Wednesday, February 26, 2014


YIKES! It's been too long since our last blog contest when you helped us name the Snow Belles Flip-it series. I just reread those posts, and was blown away by all the fun, creative names you submitted. What a tough decision...thank you all for making that decision with your votes!

We've been doing Inspiration Boxers for a couple years, and they are the most popular Boxer series we've ever done. Linda is getting ready to design the group of 3, and would like to know what sayings YOU are looking for!

Several of the existing Inspiration Boxers already use sayings that you have submitted, like the ones above. Many of you have sent us ideas via email, and sadly, much of our saved email was lost in a recent computer glitch. Bummer!

If you're not familiar with the Inspiration Boxer series, here's a link so you can view the ones we already have done. Not all of the designs on this page are Boxers...just look for the inventory numbers that begin with "B" for Boxer.

Ready? Here's how it works!
We're looking for sayings for the next group of 3 Inspiration Boxers. Submit your ideas until March 9. Multiple sayings may be submitted. We'll choose our 10 favorites (with a little help from our friends) and post them on the L*K blog.

Then for the next week or so, you can VOTE for your favorite inspirational sayings. We'll give prizes to everyone who makes the "Top 10" list and more goodies to the 3 big winners. The Top 10 list will all receive new Inspiration Boxers (and other goodies) and the 3 "big" winners will receive Inspiration Boxers and an additional $50 of Lizzie*Kate designs of their choice.

Leave a comment on this page with your favorite saying. If it is attributed to someone, please leave the source. We recommend that your saying be 20 words or less. It's hard to work longer sayings into the Inspiration Boxer format - the fabric has to fit in the Boxer box! Most of our Inspiration sayings are only 12-15 words we can make them look pretty.

NOTE: Our blog comments are moderated, so there will be a gap between the time you write a comment and it actually appears. No need to resend!  We are just editing out SPAM and junk so only valid comments appear.

You MUST include your email address in the comment form. We'll need it to contact you if you should win.

Sunday, March 9 at 11:59 Central Time (Gee, that sounds official!)

No purchase necessary to enter. All entries received after the giveaway closing day and time will not be considered. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to confirm receipt of the email. Giveaways will be mailed to the winners' homes.

Thanks for your help! We really look forward to hearing from you and reading your favorite inspirational sayings. Let the inspirational sharing begin!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Miracle of the Cheesecakes!

Yes, it happens every year...but it never ceases to amaze "me of little faith".

I experience a Valentine's Day miracle every February, with about 50 of my closest friends. Many years ago, the men in our Sunday School Class began cooking the ladies (single, married, whatever) a Valentine's Dinner. It all began with some grills in the church parking lot, and has slowly escalated into a gourmet delight.

And the best part is...they do all the planning, cooking, serving and CLEANING UP (not kidding)!

This year we celebrated a week late, which worked out great for us, because we were at Nashville Market on Valentine's Day. We gobbled down a pizza in our room before we opened our door for the Friday night Early Bird Shopping event...not a great celebration.

Friday night a small group of dedicated men gather to bake the cheesecakes (they discovered you have to do this a day ahead). The rest of the menu varies from year to year, but we look forward to a cheesecake dessert smorgasbord every year!

While the men chow down on take-out pizza, the wives disappear to eat girly food at a selected restaurant. Then the guys get to work with 2 mixers, one food processor, two ovens, 5 recipes, 5 spring-form pans and a kitchen full of ingredients! Special thanks to Doug for gathering recipes and all the ingredients. There's a grocery store nearby for the forgotten ingredients...another yearly event.

When the gals return several hours later, there are already a few cheesecakes cooling. WHAT? They were chowing on pizza when we left and now the house smells heavenly and there are beautiful cheesecakes in the kitchen?! Above is the famous white chocolate raspberry in the coveted heart-shaped pan. 

While the ladies adjourn to the basement to watch a chick flick, the guys complete 5 cheesecakes. Every year they vary the flavor a bit.  Here was this year's cheesy lineup:

* Caramel macchiato
* Nutella
* White chocolate raspberry
* Classic New York with fresh strawberries
* Chocolate mocha

And here are the proud cheesecake bakers beaming behind the lovely dessert table. Sadly, after 50+ attendees sampled their favorites, there were no leftovers....darn! 

But our tummies and our hearts were full and happy and GRATEFUL for the fabulous men of Pneuma Sunday School Class, First United Methodist Church, Wichita!


Blogger's Note: We've also discovered that it's possible to bake these cheesecakes at other times of the year. Yes, the miracle still works! Now that Alan has acquired this skill, his white chocolate raspberry cheesecake is often requested for special events. Sounds good right now....

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Limited Edition Kits = great (crazed) market

We just drove through 5 states in one day (count 'em...Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas) to get home to the Land of Oz. Our annual needlework market in Nashville was super fun, the immortal words of our girl Dorothy..."there's no place like home"!

Quick background...our annual cash and carry market is held in the Franklin Embassy Suites (a suburb of Nashville). We invade the hotel, occupy several floors, and transform the suites into cross stitch showrooms. We use the front room for our models and inventory, then turn the bedroom into check out area. Yes, Alan does a rendezvous with the needlework ladies in the bedroom!

