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!




Monday, February 6, 2017

Time for a Chick Party!!!

We're ready to PARTY and we've invited the best "chicks" in town...no men allowed!

#181 Chick Party

Is it possible to have too many chicks? Hope not, because these feathered ladies are ready for some springtime fun!

#181 Chick Party chartpak includes patterns for both designs. Want to finish your little egg just like ours? We'll post complete finishing instructions, including egg template online. Chartpak also includes 6 tiny white buttons for flower centers.You supply the carrots, eggs and your favorite springtime decor.

When are these chicks coming your way???

We're shipping Chick Party (and 2 other newbies I'll preview soon) on FEBRUARY 22 to wonderful needlework shops around the world. 

Need a Chick Party in your life? Let your favorite needlework shop know, and they'll order a copy just for you!


***Note from Linda...now that I've opened the stuffed Easter tote in my basement to get decor for this photo, it's hard not to get out all the spring-y stuff and scatter around my house. I'm making myself wait a few more weeks, but with 60-70 temps in February in Kansas, it's not easy! Spring is coming...





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Official L*K forecast for 2017!

I'm forecasting a year full of cross stitch fun for 2017!!!

****If you don't read about "how I plan a year in advance", scroll on down to the SNEAK PEEKS later in post. If you want more L*K behind-the-scenes, read the whole thing!

Seriously, I'm working this week on my tentative design schedule for 2017. Believe it or not, I do plan ahead...sort of...subject to change, of course.


Here's how it works...kind of an L*K tradition. I tear out a piece of old-fashioned notebook paper (old school!), grab an (erasable!) pencil and get to work. I pencil in what months we will be releasing new designs. That's usually every other month. Unless we're doing a Mystery Sampler, unless market gets in the way, unless...whatever else pops up. In 2016, we had 8 product releases. With only 4 months without new product releases, it seemed like we were always doing major shipments...and we were!

As I pencil in my designs for the year ahead, I refer to the previous year's schedule. There are some designs that occur yearly, and I don't want to forget those. Every year we have Tiny Tidings (tiny holiday designs) and a yearly Snippet Santa.

Then I try to maintain a nice balance of our different product lines and scatter those throughout the year. The goal is to have a little something for everybody.

Chartpaks - usually a large design or group of small designs
Snippets - small designs
Flip-its - series of small design that can be stitched separately or together
Boxers - kits that include fabric, embellishments and BONUS design
"A Little" Kits - themed kits that include fabric and embellishments
Kits - seasonal kits, often Limited Edition
Embellishments - sometimes we have optional embellishment packs to accompany designs

I don't pencil in a whole year at once! But I do have an outline. There's always room for "sudden inspiration" when I find a theme or a quote that really speaks to me and I want to share it with all of you.

And sometimes things I plan on doing just don't materialize. That's why everything is in PENCIL. Then when the new product release is actually scheduled and announced to the needlework shops, I get out the eraser and finalize it in ink.

Sometimes a design that begins as a single design evolves into a series. A good example would be S106 Spring String Snippet. I have so much designing this little "string" that a wholes series followed. Buzzy String, Spooky String, Thankful String, Merry String, Snowy String, Doggy String and Kitty String. They aren't my best sellers, but I love them (sometimes that happens!).

S106 Spring String Snippet

S107 Buzzy String Snippet


NOW...HERE'S A SNEAK PEEK FOR 2017!

* Celebrate with Charm Flip-its. We just shipped the first 2 parts of this 7-part holiday series. They're quick, cute and each one comes with an antique gold charm. So many finishing possibilities on these! Easter Celebrate with Charm is coming in February.




* Chick Party! I just stitched 2 little Easter designs with lots of adorable chicks. I'm not sure whether to call it "Just Chicks" or "Chick Party". I'm leaning toward partying! Coming soon in February.

* She Believed She Could. Suddenly I'm seeing this saying everywhere..."she believed she could, so she did". I just designed and stitched this quote, along with another women-oriented saying that I love. This continues my theme for 2016 on self-care and empowerment and "just go girl!". Coming in February.

Coffee designs! I just finished stitching a series of 3 coffee themed designs. I know we've "done coffee" before, but there's a real "thirst" for coffee stuff. It never goes out of style....

