Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lizzie*Kate & Tomorrow's Heirlooms

Norden’s Needleworkers – Volume #2 – 06/06/2012

Q: What are my favorite design themes?
A: Probably whatever I’m working on at the moment! I’ve always loved to decorate with seasonal stuff (probably the only Mom on the block who decorated for St. Pat’s Day!) so holidays are a natural theme for me. I’m always working 3-6 months ahead of the actual holiday, so sometimes I forget what time of year it really is. My friends are amused that I’m knee-deep in Christmas stuff in June. I also enjoy letting my work reflect whatever is going on in my life, so there are themes of family, children, food and just enjoying life!

Q: Do I use model stitchers?
A: I stitch all of my own models! I’m still learning this needlework design biz, and it is essential for me to stitch the original model. I make lots of design and color changes while stitching, so stitching is a part of my design process. I would drive a model stitcher crazy because I change my mind so much! Often the finished design is quite different from the original computer printout. If I need a duplicate, I have a fab friend who does that for me. Once I have the design finished in the computer, I can’t wait to put needle to thread and start stitching! Plus, stitching is a dream job…right?

Q: Has my style changed over time, and how do I feel about older designs now?
A: I’ve been in the biz for 16+ years (yikes!), so I can see some evolution in my style. I try to keep up on current trends in design and color, and I think my designs reflect that. Having said that, my original designs remain good sellers and we rarely retire old designs. When I look back at my catalog of designs, I can often remember things going on in my life when I designed something, and that’s nice. Life is inspirational and it’s fun to record it in stitches!

Q: How do I use social media at L*K?
A: Yes, I remember the olden days, even before internet and websites. I remember when my big marketing theme at L*K was the introduction of our new L*K website! Since my husband and business partner, Alan, came from the computer biz, we try to keep current on social media. Our most recent addition is our L*K blog. Blogging has been way more fun than I anticipated. I use it to chat about the design and production process, give sneak peeks on upcoming products, host contests, and just share stuff about my life. Thanks for following along! If you’re not an official follower, sign on at

On a Personal Note -

Q: Can I share a bit about my family?
A: Is it possible for anyone to share “a bit” about their family? I am so blessed to have a wonderful family! When L*K began, I named it after my daughters Sarah “Lizzie” and Alison “Kate”. They were young, and helped often with the new biz. Then they grew up! Alison is a musician, and teaches piano, voice and guitar and leads worship at church. You can keep up on her cooking exploits in her beautiful blog I cook from her blog all the time! Sarah is now called Mrs. Wain by her art students at school. She and husband, Jeff, just finished 2 years in lovely Indiana while he was in grad school, and are moving to Chicago this summer! (If anyone knows an opening for an art teacher, let me know.) She is a fantastic teacher! You can check out Sarah’s artwork at My husband, Alan, joined me at L*K almost 10 years ago. His help in invaluable (in more ways than being my in-house tech tutor!). He usually answers the phone and chats with the needlework shops, and is a very popular guy at Needlework Market. Our granddog, Henry, rounds out the L*K family. He is a Morky (maltese/poodle) and barks regularly at the UPS man, lounges in my office, and adores Alan!

Q: What is my favorite meal?
A: What a great question! Alan and I are both passionate about Mexican food. Thankfully, authentic inexpensive Mexi-food abounds in our neighborhood, and we do our best to support the local restaurants! (Hey, we’re just being neighborly!). As I’m writing this, we just returned from what we call
“Taco Tuesday” lunch at our fave restaurant. !Que rico! I’m also a dessert lover, and find chocolate irresistible! Alan makes a fabulous raspberry white chocolate cheesecake that is beautiful and yummy!

Q: What are my favorite movies?
A: I couldn’t pick a favorite, but I’m a big movie fan! We do NetFlix and spend tons of time watching movies while we assemble things for L*K (someone has to put all those buttons in the tiny bags!) and while I stitch models. We’re currently getting “up to date” on Downton Abbey, (we missed the first 2 seasons) so we’ll be ready when the series resumes! We also love going to movies at our local theater on Time Warp Tuesdays, when movies only cost $1!