After months of planning and prep, we were thrilled to finally reveal our 2 special Limited Edition kits. We tried to think of something unique to offer this year, and decided to try some all-inclusive kits. We haven't done this for a few years (remember the O'Hare series bunny series?). 

Linda shopped for cool finishing fabrics and embellishments, and then got to work designing. We pulled everything together in the next few months...cut fabrics (including one trip to the ER with a rotary cutter mishap), made embellishment packs, cut rick rack and lace, assembled thread packs (what were we thinking?) and coordinated the graphic design and printing (the fun part!). Then we had some marathon assembly sessions (cue the Friday Night Lights DVDs and Downtown Abbey), and here are the results!

Song of Spring Limited Edition Kit
Includes pillow design, 32 ct. Lambswool linen, polka dot finishing fabric, antique ivory lace, 3 hand-dyed buttons (love these colors!), antique gold heart charm, dark red beads, Weeks Dye Works overdyed thread pack and needle.

There's also a bonus bunny fob design included, with rick rack trim, mother-of-pearl button and beads. We've included complete finishing instructions for both projects. You supply the scrap of fabric for the bonus project from your stash. It's two projects with the materials and instructions to finish them both JUST like the picture!

Do Your Best Limited Edition Kit
 Taken from a longer sampler verse, we love the simple phrase "Do Your Best." I remember my Mom telling me this, and me (repeating my Mom!) giving my daughters this timeless advice. So simple, yet so meaningful and appropriate.

We were inspired by this darling finishing fabric, with a great antique alphabet motif. There are 4 lovely colors of this fabric, so kits will vary. After looking at the beautiful ivory, avocado, aqua and muted red fabric bolts for months (yes, it takes us months to develop these kits), I can honestly say they're all great on this kit (OK, maybe the red is my personal fave).

Kit includes 30 ct. natural linen for main project, alphabet finishing fabric for front and back (assorted colors), Weeks Dye Works overdyed thread pack, 2 sizes of ivory rick rack, hand-dyed flower button, antique gold stork scissor charm, and needle.

The bonus design is a sweet, skinny strawberry fob. We've included 2 pieces of WDW hand-dyed wool (herringbone and check green) for the berry leaves, rusty red beads and even rustic twine to finish off your berry. There are complete finishing instructions for both projects. You will supply the fabric for the bonus berry project.

We've done this show for 18 years, so I almost forgot to take pics of our room. It's a little deja vu everytime we enter Room 611 and start moving the furniture to set up displays. Warning: if you move furniture in a hotel room, you may uncover mysterious items. Just saying...we've had some interesting finds over the years!

Here's Alan contemplating all the boxes we need to unload. How did the boxes get there? We filled our car, our local needlework shop owner's car and another friend who was coming agreed to schlep boxes for us. Thankfully, the load is much smaller and our car is sufficient on the way home.

Above is our display (in the front window of the suite) of our 2 new Limited Edition kits. The table underneath is the "dining table", with a drop cloth over it. The table stacked on the left is an end table. The right side table is a little folding riser I brought. The models are right at eye level, and inventory is stacked below them. It's self-service in the L*K showroom!

Finally, both of the beds were totally covered with sacks after the Friday night early-bird sales. Shops are always in a rush to grab the newest stuff (and get on to the next urgent room), so we allow them to fill bags, add a label, and return later to pay. Then when they return on Saturday or Sunday, we have a chance to chat and catch up when we're not so busy. 

Need to buy a new kit for your stash? Contact your local needlework shop, or contact L*K for a referral. We have lots of shops listed on the L*K website. Shops all over the US and outside the US have these kits NOW...but when they're gone...they're gone! Sorry...the fun finishing fabrics are discontinued

No rest in L*K ville...time to get to work on the next project!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cookies for my friend, Judy!

The last few days before we leave for annual needlework market are CRAZY at our house/office. No matter how early we begin preparations, we're always busy until the exact moment we hop in the car and head down the road...Beverly Hillbillies style, that is! (car overflowing with booth props, inventory, luggage and us!).

In order to avoid high shipping costs, we're actually packing 3 cars this year. Every year my wonderful local needlework shop owner, Debbie, agrees to let me fill her car. She needs the space on the way home to haul her purchases, but on the way it's full of L*K inventory. 

We had to make an emergency trip to Tulsa a couple weeks ago to repair our virus-infected computer. The only good part about that was the opportunity to detour over to The Silver Needle, and leave them more inventory to schlep to Nashville. Miraculously, we already had some boxes packed...

and we've got more boxes waiting for their journey. The office is so full, these boxes are hanging out in my piano room!

One reason the office is nearly impassable is my "mock market" setup. Before we pack everything, I set up a fake little market display, trying to anticipate everything I'll need for display and inventory. I promise it will look much nicer and neater in my Nashville showroom! No matter how well I prepare, there are always a few lists and emergency trips to Walgreens, Home Depot, etc. for forgotten items when we're setting up. Instead of going next door for a cup of sugar, I pop down the hall to borrow T-pins and tape!

