7.31.2013

A glimpse into the process: Skulls

Betties N Brimstone: Handmade Skulls Process

Hopefully you've been to my Hell Razor Etsy shop.  At first glance, some people might think "oh these are nice flower hair clips, but I can buy flower barrettes at Walgreens/Target/Wal-Mart/insert discount store here, and for only $3!"

...but that is not = Hell Razor.  A couple of important facts to know:

  1. My flowers are not just hair clips.  They have an alligator-style hair clip and also a pin back attached, which allows for many ways of wearing! Not just in your hair, but pinned to a jacket/cardigan/purse/hat/sweater/belt/scarf/etc... you get the idea.
  2. The prong clip on the back of the flower is sandwiched between a layer of felt, which gives the flower more "grip" and keeps it from slipping out of your hair.
  3. I individually select and layers flower petals by specific color/size combinations in order to create flowers that are aesthetically pleasing (as opposed to other retail outlets that use existing faux flowers with a charm glued in the middle).
  4. The skulls used on my flowers are completely hand-made and hand-painted by me.  You cannot purchase these anywhere - they are completely original!
Speaking of skulls, I thought it might be fun to share some of the process of making my tiny skulls with you!

Betties N Brimstone: Handmade Skulls Process

Step One: forming the skulls.  I use an air-dry clay to form my skull shapes by hand.  After many trials (and errors!) I've found that I prefer a combination of 1-piece and 2-piece skull shapes.  The 1-piece skulls will have the mouth completely painted on, and the 2-piece skull has a separate bottom jaw.  I don't use any special tools other than my hands!

Once the skulls have all been shaped, it takes 2-3 days of air-drying time before the skulls can begin to be painted.  At least once in the drying process, the skulls are flipped to allow even air flow to the back side.

Betties N Brimstone: Handmade Skulls Process

Step Two: Painting begins.  I start with painting the black circles for the eyes.  I use acrylic paint because it is waterproof (you don't want your skull bleeding out color in the rain!) and gives me a very dark black.  I've done this step several different ways: by hand with a brush, using a q-tip, and using tiny sponge stamps to form the circles.  Now the eyes have to dry, anywhere from 1 hour to overnight, depending on my schedule that day.

Fun fact: the original Hell Razor skulls were decorated using Sharpie markers! This method, although quicker, was not as high-contrast in design, and does not have the lasting durability of acrylic paint.  Do you own one of those originals?  Vintage Hell Razor!

Betties N Brimstone: Handmade Skulls Process

Step Three: Other painted features/details.  Now it's time to paint on the mouth, nostrils, and other decorative details.  I use a tiny, thin brush to paint on the mouth and certain types of nostrils.  Brushes are also used for details like heart, swirls, crosses, lines, or eyebrows.  Want to know a secret to perfect tiny dots?  A mechanical pencil lead tip dipped in paint!  I learned this trick from reading nail art tutorials.

Betties N Brimstone: Handmade Skulls Process

Step Four: Rhinestones!  Hell Razor skulls have a variety of rhinestone eyes.  I typically prefer colored, round stones, but I've also enjoyed using stars and hearts.  Depending on the design/size, I will also sometimes add gems to the forehead or other areas.

...and that's everything that goes into a Hell Razor skull BEFORE it even earns a spot on a flower or bow.  Want to see some of the finished flower designs?  Check out my current flowers available here.

Betties N Brimstone: Handmade Skulls Process

Skulls aren't the only thing I hand paint!  Above is a sneak peek at some new designs where I painted my own eyeball decorations!

For the latest, greatest goings-on in the Hell Razor art studio (which is where most of these photos first appeared), be sure to follow me on Instagram!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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7.29.2013

What about the little guys?

Betties N Brimstone: $9/month? No thanks!

Boo.  Passionfruit has decided to start charging everyone $9/month to use their services.

Don't get me wrong - I really like Passionfruit, I think it's a wonderful service... I really liked the convenience of it, and how it basically runs itself - I didn't need to do much in my end... but I can't afford it.  I've never "sold" a single ad, even though I offer that option.  I've only had the chance to use it for swaps.

Now, if I made at least $9/month using the service, I would happily sign up for it because I'd be breaking even and it'd be worth it.

