Sunday, September 25, 2016

Boxers losing their boxes!

What are Boxers? They're a set of kits we introduced in 2002. They've been around for a while...and around the world...literally.


Back in 2002, we were looking for a unique way to package our new kit product line. Something not too bulky, or hard to pack, but practical. It had to hold a pattern, fabric and embellishment. Alan suggested plastic cases, we researched a source, and Boxers were born.That led to the name - Boxers - and the fun little Boxer logo.


And do you remember our famous/infamous Boxer boxer shorts? I admit to still having 2 pair in my closet, and I wear them regularly around the house. We sold tons of these comfy shorts back in the day. I still remember working with our local supplier to get these flannel classics made, and having shelves of these plaid shorts
in the L*K office.

We began the Boxer kit series with several seasonal series. Then we did all sorts of stuff, including our Sweet Tooth series and a bunch of Giggle Boxers (silly sayings). You can view the entire Boxer line on our website at www.lizziekate.com. Just click on Chronological listings.

In 2011 I was looking for a new direction for the Boxer kit series. I decided to try some "inspirational" sayings, and Inspiration Boxers began. This has been my favorite group of Boxers yet, and they're still going strong. So many wonderful, inspiration sayings to share...in stitches!

Several years ago, we had a Boxer contest for you to submit, and later vote, on your favorite Inspirational sayings. We were OVERWHELMED with entrees on this one. I still have the list of entrees in my file, and refer to it for ideas. The 3 winning sayings became the Boxers below, the winners got some L*K goodies for their stash, and all of you helped choose some fantastic sayings.


B48 Don't Cry Because It's Over Inspiration Boxer

B49 I Cannot Count My Day Complete Inspiration Boxer

B50 No Act of Kindness Inspiration Boxer

But back to those Un-Boxed Boxers...
Alan began asking me a couple years ago to consider un-boxing the Boxer kits. He does the shipping, and shipping costs have risen dramatically - as I'm sure you know if you shop online for anything. He proposed losing the boxes to make the kits lighter, as well as unbreakable. We have a small amount of breakage on these plastic boxes. Most of it occurs when the boxes are originally shipped to us, and we throw away several in every case.

Boxer inventory at L*K warehouse

So now we are in the process of un-boxing the Boxer kits. We ran out of our plastic box inventory, and as we replenish stores of existing Boxer inventory and publish new Boxers, they are getting spiffy new custom-sized sacks. These sacks are unbreakable and lighter to ship...but the same Boxer kit waits for you inside!

Boxed - Unboxed!!!

And...the real reason for this post...we have a NEW BOXER COMING SOON! Here's a sneak peek photo - it's our first Christmas Inspiration Boxer.

B54 Come Let Us Adore Him Inspiration Boxer

Check back soon for previews of all of our new goodies for October.

***We're delaying the promised "Winnie the Pooh" saying contest til mid-October. Pooh fans...don't despair. We'll get back to Pooh Corner soon!




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DIY Linen Pumpkins

I recently spent a fun Saturday afternoon crafting some pumpkins. It seems, strangely, that most of my besties are not into crafts or DIY home projects. I know...I guess opposites attract! But I knew you blog readers would appreciate some fun little pumpkins made from scrap fabric...so here's the pumpkin-y scoop!

I had been seeing these little pumpkins all over Pinterest. Isn't that always the case? They were made from velvet, drop cloths, burlap, all sorts of textural fabrics. And the instructions looked so EASY...as they always do on Pinterest. Crafter beware...very few DIY projects are as easy and mistake-proof as advertised on the big P. But I still wanted to try. And here's what happened on a messy Saturday afternoon!

My pumpkins "gathered" for a group photo. Disclaimer - I bought the bottom right pumpkin on Etsy for "market research"

After debating what kind of fabric to purchase, I realized I had a stash in my supply closet. Bits of leftover linens from kits and other projects came to my rescue! 

I tried 2 different methods of pumpkin construction. Again, using instructions online. Google it or look on Pinterest and you'll find a plethora of DIY posts. You can either start with a rectangle and gather top and bottom, stuff, close. Or begin with a circle and you only have to gather once! I experimented with both, and liked the look of the circle method better. They're super fat and there are lots of pretty fabric folds everywhere.

Solitary pumpkin on my coffee table - kinda a little sculpture!


Here are a couple things I learned on my afternoon pumpkin adventure:

* The trickiest part - as I suspected, but NO ONE mentioned in their instructions - is gathering the pumpkin top. I used 6 strand floss because you have to pull really hard to close the top. Then it's tricky to stuff those gathers inside the pumpkin and hide them. They kept wanting to pop up outside the pumpkins. That's where the pumpkin stump/stem comes in! 

