DIY: Heavy Metal Art Smock

motley T

This is a project I've been wanting to do for a while now.  The hardest part of making your own awesome art smock is finding just the right rock/metal t-shirt for this project.  I had originally set my sights on a Dio t-shirt, but was unable to find just the right design (and price) for something I was going to cut up.  This Motley Crue "Shout at the Devil" t-shirt was obtained from a garage sale in Michigan for only $1 this summer, and I knew I had found the perfect match.

The decoration on the front of the shirt was just fine, but the shirt itself was small, and quite worn.  Just the right type of t-shirt to make a HEAVY METAL ART SMOCK!  Here's what you'll need:

  • vintage (or new, your choice) band t-shirt
  • solid color smock - mine is made of denim.
  • a good pair of scissors
  • straight pins
  • sewing machine
steps 1-4

First, you'll need to cut out your t-shirt design.  I had to angle the top left and right corners due to the black t-shirt sleeves, but it ended up fitting the shape of the smock nicely anyways.  Then, layout your design on your smock.  Plan carefully for placement, and trim if necessary.  Then, using the straight pins, pin your t-shirt design on to the front of the smock.  Every few inches is good, because you don't want the design to shift on you.

steps 5-6

Next, take your design to the sewing machine.  You'll notice my machine is NOT fancy at all.  I use it to straight stitch, mostly.  Hemming curtains or sewing a pillow... that's about all I'm good for.  So don't be intimidated.  Stitch all the way around your design, and be sure to go back and forth over your start/stop point, so it doesn't unravel.  Then remove your pins (well, you could also do this step as you go around).

motley trim

If you have a lot of extra fabric hanging off (like I kinda did), give it a careful trim with your scissors.  The cool part is that this is supposed to look DIY and raggedy edges, so it's ok if your cuts are jagged.  That just means it's more metal.

finished smock

Finally, admire your work.  Wear your art smock as a kitchen apron, if you like, or for painting, or for teaching art to middle schoolers, like me.  Plus, I get to give a sweet bonus lesson on 80's hair metal!  Oh yeah.

now playing:
Looks That Kill - Motley Crue
Shout at the Devil


Manicure Monday: Crackle and Sparkle

crackle and sparkle

I like to make and break rules for myself.  I decide to do certain posts on certain days of the week, then I decide that I don't feel like following my own rules.  Then I come back around and decide to start doing it again... so goes with Manicure Monday.  This is actually last week's look, but I already had a Monday post, so I saved it for here.

I had only used my crackle polish once, and it was with blue polish.  So I decided to try it out with pink, although it's probably the most popular combination of colors you'll see.  As I was digging around for my top coat, I found my sparkly clear polish and thought it might be fun to use that instead.

3 polishes

Here's the breakdown:
  • OPI in La Paz-Itively Hot - 2 coats
  • OPI in Black Shatter - 1 coat (make sure the pink has TOTALLY dried first!)
  • Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Disco Ball (09) - 1 coat
now playing:
Black Tongue - Mastodon
The Hunter


Manga Portrait

manga portrait

My brother's girlfriend, Annie, drew this manga-style portrait of me a couple of weekends ago during a garage sale at my mom's house.  I thought it was cute, and wanted to share.

now playing:
Standing Alone - In This Moment
A Star-Crossed Wasteland


Dreaming of Halloween

halloween 2010

It's nearing the end of September, which means that I'm dreaming of Halloween!  Last year was pretty fun.  It was our first year with Motorhead, and our first Halloween at our house.

halloween 2010 2

I was really excited about my Princess Bubblegum costume (from Adventure Time, if you weren't sure). I bought a sample bridesmaids dress from Goodwill and dyed it pink.  You can't even see it all pinned up under the belt sash - I'm so short, and that was the easiest way to get it to the right length!  I wore a long-sleeved pink shirt underneath too, since I wasn't comfortable (or warm enough) to go strapless.  But I made my own crown, and custom cut my long-haired pink wig!

halloween 2010 3

Todd never seems to plan his costumes ahead of time, and then lo and behold, we get an invite to a party, and he needs a costume... the previous year he wore a gorilla suit, but this last year he needed something different, so...viola!  Instant zombie!