But in the meantime, I will just have to insert html code myself and manage my own ads until:
a.) something else comes along
b.) I actually make enough money to afford Passionfruit
c.) Passionfruit changes their pricing
Yeah, I know, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor thing.  Yeah, I know, people should stop whining about stuff that they get for FREE.  But something about this feels kind of wrong, like a bait and switch.  It only really caters to the big bloggers, and isn't helpful for small-time people like myself.

This whole thing really bothers me.  It just doesn't feel right.  And it sucks.

So hey, if you wanna swap ads with me, please DO!  But after September 1st, I'll just have to run things a little bit differently.  I'm thinking of making some Google forms to fill out info, and then you'll just need to manually e-mail me your ad photo...

I have some time to work it all out, and I'll be updating the swap page when that time comes.

Anyone else out there in the same boat as me?

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.24.2013

Display ideas for small items

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

I've often posted about my variety of collections... but what do you do with all of the things you collect once you have a whole bunch?  It can get kind of crazy pretty quickly.  I think if you're collecting items that bring you joy, you should be able to use them, look at them, and enjoy them as much as possible.  So you'll want to keep them accessible - not stored away in boxes.  Here are two ideas for displaying your collections of tinier items, like action figures, vinyl toys, and miniature figures, like Lego men.

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

The first idea is to mount typeset drawers on your wall so that they act as tiny shelves for your items.  You can buy typeset drawers at antique marts, or get lucky at a garage sale.  You can also buy them online at sites like Etsy or Ebay.

My husband collects Lego minifigures, so he put them up on display in our living room using this method.  He screwed the drawers onto the wall at the four corners, which makes the drawers very sturdy for holding tiny items without worrying about them getting bumped or falling off the shelves.  He also interspersed other tiny figures and knicknacks he had tucked away, but now could put on display!

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

The second idea involves making use of otherwise wasted space along the ceiling of a room by hanging small rail-like shelves along a wall.  Here, we used this method along a bulkhead/overhang in our basement.

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

The part of the wall that hung down was already painted blue, so we chose white "Ribba" picture frame rails from IKEA and hung them end-to-end, which makes the small shelf look more like an architectural detail that already existed in the space.

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

My husband was very excited to pull out his old boxes of action figures and put his favorites up to show off!

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

The trick to hanging these shelves is to have and use your level religiously!  You can see in the detail below where the seams line up, but when the final ledge is viewed as a whole, it's pretty cool.

Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections Betties N Brimstone: Ideas for displaying your collections

These Ribba shelves come in two lengths: 45 1/4 inches, and 21 3/4 inches.  We ended up using six of the 45 inch shelves, and one 21 inch shelf in order to reach one end of our basement to the other.

What a cool way to decorate your space AND have extra storage!

Do you have any cool display ideas that you've shared?  Send me your links!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.22.2013

That time I ended up at an NKOTB concert.

Betties N Brimstone: NKOTB concert

I have a knack for ending up at stuff like this. Remember when I went to the midnight release of the Twilight movie? Yeah, it's like that.

Earlier in the year, my sister-in-law was commenting how she had no one to go to the NKOTB concert with this summer. Knowing how much fun I have hanging out with her, I piped up, "I'll go to the show with you!" 

She didn't know at first if I was joking or not, so I reminded her of how much fun Twilight was, and said I was totally serious. Although I was also willing to pay my own way, she bought my ticket for me!  It was a show with 98 degrees, Boyz II Men, and NKOTB - the "package" tour.

It was several months off, so I marked it on my calendar and semi-forgot about it until the date grew closer. The day before, I received a text from my sister-in-law:


On the day of the show, my sister-in-law picked me up and we grabbed some food before the show.  When we walked into the venue (the gigantic All-State Arena), I showed the security guard my ticket, and opened my purse in preparation for having it searched before I walked in.

My ticket was scanned, and I was waved into the arena.

Wait...what?

I looked at my sister-in-law confusedly.  Apparently, I must go to concerts with a way more unruly crowd, and NKOTB fans are nothing to be worried about?  I'm used to getting my bag searched AND usually succumbing to a pat-down before being granted entry to a venue.  Hmm.

Okay.