Q: What do I like to do in my free time?
A: Since our children have left home, our friends are our family! We do lots of things with our friends, and I seem to be the social chairman. (Actually, that is also my job in my Sunday school class.) Alan and I also enjoy biking, and spend lots of time on the road in the summer with our biking buddies, fighting the
Kansas wind, and biking towards that next snack stop. I also love digital scrapbooking! I started this a couple years ago, and it is absolutely addictive. I keep an ongoing yearly scrapbook for my family, and make small books for special events. This year I’m doing a “Photo Every Day” project where I post (you guessed it!) a photo a day on a calendar. It’s so FUN!

Q: What would I like to say to my stitching fans?
A: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! This is the coolest job, and it is so much FUN! It perfectly combines my background in illustration and graphics with my favorite hobby of stitching. It’s an amazing amount of work to take a design from an original idea all the way to publication and distribution, but it is very satisfying. When I began, I never anticipated how rewarding this job would be! It’s really fun to design something that enables stitchers to exercise their own creativity, whether they duplicate my design stitch for stitch, or make a zillion changes and really personalize it. Also, I get to share my quirky vision of the world with lots of people…in stitches! Please keep sharing your ideas and comments (I really do read them!) and I’ll keep designing!

Courtesy of Linda Ebright of Lizzie*Kate!  Choose your own fabric and fibers, and have fun with this adorable piece!

Tomorrow’s Heirlooms – Glen Ellyn, IL

Q.  How long have you been a stitcher and how did you first learn about needlework?   
A.  Tomorrow's Heirlooms, will be 24 years old in August. We opened in 1988, born from a love from needlework, passed down from generation to generation.  Pam and I have both been stitching since we were young girls, so between the two of us we have over 80 collective years of stitching experience!  (Boy, does that age us!)  Pam's grandmother crocheted and made beautiful embroidered bed and table linens.  Her mother crochets and cross stitches, and Pam does it all---knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, and cross stitch.  Kim cross-stitches and needlepoints, but flunked knitting and crocheting.  Kim learned from Pam, her mother!  

Q.  What types of products do you offer?
A. We carry supplies for the avid cross stitcher and needlepointer, specializing in counted cross stitch, counted needlepoint, hand-painted canvas, hardanger, and punch needle.  Conveniently located in the western suburbs of Chicago, we are just a short drive away from a myriad of popular tourist destinations.  With hundreds of models adorning our walls, furniture tops and loveseat, we encourage you to peruse our small but orderly shop.  Eager to help you with all your stitching needs, special orders are our specialty!  Mail orders are a part of our daily routine!  We carry a wide array of threads for the serious stitcher to choose from:  Weeks Dye Works, The Gentle Art, Crescent Colours, Vineyard Silk, Brown Paper Packages Silk & Ivory, Threadworx, The Thread Gatherer, Gloriana silks,  J. L. Walsh, The Caron Collection (Watercolours, Wildflowers, Waterlilies, Snow, & Impressions), DMC (floss, perle 3, perle 5, perle 8, perle 12, Variations, Medici, flower thread, some metals), Anchor (floss, perle 3, perle 5, perle 8, perle 12, Marlitt), Kreinik (blending filament, #4 braid, #8 braid, #12 braid, #16 braid, ombre, cord, #32 braid), Ribbon Floss *Dinky Dyes and, from Rainbow Gallery’s extensive line, we carry many complete lines and several partial lines too numerous to mention.

We stock a wide array of grounds to entice the avid stitcher!  What follows is a comprehensive, but by no means exclusive, listing of the fabrics, linens, and canvases we stock.

*Zweigart: Aida (14, 16, 18), Belfast, Cork, Davosa, Dublin, Edinborough, Floba, Klostern, Lugana (20, 25, 28, 32), Newcastle, Tula, Vienna, and a variety of stitchbands, Congress Cloth, Interlock, and 18 mesh mono canvas
*Graziano Fabrics (Italian): Sienna, Ricamo, Florence, Milan, Riviera Ginghams, and Riviera Buffalo Check
*Northern Cross: 20 ct, 27 ct., 30 ct., and 35 ct. linens
*Weeks Dye Works hand-dyed linen in 20, 30, 35 and 40 counts
*Wichelt Import linens, Jobelans, and Heatherfields
*Access Commodities linens
*R & R Reproductions hand-dyed linens in assorted colors and sizes
*Picture This Plus overdyed linens and aidas
*Many, many unique fabrics that are no longer available for reorder, but are still in stock for that special project you may have!

