Monday, September 20, 2010

Cookies Must Die

Stupid cookies, sitting so innocently on the counter. "Just have one!" they cry. That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard, cookie. No one can eat just one of you! I forget about them this morning, but then someone else eats one.

"That was not a good cookie. I am turned off by them now. Coffee-flavored, yuck."

I know this person will never be turned off by cookies for real, because i have seen him eat, like 10,000 of them. And you know he is eating them, because he eats them all over the office, leaving a trail of crumbs on the copier, counters, and floor. Has no problem snacking away, standing over your desk while you are trying not to show that you are totally grossed out.

The other thing I know is that no cookie flavored like coffee could be gross. Especially a cookie from The Very Best Cookies. They are so soft and chewy. You can tell they use the good stuff, not skimping on butter or sugar.

In conclusion, this is going to be a long day of trying to resist potentially coffee flavored cookies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bad Blogger!

So, I have been a very bad blogger lately - well, all summer actually. I am kind of caught in a place where I don't want to get too personal, but at the same time, getting personal is what gets people to read your freakin blog! In an attempt to be a better blogger, I've resolved to be a little more honest in my posts, let people in a little, and not worry so much about using the blog as a way to market my small business(es).

Speaking of small businesses, the Ink Blot Cafe is going along swimmingly (on second read, I realize how stupid that phrase sounds) with 22 sales to date! All of my customers have come back at least once for more, which is a great feeling. On that note, I feel like I'm really starting to find a niche, a niche that does not have room for wool and felting and trips to the thrift store. I think I may keep my "Jessy Ray" Etsy shop open for destash, but am no longer interested in cutting off the arms of sweaters to make fingerless gloves. Fun while it lasted, by wool sweaters are currently choking my closet to death! Plus, I like making stuff for me, I like home improvement, I like giving gifts - all things I can do with my sweater time!

So to sum up this re-introductory post, I'm bringing the fun back to blogging. Look out - look out all 4 of you who might accidentally read my blog!

Friday, June 18, 2010


image from Skel Design

Wow - almost a whole month without posting!  So I have to warn you, this is going to be a super lame post.  Even lamer than May's Pac Man post.  I have a bad case of blogging block, and am not sure what the cure is.  Maybe a list?  Lists always help.  At least with a list, you know your intentions are good.  Like a cleaning list.  Or a work list.  You can feel good because, since you wrote it down, obviously you meant to do it.  Or, it can be self-satisfying to make a list of things you've already done and check them off...

made it to work only 10 min late (x)
made coffee (x)
checked email (x)

phew - so busy today!  accomplished so much already!

So here is my real list for today...

Things I've accomplished in 2010 (we're already half way through!)
-Opened up the Ink Blot Cafe on Etsy selling SEO writing services
-Made 13 writing sales! (special thanks to all of my customers Doctor Sweet Tooth, The Pink Pig, and Planet Earth Essential Oils)
-Learned html and css
-designed a wedding website for my friend, Liz

Friday, May 21, 2010

I ♥ Pac Man - Happy 30th!

Loving Google's banner today!  It reminds me of this old-school pac man board game my sisters and I had growing up.  You had to set all of these white marbles on the board, and there where plastic ghosts and pac men that you would roll over the marbles to pick them up.   

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You Might Be Closer to Hiring Help Than You Think...

image from here.

Somedays, when the dishes are piled up all over my kitchen, and the bathroom is a little less than sparkly, and the dog hair starts to clump up in the corners, I think:  wouldn't it be nice to have a maid?

If you're like me, you associate hired help with luxury and wealth, a "someday" expense.  But if you run your own small business from home, hiring help could actually help you make money.

I came across this Freelance Writing Success Article, which is a great read for any small business proprietor, including all of you fabulous Etsy shop owners.  One of the author's tips for making more money is to hire people to do anything that can take valuable time away from your business. 

You are an expert at your craft, and that's why people pay you the big bucks you deserve.  But if you're spending time mowing the lawn, running to the post office, or vaccuming, you're taking away precious time from your expertise.  While you might have to fork over a little dough to eliminate these chores, you'll make up for it by spending that time honing your craft.

Say you design swim wear.  You've decided that you're worth $50 an hour.  If you spend one of your hours running to the post office, you've lost valuable time in which you could have been creating.  There is a multitude of people who have the ability to make a run to the post office, but no one has the knack for designing figure flattering swim wear like you do.  So call the kid down the street who's off for the summer.  He'll happily run your packages to the post for $10.00.  You've made $40.00 instead of losing the $50.00 you could have made designing. 

Awesome reason to hire help!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why You Should Get Paid to Write Online

image from here.

