Sunday, October 23, 2011

Visit to Hoosier-ville!

Sometimes those grownup kids don't live very close...sadly! Our daughter Sarah and husband Jeff live in Bloomington, Indiana. Jeff is doing graduate studies at University of Indiana and Sarah is busy teaching art in the tiny town of Medora, about 40 miles away. She is the only art teacher for Kindergarten through high school, and that adds up to a lot of lesson plans. But we'll save her amusing teacher anecdotes for another post!

Sarah had a short "fall break" from school so we popped up there for a parental visit. We flew to Indie, then drove to Bloomington. WOW...who knew Indiana was so beautiful in the fall?!

Alan and I stayed in a nearby small town called Story, right on the edge of the famous Brown County State Park. It's a long "story". but the nearly abandoned little town was purchased by developers and is now a quaint inn. The charming building and houses are now a bunch of rooms to rent. There's even a great restaurant - pictured below. 

Here is a sample of a little house that is now part of the inn.  That house is so should be on a L*K design!

The Story Inn restaurant also grows a lot of it's own food (and purchases other food locally when possible) and we enjoyed exploring a couple large kitchen gardens. It's past the season for lots of veggies, but some of the herbs were still going (growing) strong! This friendly scarecrow was keeping an eye on things. 

Back in Sarah and Jeff's apartment in BTown, Sarah taught me how to make and Naan bread. We made the dough, let it rise, formed little dough balls, let them rise again, then patted them into circles which we grilled.  YUMMMM! The four of us almost ate the whole batch, as we happily dipped the warm bread into hummus. 

Not to be outdone in the kitchen, son-in-law Jeff whipped up a homemade apple/cranberry pie, complete with homemade crust. Gotta love a guy who can make a pie!  Sarah was his able assistant.

When we weren't cooking and eating, we explored Bloomington, nearby town Nashville, and the Brown County Park. We also checked in on Sarah's latest painting - a bowl of cherries.  Can't wait to see this one finished!  You can see Sarah's other work at

Alas...we're safely bake home in Wichita, and gearing up to tackle a busy week at L*K. We just released new products before we left, so messages and orders await! See you at Christmas...Sarah and Jeff!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


NEW designs are on the way to needlework shops!  We shoved them out the door yesterday and are SO relieved to have some space to work again. About a thousand leaves blew in the door as the boxes went out, so autumn has definitely arrived.

Ready, set, are the new designs!

Above is Be Jolly, our 2011 Christmas Kit (K54). You can read about the "evolution" of this kit in earlier blog posts, but here is the finished model. It's colorful and fun, and has a sort of retro feel to it.  Kit includes 27/28 ct. tea linen, white crystal beads and exclusive design. Get this in your hands, and you'll feel jolly, too!

This is a new Quick-it called HoHoHo in a Row (Q10). I stitched it on frosty Morris blue linen from Weeks Dye Works, but you could put it on any little piece of neutral fabric from your stash. Quick-it includes 3 tiny red buttons. HOHOHO, baby!

Snow Fun 6 Fat Men Flip-it (F113)

 Let It Snow 6 Fat Men Flip-it (F114)

Snow Day! 6 Fat Men Flip-it (F115)

The last 3 parts of the 6 Fat Men Flip-its are finally HERE!  Yes, these guys have been anxious to join the other 3 chubby men. This batch includes my personal favorite of the designs...Snow Day!  Visit our website to see the 1st three snowmen in this series (F110 Snowed In, F111 Snow House, F112 Snow Friends). 

Remember...if you want to stitch them all together (see photo on back of each design and on our website Home Page), there is a FREE template for this on our website. This also includes some free graphs for "Snowmen melt my heart" border and a cool birdhouse motif. Get SNOWY!

This is the 3rd design in our new Inspiration Boxer series, Not All of Us (B35). Your response to all 3 of these Inspiration designs has been...well, inspirational!  We couldn't be more pleased. We're working hard on a new set of Inspiration Boxers for 2012. This kit includes 32 ct. Flax linen, hand-dyed raspberry flower buttons and a FREE design for a darling little pin pillow (pictured on cover). We also included an antique-gold heart charm for the pin pillow.

Finally, here is the Winter Alphabet embellished chartpak (#151). This design completes our seasonal alpha series, and it is my favorite. Or maybe I just like whichever one is newest? I do really like the beautiful colors and fun wintry motifs on this one. Chartpak includes tiny red buttons and itsy-bitsy antique gold heart charm.

The goods have left the L*K world headquarters and we're left with a mess! Every single design in this release required assembly - putting snowflake buttons in all 3 Flip-its, gluing red buttons in HoHoHo in a Row, inserting embellishment packs in the Winter Alpha, and assembling the Christmas Kits and Boxer Kits. WHEW!  Now we're finding room on the shelves for the new designs and organizing the supplies, so we can keep track of them!

I feel the need for some extra energy, so it's off to our fave Mexi restaurant (El Paisa) for an infusion of salsa. I've have a #4 please, and a giant Diet Coke!

Monday, October 17, 2011

You call this work?

I just returned from a FAB weekend in El Paso! The fun gals from the Counted Thread invited me to their annual Camp Stitchmore event to be the guest designer, so it was a "working" weekend. But really...does this look like WORK?

Really...we DID work...but we also played...A LOT! Above photo shows the event hostesses Nancy and Libby (from the Counted Thread) and their angel helpers Terri and Bonnie. They were dressed for nighttime stitching in matching holiday nightshirts. Can you tell we had a Christmas theme?