At Tomorrow’s Heirlooms we pride ourselves on stocking the newest of the new designs in BOTH cross stitch and counted canvas. Shipments arrive daily from a variety of suppliers, and we travel to Norden Crafts to “shop” their new arrivals on a weekly basis. Additionally, hundreds of models adorn our walls to tempt our customers as they peruse our shop.  Each model is numbered to help us help them find the design in an expeditious manner.

While we try to stock as many designs at all times, it simply is not possible.  However, rest assured, special orders are our specialty and we try our very best to obtain the designs our stitchers must have in a timely fashion.  We also carry a variety of painted canvases, from a bevy of designers, such as The Artists Collection, Kathy Schenkel Designs, Associated Talents, dede’s/All About Stitching, to name just a few...

Q.  What are some of the biggest changes in the industry you’ve seen since you’ve been in business?
A. In the years we’ve been open, the industry has really changed!  First, designers are more plentiful and more prolific.  Once upon a time, there was a single market to attend and purchase new designs.  Sporadically, and we do mean sporadically, other designs were published, but not on the weekly basis we see now.  Also, the advent of specialty threads and linens excites the stitchers in ways regular floss and Aida just do not.  And then add in all the wonderful different attachments that enhance our needlework…!  It would be so scary to us to open a shop now, as the vast array of what we would consider must-haves is so daunting!

Q. Who are some of your personal favorite designers?
A. We love so many designers, it’s hard to list them, as we’d hate to leave anyone out!  However, we stitch a lot of Samsarah Design Studio, Lizzie Kate, Blackbird, JBW Designs, Shepherd’s Bush, Bent Creek, Country Cottage, Little House Needleworks, Needle Delights, and Northern Pine Designs as models.  However, that is not an exclusive list by any stretch of the imagination---and we know we’ve left out designers that we’ll regret tomorrow!

Q.  Do you have an online webstore, and if so how do you feel it has affected your business?
A.  We do have a website, but not an online store.  We like the informational aspect of the worldwide web, but we still firmly believe this industry is rooted in the need to feel and see the products.  We are a tactile industry and we need to remain so with brick and mortar locations for the stitcher to see the wonderful product we see at markets.

On a Personal Note - 

Q. Besides stitching and running your business, what are a few things you enjoy in your free time?
A.  Pam enjoys spending time at her lake home in Illinois, on the Chain of Lakes.  She and her husband have had a place there since 1999 and it’s a respite all year round for them!  She also enjoys spending time her grandsons and family.  Kim enjoys the lake house when her family can make it up there.  Her 2½ year-old son is keeping her and her husband busy, so there’s not a lot of free time for them right now!  Pam has a darling cocker spaniel named Bella and a big black cat named Jake…as well as a few outdoor cats they try not to get too attached to, as they tend to come and go…Kim has a tank of goldfish---all she is willing to tackle right now, though they think a dog is in their future…

Q.  What’s your favorite holiday and why?
A.  Pam and Kim both love Christmas as it’s fun to get together with extended family and share traditions that have years of history.  We both love to buy gifts and watch family members open them!  Our favorite stitching holiday is Halloween because we get to stitch with colors we’d never actually use to decorate our homes!  Kim also loves the patriotic holidays, as her home is patriotic all year long!

Q.  What is your favorite meal?
A.  Our favorite meal is anything Santa Fe cooks for us!  Our favorite Mexican restaurant in Glen Ellyn has been a longtime haunt of ours---we’ve been seen there a couple times a week at times!

Q.  What kind of music do you listen to?
A.  Pam likes country music, including Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, and the Statler Brothers.  Kim is more eclectic, liking country as well as Top 40 music as heard on Sirius’s The Pulse station.  We both also like to read in our free time.  We both have e-readers and iPads loaded with books as well as shelves laden with paperbacks we still want to find time to page through. 

Pam Douda & Kim Propst
650 Roosevelt Rd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60139

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