When the concert started, I was actually stuck in line to buy beverages, but I was only two people from the register, so I stayed where I was.  The conversation in line was quite interesting.  Girl behind me was whining about how she wanted to get a tattoo but the artist wouldn't do it because it was too small and wouldn't look good for very long.  Whining like it was a bad thing.  I wanted to turn around and tell her that this is a REAL THING, and that she should be happy that she went to a place that was honest with her and didn't just take her money and give her a crappy tattoo.  But I didn't.  She didn't seem like the type that would appreciate that.

The crowd was the hardest part of the show.  I felt really really out of place, even though I was somewhat in the right age bracket and gender for this show.

Betties N Brimstone: NKOTB concert

But let's talk about the show.  Boyz II Men went on first, which confused me a little.  I would have thought that the order would be: 98 degrees, Boyz II Men, and then NKOTB, but nope.  Boyz II Men played 7 songs or so?  I recognized them all (ahh, middle school!) but it seemed like a very short set!  Wanna check it out?  Here ya go:



Then, 98 degrees went on.  They played longer (or maybe it just seemed that way), and I don't think I recognized a single song in their entire set.  Eep.  A few guys seemed to be a little "off," vocally, but I dunno since I'm not familiar with the band, maybe it was supposed to sound like that?  Also, their choreography and lyrics just made the whole set really sad.  Like a bunch of guys in their late 30's singing and dancing to their 15-year old compositions?  I was kind of embarrassed for them, but no one else in the crowd seemed to notice except me... Then one of them yelled out "Hey how many of you have been fans since 1998?!!!" And the crowd went wild.  Well, I graduated in 1997 and I certainly knew as a high-schooler that 98 degrees was lame at that time.  Was I older than most of the crowd?  Again, confused.

After a short break, NKOTB (if you haven't figured it out, that's New Kids on the Block) came onstage and played a bunch of songs in a row that I DIDN'T EVEN RECOGNIZE!  What?  Apparently they've been putting out albums and I didn't know anything about it.  But many many many of these girls did.  Apparently there's a cruise you can go on?  Ugh.  The whole thing made me kind of sad, like why are these women trying to re-live grade school or middle school or high school like this?  Didn't their school experience suck as badly as mine and they never ever ever want to go back to that again?

I must be in the minority.

Okay, but then NKOTB started playing some songs that I did know.  Which basically is any song off of "Hangin Tough" or "Step by Step."  I was under the impression that that was essentially the end of NKOTB, but (as I stated earlier) they seem to have had quite a bit of success after that.  Go figure!



I really wanted them to play "Funky Christmas," but seeing as it was mid-July I knew there was about a zero percent chance of that happening. Wah waaaah.

Overall though, the NKOTB show was extremely entertaining!  There was confetti and lasers and balloons and pyrotechnics and stage pieces that levitated and revolved, so there was always a lot to see to keep you from getting bored.  I had a great time hanging out (hangin tough?) with my sister-in-law, as usual, and it was really fun to get to see how much she enjoyed it all.

After the show, I had my first ever Cranberry Lime-aid from Sonic.  It was yummy.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.19.2013

The Anti-Martha Stewart's Guide to Home Maintenance

Hey guys!
If you're anything like me, you probably hate to clean...especially large spaces...Throughout the years I have constantly tried to find shortcuts on cleaning. I've found that there aren't many...(you're pretty much stuck scrubbing and dusting...) BUT I have been able to fid some solutions to pesky home maintenance issues! Here are 3 quick tips on some common fixable annoyances!

Jerk Sink or Bathtub Stains VS Clorox Bleach Spray Cleaner
 photo Bleach_zpsdd168c37.jpg
BAM!!!
I LOVE this stuff...I have an old school cast iron sink that gets stained easily. All I have to do for this result is spray down the sink with the cleaner, let it sit while I sweep the kitchen floor, and then take my sink water sprayer thingy (yeah...I'm REALLY domesticated...) and spray down the sink with water... DONE!
**(NEVER EVER use this product (or bleach in general) with ammonia because it will kill you (no joke) and do not use it on fabrics because it will bleach your stuff...it IS bleach after all).**

Annoying Sticker Goo VS DW40
 photo DW40_zps61a30d87.jpg OH YEAH!
DW40 is awesome...It keeps stuff from squeaking AND it beats the CRAP out of Goo Gone. It also doesn't smell as bad OR leave a greasy feeling slime on your stuff. I would spot test your item before you put WD40 on it, but I've had luck with it on many different hard surfaces.

