Monday, February 25, 2013

time for a sneak peek!

What's premiering at market this weekend? You'll know soon enough when all the shops start snapping pics and sending them your way via email, twitter, Facebook and all that!

But, inquiring minds want to know, so here's a bit of info about our 4 NEW KITS...and some sneak peek photos to whet your appetite!

Below is a portion of our new At Our House kit. We found this darling saying and couldn't wait to get it designed and stitched. It's sweet, funny, sentimental, full of family and love...we love it and hope you will, too! Kit includes design (you provide fabric), Crescent Colours overdyed threads and some DMC bits. It's a big design, but not so huge you'll be laboring over it for months! I whipped out my model in a week.

Our other 3 kits are Limited Edition kits...they'll be here today and (perhaps) gone tomorrow!  We accumulate a lot of fabric in our office (bulging cabinets, drawers, under tables, floor piles, you get the idea), and it's hard for me to throw out the leftovers and small cuts. I decided it was time for some mini-kits to use our abundance of small fabric pieces!

I designed 3 small projects (couldn't make up my mind on one!) and I've been busy rounding up fabrics for the past couple months. So, these 3 kits have assorted fabrics...lots of neutrals, but also pastels, hand-dyes, and more intense colors. Use your sleuthing skills and you may recognize some of this fabric from previous or current kits! We also included tiny packs of beads/buttons with each kit.

*Flowers Limited Edition Kit - a sweet, square design with beautiful muted colors and (you guessed it) floral motifs. Kit includes a hand-dyed flower button, some golden beads and assorted fabric.

*Chicks Limited Edition Kit - this Easter-y design has 3 darling chicks, chirping their way around a basket full of pastel eggs. This quickie kit stitches up fast, so you'll have plenty of time to dye your eggs and eat Easter candy. Includes green beads and assorted fabric

*A Bee C Limited Edition Kit - there are 3 bees and one letter "B" in this little vertical design, hence the name! We finished ours into a darling little needlebook/scissor holder, but you can do you own little thing. Includes rusty buttons and assorted fabric.

The Lizzie*Kate office has officially been declared a disaster area, as we assemble and pack all the goodies for market. YIKES!  It is scary and nearly impassable in here. 

Speaking of's a pic of our 2nd snowstorm in a week! It just blew in a couple hours ago, and it's rapidly adding to our leftover snow from the record-setting 16" we got last week. Guess I'll have to shove my flip-flops to the back of the closet again...darn!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Belle of the (snow) ball!

Yep, that would be ME!!! We are buried in snow here in the Land of Oz today, and we're lovin' it!!!! Pic below is our little waterfall (still flowing) in the backyard, just outside our kitchen door.

After 2 years of terrible, demoralizing drought, and a zillion un-fulfilled weather forecasts for precipitation, we're happy to get moisture of any kind!  Yes, the weather persons have been forecasting this winter storm for several days (with great glee and anticipation)...but who knew it would actually happen?!!

The fun began yesterday morning and it's still coming down. We've had snow, sleet, thunder sleet, and every other meteorological term for wet stuff, but we're grateful! Thankfully we work at home, and we're able to clear a path to the office. Actually that's the "royal we". which actually means my husband, Alan. Here he is, creating a path from the garage to the L*K door. Check out the snow on my planter!

And I don't think I'm going anywhere in my Mini Cooper for a while! It's temporarily buried in the driveway.

Why, you ask, don't we have a snow blower? The answer is simple, really. REAL Kansans don't own snowblowers!!! We rarely get enough snow to count, and we send our hearty souls outside to clear the fluffy stuff...when we have it!  I think Alan is gazing at our giant driveway in the photo below, remembering that he already cleared 8-10" off yesterday and's BACK!!!!

Sorry, friends. I won't be having anyone over today for tea on the patio. We could have sat out there in comfort only a couple days ago.

Meanwhile, life goes on at Lizzie*Kate, and we're just a short week away from driving to Nashville Market. We have too many lists to count, and a serious buildup of new kits. Today we'll pack these into boxes for the trek across country. I spent a beautiful day and evening working on these yesterday, fonding gazing at the beautiful falling snow.

