DIY dreams

dress ideas

Going shopping for myself has always been kind of a frustrating task, partly because I am short, and partly because for most of my life I have been on the plus-sized end of the size spectrum.  (For those of you in the "regular" sized world, petite clothing usually means short AND small, not just short - extremely frustrating...)  There was once a short period of time where I fit into so-called "straight" sizes, but right now (since the beebs) I'm definitely in the plus-sized category.

I have always considered making my own clothing, for three reasons: one, it would fit, two, it would be exactly what I wanted, and three, it probably would cost a lot less to make!  I even made some simple sketches while daydreaming about this project.  We have a new sewing teacher at my school this year, and she's told me that she'd help me with some sewing... I think this would be a perfect project to tackle!

I've been searching Pinterest and the otherwebs to find a simple (preferably free) pattern for an A-line shift-style dress that I could make in a variety of fabric patterns.  These would be awesome for work, and it would be really easy to custom fit them by wearing a belt.  I tend to add tights/leggings and a long-sleeve shirt or cardigan over these types of dresses too, so the sleeveless design works well for my wardrobe and sewing experience... which is pretty limited, but I'm optimistic!

fabric inspiration
all fabric images via Pinterest

Anyone ever tackled a project like this before?  Got any helpful hints?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad (with help from my laptop and full use of the Blogger interface online)

now playing:
Punisher by Veil Of Maya on Grooveshark


Sketchbook Reminiscing...

letter sketches
I love fonts and lettering.  During this point in time, I was especially inspired by carnival-style lettering.  I even have a carnival-style letter "L" tattoo on my left forearm.

I was digging around some of my old stuff and discovered a sketchbook of mine from 2008.   It reminded me of how much I used to actually draw outside of my art teaching, and I realized that I haven't shared a lot of my personal artwork on here.  I'm not counting DIY project-y things or Hell Razor jewelry or accessories.  Therefore, I thought this might be kind of fun to share.

sketchbook 1
I love anatomical hearts.  Maybe one day I'll get one of those.  I do have an old school banner and heart for Iggy though!

Can you tell that I'm kind of into tattoo art?  Todd has a Sailor Jerry book that I used to love to look at and copy from.  Looking at these drawings make me feel like I need to return to drawing just for fun like I used to!

sketchbook 2
I've done several drawings of my lucky cat statue.  The day of the dead skulls were drawn from a pair of shoes that I own!

I've always liked to draw, I just have let time get away from me, and I need to get back to doing those things that I love.  Has this ever happened to you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad (with help from my laptop and full use of the Blogger interface online)

now playing:
The Wreckers by Rush on Grooveshark


My foray into mobile blogging.

I'm experimenting with making blogging easier now that school has started. One way is to use Dragon Dictation so that I can speak my blog post into the phone or iPad and have it write for me. The second way is using BlogPress for the iPad, which makes my life more mobile - I can use the iPad upstairs or wherever there is wifi and not have to worry about bringing my laptop and hard drive and camera and everything else with me.

I'm attempting to photograph and insert photos straight from the iPad but BlogPress keeps making my photo really small... Even when I enlarge them on the laptop, they become pixelated and that's just unacceptable.  I'll have to mess around and see if I can connect to my Photobucket account and post from there...
See how grainy and small this crappy photo is?  Get with the program, people!!!

The basic idea here is that I could blog while on the go and doing other things, such as walking on the treadmill or taking the baby for a walk outside, or even hanging out with the baby on the back porch - so I can still watch him and, in a sense, "type" using my voice at the very same time.

So far I'm a little disappointed that BlogPress does not allow me to embed the little bit of HTML code from Grooveshark at the end of each post to indicate what I am listening to at the time - you've seen this at the bottom of this and previous blog posts as indicated by the "now playing" text.  I've also discovered that the Grooveshark website does not work with full functionality on the iPad because when I browse to it on Safari it goes to the mobile site (which is HTML5, I think) and doesn't even give me the option of viewing embed code to copy and paste...

So the biggest hurdle in mobile blogging (after the photo thing, that's pretty big, too), as opposed to sitting at a laptop and typing is that my formatting risks not being consistent across all posts. And I'm kind of anal about that.  I can't seem to find where I can schedule posts when I blog using the iPad, and I also can't seem to find how to tag or label posts when I use the iPad.

So it looks like for now I'm going to have to write my drafts using this mobile format, but I will have to go onto my laptop to finalize and make adjustments to the blog post before it actually publishes. Better than nothing, right?