* A Little Stitch Kit. Several years ago I asked my blog readers to submit ideas for Little Kits. I went back through that list (still have it) and decided to do a cross-stitch themed kit. Can't wait to start stitching this model because it's fun. It says "Stitch every day", which is (of course), excellent advice!

* Snippet Sleds. These little buggers are so popular, and they're so fun to design. It's sorta like solving a puzzle...trying to figure out how to fill the allotted sled-size stitch count with a cute design. Each Sleds Snippet comes with 3 sled designs. Last year we released 2 Sled Snippets (6 designs), and hope to do that again in 2017. Each Snippet also includes little sled embellishments.

S129 Snowy Sleds

S128 Peppermint Sleds


* Santa and Tiny Tidings. Every year, these make an appearance. Our 2016 Old School Santa was a very popular guy. And Tiny Tidings XXI was the most popular Tiny Tidings in recent years. I adored the 5 little holiday characters. What should I do in 2017?



* Seasonal Smalls series. I just designed a group of 3 summery "smalls" and they are so cool, I'm planning a seasonal series. What are smalls? Just what you think...sweet little designs. The fun thing about smalls - you can do so many great finishes. Pin pillows, bowl fillers, tiny frames, boxes, easels, whatever you like and they look great. My favorite thing about smalls...they are satisfying, enjoyable, quick little projects. Smalls are FUN!

* Inspiration Boxer Kits. We've done almost 2 dozen Inspiration Boxers, and they're still popular. I think a little inspiration is always a good idea. A few years ago, we had a contest to submit sayings. I graphed the 3 winners, and I still have the long list of submissions. Want to submit your favorite inspirational saying? Leave a comment below.


B56 Be the Rainbow Inspiration Boxer - our most recent release

* Just Cross Stitch Annual Ornament Issue. L*K was MIA from the 2016 Annual Ornament Issue, but we'll be back in 2017. Would you believe we submit our designs in March? I decided, uncharacteristically, to tackle it as soon as I got the request from JCS last week. I designed it and am stitching on it now. The JCS ladies will be shocked when they receive my ornament issue project in February! Definitely a first for L*K.

What else? What would you like to see in 2017???

Please LEAVE A COMMENT below and let me know what is your "heart's desire" for 2017. I keep a file of suggestions from stitchers and refer to it often. I really love the input.

Here's to a great 2017 together...in stitches!

















Monday, January 16, 2017

MORE goodies coming January 20

Thank goodness we had these designs almost finished before the Christmas holiday. Between our daughter Ali's engagement (happy, happy!) and moving my mom, things were busy!!

These 3 new designs are shipping to shops everywhere on January 20. Contact your fave needlework supplier to preorder or purchase when they arrive.

#179 If You Live to be 100

It's finally here...another "perfectly Pooh" chartpak! Pooh lovers everywhere have been anxiously waiting since our Pooh saying contest several months ago. There are 2 favorite Pooh quips, including the contest winning quote (bottom right). We love Pooh's sweet, timeless bear wisdom.


B56 Be the Rainbow Inspiration Boxer

Remember this saying? It was a "Top 10" in our Inspiration Boxer saying contest a while ago. It's a classic saying from Maya Angelou and perfect for our inspiration series. Kit includes 30 ct. Lambswool linen, rose flower button and BONUS design (right).


S131 Home is the Nicest Word There Is Snippet

I saw this charming saying from Laura Ingalls Wilder and had to graph it right away. Such a lovely sentiment...and so true!


F164 Love Celebrate with Charm Flip-it

F165 Luck Celebrate with Charm Flip-it


We'll also be shipping the first 2 holidays in our 2017 Celebrate with Charm Flip-it  on THIS FRIDAY - yikes, lots to assemble and pack. For all the scoop on our Celebrate with Charm series, scroll back to previous post for details.

Lots of fun coming for 2017!!!






Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New! Holidays with Charms Flip-its for 2017

YIKES!  It's been over a month since I last blogged. I've missed all of you, but sometimes life gets in the way of business. 

As Christmas neared, my brother and I had to move our mother to a different senior complex. Couldn't have come at a busier time, but we pulled it off. Thankfully, we're both self-employed and we have "understanding bosses" and great spouses. Still...it's the 3rd time we've moved her in the last few years, and we're a little move-weary. More downsizing, more sorting, and more confusion as she adjusts to a new environment. 

In between moving into one apartment and cleaning out another, we celebrated Christmas and tried to squeeze in some work. Here's what's coming for 2017:

CELEBRATE WITH CHARM - our 2017 Flip-it series!