I didn't have any tree sticks handy (or any trees in my new yard ready for pruning!), so I used a couple things for stumps...driftwood pieces (bought these for other crafting) and wine corks (you know where these came from!). Some posts recommended using real pumpkin stems. They either saved dried stems from previous year's pumpkins or (horrors) snapped them off unsuspecting pumpkins at the pumpkin stand. ***I do think I will try to "harvest" my stems this year when I actually purchase some real pumpkins. It's 95 degrees here today, so pumpkins are not yet welcome on my porch.

*You have to pull your gathers tightly, yet leave enough room for the stump. And somehow make a tight knot to secure your gathers. I had trouble with this - it seemed I needed another set of fingers, but I did OK. So far, no pumpkins have exploded with fiberfill showering my house. 

Then the trusty glue gun does it's magic. I put a circle of glue all around the driftwood or wine cork, then stuffed in down in the pumpkin, pressing fabric to stem to hide the gathers. 

A trio of pumpkins on my drink station in my kitchen. Seemed an appropriate place for the wine cork stems.


* Embellish!!! If top isn't perfect, hide it with some embellishments. I decorated my pumpkins with some old buttons, bits of ribbon, shells, etc. In addition to looking good, these hid little bits of gathering and not quite perfect spots. I also could have added some leaves to my pumpkins. Didn't have any handy, but silk leaves would be perfect. I also saw burlap leaves on Pinterest. 

A little vignette on my long rustic kitchen table with my favorite blue glass. I decorated this bunch with shells since I think I live on the coast. I actually live on a sand-pit lake in the middle of Kansas!

* I found that bigger is not better. It may just be me, but I liked the smaller pumpkins better. I used a large dinner plate to cut out fabric circle for a lovely sized pumpkin. When I tried bigger pieces, my pumpkins were a little lumpy/funky.

A couple new pumpkins join some old pumpkins in entry hall. The creamy recycled sweater pumpkins were my DIY project last year. So easy - check Pinterest!

* Have FUN! I got pretty excited - perhaps unrealistically excited - every time I pulled the gathers shut (successfully),shoved a glue-laden stem in, and a little pumpkin was born. These little buggers are CUTE!!!

I think I may need more...

Find some fabric you like, gather some embellishments from your stash, heat up the glue gun, and make some pumpkins!!! It may not feel like fall here, but the calendar says it's "pumpkin time"!

***Any fun fall crafts happening at your house? Leave a COMMENT and tell us all about it!

CHECK BACK NEXT WEEK...we have a blog contest coming! We're inviting our friend, Winnie T. Pooh, to join our cross stitch fun...details soon!














Friday, September 9, 2016

Tiny Tidings XXI gets the woolies!

What are the "woolies"? I'm referring to the adorable new wool finishing packs from Weeks Dye Works for our newest set of Tiny Tidings XXI.


#176 Tiny Tidings XXI and it's cast of 5 little holiday characters was released a few weeks ago. Since then, these little guys have gained a lot of popularity. They're quick little stitches and so darn CUTE. I had a blast designing and stitching the tiny gang.


But after I finished stitching, then came a dilemma...how should I finish them? When in doubt, I mail my finished stitcheries to my pal, Mona, so she can work her "magic". It really is "magic" when the mailman delivers beautifully finished projects back to my door. Hence the name, Magic by Mona!


When I visited the gang at Weeks Dye Works this spring during my prep for the SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler, I was impressed with their inventory of gorgeous overdyed wools. Row after row, shelf after shelf, of beautiful colored wools!


And here are the men of L*K (Alan) and WDW (John) admiring their woolies.


Back to Tiny Tidings...Mona and I decided to finish the little gems with beautiful WDW wool. She chose 2 colors for each project. This was tricky, as all the Christmas colors are beautiful. 


On her finishing blog, Magic by Mona, there are helpful pictures and complete instructions for how to do this finish yourself!

http://magicbymona.blogspot.com/2016/09/tiny-tidingsthe-woolies.html


One step at a time, Mona walks you though the "woolie" finishing process.


Santa is saying "Aack...get this peppermint  ribbon off my face!"


And before you know, some "magic" has happened at your house, and the whole Tiny gang is ready for your tree, gifting or whatever you decide.


Here's what you'll find inside the Tiny Tidings XXI wool pack - 10 precut pieces of assorted holiday colored wools.


Everything is packaged in a plastic bag with this label on the one side...


and this label on the other side - those friendly elves at WDW are so organized.

Need some woolies at your house? Just contact your favorite needlework shop and ask them to order - not from Lizzie*Kate, but direct from Weeks Dye Works. We're not selling these, but we're thrilled to be partnering with them on Tiny Tidings XXI.

Happy Finishing!













Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SPOOKED! Summer Mystery Sampler - SOLVED!!!