And by the way, if anyone has successfully mastered the art of mobile blogging, please share your advice, tips, stories, etc!  Thanks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad (with help from my laptop and full use of the Blogger interface online)

now playing:
Primal Concrete Sledge by Pantera on Grooveshark


Two very special Lego minifigs

Citizen Brick

Ugh - the first week of school is kicking my butt!  I scheduled my blog posts, and good thing I did... I came home each night, made dinner, ate dinner, took care of the baby, and BOOM - it was bed time.  That totally sucks.  Not to mention that I signed up for Klout and was totally stoked when my score climbed to 43.  Then today I received an alert on my phone that I dropped to 27!  Sigh.  Work is messing up my entire life.  Come back summer break!

Oh yeah, the photos... I wanted to check in real quick on a Friday night (I'll be back Monday morning again...hopefully...) and show you these sweet Citizen Brick Lego minifigs I purchased right before school started.  It was hard to choose between the Norwegian Black Metal Enthusiast or the Heavy Metal Enthusiast, so I bought them both.  Here are some close-ups:

Heavy Metal Enthusiast
Norwegian Black Metal

Pretty damn sweet, huh?

Todd and I are also planning small Lego-themed drawing assignments for our classes this year.  I've always been a big Lego fan, and I think it would be awesome if we could all have tiny Lego minifigs made of ourselves.  Wouldn't that be cool?

now playing:
Native Blood by Testament on Grooveshark


ActiveLink and WW Update

Active Link

I've been wearing my Weight Watchers ActiveLink activity monitor for probably about three weeks now, if you count the initial "assessment" phase where you wear it and it just assesses where you're currently at.  Well, I was at ZERO.  I averaged no activity on a daily basis.  Seriously.  It was embarrassing.  So my ActiveLink monitor set a goal for me to earn around 3 points per day (if you are, or have ever been a weight watcher, this makes perfect sense.  If you've never done Weight Watchers, I can try to summarize by saying that a point is a value assigned to food - you get so many points to spend per day on food - and activity can earn you additional points to spend on food if you so choose).

The good news is that since I've started going into work, I can usually hit my target amount of activity with no problem.  It's harder on the weekends, especially when I'm trying to blog and schedule posts and catch up on other blog reading!  I just want to be a vegetable and sit on my butt all day!  Ha ha!

Active Link 2

The ActiveLink works kind of like a Wii controller to sense and record your activity throughout the day.  It's waterproof, too!  So I haven't tried it, but you could wear it swimming if you wanted... I keep my ActiveLink clipped on the inside of my shirt (cough*onmybra*cough) so you never even know that I have it on (unlike those bulky Body Bugg armbands I once considered investing in).  You can also wear it on a necklace around your neck, or keep it in your pocket.  It's pretty nifty and versatile that way.  The ActiveLink is actually a small USB drive (see very top photo) that plugs into your computer and syncs with Weight Watchers online tools which is pretty damn awesome, too.

Here's a shot of what it looks like when you plug in your monitor.  It's your own personal website!  This is an overview of a whole day for me last week, hour by hour:

Active Link Website

Oh!  So I also promised an update... Two weeks ago, I was down 2.8 pounds - woot!  Then last week I was down .4, almost a half a pound!  So two weeks of losses in a row is great news.  I've been making a really conscious effort to just move more.  For example, I put my Diet Coke in the downstairs fridge.  It works in two ways: first, I have to decide if I really want a Diet Coke, or if I should just have water.  Secondly, if I decide that I do indeed want a Diet Coke, I have to trek my butt up and down the flight of stairs to get it.

Tiny changes add up.  I'm worried about the stress of work and how it may make me overeat in the evenings and make me want to snack or drink... But the good news is that during the school year, it's easier to stick to healthier breakfast and lunch choices.  So, I'm aware of these potential pitfalls and I just need to find myself some good coping/de-stressing strategies for those nights after a really rough work day.

Any suggestions?  How do you chill out when you're overly stressed?

now playing:
Two weeks by All That Remains on Grooveshark


I made these.


I'm trying to get into the habit of scheduling a few blog posts each week, so that if school stuff catches up with me, I know everything is taken care of here.  I won't lie though, it's frustrating to see page/post views go down after I've worked so hard this summer to post regularly and build an audience, only to have to partially abandon it when school begins.  Sigh.

