Monday, July 30, 2012

Roku, my new bff

TV has always been a bestestest friend of mine. A friend that occupies your time so much that even when they say the same thing over and over (re-runs) you still listen intently. When I was young, I can remember having a schedule during summer breaks that ran from 9am-5pm. A TV schedule that is. It went a little something like this:

(it takes a lot to admit to this much television steps)

9am: Live with Regis and Kathie Lee
10am: Price is Right
11:05: Batman (the old old version) "POW"
11:35: Batman (the old old version)
12:00pm: All My Children (hey it was my parents lunch break, and they hadn't missed an episode EVER)
1:05pm: Brady Bunch (TBS always had strange start times!!)
1:35pm: Brady Bunch
2:05pm: Saved by the Bell
2:35pm: Saved by the Bell
3:05pm: Family Matters
3:35pm: Family Matters
4-5 I can't really remember. Probably whatever was on after Family Matters. Anyone???
I heart Zack Morris

I was in love with Saved by the Bell and Brady Bunch.  I watched everyday because I KNEW there had to be an episode I hadn't seen. I may have blog mentioned this before, but remember the one SBTB episode with the lizard? Yeah, I actually saw that for the first time not that long ago.....proving my point.

So when we had to cancel our cable because we were getting ripped off by DirecTV, it was a sad day. Although the hubs and I had watched every History/VH1/MTV/Discovery reality show episode three times over, we still liked having the DVR and all those channels at our beck and call.

Its been over a year since we've had cable and we're still alive! For awhile, we didn't have anything. Then I noticed bunny ears at a friends house, and she was getting all the main channels for FREE.  Wait, I thought those channels were going away, and we were being forced to buy that "box"????? Not in this small years-behind-technology town!  So we have the bunny ears. Downside? It seems all 4 channels sing a different static song so we were constantly having to get off the couch to adjust the antenna. How 1960 of us.

Then I was at another friends house, and she was surfing these channels on a screen I had never seen before. It wasn't DirecTV, it wasn't Dish, it wasn't basic cable, it was like this little tiny box that harbored thousands of movies and TV shows waiting to be watched. I immediately felt my inner TV junkie coming out as I asked her a million questions about it.  Its name is Roku. And I love Roku. A lot. 

It hooks up to the TV with those red/white/yellow cords, and just plugs into an outlet. Thats it. Well, you have to have wireless internet of course.  Its not that magic. And you pay for it 1 time, no monthly charges. On it are channels: Pandora, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Crackle, Amazon Prime, plus more.  We already had an account with Amazon Prime (bc I have a Kindle Fire) and Crackle is free (TVs and movies).  We decided to get into the monthly charge of 7.99 for Hulu Plus and cancel our Netflix, just because there's soooo much to watch on Hulu Plus that we didn't think we needed both.  Now that we've surfed hours and hours through Hulu Plus, we decided to switch back to Netflix for 7.99/month and temporarily cancel Hulu+. So, for 7.99/month, we have streaming movies and tv shows.  Sooo much cheaper than satellite, and better because all the shows are waiting for you as if they were on a DVR. Plus no commercials.  I repeat. No commercials.

If you are interested, click on the link I attached above.  You'll get $5 off, and possibly free shipping. Totally worth it.  We've saved over $1000 in the last year by not having satellite/cable TV. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My blog does not have ADD

As you have probably noticed, my blog has had a few different looks.  This is mainly due to the fact that I'm still figuring out all the kinks to blogging.  My friend Jenny is a graphic designer and had designed my Blake's Beanies Banner for my Etsy page, and also designed all my logos, signs, stickers, business cards. So when she saw my latest attempt at making a blog banner she puked a little in her mouth wanted to help.  So I let her. And now, I have a banner that ties everything together!!! (I believe thats called branding)

So, here's the final look, hopefully. I apologize if you don't deal with change very well. Oh, and if you need any graphic design work, get ahold of Jenny Purington @ Northwest Media Productions!!! She makes a bomb baked french toast too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Burger with Fries, Minus the Grease!

