Monday, May 8, 2017

Distracted in Kansas

So...it's been almost a month since I last blogged. I used to blog twice a week. Now I aim for weekly or every other week. Lately, I've completely fallen off the blogger bandwagon!

Here's my (self) diagnosis: DISTRACTED!

****The post title "Distracted in Kansas" was meant to be a variation on the popular movie "Sleepless in Seattle".  Just thought I'd better explain, and clue you in to my movie-inspired sense of humor.

In 20+ years of working from home, I've been super diligent and disciplined. I'm frequently asked if it's hard to work from home and get anything done. On the contrary, I have found it's hard to get away from work - it's always right around the corner. But lately....

I do love to make lists!!! Do you like lists? Be sure and leave a comment below if you're list-addicted.

Here's my list on why I'm distracted this spring of 2017:


Ali and Barclay's wedding is June 2!

1) Wedding!!!
The time between Ali (our daughter) and Barclay's Christmas engagement and June 2 wedding is a short 5 months. But, the bride and groom are doing 95% of the planning themselves. Truly, I only have a small amount of details to pull together. Other than being the MOB (mother of bride) at 4 bridal showers, I'm mostly thinking happy thoughts about the big event ahead. And wondering when I'm going to get my dress altered. I'm putting it on this week's LIST.

Alan enjoying the newly fluffed back patio
2) Spring
I adore spring! I can't get enough of watching everything turning green, visiting all the plant stands, going for walks in the woodsy area behind our house, arranging my patio for summer fun, and kayaking our little lake. So. Much. Spring. Very distracting!

Making cookies together = successful marriage

3) 40th wedding anniversary
Alan and I are eagerly anticipating our 40th anniversary this fall. We were babes when we married - just out of college - and it's been an amazing journey together. I can't imagine doing life without this man. So to celebrate we booked a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine and Danube in July. It will also be a great "recovery" from the wedding whirl in June. We'll be accompanied by some dear friends who are also celebrating their 40th.



Our daughter Ali and her fiance, Barclay, took a Viking Cruise last summer and adored the experience - even though they were decades younger than most of their fellow cruisers. It turns out Barc loves to charm the little old ladies.(No wonder we get along so well!) Can't wait for the beautiful scenery, yummy food, and overall pampering.

***Isn't it interesting how often your kids get to have cool experiences before you do? Now it's OUR TURN!

Having said all this about being DISTRACTED from my work...NO WORRIES, cross stitch faithful! I may be staying up late surfing Pinterest wedding pics, but I've still got a full line-up of newbies scheduled for 2017.

Just this morning, I finished the new product release schedule for 2017. On my official new release LIST, of course!

***Check back soon, because I'm working on a BIG blog post with all the newbies coming in 2017, including our top-secret Christmas Mystery Sampler.

Meanwhile, if you love LISTS like I do (and appreciate the supreme satisfaction of crossing things off a list)...LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me about your list addiction.














Wednesday, April 12, 2017

L*K Office "Redoux"

I've worked from home since the beginning of L*K almost 22 years ago. I began on a table in my family room, moved to my basement, built an L*K "mini-me" office next to our house (it looked like a miniature version of our house), then moved almost 2 years ago to our new home.

Alan moved the L*K warehouse/shipping to a little strip mall near our house, and I snagged the main floor "guest bedroom" for my L*K home office.

When we moved, I hastily pulled together the L*K office and got to work. Almost 2 years later, I was in the mood for a "refresh". The theme is based around my giant pink donut painting, and it's FUN!

Here's a peek into my tweaked L*K office and the eclectic decor that keeps me happy and inspired.


On the short hallway to my office (from the kitchen eating area) I have favorite art on both walls. I just got this pink/orange print called "Let's Grow Old Together" from Minted. I adore it! I love the image of the couple walking into the beautiful landscape. That's Alan and I...can't you tell?


And on the other side of the hallway is a colorful contemporary print with a beautiful indigo sky that I love. Can you see the kit flying over the houses?  I figure if art makes you smile, no matter what the style, it's now your style.