So I thought I'd take a moment to share with you some of the jewelry things I've been working on for Hell Razor.  The first top two photos are earrings that I made.  The top left is a pair of earrings using that awkward little part of the rosary where it splits off into a "Y" shape... I never knew what to do with that piece, other than the original "Y" function.  But gathering up the chains to meet up with another bead give these earrings a fun chandelier-ish feel.  So I am super happy with these.  Wondering if I'm going to even put them up for sale, or just keep them for myself!

The other pair (top right) is a colorful pink and green pair of dangle earrings using a couple of vintage metal flower charms I've had for a long time, but never quite knew how to use.  I think they may have been on a necklace originally?  I can't remember.  But when I paired them with giant pink faceted beads, I knew it was just right.

cross bracelet

Because I work with a lot of rosary necklaces, I have a lot of extra parts lying around.  I thought it would be interesting to take a bunch of crucifixes that I had leftover from different rosaries and use them as charms on a bracelet.  The different finishes of the silver metals looked really cool when they were all combined together.  I was worried that the bracelet might be too small for some, so I added a bit of silver chain on the end to make the size adjustable.

chain bracelet

I liked the mix of solver finishes so much on the crucifix charm bracelet that I decided to try making another bracelet, this time using different types of chain.  I combined these three with one clasp and this is what you get!  The three chains are each pretty small, so the overall combination is still feminine and dainty.

cat skull

My friend Jen (it's her birthday today!  Happy Birthday Jen!) asked me for a cat skull a looong time ago.  And I was a slacker, but finally I was able to whip up this little guy for her.  I have noticed that cats are a big deal in the blogging world.  I dig cats, but I'm probably more of a dog person.  I was concerned about gluing a skull to a metal clip like the one above (glue doesn't always want to stay stuck onto metal), so Todd helped me drill a hole into the end of the metal clip so that glue would form a better bond to the clip.  Assuming that all goes well, I may end up making some more of these guys...

skull butterfly

The skull butterfly above is something I'm just trying out for now.  It's not actually "anything" yet, but sometimes I just play around with pieces and I come across something new and interesting.  This one seemed interesting enough that I wanted to share it with you.

Do you like it?  What do you think it should be made into?

p.s. Eventually I'll get most of this onto Etsy... but like the rest of my life, it gets put on hold during the school year.  If you're dying to get something, feel free to email me and I can set you up with a listing right away!

now playing:
Hella Good by No Doubt on Grooveshark


Playlist: Back to School

Today I am officially back at school (in case you are wondering, it's a scheduled post and I'm not actually blogging from work/school).  In honor of this event, I made a playlist.

Of course, it is not something that I could actually play at school and it is not filled with school-appropriate language.  But this is not for the kids.  This is for me.  

Back to School by hellrazorart on Grooveshark

It is a fact that you can often find me driving home on a Friday afternoon with something like Amon Amarth or Goatwhore cranked up loud.  I have to decompress somehow, right?!

What's your favorite song to get all pumped up to?

now playing:
Go To Hell by Motörhead on Grooveshark


DIY: Heavy Metal Melted Crayon Art

finished piece

I'm always being inspired by little projects and ideas I see on Pinterest.  Most of the time, I pin items that have promise and look interesting, with the idea in my brain that "I can do that!" a little bit differently to fit my style.  This crayon art DIY comes from something like that.  Here is the original idea for a melted crayon project that spelled out "LOVE" in bright primary colors.

Its nice and all... but cutesy.  Have you noticed how many annoyingly cutesy things are on pinterest?  I think I might start a pinboard called "I think I'm going to vomit" for things like that.  The first thing on the list will be this wipe off board/picture frame.  Barf.  Okay, I couldn't help it.  I got distracted and went to pinterest and actually made it.  Proof.

Oh wait, back to my DIY.  I'm teaching you how to make a melted crayon monogram/initial, metal-style.