I love crocheting small, strange items. Its a quick "fix", gets my creative juices flowin, and puts me in an instant good mood.   

Blake's Beardies 
(think Charlie's Angels)

The beards were a hit.  My etsy page BLEW up this Christmas season with orders. I had one friend from college order 8. I had orders from all over, including Delaware, New York, Texas, and North Carolina.  Its really fun to imagine complete strangers sporting the beards and them (hopefully) mentioning Blake's Beanies, or at least a mention of some guy named Blake that crochets. Hey, I'll take what I can get.  

Well, its not really beardie season right now, but it is always the season for a good burger and fries.  So thats exactly what I've made.
Would you like fries with that?

One all beef yarn patty, special sauce, lettuce,
cheese, pickles, onions - all on a sesame seed bun

Its like an addict moving on to his bigger and more dangerous fix. Beanies are the gateway craft. Well, actually I think pot holders are, but I skipped right to learning the beanie. I'm bad2thebone like that.

I got the idea about a year ago when I bought a crochet book that had different toys in them, like dolls and doll clothes.  I quickly learned I'm not a doll maker, because I hate reading patterns and, they overall, just took too much time.  I favor the wham-bam thank you ma'am projects.  The book showed a hamburger with all the fixins, and a tea set with teapots, cups, saucers, and cookies.  Screw the fake porcelain. Lets eat! So I made cookies, and a hamburger set for my niece Evelyn.  Since she lives in Las Vegas, I have no idea if she ever plays with them, but thats ok.  I will just envision her sleeping with them next to her pillow every night.
Since then, I kinda moved on. I made my burger, and that was my "fix". I was good for a bit. And theeeeen, the urge was back.  I just HAD to make more food.  I found this cah-ray-zee etsy shop that has patterns for literally everything (think crochet tool set and curling iron/hair dryer set to get an idea of the word everything).  She doesn't sell the actually crocheted item, but just the pattern to be able to make it.  Like I mentioned before, me and patterns mix about as well as orange juice and toothpaste.

Take a look at a pattern I quickly found for illustrative purposes (and this is a straight forward/easy level pattern):
 Using mc yarn, ch 28 (30, 33, 35, 38, 40).
Foundation Row: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across -- 27 (29, 32, 34, 37, 39) sc.
Row 1: Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in next 0 (1, 0, 1, 0, 1) sts, *dc in next 2 sts, ch 1, sk next st, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7) times, dc in next 1 (2, 1, 2, 1, 2) sts -- 22 (24, 26, 28, 30, 32) dc.
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1st dc), dc in next 0 (1, 0, 1, 0, 1) sts, *dc in next 2 sts, (yo, pull up a loop) 4 times into next ch-1 sp, yo and pull through all 9 loops on hook, dc in next 2 sts; rep from * 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7) times, dc in next 1 (2, 1, 2, 1, 2) sts, turn -- 22 (24, 26, 28, 30, 32) dc
Row 3: Ch 1, sc in each st to end, turn -- 27 (29, 32, 34, 37, 39) sc.
*Repeat Row 3 until piece measures 9.25 (9.5, 10, 10.5, 10.5, 11.25)” from beginning.
Row 5: Ch 1, sc in next 9 (10, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13) sts, turn.
Row 6: Ch 1, sc in next 9 (10, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13) sts. Fasten off yarn and weave in yarn end.
Row 7: Attach yarn to unworked edge. Ch 1, sc in next 9 (10, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13) sts, turn leaving the center 9 (9, 12, 12, 13, 15) sts unworked.
Row 8: Ch 1, sc in next 9 (10, 10, 11, 12, 12) sts. Fasten off and weave in yarn end.

