Field Trip: Chicago Tattoo Company

CTC Exterior

Early this week, Todd and I went on a Spring Break field trip to the Chicago Tattoo Company.  We've been coming here for a while now, and our favorite tattooer, Josh Howard, works here.  The plan was to get tattoos for Iggy.  I've had my idea for a long time, but had to wait until Iggy was here to actually have it done...

We showed up right at noon when the shop opened, and since it was a weekday, it wasn't crowded.  We were able to get in and out by 3:15ish.  Not bad!

CTC Interior

Here's an interior shot of the shop.  That's me standing by the counter.  (This blog post's photos are mostly courtesy of Todd.)  Below is us waiting, along with a peek at the snazzy checkered floor.  I want to do this in black and white in my house one day.  All the stuff on the walls definitely inspired me when I decorated my own art studio at home.

waiting feet

Todd has his own plans for an Iggy tattoo, but he has decided to wait until this upcoming summer to carry it out.  Instead, he chose a portrait of Motorhead, our dog, in a bowler hat.  That's because sometimes Motor sits with his front legs crossed one over the other, and we call him "proper gentleman."  Therefore, the gentlemanly bowler hat.  This is located on his right upper bicep.


I really wanted an old school heart with a name banner (you know, the kind that usually says "Mom"), but instead with Iggy's name and I wanted to add spiderwebs.  The spiderwebs make it just a little more custom for me (a nod to all things goth), and although spiderwebs in themselves are still a common theme in tattoos, the combination of the two was appealing to me, and I still feel like it has an overall old school look to it.  You can't tell from the photo, but it's located on the back of my right lower arm.

tattoo sign

It had been a year since I'd last gotten a tattoo, and it's always an experience to feel the sensation all over again!  No matter how much it might hurt at first, it's always worth it in the end, and I'm always blown away by Josh's awesome work.  He always manages to exceed my expectations.

Do you have a favorite tattoo shop or artist?  Got tattoo pictures to share?  Post links below!

now playing:
Please Don't Take the Baby to the Liquor Store by Reverend Horton Heat on Grooveshark


Concert: Andrew WK

Riviera Sign

Last night, Todd and I went to see Andrew WK at the Riviera Theater in Chicago.  We went with my brother and his girlfriend.  I had never seen Andrew WK perform live before, and I've been listening to his albums ever since Todd and I began dating (Todd's been a fan for a long time).  His music is so upbeat and fun, I was excited to see what the show had to offer.  I was not disappointed!

Andrew WK

I was really excited to have a good view of the stage and to be relatively close without having to be on the main floor (we were standing behind the rail of the very first terrace/balcony, overlooking the small front floor section).  It isn't often that I get such a clear and perfect view for a show, let alone one that I was so excited for!  At first, I didn't think the theater was too crowded (we arrived after the first opening band, Aleister X, but just as the second one, Math the Band, was taking the stage), but by the time Andrew WK and his band was onstage, the theater was packed!

This tour is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the debut album, "I Get Wet," so the album was performed in it's entirety!  It was cool to go into a show knowing exactly what was going to be played ahead of time, but there were plenty of unexpected moments as well.  Between songs, Andrew WK would play random short melodies on the keyboard, make weird sounds, and talk to the audience.  Several times, people from the crowd jumped up onto the stage, sang and danced for a portion of the song, and launched themselves back into the crowd - literally.

At the end of the album set, the band returned to the stage to perform several songs off of "The Wolf" and finished the show with a brand new song.

Andrew WK 2

Andrew WK is accompanied by his wife, Cherie Lily, who we learned is from the Chicago area.  It was fun to see them interact on stage together, and made me think of how cool it would be for Todd and I to quit our jobs and to travel and work together like they do.  Jealous!

I thought it was funny that there were SEVEN people overall across the front of the stage: Andrew WK, Cherie Lily, one bass player, and FOUR guitar players.  Am I alone in thinking that seems like a lot?  Like it was kind of a Spinal Tap moment.  Oh, and the drum set had three bass drums, all with the "I Get Wet" cover art on the heads.  Again, seemed extreme for the music, but oh well.  It was funny.

Andrew WK pizza guitar

In the above picture, you can see Andrew WK playing his "pizza" guitar.  Yep, the body is shaped like a slice of pizza.  Somehow I wasn't surprised when it came out.  Seemed fitting.