And here's what I see when I step into my sunny office every morning. The walls are pale green and it's BRIGHT in here with the east sun pouring in through large windows on right of pic. I have to close my shades to see computer well for a few hours. The color in this pic is kinda dull, but unfortunately I've never learned to edit photos, so picture it bright and colorful.


I love to create little vignettes and this one that greets me first thing changes frequently. It's an old faux bamboo bookcase I got at a junk store 20+ years ago. It's lived in almost every room of the house. It's usually full of old pottery and now it's got a contemporary "dot" painting (Minted) on top. Just got the A/Z bookends from Target, and need some colorful vintage books.


Back to my busy desk. I sold my large pine table and downsized to a sleek white formica desk from IKEA. I wasn't sure how I would like it, but it's perfect. You choose the size of top (I got 2 and turned them into an L-shape), then screw in the legs. I also stuck an IKEA filing cabinet with drawers under big desk. It's a great option for an inexpensive work area, and the smooth white surface is perfect.


I love my new aqua polka dot desk chair from Home Goods. They are new to Wichita and I am a loyal customer. You never know what you need until you see it at Home Goods. I got the funky pillow there too, on the "Clearance/nobody wants me" aisle.


I recently decided I needed more organization on my desk to track all the projects in progress. That really is the hardest part for me...so many projects in all different stages of production. So I bought these fun pink stackers. I ordered from a company called Poppin and am delighted with them. For some reason, pink stackers make organization more fun.

The 4 compartments hold, in order from top to bottom:
* New designs, not stitched (you can spot 2017 Snippet sleds on top)
* Stitched new designs, not published yet
* Published new designs, not yet released
* Recently released designs

I hang onto a lot of paperwork/pre press stuff for a while...stitching notes, sources, proofs, all that stuff that documents the progress from original design to published material...hence the stackers.


And next to my pink stacker is my new gold bulldog tape dispenser. No, I don't need tape often, but I couldn't resist taking home this doggie from the sale bin at Target. And post-its, of course. 

Also here's a recent letter from my sponsored elder friend at Unbound. I've talked about Elena before. She lives in Guatemala, and we correspond frequently, via a translator. Here's the original note written in Spanish, thankfully accompanied by English translation. I write her online and send pics and they're delivered to her. If you want to sponsor an elder or a youngster, check out Unbound.org.


Nestled under my desk - next to IKEA file cabinet - is a basket of finished L*K models (Home Goods). These are "yet to be released"...coming soon in April and June. I keep them near until release date, then they spend time at my LNS or travel in a trunk show. Adios, models!


Circling to left of main desk is my computer table. Here's a sneek peek of upcoming Autumn Smalls chart. I'm stitching these 4 little guys now and they're sure fun. They are a companion to Summer Smalls - coming next week. Also an old-fashioned calendar and a no-maintenance terrarium, one of many at my house.


Directly under my computer desk is my furry footstool from the Hobby Lobby clearance aisle. Even 2 years after knee surgery, sometimes my knee enjoys a little pampering.


Directly behind my desk is my favorite part of my office - the giant pink donut painting! It's an original from my daughter, the talented Sarah Wain. By day she's a high art teacher near downtown Chicago, but in her spare time she loves to paint, do collage, printmaking, and all sorts of beautiful art. Who doesn't love a workspace with donuts and sprinkles?! And no, it doesn't make me hungry.



I just added this fun little print from Hobby Lobby. It's a note to myself, reminding me not to doubt myself and my creativity. The cool thing about this HL art...it's so CHEAP! If I grow tired of the print, I can pop something else in the sleek white frame and mat. 


Next to the old aqua dresser and giant donut painting, is my new clear acrylic airchair. Because...WHY NOT? It was inexpensive on Amazon and fills the space nicely. It's holding funky pillows and underneath is L*K model overflow...oops.


As I enter my office, there's a closet that I've converted to supply storage space. I hastily arranged it when I moved in, and it needs some tidying. OK...it needs A LOT of tidying. I know my supplies are there, and keep searching until I find them. There's a charming pink stool from my husband's family farm.