Hellish Heat Stains VS Vaseline
 photo Vasaline_zps4e8d7557.jpg
WHAT!?!
(This one's my favorite!) Say your wonderful husband puts his hot coffee cup on your 1940s real wood radio & record player...and it leaves a heat ring / stain. No worries! If it's real wood and is not missing varnish, take some vaseline and slather it over the stain. Leave it there over night and wipe off in the morning (sometimes I will even massage it into the wood grain a little). Your heat stain is USUALLY gone...If that doesn't work, you can try an iron and some steam, but I've never had to try that....Knock on wood...HA! ok...

If you guys have any sweet cleaning or home maintenance tips, PLEASE let me know via comments!
Until next time! Stay clean my friends! ;)

~Steph @ Calamity Layne
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7.17.2013

Small Bathroom, Small Budget

Betties N Brimstone: Small Bathroom, Small Budget

I've shared some home inspiration posts about my little bathroom in the past, but we've never had the money to properly "gut" and re-do our little bathroom.  In fact, we still don't!  But my husband and I have made a few simple and small changes to really update the space and make it more "us."

The bathroom is covered mostly in vintage pink-ish tile, which I actually don't mind too much.  The thing I most dislike is the shower, but since it's our only "back up," we'll deal.  The original floor had tiny tiles in shades of pink and such, but the previous owner decided to stick brown stone-effect 12" vinyl tiles all over it, rendering the original floor a sticky mess when we pulled it up.

Betties N Brimstone: Small Bathroom, Small Budget
I think brown, pink, and beige might be my LEAST favorite color combination, ever...

We decided on super inexpensive (less than $1 each) black and white self-stick vinyl tiles.  It's not my favorite flooring material, but since it's such a small room, and I'm just trying to make it look presentable for a few years until I (in my daydream land) have enough money to completely re-vamp it, it works.  The price is right.  I'm a big fan of black and white checkerboard floors - in fact, I'm planning on using this type of flooring in my laundry room (you know, the nasty side of the basement?) when that gets decorated too... one day.

Betties N Brimstone: Small Bathroom, Small Budget
Some in-progress shots of the space.  We actually removed and re-set the toilet and sink in order to get the floor done right.  I ended up having to replace a few tiles that cracked in the process, but these grey ones (salvaged from the bigger bathroom) actually end up hidden behind the sink once it's re-installed.
Betties N Brimstone: Small Bathroom, Small Budget

There is such a small amount of actual drywall in this room that I could go crazy with whatever color I wanted, but I was limited by the warm pink tiles and wooden vanity/mirror combo.  I decided to go really bold and BLACK.  There's a large glass-block window in this tiny space, so I don't need to worry too much about light.  This room can handle the color!

Betties N Brimstone: Small Bathroom, Small Budget

I also like to change the look of a room with accessories.  I've been slowly but surely collecting items and re-purposing items from other rooms in spaces when applicable.  I bought a Chuck Hodi print from Etsy and framed it myself (thanks, Michael's inexpensive frame collection and copious coupon opportunities and sales!) - I have to give credit to Donna @ Goat + Wolf though for posting this on instagram first.  She bought one, posted it online, and I immediately ran to the computer to snatch one up for myself to hang in this room.  It's too perfect for us.

I also bought black and white vertical striped hand towels from JCPenney, and I've been hanging on to a skull soap dispenser from last year's Target halloween collection for just such a design opportunity.  It's not quite the same, but here's another cool skull-themed set I found on Amazon, just in case you couldn't stand NOT having a skull soap dispenser.  I know I wouldn't be able to.

My point is, keep your eyes open all the time for accessories and things you like.  Be open-minded about where you use stuff, because kitchen and bath items are pretty easily interchangeable (towels, soap dispensers, rugs, dishes to hold your random crap, etc...)