There were all kinds of cool t-shirts to buy.  Lately I haven't bought any shirts at shows, because they're usually not that exciting and kind of expensive.  For only $20, I snagged this one:

Andrew WK shirt

Todd bought the official "tour" shirt with the dates and such.  My brother and his girlfriend bought matching black shirts with "Party Hard Party Hard" written all over the front in rainbow letters.

The best part about an Andrew WK show is that it reminds you to just have fun and not take life too seriously.  Or, in the words of Andrew WK, you've gotta "do all the stuff that you love."

I wish we could remember this more often!

now playing:
Fun Night by Andrew W.K. on Grooveshark


Spring is Here!

what's new

A little while ago, I showed you a bunch of bows I was putting up for sale in the shop as I was "spring cleaning" in the studio.  Well, in the last week, I've put a whole bunch of BRAND NEW items into the Hell Razor store.  I thought I'd showcase a few of my favorite items here on the blog!

Above, you can see a pair of earrings I made using a pair of holy medals.  These are my "Saint Florian Hot Pink Dangle Earrings."  There's something about religious iconography that I am always drawn to, and I love to pair these items with unconventional colors or symbols.  Another example of this technique are my recycled rosary necklaces, where I take rosaries and swap out the crucifix for another pendant or charm.  This "Vintage 70's Style Recycled Rosary Necklace" (below right) has an old ceramic pendant I found in a box of old jewelry bits... I'd been saving it for just the right necklace, and the brown wood-look rosary beads were perfect.

Below left is my "Recycled Vinyl LP Charm Necklace."  I've been experimenting with cutting up (by hand, with a saw!) old records into shapes and symbols for use in necklaces and earrings.  This necklace is a smaller plus sign/cross-shaped charm that I paired with a white circular stone charm.


Above is a pair of magenta butterfly bobby pins!  I've made these before in a variety of colors - in fact, I have more to list shortly, but this pink pair is the latest up for sale.  You'll definitely get some spring/summer vibes going if you wear tiny butterflies in your hair!

Below is a new pair of earrings I just made.  Called "Silver Safety Pins and Skulls" dangle earrings, I used two safety pins that are extra silvery.  Let me explain: I had a bin filled with safety pins from my great-aunt.  She was kind of a pack rat (hmm so am I...) and things like that appeal to me, so I was gradually using up the pins for jewelry and other art projects.  Most of the pins all looked the same, pretty standard, but two pins were extra silvery and shiny, so I set them aside, not sure what to do with them.  I asked my husband about them (he concentrated in metalworking in college), and he said that it probably means that they're older than the others and made from a different kind of base metal.  So I thought that was kind of neat and special.  I chose to use them for this pair of earrings because these skulls are the only two I have.  Seemed appropriate.


Above is a detail of my "Glitter Leaves Long Dangle Earrings."  I used two long, glittery leaf charms (hence the name, duh) to make these.  I considered keeping them for myself (that's how much I like them), but I have a lot of earrings as it is, so I'm passing them along to someone else!  Click the link to view the full listing and photos.

Below is another recycled rosary necklace, this one has a clay charm from Soda by Amy.  The charm was in a goody bag from an art show I attended, and I've been saving it for just the right necklace.  This rosary is vintage and sent to me by my aunt.  It's a shorter rosary necklace (I think it was probably broken at one time and is missing some of the "decades" on the main body), so I added a clasp to it.  The pearly beads really complement and contrast the matte smoothness of the clay on the pendant.  It's a nice neutral necklace (kind of unusual for me!) that would go well with most anything you want to wear!

more necklaces

The last necklace I want to showcase (above) is yet another piece I originally wanted to keep for myself!  But, in the spirit of spring cleaning and fresh starts, I'm listing it in the shop.  This is my "Recycled Vinyl LP Bow Necklace."  As is the charm necklace earlier in this post, the bow part of this necklace is hand-cut from an old vinyl record.  I used vintage plastic beads to create the rest of the necklace.  I love how fun and happy this necklace turned out.

I've actually listed even MORE than this in the shop, so be sure to stop by to see it all!  Thanks!

now playing:
Black Tongue by Mastodon on Grooveshark


Suburban Drool, and embracing my younger awkward self...


