I love a challenge!

Lately I've been making a lot of custom orders.  People have ideas and bring them to me, and I love the challenge of making something I think they will like.  Below are some examples:

Laurie saw bows that I had made with scrabble letter centers, and asked if I could also make a pair of earrings.  I thought, "Why not?"  The main decision here was how to drill holes into the scrabble tiles.  At first I thought to drill them through length-wise (yep, it's harder to do, but IS possible!) to make it like a bead.  But I did a test pair on the diagonal, and really liked the composition better.  So I left it this way. Pink beads were perfect, since Laurie wears a lot of clothing that is pink, or looks good with pink!  The letters are her new initials after she gets married!

Jen has bought a couple of large flower clips from me, and was wondering if I could also make them smaller.  She has bangs she's letting grow out, and wanted something cute to clip them back with.  I made this small pair of purple blooms, knowing how much Jen likes purple!  I'm also going to be making her some bobby-pin style clips and a special skull (to be announced) soon!

Cheryl has ordered from me several times, often with special ideas, such as the anarchy bow I made for her a while back.  She had some special Christmas present ideas for me.  This bow (above) was made from a request for a "book" themed bow with green ribbon.  The tiny metal frame has a small clip of text in it (from the book Frankenstein, if you're interested!).

This bow is also a request from Cheryl, a "railroad spike" bow with gray ribbon.  It was my first foray into shrinky dinks!  I was able to custom-cut the shape from a computer graphic I designed and printed. The trick was figuring out how much it would shrink in the end so I could make a bow of appropriate size.

The bow above (also a request from Cheryl) was for a "train" bow using blue ribbon.  The blue bow ended up seeming too small for the train adornment, so I doubled-up the bow with some black.  The final result is something I'm really happy with.

I'd never done bows with specific themes, like trains or books, and I'd never used shrinky dinks.  I hadn't drilled holes into scrabble pieces either.  But thanks to some ideas and creative requests from others, I've expanded my options for creating!

The lesson here is: don't be afraid to request something if you haven't seen it here before!  I love a challenge, and I'm happy to consult back and forth via email before committing to a design.  Let me know your ideas and I can probably come up with something!

Got an idea for a custom order?  Email me!  hell.razor (at) me.com



...so I was having a twitter conversation with @CupcakeZombie the other day regarding my bookshelf organization (I sorted and arranged them by color last weekend), and she used the word "nerdery" which I thought was fantastic.  I actually love the word "nerd" and other forms of it because to me it's about passion.  What are you passionate about?  What makes you happy?  What causes you to be filled with nerdery?

I have a few things (besides color-coordinated books) I'm going nerdy for lately.  The first one is my new credit card.  Ha!  It's not what you're probably thinking (although who wouldn't like to go on a shopping spree with a new credit card if they could?!) - it's a card for an account I've had since I turned 18.  I was online trying to obtain a second card for my husband to have, and I realized that I can get a card with an image on it - free!  Eek!  I was so excited.  Guess what I picked?

OH YEAH!  Pink leopard credit card?!  Woot!  So, needless to say, I'm really psyched about getting my new replacement card with pink leopard print. :)

Secondly... I know I just posted photos of the Hell Razor art studio, but I've already changed some stuff! Todd and I were at IKEA last weekend, and I finally bought this nifty flat-file type drawer set on wheels.  I've been eyeing it forever, and I finally went for it.  I'm so excited because I could finally get rid of two plastic drawer units that I used to have in the studio closet.  It's like big girl furniture.  So, yep, more nerdery, this time in the form of furniture and organization:

The drawers are all super-neat and organized right now, since I just filled them.  Wonder how long that'll last...!  This is the stationery/office supplies type drawer.  Hmm, just realized I have a spool of wire in there... should probably put that someplace else...