We LOVE HOLIDAYS, so what better way to celebrate than in stitches?! For each holiday, I chose a single word to symbolize the holiday, then designed around that word. Lots of colorful holiday motifs and L*K charm combine to make this series special. And, I should mention, they are quick, satisfying little projects!

* There will be 7 designs - Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas

* Each Celebrate with Charm will have a different antique gold charm

* Stitch count for individual holidays is 43W x 58H

* Holidays are stitched on 32 ct. light mocha Belfast linen. Choose your favorite neutral color fabric and stitch count, making sure it's dark enough for white stitching

* If you want to stitch all the holidays together horizontally, combined stitch count is 343W x 58H

* Thread list: Weeks Dye Works capri, chickpea, clockwork, deep sea, dirt road, dried sage, emerald, Havana, monkey grass, onyx, purple haze, whitewash (2). Gentle Art Sampler Threads holly berry, Victorian pink. DMC 754.

* We used charming little frames from Huneywood. You can finish these however you want. They would make darling little pillows, standup easels...whatever you love!

If you want to Celebrate with Charm all year long, we're posting instructions on our website for stitching the whole series together horizontally. We coordinated the threads to blend nicely from Valentine's through Christmas. 

The first two Celebrate with Charm Flip-its are almost ready. We're shipping to shops everywhere on Friday, January 20. 

F164 Love Celebrate with Charm Flip-it 
(includes tiny golden heart charm)

F165 Luck Celebrate with Charm Flip-it
(includes tiny golden shamrock charm)

Here's what all the holidays stitched together would look like - it's one super wide celebration in stitches!


I know - this pic is small - and I'm not technically proficient enough to figure out how to make it better - put on your readers and magnify!!!

***Do you remember our 2016 blog posts on Cross Stitch Design 101? I talked about using repetition as a design technique. Put your sleuthing skills to work, and find the 3 little boxes appearing on each Celebrate with Charm Flip-it. Sometimes the little boxes are horizontal, sometimes vertical, sometimes they have letters, sometimes motifs...but they tie the designs together. Just a fun little nerdy designer thing.

Need some Celebrations in your life? Let your favorite needlework supplier know and get happy for 2017!




Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Your L*K Christmas list

Is your Christmas list ready? Checking it twice?

It seems like we are usually more concerned with what to get all of our loved ones, than what we want ourselves. I do love to GIVE! Years ago I read one of those books on "love languages" and giving gifts was definitely one of the ways I show love.

But hey, I also love to receive those special gifts. Doesn't have to be expensive, but something sweet and perfect for me really warms my heart (and sometimes my tummy, depending on the gift!).


We celebrated our bi-annual Thanksmas at our house over Thanksgiving weekend. What is Thanksmas? It's what you do when your adult kids only come home for Christmas every other year. You roll the Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions into one joyful weekend! I'm talking stockings by the fireplace, gifts under the tree, viewing holiday lights, eating and eating some more, giant crossword puzzle, annual Ebright talks...the whole holiday thing.  There's the whole gang above, grinning after discovering a new Mexi restaurant...ole!

But back to our wish lists...I know a lot of you have cross stitch at the top of your lists. We shipped 2 brand new L*K kits last week (see below), but we have a lot of other fun holiday stitches. Here's a few things that the L*K elves are shipping lately to shops everywhere.

K93 NOEL Limited Edition Kit (includes Santa '16 Needle Nannie)

K94 O Christmas Tree Kit

K84 Very Merry Santa Kit

S128 Peppermint Sleds Snippet

S130 Wise Men Still Seek Him Snippet

S129 Snowy Sleds Snippet

S127 Santa '16 - Old School Santa Snippet

176 - Tiny Tidings XXI - one of my fave Tidings for many years!

#173 Flora McSample's 2015 Stockings

...and these are just a few of the dozens of L*K Christmas designs. We've been designing Christmas for 21 years, ya know!

****If you want to see all Christmas things L*K, check out the Christmas tab on our website.

Wishing all of your a very merry December as you prepare for Christmas and the New Year ahead. I must admit, on the years that we celebrate Thanksmas, our December is calmer than usual. And it's pretty nice. The shopping is done, so we intentionally spend time with friends and family, go to tons of Christmas events and really embrace "the most wonderful time of the year!".