I've been trying to write this post for a while now. Some things are harder to articulate accurately. But let's try. First of all, one of my really good friends from high school sent me copies of her 'zine that she wrote back when we were in high school (full disclosure: I graduated HS in 1997... oh yeah, I'm THAT old...). The name of her 'zine was Suburban Drool. And I LOVED it.
Liz was one of those friends that no matter what she did, it seemed cool, and I always admired her and was even jealous of how effortless she made "cool" look. Even to this day, she's still really cool. I mean, she and her husband have their own band (called Diehard), and they're starting a food truck business (called Snap) too! Oh yeah, and they live in New York. I'm not sure they could get any cooler, right?

But anyways, back in high school, Liz wrote a 'zine. And I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I would read and re-read it from cover to cover, and I was always answering questionnaires and reader polls and writing her letters. Imagine how stoked I was to appear in the 'zine a few times even! Check this out:

best place to

Yep, that's me, Jenny Miller (maiden name, duh) ...and there's my high school sense of humor... You know, it probably hasn't really changed all that much. Hmm.
Another time, I wrote her a note (hee hee, remember passing notes?! Waaaaaay back before email, and definitely before texting?) and included a top ten list she had requested from readers in the previous 'zine issue:


I think the code names might have been in case enemy forces intercepted our notes. I always thought the name Cheyenne was super cool back then, so that was mine.

top 10

So here's the thing: I'm sharing these little excerpts of high school Jenny because "high school Jenny," for the most part, embarrasses me. I used to think that everyone was embarrassed by his or her younger self, but I've learned that this is most definitely NOT the case.

Take my husband, for example. He is so proud of all his old toys, photos, clothes, haircuts, glasses... you name it. And he had horrible 80's glasses and a mullet back in the day (middle school, not so much high school. He was super cute then.) He wears his awkwardness like a badge and is proud of his younger self. At first I thought this was weird. But now I wonder why I'm the one that's so self-conscious... I mean, when you read these things I wrote, you take into consideration that it's a high-schooler with high-school ideals and dreams and interests. It doesn't seem so bad to look at it with an outsider's eyes, as though it were written by some stranger... so what's up with me?

I think that when I look back, I remember how I felt at that particular time, and how awkward high school can be. I thought I knew everything. I was super opinionated, and kind of bossy about it to other people, even when I should have just minded my own business at times. In the end, I did okay, and the friends that I made were really great, and the ones I lost weren't worth my time or energy anyways...

But I feel like I was a different person back then, like it was a lifetime ago. When I look back on some things (good friends like Liz, my awkward friendship/crush on my -now- husband, a slew of other awesome friends, high school jobs, writing for the school paper, driving a car…), high school gave me some really good things. But it also made me self-conscious, pessimistic, sarcastic, and afraid to take risks. Kids can be really mean.

But I feel like I need to stop being embarrassed of who I was, and embrace it for what it is. You can't go back and change things, and I'm not so sure I'd want to anyways. So I’m putting it out there for you guys!

In conclusion, I leave you with "High School Jenny's Thoughts on the Summer After Graduating High School:"

summer 97

Is anyone else out there embarrassed by their younger self? Any thoughts on getting over it?

now playing:
Just Like Heaven by The Cure on Grooveshark


A Most Metal Birth Announcement.

birth announcement

This week, I sent out our official birth announcement to our friends and family.  I was really excited to do this, since I had been planning since before Iggy was born (hey, I had a lot of time to sit around and think, right?!).

I wanted something that was a little left-of-center... I appreciate the cute announcements where you simply plug in your own baby photos on Snapfish, or have the hospital photo shoot people create theirs for you, but it just isn't us.  I knew I wanted black and white, high contrast, with a heavy metal bent.

I should probably take a moment here to mention how horrible most baby "rock and roll" themed stuff is... outfits that say "mommy's little rockstar" or have cheesy cutesy guitar clip art images emblazoned on them... ew.  Have you noticed that?  I sure have.  So I usually have to go someplace completely different for ideas, or customize my own junk.

The layout for his announcement was similar to one that I found online, but we took our own photo (which I later modified and added layout via photoshop) and then used the Motorhead font for the lettering.  Notice we even added an umlaut above the "o" in Victor - a definite nod to Motorhead for those who know!