We spent less than $5 on his incredible costume, for some white makeup for his face.  Everything else (jeans, white shirt, button-down shirt) was old work/painting clothes he already had that I splattered, cut, ripped, and painted with red paint and red food coloring to make it look like it had been through several zombie attacks.

Halloween Makeup 2010

I was most proud, though, of the makeup job he let me apply.  All over white paint (not too heavy... he had to look pale and dead, not clown-like), some black eyeshadow around the eyes to look hollow and sunken in.  I smeared red lipstick over his lips to look like he'd been chewing on some brains, and then I used some dark pink/reddish eyeliner to draw veins across his forehead.  That part was my favorite!

eat the dog

Once he gets into costume, though, Todd's all about playing the character.  Look how tiny Motorhead was!  You get eaten, dog!

zombie justice

Todd won scariest costume at the party we attended.  His prize was - how appropriate?  Gummy BRAINS!!!  That's my cowboy coworker about to slay the zombie, mid-snack.

motorhead the bumblebee

Don't worry, we didn't forget about Motor.  He was a bumblebee... although I don't think he enjoyed it nearly as much as I did!

So by now, you're probably wondering if I'm going to reveal this year's costumes.  Well, I'm working to gather my supplies, but since I have a huge pregnant belly, my plan was to go as Lumpy Space Princess (also from Adventure Time... if you haven't guessed, I love that show), but I need to acquire a big bright purple hoodie sweatshirt, preferably long enough to wear as a dress...  So I'm still working out the details in my head.  I like to make or assemble my own costumes if I can... it's usually less expensive, and I know that no one else will have the exact same costume as me, even if we go as the same character.

I can't reveal Todd's costume, since it's his secret to give away, but it's another pretty good one with not much preparation behind it.  We're thinking about having a party this year at our house, so it should be major fun to plan for this year's holiday!!!  I'll let you know as things unfold...

now playing:
Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
Little Earthquakes


A Very Special Custom Order.

jewelry supplies

About a month ago, my aunt contacted me about making her some custom jewelry.  She wanted eight identical bracelets to give to her female friends who had been her support "circle" during her successful fight against cancer.  Yesterday, she had a remission party for family and friends to celebrate.  I was honored to get to be a part of this, and that she would ask me to be the creator of her very special thank-you gifts.

Our timeline between the idea and the party was short, and I would have to special order supplies in order to make eight identical items.  We decided on using rosary beads for the main bracelet, and I found some cool beads in black and silver from my favorite rosary source.  Then, we needed to decide on the perfect charm to finish it off.

The women whom these bracelets were going to are a variety of ages ranging from 30 to late 50s.  We thought that a simple but elegant cross would be both meaningful and beautiful to wear.  I found two different sellers on Etsy that were both selling the same charm design, and snatched them up right away in order to have enough for all the bracelets!  I also wanted to make sure the charm size was right for a bracelet (as opposed to a larger necklace charm).

bracelet finished
bracelet lineup

I'm quite proud of the finished design, and can't wait to see how the gift recipients like their custom matching "friendship" bracelets!

now playing:


Field Trip: DMK Burger Bar


Last week, I went with my brothers and their significant others to DMK Burger Bar in Lombard, IL.  I had heard excellent things about the Chicago location, and had been dying to try it.  When I heard that they had opened a location nearby in the 'burbs, I was even more excited.  (I hate driving and trying to find parking in the city. Ick.)

Being that I am pregnant, I couldn't sample any of their tasty-sounding beer menu (they even had my favorite, Allagash White!), but I was able to have a yummy Blood Orange House Made Soda!  Okay, okay,  I actually had two of those... they were good.

For food, the menu at DMK sounds absolutely delish.  I chose fried okra and dill pickles as an appetizer. I had never had a fried pickle, and I was dying to try.  Someone should have warned me that the innards of fried pickles are scorchingly hot!!!  Yeah, I bit into it, all over-zealous and excited to try.  Ouch.