I think I barfed a little in my mouth

So, I like to take the pictures of crochet food items, and just DOOO IT.  If its not working, I have no problem completely pulling the string and starting over.  In fact, I like doing that with new stuff, because I like it to look good enough to sell, or at least gift to a relative.  I have unraveled so many projects even hours into them, just because I'm not going to waste perfectly good (and overpriced) yarn. One time, I knitted a sweater to completion. From like really expensive, thick ass yarn. Ok that didn't read correctly. But you get it.  Anyways, I followed a pattern (knitting ones seem to be easier to follow) and completed the sweater, well "shrug".  And I never wore it. Later I found out you have to "block" sweaters so they look good when you put them on, but by that time, shrugs were just about out of style.  ( the one shrug i did own/wear ellicited many jokes about where the other 1/2 of my sweater went)  So, I took the yarn, unravelled the entire shrug and made it into hats for babies, as modeled below. 
My friend Stephanie Krupicka took these two.
She's pretty awesome!

Baby Ezra wearing the bunny style.
Love her!

Back to the food. Man can I get off track easy.

I made some breakfast foods too:
MMmm. Bacon
(The maple kind?)


I'm always taking requests and custom orders, so if there is ever anything crazy you need crocheted or knitted, ask me, as I'd probably be MORE THAN HAPPY to crochet up something crazy/different.

Are these crazy enough for ya?
HAHAHA. Love the tattoo one.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stitch Fix

When I was little, I didn't like to dress up. I hated having to wear frilly dresses to recitals or Easter Sunday church.  They just didn't fit my personality. In high school and college, I mainly wore thrift shop t-shirts and jeans.

When I graduated college, my sister had just moved back to town and was helping me with my new wardrobe I desperately needed for my new job selling real estate. It was at that point that I started actually caring how I looked.

Now, over the last 8 years, I've acquired a closet I'm somewhat proud of. I started buying lots of jewelry and accessories from Forever 21.  Have you ever seen their prices? You can literally get 10 earrings, 10 necklaces, and 10 bracelets for a combined total of $40. Their crappy jewelry is really cute, stylish and cheap.  Perfect for me because if I lose something, its no biggie. And I lose 1 earring quite often due to the previously stretched earring-hole in my left ear.  (whole nutha story for nutha blog)
Fashion does not come all that natural to me. I have to really work and try to look presentable/cute/my age.  This is where Stitch Fix comes in. Because who doesn't want a personal stylist mailing you clothes to try on and send back if you don't like them????

So, do I have your attention?  

Stitch fix is basically your online personal wardrobe styling BFF.  And believe me, in the Lewiston Clarkston Valley, thats something a few most us desperately need. Its a website (that is currently still in the beta testing stage...don't ask me what that means exactly) that asks you a bunch of questions regarding your size, style, price range and then they send you clothes to try out! In your own home! And you don't have to buy ANY of it (or pay ANY shipping)!  Its nothing short of amazing.  Lets dive right in, shall we? 

Here's my package:

First off, can you say Christmas in July?!?!
I have NO idea what is inside, but I'm giddy.

The tag is reminding me that if I buy all 5 items, they take 25% off entire order.

Inside were instructions and a free set of post-its!

There were 5 items. Each has a description tag that shows the outfit in 2 different suggested ways to wear it.  So thats helpful. Mainly because a few of these items would NOT look good just worn right off the rack. They need to be paired with other accessories or clothes that I would not have known or tried.

*FULL DISCLOSURE* I'm not a model, nor do I believe I am, or ever will be.  If you are a FB friend, you will notice I have no myspace mirror shots, duck faces or glam shots . I rarely photograph myself, and if I do, I probably won't post it for all to see because I don't often like pictures of myself.  I am an absolute DWEEB MCDWEEBY and I am ok with that.  My hubs thinks I'm a total hottie, and thats all that matters!!! :) Now enjoy the extreme dorkiness from the photoshoot my BFF Jenny and I had a couple nights ago.

Item #1.
Pink Stitch Top : Blouse liz accordian blouse

Styling suggestion on the tag!

First pic of the night.....just a smidge akward, thats all!

It was a sleeveless accordian blouse. With a lower back than front. Although it looked much cuter on than on the hanger, I just couldn't see myself wearing it, well, ever.

