Sunday, February 27, 2011

EMAW (Every Man a Wildcat!)

After an absolutely MANIC week of catching up after our market trip (putting all the market orders in the computer, packing new orders, returning a week's worth of phone calls & emails, packing new orders, returning market props to attic, making more kits so we can pack more orders...) it was time to take a break and hang with our friends!!

Several years ago Alan talked me into a BIG TV in our family room.  It doesn't really add to the aesthetics of the room ): but it sure has added to our social life! A bunch of our friends are also Kansas State fans, so whoever is available comes to our house to watch all the football and basketball games. (They even know where the key is, if we're running a little late!).  The best part is...we have a "ball" cheering, celebrating, and even commiserating together. We all wear our obnoxious purple clothing and snack our way through all the Wildcat victories!  There's always room for a loyal might not get the most coveted seats (Vicki gets the toasty seat in front of the fireplace, Alan gets the chair next to the little ottoman which he uses for a drum)...but wear your PURPLE and you are welcome!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"There's no place like home, there's no place like home..."

So true, Dorothy!  We were thrilled to return to Kansas after our 6 day market adventure and 14 hour car trip home.  Yes, we did promise to blog while we were in Nashville, but we FORGOT the appropriate cable to hook whatever to it didn't happen!  Which was probably good - maybe we're getting older, but we were worn out at the end of every full day!

So here we are with some of our market pals...from left, Judy Whitman from JBW Designs, me, Judy's helper Connie, Inez from Adam Original in black sweater, and Inez's helper Mary.  Market hasn't even started and we're already sharing great food, friendship and FUN!  We arrive a day and a half early to have time for setup, and recreational shopping, of course.  I have a bit of a "shopping disability", but I am assisted by my friend Judy Whitman, who is a real pro!  Every year we return to the favorite quirky little shops we've discovered over the years in the historic town of Franklin.  We used to make the drive from Nashville to this suburb, but now they have conveniently relocated our market to the Embassy Suites in Franklin - very thoughtful!  There are lots of country/western celebs who make their homes in this historic town, but we've haven't seen anyone...yet!

Here's the view INSIDE the Embassy Suites atrium.  Many of the vendors hang their signs over the balconies and we were some of the first this year.  The trick is, when the market is over, to remember to take down your sign. We learned this the hard way one year!

This is the close-up view outside room 610.  Linda had a late night crazed craft session with some construction paper, legal pads and markers to add a little personalization to our window. Flora McSample is our new sampler girl character, and we wanted EVERYONE to know she was in town!

Once inside the L*K showroom, we put our newest stuff right inside the front door - 3 new members of the L*K kit family!!!  Introducing PEEP Limited Edition kit (left), Flora's Heart Sampler (middle) and Flora's Stitch Lesson (right).  They all have beautiful pastel linens and fun embellishments, and are busy traveling to shops in the US and around the world. We'll post images on our website in a few days...meanwhile, check your local shops and favorite online retailers.  If they don't have the kits, ask them to order! This year, we had international buyers from Japan, France, Italy and the Netherlands - isn't that amazing?!  Some of our international buyers speak excellent English, and sometimes we do a bit of pantomime to communicate!  Whatever...we speak the international needlework language!

Ahhhh....the end of a long day!  The best parts - seeing great shopowner friends, catching up on families and personal stuff (as well as business), rendezvousing with the other vendor pals, too!  The not-best parts - standing in a little room all day (claustrophobic!), reciting the same little sales speech over and over and over...
So, even if we're dead tired, we manage to find some yummy Mexi-food in downtown historic Franklin.  OLE!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

To market, to market we go!

The car is loaded and we look ALOT like the Beverly Hillbillies...except we're "bound for Nashville"! For the past 16 years, we've made the trip to the Nashville Needlework Market.  When the kids were young (and Alan worked at other jobs) we flew in and out of Nashville as quickly as possible!  Now that we are empty-nesters, we make the 12+ hour drive to Nashville and stop to see family and friends along the way.  We also allow a little extra time to hang with our needlework buddies while we are there. People in the needlework biz (mostly women, a few patient men here and there) are the BEST people...and it's a treat to see them once or twice a year!