To my mom's happy disbelief, people actually pay me to write online content.  It actually turns out to be a valuable skill because:

1)  You can't pick up and item when you're shopping online.  You can't taste, touch, or smell it.  But you can be transported with some good descriptive writing.

2)  Search Engines love content.  I admire good web design.  I'm jealous actually, as my artistic talents are limited.  Luckily for me, search engines don't care about design.  They crunch on html tags, keywords and links.

3)  It's difficult to think of new ways to say the same old thing.  Most of the content that's online is simply regurgitated knowledge.  If you want people to read your content instead of someone else's, it has to be clear, interesting, and compelling.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday Night Exploits

So, J has work and class on Thursdays and is gone from almost 8 in the morning to almost 10 at night.  This leaves me with some alone time on Thursday nights.  The last three weeks, between class cancelations and Spring Break, he has been home early.  So last night was my first Thursday night alone in a while.  I MISSED YOU, THURSDAY NIGHT ALONE TIME! 

So many magical things happened last night that can only happen sans J.  I love him, but Thursday night alone time is THE BEST.  Last night included crazy phone lady, breakfast for dinner, and reeses-induced coma.

You could stop reading right here, but if you want the full effect of my awesome Thursday night alone, please, read on.

I hate going to the mall, especially by myself, but especially with other people.  I like to get in and out.  The mall is a life sucker.  Artificial light and air - it's no good.  It's like you could be trapped in there for days not knowing what time or day it was or even what planet you were on.  But I needed to go to the makeup counter, so I forced myself to go. 

As I'm walking in, some lady stops me - "Excuse me, but do you have a phone?"  I was like, yeah, me and every other person in the parking lot has a phone.  Apparently she had been waiting for her friend to meet her for an hour and wanted to try and call her.  She was a little rough looking, but I couldn't really tell her no.

I myself had been in a similar situation back in 2003, before I had a cell phone.  It involved a stranger, my future husband, and a bar - always an excellent situation.  (And yes, I was a 20 year old college sophomore without a cell phone.)  Anyway, if this lady wanted to steal my phone, she would be really disappointed.  It's a piece of shit.

So I let her use it.  It was very awkward because I felt like when you're in school and you get paired up with the nerdy kid and you want to try to be nice, but don't want the other kids to see you're being nice to the nerdy kid.  So I just stood next to her, but not facing her for about three minutes (felt like an eternity) while she tried to call her friend.  I was also  trying to stay very alert, because I was pretty sure that at any moment a brown rapist/murder van would pull up and try to kidnap me.

Her friend did not answer.  I got my phone back.  Finally got into the mall.  Trip to the mall was followed by trip to Walgreens where I probably spent an equal amount of time because they have everything you didn't know you needed.  J hates going there because he was a manager there for three years, and doesn't appreciate the browsing possibilities quite as much as I do.

When I got home I was super hungry.  J has lost 20 lbs. since the beginning of the year.  He can attribute some of it to working out and not eating fast food for lunch every day, but mostly he has been counting calories and eating super healthy.  So I have been forced through lots of meals with ground turkey and egg whites lately.  That's why it was so thrilling to put a giant piece of ham and scramble two real eggs on the skillet.  To round it all out and cover all of the Jessie food pyramid bases, I also ate about 6 reeses peanut butter cups.  Surprisingly, I passed out on the couch for two hours.

Thursday Night Alone Time - I love u.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Handmade T-Shirt Yarn Coasters Tutorial

This is a super easy tutorial.  If you've used most of a t-shirt to make t-shirt yarn, and are wondering what to do with the leftover fabric at the arms, this is the perfect project.  No special skills required!

Cut arms off at seam
(Wondering what to do with the rest of your tee?  Check out these posts:

Cut hem off arm

Slice into equal widths

Stretch out resulting strands

I used a cork board to keep ends in place for weaving

Pull the end loops through eachother to finish the edges. 
A crochet hook makes this part really easy if you have one on hand.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why Blog for Your Business

image from Gnipmac

A great blog post on SEO and how it can help your business:
A Startup SEO Lesson by Mike Sweeney. 

I loved Mike's post because it stresses the importance of content to increase your presence online.  As a freelance writer, this is great news for me because I can help people and businesses integrate their targeted keywords into well written content without sounding spammy.  It's great for business owners, because they already have access to tons of content - it just might not be online yet.  A super easy way to get your content online is by blogging.  So if you aren't blogging already, you should start!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lunch Break Finds - Mustard, No Mayo

Had a wonderful Easter weekend - it just wasn't long enough!  It was incredibly hard to get back in the grind today, so I thought I'd share some lunch break Etsy finds.  Lately I've been drawn to mustard - both as a color and a condiment.  Here are some of my favorites:

Mustard Scarf by SR Design

I would love to pair either the scarf or necklace with this turquoise skirt from My Lola Fashion

love this dress from THIMBLE and ACORN

This listing is for the belt, but I love the mustard scarf with the dusty blue belt from Pretty Birdie

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning GIVEAWAY

As a follow-up to my spring cleaning post, Elan Vital Anthology is hosting a givaway featuring green products from Mountain Rose Herbs to get you started on eco-friendly spring cleaning in your own home.  See Tara's post here on how to enter.