My last bit of nerdery for now is Todd's old toys.  He moved a bunch of boxes of old toys from his mom's house and has been going through them with me, deciding what to keep and what to save.  Mostly I think he just likes pulling them out and re-living his old kid memories.  But I was super excited last night when he got to the He-Man box!  He even let me keep one for display in the studio:

Yeah Skeletor on his flocked purple cat!  I think he matches beautifully with our existing decor, don't you?  As long as he doesn't attack the My Little Ponies, we'll be just fine...


The Sketchbook Project

After a late-night push on Thursday, Todd and I both finished our sketchbooks for The Sketchbook Project.  I mailed them out yesterday!  Since I will not get my book back, I scanned all the pages so I have a record of it.  Here's a few pages for you to see now:

As many of you know, I'm a teacher, so quite a few pages deal with school-related things, such as testing, OVER-testing, and dealing with co-workers.  My sketchbook theme is "Secret Codes," so I often disguise some of the things or people I'm making art about.  That's ok, because the "secret" part is usually just me venting about something that doesn't need to be broadcasted to the world.  The final outcome image is often pretty cool though, so worth sharing.  I like to see what other people interpret the work as, and that's ok!  You're not supposed to "get" what it meant to me.  The art is all about what it means to YOU.

Sometimes the meaning of my artwork isn't a secret at all.  It's just what you see.  In the pages above I just tried to work with a lot of SQUARES.

The pages above are a couple of the last ones I did, and they're probably one of my favorites.  It's a King Diamond reference, and it cracks me up every time I look at it.  Want in on it?  Listen to "Welcome Home" off the album, Them.  I LOVE that song.

If you read my tour of the art studio post, you probably understand why I would draw this one.

Want to see the whole thing?  Want to check out the sketchbooks that others have done?  The Sketchbook Project is going on TOUR!  It'll be in Chicago at the Hyde Park Arts Center July 14-17, 2011.  See the tour site for other state's exhibitions.  I definitely plan on stopping by the Chicago one!  Todd will be there too.  He has his own book (theme: "Revenge") and a book by his students from Brooks Middle School in Oak Park, too!

p.s. If you're going to look for my book specifically, it's under my name: Jennifer Leban (as opposed to Hell Razor Art).  I have a user on Art House Co-Op for more info, too: http://arthousecoop.com/users/61309


Tour of the Studio

I am very proud of my art studio.  I even gave it a name, which is "The Lair" ...not sure if I like it though.  The name, that is.  I love the studio.  Hopefully you will too, because I'm giving you a tour!

This is my desk.  The chair and desk are IKEA purchases.

Here's the closet, which was converted to a desk/storage space sans doors, thanks to an ELFA splurge at the Container Store.  The lamps on the desk and in the closet are a vintage set from my great-aunt.  I love combining bright and colorful with vintage pieces.  Did you notice the white ceramic gun vase on the wall?  I worry I'd kill any flowers I put in it, so a peacock feather looks nice, too.

One of the many toy collections we have in our house.  Heck, one of many just in the studio!  This little still-life is in the green closet area.  Tokidoki and Yo Gabba Gabba DJ Lance are a couple of my favorite things.

A closer shot of one of the vintage lamps.  My sister-in-law gave me this awesome desk set covered in flower print.  It reminded me of Betsey Johnson, so I use it all the time.  This area is also my shipping/packing station for Etsy orders.

Here's a photo of my work table at the moment.  Lots of small containers filled with stuff and supplies waiting to be made into something else.  My rhinestone collection is overflowing and needs some type of storage other than the tiny cardboard box I currently have!  Todd hung this small IKEA curtain rod for me as a ribbon holder, and it functions beautifully!

We actually have six large bulletin boards on the walls of our studio (we tile them edge-to-edge), which enables me to switch out pictures and clippings and random inspirational things as I see fit.  Currently, this board is mostly used for storing finished pieces, so I can easily see what I have available.  My faux flowers get clustered into this vase prior to being disassembled for inclusion in a hair piece.

My latest toy additions, two "My Little Pony" pets.  Baby unicorn?!  Yes, please.  They hang out on the studio stereo.

