gets the applause. This name makes me smile. And, truth be told, I don't take Alan's creative advice very often. I usually smile and say something like "yea, I'll think about that".

Sampler Claus "Sneak Peek"

When I work on graphing a design like this, I always have "leftovers"...little bits I have graphed that don't end up in the final design. Sometimes they're some of my favorite bits, but just don't fit in with the final design.

That was definitely the case this time, as I began my Santa design by graphing a red and pink house. I've never done a red/pink house before and those colors just made me happy. I mean...who really has a red/pink house...but again, why not?  Alas, the charming house didn't make the final cut for the big design.

Sampler Claus "Joy Sampler" Sneak Peek

So I did a smaller design and began with the little house. Then I surrounded it with other fun "leftovers" and filled in with some snowflakes here and there.

***And here's what I've learned about my almost "retirement". It's SO much more relaxing to work on a design when you aren't on a schedule....when you don't have to churn out 4 more designs to release at the same time...when stitching a model is pure pleasure and you're not on a time crunching schedule. Not to complain about my previous life as a designer, but this is so much more chill and sigh...rrrreeeelllaaaaxxxiiinnngggg.

We are headed west soon on a road trip to Salt Lake City to visit the gang at 123stitch.com. We'll be carrying a big load of L*K including Sampler Claus (in our sleigh?). We will also deliver 17 oldies (vintage L*K chartpaks) that have had "facelifts" and been reprinted in our current chartpak format.

Sampler Claus will be available to purchase soon at 123stitch.com.

We'll keep you posted when Santa "comes to town"!












Sunday, September 9, 2018

Lizzie*Kate and 123stitch.com

As we previously announced on this blog, one of the steps toward our retirement has been establishing a partnership with 123stitch.com.

Here's a link to the "official" announcement from 123.stitch.com:

What does this "partnership" mean???

* From this point forward, 123stitch.com will be selling our kits. Because of reasons we've already explained, it wasn't feasible for us to sell kits through our distributors (who then sell to retail shops and finally to stitchers). We did send distributors all of our chartpaks, Snippet and Flip-its.

In order for some of these kits to still be available for you, we decided to let 123stitch.com sell these kits. Some L*K kits may not look the same. While the designs will be the same, they may elect to sell them as patterns only, with supplies available separately. Check each product for details.

123stitch.com will also be selling other L*K products (chartpaks, Flip-its and Snippets), as will other needlework retailers around the world.

* We have also agreed to let 123stitch.com reprint old designs, as existing supplies of printing are gone. We are working with our graphic designer to "give a facelift" to some real oldies - you remember those chartpaks with the glued-on photos? Now some of them will look like our newer chartpaks with beautiful 4 color printing.

* I have also agreed to do a few NEW DESIGNS every year - available from 123.stitch.com! After feeling pretty burnt out on my 30+ designs a year schedule, it will be dreamy to do a few designs, as I'm inspired.

I've been working on a new Santa design that I'm anxious to share with you. I'll do a blog post soon with a sneak peek and some details. I had SO much fun working on him!

What does our "partnership" NOT mean???

* It does not mean that other needlework shops are out of L*K inventory. We shipped huge orders to needlework shops everywhere after we announced our retirement. We did dozens of reprints just to fill these orders.

Needlework shops continue to order L*K products from their distributors. Check with your favorite needlework supplier for L*K goodies you want to purchase.

Thanks for stitching Lizzie*Kate for the past 22 years and going forward!



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Where in the world is Lizzie*Kate?

I'm still here in Kansas, looking out my office window at the sandpit lake in our backyard, dreaming of the coast!


I haven't blogged since March 28...yikes! After so many inquiries about the "future of the L*K blog", I decided it was time for an update.

Thanks to all of you for being so patient with me during this incredibly busy period of our lives. Since we announced our L*K retirement on February 12, life just hasn't been the same. We were swamped with orders and our little L*K world headquarters was strained with the volume. 

On our path to retirement, we were suddenly busier than we had been for the previous 22 years at L*K. It was completely unexpected, thrilling and overwhelming. We finished shipping orders to needlework shops around the world by the end of April. 

But we're not done yet!!! We have spent the last few months reprinting, assembling and shipping hundreds (and hundreds) of pounds of L*K inventory to our distributors. Needlework shops can then order from these distributors.

We pored over sales records for the past several years, and consulted again...and again...with the distributors trying to get them the right quantities of everything they desired. With hundreds of different items in our inventory, it has been a long process.

Almost empty shelves at L*K headquarters

We also reached an agreement with 123 Stitch.com to continue selling our L*K kits. Because of distributor fees, we had never "allowed" kits into distribution, and it was not feasible to do this going forward. This new agreement will enable many of our kits to still be available to you through 123 Stitch.com. 

WHEW! We are still in the L*K office, extending our lease on a month to month basis with our flexible landlord, hoping every month that will be our last. Really...I think we'll be done by the end of August. We're having a big office sale in a couple weeks to sell dozens of racks and other office equipment.

One of my friends shared some wisdom saying that "Closing your business will be the hardest thing you've ever done". And we agree...much more time-consuming than we had ever anticipated. Hey - we've never done this before!

So what's next???

The short answer is "we need some free time to determine how we want to spend more free time!". Does that make sense?

We are excited to have more time to spend with family and friends, and are excited to pursue more volunteer activities. And, of course, more TRAVEL! We returned recently from 2 weeks in Spain visiting our daughter and husband (who live in Barcelona) and touring their beautiful country.

I've been active for many years on a school partnership team at my church. After weekly events for a long time, I almost "dropped out" the past couple years when I was busy managing my mom's care and daily needs. Now I'm excited to rejoin the team and go "back to school" this fall.

Could they be any cuter?

What's a church/school partnership?

It's so cool!! Over 10 years ago our church began a partnership with the elementary school closest to our church building. It's near downtown and has a high poverty rate. Most of the children speak Spanish in their homes.  A few years ago we expanded this ministry to another nearby elementary school. These schools are wonderful and interesting places!

Basically, we do what a really supportive parent group might do. We send a team of tutors and mentors into the building every week. We also work with the social worker, principle, nurse, whoever makes a request...to do special projects for the teachers and the students. We furnish school uniforms, underwear, socks, even a washer and dryer to do laundry. And more...

This week we're hosting Back to School Luncheons for the entire staff of each school. We invite them to our church building and we dine together. This is the week that the teachers return to school. The students won't be there until next week!

I'm off to serve taco salad and ice cream sundaes to a big school staff this morning...thanks for reading!!!

***I've missed sharing my life with you all. If you're interested in future posts, please send me a COMMENT below. I promise to share more cross stitch related content, too!