Today we're expecting a giant shipment of beautiful Crescent Colour threads, so I hope the US Mail really does go through...rain, sleet, wintry mix, and all of that!

We'll be putting these in an exciting new kit that we think you're gonna love!!  It's a big design in the style of our popular ABC Kits. It's a very cool saying...sweet, sentimental, funny..full of family and love. Stay tuned...and stay warm!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Market prep = craziness at L*K

I've been designing needlework for 18 YEARS now, and going to market every year! Logic tells me that this should get easier every year. Hmmm....really?

Thankfully, I have learned to keep really GOOD records about market. Not just what we sold and how many, but how much inventory I toted to (and fro) Nashville. The tricky part is to haul enough inventory to sell to the enthusiastic shopowners, and not put up those pesky SOLD OUT signs early in the day...but not bring too much stuff that makes the return trip home.

So here I am this week...poring over inventory and sales lists from the past few years, looking for that missing crystal ball, trying to "predict" what is going to sell, and making the 2013 inventory list.

We just released new titles a few weeks ago, so we won't have new chartpaks, Snippets or Flip-its. What we will have are 4 NEW KITS...and they're FUN!!!!! I'll tell you about the 3 Flora McSample Limited Editions kits today.

I'm fondly calling these "grab bag" kits because I am kitting them with bits of this and that...fabric, that is!  Since we do lots of kitting, and lots of model stitching, we have lots of fabric hanging around. When the drawers and cabinets and sneaky hiding places are bursting at the seams, it's time for some grab bag kits. I designed 3 small kits with my sampler friend, Flora McSample. Flora likes to design in a vintage-style, so these little gems look sampler-ish.

Here are some of my beautiful assorted fabrics...before folding, ironing and kitting. I've been gradually cutting small pieces of fabric for the last month or so, and I'm still working on it.  If you looks closely, there are all sorts of lovely colors, some overdyes, pastels,'s a real grab bag!  This is kinda like the "ghosts of kits past" can spot leftovers from lots of discontinued kits, and just pieces that were too small for most kits, but I  couldn't throw them out!. 

Above is my main fabric storage cabinet.'s still a mess, but it's much less full than before Flora got to work on her 3 little market kits. I can shut the door with ease!

Since these are here today/gone tomorrow Limited Edition kits, I am doing the photography and graphic design myself. I enlisted my good friend, Bob Bishop, to help me with photography since 1) he has a much nicer camera than I, and 2) he has tons more equipment and 3) he has actually studied photography and 4) he was willing and available on a Ssturday afternoon!

We were quite a pair, doing our official L*K photo shoot in their big living room. If you look closely, you can see the little kit on the table, nestled among the Easter-y props. Did I tell you these kits are LITTLE??? That's me, holding the reflective white paper in all sorts of crazy positions, aiming for the perfect lighting.

I brought all sorts of goodies to Bob's house for our shoot. Each kit had it's own little box of props, as I had pre-planned each shot in advance at my house. I rounded up lots of old stuff from my house and threw in a couple houseplants.

Another perk to doing a photo shoot at Bob's house...while we're working, Connie is in the kitchen whipping up some yummy oatmeal cookies.  Thanks, Connie!

After I got the edited photos from Bob, I got to work on the graphic design for the projects. Making pretty covers is one of my favorite things, and I had so much fun doing the finishing touches on these kits.

I'm still working on folding and ironing the kit fabric. While we were watching a basketball game last night, I pulled the ironing board into the family room and got to work. Our friends who came to watch got a chuckle as I ironed through the game, pausing to yell and cheer on our favorite team, Kansas State Wildcats!

No, we're not previewing photos yet...gotta keep some mystery or else why shlep all this stuff half way across the country to market?  However, as soon as our showroom door opens at market on Saturday. March 2, I'm sure photos of the new kits will be emailing, blogging and Facebooking their way to you!  The intrepid shopowners who come to market will get the word out!

