Hearse Show Recap 2014!

Brauerhouse Hearse Show

Saturday June 21st was the Hearse Show at Brauerhouse Lombard! Our day started out so nice, and ended in horrible rain! We had to close up shop prematurely, cut our losses, and head home...

Prior to that though, things were looking good! Let me tell you all about it.

Brauerhouse Hearse Show

Steph, my usual booth partner, was having a 40th birthday bash for her husband (Happy Birthday Dave!), so she was unable to vend with me on this day. My friend Jessy volunteered to come and help me, though, and she brought some of her awesome artwork to sell, too!

Here's Jessy and I, looking all professional and optimistic for the day:

Brauerhouse Hearse Show
photos courtesy of Lisa!

I really think that the booth was looking nice! I bought a second folding table and set of linens so that I could use up the 10x10 space a little bit better, and my new banner looked great as the backdrop!

Brauerhouse Hearse Show

Jessy is a great display merchandiser, so I let her make arrangements and groupings of items. The heart plates and mugs are her handiwork!

I brought out my beer bottle vases for displaying stem flowers, but gusts of wind quickly convinced me that it wasn't the best idea... I'm going to have to weight the bottles from now on for outside events.

Brauerhouse Hearse Show

I was excited to premiere my new battery-operated candle designs and framed shadowbox flowers for sale. Jessy brought a bunch of her awesome skull pillows (yep, I totally bought one!) and made a cute display that complemented the rest of the booth.

Things were going fairly well, and we had several special visitors including Lisa and her family, my brother Sam, and my derby friend (and graphic designer extraordinaire), Kelly!

Brauerhouse Hearse Show
photos posted by attendees at the Hearse Show FB event page

Of course, there was much more to see than our booth. There were several other crafty vendors, and even a funeral antiques vendor! And don't forget about all of the awesome hearses at the center of attention!

Brauerhouse Hearse Show
Brauerhouse Hearse Show
photos posted by attendees at the Hearse Show FB event page

I just love how hearse owners embrace the halloween design aesthetic. And they tend to have quite a kooky sense of humor about it, too.

Svengoolie was in attendance, and signed autographs for folks inside the Brauerhouse. Jessy and I even grabbed a take-out lunch from the restaurant, literally minutes before the rain hit us, BAD. Thank goodness I splurged and bought the side walls and zip-up entrance for our tent just a few weeks ago! 

Once our tent was all zipped up (thank you for your help, Kelly!) and we were no longer afraid that the storm was going to blow us away, Wizard-of-Oz-style, we decided to pack up and head home. Wah wahhh. It wasn't even 7:00 yet. We could have stayed (and probably made more sales) longer if only the weather had cooperated. 

I guess the bands went on later, too, but we didn't stick around to find out. I hope that this event becomes an annual thing, as I'd like to try again next year. Another suggestion I would make is to have some bands play early, and possibly even outdoors to keep the inside the restaurant/outside in the parking lot flow going. Ooh, how about a spooky face painter, too? They could do day of the dead skeleton makeup!

Brauerhouse Hearse Show

Instead of leaving on a sad note due to the lousy weather, I'll end with this super cute photo of Lisa, Jessy, and I at the tent from earlier in the afternoon. I love this pic!

I also have a lot of stock left over that isn't listed in the etsy shop. If you're interested in any Hell Razor items, please check out this album from the Hell Razor Facebook page and message/email me if you're interested in anything, because I'm willing to sell!


Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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my inserts

I have mentioned before that I am a "Bzz Agent", which means is that I signed up on this awesome site, take surveys regularly about household items, hygiene, kid stuff and whatnot, and I sometimes get chosen for really great campaigns. I was pretty excited when I got the offer for this one. I have TERRIBLE feet. Maybe its from years of crazy shoes, weight gain, bad back, or whatever, but my feet hurt all the time.  So I was chosen to try "Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts" and I hoped that these were going to be the magic I needed.

on the machine

I knew my local Bed, Bath, and Beyond had one of the Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Kiosks which uses "Foot Mapping" technology to test just what is wrong with my feet. It takes only a couple of minutes, just long enough to get over putting your bare feet where others have (I was happy that anti-bacterial gel was kindly attached to the machine!). After feeling like I was doing a balancing act, I got my results...BAD ARCHES. I kind of knew that. My inserts were "CF 420," which should help with my specific issues. I quickly completed my "Bzz Agent" survey when I got home, to let them know which insert to send me, and waited patiently for them to arrive.