Item #2:
Miilla Outer Layer : Jacket flicka elbow sleeve hooded anorak
Front and back. My brother asked if I was going to start doing hair.

What? It was a question!?!?!
(inside joke involving a "To Catch a Predator" creep)

Want to instantly look 40 lbs heavier? Or possibly hide a six-pack candy for the movies?

Ok, whats with the back being longer than the front? Its like reverse maternity wear. I'm seeing a trend, and I'm not liking it.  This item is a tad too hip for me. Its a cargo style jacket (that looks downright silly from the backside) with 3/4 length sleeves. Too much goin on if ya ask me.

Item #3:
Amour Vert Dress : Casual Dress vivianne ruched jersey tunic dress

Perfect for blue bras and big butts
(neither of which I had at the time)

I imagine this one for someone with a bangin booty or large fupah. Only because it really draws attention to that region of the body, and not just the back. I love the material.  I own a lot of jersey knit stuff.  Its just ultra comfy.  It looks WAY better on the body than on the hanger.


Item #4:
Hourglass Lilly Dress : Casual Dress lyra 3/4 sleeve jersey tunic dress
I thought hourglasses had a smaller middle.


Lola Rae blending in with the curtains

This NEEDS a belt. It literally has no shape to it. I actually put this on in the morning to wear to work on Monday, but decided I may want the day to think about it before I ruin it with my first sip of coffee. They actually would of had me with this one, because I can wear leggins for work appropriate-ness, and then shed them at 5pm for a cute mini. However, the elastic on the left sleeve was tight, and the elastic on the right was loose. I'm guessing the designer has a huge right forearm.

Item #5:
Pretty Persuasions Accessory : Scarf mixed striped lightweight scarf

Nevermind my stained pj shirt I combined with it

I really liked this one.  I like to wear scarves, but I also like to sew my own scarves. (translation: do not like to spend money on something i could make myself)

Now, here's the deets:  I spent $20 for the "fix". That $20 is now a credit towards any of the 5 items sent to me. If I don't keep any of the items, I forfeit the mulah. (I paid no shipping charges)

Notice I didn't tell you any of the items prices.  I did mention these are items you'd find in a boutique and not Forever 21, right? SOOO, they're quite a bit more than I'd spend. 
I also didn't mention the price right at first, because sometimes you just gotta give things a chance before the price can sway your decision.

The silly cargo jacket? $75.
The jersey knit dress? $86.
The no figure casual dress? $48.
The scarf? $38.

So basically take $20 (that i've already spent) off of each price and you can possibly justify it.

I'll just say I'm not in love with any of them really, but I've seen other people's stitch fixes, and they do have cute stuff.  Oh, and you are not in any sort of contract where they demand you order.  I can stop here, be out $20 and continue to shop where everyone else in this valley shops-Ross or TJ Maxx or "the mall".

Each time you order, you give feed back to help narrow your style down a little bit better so they can get an idea of how those items worked, and if they need to change how they style you for your next fix if you so choose.

If you are interested, please refer me by clicking on this link:

You'll sign up, be assigned a rad stylist, and in a few days, they'll get back with you and you can get started!  It was really fun, and I will probably do it again sometime soon.  I love the whole concept.

Monday, July 16, 2012


This blog post has nothing to do with sewing and/or crafting. Its strictly about my dog. You've been warned.

For those that know me, (and I'm assuming most reading this do) there's been an addition to my heart in the last year and a half.  Her name is Lola. Actually Lola Rae to be even more human sounding. She's pretty dang close to human if you ask me.  She's got the brain of a genius, silky soft black hair, and the personality of a sweet sweet grandmother. She's a snuggle bug, a licker, a show off, a bodyguard, a greeter, a lover.  And she found us at the perfect time in life. You don't realize how much an animal (specifically a dog) enriches your life until you get a good one. I say a good one, because bad dogs don't enrich lives, they torture them. And I say a dog because I'm not a cat person anymore. I switched when I got a dog.