Stay tuned for more market previews!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Clean Office Tour 2013

Want to visit Lizzie*Kate? Here's your chance!

CAUTION...this is a working office (translation: warehouse) be prepared and wear your comfy shoes.

We've been doing an all-office cleanup for the past few weeks. We seem to have hit a snag...busyness and business has a way of getting in the way. But here's the (relatively) clean part of Lizzie*Kate international headquarters.

The door's come on in!  The weather has been so mild lately, we've had the windows open in the afternoons...go figure! Someday I'll forget to close them in the evening and we'll have a snowy interior the next morning.

As you walk in the front door...OOPS...there's a big pile of freight that arrived this week. Next to it (not shown) is a pile of freight that's going out to needlework shops this afternoon. Here's the challenging part of the whole "clean office" thing. There's always stuff coming and going!

Turning to your left...OOPS...there's another floor obstacle. It's a nice big pile of US Mail crates. These are ever-so-useful around the office. Every day we fill one with outgoing orders and tote it outside to sit next to the mail box. I'm pretty sure we're not the favorite stop on the mailman's route! We also use these totes for all sorts of other projects (but keep that a secret, please). 

Continuing to look left, here is the "heart" of the office...our shipping area!  The shipping table sits right in the middle and is surrounded by shelves of inventory all around. Alan figured out this system when we first built our office, and it has been so practical! Below we'll do "close-ups" of the shelves behind the table. But first...

Under the shipping table are all sorts of supplies...boxes on this side and bubble-packages on the other side...and TAPE...lots of TAPE!

On top of the table, you'll see more shipping supplies, a couple scales, and a drawer thing full of charms and embellishment packs. Notice the standing roll of shrink wrap (to left of charm drawers) that stretchy stuff! It's the best way to tame slippery Flip-its and Boxers.

Here's a shot of the shelves BEHIND the shipping table. They're all labeled and (recently) dusted!  The left section and part of the center section hold our entire Flip-it inventory - 128 different Flip-its and Double Flips in all!  WHEW! The other smaller boxes hold Flip-it embellishment packs.  That's a lot of 1" x 1" embellishment sacks....and we try to keep them all filled.  Of course, when a drawer is empty, that's always the one someone orders!

Here's a close-up shot of the other wall. Our inventory of chartpaks wrap around the corner. That's Alan's desk peeking out behind and to the left. Actually, it's some file cabinets with a board on top, but we call that a DESK.  These boxes with the smiley face openings in them originally held one title. Now we have to gang up several titles in one box to have enough room. The NEWEST title gets it's own box...until the next title comes out!

Can you recognize these? These are the BOXER boxes!  From B01 through B42, they're all there! You can spot the most recent Inspiration Boxers on the bottom shelves? Notice the missing box on the right hand side? That Boxer box has been moved to the assembly area to be re-stocked!

Finally, here's the Snippet shelving area. Once again, from S01 to S106, they're all shelved, with the oldest titles on the bottom. We've had to consolidate these drawers once again, putting 4 titles per drawer on the older inventory. We keep BIG boxes of all of these in a separate area. That area (sadly) hasn't been cleaned yet, so it's not ready for prime time viewing!

Finally, this area hasn't been clean yet, so no white glove test here!  This is the KIT area, right behind the other shelves we've been showing you. On the top part are small quantities of assembled kits. There are larger boxes in another part of the office, as well as kit supplies. The lower shelves house all of our punch needle designs. In between, can you spot a shelf that looks different?

Here's a closeup...can you figure it out? It's our supplies for our VERY SCARY Mystery Sampler! This was our BIG project from 2012, and it's still selling well. You can see the 3 piles of beautiful color covers, the little plastic tubs hold embellishments, and there are some assembled Parts 1, 2 and 3 on the right side.

Hopefully, this little photo tour will inspire us to finish our office cleaning and reorganization. It's a never ending saga around here...every time we publish a new design (that's every 2 months) we have to find a place to store it!!!

Suggestions for taming our inventory? Send 'em our way!