I lucked out, as the day they came, I was working my very part time wine job - which entails standing in one spot for a couple of hours! I have to wear closed toe, flats at this job and it kills my feet and back. I quickly popped the inserts and and I was AMAZED! I felt great, my legs were not tired, my back did not hurt as much and my arches did not ache as they normally do after I complete my job. My "Bzz Kit" came with coupons which my fiance quickly took one to get his own "Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts". But since I cannot give you coupons, I can share a link to one! They are a little pricey but so worth it. I am lucky I got mine free via "Bzz Agent".

Stay Sweet,
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Easy Vintage Americana Inspired 4th of July Decor!

 photo flowersonfencewords_zpsbe33926a.jpgHello ladies n’ gents!
Are you planning a 4th of July shindig? Why not go for the vintage-inspired Americana look? If you’re strapped for cash, it’s honestly one of the easiest decoration styles mostly because you can get a little “shabby chic” with it.

This style is also great for sprucing up dilapidated fences and other backyard eye sores. I used them for Dave’s 40th birthday party for that very reason (our fence is SUPER ghetto, but we are getting a new one soon). These decorations blended in perfectly and they even stood up to the rain and wind!

Ingredients for this project:
Mason jars $9.99 OR scour thrift stores for cheapo jars!
Twine $3.98 for 21 x 525 ft
Pea gravel $2.58 per bag
Fake flowers (got em' on sale for $3.00) or wild flowers are free!
Wine bottles...I asked my friends to save their bottles and I helped too! ;)
Tea lights (dollar store) or battery powered candles if you wanna splurge - I got mine on sale for $5.99

Fill your mason jars a little less than half way with pea gravel.
 photo jars_zps14252a78.jpg
Grab your twine and some scissors and make two loops. I wrapped the twine 3 or 4 times around three fingers and tied them off.
 photo loops_zpsa564dcb9.jpg
Once your loops are finished, thread more twine through the loops and wrap the twine around the top of the mason jar (just under the threads for the cap) with a loop on either side. photo looptop_zpscb33625d.jpg
When you are wrapping your twine around the top of your mason jar, make sure you reinforce the top because you will be hanging these little guys by the loops. once you're finished, it will look like this (but make sure to cut your twine down unlike the picture)!
 photo hanger_zps1840c7b6.jpg
Once your twine is cut, place a tea light in the gravel so it doesn't tip over. (*Side note, I'm not sure you should put the cap on the mason jar with an actual tea light lit, but you're good to go with a battery powered candle). As for the wine bottles, you tie them up similarly, but you only use one loop! Just like this!
 photo bottleloop_zps10fc351f.jpg
Once your wine bottles are tied up, you can either fill them with water and wild flowers or (like me) you can find some fun cheap fake flowers. You can use the same color wine bottles to create a more monotone look or you can mix it up like below! photo flowerwinebottles_zpsc858e90f.jpg
Once you're ready to party, use more twine to hang your mason jars and flowers on your fence! Make sure you use enough twine to support the weight of your jars and bottles!
 photo donefence_zps21c51aee.jpg
Uncle Sam approved!!!! ;)
Oh! We also had our buddy Nate bring some straw from their farm in order to keep the mud situation in check, but I think it helped add to the Americana atmosphere. Check out the glow of the tea lights! :)
 photo lit_zpsadc53835.jpg
Happy 4th everyone!!!!

Until next time! 
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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Viva Las Vegas: An epically long vacation recap!

So, we've been back from our Las Vegas trip for a couple of weeks now, and I've finally gotten around to sorting through the mounds of photos that were taken! I'm actually a really bad photographer during events, trips, concerts, and the like... but Todd is AMAZING! Thanks to Todd for taking so many great photos that I can share on here!

The best way I could figure out how to share this totally photo-heavy post was to split it up by day, and just give a narrative of what happened on the trip.