  1. Get an old canvas, canvas board, piece of wood, foamcore, heavy cardboard, whatever.  As long as it's sturdy enough to hold and adhere melted wax, you're good.  Any size you want.  I think this is an 8x10 canvas from when I was in college.  It originally had a really crappy painting on it.  Now, paint it all black as a background, because black is the most metal of all colors.  Duh.  I didn't even use nice paint.  Some cheap black craft paint is cool.  Maybe don't use tempera (aka poster paint) because that stuff is powdery and gross.  But that's the art teacher snob in me talking.  I don't really care what you use.
  2. Use a pencil (or white crayon/colored pencil/silver sharpie, you choose) to sketch out your letter of choice on the background.  Pencil will erase for the most part.  Any of those other things will still show, so you'd need to cover it up with your crayon wax.  It is imperative that your letter style is METAL, so use pictures to help you!  Try here for awesome heavy metal/horror font ideas.  Mine letter design was inspired by the "L" from "Unquiet Spirits."
  3. The easiest way to peel some cheap crayons (oh yeah did I mention you need crayons for this?  well ya do.) is to slit it all the way down the label using an exact-o knife.  Slitting stuff is pretty damn metal.
  4. Now, you get to melt your unpeeled crayon in a candle, then mush it down on your black background to make smushy wax dots all over.  FIRE!  FIRE!  See below for more in-progress shots.

melt crayons

Basically, you're going to keep melting/smushing for a long time until you've covered the entire background, leaving the letter as negative space, showing through to the background.  Whoa, I just threw an art teacher vocabulary word at ya.  Negative space.  (The space that is unfilled.)  There, now you can pass my 7th grade art test.  Wait, what?  I give tests in art?  Yep, I do.  Worst. Art. Teacher. Ever.  I actually make you DO work, and learn CONCEPTS.  So very mean.  Sigh.

in progress

I gotta be honest, all of these dots took a long time to get down on my background.  But it was a good meditative activity, I could just zone out and make dots.  I went back and forth a lot with mine, thinking it was too colorful, then too dark, then too bright... so I layered a lot before calling it "done."  I actually worked on this over two days.  The final version (I decided to add white dots) is the very top photo of this post.

If you disagree with my color choices, that's your deal, so do yours the way you want.  Make it a monochromatic red to symbolize the blood of your mortal enemies, or just use blues and purples to illustrate the abyss of sadness you float around in, you gothic soul you.

close up

Here's a close-up of the wax dots.  Because extreme close-ups are artsy.  Don't tell Todd I said "artsy." He hates that word.  Can you tell I'm feeling sarcastic and snarky?  Must be back to school time.  In fact, I had to write this post and schedule it the weekend before.  Can you guess why?  Because I've been in my classroom trying to set stuff up before it all begins.

I should probably apologize up front now.  I've made a pretty good habit of posting during the week on a regular basis this summer (sometimes on the weekends, too!) but now that school's starting, I may slow to 2-3 times per week.  Maybe less, I don't know.  I can tell you that I'll do my best, and that's all I can do.

So, hope you like my heavy metal melted crayon craft.  Hang it up, put it on your mantel, hang it in the kid's room.  Burn it in effigy.  Take a picture first though and show me, ok?  Thanks.

now playing:
Laughing Man (In The Devil Mask) by TONY IOMMI on Grooveshark


School Supplies!

This week I go back to school.  I'm really having a hard time with it, so I've been trying to keep my spirits up and do some happy things.  One thing about school that DOES make me really happy is school supplies and school supply shopping.  Here are some of my favorites from this year:


  • Pens.  I bought myself a three pack of Pentel Energel Liquid Gel Ink metal tip 0.7 pens in purple.  I figured purple ink would make it easier for me to keep track of my pens (as opposed to blue or black), plus it's just fun.
  • Speaking of awesome pens, do you know that they have a stainless steel Sharpie pen now?!  I'm dying.  Todd and I both bought one.  Sharpie describes it as "the most luxurious Sharpie pen ever."  And they're right.
  • A new planner!  I bought mine at Target, along with some Post-its so I can have a sweet organized planner just like Kaylah of the Dainty Squid!  Well, at least this is the plan for now.  Check back with me later and see how I fared...


  • Every year I treat myself to a new binder for my attendance and seating charts.  I usually try to find something fun, like a Hello Kitty or Harajuku Mini binder, but the last couple of years have been difficult.  The binders are made of that heavy cardboard (as opposed to vinyl) and they're too thick.  Boo.  So, this year I made my own fun binder: I bought a thin black binder and covered it with fun stickers I bought at Rotofugi.  I added dividers and labels via an old-school label embosser (I just enjoy the aesthetics of them - they seem more fun than modern laser sticker labels).

folder notebook

  • Lastly, the HOLY GRAIL of school supplies: a Def Leppard folder and notebook!  Target has band/music folders and notebooks (I can't find them online, but they're totally in stores.) and I was so so so so so excited (did I mention I was excited?!) to find Def Leppard designs.  They had Kiss and I think Skynyrd too.  But I didn't pay much attention after I saw Def Leppard.