Ha!  Told you we had a lot of toys.  Here's more from atop our bookshelf unit.  My Tarina Tarantino barbie (another one of my favorites), random faux crow (I love shopping at Halloween time!), Todd's circus punk, and Jesus - of course.  Another inspiration of mine is religious art.  The iconography is fascinating.

Here you can see more of our religious art items.  I especially love Our Lady of Guadalupe.  This shelving row runs along a u-shaped bump out in the room, where our big studio worktable is.  Todd and I share it, but most of the "stuff" is from me (sorry 'bout that, Todd).  The painting on the wall is on velvet.  I think it needs an Elvis to accompany it, don't you?

Other side of the shelving bump-out.  There's the ribbon rod again, if you're trying to place yourself around the room.  This photo has a lot of dogs in it, I just noticed... and oh yeah, those are totally naked pin-up girl salt and pepper shakers!  Thanks Aunt Marty!

In the vein of our religious items, we have candles.  Except these are of a skull theme.  We found a really sweet Hispanic swap meet by us where there's a booth selling tons of these awesome jar candles.  I found the red skeleton candle there, too.

The last theme (in case you hadn't already noticed) is skulls.  I've always liked skulls, so they're a recurring symbol in Hell Razor pieces.  I even have a tattoo of a sugar skull on my arm, and a skull hidden inside one of the roses on my foot.  This particular skull is a vintage Halloween mask that I found at an estate sale several years ago.  He hangs out on one of our bulletin boards.

So, that's our space.  It's interesting to lay it out on a format like this and to see the patterns and themes that pop up.  Some obvious, some not-so obvious... what themes are recurring in your spaces?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


Pretty Things

Todd has officially begun grad school, so Tuesday evenings are mine to play catch up.  Tonight it consisted mostly of using the snow-blower on the driveway, despite my never having actually used a snow blower before.  Yayy me - I actually got it started!  My proud first run down the driveway was dashed by a dog tether hidden under the snow that became entangled in the blower, causing it to shut down.

One pair of metal snips later, the tether was cut free, and I was able to resume my snow-removal duties.  I wanted to finish it as a nice gesture to Todd, who certainly doesn't want to come home at 9:00 to find the mound of snow that was originally there!  Unfortunately, Motorhead didn't like hanging out on the screened-in porch and began ripping up the carpeting on the floor.  Can't I do any simple household chore without major catastrophic events ensuing?  Sheesh.

Anyway, in an effort to cheer the story up a little, I'm going to share some totally unrelated, happy, pretty things:

My friend Stephanie got married on Sunday, and she had all of her bridesmaids wear Hell Razor flower hair clips!  With skulls!  How awesome is that?  This above photo comes from Studio Finch Photography, who did an awesome job!

Above are some photos of my favorite new item from Target.  It's a bulldog cupid candy dish!  Isn't it adorable?  I couldn't stand not taking it with me to the register, especially since it was the only one they had out at the Target by me.  I can't wait to fill his toothy pup grin with something fun.  I know he's a Valentine's decoration, but he might end up staying out year-round.  He's too much fun.

This is a photo of my bathroom ceiling.  Not only do I love this chandelier, I added a ceiling medallion sprayed black to make it even prettier.  The latest addition is the ceiling, which I painted a grayish-purple and then added a silver topcoat.  The metallic finish is super fun for a tiny room like the bathroom, which I've made into a tiny jewelry-box like space.

Lastly, Franciscan Starburst!  It's like the holy grail of awesome retro atomic dinnerware.  Unfortunately, I only have this one piece.  I found it at a resale shop - a total fluke, actually.  I thought I had mistakenly left it behind in a move, but Todd brought over some boxes from his mom's along with some Christmas decorations, and there it was!  I was so happy to see something so otherwise ordinary like a dish - but it's my favorite!  I also found some green Jadite pieces I thought I had lost as well.  Now I keep this little dish in the art studio for trinkets.  You will never become lost again, I swear!
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