We flew into Vegas late afternoon on Wednesday. I'm not one to say that I'm afraid to fly, but I definitely have nerves going once we finally take off! We were fortunate to have seats next to eachother in a row of only two seats, both going there and back. Yay!

Las Vegas Trip!

Once we arrived in Vegas, we checked into our hotel (The Aria) and walked what felt like forever to our room. I was NOT prepared for all of the walking involved in Vegas. I guess I assumed it was all moving walkways, like the airport? Not so.

Las Vegas Trip!

Our room did have an awesome view, and the hotel has a really cool water wall feature all across the front of the hotel facade. Touristy photo op!

Las Vegas Trip!

Our hotel also happened to have a super cool art collection, so we had fun wandering around in our downtime to find them. A couple of my favorites are pictured below:

Las Vegas Trip!

Las Vegas Trip!

On our first night, we walked outside onto the strip, and I realized just how much walking I was in for during the trip. Uh oh.

The lights were so cool! And there were a few other really unusual things to see, like outdoor escalators, people dressed up as characters at ever corner (Bumblebee!), and the fact that you can walk up and down the street with open alcohol - how weird!

Las Vegas Trip!

There were also, unfortunately, a lot of homeless folk asking for change. Several of them seemed to have a sense of humor about it, though, as you can see in this photo above.

Las Vegas Trip!

Todd and I discovered what just might be our favorite place - the Polaroid Fotobar! Apparently there are several in Florida, but the Las Vegas location just opened up in February 2014, and it has a second floor Polaroid museum space, which is pretty cool! We had a coupon to get into the museum part for free (normally $5/person), and it was neat to see how Polariod has evolved over the years, and to see the Andy Warhol "Capturing Celebrity" exhibition, which are Polaroid photos that Andy Warhol took of celebrities (I learned that he typically took two photos, and gave one of the photos to the person afterward).

The Polaroid Fotobar allows you to print out photos from your phone, Facebook feed, Instagram, or most other places (we had a CD of our wedding photos, and an employee of the Fotobar plugged in an external drive for us to use!) onto heavyweight board (think baby board books) that look like Polaroid photos for $1 each. What a great (and inexpensive) souvenir to remember your Las Vegas trip!

Las Vegas Trip!

Of course, wax Andy Warhol needed to take a photo with us. We are art teachers, after all.

Fotobar also has a ton of cool framing/display options for your photos. We bought a few of the magnetic shadowbox frames (couldn't resist), and a set of tiny wire hangers to display photos!

After we geeked out at the Polaroid Fotobar, we ventured out into The Linq, where the Fotobar is located. I looked up at the giant ferris wheel, known as the "High Roller," said "heck no," and we ventured over to the Yard House for a beverage. I was super excited to find a place on the west coast that had 312 on the beer list!

Las Vegas Trip!

(Thursday night was fun when we got to face time with Iggy from our iPad! I had to snag a screenshot of his cute little face watching us.)

Las Vegas Trip!

After hanging out at The Linq, we took a cab off the strip to go over to KISS Monster Mini Golf! This was pretty fun, because it was not crowded at all (it was probably around 3:00 in the afternoon on Thursday) and we had most of the place to ourselves. The entire 18-hole mini golf course is lit via blacklight, and only KISS tunes are played! Like the rest of Las Vegas, they offered alcohol while golfing, which I can imagine must make for some pretty interesting groups on certain evenings!

Las Vegas Trip!

After mini golf, we walked across the street to the Hard Rock Hotel. We had so much fun, just walking around and checking out the music memorabilia on display! We were super excited to see several Def Leppard items there!


Friday the 13th was our big day! For our 5-year wedding anniversary, we decided to renew our wedding vows with Elvis! We went with A Elvis Wedding Chapel after I had looked up some reviews online.

Las Vegas Trip!

Todd and I decided to splurge a little and visited the salon at our hotel before the wedding. I had my hair styled in real victory rolls by a professional stylist for the first time ever! Todd got a trim as well. Our wedding package included a limo to and from the chapel, along with a cute little bouquet. We even got to choose three Elvis songs for our ceremony! The whole experience was hilarious and awesome.

Las Vegas Trip!

Out package also included photographs (there was a special going on back in March when I booked it, so I figured why not?), which came out pretty cute.