Our friend Debbie, who owns our local needlework shop Heart's Desire in Wichita, KS, helps us out by carrying alot of our inventory.  Then, hopefully and thankfully, we sell that inventory and she has room for her purchases on the way home. We load OUR car (above) with all the displays, office supplies and strangely important stuff (high watt light bulbs, candy!) that are essential for a good showroom display.  This stuff magically multiplies to fill the entire car every time.  This photo was taken BEFORE we loaded the suitcases! We make a last minute stop by the library for books on CD and we come!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day = Sweet Treats

I love to bake!!!  Or is it...I love to eat?!  Whichever, Valentine's is the perfect time for my recreational baking.  I try to share alot with my friends, since my kids and their friends are no longer home to quickly devour everything. We had a busy weekend, celebrating Valentine's early with friends and family.

Top photo is extremely yummy white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.  I can't take credit for this one!  Every year our Sunday school class has a big Valentine's party where the men cook for all the women. The men try to outdo themselves in the kitchen (sometimes with amusing results). but they always make cheesecakes for dessert.  And they are fabulous!!! I baked the cupcakes and gingerbread hearts for Sunday morning treats at church, altho we were still quite stuffed from the exquisite dinner the evening before.

To celebrate today, we're doing our customary Mexi-Monday at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Taqueria el Paisa. They know our names and what we order...hmmm...guess we are regulars! And sometimes when I'm feeling adventurous, I practice a little Spanish.

Only one more thing to bake hot fudge pie for husband Alan. The best part is...I get to SHARE that molten chocolate pie!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shhh...Valentine surprises in progress!

Our daughters, Alison "Kate" and Sarah "Lizzie" are both crazy for cupcakes!  I saw these darling cupcake pincushion kits and decided they would be the PERFECT Valentine's Day gifts!  But now I have to hurry and get my cupcakes made/"baked" so they'll arrive in time for the big day (have to mail one to Indiana!).

WOW!  The gals at JABC really put together a nice kit with great materials and instructions, but I'm a little sewing challenged!  Turning that flat wool felt into a 3D cupcake is a little like putting a square block in a round peg.  But I finished them in one afternoon (even tho I should be working on stuff for market) and I'm proud of the results. And, maybe, I'll tuck in a little chocolate to go with the cupcakes (if I can brave the new snowstorm)! 

BTW - daughter Sarah is an art teacher and a painter.  She's working on a "yummy" series of food paintings, including some beautiful cupcakes.  Check out her cupcake art at  They're a treat for the eyes!

Our other daughter Alison is similarly cupcake-obsessed.  She's a food blogger who has her share of cupcake experiences documented on her site.  Check our her current cupcake post @ YUM!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Party, party, recover...

Every year we watch the Super Bowl with 40-50 of our best friends from church. It's a multi-screen, commercial-crazy, food fest event!  My favorite part is the snack table - I LOVE TO SNACK!  I have hardly ever met a snack I don't like...salty, sweet, crunchy, dippy, whatever...I love to munch!  And it's fun to watch the game/commercials with a large group and hear the oohs and aahs on a large scale

So where do we go after the big game night?  We waddle to the gym for spin class the next morning!  Alan and I try to attend cycle classes a couple times a week during the winter.  We exercise in the morning with the mommy/retirement crowd. None of us look too spiffy (the gang wasn't all that excited to see my camera), but it's a fun group and a great start to a busy Monday morning!  That's me in the blue shirt and my friend Connie (hostess for our Super party last night) in green shirt on the far right side.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blizzard of Oz! (snow in Kansas)

ONLY 5 DAYS AGO, it was 72 degrees in Wichita in January...what a difference a few days make!  We only have 4-5", but who can tell for sure with the whirling wind and drifts?! This is my frigid backyard as seen from my 2nd story office window. Alan keeps shoveling the little path from the house to the office, but it blows shut in about 5 minutes!

But neither rain nor sleet or Wichitawesome blizzard can keep our faithful helper Carmen from her desk. Today is fun because she brought her snow day helper, son Elizeo, with her to work. (Elizeo wants me to point out his broken glasses - maybe too much soccer?)  Carmen helps us a few hours every week, but she is indispensable!! She does all kinds of assembly for L*K...sacks chartpaks, assembles Boxer kits, glues those tiny button packs in hundreds and hundreds of Flip-its, and much more! Carmen probably has nightmares about the giant rolls of glu-dots we use on Flip-its and Double Flips!  She restocks a few Flip-its bins on almost every visit.

Today Carmen is upstairs working on fabric for 3 upcoming kits for our Nashville Market. If you want a sneak peek at the kit fabric colors, take a close look at the photo!  This kit fabric arrives conveniently precut (thank you, Zweigart!), but we fold and iron it so it fits neatly in the bag. We leave for Nashville 2 weeks from today....YIKES!  More about market (and our helper Carmen) in future posts......