Betties N Brimstone: Small Bathroom, Small Budget

Here are some shots from the rest of the bathroom, from other angles and stuff.  The shower is boring, but I put my skeleton friend next to it because it makes me happy.  The toilet area is still somewhat lacking.  I've been playing with the idea of taking a chalk marker to the walls and writing/drawing/decorating my own designs on them... but I'm still brainstorming.  Maybe heavy metal song lyrics or something like that.

Got any ideas for me?  Lemme know!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.15.2013

Things I Love: Sriracha Edition!

Betties N Brimstone: 10 Tips for Sriracha 

Occasionally I find some new food item that I become pretty obsessed with, and eat it at least once per day (or more...).  Last time I remember doing this, it was goat cheese.  This summer, it's sriracha.  Since becoming an "adult," I've discovered the amazingness that is Tabasco sauce on eggs and hot peppers on my sandwiches, but I'd never had sriracha.  Last time I visited the Chicago Diner, I noticed a bottle at every table.

Trader Joe's had a giant endcap display of sriracha, which got me thinking "Hey, if I like these other hot and spicy items, I bet I'd like this!"  So I bought a bottle to try out.  And it was amazing.

Sriracha is spicy, but also kind of sweet, which makes it super versatile for tons and tons of stuff.  I thought I'd share a list of ten super yummy ways to enjoy sriracha.
  1. EGGS - I put sriracha on scrambled eggs, usually a veggie omelet.  This was the way I tried sriracha for the very first time, since I typically put hot sauce or tabasco (eh, whatever the restaurant's got!) on my eggs.  But it's also fantastic on eggs over-easy or fried, too.
  2. TUNA or EGG SALAD - You only need a little bit, like a teaspoon or two, to mix with a can of tuna, some mayo, and a little chopped onion.  Or, with two hard-boiled eggs chopped up.  Sometimes I combine my tuna salad all together with hard boiled eggs and eat it as a combo. Oh man I'm getting hungry.  See also: sriracha deviled eggs.
  3. SALAD DRESSING - Ok, bear with me on this one.  Mix a teaspoon or so (I don't measure, just squirt a little bit out) with your ranch dressing before putting it onto a salad.  This is especially amazing with grilled chicken (or in my case, Quorn chik'n) or a nice piece of grilled fish on your salad.
  4. BURGER/SANDWICH SPREAD - Kind of like with the ranch above, mix a little sriracha with mayo and it becomes the world's most amazing burger/sandwich spread.  We grill a lot in the summer, and I slather this on top of my Boca Vegan Original patty, and yum.  So good!  I also used this mayo/sriracha combo on my fake bacon BLT a few nights ago... mmm...
  5. CHILI - I love to make chili.  I can use the crock pot and let it cook all day, or I can whip it up on the stovetop.  I don't even make a "veggie" chili, I just use a traditional meat recipe but substitute meatless ground beef crumbles in its place.  Instead of hot sauce?  You guessed it... sriracha!
  6. HUMMUS WRAPS - A great alternative to a lunchtime sandwich is a wrap.  I like to use a wheat tortilla, hummus, black beans, sliced mushrooms, peppers, and avocado.  My husband adds chicken to his (he's not a vegetarian, FYI).  If I'm feeling like a little more flavor, I add mustard (yellow, dijon, or even jalapeno-flavored), but you could also use a little sriracha!
  7. MARINADE - Add some sriracha to your favorite marinade sauces when marinating veggies or seafood for the grill for spicy goodness!
  8. RAMEN - Ramen is probably the world's most perfect food, I love it so much.  I wish it wasn't so bad for me.  You can pretty much add anything to it, and it's pretty much always amazing. Therefore, ramen + sriracha = double amazing.
  9. BLOODY MARY - yep.  Sriracha bloody mary recipe.  You're welcome.
  10. PASTA - mix it with some marinara for a spicy arrabbiata-inspired sauce.

As I was doing a little sriracha research online, I discovered someone who commented that they put sriracha on their McDonald's Egg McMuffin, and was lamenting that McDonald's doesn't provide sriracha as a condiment in their restaurants... it made me think that I should probably buy a second bottle for my car... !!!

Ah, writing blog posts on food is like walking through the grocery store.  If I wasn't hungry before, I am now!  Do you have any tips for using sriracha?