Almost forgot this...it's just behind my computer desk and I see it beyond my giant monitor. I've had this child's rolltop desk for decades - literally. Isn't it scary when you can say this, and it's true?! Like much of my furniture, it's traveled all over my home, but I'm glad to welcome it in the L*K office.


Couldn't finish without sharing my pink plant. I don't know what it is, but I got it a few months ago and it loves my cheerful environment. It bloomed a bit (bonus!) and it's so PRETTY. It also keeps my big fig trees company. 


And the best part of my home office...looking out the windows! I've got east and south windows and have water views both directions. The interesting thing about living near water is the ever-changing view. No matter whether there are giant whitecaps, or whether it's satin smooth...it's a delight to behold. 


Thanks for joining along on the "new and improved" L*K home office tour!

WHEW...my office is sighing because it was impossibly neat for these photos, and now it can relax and resume it's normally state of creative messiness. And "NO", I haven't lost my marbles...they're right in front of me every day! 

***Unlike a lot of decor blogs I follow, this is NOT a sponsored post! I just listed sources in case any of you liked my goodies and "need" them at your house.

I'd love your feedback!!! Please LEAVE A COMMENT with ideas, suggestions, observations, whatever. I have chronic rearranging syndrome, so the office is never "done". I'd love your input!





































Wednesday, April 5, 2017

COMING in 2 weeks!

We've got 4 new designs coming in mid-April. We previewed the first 2 in last blog post. Scroll back to view them!

Here are other 2 newbies joining the L*K 2017 line-up:

F167 Liberty Celebrate! with Charm Flip-it

Our year long celebration continues with a July 4th design. It's the same size as all the other Celebrate! Flip-its, so you can interchange frames if you like. Or stitch all of the holidays together for one horizontal celebration. Flip-it includes an antique gold star charm.


Responding to a request from a Canadian shop, we have also developed a "Canadian alternative" for this design. Thank goodness we consulted with her on the wording, because we had never heard the phrase she suggested before - "True North". She assured us the stars, sunflowers and waves were appropriate, so we are pleased to offer this adaptation for our Canadian stitcher friends.

We'll post the Canadian adaptation on the Free Designs section of the L*K website. 

Many thanks to shop owner Ann McDonald, from Knowledge and Needles in Brighton, Ontario for stitching our Canadian model and suggesting the Canadian tweak. We love our northern neighbors!



K95 A Little Stitch Kit

It's time for another "Little" kit and we've chosen our favorite subject - stitching! We've also included a bit of stitcher wisdom...."Stitch every day". Words to live by! Kit includes easy-to-see 28 ct. Lambswool linen and silver "Made with Love" charm. 

***On another subject, I've been obsessed with "spring refreshing" in my house for the last month. I seem to have caught CPRS. I read about this on a decorating blog and it describes me perfectly. I have "constant pillow rearranging syndrome". My fun pillows travel from sofa to chair, room to room, upstairs and downstairs...all in a quest for a new look. And I seem to be buying more pillows since Home Goods came to town. Love that place!

And pillows aren't the only things moving around my home and home office. Small furniture, plants, accessories, anything that I can lift is subject to relocation at any time. I'm blaming those decorating blogs I love to follow and Pinterest, of course. Pinterest = addictive.

I'll do a post soon with my L*K office refresh! I'm in a PINK mood this spring (not sure why!) but maybe because of the giant pink donut painting in my office from my daughter, the talented Sarah Wain. Pink is popping up around the office, and I love it. I'll clean my office to unusual (unsustainable) standards, take some pics and share soon.

Directly behind my desk - sprinkles on my shoulder!

***Stay tuned for "behind the (pink donut) scenes" at my L*K home office!




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

APRIL SNEAK PEEK

It's been 3 weeks since my last blog post, but it seems like FOREVER!

Between now and then, we've had some quirky warm/hot weather (yes, we've already mowed our lawn), watched tons of basketball, I've designed a bunch of newbies for 2017 (including a Mystery Sampler!), and worked on planning a wedding. Ali (aka "Kate") is getting married and we couldn't be happier. But sometimes it's hard to squeeze work between all the fun, family and friends.

But no worries, I haven't forgotten about you, my dear stitching friends. You are what keeps me going.