We just shipped Part 3 (the FINAL part) our our SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler to shops everywhere this week (along with other newbies...scroll back to previous posts). What a weekend we had getting everything packed, and repacked (that's another blog post!). But everything is on it's way around the US and across the pond.


The much anticipated thing about Part 3 of SPOOKED! is the color photo on the front. It's super pretty and lots of spooky fun, and we hope you all love it, but....you won't see it here...YET! That lovely cream box is strategically covering our mystery sampler "reveal". 


We respectfully ask all of you NOT to post this photo anywhere for a while. I'm not kidding when I say that it can take a month for this sampler to get to all the remote places it is traveling. There really is a worldwide community of stitchers watching this mystery unfold together...and we love and appreciate all of you.

Before I forget...
Want to say a giant THANK YOU to all of you who joined us in our summer of stitching suspense. We have really felt the support from stitchers everywhere, and that makes us smile :) It's been about 7 months since I originally conceived the project and it's been a long journey (and a lot of embellishment pack assembly!).

It's never too late to join the SPOOKED! fun. We will post the "big reveal" photo soon. If you're one of those stitchers who needs to see a picture, we totally understand. Visit your favorite needlework shop and check out their SPOOKED! Part 3 and see the finished project photo.


But here's a photo we're excited to share! For the Birds is the BONUS project that comes with SPOOKED! Part 3. I had the best time designing and stitching these little crows and their curious cat pal. After I completed the model, I had a hard time deciding on a finish. I went with a black frame, but it would make a darling height-challenged pillow - just imagine some fun black pom or chenille trim - or whatever else your imagination dreams up.

I originally planned to finish this as a little drum, where the design would wrap around the 3D drum. But photographing those is tricky, so didn't go that way. But I would love to see a pic if something chooses this option.

NOTE: You are free to post finished pics of the 3 BONUS projects included with SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler. I really look forward to seeing what you are doing with these:

Part 1 - 2 sided fob
Part 2 - Winnie Witch standup
Part 3 - For the Birds

Don't forget the FREE finishing instructions at link below. Mona really outdid herself with great photo and fabulous tutorials for the BONUS projects. GIANT THANKS to super-Mona! She makes me look good with her great finishes. I give her an idea (or more often ask her for an idea) and she "magically" makes it a reality.

http://magicbymona.blogspot.com/

Thanks for joining us on our SPOOKED! "magical mystery tour" this summer!









Friday, August 12, 2016

Pumpkin Pocket Preview

We have one final pocket/purse kit to complete our series...and it's coming SOON!

K91 Pumpkin Pocket Kit

Call it a pocket, call it a purse, call it whatever you want, this Halloween project is quick and fun. Kit includes 30 ct. natural linen, black/brown finishing fabric, black button, 2 rusty hand-dyed buttons, black rick rack (for handle), template and complete finishing instructions. You provided bits of fibers from your stash and a spooky attitude.

Our Pumpkin Pocket has 3 seasonal companions, already available: The series is now complete!

                                           K84 Very Merry Santa Kit

                                          K86 Hello Spring Kit

                                           K88 Love Summer Kit

This little bugger is so cute, I just enjoy having it hanging out at my desk. Which it is...right now...on top of my growing pile of projects in progress (picture below).


On one busy corner of my desk, I pile projects that are WIP (works in progress). By the time they land here, they are designed, stitched, photographed and on their way to publishing. I clip everything about a project together...graph, stitching notes, fabric/thread/embellishment info, proofing notes, printer ready files...everything about this project. Since Pumpkin Purse was flat (not a framed model or 3D finish), it got clipped in, too! I have been known to lose models...but that's another (runaway bunny) blog post.

See the lovely lady in the top right part of photo above? That's Elena, my senior partner from Unbound. She lives in a small village in Guatemala. I sponsor her through Unbound, which is such a wonderful organization based in Kansas City. 

https://www.unbound.org/

I could go on and on about Unbound and the fabulous work they do...but that's material for another post.  I'll chat more about Unbound soon. But must share one story...


When I got matched with Elena and got the info pack about her life, I could hardly believe it. I had been to her tiny town several years before while on a mission trip with my church. I KNOW!!! I probably walked right by her house, or certainly nearby. We would have shared the same dirt roads and the beautiful mountain and lake views. Maybe, maybe...I will get to meet her someday, as our church returns twice yearly to Guatemala. Meanwhile, we exchange letters often (through Unbound translators), and she's my constant desk companion. Elena looks over my shoulder while I'm working on my computer and keeps me on track with her firm look. Don't you love her gorgeous handwoven traditional clothing. More about that on future post, too. There's a story behind every garment.