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.12.2013

DIY Rock Garden!

My husband and I bought a house back in October and it has been awesome, but we have had a LOT of home repair expenses to worry about over the past 10 months. All of the inside home repairs have put a dent in our yard repair money so I have had to come up with some creative and simple ways to get the front yard looking "up to par." I work 2 jobs and really only have one whole day off a week (and Dave is not a yard guru) so I wanted to make our front yard easy to manage. A "Rock Garden" seemed to be the easiest and cheapest route.

How to make your own Rock Garden!
You will need:

  • Weed killer
  • Shovel and / or rake
  • Weed barrier (measure your space and buy barrier accordingly)
  • Scissors
  • Enough rocks to cover your designated rock garden area 
  • Decor of your choice!

Step 1:
You will need to clear your designated area of weeds, grass, bushes, etc... We tore out a line of bushes along the side of our house with a chainsaw and a shovel leaving a clear dirt area. I then sprayed the weeds with Round Up.

 photo Pic1_zps3a5d8058.jpg Step 2:
 photo Pic2_zpsc5a0270f.jpg I bought weed barrier from a local garden shop, but you can get weed barrier pretty cheap if you shop around. Use your scissors to cut your weed barrier to the correct size and lay it down over the dirt.

 photo Pic3_zpsdfe460fa.jpg Step 3:
Apply rocks! I bought bags for this project, but if you have a larger area to fill it's cheaper to buy your rocks in bulk. I bought about 6 bags of white marble chips for this project for $4.99 a bag, but price vary by rock type.

 photo pic4_zpsa27ff36c.jpg Step 4:
Add the decoration of your choice! I'm still in search of my preferred decor, but I know that it involves pink flamingos! :)

 photo Pic5_zps351e5dab.jpg We also did this in our front yard and used a border from rocks we found in the back yard! I still need to tear out some stumps and put down some grass seed, but it's getting there!

 photo Pic6_zps729b58df.jpg ~Steph @ Calamity Layne
 

7.10.2013

DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover

Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover

Today I'd like to share a fun and really quick project - one of those things that I'd had sitting around the house already for a while, but never quite got around to... recovering an old vintage footstool covered in old, cracked vinyl fabric.

Wanna know my secret?

A vinyl tablecloth!  Here's the details:
Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover
The first step in any vintage "recycling" project is to find the right piece of furniture.  This footstool/step stool looks really ragged (cracked, hard vinyl, old rusty nailheads...), but the metal base and legs are amazing, and super sturdy!  The rest, I knew, I could deal with.

Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover

I bought a vinyl tablecloth on Amazon after searching a few local stores (like Target) and coming up empty handed.  I'm pretty picky about designs.  I bet if I looked around certain holidays (like Valentines or Halloween) I could probably find one that I liked.  (Mental note for the upcoming holidays - stock up on cute vinyl tablecloths!)  I also bought a pack of decorative nails at my local hardware store to replace the old ones.  They came in a pack of 20 and I would need 16 for this project.  If you want more fancy-style nailheads, I did see some on Amazon... like these square pyramid nails - they're pretty flippin' sweet.
Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover
The first step was to remove the legs from the main wooden box of the stool, which was simply removing two screws in the base frame.  Then, I used a flat head screwdriver to pry up the old nails on each corner.  I decided not to remove the original vinyl, and instead just apply the flannel-backed tablecloth on top of the old vinyl (if I removed the old vinyl, I'd probably have to deal with re-padding and cushioning the wooden box... just didn't feel like tackling that this time around.

You may have noticed that I also removed the canvas on the underside of the box.  I chose not to replace it because Iggy is fond of flipping the stool over and standing on it, so it seemed like leaving it open would be a safer choice (a new canvas could tear and Iggy could fall in/trip/etc).
Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover
The next step is to lay the top of the stool on your tablecloth, and cut your tablecloth slightly larger than needed.  (I ended up only using half of the tablecloth, so I stashed the rest away for the next time it needs to be replaced!)  I used a staple gun to fold up and secure the vinyl to the frame of the wooden box (when attaching fabric to the perimeter, I work in a "cross" shape: top, bottom, left, right - and then fill in the rest of the perimeter, carefully folding over the corners kind of like wrapping a present).
Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover
The decorative nails on the corner were fairly simple to tap in with a hammer.  I chose to just estimate/eyeball the placement, but if you're feeling really precise, you could use a ruler to space them out evenly all the way around.  Each corner has 4 nails total.  Also, I had to work slowly - if I tried to hammer it in too hard, I ran the risk of bending the nail itself.
Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover
Once the top of your stool has been re-upholstered, it just needs to be attached via screws to the original base, and you're good to go!  I had a little bit of wrinkling on top from where the tablecloth was folded in the package, but it will relax over time.