If you've been following her spring cleaning tips - I have! - you've come to know the awesome power of baking soda, lavander oil, and castile soap - who knew?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning

image from here

It's finally getting warm enough to open the windows and refresh the house after a long, colder and more miserable than usual winter.  Tara, from Elan Vitale Anthology, is sharing some excellent tips on her blog for getting mean, green, and clean.  I am actually a tinsy bit excited about tackling some of those once or twice a year chores, like cleaning the windows and steam cleaning carpets.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Etsy Front Page!

Was so excited to see that my wrist warmers made it to the front page of Etsy yesterday!  Thankful for my fifteen minutes of fame.  If only my shop was a little more full and that it wasn't full of mittens and scarves when we are on the cusp of spring and summer, I may have actually sold something!  Still great and fun to be recognized.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mystery Bag on My Doorstep

please stop leaving mystery bags at my door.  thxs.

Like a huge lame-o, I go home for lunch everyday.  Earlier this week, I came home and was slightly disturbed to see a lumpy plastic bag stuck behind the storm door.  I approached cautiously - when a strange bag shows up at your doorstep, common sense dictates to always procede with caution.  My heart was racing a little, because no one had called, emailed, or texted me to say, "hey, i'm going to drop such and such off at your house this morning."  So there was the huge possibility that this was a stranger's plastic bag, and there was no telling what could be inside....a bomb, dog poo, regular poo, dirt...

There was that time when I came home to find the railing that goes down our front steps missing.  I was certain someone had stolen it in broad daylight at first, but eventually rationalized that my grandpa had been working some home improvement magic.  Sure enough, it showed up later that day, painted silver and secured with extra bolts.  So it was possible someone I knew had left the bag.

I got my face down close to the bag, but was careful not to touch it - did not want to get cootied on by this weird bag.  No weird smells, which was a good sign.  I could make out a note and some very familiar handwriting.  Beginning to feel better about the whole situation, I felt it was safe to pick up and open the bag.  It was a sweater with a note  from mm that her mom was donating it to my sweater recycling venture.  Sweet relief.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Button Bouquets - A Wedding Alternative

Bouquets designed by Really Bad Kitty

With spring fast approaching, I can hear the distant chime of wedding bells as brides scurry to put the final touches on their upcoming spring and summer nuptuals.  (I can also hear the sound of the ATM shreiking in pain as I withdraw more cash for new shoes, dresses, manicures, shower and wedding gifts to prepare for wedding season.)  There's nothing more fun than unique wedding ideas, like a bouquet of buttons as alternative to fresh flowers. 

I do love fresh flowers, but they die.  There is a bitter-sweet, everything good and beautiful must fade aspect of fresh flowers (there is a Japanese phrase I'm trying to think of here...).  But a button bouquet, like diamonds is forever.

If you're a do-it-yourselfer, a button bouquet could save you some cash, but remember that your time is worth something too.  If you're a super busy bride, it might be better left to the professionals.

Plum button bouquet from Sunweeds Secret Garden 

Bouquet designed by Miss Jennifer Ray

Friday, February 26, 2010

T-Shirt Yarn Inspiration

I did a little t-shirt yarn experiment a few weeks ago. Today I came across this photo on True Up:

photograph by Robert Rausch
from here

I love the use of upcycled t-shirt yarn to make this vintage chair functional again - sustainability at its best.  The best news is that I'm going thrifting this weekend, and will be keeping my eye out for a seat-less chair just like it.  I think it would be a super cute addition to the front porch or back patio.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mardis Gras 2010 - Bacon, Black Jack, and Moustache Rides

 A quick recap...

9:00 am bacon at our place

10:30 am Bacon Vodka Bloody Marys at Morgan Street on the Landing

11:30 am Parade in Soulard

2:00 pm Dollar Moustache Rides for everyone!

4:00 pm Big Daddy's for more drinks, appetizers, and new friends

7:00 pm Casino Queen. Black out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Power the Man Shed - Backyard Energy Wind Turbine

This is a story of a family in Monticello, IL who is using sustainable, renewable wind energy to generate power for their pool house, or as they like to call it, "Man Shed".  The Man Shed is a glorious place where you can drink beer, pee, listen to music, and watch HBO.  And now it is all powered by wind and sparkles that sweep across Central Illinois. 