Here are the first 2 SNEAK PEEKS of April new releases:

We'll be releasing 4 new products in mid April. We'll do another post soon with the other 2 newbies.


#182 Summer Smalls (with embellishments)

We're excited to preview our Seasonal Smalls series! These little buggers are so quick and fun, we decided to make them a seasonal series. Each "Smalls" chartpak will include 4 charming little designs, with embellishments included for all. I promise...this is going to be a darling "small" series.


#183 Coffee Time

What time of day is coffee time? Always! We "perked up" 3 favorite coffee quotes, just for your stitching pleasure. Enjoy the buzz and get stitchin"!

About those "other things" we've been doing, besides running the L*K family biz...it turns out wedding plans are a big deal.  Literally...Ali and Barc are expecting 300-350 guests at their wedding and reception.




We're so excited they've scheduled the event at historic Union Station in downtown KC.


I got the printer who does all my L*K printing to do their invitations. I have learned a thing or two about printing over the last 21 years. They found a cool invite that looks like a vintage train ticket....not your usual stuffy wedding invite, but perfect for the happy couple.

We have an April "full of showers" in Wichita and KC. It will be a joyful month of travel between KC and Wichita (3 hours apart) as we spend time with our dear friends and family.

Amidst all the wedding prep activity, we "faithfully promise" to get our 4 NEW PRODUCTS shipped to shops around the world on Monday, April 17!





Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Which came first...the chick or the egg?

Question: Which came first...the chicken or the egg OR the chick and egg cross stitch from Lizzie*Kate????

#181 Chick Party

Answer: Doesn't matter, this cross stitch is super CUTE and it's here NOW!

AND...we have a wonderful new finishing post so you can finish your little egg just like ours!



These finishing instructions are brought to you by Mona, our good friend and finisher extraordinaire. If you see a finish other than a frame on an L*K design, you know Mona is the "magic" behind the finishing scenes. Hence her biz name - Magic by Mona.

And it is magic for me...because I hate to sew! I know...it sounds weird, but sewing and cross stitch are not at all the same thing. I CAN sew, but I don't really enjoy the process, except when I'm finished.  Back in the day, my Mom taught me sew and I sewed a lot of my own clothes. Heck, I was even a Home Economics Liberal Arts major in college - believe it or not. (That's a fun quirky fact I pull out sometimes to amaze my friends!). Would you believe the Home Ec department has been renamed Human Ecology?

So click on over to Magic by Mona (link above) and find her super helpful egg finishing instructions. You'll find the egg template on the L*K website under the Free Designs button on left of Home Page. It looks like pic below. Then click on egg, download and print.



Our Free Designs page looks like pic above. Find the egg, download and print



Then head over the Mona's site for all of the written instructions with some amazing pictures to help tell the egg-cellent story!



Mona really does make it look easy with her great tutorials. And the step by step pics...so helpful!



And here's the final result...artfully photographed on my placemat! Haven't unboxed the Easter gear at home yet.


All of this "egg" talk reminds me of a kit I did a couple years ago. I adored this little egg finish, and was excited to display it at home. Unfortunately, I lost it somewhere between photographing it and going to market. Pretty embarassing. So I did the next best thing. I made a large poster of it for market and displayed that. I thought maybe I would "uncover the egg" when we moved last year, but alas, no.


I guess the "yolk" was on me! That pesky wabbit must have made off with my egg when I wasn't looking. Yesterday I took my new egg to my local needlework shop (Heart's Desire in Wichita, Kansas) for safe keeping!









Wednesday, February 22, 2017

L*K Charity Update!

Last November I told you about our L*K holiday charity project. We're so excited to share an update with all of you...our stitching and giving partners!

B55 I Am Only One Inspiration Boxer Kit

We introduced our "Charity" Boxer B55 just in time for Christmas 2016. But...it's not a holiday 2016 project only. The giving will continue all year, and for years to come.

How many stoves have you all funded so far? We sent a check at the end of 2016 that will fund 27 stoves. And that's just the first donation! How exciting is this?!

Why did we choose Stove Builders of Guatemala as our charity?