Lola doesn't chew, dig, annoy, have ADD, have that crazy look in her eye, or even jump right out of the car when you open her door.  She stands there waiting for my command to get out of the car. Seriously, the best dog in the world. I'm fully aware I'm using classic mom words.  Because thats exactly what I feel like. Her mom.

Every mom I've ever talked to has said that once you have kids, dogs take the backseat BIG TIME. You feel so much more love for your child than you ever had for your dog. I get it. But we have no children. So Lola has definitely filled that spot for now. I may have babied her so much right when we got her, that an absolute snuggle/nudger monster is the fruits of my labor.  I may be the person that thinks her dog is THE BEST when really there's better dogs out there, but I don't think so.  I may talk in extremes (take after m' mom) but Lola really is the best.  This was a pic I took of her a couple days ago on my lunchbreak in my backyard.
I made a strange alien noise so she'd perk her ears up.

Oh, did I forget to mention
 I take her to work with me everyday?!?!

I love that pic for a few reasons even if it is blurry.  One, the two white spots behind her are her feet.  Her hips are super flexible, so she lays with one foot on each side. Its adorable. And two, her head is turned. I made the alien noise again.  Works every time.

Speaking of work, she started going to work with me a few months ago.  Every day.  For being two years young, she is super mellow. She lays down all day.  The only time she is kinda sorta in a ensy weensy way naughty? Sometimes, and I do mean sometimes she barks loud when someone walks in the door.  But since she's usually laying right at my feet and my desk faces the door, I have time to pinch her ear while they're opening the door. At least thats what I've started to do in the past week or so.  Its working quite well.  The main people that come in she doesn't bark (very loud) at, so for 98% of the time, she's an angel.  In fact, since the heatwave of summer started, I've pushed what has felt like social boundaries by bringing her in with me to local businesses.  So far, Lola has been more than welcome into the stores. Staples was the first test.  There weren't any signs saying no dogs, so I walked in with her on the leash like I owned the place. We've been there twice now, and they love her! (seriously who doesn't/wouldn't!?!?) Printcraft not only allowed her in, but also gave her a dog treat.  Of course, all the banks and most coffee stands give her a dog treat as well.  She all but says "bank" when we get close. See how I can confuse her for a human baby?  Rodney can attest to the fact that I say I love her as if I gave birth to her (i actually say something a little more detailed).

Here is a lil slideshow of my lil Lola Rae:

Chillin relaxin all cool

Yes, she's in my lap helping me work.
 And no I'm not getting distracted!

Still helping! Oh and its a good shot of the first real sewing project!

We're buds.

I may have put the Care Bear there.
She's really good at snuggling.


Lola and Gunther, her cousin.

We dog-sat Gunther this weekend, and he's only 4 months old.  So he wanted to play, play and play.  Lola is soo sweet to her house guests. Saturday night she laid right by my bed instead of on her dog bed.  Seriously sweet, right?  She did this when we dog-sat Jolie, the standard poodle awhile back too. (although Gunther chose to sleep under the bed)

I quickly took this pic when I noticed them snuggling in the morning. Gunther is literally laying on top of Lola.

<My advice for those that want a dog. Please take the time to consider/research the breed. Also take the time to train.  Dogs are a ton of work, but if you train them properly and right after you get them, you wil not have to do much else.  I honestly can't remember the last time I had to discipline/reprimand Lola.  Also, socialize your dog with other dogs and people.  I cannot stand when people take their dogs to the park or out in public and they act like rabid maniacs wanting to shred your face off.> This message has been brought to you by the letters D, O and G.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My mom and yard sales

Perfect combo. 