My friend Matt Coyle and his company, Zelen Energy, built and installed the wind turbine in the back yard of said Man Shed owners.  He took J and I to see it a few weeks ago.  This is the first wind turbine he's installed, so there are still a few kinks to work out - like frozen batteries.  But I'm sure this won't be the last wind turbine we see popping up from Zelen Energy - the neighbors already want to tap into the Man Shed's power supply.

Wind turbine is lowered by a wench

Checkin' on stuff

Mini cameras track temperature and wind speed so information can be accessed online from Chicago

Batteries are also stored here, and laptop is kept in Rubbermaid bin

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Love You, Lefty!

Image Courtesy of
Dvd Beaver

We hacked into my parent's netflix account over the weekend to watch streaming video. I know, crazy saturday night antics, right? After pouring over a long list of B-list, less-than-fresh movies, we decided on Donnie Brasco.

This is when "Lefty" (Al Pacino) and all of his mad Italian new yorker gangsta skills entered my heart forever.

Throughout the whole movies, he boasts of his "26 hits", so he's not like a good guy or anything. But as one of the younger mobsters climbs the ranks, overshadowing poor Lefty, you have to feel for the guy. I mean, he's put in a lot of time. Those 26 hits weren't for nothing. He's done his service, played by the mob rules, yet gets overlooked for a more shiny mob guy model.

Donnie Brasco was released in 1997, and takes place in the late '70s / early 80's. However dated, it is an eerie reflection of our own current reality. Work for the same company, expect to be taken care of in the end, and suddenly you're hacked. Loyalty stands for little these days - it's old school. Lefty isn't just a bad ass gangster, he's the guy down the street who just got laid off, despite his 25 years of service to XYZ.

In addition, I love old people. Especially grouchy crotchety ones. And Al Pacino does a great job of being an old curmudgeon.

I don't want to give the ending away in case you decide to watch, but it does not end well for poor Lefty. Tear. :(
(okay, i guess that pretty much does give the ending away)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Strung Out

Image Courtesy of
Implexus's Etsy Shop

Check out my T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial Slide Show on Feel free to stop by and leave a comment!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

EasyTone Go Outside

Yes, I am getting these gaudy gold shoes. Yes, I have a huge foot (size 10) and these are sure to make my feet look very sexy. And by sexy I mean like the hottest grandma in the nursing home. But, but, BUT, they supposedly tone your butt. Thank you to MODG for making me want these shoes really really badly even though they are obviously hideous. See for yourself here. Especially when she says they are sold out everywhere. Now that made me really really REALLY want them. Luckily, I have connections in the shoe biz (I bet that's what they call it, too). My friend S got me a discount - so these are guilt free ez toners. I just ordered them today and am super excited about wearing them to the gym that I don't belong to yet but am joining tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

it's thursday - can it be friday already???

Horrific migraine woke me up around 4:30 this morning. Luckily I have my routine - two excedrin and a cold wash cloth for my head knocked it out in an hour. But then I kept waking myself up because i was grinding my teeth. So I'm actually in a great mood because I am alive and pain free at the moment...

I was also very happy this morning to see that I received a shout out from Sarah @ Little Kitten Homemade's blog. You can check it out here.

Also, am working on a writing gig w/ Indie Smiles.

Oh, and my sister, S just emailed me that she got the part time job she wanted w/ DSW.

Not too bad for a Thursday morning!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bunting (Not Baseball)

What the heck is bunting, and why do I care? I came across the most adorable Etsy shop selling the aforesaid bunting, and I wanted to know more. Apparently bunting is loose cotton or wool fabric used for flags. And Little Kitten Homemade features the cutest selection of flags and banners for birthday parties, holidays, and the like.

Sarah, the proprietor, favors quality fabrics in nostalgic florals, trendy mod designs and ginghams. Banners and flags are personalized with hand appliques. She pieces together appliques, buttons, rick-rack and fabric to make each design truly unique and shabby chic.

I would highly recommend checking out Little Kitten Homemade for the one who has everything. What better way to announce how special you think someone is than by displaying their name on a flag or banner for all to see. I mean, I'm 26 and I kind of want one! Or, customize a flag or banner for your newly engaged friends. It could showcase their new name, or simply say "love". Hosting a baby shower? Decorate with adorable bunting, or give personalized as a gift that can be hung with care in the nursery.

Bunting is a niche in the arts and crafts market that I wasn't aware of until now. With quality craftsmanship, and a knack for creating appealing designs, Little Kitten Homemade is sure to be a successful shop.