After the ceremony, our limo driver asked where we wanted to go. Since it was Friday the 13th, I asked him to take us to a tattoo shop where we could get Friday the 13th tattoos. I've always wanted to get one, and this seemed like the perfect Friday the 13th to just do it! If you haven't heard of it before, a Friday the 13th tattoo is typically a small design, chosen from a set of pre-determined drawings (flash), for $13 + $7 tip = $20 total. The designs typically have a "13" somewhere in it.

After calling a few shops, I ended up choosing Atomic City Tattoo on the strip. Our artist's name was Tee, and he did a tiny diamond + 13 design on my arm, and a black spade + 13 on Todd.

Las Vegas Trip!

...Checking stuff off of my bucket list!

After our tattoos, we decided to take the bus to downtown Las Vegas, also known as the Fremont Street Experience, where there is a huge arched screen/lights that cover the midway walking area. There are even ziplines that you can ride on!

It was very crowded, but the lights were really cool. This is where you'll find the neon cowboy sign, and classic casinos like the Golden Nugget, which is where we ended up grabbing dinner.

Las Vegas Trip!

Fremont Street was cool to see, but there wasn't a lot to do outside of drink or buy typical cheesy tourist stuff (light up t-shirt? vulgar t-shirt? necklace made out of giant balls?), so we walked up and down to check out the light displays, but took the bus back to our hotel after dinner.


On Saturday during the day, we did some walking outside, and even stopped back at the Fotobar to get some of our wedding pics printed (see Thursday for a pic of the pics!).

Las Vegas Trip!

The really exciting event on Saturday was that we had tickets for the Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage! I bought tickets online ahead of time, and I tried to make sure that we had really good seats. Now that I've been there, I honestly don't think that there's such a thing as a bad seat!

Las Vegas Trip!

Before the show (we arrived a little early), we stopped by the Beatles Revolution Lounge (technically, just the "Abbey Road Bar" up front) for a cocktail. The giant sculptural REVOLUTION letters outside had spaces within the letters for seating! How cool!

Las Vegas Trip!

Of course, we weren't allowed to take photos during the show, but I can say that the show itself was absolutely amazing. I cried! There was so much to see, you often didn't know where to look! The stage moved and changed and set pieces switched so fast, everything seemed to operate like magic! This was one of my favorite parts of our trip.


We spent our last day in Vegas pretty leisurely. We did finally decide to try to gamble (!!!) by putting $20 each into a slot machine - Todd picked The Walking Dead machine, and I picked Plants vs Zombies. We both lost all of our money within 10 minutes. Bummer.

We also grabbed brunch at The Pink Taco at the Hard Rock Hotel. Breakfast tapas! It was super yummy.

Las Vegas Trip!

We ended our trip with tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro at Hard Rock Live (on the 3rd floor of the Hard Rock Cafe on the strip). Jake Shimabukuro is an amazing ukelele player, and the show was so much fun to watch and listen. You could hear a pin drop, the audience was so quiet and attentive! And Jake came out to sign autographs after his show, so we stuck around and had him sign our CD from the merch booth to Iggy. Aww.

Wow! Thanks for reading this gigantic recap of our trip! I had so much fun, and although we missed Iggy so much, it was nice to get out and just be adults for a few days.

Do you have any vacation plans this summer?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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I'm just not that into it...

Just not that into it...

For most of my life, I've had the badge of "pessimist" placed on me. My mother called me "Eeyore" in high school, and my dad called me "Morticia." Well, I also started dying my hair black around that same time, but it wasn't just the hair...

As I've gotten older, I've made concerted (sometimes excruciatingly mentally painful) attempts to try to fight this label. I've tried to not be so Debbie Downer, and to have a little bit of fun now and then, even if it's not 100% my jam.

However, I've also tried to embrace my inner goth a little bit, to be more proud of who I am, even if it means I'm not the life of the party, and often kind of (but sometimes a lot of) socially awkward. Sometimes I just don't like things, no matter how hard I try! This can often result in gut-reactions from people along the lines of:
"How can you not like ----- ?!" "But everyone likes ----- !!!" "Well, you're just not American (or human, or insert other assorted label here) if you don't like ----- !"
So, at the risk of making everyone around me angry, I present to you a list of things that I just don't like:



I've thought about this one long and hard. I can't even give a good justifiable reason for it. I LIKE all of the parts of it: bread, tomato sauce, garlic... except the melty cheese. I think it's the melty mozzarella cheese. But I love cheese in general, so even that's kind of weird. 

