Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day in the life at L*K

What a typical day like in your life? At your job? At home? I love to hear how other people spend their waking hours...just curious, I guess.

I had a BUSY day at L*K yesterday, so decided to "follow myself" around, take some pics and share with all of you. Put on your walking was a busy day!


* I didn't keep an exact time log, but here's how things usually begin. I like to exercise first thing. I don't drink coffee, so exercise wakes me up. In the summer, so many choices...walking, kayaking, biking. Today I took a spin around the 'hood on my bike. **Check out my little bike bell (above). It's just like those ones we had on our childhood bikes, except now mine is an "old lady coming" warning.

With a new neighborhood, lots of nearby places to explore. There are wheat fields about a mile from home. Yea, right next to the Walmart Superstore. I love Kansas!

* Check email. Alan handles most of the correspondence with our shops and customers. He forwards me "stitch-y" questions he can't answer. Here's my little white laminate IKEA table/desk (the kind where you select a table top size and screw on the legs = cheap), looking out at my neighbor's back yard, and lake beyond.

* Check Facebook. I look at the L*K Facebook page, as well as the I Love Stitching Lizzie*Kate Facebook and Lizzie*Kate Mystery Sampler pages. I love to see what everyone is stitching and comment. So many fun and creative people our there in the worldwide stitching community.

* Check blog dashboard. This is where L*K blog comments appear. I have set it up to moderate comments, which means I see and approve them before they are posted. This was an original "setting selection" when my computer savvy daughter Ali set up my blog years ago. I should probably change it, but who knows how?!

* Work on new designs. Yea, this doesn't happen every day...sadly. You would think I spend tons of time designing, but the reality is, I spend most of my time doing other biz stuff. Alan handles the day to day "business" part of L*K, and I'm the "creative" part, but I still do a lot of stuff that is NOT designing.

What's that on my screen? More little sled designs! I have done sets of 3 sled designs (little tree ornaments, or whatever you want to do with them) for the past couple years. These little buggers are quick and fun, stitched on perforated paper (or fabric) and attached to tiny wooden sleds. This year I had so much fun with them, I will be releasing two sets of 3 sled designs this fall.

I'm also working on a new design using a saying from that famous bear muse - Winnie the Pooh. I'm really excited about this one! A former "Pooh-ism" has been super popular, #156 Promise Me. Pooh Bear really is "smarter than the average bear".

Uh oh...I think I'm mixing my "bear" sayings. Can anyone tell me which famous bear originated the phrase "smarter than the average bear"? Leave a COMMENT at end of post with your bear choice. (Youngsters probably won't know this one without Google.)

* Field trip to Heart's Desire, my local needlework shop. I almost always have a list in hand when I head to HD, because I usually have several missions when I visit...proofing, frame selection, deliver an order, buy supplies, browse...just like you. 

 In the design biz, you need to have different projects progressing through different stages constantly, in order to have a continuous flow of new publications. Yesterday I covered a couple of these "stages" at HD.

I've already designed, stitched and photographed all SIX models for this year's Tiny Tidings XXI. I actually LOVE all the little holiday folks I designed this year (more in a future post). I sent all the text files, cross stitch graphs and photo to my graphic designer, Janice. I do some graphic design myself, but Janice does most of the heavy lifting. She's a pro and, BONUS, she cross stitches, which makes her super valuable. Janice takes all that info and turns it into beautiful, informative printer-ready files.


When I get files from Janice, I print and deliver to my proofer, Debbie (owner of Heart's Desire), along with all the actual models. Debbie looks them over, marks them up with red (just like getting your papers graded in school). I go over changes and send them back to Janice for corrections. Sometimes we have several rounds of proofing before everything is submitted in an email to the printer. 

* Pick out frames for new projects while at cross stitch shop. So here are a couple new projects at another stage in development. These are designed and stitched and it's time to select and order frames. Debbie is a whiz at choosing just the right frame. Sometimes we chat so much, it's hard to get our work done. And this day I got home and I had accidentally taken a couple frame corners home with me. OOPS...will return soon.