My long-time (never old) friend in the needle biz is Judy Whitman from JBW Designs. Judy and I met many years ago in the lonely exercise room of the Embassy Suites. Let's just agree that the exercise room is much less busy in the mornings than the complimentary breakfast buffet!  Judy and I got acquainted on the elliptical trainers and we've been good friends ever since. Judy even made the trip to KC several years ago for our daughter Sarah's wedding. 

Pic below from left to right: Judy, Connie (Judy's friend and market helper), Jeff and Sarah, my mother-in-law Georgia May.

Judy and I usually attempt to have our rooms next to each other, and run back and forth during the weekend. We've also enjoyed shopping in historic Franklin, exploring lots of yummy Franklin/Nashville restaurants and taking long walks before busy market days.  

One reason Judy's room is so popular with shoppers (and Alan and I!) is her cookie buffet. Yes, multi-talented Judy puts out a delicious smorgasbord of home-baked cookies in her room every year. She even publishes a darling little yearly cookbook with all the recipes. It's quite the collector's item every year!

Sadly, Judy had an accident last week and is now sporting a new hip. She's home recuperating in snowy Michigan, and her faithful friend, Connie, is coming to Nashville to run the popular JBW showroom. For the first time, they won't have cookies in their I decided to pick up the slack (or is that the sugar?).

My freezer is filling with several of our favorite cookies...

and Alan is working on a batch of his famous chocolate chip cookies...a real classic. I still remember the first time he decided to make a batch of cookies "all by himself". When he got to the "shortening" part of the recipe he came to me to ask..."what is shortening?". Thankfully, he bakes unassisted now. The real trick will be getting these sugary treats to market uneaten! Sorry, no cute L*K cookbook.

And while we're talking food...I snapped this pic for my church scrapbook a couple days ago in our beloved church basement kitchen. Alan and I gathered with a few friends (the rare ones who are available on a Friday morning) to cook for the homeless day shelter across the street from our church. We prepared our famous tater tot casserole (think hamburger, onions, mushroom soup, corn, cheese and tater tots), green beans, salad, and peach cobbler for 120. 

Pic below: Jim, Stuart, me, Linda M, and Eddie (dubbed the "top tot")

We experienced a "biblical moment" when the shelter was unusually busy that day, due to our nasty weather. The line just kept coming, and we just kept dishing food (and praying) and we managed to feed 150+ grateful souls that day. It wasn't loaves and fishes, but that magical tater tot casserole seemed to multiply and was sure a hit!

Here's to you, Judy!  We'll miss you at Nashville and promise to eat a cookie (or two or three) and think of you!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snowy trip to Nashville Market?

It's finally here...SNOW! After an overly dry, nearly snow-less winter, the white stuff has finally arrived. The weather guys got so excited, they cancelled school in advance of any actual snow falling.

We awoke to a mere 1/2" of snow on the ground, but it's been snowing steadily all day. It's a real winter wonderland outside our cozy, snowlit L*K office.

YIKES...our annual trek to Nashville Needlework Market is only a week away. It's always a long drive, but it could be tricky (weatherwise) this year. As always, we'll be loaded down like the Beverly Hillbillies with market goodies taking every square inch where we're not sitting.

We're doing two very special Limited Edition Kits for market this year. Sorry...we're not releasing pictures of the actual projects until market (gotta have a little mystery), but here's some of the process involved in getting our kits ready.

I did the designs last November, before the holiday crunch. I decided to make these really inclusive kits (call me crazy), with all the goodies you'd need to finish and embellish the designs.

So, while I was stitching models, I got to work shopping/researching fun finishing products. When I finalized my lineup of extra goodies, I sent my finished models off to my Mona (finishing guru extraordinaire) so she could work her magic. We consulted a lot...lots of texting images back and create our finished look.

Then the real work began! I ordered/purchased lots of supplies and they all began arriving in the already crowded L*K office. My upstairs office became a fabric warehouse...

and Alan's office (our warehouse/shipping area) held the other supplies as we readied them for their Nashville debut. Lots of thread packs to cut and assemble...

embellishment packs to put together (one little zip bag at a time!), finishing fabric to cut, iron and fold, yards and yards of rick, lace and hemp twine to cut...

and of course the stitching fabric needed to cut and folded and we inserted a needle, too. Of course, sometime during this process I had a nasty little incident with the rotary cutter and a trip to the ER...hazard pay!

Finally, the printing was delivered (back covers pictured above) and all the kit goodies were ready to put together. We moved some folding tables into our family room and put the assembly line in motion. 

And 4 movies, several episodes of Downtown Abbey, and seasons 4 and 5 of Friday Night Lights later, the 2 kits were assembled and ready to hit the road. Special thanks to Coach Taylor and Tim Riggins for getting me through with a smile on my face (the wonderful men from Friday Night Lights, for those non-watchers).

We promise more sneak peek pics and info on the next post.  Meanwhile...stay warm and keep those needles humming through this snowy February!