Exceptions: Super thin crispy margherita pizza (that always sounds yummy to me), or cold pizza the next morning. Because once it's cold and you can take a bite into it without strings... that tastes great! 

As you can imagine, my dislike of pizza makes me REAL popular at parties, especially large groups of strangers. Yay.



Being a mom and not liking Disney is awful. Because having kids = you like Disney? Um, NO. Why oh why can't I buy some goddamn diapers or a tube of kid's toothpaste without there having to be something Disney-related on it? And well-intentioned folks just KEEP GIVING MY KID STUFF WITH DISNEY ON IT. Thanks a lot... now I have to wait until he's napping so I can throw it away without him noticing. I think most of my anger about Disney comes from the fact that it's inescapable. If it was easy to ignore, I don't think I'd be so mad about it. 

Exceptions: Things that Disney acquired after the fact, like Star Wars and the Muppets. Those are not Disney. I'm pretty sure that Disney is dead-set on ruining those for me, too though. Oh, and (for the most part) The Nightmare Before Christmas. Because Tim Burton does not = Disney. It's just an unfortunate pairing. Knock it off, Tim Burton!

Wine and Painting
Look how happy they are to be holding those ugly things.

Ughhh... I'm an art teacher, and this IS NOT ART! You just straight-up copied something that the "instructor" made, and it's usually a horrible image - why would you want to make a copy of an artwork that's freaking ugly to begin with? 

Here's a tip: Do you want to learn how to make art and get drunk at the same time? Just come over to my house and hang out. I'll totally help you paint something that's not crap. And also not copied brushstroke for brushstroke from a version that I made. Plus, I've got the good booze.

Exceptions: None. Stop posting your photos of your ugly paintings on Facebook (because I will delete you on one of my angry newsfeed clean-up stints), and stop having your bachelorette parties there. It's just awful. I can't wait for this fad to die out.



The movie. The soundtrack. The fact that every damn school dance and wedding I go to has to play this music makes me wanna barf. And everyone gets up and dances and sings like it's the greatest thing they've ever heard. Nooooo! I'm down with bad music for cheese factor, okay? But this isn't it. This is just bad, bad, bad. All around bad.

Exceptions: Uh... no.


Those ugly flying things. They can't even fly straight, so I can't properly run away from them. If one comes near me, I'll scream and run away like there was a dude with a chainsaw coming after me. I can't even handle it. One time when I was little, my friend and I were trying to catch one in an empty margarine tub, and I guess it was still oily on the inside, because my friend caught it, and the wings were flapping against the translucent lid, and they started to disintegrate. I was horrified. I guess I've never been able to get that image out of my head. Plus, butterfly bodies - the insect themselves - are GROSS! Have you ever looked at one up close? You're welcome.

Exceptions: Fake butterflies. Won't scare me, so nice try. Photos are pretty much acceptable, too. Anything EXCEPT the real thing. Good lord, no, not the real thing.

So, there's my list... How about you? What kinds of things do you NOT like, that it sure seems like most other people do?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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Last week we saw "The Boogers" in Berwyn (a suburb of Chicago). What is a Booger? No, not that kind of Booger...they are an incredible group of guys that created a band that features punk, Ramone's style music for kids. I like to think they are Gunnar's favorite band as he has been to three of their shows in his two years. I think we love them too! It is awesome to see kiddos moshing to "Itsy bitsy spider" and "The wheels on the bus".


Here we are enjoying the show!


This is Ena, our friend Jessy's youngest. She did a nose dive while dancing and the band played a song for her. She is the most hardcore four year old I know!

Gunnar first show

This is Gunnar at his first show...not ready to dance yet!

Gunnar's second show

I think by show two...he had the moves!


If you have a kiddo or are young at heart, check them out. They are on tour right now (dates listed on their home page), they may be in a city near you soon. I personally cannot wait till they are back in our area!

Stay Sweet,
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