I actually did use Snapfish or the printing.  You can make cards where the photo fills the whole card, so the image you see above is one photo file, printed from edge to edge on a card.  I found a great discount code and snagged the final cards with envelopes (I ordered 120 of them) for just under $1 each!  Yippee!

now playing:
Overkill by Motorhead on Grooveshark


Spring Cleaning!

bow set 1

In the past week, I've finally started to make some new items for the Hell Razor shop.  I've also begun to re-organize the studio, and I noticed that I had quite a bit of accessories that never quite made it into the store!  So, in an effort to clear out some extra older (to me) inventory (some "spring cleaning" if you will...) I grouped a bunch of extra bows I had into themed sets of two, and marked them at a special low price, usually only $6.00!  So pick up a set while they last.  I'll be replacing these bows with some individually-priced brand new ones in the future.  Above is the "Everyday Is Halloween" set, and below is the "Cute" set of bows.  More on the store - look in the "bows" section to see what's available at any given time.

bow set 2

I also found some hair flowers/brooches that I made a long time ago... in fact, they're among some of the first flowers I ever made!  I plan on selling this group of three (below) together at a special price as well.  I don't usually sell accessories in groups like this, but it seemed like a good way to clear out a chunk of extra inventory at a nice savings for you!

flowers set

Want to save extra?  Don't forget to enter code OHBABYBABY for 15% off at checkout!  Oh yeah!

now playing:
Rockit by Herbie Hancock on Grooveshark


Hunting for Vintage...

Last week, I went vintage shopping with Stephanie (aka Calamity Layne, you've heard me talk about her a ton before...) and I scored a couple of neat little guys I'm going to share with you here.  I had read her blog post about vintage shopping, and told her she needed to take me out to visit some of the shops that she had written about.

We stopped at both Very Best Vintage and Vintage Underground stores (which she discusses in her post), and I thought they were both great.  Unfortunately, seeing as I'm 5 weeks postpardum, there's about a 0% chance I'm going to find any actual clothing that will fit me right now, but hey, a girl can dream... it was fun to window shop, in any case.

Besides vintage stores, we also stopped at some other cool Chicago stores, like Bleeding Heart Bakery (mmm...donuts...), Psychobaby, and Broken Cherry.  Our shopping day ended with a stop at an antique mall not far from my house, Jackson Square Mall.  That's where I found this gem:

tomato man

There's a really strange story connected to this plastic tomato plant sculpture... I actually spotted one early in the day at Very Best Vintage, and pointed it out to Stephanie, like "oh, isn't that a funny decorative piece?"  And then, at Jackson Square, I spotted this one, a SECOND EXACT SAME tomato man sculpture... how bizarre... I knew it was destined to go home with me.  Plus, this second one is in even better condition than the first one we spotted, so SCORE!

melamine dishes

I'm also in the process of assembling a collection of Melmac/Melamine dishes for us, now that we have the baby.  I realized that all of our dishes were so very breakable right now!  So these fun 50's-60's dishes are perfect for using with kids.  The best part is that you can find them in many fun pastel retro colors, but the styles are fairly consistent.  So instead of collecting all of one color, I've decided to rainbow my own custom set.  On my hunt with Stephanie, I bought the pink & aqua pieces (a gravy boat and two small bowls), but you can see in the bottom photo how well it coordinates with my lilac sugar and creamer pieces I bought over the summer.  It's just not as fun to buy all the dishes together at one time.  I like to hunt them down and assemble the set myself.  Would you agree?

now playing:
Love Bites (So do I) by Halestorm on Grooveshark


Tiny Facelifts...

It always feels good when you do something new to switch things up, like getting a new haircut, or buying a new outfit.  Todd and I even like to rearrange furniture in a room when we get bored, just to make things feel new and fresh.

It had been bugging me that the blog had been pretty much the same for a while... although I didn't make a huge overhaul, I changed up the background and played around with fonts for post titles and such.  I like to mess around with computers, but I'm by no means an expert, nor is my expertise in web/graphic design... so what you currently see here on the blog is what I came up with.  Like my stripey new purple background?

blue sparkle

The other "new" thing I've been tinkering around with is the mobile view of the blog.  Above, you can see how it looks at present.  What do you think?

now playing:
The Secrets Between - Eyes Set to Kill
White Lotus
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