Am I missing any crucial supplies here?  Do have any favorite school supplies to share?  Please do!

now playing:
Under My Wheels by Alice Cooper on Grooveshark


Gel Nails Review

gel nails 1
(This is my gel manicure about 1 1/2 weeks after I had them done.)

Between being a new mom and an art teacher, I am constantly washing my hands.  Therefore, most nail polish lasts less then a week on my nails (when I've done a nail polish post in the past, the photos are always from the day of the polish - typically immediately following the painting!).  So I was really excited to hear about gel polish manicures and their no-chip properties.  They're touted as lasting 2-3 weeks.  I decided that I wanted to try it out before school started, with the idea that it'd be a great thing to have during the school year.

I went on Yelp and read reviews of nearby salons to find out who offered gel nails, and which places were clean and reputable, blah blah blah, you know, the regular stuff.  I found a nail salon less than 15 minutes away from my house that was open on Sundays (woo hoo!) and takes walk-ins, so I had to try it out!

They seemed to be a relatively new location (they're part of a chain of salons) and it was very clean and modern.  The staff was super friendly and polite.  All in all I had a really good experience!

gel nails 2

The downside?  It cost $40 for this solid-color manicure, and this is how my nails looked 1 1/2 weeks after getting them done.  I'm not sure if this is normal, but the outgrowth seems a little extreme.  I remember looking at my nails immediately after they were done and thinking "hey they look great but the polish doesn't go all the way to the cuticle..."

So even one week after getting them done, I thought they looked like they needed to be re-done already.  And I can't afford $40 every two weeks or so.  I might consider it if it was $15 or $20, but there's also some controversial issues surrounding gel nails, like UV exposure and chemicals used.

My final review is that I DO like gel nails, but I can't afford them on a regular basis, nor do I like how long (short?) they actually last.  I think I'll be going au naturel for a while, and maybe just treat myself for special occasions.

now playing:
Into the Painted Grey by Agalloch on Grooveshark


House Tour: Living Room

living room panoramic

For the latest installment of our house tour, I'm going to show you our living room.  The photos above were taken by Todd using a panoramic app on his iPhone.  The top photo is our room as seen from standing on front of the fireplace.  The bottom photo is what you see if you are sitting on the couch.  The panoramic view is a little unusual, but don't worry, I've got some other photos below.

photo wall

I love our sectional couch.  It's two pieces in an L-shape, and it has served us well over the years.  I'm a fan of more clean, contemporary, modern couches.  Todd prefers comfort.  This couch (from the Room Place) actually meets both requirements.  It can be hard to find the perfect artwork for above the couch, so we made a whole photo wall collage using black picture frames in a variety of styles and sizes.  Wanna know a secret?  Many of these frames are actually from the dollar store, and we spray-painted them all black to match!

tv solution

Across from the couch is the wall with the fireplace and tv.  To the left of the tv is the main entryway to the house.  Deciding where to put a television in this room was tricky, because most people choose to hang their tv above the fireplace.  That's not really an option for us, due to the fact that our fireplace is raised (and that our mantel used to be even higher! - see my previous post for details on that), so we bought a smaller tv specially to fit the wall next to the fireplace.  A small IKEA console is the perfect place for our cable box, dvd player, and sound system.

fireplace detail

We recently lowered the fireplace mantel and painted it white.  It's the perfect place to house Todd's cameras, and I snuck in one of Iggy's baby photos.  Wanna know something that totally sucks about our fireplace?  It doesn't work.  Well, it's not in operational condition.  It needs to be re-lined, and we just don't have the money for it right now.  The chimney has some major damage, and it's all we can do to just get that fixed for now.  So, in the meantime, it makes a lovely candleholder!  We put lots of white pillar candles in the fire box and it's super pretty at night.  One day we'll fix it, but until then, there ya go.  I would like to find some black paint for the fire box though - as you can see it's pretty beat up and I'd like for it to have a slightly cleaner look.

The last photo (above, right) is another candle grouping and a vase of twisted branches.  Not only do they look pretty on the hearth, the branches are actually from our wedding centerpieces.  When I dismantled the flower arrangements, I saved a bunch and have kept them on display at our home.  It's a fun little keepsake!