As a main course, I had burger #12, which is a house-made veggie and grain patty (aka a veggie burger patty) with aged cheddar, eggplant, tomato, and pesto mayo.  All burgers come on fluffy fresh baked buns.  I also ordered sea salt and black pepper fries, with "house ketchup."  House ketchup is a concoction consisting of ketchup and spicy salsa (I'm guessing) mixed together.  It was freakin' spicy - and I like spicy foods, but it was almost too much for even me.

The burger patty was quite good, but I didn't even notice the pesto mayo... the burger overall seemed dry, which was kind of disappointing.  The bun, although tasty, was really squishy, and just can't compare to my favorite burgers at Kuma's that come on PRETZEL BUNS!

So, overall, it was good - I'd go back again and probably try something different.  But it didn't meet my expectations that I originally had after reading the totally yummy-sounding menu.  In conclusion, here are some gratuitous photos of my family at the table at DMK:

sam at table

(I challenge you to take a photo of Sam where he's NOT flicking off the camera.  Take that, Sam!  You get a heart on your face!)

todd at table

(Yep, that's the waitress coming up on Todd as he makes a total "derp" face for the camera.  Nice work, honey.)

bobby at table
bunny napkins

My brother's girlfriend, Annie (you may have seen her before here), taught me how to turn my cloth napkin into a bunny.  Score!

For more info on DMK Burger Bar, they're at 2370 Fountain Square Drive in Lombard, IL (it's kind of unassuming, tucked between Starbucks and a Jared jewelry store).  Telephone: 630-705-9020.

now playing:
Hole - Celebrity Skin
Celebrity Skin


Thank You!

I can't stay long...
Just wanted to stop by and give a super huge thank you hug over the internet to Donna at Deer Donna for sending me such a sweet shout-out on her blog!

Check it out here!

(Have I mentioned that not only am I a teacher, I'm also an officer for the teachers' union in my district?  Uh, yeah...  And preggers.  Needless to say, it's 8:32 pm, I go to bed at 9:30, and I haven't had a chance to kick back and relax yet tonight...)

So, good night.  I swear I have lots of good blog posts to share with you as soon as I get the chance!

now playing:


Manicure Monday: Butter London Blue Glitter

blue glitter

I was really excited to try Butter London polish.  When the girl came up to me at Ulta and was all, "Can I help you?" I asked her if she had tried this brand, and she told me yes.  She said it was really good, and that I only needed one coat.  I picked up this bottle of blue glitter polish ("Henley Regatta" is this color's name), and asked if it had a clear base to it, or if it was good all on it's own.  She reassured me that I wouldn't need another color as a base coat.


What you see here is about 4 coats, minimum, with a clearcoat top.  I wish I had used a base coat and just used the Butter London on top.  But I'll do that next time.  Here's the kicker: this looks really cool, and I received a lot of compliments (oh yeah, this is actually last week's polish...).  But after only about 3 days, it started chipping off in large sheets!  I became obsessive-compulsive with picking away at the rest, and I was amazed at how easily it chipped away from my nails.

That's sad.  Especially considering you'll pay $12 to $15 for a bottle of this, compared to $5 - $8 for some OPI or something along those lines.  It sucks, because Butter London has some amazing colors I've been drooling after for awhile now.  But based off of this one experience, I just can't recommend it.  Maybe the solid colors are different... at least, let's hope so.

blue glitter2

Anyone else here have experience with this brand?

now playing:


If You Can't Take A Good Picture, Take A Bad One On Purpose.


Last night we went to a wedding that had a photobooth.  Our wedding was over two years ago, right about the time the photobooth "trend" started.  I think they're really fun, but I'm always a little weird about not wanting to use the props.  I think I'm germaphobic.  Too many drunkards breathing on them.  Or maybe I'm just mad that I can't drink right now.  In either case, we had a lot of fun, and here is our spin at the photobooth machine.  It's also the first peek into my pregnant roly-poly self.


now playing:


A unique wrapping idea.

rip it up

Yesterday, you got to see Sam's donut birthday cake.  Today, I'm going to show you part of his birthday gift, and our unique wrapping idea.  This is a Kiss "Lick It Up" album that we altered to make it look like my brother was in the band (the whole story behind it is kind of an inside joke - it would take too long to explain here, but still a funny image nonetheless)!