Betties N Brimstone: DIY Vintage Stool Re-Cover

As you can see, Iggy is very fond of the finished product and climbed up onto the chair right away using the "new" stool!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.08.2013

As seen in...

Hey, I've been out and about on the interwebs lately, and I thought I'd take a moment to share some of these special times with you...

About a week ago, a Hell Razor flower was spotted on Stephanie over at the A Geek in Glasses blog:

Betties N Brimstone: As seen in...

She contacted me about swapping ads, and a "Furry Friday" post (tba...!), and I offered up a flower for her to wear!  Doesn't she look amazing?  I love how she paired this up with a very retro-looking outfit!

Betties N Brimstone: As seen in...
image via A Geek in Glasses blog


The second Hell Razor spotting is over at Bake and Destroy, where Sugarslam IV is underway!

Betties N Brimstone: As seen in...

Sugarslam is an annual wrestling-themed baking/dessert competition where you will win a whole boatload of free stuff if you win!  And, there are two different winners - the first is the "champ," which is chosen by a panel of judges.  The second winner - the "People's Choice" - is voted on by the people (hence the name, duh) and also wins a whole boatload of prizes!

This is where I come in... as part of the people's choice prize pack, you will be awarded YOUR PICK of any hair flower in the Hell Razor shop!  Woo hoo!  Not just any old flower, mind you - you get to pick exactly which one!

The contest runs through August 31st, so you have lots of time to dream up something amazing in order to win!  Full rules/details/how to enter junk is all listed out here.  You can also just print out free posters and advertise too, if you're feeling it!

If you're interested in doing a collaboration with me (as Hell Razor, Betties N Brimstone, whatevs...) send me an email!  Always looking for new friends and new ways to spread the love...

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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7.05.2013

Vintage Clothing and Your Comfort Level

Hello there!
I hope everyone is having a great 4th of July weekend! 

Many people tell me “I’ve tried some stuff on and even though I like it, I still think it looks cuter on other people.” OR "I can't pull it off." Instead of focusing on the negative, let's focus on the positive. You tried on at least one vintage piece! (Yay!) BUT you didn’t like how it looked on you. (aww…). I hear this scenario a lot.
1) Someone tries on a vintage piece they really like (yay!)
2) The piece isn’t flattering (grr…)
3) They feel sad and decide they can’t wear vintage at all even though they still want to (sniffle*)
Don’t worry! I’m here to help! Just remember these few steps.

Not all vintage is made the same!
 photo greendress_zps17151399.jpg In this scenario it is important to remember that vintage pieces are just like modern pieces in the respect that not all cuts are flattering to all shapes and sizes. You may not like how one 60s shift dress fits, but maybe a 60s cocktail dress would be mor flattering to your shape. It's like me and empire waists...I don't care what decade it came out of..I look like I'm wearing a paper bag. 

Find yourself a good Tailor!
 photo orange_zpsdf8ac463.jpg  You’d be amazed at how great a piece of clothing can look on you if you get it tailored. A piece that may be a little too big or a little too small could be taken in or let out in specific areas for a better fit. AND it’s usually pretty cheap. Check your local listings for a tailor BUT make sure you ask around (other businesses in the area, people, etc…) to see if they’re good. Oh! And check to see if they do alterations on vintage clothing.

Decade to body type is a lie!
 photo pink_zps886030aa.jpg No matter what decade it was, there have always been people of all sizes. I have pieces from the 20s that fit me and I’m not tiny. Curvy, petite, tall, short…It doesn’t really matter what decade it was…people of all sizes have existed from day one. Granted, it’s harder to find larger sizes from older decades (like the 20s) BUT it’s possible to find! Just keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.