The wall off to the side of the couch is made up of bookshelves.  It wasn't like this when we moved in - we installed them.  They're IKEA bookcases with additional extender shelves at the top to make them taller.  I measured the wall before we went shopping, and bought enough shelving to fill the space as best possible.  We have a large book collection (this is actually AFTER we just packed up a huge donation box, too!), and I wanted to keep them on display and have them accessible in our house.  You may have also noticed that I organized them (for the most part) by color.  The only exception was the cookbook shelf - it was too hard for me to find anything when they were all mixed in!

bookshelf detail

Above are some other details from around the room.  Our bookshelves hold lots of fun extra knicknacks and display items, such as my Tokidoki cactus pups collection (above, bottom right) and a framed "save the date" postcard from our wedding (above, top left), which we drew ourselves!

The chair next to the bookcase (above, top right) is from Todd's great aunt's house.  I love the shape, and I'm planning on having it professionally reupholstered and painted one day, hopefully soon!  In the meantime, it sits and waits for someone to come by and read in it!

We also have a really great set of lamps (above, bottom left) in the living room.  Believe it or not, they're from Target!  It's something we registered for way back before our wedding and I was really excited that someone bought them for us!  They just have a fun classic shape, and the stitching on the drum shades are modern but fun.  The design is neutral enough to go with any decor, and the lighting is a low, mellow "mood" lighting.


My most favorite part of the room is easily the chandelier above the couch.  It's a fixture that I bought at an estate sale long ago - even before Todd and I started dating!  It's traveled with me from several residences and I love how we ended up using it here in the living room.  There is no "main" overhead fixture, so this hanging light above the couch is perfect for when I need a brighter overhead source (you know, like for painting my nails and junk).  But even when it's not on, it looks pretty just as a decorative piece.

So, I'm thinking that I'm soon going to run out of rooms to show you on my house tour!  Maybe I'll have to see if I can bribe other people into letting me photograph their spaces to show you when that happens!

Want to see more?

now playing:
Hell Hole by Spinal Tap on Grooveshark


Essential Metal Documentaries

Todd and I have been watching the Sam Dunn series "Metal Evolution," and it got me thinking about awesome heavy metal documentaries we've watched.  Sure, there are tons of awesome live music/concert movies, but the documentaries that tell the stories behind the music are a little bit harder to come by.


Here are some of my favorites:

Metal - A Headbanger's Journey
This is the original Sam Dunn metal documentary from 2005.  My personal favorite part is his interview with Ronnie James Dio.  Such a cool guy!  Sam Dunn has since gone on to do a number of other awesome metal-themed documentaries for individual bands, such as Iron Maiden: Flight 666 and Rush - Beyond the Lighted Stage.  (I've seen both of those, too, and they're also great - highly recommended!)

Until the Light Takes Us
The story of Norwegian black metal, beginning in the 1980-90's. Touches on the rash of murders, suicides, and church burnings in the mid-nineties.  This documentary attempts to go beyond the sensationalism of the media and explore the beliefs and principles of the scene.

Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of A Bitch
An in-depth look at the life of Lemmy Kilmister, lead singer of Motorhead.  This movie was amusing to me, because I got to see what a "regular guy" Lemmy can be.  It's also filled with snippets from many famous musical admirers of Lemmy's work.

Last Days Here
This is about Bobby Liebling, the lead singer of Pentagram.  This documentary details his struggles with substance abuse, living in his parents "sub-basement," trying to find love, and his attempts to recover.  His journey was really amazing to watch.


Up next, I'd like to see Sam Dunn's other documentary, Global Metal.  I think it's pretty safe to assume that it's just as awesome as his other work.

Any other metal enthusiasts out there?  Who's your favorite?  Got any must-see metal documentaries for me?  Please share!

now playing:
Brother Blue Steel by The Obsessed on Grooveshark


Small Entryway Idea


As with a lot of families, we use the back entrance primarily for entering and exiting our house.  It's just easier - the garage is back there, so you pull in the car or go out to the car via the back.  Makes sense.  Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of architects back in the day (our house is from the 1950's) didn't really consider the function of the back door entryway when designing houses.  Therefore, we have a very small entryway in the back, and not much room for coats or bags or shoes or, well, anything really.

But we've come up with some ideas to make this small area way more functional.  First, I need to explain the layout a little bit better.  Our back door leads out to the back porch, which is screened in (you can see the back porch in detail on this previous post).  So we come in straight from the porch door to look at our basement door.  Immediately to the right when you walk in, there's a 2-column glass block window.  It's really pretty, but the back door blocks it when it's open.

Here, these pictures might help.  Let me show you:

inside outside

Above, left: this is the view from our kitchen into the tiny back door "entryway."  The back door is on the right, and the white door on the left is the door to the basement stairs.  Because it's the first thing that you see when you walk in, we've decided to paint a chalkboard on the back of the basement door.