We met at a beautiful hotel and the elves set up an amazing portable needlework shop. Boy...were the gals eager to shop! Above is the L*K area of the shop, but there were lots of trunk shows from other designers and all sorts of needlework goodies. 

In between all that stitching and chatting, we did a bit of eating! Above is a photo from our "English tea". We all wore hats and had a fun parade of hats, admiring each other and nearly laughing our hats right off our heads. Check out Libby's "fascinator" hat (second from left), inspired by the recent royal wedding!

This clever lady had a cross stitch themed hat complete with floss, scissors, needle and buttons. All she needs is an L*K Flip-it to complete her ensemble!

I left on Sunday morning, but the faithful gang stayed on to stitch through the day. Before I left for the airport, we posed for a group photo. I'm in the middle front, happily sitting between the camp hostesses.

A lot of these ladies have been coming to camp for many years, so camp wasn't only a chance to shop, stitch and get new projects. It was a time to catch up on each other's lives and tell (crazy) stories from past camps. Libby and Nancy weren't only hosting a needlework event, they were dispensing "extreme hospitality". Every one felt like they were special, and I was treated like Queen for a Day. (Does anyone remember that old TV show?)  

Now I'm back in Wichita and working like CRAZY to get our new releases shipped. We're shipping new designs on Wednesday to needlework shops all over the US and around the world. Alan is a wonderful shipping helper, and Carmen is here this AM to help with assembly, but once again...we need some elves!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Paint by number for adults!

Do you buy Groupons? I get them in my email every day, and sometimes those great deals get me to try new things.  The trick gotta use your Groupons before they expire!

Many of my best friends are famously "un-crafty".  They almost have panic attacks at the thought of creating something with their hands. But my sweet friend Glenna is my "craft buddy". So when the Groupon for Paint the Town popped up several months ago in my email inbox, I thought of Glenna. Before I could call her, she called me to see if I'd like to do a painting class with her.  Of course!!!

Realizing our Groupons were about to expire, we chose a night in October for our 2 hour paint class. Paint the Town is a group painting class format. Everyone does the same painting...almost like paint by number!  It's also a BYOB paint class. At first I thought that meant "bring your own brush", but I learned it means "bring your own bottle". It seems that a little wine consumption helps reluctant painters get their brushes moving...or maybe it just adds to the general fun. And, conveniently, Paint the Town is located right next to a liquor store!  It's also located next to Cinnamon's, and that's where Glenna and I got our liquid refreshments. Glenna brought along some appropriate Halloween snacks she confiscated at her office party earlier that afternoon, and we got to work!

There were about 20 budding painters in class...all women. Lots of friends came in groups of 2 or 3, just like us. Everyone got a real canvas, and a paper plate already prepared with globs of acrylic paint. The teacher instructed us on the step-by-step creation of our Halloween witch. There is very little "drawing" required. We traced around cardboard cutouts for the cute witch shoes. It was a great way to spend a relaxing evening... painting, snacking, chatting and comparing our works in progress. 

At the end of the evening we posed with our witch masterpieces.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but I didn't "paint within the lines". It seemed a little too "neat" for me, so I took the messy approach with my brush - less stressful that way, too. I added some extra texture on the solid orange background and a few polka dots to the chubby witch's skirt. She sure has skinny legs for the size of the rest of her...hmmm...sounds menopausal.

Here's my painting resting on the ledge over the cooktop in my kitchen...hiding a much better painting done by my daughter Sarah.

Thanks to my witchy class, I realized something...I LOVE to paint!  I practically grew up with a paintbrush in my hand, since my family owned a sign business. Then in my school years, I was always the one that got to make the posters and banners. Later,  I did a couple watercolor classes in college...but that's been a long time! A couple years ago, my daughters gave me some canvases and tubes of acrylic paint for Christmas. I whipped out a couple folk art paintings, then got distracted and LIFE!  I hope to spend some more quality time with "brush in hand" soon! Check out a painting class in your town and prepare for some (messy) FUN!

Monday, October 3, 2011

One football game = how many 6 Fat Men?

6 FAT MEN?  Which 6 guys am I talking about?

NO, not those guys on the football field filling out their stretchy pants almost to the bursting point. No, not those men parked in their favorite chairs all over the country...inhaling chips and swilling their favorite beverages. 

I'm talking about Lizzie*Kate's 6 FAT MEN Flip-it series!!! These 6 chubby guys get invited to lots of activities at our house, and a prime Saturday afternoon football game is no exception!  While our favorite team (Kansas State Wildcats) is lining up for the kickoff, we're lining up rows and rows of prepared Gludots, each with their own snowflake charm attached. The TV trays in our family room aren't just for eating, they're for stripping dots and Flip-ping!

Even with lots of breaks for excessive cheering (our team won!), snacking and concentrating on the game, we still matched A LOT of the 3 new snowmen with their charms.  The first 3 snowmen in the series were released in June, and now we're preparing to ship the final 3 snowmen in the now-infamous "6 FAT MEN" gang. If you haven't met these snowy men, check them out on our website at The first 3 (snow) men are pictured on our What's New page. If you click on the big photo of the whole gang, you will find the FREE border elements and instructions for combining the whole gang into a big SNOW FEST!

I forgot to take a photo of the messy room, which was surely a blessing. There were piles of empty GluDot strips scattered all over the floor, which we gathered into the trash when the game was over. Then we transported all of our finished products to the office, where they are resting on the floor until it's their time to "enter the game".

Meanwhile, today there's a pile building in the L*K office, just waiting to be transported into the house for some after-hours assembly.  On the way to the house, we pass our beloved (but woefully faded) purple Wildcat banner. I think it's time for a replacement! GO CATS!