I'm not much into cruising yard sales, mostly because I like to sleep on Saturday mornings, followed by lounging in my pjs well into the afternoon without showering. And if you've ever seen my hair 1 day after a shower, you know I'm the last person that should be parading around yards. I didn't get the nickname "Greasy Bangs" for nothin. (thanks sis) 

So, I enlist those that DO like yard sales to specifically look for certain items for me. Mainly NKOTB gear knitting needles. And yarn.  However, the latter I'm very picky about.  If you bring me a sack full of yard sale or goodwill yarn, I become a total yarn snob. Most likely will not keep any of it, and have a hard time appreciating the actions at all.  Totally snobby, right?  I know. I'm sorry. I just have a ton of yarn right now, and its the good stuff. Not dusty, scratchy, stinky, blah colored yarn. Not to mention where I would put it. I'm pretty maxed out at the moment.

So my mom just called me to tell me she's at a yard sale and saw some yarn.  I had her give me the specifics and then used google images to see exactly what she was talking about.  And the yarn was $1/skein. I said I'd take a couple of those, and then asked her to tell the yard sale boss that she'd give them $.50/each for the smaller alpaca yarn skeins :)  My mother, queen of saving money/good deals was shy about doing that!!!! HAHAHA. I reminded her that she was at a yard sale, not JoAnns. Is this not what you SUPPOSED to do?  I mean, they obviously don't want the yarn anymore.  Is this the same woman that took a Snuggie tag OFF of a Snuggie for me at a yard sale????? Maybe she's afraid her yard sale good karma's running thin.

I really hope she scored.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blake's Beanies Giveaway!!!

****UPDATE**** We have a winner!!!
Congrats to: Chantelle Boyd!!!!
I'll be getting a hold of you for your order details! 
Thanks to everyone that entered!

Who wouldn't want a Blake's Beanie when its 100 degrees out?!?!?!
Feels like a perfect time to give one away!

Giveaways used to confuse a not-so-interested-in-doing-them sort of way.  I mean, I get the concept but I just never really got into them on my blake's beanies Facbook page.  I see all sorts of pages doing them constantly just to get people to their page, but I wasn't really having a problem with getting strangers to my site.  Don't get me wrong, you can never have enough strangers/creepers visiting your business page. However, I was busy enough with the orders I already had to fill my "after work, before chores" time.

Here's my awesome banner from my Etsy shop.  Thanks to Jenny Purington.

So here's the thing.  I've got a lot in inventory right now, because I'm gearin up for the 2012 craft fair season (which actually only consists of 1 craft fair because I usually don't like sitting there sell out).  When I look into my craft room, I see all my hats tucked away like abandoned stuffed animals waiting to be played with. Right now, there's probably around 90-100 hats waiting for a noggin to warm/style/accessorize. That may seem like a lot of hats, but trust me, its not. I need about twice as many as that for the fair, because God made every single person's head a different size. And I'm not blaming God. I'm just stating the obvious.

Blah blah blah Blake. Get to the freakin giveaway already.
The winner will recieve one free Blake's Beanie (doi).  You can either have the version with the buttons on each side, or the version with the flower on the side.  I really like this style of hat.  It looks good on everyone!  These pics are not the actually hats you will win, but just the style. The winner will get to choose colors and size (newborn to chad m. large man head). I've got a pretty crazy yarn stash right now, so most likely I will have the color scheme you ask for.  If not? Well, work with me, its free.
My poor styro-head Phoebe. She's smelled better days.
But at least someone tried to fix that by fingernailing a smile onto her.
Thanks to whomever did that....not.

These are just a few that I found to show the flowers.
I have many many more color combos.

Oh. Like this one.
I promise I made more than fuschia colored flowers

My cute sis-in-law Michele modeling on a perfect fall afternoon.
 (Factoid: She had my niece Roselynn in her belly)

Sheesh. I almost forgot to mention HOW to win. I've had 4 blonde moments already today, and I'm not talkin about the beer my cousin Pete makes, although it really would have the same results. I'm gonna make this easy on you folks. You can either email me your entry at, comment on this blog post, or comment on either my FB blog post, or my blakesbeanies FB blog post. One entry/person, so don't bother overachieving.  I will probably just write everyone that enters on a piece of paper and have my dog Lola sniff out the winner. Seems pretty fair. totally joking. I'll have my neighbor's dog Pepper pick.