Yeah, I totally forgot to do proper "before" photos, so you get to see the pictures after step one.  Whatever.  So in the photo on the top right, you can see how when you walk in, the chalkboard is the first thing you see.  I figured this is a great place for reminders or messages or grocery lists and things like that.  I told Todd and he was so excited he got started on this right away.  I like when I have good ideas that we both get excited about.


Here's how we did it:
  1. Tape off (using painter's tape) a rectangle any size you choose.  We measured very carefully and used a level to get the lines just right.  My secret is to burnish down the tape using a credit card after applying it.  Then, paint several coats (we did three) of chalkboard paint before removing the tape.
  2. The directions on the paint say to wait three days before writing on the chalkboard surface.  While waiting, we used flat trim (from the hardware store) and custom cut it to create a frame around the chalkboard.  Todd used a nail gun to secure the trim to the door.  This takes a little practice, as it looks better if you bevel the corners to make the frame.
  3. Paint directions said to "condition" the chalkboard first by rubbing a piece of chalk sideways across the entire surface and wiping it with a dry cloth.  Then, you can use your chalkboard to write or draw whatever you like!
To make our small entryway even more functional, we added a couple of hooks (his and hers - mine is the shorter one, ha ha!) for hanging coats and sweatshirts when the weather gets chilly.  Otherwise, we have a habit of piling our stuff up on the kitchen table, and that's no good!

Organizing and making things more functional is something that Todd and I really enjoy.  It's fun to have a challenge, and we're constantly re-thinking how our house functions in order to make it flow better.

Have you done any fun little around-the-house projects to make your space more functional?  Let me know, because I'm always looking for ideas!

now playing:
Falling Forever by Mutiny Within on Grooveshark


Handmade Swap!


A couple of weeks ago, Jamie (of "With Love, Jamie") contacted me to see if I'd be interested in doing a handmade swap.  Well, I'm always looking to spread the Hell Razor love around, so I was totally down for that.  Plus, it's always super fun to get to shop in someone's Etsy shop for free (relatively speaking) and treat myself to something new and fun.

Last week my package arrived and it's AWESOME!  Jamie's mail had a fun anchor theme that matched her enclosed notecard.  So cute!


I picked out these skull and cross earrings (pictured above), and was pleasantly surprised to find a cute skully charm keychain bonus!  Skulls and purple... a girl after my own heart!

So it seemed only fitting to show me actually wearing the earrings, which I do, but I had some issues with taking photos.  Mostly, um, me.  This baby weight has totally messed with my self-esteem and confidence, so I get weird about having my photo taken.  I had my husband take some photos, and I thought that I would use them, and then I got all weird and hated how I looked.  So you get photobooth webcam pictures instead:


My least favorite part about gaining weight is my face.  I have a naturally round-ish face anyways, and extra weight just builds up on my cheeks and chin.  Gross.  My favorite part about losing weight is discovering my chin again.  But that hasn't happened yet... keep on keepin' on...

So, in conclusion, I'm totally stoked about my new handmade goodies from Jamie, regardless of what my roundy self-conscious face says here.  Doh.  Head on over to Jamie's shop and blog to see what she's up to!  And if you want to see the custom black and purple glitter skull flower I sent to her in return, stalk her blog because I'm sure she'll post pictures soon! :)

now playing:
The Trooper by Iron Maiden on Grooveshark


His and Her Q & A

I saw this link up on Ashley's blog and it sounded like fun so I've decided to try this out this week.  Enjoy!

His&Her Q&A

What would you be happy doing for hours on end?
His: Shooting and editing photos on my iPhone.
Hers: Drawing and making art.

What is one thing you always disagree on as a couple?
His: I don't think there's anything that we just can't get past.  We used to disagree on music sometimes.
Hers: I'm pretty much with Todd on this.  Sometimes we disagree on friendships; Todd is better at letting things go than I am.

What is one thing you always agree on?
His: Religion; our child; family.
Hers: Raising Iggy for sure.

What is your favorite olympic event?
His: I like [winter] hockey.
Hers: We don't really watch the Olympics, but our friends had synchronized diving on the other night and that was pretty cool.

If you had the money to buy your significant other any one thing right now, what would you buy them?
His: An addition to the house to expand your art studio.
Hers: A motorcycle.