Sam usually wraps his gifts in some interesting choices - aluminum foil, newspaper, or plain paper decorated with sharpies.  In order to surprise Sam, Todd and I were trying to come up with a unique idea that hadn't been used yet.

Todd's suggestion... duct tape!

duct tape supplies

To make your own duct tape wrapping, you'll need:

  • Scissors
  • A roll of duct tape
  • Icky wrapping paper or newsprint/roll paper, to use as a backing

in progress
duct tape sheet

I used leftover Christmas paper as a base, cut to exactly the size I would need to wrap the gift.  I then stuck duct tape in long strips to cover the wrapping paper, allowing for a little overlap.  My finished duct tape "sheet" was the perfect size to wrap around the frame.  I folded over the ends and secured them using - what else?  Duct tape!

wrapping 1
wrapping 2
duct tape package

I then repeated the process for a second package (an action figure and gift certificate, if you were wondering!).  I then used duct tape to attach the two packages together, criss-cross ribbon style.  When it was finished, the stack of gifts looked a little too plain, so I decided to make a bow:

bow 1
bow 2

The whole bow was actually pretty simple.  One long strip of duct tape, folded in half lengthwise.  I then cut the long strip into two.  I made a loop with one piece, and folded the remaining piece into a "V" shape.  The loop was made into the bow part with a small piece of duct tape, and by layering it over the "V," poof!  A bow is made.  Cut the ends of the tails as you see fit (I like a "V" shape), and attach it to the package with more duct tape.

finished package

Yayy!  A finished gift, all wrapped up in duct tape!  You can probably bet yours will be the only one like it at the party, and it makes for great conversation, no matter what you've packaged inside.

now playing:


DIY Donut Cake - Heavy Metal Style

Yesterday was my brother's birthday.  He turned 25, and requested a double-chocolate donut birthday cake... it's something I had made up, in my head.  I do that sometimes.  Usually, the problem is then actually executing the grand plans that are swirling around in my head.  

One year, I made my brother black metal cupcakes.  They were delicious, but a lot of work.  This year's design didn't require any baking whatsoever, but lots of creative problem-solving to make it work.  In fact, as I'm writing this, I have the cake finished, but we haven't cut it yet.  It could get messy.  Read on.

donut cake supplies

Motorhead decided to hang out as I assembled this cake.  You can see him in the background.  Here's what I used:

  • One dozen chocolate glazed donuts
  • A box of 25 chocolate donut holes (I actually ended up using less than 12, unless you want extras to munch on!)
  • One can of milk chocolate frosting
  • One tube of red glitter icing (for decorating purposes)
  • A rectangular pan for traveling with the donut cake to the party (I have this cool one with a lid - I got it as a wedding gift, it's from Crate & Barrel.)

Then, because this donut cake is METAL, turn on some cake-assembling music.  I chose Mercyful Fate's Melissa as my soundtrack this morning.

donut layout
donut holes
donut icing

The layout for the cake was kind of a no-brainer.  Two rows of three donuts to make a rectangular-ish cake.  I put donut holes in the gaps between rows, and then cut up donut holes to plug the donut, uh, holes... the whole layer got a nice slathering of chocolate frosting.

Mmmm... donuts.  Motorhead is looking longingly at the nice stack of donuts in the pan here.

layer 2 donut cake
layer 2 donut holes
layer 2 icing

I then stacked a second layer of donuts on top of the first, using the same layout.  Fill with donut holes, icing it all up, and ta-da!  At this point, you have a "finished" donut cake.  You can decorate it any way you like.

Since my donut cake is METAL, I can't simply write happy birthday on it and be done.

Bear with me, you have to have the right kind of birthday girl or boy for this one...

We chose to go with the following message:

donut cake decoration

Happy 25th Birthday, Sam!

now playing:
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