I'm not one of those "lunch skippers". I never accidentally miss a meal, and don't really relate to people who do. If I miss a meal, I'm well aware of that fact. I usually make lunch at home, and Alan comes home from work to eat. It's very "Donna Reed-ish", I know (minus the pearls). But we really do enjoy eating lunch together. We go out to lunch once a week or so, and one of our favorite hangouts is Pei Wei Asian Diner. It's our "happy place". Love the (giant) Spicy Chicken salad (to share) and their yummy Mandarin Green Tea in a to-go cup for afternoon sipping.

* Field trip to photography studio. Once again, I do some photography myself, but usually rely on my pal, Steve, for the large quantity publications. A picture really is worth a thousands words, and a good quality photo is SO important.

We were shooting a group of small projects for Flora McSample's annual holiday offerings. Flora has designed sets of small stockings the past few years, but this year she did a set of 3 little projects...cushions, pin pillows...whatever you call them, they are vintage cute. Can you spot them in bottom center of the photo?

I hauled in some Christmas decor to Steve's studio and we set up a shot. Those 3 big white things at top of photo are giant diffused lights. You can see the camera mounted on a high tripod looming over the whole setup. We ended up choosing some greenery, a wood bowl, antique brush trees and a darling little set of mini children's Christmas books to accessorize. I love to set up beautiful vignettes, but you can't let the background overwhelm the actual products. 

* Steve and I also re-shot this year's Snippet Santa. No worries...we didn't really "shoot" Santa, we re-photographed him. The printer was having trouble getting the colors on Santa to look right, so we finally gave up, and started over with a new photo. This doesn't happen often, but Santa's coloring looked too "off" to make it through a busy Christmas Eve. Try again.

* Deliver digital photo files to Janice, my graphic designer. After I got a disc from Steve with the photo, I drove to Janice's house. Janice works from home, and can even work on L*K stuff while she's on vacation. Have computer, will work.

I give her the photo file and the actual models so she has them in useful. I have already emailed her all the instructions and graph files. Now she does her magic. Janice and her camera get the credit for all the lovely background photos on chartpak covers. Not the product photos, those beautiful background pics that complete the look.

* Drop in L*K office. On the way to my home office, dropped in official L*K office (about 1.5 miles from home) to chat with Alan about a couple things. We talk/email/text multiple times a day, but I usually drop in L*K world headquarters daily to catch up, bring home some embellishments or projects, etc. 

We realized recently that our temporary L*K sign taped in window had disappeared. I mentioned this to my printer, and magically a decal appeared (pic above). Thanks,'re the best!

Alan has set up an assembling line for upcoming shipment later this week. From left to right, you can see SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part Two, 2 new sets of Yearbook Double Flips (July/August, September/October) and A Little Bee kit. The blank spot in middle is reserved for Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful Snippet, which is delivering in the nick of time today. You can see preview pics of all these newbies in the previous blog post.

* Home again to some model STITCHING before dinner. Lots of time in the late afternoon I head to our lower level, watch TV and do some model stitching. Here's my favorite spot on the recliner sofa, my little IKEA cart next to me with stitching supplies and a cool drink, my current project in a basket, magnifier light over my shoulder and remote in my hand. 

I just finished 2 models pictured earlier when I was choosing frames for them at Heart's Desire - A Little Thankful (Thanksgiving "Little" kit) and a new Christmas-y Inspiration Boxer. Now I'm stitching on the BONUS that goes with the Boxer kit. 

This is also my time to watch TV series/movies that Alan might not enjoy. Armed with Netflix and Amazon and my many options, so many stitches. Just finished watching season 1 of Jane the Virgin (quirky and sweet), waiting on more Call the Midwife (PBS), embarassed to admit I watched Heart of Dixie (sadly, all seasons), and currently enjoying Gilmore Girls (which I never watched earlier) and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (PBS series with lady detective from Australia in the 1920's - great costumes). 

Any suggestions for fun TV series you like? I really enjoy historical/period stuff (especially set outside the US), although the list above might not indicate that. Please leave suggestions as a COMMENT at end of post, along with your "bear" guesses. Or questions/COMMENTS about my crazy day!

WHEW! I'm tired just recapping my day. Time for dinner, hopefully more stitching before bedtime, and some book club reading time.

Thanks for tagging along...I've enjoyed your company!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

NEW goodies coming SOON!