Would you rather be blind or deaf?
This question seems, weird, like politically incorrect and insensitive to those who are blind or deaf, so I'm going to politely skip this one.

What is one thing you admire about your mother (or mother figure)?
His: Her understanding nature when I was growing up; putting up with me.  Her selflessness - always looking out for others.
Hers: She has her own beliefs, but she's very open-minded and listens to me ramble on about whatever theories or beliefs I have and loves me no matter what.

What food do you HATE?
His: Corn dogs.
Hers: I'm a vegetarian, so... meat?  Probably bratwurst.

Who is your favorite superhero?
His: Spiderman.
Hers: THOR!  He looks like Todd, so yeah...

What value or principle, if any, are you a true advocate for?
His: Respect.
Hers: Not sure if this is a "value," but I'm a big advocate for not playing games.  Saying what you mean, and not being passive aggressive.  I can't stand it and I refuse to play into it when people try to engage me like that.

#1. Grab this button and put it in a new post.
#2. Tell everyone the link-up is hosted by We and Serendipity and Love the Grows and link back to us! (We want people to see the origination and past Q and As.)
#3. Copy and paste these questions. Delete my answers because you're an individual.
#4. Have fun answering these questions with your man!
#5. Once you've published your post, click the Linky button (over here) and link up your post so other peeps can see it!!
#6. Read everyone elses answers that have linked up!
#7. Come back next Sunday and do it all over again!

now playing:
Just Got Paid by Mastodon on Grooveshark


Iggy @ 6 months...

Iggy at 6 months

Wow!  It's that time again already!  I haven't done an Iggy update since 4 months?  Whoa.  Well, get ready because I have a bunch of photos.  This is always a hard post because the photo prep takes so long... I have so many photos, and it's hard to narrow them down to the faves.  Of course.  What a mom thing to say.  Skip over if you're not into the bebe stuff, I understand.

set one

Iggy is attempting to crawl.  Check his sweet pushups in the photo above left.  In fact, he HAS crawled, a little.  The dog's rawhide was just out of reach on the floor, and this little guy scooted his knees up and flopped and pulled himself forward to get it.  The freakin' dog toy.  Sigh.  Needless to say, I had to distract him and swap it out with a different (baby) toy instead.  We're in for big trouble when this guy is truly mobile.

Right now he likes to put EVERYTHING in his mouth.  See above right.  See below right.  See my shoe on the floor.  Yep, he puts that in his mouth too.  At least, until I quickly snatch it away.  He's started to get mad when I take things away from him.  Oh Iggy.

set 2

Six months is really fun though.  He's interactive, and he's way more independent.  He plays on the floor by himself, and observes everything around him.  I can put him in the high chair while I'm working in the kitchen and give him a toy.  He loves the dog.  Motorhead distracts him constantly, especially if I'm trying to feed him baby food.

I was given a Baby Bullet for our baby shower, and I make Iggy his baby food from scratch.  It's super easy to use, and I love the process of making food for him.  So far, he's eaten bananas, sweet potatoes, avocado, and apples.  And baby cereal.  That bland icky stuff.  We usually stick to fruits and veggies, but the pediatrician said to try mixing the fruits in with the cereal, so we'll try that next.  I also think green peas are next on the menu.  Want to see what a sweet potato eyebrow looks like?  See below right.

I also have one of those mesh baby feeders, and if I'm feeling adventurous (meaning that I don't mind a big cleanup), I'll put a piece of banana in there.  He likes gumming the mesh and getting banana mush.  He can hold his own bottle, but doesn't understand that he needs to tip it up to get the liquid out.  So we're still working on that one.  No teeth yet, but maybe soon?

set 3

One of the most fun things about Iggy right now is the sounds he's making.  He tries to talk, but it just comes out all baby-gibberish.  Except for "dada."  Clear as day.  Unfortunately, he doesn't connect the word with the person yet, but that's coming along, too.  The other morning I went into his bedroom to get him (he regularly wakes up 30-45 minutes before us and just lays there, playing and making adorable baby noises), and he looked up at me, gave me the biggest cutest smile, and said "dada!"  To which I laugh and say, "no, I'm mama!  say MAMA." And he doesn't, but hey, I gave it a shot...

4 square

His peach fuzz hair kills me.  It makes me a little sad when I think of him all grown up and I won't get to see this adorable fuzzy smiley head each morning, looking exactly like this.  I can't believe how fast this time has flown by!

now playing:
Forty Six & 2 by Tool on Grooveshark
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