If you lack a lot of patience...
 photo Fiesta_zps845a5cd7.jpg
You do have to have a lot of patience when looking for vintage pieces (especially if you are tall and a larger size...like me). If you want the look and don't care if it's legit vintage, you can look at Pin Up Girl Clothing . They have GREAT options for larger sizes and also have some pretty cool undergarments that will look good even without clothing! ;) They ARE a little pricy, but everything I've gotten from there fits pretty great! 

So, don't get discouraged if you try on multiple vintage pieces and they are just not fitting...Just relax and try another day! You'll find what you're looking for!

Yours Truly,
Steph @ Calamity Layne
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7.03.2013

Art Teacher Adventure

Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition

I don't really remember how I found out about the free program for art teachers at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago... I think I may have stumbled across a random tweet or something, but when I saw that there was an upcoming exhibition on modern cartooning featuring the art of Daniel Clowes, I was super excited - to say the least.

I pretty much immediately signed both myself and my husband up (convenient for carpooling to art teacher things when you and your husband are both art teachers) for the program, which would include entry into the exhibition, which opened to the public that very same day.  Then I saw an additional detail: Daniel Clowes himself would be at the museum that day, giving a talk, and that teachers would be given the chance to win tickets to it!

Whoa.

If I had to make a list of my all-time favorite movies, Ghost World would be right up top.  If I had to narrow down my type of preferred movies/books/art... it would be dark comedies.  Almost everything about Daniel Clowes' work is some form of dark comedy, even if it's the nervous giggles one gets when observing an extremely awkward and cringe-worthy situation.

Sometimes I feel like my whole life is one long, dark, comedy.

Lydia Deetz
Yeah, this is NOT Daniel Clowes.  Stick with me, here.


So... we took the El down to the MCA, and gathered in the education center, which happened to be right outside the theater where Daniel Clowes would be talking later that same day.  We had a great time with about 15 other art teachers from the area, creating collaborative comics, and discussing work with our teaching artist for the day, Corrine Mucha (also a fantastic cartoonist in her own right!).  We got to explore the exhibition and talk about specific pieces together as a group.  When we went back down to the education center, we created our own "unlikely/underdog superheroes" which we put into a comic strip of our own.

Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition

At the end of the teacher program, it was announced that there were enough tickets for anyone/everyone who wanted to attend the talk to go!  I was so excited, I wanted to jump up and down - we had previously been told that there was only space for 10 teachers, and that tickets would be given out via a raffle.  This was awesome!

Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition

The talk was about an hour long, and was an informal conversation-style talk with Susan Miller, the original curator of the exhibit.  Daniel Clowes also took some questions from the audience (no, I didn't get up and ask anything!).  But the best part was when they announced that Daniel Clowes would be doing a SIGNING after the talk!

Best. day. ever!

Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition
Try not to be so awkward and completely embarrass yourself, okay, Jen?


Todd willingly waited with me for about an hour after the talk to have my copy of "Ghost World" signed by the artist.  I was sooo nervous, and spent most of the time trying to figure out what I would say that wasn't completely awkward or boring.  I decided to tell him how much I enjoyed the exhibition, and thanked him for agreeing to put his work on display where we could see the artist's "hand" (including mistakes/corrections!) rather than just perfect reproductions.  I introduced my husband and I as art teachers, and asked him to write something about "art being cool" so I could show it to my students:

Betties N Brimstone: Daniel Clowes MCA Chicago Exhibition

...Isn't that awesome?

Before we left, Daniel Clowes told us that teaching middle school (which my husband and I both do) is the hardest of all levels to teach, and that we were doing "God's work" - ha!

I'm not sure if I agree that middle school is the "hardest" of all levels, but it was kind of nice to get even a little unsolicited recognition for the work we do!  This was a great day.

If you're in the area and get the chance to check out the exhibit, DO IT!  It runs from right now through October 13, 2013 at the MCA.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor

p.s. Completely unrelated... I just recently made a Google+ page for Betties N Brimstone.  Would you mind showing us a little love by adding us to your circles?  It looks pretty sad right now!  Thanks!

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