It's July! Can't believe the summer is whizzing by, and it's already HOT, HOT, HOT here in Kansas. Which, of course, also makes it perfect weather for stitching.

And time for Alan's mid-summer birthday. Here's the pic he sent our friends on his birthday party invitation. Clearly, he still enjoys his boy toys..and he's good at sharing. We had a bunch of adult friends over to eat and play in the lake on a lovely summer evening.

Alas, it's not all play. Things are humming at L*K headquarters as we are shipping new goodies EVERY MONTH in summer 2016. Usually we release new products every other month, but when it's mystery sampler time, nobody wants to wait 2 months for an update. 

And as long as we're shipping mystery goodies, we will release some other newbies. 

Here's WHAT'S COMING to your favorite shop AFTER July 15

SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part Two 
Our summer mystery is unfolding over 3 months and progressing left to right over the stitching area. This is the middle section and has the saying...and that's the only clue I'm giving

We hope you're having as much with SPOOKED! as we are. Every day we get orders and reorders from shops around the world. It's so fun to have a world wide community...all enjoying the same little stitch at a time. Stitching really is a universal language.

If you didn't join the SPOOKED! Mystery Club at the beginning, no worries. Begin any time you like...there's still lots of time before Halloween (and it comes every year, you know!). Precut fabrics (linen and Aida), thread packs, embellishment packs are also still available to order. 

Each SPOOKED! part comes with a BONUS design (that's 3 in all) and this one is really fun. 

I'm calling her Winnie Witch, and she's a Halloween-y hoot! We finished her as a standup (check out the twig "pumpkin stem") and you can find standup finishing instructions on Mona's finishing blog soon. You can also finish our friendly Winnie however you like. 

A Little Bee Kit

I was looking through a list of ideas submitted by stitchers recently, and saw request for A Little Bee design. I was in a "bee" sort of mood, so got with it and here it is. I enjoy designing and stitching these "Little" kits so much. I'm stitching on a Thanksgiving themed one now. A Little Bee kit includes 30 ct. natural linen, antique white flower button, chart, and hours of buzzy fun.

F161 July/August Yearbook Double Flip

F162 September/October Yearbook Double Flip

It's also time for more Yearbook Double Flips! I've enjoyed this series so much, and love seeing pics of finished Yearbook months on the I Love Stitching L*K Designs Facebook page. Haven't started on the Yearbook series? Choose your favorite month and get started. Or stitch the whole thing together vertically and get a fabulous calendar of stitches. Instructions for combining all 12 months are on the L*K website.

S128 Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful Snippet

As I contemplated 2016 as L*K's 20 year anniversary, I wanted a theme. Over the years, "inspiration" has become an L*K hallmark. I just love finding, graphing and stitching inspirational sayings of all kinds. So I purposed to have 2016 be all about personal empowerment, self care and a sort of "go girl" attitude. So, that's the idea behind this new Snippet. You're welcome to "be your own kind of beautiful" and personalize this with your favorite colors. Don't forget to post a picture of your finished "beautiful" Snippet on the I Love Stitching L*K Designs Facebook page so everyone can admire it.

Did you have a fun 4th of July holiday weekend??? We had a double treat, and got to see both daughters on the same weekend...not at the same time...but still fabulous. We traveled to Chicago for daughter Sarah "Lizzie"s art opening at a cool restaurant. She just finished her spring semester teaching high school art 2 weeks ago, so started the summer with a fun exhibit of her paintings.

And while in Chicago, we ate some authentic Chicago hot dogs, of course.

After we returned to Wichita, Ali and Barclay came for a visit...and brought their furry friends, Henry and Fiona. Who knew the dogs would love paddle boarding? Henry has on his handy doggie life jacket, but Fiona was a fabulous natural swimmer - didn't even get her nose wet. The canine friends stayed busy swimming from board to board. I didn't know you could balance a 40 lb. wet dog on the front of a board, and a dinky dog on the back of the same board, but Ali managed it rather gracefully.

Did I mention the fireworks? I forgot to take pics, but we spent 2 nights on the boat watching fireworks coming at us from every direction. So fun, and so LOUD with all the water echoes. I had a great fireworks experience and didn't spend a cent at the fireworks stand - my kind of holiday!

Happy July, everyone!