I was fortunate to visit Guatemala several years ago, and am hopeful to return again to build more stoves. Women typically cook on open fires inside their homes. The #1 killer of Guatemalan women is lung and eye diseases from open fires. Women's long skirts often catch fire and small children may fall into the fire. In addition, a lot of wood is burned, deforesting the countryside. Everywhere we traveled, we saw people carrying firewood...young and old...everyone carrying bits of wood.

Long story short...an American who had lived in Guatemala developed a fuel efficient stove that could be built using local materials. Besides being fuel efficient, the stove got the cooking fire off the ground and vented the smoke outdoors. It could be built for about $120.

Stove Builders Juan and Diego

Local "stove builders" have been trained (pic above), and they continue to build stoves and train more stove builders. Twice a year a group from our church returns to work alongside local stove builders and provide financial help. Can you believe Stove Builders have built over 850 stoves?!

$120 is a big price for a family where a good wage is $6 a day. Stove Builders provides $100 per stove through donations and the family pays $20. In addition, the family helps with construction of the stove.


Our hope is to provide a stove for every family who needs one. By purchasing this L*K design, you are partnering with us and stitchers around the world to provide safe, efficient stoves to Guatemalan families. ***Check out those tiny tortillas above. Tortillas are a staple food - breakfast, lunch and dinner.


I couldn't finish this post without sharing this pic of the beautiful women and their gorgeous handmade clothing. I fell in love with the traditional clothing of these Mayan descent women. These ladies aren't "dressing up" for tourists - this is their everyday wear. Every village has it's own "pattern" of embroidery, and you can identify a person's home from their clothing. I also thought the wrap skirts were genius! No matter what your current weight, you could wind these skirts to a comfortable, cozy fit. And the beautiful COLORS!!!


***If you have a special story to tell about how you are using B55 I Am Only One Inspiration Boxer in your life...maybe as a special gift, project or something other creative use...please leave a COMMENT. 

"I am only one. I cannot do everything, but I can do Something".

And with all of you...we can do so much MORE!

Monday, February 13, 2017

NEW next week!!

It's Nashville Needlework Market time, so that means lots of NEW designs from your favorite creative people. We've made the cross-country drive for 20 years, but we're staying home this year. Sometimes life gets in the way of business. More about that in a future post, but all is good. 

But we're still releasing NEW DESIGNS at market time. Actually, we're shipping ahead of market, so shops can cross L*K off their "to buy" list at market. One less busy showroom to visit.

We previewed our Chick Party (bottom pic) last week. 

Here are our other 2 (Nashville) newbies!

#180 She Believed She Could

I found 2 cool saying I LOVE, so combined them into one powerful, female-friendly inspirational chartpak. Just last week a friend suggested "She Believe She Could" saying to me. I told her it was already DONE!


F166 Easter Basket Celebrate! Flip-it


Our 7-part holiday series is already in full swing with Love (#164 Valentine's Day) and Luck (#165 St. Patrick's Day). Now Basket (Easter) is joining a year of celebration. These little gems are quick, cute and full of finishing possibilities. Let's celebrate 2017 together...in stitches!


#181 Chick Party

Yes, we told you about the chicks last week, but they are still partying and wanted to be included on the blog again. Chicks just wanna have fun! Chartpak includes both designs and a cache of tiny white buttons. Find egg template and finishing instructions online at magicbymona.blogspot.com.


***If you "need" any newbies, be sure to let your favorite needlework supplier know. We're shipping to shops around the world on Wednesday, February 22. Lots of spring happiness coming your way!


Speaking of spring happiness...is anyone else having unseasonably warm weather? On the daily news, I see severe weather on both coasts. But here in the heartland, we're having 60 and 70 degree days in February! My grass is greening, perennials are starting to poke up their heads...it's downright balmy. And my over-achieving neighbor mowed her lawn. AND I had early morning hot tea on my balcony the other day - what's with that?!

Is winter really over...or is a frigid, blustery March lurking ahead of us? Whichever...loving February in Kansas!

Leave me a COMMENT if freaky weather is happening at your house. Whatever the weather, it's always cross stitch weather!