Here's everything shipping to shops on August 15:

#176 Tiny Tidings XXI + Embellishment Pack (scroll back for blog sneak peek)
S127 Santa '16 - Old School Santa + Embellishment Pack (scroll back for blog sneak peek)
K91 Pumpkin Pocket Kit
SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part 3 - the long-awaited FINAL PART with the PHOTO REVEAL!!!





Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Here comes Santa!

Yes, it's AUGUST...but it's holiday time here at L*K. I'm continuing my SNEAK PEEK posts on all the upcoming Halloween and Christmas goodies.

Every year I design a Snippet Santa, and every year I wonder what Santa will say/do this time. He's been caught in his pajamas, taking a spin on ice skates, hanging with his woodland friends, and all sorts of St. Nick activities.

This year I was inspired by a saying. I'm not sure it's totally "politically correct", but I liked it. Hope you like it, too! This seems like a great saying for our 20th Anniversary here at L*K. I think we are "old school", working in the needlework biz...or at least, we're OLD!


Now I don't want Santa 2016 compared with a grouchy old man  I just prefer to think of him as "old school". Imagine how the jolly old man works all year getting ready for the big day, and someone cheerfully quips "Happy Holidays!". Santa may sigh a bit.

I stitched Santa on 32 ct. natural light linen. You can choose your favorite fabric. I popped the jolly old elf in an antique-y white frame. The design is square, so it would also make a darling pillow or other fun finish - so many options.


I aimed for an "old school" color theme this year with more muted Christmas colors. Old School Santa is embellished with 3 antique white snowflake buttons. These are available in (optional) embellishment pack. Otherwise, snowflakes are graphed and can be stitched.

We're busy making Santa '16 Embellishment Packs, and our Santa Snippet just returned from the printer...where I'm sure he lifted everyone's spirits.

Here comes Santa Claus...but not until after August 15, when we ship to needlework shops around the world.

Here's what else is coming soon. Check back for more sneak peeks (Pumpkin Pocket is coming later this week), and scroll back for previous post on Tiny Tidings XXI.

#176 Tiny Tidings XXI + Embellishment Pack
S127 Santa '16 - Old School Santa + Embellishment Pack
K91 Pumpkin Pocket Kit 
SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part 3 - the much-awaited FINAL PART!!!

Are you "old school". Leave a comment below and embrace the "old school" in all of us!






Thursday, August 4, 2016

In the mood for Christmas?

Every summer my thoughts turn to...CHRISTMAS, of course! For the past 20 years, we've been releasing holiday designs in August. Back in the day, we went to a huge needlework market in Charlotte every August. Alas, no more. But August is still our go-to time to release yearly Christmas designs.


When I began doing Tiny Tidings 21 years ago, I never dreamed it would be an ongoing series...for 20+ years! But they're just so FUN to design and stitch, and versatile to finish and enjoy in so many ways. Every year I sit at my computer, sketch pad in hand, and wonder what in the heck I'm going to do this year. Then I start doodling and graphing, and before I know it, there's another batch of Tiny Tidings little treasures on my computer screen.


This year I had an idea to graph a bunch of favorite holiday characters. I narrowed down the list to 5 (made my list and checked it twice!) and ended up designing "bitty" Santa, Mrs. Santa, reindeer, snowman and and elf. These little guys are SO CUTE...they sort of have big heads and little bodies, and lots of cuteness inbetween.

I got to work stitching all these little holiday pals and added an embellishment to each of them...antique gold wreath charm, "exclusive" cookie button, white snowflake button, tiny red  button, and burgundy triangle button. These little gems will be included in the (optional) Tiny Tidings XXI Embellishment Pack.

You can see that my photographer and I had some fun with peppermint candies for our cover photo. Not quite as easy to find peppermints in the middle of the summer.


Then I decided to use the designs in a different way and grouped 4 of them in one stitchery, adding some trees and lots of snow (sorry to leave you out, little elf). This would make a darling little pillow, but I decided on a "snow" inspired chunky frame. Love it!


Here are some Tiny Tidings XXI Embellishment Packs with all the goodies described above. I spent the 10+ hour drives (each way) going to Colorado recently working on these. With embellishment packs in my hand, our Audiobook which transported us to the dawn of the French Revolution, a pitstop for Mexican food and a wonderful driver (Alan), the trip was nice. Below is pic of the 9" x 13" baking pan that was on my lap to/fro Colorado. Handy!


CHECK BACK SOON for more previews of our August releases! We'll be featuring one newbie at a time, and we've got 4 things coming your way after August 15.

COMING SOON!

#176 Tiny Tidings XXI + Embellishment Pack
S127 Santa '16 - Old School Santa + Embellishment Pack
K91 Pumpkin Pocket Kit 
SPOOKED! Mystery Sampler Part 3 - the much-awaited FINAL PART!!!

August is a great month for stitching - enjoy!